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"The district Prayer-Meetings, formerly reported, are still regularly maintained under the same management, with the exception of the one in Kilmarnock Street, which was so reduced by removals from the district
, that, for the present, it is given up: This your Committee very much regrets, as these meetings are valuable accessories to the Mission, and well fitted to shed rays of light amidst the darkness that broods over the nether regions of society.
“Your Missionary expresses himself as very much indebted to the twenty young ladies who weekly circulate tracts in the Mission district, for their willing and regular services. Their visits have a very beneficial effect on the district Prayer Meetings, being generally made the same day on which the Meeting takes place, and thus act as remembrancers of the duty and privilege to which the families who receive the tracts are invited to attend in the evening. Between three and four hundred tracts are in circulation at present, and, as they are generally well received and carefully read, it is hoped that the truths they contain will prove mighty througlı God to the pulling down of Satan's strongholds in many hearts.
“Your Mission Committee, in closing the Second Annual Report, desires fervently to acknowledge the goodness of God during the past year of the Mission. We have had no exciting tale to tell, no remarkable conversions to chronicle, but we must learn to sow in faith, yea, in tears, if we would reap with joy. Though the attendance upon the public preaching of the Gospel has not increased so much as we desired, and, as your Missionary remarks, there are more loiterers about the streets on the Sabbath mornings, as he passes to the place of meeting, than would completely fill it, yet it is encouraging to know, that a steady increase in the numbers who wait upon the means of grace has taken place; that the mission is now felt through the whole district to which it extends, to be a testimony to the reality, power, and excellency of the religion of Jesus; that instead of the withering thought which formerly possessed these outcasts, that they were lost sheep, for whose souls no man cared, the most callous among them begin to see that many seek their eternal welfare, and are more solicitous about their future happiness than they are themselves; and some even express their astonislıment that such should be the case. It is also very encouraging, that all who are actively engaged in the mission have continued to discharge their duties with so much zeal and regularity. We would accept this as a token for good, that ultimately our efforts will be crowned with abundant success."
Glasgow CONGREGATION. A Meeting of the Sabbath School Teachers, in Main Street Church, was held on 11th February last, for the purpose of laying a report of their proceedings during the year before the congregation. Professor Murray occupied the chair, and, after conducting devotional exercises, delivered an address on Sabbath Schools--their necessity, objects, and the Scripture warrant we have for them; taking occasion, at same time, to defend them from the objections usually brought against them, and to refer to some authenticated instances in which they thad prored instrumental in winning souls to Christ. The report of the Teachers' labours during the year was thereafter read. A copy of it has been sent us; but want of room prevents our laying it entire before the readers of the Magazine. We may give its more prominent features, however, and these, brief as they are, will, we have no doubt, prove highly interesting
The Church is situated in a densely populated part of Glasgow. In its immediate neighbourhood are some streets occupied by the poorest classes, a great proportion of whom attend no Church, and live in gross ignorance of Divine truth. In these circumstances, it need not be wondered at, that at home, little if any attention is paid to the spiritual concerns of their children. These grow up in all the ignorance and depravity of the parents, and are exposed, moreover, to all the temptations to open wickedness, which bad companionships and other associations afford. The religious portion of the community have long attempted to meet the evil, and do something in behalf of these wretched people; and, with Home Missionaries, Scripture Readers, Sabbath-School Teachers, and other agencies, there is every reason to believe that, under the Divine influence, the Word has, in many instances, been brought home with power. In this evangelizing movement, Professor Murray's congregation have endeavoured to do their part. For several years, we understand, they maintained a week-day school and two Sabbath-schools, where many of the
children had a sound secular and religious education imparted to them. From vari. ons causes, however, to which we need not now refer, they were reluctantly compelled to relinquish the former about eighteen months ago, and with it one of the iwo Sabbath-schools, which had regularly met in the premises they leased. The other Sabbath-school had dwindled down to a mere handful, and there was ultimately reason to fear that it would require to be abandoned also. But a few individuals of the congregation, after conferring with Professor Murray, resolved to make a renewed effort for its resuscitation, and, once started, they found numbers ready to enlist themselves as coadjutors. The report before as evinces that a large degree of external success has been vouchsafed them. On the first Sabbath of December 1854, there were 3 teachers and 25 pupils. The former, in a short time, increased to the present staff of 16—8 male, and 8 female teachers. All of them are members of the church, in full communion, and have been individually examined by Professor Murray as to their qualifications for the duties,--a course that is always followed when new teachers are appointed, and calculated to silence a serious objection frequently urged against Sabbath-schools, besides tending to secure that the instruction given to the children is sound and scriptural. Although there are many Sabbath Schools in and around the locality, when the teachers commenced the visitations for pupils, vast numbers of children were found who attended none, and who were growing up entirely destitute of moral and religious instruction. It was only such that the teachers invited, as they were anxious, if possible, to take up unbroken ground. The number on the roll gradually swelled, till
, in the female department, there was no further accommodation, and, among the boys, there was room for only one or two additional classes. From the following figures, our readers will be able to glean the general character of the attendance. The average number of teachers present throughout the twelve months embraced in the report was 14, in equal numbers of male and female. The smallest number of boys present on any occasion was 22—the largest 73. The lowest number of girls 21 - the highest 50. The least number present in the whole School on any Sabbath was 57-the greatest 120. The average attendance of boys was 44—that of girls 36 ; and, including an adult female class, there was a weekly average in the whole School of 81. That the attendance was pretty steady, is shown by the fact, that while during the first quarter of the year the average attendance was 67, during the second 81, and the third 78, during the last, it attained the large number of 99. These figures embraced fully two-thirds of the names actually on the roll, and, when it is remembered that, so far as the teachers are aware, and in accordance with a very proper clause in their constitution, not one of those children belongs to parents connected with a Christian church, the facts indicated by the above figures will appear more valuable and important. Nearly two-thirds of the pupils are under 10 years of age, and unable to read, wliile the remainder can read partially or well. From the former, two large classes-one boys and another of girls, with one teacher set apart for eachhave been formed, and receive their lessons in the vpper and lower side-rooms of the Church respectively. The others are disposed into smaller classes. The course of lessons is the same as is followed in most of onr Scotch Sabbath Schools. The Bible and Shorter Catechism are the principal text-books; a psalm and a question from the Catechism are committed to memory when practicable, followed by a reading lesson from the Old and New Testaments alternately, upon all of which they are afterwards shortly examined. While there have been many drawbacks and discouragements,—irregularity of attendance by many of the pupils, others occasionally creating annoyance by their inattention and waywardness, -and withal a manifestation of little or no serious interest in the all-important truths the teachers, by Divine guidance, are endeavouring to lay before them, there has been much to cheer the teachers in their voluntary and interesting labours. Some of the pupils have attended the congregation's schools for years, and evince a large amount of intelligence in Scripture doctrine, and which, there is every reason to believe, they had no opportunity of acquiring elsewhere ;-others bave given remarkable evidence of progress; and, among the pupils generally, there is a palpable improvement in attendance, conduct, and Bible knowledge. The report is not too sanguine, that any saving benefit to any of the pupils has followed this work. It is their duty, nevertheless, to continue at their posts, and in faith, and with prayer for direction and guidance from on high, to sow the seed of the Word in the hearts of the young committed to their care. The fruit may spring up many days hence.
By subscriptions received from friends, the teachers were enabled to purchase upwards of 60 copies of the Bible at a cheap rate. Two of these were given away gratuitously, and 48 of the remainder were sold to the pupils during the year. Some of these have found their way into families where there was no copy of the Scriptures before ; and it may be mentioned, too, that in all cases the children paid for them in subscriptions of a penny per week, or otherwise. Tracts were likewise distributed among them once a month.
In connection with the School, some missionary operations were effected; but the report passes these over very briefly, as they were only commenced a few weeks before the twelve months it embraces expired. Several prayer-meetings were held in the district,-visitations were made to between 50 and 60 families, when about 200 individuals were conversed with, and the way of salvation brought before them. It is to be hoped that our friends will follow out this course, for it is one in which they may prove highly useful.
ARBROATH CONGREGATION. We have peculiar pleasure in informing our readers, that our brethren in Arbroath have now succeeded in recovering their Church and Manse, of which they were deprived at the Disruption of 1852. It was not, however, given up by the Free Church party, till an action had actually been raised for its recovery; but the energetic measures which were adopted had the desired effect before the case came to trial. By their arrangement with the Free Church party, the congregation receive rent for the four years they have been excluded from the property, and all their law expenses to a trifle. They get full possession at 26th May current. We cannot but rejoice at their success, and we trust the congregation will soon be again in the enjoyment of a settled dispensation of ordinances.
MEETING OF SYNOD.
Tue Synod of United Original Seceders met in Adam Square Church, Edinburgh, on Tuesday, the 29th April, at 12 o'clock noon, and was opened with a Sermon by the Rev. John Gralıam, Kilmarnock, from Matthew x. 32 : “ Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” After sermon, the Synod was constituted with prayer by Mr Graham, Moderator. The following is an outline of the principal business that came before the Synod.
The roll being called, it was reported by the Presbytery of Glasgow, that since last Meeting of Synod, Mr Thomas Hobart, preacher of the gospel, had been ordained assistant and successor to the Rev. James Anderson, at Carluke, and bis name was added to the roll. It was moved and agreed to, that the Rev. Archibald Brown, Edinburgh, be appointed Moderator, and Mr Brown took the chair accordingly. The minutes of former meeting being read, corrected, and approved, and the usual Committees appointed, the Synod proceeded to take up a petition from the congregation of Aberdeen for supply. The Elder from Aberdeen having stated, that in consequence of Mr Aitken's increasing infirmities, the congregation might now be regarded as a vacancy, several members of the Synod delivered their sentiments on the subject, when the Clerk was instructed to write a letter to Mr Aitken, expressive of the cordial sympathy of the Synod with him under his affliction, and it was agreed to give as much supply to the congregation of Aberdeen as practicable. The Synod Treasurer's Report on the Funds was read as follows :-" The accounts of the past year, when compared with those of former years, show a gradual diminution in the amount of the collections for the Synod Fund. The defalcation is not great; still it seems proper that the attention of this Court, and of the various congregations, should be directed to the fact, in order that this downward tendency of the fund may be arrested and remedied, which might very easily be done, were each congregation to increase, by a small trifle, its annual collection. The collections for the Synod Fund amount only to £50, 19s. 5d., whereas the expenditure for the past year is £76, 1s. 11d., of which the various items are given in detail in the accounts. There is also a decrease in the contributions to the Mutual Assistance Scheme, which amount only to £153, 16s. In addition to this sum, there are several donations and a legacy, amounting in all to £26, 12s., and by including the balance on hand last year, the total amount at the credit of this Fund, and now at the disposal of the Synod, is £215, 78. 2d. Donations are always acceptable, and their increase, both in number and amount, would be desirable; but the benefit accruing from tbese to the Fund is only incidental or occasional. The success of this scheme must depend chiefly on the contributions of the congregations, as its permanent source of income. Now, a glance at the contributions to this scheme will at once show that, in some caseş, there is a great disparity between the amount of the contributions, and the numerical strength of the congregations,—the contributions being made on a scale the most easy and most economical for themselves, but not on a scale compatible with the injunction, 'Bear ye one another's burdens,' --which injunction seems to imply the principle on which the Mutual Assistance Scheme is founded. In other cases, the collections for this scheme are diminished, not from want of ability, nor from want of willingness on the part of the people to support the scheme, but solely or chiefly from want of proper management. The Treasurer is prepared to certify, from his correspondence with the congregations, that, in repeated instances, the only apology given for the remittances being less this year, is, that owing to some 'neglect,' or 'oversight,' the usual collections for this scheme had not been made. Is this doing justice to the Mutual Assistance Scheme? Is this doing justice to the congregations ? Why should the 'neglect,' the 'oversight,' of some individual de fraud a whole congregation of the opportunity of contributing to the support of this scheme, and, as a matter of course, proportionally diminish the funds ? And a proof of the evil of this system of neglect,' oversight,' and mismanagement, will be found in the fact that, during the past year, no contributions have been sent, either to the Synod Fund, or the Mutual Assistance Scheme, from the congregations in Kilwinning, * Pollockshaws, Colmonell, Ballylintagh, and Toberdony."
The Report was approved, and the thanks of the Synod were given to Mr John Stevenson, the Synod Treasurer, for his exertions in promoting the funds. After lengthened consideration upon the state of the funds, as presented in the Report, it was moved and agreed, that a Committee, consisting of Mr Robertson and Mr Blakely, along with the Synod Treasurer, be appointed to prepare a short statement on the subject, to be circulated among the congregations, and that the Session of each congregation be instructed to see to it, that means are being employed for promoting the interests of the Synod Fund and Mutual Assistance Soheme, it being understood that the Treasurer' correspond with the Ministers on the subject, or with any corresponding member the Session may appoint. It was also agreed, that in the case of ministers being appointed to dispense the sacrament of the Lord's Supper in vacant congregations, the vacancies shall bear the travelling expenses of the ministers, along with the talent to the preacher, and that, on other occasions, they contribute as much as practicable towards the same object. The Synod instructed the Clerk to send notice of this resolution to the vacancies. Reference having been made to the regulation which was made at the late pro re nata Meeting of Synod, respecting the Synod Clerk being appointed to certify the travelling expenses of Ministers, when supplying vacancies, after conversation, it was agreed that, instead of that regulation, the Clerk be instructed to send a copy of the appointments to the Synod Treasurer, for his direction in the matter. Took up a petition from the congregation of Dundee, requesting aid from the Sypod Fund for liquidating the debt contracted in the erection of a Meeting-House, which was read by the Clerk. The following motion was adopted on the subject: " That the Synod having beard the petition, and taking into consideration the peculiar circumstances in which that congregation is placed, and more particularly the fact stated, that a lady, formerly connected with the congregation, had bequeathed the sum of £100 to the Synod Fund, it was unanimously agreed to give £50 to the congregation, to aid them in de fraying the expenses incurred by them in erecting their Church. The Report of the Committee on the Magazine was taken up and read. The Synod approved of the Report, and voted its thanks to the Committee, and especially to the Treasurer, Mr Jack, Dundee, for his efforts in advancing the interests of the Magazine.
* A Contribution to both the Funds has been received from KILWINNING, since this Report was made out on the 21st current.
Proceeded to take up the Report of the Committee on Home Missions, including a Report of the Home Mission in connection with the congregation of Ayr, which was read by Mr Blakely, convener. Overtures from the Presbytery of Glasgow, and the congregation of Ayr, anent Home Missions, were read by the Clerk. The menbers of Synod were called upon, in the order of the roll, to express their mind on the whole subject; and, after lengthened consideration, it was agreed to appoint a committee to prepare a resolution, embodying the sentiments expressed by the members, and to present it at a future Sederunt. The resolution thus prepared and adopted by the Synod is as follows :-" That the Synod, while viewing themselves as a branch of the Reformed and Covenanted Church of Scotland, witnessing, in a state of Secession, for her Scriptural principles and attainments, are, at the same time, deeply impressed with the obligation lying upon then to endeavour, to the utmost of their power, to disseminate the truths of Christ, both in their own land, and throughout the world ; and, considering that it is a fact as undeniable as it is appalling, that large masses of our home population, both in town and country, are sunk in ignorance and vice, and living without God and without hope,' the Synod feel that there is a loud call to employ every means warranted by the Word of God for imparting to them religious instruction, and promoting their temporal and eternal welfare. The Synod further declare, that so far from Home Missionary work being inconsistent with their position and duty as Seceders, they are laid under superadded obligation, from their distinctive principles to prosecute such work; inasmuch as the National Covenants, for whose perpetual obligation they testify, bind them to endeavour the extirpation not only of Popery and Prelacy, but also of superstition, heresy, and profaneness, and whatsoever shall be found contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness. In regard to the means to be employed for carrying this object into effect, the Synod, while they hold that it is the incumbent duty of Christian parents to instruct their own children, and while they lament the practice, now so common, of devolving that sacred duty on Sabbath-school teachers, are, at the same time, satisfied that Sabbath Schools, conducted under the superintendence of ministers and sessions, may be warrantably had recourse to, as a means of communicating religious knowledge to those children whose spiritual interests would otherwise be neglected ; and so tar as regards the distribution of Bibles and orthodox Tracts, and the exertions of ministers in their respective localities, the Synod are persuaded that there is an urgent necessity, in present circumstances, for the employment of such means. And the Synod agree, that a collection be made for Home Mission purposes, in all the congregations throughout the body.” Mr Brown asked, and obtained leave, to dissent from that part of the resolution which has respect to Sabbath Schools, for reasons to be atterwards given in, and craved extracts. The Synod appointed Messrs Murray and Stevenson a committee, to answer these reasons, if given in. The Synod re-appointed the former committee, with the addition of Mr Graham, with instructions to correspond with Sessions on the subject of Home Missionary operations, and to report to next meeting of Synod. The Clerk read two letters which he had received from Dr Shaw, Whitburn, anent the Synod Records. Having heard the letters, the Synod re-appointed the former committee, with the powers formerly granted to them, with instructions to use their endeavours to recover the Records. A petition from the congregation of Arbroath, regarding the dispensation of the Lords's Supper, was read and granted. The report of the deputation appointed at last meeting of Synod to wait upon the Committee of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, London, in regard to the Meeting-House at Ballylintagh, was read and approved. The draft of a petition to the House of Commons, in favour of the witlidrawal of the Maynooth Endowment, was read and adopted. It was agreed that the Moderator and Clerk sign the petition, and that Mr Cowan, M.P. for Edinburgh, be requested to present it to the House. Took up the overture anent the education of students from the Presbytery of Edinburgh, which was read by the Clerk, when it was agreed that the overture be committed to the hands of the Synod's Committee, appointed for preparing a code of ecclesiastical rules and forms. The Professor gave in a report on the Hall and Library, which was approved. It was agreed that a fund be instituted by the Synod, for assisting students in the prosecution of their studies, and that encouragement be giv to parties to present donations to that fund, and appointed the Professor, Mr Manson, Mr Blakely, and Mr John Stevenson, a Committee-Mr Stevenson to be Treasurer-to take charge of the amount collected. In regard to the Library, it was agreed that a selection of such books as may be