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There is a model of self-dedication. See him not counting bis life dear to him, in order that he may carry, even into the grave-yard of his countrymen, the unsearchable riches of Christ to the benighted inhabitants of that region. Nor does he recklessly rush upon danger; he has counted the cost. He knows the difficulties and dangers which beset his path, but none of these things move him; his mind is now trained to suffer for Christ, yea, even to die for him, if such be the will of his Master.
This, my fellow students, is an example of self-dedication, well worthy of our study and imitation. Mr Waddell is no inexperienced youth taking a rash and inconsiderate step, which on trial he will be very apt to wish to retrace. He is a tried missionary of fifteen years standing, during which time he has laboured with indefatigable zeal in the mission field.
But let us turn from Mr Waddell to his Master, whose self-dedication to the missionary cause has no parallel. See him leaving bis Father's house to go and seek the lost and ruined family of man. Behold hiin now in yonder crowded city labouring, from morning until night, to instruct those who thirst for his blood, then retiring to some lonely mountain to spend the night in communion with his God. See him going from city to city entreating sinners to forsake their evil ways,-hungry, and without food ; thirsty, and begging a draught of water ; fatigued, and resting by the way side, like an ordinary traveller : and hear him exclaim, “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Follow him to the garden, and behold in that bloody sweat, the weight of his mission; see, him, as his hour draws nigh, stedfastly setting his face to go to Jerusalem, well knowing what awaits him there; cruelly betrayed into the hands of his murderers, hurried away into the presence of an enraged priesthood, dragged to the tribunal of an unjust and merciless judge, thence borne, amidst the clamour of an infuriated rabble, to finish his mission on the cross. Fellow students, here is self-dedication without compare. “ I lay down my life,” says he ; and for whom? The apostle answers the question, “ He gave himself for us. He died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren, our perishing brethren. Let us, then, anew dedicate ourselves to the mission cause. Let us offer ourselves willingly to the Lord; he loveth a cheerful giver. Let us dedicate ourselves unreservedly to him ; he will not treat with us on half terms.
We are an interesting little company. There may be' among us a Moffat, who will by and by wander through the burning sands of central Africa, teaching her sable sons how their hearts may be washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb. Or a Waddell, who will go forth into that dark region of death, with the lamp of life in his hand, to guide poor perishing sinners to the Saviour. There may be a Williams, who will seal his testimony with his blood on some beautiful island in the south ; or a Judson, who will languish in some horrible cell in the East; and there may be some, who will labour in the north until a good old age, and see the work of the Redeemer rapidly spreading in those icy regions.
May there not be some here who, on a future day, will, under India's scorching sun, draw refreshment to their wearied souls from reflecting on our happy meetings in Rose Street session-house ; or feel their hearts warmed amid the snows of America, by looking back to our social meetings in this place ? I hope there are.
The Secession church stands very prominent in the missionary enterprise, and I am sure there is not a heart here that does not rejoice to see her putting forth renewed energy in this blessed cause. She is ready for the work, and during the last few months has been letting us see what she can, and will, do, to hasten on the wished-for era. Without us, however, or such as we are, she cannot carry out her schemes. Her eye, therefore, is toward us. Shall she be disappointed in looking to the Secession students' missionary society for agents ? No, verily.
Shall we whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,
The lamp of life deny ?
Till o'er our ransom'd nature,
The Lamb for sinners slain,
In bliss returns to reign. The heathen themselves are longing for instruction, and while we deliberate, are perishing for lack of knowledge. The islands are waiting for his laws, and Ethiopia is stretching out her hand to God. Kings are saying they will be nursing fathers to those who will go to teach them the grace of God; their princes are ready to give up their idols, and to fall down before him who is worthy. God, in his providence, has, for a series of years, been opening door after door for the entrance of the gospel, and now he says, Go up and possess the land. To whom, then, is the command ? To the church. But we have already seen that she cannot go herself, as one vast phalanx, to repel the enemies of her Lord. On whom, then, does the command fall and rest ? On us. Let us then not put it away from us, each one looking to his neighbour as the person who ought to advance on the enemy's strongholds. I did rejoice to hear the students of our Hall say, at a public meeting in Edinburgh, we are willing and ready. Let those of us who would like to enter into it, also say we are willing, and will make ready; and thus show to the church that, if she only wills it, men shall not be wanting to perform her pleasure. Let us say to her, we will prepare to advance to the high places of the field, and plant the standard of the cross even in the camp of the enemy.
This is an honourable work. Let us vie with one another who will do most in it. It is worth living for, yea, it is worth dying for. Let us, therefore, present our bodies living sacrifices unto God, for with such he is well pleased. It is an arduous work ; but let us go forward to it in the strength of the Almighty. It is a dangerous work; but let us advance in it, relying on the protection of him, who is a very present help in trouble, and who has said, Lo, I am with you. It is
a blessed work; the labourer is blessed in performing it, and he confers blessings on those among whom he labours. It is a work which will have a successful termination, for God hath said it,-—"All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” It is a work which will be amply rewarded, “ They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” “ There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come, life everlasting.” Who then of us is willing to go ? Fellow students, let you and me answer this question to God, remembering this solemn warning :-If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn into death, and those that are ready to be slain ; if thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall he not render unto every man according to his works ?
suitperceiving that to the subinstant
TO THE MINISTERS AND CONGREGATIONS OF THE SECESSION CHURCH.
Having been long impressed with the importance of providing suitable libraries for ministers of our church, I feel no small satisfaction in perceiving that the attention of the religious public is beginning to be awakened to the subject. I have noticed with pleasure at different, though somewhat distant intervals, in the pages of the magazine, suggestions respecting the establishment of such libraries in the various congregations of the Secession Church. But what has especially excited my hopes in connexion with this subject, is, that, at the present moment, as I understand, there is a movement in progress among some warm-hearted friends of the cause, to get this most desirable object carried into practical effect. May the wise and benevolent project, as I certainly deem it, receive the countenance of the great Head of the Church, and be crowned with signal success.
It has occurred to me, in reflecting upon the matter, that it might encourage and help forward this promising movement, so important both to ministers and churches, if those who have had experience of the actual working and benefit of such a plan (and I believe, though my information is not very precise, there are a few such), would come forward and give the results of that experience, and such suggestions as their practical acquaintance with the subject may have supplied. Acting upon this conviction, I take the liberty of giving an account of what has been done in my own congregation, where the plan has been in operation for a considerable number of years, and of adding such remarks as have occurred for extending, and, if possible, rendering universal the benefit. I hope it is unnecessary to say, that, in doing this, I am actuated by no mean wish to press my congregation, or myself, into public notice, for we have nothing to boast of; but solely by a desire that other ministers may reap the same advantage that I have reaped, and that other congregations may derive the same benefit which mine, I dare not say have derived, but might and ought to have derived.
The library, denominated “ the Minister's Library in connexion with the United Associate congregation, Biggar," was established in the year 1814, during the ministry of my esteemed predecessor and relative, Dr Brown. It commenced with thirty-six volumes, and has had added to it, every year since, fewer or more volumes as the funds admitted. At the present time, there are of all sizes, from folios to duodecimos, 299 volumes. These include no productions of a merely ephemeral character, and consist to a considerable extent of books of reference. They comprehend some of the most valuable standard works in theology, ecclesiastical history, and biblical literature and criticism. The following may be mentioned as examples :-Kennicott's Hebrew Bible, Taylor's Hebrew Concordance, Bagster's Polyglot, Poole's Synopsis, Koppé's New Testament, Turretine's Works, Mosheim's Church History, Howe's Works, Edwards' Works, Owen on the Hebrews, Michaelis' Introduction and Laws of Moses, Fuller's Works, Dick's Theology, &c. &c. It is a fundamental rule of the library that the books shall be selected by the minister. It was originally provided that the presbytery should have a veto in the selection, but this being found inconvenient, the rule soon fell into disuse. The books, on being purchased, are simply entered into a catalogue, which lies open for the inspection of the elders and managers. The use of the library is limited to the minister; but he is authorised by the rules to give such books as he thinks proper to students of divinity who are resident within the bounds of the congregation. The funds, by which this library was established and has been kept up, have been derived from two sources, individual subscriptions and congregational collections. It was started by a subscription amounting to L.36, 2s. 3d. It does not appear that any farther subscriptions were received. For its regular support, it was provided that the annual sum of 1.5 be given from the general funds of the congregation, and that, in addition, an annual collection be made on the Monday after the dispensation of the Lord's Supper in summer. The L.5, however, from the general funds of the congregation, did not very long continue to be all drawn. During the whole period of my ministry in Biggar, that is, from August 1823, the collection on the Monday of the summer Sacrament, has been almost the sole source of support. This collection, which has never been pressed, but simply intimated, may have ranged, during that period, from between L.2 to
Such is a brief account of the kind of library which it is desirable should be established in every Secession congregation. I do not, indeed, by any means propose our library as a model ministers' library. Far from it. I bring it forward simply as an illustration of what is intended, and as an evidence at once of the great utility and perfect practicability of such an institution. The scheme is simple, the working of it easy, the cost small, wbile the results are increasingly important. From the reduced price of books, too, it may be added, that the same amount of money would not be necessary now to create a respectable library which was necessary in our case. I can foresee, however, that important as is the object, and plain and easy as is the plan, there are some practical difficulties which, unless met and surmounted, will prevent any such scheme from being generally acted upon. It may be thought, for example, that the ministers whose congregations are ablest, and would be most disposed to support such a plan, are precisely the ministers who do not need a library provided. On the other hand, it is certain that the congregations whose ministers stand in especial need of such aid (and there are some whom I know, who have not even the form of a library), are just the congregations which are least able, and perhaps least inclined, to do any thing for such a purpose. Now, what in regard to these cases is to be done? It is evident that, if left to themselves, both these classes of congregations,-and they comprehend a large proportion of the wbole,—will do nothing; the first, because they do not feel it necessary; the second, because they do not think they are able. And this, I apprehend, constitutes the true explanation of what I have been accustomed to consider a strange fact, that there are only two or three congregations in the whole Secession in connexion with which there are ministers' libraries, and tbat these hitherto have had no imitators.
To meet these cases, I think two things are requisite and sufficient. First, the institution of a board ; and, secondly, in connexion with this, the creation of a fund. A board is necessary for the purpose of communicating with ministers and congregations on the subject, not merely by printed addresses, but by direct epistolary correspondence, and, where it is requisite, by personal visitation. The object of such communications should of course, be two-fold ;-—first, to enlighten the minds both of ministers and people regarding the nature and great importance of such a scheme ; and, secondly, to explain and press upon their attention the way in which it may and ought to be supported. I am persuaded that if such a board were wisely and zealously to perform its duties, it would not only make the wealthiesti of our congregations to see that they were but consulting their own best interests, and not merely saving, as they might suspect, their ministers' money, by providing a library of the rarer and more expensive books connected with the literature and exposition of the scriptures, which ministers were not likely to purchase for themselves; but make even the very poorest to perceive and feel, that they could with almost no appreciable pecuniary sacrifice, do all that was necessary for the establishment and support of such a library, and that it was for themselves ill-judged parsimony to withhold the small sacrifice. I have great faith in the understandings and hearts of our christian people, that they will perceive and feel what is duty; but then it must be distinctly and clearly set before them, and directly and warmly pressed upon them. They must be brought into immediate contact with it, and hence the necessity of a board having this, at least, for one of its objects.
But the plan will be but partially successful, if, along with the appointment of a board, there be not also the formation of a fund. Indeed, but for this, it will most likely fail in regard to those very congregations in which it is most desirable it should succeed, namely, the