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dependence on the mere scriptural soundness of our distinctive testimony; and it is matter of congratulation accordingly that the Free Church has never been contented to occupy the position of a mere testifying body. Unspeakably important as it is to maintain Christ's supreme authority as the living and only reigning King in Zion, bow must the effect of this precious testimony be neutralised, if we do little to extirpate the power and kingdom of his adversary the devil, to spread His gospel and the glory of His name in the world, and if we ourselves do not give Him the throne of our heart, and submit personally to His government ! May the good Lord save us from the withering influence of a barren and unprofitable orthodoxy-an indolent, self-complacent contentment with a creed or confession, because it contains the genuine doctrines of God's Word, while yet these doctrines prompt to no Christian effort, and produce no personal sanctification. We cannot live as a Church on our mere protest against the sins and shortcomings of the Establishment and the encroachments of the civil power.
Even if we could, it would prove but unwholesome nutriment. For my own part, when I consider the interests of souls committed to her care, the influence for good or evil which still belongs to her as a national institution, and the desire for one another's welfare that ought to subsist among the disciples of Christ of all denominations, I would rejoice to see the Established Church returning to ber first love, and complying with the divine admonition, “Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” (Applause.) It is natural for us, and it is lawful, to desire with peculiar earnestness the prosperity of our own communion ; but this always in charitable good will to others, and in so far as is compatible with the purity and prosperity of the Church universal. Aud if we may not make a pillow of our Church's testimony on which to go to sleep, so neither way we repose on past attainments and the reputation already won. The same law of the kingdom of grace which obtains with regard to the individual believer is applicable to Churches in their collective capacity ; they must grow if they would not decay. Their advancement must be constant and progressive ; and one attainment reached must but fire our ambition to press forward toward another. As with the inactive and unexercised soul, 80 with the Church that has suffered the spirit of Christian enterprise to decline ; it becomes dwarfish and stagnant, and its vigour and capacity for usefulness are impaired. Let us then do as a Church what Paul did as an individual—“Forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before." Let us seek to earn the same commendation from our Lord which He bestowed on the Church of Thyatira“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and patience ; and the last to be more than the first.” In one important respect, indeed, those things which are behind are not to be forgotten, but, on the contrary, are to be thankfully cherished in the memory. For, to look back to the times of our Reforming forefathers, and compare our spirit and practice with theirs—with their ardour and faithfulness, their unwavering attachment to the truth of God, and the simple and primitive forms of His worship-their trials and sufferings, and their noble and successful contendings for freedom and independence—this is often an excellent remedy against defection, and an effectual preventive of the corruptions which are ever apt to creep into institutions under the conduct of fallen, erring men. Nor in the case of any Church does this exercise promise to be attended with more advantage than in that of our own-a Church singularly apostolic and spiritual in her creed, constitution, and discipline, as laid down at the Reformation ; and which requires potbing, with a view to the utmost purity and perfection that can be realised on earth, than that we carry out the principles and rules which were then derived freshly and directly from the Word of God. Hence it is not a matter of mere sentiment, but a dictate of practical wisdom, that we should maintain the historical character of the Free Church as the Church of the Scottish Reformation, the free hereditary of the Church of Scotland. (Applause.) But now suffer me to suggest, with all deference, what I conceive to be the necessary conditions of that progress and prosperity which we all so earnestly desire may continue to distinguish the future history of our Church. These are1. Spiritual life; 2. Ministerial fidelity ; 3. Missionary zeal. Let it not be supposed that I mean to assume the office of an instructor on these sacred themes. Nevertheless, having a respect to those on whom, in the course of nature, the conduct of our Churcb's affairs must ere long devolve, it may not be out of place to indicate, however imperfectly, what may be styled the articles of an advancing or declining Church, on the observance of which it shall depend whether the future of the Free Church shall be worthy of her past-yea, her latter end more blessed than her beginning. 1. First of all, without spiritual life all ministerial and pastoral work becomes constrained and mechanical. Like every duty which does not fall in with our likings, and for which we have no personal fitness, it soon proves a weariness and a drudgery; whereas, when the servant of Christ goeth forth unto his work and to his labour in the grateful, happy spirit of a man accepted of God, and in whom Christ himself dwells as the principle of life and action, and the hope of glory, what heavenly vigour inspires him, and how does the power of the gospel manifested by him exercise a more commanding and lasting influence than even learning and genius and eloquence! As nothing short of the salvation of souls will be the aim of such a one, so nothing short of it will satisfy him as the fruit and reward of his labours. Much has been justly spoken of the need of a learned ministry, to lend authority to the pulpit, and to defend the bulwarks of the Christian faith against the heresies and sceptical speculations of these perilous times; and of the need of a laborious ministry, to overtake the wants of a vast and increasing population, with its thousand claims on the attentions and services of its religious instructors. But unless the learning and the labour are consecrated by union with a liring ministry, can we warrantably anticipate spiritual fruit from the one or the other? Nor need we go far in order to find admirable models of vital personal religion, varied in its manifestation by natural temperament and character. The recent records of our own Church furnish the noblest examples of personal holiness, large-bearted benevolence, Christian magnanimity, and apostolic fervour. My own personal associations and Tecollections will account for the selection of the following ivstances, from among many, as eminent types of Christian character :The saintly M'Cheyne, my early friend and associate, whose habitually-devout spirit breathed in all that he said and did, and imparted a permanent interest to every line that he penned ; Dr Chalmers, a man majestic in his simplicity; whose large soul abounded with the most generous sympathies ; not more remarkable for the grandeur of his intellect and the fervour of
his eloquence than for the glowing benevolence and affection of a sanctified heart; and who, many and distinguished as in his day were the names of tho morally great and noble in our ranks, did overshadow and eclipse them all : Dr Thomas Brown, the revered father of his people, whose character beautifully combined the spirit at once of the patriarch and the apostle, and to know whom was to love and venerate him : Dr Patrick M‘Farlan, a man distinguished by remarkable strength and purity of Christian principle, and of unswerving consistency; who held his views with the tenacity of an honest and honourable mind, because conscious they were deliberately and honestly adopted; who expressed them with singular clearness and felicity, and maintained them always in a high spirit of Christian courtesy. And my beloved friend Dr Jolin Smyth one who in every relation of life adorned the Christian profession and the ministerial office, and of whom an esteemed elder of this Church once said to me, that no minister of his day did more to promote a respect for religion and its teachers among the commercial classes of Glasgow, and this mainly by his loving spirit and the silent influence of his life and walk as a living epistle of Christ. Honoured and blessed be the memory of the worthy dead! Soon must we follow them to the land of forgetfulness. May we follow them while here in righteousness, godliness, love, patience, meekness! 2. The subject of ministerial fidelity, to which I adverted as a second element of a Church's prosperity, reminds us that as even eminent public services on the part of a minister of Christ will not excuse a neglect of pastoral duty, so, on the other hand, the great body of our ministers, who
may feel incompetent to lead or advise in the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs, may yet warrantably encourage themselves with the thought, that, by an efficient spiritual husbandry, each in his assigned portion of the vineyard, they are engaged in a work which, if prayerfully and diligently prosecuted over the nine hundred and twenty congregations of our Church, and blessed with a plenteous shower of the Spirit, may go far to convert our beloved Scotland into a spiritual Eden. After all, it is in the parish, and not in the Presbytery, that the real work of the Church is done. Indeed, I am not sure that it has not been sometimes unhappily more hindered than helped in the Presbytery. (A laugh.) Those who know us not intimately, and who see only the Presbyterial side of us, are tempted occasionally to misjudge it. They forget that our affairs are not managed by the silent authority of a bishop, nor in the privacy of a congregational meeting ; but that every matter that affects us is subjected to the ordeal of a free and full discussion in open court. And so, when the blast of controversy “ lends the eye a terrible aspect, stiffens the sinews, and summons up the blood,” they too readily conclude that Presbyterian human nature is somehow more stormy than Episcopalian or Congregational human nature, or that our ecclesiastical constitution might advantageously be exchanged for a system more favourable to the display of such fruits of the Spirit as love, gentleness, and meekness. (Laughter.) This is, of course, a mistake on their part. (Applause.) In all seriousness, however, it is one into wbich we should never give them occasion to fall. “My brethren, these things ought not 60 to be.” (Hear, bear.) But to return from this digression. Of what infinite value to the Church in every age has been the example of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, the grand model of ministerial fidelity! Perhaps it was from the just confidence with which he could call on others to “ follow, as they had him for an ensample,” that appeals at once as to the blameless manner of his life, and his faithfulness and diligence in the direct work of the ministry, abound in his epistles and discourses, while they neither are found in the other epistles of the New Testament, nor are frequent in the writings of other pious men. Who ever served God and warned sinners as he did, "night and day with tears ”—tears of solicitude for their salvation, of pity for their impenitence, of distress for the dishonour done by them to God! Who could warrantably speak as he did of the "afiliction and anguish of heart," and the “weeping," with which he regarded the falls and inconsistencies of professing Christians ! What unim peachable disinterestedness marked the character of bim who testified of himself, “ I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel !" With what patience did he endure, " for the elect's sakes," trials and difficulties which would have cooled the ardour of one less animated by love to Christ and to souls ! With what unequalled diligence and earnestness did he press home the truth of God on the hearts of the people, adding to bis public expositions in the synagogue close personal dealingg with them in their own houses-warning, expostulating, entreating-resolved not to let them go until Christ had blessed them! Justly might such a man take them to record—and so may every servant of Christ who follows the apostle, at however long an interval, in bis unbending fidelity and affection and tenderness of heart—"I am pure from the blood of all men.” It seems a thiug incredible that a ministry conducted in such a spirit should fail to be crowned with a signal blessing from on high. (Hear, hear.) 3. The last topic to which I purposed briefly to allude was missionary zeal viewed as the test of the power of religion in a Church. As respects this attribute of a living Church, there has been much in our history to call for lively gratitude, and there is much to humble us. Who must not feel thankful for the proportions which our Home Mission work has of late years assumed, and the energy and success with which it is prosecuted in all its branches? The same thing may be said of the three standard schemes—the Jewish, the Colonial, and Continental. Especially does it become us to acknowledge how graciously God has honoured and blessed our efforts in the case of our Foreign Mission Scheme, when we compare the scale on which it is now conductedits headquarters in all the leading cities of India; its seventy stations, Indian and African ; its 189 agents, European and native, as at last Assembly; and its annual revenue from all sources, home and foreign, of upwards of £30,000 ;-when, I say, we compare this extent of operations with the day of small things, when the venerable Convener of our Foreign Mission Committee, then in his prime, embarked single-handed on the apparently hopeless enterprise of conquering India for the Lord. (Cheers.) Yet the bumbling fact remains, that the average rate of contribution to the scheme is somewbat under 10d. a year from each member of our Church. This shows what an urgent call there is for fervent and persevering prayer, that the Lord would increase the measure of the Church's faith, and devotedness, and liberality in the great cause of the world's evangelisation. It discovers how little az yet we have understood and embraced in all its fulness that the field is the world.” Is it not at the same time like the discovery of an unwrought mine of gold, which, if diligently worked, may furnish in the future ample funds for the extension of our missions to the heathen ? Assuredly, if there is a Church on earth that ought more than another to be identified with the cause of missions to Jew and Gentile, that Church is our own. For not only has God constituted us, in common with other Christian Churches, the depositaries of Divine truth and religious knowledge, and charged us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel of Him in whom all the kindreds of the earth are to be blessed ;” but let the memorable fact never be forgotten, that at the period of the Disruption our missionaries, both in Africa and India, without an exceptiov, declared their conscientious adherence to the principles of the Free Church, and their determination, in the strength of God, to share with us in whatever trials and sacrifices might be incurred in the mainteuance of them. It is impossible to estimate to what extent this step on their part contributed at the time, and has contributed since, to the strength and prosperity of our Church, and to recommend our principles, as associated with the honour of the Redeemer and the advancement of His kingdom. Not only was it a high and edifying example of faith and devotedness; it, moreover, stamped on the Free Church, from the very outset, the character of a missionary Church. In this it rendered us an incalculable and a permanent service. For a spirit of missionary zeal and energy is not only an effect, but a cause of spiritual vitality. It reacts on the life and vigour of the Church at home; and a concentrated blessing is returned into her own bosom from a world embraced in the arms of her Christian compassion. I do not hesitate therefore to give it a foremost place among the elements of religious progress and prosperity; and woe to us if we suffer it to decline! Such a disaster would be the symptom either of narrow views and a degenerate spirit, unworthy of the past history of our Church, or of an inward principle of debility and decay already at work within her-an idea too painful to contemplate. Let us hope that the establishment of a Chair of Evangelistic Theology, and the character of the prelections that sball be delivered from it, may have the happy effect of at once perpetuating and intensifying the interest alike of our students and people in the conversion of the world to Cbrist; that from among the former there may never be wanting willing labourers to overtake the work wbich God may lay to our hands ; and that from the latter there may never be wanting the perennial liberality necessary for the suitable support of such labourers. For it were unreasonable in our people to expect that, if they withhold their means, others should devote their lives to a cause which has common claims on all who bear the Christian name. (Applause.) Fathers and brethren,- I must apologise for having detained you so long. But when one recalls what to him was the grandest event of his time, with its impressions and lessons, it is difficult to practise brevity, and perhaps to escape the charge of being somewhat desultory and discursive. As the sum of what I have said, or wished to say, does any one ask, What in some future period will be the state of our beloved Church? Of it, too, sball it be said, as of so many other Churches, It is no more? Or shall it dwindle and shrink until the life has gone out of it? Or shall it continue to flourish as a preserving salt in the land, and an honoured instrument for diffusing the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion? I answer, This, under God, depends on the faithfulness and fruitfulness of ourselves and of those who are to succeed us. It depends on our personal holiness and purity. It depends on our ministerial