Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

senior section, including the other students, we revised the Grammar, and read some chapters in Isaiah, and a few Psalms.

The book prescribed this Session for private study was “Westcott on the New Testament Canon,” and on portions of this, as well as on all the subjects taken up in the class. there were fortnightly written examinations.

I have only to add that the attendance of the students on the whole was regular, and their conduct exemplary.


Messrs. Gray and King having completed their fourth Session, were recommended to be licensed with all convenient speed. Messrs. Speirs and Hutchison having completed their third Session, were recommended to their respective Presbyteries to have trials for license prescribed to them, with a view to the public parts being sustained before the opening of the next Session of the Hall.

Mrs. Rettie, Aberdeen, who so kindly gave nearly 600 volumes to the Hall Library upwards of a year ago, has not only sent a number of additional volumes, but has also handsomely and generously paid the cases in which her late husband's books are contained. The Committee unanimously recommend that the thanks of the Synod be given to Mrs. Rettie for the great liberality to the Hall she has manifested.

The following are the reports of the Presbyteries who have had students under their inspection during the past year :


In the course of this year the Ayr Presbytery have had two students under their superintendence-Mr. ALEXANDER DUNLOP KING, and Mr. WILLIAM SPIERS.

Mr. King at last Session of the Hall completed his fourth Session, and after. wards finished his intersessional work. He was then taken on trials for license according to the usual form, and was licensed as a probationer about the end of December.

Mr. SPIERS at last Session of the Hall completed his third Session. He has since completed his intersessional work, and is now ready to enter on his fourth Session. He has also-under the sanction of the Synod and of the Divinity Hall Committee-given in several portions of his trials for license in prospect of passing successfully through his closing Session at the Hall.

By order of the Presbytery,

Thomas ROBERTSON, Presbytery Clerk.


ANENT THE SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS DURING 1876-77. Mr. David GRAY was certified to the Hall Committee as a Divinity student of the fourth year. Upon being recommended to license him, the Presbytery examined him upon the remaining subjects of intersessional study not previously overtaken by him, and he having completed all his trials, which were sustained separately, and in cumulo, was licevsed on the 1st August last as a preacher of the Gospel, and probationer in connection with the Voited Original Secession Church.

Mr. JOHN MATHIE, student in Arts, had subjects of intersessional study prescribed to him, and his examination upon one of these was sustained, the rest have not yet been overtaken by him.

Mr. DUNCAN M‘KINNON, student in Arts of the second year, was reported to the Presbytery, and wished to be acknowledged as under the United Original Secession Presbytery of Glasgow. Subjects of intersessional study were prescribed to him. A Committee was appointed as usual to meet with the students attending Glasgow University during the winter for devotional exercises.

By order of the Presbytery,

JOHN RITCHIE, Presbytery Clerk.


ANENT THE SURERVISION OF STUDENTS DURING 1876-77. This Presbytery has had only one student under its inspection during the past year, viz., Mr. ALEXANDER SMELLIE, who is a Divinity student of the first year. He came under the inspection of the Presbytery in May last, and has since passed in all the subjects prescribed to students of his standing. All Mr. Smellie's examinations having been most cordially sustained, he is recommended for admission to the Divinity Hall during the coming session.

By order of Presbytery,

William HAMILTON, Presbytery Clerk.


ANENT SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS DURING 1876-77. The Presbytery have to report that Mr. ROBERT HUTCHISON has been the only student under their inspection during the past year. He has completed his third session at the Theological Hall, and has been examined on all the subjects of intersessional study for students of Theology between the third and fourth year, with the exception of Hebrew, Cunningham's Theology, Vol. II., and Mosheim's Church History. He has also delivered a popular sermon on Matt. xi. 28; all of which were sustained. As parts of trials for license he has delivered a popular lecture on 1 Sam. iii. 1-10, and a homily on John i. 14. By order of the Presbytery,

ALEX. STIRLING, Presbytery Clerk. The Committee selected “Stevenson on the Offices," as the book on which the students were examined at the competition for Bursaries, in October last.

The following were the questions prescribed, to which, as usual, answers had to be given in writing :

QUESTIONS ON STEVENSON." I. What is mediation, and what are the qualifications of Christ as the mediator between God and man?

II. Define the term Prophet as applied to Christ, and give an outline of the instructions that, as such, He communicated.

III. How, and by whom, does Christ communicate His instructions ?

IV. Give an outline of the arguments by which it is proved that Christ is the great Prophet of the Church.

V. Define the suretyship of Christ, and give an outline of the arguments by which objections against it are refuted.

VI. What is the work that Christ as the surety performed ?

VII. What was the character of the sufferings that Christ as the surety endured?

VIII. Give an outline of the arguments by which it is proved that Christ died only for His people, and specify the ends accomplished by His death.

IX. Give an outline of Christ's work of Intercession.

[ocr errors]

To these questions, the students gave in written answers, which were on the whole very good. The first Bursary (£8) was gained by Mr. Alexander Smellie, Edinburgh ; the second (£7) by Mr. Duncan M'Kinnon, Kirkintilloch.

Through the liberality of our friends, Miss Ann, and Mr. John Dick, Edinburgh, £200 have been added to our Students' and Bursary Fund. The money is, in accordance with the wishes of the Donors, to be invested, and the interest to be appropriated annually for the benefit of the students. The Committee recommend that it be called the “ Dick Bursary,” and be competed for annually at the usual competition for Bursaries. The Committee also recommend that the cordial thanks of the Synod be given to Miss Dick and Mr. Dick for the kindness and liberality they have manifested.

In looking back on the past we have cause to thank God, and take courage in regard to the future. A few years ago we had only one Professor of Divinity, a comparatively few books in our Hall Library, and a small sum of money in our Students' Fund. Now we have two Professors of Divinity, nearly fourteen hundred volumes in our Library, and upwards of £260 in our Students' Fund. Now we can say “ The Lord hath been mindful of us; He will bless us. May His blessing be increasingly enjoyed.-By order of Committee,



May 1877. It is an undeniable fact that intemperance is the great curse and bane of the nation. Its workings cannot be adequately described. Let

pen of delineation be put into the hand of the readiest writer, and yet he will be unable fully to depict its evils. Let statistics as to

. the extent of this dreadful vice be furnished, and yet these will convey to the mind no due estimate of its ravages. Let a pencil



or brush be put into the hand of the most skilful artist, and yet, after all his touchings and finishings, he will fail to give us any just conception of its fearful consequences ; and it would, indeed, be a great blessing-an immense boon to our land and nation—if this plague could be for ever swept away from our shores. But alas ! this is very far from being the case at present. The evil which we deplore prevails to an alarming extent throughout our land. It is productive of the most ruinous consequences upon the social and religious interests of the nation. A very large proportion of the crime, and disease, and poverty, and domestic suffering which abound, is traceable, more or less directly, to indulgence in intoxicating drink. Hundreds of thousands of our population are drunkards, and will if mercy prevent not, be ruined both for time and eternity ; and millions more, by reason of their connection with these, are involved in many of the woeful effects of strong drink. Its victims belong to both

They are to be found in every profession and trade ; and in all ranks and classes of society. The high and the low; the rich and the poor; the wise and the unwise ; the learned and the illiterate ; the prince and the peasant; the statesman and the clown, have all fallen before the demon of drink. The evils of intemperance appear in a great variety of ways.

It places many formidable obstacles in the path of those who are trying to do good. Numerous topics might here be profitably introduced; but as we do not wish to intrench on last year's report, we content ourselves with the specification of a few. For one thing, intemperance tends very materially to retard the progress of home mission work. Many devoted men in connection with the various branches of the Christian Church are employed in the home mission field, and much good we believe has been accomplished through their instrumentality; but the good done is a mere tithe of what might have been effected, but for this giant evil, which meets the missionary on the very threshold of his labours, and interposes between him and the wretched ones whom he seeks to win to blessedness and to God. Were this stumbling-block removed out of the way, the happy effects of its removal would speedily and extensively appear. Until those who are wallowing in the mire of intemperance are rescued, the missionary of the Cross may go forth and sow the seed of the Divine word, but in few instances will it take root and grow. He may crave admission to the house of the drunkard; but as soon as the degraded creature understands the errand on which he has come, he will be informed that his visit is not desired. The messenger of mercy may be admitted into the miserable abodes of others, and he may deal with the votaries of strong drink about the concerns of their souls. An impression may be produced while the conversation


lasts; but when left to themselves they again have recourse to the intoxicating cup, and any serious impression which may bave been made is rapidly effaced. Kindness may be manifested towards them; but it is often sadly abused. They may receive clothes to cover them, fuel to warm them, food to nourish them, and even a Holy Bible to guide and direct them in the way that leads to the shining city on high ; but one and all of these, including the sacred volume itself, are disposed of, and the price procured for them converted into the burning and passion-stirring fluid. Verily, the hold which this debasing vice takes of its victims is fearfully strong : and this fact should operate powerfully in the way of causing us to guard against those temptations which lead to it, and before which so many have fallen,

Intemperance also exercises an injurious influence upon Sabbath Schools. These institutions as maintained amongst ourselves are designed to take cognizance of those children whose religious education is neglected by their parents.

And it is not difficult to see the prejudicial effect which excessive indulgence in drink has upon these Schools. It renders the parents incapable of appreciating the value and importance of religious instruction. Those who are careless and indifferent about the welfare and prosperty of their own souls are not likely to care about the souls of their children. They not only live in sin themselves; but encourage their offspring to do the same. It is a matter of no moment to them whether they attend the Sabbath School or not. And even when they do attend it, how does the influence of home counteract the influence of the School. The teacher may prepare for his class. He may pray with and for his scholars. He may tell them the story of a Saviour's love. He may inculcate upon them the duty of holy living. He may warn them against the sin of lying, swearing, or stealing. The children may be somewhat impressed by the counsels and warnings which are given to them; but when they go home (if the miserable abodes where they dwell can be called by this name) they hear their parents giving utterance to the most abominable oaths and imprecations, and thus their convictions are soon deadened, and their serious impressions soon effaced. Again, there are those who have apparently profited by the lessons of piety and virtue which have been taught them; but when they go out into the world they are confronted with the drinking usages of the day, and are too often drawn aside from the paths of sobriety, and driven to associate with the profligate and abandoned. Plunged into the awful vortex of intemperance, they but too frequently swell the criminal ts of our land, and with blighted prospects and seared consciences stumble on to a hopeless

« PreviousContinue »