The Scottish Church

Author(s): Various


New Series. 1890. Vol. III.
THE General Assembly met on Thursday,
22nd May 1890. At eleven
o'clock A.M. the Most Noble
the Marquis of Tweeddale, Her
Majesty's Lord High Commissioner
to the General Assembly, held a
levee at the palace of Holyrood, which
was numerously attended.
After the levee His Grace went in state to
St Giles' Cathedral, where service was conducted.
The sermon was preached by the
retiring Moderator, the Right Rev. Paton J.
Gloag, D.D., Galashiels, from Galatians iv. 4.
At the close of the service the Lord High Commissioner
proceeded to the General Assembly Hall,
where the Right Rev, the Moderator constituted
the Assembly by prayer. The Roll of Members
was held as read. It is as follows: -
1. Presbytery of Lerwick. - The Reverend Alexander
Bayne, Tingwall; and James Kidd Bressay.
Elder - James Wallace, Esq., Advocate.
2. Presbytery of Burravoe. - The Reverend
William Smith, Unst, and John Bicket, North Yell.
Elder - Professor A. H. Charteris, D.D.
3. Presbytery of Olnafirth. - The Reverend
William Rose, Sandsting, and John Macdonald,
Northmaven. Elder - William Handyside, Esq.,
4. Presbytery of Edinburgh. - The Reverend
Archibald Scott, D.D., St George's; William Henry
Gray, D.D., Liberton; Lewis F. Armitage, St
Leonard's; Alexander Webster, St David's; John
Glasse, Old Greyfriars; David Morison, Tron;
Robert G. Fraser, St Thomas's; William Lockhart,
Colinton; and James Christie, D.D., Gilmerton.
Elders - John Turnbull Smith, Esq., C.A., Edinburgh;
The Rev. John M'Murtrie, D.D., Edinburgh;
John T. Maclagan, Esq., Leith; and John
Stewart, Esq., Elibank, Corstorphine. Burgh Elders - Robert Miller, Esq., and Peter MacNaughton,
Esq. University - The Rev. Professor M. C. Taylor,
D.D. Church in India - The Rev. W. F. Archibald
and David Sinclair, Esq.
5. Presbytery of Linlithgow. - The Reverend
Oswald Bell, Muiravonside; Robert Cameron,
Armadale; Thomas Aiton, Livingston; John Alex--
ander Ireland, Whitburn. Elders - Sir William
Baillie of Polkemmet, Bart., and Robert Newton
Herdman Newton, Esq., Polmont. Burgh Elder -
John Braes, Esq. Linlithgow.
6. Presbytery of Biggar. - The Reverend Robert
Rankin, Lamington, and Duncan Macfarlane, Walston,
Elder - Robert G. Murray, Esq. of Spittal.
7. Presbytery of Peebles. - The Reverend John
Milne, Newlands; Jardine Wallace, Traquair; and
James S. Goldie, Walkerburn. Elder - Michael G.
Thorburn of Glenormiston. Burgh Elder - Robert
Thorburn, Esq., Peebles.
8. Presbytery of Dalkeith. - The Reverend John
Charles Carrick, Newbattle; William Baillie Strong,
Glencorse; James Sharp, Inveresk; and James
Alexander Burdon, Lasswade. Elders - The Right
Hon. Viscount Dalrymple and Robert Marshall,
Esq., Lasswade.
9. Presbytery of Haddington. - The Reverend
John Barr Service, Bolton; George Hogg, Cockenzie;
John Kerr, Dirleton. Elder - Charles James Shirreff,
Esq., Sheriff-Substitute, Haddington. Burgh Elder - Sir Alexander Kinloch of Gilmerton, Bart.;
(Burgh of North Berwick) - James Tod, Esq., Edinburgh.

10. Presbytery of Dunbar. - The Reverend
Thomas Stirling Marjoribanks, Prestonkirk, and
William Veitch, Belhaven. Elder - Richard Hunter,
Esq., of Thurston. Burgh Elder - James George
Baird Hay, Esq., of Belton.
11. Presbytery of Duns. - The Reverend William
D. Herald, Duns, and George Cook, Longformacus,
Elder - James Nisbet, Esq., of Lambden.
12. Presbytery of Chirnside. - The Reverend John
Dempster Munro, Eyemouth; George Alexander
Bissett, Houndwood; and Macduff Simpson, Edrom.
Elder - James A. Somervail, Esq., Broomdykes.
13. Presbytery of Kelso. - The Reverend Thomas
Leishman, D.D., Linton, and Peter M'Kerron,
North Church, Kelso. Elder - Dr Thomas Hamilton,
14. Presbytery of Jedburgh. - The Reverend
John Stevenson, Bedrule; George B. S. Watson,
Cavers; and A. C. M'Phail, Hobkirk. Elder -
James T. S. Elliot, Esq. of Wolfelee. Burgh Elder
- Andrew Whitelock Mein, Esq. of Scræsburgh.
15. Presbytery of Earlston. - The Reverend
Thomas Martin, Lauder, and William Workman,
Stow. Elder - George Watson, Esq., Lauder.
Burgh Elder - Robert Symington, Esq., Lauder.
16. Presbytery of Selkirk. - The Reverend Paton
J Gloag, D.D., Galashiels; James Chalmers Herd--
man, D.D., Melrose; and Manners Hamilton
Graham, Maxton. Elder - William Linton, Esq.,
Selkirk. Burgh Elder - Charles Grey Spittal, Esq.,
Advocate Selkirk.
17. Presbytery of Annan. - The Reverend Maxwell
James Wright, Dornoch, and John L. Dinwiddie,
Ruthwell. Elder - John Dunlop, Esq.,
Dornoch. Burgh Elder - James S. Rae, Esq.,
18. Presbytery of Langholm. - The Reverend
William Snodgrass, D.D., Canonbie, and Alexander
Young, Westerkirk. Elder - John Scott, Esq.,
19. Presbytery of Lochmaben. - The Reverend
George Wight, Wamphray; L. M'K. Fleming, St
Mungo; and Robert Sanders, Tundergarth. Elder
Archibald Hamilton, Esq., Wamphray. Burgh Elder
- William Rae, Esq., Lochmaben.
20. Presbytery of Penpont. - The Reverend
Andrew Paton, Penpont, and James Richmond
Wood, Sanquhar. Elder - Robert Burgess, Esq.,
21. Presbytery of Dumfries. - The Reverend
Maxwell Hutchison, Kirkmahoe; Thomas Crosby,
Lochrutton; Roger S. Kirkpatrick, Dalbeattie;
Richard Simpson, Dunscore. Elders - George Shaw,
Esq., and Alexander Thompson, Esq., Maxwelltown.
Burgh Elder - John Luke Scott, Esq., Dumfries.
22. Presbytery of Kirkcudbright. - The Reverend
A. D. Campbell, Kirkcudbright; Pirie Philip, Kells;
John Lamond, Kelton; and Harvey Nichol, Parton.
Elders - John Campbell, Esq., Castle Douglas, and
Matthew W. Pollock, Esq., Rerrick. Burgh Elders.
- (Kirkcudbright) - John Williamson, Esq. of Langlands;
(New Galloway) - George Hamilton, Esq. of
23. Presbytery of Wigtown. - The Reverend
Robert Paton, Kirkinner, and William Allan,
Mochrum. Elders - James Dickson, Esq., Kirkinner.
Burgh Elders: - (Wigtown) - William Mackie,
Esq., Wigtown; (Whithorn) - Robert Conning
Laurie, Esq., L.A., Whithorn.
24. Presbytery of Stranraer. - The Reverend
Henry Gibson, Glenapp: Fergus John Williamson,
Ballantrae; and John Balfour Robertson, Leswalt.
Elder - Thomas Littlewood, Esq., Daljarroch.
Burgh Elder - William Douglas, Esq., Solicitor,
25. Presbytery of Ayr. - The Reverend James
Chrystal, D.D., Auchinleck; Thomas Dykes, D.D.,
Ayr; Henry A. Fairlie, Kirkmichael; John Spence
Robertson, Old Cumnock; William Campbell,
Craigie; Archibald G. Brown, South Church,
Girvan; and Robert Stewart, Crosshill. Elders -
The Right Hon. Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran,
Bart., M.P.; Charles Howatson, Esq. of Glenbuck;
and William Hamilton Dunlop, Esq. of Doonside.
Burgh Elder - John Murray Ferguson, Esq., Ayr.
26. Presbytery of Irvine. - The Reverend James
Somerville, D.D., Irvine; William Young Lindsay,
Dreghorn; William Lee Ker, Kilwinning; and
Alexander Inglis, Kilmaurs. Elders - James Mair,
Esq., Dreghorn, and Andrew Speir, Esq., Kilwinwinning.
Burgh Elder - John Wright, jun., Esq.,
of West Park, Irvine.
27. Presbytery of Paisley. - The Reverend James
Fraser, Greenbank; Mungo Reid, D.D., Mearns;
James Ingram, Levern; George Campbell, Eastwood;
and Alexander Fyfe Burns, St George's,
Paisley. Elders - James Dobie, Esq., Paisley; and
Alexander Moffat, Esq., Paisley. Burgh Elder
(Renfrew) - John Jack, Esq., Renfrew.
28. Presbytery of Greenock. - The Reverend
James Murray, Kilmalcolm; Alexander Erskine
Shand, North Church, Greenock; John F. Macpherson,
South Church, Greenock; and Alexander
Milne, Greenock. Elders - Peter Renwick Crawford,
Esq., Greenock; and Robert Binnie, Esq.,
29. Presbytery of Hamilton. - The Reverend
John Parker, Cleland; Alexander Watt, Harthill;
John Downs, East Kilbride; W. O. Duncan, Clarkston;
H. M. Hamilton, D.D., Hamilton; H. J.
Wotherspoon, Burnbank; R. S. Hutton, Cambusnethan.
Elders - D. G. Kemp, Esq., Bothwell;
Thomas Swan, Esq., Airdrie; and Peter Macdonald,
Esq., Langloan.
30. Presbytery of Lanark. - The Reverend Thomas
Little, Lanark; Thomas Turnbull, Lesmahagow;
and James Symington, Leadhills. Elder - James
Duff, Esq. Burgh Elder - John Jack, Esq., Lanark.
31. Presbytery of Glasgow. - The Reverend F. L.
Robertson, D.D., St Andrew's, Glasgow; John
Murray, Calton; T. B. W. Niven, Pollokshields;
W. F. Stevenson, Rutherglen; D. M. Connell, St
Kiaran's; Donald M'Corquodale, Queen's Park;
John M`Lean, D.D., St Columba's; John Watt,D.D.,
Anderston; Andrew Donald, St. Vincent's; James
Wallace, Plantation; James Collier, Chalmers;
David Hunter, St Mary's, Partick; John F. Anderson,
Hogganfield; Robert Pryde, Townhead; Professor
William Purdie Dickson, D.D., the University. Elders
- Francis Walter Allan, Esq., Glasgow; Councillor
Hugh Brechin, Glasgow; John Shearer, Esq. of
Merrylee; William M. Dickie, Esq., Glasgow; Sir
John Neilson Cuthbertson, Glasgow: Charles M.
King, Esq. of Antermony; and John E. Watson,
Esq., C.A., Glasgow. City Elder - Alexander
M'Laren, Esq., Glasgow. University Elder - Rev.
Professor Robert Herbert Story, D.D., Glasgow.
Burgh Elder (Rutherglen) - Robert Lang, Esq.,
32. Presbytery of Dumbarton. - The Reverend
Alexander Cameron Watson, Renton; James Dick,
Killearn; Morison Bryce, Baldernock; John Smith,
Knoxland; and William Begbie Moyes, Strathblane.
Elders - Donald M'Laren, Esq., Strathblane,
and Walter Buchanan, Esq., Dumbarton. Burgh
Elder - Robert Blair, Esq., Dumbarton.
33. Presbytery of Dunoon. - The Reverend
Robert Craig, Ardentinny; John M`Corkindale,
Lochgoilhead; and J. King Hewison, Rothesay.
Elder - George Readman, Esq., Advocate, Edinburgh.
Burgh Elder - William Miller Leckie, Esq.,
34. Presbytery of Kintyre. - The Reverend James
Curdie Russell, D.D., Campbeltown, and John Grant
Levack, Saddell. Elder - Col. Smollett Montgomery
Eddington of Glencreggan. Burgh Elder (Campbeltown)
- Peter Mackay, Esq., Campbeltown.
35. Presbytery of Isla and Jura. - The Reverend
John M'Gilchrist, Kilarrow,and John Barnett, Kilchoman.
Elder - Colin G. Macrae, Esq., W.S.,
36. Presbytery of Inverary. - The Reverend Neil
MacMichael, Craignish, and Neil Macpherson, Glenaray.
Elder - Alexander Holm, Esq., Balliemore.
Burgh Elder - John Macarthur, Esq. of Barbreck.
37. Presbytery of Lorn. - The Reverend Neil
Campbell, Kilchrenan, and Malcolm MacCallum,
Muckairn. Elder - Thomas J. Wilson, Esq., S.S.C.,
38. Presbytery of Mull. - The Reverend William
Mackintosh, Torosay; William Sutherland, Tobermory,
and Duncan M'Lean, Strontian. Elder -
Sir Charles J. Pearson, Edinburgh.
39. Presbytery of Abertarff. - The Reverend
Duncan M'Michael, Duncansburgh, and Malcolm
Macintyre, Boleskine. Elder - George Malcolm,
Esq., Glengarry.
40. Presbytery of Dunkeld. - The Reverend
James S. Mackenzie, Little Dunkeld; James Fraser,
Blair Athole; and Theodore Marshall, Caputh.
Elder - Sir Alexander Muir Mackenzie, Bart.,
41. Presbytery of Weem. - The Reverend Andrew
Thomson, Innerwick - in - Glenlyon; Alexander
M'Gregor, Braes of Rannoch; and George W.
Mackay, Killin. Elder - Alexander Galloway, Esq.,
42. Presbytery of Perth. - The Reverend Adam
Milroy, D.D., Moneydie; Charles S. Adie, Tibbermore;
James M. Strachan, Kilspindie; Thomas
Brown Collace; and John Wilson, Methven. Elders
- William Ogilvy Dalgleish, Esq., Errol Park, and
Rev. Andrew J. B. Baxter, Perth. Burgh Elder -
John Thomas, Esq., Perth.
43. Presbytery of Stirling. - The Reverend Robert
Stevenson, Gargunnock; George Simpson, Airth;
George Murray, Sauchie; and John M'Laren, D.D.,
Larbert and Dunipace. Elders - The Right Hon.
Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and John Edmond, Esq.,
Bannockburn. Burgh Elder - William Monteith
Brown, Esq., Stirling.
44. Presbytery of Auchterarder. - The Reverend
John Robert Campbell, Monzievaird; John Macpherson,
Comrie; and James Rankin, D.D.,Muthill.
Elder - John M`Owan, Esq., Crieff.
45. Presbytery of Dunblane. - The Reverend John
Johnston, Port-of-Monteith; John A. Macdonald,
Buchlyvie , and James G. Mitchell, Norrieston.
Elder - Duncan W. Currie, Esq., B.M., Tillicoultry.
46. Presbytery of Dunfermline. - The Reverend
George Roddick, Aberdour; John Sinclair, Beath;
and Robert Stevenson, Dunfermline. Elder - John
Stevenson, Esq., Dunfermline. Burgh Elders: -
(Culross) - James W. Barty, Esq., Dunblane; (Inverkeithing)
- John Milligan, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh.
47. Presbytery of Kirkcaldy. - The Reverend
Thomas Dewar, Lochgelly; Andrew Russell, Leslie;
John Campbell, Kirkcaldy; and A. Aytoun
Young, Methil. Elders - James Bissett, Esq.,
Burntisland, and Archibald Mackinnon, Esq., Dysart.
Burgh Elders: - (Kirkcaldy) - John Gourlay,
Esq., Kirkcaldy; (Kinghorn) - William Smith, Esq.,
Kinghorn; (Burntisland) - Alexander Waddell,
Esq., Burntisland; (Dysart) - Andrew Terrace, Esq.,
48. Burgh of Cupar. - The Reverend Charles
Fraser, Freuchie; John Duncan, Abdie; Æneas G.
Gordon, Kettle; and John Henderson, Collessie.
Elders - Robert Law, Esq., Freuchie, and John
Jamieson, Esq., Solicitor, Cupar. Burgh Elders: -
(Cupar) - James Fyfe, Esq., Cupar; (Newburgh) -
John Livingston, Esq., Edinburgh.
49. Presbytery of St Andrews. - The Reverend
A.K.H. Boyd, D.D., St Andrews; John Reid, Crail;
Patrick Macfarlan, Pittenweem; James Ray, Cellar--
dyke; and Professor Alexander F. Mitchell, D.D.,
St Andrews. Elders - Charles Stewart Grace, Esq.,
W.S., St Andrews, and John Pentland Smith, Esq.,
Carnbee. Burgh Elders: - (St Andrews) - John Pitcairn,
Esq., St Andrews; (Earlsferry) - Roderick
Forbes, Esq., Solicitor, Edinburgh; (Pittenweem) -
Professor P.R. Scott Lang, St Andrews; (Crail) -
James Alexander Robertson, Esq., C.A., Edinburgh;
(Anstruther Easter) - The Rev. William Robertson,
Edinburgh; (Anstruther Wester) - James Gillespie,
Esq., St Andrews; (Kilrenny) - Horatio R. Macrae,
Esq., W.S., Edinburgh; (University Elder) - The
Very Rev. Principal Cunningham, L.L.D.
50. Presbytery of Kinross. - The Reverend David
Jamie, Ballingry, and Patrick D. Thom, Fossoway.
Elder - William B. Ross, Esq., Portmoak.
51. Presbytery of Meigle. - The Reverend John
Nicoll, Meigle; Charles Chree, D.D., Lintrathen;
and James Fleming, Kettins. Elder - Major Peter
Chalmers, Blairgowrie.
52. Presbytery of Forfar. The Reverend John
Boyd, Kirriemuir; John Watt, Glenprosen; and
George Johnston Caie, Forfar. Elder - Stewart
Lindsay, Esq., Kirriemuir. Burgh Elder - John
Peter Anderson, Esq., Solicitor, Forfar.
53. Presbytery of Dundee. - The Reverend Professor
Allan Menzies, D.D., Abernyte; James
Nicoll, Murroes; William Wright, Lochee; John
Reid, Monikie; and James G. Young, D.D., Monifieth.
Elder - John Banks, Esq., Lochee, and
Robert O. Parker, Esq., Dundee. Burgh Elder -
Peter Adamson, Esq., Dundee.
54. Presbytery of Arbroath. - The Reverend
Andrew Douglas, Abbey Church, Arbroath; Alexander
R. Gibson, Carnoustie; William Proudfoot,
St. Margaret's, Arbroath; and Duncan MacArthur,
Kinnell. Elders - Andrew Lowson, Esq. of Elm--
bank, and Andrew Bennet, Esq., Solicitor, Arbroath.
Burgh Elder. - David D. Sandeman, Esq., Arbroath.
55. Presbytery of Brechin. - The Reverend James
Landreth, Logie-Pert; John Archibald St. Clair,
Melville; Alexander Gardner, Brechin; and Hugh
Cameron, Montrose. Elders - James Alexander
Campbell, Esq. of Stracathro, M.P., and Andrew
Coupar, Esq., Logie-Pert. Burgh Elder - Charles
Mitchell, Esq., Brechin.
56. Presbytery of Fordoun. - The Reverend
William Anderson, Fettercairn; John Menzies,
Fordoun; and Douglas G. Barron, Dunnottar,
Elder - John Cook, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh. Burgh
Elder (Inverbervie) - Alexander Simpson, Esq.,
Advocate, Aberdeen.
57. Presbytery of Aberdeen. - The Reverend
W.M. Wilson, North Parish; James Smith,
St-George's-in-the-West; George Duncan, Maryculter;
George Jamieson, D.D., Old Machar;
Duncan Campbell, Rosemount; and Henry Rauken,
Esq., John Knox's. Elders - Alexander Edmond,
jun., Esq., Advocate, Aberdeen; William Burgess -
Esq., New Machar; and John Whyte, Esq., Advocate,
Aberdeen. City Elder - George Reid, Esq.,
Aberdeen. University Elder - The Rev. Professor
Alexander Stewart, D.D., Aberdeen.
58. Presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil. - The
Reverend Robert Neil, Glengairn; Gavin E. Argo,
Kincardine-O'-Neil; and James Robert Middleton,
Glenmuick. Elder - Alexander Millar, Esq., Torphins.

59. Presbytery of Alford. - The Reverend Alexander
J. Anderson, Auchindoir; George G. Macmillan,
Cabrach; and Alexander Milne, Tough.
Elder - James Kennedy, Esq., Strathdon.
60. Presbytery of Ellon. - The Reverend Robert
Ross, Cruden; and William F. Scott, Logie-Buchan.
Elder - Thomas Henderson, Esq., Ellon.
61. Presbytery of Garioch. - The Reverend
George Peter, Kemnay; William L. Davidson,
LL.D., Bourtie; and William Greig, Rayne. Elder - James Diack, Esq., Pitcaple; Burgh Elders: -
(Kintore) Rev. M.M. Ross, Elgin; (Inverurie) Rev.
Professor William Milligan, D.D., Aberdeen.
62. Presbytery of Deer. - The Reverend William
W. Wilson, Savoch; James Coutts, Ardallie; John
Mitchell, St. Fergus; and M.P. Johnstone, Fraserburgn.
Elders - Andrew Tarras, Esq., Fraserburgh,
and William Leask, Esq.
63. Presbytery of Turriff. - The Reverend James
M'Gravin Smith, Milbrex; William Hunter, Macduff;
and Donald Stewart, King Edward. Elder
- George Morrison Allan, Esq., Montbletton.
64. Presbytery of Fordyce. - The Reverend James
Grant, Fordyce, and James Ledingham, Boyndie.
Elder - George Stevenson, Esq., Fordyce. Burgh
Elders - (Cullen) Lindsay Mackersy, Esq., W.S.,
Edinburgh; (Banff ) - Robert Duncan, Esq., Banff.
65. Presbytery of Strathbogie. - The Reverend
John Barr Cumming, Mortlach; Alexander Youngson,
Newmill; James Jolly Calder, Rhynie. Elder - Peter Galloway, Esq., M.B., Rhynie.
66. Presbytery of Aberlour. - The Reverend John
Smith Sloss, Aberlour, and Charles Bruce, Glenrinnes.
Elder - Charles Maitland Pelham Burn,
Esq. of Pitcroy.
67. Presbytery of Abernethy. - The Reverend
John Liddel, Advie, and James Anderson, Alvie.
Elder - Alexander Macpherson, Esq., Banker, Kingussie.

68. Presbytery of Elgin. - The Reverend Charles
Gordon, St Andrew's, Lhanbryde, and Alexander
Lawson, Elgin. Elder - Robert Adam, Esq., City
Chamberlain, Edinburgh.
69. Presbytery of Forres. - The Reverend William
Henry Edie, Kinloss, and Robert Smith, Rafford.
Elder - James A. Wenley, Esq., Treasurer of the
Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh.
70. Presbytery of Nairn. - The Reverend James
Burns, Nairn, and James Bonallo, Auldearn. Elder - Christopher Douglas, Esq., W.S., Edinburgh.
71. Presbytery of Inverness. - The Reverend
Donald Murray Simpson, Moy, and Charles D.
Bentick, Kirkhill. Elder - Captain Douglas Wimberley,
Inverness. Burgh Elder - John Henry
Forsyth, Esq., Inverness.
72. Presbytery of Chanonry. - The Reverend
John Gibson, Avoch; and Robert M'Dougall,
Resolis. Elder - Walter Malcolm, Esq., Edinburgh.
Burgh Elder - (Fortrose) James T. Hutchison, Esq.,
73. Presbytery of Tain. - The Reverend Donald
Stuart, Kilmuir Easter, and George Macdonald,
Rosskeen, Elder - Charles Innes, Esq.. Inverness.
Burgh Elder - William Mann, Esq., S.S.C., Edinburgh.

74. Presbytery of Dingwall. - The Reverend
Alexander J.R. Macquarrie, Kilmorack; and
William L.W. Brown, Alness. Elder - Thomas
G. Murray, Esq. of Stenton. Burgh Elder - Alexander
Dewar, Esq., Dingwall.
75. Presbytery of Skye. - The Reverend John
Sinclair, Small Isles, and Alexander Cameron,
Sleat. Elder - William John Menzies, Esq., W.S.,
76. Presbytery of Lewis. - The Reverend Donald
MacCallum, Lochs, and Alexander Stuart, Stornoway.
Elder - John Cheyne, Esq., Sheriff of Renfrew
and Bute, Edinburgh.
77. Presbytery of Uist. - The Reverend Roderick
M'Donald, South Uist, and Archibald M'Donald,
Barra. Elder - Duncan Shaw, Esq., W.S., Inverness.

78. Presbytery of Lochcarron. - The Reverend
Duncan Dewar, Applecross, and Angus J. Macdonald,
Ullapool. Elder - John Baird, Esq. of
79. Presbytery of Dornoch. - The Reverend Gilbert
Macmillan, Loth, and James M. Joass, LL.D.,
Golspie. Elder - A D.M. Black, Esq., W.S.,
Edinburgh. Burgh Elder - John Arbuthnott Trail,
Esq., W.S., Edinburgh.
80. Presbytery of Tongue. - The Reverend Alexander
Crerar, Kinlochbervie, and David Lundie,
Tongue. Elder - Sir Charles Dalrymple, Bart.,
Newhailes, Musselburgh.
81. Presbytery of Caithness. - The Reverend
Hugh Mair, Keiss; W. Harley Anderson, Pulteneytown;
and William M'Beath, Halkirk. Elder -
Sir Douglas Maclagan, M.D., Edinburgh. Burgh
Elder - (Wick) - Thomas Adam, Esq. of Lynegar,
82. Presbytery of Kirkwall. - The Reverend
Oliver Scott, St Andrews, and James S.W. Irvine,
South Ronaldshay. Elder - John Tawse, Esq.,
W.S., Edinburgh.
83. Presbytery of Cairston. - The Reverend David
Johnston, D.D., Harray, and George R. Murison,
Stenness. Elder - Edmund Baxter, Esq., W.S.,
84. Presbytery of North Isles. - The Reverend
Joseph Caskey, Stronsay, and George Grant, North
Ronaldshay. Elder - Lewis Bilton, Esq., W.S.,
The RETIRING MODERATOR, then addressing the
Assembly, said, - Fathers and brethren, - In the
good providence of God, we have again met as the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland under
happy circumstances. It is my first duty to return
my grateful thanks to the Church for the high
honour conferred upon me in electing me as its
Moderator. This time last year I looked forward
to the performance of the duties of the office with
dread, feeling my manifold deficiencies; but the
kindness and courtesy of the members of last
Assembly dispelled these fears and imparted to me
an unwonted confidence. I have to thank that
Assembly, and especially those members of it who
are also members of this Assembly, for their kind
consideration and valuable assistance. A quietness,
peace, and mutual forbearance pervaded all its meetings.
So far as I can recollect, I never once had to
interpose my authority in the maintenance of order.
I can only wish for my successor that he may experience
in this Assembly the same urbanity and
kindness, and that he may find that its proceedings
are conducted with the same calmness and dignity.
And not only during the sittings of last Assembly,
but throughout my year of office, in my official
visits to many of your parishes, the same kindness
has been shown. The peacefulness of last Assembly
was but a prelude of the peacefulness to the year of
my Moderatorship. Nothing of a stirring nature
has to be recorded; the Church has been permitted
to carry on its work in quietness, and without any
disturbance from without. There has been no
marked agitation for Disestablishment, no violent
attacks made on our Church; rather such agitation
and attacks have been discountenanced by the laymen
belonging to our sister Churches. But still we
cannot conceal from ourselves that this may be only
the lull before the storm. There are undoubted
symptoms that ere long our Church will be called to
pass through a great crisis, and have to maintain a
struggle for its existence as the national Church of
Scotland. Our opponents are making their preparations,
and we must also be prepared. Not that we
should by any means be disheartened, or think that
the time must inevitably come when the Church
will be disestablished. For myself, I have sanguine
hopes - I trust that they are not too sanguine
- that the Church will pass uninjured through
this coming crisis, and will be transmitted with its
energies unimpaired to our children's children.
But I must not enlarge. It is my privilege and
duty to propose for your acceptance my successor in
office; and it is a duty which I have the utmost
pleasure in performing, as I am sure that the nomination
which I have to make will meet with universal
acceptance, not only in this Assembly but throughout
the whole Church. I venture to propose, as a
man in all respects eminently worthy of this office,
the Rev. Dr Andrew Boyd, Senior Minister of St
Andrews. There are three reasons which entitle him
to your choice, any one of which would be sufficient.
He is the accepted and respected Minister of one of
the most important of our parishes - what I may
venture to call the University town of Scotland.
The other three Universities - Edinburgh, Glasgow,
and Aberdeen - are Universities in cities, whereas
the town of St Andrews is a city in a University. It
owes its existence to the University. The Minister
of this town comes into direct contact with the
youth of our country, many of whom will in after
years occupy prominent positions. Besides, St
Andrews is a place of summer resort, to which
strangers flock from all parts of the country. It is
of the utmost importance that such a parish should
be well supplied. In Dr Boyd we have one who is
in all points qualified for this important office -
the eloquent preacher whose discourses are attractive
to all classes, and the faithful Clergyman who
performs with acceptance the duties of his ministry.
But to the Church generally there is a still more
important reason why Dr Boyd should be honoured
by it. It is chiefly owing to his labours and patience
and wisdom that we owe our Hymnal, the excellence
of which has been so universally acknowledged. He
has been for many years the Convener of the Hymn
Committee, the labours of which have resulted in
greatly improving the psalmody of the Church.
He has, through his Committee, made a collection
of the best hymns in the English language; and
this collection has been sanctioned for general
use in public worship by the General Assembly.
But no one will forget that Dr Boyd is also
an accomplished author. He has greatly enriched
the literature of our Church and of our
country by numerous publications. Indeed, the
number of his works is so great that he is one of
the most voluminous writers of our age. There is
an excellence in his writings which has commanded
general approbation. There is a freshness, a delicacy,
a refinement, a naturalness, an idiosyncrasy
about them which entitle them to high praise.
Their popularity has been great; they have run
through many editions, and have been received with
much commendation. There are few libraries of
any size on the shelves of which have not been
found some of the writings of "A.K.H.B." Perhaps
none of the ministers of our Church are so
well known beyond its pale. In England his works
are probably more read than in Scotland; and
throughout America there is no name belonging to
the Church of Scotland better known than that of
Dr Boyd. In Dr Andrew Boyd qualifications meet
which are seldom found united. I propose for your
acceptance the eloquent preacher, the faithful Minister,
the improver of our Church's Psalmody, the
accomplished Essayist, and the distinguished Author.
I propose one who occupies a high position in the
Church of Scotland, and whose name is known
wherever the English language is spoken. The
Church will confer honour on itself by placing him
in the Moderator's chair. I have then to ask, Is it
the pleasure of the House that Dr Boyd should be
called in and requested to take the chair?
Dr Boyd was then introduced by the Clerks, and
received the congratulations of Dr Gloag as he took
the chair vacated by the retiring Moderator.
The Principal Clerk then read the Royal Commission
appointing the Marquis of Tweeddale Her
Majesty's Representative to the General Assembly,
and it was ordered to be recorded in the minutes.
The Principal Clerk then read the Queen's letter,
which was as follows: -
"Right Rev. and Well-Beloved, - We greet you
"We hail with satisfaction the prospect of the
annual meeting of the General Assembly of the
Church of Scotland, and we willingly renew to
you the assurance of our affectionate regard and
"The proofs that you have always afforded Us of
your loyalty and attachment to Our person and
government, and the prudence that has marked
your councils, inspire Us with the confidence that,
under the blessing of Almighty God, your deliberations
will be guided by a spirit of enlightened
wisdom and Christian charity, such as will promote
the best interests of Our faithful and beloved
subjects of Scotland committed to your charge.
"Having full reliance in the zeal and judgment
of Our right trusty and entirely beloved Cousin,
William Montagu, Marquis of Tweeddale, We have
chosen him to represent Us at Our General Assembly,
and We doubt not that the qualities which have
commended him to Our choice will secure to him,
in the discharge of his important duties, your
hearty acceptance and support.
"And so, commending your councils to Almighty
God, We bid you heartily farewell.
"Given at Our Court at St James's, the sixteenth
day of May 1890, in the fifty-third year of Our
"By Her Majesty's command.
(Signed) "LOTHIAN."
the Assembly. He said - Right Reverend and Right
Honourable, - You have heard with loyal satisfaction
the words of the Queen's gracious message, of
which I have the high honour to be the bearer. I
am further commanded by the Queen to assure you
of her uninterrupted confidence in your steady and
firm zeal in her service, and of her resolution to
maintain the Presbyterian form of Church government
in Scotland. I have authority to inform you
also that the annual grant of £2000 given by the
Royal Bounty will be continued for the purposes of
religious teaching in the Highlands and Islands of
Scotland, and I am authorised to suggest the appropriation
of a portion of the grant to the aiding and
encouraging of young men to preach the Gospel in
the Gaelic language throughout those parts where
the English language is imperfectly understood.
Right Reverend and Right Honourable, I am deeply
sensible of the honour that has been conferred upon
me in my appointment to represent the person of
the Sovereign in this ancient Assembly, and I desire
to express to you the feeling of pleasure with which
I take up the duties of my office, and preside in the
Supreme Court of that Church to which I am bound
by family traditions and personal attachment.
Right Reverend and Right Honourable, the matters
that are to occupy your thought and time during
the session of this Assembly are, I need not say, of
great interest and importance; but none, I believe,
are likely - and on this allow me to congratulate
you - to give rise to heated debate, or to arouse
painful feeling. But your proceedings will none
the less claim all your wisdom, your earnest attention,
and your enlightened zeal for the advancement of
religion and the welfare of the Church. The interests
of the Church at home and abroad are committed,
under Almighty God, to your keeping, and these
you will have to safeguard and to promote by your
discussions and decisions. To stimulate the life of
the Church, to secure her peace, to redress her
grievances, to remove hindrances to progress, and
to extend the sphere of her bounteous and benign
influence are some of the duties that are before you,
and these will require your patient industry and
reverent care. Right Reverend and Right Honourable,
allow me to give utterance to the confident
hope that your deliberations in tone and temper
will be worthy of the best traditions of this historic
Assembly, and that your debates will be carried on
in that spirit of calmness, courtesy, and mutual
tolerance which should always accompany the full
and free expression of opinion. Right Reverend
and Right Honourable, I trust that your deliberations,
conducted in this spirit and with these aims,
may, under the Divine blessing, maintain the dignity
and usefulness of this venerable Court, and serve
the highest interests of the Church and of the people
of the land. I have only to add that I am most
anxious to do all that I can to contribute to the
comfort and convenience of the members of this
Assembly. This I regard as amongst the chief of
my duties, and it is one which I shall always perform
with the sincerest pleasure and to the utmost
of my power.
The MODERATOR, in reply, said - May it please
your Grace, I desire, in name of the General Assembly,
to express to your Grace our cordial welcome
to your high office. It is specially pleasant to Scotsmen
representing the Scottish Church to see in that
dignified place one of our old nobility, bearing a
name which has been historic in Scotland for centuries,
and a title whose pleasant sound calls up
before us that beautiful region and that fair river
which the greatest of Scotsmen has made something
far more than classical. We welcome you, furthermore,
as the son of that grand old Field-Marshal
who served his country nobly, both in war and in
peace, and was nowhere more honoured than among
his own people - as they have testified where all may
see - and yourself, a Nobleman worthy of your race,
and, as befits its good and kindly traditions, a faithful
member of the National Church, setting the pleasing
and touching example of daily worship in that sacred
place where rich and poor of the parish most fitly
meet together. But your Grace is specially the representative
here of our good Queen - the representative
of that long alliance between Church and State for
which each is richer and better; and the representative
of a Sovereign who for more than half a
century has held the highest level of the nation's
respect by a blameless life - and who, by touching
and homely appeals to the sympathy of her subjects,
has drawn throne and nation near, has made herself
indeed the head and mother of the family; for the
British nation, with all differences and divisions, is
a kindly family after all. We have listened with
no feeling of surprise to Her Majesty's gracious
letter, wherein she expresses her fond attachment
to the Church of Scotland, which indeed she understands
as intimately and well as any. The Assembly
thanks her heartily for the generous gift which has
come as aforetime, and undertakes that it shall be
faithfully made the best of. We thank your Grace
for the kind promise to do what you may to further
the work of the Assembly. We trust that your
first experience of your high office may be a pleasant
one, and that when our proceedings are brought to
a close you may be able to render a favourable
report of them to our Sovereign.
A Committee was appointed to answer Her
Majesty's most gracious letter, and also to name
ministers to conduct public worship in the High
Church on each Lord's Day during the sitting of
the Assembly: - Dr Gray, Dr Scott, Dr Mitchell,
Dr Cunningham, Dr Taylor, Dr Stewart, Dr
Charteris, Dr Dykes, Dr Story, Rev. Jardine
Wallace, Rev. John Kerr, Rev. David Hunter,
Viscount Dalrymple, Sir William Baillie, Bart., Sir
Alexander Kinloch, Bart., Sir C. Dalrymple, Bart.,
J. G. Baird Hay, Esq.,Sheriff Spittal, Lord Balfour
of Burleigh, Professor Scott Lang, John Cook, Esq.,
Sir Douglas Maclagan, John Livingstone, Esq.,
Lindsay Mackersy, Esq., James Alexander Campbell,
Esq. - Dr Gloag, Convener.
The General Assembly authorised the Procurator
to draw from the Exchequer the royal grant of
£2000; and instructed him to deliver the amount
to the Finance Committee of the Royal Bounty.
The AGENT of the Church gave in the report of
the Standing Committee on Commissions. The
report stated that the Committee had examined the
Commissions transmitted to the Agent of the
Church, and had found them in accordance with
the laws and practice of the Church, with the following
exceptions: - (1) The Commission from the
burgh of Glasgow bore to have been granted by a
minority, the motion which the minutes bore to
have been carried being - "That the Town Council
do not appoint a Commissioner to the next General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland." (2) The
Commission from Jedburgh bore to be the Commission
of a minority granted in opposition to a
resolution of the majority not to elect. (3) The
burgh of Tain Commission was, "by a minority of
six to seven, with the Provost's casting vote, against
the resolution." (4) In the case of the burgh of
Edinburgh, the minutes which had been transmitted
with the Commission bore that a motion was made
in terms of notice which had been given at a previous
meeting that the Commissioners named in the
motion be appointed. That motion was met by an
amendment that the Commissioners named in the
motion be not elected. Upon a vote being taken,
eleven voted for the motion, and eighteen for the
amendment, and the minutes bore that the motion
was negatived, but that a dissent and protest was
taken against the decision of the Council. In giving
in the report, Mr Menzies said the case of Edinburgh
was different from the others. They could hardly say
it was an incompetent motion to move than two specific
gentlemen should not be elected. If they wanted
to perform their duties, it was their duty to propose
the names of two other gentlemen, but this
they had not done. Now, looking to the failure to
make a motion to that effect, the committee were
inclined to think that the motion that was made was
proposed for the purpose of preventing the election
being made. If the Assembly were satisfied on that
point, they would be in a position to see an analogy
with the cases already decided, and to sustain the
commission. As this was a new point, he suggested
that the commission be sent to a committee to be
considered. He moved accordingly.
"The General Assembly approve the Report and
sustain the commissions from the burghs of Glasgow,
Jedburgh, and Tain, appoint the following Committee
- Dr Watt, Dr Dykes, Rev. David Hunter,
Sheriff Cheyne, George Hamilton, Esq., George
Readman, Esq., Walter Buchanan, Esq., the Procurator,
the Agent, to consider the Commission from
the City of Edinburgh, and to report. Farther, in respect
that a dissent has been intimated against the
decision of the Presbytery of Kincardine appointing
their Commissioners, delay sustaining the Commission
of that Presbytery until to-morrow to allow of
the said dissent being transmitted through the
Committee on Bills." The motion was agreed to.
The General Assembly appointed the following
Committee on Overtures: - The Commissioners from
the Synods of Shetland, Merse and Teviotdale, Galloway,
Argyll, Fife, Aberdeen, Ross, Sutherland and
Caithness, the Committee to meet in the Assembly
Hall to-day immediately after the rising of the
Assembly, and to-morrow, in the same place, before
the meeting of the Assembly, at 11.45.
The General. Assembly appointed the following
Committee on Bills: - The Commissioners from the
Synods of Lothian and Tweeddale, Dumfries, Glasgow
and Ayr, Perth and Stirling, Angus and
Mearns, Moray, Glenelg, Orkney. The Committee
on Bills to meet in the Presbytery Hall to-day
immediately after the rising of the Assembly, and
to-morrow, in the same place, a quarter of an hour
before the meeting of the Assembly.
The General Assembly appointed the following
Committee for arranging the business of the house:
- The Moderator, Dr Scott, Dr Gray, Dr Mitchell,
Dr Cunningham, Dr Stewart, Dr Johnston, Dr
Charteris, Dr Rankin, Dr Snodgrass, Rev. Theodore
Marshall, Rev. William Robertson, Dr J.G. Young,
Dr W.L. Davidson, Rev. T.B.W. Niven, Lord
Balfour of Burleigh, Viscount Dalrymple, J.A.
Campbell, Esq. ; Sir A.M. Mackenzie, Bart.; Sir
Alexander Kinloch, Bart.; T.G. Murray, Esq.; Sir
J.N. Cuthbertson, Alexander Simpson, Esq.; James
W. Barty, Esq.; Colin Macrae, Esq.; A.D.M.
Black, Esq., and the Office-Bearers - Dr Scott, Convener.

The General Assembly appointed the following
Committee for nominating Members to serve on
Special Committees instructed to report during the
sittings of the Assembly - The Moderator and Office--
Bearers, The Convener of the Business Committee,
Dr Johnston, Dr Jamieson, the Rev. Duncan
Campbell, the Rev. T.B. . Niven, William
Handyside, Esq. - The Rev. T.B.W. Niven and
Dr Johnston, Joint Conveners.
The General Assembly appointed the following
Committee for revising the Record of the Commission
and of the Royal Bounty - The Rev. James
Grant, the Rev. James Smith, the Rev. Alexander
Milne, the Rev. Malcolm M. Ross, and Captain
Douglas Wimberley - The Rev. James Grant,
The Rev. Professor STORY presented the Report
of the Committee for arranging the celebration of
the Holy Communion during the sitting of the
Assembly. It recommended that the communion
service be held in the High Church on Friday
morning (to-morrow) at half-past ten o'clock, and
he moved the adoption of the Report.
Mr A.D.M. BLACK, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
The Rev. ANDREW DOUGLAS, Arbroath, asked if
the Kirk-Session of the High Church, or St Giles',
or whatever name they might choose to call it, had
given its consent to the Holy Communion being dispensed
at the hour named in the Report.
The Rev. Professor STORY said he should very
much have preferred that the question had not been
asked, as he did not think it relevant to the matter
in hand. He would ask the Rev. Gentleman, unless
he was extremely anxious about the information,
not to press his question. He was quite prepared
to answer it, but he thought the celebration of a
service so solemn as that should not be made the
subject of a discussion, which might become a heated
discussion on the floor of the Assembly.
THE MODERATOR - The Rev. Gentleman must
have remarked that it was a member of St Giles'
Kirk-Session who seconded the motion for the
adoption of the Report.
The Rev. A DOUGLAS said he had no desire to
press the question if other members did not wish
the information, but it appeared to him to raise
constitutional issues of a very grave character
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said Mr Douglas would have
an opportunity of discussing the matter when the
report on the celebration of the communion was
laid before the House some time next week.
The General Assembly adopted the Report and
appointed in terms thereof.
The Convener of the Business Committee proposed
the order of business for to-morrow which
was approved.
It was agreed that next week the General
Assembly shall, when an evening meeting is appointed,
adjourn each day at 5.30, to meet again in
the evening at 8.30.
It was agreed to hold the Standing Orders as
Leave was granted to the Kirk-Session of Lairg,
Presbytery of Dornoch, and also to the Kirk-Session
of Speymouth, to meet during the sitting of the
General Assembly for the purpose of preparing the
roll of the members of the congregation in each
parish for the election and appointment of a
Leave was granted to the Presbytery of Edinburgh
to meet in St George's Church, Edinburgh,
on Sunday the 1st day of June, for the Ordination
of Mr Henry E. Scott, Missionary to Africa.
The General Assembly adjourned at 2.40, to meet
to-morrow at 12 o'clock.
FRIDAY, 23rd May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last Sederunt being in the hands
of Members, were held as read, and were approved
The General Assembly called for the Report of
the Committee on Overtures, which was given in,
read, and approved of.
The applications from Ministers for admission to
the Church, and from Students as to their status as
Students of Divinity, were referred to a Committee
to be nominated by the Committee of Nomination.
Applications for Constitutions to Chapels of Ease
were sent to the Standing Committee on Constitutions.

Rev. JACOB PRIMMER was heard in support of
his appeal from a decision of the Committee on Bills
refusing to transmit a petition for the removing of
images from the High Church of Edinburgh. Mr
Primmer said the petition was signed by 40 Ministers
and 198 Elders and Managers. Last year complaint
was made that the Members did not know
the grounds of the petition. He therefore wished
to state its principal points. The Word of God,
the Standards, and the existing laws and usages of
the Church prohibited and condemned the introducing
and setting up, or keeping and retaining
in, or in connection with Churches, any images or
figures or monuments of idolatry, and the having
or using therein superstitious ornaments, structures,
symbols, or devices, corrupting, or having a tendency
to corrupt, the worship of God. Notwithstanding,
there had been introduced into the Parish Church
of St Giles various graven images, or figures of
superstitious meaning and tendency. In particular,
above the western or main entrance to the Church
there was placed an image or sculptured representation
of St Giles, formerly the so-called patron
saint of the Church, in monastic habit, accompanied
by a doe, and having two figures of angels underneath.
At the sides of the said doorway are images
or statuettes of, among others, certain bishops in
sacerdotal vestments appropriate to their order.
Within the Church, and near the said entrance,
there was an image of a kneeling winged figure,
holding a shell, which was used as the baptismal
font. On a screen, or screen wall, within the Church,
near the northern doorway, were placed ten images,
which are reputed and intended to represent the
so-called patron saints who were before the Reformation
worshipped by the respective guilds of the
city, viz.: - (1) Weavers - St Simon; (2) tailors -
St Ann, with a child; (3) carpenters - St Joseph;
(4) masons or architects - St John; (5) glovers -
St Bartholomew; (6) skinners and tanners - St
Clement; (7) butchers - St Anthony; (8) hammermen
- St Elois; (9) shoemakers - St Crispin; (10)
bakers - St Cuthbert, also in sacerdotal vestments.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT rose to order, and objected to
Mr Primmer entering into the merits of the case.
What they had to consider at present was whether
the appeal should be sustained, and that could be discussed
without going into the body of the petition.
The Rev. JACOB PRIMMER said this was the fourth
time they had appeared before the Assembly. They
believed that they were sincere. They stood there
only for the glory of God and the interest of the
Church. The Committee on Bills had refused to
transmit the petition, on the ground that it had
been already adjudicated upon by the Assembly;
but he held that this Assembly was a different one
from that of last year. He would also point out
that last year Professor Story objected to him speaking,
on the ground that the matter was res judicata;
but the Assembly would not listen to that objection,
and yet it was the principal ground taken by the
Committee this year in refusing to transmit the
petition. Their great desire was to have the question
discussed on its merits; and as long as they
had that case in the New Testament of the importunate
widow going to the judge, they were
entitled to come there each year and ask that the
laws of the Church be vindicated. The Committee
on Bills had refused to transmit his petition, but
they had accepted a petition full of far stronger
statements than were contained in his. He referred
to the Manchester case.
A MEMBER rose to order, and said the Manchester
case had nothing whatever to do with what they
were now considering.
The Rev. J. PRIMMER said he only wished to show
that the gnat of Scotland was not treated in the
same way as the beam of Manchester.
The Rev, Professor STORY said it was incom
petent for a gentleman at the bar to introduce
a petition in another case in support of his own.
The Rev. J. PRIMMER said his object was to show
that a petition full of libellous matter had been
transmitted by the Committee on Bills. The petitioners
had been told on a former occasion to go to
the Presbytery of Edinburgh; but the minister of
St Giles', speaking in Melbourne in 1887, said "the
matter was brought before the Presbytery of Edinburgh,
and the Presbytery laughed it out of Court
as utterly unworthy of notice." The petitioners, as
loyal members of the Church of Scotland, and in
the interests of purity of worship and of God's
eternal truth, claimed that this matter should be
discussed on its merits, so that the people might see
that the Assembly was not acting contrary to the
law of the State as well as the law of the Church.
Professor STORY said he would venture to ask
the House to decide the case in the same sense
as before. Mr Primmer had quite unintentionally
misrepresented the ground taken by the Committee
on Bills. Although it would have been quite a
tenable position, the Committee's decision was not
arrived at on the ground that the matter was res
judicata. The decision was come to on the strictly
legal ground that the General Assembly was not a
Court of first instance, but was a Court of appeal,
and if - as the petition and assertions of Mr Jacob
Primmer bore - a congregation or kirk-session within
the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Edinburgh had
erected superstitious images in their Church, and
had thereby violated the law and practice of the
Church, it was the duty of the Presbytery to take
cognisance of the fact, and deal with the transgressors
as they saw fit. But it was not the duty of the
Assembly to take action on statements of a more
or less random and exaggerated nature. They knew
nothing of the merits of the case, except what was
stated by Mr Primmer on his own authority, and
although they might have a great regard for Mr
Primmer's wisdom and inherent authority, they
were not going to take it as law in this or any other
matter. He moved that the appeal be dismissed,
and the decision of the Committee on Bills affirmed.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, in seconding the motion, said
the Assembly had a very wide door for the petitioners
to pass through, and he was sure the Assembly
would not wish to make that door wider
than at present. Undoubtedly the petition contained
statements more or less libellous, and anything
in the nature of a libel should go before the
proper Court, the Presbytery of Edinburgh. He
could assure Mr Primmer that his case was not
"laughed out of Court" by the Presbytery of Edinburgh.
It was very seriously considered, and a
decision was given in the usual way. The petitioners
had the power of prosecuting their appeal before
the Synod, and of carrying it to the General Assembly.
They had never exhausted their resources,
and until they did so, the Assembly had no right
to listen to them.
There being no counter motion Professor Story's
motion was unanimously agreed to.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT gave in the report on the
order of business so far as arranged, as follows: -
Saturday - 1, Report of Jewish Mission Committee;
2, report of the Committee on Life and Work; 3, Report
of Committee on the Aged and Infirm Ministers'
Fund; 4, Manchester case. Monday - 1, Education
Report; 2, Report of Committee appointed by
last Assembly to petition against the scheme laid
before Parliament for altering constitution of the
Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, along
with the scheme which was now before Parliament,
and which threw upon the Assembly the responsibility
of electing three members of the new
governing body; 4, Report of the Committee on
Sabbath Schools; 5, St James's Church, Glasgow,
Settlement Case; 6, Report of Committee on Collegiate
Charges; 7, Duthil Case. Tuesday - 1, Report
of Home-Mission Committee; 2, Report of
Committee on Non-Church-Going; 3, Report of the
Committee on University Bills - (l) Theological
Tests, (2) General Question; with 4, Overtures
X. and XI. on the Arts Course of Divinity
Students; and 5, the Report on Students Engaging
in the ordinary Ministry of the Word. Wednesday
- Report of Endowment Committee - Report of the
Committee on Church Interests, and the Report
of the Committee on the Carsphairn Case.

The AGENT of the CHURCH (Mr W. J. Menzies)
gave in the Report of the Committee appointed to
consider the commissions from the burgh of Edinburgh.
It stated that after the vote not to elect the
two Commissioners named had been carried in the
Town Council, the majority took no further steps
to elect representatives to the Assembly. The Committee
were of opinion that this motion was made
with the view of preventing the election taking
place. That was an improper motion, and the Committee
were of opinion that it might be disregarded
and the original motion, that the two gentlemen be
elected, held to have been carried. The Committee,
therefore, recommended that the Commissions of the
two representatives be sustained, and the names of
Councillors Miller and Macnaughton added to the
roll of members of the Assembly.
The Report was approved of, and the names of
the two Commissioners from the Town Council of
Edinburgh were ordered to be added to the roll.
The Assembly next took up a dissent and complaint
by the Rev. Dr Hutchison, Banchory
Ternan, against a deliverance of the Presbytery of
Kincardine O'Neil in regard to the election of representatives
to the Assembly. At a meeting of the
Presbytery on 26th March last, the Rev. Mr Neil,
Glengairn; the Rev. Mr Middleton, Glenmuick, and
Mr Argo, Kincardine O'Neil, were proposed as
Commissioners to the Assembly, and Dr Hutchison
was also nominated. Dr Hutchison moved that
the roll be called, in order that the votes of the
members might be divided among the several
nominees, and that the three having the largest
number of votes might be found to have been
elected Commissioners to the Assembly. It was
agreed, however, to take the vote between the two
motions, and the three first-mentioned gentlemen
were elected by 8 to 5. Dr Hutchison dissented,
and complained to the Assembly on the ground that
the vote was not taken in an equitable way, and he
further protested that he should be found entitled
to a seat in the Assembly, on the ground that the
number of votes given in his support was such as
would have secured his election if the vote had
been taken in a proper way. Dr Hutchison also
dissented from the resolution of Presbytery on 7th
May, attesting the Commission.
The Rev. Dr HUTCHISON appeared at the bar in
support of his complaint, and the Rev. Mr Mackenzie,
Aboyne, and the Rev. Mr Dunn, Birse, defended
the judgment of the Presbytery.
The Rev. Mr MACKENZIE, said he wished to be
heard on the question of competency. He was
speaking in so low a tone from the bar that he
could not be heard, and the Moderator requested
him to come forward to the table; but Dr
Hutchison, amid much laughter, complained that
under the new arrangement he was unable to hear,
and he had some interest in the matter. The
difficulty was got over by the parties in the case
being accommodated with a seat near the centre of
the House. Mr Mackenzie proceeded to say that
the dissent from the decision of the Presbytery was
taken on 26th March, and the Synod of Aberdeen,
which met on 8th April, had been ignored by the
petitioner. As that was contrary to the law of the
Church, he asked that the dissent and complaint be
dismissed as incompetent.
The Rev. Dr HUTCHISON pointed out that as the
Presbytery had acquiesced in his dissent and complaint
to the Assembly, it was now too late for them
to raise that objection to the competency. The reason
why he took the complaint direct to the Assembly,
and not through the Synod, was because the
Assembly had a direct and immediate interest in
the making up of the roll of its members. This was
not, so far as he was concerned, a personal matter,
but it was one of great interest and importance.
It was now of very little consequence to him
whether he was a member of Assembly or not.
Time was when it was otherwise, but the election
of representatives within the Presbytery to which he
belonged was so utterly disagreeable that the position
of a Member of that House had not the same
attraction for him now as before. If the decision of
the Presbytery was affirmed, it would create a precedent
of a most unfair and prejudicial character.
A MEMBER pointed out that Dr Hutchison was
going beyond the question of competency.
The Rev. Dr HUTCHISON said they had to consider
whether this little technical objection should be
allowed by the supreme Court of the Church to stand
in the way of redress of what he was prepared to
show was not only a grievous act of wrong, but a
violation of the principle of righteousness. He
therefore asked that the preliminary plea be not sustained,
and that the Assembly should take up the
case on its merits.
The Rev. Mr DUNN, on behalf of the Presbytery,
expressed regret that Dr Hutchison had introduced
contentious matter into what was a purely constitutional
point. There was nothing in the record to
justify his tone and the unfair reflections he had
made on his Presbytery, whose honour and good
name he was bound, with the rest of its members,
to maintain.
The AGENT of the CHURCH said the acquiescence of
the Presbytery in Dr Hutchison's complaint could
not alter the law of the Church, and as Dr Hutchison
had omitted to carry his appeal to the Synod,
he moved as follows: - "That the General Assembly
dismiss the appeal against the judgment of the Presbytery
on 26th March, on the ground that the
appeal should have been taken to the intervening
meeting of Synod; further resolve to hear Dr
Hutchison upon his dissent and complaint on 7th
The motion was seconded.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON, Harray, did not think
the motion of the Agent met the case, as it was only
a dissent and not a complaint that was taken on 7th
May. He moved that the Assembly find that the
complaint ought to have been taken, in the first instance,
to the intervening meeting of Synod, but as
the Presbytery allowed the complaint to be taken
directly to the General Assembly, the objection
on the ground of incompetency should not now be
The Rev. Dr M'LAREN, Larbert, seconded the
Mr JOHN COOK, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder), said
that they could not lightly pass over the irregularity
that the appeal had not been taken to the
Synod, and he moved - "The Assembly sustain the
objection on the ground of competency, and dismiss
the complaint."
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, seconded the
The Rev. THEODORE MARSHALL, Caputh, in moving
that the objection be dismissed, said he was very
doubtful whether the Synod had anything to do
with the election of representatives to the General
Assembly. The Presbytery was instructed by the
Assembly to elect its representatives, and the Synod
had nothing whatever to do with the constitution
of the House.
The Rev. Dr GLOAG, Galashiels, seconded.
The AGENT in reply said they must take the law
as it stood, and there was a decision which left no
doubt in his mind that the appeal should have been
taken to the Synod.
It was agreed that the vote should be taken by
standing up, and that in compliance with the standing
orders the vote should be taken for each of the
four motions in succession; when the vote being
taken it appeared that there voted - Fourth motion,
17. Third motion, 116. Second motion, 18. First
motion, 19. The third motion (Mr Cook's) having
an absolute majority, thus became the judgment of
the House, and the complaint was accordingly found
The Rev. Mr MACKENZIE, on the part of the Presbytery,
acquiesced in the judgment of the General
Assembly, took instruments, and craved extracts,
which were allowed.
Leave was granted to the Tolbooth Congregation
to meet for public worship in the Assembly Hall,
on the 25th May and the 1st June.
At the request of the Rev. R.S. HUTTON, clerk of
the Presbytery of Hamilton, leave was granted to
the Kirk-Session of Garturk to meet during the
sitting of the General Assembly, for the purpose of
making up the roll of the Congregation for the
election and appointment of a Minister of the Parish.
The Rev. William Lockhart, Colinton, and the
Rev. David Hunter, Partick, were appointed to
preach before the Lord High Commissioner in St
Giles' Church on Sunday forenoon and evening
Mr Lockhart and Mr Hunter being present had
intimation made to them accordingly.
The Rev. Professor STORY said that, owing to the
strain on the voice of a preacher in St Giles', it had
been customary for two clergymen to conduct the
service at each diet, the one taking the devotional
part and the other preaching the sermon. He
thought the Assembly should itself appoint both of
these gentlemen, instead of leaving the second
minister to be chosen as at present, and he gave
notice that to-morrow he would move that the Committee
be instructed in their arrangements for the
following Sunday to act on that principle.
Mr T.G. MURRAY, Edinburgh (Elder), submitted
the report of the Joint-Committee on the Schemes
of the Church, which stated that 966 parishes had
made collections for all the six schemes. There
were 19 parishes which had contributed to none of
the six schemes, 13 parishes had contributed to only
one of the schemes, and 29 parishes had contributed
to only two of the schemes. Of the additional
collections ordered by the Assembly, 393 of the
1108 parishes reported upon had made a collection
for each of the four, 329 had given to none, and the
remainder had contributed to the funds Of one or
more of the objects, but not to all. The Committee
reported that under the will of the late Mr George
Buist of Ormiston, Fife, the Church of Scotland had
become entitled to about £2500 for the Propagation
of Christianity in the Established Church of
Scotland, and they asked to be authorised to report
to next General Assembly a scheme for the division
of the fund.
Mr MURRAY moved the following deliverance: -
"The General Assembly approve of the Report,
and thank the Committee.
"The General Assembly commend the Mission
Record and Morning Rays to the support of all the
Ministers and Members of the Church, as a means
of spreading intelligence regarding the Church's
work at home and abroad, and so quickening interest
in that work.
"The General Assembly renew the injunction
made by last Assembly, and quoted in the report, as
to obtaining from Presbyteries information as to the
collections made by appointment of the Assembly.
"The General Assembly instruct the Committee to
present to next Assembly a scheme for the division
of the residue of the estate of the late George
Buist, as proposed in the report."
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS seconded the
motion, and suggested that the committee should
print the names of the parishes which persisted in
declining to make these collections. He saw no
other way of reaching these defaulting parishes.
He recognised the ability with which the Missionary
Record was conducted, but thought it should take
cognisance of the letters from the Female Missions,
so that their Zenana work might be brought under
the notice of the whole of the Church. He suggested
that the Committee be instructed to consider the
possibility of incorporating the publication termed
"The News of Female Missions," in the Missionary
Record, and to report, and he moved the following
addition to the deliverence - " That the Committee
be instructed to consider the possibility of amalgamating
'The News of Female Missions' with the
Mission Record, and if it seem good, to effect the
amalgamation," which was agreed to.
submitted the report of the Colonial Committee,
which mainly described in detail the work carried
on under the Committee's influence in various parts
of the world - Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, India,
Ceylon, Cyprus, South Africa, the West Indies, and
North and South America. In opening, it mentioned
that while there was a decrease of £316, 6s. 4d. in the
income of 1889 as compared with 1888 - largely due
to the fact that an extra collection had been authorised
by the Assembly in 1888 - the Committee had
been able by reduction of expenditure to close the
year with a credit balance of £137, 16s. 3d. In referring
to Australia, it noticed the recent jubilee
celebration of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria,
and the commission which the Assembly last year
gave to the Rev. Dr MacGregor, St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh,
to represent them not only in that particular
Church, but also in the other Presbyterian Churches
of Australia which he might be able to visit. The
Committee felt that such visits as those winch had
been paid by the Rev. Dr Cameron Lees, the Rev.
Dr Marshall Lang, and the Rev. Dr MacGregor -
together with the settlement in recent years of the
Rev. Alexander Marshall, late of Inveresk, in the
Scots Church, Melbourne, must contribute to draw
more closely the Churches of Australasia to the
National Church of Scotland. They were glad to
know that the Rev. A. Wallace Williamson, St
Cuthbert's, was about to proceed to Australia, and
they meant to ask him to represent them, and convey
their cordial greetings to the Presbyterian
Churches he might visit. In alluding to the appointment
of the Earl of Hopetoun as Governor of
Victoria, the report stated - "The Committee cannot
withhold an expression of their deep gratification
that a Scotsman, not only highly respected for
his character and administrative ability, but also
deservedly popular with all classes for his kindness
of heart, amiability of disposition, and courtesy of
manner, should have been chosen for an office so important
and responsible. Moreover, they rejoice
that, for the first time in the history of the colony,
an office-bearer of the Church of Scotland should
fill the position of Governor - an office-bearer
warmly attached to the Church of his fathers, zealous
for her honour, and eager to promote her best
interests. They are gratified to learn that he does
not forget, in the distant land to which he has gone,
that Church to which his ancestors belonged, and to
which some of them on important occasions rendered
signal service, and that he is a regular worshipper
with the Scots Congregation in Melbourne." In
connection with the New Zealand Presbyterian
Church, the necessity of upholding the material
support given to it from the mother country was
insisted upon. The incorporation of the Church in
the island of Fiji with the Presbytery of Melbourne
was adverted to. Under the head of India, it was
recommended that Quetta be adopted as one of the
Committee's stations, in addition to Meerat, Mhow,
and Rawalpindi, and that the Rev. James Shaw,
now successfully labouring there, be taken over and
recognised as a Minister of the Church of Scotland
during the time he is in the employment of the
Committee. Particulars were given in regard to the
grants to British Columbia, Ceylon, Cyprus, Mauritius,
South America, and the West Indies. Concerning
the West Indies, the constitution of a Presbytery
of Jamaica, including the island of Grenada,
was noted. Later on it was stated that the Committee,
having had laid before them the remit of the
last General Assembly anent the English work at
Alexandria, with all the documents and information
which had been obtained from the Convener of the
Jewish Mission Committee, after careful deliberation,
came to the resolution that, while they recognised
the great importance of the work, and felt
that it was one which might reasonably be held to
fall under the supervision of the Committee - yet,
on account of the condition of their funds, the difficulty
they experienced in meeting their liabilities,
and also of the additional claims which they were
aware would be made on them during the course of
the present year, they deeply regretted that in the
meantime they could not see their way to take it
over. The opinion, however, was expressed that at
some future period, if their income was larger, they
would be in a position to reconsider their resolution.
In drawing their report to a close the Committee
stated - "The object of the Colonial Committee,
from its establishment fifty-four years ago, has been
to carry to Presbyterians, and especially to Scottish
Presbyterians, in the far-off dependencies of the
Empire, the blessings of the Gospel of grace, and
to aid them in maintaining religious ordinances after
the manner to which they and their fathers had been
accustomed at home. That they have succeeded to
a great extent in doing this, there is ample proof,
furnished by the large, influential, and living
Churches which, in Australia, New Zealand, and
Canada, have sprung into existence under their
fostering care, and by the flourishing congregations
in the scattered islands of the sea, and in the great
continent of India - congregations which could not
have been gathered together had it not been for the
help afforded by your Committee." Mr Williamson,
in submitting the report, went over the details
it presented in reference to the various spheres of
the Committee's operations. In alluding to the
recent jubilee celebration of the Presbyterian
Church of Victoria, and to the appointment of the
Earl of Hopetoun to the Governorship of that
colony, a nobleman whose name, he said, could
never be mentioned without respect and affection
in that Assembly, to which, for some years, he had
been Her Majesty's representative, he remarked
that he was sure it was their earnest hope and
prayer that his lordship might long be preserved in
health and strength, and that he might in after years
be enabled to devote his great abilities to the service
of his sovereign. Mr Williamson dwelt on the importance
of the Colonial Scheme in all its branches,
and in concluding said that if the Church of Scotland
would rightly regard this Colonial Mission, it
would see that it was of vast importance that it
should be maintained, that its influence should be
increased, that its usefulness should be extended,
and that it should endeavour to meet the wants of
their Scottish colonists in every part of the world.
And if ever there was a time when it was necessary
to bind still more closely together the Church at
home to the Presbyterian Churches of the colonies,
this surely was the time; for they had heard very
recently strange and ominous words proceeding
from a quarter that had hitherto maintained either
a strict silence or given utterance to enigmatical
sentences which no one could understand, telling
them that there was danger before the old Church
of Scotland, that Church which they considered the
best and the purest, that Church on which the
blessing of God had rested in the past as it rested
in the present; and if the day of trial came, certain
he was of this, that their friends in the colonies,
the sons and daughters of the Church of Scotland,
would not leave that Church alone to engage in the
struggle, but would rise up to aid in defending the
integrity of the National Church, and in transmitting
it unimpaired to the generations that were to
The Rev. Dr MACGREGOR, St Cuthbert's, Edinburgh,
then addressed the Assembly on the result
of the mission deputed to him by last Assembly to
represent the Church at the celebration of the
jubilee of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria.
One thing which struck him in regard to the people
of Australia and New Zealand was their insatiable
thirst for speeches. But he believed they were
actuated in this by the desire to see the face and
hear the voice of a man fresh from the dear old
land. In New Zealand the Presbyterian Church
held a very prominent place. There was a great
future before that country if they would only not
go further into debt. As to the jubilee proceedings
in Victoria, he described that as no mere sectarian
act of congratulation. It was a profound homage to
Almighty God for all the goodness He had shown
to them, and an expression of their determination
to do their best in the future as they had done in
the past, to make the continent of Australia from
Cape York to Wilson Promontory the kingdom of
God and of His Christ. And they made it no mere
barren celebration, for in connection with the
Jubilee, a sum of £120,380 would be raised for religious
purposes. An impulse had gone from those
meetings over the length of Victoria and to the extreme
parts of the Australian Continent that would
last probably for a generation. He was thankful to
be standing there and to state his conviction,
founded not upon mere observation but from a careful
examination of statistics, that in that young land
in Victoria, in all the Colonies, and in New Zealand,
the religious sentiment ranked as high as it did at
home. He had no fear of the future of these lands.
Young nations were naturally inclined to take a
materialistic view of life, but, among many other
factors working for the public good, he was glad to
think that religion and education stood highest.
There were thousands of laymen in these young
lands who realised to the full the responsibility lying
on their shoulders as the makers of a new empire,
and in a sense of a new race, to keep the nation in
the formative period of its youth true to those unchanging
conditions of righteousness and the fear
of the Lord on which all solid national prosperity
must ever depend. He might also be allowed to
say one word expressive of his high admiration of
the clergymen whom he met in that southern world,
and not least of the race of young ministers, the
native product of the soil. All the older and many
of the younger ministers came from the old country,
and from the three Presbyterian Churches of the
old country. In all his intercourse with them he
had never heard a single word that was not of profound
respect for the dear old Church of Scotland.
In this connection Dr MacGregor went on to say
that he was sorry Dr Rainy had come back apparently
not a bit better in his views on ecclesiastical
polity. If those political Free Church and
United Presbyterian ministers who were backing
its opponents up in the endeavour to lay the
Church of Scotland low with the ground, and to
entail bitterness and misery in Scotland for another
fifty years or more were transplanted to that
southern world, and had a few years' experience of
colonial life, he ventured to doubt if there was one
who would lift his little finger in that direction.
Alluding to the trouble through which the Victorian
Church had recently passed, and which had
been felt in the remotest hamlets in Australia, Dr
MacGregor read the following letter from the Rev.
James Lyall, an influential minister: -
23rd September 1889.
"MY DEAR DR MACGREGOR, - I cannot allow you
to leave the Colony without expressing to you formally
in writing what I have already said to you in
private, as to my estimate of the exceeding value
of the services rendered to the Presbyterian Church
of Victoria, and to the cause of evangelical religion
in the Colony by the Church of Scotland. I do so all
the more readily, that although I have watched the
contendings of the Church in Victoria during recent
years with the deepest interest and sympathy, I have
in no way been mixed with its proceedings. I may
further say that I belonged originally to the U.P.
Church, and that, were I to return to the Motherland,
I should undoubtedly seek my spiritual home
within her bosom.
"You will understand, therefore, that you have
the testimony of a disinterested observer when I
say that, in my opinion, the service which has been
done by the Church of Scotland in sending out Dr
Cameron Lees, Dr Marshall Lang, and (you will
allow me to say) yourself, has been simply invaluable.
It is a service which no other Church could
have rendered so well; and in my opinion it is a
service the beneficial results of which may last for a
"About four years ago I travelled a good deal in
Victoria and had an opportunity of judging of the
sentiments of a considerable number of people. At
that time the tide of public opinion ran very
strongly against the Presbyterian Church of that
Colony, and the doctrines she maintains. Men,
venerable for their character and ability, were held
up to scorn by the leading organs of the press, as
well as in private.
"So far as I am capable of judging, the tide has
completely turned the other way. The success of
the Jubilee Fund, and the enthusiasm of the recent
meetings, along with other things, may be regarded
as proofs of this; and I do believe that this very
pleasing change is, under God, largely owing to the
influence exerted by the deputies from the Church
of Scotland.
"May our gracious Lord abundantly bless you
and the venerable Church of which you and the
two other men I have named have been such
worthy representatives. - I am, yours truly,
"(Signed) JAMES LYALL."
The Rev. JAMES STUART, Jamaica, gave an account
of mission work in that island.
The Rev. Mr M'Leod, Little Narrows, Cape
Breton, also addressed the Assembly as a representative
from the Presbyterian Church in
The Rev. T.B.W. NIVEN, Pollokshields, moved
the following deliverance: -
"The General Assembly approve of the Report,
record their thanks to the Committee and the Convener
for their diligence; reappoint the Committee
with the usual powers - Rev. Alex. Williamson to
be Convener. The General Assembly further record
their gratification that the work of the Committee
has been most satisfactorily carried on during
the past year.
"The General Assembly rejoice that the visits
of several prominent ministers to the colonies of
Australasia have been productive of great benefit
in drawing still closer the bonds of union between
the Presbyterian Churches there and the Church of
Scotland; and they learn with extreme gratification
that these Churches are growing in prosperity and
influence; that the number of their members is
increasing; and that a large measure of success has
attended their labours for the spread of the Gospel.
The General Assembly approve of the institution
of the Presbytery of Jamaica, and also of the appointment
which the Committee have made to
Quetta; and they are gratified that the Committee
have been able to lay on the table a Report which
bears ample testimony to the arduous, self-denying,
and successful work of all their agents in the
colonies and dependencies of the empire.
"The General Assembly, considering that the funds
of the Committee will not, at present, permit them
to take over the English-speaking work at Alexandria,
under the charge of the Jewish Mission, approve
of the decision to which, in the meantime,
they have come, in the hope at some future period
they may be in a position to reconsider their resolution.

"The General Assembly earnestly trust that all
ministers will give their people an opportunity of
contributing to the Colonial Mission, and that the
members and friends of the Church of Scotland will
aid the Committee to the utmost of their power in
promoting the moral and spiritual welfare of
Presbyterian colonists wherever they may be
Mr NIVEN, in speaking to this resolution, questioned
whether the Church of Scotland could consider
it did its duty in contributing a sum of £4500
or so annually in promoting the spiritual interests
of their fellow Presbyterians in the colonies. The
power of the Church of Scotland at the present day
had never been adequately gauged. If 500,000 of
the communicants of the Church would contribute
a half-penny a month to the Colonial Committee's
funds it would have £12,500 to give to colonial
work, and that would leave between 80,000 and
90,000 communicants out of account altogether.
He could not conceive that the present state of
matters was owing to unwillingness on the part of
the people to contribute; he considered there was
a want of organisation somewhere.
Mr W. OGILVY DALGLEISH, of Errol Park (Elder),
in seconding the adoption of the deliverance,
pointed to the special interest and importance of
the work carried on by the Colonial Committee.
The motion was adopted.
At the request of the House the Moderator conveyed
the thanks of the House to Mr Stewart and
Mr Macleod for their interesting addresses.
The Rev. Dr MITCHELL, South Leith, presented
the report of the Sub-Committee of the Colonial
Committee on Continental Chaplaincies. It stated
that the experiment which had been made of
attempting to carry on the summer Chaplaincies by
private contributions alone had proved that this
was not sufficient to carry on that branch of their
work with either satisfaction to themselves or a
due regard to the wants of particular districts.
With the exception of Homburg, which was occasionally
self-supporting, every other station had
hitherto needed large subsidies, and had for the
time been abandoned. That these others were not
the most suitable was evident from the fact that
though the field was now open, other Churches have
not stepped in to occupy them. The truth was,
that stations which were at one time popular had
ceased to be so, and other quarters had come to be
frequented in large numbers, so that it would be
necessary for the Committee to be in a position
from time to time to make a trial for a season or
two at some likely locality. But this could not be
done without some funds in hand to enable the
experiment to be made. In this way, it was
believed, from the knowledge possessed by the
Committee of the most crowded Continental summer
resorts, the Church would be adequately represented,
and the spiritual wants of her members
sufficiently ministered to. One collection authorised
by the Assembly, if at all liberally responded to,
would enable the Committee to carry on the work
at six different stations for several years, and it
was just possible that the interest on the collection
would be almost sufficient for their purpose. Apart
altogether from the good work done by the Chaplains,
it was not to the credit of the Church of
Scotland, nor to her strength, that those of other
communions who visited the Continent should find
that she did so little by voluntary effort to provide
for the spiritual welfare of her sons and daughters
who were abroad. The report of the two permanent
Chaplaincies at Paris and Dresden was of the
most satisfactory character. Chiefly in consequence
of the International Exhibition, the attendance
and collections at the Church in Paris have been far
in excess of former years. In Dresden throughout
the past year, although the number of visitors was
not so large, owing, it was supposed, to the Paris
Exhibition, the collections at Church showed an
increase on any previous year since Mr Bowden's
settlement. Dr Mitchell, in presenting the Report,
expressed the opinion that if they were to carry on
this work in a manner worthy of the Church of
Scotland they would require a somewhat more
extensive sphere than at present in the way of
stations. He thought it would be a great advantage
if they had a couple of winter stations.
The Rev. Dr GRAY, Liberton, moved the following
deliverance: - "The General Assembly approve
of the Report, reappoint the Committee as a subsection
of the Colonial Scheme, and recommend the
case to the favourable consideration of the Finance
Mr A.D.M. BLACK, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
seconded the deliverance, which was adopted.
The Rev. THEODORE MARSHALL, Caputh, presented
the Report of the Sub-Committee of the
Colonial Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains,
which stated that during the past year the work of
the Committee had been carried on on the same
plan, and, with one exception, in the same places,
and by the same Agents, as reported to last General
Assembly. Several matters, more or less directly
affecting the welfare of our soldiers and sailors, had
been brought under the notice of the Committee,
and had formed subject of correspondence with the
Authorities of the War Office and Admiralty.
Among these matters might be mentioned the withdrawal,
in the last issue of the Queen's Regulations
and Admiralty Instructions, of the privilege formerly
granted to Ministers of the Church of Scotland
of celebrating marriages on board Her
Majesty's ships. The attention of the proper
authorities had been directed to the matter, and the
Committee would endeavour to have the disability
which had been occasioned, as they are convinced,
through no hostility to the Church of Scotland, removed
at the first opportunity. The Committee had
again to express their sense of the courtesy of the
Military and Naval Authorities, and of their readiness
to consider any suggestions made by them, as representing
the Church of Scotland, for the better supply
of the religious wants of our soldiers and sailors.
In tabling the report Mr MARSHALL mentioned
that the withdrawal of the privilege of celebrating
marriages on board Her Majesty's ships had reference
purely to some question connected with the
Civil Law of England, and in no way interfered
with the rights and duties of the Church in ministering
to Presbyterian sailors in the navy. He had no
doubt that if the Committee received the authority
and support of the General Assembly they would
be successful in having the disability complained of
removed. Passing to the main part of the Report,
Mr Marshall stated that he was thankful to present
to the General Assembly the record of much good
work quietly but efficiently performed by a body of
Chaplains well qualified for the duties entrusted to
them, and who by the manner in which they devoted
themselves to these duties won the confidence of
both officers and men. He asked the Ministers and
Members of the Church to interest themselves in
the work of the Chaplains, and particularly requested
them to try and enlist the sympathies of any
of their friends who were officers at the Stations
served by the Church in the work of the Chaplains.
He concluded by moving the following deliverance:
- " The General Assembly receive the Report of
their Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains;
express their satisfaction that so much efficient work
is done among Presbyterian Soldiers and Sailors,
and reappoint the Committee - the Rev. Theodore
Marshall, Convener - with the powers conferred on
them by former General Assemblies, with instructions
to continue their endeavours to have the position
formerly occupied by Ministers of the Church
of Scotland in reference to the celebration of
marriages on board Her Majesty's ships restored,
and to use all the means in their power to promote
and manifest the interest of the Church of Scotland
in all that concerns the religious and moral welfare
of Scottish Presbyterians in the Army and Navy."
SIR WILLIAM BAILLIE of Polkemmet (Elder)
seconded the deliverance, which was adopted.
The General Assembly held a Diet of Prayer.
The Rev. Dr. M'Murtrie conducted the Devotional
Services of the Assembly.
Mr EDMUND BAXTER, W.S. (Elder), submitted
the Report of the Finance Committee, with which
was submitted an abstract of their accounts for the
year ending 31st December 1889, in which the
accounts of the Committee on Psalmody and Hymns
for the same period were incorporated. At that
date there was a balance due by the Committee of
£119, 11s. 5d., and as they had a credit balance of
£246, 18s. 9d. at the beginning of the year, the
Committee expended during the year £366, 10s. 2d.
more than they received. The sum received by the
Committee as royalties from the publishers of the
Scottish Hymnal, after deducting the expenses of
the Committee on Psalmody and Hymns for the
year, amounted to £546, 12s. 4d. - being upwards of
£300 less than was received during the previous
year. It must be anticipated that these royalties
would in future continue to diminish, and unless
the Committee were to receive funds from other
sources, it would be necessary that their expenditure
be curtailed. They reminded the Assembly
that eight years had elapsed since they had had
the benefit of a general collection in aid of their
funds. Having regard to the financial position of
the Committee, and the prospective claims upon
them, it was submitted that the Assembly ought
now to authorise a general collection. In reference
to last year's remit of Assembly "to ascertain to
what extent glebes are burdened with a liability in
respect of loans from drainage companies; how far
this practice is consistent with the interests of the
Church; and in cases where loans have been
incurred by a previous incumbent, whether anything
can be done to relieve the existing minister,"
the Committee reported that after a careful perusal
of the information laid before them, they were of
opinion that, except in one or two cases - such as
Urquhart, where the transaction had been unfortunate
and not for the benefit of the glebe - there
were no cases of hardship, and that in many instances
the money which had been advanced had
been of the greatest benefit to the glebes. The
Committee were of opinion that there was no
occasion for further inquiry into the matter. In
tabling the report, he moved the following deliverance:
- " Approve the Report of the Finance Committee,
and continue the Committee with all former
powers. Further, the General Assembly resolve
that in future they will not entertain any application
for a grant from the funds of the Finance
Committee, unless the application shall have been
previously submitted to the Committee and reported
on by them. Further, appoint a collection to be
made in aid of the funds of the Committee, and
remit to the Joint Committee on the Schemes to
fix a suitable date for this collection." Mr Baxter,
in speaking to the motion, indicated the opinion
that the Finance Committee was not in a proper
position, in having such limited funds at its
The Rev. Dr GRAY, Liberton, seconded the
deliverance, which was agreed to.
The Rev. Dr RANKIN, Muthill, submitted the Report
of the Committee on Psalmody and Hymns.
The sales of the "Scottish Hymnal," he stated,
numbered 181,000; of the "Book of the Psalms
and Paraphrases, with tunes, 5000; "Children's
Hymnal," nearly 17,000; "Anthem Book," 1400;
"Prose Psalter," 2000, making the total sale 207,000
copies. This was the simplest and strongest testimony
to the success of the work done under him
who was at once the Convener of the Committee and
Moderator of the Assembly. The total sales of the
old Hymnal had been a million and a quarter. The
sales since the new Hymnal was issued had been
three-quarters of a million within a few years; so
that it came near to an equality with the old
Hymnal during the long course of twenty years. In
this way they had the testimony of the Church in a
simple arithmetical form to the success of the more
recent work. The Committee had been engaged during
the year solely in the preparation of the new
Anthem Book, the completion of which they had
hoped to be able to intimate to the Assembly. The
whole work, however, had been beset with difficulty.
It was found that, to render the collection
first-class, many anthems of which the copyright
belonged to Messrs Novello & Co., London, would
require to be included, and accordingly for that
purpose negotiations were entered into with these
gentlemen. The only terms, however, such which
Messrs Novello would agree were such as were
practically prohibitive. The Committee, therefore,
had had no alternative but to proceed with the
selection of anthems other than those belonging to
Messrs Novello, and they have nearly completed
their work. The proof-sheets were now coming
rapidly forward, and it was proposed that the book
should be published at 4s. The book about to be
issued, besides giving music for all the pieces contained
in it, will give the full list of pieces originally
selected by the Committee from Messrs Novello's
publications, so that such congregations as desire
can extend their choice. A great step in advance
would be made, Dr Rankin said, if he could persuade
Ministers and influential Elders to have done
altogether with the old book, not that he wished to
say one word unfavourable to it, but they could get,
at a cheaper rate, the larger collection which contained
all the hymns in the smaller book, and it
would be unnecessary to give out the numbers in
both books. Then, the Committee had got a version
of the prose Psalms pointed for chanting, and
an excellent selection of chants.
Sir CHARLES DALRYMPLE, M.P., moved the
following: - "The General Assembly receive the
Report, and thank the Committee for their diligence;
reappoint the Committee as follows: -
General Committee. - Revs. John Alison, D.D.,
Edinburgh; A.K.H. Boyd, D.D., LL.D., St
Andrews; Robert Buchanan, Dunbar; James
Cooper, M.A., Aberdeen; James Coullie, B.D.,
Pencaitland; Alex. Galloway, B.D., Minto; M.H.
N. Graham, Maxton; J. Kemp, Blairgowrie; J C.
Lees, D.D., LL.D., Edinburgh; Thomas Leishman,
D.D., Linton; Geo. Marjoribanks, B.D., Stenton;
J.R.M. Mitchell, B.A. Cantab., Aberdeen; Prof.
Mitchell, D.D., St Andrews; J. Mackintosh, B.D.,
Uddingston; Donald Macleod, D.D., Glasgow;
John Macleod, D.D., Govan; J. M'Murtrie, D.D.,
Edinburgh; J. Paton, B.A., St Paul's, Glasgow;
J. Rankin, D.D., Muthill; A.F. Smart, Chirnside;
R. N. Smith, Haddington; Prof. R.H. Story, D.D;
E. Lytton Thompson, D.D., Hamilton; W. W.
Tulloch, B.D., Glasgow; David Watson, Glasgow;
J.G. Young, D.D., Monifieth; Thomas Young,
RD., Ellon; Sir Alexander Kinloch, Bart.; J. M.
Bell, Esq., W.S.; Lewis Bilton, Esq., W.S.; J.J.
Richardson, Esq.; C. Baxter, W.S., Secretary.
Editorial Committee. - Revs. John Alison, D.D.,
Edinburgh; A.K.H. Boyd, D.D., LL.D., St
Andrews; Robert Buchanan, Dunbar; James
Cooper, M.A., Aberdeen; James Coullie, B.D.,
Pencaitland; Alex. Galloway, B.D., Minto; M.
H.N. Graham, Maxton; J. Kemp, Blairgowrie;
J. C. Lees, D.D., LL.D., Edinburgh; G. Marjoribanks,
B.D., Stenton; Prof. Mitchell, D.D., St
Andrews; J.R.M. Mitchell, B.A. Cantab., Aberdeen;
J. Mackintosh, B.D., Uddingston; Donald
Macleod, D.D., Glasgow; John Macleod, D.D.,
Govan; J. M`Murtrie, D.D., Edinburgh; J. Paton,
B.A., Glasgow; J. Rankin, D.D., Muthill; R. N.
Smith, Haddington; Prof. R.H. Story, D.D.; E.
Lytton Thompson, D.D., Hamilton; W. W. Tulloch,
B.D., Glasgow; David Watson, Glasgow; Sir
Alexander Kinloch, Bart.; C. Baxter, W.S., Secretary;
- Dr Boyd to be Convener of both Committees:
Instruct the Committee to complete and issue the
Revised Anthem Book at their earliest convenience.
The Committee is farther authorised to make small
grants of their publications in special cases." He
congratulated the Committee on the admirable collection
of hymns they had prepared, which he knew
was highly approved by many excellent judges. He
wished to take the opportunity of referring to the
loss which the Christian Church had sustained by
the death of Dr Horatius Bonar. It was the
greatest tribute to him that his hymns were on
every one's lips. He did not believe that people
either in England or Scotland were aware of the
authorship of many of those hymns.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, in seconding the
motion, expressed a hope that the Committee would
endeavour to make room in the collection for one
of the oldest hymns of the Christian Church - the
Creed of Nicea.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, regretted that the
arrangement proposed with Messrs Novello & Co.
could not be carried out, as in consequence the
anthem book would be deprived of some of the
very best music. It occurred to him that by a
simple method something might be done to retain
some of the advantages of the former arrangement.
He had no doubt that the Committee intended to
print anthem books without music. Now, if they
were to print the words of particular anthems, and
indicate the source from which the music could be
taken, that would enable individual Churches to
acquire the music, and thereby to provide an enlarged
anthem book for themselves. If that was
not done there were Churches which would continue
to do what was being done by Churches in Glasgow
already, namely to draw up their own anthem book.
Mr F.W. ALLAN, Glasgow (Elder), said he desired,
on behalf of those interested in Sabbath
Schools, to thank the Committee for having supplied
in the children's hymnal a much-felt want.
The motion was then adopted.
The Rev. JOHN PATON, Dumfries, submitted the
Report of the Committee on Aids to Devotion, which
stated that the Committee had revised the edition
of "Prayers for Social and Family Worship" submitted
to last Assembly, and had published an
edition of 2000, together with a similar edition of
"Prayers for Family Worship." The Committee;
had substituted the word "debts" for "trespasses"
in the Lord's Prayer, and had made a few alterations
to meet suggestions by leading members of
last Assembly, but otherwise the book was the
The Rev. THEODORE MARTIN, Caputh, moved the
following deliverance: - "Receive the Report, reappoint
the Committee, with the addition of the
name of Dr Gray - Dr MacGregor, Convener, and
Mr Paton, Vice-Convener, with instructions to continue
the work of revision and amendment of the
Book of Devotion, and with permission, if they see
fit, to publish the same, it being understood that in
the meantime the books so published have only the
sanction of the Committee."
Mr TURNBULL SMITH, C.A., Edinburgh (Elder),
seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
The Rev. JAMES WILLIAMSON, The Dean, Edinburgh,
submitted the Report of the Committee on
Indian Churches: -
The Report began by expressing regret at
the loss sustained by the death of Mr Jollie,
Senior Chaplain of the Church of Scotland Madras
Establishment. During his term of service he
ministered at Secunderabad, with the 72nd Highlanders
in the Afghan war, at Bangalore, and
Madras, with the greatest acceptance. The Rev.
Robert A. Stevenson, Assistant in St Stephen's
Church, Glasgow, had been appointed by Lord
Cross as Assistant Chaplain on the Madras Establishment.
The other Chaplains are Rev. G.W.
Manson, Rev. Alex. Ferrier, Rev. John Taylor, and
Rev. Thos. Scott, and details were given of their
work in Bengal, Madras, and Bombay. It was
impossible, the Report said, to overestimate the
importance of the work of Ministers of our own
and other Churches in labouring to bring our
countrymen, who are living in the midst of the
millions of Hindus and Mohammedans, to be earnest,
godly Christians. It would be to the condemnation
of our countrymen in India who professed themselves
followers of Jesus Christ, if, by their ungodly
conduct, there should be created a prejudice against
Christianity in the minds of the natives of India
which would prevent them from embracing our
holy religion; but, on the other hand, if all our
countrymen in India, in all professions, civil and
military, in Government or private service, in presidency
towns, military stations, on our railways, on
tea and coffee plantations, indigo factories, &c., were
living epistles of Christ, animated with His Spirit,
following His example, endeavouring to advance
His Kingdom, they would be well-pleasing to God;
they would thereby not only bring the greatest
blessings to themselves in the salvation of their own
souls, but also to their heathen and Mohammedan
fellow-subjects, in giving them this demonstration
of the superiority of Christianity over their religions.
If the 300,000 Europeans and Eurasians now living
in India were devoted Christians, the evangelization
of India would not be far distant; India would
soon be "a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of our God."
The Rev. Dr HERDMAN, Melrose, moved the
following deliverance: - " 1. That the General
Assembly approve the Report, reappoint the Com.-
mittee with the usual powers - the Rev. James.
Williamson, Convener. 2. The General Assembly
have heard, with much regret, of the death of the
Rev. James Jollie, Senior Chaplain, Madras, and
desire that an expression of their sympathy be conveyed
to the widow and children of Mr Jollie in the
bereavement which they have sustained. 3. The
General Assembly have learned with much satisfaction
that the former edition of the 'Prayers for
Social and Family Worship,' prepared by the Committee
on 'Aids to Devotion,' has been so useful to
our countrymen in India when deprived of the
services of a Presbyterian Minister. The General
Assembly trust that the revised edition will be
equally if not more useful, and commend it to our
Chaplains and Acting-Chaplains for use among the
Presbyterians 'scattered abroad,' and destitute of a
fixed pastor, to enable them to have religious
services in the form to which they have been
accustomed. 4. The General Assembly renew the
expression of their sense of the kindness of the
Ministers mentioned in the Report, who have supplemented
the labours of our Chaplains in affording
divine service at stations not occupied by them, and
are glad to learn that the Government of India
continue to give grants-in-aid to those Ministers for
their valuable services."
Speaking to the motion, Dr HERDMAN said that
looking at the whole field of India, he thought they
had good reason for congratulation. He doubted if
it was sufficiently known to what a great extent the
Church of Scotland, by means of her regular Chaplains
and a number of subsidised Ministers, met the
spiritual destitution of Scotsmen in India. But
with all their work there still remained ample room
for such organisations as the Anglo-Indian Evangelisation
Society, which had a large field of labour
in the tea and coffee plantations, the collieries, and
jute factories of India.
Mr J.T. MACLAGAN, Edinburgh (Elder), seconded
the motion, which was adopted
The AGENT moved, as following on the decision
of the General Assembly this forenoon, in the
case of Kincardine O'Neil, "That the Commission
to the Representatives of that Presbytery, already
before the House, be sustained, and that the names
of these Representatives be added to the Roll."
The General Assembly adjourned at 5.35 P.M. to
meet to-morrow at eleven o'clock.
Saturday, 24th May 1990.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The minutes of last sederunt being in the hands
of Members, were held as read, and were approved of.
Synod books were called for, when the following
were given in: - The Books of Perth and Stirling,
Glasgow and Ayr, Fife, and Orkney. The following
Committees were appointed to examine them: -
Books of Perth and Stirling - Rev. Mr Hewison,
Convener; Rev. James Dick, Robert Blair, Esq.
Books of Glasgow and Ayr - Rev. Mr Reid, Monikie,
Convener; Rev. John Watt, Andrew Lowson,
Esq. Books of Fife - Rev. David Morrison,
Convener; Rev. Jardine Wallace, and M.G.
Thorburn, Esq. Books of Orkney - Rev. T.B.W.
Niven, Convener; Rev. Robert Pryde, W.H.
Dunlop, Esq.
On the recommendation of the Nomination
Committee, the following was appointed a Committee
on Applications from other Churches
and Students of Divinity: - Dr Gloag, Dr Dykes,
Dr Snodgrass, Dr Menzies, Dr Young, Dr Joass,
Dr Taylor, the Rev. Messrs D. Morrison, T.J.
Marjoribanks, George Cook, Alexander Lawson,
M'Kerron, Workman, Paton, Lee Kerr, J.F.
M'Pherson, A. Watt, D. Hunter, T. Marshall, G.
Simpson, H. Ranken, N. M'Michael, and W.D.
Herald; the Viscount Dalrymple, James Wallace,
Esq.; Alexander M'Pherson, Esq.; W.F. Allan,
Esq.; Sheriff Cheyne, John A. Trail, Esq.; Professor
Scott Lang - Dr Watt, Convener.
The Rev. Dr GLOAG, Galashiels, on behalf of the
Committee appointed for that purpose, submitted
the following reply to the Queen's letter: - "May
it please your Majesty, - We, your Majesty's loyal
and dutiful subjects, the Ministers and Elders of
the Church of Scotland, now met together in
General Assembly, beg with all reverence and submission
to acknowledge receipt of your Majesty's
gracious letter. We have to return our most
grateful thanks for the continued expression which
it contains of your Majesty's attachment to the
Church of Scotland, an attachment which has been
shown not in word only, but repeatedly in deeds.
We beg to assure your Majesty that you have not
in all your dominions a more loyal and devoted
body of subjects than the Office-Bearers and
Members of the Church of Scotland. We render
thanks to Almighty God for your Majesty's long
and prosperous reign, and it is our earnest prayer
that you may be spared for many years to come to
be a continued blessing to this nation, with all its
colonies and dependencies, and to the Empire of
India. We hail with much satisfaction the appointment
of the Most Noble the Marquis of Tweeddale
as your Majesty's Representative to this General
Assembly, and have to express our confidence that
he will be able to report to your Majesty a favourable
account of our proceedings. We accept with
all thankfulness your Majesty's gift of £2000 for
the diffusion of Christian knowledge in the Highlands
and Islands, and beg to assure your Majesty
that we shall expend it in such a manner as will
secure your Majesty's approval."
The Reply was adopted, and his Grace the Lord
High Commissioner undertook, at the request of the
Assembly, to present the letter to Her Majesty.
The Rev. Dr STORY moved that the Committee
be instructed in arranging for the Sunday Services
in the High Church to nominate two Ministers
for each diet - one to conduct the Devotional
Services, and the other to preach. Leave was
granted to the Committee to meet in the Business
Room for this purpose at one o'clock to-day.
The Rev. Dr STORY, at the request of the
Moderator of the Kirk-Session of Mauchline, asked
leave for that Kirk-Session to meet on Monday,
which was granted.
Rev. Dr ALISON, Newington, Edinburgh, gave in
the Report of the Committee on the Conversion of
the Jews. It stated that the numbers in attendance
at the Schools were nearly as large as could be accommodated.
There were 1761 children enrolled
during the year, of whom 1165-361 boys and 804
girls—were Jewish, as compared with 1040 the
previous year. The progress of the Sunday Schools
at the several Stations was very significant and encouraging.
They were well attended by Jewish
children, and their attendance was solely for the
purpose of receiving religious instruction. Many
Jewish parents preferred the Christian Schools to
their own, not merely because of their good general
education, but because their children were religiously
taught. The Medical Mission continued to
be a popular and successful part of their operations,
and nothing had tended more to gain the confidence
of the Jews, who in large numbers availed themselves
of the dispensary and the visits of the
Missionary. The Agents of the Mission continued
to tell of the increasing friendliness of the Jews - of
their desire for the education given in the Schools,
which they knew to be distinctively Christian; of
their special evidence of willingness to receive
Christian instruction in sending their children in
large numbers to the Sunday Schools; of statements
frequently made that they were already convinced of
the Messiahship of Jesus, but were not prepared to
break off from their people by submitting to
baptism; and of increasing tolerance of the Jew
who had become Christian. No baptisms of adults
had been reported during the year. One family
would have been baptised but for the absence on
furlough of the Ordained Missionary, who intends
to baptise them at an early date. By those who
insist on measuring success by the number of baptised
converts, the year might unwarrantably be
described as one of failure; but to those who regarded
the work as one the end and times of which
were with God, the open doors and hearts that
invited their Christian ministrations, and the great
change in the spirit of the people consequent on the
work of years past, were their tokens of blessing
and calls to proceed. The Committee recommended
that, in view of the altered circumstances of the
Mission, arising mainly from its success in its distinctive
purpose of gaining access to and influencing
Jews, the policy of the future should be changed by
eliminating English pastoral work, in so far as that
could be done without injury to religious interests;
and by giving more attention to preaching to Jews,
and to following up the work of the Schools as well
as of the Medical Mission by means of visitation of
Jews at their homes, and other modes of evangelization.
At Alexandria and Beyrout the Pastorate of
the English congregations required most, if not the
whole, of the time and strength of the Ordained
Missionaries, to the neglect of the distinctive work
of the Jewish Mission. At Alexandria, St Andrew's
Church and the Harbour Mission should now be
put by the General Assembly under some Committee
charged with work among English speaking people.
At Beyrout, notice should at once be given to the
American Presbyterian Church Board of Missions
that at the end of twelve months the Church's
Ordained Missionary there would cease to act as
Pastor of the Anglo-American Congregation. To
enable the children to retain that which they had
got at School, and to help them in their religious
growth, their teachers, or others equally capable,
should be put into a position to follow them into
their homes and maintain friendly intercourse with
them. The income for the year was £7803, 0s. 10d.,
but from that had to be deducted £601, 0s. 3d. of
contributions for special purposes, and £73, 4s. 1d.
of interest charged for over-drafts on the bank
account, leaving the sum of £7128, 16s. 6d. applicable
to the general or ordinary expenses of the
Mission. This showed an increase in the funds contributed
on behalf of the Mission of £2952, 7s. 2d.
over the amount received last year, when the
revenue was short of the expenditure by £845, 7s.
11d. From 154 Parish Churches no contributions
were received, being 80 non-contributing Parishes
less than last year. The expenditure of the Committee
during the year amounted to £5470, 14s. 9d.,
being an increase of £448,17s. 6d. as compared with
the expenditure of 1888. In regard to the Smyrna
Medical Mission, which had been maintained by a
separate fund, and had not shared in the general
funds of the Mission, the Committee, while glad to
be able to report an increase in the funds contributed,
regretted that these had been quite inadequate for
the maintenance of the Mission, even on the limited
scale on which it had hitherto been prosecuted.
The Report concluded by giving details of the work
at the various Stations of the Mission. In speaking
to the Report, Dr. Alison made a sympathetic reference
to the late Rev. Dr Somerville and the great
services which he had rendered to Mission work.
He afterwards went over the principal features of
the Report, which he regarded as satisfactory.
The Rev. WM. KEAN, Alexandria, one of the
Agents of the Church, gave an account of the work
at that station, and in the course of his remarks
said his experience was that as yet the Jew would
not come to a meeting to listen to the Gentile; but
he would listen to one of his own race.
The Rev. Dr PRINSKI SCOTT, Medical Missionary
at Smyrna, where he has been for nine years, described
the work carried on there, and said he did
not think Lord Beaconsfield had a memorial more
useful and more calculated to benefit the poor than
the hospital at Smyrna. They had about 12,000
patients per year, and most of these heard the
Gospel preached. It was said that it took £1000 to
convert a Jew. He could get them a hundred converts
at that price, but they did not want to catch a
Jew and label him a convert; they wished to teach
him something of the true spirit of Christianity,
and when he asked to be baptised and they were
satisfied of his fitness, they would do so. It was
also said that the Jews were rich enough to convert
themselves, but they as Christians should do a little
to give back something for what they had received
from the Jews. If they read Scripture aright they
were entitled to conclude that there was a glorious
future for Israel, and it was the great privilege of
the Church of Scotland to hasten on that day.
The Rev. Dr CHRISTIE, Gilmerton, moved the
following deliverance: - "The General Assembly
approve and adopt the Report. They are gratified
to learn that the Committee have been able to
provide for carrying on the work at all the
stations with unabated strength and efficiency.
They give thanks to God for the means which
He has supplied, and for the various tokens of
encouragement which He has given to persevere
in the distinctive work of the Mission. They
thank their Agents for their zealous and good services,
and assure them of their wish to do everything
in their power to help them. The General
Assembly note with satisfaction the large increase
in the number of Jewish children in regular attendance
at the Mission Schools, and the eagerness of
Jewish parents to avail themselves of the Christian
education provided for their children, especially for
their daughters. They approve of the policy of the
Committee in gradually making room for more
Jewish pupils, by reducing the number belonging
to other races and creeds. They also approve of the
proposal of the Committee to follow up the work of
the schools to an increased extent by evangelistic
visits to the homes of the Jews, and authorise the
Committee to take such steps as they may find practicable
and wise to this end. The General Assembly
are pleased to learn that the Medical Branch of the
Mission at Smyrna continues to be acceptable
and useful; and agreeing with the view of the
Committee, that the time has now come when it
may with advantage be incorporated with the other
agencies of the Mission, they authorise the Committee
to arrange for such incorporation. The
General Assembly continue to regard with deep
interest the work which, for so many years, has
been carried on by the agents of the Mission among
English residents at the several stations. They
recognise the necessity of seeing that the spiritual
needs of such residents shall still be cared for. At
the same time they recognise that when God has so
opened doors of opportunity for distinctively Jewish
mission work, that it is sufficient to occupy the
whole time of their Ordained Agents, the work of
English pastorates should be transferred to others.
They therefore authorise the Committee to arrange
for the withdrawal of their Ordained Missionary
from the pastorate of the Anglo-American Church
at Beyrout. In respect of the pastorate of St
Andrew's Church, and the superintendence of the
Harbour Mission at Alexandria, they resolve to
appoint a special Committee to consider the mode
in which the Jewish Mission Committee may best
be relieved of this part of their responsibility, and
to report to a future diet of this Assembly. The
General Assembly regret that the Committee have
not yet been successful in arranging for the services
of a deputy to plead the cause of the Mission, and
authorise them to continue their endeavours to
make such an appointment. The General Assembly
thank the Ladies' Association for the Christian
Education of Jewesses, for the important help
which they have continued to give to the Mission.
They approve of the proposed change in the constitution
of the Association, and trust that it may
conduce to increased usefulness.
"The General Assembly are pleased to learn that
there has been an increase in the revenue of the
Committee, and a marked decrease in the number
of non-contributing Congregations. They regret,
however, that there should still have been a considerable
deficit at the beginning of this year, and
they again commend the Mission to the Office-Bearers
and Members of the Church.
"The General Assembly record their thanks to the
Convener, Vice-Convener, and Committee for the
manner in which they have conducted the affairs of
the Mission during the past year, and reappoint the
Committee, with powers to sub-commit, to add to
their number, and with all other usual powers -
Dr John Alison to be Convener, and the Rev.
Thomas Nicol, Vice-Convener. The General Assembly
further resolve to appoint a Special Committee
for the purposes asked in the foregoing
deliverance with reference to the Pastorate of St
Andrew's Church and the Harbour Mission at Alexandria
- the Committee of Nomination to bring up
list of Members of the Committee."
After an allusion to his former connection with
the Mission, Dr CHRISTIE, in speaking to the motion,
said that the stations occupied by the Committee
were places of great historic interest, which had been
consecrated by the first footsteps of Christianity,
and which were scarcely less interesting now as
centres of Missionary activity. It would deserve to
be regarded as something worse than a misfortune
if, through lack of funds, the Committee were compelled
to withdraw from any of these stations. He
could not believe that the Church would suffer such
a misfortune to fall upon the Mission. He believed
that at the present crisis, when she was called upon
to defend her interests at home, she would show
that she was determined not only to strengthen her
stakes, but to lengthen her cords, and to care for her
Missions abroad. The success which had attended
the educational work of the Mission was very remarkable.
He remembered the time when all the
pupils in their schools could have been accommodated
in a moderately-sized room. That was the
day of small things, but the Church had not despised
it, and now she was having her reward in the highly
prosperous condition to which these schools had
attained, the number of pupils reported for the past
year being no fewer than 1761, of whom 1165 were
Jewish children, who were receiving a thoroughly
Christian education, and who, in respect of Bible
knowledge, would compare favourably with the
children trained in Board Schools and in Sabbath
Schools at home. It was not so easy to express in
figures the results of Evangelistic work, but a great
amount of such work had been done, and he confidently
affirmed that it had not been done in vain.
Meetings for the reading and exposition of the Bible
and for Christian worship had been conducted;
Sabbath Schools had been established, and had been
well attended; the Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments had been put before the people in a
language that they could read and understand;
Christian literature had been prepared and widely
circulated; prejudices had been removed, and a
spirit of inquiry had been awakened in the Jewish
mind. There were many who, like Nicodemus and
Joseph of Arimathea, carried in their secret heart
the conviction that Jesus was the Messiah of whom
Moses and the Prophets testified, while some had
had the courage to confess their convictions, and had
been received into the Communion of the Church.
They were sometimes asked what were the results
of all the money and labour expended on this Mission.
He submitted that the facts which had been
stated to them that day were most important and
valuable results, of which neither the Church nor
its Mission had any need to be ashamed. They
were not, indeed, all that they hoped for, but they
might accept them as a pledge of the better things
that were sure to come, if they had the patience to
wait for them, and the faith to work for them. The
influx of Western ideas and civilisation was telling
for evil as well as for good upon the minds of all
the races in the East, and it was therefore the duty
of the Church more than ever to preach to them the
Gospel of Christ as the wisdom of God, and the
power of God, unto salvation to every one that
believeth - to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Missions were not a human experiment, but a
Divine Institution, and surely the command to
preach the Gospel to all nations had a special significance
in reference to that nation of whom as concerning
the flesh Christ came, and whose reception
into His Kingdom was associated in the predictions
of Prophets and Apostles with all that was brightest
and best in the future history of the Christian
Church. He could not speak in too laudatory
terms of the work that had been done by the
Ladies' Association, which co-operated with the
Committee that had charge of this scheme, and it
was in great measure owing to their efforts that the
schools had been so successful, and that the Jewish
girls who had been educated in them might now be
counted by thousands. It was to be hoped that
they would soon be in position to send to each of
the stations a lady who should devote herself to
work among Jewesses, similar to that carried on by
Zenana Missions in India.
Mr J.T. MACLAGAN, Edinburgh (Elder), in
seconding the motion, spoke of the claims which
the Jews had upon Christians.
The motion was agreed to, and the Moderator
expressed the thanks of the Assembly to Mr Kean
and Dr Scott for their addresses, and wished them
all success in their work.
At the request of the Rev. DUNCAN DEWAR, the
Kirk-Session of Glenelg was allowed to meet on the
27th inst. for the purpose of revising the Roll of
the Congregation for the election of a Minister of
the Parish.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS gave in the
Report of the Committee on Christian Life and
Dealing first with the organisation of Women's
work, the Women's Guild was reported to possess
ninety branches, with a membership of 6018. And
though, as regards numbers, the growth did not
correspond to that of last year, the branches were
in a more vigorous and healthy state, as Women
were by degrees finding the possibilities opened to
them by the banding together and training afforded
by the Guilds. The Women-Workers' Guild was
still, for the reasons given in last Report, an expectation
rather than a realised fact; but it was hoped
that by next year (when the prescribed term of probation
was completed) Kirk-Sessions would be able
to recognise and encourage members of that Guild.
It was said that some Ministers were deterred by
the difficulty, and thought it invidious to select
some from among many. They might be recommended
to invite the members of the Women's
Guild to send in the names of those whom they
wished to have as leaders. The enrolment of individual
associates of the Women Workers' Guild in
Parishes where no Guild existed had been quite
recently but most satisfactorily begun, and sixteen
names, excellently representative, had been enrolled.
It was expected that ere long a large number would
be added. Regarding the Deaconess Institution
and Training Home, it was stated that the work
had been steadily carried forward. The house at
41 George Square, Edinburgh, was sometimes
scarcely able to receive all applicants for training,
and it would in all probability be advisable soon to
remove to a larger house. The present house had
accommodation for eight residents, and was at this
time fully occupied - in fact, at the present moment
temporary arrangements had been made with difficulty
in order to allow of one more lady than the
stated number being received, thus making nine
residents in the home. The practical mission work
in connection with the institution had been carried
on in the Pleasance district of Edinburgh, and the
residents in the home acquired personal experience
and practical training in Home Mission work. A
tenement had been purchased to be altered for
mission premises. A programme of study and work
in the Deaconess Institute was appended. It could
not be denied that the results of district visiting
were not great throughout the cities and towns of
Scotland, and it was more than probable that this
was partly due to the want of system and method.
The Committee suggested that in the institution the
principles of the science and the practice of the art
were taught by lecturers whose success in their own
spheres showed that they knew what they came to
teach. They appealed for a wider response from
the Women of the Church to their invitation to the
training home. They asked from the Assembly an
expression of thanks to the lecturers and teachers.
An arrangement was made last autumn for the
delivery in Glasgow of a course of lectures similar
to the courses which have been found so useful and
acceptable in Edinburgh the previous winters, and
several lecturers agreed to repeat in the West the
lectures already given in Edinburgh. These were
delivered to large and cordial audiences in the hall
of the Christian Institute. It had been decided to
have a home in Glasgow for such candidates for the
female Diaconate as desired to learn nursing, and to
take advantage of facilities afforded by the Royal
Infirmary for their being practically instructed in
its wards. Miss Davidson, the Deaconess-deputy,
would make that her headquarters, without, however,
abandoning or lessening her present work;
and the members of the household would have
the benefit of her counsel and care. Edinburgh
and Glasgow would be branches of the one institution.
An account was next given of deputations to
fisher folk in various places in the North, the result
of which had been frequent indications of the Divine
blessing. Mission weeks had also been carried on in
a number of districts. Coming to the Young Men's
Guild, it was stated that seldom, if ever, had the
Guild Committee to review a year so full of encouragement
and of cause for thankfulness as the past.
They had to record an increase in the membership
of the Guild; increased evidences of an earnest
spirit in its work at home; increased interest in and
contributions to the mission-field abroad; an increase
in the circulation of the "Guild Life and
Work;" and increased facilities provided for the
Guild-Brother finding a welcome and help when he
came a stranger to the large city - London, Edinburgh,
Glasgow, Perth, and Greenock having each
instituted a Reception Committee to secure this.
Since the date of last Report the Guild had furnished
from the ranks of its active workers no fewer than
four Missionaries to the foreign field. It was also
gratifying to note that now, both in the Ministry at
home and in the Eldership of the Church, men were
found serving the Church with the same enthusiasm
and devotion which they first began to manifest as
workers in the Guild. The Guild had now 493
branches (including 659 sections), with an aggregate
membership of 19,413, being an increase of 1163
over the membership reported to last Assembly,
The number of new branches and sections formed
during the year had been 35, with a united membership
of 952. The Committee regretted, however,
that against this encouraging increase in the
membership there had to be set the fact that a
considerable number of branches and sections had
either suspended their meetings at present or ceased
to exist. Although, of course, these have not been
included in the above statement of membership, it
was believed that in most instances the suspension
would be only temporary. It was also a matter of
regret to the Committee that there should still be
twelve whole Presbyteries in the Church in which
there is not one single branch of the Guild. The increasing
use of the system of Letters of Commendation,
and the inter-communication which they
fostered between different branches and localities,
was doing much to make the Guild an influence for
good, and helpful to young Men. The Guild competitions
had been continued, and out of 156
competitors 103 were awarded prizes or certificates.
The local Councils continued their work of increasing
the efficiency of existing branches and securing
the formation of new ones. The Committee
were keeping in view the gradual increase of these
Councils, of which sixteen now existed. The Guild
Magazine, a potent factor in moulding the life of
the Guild, had now attained a circulation of 5860
copies per month, an increase of 1235 over last year.
The Guild Mission at Kalimpong was going on
well. £1000 had been raised to build a Church
there. Dealing next with the Parish Magazine in
this twelfth year of Life and Work the Committee
were able to report that the large circulation had
been more than maintained, and that financially the
Magazine was more prosperous than at any former
time; so that from its profits the considerable sum
of £1308 was available this year for the encouragement
of supplements and for the other enterprises
of the Committee. The monthly circulation for 1889
was 101,000, against 100,000 in the previous year.
A number of regulations as to supplements were
given, and it was mentioned that foreign supplements
were now a prominent feature. As to the
year book, its sale had been rather disappointing.
A Sub-Committee were now preparing a number of
text books for Guilds and Bible-classes. After
twenty-two years, the Convener of the Committee
believed he ought to retire, but his colleagues had
offered to relieve him of the strain of the actual
supervision, by sub-dividing the whole of the operations
into two branches, each under a responsible
head, while he would still remain Convener of the
General Committee. The balance-sheet showed the
total charge, including £943 of credit balance, to be
£3388, and the discharge less than this by the
favourable balance of £1897.
In giving in the Report, Professor Charters said,
that in his opinion a Convener ought not to make
a speech when laying a Report upon the table of the
General Assembly. The Report itself is the Convener's
speech; but if in course of discussion
anything should arise requiring explanation or
argument from him, he trusted to be allowed to use
his privilege as a member, and to say a few words.
He was little tempted to break his rule on the
present occasion, for his valued friend and trusted
Member of Committee who had, though burdened
with recent sorrow, agreed to fulfil his promise of
moving the adoption of the Report, would speak
with full knowledge of the whole subject.
The Rev. Dr M'LAREN, Larbert, moved the following
deliverance: - "The General Assembly receive
the Report, and thank the Committee for their
diligence. Reappoint them with Rev. Professor
Charteris, Convener; and Lord Polwarth, Vice--
Convener. The General Assembly are glad to hear
of the progress of the Organisation of Woman's
Work in the Church, and they recommend Ministers
and Kirk-Sessions to use their endeavours to multiply
the number of branches of the Woman's Guild,
so that members of congregations being united together
as associates in work, may have their power
as workers increased; and further, to take steps as
soon as possible, either by inviting the opinion of
the members of the Woman's Guild or otherwise, to
secure an increase in the membership of the Women-Worker's
Guild. The General Assembly rejoices
to hear of the success that has attended the work
of the Deaconess Institution and Training Home.
They highly approve of the course of study and instruction
given in connection therewith, and recommend
Ministers to make known the great benefits
of such training in Mission Work as it affords, in
order that full advantage may be taken of these.
They are glad that a hopeful beginning has been
made in Glasgow of a scheme for training women
to be parish nurses, as part of the Home Mission
agencies of the Church. The General Assembly
approve of the two Homes being regarded as parts
of one Training Institution, and recommend careful
management with a view to developing simultaneously
the two branches of the work. The
General Assembly note with satisfaction that the
funds needed for the Pleasance Mission Buildings
are being quickly raised. The General Assembly
receive with satisfaction the Report on Missions to
Fisher-Folk, and thank the Deputies - both the
Ministers and the ladies named in the Report - for
their patient and hopeful labours. They empower
the Committee, if it should see cause, to arrange for
the continuance of the work of Missioners. The
General Assembly rejoice to hear of the continued
progress of the Young Men's Guild; of the successful
Conference in Dundee; of the increased contributions
to the ordinary revenue of the Guild Mission
in Kalimpong; and of the liberal subscriptions for
the new church. The General Assembly rejoice in
the concurrent testimony borne to the fact that the
members of the Young Men's Guild are taking an
increasing part in Christian work, and affectionately
urge upon them to be helpful to their
Ministers, and to do their utmost to bring comrades
and acquaintances into the fellowship of the
Church. The General Assembly observe with
satisfaction that the Life and Work Magazine
continues to be successful, and anew commend it
to the people of Scotland, thanking its conductors,
Ministers, distributors, and other friends for the
help they have given. They are glad to hear
of local supplements in Asia, Africa, and America.
The General Assembly impress upon Ministers and
Members the importance of encouraging the circulation
of the Year-book, with its valuable information
on the work of the Church. The General
Assembly desire the Committee to publish, with all
convenient speed, the proposed Text-Books, which it
is anticipated will be helpful in developing the intelligence,
and strengthening the Christian principles
of the youth of the Church. The General Assembly,
believing that the work of the Committee entitles it
to general support, appoint a collection to be made
in aid of its funds in all the churches and chapels,
on a day to be afterwards fixed by the General
Assembly. The General Assembly approve of a
Query regarding the methods of conducting and
developing a Bible-Class. The General Assembly
desire to express their grateful recognition of the
service which Dr Charteris has rendered to the
Church during the twenty-one years he has been
Convener of the Committee, and cordially approve
of the proposals made in the Report for carrying on
the work of the Committee, and appoint the Rev.
Dr Norman Macleod, and the Rev. Robert Blair.
M.A., Conveners of the two branches by which the
subdivided work is to be carried on."
In supporting the motion, Dr M'Laren referred
to the new arrangement suggested for the carrying
on the work of the Committee. Since the time immediately
after the Church was dismembered and
almost destroyed, when Dr Robertson gave his life
to build up the waste places of the Church, and
succeeded so admirably as they had only to look
around and observe - since that time no more noble,
no more self-denying, no more successful work had
been done for the Church of Scotland, than that
which had been done by Dr Charteris and his Committee.
He thought they would fail in their duty
if they did not, at the close of twenty-one years'
work such as he had rendered, give him the
heartiest assurance that they recognised his work,
and that it should never be forgotten by the
Church. Going on to speak of the work of the
Committee, Dr M'Laren remarked that in his
early life the Parish Minister was lord of all he
surveyed. He was Sir Oracle, and when he opened
his mouth no dog barked. His lieutenant was
the Parish Schoolmaster, and it was the Clergyman
and the Parish Schoolmaster who made
Scotland what it is. The young men would be
astonished if they were told that in the majority of
Parishes forty years ago there was not even a
Sabbath School; the Ministers had no male assistance,
either clerical or lay; while the idea of enlisting
female aid was never dreamed of, and would
have been abhorrent to most Parish Ministers. This
Committee, he went on to show, had done a great
deal to put an end to this condition of things. They
would all allow that no better work could be
engaged in than that of the Young Men's Guild,
which gathered round the Parish Minister a band
of young Men to be his fellow-workers. The
membership of the Guild, though gradually increasing,
was not so large as it ought to be. In connection
with this work, he said there was one point on
which he would like Ministers to exert their
influence. No one would ever dream of frowning
on innocent amusement or of discouraging the enjoyment
of athletic sports on the part of young men.
But he knew from his own experience that associated
with them were evils that were fitted to sap
the life-blood and strength of their young men.
There were in his Parish science and art classes in
connection with the South Kensington Department,
and he had had during the past two years, when the
time of examination came round, to deplore the fact
that the attendance at these classes was kept down
by too much attention being given to football and
kindred sports. He did not complain of football. He
played football at the High School of Edinburgh,
and though they might think it impossible, he was
the best football player of his day. What he complained
of was that at those matches, which were
advertised during the season to take place on almost
every Saturday afternoon, an amount of betting
and drinking was carried on which did much harm
to the young men of the country. - One of the most
important branches of the work of the Committee
was the development of Women's work. Time was
when woman was looked on as the inferior animal,
and no more strange phenomenon had been presented
than the change which had taken place in
the manner in which Woman's position and
Woman's influence were recognised. Woman was
emphatically and deservedly coming to the front.
There was no department in science, art, or literature
in which woman was not taking a prominent
part. When they thought of Mrs Somerville in the
scientific world, and of Mrs Oliphant, who wrote so
graphically and well the life of the noble man whom
in his mind's eye he saw occupying the seat on
which Dr Story at the moment sat, one of the best
biographies of the day; when they thought of other
female writers - of Lady Butler in the artistic world
- were they not entitled to say that Woman was
not inferior to Man? When, again, they thought
of the work of Florence Nightingale and the many
noble Women who followed her example, were they
not bound to say that their footsteps were those of
ministering Angels? Now, the Committee were
wise enough to see that if the Church was to maintain
its position, and to adapt itself to the necessities
of the times, they must avail themselves of
every means of help that could be rendered. They
were not asking their Women workers simply to
devote themselves to work among the poorer classes.
Their first duty doubtless was to the needs of their
poorer brethren; but if the work of their congregations
was to be carried on, there was much need
that the proclamation a the truth as it is in Jesus,
of the necessity of self-denial, of a purer and holier
life, was as much to be enforced upon the richer
classes of the land as upon the poor. He had no
doubt that those lady workers, those Deaconesses
and other workers, would bear in mind that it was
not the poor only who needed to be stirred up, but
those who lived in luxury, surrounded by all that
was calculated to minister to their material enjoyments.
In closing, Dr M'Laren said that within
the last few weeks their dovecots load been fluttered
by a message from one whose words had a value
attached to them, to which, he ventured to say, they
were not entitled. But to the ears of a large body
of the people of the land, these words canoe as an
omen of woe to the Church. That man of whom
they once thought as a great statesman, gifted by
God to hold the helm of the State, that man ventured-
to speak with a light heart of taking down
the Established Church of Scotland, declaring that
it would be merely the work of an hour or two to
part among her enemies the raiment of her whom
the Moderator lately so beautifully described as
"the beloved, the mother of us all." He (Dr
M'Laren) could remember that twenty years ago
a Statesman in a neighbouring land spoke of going
forward with a light heart to a different style of
conflict, crying "A Berlin," without fear, and yet
that Statesman found that his cœur léger landed him.
and his country in a disaster beyond any that any
country on the earth had witnessed for generations.
He would not predict what would be the issue of a
similar conflict in the Ecclesiastical domain of Scotland.
But if he knew his fellow-countrymen aright,
he believed that there was so much patriotism in
them, even in the Sons and Daughters of that
Mother of them all who had seen fit to wander from
her fold; he believed that there was so true a
recognition of the loving heart of the Mother that
was willing and waiting to embrace them all, and
to receive them back to her maternal bosom, that
in every Parish of our country there was such a
feeling of devoted love to the good old Mother that
when the testing day came the people would so
resent the foul insult that was put upon her, that
they would rally round her and keep her intact.
He would not have them, especially the younger
brethren, to trouble themselves with political combinations.
These too often deadened the affections
of their people. They would find that their people
regarded with the truest affection and respect the
men who quietly devoted themselves to their
Master's work, more truly respected them than
they did those who felt impelled, from whatever
motive, to adventure into the arena of strife, to stir
up envy, malice, and all uncharitableness. He
believed that in quietness and confidence their true
strength lay, and that if they went forward in this
spirit the Church would for many a day stand forth
before the Churches and nations of the earth "clear
as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army
with banners."
Mr W. OGILVY DALOLEISH of Errol (Elder)
seconded the motion.
Mr JAMES WALLACE, advocate, Edinburgh
(Elder), said he did not deny that there was a good
deal of betting at football and other matches, but
they must remember that the same evil was associated
with other things. He was afraid it would
be a very long time before the practice of betting
was entirely put down. It seemed to him that a
great deal of good might be done by Ministers and
Elders themselves taking an interest in the athletics
of their Parishes, and that there would be less
betting and fewer evils at football and other sports
if the Clergy and Elders themselves took an interest
in these things. There were many Parishes in
England where the Minister was Captain of the
football team and cricket eleven. In Scotland,
Clergymen were rather apt to stand aloof from
these things, and he would like to see the younger
Clergy especially interesting themselves in the
games and athletics of their Parishioners. In
that way, he believed, a great deal of good would
be wrought, and that the evils deplored by Dr
M'Laren would be lessened to a great extent.
The Rev. Dr M'LAREN said in his own Parish he
had for years supported all the innocent sports
indulged in by the younger members of his flock.
Never a word had been said by him in opposition
to those innocent enjoyments until the question had
been forced upon him by the way in which their
work was being defeated, and their studies in the
science and art classes hindered, in consequence of
these things he had spoken of. He ventured to
say that there was no Parish Minister in Scotland
who had done more than he had to encourage
healthy recreations, but surely Mr Wallace did not
imagine that at that time of day he was to go
down to the football field on Saturday afternoons
and exhibit his own prowess at the game. That
was for younger people.
The Rev. ROBERT PRYDE, Townhead, Glasgow,
said the whole life of the youth in the towns was
getting corroded by the betting system. That was
the case in many Parishes in Glasgow, where the
tremendous desire for recreation was coupled with
drinking and betting. Speaking of the work of
Women, lie said they had now got a Home established
in Glasgow to complete the training of
Women for Parish work. The training for nursing
would be got in connection with the Royal Infirmary.
It would cost £600 to start the Home, and
he had no doubt that when it was opened, and its
purposes brought before the people, they would not
only get the £600, but they would very soon be
travelling in the footsteps of the Edinburgh
people, and buying a property as a permanent
centre for the work. They proposed to establish
centres all over Glasgow in which training similar
to what was given in the Home would be given to
many of their consecrated women who might not
have the means for residence in the Home. By that
means they would get a class of women well up in
the usual experiences of visiting and influencing
people, and knowing something of nursing, who
would go forth bearing a ministry of God to the
needy and poor of the land.
The Rev. Mr LAMOND, Kelton, spoke of the
satisfactory results which had attended the work of
the "Missioner" during the last two years, and asked
why sufficient money should not be raised in the
Church to carry on that work. They raised thousands
of pounds for mission work among the
heathen, in the colonies, and for the conversion of
the Jews. He was thoroughly in sympathy with
these schemes, but why, if they raised vast sums of
money for the purpose of preaching the Gospel
elsewhere, should they not raise sufficient money
for the endowment of a " Missioner" for carrying
on the work at home?
The Rev. JAMES SMITH, St George's (West),
Aberdeen, moved that the following clause be
added to the deliverance: - "Authorise the Committee
to inquire as to what special agencies are in
operation among the children of the Church for the
purpose of confirming the work of the Sabbath
School and extending the influence of religion among
the young on week days, and to report as to the formation
of a new branch to be called the Children's
The Rev. WM. GREIG, Rayne, seconded the motion.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS accepted the addition
on the understanding that the Sabbath School
Committee should be consulted. He recurred to
the subject of the organisation of Women's work,
saying that that matter had not yet cone before the
Assembly in its full proportions. It was the largest
undertaking which had been grappled with in this
generation. He was afraid that many Ministers
passively acquiesced in the Church's adoption of the
scheme for the organisation of Women's work without
realising this obligation resting on themselves
to further it actively in their own Parishes. There
was need of great labour, every stage of which
would bear great fruit, in the training and organising
Women's work throughout the whole Church;
and that must mean earnest and patient work in
every Parish. The first stage, the enrolment of all
the Women of the Congregation who were either of
age and experience qualifying them to exercise good
influence on others, or who were desirous of having
good influence brought to bear on themselves, was
in itself a vast improvement on the widely prevalent
notion that a congregation meant merely a concourse
of hearers or even an assembly of individual worshippers.
This enrolment - The Women's Guild -
brought rich and poor, young and old, gentle and
simple, into easy friendly relations, implying unnumbered
opportunities of well-doing, both social
and spiritual. The need of such relations was seen
in the widespread and successful work done by the
Young Women's Christian Association, the Scotch
Girls' Friendly Society, and other societies of the
same sort. Those had sprung up because the
Christian Church, as such, was not supplying a felt
want. They had done good service, for which he
honoured them, but they only brush the surface as
compared with the thorough cultivation of the field
which a Congregational Guild made possible. The
united worship, the seats side by side every Sunday,
the Communion Table, the homeward walk from
church - what a tie, what a power for good, was in
this contiguity and union! He could speak from
the testimony of many when he said that girls in
domestic service or in shops found life made easier
for them through the friendship, advice, and sympathy
to which the Women's Guild had introduced
them. And women who had fought life's early
battle, and had attained to knowledge- what a path
of quiet influence did the Guild open to them!
Then the Women-Workers' Guild - the banding together
of the experienced workers. He must
express his amazement and regret that so little had
been done in this. Friendly Societies and Young
Women's Associations had their leaders; and yet
the Christian Church was afraid of some lion in the
path if the Workers' Guild were formed. Ministers
were afraid of being invidious, of provoking
jealousies, of giving offence, and so did nothing. It
seemed to him that if work was being done its
natural leaders were already known: the clearer eye,
and the warmer heart, and the greater power, were
of necessity recognised by the fellow-workers; and
that a Kirk-Session, in living sympathy with active
work, would have no difficulty in approving of those
whose services entitled them to official recognition.
But if a Minister and his Elders were afraid or
embarrassed, then let them ask the members of the
Women's Guild to nominate those to whom they
had been most indebted. This corresponded to
what was done in the early ages and for many centuries,
and was an easy and obvious course to adopt.
He begged to remind Ministers and Elders, as he
had already reminded the Committee, that the
Church of Scotland has a right to their active exertion
in this matter. Deliberately, emphatically,
and in four successive years the General Assembly
had approved and commended this scheme, and he
appealed to the loyalty of those who heard him to
carry it into effect. If they valued the corporate
Church let them do this as the due of their membership;
if they were, as too many said they were,
only congregational in their sympathies, let them at
least organise their congregation for its work. This
scheme contemplated the union, the organisation,
the training of women-workers, so as to develop
that work by which the activity of the membership
of the Church was maintained: for women and
Ministers did almost all the work; and surely it had
a right to more help than it had yet got.
One word on Deaconesses. He agreed with all
that Dr M'Laren had said. He believed that the
Church of Scotland had received a great blessing
from God in her first three Deaconesses; each of
them almost ideally adapted to her own sphere.
He would be glad of some more: if a high standard
were maintained: he would rather see a small
number than a low standard. He believed - and
now he would speak for himself alone as a member
of Assembly - that it was a mistake to have them
set apart by Kirk-Sessions. To have them set apart
by Presbyteries would be more in harmony with
the custom of the Church for centuries, which had
assigned the ordination of Deaconesses to the
Diocesan Bishop, while the minor sisters were
ordained by the priest. Some were afraid that to
ask Presbyteries to set apart Deaconesses would
make them equal to probationers, and higher than
Elders. This was very absurd, for the question was
to what functions they were set apart: it was the
function that would give them their true position.
A Presbytery could choose a doorkeeper, or any
other official; and that did not make them great
people! An Elder was chosen by a Congregation
to rule over it: a Deaconess was set apart not for
rule but for service. He thought she would be
more naturally certified as a servant of the Church
wherever she might be needed in the Church when set
apart by the Presbytery than when set apart by the
Kirk-Session. The residents in the Training Home,
for example, ought rather to be made Deaconesses
of the Church than of the Kirk-Session in whose
parish the Training Home chanced to be. As a
matter of fact, he knew at this moment of two or
three highly qualified women who desired to be
set apart by a Presbytery to the service of the
Church; and he did not know any who would prefer
to take their commission from a Kirk-Session. As
a matter of fact, too, some of his friends who had
expected to find it easy to have members of their
Congregation agree to be Deaconesses if their KirkSession
were alone concerned, had been disappointed.
He did not mean that this matter was vital, but he
believed it to be expedient to follow the example of
the Church of the first five or six centuries, which
pointed to the Presbytery as the Court from which
those to be sent to and fro on the Church's service
could most naturally receive her commission. And
he hoped ere long to see the day when the Minister
of a populous Parish would have a Parish Deaconess
not only herself nursing the sick and relieving the
needy, but leading and guiding many willing helpers
of less experience than hers or with less time to
spare. The idea of the Parish Deaconess was rapidly
growing in the Church, and he trusted it would ere
long be rooted and fruitful. This scheme for training
them he commended to the consideration and
the support of the Church, which had sustained this
Committee with marvellous willingness for two and
twenty years.
The deliverance with its addition, and the clause
"and to communicate with the Sabbath School
Committee," was then adopted.
The Convener of the Committee for answering
the Queen's letter, &c., reported that the Committee
recommend that the Rev. John Cumming and
the Rev. Dr Hamilton be appointed to conduct
devotional services in the High Church on Sunday
first, in the morning and evening respectively.
The recommendation was agreed to, and intimation
made accordingly.
Lord BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH gave in the Report of
the Committee on the Aged and Infirm Ministers'
Fund, which stated that the income for the year had
been £3230, being a decrease of £20. In the two
most important branches of revenue there had been
an increase of £355, but there was a decrease of
£376 in legacies. The number of Parishes contributing
was 900, as against 869 the previous year.
The Capital Fund at the end of 1888 amounted to
£26,565; last year it was raised to £28,427; and
since the close of the financial year the Committee
had received intimation of a legacy of £2000 from
the late Mr Taylor of Starleyhall. During the past
year the Committee had voted eleven grants, and
there had been five deaths of Ministers on the Fund,
the presentnumber of Annuitants being thirty-seven.
Of the eleven placed on the Fund, no fewer than
six had been ordained prior to 1850, and one as far
back as 1840; so that the Assembly would feel that
they had well earned their repose. It was an interesting
fact that the population of the eleven
Parishes amounted to 34,000. Speaking of the state
of the Fund, his Lordship said if the charge upon
them for annuities was the same as last year, with
the addition of those since placed on the list, the
Committee would require for annuities a sum of
£2200; for payments to Ministers whose retirement
had been arranged, £750; for payments in respect
of the law of " ann," £150; and for ordinary working
expenses, £110 - or a total of £3210, which was
about £900 more than the annual income of the
Fund. The Committee proposed that the Assembly
should authorise them to transfer what might be
necessary this year from the collection to the
Annual Fund. Even with the deduction of the
£900, there would be such an addition to the
Capital Fund as would raise it well over £30,000
before the close of the financial year. He suggested
that they should, if not absolutely suspend the
granting of fresh annuities during the present year,
at least deal with them very sparingly, and that
the Committee should bring up a report to next
Assembly on the financial position and prospects of
the Fund. There was an impression among some
members of the Church that they were laying up
for posterity too large a proportion of their funds,
and the object of the present policy was to see
whether with perfect safety they could give the
Church the immediate benefit of a larger amount of
the money placed at their disposal. This was a
Fund which was growing in popularity in the
Church, and he hoped members would keep it before
them, and assist in raising the Capital Fund to
£50,000. His Lordship concluded by moving the
following deliverance: - "The General Assembly
approve of the Report, and gratefully record their
satisfaction with the work accomplished by the
Committee during the past year. The General
Assembly being deeply impressed with the great
importance to the Church of the operations of the
Committee, authorise them in terms of the Report
regarding the amount required from the General
Collection during the current year, in order to meet
the payments falling upon the Fund. Further, in
view of the steady and growing increase of the
work of the Committee, the General Assembly instruct
them to consider, and report to next Assembly,
as to the amount of capital required to absolutely
secure the Annuities upon the Fund, in order that
the Assembly may determine whether they should
authorise the transference each year of a larger proportion
of the General Collection to the Annual
Fund. The General Assembly view with great
regret the probable necessity laid upon the Committee
by the state of the Annual Fund to stay their
work for a time, and, in order to avert or shorten
such a suspension, they would anew most earnestly
commend the Committee's appeal to the liberality
of every member and friend of the Church. The
General Assembly reappoint the Committee with all
the usual powers, and power to add to their number,
- Lord Balfour of Burleigh, Convener."
Captain C. M. P. BURN, Prestonfield House
(Elder), seconded the motion, which was adopted.
A letter was read from the Synod of the Church
of Scotland in England by the Rev. P. Henderson
Aitken, East Dulwich, Moderator of Synod, which
expressed gratification at having received the letter
of the Moderator of the Assembly, and reported a
slight increase of the membership in England and
a larger increase in the contributions. The letter
concluded with good wishes for the prosperity of
the Church.
The deputation, which consisted of the Rev. P.
Henderson Aitken, the Rev. James Hamilton,
Liverpool, the Rev. W.C. Fraser, Newcastle, and
Messrs Linton, J. Potter, and J. Gerard Laing, was
introduced to the General Assembly by Dr Scott,
Convener of the Business Committee. The General
Assembly resolved to hear the deputation at a
future diet of Assembly.
The General Assembly had transmitted, through
the Committee on Bills, Petition from Mr James
M'Coll, praying that he be restored to the position
of a Licentiate of the Church of Scotland, from
the ministry of which he had been deposed by
the General Assembly in the year 1884.
On the motion of the Rev. Dr Scott, the Petition
was remitted to a Committee for inquiry and report.
What is known as the Manchester case came before
the Assembly on a reference from the Presbytery
of Glasgow and by Petitions from members
of the Scottish National Church, Rusholrne Road,
Manchester. At last year's Assembly Counsel
appeared for Mr Mackie and the Petitioners, and
it was stated that the Petitioners withdrew their
charges against Mr Mackie on condition that he
should resign his connection with the Manchester
Church. A statement, signed by Mr Mackie, was
put in by his Counsel, admitting and expressing
regret for certain unseemly scuffles in the Church,
which he attributed to abnormal nervous excitement,
and the Assembly disposed of the case by
remitting it to the Presbytery of Glasgow to rebuke
Mr Mackie. The agreement between Mr Mackie
and the Petitioners was not implemented, and on
Mr Mackie being cited before the Presbytery of
Glasgow in August last he protested against the
rebuke on the ground that the Assembly was in
error in having received Petitions containing libellous
matter, or matter which might become the
subject of a libel, behind his back, such Petit ions
emanating from persons not directly under the
Assembly's jurisdiction, and who neither waited on
his ministry nor contributed to his maintenance;
and because the paper signed by him, on which the
Assembly rested their instructions to the Presbytery,
was submitted to the Assembly before the
conditions on which it was contingent were fulfilled,
and without sanction or authority from him, and it
was not a "judicial admission and confession." In
these circumstances, the Presbytery found themselves
debarred from carrying out the judgment of
the Assembly.
The Rev. Dr F.L. ROBERTSON, Glasgow, submitted
the Report on the case from the Presbytery
of Glasgow, and said that as Mr Mackie had taken
up the position that no Minister could be competently
rebuked or subjected to punishment until
he had been tried under a libel, the Presbytery were
shut up to the course which they took, as they
declined to censure a man under protest.
On the motion of the PROCURATOR, the Report
was received, and it was agreed to consider the
position of the case as it was affected by the reference
from the Presbytery.
Parties were called - The Rev. James Mackie
appeared for himself; Mr John Beaton appeared for
himself and John Carswell and others, Petitioners.
Mr William S. Gregory and Mr John Farish
appeared for themselves and James N. Dawson and
others, Petitioners, and claimed to be heard.
The AGENT stated that Petitions in this case
had been sent to him from Mr James N. Dawson
and others, and Mr John Beaton and others, but
that these Petitions had not been transmitted
through the Committee on Bills; he moved the
Assembly to dispense with transmission of these
Petitions through the Committee of Bills and to
receive them.
Another motion was made and seconded - That
the transmission of the said Petitions through the
Committee of Bills be not dispensed with; but after
some discussion, and Mr Mackie having consented
to the Assembly receiving the Petitions, the second
motion was withdrawn.
The General Assembly, with consent of parties,
then agreed to receive said Petitions. Mr Beaton,
Mr Gregory, and Mr Farish were sisted as craved.
The Rev. JAMES MACKIE, who was first heard,
said they would excuse him if he said that he had a
deep repugnance to overcome in addressing the
House, for he was afraid that his presence had become
more like the monster of the myth than anything
else. He wished that he could dispel the
prejudice which had been created against him. He
could assure them that it was a terrible feeling
which was begotten in one by appearing time after
time in the Courts of the Church to whose service
he had devoted his life, and in his native land,
which one naturally loved more from living beyond
its borders, while conscious that he was to the best
of his ability faithfully fulfilling his ordination
vows. That feeling was intensified by the knowledge
that those who must be innocent suffered
more than he did, in the loss of education and
religious ordinances, for he had five children who
ought to have been seated at the table of the Lord,
and only one of them had been there, and admitted
by other hands than his. Mr Mackie proceeded to
read a long statement giving a history of the case
from the time when he was Minister of the Church
at Carlisle, working comfortably, contentedly, and
successfully, till he was induced to go to Manchester,
where, he says, the Rusholme Road Church was in
wreck and ruin, the congregation having succeeded
in banishing a Minister whom some of its members
were pleased to describe as "a liar, a drunkard, and
a brawler!"
The Rev. Dr SCOTT interrupted Mr Mackie in the
reading of his statement, and pointed out that the
matter was utterly irrelevant to the Report of the
Presbytery of Glasgow, which was what they were
now dealing with.
Mr MACKIE said he was sorry to encroach on the
time of the Assembly, but as he had put his statement
in print he would distribute it to the members,
as he was thankful to escape from the misery
of reading it. All he had to say was that he entered
into no agreement before the Committee appointed
by the last Assembly. He came to Edinburgh at
the request of his friends, to be present with their
Advocate, and keep him right as to matters of fact.
He only attended one Meeting of the Committee,
and he resolved not to attend another, because he
saw it was in their minds that he was appearing for
himself. Immediately after the first meeting he
wrote a letter to the Procurator saying that he was
not represented. He signed two documents to his
friends very reluctantly, telling them that it was
against his conscience, and it was only done on the
faith that such an explanation would be given to
the Assembly as would obviate the necessity of
censure. These documents were given to Counsel
at last Assembly, with instructions that they were
not to be used until the terms of the other side had
been submitted to his friend and were considered
satisfactory. These terms were not submitted to
him. He gave no authority for the minute which
was laid before last Assembly by Counsel, and it
was very far from his mind to imply that he had
been guilty of something deserving of censure.
The other parties at the bar stated that they had
nothing to say in connection with this part of the
case. No questions were put, and parties were
The PROCURATOR, after tracing from the Minutes
the procedure followed in the case at last Assembly,
pointed out that they bore that on the day the
Assembly adopted the final deliverance remitting to
the Presbytery of Glasgow to rebuke Mr Mackie,
Mr Hay Shennan, Advocate, appeared for Mr
Mackie, and read a statement on his behalf. The
Presbytery of Glasgow had afterwards taken up
that remit, and their report disclosed the fact that
on the 7th August last, when they met to consider
the matter, Mr Mackie stated, in answer to a question,
that he was not willing to submit to the rebuke
unconditionally, but only under protest. It was the
second and third paragraphs of that protest which
raised what he had called the preliminary question.
In the first of these paragraphs Mr Mackie protested
against the carrying out of the Assembly's decision,
because the paper signed by him, on which the
Assembly rest their instructions to the Presbytery,
had been submitted to the Assembly before the conditions
on which it was contingent were fulfilled,
and without sanction or authority from him, and
because, if it had been laid before them with his
sanction and authority, it was not a "judicial admission
and confession." He also protested on the
ground that he had never been made a party in the
case. These two matters were of vital importance
to the deliverance of the Assembly of last year. As
he understood it, Mr Mackie, contrary to what the
Minutes bore, denied that Mr Hay Sherman appeared
as his Advocate to represent him at the Bar
of the Assembly.
The Rev. Mr MACKIE - Yes.
The PROCURATOR, continuing, said that was a
contradiction of the Minute of the Assembly in a
most vital respect, the more so because Mr Mackie
had not been present at the judgment in question,
but was then represented by a gentleman of the
Scottish Bar of good standing, who came and said
"I represent Mr Mackie." The second point had
reference to the paper signed by Mr Mackie and Mr
Hay Sherman, which was incorporated in their
Minutes, and upon which the judgment of the Court
proceeded. That paper did not bear that it was
only to be used under conditions. It was unconditional
on the face of it, but Mr Mackie now told
them that he only signed it on the distinct understanding
that Counsel was not to use it unless under
conditions which had not yet been fulfilled. These
were most vital and important matters which must
necessarily be the subject of preliminary investigation.
If Mr Hay Sherman did not appear for Mr
Mackie, then their Minutes did not say truly what
parties were present when the deliverance was pronounced;
and if the paper was only delivered to be
used sub conditione, the basis upon which last
Assembly proceeded was taken away, and the
deliverance of the Assembly fell. The matter was
a most serious one. The repudiation of a Counsel
was a thing almost unheard of. Where a Counsel
came before a Supreme Court and said he represented
a certain person, who afterwards disputed
that Counsel had any authority to represent him,
they had a position of matters which almost superseded
inquiry; but on the whole lie recommended
that a Committee should be appointed to enquire
into the facts. He moved as follows: -
"In respect that the Report of the Presbytery of
Glasgow discloses that Mr Mackie, on 7th August
1889, stated to that reverend Court that he was not
prepared to receive unconditionally, but only under
protest, the rebuke referred to in the deliverance of
last General Assembly, and handed in a protest which
is now before the Assembly, and in respect that
Mr Mackie states at the Bar that he adheres to the
protest, and in particular to the second and third
paragraphs thereof, appoints the following Committee
to inquire into the matters dealt with in that
protest and to report to a future Diet of Assembly,
with power to confer with the deputation from the
Synod in England. The Committee to be as follows:
- the Rev. Dr Milroy, Moneydie, and Theodore
Marshall, Caputh; Sheriff Cheyne; James
Wallace, Esq.; A.D.M. Black, Esq.; and the
Procurator, Convener.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, seconded the
motion, which was agreed to.
On this deliverance being intimated to parties at
the bar,
Mr FARISH, Manchester, one of the Petitioners,
said he had been in Manchester for upwards of five
years, and during five Meetings of the Assembly he
had done what he could to have that matter brought
to some sort of crisis. He felt now that it would
simply be hung up for another twelve months, and
that it would go on for years.
The MODERATOR pointed out that Mr Farish was
not speaking to the point before the House.
Mr FARISH - The matter is simply this, Is anything
to be done for our Church or not?
The MODERATOR again intervened, and intimated
that the case would be taken up again next Saturday
Mr MACKIE acquiesced, took instruments, and
craved extracts, which were allowed. It was resolved
to resume consideration of this case on Saturday
the 31st inst., at 2 P.M., and parties were cited
apud acta.
The General Assembly adjourned at 4.45 P.M., to
meet on Monday next at 11 A.M.
SUNDAY, 25th May 1890.
His Grace the Lord High Commissioner and the
Marchioness of Tweeddale attended Divine Service
in St Giles' Cathedral forenoon and evening. In
the forenoon the preacher was the Rev. William
Lockhart, M.A., Colinton, and in the evening the
Rev. David Hunter, B.D., St Mary's, Partick.
MONDAY, 26th May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last Sederunt being in the hands
of Members, were held as read, and were approved
The General Assembly called for the Report of
the Committee of Overtures, which was given in,
read, and approved of.
The General Assembly called for the Report of
the Committee on Bills, which was given in, read,
and approved of.
The Convener of the Committee of Nomination
suggested the following Committee on the Pastorate
of St Andrew's Church and Harbour Mission at
Alexandria: - The Rev. Drs Gray, Christie, and
Hamilton; the Rev. Messrs Niven, Pryde, Martin,
and Marshall; the Rev. Professors Mitchell and
Stewart; Robert Miller, Esq., H.R. Macrae, Esq.,
Lindsay Mackersy, Esq., John A. Trail, Esq., John
Tawse, Esq.; Rev. Dr Herdman, Convener.
The Convener of the Committee of Nomination
suggested the following Committee on the petition
of Mr M'Coll: - The Rev. Drs Gloag and Jamieson;
the Rev. Professor Taylor (Convener); the Rev.
Drs Leishman and Snodgrass; the Rev. Messrs
Milne and Carrick; Lord Dalrymple, Sheriff Spittal,
and T.G. Murray, Esq.
Synod Books were called for. The following were
given in, and Committees appointed: - Books of
Caithness and Sutherland - The Rev. John Campbell
and Patrick Macfarlan; Charles Greer, Esq. Books
of Argyll - The Rev. M.P. Johnstone and John
Mitchell; Andrew Tarras, Esq. Books of Aberdeen
- The Rev. John Gibson and Mr Bentick; J.T.
Hutchison, Esq. Books of Lothian and Tweeddale
- The Rev. James Landreth and William Proudfoot;
Charles Mitchell, Esq. Books of Ross - The
Rev. George Peter and James Grant; Robert
Duncan, Esq.
The Convener of the Business Committee reported
certain changes on the business for to-morrow and
the business for Wednesday. The Report was
agreed to.
The Rev. Mr MENZIES, Fordoun, said he was sorry
that the first time he opened his lips in the House it
should be as a Dissenter, Complainer, and Protester.
His complaint was that the business of the Assembly
was so arranged that Members had very little
opportunity to express their views on questions
which they considered important. He was exceedingly
anxious to say a few words in favour of the
Jewish Mission Committee. But as it had been
arranged that the discussion should be closed at one
o'clock, and as forty minutes of the time allotted
was occupied by the Convener and other two gentlemen,
he had to go away with his wisdom or unwisdom
unuttered. In the interest of suffering
humanity he strongly deprecated long speeches by
Conveners when presenting printed reports, as well
as by the Gentlemen selected to move and second
the deliverances, so that time might be left for
remarks by outside Members.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said this seemed not to be a
complaint against the Business Committee but
rather against the way in which the debates were
conducted. He sympathised with Mr Menzies' remarks
as to the way in which the reports were
introduced. He thought when the reports were
printed that Conveners might take it for granted
that Members had read them, and that they should
confine themselves to what was necessary in the
way of supplement or elucidation. He thought
movers and seconders might also leave something
for other Members to say. In this way the discussion
would be more distributed, and would
excite greater interest.
The MODERATOR said he hoped Mr Menzies
would be satisfied with what had been said, as he
had evidently carried the House with him.
The Rev. Professor STORY reported that the Holy
Communion was celebrated in the High Church on
Friday last at 10.30, that the Moderator officiated,
and that there was a large attendance of Members.
The Committee, confident that future Assemblies
would desire to repeat this celebration, suggested
that the Committee should be appointed to make
the necessary arrangements. He moved the adoption
of the Report, and the reappointment of the
Mr A.D.M. BLACK seconded the motion.
The Rev. A. DOUGLAS, Arbroath, said he looked
upon this as a very grave step for the Assembly to
take. He entirely disputed the right of the Assembly
to celebrate the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's
Supper in St Giles' Church or in any other Church
in the Church of Scotland without the consent of
the Kirk-Session of the parish. He understood
that the Kirk-Session of St Giles' had entered a protest
against this action of the Assembly, and he
asked the House to take it into their serious consideration,
because it seemed seriously to affect the
rights and privileges of Parish Ministers and
Sessions. He had no great sympathy with the
movement of his old fellow-student, Mr Jacob
Primmer; at the same time he should like to keep
up the true Protestant tradition of the Church of
Scotland, which was that it was a spiritual democracy;
that the Minister of the Church, as such,
could not take action in administering the sacrament
without consultation with the laity. He knew
that the General Assembly had considerable powers
inherent in itself, but he held that the General
Assembly could not enter any Parish Church
their own motion, and he moved that the celebration
of the Sacrament should only be held in cooperation
with the Kirk-Session of St Giles'.
The Rev. JOHN BARNETT, Kilchoman, seconded
the motion.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said this was about as unconstitutional
a proposal as was ever placed before
the Assembly. It meant that they were to put the
lowest Court of the Church over the highest Court.
It supposed the highest Court could do nothing for
their own spiritual comfort or edification without
first asking the Kirk-Session. He did not think
when he stated the proposal in that way that he
need discuss it seriously. The General Assembly
had power to take possession of any Parish Church
for carrying on its own work during its sittings,
and it had power to make what arrangements it
pleased for its own spiritual comfort and edification.
The General Assembly did not propose to go into
St Giles' and celebrate the Holy Communion for
the parishioners of the High Church, but for the
benefit of its own members, and he denied that
anyone had the right to complain.
The Rev. Professor STORY emphasised what had
been said by Dr Scott. In all such matters as these
under consideration the Assembly was supreme
within the bounds of its constitution. By immemorial
usage from the days of the Reformation,
the Assembly had had the use of St Giles' Church
for the conduct of its public worship, and it had
always been in the way of regulating the worship
held there during its sittings. It had made alterations
again and again, according to its needs and the
fitness of things, without the slightest reference to
the Kirk-Session. Mr Douglas had said that the
Kirk-Session had laid a protest before the Committee
against the celebration of these services. The
Kirk-Session did nothing of the kind. They forwarded
a letter stating that they declined to cooperate
with the General Assembly in carrying on
these services. He had his own opinion of the
good sense, the courtesy, and the constitutionality
of that course. But it was simply a refusal on their
part, and the kindness and better feeling of the
Kirk-Session of another Congregation prevented
the Assembly from being put to any inconvenience.
The Rev. Professor MITCHELL, St Andrews, expressed
concurrence in what Dr Story had said. The
action of the Kirk-Session was not only discourteous,
but unconstitutional.
The Rev. Mr DOUGLAS, with the consent of his
seconder, withdrew his motion, and the Report was
The Rev. Dr WEBSTER, Edinburgh, submitted
the Report of the Education Committee, which
stated that during the past year the Training
Colleges in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen had
continued to do their work with great efficiency, as
shown by the results of the Christmas Government
examination, there having been no failures and no
passes so low as the fourth class. The total number
of male students was 149. Of these 61 were receiving
the benefit of University as well as Training
College instruction, and under the new article of
the Code, which enabled the Committee to arrange
for a third session at the Universities in the case of
the abler students, 22 in addition to the above had
been sent. There seemed to be, in the opinion of
the Committee, no good reason why the Universities
themselves should not be encouraged by the
Department to prepare its graduates for public
schools, and for this purpose to be more closely
allied with the Training Colleges. The Departmental
Committee had reported about two years ago in
that sense, and the Committee would gladly cooperate
in any such movement. The Committee
thought there could be no doubt that the new Code,
if honestly carried out by teachers and inspectors,
would have a marked effect on the education of
Scotland, giving a more intellectual character to the
work of every school, and the Committee recorded
their unqualified satisfaction at the step taken by
the Marquis of Lothian and the Secretary of the
Scottish Department, Mr Craik. As regarded
"specific subjects," the Committee felt that were
the particular article by which 10s. per pupil might
be earned in such subjects as Latin, Mathematics,
French, &c., provided "the teacher was a graduate
in arts or science of some University of the United
Kingdom," and adequate assistance was provided, extended
to all the counties of Scotland instead of being
confined, as at present, to the Highlands and Islands,
a powerful stimulus would be given to advanced
instruction in the rural parochial schools. With regard
to higher education in public rural schools, the
Committee did not propose unduly to foster "the
University subjects." All they desired to see was
a provision for teaching them, and adequate encouragement
to the teacher. So long as boys had
an opportunity of obtaining the necessary instruction,
the end of a national system was attained. In
purely rural schools there could, however, be no
doubt that the opportunity was passing away. It
seemed hopeless to expect that in every parish
opportunities of obtaining higher instruction would
ever be provided, but if County Councils were at
any time to be charged with the organisation of the
education in their several districts, a sufficient
number of conveniently - situated public schools
might be selected to place the higher instruction
within reach of the great majority of rural scholars
who had exhausted the means of education in their
own parishes. There was a general movement
throughout Scotland at present for the better
equipment of secondary or high schools, but these
would necessarily be limited to towns. The question
was a much larger one; secondary education,
not secondary schools alone, should be kept in view.
As to the Universities Executive Commission, and
with regard to the institution of an entrance examination,
the report emphasised the necessity of avoiding
any step which would tend to dissociate the
Universities from the people by lifting them up to
a higher social platform; and, dealing with the
work of the Educational Endowments Commission,
the opinion was expressed that the Commissioners
had undoubtedly rendered great service to education
in Scotland, and, above all, to the higher
education of those who were unable to pay for it.
It was reported that the funds of the Committee
were in a satisfactory state. In the Edinburgh
Training College the charge showed £7227, 19s. ld.,
and an overdraft at the end of the year of only £82,
12s. 10d. In Glasgow the charge showed a total of
£6893, 19s. 5d., and at the end of the year a sum of
£95, 6s. 8d. to credit. In Aberdeen the charge
showed a total of £4049, 7s. 2d., and a favourable
balance of £361, 2s. 2d. Except in the case of
Aberdeen, the state of the account of the practising
schools in connection with the Training Colleges
was not so favourable. The reserve fund was in a
satisfactory state, the balance in its favour being
£978, as compared with £809 the preceding year.
In submitting the Report, Dr Webster indicated its
chief points, and expressed his firm conviction that
the Church's Training Colleges were doing a good
work, not only for the Church, but for the country.
It was true that the Church was not now so intimately
connected with the education of the people
as it once was, but they, as a Committee, were glad
to represent a Church which, notwithstanding that,
had never relaxed her efforts, and would never relax
her efforts, to make that education as efficient as
possible. He assured the Assembly, from personal
knowledge, that in their Training Colleges thorough
work was being done in the matter of religious
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER, Partick, asked what
steps had been taken to fill up the vacancy in the
examiners of Glasgow Normal College caused by the
death of the Rev. Dr Crombie?
The Rev. Dr WEBSTER replied that at the
request of the Committee he himself had agreed for
the present to undertake the duties of an Examiner.
The Rev. Dr JOHN WATT, Glasgow, moved the
following deliverance: - "The General Assembly
having heard the Report, approve of the same,
and record their thanks to the Committee and the
Convener. They are glad to learn that the Training
Colleges continue to maintain a high reputation
for efficiency among similar institutions, and that
the Committee have received the continued aid of
the Department in further promoting the University
instruction of Queen's Scholars. They direct
the Committee to continue to encourage the University
instruction of intending Teachers, and to be
open to consider any proposals that may be submitted
for the higher training of Schoolmasters
generally. The Assembly record their satisfaction
at the changes introduced by the new Code, believing
that they will contribute to the sound education
of the people; and they would express the hope
that the Scotch Department may be able, ere
long, to introduce measures for giving more direct
encouragement to the higher subjects in rural
schools. The Assembly reappoint the Committee -
Dr Webster, Convener, with all the usual powers."
In speaking to the motion, Dr Watt said the educational
sphere of the Church had certainly been
narrowed, and a disposition was shown in some
quarters to make it still more narrow. It was said
that in the present position of matters it was an
anomaly that the Churches should undertake the
training of teachers, but inasmuch as he had never
seen it hinted that the School Boards themselves
should undertake the duty, he did not see how the
anomaly was altogether to be removed. It had
been suggested that the Universities rather than
the Churches should undertake those duties, and he
was not sorry to see that that view had found
expression in a motion to be submitted. He did not
know that it was surprising that notice of motion
in that strain should have been given, because he
also found that notice of motion had been given to
the effect that the Divinity Hall of the Church, too,
should be liberated from Church control. There
seemed to be an opinion held that academic influence
was something sweeter, brighter, and more
invigorating than any influence emanating from the
Church. At the present moment there was a
Departmental Committee considering the very
subject of how best they could train teachers for
public schools. On the part of the Church there
was a desire for full co-operation with the Universities
in order that by any scheme that could be
devised the very best teachers possible might be
turned out to do the educational work of the
country, and, in these circumstances, the Assembly
might well pause before it gave effect to the drastic
motion of which notice had been given. His own
view was that the direct charge of any corner of the
educational field left to the Church should not be
surrendered until the Church was actually driven
from it. There were good reasons why the present
system of training colleges should be maintained.
Under it there was no ecclesiastical gain or loss
incurred by either of the Churches taking part in
the work, the students evidently not laying their
plans from any considerations appertaining to
ecclesiasticism, and no doubt, on neither side,
neither receiving any harm by training at what
might be called the rival institutions. He granted
that no Church could secure a right religious tone
in all the teachers of youth, but care could be taken
to decline all candidates for training who showed
by the manner in which they underwent the entrance
examination that they were without the knowledge
upon which an intelligent hold of religious principles
depended. The educational scheme had now ceased
to be a standing agency of the Church in the sense
that no money had to be asked for it from the
Church, and therefore it did not bulk so largely
in the view of the Church as it ought to do.
During the past year Presbyteries had been exercising
themselves at the bidding of the General
Assembly as to how best combined religious and
secondary education could be imparted to young
Hindoos in Calcutta and Bombay. He did not wish
to press any one scheme of the Church against any
other scheme, but he was unable to see the propriety
of allowing the main stream of their sympathy
and energy to run in the direction of that far distant
land, when at their doors - in their country
parishes and in their large cities - they had teaching
institutions amply provided for so far as one side of
their activity was concerned, but inadequately provided
for in respect of the other. It would not be
altogether to the credit of the Church if she allowed
herself to lose her interest in education, mainly for
the reason that the Convener had not to stand up
every year and ask a collection on behalf of the
Sir J.N. CUTHBERTSON, Glasgow (Elder), seconded.
The attention of the country could not, he thought,
be too often called to what that Church, and especially
the Ministers of it, had done for the cause of
education in past centuries; and it was still the
duty, as well as the privilege, of the Church to show
its interest in the education, and especially in the
religious education, of the people. He distinctly
held it to be the case that the people of Scotland
wanted religious education in their schools. It was
very gratifying that Parliament had shown such a
deep interest in the primary education of the
country of late years, for there had been a time
when, had a member of that Assembly been bold
enough to express the opinion that Parliament
would in a single session vote half a million of
money to primary education, he would not have
been believed. He was not disposed to minimise
the importance of the work yet left for the Committee
to undertake. The most practical matter in
which the Committee was interested was the maintenance
of the training colleges. The Committee
had always expressed itself as desirous of promoting
the connection between these and the Universities,
but he demurred to the idea that the Church was to
give up entirely the management of these Colleges
into the hands of the Universities. Even if the
Church was willing to hand them over, were the
Universities prepared and willing to accept of them?
As to their willingness there might be less doubt,
but he denied the ability of the Universities to
exercise any serious control over the training of
teachers. And even if the Universities were entrusted
with that work, what guarantee could they
offer for the religious training or the moral
character of the students to be trained for the
education of the people? They could offer none.
He was of opinion that the amendment to be proposed
would be made without the full knowledge of
the facts.
The Rev. W. HARLEY ANDERSON, Pulteneytown,
moved the amendment, of which he had given
notice, as follows: -
"That since, from the altered circumstances of the
country, the Education Committee has no business
to perform, save the inspection of religious instruction
in the Normal Schools, and the disbursement of
the Government funds for the maintenance of the
Colleges, and the payment of bursaries, it is no
longer necessary nor advisable to continue the
Committee in its present form; that in the opinion
of the General Assembly, the training of teachers
should be handed over to the Universities; therefore
the General Assembly reappoints the Committee,
thanks them for past services, and instructs
them to use all diligence during the year for the
carrying out of the necessary transference, with
full power to wind up the present operations of
the Committee, and to realise the funds and properties
under their charge, and to report fully on
these subjects to next General Assembly."
Speaking to the amendment, Mr ANDERSON said
he had no intention to belittle or disparage the past
labours of the Committee, nor had he any sympathy
with the cry of denominationalism which was
sometimes raised against the Normal Colleges. But
those who had perused the Reports of the Committee
of recent years found out two things - that this was
a Committee which had little or no income, and
that its work was no greater than its income. It
might be asked how that could be the case when
the Committee actually disbursed every year
£25,000. The explanation was simple. That sum
was produced independently of the Committee, and
it would continue to be disbursed even if the Committee
were out of the way. It consisted exclusively
of Government grants, fees, &c., but the income of
the Committee, as derived from the Church, was on
an average for the last ten years below the sum of
£150 annually. The Education Department of the
Government had expressed a strong desire that the
Churches should give up their hold of the Normal
Schools, and that desire was largely supported by
the public, the press, the Universities, and the
more enlightened of the teachers and inspectors in
the country. It seemed to him that in certain circumstances
the Church might be justified in saying
to the Government - "We desire to cling to whatever
remains of our former power in the matter of
education, because it enables us to see to the
religious instruction of the future teachers of the
youth of the country." He could understand that
if these young men and women had not been
religiously educated before entering the College, but
it was not so. Use and wont, however inconsistent
it might be in the opinion of many, was the rule
throughout Scotland, and so there was no need for
any anxiety on that ground. But apart altogether
from the interest which the Church had in the
matter, he held that the Normal Schools had now
no true raison d'être. The University was the true
place where the teachers of the country should be
trained. The teaching profession was now more
honourable, and was held in higher respect, and was
much better paid than it ever was. The time had
come for education to take its stand with the other
professions of the country, and be trained along with
them at the national Universities.
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER, Partick (interrupting),
pleaded that the Assembly might be delivered from
the terror of the bulky MS. which Mr Anderson
held in his hand.
Mr ANDERSON - I object altogether to the gag
being put in my mouth.
The MODERATOR said Mr Anderson had been
speaking to the point, and had not repeated himself;
but he hoped he would not presume too much on
the indulgence of the Assembly.
Mr ANDERSON (proceeding with the reading of
his speech) said what he desired was not the destruction
of the Normal Colleges, but their amalgamation
with the Universities, so that a more perfect
training might be secured for them. Fifty years
ago, when the Committee began its labours, the
only trained teachers were the Parochial Schoolmasters.
Mr Anderson was proceeding to give an
historical sketch of the progress of the teaching
profession, when
A MEMBER rose to order, and asked if it was in
accordance with the forms and practice of the
Church for Members to read their speeches?
The MODERATOR - I think a young Member may
be showing his respect for the Assembly by preparing
what he has to say, and there are those who
feel quite at ease on their legs while others do not.
Mr ANDERSON laid down his MS. amid much
laughter, and proceeded to urge some considerations
in support of his motion. He held that in
the interests of the students themselves the change
which he proposed was imperatively called for. It
would put a cope-stone on all that the Church had
done for education if it finished its connection with
it voluntarily and utilised its funds for making preparation
within the Universities for the education
of their teachers. However much the Assembly
might have ill-treated him on the present occasion,
the time would come when what was asked in his
motion would be an accomplished fact.
The amendment was not seconded.
The Rev. NEIL MACPHERSON, Glenaray, Inveraray,
moved an addition to the deliverance that the
following words be added to the original motion at
the words "rural Schools," viz., "And to the longer
continuance of children at School." It was, he said,
a deplorable fact that the children left Board Schools
at an age so tender that it was highly probable that
the education they received at these schools would
evaporate. Some children left school at as early an
age as twelve years, and at that age the human
brain was in a very immature state. They were
simply deceiving themselves if they imagined that
the present generation was receiving a sound and
valuable education.
The Rev. Dr. WATT said that to save the time of
the House the Committee were willing to accept Mr
Macpherson's addition to the deliverance.
Mr MACPHERSON was proceeding to speak, when
The MODERATOR said his motion having been
accepted, there was no need to argue further, as he
had got all he wanted.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, complained that a
vacancy in the number of Examiners in Religious
Knowledge had been filled up without any reference
being made to it in the Report. He might also
say that in appointing an Examiner to the Glasgow
Normal College the Committee (lid not seem to
think there was any one in Glasgow or the neighbourhood
who could discharge the duties, although
they had Dr Watt, whose authority as an Inspector
was known all over the country.
Dr WATT said it was quite an inadvertence that
the filling of the vacancy had not been mentioned in
the Report.
The Rev. ALEX. MACQUARRIE, Kilmorack, bore
testimony to the great value of the Committee's
work. He urged the Assembly to hesitate before
depriving the country of one of the most solid
guarantees they had for the good and sound teaching
of the masses.
The original motion as thus amended was then
adopted by the General Assembly, and the name of
the Rev. Dr Watt, Anderston, was added to the
Mr J. TURNBULL SMITH, C.A., Edinburgh (Elder),
submitted the Report of the Committee on Sabbath
Schools. It stated that they had now 2094 Sabbath
Schools, or nine more than last year; 216,980
scholars, an increase of 534; 170,871 in average
attendance, an increase of 921; and an army of
20,589 teachers, an increase of 84. There were
38,883 young persons attending Bible Classes in
addition to those at Sunday Schools, being an
increase of 1519. The collections amounted to
£5359, being £695 above the contributions for the
previous year. There were a good many non--
reporting parishes, and some without Sabbath
Schools, but the results were, on the whole, very
encouraging. The most important matter that had
engaged the attention of the Committee during the
past year was the preparation of the Books for
Teachers authorised by last Assembly, and which
he now laid on the table of the House. He did not
venture to think that in every particular the books
would commend themselves to everyone, but after
having had an opportunity of carefully examining
the work as a whole, the Committee had no hesitation
in saying that in their opinion the books did
credit to the Church, and would be found eminently
useful in enabling the teachers in the future to perform
their duties much more satisfactorily than it
was possible for many of them to do in the past.
The amount which the Committee required from
the Church, in order to place the books in the
hands of teachers at the lowest possible price, was
The Rev. Professor STORY moved the following
Resolution: - "Approve of the Report. Record the
thanks of the General Assembly to the Committee,
to the Convener, to Conveners of Synod and Presbytery
Committees, and to the Superintendents and
Teachers for their valuable services. Renew the
General Assembly's former directions to Synods and
Presbyteries to appoint annually a Committee on
Sabbath Schools, with a Convener. Earnestly commend
to the fostering care of Synods, Presbyteries,
Kirk-Sessions, Ministers, and Members of the Church
generally, the whole subject of the Religious Education
of the Young, with special reference to
strengthening the hold of the Church upon the
senior scholars. Authorise the Committee to publish
the three books for Teachers which have been prepared
under the authority of last General Assembly.
Record the thanks of the Assembly to the Editors,
Assessors, and Writers of these books. Renew the
injunction that a Special Collection should be made
to meet the expenses connected with the Teachers'
Books, in those parishes where a Collection has not
yet taken place, on any convenient Sabbath during
the present year. Reappoint the Convener and the
Committee, with power to add to their number."
He said the point which he wished to emphasize
was the scheme of lessons which had been drawn up
by the Committee. He had looked through the
books with some care, and he had no hesitation in
saying that they were the result of a great deal of
thoughtful and scholarly work, deserving the confidence
of the Church. He did not say that with all
the details of the expositions he found himself in
accordance, but that was a small matter. A scheme
of lessons was more valuable when it stimulated
thought and suggested study than when it sank to
a dead level of commonplace. The lessons were of
a progressive character, so that the youngest child
was led on until he reached the point when he was
ready for the more advanced instruction. It was
too generally assumed that any one who had the
zeal to teach in a Sunday School was endowed with
the requisite knowledge, but there could be no
greater mistake. The best-intentioned person was
often the least capable of intelligently teaching
children, but any one taking these lessons and
assimilating them was sure to be guided in a line of
instruction profitable to the children. He should
have liked if some short service for the children had
been prepared, especially in the way of short prayers,
and he suggested to the Committee that they should
take that into consideration, because the devotional
exercises, as they were called, in Sunday Schools
were often very much below the mark, and did
not leave the impression they ought to do. The
statistics given by the Committee were particularly
gratifying. With the exception of a single blank
in the old town of Edinburgh - which he did not
think should exist - there were Sunday Schools in
all the Parishes of the Synods of Lothian and
Tweeddale, Merse and Teviotdale, Dumfries, and
Glasgow and Ayr. Indeed, there were almost no
blanks until they got into the Highlands, and, as
they knew, there were some districts in the Highlands
which were exceptions to all rule. There
were no returns of Sunday Schools in five Parishes
in the Presbytery of Tongue, and there were in that
Presbytery only six elders and seventy-nine communicants.
But even in that unfortunate and benighted
Presbytery, if the Church was to live, it
was incumbent on the remnant to get hold of the
children of the Church. If the Parents would not
go to the National Church, there was always some
way of getting at the children and producing in
their minds a religious impression by a living
illustration of the Scriptures, which was not more
needed anywhere than in the Presbytery of Tongue.
Mr COLIN G. MACRAE, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
seconded the motion.
Mr STEWART LINDSAY, Kirriemuir (Elder), said
it was very gratifying to find in these days of
religious indifference that the Committee had been
able to report such successful results, and that the
Church was not only maintaining but improving
her position with regard to Sunday Schools. He
firmly believed that very much of the abounding
religious indifference was attributable to the want
of religious instruction; and, notwithstanding the
efforts of Christian parents and Sunday School
teachers, the evil had been greatly aggravated since
systematic religious teaching had been shoved aside
in the day schools. It was very sad to see Statesmen
and Doctors of Divinity advocating a divorce
between religious and secular instruction; but the
neglect of the State only added to the responsibility
of the Church in this matter, and rendered it more
imperative that the teachers should not only have
the will, but have some aptitude and training for
the work. He did not think the National Church
was yet to go down, but if it was to die, a hundred
thousand Scotsmen, and he hoped two hundred
thousand Scottish women, would know the reason
The Rev. J.A. IRELAND, Whitburn, said he
could not express unqualified approval of the
Report. He thought it would have been more
desirable if the Committee had begun the work
which they proposed to leave to a future Assembly,
and had prepared a suitable Bible for children.
His idea of religious instruction was that there
should be portions of Scripture selected and put in
a handy form for children. He saw in the Books
for Teachers the story of the Angel delivering St
Peter from prison, and the comment on that passage,
which they were instructed to give to children, was
that there were Angels, and that they might do
such work as the opening of prisons; but that
children ought not to speak to Angels, and ought
not to address themselves to Angels. He (Mr Ireland)
would say that if there were Angels, and they
were to teach that to children, they should speak to
them as often as they could. He believed if such a
publication as he had suggested were issued by the
Assembly there would be nothing more popular in
the homes of the Scottish people.
The report was then adopted,
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, in absence of the Rev. Dr
MITCHELL, South Leith, reported that the Committee
had fulfilled the instructions of last General
Assembly, and petitioned Parliament against the
scheme of the Educational Endowments Commission
for dealing with the funds of the Society for Propagating
Christian Knowledge. The Agent laid on
the table a copy Scheme which had received the
approval of Her Majesty, incorporating "The
Governors of the Trust for Education in the Highlands
and Islands of Scotland," under Section 3 of
which the Assembly are empowered to elect three
members of the governing body.
On the motion of Dr SCOTT, the following were
appointed Governors of the Trust for Education
in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland: - The
Principal Clerk of Assembly, Professor Milligan;
the Convener of the Royal Bounty Fund, Dr Norman
Macleod, of St Stephen's, Edinburgh; and the
Convener of the Highland Committee, Professor
Malcolm C. Taylor.
The question of the regularity of the election of
the Rev. David Cathels as successor to the Rev.
John Henderson in the parish of St James', Glasgow,
was brought before the Assembly by Appeals
of Mr John M. Barr and others against a deliverance
of the Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, of 9th April
last, dismissing an Appeal by them against a previous
decision of the Presbytery of Glasgow sustaining
the appointment of Mr Cathels. The minutes
of the meeting of the congregation on 27th May
last bore that the Rev. Alexander Loudon, Galashiels,
the Rev. J.R. Macpherson, Kinnaird, and
the Rev. D.S. Cathels, Kirkton, were each nominated
for the vacancy in the parish, but that, owing
to the supporters of Mr Macpherson being so few,
they went over before the voting commenced to Mr
Loudon's party or to Mr Cathels' party, so that only
the names of Mr Loudon and Mr Cathels were voted
on - the result being that 179 voted for the latter
and 177 for the former. The election was taken
exception to by Mr Barr and other members of the
minority, on the ground that undue influence had
been used to prevent supporters of Mr Loudon
attending the meeting of the congregation and
voting in his behalf, that the meeting in question
was characterised throughout by irregularities, that
the division was taken part in by persons not
entitled to vote, and that a just enumeration of the
qualified electors gave Mr Cathels no majority.
After hearing proof on these points, the Presbytery,
in respect that the charges had not been substantiated,
sustained the appointment of Mr Cathels.
Appeal was taken to the Synod by the Rev. T.B.
W. Niven, Pollokshields, for himself, and by Mr
Barr and others, against this judgment of the
Presbytery, with the result that it was unanimously
resolved to dismiss both Appeals and to sustain the
decision of the inferior Court.
At the bar of the Assembly Mr Ure, Advocate,
appeared for the Appellants; Mr Cowrie Thomson,
Advocate, for Mr Cathels and his supporters; the
Rev. T.B.W. Niven for himself; and Dr F.L.
Robertson and the Rev. Mr Hutton for the Synod
of Glasgow and Ayr.
Mr URN first stated the case for the Appellants.
He argued that from the beginning to the end of the
proceedings in the settlement, the Regulations of
the Assembly, under which the right of election
was exercised by members of congregations, were
utterly disregarded. There was no Roll of the congregation,
and if there was no Roll the whole
foundation of the election was gone. There was no
certified copy of the Roll in the hands of the Presbytery,
and at all the meetings in connection with the
vacancy the Moderator had not in his hands, as
enjoined by the Regulations, the Roll of the congregation
- necessarily in this case, because there was no
Roll. He also contended that there were irregularities
in the counting of the votes at the meeting where
the election took place. Had the division been less
narrow, serious importance might not have been
attached to these irregularities; but in such an
extremely narrow state of the division as they had in
this case - 177 to 179 - he attached great importance
to them. He quite understood that the General
Assembly would be exceedingly unwilling to disturb
an election which had proceeded so far as this one
had, especially when there was the possibility, if
the proceedings were to be begun de novo, that
there might be to some extent a repetition of those
scenes of high excitement and high feeling which
had undoubtedly been displayed, and that there
might be a repetition of the exceedingly narrow
vote which all must deprecate on the part of a
congregation met for the duty of electing a minister.
But, unless the Assembly were to set aside entirely
its own clear and simple Regulations, it must set
aside the election and must direct that the proceedings
should be begun de novo. This he concluded
by moving the House to do.
The Rev. T.B.W. NIVEN, on his own behalf, said
he had felt it necessary to press his Appeal simply
on the ground that in considering an appointment
of this nature the Presbytery were precluded from
sustaining the appointment unless they were satisfied
that it had been made strictly in accordance with
the Regulations of the Assembly, and particularly
that the appointment bad emanated from the persons
legally entitled to vote. It seemed to him that in
the course of the investigation it had been distinctly
proved that the Regulations of the General
Assembly had been violated in respect that a document
seemed to be entirely awanting - namely, the
electoral Roll of the congregation. It had also
been proved by the evidence led before the Presbytery
that certain parties, from the irregularity of
the proceedings, had been prevented from taking
part in the election who desired to do so, and that
certain parties had also been permitted to take part
in the election who had no legal title to do so.
Mr COMRIE THOMSON, for the Respondents, contended
that it was entirely out of order to ask the
General Assembly to pronounce a decision upon the
question of the regularity or irregularity of the
Rolls referred to, and that by an arrangement,
acceded to by both sides before the Presbytery, it
had been resolved that the question was not to be
gone into except for certain practical ends. The
real question was whether the unanimous judgment
of the Synod and the decision of the Presbytery -
to the effect that the charges of undue influence,
bribery, and intimidation had not been substantiated
- arrived at by twenty-seven votes to five, should
be overturned on account of simple fault-finding as
to the manner in which the Rolls were kept.
Assuming that there had not been literal compliance
with all the Regulations of the Assembly in the
election, what relevancy was there in that plea when
the question for the House was simply whether or
not Mr Cathels was duly elected? That was the
only question they had to try, and he maintained
that the legality of the election was clearly established
by the evidence led before the Presbytery.
The objection to the legality of the election on the
ground that no electoral or congregational Roll
other than the Communion Roll had been made up
was purely technical, and it lost its force in respect
that the irregularity was followed by no evil consequences.
It would, he reminded the Assembly,
be a very serious thing, after more than a year had
elapsed since the election, to reopen the case on a
matter which had been entirely within the cognisance
of the Appellants months before they led
evidence before the Presbytery. But even if the
House doubted his assurance that the slight irregularity
in regard to the electoral Roll had led to no
evil consequences, he maintained that the time had
gone past for taking exception to the election on
that ground. From motives not only of justice to
his Clients, but from motives, too, of expediency
affecting the whole Church, he maintained that it
would be a most serious thing, at that time of day,
to allow that purely technical objection regarding
the regularity of the Rolls to be gone into. He
urged the Assembly to affirm the judgment of the
Presbytery and Synod.
The Rev. Dr F L. ROBERTSON was heard for the
Synod, but had only commenced his address when
the hour of adjournment arrived.
Leave was granted to the Committee on Bills to
meet to-morrow at 10.55 A.M.
The Assembly adjourned at 5.30, to meet again
at 8.30 P.M.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
at 8.30 P.M., and was constituted.
The Rev. Dr F. L. ROBERTSON resumed his address,
and after going over the evidence in the case,
he said he had not the slightest hesitation in asking
the Assembly to affirm the decision of the Synod.
The only question that emerged was this - Was the
Roll, except for the gravest reason, after it had been
adjusted, certified, laid on the table, and used as
the instrument of election, to be overturned in order
to allow the defeated party to make good their point,
and to prevent the man who had been chosen being
admitted? He maintained that it was not, and
that it would be disastrous if such a thing were to
be allowed. He argued that where there was no
congregational Roll, the Communion Roll became
de facto the Roll of the congregation. No objection
had been taken by the Appellants to the Communion
Roll when it was exhibited for public inspection, so
that it must be held to have been homologated by
the congregation. He concluded by noticing the
charges of undue influence and bribery, which, he
said, ought not to have been made against persons
holding positions of importance, unless they were
well founded, and could be proved. The facts
founded upon were, in his view, exceedingly trivial,
and could not by any reasoning bear the interpretation
sought to be put upon them.
Mr URE, in reply, said the addresses on the other
side had been devoted to answering arguments
which he had not used. The Regulations of the
Assembly laid it down that the Roll of a congregation
was entirely distinct from the Communion Roll.
The former was defined as a list of names made up
from the Communion Roll, and the claims of Communicants
and Adherents. He also challenged the
position that the matter might be decided by the
question of whether or not any harm had resulted.
Unquestionably there was a mistake made in the
counting. The proceedings were not in accordance
with the Regulations of the Assembly, and should
not be given effect to.
Mr COMRIE THOMSON shortly replied, urging that
there had been an absolute failure to show that that
election had been in the slightest degree affected by
any of the alleged informalities in the Roll, or the
mode of voting.
In reply to a question by Dr SCOTT, it was stated
that if three Communicants, who, it was said, wished
to vote, and were prevented, had voted, the numbers
for Mr Cathels and Mr Loudon would have been
Parties were afterwards removed.
Sir CHAS. PEARSON (the Procurator) said the first
thing they had to consider was the accuracy of the
electoral Roll. Now, lie would certainly never be
accused of underrating the importance of the accuracy
of the Roll, but at the same time he was
equally convinced that it would never do to go
finically to work upon such a subject; and unless
they were convinced that substantial injustice had
been done, and that the mind of the people had not
been ascertained, the election should be sustained
rather than set aside by the Court of Appeal. Something
was said, he thought, rather in the way of unduly
minimising the importance of having a list
distinct from the Communion Roll in a case where
there were no Adherents. He disagreed with that.
He thought it was quite wrong to work as the
Moderator and the Clerk worked upon an ancient
Communion Roll, full of blanks and deletions, for
the purpose of fixing the electoral body. It was
clear that the proper course would have been to
have copied out the Roll, and to have had it attested
by the Moderator. But he was not prepared to say
that the course adopted was so incompetent as to
void an election, though he was most unwilling to
advise the Assembly to any conclusion which would
appear to justify such a slovenly way of making up
a Roll. There was no necessity under the Regulations
for there being a separate list from the Communion
Roll. It appeared to him there was no
sufficient doubt thrown on this Roll to enable them
to arrive at the serious conclusion that there was in
law no Roll, and therefore no basis for this election.
Further, the Appellants entirely failed until far too
late to take the objections they might have taken
on this point. On this matter he was inclined to
advise the Assembly that, although for the purpose
of scrutiny it was most inexpedient that the Communion
Roll should not have been copied, it was
not a nullity. It was on the face of it a Roll
attested by the Moderator and the Clerk, a copy of
which was sent to the Presbytery. Coming next to
the objections urged by the Appellants, he said the
first was that undue influence was used. Now, canvassing
was not yet contrary to the law of the Church.
Canvassing or persuasion may sometimes come very
near to undue influence, but if the acts complained of
were brought within the category of canvassing, it
was not against the law of the Church, although he
might be allowed to say in anticipation that if the
thing went much further it would very soon be
against the law, because he thought the Church had
precisely the same inherent power that the State
had when it passed the Corrupt Practices Act, making
illegal certain acts in themselves perfectly unblamable,
merely because they had become so common
as to be a public abuse. The other objection
he thought had been unduly minimised by the Respondents.
He thought more seriously than they
did of giving a florin instead of a penny to a little
boy, or 2s. 6d. to a poor person, when the act coincided
with recommending a particular candidate.
At the same time he did not say that a single instance,
even of bribery, when it was not traced to
the candidate himself, should void an election. As
to the third and fourth objections, if it could be
clearly made out that the majority had been added
to by the intrusion of persons who were not entitled
to vote, or that the minority had been detracted
from by the exclusion of persons who were entitled
to vote, he would be very much inclined to say that
the thing must be done over again. But he did not
think any one was counted who should not have
been included; and when they came to exclusion,
he held that every one who had a right to vote
ought previously to have ascertained that his name
was correctly on the Roll; and it seemed to him
that a person who appeared at the door who had a
prima facie right to be admitted could not be held
to be wrongfully excluded if he left the door before
the matter of his right to be admitted was cleared
up. He did not think it could be held that the doorkeepers
excluded any of the persons named. He
therefore moved that the Assembly dismiss the
Appeals and affirm the judgment of the Synod;
and with reference to the question raised as to the
validity of the electoral Roll, find that no case
has been made out for the interference of the
Mr CHARLES INNES, Inverness (Elder), seconded
the motion, his contention being that the Roll on
which the election took place must be held to be the
Roll of the congregation.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTONE, Harray, moved as an
amendment - "The General Assembly find it proved,
as averred by the Appellants, that the congregational
meeting of 27th May last year was characterised
by irregularity and disorder; that in consequence
of grave irregularities and discrepancies in
the electoral Rolls or lists on which the election
proceeded, members of the congregation who had a
right to vote were refused admittance to the meeting;
that motions for delay and scrutiny of votes
were improperly refused; that a protest against the
whole proceedings was not recorded; that it was
impossible for the members reasonably to deliberate
and determine the matter before them, and that
no adequate opportunity was allowed for correcting
the mistakes complained of. The General
Assembly further find that the taking of the vote
by merely counting the persons in the two groups
respectively was insufficient; that in view of the
dubiety of the enumeration and the smallness of
the majority announced, the names and votes of the
voters ought to have been recorded; and that in
the circumstances of the case, as disclosed in the
evidence, the election is irregular and invalid. The
General Assembly therefore sustain the Appeals,
recall the judgments appealed against, and remit
the case to the Presbytery of Glasgow, that the
necessary steps may be taken for a new election."
The Rev. JAMES LANDRETH, Logie-Pert, Brechin,
in seconding the amendment, said he thought it
had been clearly proved, even by the speech of
the Procurator himself, that there had been gross
irregularity, not only in the meeting and in the
voting, but in the canvassing. If the House condoned
irregularity in a case where the successful
condidate had such a small majority, it would set
a precedent for disorder throughout the Church,
and would shake the confidence of members in the
wisdom of the Assembly.
Mr WILLIAM M. DICKIE, Glasgow (Elder), supported
the amendment, and urged that purity of
election was one of the most fundamental doctrines
of the Church. If that were departed from,
the great doctrines of the Church might soon go to
the wall.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT supported the motion of the
Procurator. There was, he said, a tendency to
over-regulate elections, and this tendency was calculated
to make it more difficult than it really was
for congregations to get the Minister whom they
might choose. In this case they must lay sentiment
aside. It was because of the smallness of the majority
that they had this agitation. If they sent it
back to the congregation, did they imagine they
would have anything else than agitation? A
majority of two, if they were acting lawfully, were
entitled to the support of the Assembly as much as
if they were a majority of two hundred. He emphasised
the remarks of the Procurator upon the
slovenliness with which the election had been carried
through. It would do good if the Assembly were
to express its displeasure at such slovenliness. He
was of opinion, however, that no substantial injustice
had been done to any of the parties in the
The Rev. Professor STORY rose to support Dr
Johnstone's amendment. It must be obvious, he
said, to any one who had attended to the argument
of the Procurator that he throughout hesitated, and
assented to what had been done by the Presbytery
and Synod with great reluctance. He stated that
he recognised in the proceedings the greatest slovenliness,
and to that he made the strongest objections;
but it was only from motives of his own that he
consented to overlook these, and agree that the proceedings
should be sustained. There seemed to
have been no electoral Roll in the sense intended
by the Regulations of the Assembly. It was all
very well to talk of this botched and amended and
re-amended Roll of Communicants being a qualified
electoral Roll, but it was not so in a legal sense.
Another thing was the presence at the door of this
Cerberus, who admitted or turned back at his discretion.
He turned back persons according to a
copy of a Roll which he held in his hand. There
was no such arrangement known in the Church in the
election of a Minister. The election in his mind was
invalid. How did they know that substantial
justice would be done if they confirmed the proceedings?
Here was a majority of two, a majority
obtained on an illegal Roll, and by the action of
the Cerberus at the door. He thought that after
the speech of the Procurator, which had a great
effect upon his (Dr Story's) mind - different from
what his learned friend intended- in view of that
speech, they should be excessively careful in sanctioning
the irregularities which their learned legal
adviser acknowledged were gross irregularities, for
the sake of avoiding a future undesirable repetition
of a contested election. Let them have any number
of contested elections rather than in any degree infringe
what they regarded to be the law of the
Church, which should be administered with the
The PROCURATOR, after characterising in strong
terms the proceedings before the Synod, and expressing
his regret that the Assembly could not
deal exhaustively with the case in consequence of
the shape in which it was presented to the House,
said he would make a motion which would at least
put it on the rails, so that a decision might be pronounced.
He moved: - "That the Assembly find
that the only matters competently before the Synod
were (1) Mr Bain's Dissent and Complaint against
the deliverance of the Presbytery, of date 26th June
1888; and (2) the relative Petition by Mr Bain, of
date 25th September 1888: sustain the Dissent and
Complaint, and remit to the Synod to recall the sist
of the procedure granted by the Synod on 25th
September 1888, and to hear parties on the Dissent
and Complaint taken by Mr Bain on 26th June 1888,
and on the relevancy of the said Petition."
The Rev. Dr SCOTT seconded the motion, which
was agreed to.
Parties were recalled and judgment intimated.
The Rev. Mr Lawson, Dr Mackenzie, and Mr
Macdougall acquiesced, took instruments, and
craved extracts, which were allowed.
The Presbytery of Dundee overtured the Assembly
to declare that it was in accordance with the constitution
and law of the Church that every Kirk--
Session should, with regard to the representation of
Kirk-Sessions in Presbyteries and Synods, send to
the Presbytery and Synod the same number of
ruling Elders as there were Ministers of Pastoral
Charges (collegiate or separate) having seats in the
The Rev. JOHN REID, Monikie, briefly supported
the Overture. It was agreed before disposing of the
Overture to call for the Report of the Committee on
Collegiate Charges.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTONE, Harray, submitted the
Report by the Committee on Collegiate Charges.
The Committee, after obtaining full information
from Ministers and Session Clerks of Collegiate
Charges, concurred in the conclusion come to by a
similar Committee in 1879, that the benefits derived
from the Collegiate system were more than counterbalanced
by the evils which accompanied or flowed
from it, and that in at least the great majority of
cases it was desirable that it should be superseded
by other arrangements. The hope was expressed
that should the General Assembly continue the
Committee and authorise it to promote, should
opportunity offer, the introduction of a Bill on the
subject, the object aimed at would be ere long
gained. What was proposed was merely a permissive
measure, making disjunction, where expedient,
easily attainable. The quoad sacra Parishes Act of
1884 had largely promoted the prosperity of the
Church, and an Act dealing with the case of
Collegiate Charges might likewise prove highly
The Rev. Dr SCOTT moved as follows: - "The
General Assembly receive the Report, continue the
Committee, authorise them to confer with the
Presbyteries specially interested as to the expediency
of inaugurating measures designed to secure the
ends contemplated, and instruct the Committee to
report to next General Assembly the result of their
inquiries. Also - That the Overture be referred to
the Committee, and that the names of Mr Gardner,
Brechin, Mr Reid, and Captain Wimberley be
added to the Committee."
The General Assembly adjourned at 12.45 A.M., to
meet again at 11 A.M.
TUESDAY, 27th May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The minutes of last sederunt being in the hands
of Members were held as read, and were approved of.
The General Assembly called for the Report of
the Committee on Bills, which was given in, read,
and approved of.
The Petition of Mr A. S. Stewart was remitted
to the Committee on Admission of Ministers.
The Rev. J. BALFOUR ROBERTSON, Leswalt, drew
attention to the Carsphairn case, which comes before
the Assembly on a reference from the Synod of Galloway,
and which is down for consideration tomorrow.
He asked that the Assembly should
appoint a Committee to confer with parties in the
case. In the interests of the Church, he thought
that was the only way in which the case could be
satisfactorily wound up. It was a serious and a
peculiar case, requiring peculiar treatment, and if
discussed on the floor of the House before attempting
to arrive at some agreement, no satisfactory
arrangement was likely to be made.
(Elder), seconded the motion, which was agreed to,
and a Committee was appointed to meet parties in
the Carsphairn case, and to report to the General
Assembly when the case is called. The Committee
to consist of Dr Scott (Convener), Dr Story, the
Rev. T.B.W. Niven, the Rev. Theodore Marshall,
and Sir A. Muir Mackenzie.
The Rev. WM. ROBERTSON, Edinburgh, Home
Mission Deputy, in the absence of the Convener,
the Rev. Dr Donald Macleod, presented the Report
upon the Home Missions of the Church.
It stated that last year had been characterised by
steady progress. The only branch in which there was
a decrease was that of Church Building, for while in
1888 there was an expenditure of £2077 for the enlargement
or building of 16 places of worship, adding
thereby 4691 sittings, in 1889 only 3272 additional
sittings were provided at a cost to the Committee of
£1835. The Committee had been able to meet all
the requirements of this branch and to pay every
grant that became due. There was an increase of
7 Mission Churches, although 3 of those formerly
connected with the Home Mission had been removed
in consequence of endowment. There were
also 2 more Stations supplied by Licentiates, and an
addition of 2 to those supplied by Non-Licentiates:
in all, an increase of 11 Agents over the number
employed during the previous year. There was a
similar increase in the funds placed at the disposal of
the Committee, the total income for 1888 having been
£8959, 0s. 4d., and for 1889 £10,042, 5s. 9d. The
operations of the Committee are divided into three
branches - (1) Mission Stations, (2) Mission
Churches, and (3) Church Building. There were 75
Stations connected with the Mission branch during
1889, and of these 27 were supplied by Licentiates,
and 48 by Non-Licentiates. Grants were given
amounting to £1050 for the support of the Licentiates,
and £934 for Non-Licentiates - or in all, £1984.
The total expenditure for salaries at these Stations
was £3811, £2184 of which was in salaries paid to
Licentiates, and £1627 in salaries paid to Non--
Licentiates. The average attendance at all the
Stations was 6821. The largest number of Communicants
who actually partook of the Lord's
Supper during the year was 1969. There were 80
Mission Churches which fell to be reported upon
this year, the average attendance at which was
15,467. The number of persons who actually communicated
during the year at these Churches was
9569. The grants voted by the Committee in connection
with this special work amounted to £3185,
while the total sum expended upon salaries was
£8359. There were 23 cases dealt with under the
head Church Building during 1889, involving an
expenditure in grants of £1835, whereby 3272
additional sittings were supplied for Church accom-modation
at a total cost of £14,620.
The following table shows the condition of the
funds for 1889 as compared with 1888: -
1888. 1889.
Church-door Collections
and Parochial Associations,
£6,949 8 2 £7,066 1 1
Donations, 193 12 8 199 8 0
Associations, &c., 12 10 6
Interest andFeu--
Duties, 620 1 9 603 17 1
Legacies, 1,183 7 3 2,172 19 7
£8,959 0 4 £10,042 5 9
The Committee suggested, for the approval of the
Assembly, the formation of a new branch, to be
called Parish Missionaries, which should not interfere
with any of those existing, and should be devoted
to securing additional aggressive work in
Parishes, the necessities of which cannot be overtaken
by the Parish Minister. It was recommended
that an annual sum of £250 be applied in furtherance
of this proposal. The Committee believed that,
if sanctioned, this new departure would in the course
of a few years become the means of vastly increasing
the efficiency of the Church in dealing with the many
problems that affect non-church-going in Scotland.
Finally, the Committee rejoice that there is everywhere
manifest an increasing interest in the social,
as well as spiritual, condition of the people. They
recognise every movement in the direction of improving
the housing of the industrial classes, of preventing
debasement through evil environment, of
dealing with intemperance and its causes, of supplying
healthy amusements and all similar undertakings,
as matters in which the Church of Christ ought not
merely to have a lively interest, but in the advancement
of which she ought to take the leading part.
And they are glad in this connection to point to the
excellent work fulfilled by the Commission of the
Presbytery of Glasgow appointed to inquire into the
housing of the poor in that great city. The income
of the Home Mission Scheme from all sources for
1889 was £10,142, 5s. 9d., and the expenditure
£8968, 13s. 11d., including grants paid to 149
Churches and Stations, £4814, 19s. 6d. and £3159, 5s.
for building operations, leaving the sum of £16,691,
6s. 8d. in hand at the close of the year."
Mr ROBERTSON, in presenting the Report, expressed
the regret the whole House felt that Dr
Donald Macleod was not able himself to be present
that morning and submit the Report. He was sure
that nothing would elicit a more cordial response
from that Assembly than the expression of the Committee's
very earnest hope that, after a short rest,
Dr Macleod would return invigorated for the many
labours of which the Assembly and the Church had
so grateful an appreciation. Since entering the
Assembly that morning he had received a message
from Dr Macleod, who was in Italy, "Feel ever so
much stronger. As I look out on Vesuvius, pouring
forth fire and smoke, I could scarcely believe that
there is another possible volcano on the Castle Hill."
The new proposals which the Committee put before
the Assembly were the outcome of the wisdom of
Dr Macleod. While it was a new departure, it was
eminently a new departure along the lines on which
the Committee had for years been working. The
Church of Scotland's principle of government was
the territorial principle. It was agreed that was
the only successful method by which work of that
kind could be overtaken. It was also one of the
principles of the Church of Scotland, that in a
Parish the Parish Minister was the Parish Missionary;
and, in the third place, it was one of
the principles of the Church that in such a Parish
as that where Mission work was required, the centre
of Mission operations was, and must be, the Parish
Church. The proposals of the Committee were intended
to conserve, and to give expression to, these
principles. Not one of these principles was new, but a
new point was that, in the opinion of the Committee,
the Church should by a certain change in its
machinery - in some respects a comparatively small
change - come to the help of those who were being
overburdened and broken down by an honest and
earnest attempt to be faithful to responsibilities
which were greater than they were able to bear.
The tendency of the Committee's policy was not to
increase unnecessarily the number of places of
worship, but to turn to the fullest account the
services of the Ministry at present existing. The
work of supplying the spiritual wants of the crowded
districts of our large cities was being more and more
left to the National Church year by year, and such
a departure as that which the Committee asked the
Assembly to take was but another evidence of the
National Church standing to her own principles,
and straining her utmost effort to meet the spiritual
necessities of the people. These were the proposals
of a unanimous Committee, and he trusted the
General Assembly would cordially adopt them.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT moved the following deliverance:
- "The General Assembly approve of the
Report, record their thanks to the Convener and
the Committee for their labours on behalf of the
Scheme, and reappoint them with the usual
powers - Dr Macleod to be Convener. The General
Assembly learn with regret that, owing to the
state of his health, Dr Macleod has not been able
to present the Report in person, and they desire to
express their sympathy with him, and their earnest
hope that, by the blessing of God, a short period
of rest may enable him to return strengthened
and reinvigorated for the many labours of which
the Assembly and the Church have so grateful an
appreciation. The General Assembly note with
satisfaction the increase of the Committee's revenue,
as well as the steady progress of Missionary operations
during the year. They observe that the Committee
have been able considerably to extend their
operations, and in view of the increasing demands
made on the Committee for aid, the Assembly
earnestly renew their exhortation that adequate
funds be furnished by means of the regular and
systematic contributions of the members of the
Church, so that the Committee may be enabled to
discharge the responsibilities laid upon them. The
General Assembly receive, with much satisfaction,
the Report submitted in compliance with the direction
given to the Committee last year, to consider
any alteration or modification of the Rules hitherto
observed in the management of the Home Mission
Scheme, which they might have to suggest for the
increase of its efficiency. The Assembly approve of
the new branch to be called Parish Missionaries,
and of the Regulations suggested in the Report for
its administration; and they further approve of and
adopt the Committee's recommendation that, in the
meantime, till experience shall have shown the
practicability and usefulness of this department of
work, an annual sum of £250 be applied in furtherance
of the proposals now submitted. In connection
with this matter, the General Assembly desire to
impress on the Ministers and Members of the
Church that, inasmuch as it is not contemplated
that this New Branch should curtail the work
hitherto carried on by the Committee, it can only
become effective if it secures the hearty sympathy
and adequate support of the Church, and to these
the General Assembly cordially commend it. The
General Assembly are pleased to learn that the
trustees of the Dr Phin Memorial Fund were able
during the past year to apply the first half-year's
income to the purpose for which the Fund was
established, and feel assured that in time to come
the Fund will prove to be a distinct boon to the
Missionaries among whom the revenue may be distributed.
The General Assembly having learned
that it has been found necessary to rebuild the
Church of the quoad sacra Parish of Renton,
authorise the Committee to receive an application for
aid, and to make such a grant towards the new
Church as they may deem suitable, having regard to
all the circumstances of the case."
Speaking to the motion, Dr Scott said the Report
was one of the most interesting and encouraging
that was ever presented to the Assembly, and the
Committee from whom it came deserved the heartiest
sympathy and strongest support of the Church. It
would be difficult to overestimate the value of the
labours given to this branch of Church Service by
the Convener. The General Assembly should
emphasize its expression of regret that we lacked
to-day his powerful presence, very much on account
of the strain upon his health which this additional
duty involved; and of its sympathy with him in
the illness which has necessitated his temporary
retirement. Thanks are also due to the Deputy
whose practical sagacity and unwearied devotion
were a great strength to the Church, and a bright
example of the willing service which every Minister
should render to her. The Report was the record
of an enlarging and advancing mission. Its figures
were very interesting, and the facts which they
covered more interesting and encouraging still.
The energies of the Committee were not expended
in pushing the interests of a denomination in promising
quarters where adherents and proselytes
could be gained for it. They were expended, to a
very considerable extent, for the benefit of the
poorest and most struggling of the population of
Scotland. To the fishermen along the coasts of the
Hebrides, to the crofters of Orkney and Shetland,
to scattered families of ghillies and shepherds in
secluded fastnesses of the Grampians, to the toiling
masses gathered around the centres of our great oil
and mining industries, and the denizens of the
poorest Parishes in our great cities, the Home
Mission carried the benediction and the succour of
the Church. When one considered what this Mission
aimed at, what it was, what it ought to be, and
could easily be made to be, if we each did our duty
by it, one felt that there was in it the materials for
a great epic. It appealed both to the imagination
and the conscience. He did not envy the man in
whom the reading of the Report stirred no enthusiasm,
and he had nothing but pity for the man who
could be so apathetic in regard to the work reported
upon, that from the beginning of the year to the end
of it, he would not give either a prayer or a penny
in support of it. Special attention was directed to
the résumé of the various methods that had been
adopted in recent years for the enlargement of the
Mission, and the sketch of the proposals now submitted
for a further advance in its operations. One
principle had hitherto governed the policy of the
Committee, viz., that they should not tamper with
the responsibilites nor diminish the labours of
Parish Ministers, but should endeavour to increase,
if possible, the amount of work actually and effectively
done. The grants were administered not to
provide substitutes for Ministers, but to meet necessities
beyond the power of the most laborious
Ministers successfully to grapple with. Again, the
aim of the Committee has been the gathering and
the establishing of new, and eventually self-sustaining,
congregations to be permanently connected
through endowment with the parochial organisation
of the Church. Now that policy had worked
splendidly, and it would be a pity if it were in any
way interfered with or restricted. It could be seen
from the sketch, however, that the ideals of the
Committee had been modified, as the ideals of every
living and growing cause must be modified, by the
discovery or the emergence of new necessities; and
that since 1884 the sense had been deepening that
additional provision should be made for certain
districts where no new Parish need be allocated, and
no additional Church need be erected. The idea
was that the Parish Churches should be utilised
where conveniently situated in relation to the
people, and where it would be unwise to insist upon
the erection of a new building. That surely would
commend itself to them as a very good idea.
Churches were very costly to produce and to maintain
- very costly indeed, when they considered the
very scanty uses to which they were put. We
sometimes blamed a working man for the large
sum of money he had invested in a grand family
Bible which was kept carefully hidden in a drawer
as too good for daily perusal; but we were more to
blame for building our costly Churches and only
using them one day in seven, and on that day only
an hour-and-a-half out of the twenty-four. These
things surely ought not to be. In how many cases
could the Churches be utilised to the great advantage
of the poorest parishioners, without in any way
putting the present congregations to the least inconvenience.
In how many instances were the poor
parishioners severed from the congregation to the
detriment of both. The congregation supported a
Missionary, paid the rent of some dingy and
wretched hall for him to gather the poor into for
worship, and there was an end of it. They never
come into sympathetic touch with the parishioners,
yea, seldom into any touch with the Missionary,
who was labouring as their deputy among the
parishioners. He had to labour under all the disadvantages
of isolation, and therefore with very
little success. Now all this must be changed, and
the poor parishioners must be put in regard to their
Parish Church more on an equality with the comfortable
congregation in possession of it. Instead
of the miserable Mission premises so often deemed
sufficient, the poor parishioners should be invited
to enjoy the provision which ordinary church-goers
enjoyed. If any generous friend would intrust him
with half a million or a million of money to be
expended for the good of the Church of Scotland,
he would spend it in building magnificent Churches
for the poor. Splendid edifices like St Giles' or St
Mungo's might be out of the question, but Churches
like those of Govan and the Barony were surely
within their power. He would put them down in
the poorest districts, so that the people there might
be trained to understand they were really the
brethren of the rich. Well, if they could not build
them new Churches, they could utilise the existing,
and in many cases magnificent and costly ones.
The effect of it would be to bring the Parish Minister
into closer contact with the people most in need
of his ministry. At present, in too many cases, he
was practically severed from them and was the
Minister only of the congregation, and the intention
of these new proposals was to help him to be
what he ought to be, and must desire to be - the
Minister of the Parish as well. It meant the
strengthening of the ministry, and the increasing of
the services in the Parish Church. This, of course,
involved more Ministers, who would be assistants,
not substitutes, of the man responsible for the
duties. He had no fear of its being abused by
making Ministers more idle and lazy, but he was
sure that it would lighten the anxieties of many
laborious Ministers, and immensely increase their
usefulness. A really good Assistant always made
work for the Minister, but in adding to his work
he relieved him of the worry, which makes a free,
large-hearted, and successful ministry simply impossible.
And all this needed more money, and he
might be expected to conclude with the usual
hackneyed appeal for more funds. He did hope to
see the times when Dr Macleod would have four or
five times ten thousand pounds to administer; but
the way to secure that was not so much to ask for
more money, as to labour and pray for the consecration
and sanctification of the Church. If we utilised
the resources we had, more would be given to us.
In regard to money, we may have all that we have
really the strength to use. Well, the strength of
the Church was its faith; its faith was surrender to
Christ; and in proportion to the Church's surrender
to its Head would be the amount of its resources.
There was a mighty work to be done in the Church
before much could be done through it. Once that
it was really and lovingly subject to Christ, He
would endue it with victorious power.
the motion. At that critical juncture in the Church's
history it was well to remind themselves that it was
their duty to see that every branch of the Church
was equipped and in good working order. There
was no doubt a difference of opinion as to the
meaning of the language which had been used in
other places. There were those who thought it did
not mean anything, but he was one of those who
thought it meant a regular advance all along the
line. To use a military phrase, there had been a
mobilisation of forces over against the frontier of the
Church. When that took place in a neighbouring
land, it was well for our Statesmen to see that their
forces were in good order, well equipped, and
thoroughly provisioned. In the same way it was
necessary that in the present juncture of affairs
they should see that the Home Mission, which was
after all the Church, was thoroughly supplied; and
how imperative it was that these supplies should
be forthcoming, the Church and the country knew
better than he could tell them. He claimed that
whereas the Home Mission work of other denominations
was only partial, and was carried on in the
very nature of things for their own adherents and
subscribers, their Home Missions were to the whole
people of Scotland - a National Mission, in fact.
That was the superiority of position which he
claimed for the Church of Scotland. That Church
might be on its trial, and if it was, this was the
time to show that the duties which the Church
claimed to be hers were exercised through their
Home Missions right well and gloriously.
The Rev. CHARLES FRASER, Freuchie, suggested
that the General Assembly should recommend the
Home Mission Committee, when a vacancy occurred
in any of the Stations presently supplied by Divinity
Students, to fill them up by the employment of
Licentiates of the Church. From a recent "YearBook"
he noticed that there were sixty Licentiates of
the Church who had no employment except occasional
preaching, and it was not creditable to the
Church that those they sent out should be left in
the cold, while employment was found for Divinity
Students and others of whom they knew very little.
They should in the circumstances dispense so far as
possible with the services of Divinity Students and
others - with Divinity Students particularly, inasmuch
as they had other work to do.
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, said he differed
from the last speaker that it was a mistake to
engage Divinity Students in any part of Church
work, holding that it was a very good training
indeed for the Student to be occupied at a Home
Mission Station in the summer time. It would be
a great mistake on the part of the General Assembly
at the present time to interfere with the Committee's
method of operations, unless it had better evidence
before it than it yet had that it was unwise to use
the Agents they now used. The enlargement in
the scope of the Committee's work he looked upon
with satisfaction, believing that a wide field for the
employment of the Licentiates of the Church would
thereby be opened.
The Rev. Dr M'LAREN, Larbert, said that in no
possible circumstances did the Home Mission Committee
make an appointment, but they uniformly
left it to the districts asking for spiritual aid to
suggest the Agents they desired. He could imagine
nothing more disastrous than that it should be
thought the Home Mission Committee was a patronage
Committee. With regard to the employment
of Licentiates, they must obey the law of supply
and demand. In small districts they had not the
means of employing Licentiates, for they could not
expect a Licentiate to go to Acharacle, in Mull, for
£10 a year, or to work in many other Highland
Parishes for the small salaries paid.
The Rev. WILLIAM LEE KER, Kilwinning, said
what Mr Fraser wished to emphasize was that,
whenever possible, Licentiates should be appointed
under the new scheme, so that in the congested districts
of large towns they might assist the Minister
in his Sunday work.
The Rev. W. ROBERTSON said the new scheme
would apply almost entirely to Licentiates. They
had one Missionary whose whole salary was £16 a
year. It would be impossible to get a Licentiate for
that salary, and if they did get him he would be
utterly useless, for he was employed in a wild and
scattered Parish of crofter townships where the
whole work was that of a catechist. It had been
said that there was a plethora of Licentiates; but
he might mention that during the last few months
he had been applied to again and again by Ministers
who had found it impossible to get Licentiates to
undertake the duty required of a Missionary.
The Rev. J.A. ST CLAIR, Montrose, said the
tendency of most of their large quoad sacra Parishes
was towards Congregationalism. The Minister was to
a great extent tied down to congregational work, and
his true position as a Parish Minister was often left
out of sight. If they could be relieved, under the
new scheme, of the various meetings which they
had to attend - such as boys' brigades, kinderspiels,
and classes of all kinds - they would be able to devote
themselves to the work of the Parish, and that
would be for the good of all concerned. With regard
to the employment of Students, he was himself,
when only nineteen, appointed by the Highland
Committee to a Highland Parish. He did not know
that the people complained of his services, and he
was sure he was very much benefited by the experience
he had obtained. He would not hesitate
himself to employ a Student if he was a good
preacher. It was good for the Student, and it was
as legal as could possibly be, although not actually
legalised by their own laws.
Mr FRASER withdrew his amendment, and the
deliverance was agreed too.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, submitted the
Report of the Special Committee on Non-Church--
going, which opened with the statement that reports
had been received from eighty Presbyteries. Many
of the causes for non-church-going alleged in the
Reports became causes only at a certain stage of
the case, for even religious indifference, like poverty
and intemperance, so often advanced as an outstanding
cause of non-church-going, was really in many
cases the result of it. Indifference to the ordinances
of religion, where not hereditary, represented a
habit which most people had to acquire, and under
which for long they were very uneasy. This was
one of the hopeful elements in the difficult problem,
for in prosecuting any well-devised and energetic
efforts to solve it, they might reckon upon having
the better nature of the non-church-going on their
side. Many causes had unhappily combined to
produce the evils complained of, and it would be
manifestly unjust to throw responsibility for them
wholly or even chiefly on the Church. It was too
readily assumed that they were all traceable solely
to Christian neglect, while it was as frequently forgotten
that improvidence and indolence and vice
had in many instances reduced multitudes to their
pitiable condition. Out of the many contributing
causes, the Committee gave prominence to the great
increase of Sunday labour in recent years, which
they said had very injuriously affected the religious
and social condition of many of the working classes.
Not the necessities of trade, but its keen and avaricious
competitions were more and more encroaching
upon the working man's Divine heritage of one
day of holy rest in seven. While Sunday labour
threatened to spoil the Divine heritage of the working
classes, among the middle and upper classes not
a few were tempted in Sunday desecration to fritter
it away. Again, for the domestic arrangements and
physical environment of so many thousands of people
the Church could not be held directly responsible, but
the Committee had not felt itself called upon to discuss
this important question, chiefly because an
independent and thorough investigation was being
made by a Commission of the Glasgow Presbytery
into the circumstances connected with the housing
of the poor in that city. The Committee felt warranted
in referring to the Commission as a commendable
instance of the interest taken by the largest
Presbytery of the Church in a matter of immense
public importance. Among the chief factors to be
taken into account in endeavouring to solve the
problem was the great strain put upon the present
organisation of the Church by the rapid increase of
the population and the unequal distribution of that
increase. Very many families who were in full
communion with the Parish Church in the country
fell away from Church attendance upon removing to
town; not from poverty or from indifference, but
from shyness, a sense of strangeness, ignorance as to
where to go, and for lack of some one to take them
by the hand and guide them and help them. Many
other families, again, who were constant attenders
in one part of the city, somehow slipped from the
good habit upon changing to another quarter. It
was evident that had they everywhere a territorial
organisation by which all incomers to a district
could early after arrival be visited and kindly influenced,
they would prevent many of them from
lapsing. There could be no denying the fact that
for years in very many instances they had neglected
to apply, or had not sufficiently or had wrongly
applied, the parochial principle which lay at the
foundation of the Church, and that it was there, as
far as the action of the Church was concerned, that
they must look for another chief cause of the evil
complained of. Their ministerial efforts for years
past in very many cases had been far too congregational
both in aim and method, the seat-holders
having been chiefly, and in not a few cases, exclusively
attended to. Another factor might be found
in the numerical strength of the congregations, for
while the Communion rolls all over the Church were
increasing, the number of Ministers who were
expected to serve the enlarging congregations
continued very much the same. But while admitting
the existence of these evils, and the great
extent to which they prevailed, the Committee
submitted that the Church should confront them
in a spirit of hopefulness. It was not as if they
had been doing nothing, for they had really been
doing much, and to very good effect, in recent
years, but evidently they had not done enough,
and their methods of doing might require alteration
and improvement. In view of all the circumstances
the Committee recommended as a basis
essential to any really remedial measures, that all
the available forces in the Church should be utilised
and combined in an effort to secure the vigorous application
all over the country of the parochial system.
It was not true that the system had broken
down in the Church, but it was true that in many
places it had not been sufficiently taken advantage
of. It most break clown in many Parishes, if only
a Minister and his Assistant were expected to work
it, for no two men could do the work which many
people were required to do; and two of the most zealous
and able of men must fail if in the work of evangelising
a district the only appliance available was
a Parish Church with only a few free sittings in it.
They should endeavour to make the Church in each
Parish in reality, or so far as they could make it,
the Parish Church. In many cases at present it
was not so. It was occupied by non-parochial persons
who had rented their seats, and whose rights
of property till the congregation could do without
the pew rents must be respected. In the great
majority of cases it was believed that seatholders
would not object to, but would cordially approve
of, an injunction by the Presbytery that in every
Church within the bounds there should be at least
one service every Sunday at which all the sittings
should be free to all who attended. The Minister in
each Parish should really, or so far as he could, be the
Parish Minister. Congregations should be trained
to acknowledge that the poor and needy and nonchurch-going
among the parishioners had a larger
claim on the Minister than non-parochial attenders
of the Church. For the relief of congested Parishes
or of very necessitous districts the Presbyteries
within whose bounds they lay should share the responsibility
with the Ministers and Sessions that
served them. The Church could not be properly
governed and properly served except with faithfulness
in the administration of Presbyteries. With
the view of furthering this the Committee suggested
that the Assembly should appoint a Commission, to
be called "The Commission on the Religious Condition
of the People " - a Commission essentially for
assistance and not for superintendence, and which
should co-operate with Presbyteries and Synods in
ministration, but which was in no way to interfere
with their government.
The Rev. Dr GRAY, Liberton, moved the following
deliverance: - "That the General Assembly receive
the Report, and thank the Committe for their diligence,
and discharge them. The General Assembly
learn with regret that, in recent years, Sunday
labour has greatly increased, and believing that
this is most detrimental to the best interests of all
concerned in it, the General Assembly enjoin all
Ministers and Elders not only to protest against this
encroachment on the rights of labour, but also
heartily to co-operate in every well-devised effort
to protect the working classes in the enjoyment of
their Divine heritage of one day of holy rest in
seven. The General Assembly having learned with
approval the action of the Presbytery of Glasgow in
relation to the Housing of the Poor, do advise and
encourage all the Presbyteries of the Church to be
actively interested in the improvement of the physical
and social conditions of the people. They also
exhort Ministers while carefully refusing to be
judges and dividers between classes, to be faithful
in preaching the Gospel law of righteousness and
love, according to which each man shall render to
his brother his due, and all shall work together as
those who serve the Lord Christ with whom there
is no respect of persons. The General Assembly
believing that Presbyteries have ample powers to
secure the vigorous application all over the country
of the Parochial System, resolve to transmit this
Report for their consideration, authorising them to
adopt such changes in the present arrangments
for the times set apart for public worship and
for instruction in religion as appear to them expedient
and calculated to diminish the evils of non--
church-going complained of. The General Assembly
especially recommend that in all Parish
Churches the sittings at one service at least
should be free to all who come; and in regard to
Parochial Ministrations that Kirk-Sessions should
recognise the work of other Churches, and co-operate
with them as far as practicable in supply of religious
ordinances to all who need them. The General
Assembly, in consideration of the difficulties with
which some Presbyteries have to contend, on account
of the vast and rapid increase of the population
within their bounds, and with the view of
promoting the unity of the Church, and of rendering
its work more effective by bringing the strength
of the whole to support the individual, approve of
the recommendation that a Commission upon the
religious condition of the people be appointed. The
General Assembly resolve accordingly, and appoint
the following Members, viz.: - Dr Gray, Dr Gloag,
Dr M'Laren, Dr Charteris, the Rev. Mr Hutton,
the Rev. Mr Hunter, Sir J.N. Cuthbertson, Sir A.
Muir-Mackenzie, T.G. Murray, Esq. - Dr Scott,
Convener - to submit to a future diet of Assembly
the names of Ministers and Elders to be elected
as Commissioners, and also a draft of instructions to
be given to the Commissioners. In framing these
instructions, the General Assembly enjoin the Committee
to bear in mind the recommendation of the
Report, that 'the Commission is to be essentially
a Commission for assistance, and not for superintendence,'
and to be careful that nothing be submitted
which is in any way calculated to infringe
the rights, or tamper with the responsibilities, of
the subordinate Courts of the Church.
"The General Assembly authorise the Home
Mission and the Finance Committees to defray the
expenses referred to in the Report."
In moving this deliverance, Dr Gray said the
subject was one which had very wide aspects.
There were, it must be admitted, very many who
were not in connection with the Church - who had
now lapsed and had fallen away from ordinances
altogether - and he suspected most Ministers knew
that there were very many who had a very loose
connection with the Church, and who were what
might be called Sacramental Communicants. He
knew, too, that there were some who said that
church-going was not the same as religion. It was
not. There were many good people who were not
church-goers for satisfactory reasons; but all of
them must feel that church-going - public worship
where properly conducted - was of very great importance
for strengthening religious faith, and
giving knowledge of religious truth. Therefore
they must feel that it was a very serious thing indeed,
if it was true - as it was true - that in the
country there were a great number who were not in
the habit of going to Church at all. In respect of the
Sunday labour referred to in the Report, the Church
had a twofold duty. The Church should carry the
ministrations of religion to those persons who were
unable to go to Church, and it should do what it
could to give them opportunities for church-going.
They did not believe in the Jewish Sabbath, but they
did believe in the Son of Man, who was Lord of the
Sabbath, and who had declared that the Sabbath
was made for man, and was fitted to promote his
welfare in body and soul, and they had the testimony
of Christendom to show what an inestimable
boon it was, especially to the working classes, who
were thus given a day for bodily rest, for spiritual
instruction, and for public worship. Reference had
been made to existing poverty as a cause of non--
church-going, and here again, Dr Gray pointed out,
the Church had a twofold duty. It had not only to try
to relieve that poverty, and to enable the poor to go
to the House of God, but it had the greater duty of
endeavouring to remove as far as possible the cause
of that poverty. He did not think the Church should
confine itself altogether to the spiritual side of things,
because the material and spiritual acted and reacted
upon one another, and the surroundings and the environments
told upon the character of the people.
If Ministers were to be successful in promoting the
spiritual welfare of the people they must attend to
these social and sanitary matters, and if the Church
had attended to these things sooner perhaps non--
church-going would not have been known as the
evil it was to-day. He was glad that the deliverance
gave powers to Presbyteries to make such
changes in the present arrangements for the times
set apart for Public Worship and for instruction in
religion as appeared to them calculated to diminish
the evils of non-church-going, so that all the
Parishioners might feel that the Church doors were
open for them. He was not one of those who
thought that the Churches should be altogether
free. They must consider the classes as well as the
masses, but he agreed that there should be large
portions of every Church perfectly free, not for
paupers but for all Parishioners who might come,
the same as if they were paying for their seats. In
regard, too, to those who did not believe in church--
going on account of intellectual difficulties, he
thought the Church could do more than it did. In
their more advanced Bible Classes there should be
classes for the examination of evidences oftener
than there were, because the consequence of means
not being taken to instruct the youth of the Church
in Christian evidences was that young men went
into society - into the midst of infidels it might be
- without a knowledge of these evidences, and
gradually dropped off from church-going. He
heartily approved of the appointment of the proposed
Commission, and he was only sorry that the appointment
should not be for five years. Without
anticipating the discussion of the following day, he
must say that there would have been an advantage
other than that which continuity in their work
would have afforded in electing a Commission looking
forward to a five years' lease of life. They knew
what must happen before these five years passed.
Another Parliament would be elected, and that
new Parliament would bring momentous issues to
the Church of Scotland. They knew what had
been threatened, and if the threat was carried out,
and the Church was disestablished, he ventured to
say that that Commission would have such a work
as never Commission had before, for the non-church--
going that now existed among the people of Scotland
would be as a drop in the bucket compared
with what it would be if Disestablishment came to
pass. He hoped a wave of patriotism would rise
and roll along their rocky shore, and that their
political and ecclesiastical adversaries would be - he
would not say submerged beneath the waters, for
he did not desire that - but would be driven from
their position and left with their Disestablishment
banners and drums ecclesiastic so tattered and
battered by the waters that they would be useless
for at least many days to come against the National
Religion and their Scottish Church.
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER, Partick, in seconding
the motion, said there was a tone of hopefulness in
the Report which he considered was the proper way
to approach that great problem. He thought the
numbers of non-church-goers were greatly exaggerated.
In his own Presbytery of Glasgow it had
been affirmed that at least 120,000 people in Glasgow
never darkened a Church door; but his own opinion
was that that statement was not sufficiently
substantiated. He had heard a gentleman from
London last week say that there were three millions
of people in the Metropolis who had no connection
with any Church. He felt that these statements
were made by gentlemen who desired to introduce
something in the nature of panic among members of
the Churches. They knew that matters were bad
enough, but he thanked God they were not so bad
as the statements to which he had referred would
make out. He did not regard non-church-going as
being the same as irregular church-going or religious
indifference. He often asked himself the question,
What proportion of the people had they a right to
expect in Church each Sunday? He thought the
number usually expected was far too large, and he
would like to see that point receive far more consideration,
and far saner consideration, than it had
yet received. He was further convinced of this,
that the number of church-goers in Scotland was
steadily increasing. Taking the number of Church
members as an accurate index, he found that the
increase in the membership of the Churches was far
more than the increase of population, and that
increase could only come from inroads made on the
non-church-going. Occasionally one heard it said
in connection with this question that Presbyterianism
was on its trial. He reminded them that non--
church-going was not confined to Scotland, for the
same difficulty was experienced in England; and on
the Continent it existed in a way that made church--
going the exception, and non-church-going the rule.
He ventured to say that there was no country in
Europe - except, it might be, Wales, and perhaps
Brittany - where church-going was in such a good
state as in Scotland. But this had to be borne in
mind that, while the numbers of non-church-goers
was not increasing, the interest in the non-church--
going had very greatly increased. Not long ago
there was a feeling that the church-going were the
elect, and the non-church-going the non-elect, who
should be allowed to go their own way; but that
feeling had entirely disappeared. The Church
members no longer hugged themselves in self--
complacency over their own privileges, but felt a
debt towards those who stood without. The question
of non-church-going bulked far more largely in the
eyes of them all than it ever did before. He
believed that when the history of the last decade of
this century came to be written, the historian
would point to the vigorous philanthropy and missionary
enterprise as the distinguishing features of
that period. A distinction should be made in the
causes of the evil. There were some causes of non--
church-going which could not fairly be laid at the
door of the Church. After all, people would
exercise their freedom of will, and it was sometimes
exercised in choosing the worse part. He did not
know that they could compel anyone to go to
Church, and that when they had got him there
they could secure his continuance at Church. There
were other causes - such as drunkenness, profligacy,
and bad housing - for which the Church could not
be directly blamed. But there were flaws in their
organisation which required to be remedied. There
was a very unequal distribution of work over the
Church, some Ministers having too much to do and
some too little. The question of seat-rents also presented
a perpetual practical difficulty; and in towns
it must be confessed that congregations tended to
drift into Congregationalism. He looked for good
results from an improved children's service and
well-equipped Sabbath Schools. This too must be
said with all frankness, that the question of non--
church-going was largely connected with the question
of Ministerial efficiency. He knew it to be the
case that, even in circumstances that seemed unlikely,
a vigorous and healthy Ministry secured a good
attendance at Church, and that a lax, indolent
Ministry, even where the circumstances were favourable,
would inevitably repel the people. He could
point to cases where two Churches stood not far
from each other, the one full and the other nearly
empty, and it was simply because in the one there
was a vigorous Ministry and in the other there was
not. If the Church could do anything to secure
Ministerial efficiency, it would go a long way to
solve that most vexatious problem. He approved
of the recommendation of the Committee to make
their Parochial System more vigorous and more
effective than it had hitherto been. The Parochial
System had not broken down, but, on certain points,
it needed re-adjustment. If the Church set herself
to find out remedies for the present state of matters,
she would do much to show that what was said
recently in high quarters was not true, and that the
Church was endeavouring to meet the spiritual
needs of the people.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS moved the following
addition to the deliverance: -
"That the original motion be adopted, with the
following change, viz., that for the words beginning
'The General Assembly resolve accordingly,' down
to the words 'given to the Commissioners,' there be
substituted the following: -
"The General Assembly resolve accordingly, and
appoint the Home Mission Committee and the Endowment
Committee to meet together and submit
to a future diet of Assembly the names of Ministers
and Elders to be elected as Commissioners,
and also a draft of instructions to be given to the
Commissioners - the Commissioners to hold their
appointment till next General Assembly. In framing
these instructions," &c.
In supporting the general purpose of the motion,
he said that the system of what were called with
deplorable accuracy "disjunction certificates," was
much to blame for the lapsing of migrating Members
from all ordinances. It was entirely contrary
to the spirit of the Christian religion, and to the
brotherly relations between Members of the Church,
that it should be left to an official to disjoin Members
while no one took the trouble to commend them
to the Minister, or any Member of the Congregation
to which they were about to go. In the Young
Men's Guild there was regular use made of Transference
Certificates, and some years ago the Committee
on Christian Life and Work prepared forms
for Transference or Commendation of Communicants
and Adherents, which could be had from
Messrs Blackwood, and which, if used, would do
much to meet the evils of migration. It might be
said that when congregations were very large such
personal care was impossible; but in a large and
living congregation there ought to be plenty of
volunteers helping the Minister in this great function
of commendatory letters. Furthermore, however,
he thought it was about time for the General
Assembly to enquire into the effect of overgrown
congregations. Congregations ought to be organised
and trained to work. As a matter of fact, the
greater congregations were an unorganised multitude
of hearers. The Minister could not possibly have
personal knowledge of many hundreds of those on
his enormous Communion Roll, and those Members
came to have very easy notions of their personal
obligation to service. There ought to be some regard
to the capacity of the Church, and to the
ability of the Pastor, in admitting Communicants;
for great evils were flowing from the utter disregard
of them. There were other features of the Report
inviting remark. He wished to say, in a word, that
he was entirely in accord with it in all its leading
features, and was glad of the attention its subject
was now securing from the Church. He did not,
however, like the idea of appointing these Commissioners
for five years. It was an unnecessary and
anomalous provision. He objected to it as contrary
to the practice of the Church. Dr Gray had
said that their work would not be done in one year,
and that therefore they ought to be appointed for a
longer period. He did not believe it would be
finished in five years. And, besides, if they were
doing good work, they would be reappointed. Time
Home Mission Committee had existed for more than
half a century, and the Endowment Committee for
five and forty years, and their respective plans had
been continuously followed, but their tenure all the
time had been from year to year. H would not
like to see any Delegates of the Church not amenable
to public opinion, the bearing of which would
be seen when they reported on their work, and
asked to be reappointed each year. Furthermore,
he was not of opinion that circumtabular election at
the Assembly was the best way to get the best men,
and he therefore suggested that the Home Mission
and Endowment Committees, already engaged in
this work, should meet and select their best men,
and nominate them for approval by the Assembly at
a subsequent diet. Hence his friendly amendment,
which he begged to move.
The Rev. Dr F.L. ROBERTSON, Glasgow, said he
was glad to say from his knowledge that he did not
take the gloomy view of the increase of Sabbath
desecration which was taken in the Report. It was a
matter of great thankfulness that the Sabbath, at
all events in Glasgow, was fairly well observed. He
did not think there ever was a time when the Sabbath
was more observed than it was now, or more
jealously guarded. The great masses of the industrial
population clung to it, even the non-church--
goers clung to it, as a blessed heritage which no
power on earth would induce them to part with.
He thought it was a hopeful sign that in the recent
Labour Congress in Berlin one of the proposals submitted,
and which received great favour, was to
dispense with Sabbath work on the Continent by
international arrangement. He thought that exceedingly
wholesome and encouraging. No doubt,
men's opinion as to the best way in which the Lord's
Day should be observed had varied, and did vary.
He thought it was a subject for thankfulness that
the industrial classes themselves valued the day as a
day of rest, and the tendency at present was not to
encroach on holidays, but to increase their number.
There was a strong feeling pervading the whole
mass of the industrial population to lighten the
hours of work, and he was glad to know that the
time was approaching when the great mass of the
toiling population should have some higher ideal to
live for than merely to labour from early morning
to dewy eve, until weak, worn out, and exhausted
they reached a premature grave. They were learning
to know that they have homes to be enjoyed,
and that, equally with the classes, as men call them,
they were entitled to share in all the vast bounties
and rich treasure with which God had been pleased
to bless mankind. The non-church-going population
might be divided into three classes. There were those
who were estranged from the Ministry of the
Church; there were those who were prevented from
Church attendance by reason of their poverty; and
there were those who were estranged from the
Church by reason of their vicious habits. It appeared
to him that the organisations necessary for
those three classes must be adapted to the conditions
of each class. One set of agencies would not
be suitable for all. When he said there was a certain
class estranged from the Church by intellectual
doubts in regard to the Bible and orthodox opinion,
he meant that those persons were not restricted to
what were called the industrial class. There was a
large number among the well-to-do and the highly
cultured who refrained from attending Church. He
did not much concern himself with them. The responsibility
rested with themselves; but there were
many who were estranged from the Church, having
the notion, rightly or wrongly, that the Church did
not sympathise with their social position. They
had the notion that in the far past, when they had
to battle for their rights, the Church did not take
them up as she ought to have done. What they
desired was not merely that the Church should
tell them all about another world, however fair
and pleasant that world might be. What they
wanted was a power to solve present difficulties,
to put down present wrongs, and to make the world
that now is sombre, pleasanter, more beautiful, and
less dull. The Church, he took it, should let these
men understand that she was prepared to take her
share in solving the most difficult problems of a
social kind. A remedy had been suggested in the
Report - that there should be a free service in every
Church. He disliked that very much. In the
country the services were practically free. He had
the strongest possible objection to having one
service in the Church for superior people - for men
and women with their ringed fingers, and another
service for the men and women with their poor
apparel. Men and women should come and worship
on a common ground. To open every Church in
Glasgow and hold a free service would be, in this
opinion, entirely futile. He suggested that services
should be held for all classes of the community.
In their larger and finer Churches the services
might be held at three o'clock, and those services
should consist not of the regular commonplace
preaching, but burning questions, full of interest to
thinking men and working men, should be taken
up and discussed; and especially in the evening,
the services should be of a kind to attract men, to
awaken their intelligences, to cultivate their faculties,
as well as to instruct their understandings.
For the second class - the industrious poor - he had
the tenderest pity. He had been brought into very
close contact during the last winter with those. In
Glasgow there were no fewer than 50,000 adults
whose wages were considerably under a pound a
week; and it was pathetic to converse with the
great multitude of the poor people, poor women
and sempstresses, who earned with difficulty from
2s. to 5s. a week. It was not sufficient that they
should be given some blankets and a little help.
Some people never got a single step towards higher
things, never became more intelligent, and never
got out of the difficulties that they were burdened
with when they began. It was their duty to create
social Missions to reach those people, the Church to
be the centre. With respect to the third class -
the dissolute and criminal population - he said that
the estimates of the vagrants in the country was
130,000 persons, who crowded into the poorhouse
and shelters in winter, and went forth in summer
to steal and plunder as best they could. What was
worse, they bred children, and so created a second
army of vagrants to continue following the same
course of life. That sore problem was hard to
solve, and he was certain that the ordinary Ministrations
would never solve it. Ten times better, in
spite of the violation of the decencies and conventions
of the ordinary forms of the Church, to go in
for something even like the Salvation Army - the
Salvation Army, minus its ignorant fanaticism, but
retaining its enthusiasm, using their means and
adding to the use of those means the preaching of
simple truth in common sense words with an appeal
to higher principles and better hopes. It was a
perfect shame and disgrace for the Church to say
that, bad and wicked and abandoned as those persons
were, that they should be left to their ways
without the Church devoting a single effort to raise
them to a higher status; because within the soul
of the blackest and basest of them all there lay the
germ of a higher and purer life, which if touched
and quickened by the Spirit of the living God,
would grow up and flourish, and fill the face of the
world with fruit.
The Rev. ALEXANDER WEBSTER, Edinburgh, submitted
that many had been repelled from Church
by harsh theological dogma, and closely connected
with that, every indulgence in the exciting game of
heresy-hunting. Another repelling influence was
the denominational rivalry which had so long converted
all the Churches in the country into competing
religious shops. What many of the non--
church-goers had become dissatisfied with was not
Christianity itself, but the forms under which
Christianity had been presented by many of the
Churches as they were at present constituted; and
he thought some arrangement might be made for
holding friendly conferences with the non-church--
goers. It would be respectful to invite them - of
course they might not accept the invitation - to
state their case against the Church. He believed
that such a conference would be of great advantage
to both sides, and might bring to light something
that was not dreamt of or had been heard of in the
General Assembly.
The Rev. J.S. M'KENZIE, Little Dunkeld, asked
leave to refer to a class known only in the country
districts - namely, the tinkers. It was a shame, he
thought, to the Church of Scotland and to the
British nation that so many of these people were
left to wander through the country without any
one doing a single thing to bring them any help.
There were three or four thousand of such people
in Perthshire, and they had about eleven hundred
children under fifteen years of age. He had
spoken to a girl of about fifteen years of age who
knew nothing about God or of prayer. It was
strange if the Church was doing its duty in raising
funds to send religious instruction to India, and
yet remaining utterly forgetful - he would not say
utterly regardless - of a large class of people in our
own country districts. He had proposed to some
of them that, if they would remain with him for a
week or so, he would have them proclaimed with a
view to their being married. If they did so, it
would have a splendid bearing upon the registers
of the country. Their children remained illegitimate,
but these were moral people. They were not
thieves. They came to him with their infants a
few days or hours old that they might be baptised;
he felt that all they knew of religion was that there
was One in whose name they ought to be baptised,
and to whom they would give their children if they
died - indeed they were deeply concerned lest any
of their children should die without being baptised.
He besought the Assembly to consider this
class of people wandering over the country, and
neglected by the Church, not recognised by the
nation, and especially not recognised by our School
Boards and Educational Committees.
The motion, with the change introduced into it
by Professor Charteris, was then agreed to.
The following were appointed to preach in St
Giles' Cathedral on Sunday, 1st June: - Forenoon -
The Rev. Dr Dykes, Ayr. Evening - The Rev. J.
A. Burdon, Lasswade.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN submitted the Report
of the Committee on the Universities Bill. It
narrated the steps that had been taken by the
Committee to lay the position of the Assembly as
regards University education before the Universities
Commision; and, with reference to Theological
Tests, mentioned the following as changes on the
existing law that had been mooted in various quarters:
- "1. That the Divinity Faculties should be
abolished, or, in other words, that the teaching of all
the different branches of theology should be withdrawn
from the Universities and left wholly to the
different Christian denominations of the country.
2. That, while the Divinity faculties were continued,
the Tests should be simply and unconditionally
swept away. 3. That the Tests might be removed
from some of the Divinity Chairs, but not from
others. By this proposal it seemed to be generally
meant that the existing subscription ought to be
demanded in connection with the Chair of Systematic
Theology alone. 4. That the Chair of
Hebrew might be transferred to the Faculty of
Arts, and perhaps also the Chair of Ecclesiastical
History. 5. That all branches of Theology should
continue to be taught in the Universities, so far as
they could be taught historically and objectively,
no Tests being in that case necessary. Each Church
would thus provide for its own students teaching in
the different branches of Pastoral Theology, and in
the particular phase of doctrine or Church government
constituting the note of the denomination. 6.
That of the two parts of the present subscription,
the part requiring submission to the Church of
Scotland might be removed, and the part requiring
subscription to the Westminster Confession alone
retained. 7. That instead of the present subscription
to the Confession of Faith, subscription to the
Apostles' Creed, or to the Nicene Creed, or to a new
and brief Declaration of Faith, might be required.
8. That the Tests might be removed if their removal
were accompanied by the fulfilment of two
conditions - first, that the patronage of the Divinity
Chairs should be placed in a Board so constituted
as to reflect the Christian convictions of the country;
secondly, that means of discipline should be devised
by which a Professor who had forfeited the confidence
of the Christian community might be removed
from his chair. 9. That, following up the clause of
the Act regarding affiliation, the Divinity Halls of
other Christian bodies, if fully equipped, might be
incorporated with the Universities, so as to have
the same status as the present Faculties of Divinity,
which would remain in connection with the Church
of Scotland." In submitting some considerations
for the Assembly, the Committee expressed their
conviction that the General Assembly, while still
animated by the spirit of its resolution of 1883,
would acquiesce in no arrangement which did not
afford a satisfactory guarantee for the Christian
faith of those who might be appointed Theological
Professors in the Universities, or which did not
promise to keep the Divinity Halls in a close and
confidential relation with the Church. Should that
be admitted, several of the above proposals must be
at once dismissed. Others of them appeared to be
impracticable. There was no reason to think that
the Legislature would sanction a new Test, even
supposing that it could be devised. No indication
had been given that a modification of the present
tests would prove satisfactory to those who were
not in communion with the National Church. The
difficulties of the question were greatly increased by
the state of the Divinity bursary system in the different
Universities. Similar remarks applied to a
large proportion of the funds with which the existing
Divinity Chairs were endowed. With regard
to general education, the Committee mentioned the
following provisions of the Acts: - 1. The institution
of an entrance or matriculation examination
for all who propose to be regular and not private
students, thus increasing the efficiency of the Universities,
and doing justice to the secondary schools.
2. The institution of summer sessions, care being
at the same time taken to make it possible for a
student, by prolonging his stay at the University,
to dispense with these. 3. The provision by means
of options of different paths to the M.A. degree,
without sacrificing that basis of general culture to
which the Church has always attached so much importance.
4. Increasing the number of teachers,
partly by new chairs, partly by lectureships qualifying
for degrees, so as to secure greater and more
varied activity of intellectual life.
The General Assembly resolved, in the first
instance, to direct its attention to that part of the
Report relating to Tests for Theological Chairs
in the Universities.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, moved the following
resolution: - "The General Assembly receive the
Report, and thank the Committee for their diligence.
The General Assembly being strongly convinced
that the dissociation from the Universities of the
Divinity Faculties would be detrimental alike to
the Universities and the study of Theology, resolve
to do their utmost to secure the retention of the
said Faculties in the Scottish Universities. In view
of the paramount interest which the Church of
Scotland has in the Divinity Faculties, and of the
substantial gains which the Universities have enjoyed
from their long connection with the Church,
the General Assembly would strongly deprecate any
action which would infringe the security that the
Theological teaching shall continue to be in harmony
with the Standards of the Church of Scotland,
which are incorporated in the law of Scotland
as the same are interpreted by Act XVII.
of Assembly, 1889. In regard to Tests for Professorships
in the Faculties of Divinity, the General
Assembly have seen no scheme for their modification
which, while opening the Chairs to members
of other Churches, would secure that the Theological
teaching shall continue to be in harmony with
the Standards of the Church, and the convictions
of the people of Scotland. The General Assembly
have reason to believe that any such modification
would not prove satisfactory to the other Churches
in Scotland. The General Assembly, therefore, are
of opinion that the combination of Scottish Churches
in Theological teaching, and in the University system,
would be best brought about by a measure
which, following up the clause of the Universities
Act (No. 15), regarding affiliation, should provide
that the Divinity Halls of other Christian bodies, if
duly equipped, may be made to form part of the
Universities, so as to have the same status as the
present Faculties of Divinity, these Faculties remaining
in connection with the Church of Scotland."
This was, he said, a great national question, and it
was not to be approached in any selfish or exclusive
spirit. The Universities were called into existence,
or greatly fostered into importance by the
Church; though they were Ecclesiastical institutions
in their conception, and for a long time were
under the control of the Church, they must recognise
that all that had been altered, and that now the
Universities did not exist for the Church, but for
the nation. Yet, just because of their nationality,
the reform of the Universities would very powerfully
affect the work of the Church. It was the
Church's concern to see that her Ministers were
being properly trained in adequately equipped Universities.
While endeavouring in this discussion to
keep free from the Ecclesiastical bias, they should
also try to keep free from the Academic bias; otherwise
they would find themselves quite unable
to apprehend the situation and grapple with the
real difficulties which it presented. In many of
the proposals referred to in the Report of the
Committee he thought they would find abundant
evidence of the mischievous workings of
both the Ecclesiastical and the Academic bias.
To the Ecclesiastical bias he attributed the proposal
which had been made that the Faculties
of Theology should be dissociated entirely from
the Universities. He thought that was one of
the strangest proposals that ever could be made in
this year of grace and at this stage of our civilisation.
Let them imagine any nation at all interested
in the higher education of its people, and having
such Faculties in their Universities, setting itself to
abolish them! Let them imagine a nation throwing
the supply and control of such an important
element of national well-being as the teaching of
Theology entirely into the hands of the Churches!
It had been said that we might safely leave the
teaching of theology to the Churches. Well, why
in the same way should they not leave the supply of
medical teaching to the doctors, and of legal teaching
to the lawyers? If free trade was to be considered
good for one profession, then why should we not
have free-trade in all the professions? They might
be sure they would have plenty of the article to be
supplied. Competition in trade tended to multiply
the supply, but he thought it would easily be proved
that the inevitable tendency of competition was to
increase adulteration. If they left the teaching of
Medicine to the doctors, the result would be the
introduction into the Medical profession of a race of
quacks; if they left the teaching of Law to the
lawyers, they would soon have the country flooded
with a race of pettifoggers; and if they left the
supply of the Theology to the Ministers, they
would very soon have the Churches filled by a
race of bigots. In regard to all these disciplines
they must have a high national standard, and such
a standard was even inure essential in regard to
Theology than it was in regard to Medicine or Law.
The dictum of Renan was a sound one, that any
Government that thought the nation would outgrow
its Religious Institutions would commit a very
grave political blunder. The religious instinct in
mankind was the strongest of all instincts, and for
any Government to ignore that instinct, or refuse to
listen to it, was to doom itself and the nation to
destruction. The religious instinct was the most
powerful of all instincts that sway men, but to be
beneficial in its sway it must be educated and purified;
otherwise it would degenerate into fanaticism,
and that was one of the worst foes that could assail
any Government. All our Governments that had
recently dealt with this University question had committed
a very great mistake in not plainly grasping
the situation, and declaring that there should be
Theological Faculties. Instead of enacting that
these Faculties should not participate in the grants,
they should have accorded to them an equal share in
all national subsidies. Well, if the Faculties were to
be retained they ought to be reformed. No one who
had thought about this matter wished to maintain
the status quo in regard to their Theological Faculties
in the Universities. First of all, they were most
inadequately equipped in regard to the number of
Chairs, and the existing Chairs were most miserably
endowed. Their Scottish Theological Faculties
might be said to be skeleton Faculties. That was
greatly to the discredit of Scotland, and future historians
who came to deal with this century would
find it a very dark blot in her record, that
for thirty or forty years the Ministers and professional
men of Scotland had had to go to the
Continent in order to find sufficient Theological
teaching. The reason why they were driven to the
Continent was not because their Professors are
behind the Continental ones in attainments, but
simply because we have not enough of them. It
was not because the Continental Professors had
more freedom, but because the Scottish ones were
too few; the restriction was not in the teaching of
Theology, but solely in its supply. They had only
a few Chairs in the Theological Faculties, instead
of the nine, ten, eleven, twelve, and even more, that
were to be found in several German Universities.
Well, seeing they had so very few Chairs, it would
be a most unwise proposal to take the Hebrew Chair
and the Ecclesiastical History Chair and put them
in the Arts, or Philosophical Faculties, because it
was said they belonged to philology and history.
They knew, however, that these Chairs were practically
exegetical and theological; but even if they
were not, why should they still further starve their
Theological Faculties? It was a strange way to
reform an attenuated Faculty by depleting it still
further. Moreover, if they did not keep these
Chairs in the Theological Faculty they would be of
very little use to the Church; while, if they put
them into the Arts Department, they would find
that they would be of as little use in the University
to the country at large, as was, unfortunately,
though through no fault of its talented occupant,
the Chair of Sanskrit in the University of Edinburgh.
The Academic bias, again, was sufficiently
shown in some of the proposals referred to in the
Report. The makers of these proposals did not
recognise the actual relations of the Universities.
They did not distinguish between what was theoretically
best and what was the best possible in the
circumstances. They were not discussing a constitution
for a new University in a new country;
they were considering what changes might be made
in the Universities of an old country, with which
the Church of Scotland had all along been most
intimately connected, which might be said to have
been conserved for Scotland through the action of
the Church, and whose Theological Faculties, if
there was no Church of Scotland at the present
day, would be comparatively useless to the nation.
Did the Assembly realise how close had been the
connection since 1688 between the Church of Scotland
and the Theological Faculty? Its raison d'être
was the training of the Ministers of the Church.
Its Professorships had been endowed out of Church
property, and additional endowments had been given
by Ministers and Members of the Church because
of this connection. The Report discloses remarkable
facts as to the bursaries attached to the Faculties
in virtue of this connection, while the incomes of
the Professors are largely dependent on the fees of
the students of the Church who have been hitherto
required to attend their classes. In adjusting the
relations of the University to the country, all that
must be borne in mind. The Church had not
dwindled into such proportions that they could
deprive her without loss of what was essential
to the proper discharge of her functions in the
country. Another thing for them to consider was
that the Church was not yet abolished or disestablished,
and they were not free to lay hold of these
endowments of the Church and appropriate them
to other uses. The Church was using the Universities
more than ever. Her present interest in the
Theological Faculties was vital and paramount. Of
that interest she could not be deprived without
gross injustice to her, and very serious injury to the
Universities. He said frankly that this proposal to
abolish the Tests in the Theological Faculties would
have the inevitable result of dissociating the Theological
Faculties from the Church of Scotland.
He could understand how the Dissenters made that
demand, though he considered it a very inequitable
and a very unreasonable demand, seeing that
while they were demanding that, they were taking
very good care to inform others that they meant
to keep up their own Tests, and that unless they
had tested Theological Professors, they certainly
would not avail themselves of their teaching in the
University or anywhere else. The abolition of
Tests was a catching popular phrase, as meaning the
removal of a restriction on freedom; in this case it
meant the partial disestablishing of the Church.
What was a Test and what was the use of it?
The existing Tests, as he understood them, were
the strongest security the State could give that the
Theological teaching in tire Universities should be
in harmony with the Standards of the Church; and
when they were asked to consent to the abolition of
Tests, they were asked to consent to the Church's
parting with this. It had been said that these
Tests did not bind the disloyal. But they were not,
he would point out, dealing with the disloyal.
They were supposed to be dealing with loyal men;
and he maintained that in these Tests they had
the most substantial security that the teaching
of the Universities was in harmony with the
National Church. It had secured that the Chairs
shall be occupied by the Ministers of the Church,
or by those in whom the Church had confidence, or
over whom, directly or indirectly, she had control.
The best proof that it was a security, and a very strong
security, was that the Church, so far as he could recollect,
had never instituted a process against any of
its Professors in any of the Universities. That was
surely a pretty good illustration that they had
secured to them something by the existing Tests.
Now why should this security be disturbed? Well,
it was said that the Test was in the nature of things
a hindrance to the free prosecution of theological
study in the Universities. He was there to say
that if he were assured that the Tests were such a
hindrance, he should be among the first to demand
that they be swept away; holding, as he did, that
Theology should be earnestly and inexorably prosecuted
in the interests of the Christian Church.
But it was denied, on the very highest authority,
that the Test was any hindrance to the study of
Theology in the Universities. In the statement laid
before the Commission by the three Theological
Professors of Edinburgh University, it was said,
"We cannot affirm that subscription to the formula
as it exists renders a scientific treatment of Theology
impossible, or that it interferes everywhere
with the independence of research and theological
opinion - the philological and historical departments
being scarcely affected by it. We are, however,
convinced that the existence of the formula
tends to engender a belief in the public mind that
the Professors of Theology cannot be independent
inquirers, and are simply retained to defend a
traditional system of belief." Mark that. Now, if
that was a good argument why the formula should
be abolished entirely for the Professors, he held it
to be a good argument why the formula should be
abolished in the case of all the Ministers of the
Church. The averment was often blatantly made
that neither Professors nor Ministers were free to
prosecute theology, because they had to adhere to
traditional beliefs. Their reply was that neither
Ministers nor Professors who held by the essential
verities of the faith were in any way hindered from
prosecuting the study of theology so long as they
prosecuted it reverently and thoroughly. Could
any man prosecute science of any kind if he abandoned
the basis of what he knew? Could any man
teach theology, or any ology, unrestricted by previous
conclusions, which simply meant the experience of
humanity? The most unrestricted Professor of
theology must have some faith; and if that be so,
why should he not avow it? Moreover, Professors
who are intrusted with the training of the Ministers
of the Church must have the same faith as the
Church, or they would be of little use to the Church.
Let us never forget that the Faculty of Theology
was, as was the Faculty of Medicine, a Faculty
for training students for a profession, and it would
be of no use to the Church unless they had such
confidence in it that they were able to say that
their students obtained in it the training they were
expected to get. It was a discipline as professional
as that of Medicine or Law, and, in fact, as scientifically
free. It was said there was no formula in
the Faculties of Medicine and Law. Well, if none
was expressed, certainly in both one was implied.
Who ever heard of a Homœopathist being appointed
to an Allopathic School of Medicine? or
of a Socialist or Jacobin being appointed to a
Chair of Scottish Law? Not because we punish
the Homœopathist or Socialist, but because the
Chairs in these Faculties to be useful must be filled
by men in harmony with the national convictions.
Now, a Divinity Faculty to be useful must be in
harmony with the national faith. Unless there was
confidence in the Faculty, the Faculty would be
deprived of its Students. This was clearly made
out by the dissenters, who plainly and properly
told them that the Professors in the Theological
Faculties must be in touch with themselves before
they would send their Students to their classes. If
the Faculty of Theology in any Scottish University
was not in touch with the Church of Scotland, her
Students would not avail themselves of the teachings
of the members of the Faculty. No Tests, no Students.
That they might assume to be the practical
outcome of the abolition of Tests. There was another
aspect of the question. All agreed that they
required additional Chairs and endowments in these
Faculties. Who would supply them? Not the
State; certainly not the dissenters. And how could
they expect the members of the Church to supply
them if they cut the living connection between the
Church and these Faculties? He knew of some
money intended to be destined for this purpose, but
were this change effected, he felt sure that the
destination would also be changed. But worse than
that. If they dissociated these Faculties from the
Church, they would render them comparatively useless
even as Chairs of Research, which some of the
Theological Professors evidently desired to make
them. If so, they who prosecuted the researches
might make up their minds to be almost without
resources. If they would speculate, they would
have to do so at their own expense, and at the risk
of no other souls than their own. But even were
endowments for research in theology provided,
Professors who were dissociated from the life and
work of the Church would not speculate to much
advantage. Science of any kind has never thriven
unless in close contact with the arts and practical
industries of a nation; and theology would never
prosper as a science unless in close and living contact
with the practical Christianity of the country.
In conclusion, Dr Scott maintained there was no
grievance in the existing condition of things which
the proposal in this motion would not remedy.
If carried out it would secure to other denominations
advantages which the Church would not
enjoy, but it might conduce to a better distribution
of the teaching power which would then be
at command; and the advantage of this to the
Church and to the Universities would be unquestionably
great. We could not expect, however,
that other denominations would consent to
affiliate their Halls with any Hall in which no
security was given that the theological teaching
would be in accord with the faith which they
believed. If the Church were really in earnest, they
might hope to have this matter settled in such a
way as to keep faith both with the Church and with
the country. To settle it in the way proposed by
the counter motion of Dr Story would mean gross
injustice to the Church, and serious injury to the
Universities. That method, therefore, he felt compelled
to resist to the uttermost. They must, with
all their desire for conciliation, take their stand at
some point. He took his stand at this, demanding
that the Theological Faculties in their Universities
should be continued, and so continued as that the
Church shall have full confidence in the teaching of
the Professors.
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER, St Mary's, Partick,
seconded Dr Scott's motion. No one, he said, could
regard the present state of theological teaching in
Scotland with satisfaction. There were too many
teachers and not enough taught. What he would
like to see would be the abandonment of the denominational
Halls and the scientific training of the
Students for the Churches, which professed a common
faith, entrusted entirely to the Universities.
He ventured to think that, if the practical limitation
of the Theological Students to the Church of Scotland
came to an end, the legal limitation of the
Theological Chairs to the Church of Scotland would
not continue a day longer. Unhappily, the other
Churches had not indicated their willingness in
any circumstances whatever to give up their separate
Halls, or permit their Students to attend University
classes in theology; and he was not prepared
to accept for the Church a Free Church Professor to
whom possibly the Free Church would not send her
Students. Then with regard to the theological
Tests, he felt bound to say that the removal of them
would give satisfaction neither to the Church of
Scotland nor to any of the dissenting Churches, and
for his own part he felt that, so long as Ministers
were bound, Professors must accept the same bonds
in order to be in harmony with the general church--
life of Scotland. Whether subscription to the Confession
of Faith was in all respects a bondage, he
took leave to doubt; he would rather himself be
bound by a document which could be legally and
definitely interpreted, than be subject to a popular
vote in an Assembly swayed by the feelings of the
hour. And certainly the bondage in which Theological
Professors in the Scotch Universities were,
was very gentle, since no charge of heresy had been
raised against any one since the famous case of
Simpson at Glasgow in 1720. There were, however,
certain grievances which might reasonably be urged.
The outside Theological Schools had no position in
the Universities. They were allowed by courtesy
to send up their students for examination and graduation,
but they had no part in examining them.
They received honorary degrees, but had no share
in bestowing such degrees. These, he considered
to be real grievances. They could be removed by
affiliating these outside schools to the University,
by affiliating them on favourable conditions. If
such affiliation took place, he believed all just
grievances would be removed; the study of theology
would still form an integral part of the work in
the Universities; and he thought it not impossible
that the Churches would come to recognise each
other's teaching and thus take a long step towards
the Church-union which every true Scotchman and
Presbyterian so greatly desired.
The Rev. Professor STORY made the following
motion: - "That in the opinion of the General
Assembly the removal of the Tests at present connected
with the Chairs in the Divinity Halls would
tend to promote the interests of Theology and of
the Church; and, farther, that the Assembly ought
to regard favourably any scheme for the affiliation
of properly equipped and endowed Theological
Seminaries to the Universities." He quite agreed
with Dr Scott as to the desirableness of approaching
this question with one's mind purged of
Ecclesiastical bias; but it had seemed to him as Dr
Scott proceeded, that his own mind had not altogether
undergone that expurgating process, because
there was a certain leaven of Ecclesiastical bias,
at all events, in some of the arguments he had
adduced. For example, Dr Scott had said that if
the teaching of religion were left to the sects,
the result would be a race of bigots; and yet in the
same breath he had advocated the retention of a
very exacting and restricting Test, whose natural
operation was to foster sectarianism. It seemed to
him that the argument to be drawn from Dr Scott's
statement was that the teaching of Theology should
be made free and open - delivered from all sectarian
and restrictive Tests. Dr Scott had also mentioned
that a great many of our Scottish students went to
study Theology in Germany in order to supply there
the deficiencies of the Scottish Divinity Halls, and
he had not seemed to anticipate any harm to the
students or ruin to the Church from that practice.
But Dr Scott had subsequently told them that no
Test meant no students, whereas in these same
German Colleges to which our students went, there
were practically no Tests, and yet the German
Universities had not only their own students, but
attracted Scottish students too. Speaking more
directly to his own motion, Professor Story referred
to the long connection which had existed between
the education of the country and the Church of
Scotland, and said it was for that reason that the
Church, apart from the Test question, should welcome
the present University Act, seeing that it put
it in the power of the Commissioners, and so far in
the power of the Church acting with them, to raise
the general standard of education. It put it in
their power to vary and enlarge the preliminary
curriculum, so that no student should enter the
Divinity Hall without a wider and more varied
course in Arts than was at present required. Their
more special interest in the Act, however, was the
position of the Theological Faculty, and the Tests
connected with it. He was not one of those who
called the relation of the Church to the Universities,
in respect of their Theological Halls, untenable. It
had become a kind of current slang to say that the
position of these Halls was untenable. The same
thing had been said about the Church itself for
many years, and yet the Church still held its position,
and never held it by a firmer grasp than it
did that day, as those who were trying to loosen
that grasp would probably find to their cost. But
while it was not an untenable position, but one perfectly
tenable, when viewed in the light of the
Church's history and constitution, all of them knew
that as time went on, although a position might
not be untenable, it might be one which it was
desirable to change. He thought the position of
the Divinity Halls was one which it was desirable
to change. It was said by some that the best policy
was to turn the Divinity Halls out of the Universities
altogether; but he did not believe in this
country, divided as it was by sectarian feeling, that
a remedy for any difficulties that existed such as
that would be listened to for a moment. Along
with this policy they heard, from certain quarters,
the advice that separate Divinity Halls should be
set up for each denomination, but this seemed
rather inconsistent as coming from a party which
assured them that the one desire and aim which
occupied their hearts by day and their dreams by
night was the union of all the Churches - a union to
be promoted by that Church, which alone of all the
Churches had hitherto had no sectarian element
in the Theological training of its students, being
driven by force of circumstances into erecting a
little denominational seminary for itself. If the
Church of Scotland were forced into this position of
agreeing to the withdrawal of Theology from the
curriculum of the University, and of founding a
little school of its own, it would be contributing, for
the first time, its share to the creation of a false
opinion as to what Theology really was. There was
also a proposal to remove the Ecclesiastical Test
without removing the Theological Test. He did
not see that there was any reason for that, unless it
lay in the vain hope that this might bring Presbyterian
dissenters into line with the Universities, and
lead them to abandon their present denominational
position, and to join in supporting one greatly
enlarged and enriched Theological Hall. The fact
was that there was nothing in the position or
practice of the Presbyterian dissenters to lead to the
belief that they would have anything whatever to do
with any arrangement of the sort, because there were
four or five denominational Halls, at least, in Scotland,
in each of which no Professor was ever appointed
except on signing a very rigid test, and
binding himself to submit to the discipline of the
Church to which the Hall belonged. If the other
Presbyterian denominations believed in the principle
of the Divinity Halls being thrown open, they
ought to set the example first of all in their own
case. And even supposing the Church were to
entertain proposals for the abolition of the Ecclesiastical
Test, why should they stop at Presbyterian
Nonconformists? Why relax a restriction so as to
admit the Presbyterian dissenter, but yet retain it
so as to exclude the Episcopalian or the Independent?
As to the proposal contained in his motion, contrary
to the opinion expressed by Dr Scott, he did not
anticipate that, were they to remove the Tests, no
one would attend the Divinity Halls. The attendance
would depend very much upon who occupied
the Chairs. He did not hold that the Test was any
guarantee of a man's soundness, even at the time he
signed it. The value of the Test altogether depended
upon what the man was in himself. They
would find a much higher guarantee of the soundness
and efficiency of the men appointed to the
Theological Chairs, than that afforded by the restriction
of the Test, in the constitution of a board of
patrons by whom the Professors should be chosen.
If the Universities had these Tests removed, and
were governed as they ought to be, there would be
at the head of the whole patronage of the Universities
a Board of men chosen with the utmost care,
and having the universal confidence of the country
in the discharge of the great trust reposed in them.
These men would be certain to select the very best
men wherever they were to be found. They did not
always get them under the present system, because
the existing Test might secure a man's orthodoxy,
but it did not by any means secure his ability; and
he thought that that ability in a teacher, which
stimulated thought and helped to form the character
of his pupils, was of a great deal more importance than
his conformity with this or the other symbol of statutory
religious belief. The idea that if these Tests were
removed they might have a Positivist, or an Atheist,
or that most fashionable form of religious aberration
at present - a Buddhist - appointed, was just one
of those extraordinary bogies which troubled none
but the people who believed in ghosts. Would not
the same thing be seen if the Tests were removed
from the Universities as had been seen when they
were removed from the Parish Schools of the
country? The schools, which used to be guarded
by a stringent Test, were now under no Test whatever,
and yet religion was taught in them as before;
and according to the old "use and wont." The
religious convictions of the people would of necessity
represent themselves in the Universities just as they
had done in the schools; and a Board of Patrons
would be absolutely failing in their duty and flying
in the face of the best interests of the country if they
set themselves in any way against the regular
current of that feeling. As to affiliation, if these
outside Colleges were doing honest work and communicating
a Theological education with which their
respective denominations were satisfied, he thought
it only fair they should be admitted to the Universities;
and he did not understand how Mr Hunter
could represent the proposal of affiliation as a proposal
to "level down." On the contrary, he proposed
to level up, because he proposed to bring up
sectarian seminaries, by affiliating them, to the level
of the Universities. But he thought the great point
was to get rid of Tests, and to put their National
Halls on a thoroughly national basis. He did not
believe in the impending imminence of Disestablishment,
and be refused to contemplate possibilities
which merely hinged upon it. He refused to look
on this question as in any way connected with that
of Disestablishment, although Liberationist agitators
might choose to look at it in that light. What
they had to think of was their duty to the Church
and the country; and their duty as custodiers of the
national education was to open the Divinity Halls,
like the rest of the Universities to all and sundry,
without restriction of creed, or Test of any kind.
The Very Rev. Principal CUNNINGHAM, St
Andrews, said he had the good fortune to agree to
some extent with all the three motions, and he
would like first of all to say how far he agreed
with the motion made, and so forcibly urged upon
them by Dr Scott. First, Dr Scott had declared
that he was "strongly convinced that the dissociation
from the Universities of the Divinity Faculties
would be detrimental to the Universities and the
study of Theology." He (Principal Cunningham)
agreed thoroughly with that, and supposed that
all agreed with it, and therefore when Dr Scott
"resolved that they should do their utmost to secure
the retention of the said Faculties in the Scottish
Universities" with that again he (Principal Cunningham)
thoroughly agreed, though he thought his
idea of "utmost" was different from Dr Scott's.
In fact, he was much inclined to think that Dr
Scott's "utmost" meant doing nothing at all. He
was led to that belief by looking to the second
clause of the motion, in which Dr Scott spoke of
the "paramount interest which the Church of
Scotland has in the Divinity Faculties." He
granted that the Church had a paramount interest
in the Divinity Faculties, but he did not think
that in any sense the Divinity Halls could be said
to be the property of the Church, or that they belonged
to the Church. They were part of the
Universities, and the Universities were national
institutions. But, again, he agreed with Dr Scott
when he spoke of the substantial gain which the
Universities had enjoyed from their long connection
with the Church. The Universities had got not
only so many Church Students, but so many guineas
from those students. But in this there was a quid
pro quo, and if the Universities had benefited by
the Church, the Church had got some benefit from
the Universities. The Church, he thought, had not
had the worst of the bargain. Dr Scott "deprecated
any action which would infringe the security that
the Theological teaching shall continue to be in
harmony with the standards of the Church of Scotland;"
but in saying so, he did not say that he
would do anything to strengthen it. He (Principal
Cunningham) was not content with a negation, he
believed his plan would not weaken but rather
strengthen that security. There they differed.
He was pleased immensely with Dr Scott's words,
"standards of the Church of Scotland which are
incorporated in the Law of Scotland as the same
are interpreted by Act XVII. of Assembly 1889."
He (Principal Cunningham) had something to do
with the framing of that Act, and therefore he was
proud to see it quoted by Dr Scott as the very palladium
of the Church of Scotland, the palladium of
its orthodoxy; and if his memory did not deceive
him, he remembered that for two long years Dr
Scott persistently and almost bitterly opposed it.
Now Dr Scott came before them as a penitent and
as a convert, and instead of his now seeing in the Act
something disastrous to the Church, they saw him
respectfully quoting it as the very bulwark of the
Church. That led him to hope that before another
year had gone he (Dr Scott) would see cause to
change his opinions again, and openly declare that
the abolition of the Tests had been the salvation of
the Divinity Halls. He would come in sackcloth
and ashes confessing that in these matters others
had been at least as wise as himself. It was well
that the General Assembly should know that Dr
Scott's motion had been so popular that it had already
passed through two editions, and that the
edition of that day was an enlarged and improved
edition of yesterday. Dr Scott told them to-day,
though he did not yesterday that "in regard to
Tests for professorships in the Faculties of Divinity
the General Assembly have seen no scheme for
their modification," and saw no reason to believe
that any modification would prove satisfactory to
the other Churches in Scotland. Dr Scott now took
both the Established and the Dissenting Churches
under his wing. He became at once both Esau and
Jacob - a hairy man, and a smooth man - speaking
with ambiguous voice words which meant nothing,
and could certainly lead to nothing. Then came the
last clause of the motion, which showed that since
yesterday Dr Scott had been keeping company with
prudent men. Instead of the dissenters being repelled,
they were now gently patted on the back.
The clause pointed to possible affiliation; but so
long as Dr Scott maintained the uncompromising
attitude which he maintained in his speech affiliation
was impossible. So long as lie maintained
the Theological Tests in their integrity, and the
Ecclesiastical Tests in their integrity, he would
never get any Dissenter with any respect for
himself to seek admittance to the Universities or
association with the present Divinity Halls. What
Dr Scott apparently meant was that four men of
like mind with himself, and other four men of like
mind with Principal Rainy and Dr Hutton, should
all be placed in the same University to teach the
same subjects. It was no more possible than it
would be to have four cats and four dogs put into
the same cage, in order that they might live there
as a happy family, and provoke one another only in
love and good works. Dr Scott would thus see that
he agreed to some extent with three of his clauses,
but that there was an important fourth on which
he disagreed with him altogether. He would now
pass to Dr Story's motion - the motion he supported.
In trying to understand why he wished to abolish
Theological Tests, they must consider the situation
in which they were placed. The General Assembly
must bear in mind that a Universities' Bill was
passed in last session of Parliament, and a very good
Bill upon the whole it was. In this Bill there was
voted something like £12,000 a year to the four Universities
of Scotland in addition to the public money
they already posessed, but there was a very ugly
clause in which it was declared that not one penny
of the £12,000 should go to the Theological chairs.
Why was that? The present Government was not
unfriendly to the Church. Very much the reverse.
It was not unfriendly to their Theology. Quite the
opposite. He asked them why it was then that it
gave money to everything else, and refused to give
anything to the teaching of Theology. That problem
was explained by the clause which instructed
the Commissioners to take evidence as to "whether
any and what changes as to the subscription of tests
by principals, professors, and other University
officers are necessary and expedient." From that
it was quite clear that it was the Tests which stood
in the way of the Government giving the theological
professors their due share of the money so granted.
Now, it was not merely the losing of the money -
although it looked like semi-disendowment - but it
was the reproach that was thrown upon every theological
professor by this exclusion. Every teacher
of Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Gaelic, Music, Medicine,
Mathematics, got his portion of the grant, but not
one penny went to Theology. It was quite certain
that it was the Tests alone that prevented the
Government from doing what otherwise they would
have done. They felt that they dare not propose
to Parliament to give a proportion of that grant to
chairs which only Members of the Church of Scotland
could fill; that they dared not, even looking to
their own party, vote money to the teaching of a
Theology which was restricted to the Confession of
Faith. For himself, he continued, his Commission
was simply to teach Divinity, by which he understood
was meant that he should teach the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in
matters theological. But here from another quarter
the Westminster Confession came in, and now he
was expected to teach his Divinity not according
to its last and highest utterance in the present
day, but as it was believed and held 250 years
ago. Dr Scott had referred to the medical chairs,
and said that if a homœopathist were to get into
one of them he would ruin the school, and from
that he argued that if a Theological homœopathist,
by which he supposed he meant all agnostic, or
atheist, or something terrible of that kind, were put
into a Theological chair, he would ruin the Hall.
Now, Dr Scott must know that the medical school
was not bound by Tests, and that it could not have
flourished as it had, if it had been so bound. Suppose
the medical professors in the University of
Edinburgh at present taught their respective subjects
not according to the lights of the present
day, but as they were taught in 1647, would they
have many admiring students? Let them suppose,
if they could, a Professor of Chemistry teaching,
not the chemistry of the present day, but the
chemistry or alchemy which was known and believed
in in the 17th century. He asked if such a
Professor as that would be likely to get any new
Government grant? Would he not stand in great
danger of having taken away from him any endowment
which he already possessed? The argument
of Dr Scott was that Theology should be a fixture,
fixed to the Theology of the seventeeth century, and
never to move one step from it. Another thing that
was conspicuous in Dr Scott's speech was that he
fancied that if the professors in the Theological
Faculties were emancipated from the Tests they
would all at once rush into the most horrible heresies.
Upon what he founded that conception he
(Principal Cunningham) could not say. His argument
led to the opposite conclusion. Dr Scott
had told them that never in his recollection had
there been a Professor prosecuted for heresy. Did
not that prove how sound in the faith they all were?
Dr Scott should have remembered that in the
present day the most destructive attacks upon the
Church were coming not from the Divinity Professors,
but from metaphysicians and men of science.
The Professor of Theology, who was really sceptical,
was as weak as water in his scepticism compared
with the scientific or the philosophical Professor
of a sceptical turn of mind, and yet for many
years all those men had been freed from all Tests
whatever, and to their great honour had it to be
said that they never used their influence to undermine
the faith of their pupils. They had men in
the Universities who were sceptics, who believed
very little; but these men were men of honour, and
he had never known one of them employ his power
to overthrow the hereditary faith of his students.
It was not long since every man in the country was
required to take a Test of some kind. It was not
only the dignified Provost or Bailie; the humble
tax-gatherer and tide-waiter were required to do
the same. It was not only the Principal and Professors
in the Universities, the poor Dominie in the
parish school, and the private teacher in a family
were all alike required to subscribe the Confession
of Faith. He would ask if those methods had succeeded?
Dr Scott seemed to argue that Tests had
been a great success in keeping men square, so to
speak. Were there no rebellions or heresies in
those days? The truth was, that since almost all
the University Professors had been relieved from
Tests, not a single Professor had been called upon
to answer a charge of heresy. If history proved
anything, it seemed to prove that Test oaths had
made men rebels in the State and heretics in the
Church. Stolen waters were always sweet. But
again, if the Universities were national institutions,
why should their Patrons be restricted in
their freedom of choice? Why not take the very
best man they could get, wherever he could be
found? It was objected that there would be no
security for these men's teaching. There would be
the same security as there was for the teaching of
science and philosophy. In reply to that it was
sometimes said that if philosophy or science were
taught badly, it did not matter so much as if the
teaching was bad in religious matters. He demurred
to that. Morality was as sacred as Religion. How
would they regard a man who in teaching Moral
Philosophy taught false morality - if he taught,
for instance, the morality of Ireland, that boycotting
was highly commendable, and that to pay no rent
was deserving of praise? If they had men teaching
those doctrines, the effects would be more disastrous
than if they had men teaching a little Arminianism
or denying the Descent into Hell. The truth
was, there was very little chance of the one thing or
the other. They must confess that hitherto the
patronage of the Government had not always been
exercised with due regard to the best interests of
Science or Theology, and he could conceive of a
Government coming into office (such was the present
abasement of morals and religion) who would, if not
checked, abuse their patronage more than had ever
been done in the past. But in the Universities Act
there was a clause which rendered that almost impossible,
and from the present time they might have
every confidence that no one who would seriously
offend the religious feeling of the people of Scotland
would ever get into a University Chair. Some
objected to the door of their Divinity Halls being
thrown so open as to receive their brother Presbyterians.
They forgot that some five or six years ago
the doors of their Parish Churches were thrown
wide open to every Presbyterian Minister in Great
Britain and Ireland. But as he thought they
should go beyond Presbyterianism in this matter,
and take even an Episcopalian, a Congregationalist,
or a Methodist, if one of these stood above all other
competitors in the field, and was, moreover, the
fittest man to teach the students in his class, the
great majority of whom for many years to come
would no doubt be students in training for the
Church of Scotland. But more than that, he should
greatly like to see some of the Nonconformist Colleges
linked with those of the Church of Scotland.
That would be a better remedy for the present
state of things than the banishment of Theology
from the University altogether. If such a thing
were done it would be a black disgrace on the
civilisation of the nineteenth century; but he did
not believe it would ever be done. Though a
majority of Free Churchmen and of United Presbyterian
Churchmen were clamouring for it to their
everlasting shame, there were noble men amongst
them who were determined to resist it to the last.
There were Professors Calderwood and Crum
Brown, and Dr James Brown, who boldly stood
up in the United Presbyterian Synod and declared
that if such a thing were done they would have no
part in it. There were many like-minded men in
the Free Church who would never consent that
that science which was called the queen of all the
sciences should be driven out of the Universities.
Much better, surely, that their Halls should be
affiliated to those of the Church of Scotland; but so
long as Dr Scott maintained an uncompromising
position, it would not and could not be done. It
has been urged that the Nonconformists refused to
be affiliated. That might be the opinion of the
Clergy, but he knew it was not the opinion of the
laity, for they in their thousands would gladly
welcome such a result. But better and further,
just as they had seen Dr Scott undergo a process of
change in his views, he thought it was possible they
might see such a change come over the Clergy of
the Dissenting Churches. But however this might
be, let them in that Assembly do their duty, and
leave the rest to God.
The Rev. Professor DICKSON, Glasgow, then
moved the following deliverance: -
"The General Assembly, gladly recognising that
amidst the minor differences in matters of Church
government or Church order that keep the several
Protestant Churches in Scotland apart, the great
majority of the Scottish people are substantially at
one in the profession of a common Christian and
Protestant faith, and further acknowledging the importance
in the common interest of placing Theological
training on such a basis of joint action or
co-operation as may admit of its benefits being
largely shared by all, express their readiness to
consider any suggestions that may be made for
attaining that object, with due security for the
character and the acceptance of the teaching; but
in the absence of any evidence that a readjustment
of the arrangements for Theological training is at
present desired, or likely to be taken advantage of,
deem it inexpedient, hoc statu, to entertain any proposal
for altering the basis of the close relation that
has hitherto subsisted between the Theological
Faculties of the Universities and the Church of
Scotland, which has entrusted the entire training of
its students to their hands."
In speaking to his motion, Dr DICKSON said he
agreed with Dr Story that there might be great advantage
in the removal of Tests. He did not regard
them as a very desirable thing, but he could not
take up the position that the Church was able to
dispense altogether with any security for the teaching
of Theology. Dr Story could not tell what was
to follow the abolition of Tests. It seemed to him
a leap in the dark, and no one could tell to what
they were going. The other motion submitted to
the House did not tell what the proposed affiliation
would lead to. It was a question which had been
raised by the Church, and was one purely for the
Church to determine.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN seconded Professor
Dickson's motion. He said that whatever the
Assembly might do as between that motion and Dr
Scott's, he thought it would feel that it could not
possibly accept the motion of Dr Story. In the
first part of his motion Dr Story proposed the
entire removal of Tests, which was a quite intelligible
proposal, and in the second part of his
motion he introduced the question of affiliation,
which, taken by itself, was also perfectly intelligible,
but how these two things could be
combined he was quite at a loss to understand.
If the motion were carried out, they would first
have, so far as the Divinity Faculties connected
with the Church of Scotland were concerned, no
Tests at all. In the next place, they would call into
the Universities men who they knew had not only
signed a Theological Test, but one perhaps even
more severe than that which was presented to their
own Professors. The Church of Scotland, under
this proposal, would be the only body that would
have Professors without Tests, and it came simply
to this that, if it were adopted, they would turn out
of the Universities one set of Tests by one door,
while at the same time they opened three or four
other doors for three or four other Tests to walk in.
Dr Story had told them of a Board of Election that
was to be introduced. He did not know that such
was to be the case, but if it were so, it altered the
whole complexion of the case. Mr Hunter had also
spoken of the influence that would be exercised by
the general opinion of the country upon those to
whom the election of Professors would be confided.
But if this electing Board was really contemplated,
and if its existence constituted so material a part of
the views of those by whom Dr Story's motion was
supported, why did that motion make no mention
of it? There was nothing there said about a new
board or any other check whatever. The motion
simply stated, and that in the most unrestricted
form, that the removal of the Tests would tend to
promote the interests of Theology - that was to say,
they would take off the present clothing, but would
not put any other clothing or protection in its place.
If he could get such a Board as Dr Story had referred
to, and could get it to reflect with clearness
and purity the Christian consciousness of the
country, he would put confidence in it. The
present system of patronage in too many of their
Divinity chairs was highly unsatisfactory, and
might well awaken in their minds both anxiety
and alarm. He would ask the Assembly to consider
the modes of thought that were exercising
influence in the country at the present moment,
and whether there might not in the near future be
great danger to the truth which they upheld.
Might they not have as Secretary for Scotland and
administrator of their Theological patronage one
who might either be indifferent to their great
doctrines, or who might even feel that he had a
Missionary impulse to pull down the old traditions
by which they had lived, and in which they still
believed? Like Dr Story, he did not believe much
in Tests. It was quite true that they did not keep
out those who did not believe in the doctrines
which they subscribed. That was the result of his
experience, and probably it was an experience that
would be repeated while the world lasted. He
hoped the Assembly would also stand by another
condition, and if it should ultimately accept the
idea of a Board of Patrons, would see that there
was also provided some simple and easy way of
getting rid of a man who had proved faithless to
his trust. He thought many of those who
objected so keenly to Tests took a very one--
sided view of them. A Test was not merely a
subscription, but a protection and a safeguard. A
man was entitled to appeal to the Test if he
was accused of violating it. If they did away
with Tests, they could not apply the letter of the
Test, but must live by the spirit, and every one knew
that, however much one might trust the Spirit at
one time, it was a very variable thing. Something
had been said about the bearing of this upon Scientific
Theology. He ventured to say for the relief
of the minds of his friends, that they need not distress
themselves with the thought that they were
not permitted by reason of these Tests to pursue
Theology in its most scientific form. The Church
of Scotland was waiting for the solution of those
questions which were rending the hearts and wearing
out the lives of many in these days. He believed
that the man who would plainly and fully
clear away some of those mists that were at present
encompassing the minds of many, would never be
blamed by the Church of Scotland, or checked in the
scientific studies which he pursued by the fact that
he might not in all respects conform to a document
which, as Dr Cunningham had said, belonged to an
age so entirely different from the present age, and
to modes of thought in many respects so entirely
alien to their own.
The Rev. Professor MENZIES, St Andrews, in
supporting Dr Story's motion, urged the desirableness
of free Theological teaching being carried on
at their Universities, not only in the highest interests
of the Church, but of the country at large.
One reason that we were under the dominating
influence of another country in this respect was
because our teachers of Theology had to take these
Tests. He had the strongest conviction that one
of the great wants of the country at present was a
native Theology, and if there was to be a native
growth of Theology it must be free. This involved
firstly that the Patron must be at liberty to select
the best man for a Chair, no matter to what Ecclesiastical
body he might belong; and secondly, that
the Professor once appointed should be responsible
to the University alone for the manner in which he
discharged his office. With regard to the first of
these two points it was no less than a national injury
for a man to be appointed to a University
chair of Theology if others of qualifications equal
or superior to his were precluded from competing
with him because they belonged to another Ecclesiastical
body. The system of free Theological
teaching existed on the Continent, and no doubt it
might be said that it was under that system that
such great teachers as Kuenen and Tiele lectured to
a mere handful of students. But the Theological
faculty of Weiden taught a much wider circle than
the students attending the lectures, and represented
a system of Theological research which could only
flourish where the professors were free. He did
not think the Assembly would say that a man who
had a gift for Theological study was to be debarred
from pursuing his researches at the University because
his views were not those of the dominant
Churches. They looked forward to getting more
Chairs than they had at present, and then should
one professor be unacceptable to the Churches others
would be there in whose way there was no such
obstacle, so that while one man might be working
at the University chiefly in writing books, the
others might be working chiefly in teaching the
students, and thus all the different parts of Theological
study would be going on together. He
hoped that whatever was done it would be made
plain to their neighbours of the other Presbyterian
Churches that they wished their help in building
up the Theology of our country, whether it was
done in one way or another. He wished, however,
that the Assembly would see its way to a declaration
that a free, unrestrained Theology should be
taught at their Universities.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS, Edinburgh, in
supporting Dr Scott's motion, said he could not
understand how a Board of Election was to
work. The Board was credited with every virtue
under the sun, and then we were assured that
such a Board would select only the very best
Professors. But when one tried to ascertain
the principles or the process to be followed in
selecting the members of the Board itself, there
was nothing but darkness. In fact, when one
began to recount the qualifications of a member
of the Board, his knowledge and sympathy
and fearlessness and independence of all parties
and Churches, and his skill in doing all that was
best, and nothing else, in the case of every election to
every Chair, it was obvious that it would be far easier
to find a reasonably good Professor on the present
system than to constitute such a Board! So much
for the Board, of which he would only further say,
that those who proposed it must also propose some
really workable plan for its constitution; and
not forget that human nature would probably be
found in every one of its members. Then as to
affiliation. Principal Cunningham had spoken of
affiliated Faculties of Theologians as cats and dogs
in one cage. He apparently did not recognise the
fact that the cages would still be separate on any
intelligible theory of affiliation, but that all would
be under University influence. Besides, even ecclesiastical
theologians are not cats or dogs. The affiliation
contemplated in Dr Scott's motion is of a
different kind. It proposed to follow up the Act,
and go a little further, so that affiliation should take
the form of admitting the thoroughly equipped
Faculties of other Churches into the Senatus, and
making them part of the University. Dr Story
said be did not believe in the impending imminence
of Disestablishment; but he had actually proposed a
motion for Disestablishment, as far as the University
was concerned.
Professor STORY - I do not disestablish the Hall.
Professor CHARTERIS - But you disestablish the
Church of Scotland in the Hall.
Principal CUNNINGHAM - The Church of Scotland
is not established in the Hall.
Professor CHARTERIS - I think it is. There were,
he proceeded to say, various forms of Disestablishment
advocated in regard to the Faculties of Theology.
One was to disestablish the whole Faculty of
Theology in the University, and drive the teaching
of religion outside. That is mainly a supposed
logical outcome of the Voluntary principle. The
University is regarded as a part of the State, and
the idea is to banish the teaching of theology from
the University, and, it may be presumed, to confiscate
its revenues for some secular purpose. To
drive all the teaching of religion outside of all
Universities is so contrary to the feelings of the
great majority of thinking men, that he was sure
the proposal would not be entertained. The next
form of Disestablishment was to disestablish the
Church and creed, but to keep the Faculty of Theology.
It was said that they had no Tests in Germany,
but he believed the state of the case was
that no man was a Professor of Theology in a German
University unless he was an ordained Minister
of the Church. He was made a Doctor of Divinity
when he was appointed to his Chair, and he believed
that in almost all the Universities he had to take
an oath or vow. The fact that he must be an ordained
Minister of the Church showed that he was
not altogether free from Tests. Suppose they abolished
University Tests to-morrow, were they free
from the clerical Tests of the Church to which the
Professors belonged? No Minister need apply for
a Chair of Theology in future, because he would be
a man who had a Test applied to him in his Church.
Aye, more, they would arrive at this wonderful
conclusion from the abolition of Tests - that a future
Professor of Theology must not have a Test as Professor,
as Minister, or as Member, and therefore the
ideal teacher of Theology in that blessed future to
which they were coming was a man who had been
able to withstand the claims of Christianity upon
him throughout his life. But, be it observed, there
must still be left some creed. The creed of the proposers
of this is, that Students and Churches shall
believe that the Professor is to be always trusted
whatever turn he may take. This is a creed very
concrete, very simple, and, he must add, very
simple-minded; just trust in a man. The next -
the third - form of Disestablishment was to disestablish
the Church and to keep the creed. It
was to bind a man to the Westminster Confession
of Faith, but to allow him to be of any Presbyterian
Church. If this came either as the result
of co-operative union among the Presbyterian
Churches of Scotland, or as a means of bringing
about such union, it would be well worthy of
favourable consideration. But every other Church
in Scotland had taken pains to scout it; not one
of them would send their Students to such a Hall;
they all believe that a Divinity Hall must be an
integral part of a Church for the training of its
Students; and so this plan would reconcile nobody
now outside. But the Church of Scotland would no
longer have any control over the Professors or the
Students in the Divinity Hall of the University;
and she would in all probability be compelled by
self-respect, and from regard to efficient training, to
establish an outside Hall of her own. In such a
case, as in all those other ways of Disestablishment,
the Church ought to take out with her the Bursaries,
which are now very valuable, and many of
them quite recently gifted to the Students of
Divinity. In Edinburgh, during his own tenure of
his Chair, about £1000 a year had been given, not
for behoof of Theological Students in the abstract,
but for the benefit of Students for the Ministry of
the Church of Scotland. If the Chairs were separated
from the Church of Scotland, were those Endowments
for her Students to remain in attachment
to the separate Chairs? Certainly not; and yet for
the difficulty thus arising, the Disestablishers to
whom he referred made no provision. So much for
the three forms of Disestablishment. The fourth
plan, which was proposed in the motion, was not
Disestablishment but Affiliation. In Scotland there
were nine or ten Halls, independent of each other,
in which Theology was taught. Seven of these
were teaching substantially the same doctrine, and
since it was a fact that those men teach it in a truly
academic spirit, there ought to be a generous recognition
of the fact that there they had a fully
equipped institution for Theological training, an
institution which, by an unfortunate and untoward
accident, was separated from the University system
of the land. He proposed to incorporate all these
in the Universities, allowing them to maintain
their individual action and their separate funds,
but putting them on the same footing as the Faculty
of Divinity. He would deal with them as Dundee
had been dealt with in the old University of St
Andrews. That was a large national view of the
case, and it would bring all these Divinity Halls
into connection with their University system. He
saw from a published statement that all the three
Free Church Theological Halls had told the Universities
Commission that a true affiliation would
be the solution of the problem. Unfortunately
they all wanted a little Disestablishment, but not
more than Dr Story, who proposed to put the
Church of Scotland out of the University, and then
let all the others in. He (Dr Charteris) thought
the bringing in of those other Halls to the University
would do a great deal to sweeten the breath of
Scottish society. The next thing would be to recognise
each other's classes, and then by-and-bye ere
long there would follow on that a re-arrangement
of the men and of the classes, so that each man, if
he had a speciality, would be told off to lecture on
the subject on which he was best qualified to instruct,
and so by a process of selection they would
become a much better body of teachers than at present.
Let them, therefore, forward that scheme of
affiliation, bringing the Theological Halls to the
same level as the Faculty of Divinity in the Universities
- let them do that in a generous spirit, and
then would come a better day for the Churches.
The General Assembly adjourned at 5.30, to meet
again at 8.30 P.M.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
at 8.30 P.M., and was constituted.
The Rev. Dr WATT, Glasgow, resumed the debate
on the Report of the Committee on the Univer
sities' Bill, with special reference to the motions regarding
Theological Tests. The Tests at present
imposed, he said, put no restriction upon the honest
thinking of any man in the matter of religion. The
proposals for the abolition of Tests had been advocated,
so far as he had seen, by Professors alone. It
happened that the public had had an opportunity
of knowing what kind of men the Senatus of the
University would offer for the position of teachers
of Theology. There had been the Gifford lectures
and, so far as he could see, the Senatus had been
left a perfectly free hand as to whom they might
appoint. He had listened with interest and profit
to the lectures of Professor Max Mũller, but he
would put it to any Minister of the Church whether
he would be satisfied with such lectures as a preparation
for the Ministry, that the students of the
Church should be sent to such a lecturer, and that
attendance upon his lectures should count as part of
their training for the Ministry. If Dr Story got
his way in carrying the opinion of the Church with
him, he would influence the University Commission,
who would possibly give effect to it. In the present
state of public opinion the only result would be that
the Church would have to set herself immediately
about instituting training colleges for those who
were to be Ministers of the Church. So long as the
Church was established in this country it was entitled
to have a department of the National Universities,
a department in which the Church should
have confidence.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR, Edinburgh, said he
could not agree in the view that while the teaching
of Theology should be retained in the Universities
it should be retained with the present Tests attached
to it. The Universities Bill had removed all Tests
from every non-Theological Chair in the Universities,
yet it had left the Theological Chairs just as
they were. This made a great change. The subjects
connected with those Chairs were so differentiated
from all other departments of human knowledge,
that they must be taught in some other way
than every other department of human knowledge
- that was to say, that they could not teach these
subjects applying to them the ordinary rules of
criticism. The effect would be to degrade Theology,
or to drive it out of the Universities altogether, and
hand it over to the tender mercies of the sects. He
had no regard for the opinion that if Tests were
abolished there would be no students. Dr Milligan
had said that extraordinary precautions must be
taken if the Tests were removed, and that an easy
way must be found for getting rid of the men. He
should like to ask if there was an easy way of getting
rid of them now, and, if not, why should it be
necessary to get rid of them in an easy way? Even
in present circumstances they had not the securities
in the matter of adherence to doctrine which some
of the speakers seemed so anxious to obtain. It
would be a mistake to think that they who advocated
the abolition of Tests were not equally loyal
with their neighbours to the best interests of the
Church. They were in that matter pursuing different
ways but striving to attain one and the
same end. Were he not himself personally of the
earnest belief that the Church would be doing a wise
thing if she stood courageously through the present
crisis and agreed to the removal of these Tests he
would not be present to support the motion.
The Rev. Dr JAMIESON, Old Machar, in supporting
Dr Scott's motion, said he was as far as possible
from being a bigot. At the same time he could not
reconcile himself to the idea that, so long as they
were the Established Church of the land, they
could get rid of Tests. Progress had always been
his feeling in respect to the true interpretation
of God's Word. It might be necessary that they
should modify their views greatly, but, at the
same time, they must have some Tests in connection
with the Professorships of Theology. They were,
he thought, indispensable.
The Rev Dr GLOAG said the proposal, as he
understood it, was to remove the restrictions which
preserved the Theological Chairs in connection with
the Church of Scotland, and throw them open to
those of other denominations. The reason assigned
was that, under the present restrictions, there was
a certain degree of unfairness shown to the dissenting
brethren. The question arose, Where were
they to stop? If they restricted the Chairs to
Presbyterians, would not other denominations have
a similar reason to complain of unfairness? Why
not throw them open to Congregationalists, to Baptists,
and to Episcopalians? And why stop there?
Why not permit openly avowed Agnostics? Why
restrict them to Ministers? and what assurance
could they have that Theological Professors taught
Christianity at all? If there were no Tests there
could be no certainty as to teaching. If, on the
other hand, there were to be some Tests, they must
be made so comprehensive and indefinite as to
embrace all denominations, and, if so, to whom
could such Professors be responsible for their teaching?
At present the Theological Professors were
responsible to the several Churches to which they
belong, but if the doors were open to all Churches,
such a responsibility could not exist. They might
find Professors calling in question or denying the
great historical fact of the resurrection of Christ,
explaining away the supernatural, and thus overturning
the foundations of the faith. No Church
which had regard to the orthodoxy and soundness
of its students would recognise such teaching.
The separate Colleges would still continue, the
Theological Chairs in the Universities might be
filled with earnest Professors, but they would have
no students. They would lecture to empty benches,
like the distinguished Hitzez, who lectured in
Heidelberg to only one student. He cautioned the
Church against giving the slightest countenance to
the severance from it of the Theological Chairs.
The Rev. Mr LEE KER, Kilwinning, said he had
changed his mind in the course of the debate, and
was convinced there must be Tests of some kind.
Dr ROBERTSON, Glasgow, supported Dr Story's
motion. There were, he said, only two alternatives
- either to modify the Tests, or to sweep them
away altogether. He preferred the latter. He
did not believe they had ever been of the smallest
benefit. The teaching in the Theological Faculty
was very much in accord with the religious life of
the country. When the religious life was strong,
the religious teaching in the Universities was also
strong and wholesome.
Sir JAMES FERGUSON (Elder), was against the
abolition of the Tests. It was an error, he said, to
suppose that the Church had no interest in the
kind of training its students might receive. The
examination of students was held to be a sufficient
security that adequate learning had been acquired,
but he did not know that it was of a very searching
character. If the Theological Chairs were to be
held only by those who were searchers engaged in
scientific inquiry, these men would not be the best
trainers for those who were to be charged with the
mission of being interpreters of the Christian faith
according to the Standards of the Church. He
should support Dr Scott's motion.
The Rev. JOHN GLASSE, Edinburgh, said if they
were to be so careful in regard to the teaching of
their Professors, they would have to be equally
careful as to the books which their students read.
If they were to strictly apply a Test to their Professors,
they should also have a Censor and an
Index Expurgatorius for their students, and he was
sure the Church would not willingly sanction that.
They were all agreed, he was glad to say, in their
desire to see Theological Chairs maintained in their
Universities; but they found that the other two
Presbyterian bodies were prepared to sweep away
these Chairs, and if Dr Scott's motion passed it
would give a reason to many in their own Church
for sweeping them away. If they insisted on applying
that rigid Test to the Professors they would
alienate to a large extent the sympathy of even the
members of the Church of Scotland. He was not
going to attack the Confession of Faith, but it was
a notorious fact, known to everyone who had
studied Theology, that the Church now took up an
entirely different attitude to the doctrines contained
in the Confession of Faith.
Dr SCOTT congratulated the Assembly on the
manner in which they had discussed this very important
question. In no ecclesiastical Assembly in
Christendom could such divergence of views and
opinions be more frankly expressed or more tolerantly
and kindly received. In the brief reply which
he had to make he would endeavour to maintain this
disposition. He was always pleased to have his
friend, Principal Cunningham, as an opponent in a
debate. His opposition was generally jocular, and
in this case his jokes were better than his arguments.
At anyrate his arguments, like his jokes, did not
hurt the point assailed. There was, as he admitted,
an amount of solid consensus between them; and
he hoped that after reflection his friend would become
penitent and be converted. If next year he returned
as unconverted and impenitent as he himself was in
regard to the passing of Act XVII. 1889, he was sure
that he would as loyally bow, as he had done, to the
decision, and carry out the mind of the Church.
Well, their friends in their motion were very liberal,
yes, exceedingly liberal to Dissenters, but very
illiberal to their own Church. Now, in his motion
he was liberal to Dissenters, but he wanted to be
just to the Church. To abolish the existing securities
would be most unjust to the Church; it
would, in effect, disestablish the Church on this
side of her many relations. That is the plain significance
of the abolition of Tests. The enemies of
the Church see that, and clamour for their abolition.
Drs Story and Cunningham don't see that. They
are helping the enemies of the Church as catspaws,
and we are bound to save them from the consequences
of their own ingenuousness. Now, their
great reason for getting rid of Tests was because they
restricted Patrons in the choice of Professors; but
plainly, from their speeches, they would only abolish
one Test to establish a new one. There are various
kinds of Tests. There are written and formulated
Tests, and there are unwritten and traditional ones.
He preferred a written to an unwritten Test, and he
would certainly rather be tried by the written than
the traditional one. Moreover, he would rather be
a tested Professor than an untested Professor, appointed
by a traditionally tested Board. Now, upon
such a Board our friends evidently rely, a Board
that shall inform Patrons of the fitness of candidates
for vacant Chairs. Under that rule of fitness
Dr Cunningham told us that only Ministers of the
National Church would be selected if Dissenters refused
to send students to the Hall in the Universities,
for the Professor must be fitted to teach
students of the Church. Practically, therefore, Dr
Cunningham would abolish the doctrinal Test but
retain the ecclesiastical. He would rather do the
opposite; he might modify the ecclesiastical if he
saw a readiness on the part of Dissenters to have it
so, but he would retain the doctrinal. That would
be consistent with our position. It was the national
faith that was established in the Universities, and
it is that we would maintain. To widen and
broaden as far as the national faith may be politic,
yea, wise and just; but to widen the teaching indefinitely
would be to destroy the Faculties. To have
a Theological Faculty, we must have a theology to
teach. The simplest theology will be sectarian
against some one else, and no substantial harm
would be done in this instance, where the theology
was that accepted by nine-tenths of the nation. A
practical Test cannot be got rid of unless we destroy
the usefulness of the Chairs. He did not know in
the morning that for his prophecy of "No Test, no
Student" he had the very strong support of Principal
Cairns. Of course he was most thankful for it, and it
confirmed him in the conviction that it was our duty
to conserve the advantages we have. Let us conserve
that we be able to share them. There may
be no disposition to accept of our readiness to share
them as yet, but we do not know how soon there
may be, and we ought to have something conserved
and ready to meet it.
The Rev. Professor STORY asked and obtained leave
to alter his motion so that the clause "And, further,
that the Assembly ought to regard favourably any
scheme for the affiliation," to "And, further, that
the Assembly regards favourably the provisions
available in the Act for affiliation," &c.
Professor MILLIGAN said Dr Dickson, who, being
absent, had left the motion proposed by him in his
hands, would have liked that his motion should
have been amalgamated with Dr Scott's. He was
not, however, disposed to press the matter, and,
seeing that an expression of opinion had been obtained
in regard to it, he withdrew Dr Dickson's
The third motion (Professor Dickson's) was, with
consent of the House, withdrawn; and it was
agreed to take the vote between the first and second
motion. It was farther agreed that the vote should
be taken by the doors, when, the vote being taken,
it appeared that there voted - First motion, including
tellers, 135; second motion, including tellers,
32. The first motion thus became the judgment of
the House.
It was agreed that consideration of that part of
the Report of the Committee on the Universities
Bill relating to General Education, together with
Overture No. X. on the Arts course of Divinity
Students, and the Report of the Committee on the
Education of Ministers, should be deferred.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR, Edinburgh, gave in
the Report of the Committee on Students engaging
in the Ministry of the Word. It stated that the
practice of Students officiating as preachers appeared
to have originated in the exigencies of the
Church created by the events of 1843, and that its
marked increase in recent years might partly be
traced to the legislation of 1874. In 1854, and
again in 1883. the Assembly passed an enactment
prohibiting Ministers from giving countenance to
Students engaging in the public Ministry of the
Word before being licensed, but the practice had
not been perceptibly restrained. The Committees
recommended that after completing two sessions at
the Divinity Hall, Students might be allowed to
occasionally exercise their gift in preaching and
leading the devotions of the people in the congregation,
the consent of the Presbytery having
previously been obtained.
The Rev. Dr GRAY, Liberton, moved - "The
General Assembly approve generally of the Report,
and remit to the Committee, with additions, to
frame Regulations on the lines suggested by the
Committee, and to report to a future diet of this
Assembly, with a view to these Regulations being
embodied in an Overture, and sent down to Presbyteries
for their consideration and consent."
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON, Harray, seconded.
The Rev. Dr WATT, Glasgow, assured the
Assembly that the reply of Presbyteries would take
the form of congratulation, and he expressed his
pleasure at the conversion of Dr Taylor and Dr
Gray on the subject.
The Rev. Professor STORY said instead of the
deliverance proposed regulating this utterly illegal
practice of the employment of Students in conducting
the ordinary work of the Church, it would be
regarded as simply giving it the sanction of the
General Assembly. Nothing could be more subversive
to the proper respect congregations ought
to pay to the public worship of the Church, and to
the public instruction of the pulpit. He looked
upon the arrangement as one fraught with mischief
for the future. Instead of being a progressive
measure, it seemed to him reactionary in the worst
The Rev. ALEXANDER YOUNG, Westerkirk, spoke
in the same strain as Professor Story, and after
some further conversation the motion was agreed to.
The following were added to the Committee: -
Professor Scott Lang, Dr Johnston, Dr Rankin, Dr
Leishman, James Wallace, Esq.; Professor Taylor,
The General Assembly adjourned at 11.20, to
meet again to-morrow at 11 A.M.
WEDNESDAY, 28th May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last sederunt, being in the hands
of Members, were held as read and approved of.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
submitted the Report of the Endowment Committee,
which stated that during the past year the
following new Parishes had been erected and endowed
- viz., Maud, in the Presbytery of Deer;
St Andrew's, Perth; and Stonefield, Blantyre, in
the Presbytery of Hamilton. The completion of
these brought up the number of new Parishes
erected and endowed under the operations of the
Endowment Scheme to 366, provided at a total cost of
over £1,320,700, while in addition 40 Parliamentary
Churches had been erected into Parishes quoad sacra,
without the aid of the Committee - making the
total number of Parishes in Church of Scotland now
1330. The Committee regretted that there had not
been a larger number of new Parishes erected during
the year, for they were aware that that number
was not sufficient to meet the demand made on the
Church by the increase of the population and the
rise of new localities. They had hoped to report at
that time the erection of five Parishes, and the
funds at their disposal would have enabled them to
pay their promised grant in that number of cases.
In that expectation, however, they had been disappointed,
owing to the difficulty which those promoting
new Parishes had found in raising the local
proportion of the sum required to secure endowment.
The General Assembly were aware that the
standard of endowment having been raised from
£120 to £160, involved the raising now in most
cases of £4000, instead of £3000 as formerly. Unfortunately,
too, in consequence of a recent change
in the constitution prescribed for quoad sacra
Parishes, the difficulty of local promoters had been
still further increased by its having become necessary
for them to raise locally an additional £500 in
lieu of the sum which, under the old constitution,
was usually received from the funds of the Baird
Trust. The result had been that in the case of
several Churches which the Committee had hoped
to see erected into Parishes endowment has been
indefinitely postponed. Attention was called to the
serious effect which these circumstances were having
on the progress and work of the Church. It
was estimated that the erection of from five to
seven new Parishes annually was required to keep
the organisation of the Church equal to the demand
that was being made upon it. If that rate was not
maintained, and the parochial agency was not extended
to meet the demand for it, the Church could
not hope to continue that system of endowed territorial
work which was her grand distinction, and
which it was her special responsibility both to
defend and to extend. The Committee therefore
called the attention of the Assembly to the fact that
for two years past the rate had not been maintained
- not from any lack of Churches seeking endowment
or effort on the part of the Committee, but
from the increased difficulty of the task which those
promoting new Parishes had now to undertake.
The amount received for the Scheme during the
year throughout the various sources of income had
been £10,715, as compared with £9773 for 1888,
each of the sources of income showing an increase
over that of the previous year. The number of
non-contributing Parishes last year was 117, as
against 139 in 1888. The number of Churches endowed
as at Whitsunday 1887 was 355, receiving
£23,487, whereas the number now was 365, and the
amount £24,156. In concluding the Report the
Committee gave expression to the anxiety they felt
lest through any slackening of effort now the
ground gained in the past should virtually be lost.
It would be a poor recognition of the work of those
who had gone before them if they either left unprovided
with the means of Grace the new communities
which were now arising or allowed the
people of Scotland to be alienated from the
National Church for want of adequate opportunity
of worshipping within her walls. Consideration
of a special Report explaining why
the number of Parishes reported to be endowed
during the year was less than what
might have been expected was delayed till to-day.
In presenting the Report, Mr Murray drew attention
to the figures which it contained. The number
of Churches now endowed was 366, at a cost of over
£1,320,700. They had heard something lately
about the Church of Scotland being merely a
shadow. The Endowment Scheme was only a part
of her operations, but the figures he had given
showed that she was a pretty substantial shadow.
He alluded to the large business concern, on the
one side, of this Committee. They had to collect
nearly £30,000 a year from investments payable by
about 3000 people, mostly half-yearly, and with
other sources they had thus an income of £40,000,
which was paid out to upwards of 400 Ministers
again by half-yearly payments. He had calculated
that the expense of management was about 3 per
cent., which he thought those who were conversant
with the expense of management for such institutions
as Heriot's Hospital, which had about the
same revenue, would find very economical. The
Report of the Endowment Committee might not
now be received with the same enthusiasm as formerly,
but, nevertheless, the duty was laid on the
Church to continue the work of this Committee in
order to provide religious ordinances for a largely
increasing population and a shifting population.
The Rev. Dr H.M. HAMILTON, Hamilton,
moved the following deliverance: - "The General
Assembly approve of the Report, reappoint the
Committee, - Mr T.G. Murray to be Convener, and
Rev. Professor Cowan, D.D., Vice-Convener, - with
all the usual powers. The General Assembly are
pleased to learn of the increase in the income of the
Committee during the past year, and anew commend
the Scheme to the united and cordial support
of all the Ministers and congregations of the Church.
In view of the fact that the standard of endowment
has been raised and that larger demands are now
made upon the resources of the Committee, the
General Assembly earnestly trust that these will be
met by a corresponding increase in the liberality of
the members of the Church, so that the growth and
extension of the Church may not be impeded
through lack of the funds needed to provide the religious
ordinances required by the people of this
land. The General Assembly specially commend
the subscription toward the endowment of 50 new
Parishes to the support of all the friends of the
Church, and express the hope that as these Churches
become ready for endowment, the Committee may
on their part be in a position to contribute the proportion
of the funds required which it falls to them
to provide. The General Assembly regret to hear
that the number of Parishes erected during the
year has been smaller than could have been desired,
and that the endowment of some Parishes has been
indefinitely postponed in consequence of the increased
difficulty now experienced by local promoters
of new Parishes in raising their proportion
of the funds necessary for endowment, but they
trust that the present difficulty may prove to be of
a temporary character."
He remarked that the Endowment Scheme had
always had an important place amid the Schemes of
their Church, and it had ever inspired in their Convener
and Deputy a life-long and most lively interest
and attachment. There was no wonder it was so
when they considered how closely the work of
this Scheme was connected with the recognition
of their Church as the National Church of their
country. He fancied that the first thought that
inspired all, after the remembrance that they were
serving their Master and glorified Saviour, was the
thought that they were serving in the Church
their Queen and country, and in close and friendly
alliance with the State. It was just because they
recognised their position as the National Church
that they felt it to be their bounden duty to go
down to the people and to bring to them the ministrations
of their Churches and the advantages of
their parochial system. The history of their Endowment
Scheme was one of which they must all be
proud; and he sincerely trusted that the Baird
Trust, which had hitherto taken so great an interest
in, and liberally subscribed to, the Endowment
Scheme would not withdraw their grant, because
the Church might feel it right to adhere to a constitution
which on three separate occasions had
been already deliberately adopted. He hoped this
difficulty might be overcome, but if not he was sure
they had only to appeal to their people to get a
liberal response. He suggested that something
should be done towards giving grants to the endowment
of Assistants working under the Parish
Ministers, and to the Endowment of specially gifted
men for Mission work. In conclusion, he remarked
that it had been said that Disestablishment was a
mere financial question, but he thought the noble
work of their Endowment Scheme was one good
answer to such a fallacy. He hoped the people
would be raised to a sense of their responsibility,
and to do what they could to prevent so great a
disaster as was threatened to them.
Mr W. OGILVY DALGLEISH, of Errol Park (Elder),
in seconding the adoption of the Report, impressed
upon the House the importance of the Scheme
under notice. It was, he thought, the primary
duty of the National Church to provide the means of
Grace in those localities where it was most urgently
needed, and to seek to keep pace in some measure
with the growth of the population and with the
religious necessities of the country. That duty the
Church of Scotland had been discharging well, and
it was most earnestly to be desired that the hands
of this Committee should be strengthened, so that
the Church might continue to discharge that duty
in the future. Handsome as was the figure which
the ordinary income of the Committee represented,
he hoped it would be largely augmented in the near
future. A very gratifying feature in connection
with this Scheme was the steady and gradual
increase which had been shown in the income of
the Committee during the past three years; and
that increase, he considered, might fairly be accepted
as a proof of the growing recognition by the people
of the importance of the Scheme. There was,
indeed, no better way of strengthening and benefiting
the Church than by strengthening the funds of
the Endowment Committee. In concluding, Mr
Dalgleish endorsed the sentiments to which Dr
Hamilton had given expression as to the signal
service which Mr Murray had rendered and was
rendering to the Church in his capacity of Convener
of this Committee alone.
The motion was agreed to.
The Convener further reported - "That the Endowment
Committee, in conjunction with the Procurator
and Principal Clerk, had revised, adjusted,
and approved of a Constitution for the following
chapel: - Glencoe, Presbytery of Lorn. And he
now specially reported this Constitution to the
General Assembly, in order that the same may be
inserted in the Records of the Church, and a
regular extract thereof given in common form."
The General Assembly approved of the report,
and instructed in terms thereof.
The Convener further reported - "That there
were several Churches for which endowments have
been provided, or are in progress, the Constitutions
of which it may be necessary to prepare, alter, or
remodel, before the meeting of next General
Assembly, with a view to proceedings for having
them erected by the Court of Teinds into Churches
quoad sacra; and he craved the Assembly to remit
to the Committee on the Endowment of Chapels of
Ease, in conjunction with the Procurator and
Principal or Depute Clerk, or either of them to
prepare, alter, or remodel, adjust, and approve of
the Constitutions of these Churches, in conformity
with the model deed approved of by the Assembly,
and in conformity with the requirements of the
Act of Parliament, 7 and 8 Vict., c. 44; and on such
Constitutions being so prepared and adjusted, to
authorise the Principal, whom failing, the Depute
Clerk of Assembly, to give certified copies thereof
of the dates of which they were approved; provided
always that such Constitutions have been
previously sanctioned and approved of by the
Presbyteries of the respective bounds, and that
these Constitutions shall be specially reported to
next General Assembly, so that they may be inserted
in the Records of the Church, and regular
extracts thereof given out in common form."
The General Assembly agreed to remit, and
authorise as craved.
Intimation was made that the Kirk-Session of
Jedburgh had met yesterday for purposes connected
with the vacancy in that Parish. The General
Assembly did not think it necessary to interfere.
Lord BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH submitted the Report
of the Church Interests Committee. The following
are the more important passages in it: - For
some years past your Committee have not been
obliged to ask for the special attention of the General
Assembly to the great interests committed to
their charge. Meantime the Committee have endeavoured
to maintain, strengthen, and extend the
organisations of the Church to resist the attack
which it has been obvious would be renewed at the
first suitable opportunity. In doing so the chief
difficulties with which your Committee have had to
contend have not been any want of enthusiasm in
the cause, but the absence of direct attack, and the
reliance of the Members of the Church upon the
assurances they believed themselves to have obtained
that due notice would be given before the
movement for Disestablishment would be regarded
as within the sphere of practical politics by the
leaders of the liberal party, and even then that
the question would be submitted as a distinct and
separate issue. During the past year, however, the
agitation for Disestablishment has attained to a new
position, and one which, in the opinion of your
Committee, calls for prompt attention and vigorous
action from every loyal Member of the Church. In
illustration of this the Committee refer in detail to Mr
Gladstone's speech at St Austell shortly after the rising
of last Assembly, in which he declared, "I confess
that I am of opinion that the time has come when the
sense of Scotland (on the question of Scottish Disestablishment)
has been sufficiently and unequivocally
declared;" and to the correspondence which
followed between Mr Gladstone and Lord Balfour
of Burleigh. Commenting on the correspondence
referred to, the Committee say: - "The correspondence
left it still in doubt in the minds of some
whether Mr Gladstone would speak and vote for a
resolution in favour of Disestablishment, though it
was perfectly clear that a determined attempt would
be made by a dominant section of the Gladstonian
party to deny to the people of Scotland that distinct
issue and fair trial which had been so emphatically
and repeatedly promised in 1885 and earlier years;
and it gradually became certain that at next general
election an endeavour would be made to unite
the question of the Disestablishment and Disendowment
of the Church of Scotland with those affecting
the government of Ireland and other leading
political questions of the time. If positive proof of
this determination were needed, it was soon afforded
by the action of the Scottish Liberal Association,
the central organisation of the Gladstonian party in
Scotland, which at a meeting held at Glasgow during
November formally adopted the subject of the
Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Church
of Scotland as a part of their political programme;
while their action was adopted and approved by politicians
holding a prominent place in the councils of
the party, who addressed meetings in Scotland about
the same time." Lord Rosebery's speech at Glasgow
and Mr John Morley's address at Dundee are
next referred to, and the Committee say: - "It
appeared to your Committee that these declarations
marked, and were intended to mark, a new departure
on the question of Disestablishment on the
part of the leaders of the Gladstonian party, and
that, in consequence, the time had arrived when the
work of preparation and of organisation for the
contest, which was being forced upon the Church,
should be pressed forward with increased vigour.
Your Committee have, therefore, urged the friends
of the Church to lose no time in taking the necessary
steps for completing their organisation in those
districts where it was necessary; and they are glad
to report that both in this respect and in the provision
of funds to meet the necessary expenditure their
efforts have met with a satisfactory response; and
your Committee believe that recent events will still
further stimulate the efforts which have been made,
and which with the sanction of the Assembly it is
proposed to continue." Reference is next made
to the debate in the House of Commons on Dr
Cameron's resolution upon the 2d May, and to Mr
Gladstone's speech and vote thereon; and the Committee
say: - "Whatever view may be taken of
the altered circumstances as above indicated, there
can be no doubt that these have placed the Church
of Scotland in a position which demands the earnest
attention of all her members and friends. The
Church of Scotland has never been, and it is earnestly
hoped will never be, a political Church, or
allied either to one party or the other in the State,
and it must be the earnest endeavour of those who
act and speak for the Church to prove the truth of
this. It is well known that a large portion of the
laity and many of the Ministers of the Church
adhere to that political party from whom the attack
has now come, and it will be for the General
Assembly, through your Committee or otherwise,
to declare with no uncertain voice that the Church
even now does not wish to interfere with any man's
political opinions. But, on the other hand, it ought
to be shown to the people of Scotland, and especially
to the members of the Church of Scotland, that
if their Church is to be saved from destruction, it
can only be by all who value and wish to preserve
it placing their Church above their party, and
refusing to support any political candidate who has
voted, or will vote, for its overthrow. Taking the
whole circumstances into consideration, your Committee
do not see how they can now decline the
conflict which has been forced upon the Church.
It has been obvious to all for some years that sooner
or later the challenge would be given, and if there
has seemed to some a reluctance on the part of the
Church to allow the issue to be joined, that reluctance
has proceeded from the consciousness of
strength, and from a real desire to avoid the interruption
to regular work, and all the heat and bitterness
attendant upon it, rather than from any doubt
as to the mind of the Scottish people upon the
questions to be submitted to them. Your Committee
therefore respectfully place these facts before
the Assembly, and request now to be furnished
with such instructions as will enable them to appeal
in its name to the Scottish people upon these great
issues which so deeply and vitally concern the
highest interests of the nation. The opposition to
any appeal being made directly to the people, which
would admit of their pronouncing on this question
apart from other questions, is, in the opinion of
your Committee, a very significant fact. If the
promoters of Disestablishment are a majority of
the people, they need not fear the result of such an
appeal. It can only be because they know themselves
to be in a minority that they take such pains
to ensure that this question shall be submitted, not
by itself, but along with others which they seem
to believe to be more likely to win the support of
the people. It will be the duty of the Church of
Scotland, at every step of her progress in the work
of defence, to show conclusively to the people of
Scotland that she has always been, and is now,
ready at any sacrifice - save the abandonment of her
national position or the imperilling of the religious
advantages secured to the people of Scotland by
the Revolution Settlement and the Treaty of Union,
or by anything which might be construed into willingness
to throw away the heritage of the Scottish
people - to enter into such arrangements as may
secure that those now separated may be able to
share in the enjoyment and improvement of that
heritage. Your Committee have to report that,
in compliance with the instructions of last General
Assembly, they sent to Her Majesty's Government
a representation asking for the insertion in the
schedule to be used in taking the Census of the
population in 1891, of a statement of the religious
denomination to which those enumerated belong;
and they have respectfully to suggest that, in view
of recent events already referred to, the application
should be renewed and pressed upon the Government,
and that the General Assembly petition both
Houses of Parliament to that effect.
" WM. JOHN MENZIES, Vice-Convener."
Lord BALFOUR then said - Moderator, Fathers,
and Brethren, - In rising to discharge the duty
which lies before me, I appeal with confidence
for that indulgence which this Assembly never
denies to those of its Members upon whom there
is laid any task of exceptional importance or
difficulty. I have now enjoyed the privilege of a
seat in this Assembly for seventeen consecutive
years, and I can truly say that I have never risen to
speak under a sense of anything like the same responsibility
as that of which I am conscious on the
present occasion. You have now for several years
entrusted me with the charge of the Committee
which has to look after the interests of the Church
in all matters which are brought before the Legislature.
During most of those years this task, while
important and demanding both energy and care,
has not been one of the great responsibility which
it promises to be in the near future. For some
years the Committee has not had much to say upon
the floor of the Assembly, and has not had to ask
either for special instructions from this General
Assembly, or for any special effort on the part of the
Church at large. True, we have seen forces gathering
against the Establishment of the Church; we
have known that the attack must come, and that
the only question left in doubt was the time which
would be chosen by the adversaries of the Church
for delivering the attack. I am glad to say that we
have not been idle during these years. We have
been endeavouring to prepare and to organise the
forces at our command. We have met with a very
considerable amount of support and a very great
deal of kindness from all with whom we have been
brought in contact. One thing has to some extent
stood in our way, but it has not been that there is
any want of enthusiasm in the cause. We have
been always met by the allegation that there was no
real danger - that promises and pledges had been
secured, which at any rate made it certain that due
notice would be given before the question would be
regarded as one properly within the sphere of the
Imperial Parliament and of practical politics. A
change has come over the state of flatters during
the last twelve months. I am far from wishing to
make too much of that change - it would be easy to
make too much of it, such as it is, - but at the same
time it would be very dangerous to minimise its importance.
I think, if we may trust the newspaper
reports of some meetings of those who are most
forward in attacking the Church, the change has
almost turned their heads, and they do not know
exactly where they stand. They talk about being
near the end of the conflict; my belief is that they
are at the beginning, and only at the beginning, of
it. There is really nothing new, and except for one
circumstance there is scarcely anything unexpected
in the forces that are arrayed against us at the present
time. We have always known that we should
have to fight for the historical position which our
Church occupies, but I venture to say that the
manner in which the attack has recently been developed
has come with a shock of surprise to many
who thought they could trust pledges distinctly and
repeatedly given. Let me turn very briefly to a history
of the events which have taken place during the
past year. Very soon after the rising of last Assembly,
a speech was made by Mr Gladstone at St Austell,
in which he claimed that the sense of the people of
Scotland had now been clearly and unequivocally
declared on the question of Disestablishment. That
seemed to us to be a statement proceeding from
the most erroneous information, and it was one
which we thought should not be allowed to pass
altogether unchallenged. The Committee, therefore,
at their next meeting unanimously passed the
resolution which will be found in the Report. That
resolution was printed at the time in all the Scottish
and in many of the leading English newspapers.
A copy was sent to Mr Gladstone by Mr Menzies
and myself; we did so in the hope that we should
be able to get from him some statement of the
evidence and of the grounds which had led him to
commit himself to the position that the opinion of
Scotland had been clearly and unequivocally declared.
I do not think it can be said that we failed
from any lack of courtesy upon our side. I only,
however, allude now to this correspondence, and it
is only printed in the Report because, in the opinion
of the Committee, it is their duty to lay before the
Assembly everything that has taken place during
the past year in connection with the matters committed
to our charge. The interest attaching to
the correspondence, such as it was, has passed away,
and has been superseded by subsequent events. But,
sir, it seems to me to be absolutely beyond dispute
that the declaration made at St Austell by Mr
Gladstone was part of a preconceived and preconcerted
plan. Let us see what were the events
which followed. The central Association of the
Gladstonian Liberal party held a meeting in the
autumn at Glasgow, and passed certain resolutions
for the purpose of putting Disestablishment in the
forefront of their political programme. I am bound
to admit there is nothing particularly new in that;
the men who are most anxious and most energetic
in the work of that Association have long been
committed to that plank in the platform. But the
resolution to which I have alluded was adopted
and indorsed, in words which must be fresh in the
minds of many, by other leaders of the Liberal
party, and I think there can no longer be any
doubt that if they can manage it they mean to put
themselves in such a position that they shall be
able to say, after the next election at any rate,
with less absolute want of candour than they can
at the present time, that the sense of the people of
Scotland has been taken upon the question. Our
position is, that the resolution passed on that occasion,
and these other declarations, may commit the
official Gladstonian party, but they do not commit,
and must not be held to commit, loyal sons of the
Church, - provided they have given no mandate for
or consent to these resolutions. There are many
such men - men who hitherto have been loyal alike
to the Liberal party and to their Church. Even
after the correspondence with Mr Gladstone, there
was still a doubt in my mind, and in the mind of
others, whether, in respect of the facts and evidence
which we put before Mr Gladstone, he would still
persevere in the course which he seemed to have
marked out for himself, in the event of Dr Cameron's
resolution being brought forward. Early in the
present month Dr Cameron secured a place on the
notice paper of the House of Commons, which
enabled him to bring on his motion as an amendment
to the proposal for putting the House into
Committee of Supply, and a division was taken
upon it. I hardly like to turn aside from the consideration
of that discussion and division to interpose
anything else, but I think it right to call the
attention of the Assembly to the sort of tactics
which were pursued, and the policy which we have
to meet in this matter. It is no unusual thing,
when such motions come on for discussion, that
statements bearing upon them should be circulated
by the friends of one side or the other. But it has
usually, at least in my experience, been regarded as
a matter of fairness, or at least of common courtesy,
that the one side should know the facts and arguments
which were being circulated by the other.
That course was not followed on the present occasion.
A statement was circulated by the Disestablishment
Council for Scotland to their own
side only - that is, to those members believed to
be favourable to Dr Cameron's resolution. We
only became aware of it by the courtesy of one
member, a personal friend of Mr James A. Campbell,
who lent him for a few hours a copy of the statement.
Mr Campbell was good enough to show it to me,
and it seemed to us of so much importance, that we
thought it right to circulate on our side a refutation
of some of the strangest misstatements made by
our opponents. I frankly confess that when I saw
the statement that had been circulated, I no longer
felt any surprise that they should wish to keep it to
themselves; I do not know whether it is weaker in
the tribute which it pays to candour or to logic.
In one of the opening paragraphs it says that the
"friends of religious equality are demanding a
measure of Disestablishment." Towards the end of
the statement the Council do me the honour of a
personal reference, and they say that "Lord Balfour
and the Church of Scotland are forcing Disestablishment
to the front." Now both of these statements
cannot be true. If the friends of religious
equality are appealing for a measure of Disestablishment,
then it is not Lord Balfour and the friends
of the Church of Scotland that are forcing on this
question. If it lies at the door of Lord Balfour
and the friends of the Church, then where is the
enthusiasm and the demand for it which our opponents
plead as one of their strongest arguments for
the measure? Again, our opponents say that "the
Free Church and the United Presbyterian Church,
while reasonably maintaining that they represent
the majority of the Presbyterian Church members
in Scotland, receive no share of the public endowments."
I venture to say that this statement, that.
the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches are
in a majority in the country, is never put forward
in Scotland. It is kept for consumption in England,
where the people do not know the facts. I
say without fear of contradiction, that if we take
any return which can be got which has any approach
to accuracy, then the Church of Scotland
may claim over the other Presbyterian, indeed over
all other Protestant denominations, that it has a
large majority of the people. If there is any doubt
about it, who is it that prevents the truth from
being ascertained? The friends of the Church are
not afraid to appeal to the people themselves. We
are anxious that the appeal should be made, and we
will use every effort in our power to get the facts and
figures from the people themselves, and so establish
the facts in a way that they cannot be questioned.
Once more, our opponents' statement says that
"they and other Nonconformists in Scotland protest
against the injustice involved in the State continuing
to endow one section of Presbyterians."
There is no evidence to support that statement.
The Nonconformist Churches are not unanimous in
their protest against the present condition of affairs.
Did the writer of that document not know of, or
did he choose to forget, the protest signed only
the other day by five hundred of the leading and
most representative laymen of the United Presbyterian
Church against the action of their Church
Courts? There was a division in the Edinburgh
United Presbyterian Presbytery on the subject a
short time ago. I believe there were thirty-six
members present, and the resolution in favour of
Disestablishment was only carried by a majority of
twenty-three to thirteen. It is not for me to praise
these men. They did not act from a desire to gain
praise from us. I am sure they were acting from a
conscientious desire to do what they thought best
for the cause of Christ and of religion in Scotland,
and perhaps from an earnest yearning for a return
to those times of peace which seem only too certainly
passing away from us. There are many
other things of a similar kind in the statement,
which I will not put off time by commenting upon at
present. We have, however, thought them of sufficient
importance to print them in an appendix to
our Report, together with our refutation of them.
I will only add that I have even yet been unable
to get a copy of the statement as it was circulated,
and I am still dependent for my information regarding
it on the last issue of a periodical, to which I
have no objection to give a gratuitous advertisement
- the Disestablishment Banner of the present
month. I venture to say that the chief interest of
the debate which took place in the House of Commons
attaches to the speech made by Mr Gladstone
on that occasion. We did hope that we should be
able to get some information from him as to the
grounds on which he had changed his opinion,
and on which he declared that the opinion of
Scotland had changed on this subject; in that
we have been disappointed. But on other grounds
we are so satisfied with that speech, and with the
discussion as a whole, that we intend to print and
circulate it, to show the people of Scotland the sort
of arguments that are thought good enough to put
before the House of Commons, and to lead the
House of Commons and the people of Scotland to
make a breach in the religious history of the
country, which, we say, is second in importance to
none that they have been asked to make since the
time of the Reformation. Any one who pays careful
attention to Mr Gladstone's speech will see,
that although he was going to vote, and did vote,
for the Disestablishment of the Church, he is not a
convert to any great principle upon which that
measure can be justified. Nay more, he went out
of his way to say so, and the reason of it is pretty
obvious. The reason is, that there is no single
principle which can be applied to the Disestablishment
of the Church of Scotland which is not equally
good for the Disestablishment of the Church of
England; and although he wants the votes of
those who are in favour of Disestablishment in
Scotland, he does not want to alarm the members
of the larger and more powerful corporation south
of the Tweed. Mr Gladstone deliberately passed
by the question of principle. He said: "I will not
argue the matter on the ground of general principle.
I leave that principle apart without either affirming
or denying it." I wonder how far that is a declaration
which is gratifying to those who have forced
him into the position which he has now taken up.
Will they venture to lecture him as they lectured
Lord Rosebery a short time ago? But Mr Gladstone
went on to lay down what I venture to think
is a most extraordinary proposition - that the onus
of proof in this matter lies upon those who want to
maintain, and not upon those who want to change,
the existing order of things. I have always been
under the impression that if a state of things has
endured for some two hundred years, it is surely
incumbent upon those who want to make a violent
change to bring forward the arguments upon which
they rely. Mr Gladstone tries to lay upon the
members of the Church of Scotland the onus of
proof, and he took four grounds, on every one of
which he said that we in the Church of Scotland
must make good our position, and on none of these,
according to him, were we able to do so. Now, if
the Assembly will bear with me for a short time, I
will endeavour to go through these as briefly as
possible. The first is that the "Church must be
performing some special religious work in the
country - for instance, such as the care of the poor
- which no other body could perform." The second,
that it must be "testifying to the maintenance of
certain truths and doctrines which no other religious
body could so effectually maintain." The third,
that it is "the Church to which the decided
majority of the people belong;" or, fourth, that
"without belonging to it, the majority wish to
maintain it in the position of the National Church
Establishment." Now Mr Gladstone, as I understand
him, denies that the Church of Scotland is in
any special way the Church of the poor. I venture
to assert the direct contrary. I affirm that the
Church of Scotland is the Church of the poor, in
the rural districts, in the mining districts, and in
the congested centres of population in our large
towns. And it is becoming more and more the
Church of the poor. It is becoming increasingly so
as the years go on. Does this Assembly know that in
Edinburgh and Glasgow alone there have been sixteen
Voluntary Churches removed from the centres
of the poorer population and taken to the suburbs?
I do not blame them for that; they are but following
the irresistible and unalterable law of their
being. They must go because the people from
whom they draw their revenues have gone. But it
is none the less a significant fact that as years go on
the Church of Scotland is being left more and more
to the charge of and the responsibility for the
crowded districts of our large cities. The matter,
however, does not end there. In Edinburgh the
fifteen Free Churches which are either in the Old
Town or in the populous working-class suburbs have
decreased in the last ten years by 1443 of their
members. I believe the same process to be going on
in the United Presbyterian Churches of Edinburgh,
but I have not been able to get facts and figures with
sufficient accuracy to put them before the Assembly.
In Glasgow the Free Church has hi like manner
twenty-five Churches, in the thickest parts of the city,
that have decreased by 2265 members. In Dundee
seven Free Churches have decreased by 674 members
under similar circumstances. The total increase of
the Free Church in Dundee has been 513 members
during the ten years; while the total increase of
membership in Dundee of the Church of Scotland
has been 3359. In Aberdeen eleven Free Churches
have in the last ten years decreased by 1488; but
during all this time and in all these places the
population has been growing. A great deal is
sometimes made of the fact, and it was mentioned
in the same statement to which I have already
alluded, that the Free Church has set a high aim
before it, and has put down Church for Church with
the old Church of Scotland; in fact it is claimed
that while there are only 925 old Parish Churches
in Scotland, the Free Church has put down 1030
within the last fifty years. Now I hope it will be
understood that I do not want to decry for one
moment the value of the work which has been done
by the Free Church, but what I say is, that it is
founded upon principles which prevent its doing all
the good that the principle of endowed territorial
work, which is the foundation of the work of the
Church of Scotland, has enabled it to do. But because
the Free Church had got in many instances,
as they say, Church for Church with the Church of
Scotland, it does not follow that they are among
the same class of population. The Free Tolbooth
Church in Edinburgh is in St Andrew Square; the
Tolbooth Church of the old Church of Scotland is
at the top of the High Street: and I venture to say
that if any one had time to do it, many instances in
which the name has gone with a Church which has
been removed from its place could be found, and
that such a list could be made as would startle, not
only this Assembly, but some of the adherents and
members of other Churches. It is commonly said
that the Voluntary system would prove sufficient
for the wants of the people of Scotland. If there is
one monument of its skill of which the Free Church
has a right to be proud more than another, it is its
management of finance; and yet at this moment it
is a fact, that out of its 1030 Churches, only 298
are self-supporting. That is only 29 per cent. of
the whole: 731, or 71 per cent., are thus dependent,
to a greater or less extent, on the wealthy charges,
for the barest subsistence. I venture to say that if
it were not for the endowment which the Church of
Scotland enjoys, there are many of our congregations
which would be in the same position, perhaps
even in larger proportion; but if we find there
would be a larger proportion in that condition, then
I say that it adds point to what I have already
urged, that our Church is the Church of those who
are not able to provide Churches for themselves,
and that is one of the reasons why the endowments
should be preserved for religious purposes. If it
had not been for the endowments, our wealthier
congregations would during the last fifty years have
had to do their best to supply the wants of the
poorer localities; and if that had been so, they
could not have built up the splendid monument to
the Church which we possess in the Endowment
Scheme, the report of which for the past year you
have just had before you this morning. Now I
come to the second of Mr Gladstone's four points,
that the truths and doctrines of the Established
Church could not be so efficiently maintained by
other religious bodies. Here again I shall not say
one word to discredit the work of other Churches.
I will say, if you like, that I believe it to be as good
as our own; but be that as it may, it would be an
extraordinary breach in the national, historical
position of Presbyterianism, if at this time of day
the work of 1690, to which all of us can appeal,
were to be undone and pulled down. Surely that
will not be urged as a triumph for the Presbyterianism
to which the other Churches claim to be
as loyal as we are ourselves. Again, is, or is not, our
Church the Church of the majority? I have said
nearly all that it is necessary for me to say on this
point already, but I do maintain that we are the
Church of the decided majority of the Protestant
part of the population, and I can only say, as I
have said before, and as I will repeat again as often
as is necessary, that if our opponents are going to lay
stress on the point as to who is in the majority, or as to
the amount of the majority, let them cease from preventing
us from ascertaining the real state of affairs.
Now, as to the last of the four points, whether or not
the maintenance of the Church of Scotland is or is not
desired by the majority of the population, that, I
say, is what we shall have to find out in the near
future. We demur altogether to the position taken
up by Mr Gladstone, that lie can infer the wants
and wishes of the majority of the people by means
of the votes of the Scottish members. Our position
in regard to that matter is, that in this Parliament
the votes of the Scottish members are the votes of
individuals and nothing more. We claim that they
have no mandate whatever from the people of Scotland
to express any opinion on this matter. The
majority is apparently the test to which many are
in regard to this controversy chiefly content to
appeal. As long ago as 1875 it was said by Lord
Hartington that if the majority of the people of
Scotland should make up their minds and declare
their wish for Disestablishment, that it should be
given effect to. I do not know that we have any
objection to that. I think I may say not only that
we have no objection to it, but I am certain that we
never have objected to it; but we have always said
that, in a matter of this importance, the existence
of the majority must be carefully and accurately
ascertained and put beyond all matter of doubt.
In some of the years which followed, a certain
amount of agitation went on, and it gained more or
less strength before the year 1885. I believe there
was in some of those years a sort of desultory agitation,
conducted by Principal Cairns and some others
whose names I have forgotten; but the chief weapon
then used against the Church was its want of orthodoxy
and the heresy which was said to be its chief
characteristic. That argument did not seem to
have much weight with the people of Scotland,
and I am confident that it is not an argument that,
considering the existing state of matters over the
way, could be used now, with any greater amount
of force. Undoubtedly the question did make progress
between the years 1875 and 1885, and as the
election of 1885 drew near, the anxiety of the Church
of Scotland was roused. Yes; but her spirit was
also roused, and in no small degree, by the noble
stand and the noble speech made by him with whom
I had the honour at that time of being associated
in the Convenership of this Committee. At any
rate, the result of the agitation which was then
carried on, and to which we at least have no
need to look back with shame or searching of
heart, was, that for the sake of securing a unanimous
Liberal vote, Mr Gladstone was obliged to
give us certain promises and certain pledges.
These promises and pledges were repeated again
and again, and their terms, I have no doubt, are
present to the minds of all of you. These were
the words of Mr Gladstone: "We" (that is, the
Liberal party) "ought to labour for a state of
things in which every Liberal Churchman shall feel
that in voting for a Liberal candidate he is in no
way voting for, or giving an opinion on, the question
of Disestablishment, though that candidate
may be favourable to Disestablishment." Again he
said, with great emphasis, and with all the rhetoric
of which he is so consummate a master, that "no
advantage should be filched from the Church of
Scotland;" and again, that any reference that
should be made to the people of Scotland must be
"a real reference, for a real consideration, and for
a real decision." Sir, these were not pledges asked
for by the friends of the Church. They were
pledges voluntarily given, and given not for our
purposes, but for the purposes of the leader of the
Liberal party. He selected his own time, he spoke
in his own words, and he chose his own manner of
making the terms. I venture to say that terms
deliberately given in such a way cannot be departed
from without a greater and grosser breach of faith
than has yet been known in the annals of British
politics. It would, perhaps, be very convenient to
forget all that now, and to quote as conclusive a
majority of Scottish members who have recorded
their votes in the House of Commons, - some of
them against their pledges deliberately given over
and over again to their own constituents. This is
not the place to deal with them. We shall ask our
friends in their own constituencies to do it in their
own proper time and in their own proper way.
Again, we hear about a truce, and that the truce
was broken by the introduction of Mr Finlay's
Bill in 1886. That fallacy has been exposed over
and over again, and I do not think I need go into
it at length at this time; but I may just say this,
that I was then Convener, as I am now, of this
same Church Interests Committee, and I state to
this Assembly, as I have stated before, that until
that Bill was introduced and laid on the table of the
House of Commons, I myself, and I believe all those
concerned in the management of the Committee,
were absolutely ignorant that any such movement
was intended; but as we believed that it was an
honest attempt on the part of some, separated from
the Church, to find a means of reconciliation and reconstruction,
we could not turn a deaf ear to the
proposal, and we passed a series of resolutions upon
the subject. We adhere to those resolutions, and
they are reprinted in the form in which they were
approved by the Assembly of that year. We would
have been lacking in our duty, considering the profession
that we made during the previous autumn,
if we had not sought to give a helping hand to any
one who was not only willing but anxiously desirous
to find a way of reunion in the present trouble, but
our action was in no sense, and could not be fairly
said to be, a breach of any truce; and if my memory
serves me right, those were the first to condemn and
to break any truce that did exist, who have been
loudest in their objections to us for having departed
from it. A great deal is made of the bye-elections
that have taken place since the year 1886. It is
said that there have been some twelve or fourteen
bye-elections, and that in every case, almost without
exception, a candidate favourable to Disestablishment
has been returned. Well, in the last two or
three of these - since the Church became alarmed -
this has not been the case; but has Mr Gladstone
forgotten, and has this Assembly forgotten, the
transaction which took place at Nottingham, I think
in 1886? We know that shortly before the Nottingham
gathering a resolution had been passed, somewhere
down in the south-west of Scotland, to the
effect that the time for Disestablishment had come.
We know also, from the usual channels of information,
that the gentlemen who fathered that resolution
had an interview with Mr Gladstone before he
spoke at Nottingham; we know also that when Mr
Gladstone did speak, he referred to this matter and
said - "Let Scotland imitate Wales, and send up a
good batch of Home Rulers, and their reward will
be assured." Now, take notice of this, a "good
batch of Home Rulers," not Disestablishers, but
they are to receive Disestablishment. I ask, was
there ever a more complete instance in political life
of the old bargain, "You claw me, and I'll claw
you"? you vote solid for Home Rule, and I will see
what I can do for Disestablishment. Even then Mr
Gladstone had not departed from the position he
took up in 1885, that they ought to labour for a
state of things in which every Liberal Churchman
should feel that in voting for a Liberal candidate he
was in no way giving an opinion on Disestablishment.
They were still to vote for Home Rule as
the main question, and to say nothing about Disestablishment;
and now, after there have been
several bye-elections on that footing, Mr Gladstone
turns round and says the voice of Scotland has been
declared in favour of Disestablishment. If our opponents
really believe that Scotland is so anxious
for Disestablishment as they say, why, I ask, are
they so determined to pursue tactics which prevent
a clear and direct appeal to the people? They have
captured the organisations of the Gladstonian party;
they have got their Church courts and their Disestablishment
associations and committees to pass
any number of resolutions. Our proposal is to appeal,
past these packed political associations, past
these Church courts, which we do not believe to represent
the real solid feeling of Scotland, and we
propose to appeal to the people themselves. There
are ways of testing the feeling of the people of Scotland.
Let the adversaries of the Church raise their
banner throughout the country; let them hold
public meetings in favour of Disestablishment. We
will hold meeting for meeting upon our side. Let
them undertake a canvass of the electorate, and we
will help them. We will join with them in any
fair way of taking the opinion of the people which
they may choose to name. If they prefer to petition,
let them do so - we will petition too; until
they do, we think it right to rest upon the petitions
we obtained on the former occasion. But it seems
that our opponents are determined to force this
Church into a Parliamentary conflict. They ridicule
the idea of a real reference and of a general
election upon this question. We claim such a
reference upon two grounds. We claim it on account
of the intrinsic and transcendent importance
of the issue to the people of Scotland; and we claim
it, because the position of our Church is embedded
in the Act of Union, and it cannot be disturbed or
dislodged without a most distinct and overwhelming
consent on the part of the descendants of those who
were parties to that union. We say further, and
we will continue to say, that no election which does
not take place upon that question, and upon that
question alone, would in our opinion be really decisive
of the wishes and feelings of the people of
Scotland. Some will say that we shall have difficulties
to encounter; I do not deny it, but I put it
to this Assembly, what are difficulties made for?
Are we, on account of difficulties, to turn aside
from the path, which to us is the path of justice,
righteousness, and honour? Difficulties, in the
path of honest and energetic men, are made for
those men to meet and to get over. There may be
some who will shrink from the contest, but I can
tell this Assembly that there are others who mean
to fight. I think it was Cobden who said that no
surgical operation could put a backbone into a man
who did not possess one; and I do not suppose that
if there are any who mean not to be true to the
Church of Scotland in this crisis, that their default
will be of much importance. We mean to take up
the contest, and to put before the people of Scotland
the issue of which they must be the arbiters.
We will take no decision but theirs; they and they
alone shall decide the case which supremely concerns
them. Sir, some proposals have been made in
the course of the year, upon which had there been
any chance of their being accepted by the other
side, it might have been worth while to bestow a
certain amount of consideration. I believe these
proposals, from whichever side they came, and on
whichever side they have found favour, came from
those men, and found favour in those quarters, from
a conscientious desire to see if any method of agreement,
and any means by which a contest could be
avoided, could not even yet be found. But it seems
to me, at least, that they were wanting in one important
point; in other words, they asked us to
give up what I regard, and what I believe many in
this Assembly regard, as the chief, if not the whole,
matter in dispute. I observed that one speaker at
a Disestablishment conference the other day, stated
that there must be either Establishment or Disestablishment,
and that between these there could
be no compromise. I am inclined to agree with
that statement as far as it goes; and I must add
that if our friends on the other side are going to
attempt a compromise, they must give up Disestablishment.
If what they want is the paltry remnant
of the liberality of former ages which the Church
now enjoys, or the miserable pittance doled out
from the Exchequer, the amount of which was far
exceeded by Church revenues in the hands of the
Government, I say I would rather give them up,
and trust to the liberality of future generations,
than give up our noble position and the freedom
which we now enjoy, a position which has gained
from Mr Gladstone himself the testimony that we
are now the freest Church in Christendom. I
believe the Christian liberality of the Scottish
people to be equal to that, but if we once give away
our position, we can never regain it. One of the
appeals that is constantly put before the people by
our opponents is something like this - I believe
they are the very words taken from the last report
of the Disestablishment Association - they appeal
to the electorate for "a measure of religious equality
which shall do justice to all and harm to none." I
cannot help wishing sometimes that they would
make it a little more definite. We have all got
equal justice and perfect toleration, and there are
none of us at any rate who would desire the right
to either of these things to be diminished; but
beyond that, what is a religious equality? It seems
to me, as far as I can gather, that there is not much
equality, and very little religion, in the phrase.
Does religious equality mean the same thing to the
Free Church as that for which Dr Hutton is asking?
Does the religious equality which they are asking
mean the same thing as that of their political allies,
with Sir George Trevelyan and Mr John Morley
at their head? Do they mean that religious equality
would be accepted by the people of Scotland as a
convertible term for the Disestablishment of the
Church? I once heard a Free Churchman say, at a
meeting against Disestablishment, something which
I thought very appropriate, I should not have
ventured to say it myself, but as he said it, I see no
harm in repeating it; he said the spirit manifested
by some was not unlike that expressed in the old
Jacobite song: -
''Geordie sits in Charlie's chair,
Deil tak' me if he sit there."
The fact is, that no one who holds the principle of
religious equality, in any sense that it can be understood,
will be content or satisfied by the Disestablishment
of the Church. Awkward questions will at once
be raised as to the position of the State as regards
education, - as regards religious education especially,
- and as to the present position of the Training
Colleges, the success of which has recently been the
subject of congratulation elsewhere; and there will
be questions asked about the laws for Sunday
observance, about the laws which relate to the
Protestant succession to the throne, and about the
appointment of chaplains to the Army and Navy,
and to our prisons. All these are offences against
the principle of "religious equality," if it has any
meaning at all. All these questions must be put
before the people for decision, and I know well in
what way they will be decided. But, sir, we in
the Church of Scotland have an equality amongst
ourselves in religious matters, and I say there is no
Church in Scotland in which the vote and opinion
of the poorest, and of the humblest, have anything
like the same relative value to the vote and opinion
of the richest as in the Church of Scotland. For
my part, I believe that the humbler classes of the
Scottish people will be very slow indeed to give up
the position of advantage which the democratic
constitution of the Church so happily gives to it
and to them. Ah! but our opponents prophesy
smooth things; this measure of religious equality
is to do "justice to all, and harm to none." It will
be so good for the Church! We shall be relieved
of fetters which are now galling us; at least, if we
are not being galled by them, they tell us that is
our fault, and that we ought' to be suffering. We
do not know how well we shall feel when they have
stripped us of our endowments. They are to do
harm to none? But has this Assembly forgotten
the provisions of Mr Dick Peddie's bill? We know
nothing of Disestablishment in the concrete except
as it was contained in that most instructive document.
By the provisions of that bill our congregations
were to have no right to the services of their
Ministers after a stated day; upon that day the
doors of our Churches were to be locked against us.
A bribe was thus offered to the Ministers, who
were to have their interests preserved, whether
they continued to do the work which they had contracted
to do or not; the heritors were bribed by
the prospect of relief from some of the charges
which they now pay; the taxpayers were offered
the prospect of relief from the payments, to the
extent of some £40,000 or £50,000, now given out
of the Exchequer. The provisions of that bill have
never been disavowed, and until we see a measure
drawn up in equal detail which would realise the
anticipations held out to us, we shall be wise to
trust to the definite knowledge we possess rather
than to the vague and uncertain promises of irresponsible
agitators. With regard to union, we can
get no answer to the oft-repeated question, why
union would be more probable on a basis of Disestablishment
than on a basis of Establishment.
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that we
shall be beaten, do our opponents imagine that our
principles would be cast aside and would go for
nothing? Would we look for union with those
who, after a bitter struggle, had just succeeded in
consummating the greatest injury that can be done
to the Church of Scotland? In this matter it is
we who stand on the historic ground of Scottish
Presbyterianism, and we cannot desert our position.
Lamentable and melancholy as have been the
secessions from the Presbyterian Church, from the
Church of Scotland, - never a single one has taken
place from any disagreement with the principle of
an Established Church. There is no body of Presbyterians
represented in Scotland at this moment, save
the Reformed Presbyterian Church, who have any
right to say that they are separated or that they
stand aloof from us on account of any disagreement
with the principles of the settlement of 1690, and
I say that I have never yet been convinced that
there is a greater inherent difficulty in securing
union by reconstruction and upon the basis of
Establishment, than there is by Disestablishment
and the pulling clown of existing institutions. I
am bound to add, and I will say that I at least
deeply regret it, that at the present time I can see
no hope of any real and comprehensive union, either
upon one basis or the other. I hope I shall not be
understood to mean that I would say or do anything
which would make union more difficult of
accomplishment. I can conceive no higher obligation
lying at this moment upon any body of
Christian men in Scotland than to labour for the
reunion of the scattered fragments of Scottish
Presbyterianism; moreover, T believe it to be consonant
with the wishes and aspirations of the
people. Certainly I, if I could see the slightest
prospect of bringing it about, would gladly sacrifice
every prospect I have in life, and esteem it to be
an object worth living for, to devote the whole of
the time that is left to me to advance a work of
that kind. I pledge not only myself, but the
Church Interests Committee, and I believe I may
say this whole Assembly, that if any proposal can
be put before us by any section of our fellow--
countrymen which we can entertain consistently
with the dictates of honour, and with the preservation
of the heritage of the Scottish people, those
who have that proposal to make may come first to
our Church, or they may come last to our Church,
but whether they come first, or whether they come
last, they will come to those who will not turn
a deaf ear to the proposals they may have to
make. Sir, I have almost discharged the duty
which has been laid upon me. There remains
only one thing more to say. If we mean to be
successful in the contest which lies before us, we
must make up our minds to abandon reliance
upon any one but ourselves. If the Church were
to form an alliance with the political party to
which I myself belong, it would not rest with those
by whom we are opposed, to throw stones at us.
They at least have not shrunk from making their
Churches the centres of political activity and organisation.
But I have more respect for this
General Assembly, and for the Church of Scotland,
than to ask any such thing. Our policy has been
this, and the policy which we ask you to sanction
for the future is this, that we should go to our own
people, and to our friends, and should say to them,
"Your heritage is attacked; you must organise
yourselves regardless of your political combinations;
and when organised, and when occasion demands,
you must meet in your own districts, and settle
each for yourselves, according to your own inclinations,
according to the necessities of the time and
of the place, what is to be the policy that you shall
pursue in the interests of the Church." I pledge
myself, and I know it to be the unanimous wish of
the Committee, that nothing done by us should be
capable of being interpreted as in the slightest
degree an attempt to interfere with the political
opinions of the humblest member of our Church.
But if we, as a Church, take that position, I venture
to say that a corresponding obligation lies
upon those who really wish to defend the Church
in the present crisis, not to allow a desire for harmony,
or the mere passing success of their political
party, to stand in the way of their speaking out
fearlessly and continuously and energetically until
they gain their point. I can conceive nothing more
disastrous than that any policy that we may pursue
should be held as committing us, as a Church, to
the support of one political party more than another.
But the circumstances of the time - the political
conditions now prevailing - are so difficult, and so
various in different parts of the country, that I
venture to say, neither the Committee nor this Assembly
can lay down any principle which will be of
universal application, for the guidance of the people
to whom we are about to appeal. We must urge
our friends to organise ourselves into Church
Defence Associations, because no majority, however
great, can put forth its power unless it is organised;
when organised, our friends can meet together and
consider for themselves the means by which they
can best turn their strength to practical purposes.
This brings me to the last point with which
I shall trouble the Assembly. It is one personal
to myself. I have now been for some
six or seven years one of the Conveners of this
Committee. In the course of this spring I intimated
to the Committee that it was my desire to be relieved
from the duties and from the work inseparable
from those duties. I did so on two grounds -
first, because the cares and occupations with which
I am charged are growing more and more onerous,
and I honestly felt that I could only with great difficulty
give the constant time and attention which
the work was likely to demand; secondly, I am
bound to say that I have sometimes feared that my
known connection with the political party now in
power might be adverse to the best interests of the
Church, so far as my efforts at organisation are concerned.
I therefore told the Committee that I
should ask them at this time to look out for a successor
in those duties which I have endeavoured to
discharge. I frankly say I found a certain amount
of unwillingness on the part of the Committee to
entertain that proposal, but I should have persevered
in it, if it had not been for the fact that the
call to arms has come in the way and at the time
that it has. It is because I feel that if I were to
resign at the present moment my conduct and
motives might be misconstrued, that I again offer
to place my services at the disposal of the Assembly.
May I add that in doing so I look forward
with pleasure and hope to being able to do something
for the cause which we all have at heart. I
do not, however, feel that it is possible for me to go
on alone, and the question has been anxiously discussed
as to who should be asked to associate himself
in the work. After careful consideration a
name has been suggested for the approval of the
Assembly. I venture to say that it will be consonant
with the feelings and wishes of this Assembly
that Dr Scott should be unanimously appointed
Joint-Convener of the Committee. It is not for me
to say anything about his qualifications, because he
is known and respected by all of us. He is not
regarded as the especial property of any party in
the Church; he is resident in Edinburgh, and is
accessible to all, and he is one to whom we now
look to help us and guide us in any difficulty we may
have to face. In conclusion, I say that if you are
pleased to give us the instructions contained in the
Deliverance which I now move, we will do our best
to render you hearty and loyal service; but we can
do no real good unless we are made to feel that we
possess the confidence of the Church, and unless our
efforts are supported by those who in the daily
round of their occupations, be they Ministers or
Elders, are enrolled in the service of the Church of
Scotland, and are prepared to devote themselves to
her cause.
The following is the deliverance moved by Lord
Balfour: -
"The General Assembly approve of the Report,
and gratefully record their sense of the energy of the
Committee's action during the past year, and of the
wisdom of their proposals. The General Assembly, in
view of the altered circumstances disclosed in the Report,
and deeply impressed with the importance of
the new departure as tending to consolidate the forces
which are acting in antagonism to the Church of
Scotland, and further, recognising the urgent need
of preparation for the contest which is now being
forced upon her, resolve - That the time has come
when the Church of Scotland, as well in her own
interests as in those of the whole Scottish nation,
ought to bring clearly home to every member and
friend of the Church the momentous issue which has
been raised, and hereby authorise and instruct the
Committee to take such action as may seem to them
best for the purpose - (1), Of informing the people
of Scotland upon the subject, by public meetings or
otherwise, so as to evoke from them a real and adequate
expression of their opinion as to the proposal
for the Disestablishment and Disendowment of the
National Church; (2), Of providing in every district
of the country the defensive organisations indicated
by the Committee, in a form best suited to counteract
the designs of the opponents of the Church; (3),
Of appealing to the members and friends of the
Church for an ample supply of funds, so that they
may be able adequately to carry out the important
duties they are now enjoined to discharge. The
General Assembly anew record their hearty sympathy
with any movement which has for its object
an effort to facilitate the reunion with the Church
of those at present separated from her. The General
Assembly reappoint the Committee, with all the
usual powers, and power to add to their number -
Lord Balfour of Burleigh and Rev. Archibald Scott,
Joint-Conveners, William John Menzies,
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, seconded the
motion. He said: - "Mr Moderator, you may be
sure that I am most unwilling to minimise, in the
slightest degree, the effect of the noble speech to
which it has been our privilege to listen. You will
also sympathise with my desire that the debate
upon the motion now before us should be very
freely distributed among the representatives of the
Church here present. If, therefore, I endeavour
briefly to discharge the honourable and responsible
duty assigned to me, it is solely for these reasons,
and from no misapprehension of the real gravity of
the situation in which we find ourselves placed. I
trust that I have a due appreciation of its significance.
The situation is unquestionably grave, but
in my opinion it is not so dangerous to-day as it was
twelve months ago. The events which have recently
happened will prove of advantage to the Church,
and tend to the furtherance of her cause. The
debate in the House of Commons, and the division
which followed it, ought surely to break any apathy
or false security concerning this matter which may
have prevailed in some quarters; while the speech
of Mr Gladstone on that occasion ought as surely to
open the eyes and free the hands of multitudes who
hitherto averred that he could and should be trusted
to act very differently. Hitherto we have been
hampered in doing our duty to the Church by the
engagements which he had entered into with the
people. Promises never exacted, but freely and
repeatedly given, in language whose meaning to
every holiest man was unmistakable, made them
sure that he would not deal with this great Scottish
question, nor regard any vote upon it in Parliament
as of any significance or moment, until the mind of
the people in reference to it had been fairly appealed
to, and clearly and adequately elicited. The eyes of
many good Churchmen must now be opened as to
the value of these promises; and yet we should be
thankful that whatever may have been his motives,
Mr Gladstone, by this recent declaration, has
rendered impossible any further misapprehension as
to his real position and purpose. We believe that
he has been misled by political and ecclesiastical intriguers,
who have miscalculated the situation and
their own strength; but we are truly thankful that
he has at last freed the hands of masses of the
people to do their duty to the Church, while he has
set free all of us who have been entrusted with the
defence of the Church to do our duty to the people.
Now what is the duty of the Church in this grave
crisis? I hold that it is not our duty to give any
reply to the utterances of Mr Gladstone. In this
issue he is not entitled to a reply from the Church
of Scotland. He has made many a noble speech in
support of many a noble cause, which compelled
even his opponents to respect and admire him; but
I venture to say that no British Statesman ever made
a meaner speech in support of a more unworthy cause
than he made on the 2nd day of this month. It was
not the Church, represented by her Ministers, Elders,
and Members, that he flouted, - he affronted and
insulted the whole people of Scotland. Sir, ours
may be a small land, but it is the home of a high--
spirited people. Scotsmen are proud of their land,
and they are especially proud of the institutions
that have made the country and themselves what
they are to-day. Mr Gladstone poses as a Scotsman
upon proper occasions, and therefore on the
occasion referred to he must have known that he
was speaking of the oldest outgrowth of Scottish
Christianity, - of that institution which has exercised
the most powerful and beneficial of all influences
in elevating the Scottish life and moulding
the national character. In it have been nursed, or
by it have been trained, the long succession of Scottish
men who, as British heroes, have in every department
of enterprise made the United Kingdom
to be respected all over the world. As a Scotsman
Mr Gladstone must have known, if he knew anything
at all, that the old Church of the land was not
antiquated - that it was never more living and
healthy, more serviceable and fruitful of good, more
tolerant of other Churches, more observant of her
personal duty, than at present. Yet he dared in
effect to say that this old national institution, which
every Scotsman should hold sacred, and which the
great majority of Scotsmen do hold very dear,
was a matter of such trifling importance that he
could accomplish her Disestablishment and Disendowment
more easily than he could pass some
Roads and Bridges Bill. The discussion of some
petty measure of purely local importance would involve
the House of Commons in much more difficulty
than the settlement of the great national
question as to the maintenance of the old and still
powerful and vigorous Church which is embedded
in, and intertwined with, the very constitution of
the State. The country need not be put to any inconvenience
or delay by any more voting about it,
for Mr Gladstone, when he comes to power, will
get through the business of Disestablishment and
Disendowment in some two hours' sitting of the
House of Commons. If Mr Gladstone does seriously
attempt this, he will find it a much longer and
tougher job than he reckons. I venture to assert
that the old Church, old though it is, may outlive
the political career and outlast the political renown
of any British statesman who violently assails her.
I go further, and assert that if our opponents do
really push this movement to which they have committed
themselves, they will find that the Church
which, as an antiquated encumbrance and petty
obstacle, they hope to sweep away in the onward
rush of their party to power, is really so firmly
rooted in the hearts and consciences of the people
that they will be dashed into spray against its
impregnability. That is the reason why we will
not appeal for the help of any political party
in this crisis of the Church's history. I hold
it to be the duty, and that it will be found to be the
interest, of all political parties, to defend an institution
like the Church. The party that stands by
her in her time of need will find sufficient reward in
the gratitude of the people of Scotland, while the
party that assails and attacks her will be shattered
into fragments in the conflict. It is our duty, as
defenders of the Church, to avoid all political alliance;
to go straight to the people whom we serve,
and in whose behalf we are acting. We must tell
them plainly to what extent this movement has
grown, what it is really aiming at, what great
national and religious interests will be imperilled if
it be allowed to proceed, and will be certainly
wrecked if it be punished with success. As Ministers
and Elders of the Church, we can do this with
clean hands. We have no selfish motives to urge
us to do so, nor any personal ambitions to further.
The question at issue is not whether we, as Ministers
and Elders, are to retain the advantages of the
National Church for ourselves, but whether we are
to have in our land a National Church at all. We
are not much concerned as to the men who shall
occupy the manses and serve in the Parish Churches
of Scotland, but we ought to be very greatly concerned
about the conservation of the religious
rights which the Parishioners have in their Churches
and Manses. Are they to be maintained as the
symbols of national indebtedness to Almighty God
for His great and manifold kindnesses to the
country? Are they to be used as the means of
discharging the obligation resting upon the British
State of training the people in the righteousness that
exalteth a nation? Or are the endowments to be
secularised to relieve personal and private burdens?
and are the Churches to become the property
of any sect or any individual who may
give for them the highest price, and use them for
any purpose they please? It is not our vested interests
that are at stake, but the sacred rights of the
people in their religious inheritance. It is not our
position as Parish Ministers that is assailed, but the
independence and religious equality of the Scottish
nation. Are we willing to be treated as if Scotland
were a mere province or appanage of England, in
defiance of the Treaty of Union? Are we willing to
have that which is most distinctive in our national
life swept away, and to have as the dominating
form of religion in the land that one which is represented
by the hierarchy established in England?
We have no dislike to the establishment of Episcopacy
in England. We stand up for the maintenance
of the Church in England just as we do for the
maintenance of our Church in Scotland; but as
long as Episcopacy is established in the South, we
are surely entitled to have Presbytery established
in the North. These are the questions which we
must place frankly and fully before the people.
We must thoroughly inform them as to the situation
and as to their own responsibility; and when
we have done our duty by them, we shall leave
them to answer Mr Gladstone for themselves, while
we will proceed with our work. What, again, is the
attitude we ought to assume towards other Churches,
and especially towards those Churches whose courts
by large majorities have done their utmost to force
this conflict upon us? I have said that we should
not answer nor argue with Mr Gladstone and his
party; and I think we should keep clear of all
communication or negotiations with them. They
have taken up their position, and negotiation is
useless. They certainly are not entitled to a reply.
Let me say in passing that I am not in the habit
of reading what is said of the Church of Scotland in
the courts of the dissenting Churches, for the simple
reason that among the Ministers of those Churches
I have many personal friends, and I have no wish
that those friendships should be broken or impaired.
Yet the things which have been said of us in the
courts of other Churches, the things that have been
written and published by their members, have often
made me very uneasy as to my relations to these
Ministers. For if these things be true, they
ought to have nothing to do with us, and if
they be not true, we ought to have nothing to
do with them. Having heard, however, that there
was a change in the tone of the speeches delivered
at the last U.P. Synod, I did read the reports of
them, and I was glad to find in all of them expressions
of great brotherly kindness toward the
Church. Indeed the speakers most hostile to the
Church were almost effusive in their expressions of
kindness, and most persistent in their endeavours
to assure us that it was for our good, and for our
good alone, that they were taking all this trouble to
disestablish and disendow the Church. Well, I do
not challenge their honesty, nor do I question the
reality of their kindness, but beyond challenge and
question this kindness is finding a very serious
expression. I do not think I could look a man in the
face if I were to say to him, My beloved brother,
out of my great interest in you, my regard for your
personal welfare, I am resolved to do my utmost to
get you put out of your house, to have you robbed
of your property, stripped of your very clothes, so
that you may be able to see whether you can
survive the experiment of doing without them.
Would any of my dissenting friends embrace me
were I to propose that this experiment should be
tried upon themselves? Were I to make that
suggestion, I would doubtless be told to stand out
of the way, or to find some less insane mode of expressing
my favour for them. No; the person
who proposes to express his kind interest in me in
this way, if honest, must be a fanatic, or he must
take me to be a fool. Therefore I say, let us have
no parleyings with them. Let us pass them by
with their over-effusiveness of kindly feeling, and
appeal straight to the people whom, I believe, they
thoroughly misrepresent. In attacking our Church
they are not expressing the real feelings and wishes
of very many of those whom they ought to be
serving in their own. No better indication of this
can be got than the document to which the noble
Lord referred. The protest was signed by 500
gentlemen against the action of the United Presbyterian
Church in regard to Disestablishment. These
gentlemen are chiefly in the West of Scotland - all
of them well-known and esteemed, and many of
them most influential. Well, do not let us mistake
the meaning of that document; do not let us conclude
from it that these protesters are quite at one
with us, or that they entirely approve of the Church.
They do not entirely approve of the Church, or
they would not be United Presbyterians, and loyal
United Presbyterians we must conclude that they
are. But though they do not approve of the
Church, they far more strongly disapprove of what
is going on in their own, because they see that
the pushing of this agitation is seriously injuring
their Church; and that if this agitation be successful,
it must grievously impair, and perhaps destroy
for many years to come, the usefulness of the
Church of Scotland as one of the branches of the
Church of Christ. They see that if it be pushed to
the bitter end, the union of all the Presbyterians,
which every ecclesiastic professes to desire, and
every really religious man in Scotland prays for,
would be completely wrecked. Let Disestablishment
of the Church of Scotland take place, union
will be impossible for many generations, while the
immediate effect of it will be to make the miserable
disruptions that now exist more miserable and
manifold still. Let us deal cordially and frankly
with all who in other Churches are taking that
stand: let us show them that we are not contending
for our personal rights and privileges, but for
the religious rights of nine-tenths of the people of
Scotland; that we are not striving to maintain a
sinecure for a favoured denomination, but are endeavouring
to secure for generations to come the
transmission of that common heritage which was
gained by the blood of the martyrs of the past. If
we do so, we can fight this battle, which, with Lord
Balfour, I believe to be not very far off; with hopefulness.
His lordship is prepared to fight; well, so
am I. And fight this battle I shall, as long as I
have the strength to do it. We accept Mr Gladstone's
challenge. He has flung it not against us,
but against the people of Scotland; and he has
flung it down haughtily, superciliously, with all the
disdain of a man to whose high Anglicanism a Church
like ours is an affront, because it is founded in
toleration, and proclaims the equality in the one
Church of Christ of every Nonconformist who
holds the essential verities of the faith. Without
the slightest tremor or trepidation as to the result,
we ask the people of Scotland to take up
this challenge. He is coming against us strong
in the prestige of his great name, and fortified with
what he regards the invulnerable forces of the
mighty party which he leads. And yet what are
these forces upon which he relies for success in
this fight? They are English secularism, Irish
Romanism, bitter Scotch sectarianism. Let him
come on with such forces. We will meet him, depending
not on any political forces, or carnal
weapons of intrigue, or alliance with the enemies
of all Churches, but solely on loyalty to our great
King and Head. We will go forth in His name,
and we will wait and be ready to catch and obey
the intimations of His will alone, and we will leave
the defence of our old National Church in His once
crucified but all-powerful hand.
The Rev. Professor STORY said, as one who a few
years ago took some part when the Church was
exposed to a violent attack, which was defeated by
the public enthusiasm which the Church was able
to call forth, and who, besides, belonged by sympathy
to the political party which on this subject,
as on some others of late, had gone so far astray,
and who had neither sought nor found salvation -
he might be permitted to say a few words before
the debate closed. It was impossible in doing so to
avoid reference to statements made, not there, but
in another place, and in many other places. He
would, however, confine himself to statements made
by two right hon. gentlemen, both of them Scotsmen,
both of them members of past Governments
in this country, and both of them, by the position
they held, regarded outside of Scotland as speaking
with especial authority. One of these was Mr
Campbell-Bannerman, a member of the late Government,
and connected by closer than political ties
with a gentleman near him (Mr J.A. Campbell,
M.P.), who looked with as much disapprobation as
he (Dr Story) did on the present political convictions
of his distinguished brother. Speaking the
other day - not addressing a gathering of Scotsmen,
but in the congenial company of Cockneys - who
knew nothing whatever of the constitution of the
Church of Scotland or of the history of Scotland
(and if they wanted to find blank and absolute
ignorance upon any subject connected with Scotland
they had to go to a Cockney) - speaking there,
Mr Campbell-Bannerman said that in Scotland the
State had selected one out of three Presbyterian
denominations for its favour and affection. He (Dr
Story) said that a more egregious misstatement of
the plain facts of Scottish history was never made,
even by a Scotsman addressing a Cockney audience.
Selection implied rejection of some and choice of
others. When did the State select the present
Church of Scotland? Well, the first occasion connected
with the establishment or endowment of the
Church when the State intervened, was in the year
1560, when the Legislature ratified and approved
the Confession of Faith drawn up by the representatives
of the Church. Again, in 1590, the Church
received the sanction of the State for its constitution
and the jurisdiction of its Courts. And again,
in 1690, and in 1692, certain Acts of Parliament
were passed forming the basis upon which the Church
was established after the Revolution. Since 1690
or 1692 the State had never in the remotest way
interfered with the constitution of the Church,
either to establish or to confirm it, or to touch it
in any way. Well, in the years 1690 and 1692,
where were the United Presbyterian and the Free
Churches? How was one selected, to their exclusion
and to their prejudice? Why, they were not known
or thought of. And if one looked to their origin
there was a very lurid light thrown upon another
statement of Mr Campbell-Bannerman's, that
these two bodies represented the traditions and
the principles of the Presbyterianism of the true
Church of Scotland. That was a statement that
might be suitable to an assembly in Cockayne,
but not to such an Assembly as the present.
If they read the "judicial testimony" of the
Seceders who were tire first to leave the Church
before the middle of the eighteenth century, they
would find that the grounds on which they
left the Church were the most extraordinary
farrago of fanatical dislikes to the existing state of
matters within the Church. Its authors talked of
violated covenants, of the abolition of laws against
witchcraft, of a general toleration, of an infamous
agreement to recognise what they regarded as pernicious
and heretical teaching in the Church. He
said, with all respect for the highly conscientious
character of the men who bore that testimony, that
their attitude had no relation whatever to the historical
basis upon which the Church stood. If they
came to the year 1843, and examined the Claim of
Right which the Free Kirk seceders, before they
left the Church, laid upon the table of the Assembly,
what did they find there? They found a claim for
certain prerogatives, veiled under the name of
"Spiritual Independence," as high as ever Hildebrand
or any other pope advanced for the Church
of Rome - they found that that claim constituted
the ground upon which the Free Kirk left the
Church of Scotland. And this was the point. The
fact that they did go out of the Church merely
emphasised the anterior fact that that claim had
been pronounced by the highest legal and ecclesiastical
authorities in the Empire, to be absolutely inconsistent
with the traditions and the constitution and
the history of the Church of Scotland. Had it not
been so, there would at this day have been no Free
Church whatever; and yet they were told that the
Dissenting bodies, and especially these two - the
United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church
- represented, as the Church of Scotland did not,
the principles and the constitution and the traditions
of the national and historical Church of Scotland.
Well, he did not say that these misrepresentations
were intended to poison public opinion, but
they certainly had that effect. And men went
down to English constituencies and said - "The
Scottish Church question is coming up at the
next Election; and this is the Scottish Church
question: the selection by the State in an arbitrary
manner of one out of three contending Scottish
sects, their endowing and protecting it, and showing
it all the State favour they can, although all the
time it is not the real representative of traditional
Scottish Presbyterianism." He said that a more
gross, a more misleading, a more malignant misrepresentation
of the true facts of the case could not
be conceived.
There was a great deal of the same tendency in
the talk which one often heard about these Dissenting
Churches being their sister Churches. He had always
objected to that upon genealogical grounds. But
there were stronger objections; for if these bodies, as
their apologists represented, were the true representatives
of the traditions and principles of the Church of
Scotland, then they in the Church of Scotland were
rank impostors. If the endowments they held were
national property, which they were not entitled to
hold, and which they were wrongly and greedily
holding, then they were thieves and resetters of
theft, and so far from being the sister of the dissenters,
the only relationship which they could pretend
or hold to have, in the existing facts of the case,
would be that of an old and very disreputable
mother. This talk about sisterhood was meant to
Mislead; it was meant to impose upon the public
mind, the idea that there was a rich and inexhaustible
fund of Christian charity in those Churches which
stood outside the pale of the Church of Scotland,
which was wasting itself upon her irresponsive
bosom, and that Churchmen were meeting those
dear, affectionate, loving, truth-speaking brethren
with coldness and repulsion. Speaking for himself,
he could understand a man who said, "I have the
greatest possible personal dislike to you and to your
position, and do not wish to see you enjoying the
possessions, which I would rather have in my own
hands; and therefore I am going to knock you
down, and rob you, and kick you out of doors." He
could understand that. One had often been exposed
to misunderstanding and dislike, although one
might not often feel one deserved it ; but he could
not understand the man who came to them and
said, "You are my very dear brother, you are my
beloved sister; for the love of you, and for the good
of your immortal soul, I am going to treat you as a
brigand treats his victims." He could not believe
in that. That sort of thing seemed to him nothing
but unctuous cant. The only reply which he
thought it was possible for any man who respected
himself to make to it, was the interjection which Mr
Burchell always interposed to the high-flown conversation
of Lady Blarney under the roof of the
Vicar of Wakefield, when at the close of every
paragraph in her discourse he merely ejaculated the
monosyllable "Fudge!"
In regard to the feeling of the disestablishing
Dissenter towards the State Church, as far as candour
was concerned, "dear old Scotland" was left
lamentably behind "gallant little Wales." He
occasionally read a very interesting selection of
literature - the disestablishing literature of the Welsh
press. It was by no means ill-conducted - he meant
as regarded ability; it was ill-conducted as regarded
principle - but it was specially marked by an engaging
candour. Here was an extract which he would
give them from the Celt, a Welsh paper - he did
not think they had any such Celtic papers in the
Highlands: - "There is an angel standing in the sun,
and that angel is William Ewart Gladstone. And
he has begun to cry with a loud voice to all the
fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come to the
supper of the great God, and the end will be that
all the fowls will have their fill of flesh by the
wealth of the State Church being used for national
purposes." There was no mistake about that.
There was no unctuous talk about brotherhood, or
sisterhood, or motherhood there. There was a candid
confession that the "mighty angel standing in
the sun" was to slay and destroy, and that all the
fowls of the air were to go and consume the carcases.
He would rather have this sort of thing than respectable
twaddle about brotherhood and union.
There was a greater than Mr Campbell-Bannerman
before their mind's eye to-day, and that was
this mighty angel "standing in the sun" - the
author of the salvation which Mr Campbell-Bannerman
has found. Referring to Mr Gladstone's
speech in the House of Commons, he said there
were two points about it that struck him strongly.
The one was its extraordinary dexterity, or, if
one were not speaking of a man who had occupied
the proud position of Premier of the Empire, one
would say its excessive cunning; and the other was
its very great meanness of sentiment. The cunning
was seen in the way which Mr Gladstone kept
open a loophole of retreat from the position his disestablishing
friends might expect him to occupy
when they came to speak of the Disestablishment of
the English Church, which, on every principle of
logic, ought to take precedence of the Disestablishment
of the Scottish Church. Mr Gladstone, as
they all knew, had exhibited a great flexibility of
conviction in recent years. He had changed most
of his opinions, but when they got to a certain
stratum in his mind, that fundamental stratum in
which were embedded his ecclesiastical and theological
opinions, they found he had changed nothing.
Mr Gladstone had learned nothing and he had forgotten
nothing. He was where he was forty or
fifty years ago; and although metamorphosed in
all other opinions he was the bigoted, Anglicised
sacerdotalist that he was in 1844. In 1874, Mr
Gladstone published a book in several volumes -
Mr Gladstone was always diffuse - called "The
Gleanings of Many Years." In these "Gleanings,"
here and there at the bottom of a page there appeared
a footnote indicating a change of view or of
opinion or of conviction; but he appended no footnote
to those passages in which he expressed his
contempt for Scottish Presbytery, to those passages
in which, in one of the articles he printed in that
volume, he lamented the void made in the religious
system of Scotland, by utterly sweeping away the
"divine office of the historic Church" - that was by
the extinction of the bishops in 1690; passages in
which he commented on the appeal of the Free
Church, which at that time was appealing in all
directions for money, as not having the Divine
authority which they knew to belong to the body
of Christ; passages in which he described Free
Kirkism as being a human system of narrow and
econdary origin; and passages, finally, in which
he uttered his earnest longing for the time when
the Free and all other Scottish kirks should be
supplanted by what be called the restoration of the
Lord's own House - the restoration of the disestabished,
disendowed, discredited sect of Scottish
Episcopalians to the position of the National Church
of Scotland. In the light of these utterances they
read a special meaning in Mr Gladstone's assertion
in his speech in the House of Commons that it was
necessary that the Established Church should, first
of all, as a ground of its being maintained as an
Established Church, uphold a special principle.
That was a statement Mr Gladstone would recall
when the question of the Disestablishment of the
Church of England came up. He would be able to
say that when he tried to disestablish the Church
of Scotland he always reserved the question of a
Church like this, which maintained a special principle.
Mr Gladstone's special principle was the
divine office of the Bishop - the maintenance of that
Prelacy against which it was one of the great duties
of their fathers in their fight for liberty of conscience
and life to protest to the shedding of blood. It was
special principle against which the Scottish nation,
before the Gladstonian delirium had corrupted its
conscience and unhinged its intellect, used to testify.
When Mr Gladstone said that, he had no doubt forgotten,
because his memory must be heavily charged
with a number of very contradictory statements,
that he had himself already testified to the fact that
the Church of Scotland had a special principle or
characteristic of her own. In the Anti-Patronage
debate in 1874, Mr Gladstone, who now said that
there was nothing that could be grasped, or
weighed, or measured, belonging to the Established
Church, except the very substantial advantage of
the endowments, said on the floor of the House of
Commons that the "Church of Scotland possessed
powers not possessed by any voluntary communion
in the country." Was that special possession not a
special principle and a special characteristic? Was
the possession, in union with the State, of an autonomy
fuller and freer than that enjoyed by any
other communion not a fact differentiating The
Church from all the other Churches? Certainly it was.
Again, Mr Gladstone was never tired of boasting
that he was a Scotsman. He always said that
every drop of blood in his veins was Scottish, and
he believed there was historical evidence that this
statement was a great deal more veracious than
many Mr Gladstone made. But if every drop
of blood in his veins was Scottish, no man had
ever shown less understanding of the character of
the Scottish people. This was, no doubt, owing to
the fact that the Anglicised Scot was always
estranged from the national sympathy and aspiration.
That fact was even admitted in the chosen
oracles of his own circle. In the columns of a paper
which was called the Scottish Leader - he did not
know on what grounds that paper was so called,
but it called itself the Scottish Leader, and he was
perfectly willing to follow it on this point - in that
paper it was stated, "Even of Mr Gladstone we
may say without risk of misunderstanding that he
belongs heart and soul to a Church quite alien in
its principles and traditions to the Presbyterian
Church of Scotland." He thought the Scottish
Leader was singularly true for once; for, as had
already been pointed out in the course of this debate,
Mr Gladstone in the British Parliament spoke
of the oldest and most sacred institution of his native
country with unveiled scorn. Mr Gladstone admitted
that the alien Church in Ireland had required
a special appeal to the country before it could be
attacked in the way of Disestablishment, but it
seemed that if the Church of Scotland was to be attacked
no such preliminary was necessary. Mr Gladstone
had asked if they were to expect the forty
millions of the British Empire to go to the trouble
and to the expense of a General Election in order
to settle a matter which only involved the question
whether a few Scotsmen were any longer to have
possession of a paltry sum of £300,000 a year.
Mr Gladstone appeared to think there was no other
question than that in Disestablishment. 'Was that,
he asked, the language - he did not say of a Scotsman
born with no blood in his veins but Scottish blood
- but was it the language of a British statesman?
Was it not more like the language of a Jew pedlar,
or of a broker cheapening wares in the auction
room? What was a paltry sum of £300,000 to the
haughty autocrat who had spent eleven millions in
playing the game of bully and scuttle on the Afghan
frontier, and in leaving Khartoum to its fate?
What was the use of bothering the British Parliament
over the question whether a few Scottish Presbyterians,
professing a religion not fit for a gentleman,
were to own and enjoy £300,000 for a few
longer or shorter years? These Scottish Presbyterians
had no national history, no national traditions;
they had no memories of fathers who
fought and bled and and died for the faith which
they still professed. Let them have a couple of hours'
debate in the British House of Commons, and then
let the British Senator pass on to the light railways
in Ireland, or the drainage of the river Suck, or
to some more or less ingenious preliminary to the
disruption of the Empire. Would those who were
backing Mr Gladstone in this bad business venture
to corroborate him here? Was it all a mere question
of money? He should like to know whether
this view as to the position of the Church would be
endorsed by the admirers of Mr Gladstone throughout
the country. In face of the present prevalence
of drunkenness, vice, and infidelity, were they to be
told that the one barrier to good work being done
in the cause of Christ, the removal of which would
set them all at peace to fight their battle against
the devil, the world, and the flesh - was merely
the question of the use of £300,000 a year, and
that unless that sum was taken from the Church
nothing was possible - no union, no co-operation, no
evangelising work? Would Mr Gladstone's admirers
degrade themselves by admitting that they refused
to have anything to do with the Established Church,
even in the way of negotiation for union, except
there was first a settlement of that question of
pounds, shillings, and pence? He (Professor Story)
did not believe, whatever present Seceders might
do, that the old Seceders would have admitted so
degrading a charge as that the whole matter could
be settled by the transference from one hand to
another of that sum. Instead of believing that that
was the view shared by the people of Scotland at
large, he ventured to say that the poorest ploughman
in a Scottish field — the raggedest outcast upon
a Scottish highway - if every drop of blood in his
veins was Scottish, would repudiate it with an
emphasis which it might not become him to rival
in that House. He would rather be "a dog and
bay the moon," than the Scotsman who would own it.
He did not wish to enter upon the question of
union, except merely to say that supposing they
entered upon negotiations for a union with the dissentient
Churches, they knew the one basis upon
which these Churches would treat with them, and
it was the basis of Disestablishment. In other
words, the dissentient Churches asked them to surrender
what was one of their vital principles — that
of national religion. Until the dissentient Churches
abandoned that altogether selfish and untenable
position, the talk of union had no more substantiality
in it than the talk of Christian charity and loving
brotherhood and sisterhood had. Their Church had
no right to enter into negotiations of that kind —
they were only the trustees for that great national
trust which they administered for the good of the
people of Scotland, and which they were bound to
hand on to their children's children for their good.
Surrender of the endowments of the Church would
in no sense whatever promote union, and neither
would Disestablishment. The Church of Scotland
testified, as no other Church did, to the possibility
of the combination which was spoken of by the
great Italian statesman, Cavour, when he said — "A
free Church in a free State." The Church of Scotland
testified to the possibility of reconciling
Ecclesiastical autonomy with civil order and freedom.
They maintained that, in strong distinction
to the abject submission to the State and to the
civil Courts which marked the administration of
the Church of England, in distinction no less to the
Popish claim of Rome, and to that which, as far as
Ecclesiasticism was concerned, was the representative
of Rome in this country, with its Roman claim
of "spiritual independence." Disestablishment
would imply the surrender of this testimony.
Having quoted the late Principal Tulloch to show
that the National Church was absolutely defensible
on an ideal and not a material basis, and the words
of the late Dr Phin to the effect that it was the duty
of the State to recognise the Christian Church, and
that if he were asked whether he would sacrifice the
endowments or the principle of the Established
Church he would give his preference for retaining
the Established Church, Dr Story went on to say
that these sentiments were not extinct in the
Assembly, and Mr Gladstone would find that it
would take more than the two short hours which he
had allotted in his imagination to settle this question.
He would find that the Scottish mind loved
ideas, and the idea of testimony to a National
religion was one of which Mr Gladstone would not
himself have been unconscious had he not forgotten
the rock from which he was hewn and the hole of
the pit from which he was dug. He had read in
the newspapers of late that there was a party in the
Church itself favourable to Disestablishment and
Disendowment. He had no objection to men in the
Church forming their conclusions on political and
Ecclesiastical questions; but what he thought they
were entitled to object to was that men holding
office in the Church, and who had vowed to uphold
the Church as at present established in its doctrine
and its discipline, should give support to a measure
of Disestablishment. He had read a letter by one
who seemed to be a Minister of the Church, and
who wrote that "he for one was tired with the warfare,
and longed for peace and rest." He (Dr Story)
would ask who began the warfare and forced it on the
Church, and refused all reasonable conditions of
peace, and were now propagating and defending
their crusade, not only in the press, but in the
pulpit Sunday after Sunday? Were there men in
the Church tired of the warfare thus forced upon
them and who wanted to rest? It was a new thing
to hear such frank announcement of disloyalty and
cowardice in defence of the Church. Tired of warfare
when the assailants were at the door! Tired
of duty when the duty had become hazardous!
The peace which such men desired was the peace of
the traitor, and the rest was the rest of the sluggard.
If there were men in the Church — he did not believe
there were any who would venture into that
Assembly — with such sentiments hidden in their
hearts, he could but say of them, "Oh, my soul,
come not into their assembly; to their counsel,
mine honour, be not thou united."
Omitting three letters from what was said by
the gentleman who moved the deliverance on theDisestablishment
report in the United Presbyterian
Synod, he would adopt his sentiment. That gentleman
said, "We know nothing" — the United Presbyterians
knew nothing — "about Conservatives,
Unionists, or Gladstonians. We are for Disestablishment
— (Establishment) — fighting for Christ's
crown and kingdom. We want justice, and we
would take it from any political party." That
exactly described the position of the supporters
of the Church of Scotland. They were for
the Church, and they would use whatever political
combinations they found available for preserving
that great institution. The accusation
that they were making the Church a party
came with an amusing absence of any sense
of humour from the lips of those who made it.
What right had they to object to identifying ecclesiastical
bodies with political parties? But the charge
was unfounded. The Church threw itself into the
arms of the Tory party! The arms of the Tory
party, or of any other party, were not wide enough
to receive it. The Church was of no party, but
would use whatever political combinations were
available for its support. As for seeking alliances
with political parties, they found Scottish dissent
as it now existed in close alliance with the party of
Anglican sacerdotalists, in which the leading spirit
was Mr Gladstone ; the Atheists, with Mr John
Morley at their head ; and those whom he might
call, without using a term at all uncomplimentary
from their own point of view, the Irish
plotters. When these gentlemen came to Scotland
there was never wanting a Free Churchman
or a U.P. who, making broad his phylacteries,
and raising his eyes to heaven with an
air of adoration, implored the Divine blessing on
the beneficent errand on which these gentlemen
had come — an errand which, in the name of religious
equality, sought to level one of the purest
Curches of the Reformation. In that alliance
they had Mr Gladstone, who did not believe that
Scottish Presbyterianism was a branch of true
Christianity at all. He looked upon it as a
fungus that had sprung up at the Reformation.
They had Mr Morley, who probably would
have the reversion of Mr Gladstone's position
on the day when Mr Gladstone vacated his
position as leader — though, as far as Mr Gladstone
was personally, while not politically, concerned,
they all wished that might be a distant
day — they had Mr Morley, who looked upon all
Churches as engines of superstition, and Christianity
as a rank imposture, hostile to the progress of
civilisation. They had Mr Parnell, who was the
head of a party which, after the most prolonged
investigation, had been pronounced by the highest
authority to be guilty of seditious combination
against the authority of the Government and. the
unity of the Empire. Well, in close alliance with,
and following faithfully the steps of these gentlemen,
they had the great bulk of the dissenters of
Scotland, as far as these were represented by those
whom they were bound, or were accustomed, to take
as their representatives, namely, by the members of
their Church Courts. He affirmed that this combination
of the Scottish dissenter with the Anglican sacerdotalist,
with the anti-Christian unbeliever, with
the Irish plotter, was a combination of very dire
conjunction and ominous augury. And yet he
would venture to say also that it was one that
would not overawe them. In the face of it, or of
any combination that might be brought against
them — and he thought this was the message that
they should from that hall send out to the people
of Scotland — they should hold their place, the
place given to them by the people of Scotland,
and held by them at the popular will and for
the popular good. They were ready to enter into
any reasonable and honourable negotiations for
union or for anything else that would advance the
spiritual welfare of the country; but they were not
ready to give up the position which had been given
to them by God. They were not ready to enter
into any negotiations which pointed towards
cowardly compromise or towards dastardly surrender.
And if, while this warfare upon which
they were now engaged, which they had not provoked,
but from which they would not shrink, was
still going on, the summons should come to them
to go hence, to where, beyond these voices, there
was peace, they should carry with them into the
world unseen the honest consciousness of a covenant
faithfully kept, of a duty boldly done, of a trust
never even in thought betrayed, of an honour
unsullied by a single stain, and they should lay
that as their life's last offering at the foot of the
throne of God.
At this stage (2.15) the Assembly adjourned for
a quarter of an hour.
On the House resuming,
The Rev. A. DOUGLAS, Arbroath, rose to speak
with reference to the following motion, of which he
had given notice: — "That the General Assembly
receives the Committee's Report; gratefully recognises
in the increasing prosperity and spiritual
vitality of the Church of Scotland the favour of
Almighty God; and, regarding these blessings as
largely dependent, under God, on the national recognition
of His rightful authority, and on the
happy union between Church and State, declares
that all political measures hostile to the Church, as
at present constituted, are contrary to the Word of
God; and threaten the most sacred rights of the
Scottish people, and instructs all Ministers and
inferior Courts to employ all competent means to
defend the Church." This motion, he said, was in
no sense of the word, and never was intended to be,
in antagonism or in rivalry to that proposed by
Lord Balfour. He had a very strong conviction
that the Church of Scotland had not yet, as a
spiritual body, taken up its proper position in this
matter. His own position was this, that they
should stand before the people of Scotland and say
that they did not defend the Church merely for
selfish interests, but in the interests of Divine truth.
If they took any lower ground, and advocated
their cause on the mere principles of expediency,
then, considering the vast number of hostile forces,
atheists and materialists and recreant Presbyterians
and others, gathering around the Church, the
armour of their defence was not equal to the work
to their hand. If, on the other hand, every Parish
Minister could go into the homes of his Parishioners,
and, with the Bible in his hand, say that a certain
great party in the State was advocating views that
were in clear defiance of Scripture and of truths
that lay at the very heart and essence of Scripture,
then their position was impregnable and their victory
was secure. They were contending for a
Church that was consecrated by the holiest and the
most blessed memories, a Church that was gradually
and increasingly, in its ritual and its doctrine,
commending itself to the approbation of the people
of Scotland, a Church that enshrined and expressed
a truth of the utmost value — the truth that the
State as well as the Church was a Minister of God,
and that the State as well as the Church was an
instrument for the expression of the mind of their
Lord and Saviour. He was delighted to hear Dr
Story's denunciation of those Ministers of the
Church of Scotland who plumed themselves, and
who rather thought they were superior persons,
in being treacherous to the principles of their
Church. Let them stand up on the floor of that
House and give a reason for the faith that was in
them, or let them be for ever dumb. He moved
the motion that stood in his name, and lie understood
his Seconder as well as himself placed themselves
in the hands of the leaders of the House.
The Rev. Dr JAMIESON, Old Machar, said it must
be gratifying to the Assembly that the Reverend
gentleman had withdrawn his motion. All the
three great speeches delivered had taken into
account the argument put forth, and it would be a
great pity indeed that a seemingly counter motion
should be submitted to the excellent motion
The Rev. A. DOUGLAS observed that the deliverance
did not contain any reference on the lines of his
motion; but in deference to the opinions expressed
he would not move the motion.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said Mr Douglas would do a
greater service by not proposing the motion.
The CLERK (Professor Milligan) asked if Mr
Douglas did not propose his motion?
The Rev. A. DOUGLAS replied that that was so.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON, Harray, moved - That for
the last sentence but one in the motion approving
the Report, the following sentence be substituted: —
"The General Assembly anew record their hearty
sympathy with any judicious movement for promoting,
on sound principles, reunion of Scottish Presbyterians;"
and that the following sentence be added
to the motion: - "And whereas the main object of
the Committee is the same as described in the instructions
yearly given by the Assembly to its
Commission — namely, 'to advert to the interests of
the Church on every occasion, that the Church and
the present Establishment thereof, do not suffer or
sustain any prejudice which they can prevent,' and
it is expedient, in view of the work of the Committee,
that these instructions be revised, and so
adapted to present circumstances that they may
more adequately express the mind of the Church
on the objects promoted by the Church Interests
Committee, the Assembly remit the instructions to
a Committee to be revised and reported on."
Dr JOHNSTON was speaking in support of the
proposal, when
Professor STORY rose to a point of order, and
said that the second portion of the motion was incompetent.
Besides, it broke the continuity of the
Professor MITCHELL, St Andrews, was also of
opinion that the second portion of the motion
interfered with the debate.
Dr JOHNSTON held that his motion was competent.
Professor STORY maintained that the second
portion of Dr Johnston's motion was incompetent.
The MODERATOR ruled that the second part of the
motion was incompetent.
Dr JOHNSTON subsequently withdrew the first
part of his motion.
The Rev. JAMES LANDRETH, Logie-Pert, Brechin,
said he had intended to second the motion which
had been brought before the House by Mr.Douglas.
Now, however, he only desired to make one or two
remarks with reference to the question of Presbyterian
Union, as it was called, and especially as to
whether it might be promoted or hindered by their
actively prosecuting the defence of the Church. He
did not believe that this Church should put itself
much about as to the injury to the cause of union,
for he held that if such a disastrous event as Disestablishment
were to come, this Church, if well
led, ought not to enter into any Union with the
so-called Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. For
he could tell the House, from a very considerable
experience of what sort of Presbyterianism that
was, that it was not Presbyterianism at all, but a
peculiarly vulgar Congregationalism, which tended
more and more to complete Americanism in their
ecclesiastical life and spiritual disintegration. These
were strong words, but many of them did not know
what Presbyterianism was when divorced from the
legality and substantial ground of reason which
were secured to it in the Established Church. He
regretted very much that he should have heard
that day expressions that bore to reflect too much
upon the Church of England — that great and noble
Church, that great branch of the Catholic Church
to which this Church also belonged; because he
was sure of this, that if Disestablishment were to
come, this Church would find it more possible to
preserve its own life, and all its most characteristic
traditions, by union with the Episcopal Church in
Scotland rather than by union with the other
Presbyterian Churches. He thought also it would
be a pity if this House were to show too much
hostility to individual statesmen. There had been
rather too much of that element in the debate that
day. They ought to remember that they were there
to protect the Church, which was greater than any
man, and which could do without assaults upon any
man; for if the Church of Scotland fell, far more
would fall than her opponents or false friends
The Rev. Dr F. L. ROBERTSON, Glasgow, said: — "I
venture to present myself partly on the ground that
I have the honour to represent, in part, one of the
largest and most important Presbyteries in the
Church, but chiefly on the ground that I happen to
be a liberal, perhaps of a somewhat advanced type,
and also a strong and loyal Churchman. I mean to
speak with that frankness and plainness of speech,
which, to its honour, this House permits to its
Members, so long as that speech is calm and respectful.
I think I may venture to say, without presumption,
that I represent the opinions, not merely
of some of my friends who are Ministers and
Liberal Churchmen, but of many of the laity of
Glasgow, who are liberal Churchmen, with whom it
is my pleasure to consort daily. At first sight, no
doubt, it may appear that the position of a Liberal
Churchman is somewhat incongruous. I demur to
that notion. The Church of Scotland is a democratic
Church. It is more democratic now than
ever. It is a Church which was created by the will
of the people, and established by the Liberal party of
the day; and it is a Church which, if anything I can
do will prevent it, shall not be razed to the ground
except by the will of the people, and by the will of
the people expressed in an unmistakable and deliberate
manner. We are entering on this conflict
without fear. The auguries are in our favour. It
has been remarked in high places that the "sacred
principles of political economy have been banished
to Saturn." I am hopeful that the sacred principles
of Voluntaryism are about to be banished to the
same quarter. I have no quarrel with those who,
as an intellectual conviction, maintain the principles
of Voluntaryism. I wish to speak of those who are
opposed to me with the utmost respect; but I must
freely confess that I would entertain a higher
opinion of their intellectual capacity, if they were
to apply Voluntary principles in their integrity.
rather object to persons holding these principles
applying them only to one institution, and not only
not applying them in other matters, but applying
principles the reverse of those principles which, as
Voluntaries, they are supposed to hold. I may refer
to three points in illustration. The principle of
Voluntaryism, if it be possible to define it, may be
formulated in these words, — That it is no part of
the function of the State to interfere in the province
of religion; and I am free to admit that the position
is quite an arguable one. But the leaders of this
movement, who are opposed to the Church, in their
practice only apply the principle to the Church of
Scotland. For instance, in the matter of Sabbath
observance, we find them without dubiety or hesitation
going to the State, and imploring it by many
petitions to protect the institution of the Sabbath
day, and that, not on grounds of utility, but upon
the ground that it is a sacred institution, based upon
one of the Commandments. On other occasions
they approach the State, and, with equal pernacity,
plead with the State to interfere to prevent
a man marrying his dead wife's sister; and they
do so, not on rational, physiological, or social
rounds, but on the strength of their interpretation
of certain vague and ambiguous phrases in the Old
Testament, which they insist on the State accepting
as infallible. My last illustration has reference to
the subject of education. It is a hopeful sign that
the great mass of the people of Scotland have at
heart, and are strongly in favour of, the establishment
by the Government of religious teaching.
Few people are aware of the large amounts which
are devoted to the endowment of religion in schools,
which are given not only with the concurrence of
the people, but with the strong concurrence of those
gentlemen who are opposed on principle to the establishment
of the Church, and who are now endeavouring
to compass its Disestablishment. The school day
consists of six hours, and in almost all schools forty
minutes of the school day are devoted to the teaching
of religion and to "use and wont" teaching the
catechism. A ninth part of the school day is thus
devoted to religious teaching, and therefore a ninth
part of the whole of the money contributed by the
state for education is a direct endowment of
religion, and to a large extent the Presbyterian
religion in our schools. The total amount devoted
to education (including grants, rates, and probate
duty) is £1,300,000 a-year, and a ninth part of
that is £144,000 a-year. You would be amused to
see how the figures work out in Glasgow. The
total raised in Glasgow from all sources for education
is £170,000, and a ninth part of that is
£19,000. While therefore £19,000 is the sum
devoted to the establishment of religious teaching
in the schools in Glasgow, the whole amount from
the common good and from the teinds for the endowment
of the Church in Glasgow proper is £5000
a-year. I wish to ask, Why is it that these gentlemen,
capable men, for whom I have the highest
respect, act so inconsistently? There are only
three possible reasons which can be given. The first
is, that their religious instincts gain the mastery
over their speculative theories, and they feel that
it would be disastrous to the well-being of Scotland
if religion were discarded and ignominiously driven
out of the public schools of the country. That, I
think, is the most charitable view to take of their
conduct. Another reason which can be given is,
that they dare not run counter to the opinions of
the people. The opinion of the people of Scotland
has been pronounced in so unmistakable a manner
in favour of religious teaching in schools that they
dare not run counter to it. The third reason may
be, that they find the voluntary principle unworkable
when applied in its integrity to common affairs.
Having dealt with the position of these gentlemen,
I shall in a word or two define the position which
a the present crisis of the Church, and in view of
the approaching conflict, I hold as a Liberal and as
a Churchman. I hold to the idea that the Church
exists by the will of the people. I do not hold to
the divine right of the Church to be established. I
admit that with perfect frankness. I hold that the
Church exists by the will of the people; and I
value the Church in respect of its utility and the
good offices which it has rendered, and is still
rendering in larger measure than ever, to the whole
people of Scotland. I affirm, therefore, as strongly
as any Tory Churchman can affirm, that the Church
of Scotland shall not, if we can help it, be razed
except by the will of the people, by whose will and
for whose weal, spiritually and temporally, that
Church has existed. The question is not as to the
necessity of organising for defence; the question is,
having organised, having created our Church
Defence Associations, how are Liberals as members
of Church Associations to act? How does the
Church expect them to act, and to what extent do
we wish to call upon them to subordinate their
political creed in the interests and in the defence of
the Church? It is with reluctance that I am driven
to take up the position, that, as matters now stand,
they have no alternative but to subordinate their
political creed. I was associated in 1885 with
gentlemen in Glasgow, Liberals of position and
ability, and in that year we succeeded in effecting
our purpose when we insisted with those then
leading a united Liberal party, that it was but just
and reasonable, not only to us as their supporters,
but that it was just and reasonable in the interests
of the whole community, that they should enter into
a solemn compact on behalf of the Government
that they would not interfere in the way of disestablishing
the Church until they had submitted the
question as a practical and distinct issue before the
people of Scotland. They, not the Liberal Churchmen,
have broken the compact. The Liberal Churchmen,
so far as I am aware, have acted honourably
in carrying out that bargain. There are times and
occasions which occur in the history of all nations
when men of all parties feel themselves bound, for
the sake of the higher good, to subordinate meaner
and lower aims. A noble instance of that has
occurred within the last year or two in the history
of the political affairs of the country, and I am prepared
to maintain that if a man is honourably
acquitted for doing that for the sake of maintaining
the union of the nation, surely men, in supporting
a Church which is dearer to them than their lives,
are not to be charged with being untrue to their
convictions or traitors or cowards to their party
because, for the time, they rally with those whose
political views are not the same as their own, round
the Church for its defence. In fighting for the
Church, I do so because I believe it to be the sacred
possession of the people of Scotland, and I am greatly
misled in my convictions if the people of Scotland,
apart from their clerical leaders, are not heart and
soul attached to the Church. And well they might
be, for the revenues of the Church derived from the
teinds are the last remains of the heritage in the
soil of Scotland which belong to the people of Scotland.
And I hold that that heritage never could
have been dispensed in a wiser and more beneficent
fashion. We talk about free education for the
people, but is it nothing that there should be free
worship? And I take it that the people themselves
realise that fact. Is it a small matter that in every
Parish, however remote and sequestered, the Church
and Manse stand centres of light and cultured influence,
to which every Parishioner, however humble,
has access, his intercourse unrestrained by any
sordid monetary consideration ; and is this beneficent
arrangement to be discarded merely to appease
the fancied grievances of the leaders of rival
Churches? And is it not something in these times
when grave problems are pressing for solution, which
may unhappily strain the relation between class
and class, to have one man trusted by all, whose
independence is protected, and who, acting fearlessly
and justly, may exercise amongst them a
ministry of reconciliation A high and beneficent
vocation is open to the Church of Scotland in the
position she occupies, to stand forth as the leader
of the people in those great social problems which
are coming up for discussion in the near future. In
these problems the great mass of the people are
deeply interested, and if wisely solved in accordance
with justice and truth, they may be fruitful
in blessings to the whole land, and may tend to
distribute with a little more equal fulness the enjoyment
and comforts and leisures of life among
those of our poorer brethren who are driven hard
often by sore toil, and have little to brighten or
colour fairly their lives. These men now possess,
and are now beginning to use, the powers entrusted
to them. Surely, for the wellbeing of the commonwealth,
wise and patriotic statesmen will hold it
right that the Church should still continue to do
faithful service by teaching these men to use their
newly-acquired powers, and to use them fairly in
accordance with justice and truth. Great masses
of our fellow-countrymen in the cities and in the
large manufacturing centres, labouring both above
and under the ground, are longing for deliverance,
— not for deliverance to be won by, unjust means
or by plundering their neighbours, but still they do
long and hope, like the old Israelites in Egypt, for
the day of relief; and, I say, if the Church will
now awaken to this high ideal of what a Church
should be, — will awaken to the higher conception
of Christ's kingdom, that it is not a kingdom which
determines their destinies only in the infinities and
in the unseen, but that it is a kingdom actually existing
on the earth, founded for the purpose of
bringing about the golden day full of promise and
rich in power, then I believe the Church will live
still to discharge all the high offices discharged by
the great legislator and leader of old; that she will
yet be to the people a pillar of fire by night and a
pillar of cloud by day, leading them through the
mazes of the wilderness, until at last in triumph
the brings them into the Promised Land.
The Rev. Dr JAMIESON, Old Machar, said a great
deal depended on the crisis now coming on. They
all knew that before long a new election must take
place, and it would take a wise man to find out
precisely what was to be the character of the
Government that was to take the place of the
present. However that election might result, it
would be their duty as Churchmen to support only
those who really came forward to help in maintaining
the Established Church. A great deal had been
said about Religious Equality, but was there after
all such a thing as equality on the face of the earth?
There was inequality in every individual and also
in all communities, and there was no such thing as
Religious Equality even in their congregations.
The Very Rev. Principal CUNNINGHAM said this
was a great crisis in the history of the Church and
in the history of the country, and he was glad that
the Assembly had realised it and risen to the
occasion. The truth was the tug-of-war had come,
and they must now do or die. At the same time he
had no sympathy with the alarm some of his brother
Ministers evidently felt. There was no occasion
for it. When the Church of Scotland died, as it
might do at some distant time, they might depend
upon it, it would die hard. They were strong in
the righteousness of their cause, in the affections of
the people, and in the numbers of the people,
and it was the big battalions that won. Their
bulwarks would not be thrown down by any
blast even of Mr Gladstone's trumpet. Mr
Gladstone had indeed pronounced the Church's
doom, but he (Principal Cunningham) was as
certain as anything that the people of Scotland
would not help him to carry it out. But seeing
that there was a crisis — seeing that they were
threatened by such a man as Mr Gladstone — they
must be up and doing if they would save their
Church, for to save their Church was to save themselves.
Perhaps too much had that day been said
about Mr Gladstone. The truth was, in one sense at
any rate, it did not much matter now what Mr Gladstone
said, for Mr Gladstone was no longer himself.
Mr Gladstone was no longer what he had been.
There were some men who died too young — and
that was always sad — but there were other nice
who lived too long, and that was sadder still — and
it was a sad sight to see that great man having now
evidently outlived himself, unsaying almost everything
he once said, and undoing almost everything
he once so nobly did — among other things, notwithstanding
his repeated promises, doing what lie could
to pull down the Church of Scotland, not only not
in accordance with the wishes of the people, but
clearly contrary to their wishes. That was not
Liberalism as he (Dr Cunningham) once understood
it. He understood that the very foundation
principle of the Liberalism with which he was
acquainted was in all such cases to make a direct
appeal to the people. So much, then, for Mr Gladstone.
He (Dr Cunningham) entirely agreed with
the saying of Lord Hartington, which Mr Gladstone
quoted with approval not many months ago, that
the Church of Scotland, which was based on the
will of the people, must stand or fall according to
the will of the people. He believed the Church
was more in accordance with the inclinations of the
people of Scotland than any other Church; but if
it ever should be clearly proved that the people
were against the continued existence of the Established
Church, he would agree that it should fall.
But he did not think that ever would be proved.
The Church of Scotland, as all the world knew, was
growing in greatness and in strength. Shirking
a direct appeal to the people, as he formerly
promised there should be, Mr Gladstone said
now that the feeling of the Scottish people was
clearly indexed lay the vote on Dr Cameron's
motion. How did that vote stand? There were,
he was sorry to say, 38 Scottish members who
had voted in favour of Dr Cameron's resolution,
while 23 voted against it. Taking these figures,
he asked if any person in his senses believed
that the Disestablishers in Scotland were in the
proportion of 38 to 23? Did Mr Gladstone himself
believe that? Mr Gladstone was taught better by his
own constituents in Mid-Lothian at the last election,
when a most careful enumeration of the people — an
enumeration which could not be disputed or denied,
as the signatures were in black and white — proved
to demonstration that upwards of 70 per cent. of
his own constituents were dead against Disestablishment.
And yet Mr Gladstone, remembering
that — if he remembered anything — said in his place
in the House of Commons that he believed that 38
to 23 was the proportion of persons in Scotland in
favour of the Disestablishment of the Church of
Scotland. But there was another enumeration
which proved more clearly the numerical proportion
of the Church and the non-conforming bodies.
Statistics had been carefully gathered from the
authorised documents of the three Presbyterian
Chunches, and these showed that in forty-two of
the Scottish constituencies there was a majority of
Members in the Church of Scotland over the other
two Presbyterian Churches taken together. In
only twenty-seven constituencies was there a majority
of Members in the Free and United Presbyterian
Churches over the Church of Scotland. This
summed up all the constituencies but two, and he
believed they had not yet been numbered. And, as
they well knew, if the evil day were to come, and
they were required to fight for their Church, there
would be found on their side not merely the Members
and Communicants of their own Church, but
many others. He believed that almost all the
Episcopalians would be with them, and a vast
number of the Free Church and the United Presbyerian
Church would also support them. He knew
the feeling among the laity of these Churches, many
of whom had told him that they would be the very
last men to lift their hand against the Church of
Scotland. Then there was a countless crowd of
people not closely connected with any Church at all,
not seat-holders or Communicants in the Established
Church, but who, all the same, were strongly
attached to it. If they had a death in their house,
a marriage to perform, or a child to baptise, they
sent for the Parish Minister, as they counted him
their Minister, and he believed that almost the
whole of that class — a very large class, he was sorry
to say — would support the Established Church, if
only as a recognition of their indebtedness to it.
He thought all that proved very clearly that the
people would be with them, and it was their duty,
therefore, to throw themselves upon the people.
They must not only educate them, but rouse them.
He knew many Churchmen up to this time had
voted at the polls for Dissenters — first, because the
Church was never in the issue to be determined;
and second, because it was a hard thing for a man
to break off from his political party. Down to the
present time he had never himself been called upon
to vote for a Tory. And he was thankful for it, for
it was a sore thing to part with old friends, even
though they had swerved very far from the old
lines. When he was in Perthshire he found a very
good Liberal Churchman in Sir Donald Currie, and
when he went to St Andrews he found another in
Mr Anstruther. But if he had never voted for a
Tory, neither had he ever voted for a Disestablisher,
and he hoped he never would. The people of Scotland
were strongly political, but he thought they
were still more strongly religious; and while their
political feelings had been roused, and their political
intelligence to some extent educated, they had never
seen thoroughly educated or aroused in regard to
what was involved in the Disestablishment of the
Church. And this was what must now be done
from that very day. Let them consider how the
people were educated and aroused before the Disruption.
At first they knew of nothing but some
saw pleas in the Court of Session about patronage
and the erection of new Parishes. They were educated
to believe that the Headship of Christ
was concerned. They were educated to believe
that the Court of Session was wishing to hurl Jesus
Christ from the mediatorial throne. The thing was
preached about, and prayed about, in Church, in
school, everywhere, and after a very short time, as
they all knew, the people of Scotland were worked
up into a white heat, and the disastrous Disruption
happened. But he did not wish the same tactics in
all respects to be followed in this case; but they
must explain to the people the great issues that
were at stake, and make them understand clearly
what would be the consequence to the country and
themselves of the Disestablishment of the Kirk.
Having educated them, they should rouse them.
They knew there were more than 300 Parishes
where there was no Free Church; that there were
some 700 Parishes where there was no United
Presbyterian Church. They must tell their Parishioners.
further, there were more than 700 congregations
in the Free Church which were not self--
supporting, and having told them these little facts,
they must ask, who was to support the Ministers of
the Established Church after it was disestablished
and disendowed? Many of them knew better
about the Parishes than he did, but he felt certain
there were 500 Parishes that would not be able to
support a Minister as an educated Minister should
be supported. He thought there were 500 Parishes
in which it would be impossible to raise £150 a--
year. They might, perhaps, get a Minister at £50,
but he would say that these Ministers at £50 would
not be worth £50. Than such a man, better no
Minister at all. They must have an educated
Minister, and they must have a Minister who could
live in such a way as a Minister should live. Of
course it was said the stronger would help the
weaker — the towns would send contributions to the
country; but why should the country be made a
pauper on the towns when every rural Parish in the
land had teinds provided by the piety of the past to
supply religious teaching to the people? Why
throw these teinds away and then go a-begging?
That would be one of the most palpable results of
Disestablishment; and he believed that if the
people understood that, they would rise in their
masses and vote against it. The people, again,
should be made to understand that the next
election would be the battlefield of the Church of
Scotland. The battle must be fought out at the
polls; and just as some great battles had been
called "soldiers' battles," so this forthcoming battle
might well be called "the people's battle." Every
man must be made to feel his responsibility in the
matter. Whatever his political opinions might be,
he must lay them aside for the time, and give no
vote, in any single instance, for any man who would
lend a hand or give a vote for the destruction of the
Church. Their Church was a Church well worth
preserving. It was the Church of Knox and
Melville, of Henderson and Rutherford. It was
the Church of their martyrs and their saints. It
was emphatically, at present, the Church of the
poor. It was open to all, and the friend of all.
If it were destroyed, there was almost a certainty
that large districts of the country would lapse into
heathenism. Disestablishment must, therefore, be
held as a thing accursed, and driven from the
thoughts of every honest Churchman. If they
could get the people to see that, he thought, from
the statistics, that the Church was absolutely safe.
When the day of struggle came, let the Church
only give as its watchword the word which was
given by Nelson on the eve of his greatest battle -
"Scotland expects that every man this day will do
his duty;" and if their members were loyal and
true, the victory would be theirs.
The Rev. Dr RANKIN, Muthill, said he desired to
try to set before them the want of straightforwardness
and the want of consistency that characterised
the arguments, the facts, and the position of those
by whom the Church was assailed. He did not do
this for the purpose of discrediting their friends,
but for the purpose of a quiet and friendly analysis
of them, to show them their own likeness, and to
show them their own face. In the first place, one
branch of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland
thought that its principal characteristic was Voluntaryism.
When they went back and traced, as a
man like Principal Cunningham had done, the
origin of a Church like that, they found that it had
absolutely nothing to do with this Voluntaryism that
they brought forward and made so much about in
their contention with the Established Church. The
foundation of that Church was a charge of laxity
of discipline made against the Church of Scotland
as it was at that time, and they left the Church for
the purpose of having greater freedom, which with
them meant greater severity in point of discipline,
but it had nothing whatever to do until many years
had passed with this new discovery of theirs of the
Voluntary principle. They had had two stages of
thought already. They started with the blaming
of the Established Church for too great laxity, and
then followed their second thought for the purpose
of self-defence, and the maintenance of a separate
position to justify that. What the Established
Church had to do in arguing with them was to ask
them to think a third time, and to think in a
more fair and quiet way, just by looking back over
their own history, and looking at the Established
Church as that Church stood now. Another Church
alleged that it was not able to join them on account
of the principle of spiritual independence. Spiritual
independence had two very distinct meanings. One
meaning it had which was thoroughly applicable to
themselves there. There was another wider sort of
meaning which was not consistent with any very
definite civil government at all. Many were now
coming forward and asking that they should go
back into the history of the Church of Scotland, and
point out the meaning of, and distinguish its proper
principles, and interpret these, as containing a
thorough spiritual independence. Unfortunately
those who were against them resisted that. They
resisted it apparently lest they in the Church of
Scotland should have the benefit of being clearly
proved to possess one of the things for which their
opponents contended fifty years ago. The very
same thing applied to the principle associated with
patronage. That was the other great argument
maintained at that time, which issued in the formation
of the Free Church, some considering that they
had a great grievance in it. They went out thinking
that that was a remedy for their grievances,
and those who remained in, who, many of them, did
not like patronage particularly, contended until
they got the difficulty over; and now, in a legitimate
and proper way, they had got the thing that
was so earnestly contended for at that time. In
that way they in the Church of Scotland were at
liberty to appeal to the whole body of the Free
Church on these two great principles, which were the
two foundation principles of their denomination —
for they had the principle of spiritual independence,
and they had the freedom from patronage; and
when they suggested to the Free Church anything
associated with union, they were not asking the Free
Church to desert their proper position, but were
simply asking them to go back to the origin of
their strife. These two branches of the Church
were clamouring terribly for the Disestablishment
and Disendowment of the Church of Scotland,
maintaining that if this were effected the way
would be paved for union with the Disestablished
and Disendowed Church. But there was a certain
hollowness in that argument winch was proved by a
simple matter of fact in connection with themselves.
The position of those two other Churches in opposing
the Church of Scotland would be a great deal better
and stronger if these Churches themselves were
first united. They were for ten years working at
union, and they had miserably failed; and what
reason was there to expect, if those who might be
said to have a common interest in opposing the
Church of Scotland were not free to join among
themselves, that after the Church of Scotland was
grievously injured and insulted it would join with
those two other Churches, and those two Churches
join with one another? There could not be
a greater piece of illogicality and absolute madness
than to suppose that Disestablishment
would in any way whatever help union. As
regarded the Church of Scotland in particular, it
would be the greatest hindrance to union. The
eagerness of their opponents in clamouring for
what he might call the double mischief of Disestablishment
and Disendowment, he took to mean
simply a desire not only to overcome them, but to
deal them a death-blow, so that the Church of
Scotland might be removed out of the way of competition
altogether, and their opponents have to
themselves the whole Scottish field so far as Presbyterianism
was concerned. The utter refusal of their
opponents to have anything to do with Disestablishment
separated from Disendowment proved that
they were not acting on principles that any Christian
Church could properly defend. Another feature
of this whole controversy was what Dr Story had
spoken of as the assumed sisterhood of the Scottish
Presbyterian Churches, but what he preferred to
describe as the proportion or relation of the three
Churches. That relation they found concerned
three dates. Their own date they might put at
1560 or 1690, preferably the former; the date associated
with the first portion of the United Presbyterian
Church was 1733, and with the second portion
1761, and the joining of the two portions was
brought about as the United Presbyterian Church
in 1847; and the date associated with the Free
Church was its formation in 1843. It was nonsense,
therefore, to speak of people separated by all
these years standing in the relation of sisters to one
another. The thing was historically ridiculous.
Another aspect of the relation of the three Churches
regarded statistics. Unquestionably the Church of
Scotland had a majority of above 60,000 members
over both those other two Churches put together;
and their Churches as buildings outnumbered thoseof
the other two Churches by seventy-five. In these
circumstances it was not reasonable to ask them to
obliterate themselves for purposes of union or connection
with those who were thoroughly, by a multitude
of tests, in a considerable minority. Another
element to be considered was the internal condition
of those other two Churches. Nothing was further
from him than to speak disrespectfully of those
Churches; he was only directing attention to what
stared every newspaper reader in the face each
morning. They saw recently that in one of those
Churches the students, as a body, were in a state of
revolt. They complained of being fed day by day
with the same broken-biscuit fare instead of with
proper theological lectures. In connection with the
other Church, again, there were troubles as to
heresy. He did not say that disparagingly; his
aim was to show that by union with the
Church of Scotland they would unite with
strong orthodox people. The real difficulty in
the way of union came, however, out of external
Church framework and Church finance. Nothing
seemed to him to be madder than, where there were
difficulties associated with finance, to propose to.
begin by casting away the most solid piece of finance
in Scotland. This brought him to his main
point. The real remedy for the state of things
which they all deplored was Lord Hartington's
remedy of reconstruction — the remedy of friendly
reconstruction on sound principles applicable to the
conduct of ordinary business questions. But unfortunately
they needed to fight their way towards
that peace. What they had to do now was to plead
their cause with the whole people of Scotland. First,
they had to stir up their own people, and bring
them to understand the real issue before the country.
Then they might make an appeal to the sensible portion
of both of these other Churches, not for the purpose
of putting mischief between them, to separate
them from the leaders, but simply an invitation to
exercise their reason, their common-sense, and not
be led like flocks of sheep by clerical misleaders and
clerical demagogues. If they did exercise their own
minds, he was absolutely certain that there would
be a very large proportion of the laity of both of
these Churches with them. Regarding the means
of defence, one of the first was to print a good deal
of honest matter — not one-sided representations —
but the simple facts of the case, and he never saw
those facts presented better than in one or two
portions of the Report that was before the House.
He would suggest, therefore, that that should be
very extensively circulated. Another means was to
hold meetings everywhere. He had not subscribed
to the fund that had been started, but he wished to
put his subscription in the best form of all. He
was prepared to go to the extremest part of Shetland,
or to Dumfries, or to the west or the east of Scotland,
entirely at his own charges as often as meetings
were held. He was perfectly certain that with
their case, they did not need to fear public meetings;
but rather, he intended, if permitted, to enjoy
a good holiday in going here and there.
Mr J. A. CAMPBELL, M.P. (Elder), said he thought
it was time that some laymen should express their
concurrence with the Report of the Committee,
and with the speeches which had been made in
support of it. He had listened with great admiration
to Lord Balfour's speech. He trusted the
Assembly would carry out the suggestion of one of
the speakers, to have it printed and widely circalated
throughout the Church. He had nothing of
importance to offer to the House in addition to
what had already been said, having expressed his
views on this subject in another place. Even since
the speech had been delivered on the 2nd of this
month, to which reference had been made by previous
speakers, it might be said that something had
happened. Mr Gladstone had made some use of
the statistics of the previous votes in the House of
Commons. He put before the country something
like a picture of an advancing wave of opinion in
favour of Disestablishment, and quoted the votes of
the Scottish members in confirmation of what he
said. Since he spoke, however, they had had the
division on the 2nd of this month; and he (Mr
Campbell) did not know what use Mr Gladstone
would make of the figures on that occasion. In
some respects those figures were disappointing to
the friends of the Church, and in others they were
not. On this occasion the Scottish vote was better
than before. In 1888 twenty members voted against
Disestablishment, and thirty-eight for it; and in
1890 twenty-three voted against and thirty-eight for
it. On the occasion of the vote this month, the other
side was uncommonly well whipped up. He saw one
or two familiar faces in the lobby of the House of
Commons for a good week before the vote came up,
and he knew what these gentlemen were doing. Then
a good many members who would have voted
against Disestablishment, had they been present,
were absent. He thought their English friends
required a little education on this subject. They
had not yet fully realised that their interests were
concerned with those of the Church of Scotland, and
that any blow aimed at the Church of Scotland was
a menace to the Church of England. There were
upwards of thirty supporters of the Government
absent from the division and not paired, so that he
looked upon them as delinquents on the occasion.
He did not think that would happen if Dr Cameron's
motion came again before the House of Commons.
He thought their English friends were now much
more alive to their interests in this question, and
they were now feeling that it was not a Scottish
question exclusively. The Report of the Church
Interests Committee must meet, as it had done,
with the thorough approval of the Assembly. He
thought the recommendations were wise, judicious,
and quite necessary. Their people required to be
informed on the subject. He believed a great deal
could be done by organisation and information. As
to what was to be done when an election came, his
feeling was that it was too soon to consider that, and
that when the time came it would have to be left very
much to the people themselves. He did not think
anything that could even look like dictation would
be wise ; but if they got the people informed as to
the merits and importance of the case, they need
scarcely seek for anything else. He hoped, however,
that there would be no slackness in seeing that
in all their Parishes there were Church Defence Organisations,
and that information was given on the
important interests connected with the maintenance
of the Established Church. It must be remembered
that what they required to show was not what
membership they had compared with the other
Churches, but what support the Church had amongst
the people of Scotland. An enumeration of the
people with a record of their religious denominations,
as was recommended in the Report, was important,
and he hoped they would have no hesitation
in petitioning for it. Such a census would show
what number declared themselves to have some connection
with the Church. That, however, was not
enough. There were many dissenters who would refuse
to assist in Disestablishing the Church, and
therefore, if they could have all over the country
some such canvass as there was on this question in the
county of Mid-Lothian, that would really give them
the best criterion. Some reference had been made
already to that Mid-Lothian canvass, and it occurred
to him to point out a curious inconsistency of Mr
Gladstone in asking them to accept the votes of
Scottish members as necessarily representing the
opinion of Scotland, when Mr Gladstone himself
went into the lobby in direct contradiction to the
opinion which he had received from his constituents.
If the other Scottish members were no
better interpreters of the opinion of their constituencies
than Mr Gladstone himself was, there was
not much to be argued from their votes. It had
often been said, and he thought it was one of the
points that perhaps was pressed with most success
in places where the circumstances were not fully
known, "Why should our endowments be confined
to only one branch of the Presbyterian Church
when the other branches so thoroughly agree with
us in all matters of most essential importance?"
The answer was that it was not their fault that
their Presbyterian neighbours in other Churches
had no share in the endowments. One of the good
features of the position was that the Church had
always held out an invitation to the other Churches
to come and share that responsibility, in so far as
that could be done consistently with their position
as a National Established Church. Referring to
Mr Finlay's bill, which had been reintroduced, he
pointed out that in the appendix to the Report the
resolutions were given of the Church Interests
Committee in regard to this bill when it was
before the country on a previous occasion. It
would be seen that the Committee's opinion of the
bill was of a friendly character, and while they
tacitly acquiesced in it, they did not feel it was for
them to go further. He had much pleasure in
supporting the bill when it was before the House of
Commons, and he was sorry that the bill met with
so little success. When Mr Finlay reintroduced
his bill the other day, he asked him to give him his
name, and had no hesitation along with others in
doing so. Mr Finlay felt that it would be of importance
that he should not stand alone, and as
they had given their sympathy before, they felt
that they could not withhold it now. That measure,
whatever might be thought of its details, was calculated,
as it was intended, to open a way towards a
reconstruction of the Churches. He thought that
they should do everything in their power for that
reconstruction, if they could do so consistently with
their duty to the Church.
Sir ALEXANDER KINLOCH, of Gilmerton (Elder),
said, in order to explain the position which he himself
took up, he should like to emphasise what Dr Scott and
Principal Cunningham had said — that they should
not regard with alarm their present position. He for
one had no fear whatever of an immediate attack.
On the contrary, he thought what had occurred had
placed the defenders of the Church in a better
position than they were before, in consequence of
their opponents having been obliged to divest themselves
of that disguise in which they had hitherto
been masquerading. Giving his reasons for saying
that they should not regard the present position
with alarm, he asked the House to assume that at
next general election Mr Gladstone was returned to
power backed by an overwhelming majority. Mr
Gladstone would then enter upon office obliged to
deal with the question which he had told the country
was nearest his heart — viz., the granting of a measure
of Home Rule to Ireland. Though Mr Gladstone
might be quite prepared to deal with the Disestablishment
of the Church, when he undertook it, in a
couple of hours, even he could not expect to pass
such a measure as he proposed of Home Rule for
Ireland in less than a whole session. At the end of
that session his measure might perhaps have passed
the House of Commons, but it had still to stand the
ordeal of a debate in the House of Lords, and it
was not assuming too much to suppose that when
the House of Lords found itself face to face with
the question whether or not they should approve or
disapprove of dismembering the British Empire,
they would stand to their guns, and would refuse
their consent to that measure, even if they did so at
the risk of their own existence. In that case a dissolution
of Parliament would follow, and the
Government of the day would go to the country
upon altogether a new issue — asking the country
to give them a mandate to abolish the House of
Lords, and then to proceed with the measure of
Home Rule for Ireland. No one could suppose for
a moment that these two little bits of constitutional
change could be undertaken and dealt with in less
than another session; consequently it was only at the
beginning of the second session of a second Parliament
that the Radical party, who might be supposed still to
be in power, would find themselves in the position of
being able to make a beginning with the paying of
those bribes by which they had collected under their
banner the mixed multitude which supported them.
Even then he doubted if the Disestablishers would
be the first to receive their share of the bribe. Undoubtedly
the questions he had indicated would be the
first to be taken up, and it was quite possible that by
the time the Church of Scotland was really attacked,
the party of destruction would find out the grievous
mistake they had made in trying to destroy an institution
whose strength lay in the hold she had
upon the affections of the country. He was glad
that in the deliverance no approval was given for a
certain line of action followed in the past with
regard to Church Defence. There was no expression
of approval of utilising the Church Courts for that
purpose. He held firmly that it was the duty of
every friend of the Church of Scotland to do Ins
best in her defence, but he held equally firmly that
it would be a fatal thing for Ministers and Elders
of the Church qua Office-bearers to take part in the
organisation of a system of defence which was, and
which must be more and more every day, purely
political. He therefore rejoiced to find there was
no suggestion in the Report for utilising the Church
Courts for Church Defence. He was also very glad
to find it was not suggested that they should go to
the people of the Church and try to pledge them
not to vote for any particular candidate. In his
mind that was most important. They had a right
to be proud of the fact that their main strength lay
in the fact that the majority of the people of Scotland
did not wish for Disestablishment ; but they
must remember that the great majority of the
people of Scotland were Liberals — that they were
more, that they were idolators, and that their idol
was not an abstract idea. It was a personal idol.
They worshipped Mr Gladstone; and, therefore, he
said, it would be fatal for any of the Church Defence
Associations to try to pledge any of its people
not to vote for a Gladstonian candidate. What
they had to do was to point out to the people what
was the real danger and the real issue at stake,
and to leave them to form their own conclusions,
above everything avoiding to the utmost
anything that would have the appearance of driving
those who would never be driven.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN said he felt it
necessary to say a word as to the clause in the Report
in which notice was taken of the introduction into
the House of Commons of a Bill called generally Mr
Finlay's Bill. He did not understand, in looking
at that sentence in the Report, that there was embodied
in it any such approval of the principles of
Mr Finlay's Bill as would entitle it to be said that
the General Assembly, in approving of the Report
as a whole, approved also of that measure. Since,
therefore, he did not think that the words in the
Report necessarily bore that interpretation, he did
not feel called upon to take up time in discussing
the measure. He desired only to say in passing
that when the proper opportunity occurred, and
when Mr Finlay's Bill was before the House, he
should feel called upon, even although he stood alone,
to protest against that Bill as a delusive and misleading
measure — as one compromising the position
which had been occupied by the Church of Scotland
since the year 1843. He regretted that reflections
had been made on the motives by which those engaged
in this struggle were actuated. Some very
hard things had been said against the other Churches
of the country, and he could have wished that many
of these had not been said. He could have wished
that his reverend friend (Dr Rankin) had not alluded
to the unfortunate position in which the
Church over the way was placed at this moment.
That Church had done noble things, and she deserved
the warmest sympathy in the struggle in which she
was engaged. He would ask those outside their
own Church, who were influenced in their crusade
against the Establishment by a desire to promote that
great reorganisation which had been so often spoken
of, to consider calmly and deliberately whether they
were really likely to effect that object by first of
all disestablishing the Church of Scotland? There
were two possibilities before the Church of Scotland
in the present struggle. In the first place, no man
could venture to deny, even if he were beyond the
pale of the Established Church, that it was possible
that in that struggle they would be victorious.
When, four or five years ago, Mr Dick Peddie's
Bill was introduced into Parliament, it had the effect
of kindling the enthusiasm of the Church of Scotland
throughout the whole land. No man could
remember that enthusiasm without feeling that, let
the people of Scotland once again have Disestablishment
before them as a thing that they could see
and touch and taste and handle, the same fire which
had been slumbering during the past four or five
years would be rekindled, and the same enthusiasm
awakened on behalf of the Church of Scotland. He
thought that in that case the position of affairs
would not be favourable to the cause of union. On
the other hand, there was the possibility that they
might be beaten, although he did not think it in
the least likely. He thought the people of Scotland
would respond to the call made to rise in defence of
the Church of their fathers. But he would like to
ask those who were opposed to them if, when the
Church was defeated, they thought that was the
time to ask them to go in for union, when they had
been disheartened, disappointed, and disorganised,
and had had all the life and spirit taken out of them
by the contest through which they had been passing?
When they wanted unity with a mall, they
wanted it when he was in the fulness of his manhood
and of his hope, not when they had first laid
him postrate in the dust. Could they then go to
him and say with any effect, "My good friend, let
us love one another"? If they were to have anything
that could be called union, the effort ought to
be made for it now. This was the time to take
steps for it, and not when one of the parties that
desired, as they said, to be united had come out of
a struggle in which it had been disorganized and
defeated. Any union of that kind would be a
union, not of life, but of death. There was one
other point not spoken of that day on which he
desired to say a word — viz., the question of disendowment.
It seemed to be generally supposed that because
£300,000 or £350,000 a-year was involved in
this struggle, therefore they were mainly united to
put forth an effort to maintain those funds. He believed,
looking at the large spirit of liberality which
had marked the other Churches of this land, that
£350,000 could be easily made up. But it was not
the money itself that was at all in their mind. It
was the fact that the money was left for religious
purposes in their care, and he felt that it was a
duty binding on them to see that the money was
not alienated from its right and proper purpose and
secularised. Therefore, it was in vain to tell them
that this money would soon be made up. It was
not the money they were thinking on, but the principle
upon which it was to be preserved. He had
just one word more, and that was in reference to
some remarks which fell from Dr Story, and were
reverted to by another gentleman on the same side
of the House. Dr Story objected to some letter or
other that he had seen in the newspapers apparently,
as he (Dr Milligan) understood him, which had
been written by a Minister of the Church of Scotland.
He (Dr Milligan) did not know what were
the exact sentiments expressed, but it appeared
that this Minister had expressed the idea that there
might be something higher than the Church of
Scotland worth fighting for.
The Rev. Dr STORY said the letter he referred to
said nothing about anything either higher or lower;
the gentleman wanted rest and peace, apparently,
with reference to personal fatigue undergone in the
Professor MILLIGAN said that altered the position
of matters. He had referred to it because he
thought it concerned the liberties of a Minister of
the Church of Scotland. He had no sympathy with
a man that wanted rest and peace. There was no
rest on this side of the grave. One must wait until
they rested from their labours before they got the
peace they would fain possess. But he claimed that
the Ministers, Elders, and Members of the Church
of Scotland should be allowed to think, and should
be allowed to say out what they thought — that
high as they valued the Church of Scotland, precious
as they esteemed her and her past history, and
ready as all were to sacrifice themselves and all
they possessed for her sake in the struggle before
them, they should be allowed to say that there was
something higher than the Church of Scotland for
which they would fain be more content to labour
and to suffer. He said that unless they started from
that religious ground they would fail of their efforts.
He felt these words were true when he thought of the
Church of Scotland and of the Church of Christ -
"I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more."
He could not love the Church of Scotland as he did,
or be ready as he was to suffer for her, were it not
that he saw in her the image of something higher
and greater, far nobler than she could ever claim
herself to be in this present world — the bride of
Christ; not as a reverend brother opposite had
spoken about it — as a mere Church of the people, a
mere thing made by the people for the people's
good. No; it was because she was made by a
Divine hand — it was that which gave her all her
strength, and made the Church of Christ most
worthy of the warmest affections of their heart,
and which should stir them to the most ardent
zeal in her defence. He hoped they should
resolve to go into the contest before them not
only with unwearied zeal, but with a lofty religious
spirit which alone deserved, and which he
at least thought alone could command success.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS said it was known
to his friends that he did not intend to take part in
the debate, and he would not have spoken but for
remarks made by the two last speakers. Sir
Alexander Kinloch and Dr Milligan had said one or
two things which, if he were to be absolutely silent,
he might be supposed to accept as expressing his
opinion. He felt that the discussion had taken a
turn with which he could not agree. He did not
want to make a note of discord in this unanimous,
enthusiastic meeting. He should be sorry, indeed,
if one word of his were to detract from the enthusiasm
with which every one had spoken and had
listened to the speeches, from the magnificent
opening speech of the noble Lord. As regards Sir
Alexander Kinloch's speech, he would only say that
it underrated the gravity of the Church crisis, which
could only be met by outspoken enthusiasm. The
point that occurred to him to refer to further was
with regard to what Dr Milligan had said on Mr
Finlay's Bill. Dr Milligan said that Bill was not
before them ; that at some other time he would
explain his views upon it, but meanwhile he pronounced
it "misleading." Now, that put their
friends in Parliament in a very awkward position.
He read on the back of the Bill such names as those
of Mr Mackintosh Mr James Alexander Campbell,
Mr Parker Smith, Sir Charles Dalrymple, Mr
Thorburn, Colonel Malcolm, Mr Hozier, Mr Mark
Stewart, and Mr Baird; and he heard that day of
another well-known M.P. and friend of the Church
who was very sorry that his name was not included
in the list. It was a very awkward thing indeed
if their friends in Parliament were to be told by
their friend Dr Milligan that the Bill was a misleading
and delusive Bill. It occurred to him
(Professor Charteris) that his friend ought to have
said either much less or a great deal more. He
had read that Bill, and he had read it again since
Dr Milligan had spoken of it. He was at that
moment, however, entirely unable to understand
upon what he placed that great charge that it was
a misleading Bill. He drew attention to its principal
operative clause — that which provides for the
erection of new Parishes by the General Assembly
instead of by the Court of Session — and said that
while this was a change which few within the
Church had originally thought of, it was one which
none of them need make it a matter of conscience
to resist, and which had its special value in the
eyes of many outside the Church who were at one
with us in vital questions. The Auchterarder
cases sprang from Patronage, and they and all
that came of them before 1843 were swept away
by the Act abolishing Patronage in 1874. But the
Stewarton case in 1842, which decided that the
Church cannot by its own power change a Chapel
of Ease into a Parish Church, was a great blow in
its day to Church extension. Sir James Graham's
Act in 1845, by providing for the erection of new
Parishes through the Court of Session, had made the
great Endowment Scheme possible, and the Church
of Scotland might well be grateful for it. Yet after
all, the Church might do the work as well as the
Law Courts, and the General Assembly could be
trusted to act with proper precaution, and to pronounce
the decree by which a new Parish would be
founded; and when many friends in the Free
Church greatly desired to see the Church exercising
such power, it would say little for our love of union
if we objected. Professor Charteris briefly pointed
out the other main objects of the Bill, and as he was
concluding this a Member asked him to call attention
to the preamble. Professor Charteris, turning
to the preamble read it to the Assembly — "Whereas
it is desirable to remove obstacles to reunion of
the Presbyterians of Scotland." The resolutions of
the Assembly of 1886 with reference to the bill
remained, he proceeded, and, as he understood, the
Bill was the old Bill brought back again. The old
opinion of the Church remained therefore to this
day. He merely wished at present to say that the
General Assembly had expressed in those resolutions
its opinion favourable to Mr Finlay's Bill. As to the
question of union, they there were keeping in their
mind their past history. The Assembly, with due
sense of the gravity of the proceeding, offered in 1878
to consider with the other Churches the terms of union.
From each of them they got a most courteous letter.
Their hopes were, however, virtually terminated, and
in the year 1879 the Assembly accepted that fact,
stating that further correspondence would not lead
to immediate results, but recording in the minutes
of the Church that they continued their willingness
to take all possible steps to promote reunion consistent
with the maintenance of the establishment of
religion. With the Churches, therefore, their duties
were at an end in the meantime, but still there remained
that record of their willingness to terminate
the present divisions. Could any man who was
bound by the record of his willingness to "take all
possible steps towards reunion, consistent with the
maintenance of an Establishment of religion" — and
all loyal Churchmen were bound by that record —
could any loyal Churchman in such circumstances
refuse to accept Mr Finlay's bill if it would really
promote reunion? For his own part he could not
hold such refusal consistent with true patriotism.
It had been said, he proceeded, that they were the
only rallying place of the people of Scotland. He
thought they were. They should intimate to Scotsmen
that in this attitude of the Assembly they
represented the opinions of the whole body of the
people of the Church, and he trusted their membership
throughout the Church would do nothing to
alienate those who were so near akin to them in
feeling in many respects, and whom they expected
to help them in this very fight for their life on
which they were about to enter.
If the statement of Mr Gladstone that the existence
of the Church of Scotland was such a little
thing were true, then the contests about the mode
of that existence, which had rent Scotland for so
long, must be a still more little thing, and therefore
their friends of other Churches were charged with
leaving them for the very shadow of a shade. If
the existence of the Church of Scotland was a small
thing, what did the followers of Chalmers say about
his struggles to secure what he believed to be its
true position? What did they say, those of them
who could go back to James Robertson, who spent
his life in extending the Church? It was not a
little thing; it was a very great thing. It was said
the Church had no secular power. They had great
secular power, of which an obvious proof was seen
in this right to the common aid of the civil Courts
to follow up the statutory decisions of their own
Courts. In conclusion, he said it was proposed that
their life interests were to be preserved. He
wondered what those were, and if they thought
their life interests could be valued at so much cash.
Their life interest was the interest in the work they
did. It was not only their life interest in their
work as being their own, but it was their life interest
in the people of Scotland, from whom politicians
would wrench away the heritage of service from the
Parish Minister without making any provision at all
in its stead. He trusted that the Committee would be
supported as enthusiastically throughout the Church
as they had been that day in the Assembly.
Mr CHARLES INNES, Inverness (Elder), said it was
desirable on the occasion of a great debate involving
national interests, that voices representative of all
parts of Scotland should be heard. He rose to say
that, while thoroughly approving of the Report as
a whole, and especially of the steps proposed to be
taken in defence of the Church, he was greatly disappointed
to read the terms in which, both in the
Report and Deliverance, the action of Mr Finlay
and the Members who backed his Bill was referred
to. The purport of the Bill was declared in its
preamble: "It is desirable to remove obstacles
to the reunion of the Presbyterians of Scotland."
A perusal of the clauses shows that what the
draughtsman had in view was the removal from
the way of those Free Churchmen who still loyally
follow in the footsteps of Dr Chalmers, that stumbling-block
which the decision in the Stewarton
case undoubtedly created. Though never appealed
to the House of Lords, the decision has been
hitherto recognised by the Church as authoritative
and binding. Many, however, do not so regard it;
hence a doubt still exists, and the object of the bill
is to remove that doubt, and so pave the way for the
reunion of all the Presbyterians in Scotland. In the
Highlands the feeling in favour of the bill is very
strong. Now, Presbyterianism in the Highlands
occupies a very unique position. The services of
the Church of Scotland are attended by a minority
of the people, while at the same time the majority
believe in and advocate the principle of a national
recognition of religion. When Mr Finlay first introduced
his Bill in 1886 a conference, attended by
about 150 Constitutionalist clergymen and elders of
the Free Church, was held at Inverness, and at it
unanimous resolutions were passed in support of
the proposed legislation. In the evening of the
same day, a public meeting was held in the largest
hall in Inverness. It was full to overflowing, and
was presided over by the late Rev. Dr George Mackay,
a pre-Disruption Minister, and one of the
leaders of the Free Church Constitutionalist party,
who declared, amid loud and enthusiastic applause,
that "the Bill made provision for all the privileges
he and others claimed before the Disruption." Resolutions
to that effect and generally in support of
the Bill were, amid a display of the utmost enthusiasm,
carried with unanimity. A few days afterwards
another public meeting was held in the same
hall, and presided over by an ex-Moderator of the
Church of Scotland, Dr Mackenzie of Ferintosh.
To it came the Rev. Dr Macdonald, Parish Minister
of Inverness, arm in arm with the Rev. Dr George
Mackay. Ministers and laymen from various parts
of the country, and belonging to the various Presbyterian
bodies, also attended. As at the former
meetings, the greatest enthusiasm prevailed, and
unanimous resolutions were carried in favour of Mr
Finlay's Bill. Within a fortnight petitions in its
support were presented to Parliament bearing
156,832 signatures. The petitions against the Bill
were signed by only 1941 persons. Had time permitted,
the numbers in favour could have been
largely augmented. In these circumstances, something
more than a simple expression of sympathy
on the part of the Church was looked for. In regard
to Professor Milligan's allusion to the Bill
and his description of it as a delusive measure, he
expressed regret that such a term had been applied
to the Bill.
Professor MILLIGAN said he had not ventured to
say that the Church would not approve of the Bill,
but that it was not distinctly before them as a Bill.
Mr INNES hoped it was distinctly before them,
with a view to its being distinctly approved. He
thought it would be a terrible grievance if it were
not distinctly understood, not only by Mr Finlay,
but by the country and Parliament, that the Church
of Scotland did not only sympathise with, but
cordially approve of that Bill. He thought they
should have added to the Deliverance a few words
to that effect, and also promising that they would
give it their active support, and he would tell why.
The Bill would help to remove the only scruples on
the part of the loyal descendants of Dr Chalmers;
it would remove the only obstacle and stumbling--
block which was in their way towards reunion. He
had that very morning sent to him a letter from a
prominent Free Churchman in the Highlands, and
he would take the liberty to read it to them, so that
they might see how this Bill was at present regarded
by the Constitutionalists: "If Mr Finlay's Bill is
to do any good, it must be frankly accepted by the
Established Church, not thrown merely as a sop to
Free Churchmen. The practical results would not
manifest themselves at once. The first result would
be to create good feeling — to do away with the conviction
that there is something unsatisfactory in the
constitution of the Established Church. If that
were realised, the rest would come in time. It is a
matter, however, largely for the Established Church
itself. You may expect the Constitutionalists to be
friendly, but not active. Their minds at present
are filled with other things, such as the Dods and
Bruce cases. The Members of the Established
Church, as a whole, do not, it appears to me, take
that interest in this question which they ought to
do. It is to be hoped they will not begin to do so
when it may be too late." That told exactly what
the Constitutional party of the Free Church thought,
and if they were, during the coming struggle, to
expect any support from that party — and they were
the great majority of the Highlands — then it would
not do for the Established Church to merely say,
"We sympathise with Mr Finlay's Bill." The
Established Church must do more. It must give it
active support.
Lord BALFOUR replied. He said the first motion,
of course, was not proposed, and he thought the
object of the mover was attained by his bringing
his views before the Assembly. The second
part of the motion he 'could have hardly accepted,
because he had great dislike to even suggesting
that the views of their friends were not even in accordance
with God's Word. If his deliverance
offended his reverend friend, Mr Douglas, by looking
too much at the things which were expedient
and things which were at discussion between them,
it was not that he doubted that he was right in the
views which he indicated, but it seemed to him
(Lord Balfour) most necessary to state the opinions
of this Church, which they regarded as right. With
regard to Dr Johnston's motion, he did not need to
allude further to it. Lord Balfour proceeded to say
that one matter had been somewhat prominently alluded
to by various speakers. Some had gone so
far as to say that pressure should be brought upon
those who were conscientiously attached to one
party in the State, to desert their party and to
throw in their lot with another, and that it they did
not do so they would be regarded as traitors. Those
were hard words. Now, he was very anxious, Conservative
though he was, to avoid any possible risk
of misconception. And what was the policy of the
Committee? Their policy was to lead, to persuade,
to advise, to educate, to instruct. But he hoped
they should know their position better than to endeavour
to threaten or to coerce. He wanted to raise
enthusiasm for the old Church. And he would
leave the facts and the results to the good sense and
the patriotism of his fellow-countrymen. He could
conceive, as he had said in his opening speech, that
the circumstances of different parts of Scotland were
so diverse that neither the Assembly nor the Committee
could lay down any general regulations as to
what was the proper policy for the friends of the
Church to pursue. The Committee's policy was
that the friends of the Church should be organised,
and that when organised they should be called together
for the free discussion and debate of the subject
under the circumstances then presented to them.
Concerning the allusion made in the report to Mr
Finlay's Bill, he thought in drawing up the Report
that the most judicious course was to leave matters
exactly as they stood on a former occasion when the
Bill was before the Assembly. He could not agree
with the contents of the letter which Mr Innes
had read. He did not think that Mr Innes' correspondent
at all appreciated the right position for
the Church of Scotland to take up in regard to that
matter. The writer might very likely be a proper
exponent of the party to which he belonged; but
he (Lord Balfour) was not prepared without further
information, and in all the changed circumstances
of the time, to take up any other attitude at this
stage in regard to the Bill than was foreshadowed
by the Supreme Court of their Church on a former
occasion. He thanked the Assembly very deeply for
the reception which they had given him, and for the
course which the debate had taken. The duty which
they were about to lay upon the Committee was
an arduous one, and it could only be discharged
satisfactorily so long as they felt that they enjoyed
the confidence of the Church.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON having stated his readiness
to withdraw the second part of his motion,
and to allow the first part to be negatived without
a division, this was agreed to, and the second part
of the motion was withdrawn and the first part
negatived without a division
The first motion was then adopted, and became
the judgment of the House.
An Overture was taken up from the Synod of
Aberdeen, asking that the Assembly should petition
Parliament to take the necessary steps for ascertaining
the religious connection of the people in
the census of 1891. The Rev. Mr Mitchell, St
Fergus, who represented the Synod of Aberdeen,
moved the adoption of the Overture, and that the
Assembly petition Parliament in favour of such a
Lord DALRYMPLE (Elder) seconded the motion,
which was agreed to, and a Petition adopted — the
Petition to the House of Commons to be intrusted
to Mr James A. Campbell; that to the House of
Lords to Lord Balfour of Burleigh.
Item No. 4 of to-day's billet of business was
ordered to be taken to-morrow morning.
The Report of the Committee on Classifying Returns
to Overtures, it was resolved, should be postponed
to a later diet, and a Committee was appointed
to consider certain verbal alterations on Overture
No. 1. The Committee to consist of the Rev. Theodore
Marshall, Rev. Dr Rankin, Mr Mackersy, Mr
John Milligan, and the Agent — the Agent Convener.
The Rev. D. S. MACLENNAN, Laggan, appeared at
the bar to support a Petition to have the Parish of
Laggan disjoined from the Presbytery of Abertarff
and Synod of Argyle, and placed under the Presbytery
of Abernethy and Synod of Moray. It took
him, he said, three days from home when he went
to a Presbytery meeting. The meetings were held
at Fort-Augustus and Fort-William. When the
meeting was at Fort-Augustus — it was on a Wednesday
they met — he had to leave home on Tuesday
at 8 o'clock in the morning, drive to Kingussie, go
north to Inverness by the railway, and south to
Fort-Augustus by the boat, involving a journey of
over 100 miles. In that journey he passed through
four Presbyteries before getting to the one with
which he was at present associated. The Presbytery
of Abernethy met at Grantown, and that for him
would involve his absence from home of only a few
hours. The Presbytery of Abertarff, the Synod of
Argyle, and the Kirk-Session of Laggan concurred
in the Petition. In reply to a Member, who asked
if there was no nearer way from Laggan to Fort--
Augustus, Mr Maclennan said there was, but it
was not always available, as the Pass of Corriegairach
was between 3000 and 4000 feet high. But
even that way was 40 miles.
The AGENT of the CHURCH (Mr Menzies) moved
that the prayer of the Petition be granted, and the
motion was unanimously carried.
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN submitted the Report
of the Committee appointed to confer with parties
in the Carsphairn case.
The Rev. Mr Allan and the Rev. Mr J. Balfour
Robertson appeared for the Synod, the Rev. Mr
Campbell and the Rev. Mr M'Conachie for the
Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, and Mr Salvesen,
advocate, for certain Elders and Parishioners.
The Report of the Committee was to the effect
that statements on the part of representatives from
the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright and from the
Synod of Galloway had been made. After consideration
it was agreed that on the reference from
the Synod of Galloway being stated to the House,
it should be moved that the General Assembly
having learned (first) that Mr Findlay has agreed
to reside out of the Parish, the sole charge of the
Parish being committed to an Ordained Assistant;
(second) that the Petitioning Heritors and Parishioners
have agreed to pay Mr Findlay £400 to meet
his legal expenses on Mr Findlay giving a bond for
repayment of the same should he, on his own
initiative, disturb any part of the arrangement
with the Parishioners; (third) that Mr Findlay
has agreed to contribute the sum of £60 per annum
towards the Assistant's salary, and to give up to
him the use of the Manse; (fourth) that the
Parishioners have intimated that they are prepared
to take the furniture now in the Manse, the property
of Mr Findlay, at a valuation to an extent not
exceeding a certain amount, and also to provide a
supplement to the £60 provided by Mr Findlay to
the extent of £20 a year; and further, having
learned that the Heritors, at their meeting, have
expressed concurrence in these arrangements, and
that there is a reasonable prospect of the above
annual sum of £80 as a salary for the Assistant of
the Parish being still further supplemented, and
that it is agreed that the formal agreement between
the parties shall bear that it is entered into by Mr
Findlay entirely ex gratia, and from his desire to
do what appears to be best in the circumstances for
the interests of the Church and Parish — the General
Assembly, in the circumstances, authorise the Presbytery
to proceed to the settlement of an Ordained
Assistant in the Parish of Carsphairn with all convenient
The reference having been stated,
Dr SCOTT moved that the Report be approved of,
and that the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright be authorised
to give effect to its provisions including
the settlement of an Ordained Assistant in the
Parish of Carsphairn with all convenient speed.
Mr JAMES WALLACE, Edinburgh (Elder), seconded
the motion.
The motion having been adopted, the decision of
the Assembly was intimated to parties, and they
The Committee of Bills was authorised to meet
to-morrow at 10.50 o'clock.
The Assembly adjourned at 6.20 P.M., to meet
to-morrow at 11 o'clock.
Thursday, 29th May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last sederunt, being in the hands
of Members, were held as read, and were approved of.
The General Assembly called for the Report of the
Committee on Bills, which was given in, read and
approved of. The Petition of Mr John Macaulay,
Carinish, was remitted to the Highland Committee.
The Convener of the Business Committee reported
the arrangements for to-morrow, Saturday, and
Monday, which were approved of.
Synod books were called for. The following were
given in, and Committees to revise them were
appointed: — Books of Galloway — The Reverend
Messrs Lee Ker and George Campbell ; and
Robert Binnie, Esq. Books of Angus and Mearns —
The Reverend Messrs Gilbert M'Millan and
Alexander Stuart; and Duncan Shaw, Esq. Books
of Moray — The Reverend Messrs Campbell, Monzievaird,
and James Fraser; George Malcolm, Esq.
Mr J. A. CAMPBELL, of Stracathro, M.P. (Elder),
gave in the Report of the Committee on the Statistics
of the Church. This Report states that a complete
return has been received from every Parish except
St Luke's, Edinburgh; Gaelic Church, Cromarty;
Strathy, Tongue; Trutnisgarry, Uist; Birsay,
Cairston; Whalsay, Olnafirth. (1) Liberality. — The
contributions for 1889 amount to £354,480, 11s., as
compared with £304,783, 1s. in 1888, and £322,058,
9s. 11d. in 1887. These figures are exclusive of seat
rents, which last year were £64,814, 17s. 8d., or fully
£1000 more than in 1888. The Committee do not
regard seat rents as "liberality," and seek a return
under that head, chiefly for the purpose of comparison
with previous years. The total of £419,295,
8s. 8d., including seat rents, is the largest ever
reported to the General Assembly, and it is gratifying
to find that it arises from an increase nearly
"all along the line." Ordinary collections have risen
fully £2000, while the contributions are higher than
in 1888 (1) for Church or Manse building and repairs
(altogether exclusive, of course, of assessments) by
upwards of £32,000; (2) for general Church objects
by almost £9000; and (3) for other Church and charitable
work by more than £9000. The amount of the
legacies for the schemes of the Church is also larger
by over £2000. There is, on the other hand, a fall
of £6000 in the aggregate gifts for Parish or local
missions, Sabbath Schools, local endowment, and
local augmentation of stipend. Every Synod
reports an increase for the past year except Merse
and Teviotdale, Perth and Stirling, Aberdeen, and
Sutherland and Caithness, but the entire decrease
is under £800. (2) Congregational Statistics.
— The Committee have an equally satisfactory
Report to make with regard to the number
of Communicants on the rolls. For 1889 the
number actually reported is 587,291, as compared
with 581,568 — an addition of 5723, independently
of five non-reporting Churches. If the
previous figures for these five Churches be taken
into account, the total number of Communicants on
the rolls, as at the 31st December last, is 587,954, an
increase of 6386. The number of Communicants is
larger than last year in the following Synods-viz.,
Lothian and Tweeddale by 1320, Merse and
Teviotdale by 319, Dumfries by 56, Glasgow and
Ayr by 1882, Argyle by 134, Perth and Stirling
by 669, Fife by 526, Angus and Mearns by 1097,
Aberdeen by 488, Moray by 38, Ross by 29, and
Orkney by 18. In the following Synods the
number has decreased - viz., Galloway by 54,
Sutherland and Caithness by 26, Glenelg by 16,
and Shetland by 94. The number who communicated
at least once during the year was 435,617,
being 13,124 more than the number reported for
the previous year. There is an increase in the
number of persons admitted for the first time to
Communion. In 1888 it was 24,821, in 1889
25,824. In 1888 the number of Baptisms reported
was 49,944. The number reported for 1889 was
only 40,355. The Eldership has increased from
8558 last year, to 8658 in 1889. The Diaconate
for the same period has decreased from 757
to 720. The Communicants admitted during the
year (a) communicating for the first time were
25,824; (b) by certificate or special admission,
31,461; together, 57,285. The Communicants removed
from the roll by death were 7707, and by
certificate or otherwise 34,164; together, 41,871.
The Communicants on the roll at 31st December
1889 were 587,954. The increase on the year is
6386. The number of Baptisms reported during
the year were 40,355. (3) Contributions. - The
following are the Presbyterial returns of contributions,
shillings and pence omitted:-
1889, 1888.
Edinburgh (1) £63,120 £54,59
Linlithgow 5,719 4,74
Biggar 1,438 695
Peebles 4,315 1,767
Dalkeith 6,376 4,663
Haddington 1,527 1,462
Dunbar 913 913
Duns 637 562
Chirnside 1,124 976
Kelso 938 1,009
Jedburgh 2,982 3179
Earlston 891 1,048
Selkirk 6,333 6,399
Lochmaben 1,495 1,361
Langholm 1,493 2,189
Annan 984 1,213
Dumfries 6,347 3,950
Penpont 1,306 1,283
Stranraer 1,593 1,737
Wigtown 1,235 1,155
Kirkcudbright 4,132 2,187
Ayr 13,373 11,084
Irvine 9,239 10,738
Paisley 14,552 13,716
Greenock 12,076 17,467
Hamilton 19,414 15,449
Lanark 2,725 1,963
Dumbarton 9,489 9,080
Glasgow 76,413 63,447
Inveraray 949 946
Dunoon 4,687 4,571
Kintyre 2,569 2,389
Isla and Jura 356 283
Lorn 1,798 1,225
Mull 394 361
Abertarff 597 565
Dunkeld 2,159 2,023
Weem 978 1,216
Perth 4,517 4,871
Auchterarder 2,126 1,822
Stirling 5,753 5,263
Dunblane 6,608 7,168
Dunfermline 1,775 1,799
Kinross £757 £691
Kirkcaldy 5,269 5,104
Cupar 3,526 2,793
St Andrews 3,654 3,257
Meigle 1,778 2,033
Forfar 1,795 1,666
Dundee 17,981 12,039
Brechin 3,832 3,511
Arbroath 4,252 3,545
Fordoun 1,390 1,862
Aberdeen 15,719 13,640
O'Neil 1,646 1,943
Alford 763 664
Garioch 1,307 1,094
Ellon 1,083 1,137
Deer 2,633 2,937
Turriff 1,917 3,471
Fordyce 1,119 1,513
Strathbogie 2,780 3,290
Aberleur 640 802
Abernethy 902 947
Elgin 791 756
Forres 520 603
Nairn 508 508
Inverness 2,460 980
Chanonry (1) 228 231
Dingwall 1,407 673
Tain 380 442
Dornoch 366 306
Tongue (1) 49 58
Caithness 796 937
Lochcarron 519 335
Skye 210 173
Uist (1) 58 70
Lewis 66 107
Kirkwall 361 375
Cairston (1) 276 252
North Isles 158 125
Lerwick 362 292
Burravoe 134 121
Olnafirth (1) 103 115
Total reported by schedules £391,962 £349,973
Sums paid direct to the General Collector
for the Schemes, and not reported through
parishes 27,332 18,617
£419,295 £368,590
(4) Membership of the Church. - The following is
a comparative statement of the Membership in the
different Parishes of the Church for the years 1888
and 1889: -
1888 1889.
Edinburgh 50,518 51,295
Linlithgow 12,284 12,570
Biggar 1,968 1,027
Peebles 3,817 3,687
Dalkeith 10,649 11,229
Haddington 5,842 5,653
Dunbar 2,882 2,855
87,960 89,280
Duns 2,220 2,225
Chirnside 3,876 3,865
Kelso 3,191 3,204
Jedburgh 6,250 6,504
Earlston 3,003 2,923
Selkirk 6,876 7,014
25,416 25,735
Lochmaben 4,217 4,125
Langholm 2,246 2,225
Annan 9,533 2,482
Dumfries 7,766 7,980
Penpont 2,723 2,729
19,485 19,541
Stranraer 4,858 4,608
Wigtown 4,706 4,751
Kirkcudbright 5,744 5,395
15,308 15,254
Ayr 20,991 21,552
Irvine 14,412 14,484
Paisley 15,032 15,592
Greenock 9,403 9,378
Hamilton 22,108 22,640
Lanark 6,610 6,710
Dumbarton 11.776 12,000
Glasgow 66,138 66,076
166,550 168,432
Inverary 1,009 1,091
Dunoon 3,471 3,440
Kintyre 2,920 2,889
Isla and Jura 710 722
Lorn 1,398 1,518
Dull 1.291 1,321
Abertarff 527 479
11,330 11,464
Dunkeld 4,122 4,206
Weem 2,049 2,017
Perth 10,461 10,831
Auchterarder 4,907 4,935
Stirling 11,937 12,125
Dunblane 5,777 5,808
39,253 39,922
Dunfermline 5,866 5,935
Kinross 2,410 2,338
1889. 1888.
1888. 1880.
Kirkcaldy 13,964 14,186
Cupar 7,437 7,457
St Andrews 9,97(1 10,189
39,599 40,125
Meigle 5,373 5,405
Forfar 8,837 8,737
Dundee 23,267 23,861
Brechin 8,439 8,380
Arbroath 9,694 10,032
Fordoun 7,948 8,042
63,358 64.455
Aberdeen 30,177 30,642
Kincardine O'Neil 7,386 7,181
Alford 4,999 4,994
Garioch 6,049 6,030
Ellon 5,769 5,790
Deer 13,939 13,926
Turriff 9,886 10.134
Fordyce 4,918 4,894
83,123 83,611
Strathbogie 6,729 6,706
Aberlour 2,227 2,203
Abernethy 1,094 1,116
Elgin 2,984 2,876
Forres 843 859
Nairn 685 723
Inverness 1,200 1,311
15,762 15,800
Chanonry 296 299
Dingwall 425 444
Taira 417 454
1,138 1,107
Dornoch 314 317
Tongue 66 61
Caithness 884 860
1,264 1,283
Lochcarron 287 292
Skye 393 399
Uist 196 190
Lewis 148 127
1,024 1,003
Kirkwall 1,656 1,685
Cairston 1,781 1,751
North Isles 822 841
4,259 4,277
Lerwick 2,886 2,911
Burravoe 1,345 1,385
Olnafirth 2,508 2,349
6,739 6,643
In giving in the Report, Mr CAMPBELL said that
the Report was a favourable one, the contributions,
which amounted to £354,480, showing an increase
over the previous year of nearly £50,000.
He reminded the Assembly and the public that
these figures only represented contributions given
during the year, and did not include general revenue,
such as interest on investments, Government grants,
grants from the Baird Trust and Ferguson Bequest,
or legacies and other moneys for charitable purposes
not directly bequeathed to the Church. The Report
as to Congregational Statistics was also very
favourable, there being an increase in the Membership
of 6386, the total Membership of the Church
being 587,954. In giving that number the Coinmittee
had included the old figures for five
Parishes from which returns had not been received.
He regretted that any Parish should fail to make
such a simple return as that, and said it was very
desirable that full returns should be received from
all Parishes. The number of persons who actually
communicated at least once last year was 435,617.
They had no statistics of the Adherents of the
Church, and he could not say that it would be very
easy to get an accurate statement of the number of
Adherents, because no roll of them was kept. That
fact had to be borne in mind when the statistics of
the Highland Parishes were being considered, for,
as was known by the Assembly, the Membership of
the Highland Parishes was no true criterion of the
strength of the Church there. Last year the Committee,
by orders of the Assembly, sent down queries
on behalf of the Committee on Intemperance, and
received replies which they handed over to that
Committee. His Committee were, however, strongly
of opinion that it was not desirable to have their
inquiry burdened with anything else than the statistics
which properly belonged to them, and they
suggested that if any further inquiry was to be
made, it should be done by another Committee.
The Rev. Dr DYKES, Ayr, moved the following
"The General Assembly approve of the Report,
and reappoint the Committee with the usual powers
— Mr J. A. Campbell, M.P., to be Convener, and
the Revs. Dr Dodds and John Brownlee, Vice--
Conveners. The General Assembly are gratified to
learn the marked increase alike in the Contributions
and the Membership of the Church during the year
now reported on.
"The General Assembly, recognizing the importance
of the greatly extended inquiry now conducted
by the Committee on Statistics, empower the Finance
Committee of the Church, besides providing
for the printing and distribution of this Report, to
make a grant towards the Committees' other outlay,
in so far as that is not already met out of
Kirk-Session Contributions and Donations from
He was, he said, far from thinking that the mere
matter of the money which the Church contributed
should be taken as a sufficient test of its condition,
but when they found that both Contributions and
Membership had increased during the year, he
thought it was matter for congratulation and satisfaction.

Mr ALEX. MACPHERSON, Kingussie (Elder), in
seconding the motion, pointed out that, including
seat rents, the total of the liberality reported by
the Committee for the past year was in round
numbers £419,300, giving an average of £315 over
the 1328 Parishes of the Church, and an average
over the 587,954 Communicants of 14s. 3d. per
Communicant. Excluding seat rents, the average
per Parish was £266, 18s. 3d., and the average per
Communicant 12s. As stated by Mr Campbell, the
sums reported on by the Committee did not embrace
the interest or other revenue derived from the investment
of capital funds, previously reported, but
simply the voluntary contributions of the Church
for the past year and nothing more. He had looked
into the items of interest or other revenue derived
from the investment of capital funds, and he found
that they amounted to £141,200. He had reason
to believe that the voluntary liberality of the Church
as reported from year to year by the Committee,
was often brought into unfavourable comparison
with the total yearly income or revenue of the Free
Church. Were the Committee to include in their
Report the total sums raised by the Church, as was
done by the Free Church, the total they would be
able to show for the past year, independent of their
old endowments, would, instead of £419,300, be
£560,500, giving an average of £422 per Parish,
and 19s. per Communicant. The annual value of the
endowments, as stated by Mr Gladstone, was about
£300,000. It would thus be seen that the Church
annually gave back, as it were, for the benefit of
the people of Scotland no less a sum than £260,000
in excess of these endowments. The Committee in
their Report stated that the activity of the Church
had not been confined to any particular district,
but had extended over the whole country. It was
gratifying to find that this healthy activity had not
been altogether wanting even in the Highlands and
Islands. There could be no doubt that the condition
of the Church in many districts of the Highlands
was very unsatisfactory, and called for more attention
on the part of the Church at large in the way
of strengthening the position and stimulating the
life and work of the Church there. Taking the
four northern Synods of Moray, Ross, Sutherland
and Caithness, and Glenelg, where the Church was
admittedly very weak, it was clear that upon the
whole she was making slow but steady progress,
even north of the Grampians. In 1873, when the
last Parliamentary return was made, the number of
Communicants in these Synods was 15,931, while
at the present time, as shown in the Report, the
number was 19,213, being an increase of 3282, or
20 per cent. The amount of the Christian liberality
of these Synods for 1873 was £6494, and for last
year it was £12,680, being an increase of £5166, or
79 per cent.
The AGENT of the CHURCH (Mr Menzies) pointed
out that it would be inconsistent with a former
resolution of the Assembly to instruct the Finance
Committee to make the proposed grant to the
Statistics Committee. The matter must first be
brought before the Finance Committee, and he
promised that it would receive their attention.
The Rev. WM. ALLAN, Mochrum, asked whether,
under the term "membership," the Convener included
the 40,000 baptisms that had taken place?
Mr J. A. CAMPBELL replied that only Communicants
were embraced in the return, neither adherents
nor baptisms being recognised by the
Sir ALEX. MUIR MACKENZIE of Delvine (Elder),
asked if the Convener saw any great difficulty in
getting a list of the adherents of the Church? He
was a Member and Elder of the Church, and he
knew there were a number of landed proprietors
in Scotland who were not Communicants, but who
would be very glad at this juncture to become
Mr CAMPBELL said it was rather a question for
the Parishes, or for the Assembly, to say whether
it was possible to have a roll of Adherents. The
work of the Committee lay in arranging the returns
sent in.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder), said
a roll of Adherents would be very defective, because
Adherents were only called for when a Parish was
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, said their
desire was to have an opportunity of comparing
the number of Adherents of the Church of Scotland
in the Highlands with those belonging to
other Churches. It had to be remembered that
their method of enrolling Adherents was very
different from that followed by the Free Church.
They enrolled as Adherents persons who would be
capable of being admitted to the Communion, while
the Free Church returned as Adherents all who were
upwards of eighteen years of age, no matter what
their character was.
The Rev. WM. LEE KER, Kilwinning, thought
they were passing the Report over without sufficiently
congratulating themselves, and testifying
their approval of the manner in which their Congregations
had been acting during the past year.
He did not think they could over-estimate the improvement
that had taken place in the contributions
of the Church. It was not very long since their
people were taught to contribute towards the collections.
In his own Parish twenty years ago the
contributions came from three sources — a noble
Lord, a rich gentleman in the district, and the
Parish Minister — but now they came from the Congregation
in general. He thought the Assembly
should testify its appreciation of the results that had
been obtained during the past year.
The deliverance, with the omission of the instruction
to the Finance Committee, was then agreed
The Rev. Dr M‘MURTRIE submitted the Report
of the Foreign Mission Committee, which stated
that 1146 persons were returned by the Missionaries
as having been baptised during the year 1889. It
was thought possible that Mr Youngson, through
misunderstanding the schedule, had entered some
of the Panjab baptisms twice. In that case, the
number of baptisms in 1889 would approach 900,
and would still be the highest reported in any year
since the Church of Scotland entered on the Foreign
Mission field. (Dr M`Murtrie has since learned
from Mr Youngson that the lower of these estimates
is the correct one.) Of this number 700 or
712 were reported from Panjab, while in the threefold
Darjeeling Mission there were 119, in Africa, 18,
and at other stations 39. The marvellous work
continued in the Panjab during the current year,
and cheering tidings had also arrived from China.
At this time the Mission staff consisted of 46 Europeans
and 201 Christian natives. Christian instruction
was given to 407 students, and 6241 younger
scholars, in all 6648. The fears of the Committee
regarding the African Mission, which had last year
been threatened with extinction under the rule of a
power hostile to Evangelical Missions, had been in
a great measure dispelled, and the Committee had
not been slow to thank the Government, and particularly
Lord Salisbury, for the firm stand by
which he Portuguese invasion had been driven
back. In regard to finance, it was reported that
the direct giving of the Church at home to the
Foreign Mission (not including the Ladies' Foreign
Mission) in 1889 was £22,421, as compared with
£16,049 in 1888 — being an increase of £6372. This
included an effort made to clear off debt, which
realised upwards of £3000, and if the debt — Mission
debt, which no Church should tolerate — had not
been wholly rolled away, it had been reduced during
the year by the considerable sum of £2090 —
that is, it had been reduced from £4854 to £2764.
The Church was asked to add this year, and for all
time coming, at least £5000 to the ordinary income
of the Committee. The Assembly were asked to say
whether they approved of the Committee having
taken no step to fill up the place of Mr Melvin, the
headmaster of the Institution at Bombay. The
Committee could not contemplate without regret
severance from the Bombay Institution, which was
one of the oldest Missionary enterprises of the
Church. At the same time they had to face
such facts as these. Mr Melvin himself had advised
the giving up of the Institution, and Mr
Wann had concurred in the recommendation. Never
within the memory of any of their number had the
Committee had funds to develop the Evangelistic
side of the work, neither had they now any prospect
of being able to do so. The opinion had been expressed
with some emphasis throughout the Church
that whether they were to have many or few Educational
Missionary Institutions, if they had any at
all, they should be those only which they were able
to maintain in thorough efficiency. The Committee
had no intention or desire to leave Western India
unless they should be so instructed by the Assembly.
To meet the crisis in Calcutta, where it would be
disastrous to open the new session on 20th June
with only two Europeans, they had been compelled
to request Mr Wann to leave Bombay for some
months and give aid in the General Assembly's Institution
at Calcutta. They trusted they would
soon be back to Bombay Presidency, where the
choice of the Church seemed to lie between two
plans of Evangelical Work. One was to concentrate
upon Poona, which was in the Bombay Presidency,
and was becoming one of the most important cities
of India. A weighty consideration in favour of
that course was that the Poona Mission of the
Church of Scotland Ladies' Association had grown
greatly in strength and usefulness, and if this Mission
was also placed in Poona, the two would be mutually
helpful. The other plan was that Mr Wann
should take up Evangelistic Work in Bombay itself
— work for which he had to some extent laid a
foundation — and should assist the ladies' work in
Poona by visits from time to time. Two Sub-Committees
of the Foreign Mission Committee had conferred
with a Committee appointed by last General
Assembly in regard to alleged anomalies in the Mission
at Calcutta, and their Report was as follows: —
"The Sub-Committees met with the Committee
appointed by last General Assembly on this subject,
and made full explanations on all the points brought
before them, which were considered satisfactory by
the General Assembly's Committee." Dr M'Murtrie
also gave in the Report of the Ladies' Association
for Foreign Missions, which stated that during the
year three new Missionaries had been added to the
European staff in India and Africa. The Committee
had much satisfaction in reporting that
though there had been a decrease in the Association's
income for the past year as compared with
the previous year, that decrease was due to the
smaller amount received from legacies, and there
was an increase of subscriptions, which formed the
vital test of the Association's growth and progress.
On the other hand, the increase of subscriptions
had not been proportionate to the increased expenditure,
which was nearly £100 in excess of
ordinary income. In submitting the former Report,
Dr M'Murtrie spoke of it as on the whole decidedly
of a more hopeful character than those the Committee
had been able to bring before the Assembly
for several years — both in respect of the number of
baptisms which had taken place during the year,
and in respect of the state of the finances. The
Assembly would, he said, be asked to give the Committee
guidance as to the Bombay Mission. It was
in the knowledge of the General Assembly that for
many years back — he believed almost from the beginning
of the Mission, certainly from the year 1843
— that Mission had not been distinguished by any
great success. The reason was that from the beginning
till now they had been compelled as a Church to
starve the Mission. His own opinion was that their
Foreign Missions had been extended too rapidly for
the pecuniary strength of the Committee and the
growth of liberality in the Church. He concluded
by expressing the hope and the confident expectation
that they would regard the progress made not
as something to be satisfied with and to rest upon,
but as a step in advance upon which they might
now go forward.
Dr PIERSON, Philadelphia, who explained that
his visit to Scotland was that day at an end, then
addressed the Assembly, urging the claims of
Foreign Missions upon the whole Church. In the
course of his address he said they — the Ministers
of the Church — should not look upon themselves as
beggars. If there was any foundation for the
Establishment, it was in the Levitical system. It
was simply contemptible to speak as if the stipend
that came to the Minister of Christ was something
which paid him for the obligations the people were
under to him. There was no class of men that
gave back to the community more for all that the
community gave them than the Ministers of the
Church, and therefore he looked with profound
contempt on anything that tended to put the
Minister in the position of a fawning servient man
at the foot of the pulpit, asking from the people a
subsistence. From what they heard occasionally
from some supporters of Disestablishment one
might think that Ministers were in danger of
starvation; but looking to that Church which had
left the Establishment, and had gone, so to speak,
into the wilderness — looking upon their rotund
forms in the Free Church Assembly — he had quite
made up his mind that they were in no more immediate
danger of dying of starvation than some
of the brethren he saw in the Established Church
were. Dr Pierson mentioned that he hoped to
return to Scotland two years hence to deliver the
course of lectures of the Duff foundation.
The MODERATOR conveyed to Dr Pierson the
thanks of the Assembly for his presence, and for
his work during the seven months he had been in
Scotland, and Dr Pierson took his leave with the
Assembly upstanding.
The Rev. A. TURNBULL, one of the Church's
Missionaries at Darjeeling, afterwards spoke. He
gave an interesting account of the geographical
features of the province in which the Mission was
situated, and of the characteristics of the natives,
but in particular he called attention to the imperative
necessity of having new mission buildings at
Darjeeling. Owing chiefly to an immense landslip,
which threatened the very existence of the present
Mission premises, money was required to provide
new premises, unless the Church wished also to
have to provide a new Missionary, not to speak of
a whole host of smaller personages. To provide
these new premises would involve the expenditure
of £13,000, owing to the great expense of a new
site, and for this sum he appealed to the liberality
of the Church.
The Rev. Dr HERDMAN, Melrose, proposed the
following deliverance: — "The General Assembly
approve the Report, record their thanks to the Convener,
the Sub-Conveners, and other members of
the Committee, and specially to the Missionaries
in India, Africa, and China. They also thank those
Ministers and Members of the Church who, by
their labours as deputies and otherwise, or by
their liberal offerings, have done much to promote
interest in Foreign Missions during the
past year. They reappoint the Committee, with
the usual powers — Dr M'Murtrie, Convener.
The General Assembly record with deep thankfulness
their sense of the goodness of God in so greatly
blessing the labours of their Missionaries during
the past year that, while 775 persons were baptised
in the Mission in 1888, that number was exceeded
by several hundreds in 1889; and though 600 converts
in the Panjab have recently been transferred
to the Mission of the United Presbyterian Church
of America, there remain, in their various Mission
fields, nearly 4000 who have been gathered in from
heathenism. The General Assembly have heard
with regret of the deaths of Principal and Mrs
Smith, Calcutta, and Mrs Paterson, Madras, and
record their sympathy with the sorrowing relatives,
and their sense of the special loss which the Church
sustained by the demise of Mr Smith, who discharged
every duty of a difficult post with devotedness
and ability. They thank for their good services
Mr Dowsley of I-Chang, Mr Melvin of
Bombay, Mr Sinclair of Madras, and Dr Milne of
the African Mission — Missionaries who have retired
during the year past; they trust that Dr Milne
and Mr Hamilton of Calcutta may soon be restored
to health; they are glad that three new Missionaries
have gone to Darjeeling, I-Chang, and the
Panjab respectively, and that other two will soon
proceed to Africa and Calcutta. In the whole circumstances
of the Bombay Mission, the General
Assembly approve of the Committee's having taken
no step to fill up the place of Mr Melvin, and are of
opinion that the Institution ought not to be reopened,
and that the premises might, with advantage,
be sold. They further think it very desirable
that an Evangelistic Mission should be maintained
within the Bombay Presidency, in Bombay or
Poona, or both, as the Committee may find expedient,
after full consideration of the claims of each,
and of the resources available. The General Assembly
renew their recommendation to the Foreign
Mission Committee, in conjunction with the Ladies'
Association, to take into consideration the Parel
Mission at Bombay, with a view, if they see fit, of
bringing it within the organisation of the Church,
and giving it some material aid. The Assembly are
glad to hear that the contributions of the Church
at home in 1889 have exceeded, by £6372, those of
the preceding year; and to learn from the Report
and accounts, and from the supplementary note
approved by Mr Turnbull Smith, that debt has
been decreased by £2090. They trust that the
remaining debt of £2764 will now be cleared off;
and they commend to the whole Church the effort
of the Committee to increase the ordinary revenue
at least £5000, by obtaining larger collections, by
Congregational Associations which may benefit all
the Schemes, by gifts and thank-offerings, and by
developing the Missions Aid Society. The Assembly,
recognising the importance of co-operation with other
Churches in the Mission-field, authorise the Committee
to continue the communications with the Free
Church referred to in the Report. The Assembly
again recognise gratefully the service rendered by
the Universities' Mission, which is not only doing
valuable work in the threefold Darjeeling Mission,
but calling forth among those to whom the Church is
looking forward as its future Ministers a greatly
deepened interest in the extension of the kingdom
of Christ. And they warmly recommend to
Ministers and Kirk-Sessions the providing of facilities
by which the members of the University Missionary
Associations may plead with their congregations
the claims of their Mission. The Assembly
congratulate the Young Men's Guild on their
vigorous prosecution of the Guild Mission throughout
another year, and on the success which has
attended their efforts to provide funds for the
Macfarlane Memorial Church at Kalimpong. The
General Assembly are grateful to Almighty God
that their African Missionaries, during a period of
prolonged anxiety, have been enabled to carry on
their work successfully and without interruption.
They are gratified to learn that their Mission-field
in Africa has now been delivered from Portuguese
encroachment; and they approve of the Committee's
having tendered prompt and hearty thanks to Her
Majesty's Government. The General Assembly
receive and approve the Report of the Church of
Scotland Ladies' Association for Foreign Missions,
now submitted to them by the Foreign Mission
Committee. They are thankful for the growing
prosperity of the Association, and the increasing
recognition throughout the Church of the great
value of woman's work to the cause of Foreign
Missions. They renew their instructions to the
Committee to give every encouragement and help
in their power to the Association; and they commend
the Association to the continued confidence
and support of the congregations of the Church.
The Assembly commend to Almighty God the
whole Foreign Mission work of the Church; and
they appoint Sunday, the thirtieth day of November
next, or such other Lord's Day as may be found
suitable, to be observed as a day of special intercession
on behalf of all the Missions of the Church."
In supporting the resolution, Dr HERDMAN spoke
of the brightening prospects of their Missions in
China and Africa, and asked the Church to respond
to the appeal of the Committee, if the Indian
Missions were to be placed on a proper footing, and
increase the ordinary income of the Mission by
£5000 a year. The impressions winch he had
brought home from India were not altogether
cheering. Speaking of the Bengal stations, he was
disappointed that the progress of the native Church
had not been greater. It was not merely that their
Educational Missions had failed to gather in numerous
converts, but that all Missions had failed to
effect great results in the direct manner of conversions
to Christianity. In dealing with the Hindus
and Mohammedans of the plains of India, Missions
of late years had not been the means of bringing
over many to Christianity. The native Church in
India had been recruited from an entirely different
quarter — from the aborigines and the lower castes;
and they had now also opened wide a door which
had been barred for generations by which to carry
Gospel truths into the Zenanas. He was not of the
opinion that the Brahmo Somaj or the Aryo Somaj
had helped conversions, his belief being that they
had hindered progress. In old times, when young
men had their consciences touched and their eyes
partially opened, they could find no halting place
but in the Gospel and the Church of Christ. Now,
when they were searching for a higher system of
creed and a purer morality than their own, they
were satisfied with what they found in these Deistical
and Unitarian movements. There was a widespread
desire after a better and purer morality, and
a higher faith than Hinduism and Mohammedanism,
and although those who had forsaken everything for
Christianity were few, there were many signs of
preparation for a great, general, and national
Mr. J. A. CAMPBELL, M.P., in seconding the resolution,
pointed out that the European and native
Christian agents employed by the Assembly's Committee,
together with those of the Ladies' Association,
made a total of 75 European agents and 299
native Christian agents or in all, 374 Christian
agents connected with the Church in the Foreign
Mission field. With the exception of the Bombay
Mission the details of the work were favourable.
Although there seemed to be reason to discontinue
the Bombay Mission in its present form, he hoped
the Assembly would encourage the Committee to
continue it in some form or other. It would not
be creditable to the Church, and it would be a great
discouragement to their Missionaries if they were
to restrict their operations and cease to have a Mission
at Bombay. It was suggested as an alternative
that they should transfer the Mission to Poona.
Let them hope there would be a Mission established
at Poona in connection with the Ladies' Association,
but let them also hope that there would be a Mission
continued in the great field at Bombay. The
contributions from the Church at home to the
Foreign Mission Fund amounted to £22,421, and
the contributions to the Ladies' Association were
£5910, making altogether, exclusive of interest from
invested funds and of receipts from abroad, £28,331.
That was not as large a sum as they ought to have,
but it was the largest that had ever yet been
reached. When they analysed these contributions,
the impression left on the mind was not so favourable.
He found that a considerable number of
Parishes had not sent anything to the Foreign
Mission Fund. It would be a hard thing to say
that there could be no Missionary interest in these
Parishes; but he confessed that it was a little difficult
to understand how there could be much Missionary
interest and no proof whatever in the shape
of a contribution. It might be possible to give
a congregation information about Missions withovt
asking for any money, but he could not understand
how a congregation could get Missionary information
and not wish to give contributions. He did
not think it satisfactory that there should be 214
Parishes that did not send as much as 20s. each
to the Foreign Mission Fund, while there were 73
Parishes that did not send as much as 10s. a piece.
He did not ask where the Minister was, but he
would ask where were the Elders of these congregations
that they did not give as much as half a
sovereign to the fund? He was afraid there were
congregations in Scotland where a Missionary sermon
was not preached even once a year. If their
congregatious were to be interested in Missionary
work, they must hear of the subject a greal deal
oftener than once a year, when the collection was
The Rev. MALCOLM Ross, late Senior Chaplain
at Bombay, said as one well acquainted with the
history of Bombay during the last thirteen years he
might assure them that they were now at a crisis in
regard to their Bombay Mission, for if the proposal
to transfer the Mission to Poona was carried out
they bundled up and left the Presidency altogether.
The five years' system, as it was called in the army,
had nearly ruined their Missions. Unless the
Church sent out Missionaries who knew the vernacular,
satisfactory work could not be done, and
moreover, he held it to be a mistake to engage any
Missionaries to go out to India without first letting
them know that the work was to be their lifework,
and that when they were no longer able for it they
would be provided for. Like the man who had
tried to make his horse live on a straw a day, they
had for the last twenty years starved the Bombay
Mission. It had always been an understood rule
that in the Presidency towns no Mission was placed
in a district where another Church had previously
gone, and at present there was a Free Church
Mission at Poona. He had received a letter from
the Missionary in charge of that Mission expressing
himself against the proposed transference of
the Church of Scotland Bombay Mission to Poona,
and neither the Chaplain there nor Mr Wann,
their own Missionary, was in favour of it. After
labouring in Bombay since 1843, it would be a
great blow to the prestige of the Church as a
Missionary Church, if they now gave up their
Mission there. Mr Ross concluded by moving, as
an amendment to the Deliverance moved by Dr
Herdman, as follows: — "That the Foreign Mission
Committee be instructed to carry out the proposal
of our Missionary, Mr Wann, of date 15th July
1889, at page 618 of the Report. That our Mission
in Bombay be moved to the northern suburbs;
that there a house be acquired or built as a Mission
House, from which our Missionaries could operate
not only on Bombay, but also on the villages along
the two railway lines in the direction of Khundalla.
That the Institution be sold, and the money
placed in Government securities, till it be ascerained
whether a new High School could be advanageously
started, and thus the fatal blow to our
prestige as a Missionary Church, that would be
caused by our retiring from Bombay, would be
warded off, and time given to consider upon what
new lines we might again start our Institution."
The Rev. Professor STORY seconded the Amendment.
The proposals in the Deliverance in regard
the future of the institution at Bombay and to
the proposed transfer of the Mission to Poona were
both points which seemed to be open to very great
desideration indeed. By the proposed extinction of
the Mission at Bombay they ran the risk of very
serious loss of prestige, and to his mind the proposed
transfer to Poona was one of very doubtful
policy. As he understood the matter, there was
already at Poona a Free Church Mission, and it
had always been their Missionary policy in India
not to trespass upon an area fairly occupied by the
Missions of any other Church, especially when that
Church was a Presbyterian Church, and the present
transfer seemed to be proposed in the teeth of the
wishes of those connected with the Free Church
Institution at Poona. To his mind the weight of
evidence was strongly against the transfer of the
Mission to Poona, and he had not heard any reason
put forward for the total extinction of their Institu
tion at Bombay. The maintenance of these higher
educational Institutions was a question to be discussed
later, and upon it a great deal could be said;
but seeing that they did exist at present he did
not see why that at Bombay in particular should
be abolished, or why it should be transferred to
Poona. In the circumstances the proposed change
was one of very doubtful expediency, and, so far
as Mr Ross' motion controverted the proposal of
the Committee, he seconded it.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT at this stage mentioned that
there was on the table a Petition signed by 375
native inhabitants of Bombay against the closing of
the Institution there. The Petition stated that the
Petitioners, although heathens, could perfectly recognise
the advantages which Missionary Institutions
had over Government ones, and, therefore, in
such a Presidency town as Bombay they saw the
necessity for the continuance of these Missionary
Institutions — the Government Institutions perfectly
ignoring the idea of introducing the religious element
into their Educational Institutions. Secular
and religious education were, in the opinion of the
Petitioners, so linked together that the success of
the former presupposed the strength of the latter.
The Rev. Dr HERDMAN pointed out, in reference
to what Mr Ross had said, that the Free Church
Institution at Poona had been closed last year, and
that there was no intention of re-opening it. There
was no proposal on the part of the Committee to
transfer the Bombay Institution to Poona. The
alternative was to go on with the work on an
Evangelistic basis.
The Rev. Mr Ross said from the information he
had received from the Free Church Missionary at
Poona that Church was about to send out a new
staff to Poona to carry on the work there.
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER, Partick, said he had
moved in the Foreign Mission Committee that
steps should be taken to close the Institution at
Bombay, and in doing so he had expressed the
general opinion in the Committee. The opinion
had been slowly forming in the course of years, and
the matter had come to the point that some one
only required to express it. Mr Wann had reported
that the premises were no longer suitable, and that
the only thing to be done was to transfer the whole
building to some other place. They had the other
fact before them that Mr Melvin was returning
home, and that if the Institution was to be continued
the Committee had then and there to find
out some one who would go out in his place. In
addition to these two important facts, the Committee
had also this before them, that success had
not attended the work of the Bombay Institution.
He did not wish to discuss the question of Educational
Missions, but in regard to the Institution at
Bombay, as business men doing a piece of business
work they ought to look facts straight in the face;
and he thought these facts pointed to the giving up
of the Institution. They had been spending money
year after year which had not been yielding the
results they would have liked it to yield, while
they had other branches of the Committee's work
succeeding admirably — for example, the Darjeeling
Mission — which required funds urgently. As to the
Petition which lay on the table, he had only to say
that if it was stated to him that the men signing it
were men or influence and men who had claims to
be heard, he might alter his opinion of the matter,
but he frankly confessed that a Petition signed by
375 inhabitants of a city which might rival Glasgow
in point of population did not carry with it much
Mr JAMES WALLACE, Edinburgh (Elder), asked
whether it was a fact that the Free Church had a
Mission at Poona?
Several Members replied in the affirmative.
Mr WALLACE — Then I think it would be a mistake
to carry the Bombay Mission there.
The Rev. DAVID HUNTER said, though they transferred
the Bombay Mission to Poona, they were in
no sense setting up a rival institution to the Free
Church there. Poona was the centre of a very
large district, and it was quite conceivable and
proper that more than one set of Missionary enterprises
might be carried on in that district without
it being said that the one was a rival of the other.
Mr WALLACE said in the circumstances he agreed
with Mr Hunter that the money spent on the Bombay
Mission might better be spent on other branches
of the work, especially when the requirements of
Darjeeling were so urgent.
The Rev. JAMES S. MACKENZIE, Little Dunkeld,
said he hoped it would never go forth from that
Assembly that Bombay, which was the centre of a
million inhabitants was to be abandoned as a field
of Missionary work because they had not had success
in the past. He would rather see the Church put forward
greater energies than take that retrograde step.
The Rev. Dr M‘MURTRIE explained that the Free
Church had had a Mission in Poona for a long time.
It had had a native Congregation with a native
pastor. The Church of Scotland had had a Female
Mission there, but never a branch Mission under the
Foreign Mission Committee. The Ladies' Mission
had grown in Poona until it was one of the very best
Female Missions in India; and those connected
with that Mission had the natural desire to obtain
the assistance and advice they would receive if the
Foreign Mission Committee had an Ordained Missionary
on the spot. He wished, however, more
particularly to say, that some years ago a deputation
of the Foreign Mission Committee had waited
upon the Free Church Committee to ask that the
native Congregation at Poona might be changed
into a union Congregation, jointly governed by the
two Churches. At that time the Free Church had
not seen its way to accede to that request, but quite
recently the Convener of the Free Church Committee
had approached them with the same request.
These proposals were, however, not quite a fortnight
old, and it was impossible for some little time
yet to hold a conference with the Free Church
Committee. He regarded Mr Ross's action in having
read a private letter from the Free Church
Missionary at Poona as having complicated matters.
After some further conversation, Dr M'MURTRIE
said he had the permission of Dr Herdman to
delete the word "Evangelistic" as describing the
Mission to be continued in the Bombay district in
the Deliverance.
The Rev. Mr Ross, however, said he was not prepared
to withdraw his motion even although that
change were made, and a vote was taken by a show
of hands between Dr Herdman's motion as altered
and Mr Ross's, with the result that the former was
carried by a large majority. It was agreed to add
a clause to the Deliverance commending the Darjeeling
Mission to the liberality of the Church.
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN, Pollockshields, said he
had no wish to ask the Convener of the Special
Committee which had conferred with a Sub-Committee
of the Foreign Mission Committee as to.
certain anomalies in connection with the Calcutta
Institution, to make a formal Report. He wished
simply to say that it had been found necessary to
take the action they had last year in appointing that
Sub-Committee, in consequence of there being an
impression abroad that there had been a certain
very serious breach of Ecclesiastical order in connection
with the Calcutta Institution. The Committee
had ascertained that that breach of Ecclesiastical
order had entirely ceased, and had ceased for
a considerable time. He thought it due to the
House that that statement should be made, in view
of the action he had taken last year. He added that
he would have been glad had the Committee seen
its way to endeavour to do something to obviate the
strained relations which had existed for some years
past between a Court of the Church in Calcutta and
a Gentleman who was distinguished as having done
noble service in the cause of the Church. Apparently
the Committee had not felt that to be part of
the remit made to them, and he could only express
the hope that in the course of time their strained
relations might pass away.
The Rev. G. S. SMITH, Cranston, submitted the
Report of the Special Committee appointed to consider
the replies of Presbyteries on the subject of
Educational Missions in India. Of the replies
received from seventy Presbyteries, sixty were in
favour of the continuance, in present circumstances,
of the Church's Educational Missions in India, five
held that a change should now be made, but not
suddenly; three did not see their way to express a
decided opinion on the subject; one held that
further investigation should be made by the Committee,
or by a Special Committee; and one held
that the time has now arrived when the Church
should contemplate the discontinuance of the higher
secular education in its institutions in India. The
Committee gathered from the large body of evidence
laid before them that these Educational Missions
had all along, from the time they were commenced,
sixty years ago, to the present day, been "a great
blessing to India, and that the good which they have
done could not have been accomplished in any other
way." The Church, indeed, had at no time doubted
the wisdom of the methods originally adopted in
the special circumstances of India, under the guidance
of the late Dr John Inglis, Dr Thomas Chalmers
Dr Alexander Brunton, Dr Robert Gordon,
with other eminent and revered men of their time,
and carried out with distinguished ability and zeal
by Dr Duff and his companions and successors.
The Presbyteries had been strongly moved by the
consideration that the Educational Institutions of
the Indian Government were unsatisfactory, not
only in the opinion of the Missionaries of the
Churches at work in India, but also in the opinion
of the natives and of the Government itself. Those
Institutions gave no instruction in the principles of
any religion whatever. They were conducted most
strictly on what was called the principle of religious
neutrality. But they were not really neutral. The
gigantic system of Hindu superstitions, by which
the minds and lives of the natives had been enslaved
for ages, was essentially bound up with gross errors
in history, geography, and science, so that the teaching
of literature and science in the Government
Institutions was daily destroying in the minds of
the native youth all confidence in the teaching of
the religion of their fathers. It was strongly urged
that in these circumstances it would be a great
mistake to close the Church's Institutions. The
conversions made and avowed in the Institutions
had not been many. But the Presbyteries had
heard with satisfaction the assurances given by
those who had the best opportunities of judging,
that the good influences produced upon the young
in their institutions had shown themselves very
decidedly in all parts of the laud. The Presbyteries
had taken special notice of the fact that the expenditure
upon their schools and colleges in India
was met to a large extent by funds contributed in
India itself. The full sum spent on education in their
schools and colleges at Calcutta in 1888 was £4101,
and the fees and grants-in-aid amounted to £2944,
leaving the sum of £1157 to be contributed by the
Church at home. But of that sum £563 was spent
on elementary mission schools, and £594 on the
higher education. Of the £2188 spent on education
at Madras, the fees and grants made up £1803,
and of the remaining £385, only £66 was spent on
the higher education. The total cost, therefore,
to the Church at home for higher education at these
two centres, where alone the higher branches were
taught, was £660. The Committee made the following
recommendations: — "That in present circumstances
their Missionary Educational Institutions
in India be continued, and be conducted upon
the same principles as heretofore; that the utmost
care be taken to uphold their Missionary character;
that the instruction given in them be made at all
times thoroughly efficient by the providing of a
sufficient staff of labourers in the field; that, with
a view to efficiency and economy, any of the Institutions
which were undermanned and could not be
strengthened, be united with others in the same
locality if practicable, or be closed; that, while it
appeared that the expenditure required for their
maintenance was largely met by funds provided in
India, in the form of student's fees and Government
grants-in-aid, efforts be put forth to make the colleges
as nearly as possible self-supporting; that the
employment of non-Christian teachers in secular
branches be dispensed with as soon as possible;
and that communications be opened with other
Protestant Churches that had Missionary schools
and colleges in India, with a view to co-operation
or union wherever that might be found desirable
for greater efficiency and economy." In speaking
to the Report, Mr Smith said the main question
upon which the Presbyteries were called upon to
give an opinion was whether, in the altered circumstances
of India, the Educational Institutions
should be continued as part of the Missionary
organisations there. They had given an almost
unanimous opinion that at present the Institutions
should be continued. The evidence on which that
opinion was founded was in the hands of the members.
The Presbyteries were of opinion that not
only had the Institutions done great good in the
past, but that it would be a calamity if they were
withdrawn. These opinions were given in full view
of the fact that more than thirty years ago the
Indian Government set up and maintained Schools
and Colleges for the education of the people of
India. And it might have been calculated that as
the Government had taken the matter of education
in hand the Church might properly have withdrawn
from it. But the Government itself still thought
the Church should hold its ground, and it was
willing to aid the Church in doing so. The
Government Institutions gave no instruction
whatever in religious knowledge. They confined
themselves most strictly to secular instruction,
holding that as they were constituted
they could not do otherwise. The fact
was that the teaching of the literature and the
science of this country was undermining that of
the most sacred books on which the religion of the
natives of India was founded. They were in consequence
beginning to despise these books, and that
without knowing what Christians regarded as the
impregnable rule of faith and duty. The evils
flowing from this were great, and were complained
of in all quarters. The Government, instead of
being hostile, was quite ready to aid in the work.
They gave the educational institutions grants in aid,
and these went a long way towards their support.
Mr Smith read from the Report the opinions of
various Educational and Civil Authorities in India
of the value to the progress of civilisation of the
Educational and Religious work of the Church Institutions
in India. It might be said that now, if
ever, was the Church's opportunity. The Institutions
were so nearly self supporting that the Church
at home was called on to contribute only £660
towards them.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT moved: "That the General
Assembly approve of the Report, and remit to the
Foreign Mission Committee to consider, and, where
practicable, to carry out the recommendation which
it contains. The General Assembly thank the
Special Committee for their diligence, and discharge
them." It was lamentable, he remarked, how much
ignorance prevailed in Presbyteries and Congregations
as to the spheres and methods of the Missionary
work of the Church. The consequence of
that was the very feeble support which the Church
of Scotland was giving to those Missions. If there
was no information regarding Missions in Congregations
there were no funds forthcoming. As to
the question at issue, a Christian Mission to be successful
must be an Educational one. The uneducated
Convert became a discredit to Christianity.
He moved that effect be given to the opinion of the
Presbyteries, by handing it over to the Mission
Committee to carry out the recommendations it
contained. Dr Scott concluded by intimating his
willingness to accept an addendum of which Dr
Gloag had given notice, and which was as follows:
— "The General Assembly, while highly approving
of the recommendations that efforts be put forth to
make the higher Missionary Education given in
our affiliated Colleges of Calcutta and Madras selfsupporting,
and that the employment of nonChristian
teachers be dispensed with as soon as
possible, instruct the Foreign Mission Committee
to make more direct efforts toward the training of
a native Ministry for India, and to consider what
measures would be most helpful to that end."
Viscount DALRYMPLE seconded the motion. He
was able, he said, to bear testimony to the advantages
offered by the Educational Institutions in
The deliverance, with the addition, was agreed
The Presbytery of Ayr overtured the Assembly
with reference to the election of Ministers — (1) that
a uniform system of vote by ballot be adopted in
the election of Ministers to vacant Parishes; and
(2) that it be made obligatory on the Kirk-Sessions
of all Parishes to make up annually a Roll of the
Congregation for election purposes, and to submit
the same annually to the Presbytery of the bounds.
The Rev. Dr DYKES, Ayr, suggested that the
Overture be remitted to a Committee for consideration,
and report to next Assembly.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder), held
that it was perfectly illegal to do what the Overture
proposed in regard to the making up of the Roll.
Lord BALFOUR of BURLEIGH (Elder), said if there
was to be a Committee appointed, be hoped they
would not confine their attention to the points in
the Overture. He would mention another matter
of extreme interest and importance — the making of
better provision for the election of the Congregational
Committee. The present system was the
origin of much evil, and there should be a distinct
injunction laid down in the selection of a Committee
that it should be really representative, and not confined
to the first dozen or fifteen whose names were
The Overture was sent to a Committee.
The following Overture was taken up on the
same subject from Members of the House :—
"The Venerable the General Assembly is hereby
humbly overtured to remit to a Special Committee
the Regulations for the Election and Admission of
Ministers, with a view to having them fully considered
before next Assembly, and also amended
during the present Assembly if it appear that,
in some particulars, such amendment is urgently
needed. — Peter Adamson, e.; Wm. H. Anderson, m.;
John Barnett, m.; Alex. Bayne, m.; Jas. Alex.
Campbell, e.; J. B. Cumming, m.; Duncan Dewar,
m.; R. G. Fraser, m.; A. Gardner, m.; Henry M.
Hamilton, m.; J. M. Joass, m.; Michael P. Johnston,
m.; David Johnston, m.; John Lamont, m.;
P. R. Scott Lang, e.; Alexander Lawson, m.;
Thomas Leishman, m.; Geo. M'Donald, m.; R.
M`Dougall, m.; Jas. Mackenzie, m.; Lindsay
Mackersy, e.; Gilbert Macmillan, m.,' A. C.
M'Phail, m.; A. Macpherson, e.; Neil Macpherson,
m.; A. J. Macquarrie, m.; H. Mair, m.; John
Mitchell, m.; George R. Murison, m.; T. B. W.
Niven, m.; R. Rankin, m.; John Reid, m.; Oliver
Scott, m.; Duncan Shaw, e.; Alex. Webster, m.;
H. J. Wotherspoon, m."
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON, Harray, supported the
Overture. He condemned the present system and
especially the calling of the Roll, which he described
as one of the most perplexing, confusing, and irritating
things that could be done to a Congregation.
He concluded by moving:-
"The General Assembly receive the Overture,
and resolve to remit to a Special Committee
the Regulations for the Election and Admission
of Ministers (namely, the Election Regulations
adopted by last Assembly, and the Act of 1878 on
the induction of Ministers) for the purpose of having
them revised and reported on to next Assembly.
The Assembly further direct the Committee to give
special attention to the suggestions contained in the
Overture from the Presbytery of Ayr, to receive
and consider such further suggestions as may be
offered to them, to obtain if possible serviceable
information with reference to the past working of
the Regulations, and to lay before next General
Assembly a Report of the result of their inquiries,
and also a statement of the conclusions at which
they arrive with reference to the matters hereby
remitted to them. The Assembly further authorize
the Committee to report to the present Assembly
such proposed Amendments of the Regulations (if
any) as may appear to them to be urgently needed."
Captain WIMBERLEY, Inverness (Elder), seconded
the motion.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, Edinburgh (Elder), moved
that the Overture be dismissed, and in doing so
took exception to the invariable practice which pre.
vailed at present of selecting for the position of
Moderator of Session during a vacancy the neighbouring
Minister, who might not always be a competent
person. He also favoured the holding of
Congregational meetings during the day instead a
in the evening, so that persons in infirm health
might be able to attend them.
The Rev. Dr JAMIESON, Old Machar, seconded
the amendment.
Lord BALFOUR of BURLEIGH said he had the uncomfortable
feeling that some of them, himself
among the number, had been caught in a trap on
this occasion, and that the trap had been set by Mr
Murray. He had been told by Mr Murray that
the suggestion which he had thrown out would
come up on the next Overture; but he now found
that his friend was going to oppose the appointment
of a Committee to consider the general points,
and that only the one contained in the Overture
from Ayr was to be taken up. He agreed with Mr
Murray that, having got regulations which on the
whole worked well, they should be very careful to
avoid making any general or structural changes
upon them likely to confuse the mind of the Church;
but he hoped the door would be opened somehow to
the consideration of points such as he had indicated.
He thought the Committee to be appointed should
be charged with the duty of keeping a record of all
the points which had caused dispeace and difficulty,
and the manner in which they were disposed of —
whether by the Assembly, the Synod, or the Presbytery
— so that they might have, so to speak, a
handy manual of what was the law and practice of
the Church in these matters. In his opinion, the
large majority of the difficulties that arose in the
selection of Ministers were caused by want of
initial care in getting a Committee thoroughly representative
of the Congregation.
Mr MURRAY explained that it was perfectly open
to Lord Balfour to move that a particular matter
be sent to the Committee; but what he (Mr
Murray) objected to was that the whole Regulations
should be put into the crucible.
Mr J. H. FORSYTH, Inverness (Elder), agreed
that they should not be constantly putting the
Regulations into the melting-pot; but there were
always cases of difficulty arising, and he thought
the Assembly should not rest until they had made
the Regulations as perfect as possible. He therefore
recommended that the Overture should be sent
to a Committee.
The Rev. H. J. WOTHERSPOON, Burnbank, Hamilton,
moved as an amendment: — "The Assembly
recognises and deplores the evils referred to in the
Overture; and instructs any Committee appointed
that they inquire into the operation of the system
of Regulations for election of Ministers adopted by
the Assembly of 1875, and since from time to time
modified, and to report to next Assembly." The
Regulations, he said, had worked in many directions
in a manner most hurtful to the life of the
Church. He specially objected to the present system
of competitive preaching, which travestied
the Ministry of the Word of God, and turned
their Churches into hustings. His desire was
to refer to a powerful Committee, not trifling
changes in the mode of voting, for these were
not causes but effects. They were tumours
which had broken forth on the surface of the
Church's life, and which bore testimony to a deeprooted
disorder and corruption. He did not wish
to see the Church at that time of day exercising any
coercive control over Congregations; but she had
absolute power to stop that evil of which he complained.
She could speak a guiding word to her
people such as she had never hitherto addressed to
them. They were sheep without shepherds in this
matter, and who could blame them if they sometimes
went astray? From the moment that the Church
Court appointed the Moderator of a vacant Parish
until the time when he reported that the Congregation
was ready for the induction of a Minister, the
Church left a hiatus in her Regulations, which were
Regulations planned not to regulate. They had the
Church during that interval winking elaborately,
or like little children with their aprons over their
faces asking if it was time to look. That was not a
dignified position for the Church. He suggested
that the Church should address some words of
Pastoral advice to her young Ministers and her
people in the management of elections.
The Rev. JOHN KERR, Dirleton, seconded the
The Rev. WILLIAM ALLAN, Mochrum, expressed
the hope that Dr Johnston would stand by his
motion. He thought the Regulations should be
shorter and fewer in number, and also be made
clearer, as they were very difficult to understand.
The Rev. THOMAS AITON, Livingston, Linlithgow,
wished to bring before the Assembly the matter of
canvassing in the election of Ministers; but
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, rose to order,
and pointed out that the Regulations did not countenance
canvassing at all.
The Rev. JAMES MURRAY, Kilmalcolm, suggested
as an addition to Dr Johnston's motion that the
Committee be authorised to consult Presbyteries
before bringing up their report to next Assembly.
Dr JOHNSTON accepted Mr Wotherspoon's suggestions.
The third motion was, with the consent of
the House, withdrawn. The vote was taken between
the first motion (Dr Johnston's) and the
second motion (Mr Murray's), when it appeared that
the first Motion was carried by a large majority.
It was remitted to the Committee of Nomination
to bring up the names of a Committee in terms of
the motion carried ; and it was agreed that the
Overture from the Presbytery of Ayr should be
referred to the same Committee.
Mr T. G. MURRAY submitted a Special Report by
the Endowment Committee in regard to the revision
of the model Constitution for quoad sacra Parishes,
and he moved as follows: — "The General Assembly
having had under consideration the Special Report
of the Endowment Committee, remit to the
Delegation Committee, appointed in the Deliverance
on the Endowment Committee Report yesterday,
to revise the Model Deed of Constitution for
Churches and Parishes quoad sacra, instructing them
to alter the existing Model Deed of 1885, so that
the Minister of a new Parish shall not be ex officio
a member of the Committee of Management, but
that the Kirk-Session shall elect three of their own
number members of the Committee of Management
in addition to those elected by the seatholders; and
in the Minister's option, he shall, if he so desires,
be one of the Kirk-Session Representatives; and
providing that at any meeting of the Committee of
Management at which the Minister, being a
Member, is present, he shall be chairman, with a
casting as well as a deliberative vote."
The motion was seconded and agreed to.
Changes were made on the order of business.
The General Assembly adjourned at 5.40 to meet
again at 8.30.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
at 8.30 p.m., and was constituted.
The Rev. A. CAMERON, Sleat, who was accompanied
by the Rev. Mr Dewar, Applecross, appeared
at the bar on behalf of the Synod of Glenelg, asking
that the Assembly should allow that Synod to
change its place of meeting from Kyleakin to
Strome Ferry and Portree alternately, beginning
next year at Strome Ferry.
On the motion of the Rev. DONALD STEWART,
Kilmuir, the application was granted.
The Rev. P. M'ADAM MUIR, Edinburgh, gave in
the Report of the Committee on Correspondence
with Foreign Churches. The Report stated that
the accounts for the year had closed with an available
balance of £352. The grants voted, amounting
in all to £292, included £122 to the Waldensian
Church, £100 to the French Central Society and
Interior Mission, and smaller sums to Religious
Societies in France, Belgium, Geneva, and Prague.
Reference was made to the celebration of the return
of the Waldenses as the most interesting
event of the year. The Church of Scotland was
represented on that occasion by Dr Mitchell of
South Leith, who, it was understood, was the first
Foreign Deputy who had ever addressed the Waldensian
Synod in Italian. The Report went on to
give a favourable report of the work carried on by
the Interior Mission and the Central Society of the
Reformed Church of France and of the Missionary
Christian Church of Belgium. The great loss which
the Reformed Church of France had sustained in
the death of M. Eugene Bersier was sympathetically
referred to. In submitting the Report, Mr M'Adam
Muir incidentally mentioned how very little was
known in many parts of the Continent regarding
the ecclesiastical conditions which prevailed in
Scotland. A German pastor writing home from
this country last year described the Established
Church of Scotland as the Church of the landlords
and of those who could not afford seat rents. Among
other and more correct information the pastor also
stated that Patronage was still maintained in the
Church, and that in the number of its Communicants
it did not come nearly up to the Free Church.
He (Mr Muir) thought that possibly that description
bore internal evidence of its origin. For such
misconception, however, the Church was herself
largely to blame, as her contributions to Foreign
Churches were so small, and as she so seldom
sent deputies to their Synods. So long as this
lasted, Foreign Churches might be pardoned for
thinking the Church of Scotland a small and feeble
institution. In concluding, he appealed for larger
contributions and the outflow of greater sympathy
to the Reformed Churches of the Continent.
The Assembly was afterwards addressed by
Pastor MOURON, of the Evangelical Society of
France; Pastor BROCHER, of the Belgian Missionary
Church; and M. A. H. DE ROUGEMONT,
from the Interior Mission of France.
The Rev. Dr MITCHELL, South Leith, gave an
account of his visit to Italy in September last, on
the occasion of the celebration of the Bicentenary of
the historical event in the Waldensian Church. He
was very glad of the opportunity he had enjoyed of
conveying to the Waldensian Church the hearty
greetings and warmest wishes of the Assembly. In
reference to the interest which was taken in the
Waldensian Church, he mentioned the fact that a
recently deceased member of the Church of Scotland
had left a sum of money to be paid yearly in
aid of the Missions of that Church. It was not a
large sum, but it would form a perpetual link between
that Church and the Church of Scotland. As
to the Waldensians themselves, he did not know
any population among whom there was more sincere,
genuine, and unaffected piety. Their Religion pervaded
their whole life. While they seemed every
year to apply for money, it should be remembered
that they never applied for money for the support
of their own Ministers. It was spent by them in
missionary work in the Evangelisation of Italy, and
they of all the Churches in Italy were, in his view,
best qualified for that work. It was also worthy of
note that the Waldensians had been a most powerful
lever in securing the freedom of Italy. Dr
Mitchell made a warm appeal for increased interest
in the welfare of Italy, as a country to which
Britain had very great obligations, and which, he
hoped and believed, had a great future before it.
The Rev. W. CLARKE, Bangor, Moderator of the
Irish Presbyterian Assembly, next addressed the
Assembly. He said — Mr Moderator, Fathers, and
Brethren, I count myself happy in being the medium
of conveying the filial greetings of the Presbyterian
Church in Ireland to her mother Church
of Scotland. We rejoice that after a season of
estrangement mother and daughter have been reconciled,
and that the relationship which existed before
Disruption days has been re-established, and our
sincere desire is that the causes which led to our
parting company so many years ago may issue in the
same happy result as the quarrels of lovers - namely,
the renewal of love. Long may mother and
daughter continue to cherish mutual esteem, respect,
and good-will. It will not, I venture to assure
you, be the daughter's fault if the friendly intercourse
lately renewed is not continued. Fathers
and Brethren, we are deeply interested in your
spiritual welfare and your temporal prosperity. We
are delighted to see that your Church has put on
her strength and clothed herself with zeal as with
a cloak to cultivate the waste places of your native
land, and to gather into the fold of the Good Shepherd
of the sheep those of your countrymen who
have drifted away from Gospel ordinances, and are
wandering on the bare and barren common of the
world. It is gratifying to us to observe how in
these later years your Church is vindicating her
right to be in reality as in name the Church of
Scotland. Long may she bear the honoured historic
name, and prove by her holy activities that she is
worthy of it. For our part we have no desire to
see her Disendowed and Disestablished. Although
we have no State connection ourselves, we do not
join in the cry, as affecting the Church of Scotland,
"Delenda est Carthago." We are not voluntaries,
for we still believe in the endowment of religion by
the State, and we have no intention of renouncing
our ancestral faith because we have been deprived
of State Endowments. For my friends and
brethren's sakes I'll say, "Long live the Church
of Scotland, which has done so much to make
intelligent, educated, and religious Scotland
what she is." Palmam ferat meruit. Fathers
and Brethren, if you will bear with pardonable
egotism, I shall speak of ourselves, and in doing so
shall endeavour to tell you how we are and how we
do. For several years there has been a violent
political shaking of our poor distracted country;
but notwithstanding the tornado which has swept
over it we have not been paralysed nor hindered in
our work as a Church. The whole land has been
open to us, and open as it never was before. In not
a solitary instance has any of our Ministers been
unkindly treated when attending to pastoral work,
and our Colporteurs, who have traversed the whole
island without let or hindrance, declare that they
have freer access to the hearts and homes of our
countrymen than at any previous period of our
history. The good hand of God is upon us for
good, and His blessing is resting on our work. The
little hardy Scottish exotic planted in our soil by
wise and loving Scotsmen over two hundred
years ago has grown so well that its boughs give
promise of one day filling all the land. The first
Congregation formed at Carrickfergus has multiplied
six hundredfold; the first Presbytery has grown into,
thirty-six. Whereas we were then, like the conies,
a feeble folk, we are now strong with all the vigour
of manhood and the consciousness of numbers and
success. At the present time we are busily engaged
in making preparation for celebrating in July next
the Jubilee of the formation of the General Assembly
of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland by the union
of the two Synods — of Ulster and the Secession.
Before the Union we had not a single Missionary
either in the foreign or the Jewish field; now we
have fourteen in India and China, and five to the
Jews on the Continent of Europe and in Syria.
We have our Colonial Mission ministering to the
wants of our people who have gone to the colonies
and dependencies of the Empire; and our Continental
Mission, which extends a helping hand to
Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, and Spain.
Last year our people contributed £168,000 for
Church purposes, and since 1874 they have laid the
handsome gift of £3,600,000 on God's altar, exclusive
of what has been raised for the building of
new Churches and Manses and the renovation
and repairs of old ones. I should like, but
for my desire not to unduly encroach upon your
time, to advert to some of the difficulties with which
we are grappling. With one of these you are yourselves
familiar, and can therefore all the more
heartily sympathise with us, and correctly estimate
its magnitude. I refer to the indifferentism of large
numbers of the working classes, and the formalism
and hollow-hearted religion of not a few of those
above them in the social scale. We are in open
conflict with the ever vigorous and vigilant Church
of Rome on the Ecclesiastical and Educational arena.
The former is carried on uninterruptedly, but the
latter is intermittent. And, as it has lately
assumed a new phase, I would like to say a few
words about it in order to enlist your sympathies
and engage your friendly services against the time
of our greatest need — I mean when the battle will
be fought out in the House of Commons. For long
years we have carried on this conflict. From the
day, I might almost say, when the system of
National Education was given to our country by
the late Lord Derby, we have resisted with varying
degrees of success the efforts of the hierarchy of the
Church of Rome to secure a sectarian and purely
denominational system which should supplant the
present non-sectarian and non-denominational
system, which has been like the leaves of the tree of
life for the healing of the sectarian wounds and
bruises of our distracted country. But, unhappily,
we have not succeeded to the extent we would wish.
Despite our most strenuous endeavours the bishops
and priests of the Latin Church have all but succeeded
in denominationalising primary and intermediate
education, and, growing confident by the
success they have hitherto achieved, they are clamouring
and working for the establishment of a purely
denominational university or college, to be amply
endowed and fully equipped by the British Government.
With a display of seeming liberality and
even-handed justice they propose that in return for
the boon they seek the Belfast Queen's College
should be handed over to the Presbyterians, because
they think it is a Presbyterian College. This proposal
has a show of fairness about it, but when
weighed in the balance it will be found wanting. It
covertly assumes that the proposed Roman Catholic
College and the Belfast Queen's College as a Presbyterian
institution would be placed on exactly the
same footing. But this way of putting the case is
altogether misleading. The existing system of education
in the Queen's Colleges is by no means sectarian
or denominational, as they afford to all classes and
denominations, without any distinction of religious
creed whatsoever, an opportunity for pursuing a
regular and liberal course of education. Every
Professor is prohibited from giving in his class room
any sectarian or denominational instruction — nay,
he pledges himself at his installation to his office to
carefully abstain from teaching or advancing any
doctrine or making any statement derogatory to the
truth of revealed Religion or disrespectful or injurious
to the religious convictions of any portion
of his class or audience. The education imparted
in the Queen's Colleges is, by the very nature of
their constitution, unsectarian and undenominational.
It was because it was unsectarian and
undenominational that the Colleges were called
"Godless" by the parties who are now clamouring
for a denominational system. Mark the contrast
between the system asked for by the hierarchy and
the system existing in the Queen's Colleges: - 1. The
governing body in these colleges consists of different
denominations ; the governing body in the proposed
Roman Catholic college would consist of Roman
Catholics exclusively. 2. The Professors in the
Queen's Colleges belong to different denominations ;
the Professors in the proposed college would be all
Roman Catholics, seeing that the hierarchy demand
that the teaching of Catholics shall be altogether in
the hands of Catholics. 3. The Queen's Colleges
are intended to be for the education of all classes
and denominations, without any distinction of
religious creeds. The proposed Roman Catholic
college is intended to be for the education of
Catholics solely. In the Queen's Colleges the teaching
of the Professors must be in all subjects free
from any denominational tinge, and no denominational
emblems are to be exhibited in the class-rooms,
whereas in the proposed college for Roman Catholics,
history, mental and moral philosophy, law, and
other subjects having a special bearing on religion,
will be treated in a denominational sense, and
denominational emblems will be used. In the
Queen's College, Belfast, Presbyterians have no
rights or privileges that are not common to all other
denominations, and the only ground our opponents
have for calling it a Presbyterian College is that the
members of that creed are more numerous than those
of any other in Belfast and neighbourhood. So far from
Presbyterians having any pre-eminence over others
as to offices or emoluments in connection with Belfast
College, they have much less than their fair
share of such offices, only seven Professors out of
eighteen being Presbyterians, and in the Arts
department only three out of nine being Presbyterians.
In Galway College, where nearly half the
students are Presbyterians, only two of the Professors
belong to that faith, and in Cork there is not
a solitary Presbyterian Professor. The only Presbyterian
College in Ireland having a literary and
scientific department is Magee College, Londonderry,
which had last year seventy-one matriculated
students, and which, like the Catholic University,
is under the control of one denomination, and is a
College of the Royal University of Ireland. There
is this very marked difference between them, that,
whereas sixteen Professors of the Catholic University
College are Fellows or Teaching Examiners of the
Royal University, and receive from the State £6400
annually, only one Professor of Magee College is a
Fellow of the Royal University, and receives £400
per annum. Fathers and Brethren, I have detained
you too long, but not longer, I hope, than the
importance of my subject justified. I have not
been able to do more than to touch the fringe of it.
If the conscience clause, which is our only safeguard
at present, is removed, our whole Educational System
will be revolutionised, and our primary, intermediate,
and higher education will become purely
denominational; sectarian differences, sufficiently
pronounced already, will be accentuated; the
different denominations will become more and more
denominational as the years roll by, and will oppose
each other with more rancour, and the last state of
ill-fated Ireland will be worse than the first. We
deprecate the ceaseless aggression of the Church of
Rome, and her persistent efforts to gain unfettered
control of the education of the children and youth of
the country; and, therefore, we invoke your aid in
our endeavour to prevent the British Government
from yielding to her demands, because we believe
she has no grievance that we have not in common
with her, and that the changes which she seeks to
effect would be prejudicial to the best interests of
our common country. We strive not for ascendency,
but for equality and fair play, and therefore do we
all the more confidently claim your help. Brethren,
withhold it not. Giff gaff, you say in Scotland,
makes good friends. The day may come when we
in your calamities shall pray to God for you.
The Rev. SAMUEL PRENTER, M.A., Dublin, said
— Moderator, Fathers, and Brethren of the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland, I shall not
detain your Venerable House many minutes in
discharging the duties which devolve upon me
to-night. I conceive these duties are mainly twofold
— first, to express the love and loyalty which
your Irish daughter still cherishes for you; and
secondly, to describe in a few sentences the position
and prospects of the Irish Presbyterian Church,
and to bespeak for her afresh the sympathies and
love of the Scottish mother. I feel to-night very
much like a man born abroad who has returned on
a brief pilgrimage to the home of his ancestors. A
dream of life has been realised. I thank God that
the dear home still stands. It is not a deserted
and venerable ruin. It is a home still, strong in
life, strong in hope, strong in position and prospects,
as well as strong in its glorious history.
Thank God for that. Therefore I do not come here
to weep. I come to rejoice. I love the history of
the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. I love the
imperishable achievements of the past which have
filled the world with fame. I love the sepulchres
of our fathers. I love the vigorous children whom
you have sent out into life all over the world. I
love the men who now occupy the ancestral seat:
the theologians, scholars, preachers, and statesmen
who to-day direct the destinies and maintain the
honour of the parent Church. I believe it is a fact
that the Church of Scotland never in all her
history was more worthy to be loved than at the
present moment. God has sent her a period of
progress and prosperity. He has placed her in a
position of complete ecclesiastical freedom. He has
manned her ramparts with a race of watchmen and
warriors, as vigilant and as brave as ever adorned
her history. He has rooted her in the affections
and good-will of the Scottish people more widely
and deeply than ever. Throughout the world
Presbyterians who speak the mother speech turn to
her with loyalty and admiration. It is not too
strong a way of putting it to say that God has
granted to you in the present generation a great
revival of spiritual and intellectual life, and with
that revival there has sprung up in the Presbyterian
Churches of the world a corresponding revival of
esteem, and love, and regard. Nowhere has that
revival of love towards you been more genuine
than in Ireland. I state a fact when I say
that throughout the length and breadth of our
Irish Church to-day the name of the Established
Church of Scotland has taken a fresh hold upon
the heart and on the convictions of our people.
I believe that that circumstance is due not to
any political bias or mere ecclesiastical consideration.
But it arises from the belief that you are
ringing true to the great Reformation principles and
Pauline theology with which your history has been
interlaced in the past. You combine breadth with
depth; you reconcile freedom with order; you
unite orthodoxy with progress; you carry veneration
for the past into the enthusiasm of the present;
you link a beautiful ritual with a perfervid spirit;
you weave together light and heat; you cultivate
at once a noble type of Christian character and the
energies of the Christian Missionary; you are able
to preserve a just equilibrium and balance amidst
the forces of advanced Christian scholarship which,
I take leave to say, is the admiration of all that is
best in the Presbyterianism of the world. Your
Irish daughter then has good reason for loving you.
She loves not only with the natural instinct and
devotion of the child, but with the complacency and
admiration of a matured reason. One other word
on this subject and I pass on. We in Ireland have
heard with the deepest concern that the Church of
Scotland is threatened with the attentions of a great
politician, who is famous according as he has lifted
up axes on the thick trees. He says that Scotland
has now with sufficient clearness signified her desire
that he should level to the ground her historic
national Church ; and that accordingly he is ready
to enter upon the work of Disestablishment. I do
not doubt the perfect readiness of that politician —
at present out of employment — to bargain for this
or any other undertaking that might restore him to
power. But I do most sincerely question his interpretation
of the mind of Scotland in reference to
her own national Church. This Reformed Church
was built on solid Scriptural foundations. The
Crown rights of the Redeemer have been most
jealously guarded by her in early times when others
entered upon perilous compromises. She has kept
herself free from Sacerdotalism, and has ministered
to the wants of the people. More than any other
institution she has made Presbyterianism what it is
to-day throughout the world, and moulded the Scottish
people into the freest and most religions people
on the face of the earth. Even the two other Presbyterian
Churches of Scotland are to-day what they
are because of your productive energy. The Erskines
in the last century founded the Secession Church.
But who trained and made the Erskines? Chalmers
led the Disruption in 1843. But who produced and
educated Chalmers? The Erskines and Chalmers
both drank their inspiration at the wells of your
spiritual life. And it is as true as anything can be
that if there had been no national Church of Scotland,
with her free, strong, pure Gospel life, there
would not exist to-day either a Free or a United
Presbyterian Church. Why should that Church
now be handed over to the axe of the politician?
In degrading her you promote no good object, and
you wound Presbyterianism, not only in Scotland,
but throughout the world. The Scottish nation,
however, has not given the mandate, and we cherish
the hope that it will never do so — that some way
may be discovered for adjusting conflicting Ecclesiastical
claims and conserving Presbyterian energies
in Scotland other than the delirious one of destroying
the Church which is rooted most deeply in Scottish
history and is regarded with filial affection by so
many of the scattered Presbyterian Churches of the
world. I now ask the indulgence of this House while I
attempt to tell you something of the fortunes of the
Church to which I have the honour to belong. It
is sometimes forgotten that Ireland has a religious
problem, and that the religious problem is most
probably the kernel of the political. With your
permission I want to tell you a little of that religious
problem. In the first place, you are not to
imagine that Romanism in Ireland is on the decline.
I affirm, without fear of refutation, that
Romanism as a system never was so strong in Ireland,
so hopeful and so ambitious as it is at the
present moment. It is educated, organised, ably
manned, and, above all, it is throughout the country
almost perfectly identified with nationalism.
In the second place, you are not to imagine that
Protestantism is on the decline. On the contrary,
it is progressive, aggressive, and hopeful. You are
aware of the two strands into which Irish Protestantism
is almost equally divided — the English and
the Scottish, the Episcopalian and the Presbyterian.
It is a fact that in all that constitutes true Church
power both are growing. The Methodists, also,
who are a very earnest Church in Ireland, are advancing.
Apply any test you please to the Presbyterian
Church — statistical, moral, spiritual — and you
will conclude that she is a healthy, sound, living
Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Her Ministers
never were better educated or more laborious.
Her people never were more united and compacted.
She never more clearly realised what was the character
of her mission in Ireland. What I say of the
Presbyterian Church is, I believe, true of both the
Episcopalian and Methodist. Therefore, I am of
opinion that Irish Protestantism as a religious
force never was in a sounder or more vigorous condition
than at present. A third fact is of importance.
The various sections of Irish Protestantism
were never on more cordial or friendly terms with
one another. There are here and there outbreaks
of Ritualism, but I believe they are sporadic.
Irish Protestantism in all its sections is truly and
vitally evangelical. Every year is seeing them approach
more closely to one another. The spirit of
union is in the air. There is co-operation, and a
desire for unity; and that unity will come — not in
our time, perhaps, but our children will see it.
And now I come to the last fact, which I shall put
in the form of a question — What are the relations
between Romanism and Protestantism in Ireland?
I answer frankly, they are not now nearly so
strained as they were a few years ago. Seven years
ago Ireland was in the crisis of a political agony.
During the last two years the acuteness of the crisis
has disappeared. You could easily restore it if you
tried; you can easily avert it also, if you try.
There is one word which will kindle the fires of religious
animosity and wrap Ireland in a blaze, and
that is the word "ascendancy." Put either adjective
before it — Protestant or Romanist — it matters
not which — it will act like a spark to gunpowder.
There is one other word which will establish
concord and perpetuate peace. It is the word
"equality"; and if that can be maintained, then in
Ireland there will be a future of progress and prosperity.
Ireland is to be saved, not by politics, but
by the grace of God. It is the belief of many that
we are on the eve of great events in that most interesting
and delightful of islands. Amongst
Roman Catholics there is a wide-spread dissatisfaction
with the empty sacerdotalism of their Church.
They are educated; but they hate Protestantism
with a concentrated and a revengeful hatred. God
knows they have had good reason for so doing
in the past. The veil is upon their hearts still.
But by innumerable agencies the Word of God
is being scattered amongst the homes of the people.
They are reading that Word. I do not expect that
Irish Roman Catholics will ever in large numbers
enter the communion of any of our existing Protestant
Churches, but I do expect that Jesus will
reveal Himself to the Irish people, and that they
will form an Evangelical. Church of their own
which will accurately express and embody the enthusiasm
and love and devotion of the Irish heart.
You sent Patrick over to Ireland to convert us.
We sent Columba to Scotland to convert you. In
the time to come the Church of Patrick and the
Church of Columba will see eye to eye, and
unite into one their characteristic enthusiasm and
Mr JAMES MORELL said — Moderator and Friends,
I feel much pleasure in being privileged as a deputy
from the Irish Presbyterian Church in appearing
before this Assembly, and in bringing with me, as
I do, from my old Church at home a message full
of brotherly kindness and best good wishes towards
you and yours. We are a small Church in Ireland
and a poor one, but not a feeble one. We are very
dogged and persistent, we hold on to our work, and,
with the blessing of God, we are getting on fairly
well. Much of our Church work may be expected
to be a good deal uphill, for, as you know, sir, our
poor country is in a state of much civil and social
unrest. Looking at our Church work around, I
think I may say it is in a fairly forward state. I
will not trouble you, sir, with many statistics; for
figures, though they may be facts, are often, in unskilled
hands like my own, uninteresting and misleading.
Besides, sir, I have not got any to give you,
a reason, whatever the Scots may think about it,
which satisfies us in Ireland. Our home schemes are
many and various. Indeed, I am afraid we have
too much work on hand. God in His goodness is
opening up to us many doors of usefulness, and in
our anxiety to overtake the work we sometimes go
in not properly equipped, and we have to come out,
if not utterly discomfited, at least discouraged, and
not with that amount of success that we might
otherwise have looked for. Many of our schemes,
notwithstanding, are doing well. Our Sabbath--
school Society is a fine institution and doing noble
work. There are now somewhere about 1000 schools
in Ireland, 10,000 teachers, and over 80,000 scholars,
a goodly number, considering our reduced population.
But the noblest and by far the most successful
of our Church schemes is our fine Orphan
Society. It stands head and shoulders above all
others. From the very first it took with the hearts
of the people, and when, sir, you reach the hearts
— and I suppose it is the same in Scotland — you are
within measureable distance of their pockets, an end
much to be wished for. The society has gathered
around it an amount of sympathy and support
which none of our other schemes has attained. This
is no doubt mainly attributable to the good cause
itself, but unquestionably much of its success is also
due to its Convener, the Rev. Dr Johnston, of
Belfast — or rather, I should say, to its Conveners,
for the doctor is a wise man, and, knowing the
worth of his good wife, he has associated her with
him, and those two true, loyal servants of God, in
season and out of season, in health, and I am sorry
to say, too often out of health, with busy brains,
ready pens, and loving hearts, are ever at work
in carrying on the labour of love, and God the
Father of the orphan and widow is abundantly
blessing their work. Against intemperance, the
great curse of our country — the curse of all
countries, but somehow I think it has a special
liking for Ireland, or the Irish may have a
special liking for it - against it we are fighting
strongly, and will continue to fight to the bitter end.
In this work we are getting much encouragement
from our Roman Catholic friends. The Roman
Catholic Church has got some hard hits to-night,
but it is only right to give everyone, no matter what
his colour may be, his due. This is the centenary
of the great apostle of temperance, Father Mathew,
and right worthily the Roman Catholic Church is
celebrating it. Bishops and Priests are taking off
their coats and going to the work with a will.
Lately two of the leading Archbishops had issued
Pastorals to the clergy of their Dioceses. In these
Pastorals the Clergy are enjoined to establish temperance
societies in each of their Parishes, and they
are to set their faces as flint against the drinking
customs that prevail at Funerals and Marriages,
Baptisms and fairs, and markets; all very drouthy
occasions. All this, sir, looks bright and hopeful.
And now, in closing, what shall I say of our Sustentation
Scheme, the backbone of our Church
structure, upon the success of which, under God, the
very existence of our Church depends? While, sir,
I cannot, I am sorry to say, speak of it so hopefully,
it is dragging its slow length along, sometimes
uphill, but oftener downhill. At first it made a
firm rush up the hill, and we had hoped it would
have reached the standard aimed at — £30,000 a
year — but it never did reach that amount, and for
years past it has, with an occasional spurt up, been
coming down, and now the barometer stands (I
believe, Mr Clarke) at £22,000 or thereabouts. We
hope this is low-water mark with it. Lately the
Church has appointed a very able Convener, the
Rev. Dr Whigham, a gentleman of untiring energy,
of much tact and Christian courtesy, and, what is
rare in Ireland, a man of good common sense, in
whose hands the exercise of authority, while effective,
will never be offensive. As the Doctor has
now his strong shoulders to the wheel, we hope he
will get the machine uphill again. Many changes,
sir, during late years have come over our country.
Not so very long ago much literary darkness hung
on the land ; now there is no lack of light and
learning. We have our Universities, Queen's Colleges,
our own fine College of Magee, the Intermediate
system of education; while, above and
beyond these, we have our fine system of National
education. As I have been for many years officially
connected with that system, I can say from personal
knowledge that with all its drawbacks, it is a great
boon to our country and a great blessing to our
Church. It is a great network spread over the
entire country. There is not a nook or corner in
Ireland in which a National School is not to be
found. The old hedge school has died out, and
the Church education schools are fast disappearing.
Of the 5,000,000 of our reduced population over
1,000,000 of pupils are on the roll of our schools.
Of Presbyterians, between 100,000 and 120,000 and
the educational results as returned in the Blue--
Book submitted to Parliament can stand comparison
with those in England, Scotland, and Wales,
and in all the schools under Presbyterian management
and in many others daily instruction in Bible
or Catechism is given to the pupils of our Church.
In the South and West, where there are but few
scattered Presbyterian families, the conscience clause
in the Board rules guarantees that the faith of the
pupil will not be tampered with. In the entire
history of the system there has never been an
instance of proselytism carried out in any of the
National schools. But, Moderator, in all seriousness
and sorrow, I must say a heavy cloud is resting
over our poor country, heavier than ever hung over
your noble Scotch mountains and valleys. But, sir,
we are in no way disheartened. We fear nae ill.
The foundation of God standeth sure. Our Church
has troubles without, but there is peace within.
Every one of her timbers is sound from stem to
stern, and in all time of trouble we can lift our eye
to the hills, and we know that God in the midst of
our darkness will lift upon us the light of His
countenance, and He will make all those things,
whether they may be civil, social, political, or
ecclesiastical, what we think to be against us and
crushing us to the wall — He will make them all, if
we only let Him and trust Him and love Him,
work together for His own glory and for our good
and the good of our country, and the work of our
hand, the little it be, He will, in His own good
time, extend and establish.
Mr COLIN G. MACRAE, Edinburgh (Elder) moved
the following Deliverance: — "The General Assembly
receive the Report, and re-appoint the Committee
with the usual powers — the Rev. P. M'Adam
Muir, Convener. The General Assembly are gratified
by the assurance given as to the progress of those
Churches and Societies which the Church of Scotland
has been privileged to aid, and they instruct
the Committee to take advantage of every fitting
opportunity of expressing the warm regard of the
Church for the other Churches of the Reformation.
The General Assembly have heard with lively satisfaction
the Report which Continental Deputies have
given of work done by their several Communions.
The General Assembly desire to express special
gratification at again receiving a Deputation from
the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and would
assure them of continued sympathy and regard.
The General Assembly remit to the Joint-Committee
to arrange a suitable day for the biennial collection
for the funds of the Committee."
The Rev. D. CAMPBELL, Rosemount, seconded the
motion. With others who had spoken, he felt the
incongruity of receiving Irish deputies under the
cover of a Committee on correspondence with Foreign
Churches, but begged to assure them that there was no
political significance in the conjunction. The Church
of Scotland was bound to the Irish Presbyterian
Church not only by ties of faith but by ties of kindred
— they were blood relations. With regard to
the other Churches mentioned in the Report, though
there might be no tie of blood, there had been a
giving and getting between them for long. One
link consisted in the contributions of the Committee,
though he could hardly venture to call these Golden
links. Gold could be beaten thin, drawn fine,
but it would be a very slender thread indeed that
would be got to stretch from the Castle Rock to
Prague out of fifteen sovereigns. The £100 given
to France was a more substantial cable, but even in
this case an attenuating process was going on,
double the amount having been formerly given.
After some remarks as to the needs and prospects
of the reformed Church in France, he went on to
speak of the debit side of the account. They had
given something to these Foreign Churches, but
they had got more than they gave. Not a few Scottish
Ministers owe inspiration to the leaders of their
thought. The names of Godet and Naville, of
Monod, De Pressensé and Bersier were familiar
names in many a Scottish manse. He never had
had the opportunity of hearing Bersier on one of
those great occasions which led to his being ranked
among the foremost orators of France, but he had
often heard him address meetings in connection
with the M'All Mission. He considered it was a
tribute alike to the esteem with which that Mission
and its Founder were regarded by the leaders of the
French Church as well as to Bersier's self-denying
labour when he mentioned that Bersier was
accustomed every Monday evening to place his
services at the disposal of Mr M'All. All
would feel that for one of the foremost orators of
France, with enormous claims on his time, to tie
himself down to conduct a Mission meeting every
week was most significant. It had often been said
that Norman M'Leod was seen at his best addressing
working men. Very much the same might be said
of Bersier. But many in the Church of Scotland
were linked to the Churches of Italy, Switzerland,
and France who never read a line of Godet or
Bersier. They might have forgotten dates and even
names, but they were conscious that the story of the
conflicts and persecutions of the Vaudois and the
Huguenots had gone to the making and moulding
of what was most strenuous and robust in their
religious life. As to the collection, he hoped it
would be granted cheerfully, that indeed every
collection asked for this year would be granted by
the Assembly. When the King of Babylon besieged
Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah bought a field in
Anathoth as a sign and token of his belief that the
evil days would pass and that God would deliver his
people. He hoped that the Church of Scotland would
show a like confidence in the issue of the struggle before
her by responding heartily and hopefully to whatever
calls might be made upon her not only for maintaining
but extending her work at home and abroad.
The Moderator, at the request of the House,
conveyed the thanks of the General Assembly to
the various Deputies for their addresses.
The General Assembly adjourned at 11.50 P.M.,
to meet to-morrow at 11 A.M.
FRIDAY, 30th May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment
and was constituted.
The minutes of last sederunt being in the hands
of members were held as read and were approved of.
Leave was granted to the Committee on Overtures
to meet to-day during the sitting of the Assembly.
Thereafter the Report of the Committee
was given in and approved of.
The Committee of Nomination proposed the following
as a Committee for the purposes referred to
in the Overtures on the election and admission of
Ministers — Rev. Dr Dykes, Convener; Rev. Dr
Johnston, Vice-Convener; The Procurator, James
Wallace, Esq., Rev. Dr Charteris, Rev. Dr Scott,
Rev. J. C. Carrick, Sir Alexander Kinloch, Rev. Dr
Gloag, W. H. Dunlop, Esq., Rev. J. Smith, Aberdeen,
J. G. Baird Hay, Esq., Rev. Theodore
Marshall, Sheriff Cheyne, Bailie Shearer, Sir John
N. Cuthbertson, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Rev. Dr
Mair, Rev. H. T. Wotherspoon, Rev. T. B. W.
Niven, Rev. Dr Jamieson, Rev. M. P. Johnston, F.
W. Allan, Esq., Captain Wimberley, Professor
Scott Lang, Rev. Dr Story, Rev. Dr Watt, Rev. Mr
Murray, Calton.
The General Assembly called for the Reports of
Visitors of Synod Books. The following were given
in and approved of: — Perth and Stirling, Glasgow
and Ayr, Fife, Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland,
Argyll, Aberdeen, Lothian and Tweeddale, Ross,
Angus and Mearns, Moray. The General Assembly
ordered these Records to be attested in the usual
form. The General Assembly called for the Report
of the Committee to Revise the Records of the
Commission, and of the Royal Bounty Committee,
which was given in by Mr James Grant, Convener.
The Report was agreed to, and the Records ordered
to be attested in the usual way.
Mr T. G. MURRAY gave in the Report of the
Committee on Patronage Compensation, from which
it appeared that there was a slight increase both in
the number of Parishes collecting and the amount
collected. In 1888, 611 Parishes and Churches collected,
as against 617 in 1889, while the amount collected
was £1262 in 1888, as compared with £1282
last year. The Committee by special subscriptions
were able to start the current year clear, but they
could not, in the first instance, pay more than one--
half of the deductions for the year until the result
of the Church collections for the year was known.
The total number of Parishes for which compensation
was claimed in 1874 was 242, and of these 139
were now off the roll. The Committee reiterated
the hope that the regular income of the fund from
Parish collections might be somewhat increased, so
as to enable them to meet the annual repayments of
each year as they occurred. Mr Murray then
moved the following deliverance: — "The General
Assembly receive the Report, thank the Committee,
and renew the order of previous Assemblies enjoining
a collection for the Fund to be made throughout
all the Churches within the bounds. The General
Assembly again specially enjoin each Minister to
give his congregation an opportunity of contributing.
The General Assembly are pleased to learn that,
through the exertions of the Committee, all arrears
up to and including the deductions of 1889 have been
met, and they trust that increased collections may
enable the Committee to meet all future claims
without falling into arrears. The General Assembly
reappoint the Committee with power to add to their
number — Mr T. G. Murray, Convener." They had
now, he said, got through about one-half of the
claims. The yearly demand, however, did not
diminish in the same ratio, because, though the
number of claims became less year by year, the
ages of the Claimants became greater. If Ministers
really gave their people an opportunity of contributing
to the fund, he thought they would be able
to meet all the claims.
Mr C. M. P. BURN, Prestonfield (Elder), seconding
the motion, said nothing could have tended more to
make the Church the Church of the poor than the
abolition of patronage, and he thought they would
concur with him that this debt was one they
would like to see wiped off as speedily as possible.
At the time of the passing of the Abolition of
Patronage Act it had been said by the then Lord
Advocate that the opponents of patronage were the
opponents of all Establishments, and the necessity
for clearing off the debt of the Committee was the
greater at a time when the enemies of their Establishment
were bestirring themselves, and when one
of their leading statesmen was labouring under the
delusion that he was a divine person who expected
in a couple of hours to overthrow the fabric of centuries.

The motion was agreed to.
The Rev. WILLIAM DOBIE, Ladykirk, submitted
the Report of the Committee on Correspondence with
the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in England,
which stated that the Committee had directed the
attention of the Church of Scotland to the Synod's
scheme for establishing a fund on behalf of the Aged
and Infirm Ministers in connection with the Synod.
The Committee were deeply impressed with the
necessity of maintaining a more intimate relationship
between the Ministers of the Church of Scotland
and their brethren of the Synod in England
than had subsisted for some time past. In addition
to a system of inter-communication - by which Deputies
would be sent to any Congregations that
might wish for them to help at Communion seasons,
or to conduct special services — the Committee recommended
that a Deputation should be appointed
to visit the Synod of the Scottish Church in England
on the occasion of its Annual Meeting. Funds were
asked to enable the Committee to carry out its
suggestions, and for this purpose the General Assembly
was recommended to appoint a Collection to
be taken throughout the Church. In submitting
the Report, Mr Dobie mentioned that the result of
the special appeal made by the Committee last year
for funds had been more than consumed by the cost
of the circular sent out.
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN, Pollokshields, introduced
the deputies from the Synod — viz., the Rev.
P. II. Aitken, Dulwich, Moderator; the Rev. James
Hamilton, Liverpool; the Rev. M. C. Fraser, Newcastle;
and Messrs J. Linton, Liverpool; J. Gerard
Laing, London; and John Potter, London — elders.
The Rev. P. H. AITKEN, in addressing the
Assembly, said the destinies of the Church of Scotland
were to a great extent at the mercy of the
Londoners, and their legislators, who lived there
for the most part, took their cue from the opinion
found in London. They would be none the worse
therefore, of a few Congregations such as that presided
over by Dr Donald M'Leod, in the West End,
for if they had twenty or thirty such Churches over
the great City, an influence would be exercised both
directly and immediately upon the legislators which
would be very much to their help at that time.
Mr J. GERARD LAING, who next spoke, said if in
the coming struggle they could not fight side by side
with their friends in Scotland, they could hold the
outposts in London and the great cities in England,
and they could show by their actions that they in
Scotland had no sons of the Church more true or
more loyal than those whom the deputation represented.

Mr ARTHUR ROBERTSON, Secretary of the Caledonian
Christian Club, London, afterwards addressed
the House. He said that it had long been
felt by the Churches in London that many young
men and women from Scotland going to London
were lost to the Churches from lack of a Scottish
Club there. The Caledonian Christian Club, Southampton
Street, Bloomsbury, was an institution
where all young men and women from Scotland
were heartily welcomed, lodged, directed, and
helped in securing situations, and as soon as possible
associated with some of our Churches. The
Club was a most valuable link between the Churches
and friends in Scotland and the Churches in England.
The Club was most attractive. It was decidedly
Scottish and decidedly unsectarian and non-political.
Mr Robertson asked for the co-operation of the
Churches in making the Club known.
The Rev. Mr NIVEN moved the following Deliverance:
— "The General Assembly receive the
Report of the Committee, return thanks for their
diligence, and reappoint them with the usual
powers; Mr T. B. W. Niven and Mr William
Dobie to be Joint-Conveners. The General Assembly
approve of the means taken by the Committee
to awaken an interest in the Scheme for
raising a fund in aid of the aged and infirm Ministers
of the Synod in England, and of new commend
the said Scheme to the sympathies of the Church.
The General Assembly approve of the suggestion
of the Committee that a close relationship should
be maintained with the Brethren in England, and
instruct them to take all available measures to promote
such close relationship by sending deputies to
visit the Congregations who may desire to receive
them, and by such other means as to the Committee
shall seem right. The General Assembly are
gratified to learn that, in the opinion of the Committee,
the usefulness of the Church in England is
capable of being increased, and will gladly receive
such suggestions in this direction as may be made
at some future time. They recognise also the hindrance
to that usefulness in the present inadequate
incomes of the Clergy, and record their readiness to
consider any suggestion upon the subject which
may hereafter be preferred. The General Assembly
appoint the following deputation to the next
meeting of the Scottish Synod in England: The
Moderator, the Joint-Conveners, Professor Story,
Lord Balfour, Mr J. A. Campbell, M.P. Finally,
in respect the work of the Committee cannot be
carried on without adequate funds being placed at
their disposal, the General Assembly agree to appoint
that a collection be made on their behalf
throughout the bounds of the Church on such a day
as shall be fixed by the Joint-Committee on the
Schemes." He thought something in the way of
endowment might be done for the smaller Congregations
of the Synod, as it was not creditable that
poor Churches in England should be allowed to
struggle on without the aid which, with very little
effort, the great Church of Scotland could give
Mr J. A. CAMPBELL, M.P. (Elder), who seconded
the motion, gave testimony to the work which the
Church which the deputation represented was doing
in England.
The Deliverance was adopted, and the MODERATOR
expressed to the deputation the interest and sympathy
which the Church of Scotland had in their
operations and welfare.
The Rev. Dr BARRY laid on the table of the
House the Report of the Committee on Small
Livings. The Committee reported that 316 grants
had been voted. The total sum distributed
amounted to £8476, being an increase over the
former year of £408. Of this sum £4179 was contributed
by the Assembly's Committee, and £4297
by the Church of Scotland Association for augmenting
the smaller livings of the Clergy. The
joint income of the Committee and the Association
at present available for distribution in July next
was £245 more than it was at the corresponding
period of last year. The Committee had received
notice that a sum of £2000 has been bequeathed to
the Small Livings Scheme by the late Mr James
Taylor, of Starleyhall. In acknowledging with
gratitude this most acceptable gift, the Committee
could not help remarking that the amount of money
accruing to the Small Livings Fund from legacies
had hitherto been comparatively small. The Committee
proposed to apply this sum to the object of
the New Branch of the Small Livings Fund. This
New Branch of the Small Livings Fund, which was
the joint creation of your Committee and the Committee
of the Association, and which was instituted
for the purpose of securing the permanent augmentation
of Small Livings, had been successfully
started. Subscriptions to the New Branch, intimated
up to date, amounted to £11,622, of which
£1560 was subscribed by Ministers. Subscriptions
paid in whole or in part up to date, amounted to
£3163. The larger part of these subscriptions was
given on the footing of so much to each of the first
fifty Parishes which should avail themselves of the
terms offered. In this way there was at present a
sum of £178 available for each of five Parishes
annually for ten years. The subscriptions, which
are unconditional, and distributable at the pleasure
of the Joint-Committee, amounted at present to
£2349. The object and methods of this new effort
towards supplementary endowment were brought
by the Convener under the notice of the Trustees of
the Baird Fund, and after conference and correspondence
he was informed that "the trustees approve of
the scheme, and are disposed to consider favourably
every case which has received the promise of a grant
from your Committee." That the movement has to
this extent secured the approval and assistance of the
Trustees would in no small measure promote its
success. In connection with the New Branch, a
circular and schedule of application were sent to
the Minister of every Small Living Parish, to
which upwards of forty replies had been returned;
and it was estimated that there are at least twenty
Parishes in which steps will be taken without delay
to raise local contributions with a view to take advantage
of the New Branch. Your Committee had
again been called upon to consider, as they had previously
had occasion to do, whether they could
recommend the General Assembly to remove or
modify the resolution adopted by the General
Assembly of 1883, in virtue of which Small Living
Parishes, erected and endowed since 1881, were excluded
from participation in the annual distribution
of grants. So far as the Committee had been able
to ascertain, it appears that out of 58 Parishes
erected and endowed since 1881, there are 32 in the
position of Small Livings. While desirous to meet
the wishes of those who objected to a resolution,
which the circumstances of the case appeared to the
General Assembly to render necessary, the Committee
could not recommend that in the present
state of the funds any large number of Parishes
should be taken in hand at once, or in any one
year ; and they begged to suggest that, if the
General Assembly should be disposed to alter the
resolution referred to, it might be to the effect of
allowing the Joint-Committee of Distribution to deal
with six of such new Parishes, in the order of their
erection, annually, until the number at present in
existence be exhausted, and thereafter to take on
not more than three new Parishes in any one year.
The Committee in offering this suggestion, had in
view that it is desirable to remove, as far as possible,
any cause of friction or dissatisfaction which
might now exist, and which pro tanto might interfere
with the success of the scheme; that under the
operations of the New Branch they anticipated a
gradual diminution in the number of Small Livings;
and that there was now a fair prospect that the
amount of the divisible fund would be increased.
In submitting the Report, Dr Barty said that
especially in these days they ought to show greater
zeal and liberality in the maintenance of their great
schemes. He trusted the present aspect of affairs
in the Ecclesiastical world would not have the effect
of paralysing their efforts for the Schemes of the
Church, but that they would maintain them in full
operation and vigour, and so prove that the Church
of Scotland was both able and willing to do its best,
and better than it had ever yet done, in the interests
of Religion in the old land.
Mr J. A. CAMPBELL, M.P. (Elder), proposed in
the following deliverance: — "Approve the Report
(reserving the suggestion on page 7 for separate
consideration after this Deliverance has been disposed
of); reappoint the Committee with the
usual powers — Dr Barty, Convener. The General
Assembly have learned with satisfaction that the
amount available for distribution in July next
shows an increase as compared with last year; and
they are pleased to know that the New Branch of
the Small Livings Fund has been successfully
established, and is likely to be of great service in
accomplishing the object of the Scheme. The
General Assembly trust that in earnestly prosecuting
the important work with which they have
been charged, the Committee will secure the active
and cordial support of every well-wisher of the
Church." In doing so he said he thought the improvement
was very much owing to the special
Mission of Dr Barty two years ago. The results of
that Mission were not to be expected all at once,
but now he thought they were beginning to recognise
them. The full explanation he had given of
the objects and workings of this Scheme must have
familiarised the minds of Elders and members of
the Church in regard to what was doing as to the
smaller livings, and they were now reaping the
benefit of the information he then gave. He hoped
that by another General Assembly the Committee
would be able to report considerable progress as to
supplementary endowments. The Committee were
desirous to have suggestions from Ministers and
Elders of the Church of friends to whom application
might be made direct by the Committee for
assistance in this object. It was an object that
might be supported by men who were not connected
with the Church, but had a deep interest in the
Parishes. They had had assistance from gentlemen
who were not living in Scotland, but who had in
this way testified to their interest in the Parish of
their birth or boyhood. He hoped members would
remember, if there were respectable and well-to-do
people connected with their Parishes, but no longer
living in Scotland, that it was their duty and privilege
to report such, in order that application might
be made direct to them.
in doing so said that this was one of the most important
Schemes which came before them. This
was a practical Report. It was not so romantic as
others that came before the Church, but it related
to practical work to which they ought all to give
their adhesion and support. He wanted in this
respect to see the Church thoroughly equipped.
His friend the Convener, Dr Barty, and Sir Alex.
Kinloch, representing the Committee and the Association,
had some small difference of opinion, and
he was not to become buffer between them. He
should rather recommend them to go into a small
room down stairs and have the doors locked, and
that they should not come out until their differences
were settled. He would not use hard language,
for there were none who had the interests
of the Church more at heart than these two hardheaded
gentlemen, but he hoped their differences
would soon be adjusted, and they would do their
utmost to assist them. He was reading a Report of
a meeting the other day at which one of the Rothschilds
was advocating charity, and saying they
ought to put their hands into their pockets, when a
voice was heard saying, "Why not take it out of
the till." That was all very well. They might say
that he and others should take it out of the till —
out of their own pockets, but he was sorry to tell
them that the till was nearly exhausted, for stipend
and rent were getting on together to a small and
diminishing quantity. The Committee told them
there were funds available for five small livings; he
understood steps were being taken to ensure that
before next Assembly at least two would be taken
out of that list. That had been done very largely
by energetically obtaining local resources. In that
way difficulties vanished, and he hoped efforts would
go on until every one of their livings had at least
£200 a year.
The deliverance was adopted.
Overtures were then submitted from the Synod
of Lothian and Tweeddale and the Presbytery of
Dalkeith, suggesting the removal of the restriction
imposed by the decision of the Assembly in 1883,
whereby Parishes erected after 1881 are excluded
from the benefits of the Small Livings Scheme.
The former represented that this decision operated
injuriously on the Scheme by preventing or decreasing
general interest in it; and the other Overture
bore that the present system on which the Scheme
was wrought did not seem to inspire such general
interest or to command so much support as such a
Scheme deserved.
The Rev. J. A. BURDON, Lasswade, and the Rev.
J. C. CARRICK, Newbattle, supported the respective
The Rev. Dr BARTY said he was aware that the
recommendations of the Committee as to the excluded
parishes did not meet with the approval of
the Association. But for this he would have had no
difficulty in recommending them to the acceptance
of the House. The operation of that restrictive
resolution had kept out of the benefits of the fund
about thirty Parishes. He was far from disapproving
at the time of the resolution of the Assembly of
1883; indeed, it was come to on his own motion.
The very fact that such a Resolution had to be
passed by the Assembly showed that these new
Parishes had claims on the Committee. It might
appear as if he were acting inconsistently in moving
the modification of a resolution which he proposed
in 1883, but he thought the circumstances had
changed since then. The resolution was adopted
with great regret, and on the understanding that it
would be allowed to stand no longer than was
necessary. The Association and the Assembly were
bound to modify or remove that resolution at the
earliest possible opportunity, and it was for them to
consider whether the time had not now come when
they ought to make some change. He believed
that time had arrived, and that it would be a greater
mistake to unduly postpone the change than to unduly
hasten it. When the resolution was passed,
the number of Parishes being added to the list of
small livings was so great that the Committee, in
the circumstances, thought it wise to deal with no
more for a time. He thought the passing of the
Resolution had had an important effect on the policy
of the Endowment Committee, and had strengthened
their hands by enabling them to insist upon a
higher endowment for new Parishes. It had, however,
effected all the objects it was likely to attain,
and he did not think it would be wise to continue
the resolution. He believed that the exclusion of
these thirty Parishes from the benefits of the Small
Livings Fund was operating injuriously. It was
causing a feeling of soreness in these Parishes, and
that feeling communicated itself to the Subscribers
to the fund and would become more and more intensified.
As to the cost of carrying out the recommendation,
he found that, of the Parishes endowed
and erected since 1881, there were thirty-two in the
position of small livings, and if they were placed on
the fund they would cost the Committee, according
to the present rate, upwards of £700. In all probability,
however, the list was considerably in excess
of the number that would actually require grants;
and in any case, as they would be spread over five
or six years, the additional expenditure would only
be about £120 a year. The chief consideration which
weighed with the Association was that the proposed
change might have the effect of reducing the grants
to those at present on the list. He hoped that not
only would that not be the case, but that they would
be able, by the increase of contributions to the fund,
to deal more liberally with the parishes. If they
were to calculate on disaster and failure, they might
as well give up the thing altogether; but he thought
they were more likely to secure success by a liberal
and generous policy. He did not believe that the
ministers at present in receipt of grants would
allow themselves to be looked upon as an obstacle
to the carrying out of the Committee's recommendation,
but would rather be willing to incur the
risk, whatever it might be estimated at, of having
their grants slightly diminished in order that all
those excluded should be taken in. They could not
tell what might happen in the future. It might be
that the quoad sacra Parishes might be the strongest
parts of the Church. At any rate, it was not desirable
that they should perpetuate a distinction of
that kind any longer than was necessary. However
much they might dispute the wisdom of the
Endowment Committee in erecting particular
Parishes, they could not fail to see how greatly they
had increased the strength of the Church of Scotland,
and what noble work they had done. He
desired that they should put themselves in line
with that movement, and go forward shoulder to
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, moved that
the Assembly approve of the Overtures, and instruct
the Committee to remove the restriction which excluded
Parishes quoad sacra erected since 1881
from participating in the grants given by the Committee.
In speaking to the motion, Mr Martin
said he thought Dr Barty had made it perfectly
plain that the reason why that restriction had first
been placed on quoad sacra Parishes in 1881 was
that the Church had imagined that if the endowment
went on at the same rate, they would never
be able to overtake the work they formerly overtook.
Since the Endowment Committee had laid it down
as a condition of endowment that the local promoters
should guarantee £140 and a Manse, or £160
without a Manse, there was very little likelihood of
any small livings being added to the Committee's
lists on account of new endowments. Having
acknowledged that the difficulty that first led to the
restriction had been removed, and that injustice
had been done to the Parishes shut out from the
grants, the straightforward policy on the part of
the Committee was at once to take steps to remove
the injustice, and instead of attempting to reduce it
gradually, it was only fair that the restriction should
be removed at once, and the thirty-two Parishes at
present left out placed on the same level as the
other Parishes participating in the Scheme. Even
although the Parishes presently on the list had to
forego a little in order to allow the others to be
placed on an equal footing with them, it would only
be to the extent of £2.
The Rev. W. LEE KER, Kilwinning, seconded
the motion. He emphasised the importance of the
latter portion of the Overture from the Presbytery
of Dalkeith, making it requisite that applications
for grants should receive the approval of the local
Presbytery; but said, while the sending of the
names of the applying Parishes to the Presbyteries
was a step in the right direction, it would be well
that a step were taken to have the names of the
Parishes receiving grants better known in the
Church. If that were done, many Parishes now on
the lists would be affronted at the position in which
they stood before the Church, and would make a
special endeavour to assist their own minister, and
thus other really poorer Parishes might participate
in the scheme.
Sir ALEXANDER KINLOCH of Gilmerton (Elder),
moved: — Dismiss the Overtures, and disapprove of
the suggestion contained in the Report at page 195
in the volume of the Reports. In speaking to the
motion, Sir Alexander Kinloch said — It was with
great reluctance that the Association for which he
spoke opposed the recommendation of a Committee
with which hitherto they had acted so harmoniously;
but in the interest of the incumbents of
the small livings already on the list, i.e., the old
Parishes and the quoad sacra Parishes erected before
1881, he had to ask the Assembly to maintain the
principle adopted in 1883, confirmed in 1887, and
successfully defended, whosoever challenged it, in
intervening and subsequent Assemblies. The recommendation
of the Committee being a distinct
departure from present practice, the "onus" rested
upon them of proving, either that the Church
had changed her mind as to what should be the
scope of the Scheme's operations, or that circumstances
had emerged justifying this sudden change
of front; and he ventured to think they would find
it difficult to maintain either proposition. The
Association contended that the opinion of the
Church had never varied, and that the same reasons
exist to-day which influenced them when they supported
Dr Barty's own recommendation to the
Assembly of 1883, to the effect "that no new quoad
sacra living be taken on to the list in the meantime."
Had the opinion of the Church undergone
any change, it would have been exhibited by Overtures
sent up to the Assembly, praying that effect
might be given to such change; but, as a matter of
fact, only five Overtures had been sent up since
1883, two of which had fallen to the ground in
consequence of no one being found to support their
prayer; the others being all rejected by different
Assemblies. If, then, there had been any decided
change of opinion, expression had not been given
to it in the usual manner. Dr Barty being urged
to take up the case of the quoad sacra livings excluded
from the list, was easily understood; but what
else could he, as Convener of the Small Livings Committee,
have expected? Doubtless it was this importunity
which accounted for the passage in the Report,
which said, "that it is desirable to remove as far
as possible any cause of friction or dissatisfaction
which may now exist," — a pleasant-sounding
generality, quite as applicable to the position taken
up by the Association as it is to that of the Committee;
for, allowing the existence of a certain
amount of dissatisfaction, the result of giving effect
to the recommendation of the Committee would be,
to shift it from those who at present entertained it,
on to the shoulders of those who would suffer loss,
viz., the Incumbents of the livings already on the list.
For, given a certain sum to be distributed among
a certain number, then add to the number among
whom the sum is to be distributed, and the result
must be, that the dividend to be paid to the original
number is diminished. The Report of the Committee
goes on to give a second reason in support of
this recommendation, "That under the operations of
the New Branch, they anticipate a gradual diminution
in the number of Small Livings; and that there
is now a fair prospect that the amount of the divisible
fund will increase." Let us test this by the
experience of the past year. Reference to the Report
of the Association will show that it is calculated
that by the operation of the New Branch we
shall effect a saving of £60 per annum; but, on
the other hand, the proposal to take six new Parishes
on to the list will entail a charge of £120 on the
fund for the first year; and if the recommendation
is fully approved of, the charge for these new
Parishes will increase every year, till at the end of
the fifth year an addition of £600 per annum will
have been made to our expenditure. As a matter
of fact, our income may be regarded as a fixed income,
having for the last seven years only fluctuated
between £8000 and £8500 per annum. It is difficult
to understand upon what the Committee found
their hopes; but allowing, for the sake of argument,
that there had been some slight increase
in our funds, they are still far too small for
our present need; and who will venture to
say that in agricultural depression, which affects
so many of the livings with which we have to deal,
we have yet "touched bottom"? This then is not
the moment to add to our responsibilities, but it is
the time to redouble our efforts on behalf of those for
whom we are already working. The Committee's
proposal is excused as being "such a very little
one," but it will grow; indeed, provision is made
for its growth. If adopted, all hope of making
progress with the Scheme may be abandoned. In
arguing, as he had done, against the recommendation
of the Committee, he must not be supposed to
be out of sympathy with the Incumbents of the
quoad sacra livings, erected since 1881, who find
themselves excluded from the benefits of this Scheme.
He could understand their feeling sore; but there
was no reason for such soreness being entertained
towards this Scheme, for the promoters of these
Parishes had been distinctly warned that they were
to receive no benefits from this Scheme; but he did
not say that it might not be fairly exhibited
towards another Scheme of the Church which had
aided and abetted the formation of these livings
without giving due regard to a sufficient income
being provided for their Incumbents. There was
no unfairness in continuing the restrictions adopted
by the Assembly of 1883, and confirmed by that of
1887, after the question had been fully discussed in
all its details in conference between the Members
of the Home Mission Commiitee, the Endowment
Committee, and the Small Livings Committee, but
to yield a principle which had been approved of so
lately, without other cause than had been shown,
would not only be unfair to the upholders of the
present practice, but would take all heart from
those who for the last twenty-five years had been
striving to accomplish the object for which their
Association had been founded.
Mr JOHN E. WATSON, Glasgow (Elder), seconded
Sir Alexander Kinloch's motion. He held that in
the operations of the Scheme no injustice had been
done to anyone or to any Parish. The principle
the Association had wished to carry out was that after
a grant had been once made it should be continued,
as long as circumstances required it, without any
diminution. He thought it would be a very odd
thing if the Assembly gave such instructions as
made it certain that the existing grants would be
reduced. He could understand an appeal being
made to the Church for increased subscriptions to
admit of the new Parishes being placed on the list.
The Rev. Dr RANKINE, Muthill, moved that the
Assembly "approve of the suggestion in the Report,
at page 195 in the volume of Reports, and refer the
Overtures to the Committee for consideration." It
would be a most lamentable thing, he thought, to
have any difference of opinion or any feeling
between the two sections of the Committee, which
had worked together year by year with the most
perfect harmony. But there they had thirty Parishes
suffering from the loss of what they might otherwise
obtain a share of. These Parishes were no doubt
discontented. They were not in sympathy with the
Scheme, and no doubt the revenue of the Scheme
suffered from the existence of that discontent. He
would be sorry to see the whole thirty-two Parishes
put on the list at once, for that would involve a
very large additional responsibility being laid on
the Committee. The easier way was to spread the
work over a series of years, and by the mode suggested
in the Report. This could be done by an
additional expenditure of £120 a year. He did not
contemplate that in this way one penny would be
lost to the old Parishes which were on the list
previous to 1881.
The Rev. D. M. CONNELL, St Kiaran's, Govan,
seconded Dr Rankine's motion. He asked if it was
natural for a Mother to forsake her younger and
more infirm children in favour of the older ones?
Would it not be better and more natural that the
Mother should care for the younger rather than the
older that were able to do something for themselves?
The Rev. Dr M'LAREN, Larbert, supported Sir
Alexander Kinloch's motion. He declared that it was
the old Parochial charges that were suffering most
grievously at the present day. In the course the
Report proposed they were simply making the fund
a mere supplement to the Endowment Committee,
which was never the intention of those who originally
promoted the Scheme. If the Committee were
asked to adopt the thirty-two livings which had
been added to the Church since 1881, it simply
amounted to this, that they were inflicting another
grievous wrong upon the poor men whose wants
should have been first considered.
The Rev. Mr MARTIN agreed to withdraw his
motion in favour of Dr Rankine's. With the consent
of the House the first motion was withdrawn.
It was agreed that the vote should be taken by
standing up, when, the vote being taken, it appeared
that there voted — third motion, 84, second motion,
59. The third motion thus became the judgment
of the House.
The Rev. Dr SPROTT, North Berwick, gave in the
Report of the Committee appointed at last Assembly
to report as to the practice throughout the Church
in Public Worship and in the celebration of the
Sacraments. The answers received from Ministers
showed plainly, the Report stated, that within recent
years many changes had been introduced in
the celebration of Divine Ordinances, and the want
of uniformity in the services of the Church was probably
greater than at any former period. The
Committee were decidedly of opinion that the time
had come when the Church should fully consider
the whole subject of the celebration of Worship
and of public ordinances by her Ministers. It was
almost universally acknowledged that the Church
had been greatly strengthened by the improvement
in her Worship during the last thirty years, but
there were many quarters which that wave had not
yet reached, and whatever diversity of opinion there
might be on the subject of uniformity, it was certainly
far from satisfactory that there should be so
much variety as now existed in the method of celebrating
Divine Service and the Sacraments in the
same National Church. The Committee were of
opinion that the law and practice of the Church
should be brought into closer harmony, and that if
that was not done, the divergence between them
was likely to become wider than it was. The
returns showed that there were 422 Churches in
which there was only one regular service on Sunday,
but in 230 of these cases there was also a service in
a mission hall or school, and in 378 Churches there
were two regular services. There were 14 Ministers
who read all their prayers, 13 who read them generally,
43 who read them sometimes, 28 who read them
partly, 26 who read on special occasions, and 1
who occasionally reads a part of a prayer that he is
particularly anxious to render with accuracy. A
few emphatically repudiated the idea of reading
prayers, while a considerable number expressed a
strong wish for a partial liturgy. There were 70
Churches where the old practice of standing at
prayer and sitting at praise was retained. Silent
prayer on entering and leaving Church was very
general, and there was a general feeling in favour
of responses. Instrumental music had been introduced
into 426 Churches. With regard to marriages,
the returns showed that there are 194 Ministers
who marry in Church, more or less frequently, the
rest always in the house. In most of the Church
cases the practice had been recently revived, and
was still uncommon; but there were some Parishes
in the Highland and north-eastern counties where
marriage in Church had been the usage from time
immemorial. From one Parish the answer was,
"Most frequently in Church, on account of a special
money bequest to the tallest, smallest, youngest,
and oldest brides there married during the year."
In speaking to the Report, Dr SPROTT stated
that while all the Members of the Committee were
satisfied that the liberty enjoyed by the Church to
amend her Worship covered any changes that had
been introduced, or that it was desirable to introduce,
some of them were of opinion that she was
bound to nothing more definite than the observance
of the principles and rules of Worship contained in
the Confession of Faith, and that the uniformity
referred to in the Act of 1693 meant merely such
uniformity as the Church herself might require and
enforce. The returns showed that there were some
men who appeared to object on principle to anything
like a regular order of Worship, and to think
that thanksgiving, supplication, and confession
should appear in all Prayers. Some Ministers also
seemed to scruple at using the Lord's Prayer, which,
so far as appeared from the returns, was seldom or
never used in the Gaelic-speaking charges. On the
subject of Baptisms, the Committee found that the
practice of celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism in
private was increasing, and that Ministers were
generally of opinion that the time had come when
the Assembly should deal with this matter. There
was great variety in the professions and promises
exacted. From the Reformation till 1645 the
sponsor was made to repeat the Creed. The Scots
Commissioners at Westminster were anxious to have
this retained in the Directory, but instead of it
questions were substituted. These questions were,
however, struck out by the English Parliament, at
the request of the General Assembly of the Church
of Scotland, in order that her Ministers might be
free to impose the Creed as in Knox's Liturgy.
After 1688 the professions and promises required
were of a much more exacting character. Some
years ago overtures were sent to the General
Assembly on this subject, and in 1871 the Assembly
sent to all Ministers Baptismal Forms prepared
by a Committee. These Forms had to some extent
affected the practice since. Great changes had
taken place in connection with the administration
of the Lord's Supper in recent years. The practice
of simultaneous Communion had been very generally
introduced, week-day services had been given
up, and he regretted that these changes had not
resulted in the greater frequency of the celebration
of the Holy Communion. The Committee felt that
the diversity was far greater than it ought to be,
and that it was unsatisfactory that the few laws in
force for regulating the conduct of Public Worship
should be so largely disregarded. Two of these
Acts — those prohibiting simultaneous Communion
and the reading of prayers from a book — were
ignored by the General Assembly itself. It was
two hundred and forty-five years since the Church
of Scotland had turned her attention to the conduct
of Public Worship, and all she did in 1645 was to
part, somewhat reluctantly, with her own Liturgy,
for the Westminster Directory to carry out
the plan of a covenanted uniformity between
the Churches of the three Kingdoms — a scheme
which was shattered to pieces by Cromwell and
his troopers five years afterwards on the bloody
field of Dunbar. This whole subject had been
prejudiced by the despotic and insane interference
with the rights and liberties of the Church.
If the Church had been left alone by King James
and King Charles, there was no doubt their worship
would have been different from what it was
to-day. In later times the people had mistaken
certain Cromwellian innovations for the ideas of our
Covenanting fathers, and this, too, had had a very
disastrous influence. After nearly three hundred
years, he thought the Church might calmly take up
the subject again. During the last twenty-five years
there had been a great movement towards improved
worship in many of the Reformed Churches. The
Australian branch of their own Church was revising
the Directory, and it was the intention, he believed,
to provide specimen forms for the better guidance
of the clergy. In a paper recently read before the
Australian General Assembly, it was stated that in
a mixed community, where members of other communions
are present at marriages and burials, it was
most important that Ministers from Scotland and
Ireland should have specimen forms put into their
hands, that the services they conduct might be decorous
and impressive, and compare favourably
with the liturgy of the Anglican Church. In the
Mission field, also responses and the audible repetition
of the Lord's Prayer were being everywhere
introduced. They should, he thought, proceed
slowly and deliberately, and do nothing to shock
the prejudices of the people. They should refrain
from attempting to enforce uniformity in things indifferent,
and nothing should be done to interfere
with that simplicity which had hitherto characterised
their Worship. He did not think there was
the slightest fear of the Church of Scotland ever
running into any excess in ritual. The old Scots
sergeant who used to say when turning out his
regiment for church, "Presbyterians to the right,
fancy religions to the left," interpreted pretty
accurately the national sentiment in that respect.
It would be observed that in the returns frequent
reference had been made to the Church Service
Society, and as one of those who were chiefly responsible
for the origin and work of that Society,
he wished to say that it had been their aim to be
true to the Faith once for all delivered to the
saints, that they had kept constantly in view the
laws and better traditions of the Church, that they
had sought to diffuse a knowledge of the history
and true principles of Divine service, and to check
unwarranted innovations, that they had devoted
their surplus funds to the purchase of devotional
books for the Assembly Library, and that they
would be glad, he felt sure, to place the whole results
of their labours at the disposal of the Church.
The Rev. Dr LEISHMAN, Linton, moved the following
deliverance: — "The General Assembly receive
the Report, and thank the Committee for
their diligence. Reappoint the Committee with
power to add to their number, and instruct them
to bring up this Report along with a Report to
next General Assembly on the measures which, in
their opinion, it is advisable for the Church to
adopt in the circumstances. The Committee of
Nomination to bring up names to be added to the
Committee to-morrow morning." In speaking to
this motion, Dr Leishman said: -
The instruction given to this Committee by last
Assembly was a threefold one, bearing on the
Church's past, her present, and her future. The
earlier part of the Report contains the result of
their inquiries into the law and practice of the
Church, keeping always in view the conditions of
her alliance with the State. Everyone who has
read it with attention will acknowledge the
thoroughness and fairness with which this first part
of their work has been done. As to the second, the
enquiry into the present practice of the Church,
success did not depend on the Committee alone.
More than a third part of our Ministers have not
yet sent replies to the queries, and in many cases
the answers sent might have been much more exact
and complete. The facts, such as they are, have been
tabulated with very great care. But it appears that
the Committee are not prepared, without fuller
returns, to face the third and most delicate duty laid
upon them. Instead of offering now definite suggestions
as to the Church's course in the future, they
ask for a remit, believing that if this crave is
granted, the ends aimed at will neither be harmed
nor hindered.
One conclusion we may draw for ourselves from
these statistics, partial as they are. They seem to
prove that your action in appointing such a Committee
has not been taken one moment too soon.
The details scattered through these pages show a
wide, must we not say a widening, divergence in
the practice of our Ministers. For a long time the
Church has shrunk from limiting the large measure
of liberty which they have enjoyed. But it appears
as if the time had now come when this ought to be
controlled by some distinct utterance from herself.
No doubt many say that there is no need for
the Church to speak, because the path of duty is so
clear that every man ought to be a law unto himself.
We have only, they say, to keep to the good old
ways of our fathers. But when we ask to be
directed to those old ways, we find that they are
merely thinking of their own childhood, and assuming
that what they saw when they were first taken to
Church, had been the unbroken usage of centuries.
They forget that their immediate fathers had entered
on an inheritance of innovation to which every age
since the Reformation had contributed its proportion.
In those early years to which they themselves
look back, old customs that are now forgotten were
slowly dying; new ones were coming in that are
now old; and the patriarchs of that time were sighing
over the indifference of the new generation to
the good old ways of their fathers. We cannot
perpetuate the customary worship of any moment
sixty years since as an instantaneous photograph
catches and fixes the whitening curl of an advancing
Still it must be owned that change is going
on with a faster and more irregular movement in
this restless age of ours than in many that lie behind
us. The Committee quote a report laid before the
Assembly of 1864, which says, "The uniformity in
the mode of administering public worship in the
congregations of the Church is very striking," and
that the same order is followed "almost invariably."
Our Committee adds, "This is certainly not the
case now." How is this growing divergence of practice
to be accounted for ? It is because there is
among us more than the old counteraction between
the man who conserves things as he found them and
the man who wisely or wantonly devises innovations
for himself. We have both of them still with us.
But a new and growing force has come into play,
largely modifying the general resultant. Men have
been setting themselves in good earnest to go back
on the track of history, and find what the old ways
of the Reformed Scottish Church really were. They
have not been content with their own juvenile
reminiscences. They have looked behind the cold
and meagre worship which expiring moderatism
left in possession of the land. They have found
little to be learned from the days after the Revolution,
when the ranks of the depleted Church had to
be filled up with any material that came to hand,
and the ministrations too often reflected the ignorance
and roughness of the ministrant. Study of the
Commonwealth period has shown how much that
had been characteristic of Scottish religion then
disappeared, and how many elements, foreign to its
spirit, were then introduced from without. They
believe that they have found the most faithful type
of our native worship in the preceding years, when
the fresh life of the rejuvenated Church was remoulding
the national character, and, not yet
busied exclusively with insular friendships and
feuds, she held a prominent place in the large sisterhood
of Reformed Churches that had changed the
face of Western Europe. Believe it, that it is in no
spirit of reckless innovation that these enquirers
have been trying to correct, according to the ancient
pattern, our existing worship wherever it seemed
unlovely or deficient. Their ambition has been to
rally to the old centre from which their fathers
were driven in days of anarchy. And they
hope that they have had some success in restoring
what had been effaced, and in strengthening the
things that remained that were ready to die.
The effect of all this for the moment is that, as the
Report shows, variation of worship is much greater
than it ought to be. To some extent the evil is
beginning to correct itself. The renovations are
making way among those who at first angrily withstood
them. Assertions that were common twenty
years ago are not heard now. The most confident
consuetudinary does not now connect the Communion
Fast Day or the standing attitude in
prayer with the Reformation. But what is most to
be desired with a view to the restoration of uniformity
is that the Church herself should give to these
sons of her the support and guidance which they
have been seeking for themselves in a fraternity of
their own. The ecclesiastical disorder at the period
of the great Rebellion was largely owing to the suppression
of the General Assembly with other ancient
liberties of Scotland by Cromwell, and evils, less in
degree perhaps, but the same in kind, may be
occasioned by the silence or indifference of the
Assembly of to-day. If the Church does take
action, it is to be hoped that it will be in a spirit of
reverence for her own past, and especially for the
post-Reformation era, which in this matter is her best
Should the Assembly grant the crave of the Committee,
and be ready twelve months hence to take
further steps, she ought to keep in view the general
principles of her earlier Directory, the Book of
Common Order. One of the most obvious of these
is, that in the ordinary worship of the sanctuary
there ought to be a combination of free and liturgical
prayer. Free prayer corrects the tendency of
the soul to be passive in devotion under the restraint
of a service which is strictly and solely liturgical.
Even the most extreme ritualists in the south are
seen to strain after novelty as a relief from the
monotony of a too uniform worship, making trial of
every conceivable variation of detail which they
conceive to be within their right. Liturgical devotion,
on the other hand, is a standing protest
against all that is coarse in prayer, or that seeks
rather to reach the ears of fellow-suppliants, than
to seek the face and favour of God supreme.
It is sometimes said that these two forms of
prayer cannot co-exist, because the one always tends
to destroy the other. This conclusion seems to be
drawn from a hasty and narrow induction. If we
confine our observation to our own island, this has
undoubtedly been the result in the two National
Churches. But the fact may be sufficiently explained
by local causes. In England, liturgical
prayer has made free prayer impossible. In theory,
the clergyman when he enters the pulpit has a right
to pray in what words and at what length he
pleases. But the privilege has been practically
surrendered, because when that part of the service
is reached the liturgical worship has already been
unduly prolonged. For a long time an unhappy
usage has pieced together three separate services at
the chief assembly for worship, and to add a fourth
in the form of free prayer would be impossible.
When worship has lasted continuously for more
than an hour, the people wish no other prelude to
the sermon than a collect or a fourth repetition of
the Lord's Prayer. Certain things that jar on the
feelings of Scotsmen when they attend an Anglican
service are probably tacit admissions of the fact
that there is too much liturgy — the hurried reading
of prayers, the irreverent rush of words on the first
note of chants, by which one of the simplest and
most solemn forms of praise is robbed of its impressiveness,
and which some Scottish choirmasters
seem to think it rather a fine thing to imitate, and
the scantiness of the pulpit teaching which follows
all. In Scotland the process has been reversed.
Free prayer has suppressed liturgical. But for
this, also, there has been a special reason. After
the readers of the Reformation era, who were, as a
rule, ecclesiastics, had passed away, the common
prayers and Scripture were read by a lay person of
subordinate rank. The Minister reserved himself
for the free, or, as it was called, conceived prayer,
with which he prefaced his sermon. He did not
even come into Church to join in the prayers of
the Common Order and hear the lessons of Scripture.
He thought that he did enough if by-andbye
he came in among his flock that they might
listen to him as he uttered his own prayer and
spoke his own word. Was it strange that the
people came to have no more respect for the
Church's prayers and for Holy Scripture than their
pastor had, and that the reader's service and reader's
congregation dwindled till they disappeared?
If the Church of Scotland were now to revive a
service such as she had in the days of Andrew Melville,
with liturgical and free prayer in measured
and moderate proportion, but with the Minister
responsible for both, I believe that these two modes
of serving God, so far from hindering would sustain
and elevate each other. The framework of the
Book of Common Order might be retained, though
much of its material would have to be omitted,
considerable variation and addition provided for,
and the antiquated phraseology of what remained
cast in a modern mould. When a return to the
Common Order is spoken of, uninstructed people
airily dispose of the question by saying that it was
a temporary provision for the deficiencies of an unlearned
ministry and ignorant people. It will be
difficult for them to reconcile with this position the
fact that in its general form and great part of its
language, it was the service-book of the Reformed
in France, in Switzerland, in the Rhineland, in
Holland, and down to the earlier part of the seventeenth
century of our own Channel Islands, and
that in some of these lands certain of its prayers are
still to be heard word for word, Sunday by Sunday.
It is to be hoped that regard will be had to
another principle of our earlier worship, that in
sacramental and occasional services the fixed element
ought to predominate more fully than in the ordinary
worship of the Church. These services do not
occur so often as to make liturgical language monotonous
or unmeaning, but they occur often enough
to invest it with those solemn associations which
are so fruitful of blessing to the soul. When an
Englishman speaks with fervent admiration of his
Communion Office or Burial Service, we may not be
able to rise to the measure of his enthusiasm. We
may wish that certain turns of phrase were altered,
and certain deficiencies supplied. But if we do not
quite share his feelings, we can perfectly understand
them. To him the words are almost divine, because
as often as they touch the chords of memory they
recall moments of sacramental blessing or sanctified
sorrow. We, too, have our tender remembrances,
but they belong to the individual only. Fellow--
churchmen have no reminiscences in common, or if
they have, they gather round words of song, not
words of prayer. Another reason against varying
the language of these services is that in some of
them the soul enters into solemn covenants with
God. How often is it the case among us that the
terms, and even the extent of these obligations, is
unknown to those who take them on their consciences
till the moment when they are asked for a
word or gesture of assent.
Those of the clergy whose enquiries have led them
to such conclusions of these, and who have acted on
them in the belief that they were not abusing the
discretionary power allowed to them, are often
charged with being mere imitators of English
fashions. If any religious usage seems likely to
promote more fully the glory of God and the good
of souls, is it a sufficient reason for casting it aside,
that it is of English origin? After all, the Church
of England is our Church's lawful sister, though
they differ considerably in features, as sisters often
do, and though the other can at times make herself
somewhat unpleasant. Now and then she has been
adopting customs that have been long familiar to
us. Why should not we do the like in return?
But in reality a great part, and certainly not the
worst part of her Prayer-book is not English at all,
but the common heritage of Christendom, our property
as much as theirs. From the tone in which
some people speak, S. Chrysostom might have been
a London rector, or the Te Deum the composition
of an Elizabethan bishop. The appropriation of
what is English and English only has been much
less than cavillers assert. And of that some part
might well be dispensed with, as for instance the
superfluous information sometimes given to our
flocks, that "here endeth the first lesson." Not
from Englishmen, but from our Scottish ancestors,
we have learned to join formulated to free prayer,
and to offer both on bended knees, to read Holy
Scriptures in regular order and sufficient measure,
to use the Master's Prayer, and the Church's Creed,
to have marriage rites performed in God's house,
and more numerous services, and more frequent
communions there. We have not refused, even at
this late day, to associate ourselves with the great
family of Continental Presbyterians in using aids to
devotion — which our own Reformers regarded with
suspicion, suspicion which the experience of these
countries has shown to be groundless. They have
taught us to tolerate instrumental music. They are
teaching us to commemorate yearly the great facts
on which rests the whole fabric of the faith, the
Incarnation, the Death, the Resurrection, the Ascension
of our blessed Lord, and the coming of the
Holy Ghost to be with the widowed Church till the
Bridegroom shall appear again. Shall we refuse to
adopt these for no better reason than that England
ever since the Reformation has been at one with
these foreign Churches in retaining them? We
have learned not a few lessons from early Christianity,
some of them lessons which England has
missed. When all these things are winnowed from
the heap, the residuum of things distinctive of
Anglicanism that are in use among us will be found
to be very small.
But though that were granted, which we deny,
that we are mere mimics of England, let me ask,
did this begin with us? There was a time when
the Scottish Church gave up her Confession of Faith,
her Catechisms, her metrical Psalter, her manual of
Church service, everything that embodies a Church's
belief and worship, and accepted at the hands of
England a substitute for every one of them. Not
that she was weary of them. Not that she thought
the new were better. She loved them all dearly.
She parted with them with a sore heart. There
can be no better illustration of the feelings of Scottish
Churchmen at that time than the story of how
David Calderwood, when, in the Assembly of 1645,
some Anglified Scots would have abolished by
statute the use of the metrical Doxology after
Psalms, cried out, "Leave that alone, for I hope to
sing it in glory." But Scotland had before her a
vision of imperial unity in religion, and in the hope
of realising this, she was willing to surrender much
that was distinctive of her own past, and to take a
new departure. She alone of the three kingdoms
observed the compact. Times of trouble followed, and
quiet did not return till her lost treasures had been
forgotten, and the new forms had filled the vacant
places in the nation's heart. She gave them letters
of naturalization, and now they hold their place by
right. But that age has transmitted to us other
badges of English supremacy. Many of the peculiarities
of the southern sectary were brought across
the Border by the booted evangelists of Cromwell, and
adopted by Scotsmen who were not ashamed to fawn
on the victorious autocrat. A virus was taken up into
the system of our Church which has been breaking
out in successive eruptions from that day onwards,
and is not yet cleared from her veins. Even things
that Henderson and his colleagues preserved at
Westminster have been sacrificed to this spirit,
some at the time, some not till ages had past. They
believed that they had saved the Baptismal Creed,
English diplomacy deprived them of it at once.
The Lord's Prayer was sanctioned by the Directory,
but the fatal '49 that brought the destruction of
the monarchy, and saw the last free General Assembly,
silenced that divine form also. In spite of the
English Independents, the Scots had their native
custom of marrying in Church guaranteed to them.
Nearly a century had to pass before the silent
working of the English leaven was able to put it
down, and there are remote districts of rural Scotland
where it has never died out. Not till our own
day has another English custom established itself
against which the Scottish commissioners fought
through weeks of stiff debate at Westminster, and
which our own Assembly formally repudiated thereafter.
I mean the custom of receiving the Eucharist
not at the very table of the Lord, but in any place
throughout the Church, even in its remotest corner.
These are but specimens of the traces left by our
English conquerors when at their work of destruction.
It is this foreign seed, whether blossoming
early or late, that some of us would fain see weeded
from the soil of Scotland, and the true apes of England
are those who would shelter and disseminate
the noxious plant.
Sir ALEXANDER KINLOCH (Elder), seconded the
motion, which was supported by Dr Scott and Professor
Charteris, and agreed to.
The Rev. THOMAS BROWN, Collace, appeared in
support of all Overture from the Presbytery of
Perth asking that a Special Committee should be
appointed to consider the subject of an optional (or
permissive) and partial liturgy for the use of the
Ministers and people of the Church in all their services,
Sacramental and other, and to report to next
Assembly. The object the Presbytery had in view
in the Overture would, he said, be fully accomplished
if the Assembly remitted it to the consideration
of the Special Committee appointed to report
on the proper conduct of public Worship and
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — Remit
the Overture to the Committee on Worship just
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR gave in the Report
of the Committee in aid of the Highlands and
Islands of Scotland.
The Committee reported that the ordinary income
from all sources for the year ending 31st December
last (£1818, 18s. 8d.) had fallen short of that of the
previous year (£1862, 17s. 5d.) by some £43. The
demands on the funds had been more numerous and
more urgent than ever. To such an extent had
this been the case that whereas the balance in favour
of the Committee at the end of 1888 amounted to
£590, 14s. 4d., it fell to £166, 10s. 5d. at the close
of 1889. It followed that their actual outlay for
the year had exceeded the year's income by £424,
3s. 11d., obtained from the balance of the previous
year, and that it has reached a total sum of
£2243, 2s. 7d. The main cause of this comparatively
large expenditure has been the exceptionally
large scale on which the Committee have apportioned
their grants for building and repairs,
amounting in all to £1021, 19s. 6d. As in former
years summer and autumn services have been provided
during the season at Kingussie, Lochawe,
Lochranza, Port-Bannatyne, and Strathpeffer;
while in addition occasional services were arranged
for in the new church at Connel Ferry. All these
places are much frequented, as centres resorted to
by tourists and temporary residents from all parts
of the United Kingdom. The total outlay for the
year under this head has been £206, 11s., from
which must be deducted £45 collected at Lochawe,
and some other smaller collections elsewhere. At
Strathpeffer a handsome Church had recently been
erected and would be opened in the course of the
summer. The cost had been about £2500, towards
which the Committee promised a grant of £100.
The Committee had good grounds for their belief
that the assistance which they provide in connection
with the celebration of the Holy Communion
in remote Parishes is much appreciated, and is
attended with excellent results. The amount expended
had been £69, 10s., thirty-two Parishes
having been assisted in this way. Grants for the
improvement of psalmody had, as was anticipated,
increased both in number and amount. Beginning
with £3, 1s. 6d. in 1887, they had risen to £33,
14s. 11d. in 1888, and £43, 3s. 6d. in 1889, in the
course of which year fourteen grants had been
The Rev. Dr RUSSELL, Campbeltown, moved the
following deliverance: — "The General Assembly
learn with satisfaction that so much has been done
during the year to meet the various requirements of
the more remote and destitute Parishes in the
Highlands and Islands, and cordially commend the
appeal which the Committee make on behalf of
their operations to the support and liberality of
Ministers and Congregations. They approve of the
efforts of the Committee to restore, with as little
delay as possible, the fabrics of Parliamentary
Churches and Manses to a satisfactory condition;
and, with a view to these buildings being systematically
inspected and maintained for the future with
a due regard to efficiency and economy, instruct
Presbyteries to appoint one or more of their number
to make annually careful inquiry into the condition
of all Parliamentary Churches and Manses within
their jurisdiction, and to require that an annual report
on the state of each such structure be laid
before them for their consideration. They further
encourage the Committee to continue to prosecute
their labours in an energetic and conciliatory spirit;
and again confide to their care the many and important
interests of the Church in the Highlands,
in the belief that these interests will not fail to
receive their most earnest attention. The General
Assembly reappoint the Committee with the usual
powers — Dr Taylor, Convener; and remit to the
Joint Committee on the Schemes to make arrangements
for a collection in aid of its funds during the
current year."
Speaking to the motion, Dr RUSSELL said — I beg
to move the adoption of the Report now submitted
by the learned Convener. The General Assembly
owe Dr Taylor grateful thanks, not only for the fulness
and clearness of the Report, but also specially for
the wisdom, sympathy, and consummate tact with
which he guides the operations of the Committee,
It may be asked, Why are these operations necessary?
Some in answer, might point to the sturdy
Conservatism of the Celtic race, which venerates the
old, and suspects the new; others to the native contentment,
which is slow to complain of discomfort
and inconvenience. But more than all else, we must
point to that grand old language which they love so
well, and which, by its fulness and power to meet
all the demands of head and heart, to express all
the movements of intellect and feeling, has rendered
them independent, perhaps too independent, of
outside influences, and indifferent, perhaps too
indifferent, to the rising tide of new ideas and life
flowing towards them from the south. But though
they have so greatly resisted the current, and though
the outward aids to life and progress are so slender,
yet so sound-hearted are they as a people, that you
will nowhere find a better instance of "the practical
service of imperfect means." The operations of the
Committee are varied in character, and all of very
great importance. They are so very fully detailed
in the Report that no further reference to them is
necessary than to state that they concern themselves
with the maintenance of Mission Stations during the
summer months in the most remote portions of
extensive Highland Parishes, with assisting to build
and repair Churches where other sources fail, and
with the improvement of Psalmody, both in its
Highland and English aspects. The Highland
Committee may be regarded as the fourth wheel,
which helps to bear up and further the progress of
the Chariot of the Home Church in its beneficent
Mission. The Endowment Committee, the Home
Mission Committee, and the Life and Work Committee,
have done, and are doing noble work; and
I am confident that to all who read this Report, it
must be evident that the Chariot could neither
move so smoothly nor advance so rapidly, were the
fourth wheel of the Highland Committee awaiting.
The aim of this Committee is to encourage and cheer
Ministers and people in the Highlands, and to do
all that may appear to be necessary to bring the
Church in the Highlands into line with the other
portions of the National Church, and thereby to
increase the strength of both. I say the strength
of both; for if the Church in the Highlands be in
any respect weak, that weakness must affect the
Church generally. And at the present time the
Church cannot afford to he weak at any point.
When the stately ship, riding quietly at anchor,
is suddenly struck by the blast, and made to toss and
strain at her moorings, her power to weather the
tempest lies, not in the strongest, but in the
weakest link of the chain that holds her. Your
Committee have been working on that weakest link
for fifteen years and more, and deserve well of the
Church for what they have accomplished. They
have welded and strengthened, and even polished
this link; and when the strain of tempest comes, it
will be found as true and reliable as the strongest.
Moderator, the Church in the Highlands is worth
strengthening; worth all the care and pains you
can bestow upon it. While I speak of its weakness,
however, I dare not use the term in any absolute
sense. It is not weak in any real inward sense.
In all the true and lasting elements of a Church,
it is as strong as the Church in the Lowlands,
or anywhere else. The so-called weakness is external
only, and not of the life or essence of the Church. That
cannot be weakness which supplies four foremost city
pulpits, as well as the Highland pulpits, with gifted
and faithful Ministers. That cannot be weakness
that came out first in the recent Exit Examination
in two Universities. They were Students under
the jurisdiction of the Synod of Argyll, who took
that distinguished position, the one in Edinburgh
and the other in Glasgow. Can any Lowland
Synod point to a similar result? And, especially,
that cannot be weakness that so reverently regards
the Sabbath, and reveals so deep a religious spirit.
The Highlander, it may be said, cannot help being
religious. His environment and his nature compel
him. Naturally devout, he sees God everywhere.
The mountains of his native land are as the temple
steps of the Almighty, and the Gills that meet him
on every side, all bearing the names of saintly
Apostles of the early Christianity, remind him that
he walks on holy ground. Where, too, can be
found a more law-abiding, a more moral, a more
naturally dignified, a more courteous people? And
where, especially, will you find a deeper or truer, or
stronger attachment to the principles of the
National Church? True, the numerical success of
the Church in the Highlands may not have been
all that could be desired; but even in the Highlands
there are instances of success that may be
placed side by side with the best the Lowlands
can show. A congregation could be pointed to
which, after the outflow of 1843, consisted of some
five members, locally spoken of as the five Alexanders,
no one of whom would have claimed to be
great, but all of whom you will allow to have been
true. These have passed; but the congregation of
which they were the post-disruption nucleus,
numbers to-day upwards of nine hundred Communicants.
I repeat, Moderator, that the Church
in the Highlands is worth all the pains the
General Assembly can bestow upon it, and all the
help you can render it. The Committee appeal to
Ministers and Congregations to supply them with
means to carry on the work. The income was £43
short last year. The expenditure was upwards of
£2240; and they can assure the Assembly that
they have a sphere for the profitable use of double
that amount. Many of the Ministers and Congregations
to whom the appeal is made cannot speak
the old language, but they are reminded that
money speaks all languages, and their generous
contributions will be interpreted in the North as
practical expressions of sympathy and brotherly
regard. There was a time when Highlanders in
their occasional visits to the South may have been
in the habit of using and applying a Formula equivalent
to "Your money or your life." The Highland
Committee come before the Church with the
more comprehensive Formula of "Your money and
your life" — your best and highest life. They will
value the money, and use it to the best of their
ability for the good of the Church and the glory of
God. But they will value still more highly its
living sympathy and consideration for a noble race,
who, though hitherto they have not received more
than justice from either Church or State, stand
ready to do yeoman's service to both Church and
State, and who, under ordinarily favourable circumstances,
are capable of rising to the highest levels of
intellectual and moral culture; capable, as few are
capable, of realising the loftiest ideals of Christian
life and character.
Mr HORATIO R. MACRAE, W.S., Edinburgh
(Elder), seconded the motion.
The Rev. JAMES FRASER, Blair-Athole, spoke of
the excellent work which the Committee were doing
in the Highlands and Islands, and expressed particular
satisfaction at the recommendation to the
Committee to continue to prosecute their labours in
an energetic and conciliatory spirit, deploring as he
did the lamentable fact that recently there had been
heard from many Ministers the assurance that the
trumpet of war would be sounded through their
Parishes. The old feeling of bitterness among the
Ministers and among the people in the Highlands
had almost altogether disappeared — had entirely
disappeared so far as the people were concerned —
and he, for one, while he was ready in the proper
place and when necessary to stand up in defence of
the principles of the Church, would never lift up
his voice in the pulpit, so long as he could help it,
on controversial points. Pointing out the difficulties
which Highland Ministers had to encounter
in the discharge of their duties, Mr Fraser mentioned
that on a particular occasion while Dr Scott was
attending to one Baptism in one part of his Parish,
he himself had to drive a distance of fifty-nine
miles to another. In connection with the work of
the Committee towards the improvement of the
psalmody in Highland congregations, Mr Fraser
said they might endeavour to improve the psalmody
as much as possible ; but he warned them that they
must not touch the old Gaelic tunes.
The Rev. A. J. MACQUARRIE, Kilmorack, also reviewed
the principal features of the Report, and,
after some further conversation, the deliverance was
The Rev. THEODORE MARSHALL, Caputh, submitted
the Report of the Commissioners appointed
by last Assembly to inquire as to the Parishes in
which it was expedient that a Gaelic-speaking
Minister should be appointed in the case of a
vacancy. The Commissioners reported that there
were 143 Parishes in which it was expedient that,
in the case of a vacancy, such a Minister should be
appointed. In regard to Parishes in which it was
desirable that a Parish Minister should have a
knowledge of Gaelic, the Commissioners submitted
that it would be very inexpedient to interfere with
the discretion of congregations in the election of
Ministers, unless the want of Gaelic on the part of
the Minister to be appointed would be clearly detrimental
to the spiritual interests of the people, or
prevent him ministering satisfactorily to the
Parishioners at large — although in applying this
principle, the Commission pointed out that a distinction
must be drawn between different classes of
Parishes. In those Parishes in which Gaelic had
practically ceased to be the spoken language of the
people generally, the congregations might safely be
left to determine the expediency of requiring a
knowledge of Gaelic on the part of a Minister to be
appointed in the case of a vacancy. But in the case
of those Parishes in which Gaelic was still commonly
used by the people in the intercourse of daily
life, and where Gaelic was still the language best
"understanded of the people," the Commission were
of opinion that the Church should use all the
powers it possessed to prevent the settlement of
Ministers who, from their ignorance of Gaelic, could
not in the truest sense be Ministers of the Parish.
In conclusion he moved the following deliverance:
— "The General Assembly approve the Report;
reappoint the Commission, with power to prosecute
their inquiry so far as they may think necessary,
and to consider and report to next General Assembly
in what manner the Church can most conveniently
and effectively exercise its power of determining in
what cases a knowledge of Gaelic should be regarded
as essential in the appointment of Ministers in case
of vacancy."
in seconding said that if the Church desired to retain
a firmer hold over her Highland Parishes it
was, in his opinion, of the utmost importance that,
so far as practicable, no Ministers should be settled
in such Parishes who did not possess a competent
knowledge of the Gaelic language. The Church in
the North owed a deep debt of gratitude to Mr
Marshall for the great amount of trouble he had
taken in connection with the Gaelic-speaking
charges, and for the very satisfactory interim
Report he had presented to the Assembly. He
had every hope that the labours of the Commission
would be productive of good results.
The Report was adopted, and the Commission
was reappointed, with power to prosecute their
Item No. 9 of to-day's Billet of Business was
transferred to Monday next, to be then taken early
in the day.
Mr NENION ELLIOT, S.S.C., Edinburgh (Elder),
save in the Report of the Committee on Church
Records. The Report, after referring to the Report
last year — which showed that there were no
returns from 286 Parishes in regard to Session
Records — and the Deliverance thereon by the
General Assembly, proceeds to mention that the
Committee had prosecuted their work through the
Clerks of Synods and Presbyteries, and that a
Special Appeal was made in February last to the
Ministers of all Parishes from which the returns
in regard to Session Records had not been made.
The information obtained was classified in the
Appendix, but the returns were not complete.
From the returns made by Presbyteries which
were imperfect, it appeared that they had resolved
to retain their Records, and in some instances fireproof
safes had been ordered. No Records of date
prior to 1700 had been transmitted for repair and
safe custody along with the Records of the Church.
Under the superintendence of Dr Christie, the
Librarian of the Church, and a Member of Committee,
valuable work had been done. Dr Christie
had examined the parcels of Assembly papers for
the years 1742-1843, and these had been bound up
in ninety-four large volumes. Those for the years
1718-1741 remain to be dealt with in a similar
manner. Regret is expressed that many important
documents which should have found a place in the
bound volumes are not extant.
References were furnished to the Committee of
inquiries by the late Principal Lee, about the years
1820-21, into the Records of the Church. No documents
have been found shewing the nature and
extent of the inquiries. If Principal Lee's Reports
could be recovered, they would be of immense service
to the Church.
That the preservation of National Records had
only received careful attention from about the beginning
of the present century. That State Records,
like those of the Church, were, from want of suitable
accommodation, to a considerable extent kept
in the private houses of the keepers. They were
thus exposed to risk of loss by fire, and other
accidents, and on the death of the keepers they
frequently fell into private hands. The General
Register House had removed the reproach of want
of accommodation, and has also obviated the other
risks of loss. The Particular Register of Sasines,
&c., for the district or shire in which the subjects
were situated has been wholly transferred to the
General Register House under an Act of Parliament
passed in 1868.
The Church had as yet made no adequate provision
for its Records, with the result that many
have been lost from the various causes set down in
last Report to the General Assembly. Reference
is then made to the question between the Presbytery
of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh,
and to the relation which had subsisted between
them from the appointment of Principal Rollock in
1587 down to 1858, as set forth by the late Principal
Sir Alexander Grant in his "Story of the University
" (Vol. I., p. 156).
The right of the General Assembly, as the
Supreme Court of the Church, to regulate and
supervise the manner of keeping the Church
Records had been frequently exercised, and, it was
hoped, would be exercised again with effect as regards
the older Records. That those of date prior
to 1700, if collected, would be more serviceable to
the Church than in their present position. In the
words of Mr Peterkin, "No time should be lost in
securing for the remaining Records of the Church a
place of safe deposit. This, surely, is attainable in
the metropolis of Scotland."
The various returns as to Synod, Presbytery, and
Kirk-Session Records are being bound up, and will
be deposited with the Assembly Records for future
reference. The volume of New Kirk, Edinburgh,
Session Records, 1704-5, has been so deposited, as
will also be a volume of Session Records of Evie,
1725-56, when duly repaired, as requested by the
The Appendix contains returns as to the Records
of Kirk-Session of 193 Parishes, and is blank as to
93 Parishes, chiefly quod sacra erections under the
Act of 1844.
In giving in the Report Mr ELLIOT said the
Report contained a record of what had been done,
and also some indication of what remained to be
done. There were still a number of returns to be
got, which it was hoped might be got in another
year. Good work had been done under the superintendence
of Dr Christie, the Librarian, in binding
up the Assembly Papers — a work which might
be completed in another year. The returns in regard
to the Records of the Church had already
been bound up, and formed eleven volumes. He
suggested, in regard to future work, as he could not
take charge of the whole of it, that Dr Dodds
should be associated with him as Joint-Convener.
The Rev. Professor STORY, in moving the adoption
of the Report, said there was no part of the
business of the Assembly which, fifty or a hundred
years hence, would be looked upon as more important
than the work Mr Elliot had done. It was
much to be regretted that nearly 300 Parishes had
sent in no return to the Committee. He moved as
follows: — "The General Assembly approve generally
of the Report, and thank the Committee for
their labours; and in respect there are still certain
Parishes from which there is no return in regard
to Session Records, renew the order on Presbyteries
to furnish the necessary returns; reappoint the
Committee — with Dr Dodds, Joint-Convener, along
with Mr Elliot — with instructions to communicate
with Presbyteries, and ascertain from them what
steps are being taken (1) for the recovery of Records
known to be amissing and in private hands; (2)
for the repair and improvement of existing Records;
and direct the Committee to arrange for the repair
of such Records as are in bad condition, and for
binding such as should, in their opinion, require
The motion was seconded and agreed to.
Mr J. T. MACLAGAN, Edinburgh (Elder), submitted
the Report of the Trustees of the Widows'
Fund, from which it appeared that 11 Ministers
were translated from one benefice to another during
the year; 34 Ministers were admitted to benefices,
and 6 Professors to offices, all of whom had become
contributors to the Fund. Of these, 28 were bachelors,
and only 5 were above forty years of age.
Seven Assistants and Successors had succeeded to
their Charges, 6 owing to death, and one to the
resignation of the senior Minister; and 12 Ministers
and 4 Professors resigned their Charges.
Thirty Ministers and 1 Professor married during
the year, and 28 Ministers and 7 Professors died,
one of whom had been on the Fund for forty-nine
years, and twelve of whom had been Contributors
for over forty years. Eight of these did not leave
widows or children. The number of Contributors
on the list at 22nd November last was 1479.
Twenty-four widows came upon the Fund during
the year. The total number of annuitants is 462,
and the amount payable £18,724. Five families of
children under eighteen years of age receive annuities,
in consequence of their fathers having died
without leaving widows. The Trustees presented a
copy of the Bill now in Parliament for the purpose
of regulating the rights and liabilities as Contributors
to the Fund of Ministers of quoad sacra
Parishes, who were appointed to their Charges prior
to the dates of erection.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder), in
the absence of Mr J. A. Robertson, the Convener,
submitted the Report of the Committee on the
Position of Ministers who do not Participate in the
Widows' Fund. It stated that the Committee had
met with the Trustees of the fund as to the Bill
which they were promoting in Parliament, and had
made a number of suggestions, to which, however,
the Trustees did not accede. The Bill proposed
that first Ministers of Parishes quoad sacra and
quoad omnia who had been already translated or
appointed to offices, and thereupon placed on the
fund, should be discharged from all claim for contributions
due by them before their translation or
appointment. The Committee approved of that
proposal, but they suggested that first Ministers
who had not been translated, or who might wish to
become contributors, should also receive some concession.
The Bill as framed proposed to allow them
to become Contributors on payment only of the
fullest sum (both in contributions and interest) that
could at present be claimed from them. The Committee
expressed the hope that the Trustees would
see their way to restrict the interest on arrears
already incurred, both in the case of such Ministers,
and in all cases to which the Act applied to a rate
not exceeding four per cent., and that they would
limit their claim to arrears to a period of ten years
before the passing of the Act. The Committee
called the attention of the Trustees to the position
of Ministers of Parliamentary Churches, and begged
their consideration of the question whether the same
privileges should not be given to them as to the first
Ministers of Parishes quoad omnia and quoad sacra.
The Committee further requested the Trustees to
consider whether it would not be right and proper
that all Assistants and Successors appointed after
the passing of the Act should have the privilege of
being Contributors to the fund. The Trustees in
answer had expressed their regret that they could
not, as advised, give effect to the Committee's objections,
and must adhere to the terms of the Bill as
they stood. In the circumstances, Mr Murray
moved that the Committee be discharged.
The Rev. JAMES SMITH, Aberdeen, moved: —
"That the Assembly disapprove of the terms reported
to them, in which first Ministers of quoad
sacra Parishes who have not been translated, or
who may wish to become Contributors, are proposed
to be admitted to the benefits of the Widow's Fund
— viz., only on payment of the fullest sum in contributions
and in interest that can be claimed from
them ; and the General Assembly continue the
Committee, with instructions to take such steps,
either by conference with the Trustees, or by action
in Parliament, as may secure a more equitable
treatment of said Ministers." He said the proposed
Bill would affect about 122 Ministers, and it would
also affect in a very substantial way the widows of
Ministers who might have been in quoad sacra
Parishes and had died before the passing of the
Bill. The Bill proposed that Ministers who had
remained in their quoad sacra Parishes since the
date at which they were erected, and who desired
to become Contributors to the Widows' Fund, were
to be fined not only the whole of their arrears,
but either three or four per cent. of interest.
That would be, in the case of many Ministers, a
very serious matter. He would remind them that
a large proportion of the quoad sacra Ministers of
the Church were much poorer than many of the
Ministers of the old Parishes. Another hardship
was that if they did not apply for admission to the
fund within a year from the passing of the Act their
right to do so would lapse, and they would have no
opportunity of applying at a future time when they
might be translated to another Parish, and be in a
better position to contribute. What they asked
was that the Bill should wipe out all the arrears, or,
at any rate, limit them to a period of five years.
The Rev. Dr JAMIESON, Old Machar, seconded.
Mr MACLAGAN said the object of the Trustees in
promoting the Bill was to bring the funds into conformity
with the law as declared by the Court of
Session. With regard to Assistants and Successors,
they were at one time admitted to the fund; but
under more recent Statutes they were not permitted
to become Contributors, the reason, he supposed,
being that it was not desirable that there
should be two Contributors from one Parish. Mr
Smith had spoken of doing justice to those in positions
similar to himself, but he seemed to forget
that justice had also to be done to those now on the
fund, and to the widows who were drawing annuities.
The Trustees were in a position which prevented
them from acting otherwise than was at present
proposed. If Mr Smith or those who thought with
him were to go to Parliament with the view of
placing any impediment in the way of the Bill becoming
law, they would simply wreck the measure,
and the Widows' Fund would be placed in a position
from which no one could extricate it. The
Trustees would be obliged to come down on every
Minister, whether he liked it or not, and force him
to pay up all the arrears, and they could even arrest
their stipends, and prevent them receiving a penny
until the arrears had been paid up.
Mr JAMES A. WENLEY, Edinburgh (Elder), said
the leading principle of the Widows' Fund was that
every Contributor should be placed on a perfect
equality. He did not mean to suggest that the
Trustees had not been guided by actuarial principles,
but in order that they might have an opportunity
of again considering the matter, he moved—" Reappoint
the Committee with instructions to confer
with the Widows' Fund Committee with a view to
put quoad sacra Ministers on a footing of equality
with Ministers of Parishes, so far as consistent with
actuarial principles."
The Rev. WILLIAM GREIG, Rayne, seconded.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said Mr Maclagan had shown
that if the law were to be strictly applied it would
be a very severe application, and would bring them
into endless litigation. It was a mistake for any
one to suppose that the Trustees had not proceeded
upon actuarial principles, for they had been strictly
followed throughout. The result of the compromise
was really to put quoad sacra Ministers—who were
not compelled to come into the Fund unless they
pleased—in a much better position than those who
had contributed to the Fund for thirty or forty
On the suggestion of Mr MURRAY, Mr Smith
agreed to delete from his motion the reference to
Parliamentary action.
A vote being taken, there voted, for the first
motion (Mr Murray's), 24 ; for the second motion
(Rev. Mr Smith's), 6 ; for the third motion (Mr
Wenley's), 12. The first motion thus became the
judgment of the House. It was moved, seconded,
and agreed to :—" The General Assembly receive
the Report, and thank the Trustees and Officers of
the Fund for their diligence in the management of
its affairs. The General Assembly are glad to hear
that the Bill promoted by the Trustees in Parliament
has passed through the House of Lords, and
hope that it will pass also through the House of
Commons. The General Assembly warmly commend
the Supplementary Orphan Fund to the
Ministers of the Church and other Contributors of
the Fund, who may by a single payment of one
guinea secure for their children the benefits arising
from this Fund, should they be left in circumstances
entitling them. to participate. They recommend
that in every Synod a Committee should be appointed
to bring the matter under the consideration
of those Ministers who have not yet contributed to
it, and they request the Trustees and Officers of the
Ministers' Widows' Fund, who manage gratuitously
the Supplementary Orphan Fund, to give
these Committees such assistance by supplying
them with information regarding it, and otherwise
as may be in their power."
The General Assembly adjourned at 6.15, to meet
to-morrow at 11 o'clock A.M.
SATURDAY, 31st May 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last sederunt, being in the hands
of Members, were held as read, and were approved of.
The General Assembly called for the Reports of
the Visitors of Synod Books. The Book of the
Synod of Galloway was given in and approved of.
The Assembly ordered the Record to be attested in
the usual form.
The Convener of the Committee of Nomination
suggested the following additional names for the
Committee on the Proper Conduct of Public
Worship :—Professor Mitchell, Dr Scott, Dr Charteris,
C. M. P. Burn, Esq., T. G. Murray, Esq.,
Dr Boyd, Dr Gloag, Dr Leishman, Dr Mair, Rev.
J. C. Carrick, Rev. Mr Murray, Sauchie ; Dr Johnston,
Rev. Mr Cooper, Lewis Bilton, Esq., Dr John
Macleod, Bev. J. Brown, Dr Jamieson.
The Rev. Dr WATT gave in the Report of the
Committee as follows: -
I. Students.
1. James Duncan Anderson attended Divinity
Classes at the University of Aberdeen during
sessions 1885-86, 1886-87, 1888-89, and 1889-90.
He passed the Synodical examination for entrants,
however, only in October 1889. Has satisfied
examiners in entrance and exit Synodical examination.
Craves that his sessions be taken as regular,
and that he be taken on trials for licence by the
Presbytery of Aberdeen.
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was agreed
to, and the crave granted.
2. Mr John Easton Black, M.A., Glasgow. Mr
Black, who till 31st March 1890 was a member of
the Free Church, graduated M.A. 1889 with second--
class honours in Philosophy. He attended the
classes of Divinity, Church History, and Oriental
Languages in Glasgow University in session 1888--
89, and produces satisfactory testimonials from the
professors. He craves to be allowed to present
himself at the entrance examination in autumn,
and on condition of passing to be allowed to enter
the Hall as a second year's student. The case
is strongly recommended by the Presbytery of
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was agreed
to, and the crave granted.
3. James J. Haldane Burgess, M.A., Edinburgh
University, 1889. In October 1889 applied for an
oral examination to Presbytery of Edinburgh, as
on account of weakness of eyes could not undergo a
written examination. Request granted. Examination
passed, and certificate in accordance obtained.
A similar examination was refused by the Synod
Board as incompetent without permission of the
General Assembly. Entered Divinity Hall as
student of first year, of which attendance the necessary
certificates are produced. Craves that said
session be sustained as a regular part of the
Divinity course, on condition of his passing the
Synod Board examination before entering on his
second session.
Committee recommend that the petition be remitted
to Edinburgh Synodical Committee, with
powers. It was moved, seconded, and agreed to —
that the recommendation of the Committee be
adopted, and the petition remitted in terms thereof.
4. Mr John S. Clark (referred to in some of the
certificates as M.A.) attended the Divinity Hall of
United Presbyterian Church from 1st November
1887 to 11th April 1888. On 13th November 1888
he informed Perth Presbytery of the United Presbyterian
Church that he could not attend the Hall
during that session from ill health. On 27th February
1889 he applied to the Presbytery of Perth
to recognise him as a second year's student of
Divinity, which the Presbytery did, subject to the
decision of the General Assembly in the circumstances.
He attended during session 1889-90 the
Classes of Divinity, Church History, and Hebrew
in the University of St Andrews. On the 30th
October 1889 the Presbytery of Perth resolved to
give all possible help and countenance to Mr Clark
in preparing, forwarding, and promoting his petition
to next General Assembly. He craves to be
recognised as a Divinity Student of the Church of
Scotland, and that his sessions at the United Presbyterian
Church Hall and at the St Andrews University
be reckoned as regular sessions of his Theological
Committee recommend that crave be granted, on
his producing to the Presbytery of Perth original
certificates. The recommendation of the Committee
was adopted, and the crave granted on the
condition mentioned.
5. William Crockett has attended the first year
in Divinity Hall in Edinburgh: certificates produced.
Failed to pass entrance examination, but
was advised to enrol in the Hall. Is willing to
undergo the ensuing entrance examination. Craves
that session 1889-90 be sustained as a regular part
of his curriculum.
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave refused.
6. John Edgar, M.A., Edinburgh University,
1889. Passed examination of Presbytery of Edinburgh.
Failed to pass the Board examination.
States that owing to misunderstanding as to time
of meeting of said Board, he was forty minutes
late, and attributes failure to annoyance and excitement
because of misunderstanding. Attended the
Divinity Hall as student of first year, 1889-90:
certificates produced. Craves said session be held
as regular part of Divinity course, on condition of
passing the Board examination in October 1890.
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave refused.
7. John Reggie has passed examination of Presbytery
of Kirkcaldy for first year's students.
Owing to illness (medical certificate produced)
could not attend Synod Board examination. Applied
for another examination on recovery, which could
not be granted. Entered the Divinity Hall, St
Andrews, as first-year student, 1889-90, and took
prizes. Craves that said session 1889-90 be sustained
as regular part of the Divinity course, on
condition that he passes the Board examination in
October next.
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave granted.
8. Peter R. Landreth (Logie Pert) states that he
attended a full Arts curriculum in Edinburgh University:
that during sessions 1887-88, 1888-89,
1889-90, he attended a full Divinity course at Edinburgh
University and two courses on Elocution:
that while attending the Synodical entrance examination
at St Andrews in 1887, and again in 1888,
he was compelled by illness to withdraw: that in
October 1889 he passed said entrance examination
at St Andrews. That he was permitted to present
himself for the next examination in Edinburgh,
April 1890, but was, from dangerous illness, unable
to appear. He now craves that sessions 1887-88 and
1888-89 shall be counted along with session 1889-90
as regular sessions, and that he shall be granted an
exit examination during the present year; or that
the Presbytery of Brechin be empowered to hold an
equivalent examination previous to taking him on
trial for licence.
Committee recommend that crave be granted
to the extent that his course be held as regular,
and that the Edinburgh Synodical Committee
be empowered to examine him next October.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That
the recommendation of the Committee be adopted,
and the crave granted to the extent recommended
by the Committee.
9. Archibald James Miller has passed entrance
examination of Presbytery of Arbroath for first--
year's students. Owing to illness, could not sit at
Synod Board examination. Attended at University
of Edinburgh session for first-year students of Divinity,
1889-90 (certificates produced). Craves that
said session be held as regular part of his Divinity
course, on condition that he presents himself before,
and passes, the Synod examination in October 1890.
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted
and the crave refused.
10. P. A. K. Mackenzie, M.A., has finished the
three years' course of study in Divinity, to the satisfaction
of Presbytery of Inverness: was prevented
coming before the Exit Examination Committee
through illness, as duly certified in April of this
year: is recommended by the Presbytery of Inverness
to be taken on trials for licence. Craves special
permission to be taken on trials for licence by the
Presbytery of Inverness.
Committee recommend that crave be not
granted, but that the Edinburgh Synodical Committee
be empowered to examine him next October.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave refused; but power granted to the
Edinburgh Synodical Committee to examine Mr
Mackenzie next October.
11. Thomas G. Taylor, 14 Great King Street,
Edinburgh, states that he graduated M.A. in April
1887, and thereafter, at his father's desire, prepared
himself for the study of Law. Having decided to
enter the Ministry of the Church of Scotland
shortly before the Presbyterial and Synodical
Examinations in October 1889, he had devoted his
attention to preparation, and at the examination
failed to pass. That he attended classes in the
Faculty of Divinity in Edinburgh University during
the winter session of 1889-90. Craves that said
attendance may be counted as a regular session in his
Divinity course, provided he pass in October next
the entrance examination prescribed by the Synod.
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave refused.
12. Alexander K. Watt has passed the entrance
examination for first-year students before the Presbytery
of Edinburgh in 1889. Owing to illness
(medical certificate produced) could not present
himself to Synod Board at Edinburgh. Entered as
student of first year in 1889-90 the Divinity Hall at
Edinburgh: certificates produced. Craves thatsaid
session be sustained as regular part of his
Divinity curriculum on condition of his passing the
Synod Board examination in October next.
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave granted.
13. Mr John Hay Mackenzie Frazer, at present
Royal Bounty Missionary at Lochgair, petitions the
General Assembly to be admitted to the status of a
Licentiate. Mr Fraser appears to have received
some desultory theological and literary training
from clergymen of the Church of England, and to
have been for a time at a Theological Hall of the
Church Missionary Society at Reading. Thereafter
he was licensed, 25th September 1875, by the
Bishop of Sierra Leone, on the application of the
Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, to
"read morning and evening prayer in the Church,
and to deliver a plain discourse to the people." On
returning to Scotland in 1878, when he did mission
work among seamen, he officiated in the Gaelic
Church at Greenock during a vacancy, and thereafter
he worked in connection with the Gaelic
Church at Rothesay. At both these places strongtestimony
was borne to his character and success as
a preacher in Gaelic. In 1879 he presented a petition
through the Presbytery of Dunoon to the
General Assembly praying to be recognised as a
licentiate. The finding of that General Assembly
was to this effect — that his petition that his College
course might be shortened was granted, provided he
passed the Presbytery and Synodical Examining
Board. There is no appearance that he has passed
either examination. During the session 1879-80 Mr
Frazer attended the private Logic and Moral Philosophy
Classes in the University of Glasgow while
still working in connection with the Gaelic Church
at Rothesay, at which place he received further
literary instruction from the Rev. Robert Thomson,
now Minister of Rubislaw, Aberdeen. After
labouring in Rothesay for five years he became
Missionary at Lochgair in the Presbytery of Lochgilphead:
that Presbytery transmits his petition,
and testifies "to the excellence of his moral character,
and to the faithfulness in the performance of
the duties at present assigned to him." The reason
given by Mr Frazer for renewing his application for
licence is, that it will greatly increase his usefulness
in ministering among the Highlanders.
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was
adopted, and the crave refused.
14. David S. Richardson has duly completed his
studies in accordance with the laws of the Church,
and passed the exit examination in Glasgow, but
through an oversight his application to the Presbytery
of Peebles to be taken on trials for licence
was not submitted in time to the Synod meeting in
April last. Craves that authority may be granted
to the Presbytery of Peebles to take him on trials
for licence.
Committee recommend that crave be granted
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave granted.
II. Licentiates and Ministers.
1. George Bell is M.A. of Royal University of
Ireland, Doctor of Music of Trinity College, Dublin,
and a licentiate of Presbyterian Church of Ireland.
Is recommended by Committee on Admission of
Ministers from other Churches and by Presbytery
of Edinburgh: has passed a sufficient course
(certificates produced). Craves to be admitted as
licentiate of the Church.
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave granted.
2. The Rev. Robert Howie, Baptist Minister in
Glasgow, and for the last five years at Peterhead,
states in his petition that "more mature study of
baptism, and observation of the religious wants of
Scotland, have led him to depart from his former
views, both as to baptism, and as to the government
of the Church of Scotland." Student at Glasgow:
has satisfactory certificates of attendance at Lower
Junior Humanity Class, session 1880-81, Senior
Humanity Class, 1881-82; Junior Greek Class,
session 1881-82; Junior English Literature, session
1882-83; Moral Philosophy, session 1883-84; Logic
and Rhetoric, session 1882-83; Junior Hebrew,
1883-84; Divinity and Biblical Criticism, 1884-85;
Senior Hebrew (for a short time), 1885-86; and
also satisfactory certificates from various teachers
and tutors in connection with the Baptist denomination.
Produces also certificates and recommendations
from various Ministers. States that he is
now in hearty accord with the doctrine, government,
and discipline of the Church of Scotland, and
craves to be admitted to the Ministry.
Committee by a majority recommend that
crave be not granted.
The Rev. Dr WATT moved that the recommendation
of the Committee be adopted and the crave
be refused. He mentioned that the Committee had
resolved upon their recommendation by eleven votes
to six. They would observe that Mr Howie had
not completed a full Arts course, and this had
weighed with the Committee in coming to their
The Rev. WILLIAM WORKMAN, Stow, seconded
Dr Watt's motion. He had, he said, no objection
to any man applying for admission to the Ministry
of their Church, but they had a duty towards their
own Licentiates and Probationers with whom they
were dealing with the strictest and most evenhanded
justice. This was the case of a gentleman
who told them that he had gone through a certain
curriculum of studies. An examination of the
classes which he had taken showed, however, that
many classes which they insisted on their own
students taking were entirely awanting, and they
should do nothing which might seem to lead to the
assumption on the part of any of their young men
who wished to shirk the Board of Examiners, that
they had only to become Baptist Ministers and take
a session at the University in order to get into the
Ministry of the Church without trouble.
The Rev. Dr GLOAG, Galashiels, moved as an
amendment that the crave of Mr Howie be granted
on the condition that he should attend two years in
one of our Divinity Halls, and pass the exit examination
before he can be admitted as a licentiate of the
Church of Scotland. They in the Church of Scotland
should, he thought, open their doors as wide
as possible, as they were no mere sectarian Church.
He quite recognised that Mr Howie's College curriculum
was defective, but he thought the ends of the
case would be met by Mr Howie taking two more
years in the Hall, and passing the exit examination
before he was admitted as a licentiate.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, said the recommendation
of the Committee left the applicant free
to proceed with his studies if he thought fit, while
Dr Gloag's raised him to the status of a second
year's student. There was in his mind no real inconsistency
between the two motions.
The Rev. JOHN MITCHELL, St Fergus, seconded
Dr Gloag's motion. Mr Howie, he thought, would
be a distinct gain to the Church, but at the same
time he could not get over the fact that his Arts
curriculum was not completed. All the circumstances
seemed to point to their adopting a kindly
method of dealing with Mr Howie.
The Rev. Dr LEISHMAN, Linton, supported Dr
Gloag's motion.
On a division, Dr Watt's motion was carried by a
large majority, and Mr Howie's petition was accordingly
3. The Rev. James Gall Robertson, an ordained
minister formerly connected with the Free Church
of Scotland, was twelve years missionary in Kaffraria,
South Africa; has twice before, in 1881 and
1883, been recommended by the Standing Committee,
but on neither occasion was his petition presented
to the Assembly. Mr Robertson gave to the
Standing Committee reasons why this was not done.
Since then most favourable testimony is borne by
many Ministers and others in favour of Mr Robertson.
Is again recommended by the Standing Committee,
and strongly by Presbytery of Dundee.
Craves to be admitted to the status of an ordained
minister of the Church of Scotland.
Committee recommend that crave be granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was
adopted, and the crave granted.
4. Rev. Alexander S. Stewart, an ordained minister
of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, was sent
out by General Assembly's Colonial Committee to
Halifax in 1874 as a catechist and student of Dalhousie
College; was licensed by the Presbytery of
Sydney, Cape Breton, in 1879; inducted to the
charge of Belfast, Prince Edward Island, where he
laboured for eight years, transferring to West and
Clyde Rivers; and after twenty-one months became
minister of Mosa, in the Presbytery of London,
Ontario. He is now desirous of returning to the
service of the Church of Scotland, and craves to be
Committee recommend that crave be not granted.
The recommendation of the Committee was adopted,
and the crave refused.
5. Rev. W. Hood Wright was licensed by the
United Presbyterian Presbytery of Kilmarnock on
11th June 1878. He thereafter held a charge in
the Presbyterian Church of England, which he demated
in February 1884. On 2nd June 1884 he
was admitted to the ministry of the Free Church
of Scotland, and for some months took charge of
one of the congregations belonging to the Free
Presbytery of Dumbarton during the temporary
absence of the minister. In the end of 1886 Mr
Wright was appointed to a Mission Station at
Craigneuk, near Wishaw, in connection with the
Free Church, and appears to have laboured there
with acceptance. He states that lie has always had
a warm feeling towards the Church of Scotland,
with whose doctrine and government he entirely
agrees, and now craves to be admitted as a minister
therein. He adds that the majority of his congregation
at Craigneuk have already joined the Established
Church. Letters of recommendation are
submitted by him from the Established Church
ministers of Cambusnethan, Wishaw, Motherwell,
and Dumbarton, and an extract minute of the
Committee on Admission of Ministers from other
Churches, held at 22 Queen Street, Edinburgh, on
14th February 1890, recommending his admission.
Committee, by a large majority, recommend that
crave be not granted.
The Rev. Dr WATT, moved that the recommendation
of the Committee be adopted, and the crave
refused. He explained that only himself and
another member of the Committee had voted in the
minority when the decision was come to in Committee.

The Rev. Mr LAWSON, Abernethy, who seconded
Dr Watt's motion, said Mr Wright appeared to be
so unsettled in his mind that a little period of reflection
would be very advisable before he was
received into the ranks of the Clergy of the Church
of Scotland. Mr Wright's application had, he admitted,
many things to recommend it, but they
would be justly blamed by the other Churches if
they were a little too warm in their enthusiasm to
welcome every gentleman who did not seem to get
on with the other bodies to which he had formerly
The Rev. R. S. HUTTON, Cambusnethan, moved
that the General Assembly grant the crave of Mr
Hood Wright. He pointed out that the Committee
had not brought before the House the fact that the
Presbytery of Hamilton, after careful inquiry, had
resolved to recommend Mr Wright's admission to
the ministry of the Church. A petition had also
been signed by 123 members and adherents of the
Mission Station at Craigneuk asking that the
Mission should be recognised as a Congregation of
the Church of Scotland, and that they should have
the benefit of the Ministry of Mr Wright, who for
two years had been labouring there with great
acceptance. Mr Wright had appeared before the
Committee on the Admission of Ministers from
other Churches on 14th February last, when the
Committee had resolved to recommend his admission.
There was, in his opinion, no reason why a
man should not pass from one of the other Presbyterian
Churches to their Church or from their
Church to these Churches.
The Rev. Professor STORY said at first sight there
seemed to be something in the variableness of conviction
referred to by Mr Lawson, but it was well
to see where the variation began. He held that a man
who began as a United Presbyterian Minister — who
passed from that Church to the Communion of the
Presbyterian Church in England, and then into the
Free Church — and ultimately sought to be admitted
to the Church of Scotland, was pursuing a course of
upward progress. He had begun at a low point and
ascended to the highest he could get.
The Rev. Dr RANKIN, Muthill, said this was a
very good case for proceeding contrary to the
recommendation of the Committee. There was no
hindrance in point of study, there was no hindrance
in connection with Ordination, and, as Professor
Story had said, it was perfectly clear Mr
Wright was going on improving.
In answer to a Member, Dr WATT stated that
Mr Wright had been a Baptist Preacher before he
became a United Presbyterian. Dr Watt went on
to say that Mr Wright's case had been before the
Standing Committee several years ago, when the
Committee had decided that he should go back and
take a three years' course, and then renew his application.
In reality Mr Wright had gone to the
United Presbyterian Church, where he had got off
with one year.
After some further conversation the House
divided, when 57 voted in favour of the adoption
of the Committee's recommendation, and 64 for Mr
Wright's admission to the Ministry of the Church.
His petition was accordingly granted.
The AGENT (Mr Menzies) said for some years before
the passing of the Barrier Act the Assembly
had found applications for admission to the Church
coming up from gentlemen whose qualifications and
period of study were not at all equal to those of the
students of Divinity and Licentiates of their own.
He thought the time had now come when they
might with propriety remit to a Committee to
report to next Assembly whether any changes were
called for in the procedure of the Church in regard
to the admission of Ministers of other Churches.
He moved — "That the whole arrangements for the
admission of Ministers be remitted to a Committee
for consideration, to report to next General
The Rev. Dr SCOTT seconded the motion, which
was agreed to.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN submitted the
Educational part of the Report of the Committee
on the Universities Act, which mentioned the following
provisions: 1. The institution of an entrance
or matriculation examination for all who
propose to be regular and not private students, thus
increasing the efficiency of the Universities, and
doing justice to the secondary schools. 2. The institution
of Summer Sessions, care being at the
same time taken to make it possible for a student, by
prolonging his stay at the University, to dispense
with these. 3. The provision by means of options
of different paths to the M.A. degree, without
sacrificing that basis of general culture to which
the Church has always attached so much importance.
4. Increasing the number of Teachers, partly
by new Chairs, partly by Lectureships qualifying
for degrees, so as to secure greater and more varied
activity of intellectual life. And he moved — "That
the Assembly receive the Report, thank the Committee
for their diligence, and discharge them."
This motion was seconded and agreed to.
It was also moved, seconded, and agreed to —
"That the following Committee be appointed to
support the resolution of the General Assembly in
regard to the Theological Tests before the Universities
Commission, and to watch over the progress of
the measure: — Dr Mitchell, Dr Charteris, the Rev.
Mr Hunter, Dr Scott, the Procurator.
The Presbytery of Glasgow overtured the Assembly
to make a representation to the Universities
Commission of the urgent need that exists for the
institution of an effective Matriculation Examination
for the Divinity Hall, so that students who
had defective attainments in the subjects taught in
the Faculty of Arts might not be allowed to spend
several years in attendance upon University classes
with a view to the Ministry before being made
aware of their deficiencies.
The Rev. Dr WATT, Glasgow, moved as follows:
— "In view of probable changes in the Curriculum
of the Faculty of Arts, the General Assembly
deems it desirable to state its views regarding proposals
that may affect students preparing for the
Ministry, and remits the whole subject to the
Committee on the Education of the Ministry,
with additions, instructing it to take into consideration
the various points raised, and to make
representations to the Universities Commission
in accordance with the views now stated. 1.
The General Assembly is of opinion that, in
the interest both of secondary instruction and
of higher education generally, an Effective Entrance
examination as a preliminary to proceeding to a Degree
in Arts is called for. 2. The Assembly deems
it desirable that options should be given in the
studies leading to the Degree of M.A. after such an
examination has been passed. 3. While looking
forward to a time when the possession of a Degree
in Arts shall be held to be an essential condition of
beginning a regular course of Theological study, the
Assembly is not at present prepared to exclude
from the list of Divinity Students those who, having
given the requisite attendance, have not graduated
in Arts. 4. The Committee is further instructed
to represent to the Universities Commission
the need of arrangements whereby junior classes
may be maintained at the Universities for the preparation
of students for any preliminary examination
that may be instituted as qualifying for
beginning a graduation course, and to consider and
report on methods by which students intending to
enter the Ministry of this Church may be encouraged
and helped to pass such examination, and
also upon the means of exercising supervision over
students during their Arts course.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, in seconding the
motion, said he thought an addition might have
been made to it, to the effect that the Assembly was
of opinion that the staff of teachers in the Universities
should be increased, as the classes were so
large that the personal influence of the teacher was
greatly lost upon the students. The new Act promised
very valuable reforms in their Universities in
the way of promoting higher education in Scotland.
Their Universities had done noble work, but not all
that could have been expected of them. For many
years it had not been supposed that a man ended
his education in the Scottish Universities. Their
best men went to Germany and England to complete
their education, and he could not regard as perfect
an educational system which did not complete the
education of its own students. For the last thirty
or forty years it had been almost impossible for a
Scottish student to expect an appointment as a
Professor in the Faculty of Arts in a Scottish University.
The fact that they had to go across the
Border for their teachers created a wide gulf between
the teachers and the classes, and caused a
certain warping of their work. Another point of
great importance was that in Scotland they had
never yet had a distinct system of secondary education,
and if they were to obtain that, it must
be by drawing some line of distinction between
secondary schools and the Universities, which
could only be done by the institution of an effective
entrance examination. They had an excellent
primary system of education, now that the objectionable
practice of payment by results had been
largely abolished in the Board schools, but what
they wanted was an efficient system of secondary
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN said the Church
had as deep an interest in the general education of
the youth of the country as in the education of her
own Students. The Church of Scotland, throughout
her whole history, had taken the warmest
interest in University as well as primary education.
She had been the earnest and devoted, although in
these later years the unthanked, friend of the
Universities of Scotland. They had always felt in
the Church that learning and Religion should go
together, and ought to be most firmly united. He
cordially adopted the first part of the motion, but
he entirely differed from the view of Dr Watt as
contained in the second paragraph. There was no
questioning the fact that, considering the enormous
growth of the sciences in our day, and the amount
of knowledge connected not only with the sciences
in general but with every individual science, it was
absolutely necessary that options should be introduced
in their Universities, but he deprecated most
strongly that these options should be allowed to
come in before a basis of general education and
general culture had been laid. If there was one
thing more than another distinguishing the Universities
in the past, it had been the mode in which
they had laid that basis of general education and
general culture. It was in danger of being surrendered
to the desire of those individual lines of
education by which a man should be enabled to earn
his bread. If there was a danger of that kind in
Scotland, it was even greater in England. It was
a positive fact that at some of the large schools
in England there were large scholarships and
bursaries founded for young boys in one particular
department of knowledge, and the consequence
of that was that from his very
earliest years a boy was encouraged, not to go
in for general education, but to confine himself
to the narrow grooves of one particular subject.
He hoped the Assembly would say that, while
they conceded the principle of options, they would
insist, above and beyond everything else, that these
options should rise up or diverge from the basis
of a good general education. All he objected to in
the third paragraph was the statement that there
might come a time when they should not admit any
student to their Divinity Halls who had not taken
the M.A. degree in his Arts course. It seemed a
very fair proposition; but it put the Church of Scotland
into the hands of the Universities, and to that
he objected. He would always protest that they were
an independent body, capable of judging for themselves
what kind of men should be allowed to enter
into the Church. He would not concede anything
that would put the Church into the hands of foreign
bodies over whom they had no control. Dr Watt's
motion also failed to supply some of the things that
were absolutely necessary. He thought the time
had come when they must have summer sessions in
their Universities, for it was a very great hardship to
many parents to have their sons thrown on their hands
for seven months out of the twelve, and it was by no
means favourable to the proper training and discipline
of the youth. These sessions should be introduced
in such a way that they would not be absolutely
imperative, but would be ready for those
wishing to avail themselves of them. Their University
system was defective in the number of its
teachers and in giving a monopoly of great subjects
to a single man. They must open up these subjects
to other teachers, and it should be their aim to introduce
young men as teachers, so that when a
vacancy occurred there might be an ample field of
choice. He moved as an amendment: — "Remit the
overture and the suggestions in the Report of the
Committee on the Universities Bill (p. 210) to the
Committee on the Education of Ministers for their
consideration, and instruct the Committee to watch
over the procedure of the Universities Commission
in reference to this matter."
The Very Rev. Principal CUNNINGHAM seconded
Professor Milligan's motion, but explained that he
did so on perfectly different grounds from those
urged by the mover. For example, as to the proposed
summer session, he should like Professor
Milligan to remember that, while a summer session
would be very convenient for Arts students, it was
questionable whether it would be a benefit to Divinity
students. It would be almost impossible to
get their students to attend for nine months in the
year, because the majority of them, like certain
animals of the lower orders, gathered honey in the
summer time and stored it up for the winter time.
There were to his mind great difficulties in the way
of having such a summer session as Professor Milligan's
motion contemplated, but he was quite willing
that that and other subjects should be sent to a
Committee to be fully considered. Therefore, while
he did not agree with Professor Milligan's speech,
he was happy to second the motion.
The Rev. Professor DICKSON, Glasgow, said he
objected to the motion of Dr Watt on the ground
that it dealt with a great many subjects not touched
by the Overture, and he had a further objection to
it because it differed from the terms of an Overture
which Dr Watt had himself brought up from the
Presbytery of Glasgow. The evil at present was
that many of their students came to the University
in a state of poor preparation. They began their
Arts studies in that state, and after passing through
the Arts curriculum they found themselves checked
at the moment they were about to enter on the
study of Divinity. He had always maintained that
the only proper remedy for that state of matters
was to insist on an entrance examination. He
desired to cut out from Dr Watt's motion everything
that appertained to subjects not included in the
Overture, and he accordingly moved: — "Remit the
Overture to the Committee on the Education of the
Ministry, instructing them to make a representation
to the Universities Commission, that it is desirable
to institute an effective matriculation examination
applicable to all ordinary students."
The Rev. Dr SCOTT pointed out that there was
no collision, so far as he could make out, between
the motions before the House, and there was no
reason why they should not be incorporated with
the motion of Professor Milligan. They would all,
he thought, be at one with Dr Dickson as to the
importance of an entrance examination, and it
might be an instruction to the Committee to lay
the suggested representation before the Universities
Commission in the name of the Assembly.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN said he had no
objection to accept Dr Dickson's motion in the sense
that it should be referred along with the other to
the Committee on the Education of the Ministry.
The Rev. Dr WATT then withdrew his motion;
and Professor Dickson's being also withdrawn,
Professor Milligan's became the finding of the
House, it being at the same time resolved that the
first and third motions should be remitted to the
Dr RANKIN, Muthill, gave in the Report of the
Committee on the Education of Ministers, which
contained the following suggestions: — The desireableness
of widening and modernising the course of
study for the Ministry, by recognising the options
laid down, or to be laid down, under the Universities
Act as regards the degree examinations for
M.A., B.D., and B.Sc.; the desirableness of an
entrance examination for students in Arts; if the
M.A. degree be not made imperative, that mere
certificates of attendance in Arts or Divinity classes
should not be accepted as valid unless they certified
proficiency to some reasonable extent. The Cornmittee
asked authority to petition the Universities
Commission in favour of a compulsory entrance
examination, and also of wider options. The wider
options, Dr Rankin said, were undefined, and so far
as he understood, the Commission were already prepared
to move in both of the directions indicated
by the Committee. It could do no harm to make the
representation, even if the suggestions were not acted
upon. He moved "That the Assembly approve
the Report, and grant the authority requested to
petition the Universities Commission in favour of
an Entrance Examination, and of wider option in
subjects of examination for the M.A. degree."
The Rev. Dr GRAY, Liberton, seconded the
motion, winch was agreed to. It was moved,
seconded, and agreed to — "That the Committee on
the Education of the Ministry be enlarged, Dr
Rankin and Professor Dickson, Joint-Conveners;
and the nominating Committee be instructed to
bring up additional names on Monday."
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — "That
Dr Dickson's name be added to the Committee
appointed to support the resolution of the Assembly
before the Universities Commission in the matter
of the Theological Tests."
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR submitted the Report
of the Committee appointed to consider the
Petition by Mr James MacColl, late Minister at
Kilchoman, asking to be restored to the status of
a Licentiate of the Church. From the Report it
appeared that the Presbytery of Islay and Jura had
in 1884 found four out of seven charges of drunkenness
proved against the Petitioner, and that the
General Assembly of that year had deposed him
from the office of the Ministry of the Church. Mr
MacColl stated in his Petition that he was sincerely
penitent for those acts, and that by prayer to God,
by strong resolution, and by continual watchfulness,
he had been able to lead a strictly sober life
since. The Petition came to the Assembly with
the cordial recommendation of the Presbytery of
Glasgow, in whose bounds Mr MacColl had been
residing since he left Kilchoman, and the Committee
also recommended that Mr MacColl's request should
be granted. Professor Taylor moved that Mr MacColl
should be restored to the status of a Licentiate
of the Church, and this was agreed to.
The Assembly, at half-past two o'clock, took up
the Manchester case, which was continued from
Saturday last. The case, it will be remembered,
came up this year on a reference from the Presbytery
of Glasgow and by Petitions from Members
of the Scottish National Church, Rusholme Road,
Manchester. At last year's Assembly Counsel appeared
for Mr Mackie and the Petitioners, and it
was stated that the Petitioners withdrew their
charges against Mr Mackie on condition that he
should resign his connection with the Manchester
Church. A statement, signed by Mr Mackie, was
put in by his Counsel, admitting and expressing
regret for certain unseemly scuffles in the Church,
which he attributed to abnormal nervous excitement,
and the Assembly disposed of the case by remitting
to the Presbytery of Glasgow to rebuke
Mr Mackie. The agreement between Mr Mackie
and the Petitioners was not implemented, and on
Mr Mackie being cited before the Presbytery of
Glasgow in August last he protested against the
rebuke on the ground that the Assembly was in
error in having received Petitions containing' libellous
matter, or matter which might become the
subject of a libel, behind his back, such Petitions
emanating from persons not directly under the
Assembly's jurisdiction, and who neither waited on
his Ministry nor contributed to his maintenance;
and because the paper signed by him, on which the
Assembly rested their instructions to the Presbytery,
was submitted to the Assembly before the
conditions on which it was contingent were fulfilled,
and without sanction or authority from him,
and it was not a "judicial admission and confession."
In these circumstances the Presbytery found
themselves debarred from carrying out the judgment
of the Assembly. When the case was before
the Assembly on Saturday last, Mr Mackie stated
that he gave no authority for the minute which was
laid before last Assembly by Counsel, and it was
very far from his mind to imply that he had been
guilty of something deserving of censure. In these
circumstances a Committee was appointed to inquire
into the matter, and report to a future diet of
On the case being called, there appeared at the
bar the Rev. James Mackie, for himself; Mr
Gregory and Mr Farish, Members of the Manchester
congregation, asking that the trust should
be administered; and Mr Beaton, Manchester, for
himself and other Petitioners.
The Rev. Mr MACKIE objected to Mr Beaton
appearing, on the ground that he was not a Member
of the Rusholme Road congregation, and his Petition
had not been read.
The AGENT of the CHURCH (Mr Menzies) read
the Petition, which set forth that the arrangement
sanctioned by the Assembly last year had not been
carried out ; that the circumstances of the congregation
were the same as disclosed in former years;
and that there had been no meeting of Kirk-Session
and no celebration of the Communion for upwards
of four years; and they asked the Assembly to deal
with these matters.
The Rev. JAMES MACKIE again objected to Mr
Beaton appearing. He had, he said, been only once
at the Communion since he became Minister, and
that without a certificate, and for the purpose of
getting up these disturbances. He had been a
member of the Congregation under his predecessor,
whom he had driven by his conduct to All Saints'
Episcopal Church. He also objected to Mr Beaton
that he had called meetings in his (Mr Mackie's)
schoolroom to form a Committee for the purpose of
building a new church and calling another minister;
and these parties had cut his gas pipes, destroyed
the organ and heating apparatus, and caused other
disturbances. Men who had formed themselves
into a nucleus of a Congregation were not entitled
to appear against a clergyman from whose ministry
they had withdrawn, and for whose maintenance
they were not paying one penny. Mr Core, another
of the petitioners, was an official in the English
Church. These gentlemen were the causes of the
facts in the petition of which they complained.
There had been no meetings of Session, because Mr
Carsewell and other Elders refused to meet with him.
On the motion of the PROCURATOR, it was agreed
to receive the petition.
The PROCURATOR then gave in the Report of the
Committee appointed on the previous Saturday to
consider the position of matters. The Committee
had held several meetings, and had laid before them
the various documents bearing on the case. Mr
Mackie had also attended meetings of the Committee
when required, and was present when the
Committee conferred with the Deputation from the
Synod of the Church of Scotland in England. The
Committee had, in presence of Mr Mackie, examined
the Counsel who represented Mr Mackie at last
Assembly and gave in the document, signed by Mr
Mackie, on which the deliverance of the Assembly
proceeded, and they had also examined Mr Mackie
himself in connection with the list of documents.
They held it to be clearly proved that it was on Mr
Mackie's instructions that Counsel appeared before
the Committee of the Assembly last year, and that
these instructions had not been withdrawn when
the document referred to was handed in at the bar
of the Assembly. Mr Mackie, however, stated that
the document was delivered to Counsel only to be
used in a certain event — namely, if Mr Mackie was
satisfied with the terms of the withdrawal of the
complaints made in the petition then before the
Assembly. The complaints were withdrawn, subject
only to the proviso that Mr Mackie should
undertake to withdraw from his charge of Rusholme
Road Church within a month, and as it had been
brought to the knowledge of all concerned that Mr
Mackie had, only a few days previously, signed an
agreement undertaking to resign his living in Manchester,
it appeared to the Committee that Counsel
was justified in laying the document before the
Assembly as he did. It might further be remarked
that the deliverance of the Assembly bore that the
charges had been judicially withdrawn, and that
parties were recalled and the deliverance read over
to them without objection. The Committee were,
however, of opinion that as Mr Mackie alleged that
he was under some misapprehension in the matter,
he should have an opportunity of stating at the bar
whether he desired to withdraw his signed confession
contained in the document before mentioned,
or whether he adhered to it, and was prepared to
submit himself to the judgment of the Assembly
The Procurator concluded by moving the approval
of the Report.
Mr A. D. M. BLACK, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
The MODERATOR then asked Mr Mackie whether
he withdrew or adhered to his signed confession
embodied in the deliverance of last Assembly.
The Rev. Mr MACKIE — Before answering that
question, I should like to know whether the House
has passed judgment on the point whether the
Advocate was within his right in laying that document
before the Assembly?
The MODERATOR — The House has approved of
the Committee's Report.
The Rev. Mr MACKIE — My answer, then, is this
— If the Assembly have found that the Advocate
was within his right in laying that document before
the House, I bow to any judgment on this submission
that they are pleased to give.
The MODERATOR repeated the question, and
asked for a categorical answer.
The Rev. Mr MACKIE — I desire to submit
myself to the judgment of the Assembly on
that submission. Being further pressed to answer
categorically, Mr Mackie replied, "I adhere and
On the motion of Mr JAMES WALLACE, Advocate,
Edinburgh (Elder), the CLERK read the terms of
Mr Mackie's confession as follows: — "I, the Rev.
James Mackie, humbly desire to admit and to confess
to the General Assembly that in the course of
my Ministry in the Scottish National Church, Rusholme
Road, Manchester, I have taken part in unseemly
scuffles within the Church on three occasions,
specified in the petition presented to the General
Assembly of 1887, which, I confess with pain, was
conduct unbecoming and reprehensible in a Minister
of the Gospel. With full expression of my penitence,
I humbly and unreservedly place myself in
the hands of the General Assembly to deal with me
as seems just. I crave the General Assembly to
give due weight, in considering my case, to the unfortunate
circumstances in which I was placed, and
the provocation to which I was subjected. I crave
this, not as justifying my conduct, but on the
ground that these circumstances explain the abnormal
state of nervous excitement in which I was
at the time when the acts took place to which I now
confess, and which I sincerely and unfeignedly
The other parties at the bar having been asked
whether they had anything to say, Mr BEATON said
he had only to remark that their withdrawal of
the charges against Mr Mackie was subject to Mr
Mackie's withdrawal from Rusholme Road Church.
Failing that, their charges against him stood.
Parties were then removed.
The PROCURATOR briefly recalled the history of
the case since it first came before the Assembly on
petition in 1887, and said they had now Mr Mackie
submitting himself in, he believed, a most loyal
spirit to the judgment of the Assembly. The
charges against Mr Mackie were withdrawn on the
footing that he was to retire from Rusholme Road
Church within a month. He had not retired from
the Church; but, of course, a stipulation or negotiation
such as that was not a thing to which the
Assembly could possibly be a party. On the whole, he
thought the Assembly had touch of thesecharges so as
to justify it in dealing with them as it pleased; and
without going into the details of this painful case,
he would submit the following motion: — "The
General Assembly, having considered the Report of
their Committee and the whole proceedings, and
Mr Mackie having, as recommended in the Report,
had an opportunity of stating whether he now
adheres to or withdraws from the signed document
submitted to last General Assembly and embodied
in their deliverance; and Mr Mackie having now
stated at the bar that he adheres to the said document
and submits himself to the Assembly, resolve
that the justice of the case will be met by rebuke
and admonition, and that Mr Mackie, being at the
bar, be rebuked and admonished accordingly from
the Chair."
The Rev. Dr SCOTT said he had no desire to press
heavily on a man on whom many misfortunes had
pressed very severely, and he would certainly like
to see one whom he could call his old friend, Mr
Mackie, removed from his most unfortunate position.
He thought Mr Mackie had done right in
submitting himself to the Assembly, and they should
meet him generously; but they must remember
that there were other things at stake, and he would
like if the Procurator would add to his motion
something like the following: — "The Assembly
find, in the circumstances disclosed, that the connection
of Mr Mackie with the Rusholme Road
congregation should terminate as speedily as possible,
and inform the Synod of the Church of Scotland
in England of this deliverance."
The PROCURATOR suggested that that might form
a separate motion, and his resolution as proposed
was then agreed to.
Parties having been recalled and judgment intimated,
Mr Mackie, standing at the bar, was addressed
by the MODERATOR as follows: — My Brother,
you and I in our long Ministry have had painful
duties to do, but I do not think that to either of
us anything ever came heavier than what has been
appointed to both of us to-day, for I am commanded
to censure you in the name of the Supreme Court of
the Church, which I must do, though knowing well
that you have had a heavy trial, that you have had
more than your share of human anxiety and misfortune,
and that all that you have said as to
how those troubles might have affected you is
perfectly true. You have done well, I am
sure, in adhering to that confession, and in submitting
yourself to the General Assembly. There
is not a man here who does not feel for you;
there is not a man here who would bear hard upon
you; there is not a man here but will firmly believe
that a man of your great ability, going to a
new sphere and turning a clean page where all these
things may be forgotten, will do good work for the
Church and for the Saviour. We know well, my
Brother, in ourselves, that God could only know
what such troubles might have made of any of us,
and for that and other reasons we desire to speak
to you in the kindest way. I have to convey to
you the censure of the Assembly, which you will
receive in the spirit in which it is given, and we
wish most heartily that, beginning afresh, you may
have a day of usefulness and happiness such as it is
impossible you could have had all these past years.
The PROCURATOR next moved the appointment
of a Committee to inquire into the matters contained
in the Petitions, and to confer with the
parties and the trustees of the Church, and to do
all in their power to arrange things satisfactorily.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT moved as an addition that it
be intimated to the Synod of the Church of Scotland
in England that, in the opinion of the Assembly,
it was highly desirable in the interests of
all concerned that Mr Mackie's connection with the
Rusholme Road Church, Manchester, should cease.
The Rev. Dr F. L. ROBERTSON, Glasgow, suggested
the addition of the words "on fair and
reasonable terms," which Dr Scott accepted.
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN, Pollokshields, said he
failed to see what object was to be attained in conveying
that intimation to the English Synod, as
they had already informed the Assembly that their
jurisdiction over Mr Mackie was at an end.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT — The object is a goal which
all parties are anxious to reach, and I believe it
will be a blessed consummation to Mr Mackie himself.

On the suggestion of Sheriff CHEYNE (Elder), the
motion was ultimately adjusted as follows, and was
unanimously agreed to: — "That the General Assembly
find that it is desirable that the connection
of Mr Mackie with the Church in Rusholme Road,
Manchester, should be terminated on fair and
reasonable terms as soon as possible, and with this
finding remit the Petitions of Mr Beaton and others
and of Mr Gregory and others, to a Committee to
confer with the Petitioners, the Trustees of the
Church, and all others concerned, and do all in
their power to arrange matters satisfactorily in
Rusholme Road Church, Manchester; further,
remit to the same Committee the letter laid before
the General Assembly from the Scottish Synod in
England for consideration and advice. The Procurator
to bring up the names of the Committee
on Monday morning."
The Rev. Dr WATT gave in the Report of the
Committee containing a revised scheme of Regulations,
and a recommendation that Act 20, 1889, be
altered as follows: — At line 9, for "before applying
to any Presbytery to be taken on trial for licence,"
read "before being taken on trials for licence by any
Presbytery." The revised Regulations are as follow
(1.) The examination of all Students who shall have
finished a regular course of study in theology in
1889-90 and following years, shall be held annually
in April or May at each University seat, on a day
or days to be fixed by the Committee acting there.
The time and place of meeting, with any other
necessary information, shall be published in the
October number of the Mission Record. At least
ten days before the date so fixed intimation of intention
to appear for examination must be made
to the Convener of the Committee before which
a student intends to present himself. (2.) In
selecting the subjects of examination each Committee
shall keep in view the subjects prescribed to
candidates for the B.D. degree at the University
at which it acts. The subjects of examination
as settled by each Committee shall be intimated
annually in the July number of the Mission Record.
(3.) Students who appear at this examination must
satisfy the Committee first that they have passed
the examination required of Students entering the
Divinity Hall, and, second, that they have attended
a full and regular course of theological study, as
prescribed by the laws of the Church. In the case
of those who have passed for the B.D. degree,
certificates to this effect, or a diploma, must be
produced ; and in any case where there may have
been a departure from the law of the Church as to
the date of passing the entrance examination, or as
to the subsequent curriculum, an extract deliverance
of the General Assembly sanctioning such
departure must in like manner be produced. (4)
Each Student whose examination has been sustained
by the Committee shall receive a certificate to that
effect, showing also the estimate that has been
formed of the appearance made by him in the
several subjects in which he has been examined,
which certificate, signed by the Convener or Vice--
Convener, shall be presented by the Student to the
Clerk of his Presbytery, as a condition of his being
taken by them on trials for licence. The Convener
of each Committee, if requested to do so by a
Presbytery, shall remit to them the papers of any
Student who has applied to them to be taken on
trials, and who has passed the Committee's examination.
(5.) The Committee shall give to the theological
Professors at the respective Universities
opportunity for advising as to the scope of the
examination. (6.) The Committee as formed at
present shall act till they have completed the work
of the exit examination in 1891. At the first
meeting of the several Synods in 1891 and thereafter
rienially, successors to existing Committees,
shall be appointed, and the period of their holding
office shall date from the completion of the work of
the exit examination in the year of their appointment.
The number of members to be appointed
by the several Synods for the purposes of both the
entrance and the exit examinations shall be as
is shown in the schedule annexed to the regulations.
Vacancies that may occur shall be filled up in
accordance with the provision of Act IX., 1874.
(7) The provisions of Act IX., 1874, relative to the
mode of conducting the examinations, communication
between the Conveners, reporting to the
Assembly, submitting proposals to the Assembly,
and such like, shall apply to the exit as well as to
the entrance examinations. Dr WATT concluded by
moving the following deliverance — That the Report
containing the Regulations be approved of, and the
Regulations adopted, and it be remitted to the
Committee to prepare an Overture to be sent down
to Presbyteries to amend Act XX. of last General
Assembly, in terms of the Report; and further,
that it be remitted to the Conveners of the four
Synodical Committees to consider how far the
Certificates should be issued on a uniform method.
The motion was seconded and agreed to.
The Synod of Perth and Stirling overtured the
Assembly to the effect that, as the degree of B.D.
practically exempted Students applying for
licence from the final examination in Theology by
the Examining Committees of the Church, the regulations
should be so altered as to make the examination
obligatory on all candidates. Dr MILROY, Moneydie,
appeared in support of the Overture, and he
concluded by moving that the Overture be remitted
to the Committee on the Education of Ministers,
which was seconded. The Rev. Dr WATT, Glasgow,
moved that the Overture be dismissed, on the
ground, as he said, that it had been brought forward
under a total misconception as to the provisions of
the Act; and this second motion the House adopted
by a large majority.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, in the absence of
the Convener (Dr Dykes), gave in the Report of the
Examining Boards at University Seats. The Report
stated that the total number of graduates presenting
themselves during the year for the entrance examination
into the Hall had been 39, of whom 3 had
failed. The non-graduates had numbered 50, and
of them 21 had failed. The total number passing
last year was 65-36 graduates and 29 non--
graduates. Edinburgh had the pre-eminence of
presenting most graduates, while Glasgow had the
pre-eminence of "plucking" most non-graduates.
More than half the students entering the Divinity
Halls last year were graduates in Arts. For the
exit examination, 32 bachelors of divinity and 48
who were not graduates in divinity — 80 in all — had
presented themselves, and either owing to the
leniency of the examiners or to the extraordinary
state of preparedness in which the candidates were,
all of them had passed. Edinburgh had presented
most graduates in divinity, and he was sorry to say
the proportion in Glasgow was smallest.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the
Report be approved of, and the Committee continned,
and Dr Watt appointed in room of Dr
Dykes, as Convener of the Glasgow Synodical
Committee. The General Assembly recorded its
sense of Dr Dykes's valuable services as Convener.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick (in the absence of
the Rev. Dr Alison, Edinburgh) submitted the
Report of the Committee on Probationers, which
stated that of the 310 Probationers and unattached
Ministers reported to last Assembly, 37 had been
settled in charges, and 8 had gone abroad. The
number at present was 336, being an increase of 26,
and of these 242 were employed, About 530 pulpit
supplies were provided, being an increase of 134
over the previous year.
The Rev. THOMAS MARTIN, Lauder, moved, and
the Rev. J. C. CARRICK, Newbattle, seconded the
adoption of the Report, both speaking to the usefulness
of the work which the Committee undertook.
The Rev. ANDREW DOUGLAS, Arbroath, asked if
the Committee could not take into consideration the
question whether Probationers might not be allowed,
to some extent at least, to occupy the pulpits of
vacant Parishes, as was the practice in the United
Presbyterian Church. It was with the view of
making some such arrangement as that that the
remit had been made to the Committee some ten
years ago.
The Rev. Mr HUNTER replied that the Committee
had no power from the Assembly to act in the way
suggested. Were the Committee to take the
responsibility of supplying Probationers to vacant
charges, it would mean that it had absolute control
over all unemployed Probationers. At present the
Committee had no power of that kind, and until
they had power to act with jurisdiction over all the
Probationers of the Church, Mr Douglas's object
could not be attained.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the
Report be adopted, and the Committee continued —
Dr Alison, Convener.
Professor MILLIGAN gave in the Report of the
Committee on Efficient Superintendence of the
Ministry. The suggestions made by the Committee
to last Assembly were sent down to Presbyteries
for their consideration. Of the 55 replies received,
41 disapproved of the suggestions, and only 9
approved generally. In view of the decided disapproval
of the plan, the Committee said it would
obviously be both impolitic and useless to urge
upon the Church the proposals made last year.
These must be set aside as impracticable, and the
Committee asked that they be discharged. In presenting
the Report, Professor Milligan defended the
spirit of the plan which the Committee suggested to
the Assembly of last year, and said, now that the
General Assembly, met in Presbyteries, had
exhausted all the follies of their proposals, the
Committee were desirous of being discharged. He
moved accordingly.
The Rev. THEODORE MARSHALL, Caputh, seconded
the motion.
The Rev. Professor STORY said he much regretted
that this subject should have come before so small
a House, because it was a most important one, and
one the Church would have to face in a serious way
before long. The question was how the Presbyterian
government of the Church was to be rendered
effective and efficient throughout the Church.
It was quite evident from the fact of the General
Assembly appointing the Committee that it recognised
that greater efficiency was required in the
abstract, but the Church did not seem to have liked
the proposals of the Committee in the concrete.
He thought that was only an argument for the
question being firmly faced again. Much of the
cause of the rejection of the proposals of the Committee
was due to the fact that they implied a
measure of supervision not agreeable in certain
cases. It seemed to him that the remedy for the
existing state of things was not the introduction of
any novelty in the Constitution of the Church, but
only a return to one of the first and most constitutional
methods in the Reformed Church of Scotland
immediately after the Reformation — the institution
of the office of Superintendent. Until this was done
he did not believe the Presbyterian government
would be as effective and as efficient as it ought to be.
The Rev. JAMES LANDRETII, Logie-Pert, said he
took a different view of the matter. He believed
that the Ministers of their Church were more
efficient than any others at that moment, because
they enjoyed a measure of independence which
others did not. He for one questioned if the
superintendence suggested by Dr Story would be
any improvement on the Presbyterial Committee.
There were several men in the House and among
those round the table who would not make exactly
the kind of Superintendent he should like to see.
He thought it would be wrong at that time of day,
when the Church of Scotland was so manifestly
strong, because her Ministers had such a strong
position, to try and fetter them and to try to bring
to exercise over them the superintendence, it might
be, of men essentially small — essentially busybodies
— who would be more successful in worrying
the Ministers with whom they came in contact than
in promoting real ability.
The Rev. Dr YOUNG, Monifieth, expressed his
regret that a subject of that kind should have been
brought before the Assembly on a Saturday afternoon,
when it was practically impossible to discuss
it. He hoped the Church would not lose sight of
that matter. It would, he thought, be well for the
same Committee to be reappointed to consider the
best way of supervising and superintending the
Presbyteries of the Church, and he hoped the
matter would reappear in another shape on a future
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN, Pollokshields, agreed
with Dr Young that it would be a pity if the Committee
were discharged. The Presbytery of Glasgow,
he added, had petitioned against the Committee's
plan, not because they did not approve of superintendence
of some kind, but because they took
exception to certain of the proposals made and to
the mode suggested. He had no doubt other Presbyteries
had gone on the same lines.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, said it seemed to
him that, as the Convener desired it, the Committee
should be discharged. They might very well grant
the request, knowing that the Commissioners to
enquire into the religious condition of the people, to
be appointed on Monday, would keep that question
well in life, and would probably be able to make
recommendations such as might find adoption in the
Church when other suggestions had not been taken up.
The Rev. J. S. MACKENZIE, Little Dunkeld, supported
Mr Niven's suggestion that the Committee
should be continued, with instructions to bring up a
Report to next General Assembly.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN, speaking at the close
of the discussion, said it was a fact that could not be
denied — and ought not to be denied — that there
were many Parishes in the Lowlands and in the
most central parts of Scotland at the present
moment where, it was well known, the duties of the
Ministry were not discharged as they should be, and
it was a shame and a scandal that, at a time the
Church was wakening day by day to a deeper sense
of her obligations to God and to those to whom she
was called upon to minister, there should be any
attempt to check her in the revival of that spirit.
Let all those who were interested in the welfare of
the Church join — he did not say in any scheme
suggested by that Committee — but join heartily in
the aim which the Committee proposed to carry
out in some way or other, in the resolution that so
far as possible there should not be one Minister left
as a drone and as a burden in the Parish in which
he had been placed to serve. He thought it would
be better, if the Assembly took the matter up again,
to make a new beginning, and he therefore hoped
they would assent to his motion for the discharge of
the Committee.
Dr SCOTT said the Assembly was not done with
this question, nor was the Church. It was very
prominently brought before the Church in the
Report on non-Churchgoing submitted on the
previous day, which had been sent down to a Commission.

The motion was agreed to — That the Committee
be discharged, and the thanks of the Assembly
offered to Dr Milligan for his efficient services as
The General Assembly called for the Report of
this Committee. There was no Report. It was
moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the Committee
be instructed to report on the general subject
and the amount and disposal of their funds to next
The General Assembly called for the Report of
the Committee on the Constitutions of Chapels of
Ease, which was given in by the Agent for the Procurator,
the Convener, who moved — That the
various Constitutions mentioned in the Report —
viz., Thornleybank, Ruthrieston, Craiglockhart, St
Matthew's, Garnethill, Elder Park — be granted, and
that the Principal Clerk of Assembly be authorised
to issue extracts of the same, but that in the cases
mentioned in the Report — where a title has not yet
been produced — that the issue of extracts should be
superseded until a title satisfactory to the Agent
has been produced.
The Rev. DUNCAN M'DOUGALL, Assistant Minister
of the Parish of Cross, Lewis, petitioned the
Assembly to nullify the terms of agreement imposed
upon him by the Presbytery of Lewis, on the ground
that they were not consistent with the terms on
which he was offered and accepted the appointment,
and were illegal and unconstitutional. It appeared
that the Clerk of the Presbytery wrote Mr
M`Dougall on 2nd July 1888, offering him, on
behalf of the Presbytery, the office of Assistant
during the two years' suspension of the Minister.
His salary was to be at the rate of £70 10s., which
was to be supplemented from other sources so as to
reach at least £100 per annum. He accepted the
office, and was appointed on 2nd August, but the
minute of the Presbytery bore that the emoluments
of the office should be "at the rate of £70 10s. per
annum, supplemented by such aid as the Presbytery
may be able to obtain from other than the
statutory sources, but the Presbytery do not guarantee
the certainty of such supplement to any
Mr M'DOUGALL appeared at the bar in support
of his petition, and was entering upon a lengthened
statement of his case, when
Mr LINDSAY MACKERSY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
rose to order. He was sorry to prevent the reverend
gentleman stating fully his grievance, but it was
manifest from the Prayer of the Petition that the
Assembly was asked to review a deliverance of a
Presbytery, and he pointed out that the Presbytery
whose deliverance they were asked to review was
not at the bar of the Assembly. It was, therefore,
simply wasting the time of the House to go on with
the Petition in its present shape, as without citing
the Presbytery the Assembly could not decide the
case in the Petitioner's favour.
In reply to questions, Mr M'DOUGALL said the
resolution of the Presbytery was come to in his
absence, and as he was not a member of that body
the way of appeal to the Synod was barred against
him. When he received a copy of the minute of
Presbytery, he wrote them that he would not hold
himself bound by the new terms. The Presbytery
had not resiled from the original conditions, and
had always promised to do their best to implement
them. Over the the two years there was a deficit of
£8 on his salary of £70 10s.
Mr A. D. M. BLACK, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
while sympathising with Mr M`Dougall, moved
that the Petition be dismissed as incompetent.
The AGENT of the CHURCH, in seconding the
motion, said they could not but feel sympathy for Mr
M'Dougall, who was thrown out of employment by
the suspension of the Minister of Cross coming to
an end; but the question of terms was one for the
Civil Courts to decide.
The motion was agreed to, Professor MILLIGAN
(who occupied the Moderator's chair for the time)
expressing his deep regret that an old Preacher in
the Church, and one who had a wife and family,
should not have received in full his miserable salary
of £70.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR said Mr M‘Dougall's
salary, miserable as it undoubtedly was, was supplemented
last year to £100.
Mr A. D. M. BLACK, said that he had no doubt
that individual members of Assembly would make
up the deficiency of £8 to Mr M'Dougall, and he
would do what he could towards that end in the
lobby on Monday.
The General Assembly adjourned at 5.45 P.M., to
meet on Monday at 11 A.M.
SUNDAY, 1st Jane 1890.
His Grace the Lord High Commissioner attended
service in St Giles Cathedral, forenoon and evening.
In the forenoon the Preacher was the Rev.
Dr Dykes, Ayr ; and in the evening the Preacher
was the Rev. J. A. Burdon, Lasswade.
MONDAY, 2nd June 1890.
The General Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of last sederunt being in the hands
of Members, were held as read and were approved
The Conveners of the Committee of Nomination
suggested the following names to be added to the
Committee on the Education of the Ministry: —
The Professors of the Theological Faculties, and the
Synodical Examinators who are not already Members
of the Committee, with the Rev. Dr Scott.
The Procurator suggested the following names to
be a Committee on Rusholme Road Church, Manchester
— Dr F. L. Robertson, Dr Milroy, Rev. T.
B. W. Niven, Rev. Theodore Marshall, James
Wallace, Esq., A. D. M. Black, Esq., The Procurator,
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That
the Committee on the arrangements for the Admission
of Ministers be a Standing Committee on
that subject, with the addition of the Special Committee
appointed on the same subject by this
General Assembly.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the
following Committee be appointed to draw up a
tribute to the Memory of Mr Smith, late Principal
of the Institution at Calcutta, to be inserted in the
minutes of the House: Dr M'Murtrie and the Rev.
Theodore Marshall.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, Edinburgh, intimated that a
lady who had been present at the debate in the
Assembly on the Church Interests Report last Wednesday,
had given a donation of £100 towards a
Church defence fund.
The Agent of the Church (Mr Menzies) gave in
the report of the Committee on Classifying Returns
to Overtures. There were six Overtures sent down
to Presbyteries by last Assembly, and returns had
been received from almost the whole of them.
With regard to the formation of a Benefice Register,
71 Presbyteries approved and 6 disapproved of
the Overture, and 5 had suggested alterations.
Returns, 82.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the
Overture anent the formation of a Benefice Register
with relative schedule, having been approved by a
majority of the Presbyteries, be now converted into
a standing law of the Church, with the alterations
suggested in the schedule. The Assembly further
appoint the following Committee to issue the
schedules, and to co-operate with the Presbyteries
who may desire assistance — Dr Scott, Dr Story, Dr
Rankin, Dr Mair, Dr Dodds, Dr Johnston, Dr
Hamilton, Rev. Theodore Marshall, Caputh, Rev.
T. B. W. Niven, Dr Lang will, The Procurator, The
Agent, Mr L. Mackersy, Mr Nenion Elliot; Rev.
W. F. Low, Kilmarnock, Convener.
The Committee reported on Overture No. 2, on
the Representation of the Church in the General
Assembly, that Presbyteries had approved, 19; disapproved,
62; suggested alterations, 1; returns,
82. The Rev. Dr Johnston moved — That the
General Assembly resolve to remit the Overture to
a Special Committee to consider and report to next
Assembly. The motion was not seconded.
The Overture No. 3, on the Representation of
Kirk-Sessions in Presbyteries and Synods, asking
that the practice should be assimilated to the method
of electing representatives from Presbyteries to the
Assembly, was disapproved by 61, approved by 20
Presbyteries, and 1 suggested alterations; returns,
82; and was accordingly rejected.
The Overture No. 4, and Declaratory Act anent
Subscription was approved by 75 Presbyteries, disapproved
by 4, alterations suggested, 2. Returns,
81. It was passed into a standing law of the Church.
The alternative Overtures No. 5, as to expenses
of Trials by Libel had both been disapproved of by
60 and 49 Presbyteries respectively, approved of
by 10 and 21 respectively, alterations suggested on
second, 5. Returns, first, 70; second, 75. Both
Overtures accordingly were rejected.
The Overture on Presbyterial Superintendence,
which prescribed a number of queries to be sent to
Parishes, was approved by 46 and disapproved by
32, alterations suggested, 2. Returns from Presbyteries,
The AGENT of the CHURCH moved, and the Rev.
Professor MITCHELL, St Andrews, seconded, that
the Overture, having received the approval of a
majority of the Presbyteries of the Church, be now
converted into a standing law of the Church.
The Rev. JAMES LANDRETH, Logie-Pert, moved —
Do not convert the Overture into a standing law of
the Church. He thought they should be very careful,
in a thin House like that, in enacting these
The Rev. J. A. ST CLAIR, Melville, Montrose,
The Rev. WM. GREIG, Rayne, said he had no
objection to the Regulations, but he would like that
they should be dealt with by a larger House, and
not by their circumtabular friends.
On a vote being taken by standing, the motion of
the Agent was carried, and the Overture was converted
into a standing law of the Church.
The Rev. Dr DYKES, Ayr, gave in the interim
Report of the Committee on the Election and Admission
of Ministers, which recommended that
the following alterations on the Regulations were
urgently needed, and should be sanctioned by the
present Assembly: — That in Regulation V. it
should be provided that the Congregational Roll
should be made up in alphabetical order; and that
in Regulation IX. the following words should be
deleted: — "In case of a division on the question
'Yes' or 'No,' if the Moderator see reason to have
the votes counted, or on the demand of any elector
present, the roll shall be called, and every vote
marked." Dr Dykes said one reason for their first
recommendation was that in the Kirkoswald election
the names, about 600 in number, were not
arranged alphabetically, but were put down
"higgledy-piggledy." That was one of the causes
of the disturbance which followed. As regarded
the second recommendation, there were at least
100 Congregations of the Church with memberships
varying from 1000 to 3800, and it would be absurd
to call the roll and mark every vote in Congregations
of that magnitude. The present method was
calculated to muddle an election and set a Congregation
by the ears, and in asking that the provision
be deleted, they were simply going back to the
Regulation as it existed before last Assembly, when
it was altered in a thin House. He moved the
adoption of the Report.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, W.S., Edinburgh (Elder),
seconded the motion.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON, Harray (Vice-Convener
of the Committee), who had given notice of a motion
on the Committee's Report, moved that the
General Assembly, while approving of the amendments
and the recommendation proposed in the
Report, resolve to consider the motions of which
notice is given in pages 7 and 8 of to-day's List of
The Rev. Dr DYKES said Dr Johnston had
brought his motion before the Committee, and they
were quite prepared to give him the fullest opportunity
of discussing it there, but they did not
consider that the matter which it contained was
The Rev. A. DOUGLAS, Arbroath, seconded Dr
Johnston's motion.
Dr MURRAY questioned its competency, as the
Committee had not reported on the Regulations,
and the House could not take up a general motion
on the subject.
On a division, Dr Johnston's motion was defeated
by a large majority. Dr Johnston dissented, and
afterwards left the House.
The CLERK (Professor Milligan) said Dr Johnston
had left a letter with him to be communicated to
the House. Was it the pleasure of the Assembly
that he should read it?
The Rev. Dr Scow said Dr Johnston was a
Member of the House and of the Committee, and
was present a minute ago.
The Rev. Professor STORY said it was most
irregular for a Member of the Assembly to walk
out of the House, leaving a statement in the hands
of the Clerk to be read. In that way they might
have a multiplication of speeches. If the letter was
a repetition of that which had appeared in the
newspapers, he thought it was altogether irregular.
He moved that the letter be not read.
The Rev. Dr RANKIN, Muthill, seconded.
Some discussion took place as to whether the
receipt of the letter should be minuted.
The PROCURATOR said it was quite out of the
question to minute anything about the letter. It
was entirely irregular that any Member of Assembly
should be allowed to table what might be a
written speech, when he himself had been on the
floor of the Assembly within a minute or two previously.
He thought they should take no notice of
the letter.
This was agreed to.
The Rev. Dr DYKES pointed out that the Assembly,
by refusing to read the letter, had placed
him in an awkward position. If the letter was
similar to the one that had appeared in the newspapers,
it meant that Dr Johnston had resigned
office. He wished to know if he was still to
regard Dr Johnston as being a member of the Committee?

The MODERATOR - You must find that out.
The Rev. H. J. WOTHERSPOON submitted an Overture
from the Presbytery of Hamilton asking that
Ruling Elders representing Kirk-Sessions in Presbyteries
should be placed on the same footing with
regard to documents as the Clerical members of
these Courts. He moved that the Overture be
received and remitted to the Joint-Committee on
Schemes to give effect to its crave.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS complained of the
delay as to the issue of the volume of the Assembly
Reports to the Church at large.
Mr MENZIES, the agent, said the issue of that
volume was in the hands of Messrs Blackwood, the
publishers. As to the documents for elders in
Presbyteries, these would be sent out if notice
were given to him of the number of copies
Mr Wotherspoon's motion was adopted.
The Rev. HENRY DUNCAN, Crichton, submitted
the Report of the Committee on Intemperance. From
the returns received from Presbyteries it appeared
there were 222 Church Temperance Associations, of
which 74 were adult Associations, 25 on the dual
basis, with a membership of 652, and 49 on the
total abstinence basis, with a membership of 3742,
and 148 Bands of Hope with a membership of 18,426.
But as a good many Parishes did not specify numbers,
it might be assumed that there were 20,000
children in Bands of Hope specially connected with
the Church, and about 5000 adults in Church Temperance
Associations. The Committee desired to
repeat what had been stated last year — that the
existence or non-existence in a Parish of a special
Church Temperance Organisation could not be
uniformly taken as a gauge of the interest of that
Parish in the cause of Temperance. Many causes
existed which rendered it difficult or impossible, or
even unnecessary, to form and maintain in certain
Parishes such special organisations; but, while
making due allowance for the work done by Ministers
and members of the Church in undenominational
Associations, the Committee could not help regretting
that the recommendation of the Assembly as to
the formation of Parish Associations, repeated
again and again, had not been more widely acted
upon. On the legislative aspect of the subject the
Committee had nothing special to report. They,
however, gladly noted the fact that both political
parties were committed to early action regarding it,
and that it was now all but universally admitted
that something must be done in the direction of increased
popular control of the drink traffic. The
Committee recognised the benefit that had accrued
from the Early Closing Act, but regretted that the
large towns were still excluded from its operation.
In speaking to the Report, Mr Duncan said the
Committee could not help expressing regret that
there were not a larger number of Temperance
Associations connected with the Church of Scotland.
Referring to what other Churches were doing in this
matter, he said the Free Church had nearly 700
Temperance Associations, with a membership of
80,000. The great Church of England Temperance
Association had a vast organisation, comprising
about 350,000 members, and there was nothing that
was giving her so much power over the masses of
the people as the work she was doing in the cause
of Temperance. He implored Ministers and Officebearers
of the Church to throw themselves with
greater energy into this work. They did not wish
the Church to occupy the position of a political
engine; they believed that she should rather deal
with the spiritual and social aspect of the question;
but if legislation in the cause of Temperance was
proposed, they asked authority to support it. He
concluded by referring to the liquor traffic among
the native races, which he said was a scandal to
Christianity, and he urged the Church to do what
it could to aid in removing that blot from our
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS moved the following
deliverance: - The General Assembly receives
the Report, thanks the Convener and the Committee,
appoints the Committee as named in the
Report, with the usual powers. The Rev. Henry
Duncan, Convener; the Rev. George Wilson, Vice--
Convener; and the Rev. R. Menzies Fergusson,
Logie, Secretary and Treasurer. The General
Assembly regrets that there is not a larger number
of Temperance Associations and Bands of Hope
strictly connected with the Church. And, while
fully recognising the fact that a large amount of
temperance work may be done, and is being
done, where no such special organisation exists,
and while heartily approving of the action
of many ministers, elders, and members of
the Church who are carrying on Temperance
work in connection and co-operation with undenominational
Associations, again, in view of the
enormous evils that exist, very earnestly impresses
on Ministers and Kirk-Sessions the importance of
taking such steps as they may think right towards
the formation of such Associations, and specially the
importance of taking special measures for the instruction
of the young on this important subject.
The General Assembly approves what has been
done by the Committee in regard to the Liquor
traffic among native races, and renews its instruction
to the Committee to co-operate with other
Churches, Missionary bodies, and Temperance
organisations in their endeavours to secure, as far
as possible, the removal of this great hindrance to
the cause of Christ. The General Assembly learns
with satisfaction that the Young Men's Guild has
assumed Temperance work as part of the work of
the Guild, and commends it very heartily to the
attention of the young men connected with the
Church. The General Assembly renews its
instruction to the Committee to watch carefully
the progress of legislation on the Temperance
question, and to take such steps regarding said
legislation, in harmony with the instructions of
the Assembly, as may tend to promote the objects
for which the Committee has been appointed.
The General Assembly is glad to learn that "the
Church of Scotland Women's Association for the
promotion of Temperance and Home Mission work"
continues its efforts to enlist the sympathies of the
women of the country in the cause of Temperance,
and again commends it to the sympathies of the
Church. The General Assembly, in view of the
deplorable extent to which drinking and drunkenness
are hindering the cause of Christ at home and
abroad, again commends the whole subject to the
earnest attention of the office-bearers and members
of the Church, and specially recommends Ministers
to bring the subject before their congregations on
the 28th day of December, or on some other day
that may be more suitable or convenient.
Speaking to the motion Professor CHARTERIS
said the Committee would be glad if their title were
changed from the Committee on "Intemperance"
to the Committee on "Temperance." The growth
of the Temperance movement was now shown in
the fact that it turned Parliamentary elections, and
even affected the stability of Governments. The
Church, however, had not looked this matter in the
face, for either they should do nothing at all, or a
great deal more than they were doing. A Temperance
Union unconnected with a Church was secular,
was apt to become political and to lend itself to
partisanship, and was not unfrequently blighted by
intolerance. The Church must carry on this work
through its own unions — non-political, non-partisan,
and not intolerant. To do that work effectively,
Ministers were almost under the necessity of themselves
becoming total abstainers. He said this with
sincere respect for those who stopped, where he had
long stopped, short of total abstinence. He was
little likely to judge or condemn them: but as he
freely allowed their right to decide for themselves,
he claimed the right to say why for several years
he had gone further. The times are out of joint:
the people are borne down with drinking: strong
steps are needed to bring about a better time: and
he knew no step comparable to the promotion of
abstinence. When they wished to elevate those
victims of drink, he assured the Assembly, from his
own experiences of working among the poor, that
there was a mighty difference between being only
able to say "go" and being able to say "come."
Christianity is the religion of self-sacrifice; but a
man who drank moderately was not making any
sacrifice for the sake of others, but was only keeping
himself sober for his own sake. He found that
he got on better when he was able to tell the
people that he could do without drink, and could
ask them to do as he did. He was not going to
enter into the question of compensation, but if a
man carrying on a legal business had his licence
renewed year after year, and it was suddenly taken
away by a board, not elected to represent the
people, he could not say that it would be morally
wrong to grant compensation. If, however, the
people of a district said they no longer wished those
temptations to drink in their midst, he did not
think compensation should be given in such circumstances.
If they, as a Christian Church, could
lessen the appetite for drinking, they would lead to
a solution of the question without the great payment
of compensation. It had to be remembered,
that even if a thing were iniquitous the claim to
compensation was not therefore wrong. They
abolished slavery in the West India islands with a
payment of, he thought, thirty millions. The claim
of the slave-owner was admitted, though the claim
to own human flesh was not admitted. Therefore,
he thought their friends who were Total Abstainers
should remember that though they did not admit
that a thing was a good thing in itself, if by
national custom it had become in a manner established,
they were not free to disregard it. If, on
the other hand, they could but raise the tone of
society — of that class so much under the influence
of drink — then he thought they would bring about
a brighter day. Every one admitted that there
was much less drinking now than formerly among
respectable people: a man who was even occasionally
drunk was not regarded as respectable in an
upper and middle class of society, and one could
scarcely imagine what a moral revolution would be
accomplished if working men and the lower classes
everywhere came to adopt a similar social text.
But many thousands of these people did not believe
that a sober life was possible: they regarded it as
a kind of necessity to take too much drink on pay
days, in family festivals, and, above all, at the New--
Year. It seemed to him that Christians had to
convince such unhappy people that it is possible
and easy to deny oneself to this ungodliness and
lust of drink: and that they who did not need it
for their own sake were willing to practise this
self-denial for the sake of their brethren's good. It
seemed to him that the claim of Abstinence was thus
a powerful one; for it said to strong men that in
this way they could bear the infirmities of the weak.
He had already expressed his scorn and dislike of
political teetotalism, and he need not say more on
the other side than that Temperance ought not to
be advocated by itself, but as a branch and outcome
of the Law of Christ. Better times might
come when it would not be needed, but he thought
the Church was in these days called upon to invite
the members to abstain for their brethren's sake
from the drink, which made so many to offend.
Gospel temperance was what, he thought, they were
called upon to follow.
The Rev. J. C. CARRICK, Newbattle, seconded the
motion. He said he for one, though strong in the
principle of teetotalism, and though representing a
very large and powerful Society in this county,
would regret the day when even Temperance
should be elevated to the same position as any one
of the articles of the Holy Catholic Faith, or receive
greater honour and a greater respect than the other
virtues of chastity, purity, meekness, and honesty.
He could not close his eyes to the fact, however,
that it was a great stigma on the National Church
that they did so little in the Temperance Cause.
Was it not the case that in almost every large
Temperance organisation it was a dissenting
Minister who took the lead, and that the Parish
Clergyman, who in other respects was put first and
foremost, was generally relegated to a secondary
position or was left out in the cold altogether?
That was not what ought to be, and that was not
what should be in their National Church. He
would be sorry, at the same time, to go the length
of the Evangelical Union Church, which made it
incumbent upon a Church member that he abjured
strong drink in every respect.
The Rev. Dr RANKIN, Muthill, supported the
motion. He said he had read the Report with considerably
more satisfaction than he had listened
to the two speeches in which the adoption
of the Report had been moved and seconded.
His satisfaction with the Report itself had this
foundation, that the Report was exceedingly
cautious and judicious and thoroughly worthy,
he thought, of this Church, and in thorough
consistency with the principles of this Church, but
in both the speeches a number of things outside had
been brought in that were undoubtedly controversial
and less judicious in their introduction than
the Report itself. For one thing, the Report did a
right thing in saying nothing about the Compensation
question, which was a hot and difficult question
between different kinds of politicians. He was quite
sure the whole Temperance Cause would proceed a
great deal better by allowing politicians to fight
their own battles of that kind. The real work, Dr
Rankin continued, that they had to do was to take
up this question as a Religious question, and to push
it on thoroughly Scriptural grounds, and to take
care in dealing with the Scriptural ground that they
did not twist Scripture at all. In Scripture they
had unquestionably a reasonable freedom. There
was room in Scripture for Total Abstainers, and
there was room also within the same Scripture for
the freedom which many of them thought was the
right course. He wished to say in the most friendly
spirit that he thought the Committee would do the
Church of Scotland a great service, and represent
the Church they were associated with, if they were
to endeavour to hold the balance a little more evenly
between the two branches which were prosecuting
the one great, good work, and not to speak in a
slighting way of those who took a glass of anything
that was good when it was going. He made a
principle of doing that himself. He did not think
he was any the worse for it, and he thought the man
who gave an example of that sort of self-restraint
was as thoroughly and solemnly in the Scriptural
line as a man who totally abstained. As to the
nature and method of work, he favoured the cooperation
of those connected with the Parish
Church with any Temperance Association in the
Parish, whether it was mainly Free Church or
United Presbyterian. He thought the greatest hindrance
in connection with this cause was that it had
been allowed by religious people of different branches
of the Christian Church to be grabbed, monopolised,
and dictated to by the very lowest classes
of Radical politicians. Until they changed that they
would not have this cause exercising its full spirit.
Regarding the question of unfermented wine, he
was quite sure the Committee were acting prudently
in avoiding it. His own private opinion was that
the Committee would do still better if they were in
a quiet way to express disapproval of it, and to
recommend their neighbours not to stir this question
as to fermentation at all.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN said that while he
to a certain extent sympathised with what had
fallen from Dr Rankin as to the tone of the speeches,
yet he made no great complaint. Regarding Professor
Charteris's remarks as to total abstinence,
he (Professor Milligan) had tried the power of that
position. For a whole year he joined the Total
Abstinence Society in the hope of adding to the
strength of his ministry, and he was bound in
honesty to say that that year, instead of being the
strongest, was what he felt to be the weakest in his
ministry. As to what had been said about self--
sacrifice, he wanted to call the attention of the
Assembly to this, that the inference drawn from
such words as those of the Apostle Paul was altogether
false. "I will eat no flesh while the world
standeth lest I make my brother to offend" meant
to say, "I will not offend him so long as he remains
the weak brother that he is; but the sooner that my
brother is strong to eat flesh along with me so much
the better." The position that ought to be taken
up by total abstainers was this — "Come along with
as now, and we will drink no wine while the world
standeth lest we make our brother to offend; but,
at the same time, we will frankly and freely acknowledge
to the world that the sooner our brother and
we can take wine together the better."
The Rev. J. S. M'KENZIE, Little Dunkeld, moved
that the following should be added to the deliverance:
— "And the Assembly further instructs the
Committee to send down again to Presbyteries the
queries of last year." Alluding to compensation, he
held there was no parallel between the compensation
now proposed and the compensation given to
the slave-owners.
Mr STEWART LINDSAY, Kirriemuir, (Elder),
The Rev. J. LAMOND, Kelton, suggested that the
National Church, as claiming to be responsible for
the moral and spiritual Interests of the people, should
take a more prominent position with regard to the
temperance movement.
The Rev. Professor CHARTERIS, in reply, said if
he had stated anything which appeared to speak of
moderate drinkers with anything but respect, he
was extremely sorry for it. He was quite certain
he meant to say he respected the moderate drinker's
position. As to the passage quoted by his friend,
Professor Milligan, while he accepted his ingenious
reading, he begged him to note it was entirely upon
his (Professor Charteris') side, because "so long as
drink is making my brother to offend, so long must
I abstain." Professor Charteris remarked upon the
difficulty of speaking upon such matters without
being misunderstood, and he held that Professor
Milligan himself might be misunderstood when he
said that the year in which he abstained was the
weakest in his ministry, inasmuch as that might be
interpreted to mean that the success of his ministry
was due to something strong.
The deliverance, with the addition proposed by
Mr M'Kenzie, was then agreed to.
The Rev. GEORGE DUNCAN, Maryculter, was
heard in support of an Overture from the Presbytery
of Aberdeen, craving a direction to Presbyteries
to see that Kirk. Sessions within their bounds
caused Inventories of all Records and Documents
to be made out, compared, and engrossed in the
Session Records; another to be repeated whenever
a new Session Clerk is appointed, and that no
Presbytery should be at liberty to attest Session
Records without this rule being strictly complied
with. Mr Duncan moved the adoption of the
Overture, and the motion being seconded, was
agreed to and the Overture was ordered to be
transmitted with the Deliverance thereon along
with the Act appointing collections, to the Ministers
of the Church.
The Rev. GEORGE DUNCAN, Maryculter, was
heard in support of an Overture from the Presbytery
of Aberdeen. The Overture proposed the rescinding
of that portion of Act VII. of Assembly
1856, anent keeping Registers of Baptisms, which
enjoins that the names and designations of two
witnesses should be inserted in the Register. Mr
Duncan concluded by moving the adoption of the
Overture, and this being seconded, was agreed to,
and the Assembly enacted accordingly.
The Synod of Dumfries overtured the Assembly
to take steps to institute a Church Congress, to be
held at yearly or longer intervals at various centres
of importance throughout the country.
The Rev. M. HUTCHISON, Kirkmahoe, in supporting
the Overture, said that such a Congress as
was proposed would bring into activity in their
midst many powers at present lying dormant, and it
would stimulate interest in Religion in the various
parts of the country. He moved that the Assembly
receive the Overture and appoint a Committee
to consider the subject and report to next
Mr JAS. TOD, Edinburgh (Elder), seconded the
The Rev. GEORGE GREIG, Rayne, in supporting
the motion, said they must move with the age and
keep themselves in evidence before the public, and
it was well that they should invite their people to
discuss questions bearing on the interests of the
Church. A Congress was a step in the right direction,
and only good could come of it.
Mr HORATIO R. MACRAE, W.S., Edinburgh
(Elder), reminded the Assembly of the most successful
conference held at Inverness a few years
ago, which was attended with excellent results.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT agreed that only good could
come out of the Congress, and he suggested that
Mr Hutchison should ask the Assembly to remit
to the Synod of Dumfries to make arrangements
for the first Church Congress.
The Rev. M. HUTCHISON said he was not prepared,
on the spur of the moment, to accept that
responsibility on behalf of his Synod.
The Rev. D. HUNTER, Partick, said if this Congress
was so much desired in Dumfries, it was
evidently the very spot where it should begin, and
that Synod was the very body to take it up earnestly.
Mr HUTCHISON accepted the suggestion of Dr
Scott, and it was agreed to remit to the Synod of
Dumfries to make arrangements for holding a
Congress within its bounds.
The AGENT gave in and read the Report of this
Committee. By deliverance of last Assembly a
remit was made to the Committee to consider
whether the Committees on Overtures and Bills
could be made standing Committees with the view
of preparing the business prior to the meeting of
the Assembly. There was also remitted to the
same Committee an Overture proposing certain
changes in the Standing Orders. To the Report
there was annexed the following memorandum by
the Agent of the Church.
The General Assembly remitted to this Committee
to consider whether the Committees on
Overtures and Bills can with advantage be made
Standing Committees, with a view to preparing the
business prior to the meeting of the General Assembly.
As matters at present stand, the Committees
on Overtures and Bills are appointed by the
General Assembly and cannot meet until after the
first diet of Assembly, as no business can come before
the Assembly until it has passed through one
or other of its Committees. It follows that the
Committee for arranging the business of the House
cannot meet until the morning of the second day of
the General Assembly, as, previous to that, they can
have no business before them. This practically
means that no business can be put down by the
Business Committee for the first Friday. That day
has for years been taken up by the Colonial Committee's
Report, and with the hearing of deputies,
and owing to the number of Committees which
meet in the morning, it is generally found inconvenient
for the General Assembly to meet before
twelve, and it does not as a rule meet on the evening
of that day. Now, if the business of the
Assembly were arranged a little sooner, there is no
reason why important business should not be taken
up upon Friday and an evening sitting held on that
day. This would be a very great convenience when
the amount of business before the House is
unusually large.
I. The Committee of Bills.
I think it best to consider, first, whether any
changes might be made on the Committee of Bills.
Under present arrangements, the Committee of
Bills meets for the first time immediately after the
rising of the General Assembly upon Thursday.
Parties having business to bring before the Assembly
attend the Committee of Bills and transmit
their papers through that Committee. At the first
meeting of the Committee there are generally from
twenty to twenty-five petitions before it, and as
some of these may ask for the transmission of a large
number of documents, it is obviously quite impossible
that the Committee can properly discharge
what are its supposed functions — viz, seeing that
documents coming before them are regular and in
order. The officials have no notice beforehand of
what documents are to be transmitted, and unless
there is opposition to the transmission of documents,
they go through as a matter of course.
Under the procedure of the Civil Courts there
was fifty years ago a proceeding analogous to the
Committee of Bills: a summons was not then
signeted except upon the presentation of a petition
to the Bill Chamber asking that leave be granted
to signet the summons. Upon this petition the
Bill Chamber clerk was in the habit of writing
"fiat ut petitur," and this formed the warrant for the
signeting of the summons. Other documents also required
a Bill to be presented to the Bill Chamber
but these bills in civil court proceedings have long
since been abolished as serving no good purpose;
and it may with great propriety be considered
whether the Committee of Bills and Overtures may
not now be abolished and something analogous to
the proceedure in the civil courts substituted in
their stead. At present the Committee of Bills
does not deal with the merits of a case, but merely
with questions of competency. When opposition is
made to the transmission of any papers, an appeal
is almost invariably taken, and this carries the
question of competency from the Committee to the
Assembly itself. Appeals from the Committee of
Bills are heard upon the Report of the Committee;
but if the case is to be heard upon the merits at a
subsequent time, the question of competency is
generally reserved to be disposed of along with the
merits. I have only known one case in an experience
of twenty-one years where a decision of the
Committee of Bills was acquiesced in without an
appeal being taken to the Assembly. That was a
case in which certain parishioners petitioned the
Assembly in regard to certain pecuniary transactions
in which their Minister had been engaged;
the allegations of the petition amounted to a
libel. The Committee refused to transmit the petition,
and no appeal was taken. If the Committee
were abolished, there would be nothing to prevent
proceedings of this kind coming before the Assembly;
but it is thought that the interests of private
parties might be safeguarded to some extent
by giving the office-bearers a certain discretion
in the matter of printing. If papers were
lodged which they thought were not competent,
it might be left with them to decline to print until
the question of competency had been disposed of
by the General Assembly; and the question of competency
would of course be heard at the first or
second diet of the Assembly.
If it were resolved to abolish the Committee of
Bills, a Standing Order might be passed providing
that in all matters intended to be brought before
the General Assembly the papers should be lodged
with the Agent of the Church at least one week
before the meeting of Assembly; or where the
judgment of the Court appealed from was later and
did not permit of this, then within three days of
said judgment. Time would thus be afforded to
examine all papers at leisure, and to judge whether
they were in proper form. The Agent would also
be able to inform the Business Committee of the
business coming before the General Assembly, and
business could be put down for Friday morning and
evening, and intimation made to parties when their
business might be expected to be taken up.
Objection is frequently made to taking up important
items of business in the first week of the Assembly,
on the ground that the attendance is then
small; but as long as the present system continues,
the business for the first week being unimportant,
the attendance will naturally be small. If, however,
important business were put out for the first
two days, the attendance would no doubt be
II. Committee on Overtures.
In my experience, only two Overtures have been
rejected by the Committee on Overtures — one of
them calling attention to the terms of the Baird
Trust, and the other to a volume called "Scotch
Sermons." In both of these cases an appeal was
taken to the General Assembly against the deliverance
of the Committee, and a long debate took place
upon the competency. That debate might just as
well have taken place without the intervention of
the Committee on Overtures. At present an Overture
can only come up from an inferior court, or
during the sitting of the Assembly from Members
of Assembly; and if all Overtures were lodged a
week before the Meeting of Assembly, the discussion
of them could be put down for the first Friday.
The AGENT moved the following deliverance: -
The General Assembly approve of the Report, and
in view of the importance of the question remitted
to the Committee by the last General Assembly in
regard to the Committee on Bills and Overtures,
instruct them to communicate this Report, and the
Memorandum appended, to the Presbyteries of the
Church, inviting an expression of their opinion on
the subject, and asking that their approval or disapproval
of the Committee's recommendations
should be intimated not later than 31st March
1891. In regard to the matters referred to in the
Overture, it was again remitted to the Committee
for consideration, when it is seen whether any more
extensive change is to be made on the Standing
A Petition was presented to the Assembly by
Angus Macdonald, Student, Iona, asking that an
inquiry should be made into the conduct of the
Synod of Argyll, and of a Committee of that Synod,
in the administration of the funds of the Gillian
MacLaine bequest for Educational and Ecclesiastical
Mr LYELL, Advocate, who appeared for the Petitioner,
said he was one of the competitors for one of
the MacLaine Bursaries, but he was not preferred,
and he alleged that the Bursary was awarded to a
student who was not qualified to compete under the
conditions of the trust-deed. Although the matter
was before the Court of Session in an action raised
by the Petitioner against the Synod of Argyll, he
held that there was a prima facie case for an
investigation by the Assembly.
After some discussion, Mr LYELL stated that he
departed from the first part of the crave, viz., that
the action of the Synod of Argyll was illegal, and
its award null and void, and that Mr MacMichael
was not entitled to the Bursary.
The PROCURATOR moved the following deliverance:
— The General Assembly, being informed that
the allegations contained in the Petition, which are
personal to the Petitioner, are the subject of judicial
inquiry at his instance elsewhere, dismiss the first
part of the prayer; but in respect that the more
general allegations of the Petition make it desirable
that the Assembly, in the exercise of its power
under the trust-deed of the deceased Angus MacLaine,
should ask information from the Synod of
Argyll as to the working of the Trust, require
the Synod to lay before next General Assembly a
Report on the subject, more especially as to the
qualifications of candidates, the place, time, and
conditions of competition, the mode of conducting
the examination, and the steps taken to give notice
of it to those who may be concerned.
The motion was seconded and agreed to.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR gave in the Report of
the Commission appointed to visit Cromarty Gaelic
Chapel, and, in accordance with their recommendation,
he moved the following deliverance: — The
General Assembly receive the Report; thank the
Commissioners for their diligence; find that, having
regard to the fact that a considerable number of the
parishioners of Cromarty desire the continuance of
Gaelic service, and to the purpose for which the
chapel mentioned in the proceedings was originally
built, it is expedient that meanwhile the chapel
should be continued under the charge of a Gaelic--
speaking Minister or Licentiate; recommend the
case to the favourable consideration of the Highland
Committee; and instruct the Presbytery of
Chanonry to take what steps may be necessary for
securing the proper oversight of the chapel in
accordance with the laws of the Church.
In moving this deliverance, Professor TAYLOR
stated that there were 30 Communicants and 118
Adherents connected with the Chapel. The stipend
was £50 a year, derived from Government, and the
Congregation had in the last incumbent's time contributed
from £50 to £80 a year in addition.
The deliverance was adopted.
The Rev. Dr SCOTT, for Mr T. G. Murray, the
Convener, gave in the following Report by the
Home Mission and Endowment Committees as to
appointment of a Commission on the Religious
Condition of the people: -
The Committee beg to recommend as follows,
viz.: —
(a) Constitution of Commission.
1. That the Commission should consist of Fifteen
Members, of whom Ten should be Ministers and
Five Elders. 2. That, as it will not be possible for
the Commission to overtake the work throughout
more than a part of the country in one year, and as
it is desirable that attention should, in the first instance,
be directed mainly to the populous mining
and manufacturing centres in the West and South
of Scotland, the Commissioners elected now should
include a number of Members specially qualified
by experience for the particular work of these districts.
3. That, in view of this, the Committee beg
to submit the names of the following Ministers and
Elders for appointment as Commissioners, viz.: —
Ministers — Rev. Donald Macleod, D.D., Glasgow;
Rev. John M‘Laren, D.D., Larbert; Rev. John
Macleod, D.D., Govan; Rev. Henry M. Hamilton,
D.D., Hamilton; Rev. James Rankine, D.D.,
Muthill; Rev. Robert S. Hutton, M.A., Carnbusnethan;
Rev. Theodore Marshall, M.A., Caputh;
Rev. Thomas Martin, M.A., Lauder; Rev. J. Mitford
Mitchell, B.A., Cantab, Aberdeen; Rev. W.
Lee Ker, M.A., Kilwinning. Elders — Sir John
Neilson Cuthbertson, Glasgow; John Stevenson,
Esq., Coalmaster, Dunfermline; W. Ogilvy Dalgleish,
Esq., of Errol Park; Thomas Jackson, Esq.,
Edinburgh; Alex. Macduff, Esq., of Bonhard.
(b) Instructions to Commissioners.
1. To communicate with Synods and Presbyteries,
with all convenient speed, the Deliverance of the
General Assembly. 2. To visit and confer with
Synods and Presbyteries, with a view to aiding
them in ascertaining the extent to which spiritual
destitution exists within their bounds. 3. To visit,
when desired, in conjunction with Presbyteries,
necessitous Parishes or Districts, and to assist the
Presbytery and Parish Minister in devising and
putting in operation proper measures for supplying
the religious wants of the people of such localities.
4. To take such steps as may seem best fitted to aid
and encourage Presbyteries in their endeavour to
support and strengthen the work of the Church in
weak or in overgrown Parishes, so that the legitimate
demands on the National Church may be
adequately met. 5. To report to next General
Assembly regarding the work they have accomplished,
and make any practical recommendations
on the subject which their experience may suggest.
6. To fill up vacancies in the Commission. 7.
Generally to have in view, in arranging their procedure,
the facts and considerations contained in
the Report on Non-Church-Going submitted to this
General Assembly. The Committee further recommend
that the Commissioners be appointed to meet
in Glasgow on Tuesday, the 17th June — inter alia,
to elect a Chairman and Secretary. — In name of
Committee, T. G. MURRAY, Chairman.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — The
General Assembly adopt the Report, with the substitution
of the name of Charles Howatson, Esq., of
Glenbuck, for that of Mr W. Ogilvy Dalgleish, and
the addition of the names of the Rev. Dr Young,
Monifieth, and Mr R. O. Parker.
The Report was given in. It was moved, seconded,
and agreed to — Receive the Report and re-appoint
the Committee. Professor Mitchell, Convener, with
the addition of Dr Story and Dr Taylor. Authorize
the Committee to continue the publication of the
Records of the Commission between 1646 and 1660,
in as far as the Scottish History Society are willing
to do so. Farther, the General Assembly resolve
to record their thanks to Dr Mitchell for his valuable
services in this connection.
The Rev. Professor MILLIGAN reported that the
Assembly papers for 102 years — from 1742 to 1843
— forming ninety-six large volumes, had been placed
in the record-room. He also intimated a number
of donations to the Library, including the first
volume of a work by Dr Story on "The Church of
Scotland," and two works, "The Servant of the
Lord" and "The Book of Psalms," by Dr John
Forbes, Aberdeen, who was now in his eighty--
seventh year.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — That the
Report be adopted and the Committee continued,
and that the thanks of the House be conveyed to
Dr Forbes and Dr Story for the gift of their works.
On an Overture, signed by thirteen members of
the House, supported by the Rev. D. Hunter, Partick,
it was agreed, in order to remove the uncertainty
which at present exists, that, with regard to
the question whether Kirk-Sessions had the right
to meet during the sittings of the General Assembly
without permission asked and obtained, it was declared
that such permission was necessary only
when the Moderator of Kirk-Session, or a member
thereof, was a constituent member of the sitting
The Rev. Dr HERDMAN, Melrose, gave in the
Report of the Committee on the Pastorate of St
Andrew's Church and the Harbour Mission at Alexandria.
The Report stated (1.) That the Congregation
at Alexandria desired a separation between the
Consular Chaplaincy and Sailors Mission, and the
Jewish Mission Committee. (2.) That the Jewish
Mission Committee also wished the separation.
(3.) That the General Assembly of 1889 gave powers
to the Jewish Mission Committee to arrange with
the Colonial Committee for transference, and (4.)
That the Colonial Committee was willing, but regretted
want of Funds. The Report recommended
that the Colonial Committee take over the work,
and that the Jewish Mission Committee supply the
funds for this year, and if necessary, for next year
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — Adopt
the Report and enact in terms thereof.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR gave in this Report,
which stated that the Committee had prepared the
following Overture containing the proposed Regulations
for allowing Students to engage in the Ministry
of the Word, and which, if approved of by the
General Assembly, would be sent down to Presbyteries
for their consideration.
Whereas it is expedient to provide for authority
being granted by Presbyteries to Students of
Divinity to take part in conducting the public
services of the Church in a regular and constitutional
manner, and to enact regulations for the
guidance of both Presbyteries and Students in this
matter, the General Assembly, with consent of
Presbyteries, hereby enact and ordain the following
Regulations for the attainment of this object:
1. Students of Divinity may officiate as Readers
of the Holy Scriptures in the public services of the
Church. 2. After a Student of Divinity has completed
his second full Winter Session, but not before,
he may occasionally exercise his gift in preaching,
and lead the devotions of the people in the congregation,
the consent of his Presbytery having previously
been obtained in the manner hereinafter
provided. 3. The delivering of addresses during
public worship by Students of Divinity on subjects
connected with Missions shall not be regarded as a
violation of Church order, provided that on these
occasions the service is conducted by a Minister or
Licentiate, or by a Student of Divinity who is
authorised to officiate in virtue of the preceding
Regulation. Provided always 1. That the consent
of the Presbytery shall, when given, be recorded
in their minutes. 2. That this consent shall be
valid for only one year, and shall, in no case, be
renewed after the expiry of three years from the
date of the first application. 3. That it shall in no
case be granted unless certificates are laid before
the Presbytery by the applicant, showing that he
has passed all the examinations required of Students
down to the date of his application. 4. That every
Student who has received the consent of his Presbytery
occasionally to preach and lead the devotions of
the congregation shall be required to furnish yearly
to his Presbytery a list of the occasions on which he
has thus officiated. 5. That every instance of a
Student engaging contrary to these Regulations in
the public ministry, either of the Word or of prayer,
or of a minister conniving at the same, is declared
to be a violation of Church order, which Presbyteries
are enjoined to take notice of, with a view to
the exercise of discipline on the offenders, both
Ministers and Students. 6. That a Presbytery
shall not grant the initial consent to any Student
who has previously violated any one of these Regulations;
shall withdraw their consent from any Student
who violates any one of these Regulations, and
take such violation into account when the Student
applies for Licence, with a view to the postponement
of his Licence. 7. That no Student shall be entitled
under these Regulations to form such an engagement
in connection with the practical work of
the Church, or otherwise, as shall involve frequent
preaching on his part in the same church. 8. That
Presbyteries shall retain, and, if they see fit, shall
summarily exercise their right to restrain any
Student of Divinity who is resident within their
bounds, at whatever stage of his theological curriculum,
from engaging in the public ministry either of
the Word or of prayer. 9. That the Regulations
of the Assembly on the subject shall invariably be
read over in the hearing of all Students who
present themselves before a Presbytery as applicants
for admission into the Divinity Hall.
Professor TAYLOR moved — "That the proposed
Overture and Regulations he transmitted to the
Presbyteries for their consideration." This motion
was seconded and agreed to.
The Rev. Professor TAYLOR presented a Report of
the Highland Committee with regard to the Petiof
Mr Macaulay, Royal Bounty Missionary, Carinish,
North Uist, asking the removal of a former Assembly's
restrictions on his licence, by which he was
not to be held qualified to hold any other charge
than that of Missionary at Carinish without the
leave of the Assembly. At first the Committee refused
the request, but at a subsequent meeting held
on Friday last, when a petition signed by 255
Parishioners of Carinish was before them, stating
that the removal of the restrictions would increase
Mr Macaulay's usefulness, the Committee agreed to
recommend the Assembly to remove the restriction.

The Rev. PROFESSOR STORY, in the peculiar and
exceptional circumstances of the case, moved"That
the Report be adopted, and the restriction
on Mr Macaulay contained in it be removed."
The motion was seconded by Mr A. D. M. BLACK,
Edinburgh (Elder):
Mr CHARLES INNES, Inverness (Elder), moved -
"Disapprove of the Report, and decline to grant
the crave contained in the Petition," and stated that
Mr Macaulay had never passed an ecclesiastical examination,
and that it would be unfair to place
him in an equal position with their best students.
He did not agree with Dr Story that they should
have one class of Ministers in the Highlands and
another in the Lowlands.
The Rev. JAMES BONALLO, Auldearn, in seconding
the amendment, expressed the hope that the
Assembly would never draw any distinction between
Highland and Lowland Ministers with regard to
The Rev. JOHN BARNETT, Kilchoman, said he had
heard Mr Macaulay preach both in Gaelic and
English, and he possessed a fair share of Celtic fire
and fervour, qualities which always commended
themselves to a Highland audience.
The Rev. WILLIAM ROBERTSON, Home Mission
Deputy, opposed Dr Story's motion, which, he said,
was the result of lobbying that was not creditable to
the way the business of the House was conducted.
The Rev. T. B. W. NIVEN, Pollokshields, moved
— "That the Petition be remitted to the Presbytery
of Uist and to the Minister and Kirk-Session of
North Uist for their consideration, with instructions
to report to next General Assembly. This was
seconded by the Rev. J. S. M'KENZIE, Little
On a vote being taken, by standing up, there
voted for the first motion (Dr Story's) 29. For the
second motion (Mr Innes') 12; and for the third
motion (Mr Niven's) 12. The first motion having
an absolute majority, became the judgment of the
The Rev. Professor STORY, for Dr Norman
Macleod, Convener, gave in the Report of the Committee
for Managing the Royal Bounty.
The Report of the Royal Bounty Committee
stated that thirty-five stations had been supplied
during last year.
It was moved, seconded, and agreed to — Approve
of the Report.
The Act was passed appointing a Committee to
manage the Royal Bounty.
The Act was passed appointing the next meeting
of the General Assembly to be held on Thursday,
21st May 1891.
Mr T. G. MURRAY, Edinburgh (Elder), said that,
owing to the good-natured character of this Assembly,
they had so added to the number of collections
that there was one for every month of this
year, and one for the first eleven months of next
year. The following Acts were passed authorising
the collections for the Schemes and other objects: —
"The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
sanction and approve of the following days
appointed by last Assembly for collections: — (1)
The third Sabbath of June 1890 for the Endowment
Scheme; (2) The second Sabbath of October 1890
for the Colonial Scheme; (3) The third Sabbath of
November 1890 for the Jewish Mission Scheme ;
and also appoint the following days for Collections
throughout all the Churches within their bounds,
viz.: — (4) The third Sabbath of February 1891
for the Home Mission Scheme; (5) The third Sabbath
of March 1891 for the Foreign Mission Scheme;
(6) The second Sabbath of May 1891 for the Endowment
Scheme; (7) The second Sabbath of June
1891 for the Colonial Scheme; (8) The second Sabbath
of October 1891 for the Jewish Mission Scheme;
(9) The third Sabbath of November 1891 for the
Small Livings Scheme: Provided always, that whenever
any of the said days shall be unsuitable, the
Collection shall be made on another Sabbath. The
General Assembly earnestly recommend that when
the Collection is made by Schedule, the Congregation
be furnished with the information usually
afforded by the Pew notices immediately before the
Contributions are applied for. The General Assembly,
having been informed by the Joint-Committee
on the Schemes, that in all Parishes and Congregations
in which the Collection is regularly taken
at several stated periods throughout the year by
means of Schedules and Collecting Cards or Books,
the result has been a large increase in the amount of
the Collection, and an augmented interest on the
part of the people in the Missions of the Church —
recommend to all Ministers and Kirk-Sessions to
try this method, instead of leaving the Collection to
be taken at the Church-door, subject to the vicissitudes
of weather or other accidents. The
General Assembly further recommend that, when
the Collection is taken by Schedule, intimation
shall be made from the Pulpit, that any one who
has not contributed in this form will have an opportunity
of doing so through the Collection in Church.
The General Assembly regard it as extremely desirable
that all Presbyteries should have at least one
service each year in every Parish within their
bounds in support of the various Schemes of the
Church. The General Assembly enjoin every Minister,
on the Sabbath preceding that on which the
Collection is to be made, to give due intimation
thereof, and to explain and enforce it. The General
Assembly direct the several Presbyteries to require
of all the Ministers within their bounds a distinct
report whether the Collections appointed by the
Assembly to be made during the year ending 31st
December 1890 have been made by them and on
separate days, and to record the said Report in their
Presbytery Books. Further, the General Assembly
enjoin the several Presbyteries to report to the
Joint-Committee on the Schemes of the Church, not
later than the fifteenth day of April 1891, particulars
of all cases of failure to make Collections for the
six Schemes, with the reasons offered for such
failure; and, separately, how many of the additional
Collections ordered have been made in each Parish,
that the same may be duly reported to the General
Assembly; and likewise ordain the several Synods
to take a similar account annually of the diligence of
their respective Presbyteries in this matter, and to
enter the same in their Synod Records; and instruct
the Committees appointed to revise the said Synod
Books to specify in their reports whether the said
Synods have obeyed this instruction. The Assembly
earnestly and affectionately urge on their faithful
people to consider, each one for himself, what he can
do to promote the spread of the Gospel at home and
abroad, and to remember that most of them have no
means of obeying the Redeemer's last command,
except by giving of their means, and by offering up
prayers in behalf of those who go forth to teach the
nations. The General Assembly order this Act to
be printed separately, and a copy to be transmitted
to every Parish Minister, and to every Minister or
Probationer officiating in a Chapel of Ease in connection
with the Church of Scotland; and they
ordain the said Act to be read from the Pulpit on
the Sabbath appointed for the next Collection.
"The General Assembly sanction and approve of
the Collection appointed to be made throughout all
the Churches within their bounds, on the second
Sabbath of July 1890, in aid of the Aged and
Infirm Ministers' Fund; and the General Assembly
further appoint a Collection to be made
for the same object on the second Sabbath of July
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to
be made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, in aid of the funds of the Committee for
Increasing the Supply of Religious Ordinances in
several parts of the Highlands and Islands, on the
fourth Sabbath of August 1890; and the General
Assembly further appoint a Collection to be made
for the same object on the fourth Sabbath of August
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to be
made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, on the third Sabbath of September 1890, in
aid of the Funds of the Committee on Correspondence
with the Synod of the Church of Scotland in
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to
be made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, in aid of the Funds of the Finance Committee,
on the second Sabbath of December 1890.
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to be
made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, on the third Sabbath of January 1891, on
behalf of the Committee on Correspondence with
Foreign Churches.
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to
be made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, on the second Sabbath of April 1891, in aid
of the Funds of the Committee for providing Compensation
to Ministers for the money drawn by the
former Patrons out of the stipend of recently vacant
"The General Assembly appoint a Collection to
be made throughout all the Churches within their
bounds, on the third Sabbath of September 1891, in
aid of the Funds of the Committee on Christian Life
and Work."
The General Assembly, with reference to that
part of the Assembly's proceedings of 28th May
touching a meeting of the Kirk-Session of Jedburgh,
hereby dispense, in the special circumstances
of the case, with the leave which ought to have
been obtained for that meeting, and declare the
said meeting to have been valid, notwithstanding
that one of the Ruling Elders of the said Kirk--
Session is a Member of this Assembly.
The General Assembly instructed the Committee
on Correspondence with Foreign Churches to
nominate a Deputation to the Irish Presbyterian
The General Assembly passed the Act appointing
the Commission of the General Assembly. All
the Members of the General Assembly were appointed
Members of Commission, with the addition
of the Rev Dr Anderson, St Andrews, for the
A Committee was appointed to revise the
Minutes of the General Assembly, consisting of
the Principal Clerk, the Depute Clerk, the Procurator,
and the Agent — the Principal Clerk, Convener.

Overtures not disposed of were deferred.
Protestations were taken — (1) That Appeal taken
by Mr John Davidson, Bank Agent, Maud, against
a judgment of the Synod of Aberdeen in the Maud
case, had been fallen from. (2) That Protest and
Appeal against the judgment of the Synod of
Glasgow and Ayr, in the Kirkoswald case, had
been fallen from. (3 and 4) That Appeals by the
Rev. Gavin Lang, against judgments of the Synod
of Moray in the Inverness Election case, had been
fallen from.
The General Assembly adjourned at 5.45, to meet
again at 10 o'clock.
The Assembly met, pursuant to adjournment,
and was constituted.
The Minutes of the day's proceedings were held
as read.
The Rev. Dr JOHNSTON gave in his reasons of
dissent from to-day's procedure in reference to the
Interim Report on the Regulations for the Election
and Admission of Ministers.
The Rev. Dr MC'MURTRIE gave in the following
tribute of respect to the late Mr Smith, Principal
of the General Assembly's Institution, Calcutta: -
"The General Assembly, having been informed
by its Foreign Mission Committee of the death, on
21st October, of the Rev. Wm. Smith, M.A., Principal
of the General Assembly's Institution, Calcutta,
desires to record its profound sense of the
loss which this Church and the cause of Missions
have sustained."
Mr Smith was educated for the teaching profession,
and served as a schoolmaster for some years,
but after a distinguished career in the University
of Glasgow he was ordained to the charge of Forth,
in the Presbytery of Lanark, in 1878. In 1884 he
was appointed Acting Principal, and in the following
year became Principal of the Missionary Institution
in Calcutta. At a time when duties of
peculiar delicacy and difficulty devolved upon the
head of the Mission, Mr Smith, by his ability, devotedness,
and prudence, and by a rare combination
of firmness, with a humble and conciliatory spirit,
rendered invaluable service. While fully discharging
scholastic duties of a high order, he also gave
great prominence to the more evangelistic side of
the Mission both in the Institution and at the outstations,
one of which he retained under his own
charge. He was always ready to assist the Kirk--
Session of the Native Church, and, along with his
wife — a greatly esteemed lady, who died about half
a year before her husband — he was very helpful to
the work of the Ladies' Associations in Calcutta.
With reduced strength he set out on an autumn
holiday, from which he hoped to return reinvigorated
for work; but he died at Keadum, among the
Himalaya Mountains, of fever and weakness of the
heart. He was only forty-four years of age. Mr
Smith is sincerely mourned, not only here but in
Calcutta, and by Christians of every communion.
The General Assembly expresses its deepest sympathy
with his widowed mother, and commends
to God Mr Smith's only child, a boy now about
nine years of age.
The time has come for the closing words, as of
old. Not to-night of exhortation: for to offer
that I do not presume; and it is not needed. The
work of the Church, in my experience, tends in
these days to be done with a feverish earnestness,
by most. Not of what may be called the secondplane
work of the Church: the work of the engine
after the primary effort of keeping itself in energetic
motion has been successfully made; the Church's
Missions and Schemes: for all details of these have
been spread out before you during our meetings by
experts; and their cause has been urged by the most
competent men in our vocation. Nor am I to venture
on political prophecy or warning. For though
we know whence the storm may come, and though
our hearts must needs be sometimes anxious for the
venerable Institution which has mainly made Scotland
what Scotland is, I turn instinctively away
from strife, present or to come; as knowing how
well and thoroughly our defence will be undertaken
(when the day comes) by brave and strong men
whom God has called to such a task by making
them magnificently fit for it. Rather I purpose to
offer you some kindly words of things much in our
minds and hearts: of dear old ways of the Church;
and of the growth and tendencies of Church life in
these last days. Turning away from controversy, I
desire to keep to our real life: which I understand
and know; and which touches nearly.
The days lengthened, as of old. There was parish
work, and home care: and May at length brought
us here. The time has gone over, not without the
occasional conflict of opinion, expressed with a keen
ability: but now we reach the solemn end, which
has so touched many of us heretofore. All contentious
voices have ceased. And there remains only
this needful parting word; in speaking which every
right-minded man must remember that it cannot be
replied to here; and must endeavour so to speak
that, in the main, we may all be able kindly to
assent to what is spoken.
It has been the use of all who have been placed
in this Chair, to express their thanks to this Venerable
House for the high honour conferred upon them.
It is indeed a high honour to be called to this Chair
with the general approval of one's Fathers and
Brethren. And no words that I can find could
express my sense of the extraordinary kindness with
which my .nomination was received by very many:
a thing never to be forgot; and a warm tie where
the tie was warmest already. All the more was
this so, because like my predecessor Robert Blair,
minister of St Andrews two hundred and fifty years
since, I had ever felt as if I "could do more good
among my Flock than in the Assembly:" and while
thankful that we have among us men whose vocation
is to serve the Church in her Courts, lesser
and greater, I have been mainly a preacher and a
pastor, a hard-working parish minister like most of
my honoured brethren; and so am here as, in a
humble sense, the representative of that quiet
earnest work from week to week, the Sundays
coming back so startingly fast, which I venture to
think the Church's mainstay. All the more, too, that
I have taken a share in work which does not yet
commend itself to every one of us. I know there
are those who do not wholly approve the Scottish
Hymnal, wide as the acceptance of that book has
been: still less, the Book of Common Order. But
though there be these lesser divergences, I know
there is a far wider field where I am in perfect and
heartfelt sympathy with every loyal son of the
Kirk. And I know how kindly my brethen interpret
the methods of ministers faithfully seeking
the good of the Church, even in exceptional ways.
Your placing one in this Chair does not mean that
all of you assent to all his views and methods. But
it does mean your belief in his honesty and faithfulness;
and in his heartfelt desire to serve the Church
of our fathers to his level best.
Twelve years ago, many of us heard our dear and
never-forgotten friend Principal Tulloch say, in his
closing address, that he was the first moderator who
had not finished his studies till after the disastrous
'43. But now, so does time go on, a younger
generation is here. And the office has been held
for the first time by one who at that time had not
even entered the University: and by one ordained
in the second half of the century: in one of the
closing months of '51. Yet even the gathering of
the storm, for years before, was in young memories.
I remember, vividly, a good minister saying in my
father's manse, when I was a little boy, that he
would not be surprised though the result of all this
controversy should be that the Church was rent
asunder. All held up their hands in wonder. Such
a thing was inconceivable. Ah such a thing was
to be. And the sad story is an old one now.
Times without number, since I was a youth, I
have sat down at the accustomed table to write
what, in God's Election, found many readers, while
as good or better did not: and never anywhere have
I found kindlier welcome than when, with a somewhat
wearied pen, I came home to address oftentimes
through our own Parish Magazine the reticent
people of our own Communion. I have no more
prized possession than the pathetic letters of very
many unknown friends, each a kindly Scot. But
it is very new and strange, after all these years,
to address thus formally so many brethren set in
places of anxious trust, and tried in divers ways
I know so well. When first, ages ago, a member
of Assembly, not a thing is so vividly remembered
as how one looked along the rows of men, each one
placed in this life where good sense and right feeling
are just as much needed as they can be in any
human vocation; and thought how if the more outstanding,
and the less outstanding too, would each
just tell one exactly how he does his work! To
really know the methods of any one hard-working
soul, the actual way and feeling in which the day's
work is done, — would be profoundly interesting and
helpful. But, with a certain pathetic pudency,
men keep their little ways to themselves. Then,
specially at the beginning, much of the duty of the
ministry is done under a heavy strain upon brain
and heart: a strain which no worthy man would
wish ever to wholly cease: the conduct of God's
public worship must never be taken lightly. But,
thirty years since, over all the land, and even yet in
various places, that strain has been intensified to a
breaking pitch by requirements which could add
nothing to the edification of the flock, or to the
beauty of holiness in the house of prayer. And yet,
with it all, the plain church was the centre of all
the interest of life. It was touching to hear a
minister of the older generation, asked where he
had been ministering on Sunday, reply At Home.
That meant in his own pulpit, at his own communion-table,
in his own church. And many of us
have never felt so much at home as there. Not in
Church Courts, where, even in such as the brotherly
and beloved Presbytery which ordained me, there
must needs be sharp and lawyer-like ways that
seemed just a little inconsistent with our holiest
services and sacraments. Not even in this Chair,
which your brotherly sympathy has made so pleasant
and easy (for we come to the battle-field, and
the enemy we are afraid of is not there): but
rather sitting by the little fireside under a cottage
roof, learning from some tried and aged pilgrim
twenty times more and better than we ever taught
him or her, and going away richer and stronger for
such a one's solemn blessing: rather in the least
æsthetic kirk of Kyle, where you learnt that the
grand thing about a church is the living congregation:
where the fragrance of the July clover came
through the opened windows, and the air was
freshened with sweet herbs: where a simple gospel
was preached, and neither preacher nor hearer had
ever doubted: and where better praise by far than
that chilly Jubilee orchestra in Westminster went
up in O God of Bethel.
We have all worked, hard, to serve the Church,
Fathers and Brethren: None harder, none better,
than our quiet country ministers. Such as talk of
the abounding leisure of a rural charge, surely forget
that to prepare a sermon, to one's best, for a small
congregation, costs exactly as much time and pains
as to prepare a sermon for a large congregation.
Likewise that if you are resolved that your congregation
shall listen with fixed attention to every word
of the sermon (and you must be so resolved if you
are a preacher), it is a far harder thing to write a
sermon, which shall be followed with the audible
hush you all know, in a country church, than to
write one which shall hold that unmistakeable grip
of a city congregation. And if pastoral work be
done as it ought to be: if the minister makes his
presence felt in every corner of the parish: the eight
miles which part some sick-bed from the manse
many times, make that one continually-repeated
visit cost as much wear as to visit ten sick in the
close proximity of the town. I do not deny that
there are compensations, very real to some men.
Some will never forget what it was to ride up the
parish on such duty: to pass out from the thick
woods into bare and lonely tracts: where, ten
miles from home, one would dismount from one's
horse, and sit down on a grey stone by the wayside,
and look for an hour at the heather at one's feet,
and at the sweeps of purple moorland far away.
But I must not recall such pictures, or I should
never be done; they are too touching and dear.
Only let me say to my brothers how well I understand
the life. Et in Arcadiâ ego. I was once a
Country Parson. And in such peaceful charges,
withdrawn from the temptations as well as from
the stimulus of the crowded congregations of the
great city, you may find some of our most learned,
devout, and cultured ministers. If ever the miserable
blight of Disestablishment should befall, one of
its sorest results would be the loss of such men: men
for whom the Church is beyond calculation richer,
men who hold the highest level of the respect of
rich and poor around them: though possibly they
never were endowed with the gifts of popular oratory
which can hold a crowd of thousands; or, just as
likely, never having been called upon to do such
work (which no doubt is very grand work), have
never had powers developed which might have ranked
them high as any of you. I fancy there is no more
famous line in Sir Henry Taylor's famous Play, than
that which assures us that "The world knows
nothing of its greatest men." That may be, or
not. But I am perfectly sure the Church knows
little of many of her best men. And I am thinking
not merely of devout learning, content to prosper
in the shade: Through the press, that can now find
its access to the cultured world. I am thinking of
men with great makings in them: with the potency
of the most charming eloquence: but they never
were called upon, never spurred to their utmost
exertion: or circumstances held them down, circumstances
in which no mortal could be orator or poet
and so the undeveloped capacity year by year
dwindled: till you could but think of them, old and
gray, as men of whom incomparably more might
have been made, churchmen who never got their
due. Let me say too (and the most successful
among you know it best), that men need the fostering
warmth of encouragement to bring out what is
in them. And to some, that genial sunshine never
comes. It is not true, unless in some very non--
natural sense, that everything comes to him who
knows how to wait for it. No, not any more than
that a man makes his own luck: that favourite
axiom of the wonderfully - successful. Six - and
twenty years since, I was sent by the Home Mission
Committee along with my dear and honoured friend
Dr Nicholson of St Stephen's to visit various
struggling chapels. We came to one where was a
poor brother, well-advanced in years, older than
either of us, who was broken down into utter failure
by the environment: who had quite lost heart. In
those days Dr Nicholson and I ministered in two
Edinburgh churches where the sun shone very
warmly upon us, by God's goodness. Coming away
from witnessing a painful squabble in that poor
chapel, I could not but say to my friend, just as
honoured and useful a man as was then in the
Church, Do you think you or I should have done a bit
better there ? I never forget the sorrowful face
with which his answer came: No, we should not
The City, after all, with all anxieties, overwork,
nervous strain, has both the best and the worst of
the Race: and some of us are humbly thankful that
courage was given us to face its ceaseless wear.
But it is you who minister in beautiful country
parishes who hold the prizes of the Church. Perhaps
it is the Mirage when one looks back: but
one's own country parish, and far more one's
Father's, in these latter days show like Paradise.
Every Sunday, with its crowded church and its
uplifting praise and its quiet evening of perfect
peace: and far more, the unutterable sanctity and
hush of the old Communions, when anxious souls
did of a surety go up to the Mount of Ordinances,
and found all they hoped there: the white-haired
Elders, — we have the best of Elders yet, but oh,
those saints departed! — then the setting the face
with fresh heart to the way: ah, there was something
to be said for those rarely-coming Communions,
though doubtless the balance of reason is
all on the other side. One sees the snow bending
the overgreens in Winter round the manse: the
roses covering the house in July: the blossoming
apple-trees in the garden: the hawthorn in glory
making the countryside fragrant: the atmosphere
of those departed days comes back, and old faces
come life-like to us from where they went, long ago.
Everything that is good in us, Fathers and
Brethren, is a link to our Church. Everything
good in us, under God's grace, we owe to the Church,
and to the Children. You will pardon it, I know,
in a Son of the Manse; but my heart flies to my
head at the mention of the old ways of the Kirk:
and it will be so till heart and head turn cold
We know well, most of us, the ways of other
Communions, and we feel their charm: notably the
half-inspired beauty and felicity of the prayers of
the greatest of National Churches, so near us, yet in
sorrowful truth so far from us. But we come back,
with a warm heart, the warmer for absence, to the
Church of our fathers. That, after all, is to come
Home. She is the Mother that took us in her arms
in our Baptism. She has fed and comforted us, all
our days, at the Holy Table. And with wise restoration
of the grand words of Christian hope, she will
lay us in our grave.
It is the way, with the outer world, to say that
ours is a quiet unanxious life, that glides away in a
singular freedom from the buffets of the terrible
struggle for existence which is all around us. And,
God be thanked, there is truth here. We are, in
the main, ministers of peace: and are not very often
called to meet our fellow-men in the severities of
wordly business: which often develop a hardness.
a rigour of the game, a cynical unconcern for others,
startling and unpleasing to see. But, putting quite
aside the matter of the heavy pull on nerves and
heart with which our public duty is done, — and one
of the greatest of living preachers once said that if
he left off preaching for six Sundays he would not
have courage to begin again, — the life of such as serve
the Church in her ministry has it many cares. Only
a sentence of what has been not less than tragic in
these last years, though borne with little complaint,
by husband and wife under the roof of many a
country parsonage, ivy-clad or rose-entwined. To
bring the income down by something like half,
while expenses tend ever to grow, means deepening
lines on the once-hopeful minister's face: means a
heavy heart to the faithful companion of many
anxious years. And the burden tends to grow
weightier as we grow less equal to the bearing
it. But, even from the first, Worry has to be, even
in Arcady. One has walked through the golden
harvest-fields in the September sunshine with a
very anxious heart and bewildered head. No one,
too, ever came into close and continual contact with
some hundreds of our countrymen, without meeting
the necessary percentage of the wrong-headed and
cantankerous. It is our duty to make crooked
sticks serve. And there is such a thing as ill-luck:
specially in the first inexperienced days. For the
difference is vast, between skilled labour and unskilled.
You used to fancy, at your first start, that
you would be able to please everybody. You would
be so considerate, so diligent, so modest, so kind to
all, that nobody could find fault. Ah, there are
those who will find fault with anything. I never
heard any charge brought against a young minister
with more intense bitterness, than that he was
always kneeling and praying in the vestry before service.
The Beadle and others did not approve of
this. And a warm-hearted youth set in charge of a
parish is quite certain to make many mistakes at
first : mistakes for which we who are old not unfrequently
love him the better. An extraordinarily--
old head on young shoulders is not a loveable thing.
It has seemed a hard thing, ever since this generation
has known the Church, that, entering the