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The Church

heard of any change was on a re-application to the College Committee, with the intimation that he was to resign his charge because there was a strong opinion felt in the Church that he ought never to have left the pulpit,-never to have been placed in the chair, and that he should be restored to the pulpit with all convenient speed. Now, it is these circumstances that perplex me on the subject; and I would fain hope that I will get a satisfactory explanation. I consider that I am now acting the part of a friend to Dr Candlish by taking this course, because he still repeats the same sentiments which he held at the Commission in August, with regard to the paramount importance of the chair. But there seems to be a pressure of circumstances influencing the mind of Dr Candlish on this matter; and I would like to know how that pressure has been brought up, and what has been the sapping and mining process used to bring it about. It has been said that the mind of the Church is changed, but I hope the Church is not so versatile as that. took up the subject most deliberately, and referred it to a Local Committee, by whom Dr Candlish was appointed to the Professor's chair, which he accepted on account of its paramount importance; and in the month of August, the mind of the Church, so far as it could be expressed, was in an opposite position altogether to that which we are called upon now to assume. If, then, any change has occurred, how, I would ask, has the mind of the Church been ascertained? If there is a strong opinion in favour of Dr Candlish's return to the pulpit of St George's, whence has this opinion originated? Is it from any official document, from any Committee, or Presbytery, or Synod of the Church? We have no such evidences that I am aware of, nor was there any such movement; and yet, unless there was, how can any one individual, or body of individuals, take upon them to decide for the Church? But though no such general movement was made,-a small cloud arose in the horizon in the west; it increased in magnitude, and its influence drove Dr Candlish to resign. (Hear, hear.) Now, what if the Assembly should adopt the motion of Dr Buchanan? In so doing the Church will express a very decided opinion, and will give forth to the world that the expression of the mind of the Church, through that large Committee in August, is not the mind of the Church in May following, and that, too, without any very remarkable change taking place in the external circumstances to warrant such an exhibition of change. Now, however, if I can get an explanation of those movements which have operated upon Dr Candlish and the memorialists, I should perhaps be able to join in the motion before the House; but until I hear some such explanation, I regret that I cannot give

my countenance to it.

Mr M. MAKGILL CRICHTON said,-Moderator, I feel constrained by a painful sense of duty to corroborate the views and opinions which Dr Fleming has now given to the House; and the reason I feel now more especially compelled to address a few words to the Assembly on this subject is, because I have heard from a reverend Doctor, who was not a member of last Assembly, a proposition to adopt a procedure which will turn to so much waste paper the whole proceedings of the Assembly in filling up the chair of Dr Chalmers, the whole of the procedure in severing the pastoral tie, and the whole solemn proceedings of the calls for that congregation. Sir, if an Independent had proposed such a step, I would have wondered; but that a stern Presbyterian should in this way stamp with ridicule and scorn the most solemn proceedings of our Church, the proceedings, in some respects, of a mournfully noted Assembly, I never could have believed. I do not hope, like Dr Fleming, to be convinced, I trust I never shall be convinced (hear, hear)—that any one man, or any knot of men, are to take upon them to set aside a solemn decision of the House,—that the Presbyterian Church is to hold as not acted her most solemn acts, and as not written her most solemn records,—and that, after the severance of the pastoral tie, the pastoral tie is to be held by an ecclesiastical fiction as not broken. I stand here as a member of last General Assembly, I stand here as a member of the Commission, and of that Committee, and in all these positions I hold it to have been the expressed mind of the Church, that Dr Robert Smith Candlish, in point of talent,-in point of eloquence and power,-in point of energy, of character, and in point of capability for teaching the young, was the most fit successor to the chair in our great Central Theological Institute that the Free Church could obtain. I agree with Dr Candlish that, noble as is the congregation of St George's,-great as have been their doings for the Free Church, that their claim as a single congregation is

not to be talked of in one day with the claim of the great Central College Institute of the Free Church. I rejoice that Dr Candlish entertains that view; and I should only regret that a man of his mind, and a man of his mettle, could do, what I am sure he would not have allowed another to do with impunity,-to set aside, from some private feelings of his own, a Law of the Church-at his own accord, or, at the suggestion of a few friends, make such a change as has been indicated, or desire to get over this matter as soon as possible, on the principle that "least said is soonest mended." (Hear, hear.) I cannot consent to pass over lightly a matter of such importance. I certainly would not concuss Dr Candlish into retaining the Professorship,-which he still retains, and which he cannot denude himself of until he get the consent of this Assembly, because I would not have a man take the place of the great Chalmers if his mind and heart did not go with the appointment; but certainly I will divide the House upon the point as to the pastoral tie, and more especially on the point of making the solemn proceedings of the Assembly as so much waste paper. But, Sir, Dr M'Farlan has, it seems, something to tell us on this subject, and in approval of the motion; and I should like to know from him, who understands the laws of the Church so well, how he can reconcile such procedure in accordance with Presbyterial order, and with a due regard to the interests of the Church to which we all belong. Dr Fleming has told us that no Presbyteries have spoke of a change of opinion on this matter,-that no Synods have spoke of a change; but that there seemed to be a small knot in the west who unfurled the banner of independency,—who endeavoured to traverse the proceedings of the Assembly, and to give the go-by to its solemn proceedings. Upon the reverend Doctor, who has been whispered to me as the leader of that movement, I call to explain how, in accordance with Synodical order or Presbyterianism, he can justify himself in leading a revolutionary movement to upset the solemn decision of the last General Assembly; and whether, if any other Presbytery or self-constituted Committee had dared to disregard a decision of this House, he would have given them his sanction? (Hear, hear.) I shall not make any motion as yet, but I have a motion in reserve, which, if it is not taken up by a man who has far more weight in this Assembly than I can pretend to, I shall move, if the resignation be accepted, that, by induction, or some other means, the pastoral tie shall be restored. Dr Buchanan says it was not dissevered practically; but I maintain it was dissevered, the congregation were deprived of their pastor, he was separated from them, and undertook a new appointment; and for a true blue Presbyterian now to tell us that the pastoral tie was not broken, is truly something very like preaching for the times. We have heard of preaching for the times, and I really think that we ought now to have lectures on pastoral discipline and pastoral order. It is with pain that I speak on this subject; but as one who was a member of the Commission, a member of the Committee, and a member of the last General Assembly, I cannot permit that all these solemn proceedings, on an occasion so solemn, should be treated so lightly. Oh, Sir, while I would not wish to force Dr Candlish in this matter, I would implore him to attend to the mind of the Church, and by his co-operation with Dr Cunningham, Dr Fleming, Dr Duncan, and Dr Buchanan, form a galaxy of theological power, the equal of which will not be found in Europe. (Hear, hear.) If you accept of his resignation, there is not, in my opinion, a man to be found to occupy his place. If the congregation of St George's would forego their claim in this instance, the blessing of God, I am satisfied, would rest upon them a hundred-fold, and the Central Institute of the Church would be greatly invigorated. But whatever is done, let it be done orderly, and do not cast a slight and contempt upon the most solemn proceedings of your last General Assembly.

Mr GRAY said, I feel the greatest responsibility in addressing this Assembly, under the circumstances in which we are now placed. I confess, for my own part, that I did most sincerely go along with Dr Buchanan when he vindicated the opinion that it might be the mind of the General Assembly, without long discussion, to give their decision with regard to the case of St George's Congregation. I do not think that the progress that has yet been made in the discussion goes to cast a doubt on the wisdom of Dr Buchanan's motion. I think that the consideration of what is due to our own dignity, to the edification of the body of Christ, and to a devoted brother who has been enabled, with God's help, to do great things for this Free Church of Scotland in her day of battle,-I say that these considerations and

feelings, and the whole interests of the Church, require that we should be very careful in what we say upon this subject. (Hear, hear.) Not that I have the least feeling that, when the subject is gone into, there will be any difficulty in placing it in such a light as will be creditable to all parties concerned. (Hear.) I happen to be one of those who concurred most entirely, as Mr Crichton did, in the appointment of Dr Candlish to the theological chair. I expressed on fitting occasions, as opportunities arose, my feeling that that was a right step; but I owe some explanation, after what has been said by Mr Crichton and Professor Fleming. While, as I have already stated, I had the feeling that the appointment of Dr Candlish to the Theological Chair was a right step; I had also, from the beginning, a difficulty in determining whether Dr Candlish was best fitted for the pulpit or the chair. I was convinced, and am so still, that he was fitted to adorn both more than any other man perhaps the Church possesses. I had that feeling, and I have it still; but I did not feel myself able to decide whether the pulpit or the chair was the proper place; but I came to the decision of cordially supporting his appointment to the chair, because I saw that Dr Candlish himself rather leant to the opinion that his proper place was the chair. It was necessary that Dr Candlish himself should make up his mind on this question, if he could. We were all called to consider the question, which was the place that Dr Candlish was best fitted to occupy; and it was necessary that Dr Candlish himself should also consider it, and, accordingly, in the course of private friendship, I took the liberty of pressing upon him that consideration, and urged him to try to make up his mind on the subject, for, on the state of his own mind on the matter, I would be very much guided. Believing, as I did, that he was admirably fitted for both, but feeling, at the same time, that I could not determine for which he was best fitted, I thought that he ought to consider the question himself, and try to make up his mind on it; for I believed that there were many in the Church who, like myself, would see the path of duty made plain before them by the indication of his own choice. I know that I am speaking the sentiments of many brethren, when I say that there was a difficulty existing in the minds of many as to whether the pulpit or the chair was the proper place for Dr Candlish to occupy. I also know that there were some, at the head of whom was my reverend friend the Principal of the College, who were clear in thinking that Dr Candlish was best fitted for the chair, and that it was his proper place; and I know that there were others who held the opposite opinion. The latter opinion was expressed in Synods; and I am not sure but that it was expressed in the Synod of Argyll, who were clearly of opinion, that Dr Candlish's proper place was in the pulpit, just as clearly as my honourable friend at my left (Dr Cunningham) was in thinking that his place was in the chair. Such being the case,-such being the diversity of opinion in the Church-there being those who thought that the chair was the proper place of Dr Candlish,-there being those who thought the pulpit was his proper place,—and there being those who, like myself, could not say which was his proper place, believing his qualifications to be of the highest order for both; in these circumstances, was it a thing to be at all wondered at, if, in Dr Candlish's own mind, there should be a hesitation on such a question? (Hear, hear.) Considering the diversity of opinion that existed throughout the Church on this subject, and the difficulty of the question, which we all felt, is it a thing to be wondered at, if, in the course of God's providence, in the strange concatenation of events in regard to that matter,-events quite unexampled, I am sure, in the history of the Church,‚—our reverend friend himself should at one time have the feeling that his proper place was the chair, and at another time perhaps Providence was calling him to the pulpit? (Hear, hear.) After what has happened in the case of the Congregation of St George's,-after the clear indications to which, I am sure, Dr Buchanan could speak in a more satisfactory way, if necessary, of the doubtful state of mind that existed in the Church on the subject from the first,-after Dr Candlish had been made to feel, as I know he was made to feel, that his own preference about the chair had more to do in swaying the mind of the Church than he himself desired it to have, after finding that the Church was too much influenced by his own preference, being in a state of perplexity, and finding also that it was the growing opinion in various parts of the Church, after the lamentable death of Mr Stewart, and in all the circumstances of the congregation, and amongst men of the highest consideration, that they could not afford to lose his services in the pulpit,-on discover

ing all these things, I do not wonder that Dr Candlish's mind should have again been brought into perplexity. Our excellent and esteemed brethren who have spoken here ought to remember that the question for Dr Candlish to consider, was not merely whether the chair was more important than the pulpit, but also whether he was more fitted for the chair than the pulpit. These are distinct questions. The question of Dr Candlish's fitness for the chair is one thing, and the question of the claims of the chair, as superior to the pulpit, is another thing; and I think that our friends might have considered that it was due to Dr Candlish to suppose this other question, as to what was his proper place, and whether the gifts which God had given him would be more useful to the Church and the cause of Christ in the pulpit than in the chair, engaged his mind, as well as that about which his mind never wavered, the superior claims of the chair over the pulpit, although his own delicacy prevent his referring to the matter. So long as Dr Candlish himself felt that Providence appeared to be pointing out the chair as his proper place of duty-so long as that feeling seemed rather to prevail in his mind, I went entirely along with him; but the ground was taken from under me when Dr Candlish, led by the various circumstances of his position, and the changes which had taken place in the course of events, felt himself constrained to consider that the place which he was called to occupy was the pulpit. With these views, I can have no difficulty in acceding to the motion of Dr Buchanan, so far as regards the acceptance of the resignation of Dr Candlish; and I hope that I have shown that we can accept it, and can express entire satisfaction with the course which, in providence, our brother in his difficult position has been led to pursue. (Hear, hear.) The only question that remains is as to the mode of procedure. I trust that no serious opposition will be made to the motion of Dr Buchanan in this respect also. It seems to me, taking all things into consideration, that this is really the course which the edification of the Church and the dignity of the Assembly point out. It is important to recollect that the pastoral tie between Dr Candlish and his congregation has never been practically severed. In point of form it has been dissolved; but practically it has not. (Hear, hear.) No minister was settled after Dr Candlish was appointed to the chair. No other minister supplied the pulpit of St George's since the pastoral relation was formally dissolved. The connection between him and his flock practically existed down to this hour. So far as I am aware, he has discharged all the pastoral duties to them, from the time of his appointment to the chair down to this hour. Under these circumstances, it is for the Assembly to consider whether it would be for edification to go through all the formalities of a settlement, whether it would be for edification to ask Dr- Candlish the usual questions in regard to the acceptance of a call. Of course, if the Assembly should decide that this should be done, Dr Candlish would have no objection to comply with their mind. I think that that is a question for the Assembly itself to consider, and not for Dr Candlish. It is for the Assembly to say whether it will tend to raise the character of our proceedings in the peculiar and unprecedented circumstances of the case, if we refrain from doing that which it is perfectly competent, not for a Presbytery, but for the Assembly to do,—to repone Dr Candlish to the pastoral relation between him and his flock. I trust that the Assembly will see that the course which edification most plainly requires is, that we proceed in the manner indicated in Dr Buchanan's motion. (Hear, hear.) I trust that the Assembly will feel that our forms will not gain, but lose, if, in a case like this, the usual procedure were to be followed. I am sure that I urge this course on the consideration of the Assembly with the entire conviction that, if a case of such extraordinary combination of circumstances should ever occur again, I would enforce the course which I now advocate as the proper one,- -as being most for the edification of the body of Christ, and most for the honour of our forms themselves,-most for the respectability of the call of the congregation, and for the maintenance and proper regard of the whole solemnities connected with the induction of ministers. With these views I cannot but support the motion of Dr Buchanan.

Mr WILSON of Dundee said,-I do not know how far my sentiments on this question may be sympathised in by the members of the House, but I do feel strongly convinced that this resignation of Dr Candlish should not be accepted. If it appeared to be the will of the Assembly, I would be prepared to move to that effect, but I confess it would be with the greatest reluctance, because it has an aspect of

disregard to Dr Candlish's personal feelings and predilections, and I would regret very much being obliged at any time to put myself even apparently in opposition to these. But sympathising as I do most thoroughly with the statements made in regard to Dr Candlish's qualifications and feelings as now stated by Mr Gray to the House,-being persuaded, like him, that Dr Candlish is highly and eminently fitted either for the pulpit or for the theological chair, and taking into consideration the fact that Dr Candlish himself, as well as this Church as a body, if I understand the decisions of last General Assembly and of the Commission in August, declared, unequivocally and strongly, the superior claims of that chair to the Congregation of St George's with any other Congregation in the Free Church,-and taking into consideration farther, that Dr Candlish is not here pronouncing an opinion regarding any question of the general policy of the Church,-that he is not pronouncing an opinion regarding the qualifications of another man, but that he has been led to consider his own personal qualifications,--and considering that men themselves, of all others, are least competent to judge of their own fitness for any particular office,I think this Assembly ought not to pay much deference to that expression of opinion on the part of Dr Candlish. I understand that it has been generously and conscientiously come to, after serious consideration on his part; but I do think that a man himself is the least competent, of all parties, to judge what he is most competent to do; therefore, in this case, I would not attach very great importance to Dr Candlish's deliverance upon it. I entertain the opinion very strongly that the Church is now engaged in a matter affecting, not one congregation and one locality within our borders, but that, by the decision of the Assembly this day, the interests of our Church will be deeply affected for a generation to come; and I confess that such is my opinion of Dr Candlish,—that such is the power he has shewn in his past intercourse with students and young men generally, that such is the impulse and vigour which his own mind is capable of communicating to the minds of others, that his being placed in that Chair of Theology involves very much the interests and prosperity of the Free Church of Scotland for a generation. (Hear, hear.) I confess, that while many of the ministers in this Church may be very competent for the teaching of theology and all its tenets with the utmost soundness and clearness, that this is not the thing, in my opinion, that should be primarily looked for in a Professor of Divinity. It is those peculiar and rare qualifications which Dr Candlish happens to possess which awakens the minds of students, and not merely communicates information, but leads the mind to work out its own case, to think for itself, -that impulsive power which he so fully possesses, and which few possess. In looking abroad over the Church, I confess that, although there may be others, I know no man that the Church can look to place in that Chair, possessed of those qualifications in anything like the same degree that Dr Candlish possesses them. I did regret, from the very first, as a matter calculated to be deeply injurious to the Free Church, that Dr Candlish made the announcement which he did in the Free Presbytery of Edinburgh of his intention to resign the professorial chair. I regret it still. (Hear, hear.) Had Dr Candlish made such a statement in regard to this Chair as, that he could not enter upon the duties devolved upon him with comfort to himself, and that his mind could not engage itself thoroughly in the work, I would have deferred to his opinion; but I have that confidence in Dr Candlish's high conscientiousness, and in his zeal, that although his opinion may be that his proper field is the pulpit, if this Assembly shall decide that his proper field, in the exigencies of the Church, and looking to the whole circumstances, is the Chair of Theology, I feel satisfied that he will direct the whole energies of his mind to the duties of the situation, and that the result shall be in the highest degree satisfactory; that the Congregation of St George's shall have cause to rejoice in this decision of the Assembly, and that the Church for a generation shall have occasion to rejoice in it. (Hear, hear.) I do not think it necessary to enter into the views referred to in the other part of Dr Buchanan's motion; and in conclusion, I have only further to say, that if I find that any one in this House is prepared to support those views, I am prepared to move that the resignation of Dr Candlish be not accepted.

Mr GIBSON of Glasgow said,-I am not very sure that some of the points which have been raised in this discussion were necessary to be raised, in order to enable us to come to a judgment upon the subject. At the same time, I do feel that per


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