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Their positions in becoming Professors were not the same; and to have a minister like Dr Candlish, having the daily opportunity of dispensing the gospel amongst such a congregation as that of St George's, was of great importance both to the prospects of the Free Church, and to the spread of evangelical doctrine throughout the land. I would not refer to the influence merely of that congregation, from the extent of their liberality. It is not to that I would refer; and I think some injustice has been done to St George's congregation by merely referring to the amount of their liberality. I would place their highest claim to the services of Dr Candlish upon the historical character of the congregation,-upon the impression which it made upon the community in connection with Dr Andrew Thomson, and upon the consideration of what its influence on the community will be in future in the same direction.
Dr BROWN said, it appeared to him, after the statements made by Dr Candlish, that it would be acting towards him in a way in which he would be exceedingly sorry to see the Assembly doing, considering the eminent services which he had rendered to the Church, to compel Dr Candlish to continue in the Professorial chair, when he could not do it with comfort to himself under present circumstances. However much he might regret that Dr Candlish could not continue in that chair, he thought the expression of his own opinion should go a great way in settling the question. He could not concur in the opinion that the difficulties which had arisen, had arisen in consequence of the last Assembly, or of the Commission in August.__The last Assembly must either have remitted to the College Committee to appoint a Professor, or have pursued the course then adopted,-unless, indeed, they were merely to hand over the matter to this Assembly, which surely could not be seriously maintained. If they had taken the first course, it would not have been satisfactory to the Church at large. They were then shut up to the other alternative; and that being the case, it appeared to him that they could not have done otherwise than they did. He thought they would have taken no other course if anything was done in the matter at all; and if they had taken another course, they would in reality have stultified themselves. It therefore appeared to him that there was no ground for casting blame upon the proceedings of the Church in that matter. With great hesitation, however, he felt also they must come to the conclusion now set before them in the latter part of Dr Buchanan's motion. Although he felt the great importance and vast solemnity of the question which had been brought before the minds of their people, he felt confident that they would generally approve, both of what it was proposed to do, and of the way in which it was proposed to be done. A very important constitutional point was involved; but he considered their course was quite clear, after the light in which it had been put by Mr Gibson. Where the congregation was agreeable, and no man had the slightest objection, seeing likewise that Dr Candlish was perfectly willing, and the Presbytery satisfied, and Dr Candlish having continued his ministrations up to that time, he would feel great reluctance to ask him to go through the form of induction. If there would be something like a violation of principle in overleaping the usual forms on the one hand, there would be something like an absurdity, on the other, in strictly adhering to them. With these explanations, he gave his support to the motion of Dr Buchanan.
Dr FLEMING said, he had asked for a little information as to what had induced Dr Candlish to change his mind, and in what way the mind of the Church had been ascertained and expressed. This he had not yet received; and, under the circumstances, he did think that the best way for the House to proceed would be, to take a vote whether they should receive the resignation or not, just for the purpose of letting Dr Candlish see the true state of the feeling of the House in this matter. Mr BURNS of Kilsyth said, never in his life did he feel more anxious than on the present occasion to learn the path of duty. He saw his way now to the first part of the motion, and meant to support it, namely, that the resignation of Dr Candlish of the Professorship be accepted; but as to the other point he had considerable difficulty. He saw this, that to go through the solemn forms of re-admission would really be out of the question; but still he did not like to see the two things tied up in one motion. He felt that if the first was put separately it would simplify the matter. He had no doubt in his own mind as to the great permanent importance of the office of Professor in the chair of Divinity; and it was not in reference to that and the preaching of the gospel generally, but it was the comparison between the importance
of the Professorial chair and Dr Candlish's pulpit ministrations in St George's congregation that pressed on his mind, and gave him to see the path of duty.
Mr MACNAUGHTAN said-Moderator, I feel myself quite unable to vote for either of the two motions now before the house. After the explicit resignation of Dr Candlish, founded, as he believes, on the general mind of the Church, I cannot think it would be for edification to insist on his retaining the office: and therefore while retaining unaltered my sense of his pre-eminent qualifications for its duties, I must vote for the acceptance of the resignation. With regard to the second part of Dr Buchanan's motion,-holding that the pastoral tie was really and positively dissolved, -I cannot consent to dispense so lightly with those solemnities that are usual in cases of admission, I see no reason for that change in ordinary procedure that is here proposed; and therefore, without arguing the question, would state my conviction that, in so far as the memorial is concerned, we ought to receive it, grant its prayer, and remit to the Presbytery of Edinburgh to re-admit Dr Candlish in such form to Free St George's as may consist with the laws of the Church.
Mr TWEEDIE said, he happened to have entertained pretty strong opinions upon this subject when the proposal was first made to remove Dr Candlish from St George's. For one he was startled, and marvelled at the proposal; but he soon settled down into a very clear conviction that the Professorial chair was the sphere for Dr Candlish. Looking at the matter in all its bearings, this was the conviction at which he had arrived. They could not but see that, in this kingdom, there are rising up many old forms of error, which are tried to be passed off as new views and opinions. They knew what was requisite to meet these forms of error; and they also knew how gifted Dr Candlish was for an appointment to this chair. Keeping these things in view, they could not fail to be convinced as to what course to follow. But since his appointment had been made, matters had changed, and Dr Candlish had given his opinion, and that a very decided one, that he could not retain the office. He (Mr T.) did not know how his brother had arrived at this conclusion; but, in making up his mind upon the question, he could not but take Dr Candlish's mind into consideration, and for the reasons that he had so expressly stated his opinion, he (Mr T.) was quite disposed to accept of his resignation. As to the second part of the motion, the reponing of Dr Candlish,-he confessed that he did not see his way so clearly, and, least of all, to adopt the course which his friend Mr Macnaughtan had suggested. That plan would just be laying upon the poor Presbytery of Edinburgh the whole onus of getting the Free Church out of a difficulty; now, this was not a wise nor a dignified manner of getting rid of a difficulty. He could freely adopt Dr Buchanan's motion if what Mr Gibson had suggested was clearly brought out; and as far as he could gather from the expression of the minds of the brethren, it was there that the chief difficulty was felt. The difficulty was just this,-did they, the General Assembly, in virtue of the nobile officium, possess the power, in present circumstances, of retying the knot-reconstituting the tie which had been dissolved. If they had, then his difficulty was removed; indeed he rather leaned to the opinion, that they were in a position to come to such a conclusion. They had the Kirk-session unanimous, and the commissioners appeared not merely for themselves, but as representing the entire congregation of St George's; and, with these elements before them, they as a General Assembly were entitled to perform its functions. To send the question to the Presbytery of Edinburgh, would, in his opinion, be like going round the Cape, instead of overland. He hoped that Dr Buchanan would consent to embody a clause in his motion such as had been suggested by Mr Gibson.
Dr BUCHANAN said, I feel it to be my duty, before this matter is finally disposed of, to add a few words. Of course, I was not aware, as this House will understand without any explanation of mine, that there did exist, to the extent which has subsequently appeared, a desire to enter into the discussion. From any thing which I had learned, in the course of casual conversation with members of the House on the subject, my impression was, that on the whole it would be considered most for edification not to enter into any large or general discussion on the subject. That was the impression under which I spoke at first; and of course I spoke within the narrow and guarded limits to which I confined myself. This is my apology for introducing a motion so important with so much brevity. It is evidently now necessary, however, to say something more. I think there have been a good many statements made in the course of this discussion, from which an impression might
be gathered by those who are not looking very attentively to the real history of this case,—an impression that the General Assembly of last year had appointed Dr Candlish to the Chair of Theology, and that therefore the mind of the Church, through the Supreme Court of the Church, had in this way been given as to his fitness for that office, and as to the propriety of taking him from the congregation of St George's. Now, of course, this is an entire mistake. No doubt, the General Assembly of last year gave authority under which the appointment was made, but the General Assembly had not the question of Dr Candlish's fitness for the professorial office before it, or the propriety, as between the two spheres of usefulness, of transferring him from the one to the other. Neither of these two questions was at all in the view of last General Assembly. The body appointed to decide the question were no doubt perfectly competent to do so, but they were a body by no means in the same position to give forth the actual de facto mind of the Church, as the General Assembly would have been. The meeting of the Commission of the Assembly at which the appointment of Dr Candlish took place, was not very numerously attended; and, farther, at that very Commission, there was an appearance made for one of the Presbyteries of this Church, with instructions to take exception to the course which the Commission was pursuing. So that at that Commission, limited as it was in point of numbers, there was actually a party bearing to possess instructions to entreat the Commission not to decide as they did. I take leave to say, that although I was not a member of that Commission, I was present at the meeting, and I was most powerfully struck with the manifestly limited concurrence which, so far as a man can judge from any public expression of sentiment, that Commission gave to the judgment that was adopted. It appeared to me on that occasion, that Dr Candlish had very little encouragement to engage in the duties of the office to which the Commission had called him. Formally they had pronounced a judgment, but certainly it did appear to me that the judgment into which they went was rather because they were under the impression, at least many of the members, that he himself desired that the transaction should be completed, than that they themselves approved of it.
Mr M. CRICHTON spoke to order. He would put it to the House whether, in a reply, new matter should be entered into, and statements made which were inconsistent with the facts of the case, which might affect the whole case, but which there was now no opportunity of sifting by a discussion.
Mr GIBSON also spoke to order. Mr Crichton was certainly entitled to speak to order; but in doing so he was not entitled to pronounce a declaration that the statements which a party was making were contrary to the facts of the case.
Mr CRICHTON begged the pardon of the House, but would take his stand here, that the learned Doctor was not entitled in his reply to introduce new matter into a discussion, which was not in possession of the House at the outset of the discussion, and to which other parties would not have an opportunity of reply.
Dr BUCHANAN proceeded.-I am not aware that I have been introducing any new matter. It appears to me that a large part of the discussion turned on the question of the mind of the Church having been in favour, or not in favour, of the removal of Dr Candlish from the pulpit to the chair. It appears to me that a large portion of the discussion has turned upon that question. (Hear, hear.) the question to which I was speaking. I was reminding the House that this question was never before the Assembly till now, and was disposed of by the Commission of the Assembly in not a very numerous attendance. In stating this, of course, I am merely giving my impressions; those of the honourable gentleman behind me (Mr Crichton) may be different, but that does not hinder me from stating mine-(hear, hear)-which are, that while the Commission gave its judgment in this matter, there was very little expression of concurrence in the resolution which was come to. And farther, I take leave to say, that having had occasion, in the course of last summer and autumn, to come in contact with a large portion of the officebearers of the Church, in different parts of the country, in spite of myself, and without ever having raised the question, I was met here and there, and almost everywhere, with strong expressions of the doubtfulness, and more than doubtfulness, as to the wisdom of the course which the Commission had adopted. (Hear, hear.) I have a very high impression of the importance of the Theological Chair. Í know how much, under God, of the character and usefulness of the ministers of this
Church depends upon the course of theological instruction in which they are to be trained, and that this instruction must needs very much depend upon the fitness and qualifications of those who are in future to occupy the chairs of the Free Church College. But I am not prepared to say that the theological institution itself is the only influence that is to operate in the way of forming the minds of the students, and giving them right habits for the work to which they are to be called. Even in reference to that impulsive power to which my friend Mr Wilson alluded, and which is so vitally important in regard to the student at that particular stage of his progress, while attending the Divinity Hall, I believe it will be found, in the history of the Church, that a very large portion of the impulsive power has emanated from the pulpit, and not so much from the Theological Chair, and that we are to ascribe no small portion of the impulse in that direction,—that high evangelical impulse,— that high devotedness to the work of their divine Master, which the best and most honoured of our ministry have been enabled to exhibit,-that they have been indebted for no small portion of these qualifications to the pulpit under which they sat as the Lord's day came round. Now, I will never cease to be of opinion that, looking at it in that light-looking at it as an adjunct merely of a theological institution, it would be a great question with me, whether Dr Candlish, in the pulpit of St George's, is not serving the students more in their preparation for the work in which their lives are to be employed, than ever he could do in the Theological Chair of the New College. As to the origin of the pressure, after which my esteemed friend Dr Fleming is so very solicitous, I am sure there is nothing connected with its origin or progress which I have to conceal. He might exercise all his well known geological propensities in going to the depth and centre of things, in going into the history of this question, without discovering anything of which those concerned would have any cause to be ashamed; and I feel it to be due to myself, but still more to my beloved friend and brother, Dr Candlish, after what has been said, to read a letter which, in the confidence of friendship, I addressed to Dr Candlish, and from which, under God, this matter may be said to have sprung. After alluding to recent losses which had befallen the Free Church, the letter proceeded thus:
"It makes me very sad to think of such a succession of losses, actual and threatened, to our poor Free Church. What you said about too, lies heavy on
my heart. When I think on these things, the thought rises in my mind, ought
"There was some of the brethren here last night;
age his reputation and influence." "that indicatica would be very eagerly and promptly given, for there are many who, like myself, are simply bearing with his translation under the feeling that it approves itself to his own mind, but who shrink from the idea of his leaving the pulpit."
"And now I have laid this whole matter bare. You know too well both my affection and esteem for you to imagine that I would either needlessly perplex you, or propose anything fitted to place you in a false position with the Church. I may, at such a moment, venture to say it, there is no man so sensitively jealous of anything that could touch your honour or impair your influence than myself. I need hardly say this is entirely and strictly between ourselves. I could not be at ease without asking you to consider what I have said.-Ever, dear Candlish, yours, &c.' If there was anything wrong in this step, or in the mode of taking it, I of course take upon myself the entire blame and responsibility. (Hear, hear, hear). But I have also to read a few sentences from Dr Candlish's reply:
"Edinburgh, 24th December 1847.
"MY DEAR BUCHANAN,-You give a real proof of your friendship in writing as you have done, and I am heartily thankful to you for thus raising the question as to my path of duty, which I am not only willing but anxious to meet. The truth is, I hear on every side, and from nearly all the brethren (with only one or two exceptions), muttered and whispered doubts as to the propriety of my quitting my charge; and the laity seem even more uncertain what to think of it. Even at the time of my appointment, I saw enough of hesitation to make me feel that I was acting to a considerable extent beyond what I altogether liked on my own personal responsibility; and now, after what has occurred, this feeling, as you may believe, is not diminished. Do not imagine that I say this in the way of complaint; the very reverse is the case. I thoroughly appreciate the motive, most kind and complimentary to myself, which makes men hesitate; and putting myself in their place, I dare say I would hesitate too. At the time, I confess I was afraid the Church was going to fall into two errors; 1st, That of exaggerating the importance, and thereby damaging the prosperity of a particular congregation and its pastor; and 2d, That of deciding upon the Theological Chair, not solely and singly from regard to the college, but with too much of an eye to other collateral considerations. Believing, or imagining, that such might be the tendency of the brethren then, 1 was ready all the rather to acquiesce in the appointment, even allowing it to be put a good deal on the footing of its approving itself to my own mind. I was conscious of no personal motive in desiring or accepting the charge. I acted on public grounds, with perhaps a little remnant of an old sort of academical or professorial leaning proper to early years. At the same time, I could not but feel that the call of the Church was by no means so clear and unequivocal as I could have wished it to be in undertaking so onerous an office; and, for my own part, being as much as ever attached to my people, and interested in my pastoral ministerial work, I would have been not only contented, but glad, if the judgment of those whose opinion I value had been such as to leave me at my former post.
"I need scarcely say that the course of events since that time has, to say the least, not tended to increase the clearness of my prospective path. On the one hand, I can plainly perceive that the Church at large is more doubtful about it than I had supposed; and, on the other, I cannot pretend to be unaffected by what has occurred, and is occurring, among us. A brother minister said to me t'other day, 'Is it not remarkable that you have three times been about to leave the congregation of St George's,-once by accepting a presentation to Greenside, and twice by going to the College, and all the three times you have been hindered,-first by the Church, secondly by the State, and now, thirdly, by the Head of the Church ?' I don't know what to make of this; but it struck me when he said it not a little. "My present state of mind is briefly this: I have less heart for the charge than I once had, and more apprehension about it. I have great hopes of covery, but not for such pulpit work as he has hitherto done; and when I see so many falling, I often think that if I, too, am to fall soon, I would like, if it pleased God, to fall at the post at which I testified. Somehow God seems to be bidding us stand still,-us, I mean, who were the actors in the recent struggle, he is warning us our time is to be short,-we have no leisure for changes of occupation that might