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most generous of the contributors who knew the circumstances, to this effect—“Rather than that this great enterprise should be arrested, at the risk of being upset, it may be for ever, I and one or two more are willing to guarantee what is needed to make up this fund ; and a small effort can be made, at your own convenience, to relieve us of it, if you think proper to do so.' (Applause.) I felt this to be an answer to prayer, and thanked God for it. I think it is a dreadful time we are coming to, when we have men called Christians, aye, and Christian ministers too, who go the length of denying the efficacy of prayer. (Applause.) But this was not all—God be praised! Let us wait on Him and we shall see wonders some day. The next day another message reached me, of a still more remarkable kind, from another of the coutributors, who was cog. nisant of the real circumstances of the case. He said "I think so-and80 (naming another gentleman) may take up the obligation of so-and-so, and as to the rest, I have made up my mind to relieve you of all carefulness as to the remaining £2000, on one condition, that my name be not publicly mentioned." (Applause.)
I feel bound to record these facts, mark you, as I again repeat it, to the praise and glory of Jehovah, the prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. But, not unduly to detaiu you, let me come to the appointment itself. Up till the time of last Assembly it was understood that there was one of our retired missionaries who had been pointed out as particularly suited for this office; so much was this looked upon as the case, that it was taken for granted that when the time came that honoured and retired missionary would be nominated for the appointment. After last Assembly it turned out that there was a difference of judgment in some quarters on the suliject, and that another of our retired missionaries would be propused. Afterwards it still further turned out that there were parties satistied neither with the one nor with the other, and who wanted à competent home minister appointed to the Chair. Thus it seemed, about the middle of last autumn, as if there would be a discussion thrvughout all the Presbyteries of the Church, which might be of a somewhat painful kind. About the same time also it bappened in the providence of God, that my own health was comparatively, though, alas, as the event proved, only partially and temporarily restored. That being the case, letters reached me from various influential parties, while others called upon me in person, begging and entreating me to reconsider my known resolution, and stating that if I allowed my name to be brought forward the names of others would be withdrawn ; thus there would be an end of all unpleasant discussion, and the peace and harmony of the Church would be maintained. This came upon me so staggeringly-opposed as it was to all I had intended, so contrary to all my own wishes, and so subversive of all my plans and purposes—that it took me thoroughly aback, and for a time confounded me as to what was the course of duty. For some time I could not give an answer. At last, as the result of waiting upon the God of providence, of grace, and of prayer, I arrived at this conclusion, that I might so far agree to remain passive, and watch the current of events, and if I found, in point of fact, that the names of other parties would be withdrawn, and that there was anything like a general unanimity—then it would be to me something like the voice of God speaking through his own Church, and calling on me to obey, after I had resisted as long as I could. We have no warrant to expect a
miraculous vision or voice from heaven now; but I am strongly impressed with an overawing sense of anything like the unanimous opinion or judgment of a body of men constituted, as our Church is, in the name of Christ—such a unanimous judgment solemnly pronounced would seem to come home to me with all the force of a call in Providence, which it would be wrong to resist. (Applause.) Thus the matter stood till the present time, and seeing now, from the intimation you have made to me, that I am called to accept this office, I can only say, that in all earnestness, in all humility, in all sincerity, from the very fulness of my heart, I yield to the call, purely, simply, and entirely, as to me the voice of Providence speaking to me through this Church. (Applause.)
I do enter with my whole heart and soul into the feelings and sentiments which animated the prophet of old when called to discharge his office for the first time : "Ah, Lord God,” said he, “ behold I cannot speak; for I am a child.” In other words, I am whelmed with a sense of my unfitness, my incompetency, my insufficiency. And such are the burning convictions of my own 8 ul at this moment. I know not what the views of others may be, but, looking at it in its length and breadth, it is not merely impulsiveness that is wanted in such an office as this. For this Chair varied information--reaching through whole centuries, and extending to all lands—is needed, through which the impulse is to be imparted. I feel it is an office that would require a combination of faculties and talent which neither I nor any single man can possess. The lofty and fervid eloquence of a Chalmers, the close logical force and argumentativeness of a Cunningham, and the saintly impressi veness and unction of a Gordon-all would be needed to do such an office anything like justice ; for the theme of it is that which is nearest and dearest to the heart of the Divine Redeemer on the throne on bigb, and which ought to be nearest and dearest to His people's heart on earth.
Having said this much, I draw to a close by merely remarking that with my whole heart and soul do I enter into the sentiments expressed by our Moderator in bis opening address as to the importance of the missionary element to any branch of the Christian Church—as to its being the element by which to determine & standing or a falling Church. But there is another view of it which has always impressed me—that if all Christian Churches are under obligations to enter upon the missionary work, methinks this Church is pre-eminently under such obligations. I believe it is essentially connected with our distinctive doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ is not only King and Head of His Church, but also King and Governor among the nations, and Prince of all the kings of the earth. There is no Church on earth that has contended moro vehemently than this Church for purity of doctrine for three hundred years ; but I believe that the Scottish Reformed Church, Dow represented by the Free Church, has exceeded all Churches on earth in contending for this—that Christ is not only King and Head of His Church, but is King and Governor of the nations. I believe this doctrine entered into the very essence of the constitution of the Church at the time of the Reformation, and gave it its peculiarity of character. It was the contest for this doctrine wbich, in subsequent times, drove so. many hundreds and thousands of our best and noblest men to the stake and the scaffold-to the moors and to the mosses, to the dens and to the
caverns of the mountains—and which constrained the scattered few 80 often to meet in some deep dell under the canopy of heaven, to hear the Word of God “ by Cameron thundered or by Renwick poured in gentle stream.” It was the cause and the theme of the ten years' conflict-of which we rejoice that the historian is still in our midst, to help us with his sagacious counsels and sustain us with the unflagging energy of his faith. This being the doctrine, I have to ask-Are not we as a Church pre-eminently bound to see it carried out into actual practice and actual effect? Are we to be satisfied with allowing it a place as a mere abstract proposition in our standards and creeds, and there to end? The thing would be an absurdity. We are called upon, even on the score of simple honest consistency, to see it carried into practice; and how is this to be done! I ask this question-Do the nations at present obey Him? Do they acknowledge Him as their King? Do they render allegiance to Him as their lawful Sovereign? Why, it looks like a burlesque and a mockery to put such a question. A large proportion of our own nominally Christiin people do not acknowledge Him, and the greater portion of the kings and nations of the earth are ignorant of His very existence ! How, then, can they do homage to Him as their lawful King? And what is His will but that His Church should go forth as a Church militant, conquering and to conquer in His name, subjugating the nations by the gospel and by the sword of His Spirit, so that they may be brought into practical obedience to His authority and law? What is this but another name for missions to the unevangelised world of heathenism ? (Applause.) I am, then, only calling upon this Church to act out its own noble and glorious creed, when I ask them to elevate the cause of missions to its true zenith position in the firmament of duty—a position it has never yet occupied in this or any other Church. I implore and entreat that all the members of this House and of this Church will unite in prayer that the event consummated this day may tell in securing this transcendent object—that the appointment to such a Chair as this whoever may be the party appointed---may, along with other agencies that are now at work, act together, so as to elevate this Church to its true and proper platform and pedestal as a Missionary Church—to raise up this Church of our fathers, this historical Church, to its true height and might, its true glory and grandeur and dignity as an evangeliser of the nations and thus to exemplify and realise before the whole world the real meaning, the real significance, of its own glorious doctrine, that the Lord Jesus Christ is at once Head and King of His Church as well as King and Governor of the nations. (Applause.) I simply sit down, thanking this Assembly and the whole Church for their unspeakable kindness towards me. I feel from the inmost depths of my soul that it is undeserved. I can only say that, according to the health and strength which may be vouchsafed, in humble dependence upon divine grace, and by the aid and counsel of other friends and colleagues, all will be done which health and strength can admit of being done for the sake of promoting this great and glorious object contemplated by the foundation of this new Chair. And let me then say that whatever infirmities encompass a man, if God be the moving agent, these will be overruled for accomplishing His purpose ; His grace will be sufficient, and His strength will be perfected in one's weakness.. And now I am ready to exclaim—" See, Lord, here am I, thine unworthy servant. I am the clay, Thou art the
PASTORAL ADDRESS TO MINISTERS, ETC., AT MISSION STATIONS.
potter; mould me, shape me, fashion me as Thou wilt ; breathe upon me, breathe through me, breathe by me; let me only become the conscious agent in Thy hand of enunciating and expounding Thy will, that at length the earth may be filled with Thy glory.” (Loud applause.)
The Assembly then engaged in prayer, led by the Moderator, on bebalf of Dr Daff and the work upon which he has entered.
Before the Court passed to the next business on the programme,
Dr Duff said there were two points which, from his desire not to trespass unduly on the time and attention of the House, had escaped his memory. In the first place, he desired it to be distinctly understood that he would not appropriate, for his own personal use, one farthing of emolument in connexion with the Chair, but that every farthing of it should be devoted to the missionary institute, which he beld to be the inseparable complement of the Chair. It was the only condition upon which he could agree to accept the office—that his services should be purely and absolutely gratuitous. (Applause.) In the second place, he was sure it would be the mind of the Church that the Assembly should place on record their unfeigned and grateful thanks to the noble and generous-minded contributors who had come forward to aid in the establishment of this Chair. (Applause.) PASTORAL ADDRESS TO THE MINISTERS, OFFICE-BEARERS, AND MEMBERS AT
An overture from members of the House was read, praying the Assembly to appoint a committee to prepare a draft of a pastoral letter to be issued to ministers, office-bearers, and members of the Church at the various mission stations in India and Africa. Such letters have, by the blessing of God, been very profitable to many of those in the Church at home to whom they have been addressed, and those connected with the missions named, on account of their position in the midst of heathenism, are specially in need of counsel and strengthening from the Supreme Court of the Church, while, on account of their distance, the General Assembly cannot afford them such counsel and strengthening otherwise than by letter addressed to them.
Dr Duff moved the approval of the overture. He said-On two occasions, once in 1848 and again in 1854, an address was sent by the Foreign Missions Committee to labourers in the foreign mission field. But there has never heretofore been a pastoral address from the General Assembly of this Church to missionaries and others at our foreign mission stations. I need not occupy your time by reminding you that before now pastoral addresses of this kind have been attended with the most beneficial results at home. And if they were so in the case of the churches in this country, how much more are they fitted to give joy and edification and encouragement to those who are labouring in foreign lands. It is impossible -and just now there is no time to speak to you of it—it is impossible for those who have not known it to understand that peculiar feeling of isolation and dreariness which is often experienced by labourers in the foreign field when left all alone by themselves—their ears, it may be, everiastingly stunned with the sounds, and their hearts sickened with the spectacles of a demoralising idolatry and its results. Cut off, as it were, from vivifying contact with the great Christian brotherhood altogether, a feeling of weakness and helplessness is apt to creep into their souls, and tends to paralyse all their energies. It has therefore been strongly felt by the Foreign Missions Committee that a pastoral address from this Assembly would be attended with effects of a most beneficial character. It would tend to make those labouring in foreign climes feel that, separated as they are by distance from the Church at home, we are with them in our sympathies and our prayers. An address of this kind reaching them would be very much like the glow of sunshine and summer after the cold, dark gloom of winter-like a refreshing shower upon the dry parched land-giving refreshment to their feelings, and an impulse to all their energies. Nor would it be less beneficial in its effects upon native labourers, those who have never seen the members of this House, and whom the members of this House, with the exception of a very few, have never seen, and are never likely to see. It would enable them to realise, in a new and unwonted way, what is meant by the catholicity of the Church, by the communion and fellowship of the saints. (Hear, hear.) It would rouse to still greater zeal and still increased exertion, by making them feel that far across the ocean were those who had them upon their hearts at the throne of grace. Moreover, it would be an appropriate following up of the admirable remarks which dropped from the Moderator at the close of his opening address-remarks which, I venture to say, will be found to vibrate across oceans and continents, and occasion a thrill of joy and gladness in the hearts of many a weary and toilworn labourer among the barbarisms of Southern Africa, or the idolatries and superstitions of India. I beg simply to move that this House may be pleased to appoint a special committee to prepare a pastoral address, to be brought up at the last sitting, and, if approved, with or without modification, to be sigued by the Moderator, sent out to those connected with our foreign missions. (Applause.)
Dr MURRAY MITCHELL seconded the motion. It was unanimously agreed to, and a committee named to prepare an address.
REPORT OF FINANCE COMMITTEE. Mr MELDRUM read the report of the Finance Committee, (No. XII.) Dr CANDLish moved the adoption of the report, which was agreed to.
DEPUTIES FROM AMERICA. The Assembly called for Commissions to Deputies from the United States of America. A Commission was read from the General Assembly of the Old School Presbyterian Church in America, from which it appeared that Dr M. Judson Hickok and Mr Henry M. MacCracken, minister at Columbus, Ohio, were deputed by that Assembly to visit this Assembly; and that Mr Parke, minister in Pennsylvania, deputed to the United Presbyterian Synod, had now been associated with Dr Hickok and Mr M Cracken in deputation to this Assembly. A Commission was also read from the General Assembly of the Old School Presbyterian Church, from which it appeared that Dr Ezra Eastman Adams, minister at Philadelphia, and Dr H. M. Field, minister at New York, had been