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believed—had declined. He would be glad if he would yet consent. (Hear, hear.)
Mr R. C. Smith thanked Dr Buchanan and Dr Rainy for the way in which they had spoken of him, but, for reasons with which it was unnecessary to trouble the Assembly, he must decline.
The committee was then appointed.
CORRESPONDENCE WITH AMERICAN CHURCHES. Dr CANDLisH read the detailed deliverance in regard to the reception of the American deputies. He also proposed that it be remitted to the Assembly arrangements' committee to consider whether they could sug. gest any plan for the interchange of deputies. Of course, they could not send annual deputations, and the committee might consider whether any plan could be arranged by which the United Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and the Free Church could send deputies yearly in rotation.
The following is the deliverance as adopted :-“The General Assembly record the high satisfaction with which they have received the visit of their American brethren, and they cordially respond to their expressions of Christian sympathy and good will. They are fully alive to the happy results which, by the Divine blessing, must flow from such an interchange of visits, and trust that it will become a marked feature in the future proceedings of evangelical churches on both sides of the Atlantic. They believe that, in addition to this reciprocation of sentiment by letter, accredited representatives should be present from time to time at those stated ecclesiastical meetings in which the public life of the Church finds its free and full expression. More especially, the General Assembly rejoice to bear of the marked progress made by the United States since the close of the great civil war, and they hope that the reconstruction of the commonwealth may steadily proceed on the basis of those principles of justice and freedom in the strength of which the struggle was brought to a successful close. They are fully aware of the great difficulties attending this new era of American Christianity and civilisation, and they shall look with intense interest on the spectacle of a people which at enormous cost has thrown off the load of slavery, doing what it can and ought for the Christian training of those who have so recently been admitted to the rights and responsibilities of liberty. They bail it as a token for good that so much has already been done by the Freedmen's Society and other Christian agencies, and they accept this as an augury with regard to the future of the African race in the acquisition of knowledge, the discharge of the duties of citizenship, and the development of Christian character. It is their earnest hope that the negro may not only be fitted for his new sphere of duty in America, but that he may be honoured of God to act an important part in the evangelisation of Africa, from wbich bis forefathers were so cruelly torn, and they commend the Freedmen of America to the sympatbies and prayers of the Scottish people. The General Assembly have beard with the liveliest satisfaction that steps are being taken to bring into closer fellowship the several branches of the Presbyterian Church in America, at the very time when discussions on the same subject were going on among themselves ; they earnestly pray that these common movements on both sides of the Atlantic may in God's good time reach a successful issue, without any
compromise of divine truth, and with a large increase of spiritual life and efficiency in the various departments of the Church's work. In conclusion, the General Assembly commend the Evangelical Churches of America to God and the word of His grace, praying that a rich and ample blessing may rest on their endeavours to advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ among that vast and heterogeneous population, which is spreading so rapidly over their continent as well as on those missions to foreign lands, which have already borne such precious fruit in the conversion of souls."
SABBATH-SCHOOLS. Mr Wu. DICKSON, (elder,) convener, presented the report of the committee on Sabbath-schools, the substance of which is as follows:
“In regard to statistics, the committee report that further encouraging progress continues to be made. Returns have been received from the whole 71 Presbyteries of the Church-made to the committee either by corresponding members appointed specially for that purpose, or, failing such appointunent, by the Presbytery clerk of the bounds. In 37 Presbyteries, these returns are complete; in 34 Presbyteries, they are more or less defective. The committee have reason to believe that much encouragement has been afforded alike to parents, teachers, and scholars, by conferences with teachers, visitations of schools, and other means in some cases already adopted, expressive of the Presbytery's interest in the young within their bounds. Although completed totals cannot be presented to the Assembly, the committee think it right to give the following figures as what may be regarded as approximately correct :-Number of Sabbath-schools, 1681. Senior classes, 765. Sabbath-school teachers -males, 6047; females, 5716—total teachers, 11,763. Scholars at Sabbath schools-males, 52,164; females, 58,002–110,166. At senior classes-males, 7590; females, 10,830-18,420. Total scholars, 128,586. Copies of Children's Record regularly circulated monthly in the Sabbathschools, 33,130. The committee would only further refer to the subject of juvenile contributions to the missionary and other schemes of the Church. These this year exhibit a considerable increase in every one of the ten several objects to which contributions have been made—the total amount for the year, chiefly gathered by the missionary-box in the Sabbath schools, being no less than £1018, 7s. 31d. In connexion with this, the committee would again urge the importance of the uniform circulation among the Sabbath-schools of the Church of the Children's Record.”
After reading the report, Mr Dickson said- More than twenty years ago, a remark was made by Dr Cunningham to a meeting of Sabbathschool teachers in Edinburgh which gave much encouragement. It was to the effect, that the time seemed come when it would be the duty of the Church to consider and define the precise position which the Sabbathschool ought to hold in her ecclesiastical system. Formally, that question has never yet been settled ; but I suppose it may be held to be year by year coming to be practically adjusted. I fear it may appear to some as if the Sabbath-school committee bad been unduly persistent in the matter ; but it has been with them, as I suppose it often is with an individual Christian man, that the more closely he applies himself to any those children were by baptism admitted within her pale. There was a touching incident mentioned at our Sabbath-school meeting last week, by a devoted friend of this cause from America. A little Christian boy lay on his deathbed. Calling his father to him, he said—“ Father, I am going to heaven. When I see Jesus, I will say to Him that ever since I can remember anything, you were always trying to get me to come to Jesus.” What a precious testimony was that to the tender faithfulness of a Christian father! and what a precious testimony would it not be to our Free Church of Scotland, to her ministers, Sabbath-school teachers, and godly parents, if, as one by one those under her care, whether old or young, were passing away from this world, they could say to her, with their dying breath—“ I will tell Jesus that, ever since I can remember anything, you were always trying to bring me to Christ.” (Applause.)
Mr Brown Douglas, (elder,) after noticing the painstaking labour which Mr Dickson, the convener, bestowed on this work, and the obli. gation under which the Church lay to him, expressed a regret that the statistical returns were not more complete, in consequence of answers not having been sent, and hoped that more attention would be paid by Presbyteries to this subject, as it was desirable, at stated intervals, to have precise and accurate information. He could not help also expressing how much he felt that they were indebted as a Church to the whole system of Sabbath-schools, and how much they were indebted to those who so perseveringly and laboriously worked in their Sabbath-schools. They might rejoice that throughout Scotland they had the personal superintendence and ministrations of 900 ministers of the Free Church. They might rejoice that God had put it into the hearts of their people to contribute no less than an average of £1000 a day for the promotion of the gospel at home and abroad; but to his mind there was no greater subject of thankfulness than that they had between 11,000 and 12,000 teachers, young men and young women engaged in trade and business and professions, giving a little time every Sabbath evening to the teaching of the young in those precious truths which they had themselves learned ; and who, while acting on the scriptural principle, " freely ye have received, freely give,” had also, he trusted, verified the great gospel promise, “In watering others, you shall yourselves be watered." (Applause.) It was a good sign of a living Church when they had such a great number of young men and young women, and some who had had the experience of half a century, working in this part of the Lord's vineyard. (Applause.) It had ever been recognised by the Church that it was not only the duty of parents to attend to the religious education of their children, but that the Church itself was charged by the Lord to feed His lambs as well as His sheep. It could not, therefore, but be gratifying to Christian parents, who feel it a duty to take their children to worship in the house of God, if, in every Sabbath service, and in each part of it, there was a remembrance of the little ones being present as well as older members of the Church. The Sabbath-school committee were thankful for the interest which was taken by Presbyteries in Sabbath-school work. He believed they realised, as the committee did, that there was a double blessing connected with this work—a blessiug resting on the teacher, and a blessing on the children; and many a teacher could from experience testify to the good which he derived from his work and in preparation for it, and to the benefit which children derived from the direct personal application of truth, often more easy in the class than in the pulpit. Among other advantages connected with Sabbath-schools was the companionships which through them were formed between those who were engaged as teachers; and who could tell how many influences for good were thus conferred on young men and young women? (Applause.) The work was, in every respect in which they could view it, a most blessed one. Mr Brown Douglas concluded by moving :—“The Assembly approve of the report, and record their thanks to the sub-committee, especially to Mr William Dickson, the convener; and re-appoint the sub-committee, with Mr William Dickson as convener. The Assembly record their continued satisfaction with the large measure of interest and attention bestowed on the subject of Sabbathschools by many of the Presbyteries and Synods of the Church; renew their former earnest recommendation to such Presbyteries and Synods as have not yet taken action in this matter ; and enjoin upon all ministers to give their careful and punctual attention in making statistical returns in reference to Sabbath-schools when required, whether by Presbyteries or by the Sabbath-school committee. Further, the Assembly remit to the sub-committee on Sabbath-schools to prepare an address to Sabbath-school teachers, for encouragement and guidance in their duties, to be submitted to the commission in November; and if approved, instruct the committee to take steps for the circulation of the same throughout all the Sabbath-schools of the Church."
Dr Rainy, who was received with applause, seconded the motion. He was sure it was the unanimous feeling of the Assembly that if there was anything they could do to convey the conviction to the minds of their Sabbath-school teachers that they regarded their labours as of momentous importance, and desired to encourage them in every part of their work, the Assembly would be willing to do what was necessary to establish that conviction in their minds. It was of the greatest importance that this Assembly, as well as the teachers, should feel the work in which they were engaged to be a work on which very great results depended. To a very large extent, the instruction of their young people in the knowledge of the Scriptures must depend on the efficacy, thoroughness, and faithfulness of the labours of Sabbath-school teachers. How much, therefore, depended on the teachers and superintendents, and the prayerful seeking of the blessing—for of those who became true servants of Christ, a very large number became so in virtue of early impressions and early training. He thought the Presbyteries should, in accordance with the repeated recommendations of the Assembly, give more oversight to the Sabbatb-schools in their bounds. Even a little oversight might be of great importance by directing the minds of ministers and congregations to the subject, and thus lead to a providing of the proper number and quality of the Sabbath-school teachers. A mass of Scripture instruction was imparted to young people through Sabbath-schools, even when the work was performed in a somewhat perfunctory manner. But that might prove to be more hardening than beneficial; and vothing was of more importance for getting the best teachers than by the Presbyteries taking such action as to show that the Church realises the importance of their work, and earnestly desires and prays that they may be helped to go about it in the right way, so as to throw upon them a greater feeling of responsibility. Even the calling for Sabbatb-school statistics
on the part of Presbyteries might have a beneficial effect, for perhaps it was not to be expected that they could make a very minute inspection of the schools. He thought they should as an Assembly give expression to their sense of the importance of this matter. (Applause.)
PASTORAL ADDRESS TO FOREIGN MISSIONARIES AND NATIVE CHURCHES.
Dr Duff then submitted the pastoral address, which had been drawn up by a special committee of members of Assembly, for the purpose of being transmitted to missionary agents and native churches in the foreign field. He stated that it consisted of two parts—the first addressed to missionaries and other agents, the second to the pastors and members of native churches. Being the first pastoral of the kind which had ever emanated from the Assembly of the Free Church, the greatest possible pains were bestowed on the preparation of it. Besides, it was a document intended not merely to be profitably read by existing missionaries, or by the members of the existing churches, but by the successors of the former and the descendants of the latter. For the satisfaction of the Assembly he might state that if there was one distinctive feature which characterised the twofold address more than another, it was its intensely scriptural character. Almost every sentiment, counsel, and exhortation, was sealed home by some apposite text or texts from the sacred oracles. This feature was, iv his opinion, of the utmost importance in the present age, when they considered the way in which Holy Scripture was evacuated of all meaning by Ritualists on the one hand, and contemptuously repudiated altogether by Rationalists on the other. To show the comprehensive character of the address he would now indicato the different parties for whose benefit it was designed. There were lessons and admonitions for our ordained missionaries, European and native, more particularly on the subject of prayer and the ministry of the word ; with some additional counsels of a specific kind to native missionaries and the pastors of native churches. Then followed instructions and encouragements to the other labourers associated with these-medical missionaries, evangelists, and catechists; teachers of missionary schools, alike male and female, and writers for the press. The second part of the address was for tbe members of native churches, showing that the Lord Jesus required and expected that they should be witnesses for God before the world; that they should take a deep and practical interest on the spiritual and everlasting welfare of all around them; and that, with more peculiar care, they should cultivate those graces, and practise those virtues, which were the strangest to their heathen countrymen, and the most directly opposed to the vices which chiefly prevailed among them. In order to all this they were affectionately exhorted to wait diligently on all divine ordinances and means of grace—such as the reading of the Word, meetings for prayer, and Christian fellowship, the holy observance of the Sabbath, and secret prayer. The constitution of the family life, and the duties of the Christian household, were then fully pointed out—such as parental prayer for and with the children, parental instruction, parental example, and parental government. The whole was then wound up by an earnest and affectionate address to the children of native converts. The appropriateness of such a conclusion might not appear in its full significancy to those unaccustomed to the polity and modes of thought prevalent in India and other easteru climes, where the Brahmans and the learned generally were