Imagini ale paginilor

state of matters is referred to in some of the communications the committee had now received. He was sorry to say that when the season of revival passed away–when the awe wore off-many returned again, more hardened than ever, to the sins they had loved. Along with so much that was gratifying, there were evils that sprang up, and that required to be guarded against. He thought that by faithfulness in the exercise of discipline and authority a number of those evils complained of and deplored might be prevented. He had reason to believe, from some of the communications, that this had been the case in a number of instances, and that where the office-bearers of the Church really used the authority with which they were invested, and set themselves affectionately and firmly to repress what they regarded as unsound in doctrine or disorderly in conduct, their efforts were crowned with great success. He humbly thought this was a matter deserving the very prayerful attention of every one of them. It was exceedingly sad to find reproach brought on the cause of Christ by extravagances and errors getting in on such interesting occasions as this, and if they could do anything to restrain such extravagances or unsoundness, it was there duty both to watch and to pray and to labour in order that they might accomplish this part of their work. He was impressed with the conviction that it was their duty to endeavour to stir up the individual members of their congregations to do something for the Lord in their several spheres ; and he trusted that, not only would they receive from the Lord the spirit of prayer and supplication, but that also they would feel themselves bound to try to do something directly, to bring sinners under the means of grace, and, further, to lead them to think of their perilous condition under the wrath and curse of God. He was persuaded that if their congregations would look upon themselves as centres of aggression upon the heathenism around, they might do a great deal more towards the evangelisation of the laud. He was sorry to think that, in speaking of these revival matters, a tone of exaggeration was sometimes used which was not warrauted, and which was fitted to do a great deal of mischief. They ought to strive to steer between the two extremes of rejecting too much and of admitting too much. They were bound to receive assistance in the Lord's work from wbatever quarter it might come, and they were bound to try the spirits whether they were of God. Many were now speaking for God-many of them valuable auxiliaries of the minister—and their help ought to be received with all thankfulness. But there were others who cast themselves into the work without thinking whether they were qualified or not, and there could be no scruple in refusing the assistance of such, while they received thankfully the assistance of such as taught the truth and who loved God. There ought to be no difficulty in setting aside or refusing to accept the assistance of those whom they found to be unauthorised or unqualified for the work upon which they thrust themselves. In conclusion, Dr Wood said that deputations had been appointed by last General Assembly to visit two of the Synods of the Church, and as there might be some matters of doubtful disputation connected with the subject-and as it was very desirable nothing of that kind should be allowed to come up to-day-a day set apart for engaging in devotional exercises—he thought the committee had acted wisely in not making any reference to the appendix till the matter of deputations was brought more formally before the Assembly. He felt this matter-the revival of true religion—was one of utmost consequence to the Church, and he believed it had taken place to an extent not known by many ministers and eiders and members of the Church. It was a matter that ought to make them very thankful to God, and lead them to pray that everywhere over the Church a blessing might be poured out.

Mr James BALFOUR, W.S., said, that having had some opportunities during the year of visiting different parts of the country otherwise than by special appointment of the Assembly, he should like to say a word or two upon what he had seen; and he was sure that it would be a subject of deep satisfaction to the Assembly that the work of grace was going on so evidently in a number of districts of the land—perhaps not creating 80 much excitement as there was five or six years ago, but as real, as deep, and, so far as he could judge, as wide. For example, in the district of Larbert there bad been for the last three or four months a great inquiry and a great anxiety manifested, and very markedly by young men and young women, especially young men. While in Larbert a few weeks ago one of the ministers told him he had on his roll about 200 hopefully converted during the present winter. With regard to the instrumentality used in different parts of the country, he quite agreed in the inclination to accept the work of any really hearty judicious men, and to exclude those who would mar the work. He believed the Church was feeling more and more the wisdom of this rule, and that ministers in all parts of the land would tell of the advantage derived from strangers coming among them who came in a right spirit, and the danger that had arisen from strangers coming among them who were not of a right spirit ; and this led them to feel more and more the extreme importance of the superintendence of the minister of the place where the work of revival had begun. Some thought that where other instruments were used, the minister was to be set aside ; but he thought the minister was placed in a far more difficult and important position than he could possibly be others ise ; and he believed that the history and experience of this movement would show that in places where there had been a revival, where the minister bad thrown himself into the work and had shown be sympathised with it, and where he had gone along with the instrumentality put into his hands, guiding and counselling them, the result had been manifestly advantageous; whereas, if he withdrew from it, and left the work to be carried on by strangers, over whom he had no control, the worst results followed. Therefore he could bardly imagine a minister placed in a more difficult and important position; and while he agreed that they should use other kinds of instrumentality, he thought they should seek as wisely as they could to use them judiciously in the work set before them.

Mr M-CORKLE, St Ninians, corroborated the account given of the work at Larbert, and said it was remarkable that Larbert and Dunipace were the only places in the district where the revival had been going on. He thought that there the Church was reaping the fruit of the seed sown by Bonar, M Cheyne, and other devoted pastors of that united parish. The facts which had been stated were encouraging to them in the way of seeking not only an extension of the spiritual awakening throughout their own Church, but a national revival throughout Scotland. It was only by a national revival that they could expect to see that ultimatum which he believed many were longing for—a national reformed Church -one that would be national not only in name, but as embracing the great body of the people. He moved that the report be approved of, and that the cordial thanks of the Assembly be tendered to the convener.

Dr David Brown, Aberdeen, seconded the motion, which was agreed to, and the Assembly approved of the Report, reserving consideration of the Appendix till a future diet. The Assembly at the same time recorded their strong sense of Dr Wood's valuable services in the work of this committee, and tendered to him their cordial thanks.

LETTER FROM DR CLASON. Sir Henry MONCREIFF said the Moderator had received the following letter from Dr Clason, who was now almost quite recovered from the attack of illness with which he was visited at the first diet of the As. sembly

" Rev. Sir,- I have a request, through you, to the venerable the General Assembly of the Free Church, that the Assembly would appoint the Rev. Robert Gordon, my colleague, as my substitute as one of the clerks during the remaining diets of the Assembly.—I have the honour to remain your faithful servant, PATRICK CLASON.” (Applause.)

The request was acceded to.

After renewed devotional exercises, the Assembly adjourned at four o'clock.


The Assembly met again at seven o'clock. The Rev. Robert Gordon took his seat at the clerk's table, in place of Dr Clason, and his temporary appointment was formally intimated to him by the Moderator.


ABERDEEN. Sir Henry W. MONCREIFF gave in the report of the Committee on Commissions, in a few of which slight irregularities had been found, notwithstanding which they were sustained. In connexion with two of them, however, there was some difficulty. It appeared that the certificates to Major Ross, representative from the Presbytery of Alford, and to Mr Neil Smith, representative from the Presbytery of Turriff, did not proceed from the kirk-session of a sanctioned charge, but from that of a preaching station. With respect to these certificates, the Assembly took up the reference from the Presbytery of Aberdeen thereanent, which the Committee on Bills had agreed to transmit. It appeared that the Presbytery bad been requested to attest certificates for these elders, according to Act XIII. 1863, but that the Presbytery had found difficulty in the fact that the elders belonged only to an interim session, appointed by the Presbytery. Parties were called, when there appeared to state the reference for the Presbytery of Aberdeen, Principal Lumsden, Dr R. J. Brown, Dr David Brown, and Mr Adam. The General Assembly dismissed the reference, found that the Act XIII. 1863, includes such cases as those of Major Ross and Mr Smith, and appointed the Presbytery of Aberdeen to meet as soon as possible, with instructions to grant bona fide certificates to these ruling elders.

REPORT ON CONVERSION OF JEWS. Mr MOODY STUART, in giving in the report of this committee, (No. VIII.,) said, in the Report on the Conversion of the Jews, which I have the bonour of laying on the table of the Assembly, the first station referred to is Amsterdam. That station has been vacant till now, so that there is less to report of present work, but the committee's deputation last year had an opportunity of seeing some of the fruits of the labours of Dr Schwartz. When we read of three or four baptisms in the course of a year, our Christian progress seems extremely slow, but these swell into a goodly number in process of time. When I was at Pestb, nine years ago, I learned there had been one hundred Jews, young and old, baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. At Amsterdam, Dr Schwartz bad baptized about fifty Jews, young and old, in fifteen years. On account of the condition of the Dutch churches, by which each is bound to support its own poor, and to take charge of the orphan children and its poor members, and from our mission congregation not being thus constituted, the converts are scattered as members of various churches in the city, but they assembled together by invitation to the number of thirty-five, and I addressed them shortly through an interpreter. It was an affecting sight to see so many of the children of Abraham professing to be followers of Him whom their fathers crucified; but I shall never forget one young man, about twenty-five years old, who did not speak formally in the name of the rest, but gave utterance for himself and for them to the irrepressible emotions of his heart. His only object seemed to be that of the Samaritan leper, who returned and thanked God with a loud voice for his recovery. I could not but conclude that that young man had found for himself the pearl of great price, and that he still retained the warmth and freshness of his first love. While he pressed my hand in both of his, the burden of his heart's outpouring was, “ Thank the friends in Scotland for sending us the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Mr Meyer bas been appointed to Amsterdam, and was to be introduced to his new charge by Dr Schwartz ten days ago. The committee deeply regret his removal from the interesting district around Ancona ; but they had, on the one hand, their important Jewish station at Amsterdam to be supplied, for which they had not found a missionary, and for which he seemed equally fitted ; and on the other hand, there was not much Jewish work at Ancona. Many of the Dutch Church, among whom he will be resident, entertain a warm affection for Scotland. The letters of Samuel Rutherford, and the writings of Dr Chalmers, are well known to them, and some of them are deeply interested in the Free Church. Those of high position at the Hague have traced our history with intense interest from the first, and a younger generation bave recently learned something from the memoirs of the late Duchess of Gor. don. But Strathbogie sometimes puzzles foreigners in a way that would not occur to us. That region from time to time makes itself so known among us that it seems to shine, with little intermission, as a star of the first magnitude in our ecclesiastical firmament. (Laughter.) But, after all, what is Strathbogie? It is neither a kingdom nor a country, nor a large town, and the Dutchmen, not knowing what to make of it, have unhappily ignored its existence altogether. A stranger, indeed, could scarcely enter our Assembly any year without finding tangible proof that Strathbogie is not yet numbered among the things that were. I found a lady of the court of the Queen of Holland deeply interested in its history, but quite puzzled about its locality, because it had no place in their map. . “I wish very much,” she said to me,“ to know where · Strathbodjy' is. I have looked for it in the map, and can't find it.” (Laughter.) Mr Moody Stuart then gave an account of a visit be had paid to a Jewish burying-ground, over which was placed the inscription, " The house of the living,” showing that Abraham's children retained a firm hold of Abraham's faith in the resurrection of the dead. He then described a visit he had paid to a large diamond factory in the Jewish quarter, with all its workmen Jews. The work is so extensive that the diamond trade in connexion with it is said to give subsistence to about 10,000 of the Jews in Amsterdam, and the skill of the workmen is so noted that some of them were sent off to London to polish the Koh-i-noor diamond of our Queen. Their knives are diamond chisels, and as hard emery powder, which polishes the agate and the sapphire, is too soft for their purpose, it gives place to diamond dust. The fint cuts the marble, the diamond cuts the fint, and the diamond alone cuts the diamond. But they showed us, among their treasures, one stone which there is no other stone in the world hard enough to cut, and which therefore lies there useless. The first thought was to plead for one's self to have the heart of stone taken away; the second was to remember that the heart of the Jew is compared not merely to stone, but to the adamant stone, or the diamond described elsewhere as the “adamant harder than flint.” “For they made their hearts an adamant stone, lest they should hear the words of the Lord, therefore cometh great wrath from the Lord of hosts." But again, what was this adamant of adamants to look upon-this diamond harder than all the diamonds of the earth? The Lord said to His prophet,“ Go, get a potter's earthen bottle, and break the bottle in their sight, and say, So will I break this people as a potter's vessel, because they have forsaken me.” That adamant stope is believed to be of exquisite lustre and of immense value if any man could bring forth its hidden beauty. But meanwhile it is so like Jeremiah's broken piece of an earthen bottle that not one man in 50,000 would stoop to pick it up from the street. It is very like the broken stopper of a bottle of coarse green glass, and surely this stone presents a lively image of that people in whose charge it rests. A piece of old broken pottery that cannot be mended, and whose use on this earth is long since passed for ever, is the world's estimate of the Jews, and God himself said that he would make them such in the eyes of men. Yet the same Lord God also charges them with making their hearts adamant; and, changing the image, by the same prophet says, “ The Lord their God shall save them, and they shall be as the stones of a crown” -as the polished sapphire or the adamant in a royal diadem. When once it has been fairly seen that the heart of the Jew is too hard for the hand or skill of men, the Lord himself will take up their case, and taking into His owu hand, and putting forth His own skill upon this despised fragment of a potter's earthen bottle, He will say, “Thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name; thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” In Breslau, our devoted missionary, Mr Edward, is sometimes apt to be discouraged, and complains of little direct work among the Jews, yet he never fails to impress the Christians to whom he

« ÎnapoiContinuați »