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readers, and append this note from the Secretary of the Congregational
“The success which has attended the ministry of the Rev. John Duncan of Albion Church, Aberdeen, and the large additions to the membership as well as to the congregation, have rendered it necessary to contemplate the erection of a new and more commodious chapel. The church and congregation have subscribed liberally; and by doing so, have, I think, established a claim upon the liberality of all in our body, to whom God has granted worldly means and hearts ready to dedicate a portion of them to the promotion of His cause. The case deserves the special notice of those who look upon our mission at the present time as mainly consisting of extension in our cities and towns, as it furnishes a very good instance of the way in which efforts in populous places are crowned with honour. In my estimation, the appeal of our Aberdeen brethren is one worthy of a hearty response.
DAVID RUSSELL." NEW PITSLIGO.-A most successful meeting was held in connection with the Sabbath-school in the church here, on Wednesday the 12th, when children and friends to the number of nearly 400 met, the church being well filled. The Rev. J.C. Hodge, the pastor, occupied the chair, and after good tea had been partaken of, the chairman introduced their much esteemed brother the Rev. George Saunders of Millseat, who gave a most excellent and touching address to the young, his subject being the Good Shepherd. The meeting was next addressed by Mr Watson of Middlemuir, who spoke very forcibly upon things that the present time requires. The meeting was further addressed by the Rev. John Paterson, U. P. minister of Whitehill, the Rev. John S. Loutit of the Established Church, and others. The evening was made the more enjoyable by the singing of several of Sankey's hymns, such as Jewels, Hold the Fort, etc. ; also by the able way in which the choir, under the leadership of Mr Alexander Pratt, gave a selection of pieces. During the evening a Spelling Bee was held, when upwards of sixty competed for the several prizes. This was much enjoyed, and proved an attractive feature in the evening's proceedings. From all appearance the teachers and friends have reason to thank God and take courage by the interest manifested by all.
GLASGOW_Elgin Place.-Upon Sabbath the 19th March, a new and commodious Mission Station situated in Cedar Street, Garscube Road, Glasgow, was opened in connection with Elgin Place Congregational Church under the name of the Wardlaw Jubilee Memorial Mission.
The Buildings are large and excellently adapted for work of this kind, consisting of a church seated for upwards of 400, with well arranged school rooms attached capable of accommodating 300 children. The cost will be about £3,500, and everything that modern improvement and experience in this work could suggest has been carried out in the construction.
The morning service was conducted by the Rev. Ralph Wardlaw Thompson of Liverpool, grandson of the late Dr Wardlaw, in whose memory the present building is erected, who stated in course of his address the fact that this house had been erected for no sectarian purposes, but that the simple message of salvation and mercy might be given to the whole neighbourhood. In the evening the Rev. James MʻLean of Emmanuel Congregational Church, Glasgow, preached an impressive discourse to an audience crowding the house in every part. (Mr MʻLean's address is worthy of insertion without abridgement, and we mean to give it a place in our columns.)
GLASGOW—North Hanover Street.-From accounts we have received this Church appears to be making very considerable progress under the pastorate of the Rev. David Cook, the membership being now as high as 173, and the general attendance also being much improved.
GLASGOW–Great Hamilton Street.-The Rev. J. B. Johnstone of Inverurie, has received and accepted a call to the pastorate of the above church and will enter upon his labours early in June.
GREENOCK.-We are glad to be able to report that after a severe and exciting contest, our brother Mr Hutchison stood fifth in the list of persons chosen to act on the School Board. This is a triumph to our principles as advocates of national and unsectarian education. We trust that Congregationalists in other parts of the country will at next election go and do likewise.
INNERLEITHEN.—The Rev. A. Cree has accepted a call to the High Street Church, Ware, Herts.
GLASGOW CHURCH STATISTICS.—The “ North British Daily Mail” has found a new field of enterprise ; the results of its explorations we give in the following figures. It appointed enumerators to number the people." In order to perceive the real significanceof such a census it must be remembered that it may have been taken in some cases, in exceptional circumstances, as when the pastor is from home, the weather stormy, &c. :
T. F. Mathieson
430 526 City Road
320 238 Govan
129 Gt. Hamilton Street J. M‘Munn
133 Hanover Street
180 Park Grove
150 125 Parkhead
THE LONDON MAY MEETINGS.
LONDON, May 15th. To write a report of religious proceedings in London is just now a difficulty chiefly through the embarrassment of riches. London is a place that usually absorbs a few thousand people extra without the least sign of disturbance; but this month it makes an exception. The Strand in May is not exactly like the Strand at any other part of the year.
You can tell the religious visitor at a glance, even though he has not on a white tie; he differs from the regular Londoner, for he is in no hurry; and from the regular sight-seer, for he passes through the streets leading to Exeter Hall as through Vanity Fair. The May gatherings are an institution recognised as well by the secular as the religious press, and though attending two meetings a day for a fortnight, is really dissipating work, we ought to remember, I suppose, that the great pulse beating now in the metropolis is sending a vitalising stream into the smallest conduits of our provincial churches.
Such, certainly, is the case with the meetings of the “Congregational Union of England and Wales.” Probably there is not a more vigorous ecclesiastical synod in existence, albeit it does not legislate for a denomination like the Presbyterian Assembly or the Wesleyan Conference. Its meetings alike reflect and direct the spirit of our churches.
Monday evening last saw ministers and delegates assembling in good numbers at what ranks as the “business” meeting. This proves more than ever attractive, thanks largely to Mr Hannay. Mr Hannay is a Scotchman, and throws the perfervidum ingenium both into reports and speeches. Whoever attacks the secretary, at least provides a treat of dialectic skill for the Union in that gentleman's defence, as has been twice evidenced in this year's assembly. Finance was the chief topic of the report. Congregationalism, to be faithful to its principles, has to steer between the Charybdis of a starving country ministry and the Scylla of a universally authoritative central committee. A general conference,
held in London in March, and adjourned till last Thursday, had recommended, (1.) “That for originating and sustaining home missionary operations, and supplementing ministers' salaries in young and weak churches, existing organisations were insufficient. (2.) That the existing country funds for home mission work ought to be consolidated into one fund, administered by a representative board. (3.) That the rules of the Congregational Union of England and Wales should be so altered as to provide, within its constitution, for an administrative body representative of the County Associations, to which the general fund may be entrusted.” The discussion of this subject, a vital one for, perhaps, one-third of our ministers, is fixed for October.
The first session of the Union was held on Thursday morning in the City Temple (Dr Parker's). This spacious building was filled by about 700 or 800 members occupying the ground floor, whilst. “ strangers” in the gallery gave a charming contrast to the sober dignity of the assembly beneath. The event of the morning, of course, was the chairman's address
always the pièce de resistance of the Union meeting. The chairman for the year is Dr Aveling, of Kingsland Chapel, London, who has come to the front rather through the indefatigable discharge of pastoral duty than great denominational services. It would not be fair to expect from every occupant of this position the poetic fervour of Thomas Jones, or the reasoned eloquence of Mr Dale, and Dr Aveling wisely availed himself of the power contained in experience, and spoke under the heading, “Within the Fold,” of pastoral duties. It was a clear expression of the results of forty years' observation, occasionally eloquent, but always practical,—that it should be profound was, perhaps, considered uncalled for by the subject. Congregational ministers, he said,must be intellectual as well as spiritual leaders of the people, though the representatives of modern scepticism, like the warriors that sprang from the dragon's teeth, he believed, would destroy each other. In their special work, every element must be perfected; nothing was trivial that bore upon the efficiency of divine service. The public reading of the Scriptures, therefore, whilst not dramatic, should be made a sermon in itself. The psalmody should be harmonised with the other exercises of worship, and accordingly a minister should never hand over to the choir-leader the selection of hymns. If to the special culture of the musical element in our services, some should object that singing should be hearty rather than artistic, he would answer with Paul, “I will sing with the heart, and with the understanding also.” As to preaching, the chairman did not agree with those who thought that the chief end of a sermon is to get quickly to the end, and spoke strongly against the suburban Christianity which attends one service, and dines, receives visitors, and generally enjoys itself in the later part of the day. This is a very popular kind of Congregationalism, Mr Editor, in English cities, and though to suspect his Northern brethren be far from your
correspondent, as you have, on the average, so much profounder discourses than we, there comes a passing thought that some Scottish Independents also require the remainder of Sunday to digest the “strong meat” of the forenoon. Still it is puzzling that these persons seldom are in such good condition, as we might hope from their extreme carefulness, not to hinder the spiritual absorptive functions by overfeeding. Sunday Schools, continued the Chairman, should be especial objects of attention, on the part of ministers who should preside over the school organisation, and help the teachers, the “sappers and miners” of the churches, by preparation classes. Revivals were analogues of many physical processes, but revivalism he deprecated; professed revivalists were not always the avant couriers of the Spirit of God. As regards ministerial support, voluntaryism was an excellent principle, best illustrated by excellence in practice.
In this address, the Chairman avoided saying anything with which the most dogmatic could quarrel, by the simple device of gener giving no very decided opinion on controverted points, such as the exclusion of all but church members from the Communion. The speech gave the elements of pastoral success which probably were floating in the thoughts of all who had much ministerial experience; it made nobody hold his breath, waiting, like the old lady listening to Dr Chalmers, to crown a magnetic passage with a "Eh, noo, hear that;" Joshua Reynolds could have snapped his fingers, and said it wanted " That," but it was practical and indisputable, and therewith let us, for this year, be content.
A useful discussion followed on a proposed enquiry into the existing provision, especially in country districts, for the spiritual needs of the people, the investigation to include the kind as well as the amount of teaching. Mr Mackennal, of Leicester, opposed the leaning of the Union towards withdrawal from villages in which, reckoning by the number of sittings, we were not needed. “Congregational churches supply, taking the country through and through, almost entirely and alone, anything like an undenominational form of church life. They often heard it said of one man, that ‘He is a good Christian and a good Wesleyan ;' of another, that 'He is a good Christian and a good Baptist;' but he never heard a man spoken of as “a good Christian and a good Congregationalist.' That goes in.”
A proposal to take over from the Christian Witness Trustees the copyright of the Christian Penny Magazine and the Congregationalist, elicited a lively discussion. Rev. Joshua Harrison, Drs Allon, Morton, Brown, and Kennedy opposed the resolution, remembering the difficulty in which Dr Campbell, as editor, placed the Union, and unwilling to share, as Congregationalists, the responsibility of the contents of the magazines. The feeling being nearly equally divided, the matter was adjourned for further discussion.