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haps too little has been said in the introductory statement made by Dr Buchanan, in reference to the motion now before the House. I have no intention to attempt to discuss, upon this occasion, the comparative fitness of Dr Candlish for the Theological Chair and the pulpit of St George's. There is no member of this House, I feel persuaded, who has the least doubt as to his fitness for either office. In regard, however, to the relative importance of the two, I feel it to be my duty to state, as allusion has been made to some portentous clond which arose in the west, that there are those in the west who hold the view, not that Dr Candlish is not fit for the Theological Chair, but that the present exigencies of the Church rendered it of unspeakable importance that a man of Dr Candlish's public gifts should be before the public; and that, as the minister of St George's, his labours, in the first instance at least, will be most readily contemplated by the country and the world. That, at least, is an opinion which has been held upon the subject; and I trust I may be permitted to remark, in all good feeling, that all the clouds do not arise in the west. (Hear, hear.) I do not think that the gentlemen in the west did anything beyond their proper province; and I take leave to say, with all proper respect, that the evil which has arisen sprung from sources which have not been pointed out. I do not say that it was unconstitutional in the General Assembly to appoint the Commission to act in a certain way, or that the Commission did wrong to act as it did, under the authority of the Assembly; but I feel that if the strictly formal and constitutional procedure of the Church had been followed out, there is reason to believe that this case would not now have been before us in its present shape. (Hear, hear.) It is very easy to make that out. I mean to say that if, instead of allowing the Commission to settle the matter, the congregation of St George's had been allowed their constitutional privileges, first to plead their case before the Presbytery, and then, in the case of dissent, to appeal to the Synod of the bounds, and if need were to the General Assembly, the present state of things would not have arisen. I think it is well for us to bear in mind,-I do not say that any constitutional principle has been vitiated; but I say that it is as well for us to bear in mind that, in point of expediency, this practice ought to be carefully adhered to. I also feel, that for the Chair of Theology which had been left vacant, some temporary provision might have been made for one session, and, indeed, from all the circumstances which have arisen, it is apparent that such should have taken place. We see the necessity, not merely in point of law and form, but in point of wisdom and expedieney, that the constitutional procedure of the Church should be adhered to. I trust that we think far more of the principles of religion and justice than of points of form; but let us bear in mind, that by trenching upon our established forms, great questions come to be seriously involved. I have felt it to be my duty to direct attention to this view, as the prime difficulty in the case. In regard to the motion before the house I have only one difficulty. I agree with it in substance, but it would have pleased me more if it had been a little more particular, that is to say, if, in the body of the motion, the absolute circumstances of the case had been pointedly referred to. I mean in regard to this, that to me it does seem, in point of fact, that it would not be right to do otherwise than is contemplated in the motion; but still I think there should be introduced a clause to the effect, that, seeing all parties interested are agreed, that it is the unanimous desire of the congregation, and with the express consent, if not desire, of the principal party concerned, and no objection having been taken on the part of the Presbytery, nor by any party interested, to Dr Candlish being reponed, the pastoral relation should be immediately constituted between him and St George's congregation. And seeing, moreover, the great object of the call, now that there is a free and full election to the people, so as to allow any parties who have any objections, or in whose minds any objections may spring up in the course of the procedure, to have free opportunity of expressing them,-seeing that all these objects have been attained, I confess that I do not feel it would be for edification to follow any other course than that which is proposed in the motion should be followed. Perhaps the mover of the motion will be willing to introduce what I have suggested, and if he does so, I can have no objection to its being carried.
Mr WILSON said,-With the permission of the House, I will now formally move that the resignation of the Professorial Chair by Dr Candlish be not accepted. (Hear, hear.)
Mr M. MAKGILL CRICHTON said,-Mr Wilson had removed the objections en
tirely from his mind with regard to Dr Candlish's resignation, and he had now great pleasure in seconding the motion that the resignation be not accepted.
Mr MELLIS of Tealing concurred very cordially in the opinion expressed by Mr Gibson, that to a large extent the embarrassments in the case now before us are to be referred to the summary decision of the Commission in August. I do think that the haste in the procedure on that occasion is a matter to be regretted. With all respect to the eminent individuals who composed that Commission, I think many of the difficulties of the case would have been removed had more deliberate procedure been followed. In the present circumstances and aspect of the case, I do entirely concur in the settlement which has been proposed.
Mr SINCLAIR of Kirkwall, said,—I do not presume to make a speech, but I rise to make a suggestion. I am not sure but I express the opinion of many in the Assembly, at least of those who are not near either Edinburgh or Glasgow, when I say that I would like to get more materials on which to form a judgment on this case; and I confess that I did not understand the anxious wish expressed by Dr Buchanan, and reiterated by Mr Gray, that this matter should not be discussed, for I could not make up my mind to a judgment either in one way or other without hearing the matter anxiously, and fully, and, let me add, prayerfully discussed. I should like to know in reality what the opinion of Dr Candlish is on the matter alluded to by Mr Giay. I am not willing, with all my respect for Mr Gray, to take his statement as the exponent of Dr Candlish's mind. I would just take the liberty of saying, that I should like exceedingly to hear from Mr Gray
Mr GRAY.-A word in explanation. In referring to the sentiments in the mind of Dr Candlish, I only referred to what had been borne in on my mind by his statements in the various Church Courts.
Mr SINCLAIR. I would take the liberty of stating what appears to me to be the proper view of the case to which our attention was specially directed by Mr Gibson. Mr Makgill Crichton may be right in point of order, and Mr Gibson in point of form; but I do not feel that to be the great point before the Assembly. The great point is to get materials to form an opinion upon as to whether or not the resignation of Dr Candlish should be accepted. As I understand the question, last General Assembly decided, that the best mode of filling up the vacant Chair was by naming a large Committee, to report to the Commission in August in regard to this matter. To this course no objection was taken at the time; and the Committee, accordingly, obeyed the instructions of the Assembly, and suggested Dr Candlish. When the Report came before the Commission, they did not enter into the consideration of the question whether Dr Candlish was best fitted to fill the pulpit or the chair; but admitting the fact that the chair had paramount claims over the pulpit, then the only duty was to look out for the individual best fitted to occupy that chair; and in the Report of the Committee, they, with the express concurrence of Dr Candlish himself, fully acquiesced. This, then, was a decision of the Church. Now, I frankly confess I have not heard yet any satisfactory reason why the solemn decision of the Church should be reversed. It seems to me that the keeping of Dr Candlish before the world, as Mr Gibson has well expressed, as a preacher of the gospel, is not set aside by his being in the chair. (Hear, hear.) I take leave to remind the House of the saying of Dr Gordon, that Dr Candlish, while he lived, could no more cease to preach than he could cease to eat; and I take leave farther to ask this house if Dr Chalmers, while he was professor, ceased to be before the world as a preacher; and therefore it is that in my mind that statement has no weight whatever. Í understand farther from the discussion, so far as it has gone, that Dr Candlish's change of decision has not arisen so much from the conviction on his own mind as to his greater fitness for the pulpit than for the chair, but rather from opinions stated by various brethren, whether in the west, north, east, or south; and I should like exceedingly to know what those opinions are. I should like particularly that some of those western brethren would tell us what are their views and reasons for seeking to induce Dr Candlish to change his decision, and reverse a decision of the Church. As I understand the matter, it is not so much a change on his part, as a change of decision induced by the opinions of others. I am exceedingly anxious, therefore, to hear what those opinions are. I would take the liberty, farther, of suggesting, as it is a matter which concerns the whole Church, and is of vast importance to the whole Church, that we should be favoured with the opinions of some of those in whom the Church has the highest confidence in regard to the
question before the Assembly. If I might presume to say it, I think it would be most desirable to hear the opinion of Dr Cunningham and others, in order that we may be enabled to come to a more satisfactory decision, for I have heard nothing yet to enable me to agree to Dr Buchanan's motion. (Hear, hear.)
Mr CARMENT of Rosskeen said, he was under none of those entanglements which entangled some of those gentlemen on the other side, as he was neither a member of last Assembly, nor of the Committee who had recommended the appointment of Dr Candlish to the Divinity Chair; but he must say that, had he been a member of last Assembly he never would have agreed to what was done there. He disapproved of it in toto, in as far as regarded Dr Candlish's appointment to that Chair, and he had been a little put about and a little irritated at hearing the Professor's chair exalted above the pulpit, for if he understood his Bible, he thought there was no situation in which a Christian minister could be placed so important as the pulpit. That had ever been his opinion, and it was his opinion still, almost at the close of life. He was glad to get some light out of this entanglement, and he thought they had solved the great difficulty in point of form which seemed to weigh so heavily on some minds in the Assembly. It appeared that the separation of Dr Candlish from the congregation of St George's had not practically taken place, and he thought in that case all the difficulties would very easily be got over; for, as the connection was neither practically, theoretically, nor Presbyterially dissolved, surely there would be no difficulty in just allowing Dr Candlish to step into his pulpit, and to preach the gospel as he formerly did. While he probably admired Dr Candlish as much as any man, he would not praise him so much before his face as some had done; but he must say, that while he saw no man so well fitted for that congregation, he had his eye upon other men who would fill, with honour to themselves, and advantage to the students, the Professor's chair. Now, seeing that Dr Candlish was not inclined to go back to the Professor's chair, he (Mr Carment) would hold that he never went away from St George's; for, in point of fact, he continued minister of that congregation notwithstanding their decision; and seeing that the congregation were resolved, or inclined to a man, to have Dr Candlish, and that Dr Candlish was willing to abide with them, he knew no man more fitted to preach to that congregation than he was, although others might be got for the Professor's chair. He had a word to say on another point. While he would adhere to forms, and he had known them useful in former times, and in another place,-he thought they should not be allowed to interfere with the substantial justice of the case. In another place, he had seen the forms uniformly overstepped when it was intended to do evil, and he had seen them strictly adhered to in cases which dishonoured the Church and injured religion. While he would not cast away all forms, he thought, in a great and important case like this, they ought not to be bound by them; but in reality he thought there would be no violation of forms whatever in reponing Dr Candlish in the way which had been proposed. He thought it would be the profanation of a very solemn thing to reinduct Dr Candlish to the charge of St George's congregation. He had never been fairly separated from them in one way or other,-forms had been violated in placing him in the Professor's chair,-and if there were forms in their way, they must just overtop them as the last Assembly did. (Hear, hear.) He did not think they should sacrifice the spirit to the letter of the law, and he hoped it was not necessary for him to say anything more in support of Dr Buchanan's
Dr CANDLISH said,—I wish to know whether I have the privilege of supplementing my previous statement? By the Act of last Assembly anent translations, it is allowed to a minister under a process of translation, to address remarks to the House which may seem pertinent; and I wish to know if, at this stage of the proceedings, I may be permitted, seeing that reference has been made to the statement with which I commenced, to make a few remarks. If I had had the least idea that a discussion would arise, I would certainly have made my previous statement more full and explicit.
The MODERATOR said the Assembly had heard Dr Candlish's request. Do you agree to hear him? (Agreed.)
Dr CANDLISH resumed. I must now apologise to the house for the very brief way in which I made my statement at first. I confess that I entertained the impression, that having taken so much responsibility on myself in connection with the
information which reached me, that the question might not be raised in this house as to what had induced me to demit the chair; but since the question has been raised, I trust the Assembly will allow me, in a single sentence, to explain clearly the grounds on which I felt myself called upon to demit this chair. I have already said in my statement that it was on a general principle I accepted the chair, namely, the pre-eminent importance of the theological chair over any one ministerial charge. My opinions on that head are not changed; but at the same time, that is all the extent to which I ever expressed a decided opinion. On the other part of the question as to my comparative fitness, I was not competent to decide,-it was not my province to decide; but I would just take leave to say that, from the beginning of this matter,—from my appointment in August,-I think it right now to say, that I was not thoroughly satisfied as to the mind of the Church being so unanimous as I would have liked it to be before undertaking such arduous and important duties. I was quite aware of the grounds of hesitancy,-grounds far too flattering to myself; and I would not shut my eyes to the fact that, at the time of the Commission in August, there seemed to be more of doubt and hesitancy as to my acceptance of the professorial chair, than I would have wished to see in regard to my accepting such an onerous appointment; for let it be remembered, without saying anything about my qualifications, I have always expressed and felt that any fitness I may have for the professorial chair is prospective. Had I been qualified for the chair immediately, then I might have gone forward with more confidence; but I had the qualifications still to acquire. They were still in embryo, simply in prospect, and under these circumstances, I did feel that a much more thorough expression of the mind of the Church would have been desirable. I did accept of the chair, but in the mean time circumstanees changed. After various interpositions of Divine Providence, there again occurred a vacancy in St George's, and after that, not in the west only, but in various quarters of the Church, I did learn there was much more doubt and hesitancy than I had originally imagined, and that doubt was very materially strengthened by what had occurred. When there were two courses before me, the one was to take some formal way of raising the question in the Church, so as to measure the strength of the opinion of those who thought I should have been called to the chair. But I felt that, if I had taken any step towards raising the question, this would have again thrown the Church into embarrassments, and ultimately I would have got no clearer deliverance than I had at the time as to the mind of the Church. And I also strongly felt that the amount of hesitancy which existed within my own personal knowledge made it altogether impossible for me to go forward with any degree of comfort to the discharge of the professorial duties. Then, on the other hand, I had,-under Divine Providence opening again the sphere of usefulness in which I was engaged, and to which I had an undiminished attachment,—I had an undiminished attachment to the office of the pastor,-I had an undiminished attachment to the congregation amongst whom I had laboured, and an undiminished willingness to serve the Lord in that sphere of labour in which I had formerly been engaged, and, under all these circumstances, I felt myself shut up to take upon myself the responsibility of saying, that, with the signs I knew to exist of doubt on the one hand, and with an open door on the other hand, my mind was decided to go back to my former sphere of duty. Of course, I am not entitled to make my decision on the question supreme. I am not entitled to say what would be the effect of an expression of the mind of this house. I have no right to set up my opinion upon that question; but I repeat the statement, that, with anything like doubt and hesitancy on the mind of the Church, on whatever ground that doubt or hesitancy may turn, and I know that it does not turn on any ground of disrespect to myself,-if there be a considerable measure of doubt and hesitancy on the one hand, and if there be an open door in regard to the pastoral labour on the other, I throw myself on the indulgence of the house, when I say that I would not go forward with comfort in the discharge of the duties of the professorial office. I say this without reference to the importance of the chair, or the congregation amongst whom I labour,—my mind would be clear; as to that of the congregation, it was of less importance. I have three several times, under an overwhelming sense of the great importance of that congregation, been upon the point of asking a severance from them, dearly as I love them, under a solemn sense of the serious responsibility of the office; and it is with fear and trembling, now that the door is open, and the welcome is clear, and the
mind of the Church is undoubtedly in the direction that that is a sphere in which I may usefully serve God and the Church, it is with fear and trembling I seek to resume my pastoral connection with that congregation. Under all these circumstances, I could not with comfort accept the Professorial chair.
Mr DUNCAN of Lockerbie said,-With reference to what Mr Sinclair remarked, that there seemed to be an expectation of receiving the resignation of Dr Candlish without any disscussion,-if that is still the mind of the House, and you are prepared to accept of Dr Candlish's resignation, I am not disposed to continue the discussion, and will not trouble the House for a single moment with any observations on the subject.
Mr M. MAKGILL CRICHTON expressed his disapproval of interrupting the discussion.
Mr DUNCAN resumed,-As it seems to be the will of the Assembly that the discussion is to be continued, I will take the liberty to throw out a single suggestion upon the merits of the question itself. Dr Candlish has alluded to the immense responsibility which devolves upon him as the minister of St George's congregation, and as a native of the city of Edinburgh. I would venture very humbly to impress upon this house the vast importance of that congregation, not as to the interests of the Free Church merely, but as to the interests of evangelical religion throughout the length and breadth of the land. We must not view this congregation as the congregation of Dr Candlish merely, we must view it as the congregation of Dr Andrew Thomson as well as of Dr Candlish. If we look back on the history of this congregation, we shall find that nothing has contributed more to the interests and welfare of evangelical religion throughout Scotland than the appointment of Dr Andrew Thomson to be the minister of St George's, Edinburgh. I have often considered what would have been the fate of evangelical religion throughout Scotland, and what would have been the history of the evangelical party, if the man who was put up against Dr Andrew Thomson had obtained a majority of the Town Council of Edinburgh in his favour. I would ask if we would have been in the favourable circumstances in which we now are, had the other minister set up against Dr Andrew Thomson been appointed to minister to the congregation of St George's? It was the appointment which then took place to which we owe mainly under God's providence, that evangelical religion has prospered throughout Scotland. When Dr Chalmers was appointed to the Tron Church in Glasgow, he exercised a great influence in that city; but it could not be said that his influence, as far merely as he was a minister of the Free Church, extended throughout the whole of Scotland. But in the case of Dr Thomson, we know that the salutary influence which he exercised as a minister of the gospel extended to every county throughout Scotland. Under his auspices never was there a congregation in Europe in the aggregate,— never was there so many men gathered together to receive the instruction of any one minister in any place, so superior for their position in society, learning and intelligence,never, I believe, in the history of the Church, was there such a congregation in the aggregate as that which, Sabbath after Sabbath, sat under that most able servant of Christ; and the effects which he produced were not confined to the city of Edinburgh, but extended to a great many parishes in every part of Scotland. How many families came up to the metropolis, involved in all the gaieties of this world, and with hearts wedded to frivolity, who went home with their views altered, and frequently with their views not only personally altered, but with the resolution, that in so far as their influence could do anything to effect it, they would put evangelical ministers into the parishes in which their houses were situated. It was by that circumstance that the evangelical party of the Church of Scotland were so much increased; and the question now to be discussed by this house is in regard to that congregation. Have the circumstances, I would ask, of St George's congregation altered so much, that another servant of Christ, such as Dr Candlish, will not exert the same salutary influence. Mr Sinclair has referred to an expression of Dr Gordon, that Dr Candlish could no more cease to eat than he could cease to preach,—that he must continue to preach; and I believe and rejoice in that statement; but we all know what a difference there would be. Dr Chalmers, after he was a Professor, did not operate so much as a minister. He still preached, but his influence as a preacher did not continue equal to the influence which he exercised as a Professor. But the analogy between the case of Dr Chalmers and Dr Candlish does not hold.