The Christian Church.







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M HE practical purpose which I have in view in the present

1 volume is to prove from Scripture (as I have already proved by actual experiment), that our country is to be evangelised and foreign nations converted, not by a paid agency, for that is impossible, but by the personal labours of the whole Church working gratuitously, every one bringing his own peculiar talent into the service of the kingdom.

At present no doubt, money is indispensable for the support of the agency already in the field. That agency must be kept up, and even extended at all hazards, until the Church has been educated and trained to its proper work. But Christ never intended His kingdom to be dependent on money, and nowhere in the Bible do we find a single sentence that inculcates the duty of giving money for the spread of the Gospel. If there had been, it would have stultified its teaching everywhere else.

Not only is the gratuitous personal labour of the Church the only possible way in which the kingdom of God can be established in the world, it is also the only thing that God has given the Church to do while here, it is the only thing that is worthy of the anxieties of God's children on earth, and it is vain for any Christian to expect to attain to a higher life without it; ministers aim far too low. The Church and Evangelism were made for one another, and what God hath joined together let not man put asunder. “To every man his work.”

But that is not all. Every child of God has an eternity before him; and his state and dignity during these endless ages depend on the way in which he employs his time during the little moment that he is down here. By winning souls to Christ he may shine as the stars for ever and ever, or he may enter heaven with his talent wrapped up in a napkin-saved, -yet so as by fire, taking his place among “the least in the kingdom of heaven.” We have but one life, but one chance; and if that be neglected or misspent, we shall never have another. Do pastors keep that solemn truth sufficiently before their people ?

I had long been persuaded that the conversion of the world either at home or abroad by means of a paid agency was altogether impossible,* and that not until the whole Church should be brought into the field as an unpaid agency could it be accomplished. At length an opportunity was afforded me of organising such a mission, composed entirely of unpaid workers, and appealing to the Spirit of all grace, to show by its success or its failure whether it was according to His mind or not, and whether He would by such means evangelise the world. The occasion was this :- )

ORIGIN OF THE MISSION. In 1856 the EDINBURGH SABBATH-School TEACHERS' UNION made a Sabbath-school census of the city, and found that there were above eight thousand children growing up without any religious instruction, indicating the existence of a population of above twenty thousand souls, living without God and without hope in the world. Being at a loss how to proceed, they thought it best to place the matter in the hands of a single individual, that he might devise a remedy; and their choice having fallen upon me, † although I was not present when this resolution was adopted, I at once accepted the commission. On the 3rd of April, 1857 I presented my report, the substance of which was, that some twenty institutes should be built or rented in Edinburgh, in which the ten thousand living Christians should be brought into loving personal contact with the ten thousand dead, especially the young, not only on the Sabbath day but during the week (a more detailed account of the plan

* At present we spend above £1,000,000 every year in evangelising our own country, where everything is favourable, and the work nearly half done. Apply the rule of three, and say, how much would be required to evangelise the whole world. Which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ? ” (Luke xiv. 28).

+ That in order to follow up the general census, which has been too long neglected, Mr. Gall, junior, be requested to undertake the duty. All present were of one mind as to his peculiar qualifications ; none being better suited for the work, than he who organised the present Union. -Minutes of General Committee, 9th January, 1857.

will be found in the Appendix). The report was unanimously approved; but as the constitution of the Union did not permit them to engage in any enterprise of the kind, they requested me to organise one of these Institutes as an experiment on my own responsibility. To this I assented, and, as I was convinced that the country could not be evangelised by any other means, I pledged myself to the Union to consecrate the remainder of my life to its realisation. (I was then in my fiftieth year.)

COMMENCEMENT OF THE EXPERIMENT. In February, 1858, when the Mission consisted only of myself, I took a lease of Whitfield Chapel, an old building at the foot of Carrubber's Close in the High Street, for five years; and, happening to preside at the annual meeting of one of the sections of the Union, I gave an account of the proposed Institute, and invited any of those present who would like to join me, to send up their names and addresses. Three gentlemen offered themselves, and on Sabbath morning, the 30th May, 1858, we four knelt down within its empty walls, and consecrated ourselves to the service of Christ, and to the complete evangelisation of Edinburgh.

Rising from our knees, we sallied out into the street, and brought down a few children, with whom we commenced our Sabbath morning school, our firstborn. The Sabbath evening school followed ;, and volunteers flocking in, meetings and classes of every kind were instituted, and occupied not only the chapel and its side rooms, but other premises rented and borrowed for the purpose, every night of the week. A medical department was opened in the chapel during the day, under the late Dr. Coldstream, who also raised the funds necessary for providing the drugs, and evangelistic meetings began to be held every night, which have never been discontinued. The Spirit of God was poured out in the most remarkable manner, and conversions took place in hundreds, and afterwards in thousands. First the old Theatre Royal, the use of which was

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