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erected without delay, is what all must sincerely wish who have a real interest in the Christ-like work of bringing the outcast and careless under the infuence of the gospel, and in the enlargement of our Church's boundaries. And we would take this opportunity of expressing the hope that a generous response will be made throughout the Church, as well as elsewhere, to the appeals now being made for much-needed assistance in this important work. Some may have the feeling that such appeals are coming too thick and fast, but we trust the whole circumstances of the different cases will be candidly and generously considered, and that none who are able to give will withhold their aid on this account. It is something quite new in the recent history of our Church to be called upon to assist in erecting territorial or extension churches, and we hope that instead of any refusing their help, all will rejoice that it is required and do their utmost to render it. " It is more blessed to give than to receive.” “Bear ye one another's burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

In this connection we would call attention to the resolution of Synod to institute a Church Building Fund, and to the Synod's earnest recommendation to congregations to contribute to it annually in such way as they think best. We do trust this matter will not be overlooked. Were such a fund to be liberally contributed to for a few years by all our congregations, what an advantage it would be, and what a relief to those directly interested, to have the means thus at hand, when our next Territorial Churches require to be erected, say in Edinburgh and Dundee. As this scheme was suggested and pressed by a much-respected elder and warmly supported by others, and as the committee appointed to attend to the matter is composed almost wholly of laymen, we have no doubt that something effective will in due time be done.

We rejoice that the Union negotiations with our Reformed Presbyterian brethren are to be continued during the coming year, and that the Rev. Mr. Easton, of Stranraer, and others associated with him, are to take part in these. We hope this important addition to the negotiating committees will act as a stimulus in the renewed prosecution of their work, and that the result will ere long be such a union as shall form “

a threefold cord” that will not be "quickly broken." In these days of rapid and far-reaching defection in every quarter, nothing surely is more to be desired than a hearty rallying of all the true friends of the Reformation around one banner displayed for Second Reformation principles and attainments; and that such a rallying may speedily be brought about, to be followed by combined vigorous efforts for the furtherance of the common cause, is what all should fervently pray for and do their utmost to secure. But if the


time for this be not yet come, let there be no strife among such friends, but let them cordially bid one another God-speed in their Forks of faith and labours of love.

Pray that Jerusalem may have

Peace and felicity :
Let them that love thee and thy peace

Have still prosperity.
Now, for my friends' and brethrens' sakes,

Peace be in thee, I'll say,
And, for the house of God our Lord,

I'll seek thy good alway.”


MODERATOR'S OPENING ADDRESS. FATHERS AND BRETHREN, --The honourable position in which you have placed me this evening reminds me how many familiar names have been dropped from the roll, and how many new ones added within a very few I feel a real solemnity about this meeting of Synod when I consider that three of our ministers have been removed by death since we last assembled in this place ; that only nine or ten of those now in the ministry were on the roll when I formerly occupied the Moderator's chair; and that more than that number have been called to their rest and reward. But how cheering to know when we are passing away that the Chief Shepherd's power, love, and care are unchangeable, and that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. What gratitude we owe to Him for raising up others in such a remarkable manner, both in the ministry and eldership, to occupy the places of those who have been removed. Yet, since our ranks have been so often thinned, we are called to be more diligent, fervent, and faithful, always abounding in the work of the Lord.

We have met together this year at an eventful period in the history of the Church and the world. The Eastern Question has been left to the arbitrament of the sword ; and who can tell what the issue may be? A crisis, too, seems approaching to the Churches in these and other lands, when infidelity and rationalism are coming in like a flood, and when profane hands are put forth to raze the foundations of our most holy faith. But as the waters roar in vain, and dash themselves and spend their force against the rocks, so shall it be with those attacks on the word and truth of the living God; for the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea than the mighty waves of the sea.”

One of my predecessors in the chair not long ago delivered an address on the principles of the Original Secession Church, and if



anything were awanting to shew the importance of the position we occupy as a witnessing Church, it is supplied by the questions which are now arising throughout the land, and rapidly coming to the front. We must not conceal from ourselves that we have much to discourage us at the present day in maintaining our position. Our numbers are comparatively few; our principles are not popular; and the tide of public opinion is setting in strongly against us. The duty of nations and their rulers to the Church of Christ, and their divinely constituted relation to one another, are either overlooked or denied. Many are opposed to all Creeds and Confessions of Faith except of the most general and indefinite kind. The obligation of our National Covenants is either ignored or ridiculed, and all testimony-bearing is set aside. We must also lay our account with still greater difficulty and opposition in the future. We live in what is called an enlightened and progressive age, when men are making rapid advances in the arts, and science, and literature. We have ever been the friends of all sound learning, knowing wbat an important instrument it has been in the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. But many in our day boast of an enlightenment which is opposed to the very first principles of all true science and of all true religion. Some of our modern savans profess to give us a new theory of creation which is but a revival of the old atomic doctrine in another form. By their great light they have discovered that the atoms of the Stoics are germs or protoplasms from which all things are developed, according to some undefined process of natural selection. They propose to give us a new Bible-based on a Hebrew mythology, and full of fables—in which man speaks, and not the Spirit of God. They demand a new Confession of Faith, with new doctrines and a new form of divine worship, adapted to their refined tastes and theories.

The charge is often brought against us by those who do not understand our principles, that we are bigoted and narrow-minded; but these and others are so bigoted that they will hear neither what Scripture nor right reason has to say, and they are so illiberal that they cannot tolerate any minority, nor any principle contrary to their own tastes and prejudices.

Such are a few of the difficulties and obstacles which lie in our path in maintaining our distinctive position and principles as a witnessing Church. Never, then, was there a time when it was more necessary to maintain a public testimony for the truth. When the lamp of truth is flickering in the socket in so many of the golden candlesticks, where it ought to shine steadily, it is all the more needful that it should be held forth and rekindled by us, and that it should display a clear and brilliant light. Never was there a time

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when it was more necessary to adhere to the Westminster Standards, for we live in a day when to a great extent it may be said that truth is fallen in our streets, and equity cannot enter, and when he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. Many are tossed too and fro and driven about with every wind of doctrine, and some are seeking union but cannot find a basis.

But have we any reason to suppose that the Secession cause can be maintained in the face of such opposition and amid so many obstacles? Or has the time come for us to strike our flag and surrender in deference to the latitudinarian spirit of the age, as many our quondam friends would have us to do? We well know that our own strength is but weakness, and our own wisdom but folly in the things of God; but he who is on the Lord's side has nothing to fear. The most formidable obstacles cannot prevent the progress and triumph of divine truth, when the Lord's time comes to favour Zion. “Who art thou, O great mountain ? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying grace, grace unto it." The Great Head of the Church gives this promise of support and ultimate victory to His witnessing remnant. “I will give power,” He says, “unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand, two hundred, and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

But have we reason to believe that we shall be instrumental in maintaining and reviving a Covenanted Work of Reformation in these lands! Instead of replying categorically to this question, I shall only say: That if this distinguished honour is to be ours, there must be true piety abounding among us; if this fruit of divine grace or of the new birth do not fill the hearts of our ministers, office-bearers, and people, we must soon resemble the barren fig-tree—that apt and melancholy emblem of the degenerate Jewish Church--- which had nothing thereon but leaves only. No mere natural principle of respect for our forefathers, nor of patriotism, can ever supply its place. This divine principle alone teaches us that we ought to obey God rather than man, and to seek the honour which cometh from God only. If this altar-fire of the heart be not kept perpetually burning, we shall never be honoured of God to do any great work for Him. True piety, wherever it exists, will lead to fervent, believing prayer, that the Lord would revive His work, and arise and plead the cause that is His own.

There must also be steadfast adherence to our principles. We bear witness as a Church, both for the civil and ecclesiastical reformation attained in these lands, and to which we are pledged by the most solemn engagements. We acknowledge our obligation to seek the preservation of the Scriptural attainments of the nation as well as of the Church, or of a Reformed State as well as of a Reformed Church. If we abandon either of these lines, we take up an entirely new position, and lose sight of the grand design of our Testimony. It is a well-known and approved principle among us, that nations and their rulers have a duty to discharge towards the Church of Christ of which they can never divest themselves, and that in lands favoured with the gospel there may and ought to be a friendly alliance between them. But many at the present day are raising the cry

of disestablishment, without any regard to our solemn covenant engagements. We cannot join with them in this cry, nor in their crusade against the Established Church. So long as the Established Church of Scotland adheres to the Westminster Standards, we must still regard her as a monument of our national homage to Christ, and so long I think it may be held that our appeal lies on her table. Some will doubtless tell us that, according to present appearances in her, that will not be long. But even should that sad day ever come when she will abandon the Westminster Standards, and when there will be no civil establishment of religion, we would still be bound to testify in behalf of the civil reformation once attained in our land, and against its overthrow, and to remind the nation of its duty to give public countenance and support to the true religion. We must still maintain that nations as such are bound to do homage to Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords, and to befriend His Church, for “ the nation and kingdom that will not serve her shall perish, yea those nations shall be utterly wasted.” If, however, the Established Church should ever abandon her approved standards, on any theory of Broad Churchism or greater comprehension, we venture to predict that she will then sound the knell of her own overthrow, and hasten it with her own hands. But if we are to be instrumental in maintaining and reviving a Covenanted work of Reformation in these lands, we must beware of conformity to the world, and be ready to endure reproach for the sake of Christ. I need hardly say that amongst professing Christians at the present day there is too much conformity to the world ; and how contrary this is to the divine injunction, “ Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” It is to be feared that not only has the world entered into the Church in the days in which we live, but that the Church, by reason of her lukewarmness toward Christ, has gone down into the world. If we conform to the world, and are afraid to appear singular, then we bid farewell to principle or truth, and to all earnest contending for the faith, and farewell to the

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