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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.
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,
THOMAS HOBART, Convener:
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON TEMPERANCE.
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 a 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 thesdrunkard; 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 have 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 80 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 wbich 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 lists of our land, and with blighted prospects and seared consciences stumble on to a hopeless eternity, regardless alike of the threatenings of God and the admonitions of men.
Intemperance retards the progress not only of home mission, but also of foreign mission work. It prejudices the minds of the heathen against the reception of the Gospel, and as amongst ourselves, unfits them for receiving it. It tends also to the most deplorable backsliding on the part of those who have made profession of the faith. Innumerable testimonies as to the evil effects of drunkenness amongst the heathen might be easily adduced. One missionary informs us that it is common for Mahommedans, on seeing one of their number drunk, to say, " That man has left Mahommed and gone over to Jesus.” Another says—“It has spread its deadly influence far and wide, and presents an obstacle of no trifling importance to the extension of the Gospel." A naval officer, speaking of Tahiti, said—“The natives are nearly all drunken. Three years ago they were quiet and orderly, their houses were clean and neat. Had you walked on a Sabbath, you might have heard the old men and women reading their Bibles or singing their hymns, but the picture is different now.” The late Archdeacon Jeffries of Bombay, who was intimately acquainted with the state of India, once said —“If the English were driven out of India to-morrow, the chief traces of their having ever been there would be the number of drunkards they have left behind." From these testimonies and many others that might be given it is evident that strong drink produces many disastrous results among the heathen, and shall we as a nation patronize intoxicating drinks, and thus raise a very serious obstruction between our sable brethren and the gates of Zion, and confirm them in their hatred and opposition to the religion of the Cross ? As intemperance is a wide-spread, yea 1 national sin, and carries destruction from the centre to every ex tremity of the empire, it is the duty of the nation to rise en mase against it. Short of this, every thing which can be done will be bu the application of temporary expedients. We should all feel that solemn responsibility rests upon us with respect to this matter. S long as those customs which inevitably lead to intemperance ar countenanced and encouraged by the church and her members so lon will this noxious vice continue and increase. The seasons are nd more sure to revolve, the sun to shine, or the rivers to flow, than th present enormous consumption of strong drink is sure to hinder th progress of the Gospel both at home and abroad, and militate again the highest and best interests of the nation.
It is matter of thankfulness that the cause of temperance no awakens a deeper interest in the breasts of multitudes than it former did. The different sections of the Church are wakening up to s the necessity of something being done to roll back the rising tide of intemperance, which is threatening to deluge the land. A very strong temperance sentiment prevails in the United Presbyterian Church. It is growing in the Established Church, and in the Free Church ; and our Reformed Presbyterian brethren are anxious to disseminate sound principles on the point. A very interesting discussion took place on the subject at the last meeting of the Free Church General Assembly, from which it appeared, that advances in the direction indicated have been made. For some years past members of this Assembly have endeavoured to get the principle of total abstinence recognised as a means of reclaiming the intemperate ; but such attempts have always been unsuccessful. Last year, however, it was observable that a much larger number voted in favour of the recognition of this principle as a means of removing drunkenness and the temptations to it than on any former year. The number of those who voted against the recommendation of abstinence on the ground of Christian expediency was 139; the number in favour of it was 106. Thus the majority against the recognition of abstinence was only 33, whereas in the former year it was 100, the number of votes being about the same on both occasions. Crossing the channel we find that the subject of temperance entered largely into the discussions and deliberations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, from whose report on temperance it appears that 21 out of 34 Presbyteries who made returns to the Assembly on the subject, gave a decided opinion in favour of total abstinence as a course required by Christian expediency in present circumstances; and this is a course which so far as we can see, is warranted from Scripture, the one great and infallible standard by which we should be actuated and governed. The General Assembly in Ireland has thus taken the lead among our Ecclesiastical Courts in recognising the principle of total abstinence, and in commending it to the consideration and adoption of their people. It might be well for the Synod to consider the practicability of establishing juvenile and adult Temperance associations in Congregations. Such societies have unquestionably been blessed for preventing many from forming intemperate habits, and for reclaiming others who had deviated from the paths of sobriety. Here we may take occasion to notice that ministers, and elders, and Sabbath School teachers cannot overestimate the importance of guarding the young against intemperance and the causes that lead to it. Youth is the best time to form habits of sobriety and all other good habits. They are more easily formed then, acquire a stronger over us, and are the means of affording us more pleasure. If the young would form good habits