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gregationalists have no written creed. Let there be no unwritten one in our minds foreign to those lovely precepts which were given to man on the hillsides of Galilee, which confessions and catechisms only spoil, and which shall endure in all their simple grandeur, and influence the world when the strifes of Churches have been forgotten, and the records of their little controversies buried in the receptacles of antiquarian lore. (Loud applause).
The Dangers and Safeguards of Congregationalism. The Rev. Dr Pulsford, of Glasgow, said he had been asked to make a few remarks on Congregational Liberty-its Dangers and Safeguards. At the outset he explained what Congregationalism was, and remarked that a Church constituted and formed as it was must be exposed to many dangers. The dangers on which he proposed to speak that evening were four, and all of them arose out of what he might term excessive individualism. Where that individualism became excessive there dangers arose, and if they had nothing to counteract such dangers they became very prejudicial. An excessive individuality, in the first place, was liable to endanger the sociality of the Church, leading to isolation, and isolation to wanting in catholicity. To prevent this, the only thing he knew was to remember the source from which they derived their own individuality as Christian men-by the Spirit of God ---and then they should find that their brethren and their sisters derived their individuality from the same source. Another of the dangers arising from excessive individualism was, that it was apt to beget an opinionativeness among them which might very easily, by one well satisfied with himself, be mistaken for truth, whereas it might be only the perversion of truth. Their safeguard for this was to recollect the fact that they were not left alone in their pursuit of truth. The Lord had said, “I am with you always. The spirit of truth shall be with you, and lead you unto truth.” And with that promise, and realising it, and in it alone, they had a safeguard, and they might say boldly, that faithfulness would lead to faith, and truthfulness would always lead to truth. But, again, excessive individualism might not merely beget an opinionativeness, but it might also undermine-and it was often said to do so -ecclesiastical authority. If the authority of Church Courts and civil tribunals gave authority and effect to the work a Church had to do, then they must confess that they were weak. But was that the strength they required ? Was it not perfectly ridiculous what transpired oftentimes. Take for example what was being decided in a civil Court—whether Satan existed or punishments were eternal. (Laughter). And when a decision had been given the Church would have to take the subject up and dispose of it. They might not have that strength, but yet they remembered that they might have the strength which was indicated by Jesus Christ when on earth. The learned Doctor considered that their existence as a Church was sufficient demonstration of the political influence which Congregationalism exerted in the land. If history were permitted to speak it justified the truth that Congregationalism had not been without a mighty influence in their own history. He appealed to the right hon. gentleman present whether it had not been the very backbone of the Liberal party--the party for advance, the party who received enlightenment, and carried it forward further than it had ever been before, and who had administered equal justice to all. (Applause). Congregationalism had its dangers, but it carried within its own self its safeguards. What, he asked, should be their policy, and what their sphere, and what their work? Their policy was to look and count upon and emphasise and deepen their in. dividuality, their individual piety, their individual intelligence, their individual freedom. Then as to their sphere. Their special sphere, it appeared to him, was marked out by the very individualism which characterised them. Was it the remotest parts of the country where men acted in fear of one another? was it among the sparse population? Their Bible did not tell them that that was the early Christian policy. “Begin at Jerusalem” was the command, and the very word heathenism meant that it was left to the last. The men of the heath-they might say the men of the heather-but their sphere of work was the centres of population, where men were gathered together, where men by the friction of their humanity were intelligent, where men were free, where they, if they were the right men, would call forth, on the principle of selection, those who would do the work of Congregationalism as Congregationalism ought to be done. (Applause). And what was their work? The very fact of their individualism said that they were pioneers—the very fact of their freedom, that they were able to move easily and change fronts, and to accommodate themselves, and to fire in any direction in any attitude ; that was their work. They were not cumbered, they were not tied; they were free. Let them do the work of freemen. If they were wise, let them listen to the spirit of the age as well as the Spirit of God, and let them be wise to accommodate and to mediate the spiritual power to the crying wants of the day in which they lived. If they did their work as pioneers others would follow, and they will not be the last to acknowledge the work which they had done, if they did the work that they were specially called upon to do. (Applause). They had been too prone to be reflective and to look back to history and to talk of their fathers. They were noble men. The longer he lived the more profoundly he respected them as he respected his own, who was also much of the same type of man; but he would simply say with the heathen woman, who, calling her boys to her knees, said—“Tell me not that I am the daughter of Scipio ; do something that I may be styled the mother of Cornelius.” So he would say to them, if they would honour their fathers, who did so much and did so nobly, let them not be ever reviewing their work and proudly resting upon their labours, but arise and do something by which . they should turn their names, that henceforth they might be known as noble fathers of still more noble sons. (Loud applause).
The Rev. Mr Tait next addressed the meeting. He referred to the mission and evangelistic work that had been carried on by Ward Chapel in Dr Russell's time, and he thought their present policy ought to be to bring more of their energy to bear upon the large towns, and in that way to extend Congregational principles.
The music formed an interesting part of the proceedings. Two anthems"Rejoice in the Lord,” by Dr Elvey, and “ The Lord is my Shepherd,” by G. A. Macfarren-were tastefully sung by the choir of the church. The lady who leads the choir sang “Angels ever bright and fair,” and a young gentleman sang Gounod's “ Nazareth.” The singing was altogether of a very high order. Mr W. N. Watson, organist of the church, accompanied, and during the evening played with acceptance several organ solos.
GREENOCK-East Congregational Church.—The Annual Social Meeting of this Church was held on the evening of Tuesday, 25th January. The Chapel was as usual crowded by the members and their friends.
The Rev. George Moir, the zealous pastor, presided, and after tea, gave an address, in which he referred to their progress as a church during the year, while they had lost a good many members by death, removal on account of dull trade, and other causes, they had a clear increase of thirty-one members. It had also been a year of success financially, although at the end of last year they had intimated to the Committee of the Union that they would not any longer avail themselves of the aid hitherto generously given ; they had not only been able to meet all charges, but had now a goodly balance on the right side. Their chapel was now getting too strait for them, it being crowded every Sabbath, so that very shortly they would require to take steps to build a larger and more comfortable sanctuary ; he (Mr Moir) had no doubt but that their friends at George Square, their mother church, as well as their friends throughout the country, would help them in this as they had done formerly. Appropriate addresses were given by the Rev. J. M. Jarvie, J. Bottom, Wesleyan; D. Jackson, Hamilton; J. Douglas, Glasgow; J. Blacklock, Arran; and U. Walton, Esq. During the evening, several hymns were sung by the audience, led by the choir of the Church, under the conductor
ship of Mr MʻLion, and accompanied on a fine harmonium by J. M. Hutcheson, Esq., honorary organist of George Square Church. After the usual votes of thanks proposed by Mr Moir and B. P. Chick, the proceedings, which were throughout of the most enthusiastic character, were brought to a close by the benediction.
GREENOCK-MISSION SCHOOL SOIREE.—The annual soiree of the Mission School in connection with George Square Congregational Church was held on Thursday night in the Old Seamen's Chapel, which was crowded by the scholars and their teachers. The Rev. J. M. Jarvie presided, by whom, as well as by the Rev. Mr Bell, Messrs Kerr, Walton, White, and Moles, short and pointed addresses were given, to which the children listened with great attention. Mr Jarvie distributed a number of prizes, two of them to two girls, sisters, who had not been absent a single Sabbath during the year, and to two boys who had only been one Sabbath absent, and for that there were good reasons. In the course of the evening there were services of cake and fruit
, and in addition to a number of favourite hymns sung by the children, a nice little fairy play, composed by a friend, was recited and sung by a young lady, three girls, and a boy. A quartette and trio were rendered by several of the teachers and visitors, and Mr J. K. Rae gave one of his Scotch stories in his own inimitable manner. The proceedings, which were of the most pleasant and enjoyable character throughout, terminated with the benediction. A marked feature noticed by several of the friends present was the great improvement manifest in the appearance of the children, showing that the earnest labours of Mr R. Hamilton and his staff of thirty teachers have not been in vain.
PERTH.—The Annual Social Meeting of Mill Street Congregational Church was held on 2d Feb., when there was a large attendance. The Rev. W. D. Knowles, pastor, occupied the chair, and in his opening remarks, referred to the generally satisfactory state of the Church and its various departments of activity. Able and instructive addresses were delivered by Mr John Cree, Mr Charles Crichton, and the Rev. Peter Grant, late of Darlington, and the Rev. E. A. Wareham entertained the children by an exhibition of Indian fruits. Towards the close, an agreeable part was enacted, which was not on the regular programme, by the presentation to Mr and Mrs Knowles, in the name of the young people of the congregation, of a handsome and costly silver tea service. Mr David Keay, in presenting it, gave expression to the warm affection which was entertained for the pastor by the young members of the Church and congregation, and stated that the funds for the testimonial had been most heartily contributed by the congregation generally. Mr Knowles made a feeling reply, and, remarking that he had been entirely taken by surprise, assured them that the affection expressed towards him was as warmly recipocrate and that the valuable token of it just presented would be prized by himself and his esteemed wife with the greatest possible pride and satisfaction. A selection of excellent music by the choir and organ completed the enjoyment of the evening's proceedings. On Friday, 4th Feb., the annual treat was given to the children of the District School, of which 120 children partook. Addresses were delivered by Rev. Mr Knowles, Mr John Grant, and Mr Murray, and a magic lantern entertainment, accompanied with an instructive illustrative lecture, was kindly provided by interested friends.
ABERDEEN-FREDERICK STREET.— The Annual Social Meeting of this Church was held in the Chapel on Tuesday, 8th February, the pastor, Rev. John Hunter, presiding. Beside him on the platform were the Revs. John Duncan, Andrew Dickie, and James Hunter ; Bailie James Ross, Mr G. C. Fraser, Advocate, and Mr Arthur Knox. After praise and prayer, the tea was served. The pastor began by giving a short account of the various departments of church work ; also the losses and gains during the past year. Mr Fraser then addressed the young present, most tenderly, on the importance of following Christ, and working for Him while on earth, that they might rest and rejoice with Him in mansions of heavenly glory. Mr Duncan spoke with great power “On the influence which the Gospel produced.” Bailie Ross spoke very effectively upon the mutual relations and responsibilities of the pulpit and the pew. Mr Dickie showed how Christianity was fitted to dispel superstition from the mind, and raise the heart and the affections to things high and holy, lovely and enduring. Mr Alexander and the choir sang with fine taste an appropriate selection of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in several of which the audience joined. After a service of fruit, and the usual compliments, the meeting was concluded by devotional exercises and the benediction. We are happy to state that this was one of the most numerous and interesting meetings we, as a church, ever had. To the Great Head of the church be all the praise.
FORFAR.-The Annual Social Meeting in connection with the Church here was held in the Town Hall on the evening of the 20th January. There was a large attendance of members and adherents, the hall being quite full. The chair was occupied by the pastor, the Rev. D. S. M‘Corkindale. There were also present, the Rev. John Miller, Blairgowrie, and the Rev. John Masson, Dundee. Mr Miller, who was the first speaker, gave an able and interesting address on Progress. Mr Masson, with his wonted earnestness and vigour, spoke on “ Consider. one another, to provoke unto love and good works." Mr John Laird, one of the members of the church, addressed the meeting, and urged the members, individually and collectively, to enter heartily into the bazaar scheme for the manse. The choir during the evening gave several pieces of music, which added greatly to the enjoyment and interest of the meeting. From the numbers present, and the spirit manifested, it is evident that the church is in a lively and healthy condition.
The Children's Soiree in connection with the Sabbath School, was held in the church on Thursday evening, the 13th January. There was a large attendance. Among those who gave addresses were--Councillor Rutherford, Mr John Edward, Mr Dunn, the superintendent, and the Pastor. Towards the close of the meeting, one of the scholars, in the name of the children, presented Mr Dunn, the superintendent of the school, with five handsome volumes of useful books, as a mark of their appreciation of his interest and zeal in promoting the good of the school.
GLASGOW--Great Hamilton Street.--A Social Meeting of members and friends of the Great Hamilton Street Congregational Church was held in the church on Wednesday evening, February 2nd, Mr James C. Brown in the chair. On the platform were Messrs Smith, Finlay, Jeffrey, Buchanan, Jones, Hutchison, and M‘Laughlan. After tea, Mr M‘Munn, the retiring pastor, was presented with a purse and twenty sovereigns. He then delivered an interesting address, which was followed by short and appropriate remarks by several speakers.
ELGIN-SCOTTISH REFORMATION CLASS.—The class taught by the Rev. Mr Anderson of the Congregational Church having closed its winter session, those desirous of competing for prizes were required lately to write examination papers under the eye of their instructor, and without any assistance. Out of thirty-five only nine competed. The papers were submitted for adjudication to the Rev. D. Stewart of the Parish Church, and Gavin Hamilton, Esq., Woodville, their decisions, and the consequent order of merit, being as follows :- 1. Jane Ann Forsyth, 255; 2: Christina Macpherson, 2os; 3. Benjamin Murray, 159; 4. and 5. Mary Murray and William Asher, equal, 8s each ; 6. Catherine Boyne, 55. Their awards were declared on Wednesday evening after the prayer meeting. The Scottish Reformation Society, it will thus be seen, is very zealous in the inculcation of sound Scriptural and Protestant principles, as well as liberal in giving encouragement to the studious. In this case, as in all others in connection with the Society, the class is open to all denominations.
LEITH.—The Annual Social Meeting of the Church here was held in St Andrew's Hall on the evening of 8th February—the Rev. A. Allen, pastor, presiding. On the platform were-Rev. James Stark, and James S. Mack, S.S.C., of Dalry Church, and the Rev. George Wight of Queensland. Addresses were delivered by the above gentlemen, Thomas Sturrock, Esq., and others. Very considerable progress has been made by the church during the past year. During the course of the evening a handsome silver tea serv ce was prese to Mrs Allen.
STIRLING.—In an interesting discourse delivered by Mr Nairn, on the occasion of the death of Sir George Harvey, it was stated that the distinguished artist and noble man was a child of the church here. He was the first child in the church for whom the ordinance of baptism was desired.
EDINBURGH-Dalry.-The Annual Social Meeting of this church was held on the evening of the 16th February. Reports as to membership, finance, Sabbath School, and other work, were read by Messrs Ogilvy, Mack, and Martin, showing that this church is being strengthened and consolidated.
EDINBURGH-Augustine.-A Social Meeting of the Members of this Church was held in the Literary Institute on the 24th February, when a handsome testimonial was presented to Dr W. Lindsay Alexander, in commemoration of the fortieth year of his ministry. [We are just going to press, and at this late date must reserve particulars for our next issue.]
THE CONGREGATIONAL UNION AND MR RUSSELL.—The Committee appointed to consider the question of the Secretariat beg leave to report that they have had several Meetings with their esteemed brother, Mr Russell ; but, from the reasons he has assigned, they regret to say that they cannot recommend that he should be urged to continue his services. Your Committee beg to submit a resolution on this subject for your acceptance :-"The Committee cannot receive the resignation by their esteemed brother, the Rev. David Russell, of the office of Secretary, without expressing their great regret that he should find it impossible to retain it longer consistently with a due regard to his health, and to his increasing pastoral engagements.
They unanimously record their high appreciation of the admirable manner in which he has discharged the duties of the office for the last fifteen years. By his eminent business talents, his uniform courtesy, method, and punctuality, his large experience, his wise counsel, his intimate knowledge of the history and position of the churches, and his cordial sympathy with all that affects their interests, and by the unwearied devotedness with which, at much personal sacrifice, he has laboured to maintain and promote these interests, he has conferred signal benefit upon the Union, and laid its members under deep and lasting obligation.
They further express their gratification that Mr Russell's resignation of the Secretariat does not involve his retirement from the Committee ;
and they earnestly hope that the benefit of his experience and counsel may for many years be retained on the administration of the Union's affairs.
“They affectionately commend their brother to the continued blessing of Almighty God, and pray that he may be long spared for increasing service and honour in the vineyard of the Lord.”
CONFERENCE ON TEMPERANCE.—A conference of Congregationalists resident in Glasgow and neighbourhood, was held in Buchanan's Temperance Hotel, Carlton Place, Glasgow, on Tuesday evening, 15th inst. It was convened by the Committee of the Congregational Ministers and Members Total Abstinence Society, to consider how best to increase the influence of that society in the denomination, and procure for it a more prominent position at the annual meetings of the Congregational Union. The Rev. David Russell occupied the chair. After tea, provided free of charge by John Livingston, Esq., the secretary of the society, Rev. James Maclean, gave a brief history of the society, and of the work it had done during the nine years