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especially that a law-plea between two of them had caused much disaster; that two of the petitioners had lately been absenting themselves from public worship with the congregation; that the church is indeed at a low ebb, both as respects finance and attendance. They found the minister free from blame. They desire to express their deep sympathy with him because of the quarrels and misfortunes with which he has had to contend.' The presbytery, after conversation, received and adopted the report, expressing, by so doing, their disapprobation of the conduct of the elders who absented themselves from public worship while yet claiming to retain their connection with the session, and acting on it by bringing their petition before the presbytery; their deep sympathy with Mr. Allison in the extremely trying circumstances in which he has been placed in his whole ministerial course in Oxendon; and their high satisfaction that the committee, after patient investigation, have found his conduct as a diligent and faithful minister blameless. After this finding had been come to, Mr. Allison rose and said, that in full view of all the circum. stances of his position in Oxendon, he had come to the settled determination to resign the pastorate there, feeling this step to be quite necessary for his own comfort and hope of usefulness, and trusting that it would be for the advancement of the best interests of the congregation. The presbytery heard this announcement regretfully, but felt themselves shut up to take the usual course of intimating it to the congregation, asking them to appear for their interests at the next ordinary meeting of presbytery. The presbytery again met at Silverhill on the 18th November, for the ordination of Mr. George B. Carr, and the transaction of any business requiring immediate attention. mittee appointed to visit Barnet reported very favourably of the eligible character of the field there. They also reported in regard to Sydenham, that the movement under Mr. Russell's care appeared to be in an encouraging and hopeful state; and the presbytery agreed to express their satisfaction in hearing this, and their hope that, under Mr. Russell's guidance, now that he is free to devote all his energies to the work, it may go on to complete success. Proceeding to the ordination service, the presbytery adjourned to the church, when Rev. Henry Miller preached from John xii. 12, 13, and the Rev. Robert Campbell conducted the ordination service, and addressed minister and people. In the evening, a large and interesting tea-meeting was held, presided over by the Rev. Dr. M'Farlane, and addressed by
Professor Cairns of Berwick, by brethren hood, and by various members of presbyof other denominations in the neighbourtery.
day, 3d August-Mr. Pollock, modeMelrose. This presbytery met on Tuesrator pro tem. A letter was read from clining the call from the West Church, Mr. Forrest F. Young, probationer, deHawick. A letter was also read from Mr. now able to resume his pulpit work, and Finlayson, Earlston, stating that he was thanking the presbytery for their liberal arrangements in supplying his pulpit durpeculiarly gratifying circumstance that all ing his prolonged illness, and for the the ministers had supplied in person, as well as extended their sympathy to him by letter. A debt schedule from Allars Church, Hawick, was transmitted, with Liquidating Board. a cordial recommendation, to the Debt ported that the Newtown congregation had just made a final effort to extinMr. Lumgair reguish the remaining debt of nearly £180 on their new church, and with complete success. Met again on Tuesday, the 5th of October-Mr. Niven, moderator. A unanimous petition from the West Church, Messrs. George Tait and Andrew Irvine Hawick, for a moderation was tabled, and appeared as commissioners in its support. The stipend offered is £157, 10s., with a manse. The petition was cordially granted; the moderation appointed to take place on Tuesday, the 19th October, at seven o'clock evening-Mr. Muir to preach and preside; and, at the request of the commissioners, an early meeting of presbytery was fixed on the first Tuesday of November, to receive and sustain the call, and to overtake any other business. Mr. Lambert, missionary from Trinidad, being at present in this country, it was resolved to invite him, free meeting in November, and favour the of expense, to be present at that early operations in Trinidad. Mr. Ballantyne brethren with an account of missionary Brodie, student of divinity, gave an outTheological Hall, and trials for licence line of his work at the past session of the the Home Secretary was read, completing were prescribed to him. A circular from gations in respect of augmentation of the necessary arrangements with congrestipend for the present year.-Met again moderator. Mr. Walter Scott, student of on the 2d of November divinity, transferred from the Presbytery - Mr. Niven, of Edinburgh, gave an account of the examined in Greek and Theology in writlectures at the Divinity Hall, and was ing, the examiners to report at next meeting. Mr. Brodie delivered a homily, and was examined in Hebrew, Greek, and
Church History, all of which exercises were sustained as parts of trials for licence. A call was tabled from Hawick, West Church, addressed to Mr. Thomas Cockburn, preacher, signed by 181, out of a membership of 245, accompanied by a paper of concurrence subscribed by 25 adherents. The call was unanimously sustained, and trials for ordination were appointed to Mr. Cockburn, in the event of his acceptance. Mr. Lambert, missionary from Trinidad, was present, and gave an account of the progress of missions in that island. On the motion of Mr. Robson, the presbytery expressed their thanks to Mr. Lambert for his presence and interesting address, and their earnest prayer that God would very abundantly bless him and his fellow-labourers in the cause of Christ in Trinidad. Arrange
ments were also made to secure a visit by him to a good many of the congregations within the bounds. Read a circular from the Committee on Union as to the circulation of the Union Report; when it was agreed to engage in prayer and conference on the subject of union at next meeting on the first Tuesday of DecemberMessrs. Robson and Dunn to introduce the conference by short addresses.
Ir will be noticed in our advertising pages that the literature of the State-Church question is likely to be considerably increased. The Liberation Society, amongst other publications, have in view the issue of a prize work for the young, and other prizes also for works on the Church Establishments in Scotland and in Wales, as well as for popular tracts. We are glad to see Scotland in this list, and shall look prize in this case is to be £25. forward with curiosity to the work. The
OPENING OF A NEW CHURCH FOR THE
ON the 29th of July last a beautiful and commodious new church was opened for this congregation. Rev. Dr. Eadie preached on the occasion. A soiree was held in the ing, when interesting addresses were deevening, the Rev. D. S. Goodburn presidlivered by ministers of different denominations. On the following Sabbath, Rev. Dr. Finlayson conducted the morning and evening services, and the Rev. D. S. Goodburn preached in the afternoon. The col£130. The church and manse are almost lections at all the services amounting to free of debt.*
OPENING OF A NEW CHURCH FOR QUFEN'S
THIS church was opened on Sabbath, the 7th November, for public worship. The service was conducted in the forenoon by the Rev. Wm. Sprott, in the afternoon by the evening by the Rev. Professor Islay the Rev. Professor Calderwood, and in
It has only now come into our hands.
Burns. On each occasion there was a numerous congregation of worshippers,
and the total collection received amounted to £712, 8s. 10d.
THE CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF ENGLAND AND WALES. THE Congregational Union of England and Wales represents a large and influential body, holding among the churches in England the place which is held in Scotland by the United Presbyterians. The political opinions of the two denominations are in most points identical; and, while differing in their views of church government, they are at one in opposing all Established churches, as unscriptural, unjust, and unnecessary. Among the ministers of the Union, we can point to names that, for learning and eloquence, would be ornaments to any church, and among its laymen we find not a few of the most liberal and influential of our public men. Liberation Society which has contributed so largely to the diffusion of sound views on ecclesiastical questions, and the London Missionary Society which has been greatly honoured in the field of foreign missions, are supported mainly by the congregations connected with the Union. In one respect the Congregationalists have an advantage over the Presbyterians. Having no cases of reference or appeals from inferior judicatories, they can afford to employ all the time at their disposal, in the consideration of questions affecting the spiritual prosperity of the denomination, and of the country at large. Two meetings of the Union are held in the course of the year; the one in London, in May, and the other during autumn, in one of the larger towns of England.
The autumnal meeting for the present year was held in Wolverhampton, and was attended by upwards of seven hundred ministers and delegates. The introductory sermon was preached by the Rev. R. A. Redford, of Hull, and the chairman's address, which was a singularly able one, was given by the Rev. R. W. Dale, M.A., the subject being The Theory and the Practice of Congregational Churches touching certain relations of the Holy Spirit to the Ministry, the Worship, and the Work of the Church.' As this was the first meeting since the disestablishment of the Irish Church, resolutions approving of that measure were proposed, but as, in the judgment of many, the resolutions submitted were somewhat cold and formal, an additional one, in the following terms, was moved and unanimously adopted: That this assembly desires to express cordial sympathy with our Christian brethren of the disestablished church, in the novel and difficult task of ecclesiastical reconstruction, and, rejoicing in the prospect of welcoming a new and powerful member into the fellowship of the Protestant churches, earnestly hopes that the future course of the reconstituted church, freed from state fetters, will be blessed by God to promote the union of Protestant Christians and churches in the evangelization of Ireland.' In connection with this question the Union has this year taken a step in advance, and given a formal condemnation of all state churches, by passing the following resolution: That this assembly hereby instructs the Committee of the Congregational Union to prepare, in a form suitable for general circulation, a well-considered statement of our views on the question of Church and State, and of the grounds of our objection and opposition to their union, showing how foreign that union is to the genius of Christianity, as well as unsupported by Scripture, and how, in various ways, it interferes with the general government of the nation, inflicts injury on its social life, impedes the progress of education, and raises up obstacles on all sides to the spread of Christian faith and morals.'
At the public meeting in the evening, most interesting and eloquent addresses were delivered, by the Rev. Dr. Pulsford, Glasgow, on the 'Sufficiency of Voluntaryisin;' by the Rev. Alexander Mackennal, on Catholic Unity;' and by the Rev. R. D. Wilson, on the 'Protestantism of Nonconformists.' In the first of these addresses Dr. Pulsford referred to the liberality of certain churches, and made the following among other statements. The great question,' he said, 'after all, should be, not how much is given, but how much is kept; we are never in danger of giving
too much. I am reminded of the comments of a coloured preacher on the text, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," which are inimitable for point as well as eloquence:-"I have known many a church to die 'cause it didn't give enough; but I never knowed a church to die 'cause it gave too much. Dey don't die dat ways. Brederin, has any of you eber knowed a church to die 'cause it gave too much? If you did, just let me know, and I'll make a pilgrimage to that church, and I'll climb up under the soft light of de moon by de ivy-grown walls to its moss-covered roof; and I'll stand there, and lift up my hands to heaven and say, Blessed are de dead dat die in de Lord." In order to overtake the business, sectional meetings were held, at which papers on the following topics were read and discussed:- How we may best avail ourselves of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford; A possible Basis of Union between Congregationalists and Presbyterians; and the Church and the Congregation.' In the paper on a possible basis of union between Congregationalists and Independents, the author, the Rev. J. B. Paton, made some important concessions in favour of the Presbyterian form of church government, especially on the office of ruling elders. Speaking of the government of the church, Mr. Paton said: 'It seems to me that a plurality of elders in each church is requisite; at present there is but one-the pastor-who holds the office of an elder, and other offices condense their too heavy responsibilities on his head. In the apostolic age, elders as wells as deacons were appointed in every church. In the Independent churches of the seventeenth century, and the early part of last century, lay elders, as they were styled, were united with the pastor, himself being an elder, in the oversight of the church. We have fallen from these high examples. We need to restore a lost order amongst us. A plurality of elders is necessary, I consider,-1st, for the complete organization of the church; 2d, for the due maintenance of authority in the church.'
At these sectional meetings no vote was taken, but the prevailing opinion seemed to be, that while there was not at present any reasonable prospect of incorporated union between Congregationalists and Presbyterians, there was sufficient room for hearty co-operation in the Master's work.
A special meeting was held on the subject of national education, and while no formal resolution was passed, the feeling of the speakers was strongly in favour of the principles adopted by the 'National Education League.' On the opening of the Universities the following resolution was unanimously adopted: "That this assembly regards with great satisfaction the continued efforts made in Parliament to secure the nationalization of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, of the removal of those religious tests which practically limit the use of them to one party of the state. Designed as those seats of learning originally were, and as they unquestionably should be, for the use of the entire nation, this assembly can accept no change as final which shall allow any section of the community to remain excluded from the universities or colleges on account of their religious belief. It rejects as injurious and unreasonable the idea that such an extension of these privileges would make university life less religious than it is; but, on the contrary, doubts not that the removal of religious tests by unfettering conscience would strengthen and quicken it, and would thus promote, not only religion, but also that mutual respect which class legislation so unjustly destroys.'
An interesting part of the proceedings was the reception of delegates from America, Scotland, Ireland, and the English United Presbyterian Synod. The Rev. John James, who appeared as representative of the United Presbyterians, greeted the assembly in the name of his brethren, and expressed his readiness to co-operate with the Congregationalists in the work of their common Master. The next autumnal meeting was appointed to be held at Plymouth; and, if we can judge from the proceedings at Wolverhampton, these provincial gatherings must be favourable, in an eminent degree, to the interests of the denomination.
THE ALLOA VACANCY.
THE parish of Alloa has been thrown into a state of the greatest excitement, in consequence of the appointment of a successor to their late minister, the Rev. W.
Shaw. On the vacancy occurring, the Home Secretary intimated to the sessionclerk that he (the Home Secretary) would be glad if he was able to appoint a minister who would be acceptable to the whole parish, and that, with this view, he would give most careful attention to any recommendation that might be made to him.' On the faith of this promise the committee of the congregation proceeded vigorously to work, in order to find a candidate who would prove acceptable to the people; but this they found to be no easy task. If we may judge from the statement of the session-clerk, the labours of the committee have been most overwhelming; and though they have proved fruitless as yet, the members of the committee are well entitled to the sympathy and thanks of the members and adherents of the parish church of Alloa. Speaking on the subject at a meeting of the congregation, the session-clerk said: 'If I were simply to give some idea of their (the committee's) labours, I may just state briefly something like what I had to do in regard to it. I attended some fourteen or fifteen meetings, averaging from an hour to two hours' duration each. I have been three times at Edinburgh, once at Perth, and once in Glasgow. I have spent no less than eight nights in public hotels, and all this in connection with this business. I have had some forty letters on this subject, and I have written fifty or sixty replies.' The difficulty of securing, by popular election, a minister for the parish of Alloa, seems as great as that of the Spanish Cortes in finding a king for their nation. Jotham's parable of the trees going forth to anoint a king seems likely to be realized in this case; and the Rev. Mr. Gunn is prepared to say with the bramble, 'If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedar of Lebanon.' From the report of the committee, it appears that overtures had been made to the Rev. Mr. M'Murtrie, Edinburgh, and the Rev. Mr. Thomson, Stirling; but the former of these gentlemen declined acceptance; and in regard to the latter, the committee was not at that stage unanimous in their recommendation. After three months' delay the Home Secretary announced that, having regard to the general interests of the parish of Alloa, which has already remained vacant for three months, he regrets to find himself unable to comply with the request for longer delay, and he will at once proceed to fill up the vacancy.' In consequence of this resolution, a presentation in favour of the Rev. Mr. Gunn, Dollar, was forthwith issued, and great dissatisfaction and indignation because of the conduct of the Government have been freely expressed. A meeting of the congregation was then held, and it was agreed-but too late to stay proceedings-to recommend the Rev. Mr. Thomson, of Stirling. Such, then, is the present state of matters in this parish. An opportunity was given to the congregation to recommend a minister, and the congregation having failed to make such recommendation, the Government has exercised its right of presentation, and appointed Mr. Gunn. Against this appointment the people are now remonstrating, and at the eleventh hour-or rather, after the twelfth hour by Government time—they have agreed to recommend the Rev. Mr. Thomson. Now it is not our intention to notice all the reports and surmises that are abroad in the locality. Mr. Adam, the member of Parliament for the county, is blamed in connection with the case, and the Home Secretary and others have been bitterly assailed; but these gentlemen, if necessary, can defend themselves. Neither is it our intention, least of all, to say a word against the right of a Christian congregation to choose their own minister. The popular election for which we plead is that given by the Lord Jesus Christ as Head of his own church, and not that conceded by Cæsar in the person of the Home Secretary,-a privilege, it appears, which may be granted and withdrawn at pleasure. If the precious rights of Christ's people are to be exercised, they must be exercised on his own terms. In the list of office-bearers given to the church when Jesus ascended up on high, we find no mention made of the Home Secretary or the member of Parliament for the county, and in the law of the New Testament touching the election of ministers we do not find that only so many months are to be given for the exercise of that privilege. What we desire our readers to learn from this case is, that the Church of Scotland is in a state of bondage, and that the appointment of its ministers is regarded by the community as influenced by political considerations. In the case before us the liberty to recommend a minister was a concession granted in answer