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He had seldom seen an argument have greater effect, than one of this class he had lately used in addressing a meeting of deacons and collectors on the subject before us. A young man, whom they all knew, of common school education, had just been appointed as one of the agents of an Agricultural Company, with a salary of £300 a year. If this young manhe set before them-might set his heart on being a minister of Christ, he would require to face eight or ten years more of expensive education, and then, if called to a charge would have to sit down with a provision for his support less than the half of his present income. The Lord seemed to be rebuking the Church and the world for the small provision made for His servants. Unsanctified talents were permitted to darken to a most alarming extent the ecclesiastical atmosphere. How solemn and just a retribution would it be that there should not be found in the Church the light and wisdom of sanctified talent to expose and dispel this darkness, seeing the provision made by the Church for her ministers is so far below what men of talent may obtain in almost any other department of life. All honour to men of talent who face and submit to the sacrifice thus imposed on them, but all shame to the Church that subjects them to this sacrifice.

Dr LONGMUIR asked what was to be reckoned a member in the sense of this scheme? Was it a member who was a contributor, was it one who had sat down at the communion table during the year, or was it one who was simply on the roll of membership? He would suggest, in order to get rid of the difficulty, that they should substitute the word contributor for member.

Mr Spence, Houndwood, said that, in his Presbytery, their experience had been similar to that which had been spoken of by Mr Bain in regard to his congregation.

Mr Wilson said, as there had been no counter-motion, his remarks would be very grief. In reference to Dr Longmuir's question, he really thought there was no difficulty whatever. The word “members” means communicants on the roll, and it was evident that, in order to work out the scheme honestly and efficiently, some care would require to be used by the Presbyteries in making up the rolls of communicants. In answer to Mr Ferguson, he said that his experience in the working of the Sustentation Fund hitherto warranted him in saying that the ten shilling contributors were not those likely to stand still. They were the congregations that had hitherto met all appeals made to them, and he was confident they would not fail in responding to the call now made. The only other difficulty started was with reference to the Highlands. It was proposed in the scheme that they should rate the membership of the Highlands at two-thirds of the sitters, but Dr M‘Lauchlan seemed to think this was somewhat too high, and that it would bear hardly upon the Highland congregations, while another member thought it was too high, in respect of the great poverty especially in the Western Islands. Now, in regard to the first objection, he did not think numerically twothirds was too high as compared with the proportion of members to sitters in our Lowland congregations. In the Lowlands the average number of sittings occupied from Sabbath to Sabbath was about equal to the number on the communicants' roll. Of course the other difficulty was one of a more serious kind, and ultimately it might come out that in the working of this or any other scheme of the Sustentation Fund it

might be necessary to deal with some cases as exceptional, but he would ask his Highland brethren to have patience for a year or two and allow them vigorously to work out the scheme for a period of three years, so that experience might teach them what amendments they might require to make upon it. It was not a money benefit chiefly or exclusively that they expected from the vigorous working out of this scheme.

He believed the appeal which it was proposed to make to the membership of the Free Church on behalf of the Christian ministry would be the means of quickening the spiritual and religious earnestness both of the ministers and people of the Church.

The motion was then unanimously agreed to.

CHARGES CONTRIBUTING UNDER £50.

Mr WILSON then submitted the report with regard to charges contributing at and under £50 per annum, (No. xxvii.) A sub-committee had communicated with all the congregations in this position, numbering 94, and directing their attention to the fact that these congregations had cost the Church not less than £10,000 over and above the amount of their contributions, while not a few others were actually showing a decrease in their contributions for the current year. They had been urged to endeavour to lighten this burden, and of the communicants made, a list of eighteen where the congregation is either very small, or rapidly dwindling away, had been made. The result of these proceedings on the part of the sub-committee did not seem to have been productive of any noticeable results, and Mr Wilson, on behalf of the General Assembly, now proposed the appointment of a Special Commission to deal with the cases and report.

Mr MʻMICKING, elder, seconded.

In the course of some conversation, Mr Sawers, Gargunnock, and Dr Longmuir objected to entrusting powers to a commission for doing what rather lay with the Presbyteries.

Dr LONGMUIR said that three years ago he had opposed the appointment of a similar commission, as it presupposed that the smaller congregations were not doing their duty, or, as a learned member of the House had offensively said, that the ministers of non-self-sustaining congregations had “mistaken their trade.” He (Dr L.) asserted on the contrary that the poorer congregations were doing their duty, and that it was the larger congregations that required to be visited, in which multitudes of non-contributors sheltered themselves under the wings of the wealthier members. He also opposed the appointment of this commission on the ground that it superseded the functions of Presbyteries. (Hear, hear.) The following motion was ultimately agreed to :-“The General Ás

sembly approve of the Report, and, in accordance therewith, resolve to appoint a Special Commission to deal with the Congregations referred to in the Report, and remit to the Committee to report to a future diet of this Assembly as to the names of the Commission, and the powers and instructions to be given to them.”

SPECIAL REPORTS ANENT SCHEDULES AND SUPPLEMENTS. Mr Wilson then submitted the report with regard to schedules passing the committee during the last ten years for the moderation of calls. During the ten years from May 1855 to May 1865, 283 congregations passed the committee on schedules transmitted by Presbyteries, Of these 234 are on the platform of the equal dividend, and 49 are church extension charges. Of the former, 140 implemented or exceeded the amount promised, the amount of excess last year being £3421, 19s. - 1d.; and 82 fell short of the sum promised or agreed to by the com

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mittee by the sum of £1460, 12s. 8d. for last year. These latter had all been communicated with, but the replies received, with very few exceptions, did not seem to justify the position which these congregations occupy. On this report the committee did not ask any action to be taken. With respect to supplements to ministers the sub-committee on that subject reported that, having investigated every congregation in the Free Church, there is not one of them where they can say that there is anything approaching to a high ministerial income; on the contrary, there is a lamentable number of cases where the income of the minister is wholly inadequate, and where it appears to the sub-committee that the congregations are abundantly able and ought to give their ministers a much larger supplement than they give at present. The sub-committee presented detailed information bearing upon this subject.

The two reports were received.

An overture anent supplements, from the Presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil, was then read, but there being nobody present to support it, was passed from.

3

EVENING SEDERUNT.

The Assembly met at seven o'clock,—Dr Roxburgh, Moderator.

REPORT OF EDUCATION COMMITTEE. Mr Nixon, in laying on the table the report of the Education Committee, (No. 2,) said, — It will be seen from the business paper to-day, that I have given notice of a motion to propose a set of resolutions on the subject of education, and this business will come up after the report has been given in and disposed of by the Assembly. I have now to mention, with regard to our income, that it is £145 beyond what it was last year. (Applause.) We may be said merely to have turned the penny, which I think something wonderful, considering the adverse circumstances with which this scheme has hitherto had to contend. We were able at last Martinmas, for the first time since the Free Church came into existence, to pay the half-year's salaries to the teachers in full

, and we are fortunately able to pay the salaries in full this term also. (Renewed applause.)" To go on doing this, however, will require a decided increase in the ordinary income of the scheme ; and if we cannot be instrumental in awakening a greater amount of liberality during the balf-year that has now commenced, we shall have to stop this pleasant work of paying the salaries in full at Martinmas next. We bave some hope, if the Assembly see their way to an enlightened and decided deliverance with regard to this whole matter of education, that the crisis through which we are now passing will prove the turning-point in the history of the scheme, and that whereas bitherto it has been borne down by adverse circumstances, we may find that it has reached the lowest point of depression, and, with ordinary and proper attention to

last

its interests, it may begin to ascend. That will depend, in a great measure, on the decision to which the Assembly shall come before the proceedings terminate. I may also mention that we have voted during

year fifteen grants to fifteen new schools. These are almost exclusively missionary schools in destitute districts of large towns, or congregational and district schools in necessitous and neglected country districts

. There is one fact I have to state, namely, that the collection kindly authorised by the last General Assembly in aid of the Normal Schools realised £1426, of which £1313 have been applied to the Glasgow Normal School, and £113 to the Edinburgh school. Notwithstanding the earnest desires and efforts of the committee to keep out of debt in every department of expenditure, obligations of a serious nature bave been, and are being, incurred by the Glasgow Normal School, which the half collection granted by the General Assembly last year has only partially discharged. Obligations of a slighter nature are also being incurred by the Normal School in Edinburgh. These liabilities, require to be dealt with and met without delay. I hope some of our friends in Glasgow will be able to give us some indication of what may be done by the Assembly to deliver as from this burden. We have already endeavoured to get more favourable terms from the Government with reference to what is now doing under the Revised Code in Normal seminaries

. We have a peculiar claim on the Government, for, as one of the officials told me—and everybody knows it to be a fact-our Normal Schools, and especially the one in the capital, as regards economy in management, stands the highest of any in the United Kingdom. (Applause.) We have a high character with the Government, and I believe if anything can be done for us, we will be as likely to prevail with the Government as any other party, though I must confess that I have no very sanguine hopes from that quarter, and I believe in all likelihood the Church itself will have to find out the ways and means of extinguishing this debt, and providing for the excess of expenditure over income to which we must be liable in future years. The only other thing I have to do is to give the gratifying intelligence presented by the statistics of examination of schools by Her Majesty's Inspectors under the Revised Code, for the year from 1st September 1865 to 31st August 1866. Our Free Church schools, as before, stand at the head of all the schools throughout the United Kingdom. (Cheers.) In regard to Scotland, the first table refers to the average attendance and the number who presented themselves for examination. The average attendance during the year in the Established Church schools, including the whole parish schools, was 101,903 ; Free Church, 49,132 ; Episcopal, 7686; Roman Catholics, 7572. of the 101,903 at the Established Church Schools, 60,838 presented themselves for examination ; of the Free Church, 28,827 ; Episcopal

, 3837, and Roman Catholic, 4132. The second table shows the percentage of those presented for examination under each of the six standards, from which it appears that under the three higher standards the percentage in

ee Church Schools was 27:20; in Established Church Schools, 25.81; in Episcopal Schools, 25-47; and in Roman Catholic Schools, 18-25. In England, the percentage presented for examination under the three higher standards was in British, Wesleyan, and

other schools not connected with the Church of England, 25-69 in the Church of England Schools, 24.04 ; and in

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Roman Catholic Schools, 17.92. Of the number of children examined
the percentage that failed to pass was as follows, viz. :-

Reading Writing. Arithmetic.
Free Church schools, 2.95

9.21 17:17
Established Church do., 6.32 16:42 23.36
Episcopal do.,

9.72 11:31 20:12 Roman Catholic do.,

8:42

6.82 19. The schools, therefore, stood in the following order of merit, viz. :-Reading-Free Church, Established Church, Roman Catholic, and Episcopal; writing-Roman Catholic, Free Church, Episcopal, and Established Church; and arithmetic-Free Church, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Established Church. The order in which the schools stood may be stated in another way, viz. :-The percentage that passed completely-i.e., in all the subjects (reading, writing, and arithmetic)—was, in Free Church schools, 76.93; in Roman Catholic schools, 73-16; in Episcopal schools, 68.75, and in Established Church schools, 66:56. In England, the percentage that passed completely was, in British and Wesleyan schools, &c., 68.35; in Roman Catholic schools, 65-04 ; and in Church of England schools, 63.11. The Free Church schools thus held the highest place last year, as they did in the year preceding. (Applause.) I cannot account for the comparatively high position which the Roman Catholic schools have taken. The explanation may partly be found in the fact mentioned on the preceding page, that the percentage of scholars presented for examination in the three higher standards was in these schools considerably less than other schools. “ The order in which the schools in Scotland stood for the year 1864–65 was,

8~Free Church, Episcopal, Established
Church, and Roman Catholicmthe difference between the two last being
exceedingly small. For the past year the Established Church schools
are unmistakably at the foot of the list. In the sixth or bighest standard,
the percentage of failures was-
Scotland.

Reading Writing. Arithmetic.
Free Church Schools, 1.26

8:19 11.26
Established Church do. 5.15 13.84

16.01 Episcopal do.

5:19 11.60 32-46
Roman Catholic do. 3.57

28.57
England.
Church of England Schools, 4.95 13.50 26.49
Wesleyan, &c., do

4.74

9.12 21.94 Roman Catholic do.

4.75 16'47 31.96 There were only 28 children presented under Standard VI. in Roman Catholic schools in Scotland; and they can scarcely, therefore, be brought into fair comparison witb other schools. The returns for 1864-65 showed that in reading the percentage of failures was greater in English than in Scotch schools, while in writing and arithmetic, the percentage of failures was considerably greater in Scotland than in England. For the past year the Scotch schools more than maintain their superiority in reading, they beat the English schools in arithmetic, and they are almost equal in writing—the difference being only 0.02 per cent. The improvement in Scotch schools during the past year is, indeed, very marked. For example, in Free Church schools, the percentage of failures in reading has fallen from 4:5 in 1864–65) to 2.95; in writing, from 14.7 to 9:21;

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