Изображения страниц

the bounds of the original congregation stances in which it began to acquire this affords a singular illustration of the growth distinction are thus related :-“ In the year of christian principle in those days. Green- 1804, a pamphlet on the duty of frequently ock, Houston, and Dumbarton-nearly the observing the Lord's Supper, by the laie whole bounds of what is now the presby- Rev. Dr Mason, New York, was widely tery of Paisley and Greenock, embracing circulated in, and read by the religious twenty-eight congregations, were included community in Paisley. "To the churches within the limits of this single church. In around us,' says one who afterward, at the 1756, the Rev. James Alice was ordained request of his brethren of the session, gave its minister. Three years afterwards, the an account of the matter, "a resolution portion of the church at Greenock were able was adopted and acted on, of observing to maintain a minister of their own, and this ordinance four times, instead of twice, were accordingly disjoined from Oakshaw in the year. In this congregation, however, Street.

instructed as they were from the pulpit, as “Of the diligence and fidelity of the pas- well as from the press, the desire prevailed torate exercised by both the minister and that monthly communion at least should, elders at this time, the minutes of session if practicable, be introduced.” Accordgenerally bear ample evidence. There is, ingly, at a meeting of the congregation, however, one minute of session, illustrative held on the 23d of April 1804, the following at once of the evangelical character of Mr minute was adopted :-Resolved, that the Alice's ministry, and of the sympathy and preses shall, in name of the meeting, reco-operation of his people, to which I can- quest the session to take measures for not help drawing special attention. This bringing forward a more frequent dispenminute is dated 15th of June 1764, and ap- sation of the Lord's Supper among us.' points a collection to be made ‘for Missions This request was duly made to the session, to America, and for assisting our brethren and, after consideration, it was found that at Ayr to build a house for public worship.' some difficulties stood in the way; and it Let it be observed that this was nearly forty was thought advisable to leave the matter, years prior to the formation of the London for a while, to the gradual progress of Missionary Society, of the Religious Tract opinion. A considerable time elapsed Society, and of the British and Foreign before the subject was again taken up in Bible Society—the former of which grand session. But, at a congregational meeting organizations gave a character to the early in the summer of 1817, the subject was part of the present century; and from the again brought up, and a member of session, example set us thus early by our predeces- who occupied the chair on the occasion, sors of an active sympathy with the cause undertook that the matter should not be of missions both at home and abroad, let lost sight of by the session. At length, in us be stimulated to increased diligence in August 1819, the session unanimously effort and prayer.”

reached the conclusion that a privilege so Mr Alice's health failing, a colleague was great and important could not, without a sought for him, and in 1787, Mr William violation of their trust, be longer withheld Ferrier was ordained to that office. The from the people. The session, being thus congregation prospered, but a root of bitter- unanimous in their counsels and resolutions, ness was introduced among them, which considered it their duty immediately to ingrew to produce sad fruits.

6 In the form the congregation, by public intimation, height of its prosperity there arose in the of what had taken place, and of their readicongregation a dispute about the letting of ness to observe the Sacrament of the Sup. seats in the church. This dispute, arising per once a month, if acceptable to the out of a matter so small, grew into a feud, members. This intimation having been which disturbed the peace and hindered the duly made, the mind of the congregation edification of the church for a series of was subsequently ascertained by a domiyears. At length in 1797 this unhappy ciliary visit on the part of the elders and matter, after having been repeatedly before deacons to the members of their respective the presbytery of Glasgow, and the Provin- districts; the result of which was, that a cial Synod of Glasgow, as well as the report was made that the great majority of General Synod, was brought to a close, the the congregation desired to have the comgreat body of the congregation acquiescing munion once a month. Of those who wished in the decision of the Synod, whilst the for no change, there were only 14; and parties with whom the dispute originated, of those who opposed the measure, there and by whom it was all along kept up, de- were 19. serted their profession, and ceased to be “ The desire of the congregation being members of the church."

thus ascertained for the monthly observThe church in Oakshaw Street has long ance of the Lord's Supper, the session been distinguished by its frequent observ- made arrangements for its observance by ance of the Lord's Supper. The circum- simultaneous communion, on the fourih Sabbath of October 1819. But they took A case of appeal by Mr G. P. Ure, from care to intimate that the few who did not a sentence of the session at Toronto, caused approve of this arrangement, should have much division of sentiment. Mr Ure had the ordinance dispensed twice in the year as been elected to the eldership in said church, formerly. On the fourth Sabbath of Oc- in March 1852. The session refused to ortober accordingly, the ordinance was dis- dain him on the allegation that he was unpensed to the communicants sitting at one sound in doctrine, specially in reference to table ; and the practice thus introduced has the atonement, and also on the ground of been continued now for a period of more erroneous views on the duty of attending than thirty years.

ordinances. The Synod, in 1852, in refer" It must be manifest, however, that a ence to this decision of the session, had desire for its continuance, decidedly and pronounced as follows:-“ Dismiss the propractically manifested by the great majority test and appeal; find that there is no valid of the members, can alone justify the session reason in the evidence before the court to in persevering to administer the ordinance question the appellant's soundness in the with the same degree of frequency.” faith, and set aside any decision of the in

In 1831, Mr Ferrier—then doctor in ferior courts, which may be thought to be divinity-began to fail in health, and it was contrary, but are strongly of opinion that resolved to provide him with a colleague. his admission to the office of ruling elder in Mr France having been chosen to this the United Presbyterian congregation of office, was ordained in July 1833; and two Toronto is inexpedient and inadvisable.” years thereafter, Dr Ferrier was removed in the course of pleading this case at Syby death, much lamented in the town and nod, Mr Ure, it was alleged, had spoken of and throughout the denomination of which the session minutes concerning it as unhe was recognised as an ornament and true, varnished, garnished, vamped up, &c. pillar.

The session afterwards proceeded to deal After referring, in feeling and appropri- with him for having used this language, ate terms, to the successive bereavements calling on him to retract, confess, or deny; which have taken place in the eldership and on his refusing to do any one of these since Mr France's ordination, the Sketch the session cut him off from church memmentions the gratifying facts, that since bership for slander and contumacy. He the settlement of Mr Alice in 1756, the only appealed to the presbytery, who reversed two ministers ordained over the congrega- the sentence of session, and restored Mr tion have been unanimously called ; and Ure to the position he occupied when the that during these ninety-seven years, there above sentence of Synod was pronounced. has never been a vacancy in the pulpit. The session then appealed to Synod, and in Much cause have this congregation to this form the case came on. mention the loving kindness of the Lord, A committee was appointed to mature and the praises of the Lord, according to the case for the Synod's decision. This all he hath bestowed upon them.

committee presented a series of eight resolutions, of which the five following were adopted by the Synod :

"'. That inasmuch as the expressions CHURCH IN CANADA.

complained of by the session of Toronto This Synod held its annual meeting in were uttered by Mr Ure in the presence of June last, when the opening sermon was this Synod, at its meeting in June 1852, it preached by the Rev. Andrew Ferrier, belongs to this Synod alone to review D.D., moderator. It was reported that the them, and pronounce any judgment upon following ministers had demitted their pas- them which would affect Mr Ure's standing toral charges during the twelve months:- as a member of this church. W. Howden, Adelaide ; A. Mackenzie, “ 2. That, therefore, the conduct of the Stanley; D. Mackurdy, Amherst Island; session of Toronto was irregular in instiN. Ormiston, Newton; A. W. Waddell, tuting proceedings against Mr Ure, on the Pickering:—that the following had been ground of these expressions: for, while it ordained—W. Cavan, J. Dunbar, and W. was competent to them to come before this Dickson:—that the following ministers had court with a complaint against Mr Ure for been received—J. F. A. S. Fayette, and having uttered them, it was in their case John Taylor, M.D. :—that the following ultra vires to bring the matter to an issue probationers had been received or licensed by expelling him from the church. —Messrs Sinclair, Macgregor, Dunbar, “3. That, therefore, said sentence ought Tweedie, Carruthers.

to be rescinded, and Mr Ure placed on the It was agreed that Dr Taylor, as the same footing which he occupied at the close Synod's Professor of Divinity, be a member of the meeting of Synod above referred to. of Synod, and of the presbytery in whose “4. That the strong language employed bounds he resides.

by the presbytery in certain parts of their


answers to the Session's Reasons of Protest “Mr Ure appeared, and stated that he and Appeal, merits the particular notice had obeyed the decision of Synod hitherto, and the disapprobation of the Synod. and would not shrink from it at the present

“5. The committee recommend that the time: That he did not use the string of Synod vindicate their authority in this epithets ascribed to him in the way in matter, by taking the whole case into their which they are now brought before the own hands, and proceeding, if they see Synod; and that all he wished to convey cause, to summon Mr Ure and the session was, that the minutes did not represent the to their bar, and there to deal with them as conversation which took place on the questruth and justice may require.”

tion of the atonement: And that if it were The session of Toronto and Mr Ure were to help the Synod to come to a decision in then summoned to the bar, and having ap- his case, he wished to say that all he peared, it was agreed, after some discus- wanted was a certificate of membership.” sion, “that a committee of the Synod be This report having been received, it was appointed to retire with the parties, with resolved: power to take such steps as may tend pro- “1. That inasmuch as one of the parties perly to adjust the matter before the has declined acceding to the measure which Synod.” Against the decision appointing the Synod in its judgment deemed best, this committee, Dr Wm. Taylor, with thus obstructing our efforts amicably to adMessrs Aitken, Henderson, M'Clure, and just the case, it is due to the Synod to Fraser, dissented, for reasons afterwards assert its authority, and therefore dismiss given in. On these reasons being received, the case. it was resolved that no committee should “2. That inasmuch as Mr Ure has made be appointed to answer them. Mr Jen- a very important explanation, and in denings, as moderator of Toronto session, and siring to separate himself from the Toronto in their behalf, also dissented from the ap- congregation, thus obviating a difficulty pointment of a committee to confer with before complained of by the session after parties, and gave in reasons. The com- the last meeting of Synod, agreed to grant mittee to confer with parties afterwards Mr Ure a certificate." reported as follows :

From these resolutions Dr W. Taylor, Mr Jennings appeared, and stated that Messrs Aitken, M'Clure, Henderson, Hogg, out of respect to the convener of the com- Ewing, Proudfoot, and W. Fraser, dismittee and the Synod, he had come here to sented for reasons afterwards lodged. Mr state for himself, for the session, and for Jennings for himself and the session of the managers of this congregation, that Toronto, dissented for separate reasons. they declined meeting the committee, and A case of appeal against a sentence of would not have this business conducted in the Presbytery of Toronto, refusing to orprivate.

ganise the appellants, twenty in number, * On the question thus issued, an editorial article appears in the “ Canadian Presbyterian Magazine,” assailing the decision of Synod. As the editor of the “ Magazine” is also the moderator of the Toronto session, one of the parties in the case, allowance will be made for such a degree of bias as would affect, in a onesided way, the most upright mind. The only wonder is, that in a quasi organ of the United Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Synod's judgment should be assailed editorially as it is, and the opinion of the minority advocated in preference. One circumstance in particular calls down the editorial rebuke. The committee appointed to mature the case had reported more resolutions than were adopted by the Synod “ The eighth resolution especially,” he observes, “the Synod by a large majority refused to adopt !! It is worthy of being put in capitals as a key to the whole thing, and we give it :

“8. That this case ought not to be decided by this court merely upon the ground of ecclesiastical forms of procedure, but on the high ground of Christian principle, and under a sincere desire to do all in our power, as we shall be answerable to Christ, to restore peace to the congregation of Toronto.

“ It is a serious fact,” continues the “ Magazine,” “ that a majority of Synod decided against that, and consequently determined that they would not be bound to decide the case on the high ground of Christian principle."

Now, surely this is very unguarded writing. Because the Synod does not choose, at the bidding of a minority, to adopt a formal resolution, in which not only it would make an unnecessary and ultroneous vaunting of high Christian principle,” but might also seem to put forward the “ peace of the congregation of Toronto," as the one grand aim of its decision, in a case in which that church, or


into a congregation of the United Presbyterian Church in the city of Toronto, was next taken up. After reasoning, the Synod, by a majority, set aside the decision of

Presbytery, and granted the petition for a new congregation in Toronto.

The Rev. Professor Lillie, and Rev. Mr Wickson, a deputation from the Congrèga

its session, is a party, is the Synod therefore to be branded as having determined that it will not be bound to decide the case on the high ground of Christian principle ?” We hope that when our brethren in the minority have cooled down a little, not many of them will join in this railing accusation against the Synod to which they belong. " There are at least fifteen ministers in a state of high dissatisfaction with the issue.” So says the “ Magazine," and so we can well believe. It would be unreasonable to expect those fifteen to be satisfied with a judgment which opposes their own conscientiously formed opinion. It is quite reasonable, however, to demand that, having discharged their conscience in the matter, by doing their best to carry their own opinion, and having failed in this good intention, they should now be satisfied, especially after having entered their dissent, to let the opinion of the Synod—no doubt as conscientiously formed as their own-be peaceably received as a final settlement of the cause. People at a distance will certainly expect this of them. Their friends who are looking on remember that in all causes of appeal there are two parties, and that it generally happens that one of the parties is disappointed in the final decision. If, in every case of appeal, the disappointed party, after having his cause discussed and pronounced upon in Presbytery and Synod, is next to carry his appeal to the world in the pages of a “ Magazine,” and discuss it there—protesting that the decision his brethren have pronounced " is the most iniquitous decision that was ever perpetrated in any court,” there is an end to church order and brotherly harmony.

The manner in which this “Magazine apologises for its extraordinary proceedings in taking up and assailing a sentence of the Synod whom it is understood to represent, is, in our view, an aggravation of the offence :-“Because," he observes, “this is apparently a local case, soine may think we have given too much prominence to it. It is not because we, individually, are interested, that so much is written, but because the ploughshare of division has made a deep and a broad fur

There are at least fifteen ministers in a state of high dissatisfaction with the issue ; and that is no light matter in our Church. It is notorious through our communion, and our membership, all have a right to know the actual facts and merits of it. We hold that the Synod is not the Church, but the Church is composed of the whole membership, and one member cannot suffer without all the other members suffering along with it.'

The furrow is made deep and broad by what has been done at Synod; and to remedy this mournful case, the furrow is to be made deeper and broader by inserting the ploughshare anew in the “ Magazine!” The judgment of the ministers and elders of the Church, in Presbytery and Synod assembled, and after long and anxious travelling in the case, is not to the appellants' mind; but the Synod is not the Church, and to obtain a calmer, more deliberate judgment, the result of a closer and fuller investigation, he must carry his cause before the whole membership; the members at large being, of course, far better acquainted with this and other synodical questions than the ministers and elders they have chosen for their guides can be! And this writer is a Presbyterian !

It proper we should state that, in making these observations, we have not acted on the sound judicial maxim, to “hear both sides.” We have heard only one side ; but that is the side represented by the “ Canadian Presbyterian Magazine.' Further than what the “Magazine " has told us, we know nothing whatsoever of this cause ; but we know enough now to satisfy us that in respect to the merits, the Presbytery and Synod may have had good reason for pronouncing as they did ; and if we might suppose that the cause, while before the Church judicatories, was conducted by the appellants with as little regard for order and propriety as it is now commented on by one of them after it has been judicially issued, we could only wonder at the patience and restraint exemplified in the findings of both Presbytery and Synod.-Éd. U. P. Mag.


may be

tional Union of Canada West, were re- the Clergy Reserves, among the different ceived and heard ; Messrs Kennedy and religious denominations, or which shall M-Clure responding in name of the Synod. not embrace, as an essential element, the

On the motion of Mr Proudfoot, seconded absolute and definitive appropriation of by Mr Aitken, it was agreed that the Synod, these reserves to objects purely secular. taking into consideration the many obliga- The Synod adopted a series of resolutions under which it lies to the parent tions condemnatory of sectarian schools Church for the many substantial tokens of supported by public money. On the subbeneficence and kindness which it has given ject of supplementing the stipend of ministo it, takes this opportunity of expressing ters who may be appointed district superits cordial thanks for these; taking also intendents of public schools, a series of reinto consideration the great scarcity of solutions favourable to ministers accepting preachers, and also the urgent calls from such an office without deduction of supplethe many vacant congregations for settled ment unless the presbytery of the bounds pastors, agree earnestly to solicit the co- shall so determine, were ordered to be sent operation of the Mission Board in Scotland, down for the consideration of presbyteries with a view to secure the services of at and sessions. least ten additional preachers.

An overture from the Presbytery of WelA clause proposing that a deputy should lington, anent the management of congrebe appointed to wait

on the Mission Board gational affairs, recommending the adoption in Scotland, in reference to the subject of of the system of book-keeping now in gethis resolution, was rejected by a majority; neral use in the congregations in Scotland, but the Committee of Missions was in- published by David Robertson, of Glasgow, structed to correspond on the subject with and that the books of congregations be the Mission Board.

examined yearly by the Presbytery, to see On the motion of Mr Aitken, seconded that they are regularly and correctly kept, by Mr M'Clure, it was resolved that the was taken up, and after discussion it was Synod authorise the use, in public worship, agreed to recommend to congregations, of the Hymn Book sanctioned by the parent to consider the propriety of adopting the church, in any of the congregations under system of church stationery referred to in their charge disposed to introduce it. the overture."

On the subject of the Clergy Reserves, it was A resolution was adopted on the subject agreed to express their satisfaction that the of admitting preachers and ministers of whole question of the Clergy Reserves has, other denominations, agreeing that the by the action of the Imperial Government, presbytery to whom they apply may rebeen left entirely at the disposal of the ceive them on trial till the next meeting of Provincial Legislature ; and further to de. Synod, and that their final admission shall clare that no adjustment of that question in all cases be a synodical act. can be regarded as satisfactory, which shall The Synod adjourned, to meet on the be founded on a more extended division of first Tuesday of June 1854.

Monthly Retrospect.

The "


due allowance for infidels and unbelievers

of every grade, and leaving out of the estiPresbyterian of Philadelphia mate the entire coloured population, there presents the following view of the relative would remain from eighteen to twenty strength of Protestantism and Popery in millions of Protestants. Our own branch the United States :-“The relative im- (old school) of the Presbyterian Church portance of Popery above Protestantism alone, in several respects, is ahead of them. in this country is generally much over- We bave 610 more ministers, from 200 to estimated. According to statistics pub- 300 more houses of worship, and 107 more lished by Romanists, they are far inferior clerical students—and taking into account in number to Protestants—even allowing all the branches of the Presbyterian family, them to count, as they do, their whole the Presbyterian population would form an congregations as communicants, whilst the aggregate much greater than that reported latter only reckon those who are in actual by Romanists, whilst the number of minismembership with their churches. The ters would be, perhaps, quadruple that of Roman Catholic population of this country the Romish priesthood.

Whilst present does not exceed 2,000,000, whilst, making statistics, however, show the immense dis

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »