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The numbers, the splendour, and, in ships, valué L.317, 10$. :-in all, forty some instances, the magnificence of its scholarships, total value, L.542, 10s. It Dew ecclesiastical edifices, must strike is stated also, that the Theological Colevery one's attention. The number of lege at Toronto, Upper Canada, over secessions to the Church of Rome, on which Dr Burns, late of Paisley, presides, the part of clergymen and highly edu- is this year considerably better attended cated and influential members of the than last; and that Dr Willis of GlasChurch of England, also is rapidly in- gow has gone out “to join Dr Burns, creasing. It is said, that for the last and assist him in the midst of his many three months, not a week has elapsed labours.” The Presbytery of Toronto without one or more clergymen going have lately licensed three preachers of over. Many of those who have gone are the gospel. in constant and intimate communion with members of the University of Oxford, and seem to enjoy their confidence to the fullest extent. Great numbers, who The message of President Polk at the still remain in the Church of England, late opening of Congress, in so far as it are such extreme Puseyites, as to differ related to Britain and the Oregon quesalmost nothing from papists, except that tion, was in a decidedly hostile tone, and they have not the honesty to abandon contained a variety of blustering expresthe emoluments of the establishment. It sions calculated to excite the apprehenis alleged to be not uncommon for Uni- sions of the friends of peace in both versity-men at Oxford to have altars, countries. We are glad to understand crucifixes, &c. in their rooms, and prac- that Congress itself seems rather pacifitise in secret the rites of the Romish cally inclined. One, not the least, of the church. In Ireland, popery, in addition manifold advantages of free trade in to keeping its ground and munificently corn, would be to bind these nations so maintaining, at its own cost, its hierarchy closely together that a war between the and priesthood, has, during the past year, two would be next to an impossibility; raised about L.7000 for foreign missions, and while they continued cordial friends, Scotland has, during the year, received they would be able to keep the peace of upwards of L.5400, which, though it the world. came from Rome, out of a general fund for the propagation of the faith, amounting to upwards of L.138,000, may be regarded as really furnished by Ireland, This celebrated case, we understand, seeing her contributions amounted to a has now been finally wound up. The larger sum. These are facts to which expenses have been taxed, and amount no friend of scriptural christianity can to L.200, against each member who rebe indifferent. We abhor the political fused to consent to the induction of Mr no-popery cry, and deprecate all oppo- Young, and that sum is charged indivisition even to the religious systein of dually and personally on every one of papists, except such as, in meekness, and them. Such is the penalty under which lore, and faithfulness to the truth, ad- the ministers of an establishment follow dresses itself to the understanding, the out their conscientious convictions, when conscience, and the heart; but surely these happen to be at variance with the the call is loud for us to exert ourselves civil laws of the realm relating to the in this excellent way;—nay, is it not State-Church. We hope our friends of incumbent on us, in such times, to guard the Free Church see every day more and by all legitimate means against the ag- more reason to rejoice in their disengressions of a system so insidious, so thralment. zealously plied, and so strongly reinforced ?



The autumnal meeting of the Union It is stated in the Free Church Maga- was held at Manchester, on Tuesday zine, that at the opening of last session of the 14th of October last, and two suctheir college, 100 candidates for bursaries ceeding days. About 500 ministers and presented themselves for competition. delegates were present. From the conTo theological students, fifteen scholar- stitution of the Union and its mode of ships were adjudged, value L.225; to procedure, there is very little that admits literary students, twenty-five scholar- of report, the time being chiefly occupied


in hearing papers read by distinguished be taken in selecting individuals of known individuals of the body, on topics inter-religious character for the several deesting to the denomination or to the partments, character being the best sereligious community at large, and these curity that their influence will be sound sometimes followed by a resolution, and wholesome. Beyond this, the matsometimes not. We have no doubt, ter rests with christian parents." He however, that the meetings are produc-considered Lancashire as favourable for tive of great and beneficial effects. The making a commencement of these instifirst sederunt on this occasion was de- tutions, wholly unconnected with governvoted to a paper, by the venerable Mrment, and felt confident that the success James of Birmingham, “On the State of would be triumphant. On Wednesday our Denomination." Reporters were a conversation took place on forming a excluded, and all we can learn respect- society for enabling aged and disabled ing it is, that it was thought by many to ministers to reduce the premiums for the take too gloomy and desponding a view insurance of their lives. The Rev. J. of the subject. The result was, that the Sherman read a paper, said to be intebrethren resolved to " set apart the first resting, “Ou Benefit Societies for the week in December as a season of special Help of Poor Church Members ;" and prayer for the outpouring of the Holy the Rev. J. Ely of Leeds produced an Spirit, and to recommend all churches essay “ On the Present Economical Arconnected with the Union to do the rangements of the Union, and of our same.” At the evening meeting, a great Religious Societies, which propaper was read by Mr Ainslie “ On poses, it seems, some extensive and imPopular Education.” It exhibited a portant reforms. In the evening the yery melancholy picture of the condition Rev. Dr Mathieson read a paper “On of England, especially Essex (to which British Missions,” which was followed it chiefly referred), in point of the most by speeches on Irish and Colonial Mis. elementary instruction, and stated that sions, and an attempt, which did not at twenty-one meetings held in that succeed, to raise, at the moment, L.1000. county, about L.8000 had been raised On Thursday, Dr Redford read a paper for schools, to be there erected. It for- on “Congregational Literature," of which cibly pointed out the danger of all chil- he took a rather unfavourable view. dren educated at the National Schools This was followed by a resolution, that becoming Puseyites — adverted to the a Monthly Penny Magazine should be probability that the Baptists and the started by Dr Campbell of London, Congregationalists alone would refuse under the sanction of the Union. Mr government aid, and urged the other Wells then read a paper “ On Extend. thirty-nine counties of England to imi- ing the Number of our Churches in tate the example of Essex. The Rev. Mr Rural Districts.” A sustentation fund Kelly next read a paper, “ On Colleges was spoken of, but disapproved, as fafor General Literary and Scientific Pur-vouring the centralization of Presbyposes." For these he earnestly pleaded, terianism and Methodism. In the evenbut wished they should not be, as ing Mr Wells read another paper “On the colleges of America generally are, the Nature and importance of the Con. denominational. On the contrary, he gregational Union.” There was no other conceived great good might accrue from business of importance, and the meeting members of different religious bodies broke up, apparently delighted with the joining in their studies. In reference to transactions in which they had been enreligious instruction, which he held to gaged, and the harmony they had enbe paramount, “ care," he said, “must joyed.




FOR MARCH, 1846.



DEAR BRETHREN,-A Committee of Synod has been appointed on the subject of the Eldership. I trust that it will do great good and fulfil the ends of its appointment with much fidelity and success. * But I have most hope from yourselves—from your general character and usefulness, and from the special interest you have displayed in elevating the standard of your own efficiency. Whatever may be done by others, your efforts in the cause are indispensable to its prosperity, and without your cordial acquiescence and vigorous co-operation, the ministers of religion and the courts of the church would strive in vain to promote Sessional reforın.

It is under these convictions I now take the liberty of addressing you. I might have discussed the points which I am to speak upon in a different manner-in a general and anonymous dissertation ; but I have felt as if such a mode of communication would do injustice to my feelings, if not to my subject, as if it would be chill, reserved, and unimpressive, and display little of that friendship which I hope will ever subsist between the different sections of our ecclesiastical office-bearers. I prefer the frankest as being the kindest language in which to accost you; and such being my motive, I trust you will bear with the seeming presumption-if seeming presumption there be in this direct and personal appeal.

* The following motion was carried :—That the Synod regard with the deepest interest the subject brought before them in the overture : agree that the overture be printed along with the Synod's minutes ; that it be also printed and sent down to sessions in a separate form : appoint also a committee more fully to consider the subject to which the overture refers, and direct presbyteries and sessions to transmit to said committee what suggestions they may propose on the subject two months before the next meeting of Synod ; and that, after the full consideration of the subject, with these suggestions before them, the committee shall prepare a report to be submitted to the Synod at its next meeting. For the purpose specified, the following committee was appointed :-Rev. Dr King, Dr Heugh, Dr Beattie, Dr Robson, H. M. Macgill, Messrs D. Anderson, A. Black, A. Donald, J. Williamson, George Paterson-Dr King, Convener.-Minutes for July 1845.-ED.


But why address elders distinctively ? Have not ministers need of amendment, and in this case as in others, should not charity begin at home? There is doubtless a loud call for ministerial improvement ; the most faithful pastors are most sensible of their shortcomings, and most earnestly desirous to profit by the admonition,—" Take heed to thyself and to thy doctrine, for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” Ministers should begin; but the loss is that they have both begun and ended with themselves. They have addressed each other in every size and form of treatise, while the elders, except at the time of their ordination, have been nearly overlooked. This procedure is subversive of its end, for the ministry cannot be more effectually stimulated than through the eldership; and I would earnestly further the design of this epistle, were it only for the reactive influence on pastoral assiduity.

But what would we have the elders to do or be? What estimate is formed of their position, when so much is said about their obligations and opportunities? Be assured that it is in no disrespect of your services, we desire you to be still more serviceable. We may have a weakness on that point, but if so, it is that we are prone to be proud of you, and to err on the side of confident boasting. If we were challenged to a comparison with other churches, and permitted to choose between elements of rivalry, we would refer to our elders.

At one period the elders of the Establishment seem to have been in an active state, for each had his district, and was expected to visit all the parishioners it comprised once a month. There are still elders and sessions in the National Church who would do honour to any religious communion. But they will bear me witness that they have little fellowship in executing their trust, and that, generally speaking, the eldership of their congregations is in the most deplorable condition. Many ministers have dispensed with elders altogether, and borrowed them from some neighbouring parish, so often as their services were required in celebrating the Lord's Supper.

The Free church is otherwise situated : its eldership exemplifies the general vigour of its constitution. But even where its elders are most zealous and devoted, they want, in many instances, the benefit of experience. The Secession church, from the date of its origination, has enjoyed, to a large extent, all the advantages to be derived from sessional superintendence; otherwise it would never have surmounted the difficulties with which it had to struggle, and increased its worshipping assemblies from four to four hundred in the course of a century. Your long and proved standing is of great consequence to the denomination favoured with your labours ; but the privilege, as generally happens, has accompanying temptations. Practice, when continued, is apt to be made its own rule, to acquire a supposed necessity of being such as it is, and even to become invested with a use and wont sacredness. Things have been going on very well: why alter them? Such and such · venerable men walked in this path : why deviate now into strange courses ? Prior conduct thus becomes our standard, and though we might be ashamed to fall short of it, we are quite pleased with its elevation, and pleased with ourselves if we attain to its altitude. They whose attention has been more recently called to the subject, have less to withdraw their view from scripture, are less prone to measure themselves by themselves, and to substitute human example for divine injunction; consequently, they who seemed to be in advance may soon be outdone by fresh, though inexperienced, zeal. Look to the exertions of the Free church! Having in a great measure to frame a constitution, it. has at once adopted a scriptural order in important particulars, where restrained by our usages, we are, with few exceptions, only speaking of it as desirable. All the Free churches, I believe, bave deacons, so that the elders are not distracted by a double trust, but give their undivided energies to their proper duties. Very many of them take advantage of their facilities, and by their exemplary works and labours of love are magnifying their office.

Not a few explain the efficiency of that church, by the ascendant influence of a few able guides. Every society must have founders; and in this case as in others, a few have honourably distinguished themselves by their superior services—the spirit is not to be envied that would detract from their merited reputation. But a little acquaintance with facts will convince inquirers, that, in the communion remarked upon, there is a wide diffusion of usefulness, that very many ministers promote vigorously the general interests, each in his own way and province; and that, apart from ministerial effort altogether, the Free church never would have become what it is, never would have approached its present status in the christian world, but for the mine of precious influence found in its eldership. Elders distribute its publications, contribute and collect its funds, and give reality and power even to pastoral suggestions. If we have some precedency, then, in time, let us beware of turning the past into a present impediment, of merely holding up our framework, when others are lengthening their cords, as well as strengthening their stakes.

These are not the times for routine discipleship, for stationary achievement in any part of the church. Ministers, to get any credit for faithfulness, and keep their place with competitors in their Master's vineyard, must make full proof of their sincerity. Once it might have secured them an audience, and perhaps high commendation, that they simply preached the gospel, and went a round of visitation. Now, classes, societies, and diversified institutions, must share their strenuous endeavours, and show, by their rise and progress, the earnest consideration of the mind that plans, and the unresting application of the liand that impels them. Congregations also have new demands made on their fidelity. Numbers, and wealth, and outward propriety, will no longer make them respectable. In the absence of corresponding enterprise and beneficence, the neglected means of well-doing only expose them to reproach. Look, it is said, to this or that church, calling itself old and established, and comprising in some degree the wealth of its localityit does nothing, its position in missionary exploit is low and shameful, Or, look to the crowds that follow such and such a noted preacher ; they fill their house to overflowing, but what comes of it all? The vegetation is rank, but the produce insignificant. On the other hand, a society may be small and poor, and in all respects externally feeble ; but if it do what it can, if it set on foot its educational, benevolent, and evangelizing agencies, it commands universal esteem, and, on account

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