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GLASGOW.-SALISBURY STREET CONGREGATIONAL ANNUAL REPORT. Ordinary Congregational Purposes, £355 ; Synod Schemes, £77; Dorcas Society, £5; Sabbath School, £5; Poor, £5 ; “Dayspring” boxes, £25. Total, £474: 6:7. In 1867, £400 : 3: 4. Increase on 1868, £74: 3:3.
Home Mission. In addition to the usual services on the Sabbath evening, the Home Missionary, Mr Clow, has, since August last, conducted a meeting in a school-room at the head of Abbotsford Place every Sabbath forenoon. The average attendance has been about 40, and the collection 2s. 2d., which has more than paid the rent of the room. Mr Clow reports,-
“ The work every week is very much the same, and the individuals who compose bis field of labour are, many of them, those who have occupied it in former years; having the same tendencies, and as little thrift, and as little thought, that one is apt to regard them as almost in a hopeless, as they are already in a helpless condition. Some of those whom one visits are remarkable for their readiness in promising to begin a better life, but equally remarkable for their tardiness in performing. None are convinced that their present life is what they would like were they to die to-day; but they are hoping it may be better, and so postponing. Some will move if one is ever pushing them on; they will come to a meeting if you call and insist on their attendance-out of deference they will comply; but they seem to think, when they have come once, that they have done all they are asked to do, and so may not be expected except again visited, and again insisted on. But to be always pushing an individual thus on, and never to have the satisfaction of seeing him take a single step heavenwards himself, is a most painful task, for which but few, if any, are equal; but even this constant urging, though continued, comes by-and-by to be utterly ineffective. There is a kind of migratory class who are constantly changing their abode; and when one finds them they are so sweet and so plausible, that he imagines he has met with material that is pliant and capable of being moulded to something better than it is; but by-and-by he discovers that his hopes have been vain, for in a week or two they are gone, their next-door neighbours cannot tell where.
During the past year death has been busy in many of the homes I have visited, and individuals have been removed when one might have thought, by the professions they made and the regrets they expressed, that had they been spared a little longer on earth they would have lived better. But all who were at death's door, and were anxious about their souls, and desirous to be prayed for, have not died; and with some who have recovered, spared life does not seem to be treated as a space for repentance, but as a time for sin. It is only of a few I can speak with any measure of satisfaction: they have been brought into communion with the Church, or to attend it with a degree of regularity; but they have rather been those our instrumentality prevented from lapsing, than restored from a lapsed or degraded condition.”
In Penny Bank, the transactions have been 5222; amount deposited, £122 ; repaid, £112; transferred, £16; balance in bank, £71. New depositors, 306.
Sabbath School.–Scholars on roll, 355; teachers, 43 ; books in library, 157. In October last a branch mission school was started in Port Eglington. The attendance has been highly encouraging. Scholars on roll, 110. Teachers, 16.
PORT-GLASGOW. ANNUAL REPORT. Amount raised for Congregational Purposes, including balance of £26 from last year, £180; Schemes of Church, £22; Sabbath School, £10; Poor, £13. Total, £227 : 3:31.
PORT-GLASGOW.--PRESENTATION TO MR ALEXANDER BAIRD.
On the 230 March, at a social meeting, in the Odd-Fellows' Hall, of the Bible and Sacred Music Classes connected with the congregation, Mr Matthew Guy, in the name of the Bible Class, presented Mr Alexander Baird with Stier's “ Words of Jesus," in 9 vols., in token of their appreciation of his labours among them.
GLASGOW.-WEST CAMPBELL STREET-COLLECTION, AND NEW VESTRY. On the occasion of the induction of Rev. D. Taylor, on March 21st, the collection amounted to £101. During the vacancy the church has been cleaned and painted, and a commodious vestry has been built in the court behind.
BIRKENHEAD.-ST ANDREWS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CONWAY STREET. The Rev. A. M. Symington, in sending us the obituary notice of Mr John Douglas, has kindly forwarded us, at our request, the Annual Report of St Andrews Presbyterian Congregation, Birkenhead. The report is a model of succinctness and brevity. The membership is 400; Contributions for Synod Missions, £64; Local Home Missions, £59. Total income, including a balance of £67 from preceding year, £857: 18s.
DARVEL.-SOIREE OF BIBLE CLASS.
On the 3d ult. the Rev. M. G. Easton's weekly Bible Class (about 60 in number), together with a number of those who had in previous years been connected with it, held their usual annual soiree—the Rev. M. G. Easton in the chair. Mr Robert Brown addressed the meeting on “Social Intercourse, its advantages and dangers ;” Mr George Stirling gave a retrospective review of certain periods of Church history which had been brought under the notice of the class ; Mr Hugh Lawson spoke on “ The importance of seeking the acquisition of knowledge;" and Mr Hugh Young, on “The value of wisdom, in its relation at once to this life and that which is to come.”
KILMARNOCK. - PRESENTATION TO REV. T. RAMAGE,
On the 19th ult. the Bible Class presented Rev. T. Ramage with a writing-desk, and Mrs Ramage with a pencil-case.
DOUGLAS-WATER. — PRESENTATION TO REV. J. NAISMITH. On the 8th ult. the Bible Class presented Rev. James Naismith with a silver bread-basket.
THE MISSION BOXES. With the new wrappers for the Mission Boxes, a small book of 16 pages in a neat cover, embellished with a frontispiece of the
Dayspring” and a useful map of the New Hebrides, has been issued to the collectors. It contains an account of the “ Dayspring,” and the most interesting parts of the Journal of Mr Inglis' Voyage in the “Dayspring,” that appeared at length in our February, March, and April numbers.
MEETING OF SYNOD. The Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church meets in Glasgow, in Great Hamilton Street Church, on Monday, 3d inst., at seven o'clock P.M., when a sermon will be preached by the retiring moderator, Rev. C. N. M'Caig, Lochgilphead.
SYNOD BREAKFAST. The Synod Breakfast will be held in the Tontine Hotel, Trongate, on Wednesday morning, 5th inst., at eight o'clock. Members and friends of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are invited to attend.
Printed by CHARLES Gibson, at his Printing Office, 18 Thistle Street, and Published by
JOHNSTONE, HUNTER, & Co., at their Warehouse, 2 Melbourne Place, Edinburgh.
The Meeting of Synod had a larger amount of business to transact than has usually fallen to it for the last few years. Its Sederunts extended from Monday evening, May 3, to the evening of the following Friday. The Moderator's chair was fitly occupied by Rev. William Symington, of Glasgow. The Reports submitted were, generally speaking, of a cheering character. First in order came
THE TRIENNIAL VISITATION BY PRESBYTERIES.—This ancient practice was revived by the Synod more than twenty years ago, and has been followed by the best effects. Its primary object is, to gain an exact knowledge of the state of the congregations throughout the Church, and the result, in very many cases, has been, to lead to increased exertion, and to more fervent prayer to the Head of the Church that He would guide to new service, and bless more abundantly the means of grace we all so largely possess. The three leading Presbyterian denominations in the country have each, during late years, been making great efforts to extend their territories and influence. We cherish no jealousy towards them, for, so far as we know, they have been acting simply in the way of duty; nay, we wish them God speed in every good work. But their efforts make it all the more difficult in us, comparatively a small society, to hold our ground. The Reports, however, taken as a whole, showed no decline. Two congregations in country districts had been dissolved, and for natural enough causes; but, over the Church, the attendance on ordinances had not lessened, pecuniary liabilities had been met, and the interest in Missions had been increasing rather
than diminishing. It was with reason, therefore, that the Synod agreed to put on record its gratitude for the prosperity, spiritual and temporal, which the triennial visitation had so fully shown.
The Report of the Committee on the FORMULAS FOR THE ADMISSION OF OFFICE-BEARERS called forth some discussion. This was only what was due to the importance of the subject. It was agreed to send down the document in Overture to Sessions and Presbyteries. It has long been a general feeling, throughout the intelligent members of the Church, that the formulas at ordination call for revision and condensation, in order to be suitable to the needs of the present age. The formula at the ordination of an elder is needlessly different from that of a minister. Each formula contains something that ought to be in the other. Thus, the third question at the ordination of a ruling elder, "Are you persuaded that the Lord
“ Jesus Christ, the alone King of His Church, hath appointed a particular form of government to take place therein, distinct from civil government, and not subordinate to the same?”—a question in substance contained in the formula of the first Seceders—is not found in that of the ordination of ministers at all. The question regarding the motives for entering on office is much more safely and becomingly stated in the elders' formula—Quest. 8—“ Are not zeal for the glory of God, love to our Lord Jesus Christ, and desire of being instrumental in the edification of His body the Church, your great motives in entering into this office, and not any selfish considerations whatsoever?"—than in the corresponding question in the ministers'-Quest. 12—" Are you willing to take part in this ministry with us, and that not out of ambition, covetousness, or any other carnal design, but out of an entire regard to the glory of God, and the salvation of souls ?” We are no admirers of Independency. We believe it to be without warrant, either in Scripture or in the practice of the early Church, and, unless where it takes a leaf out of Presbytery, and establishes a Congregational Union, that its tendency is to anarchy or to tyranny. But, notwithstanding our preference of Presbyterianism as the Scriptural form, it is going too far to class, as in Question 7th, at the ordination of ministers, Independency alongside of Popery and Arianism. Then, too, the distinctive principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church are stated in a form, it may be, adapted for the middle of last century, but not for this. Indeed, it is the Judicial Act and Testimony of 1761, and not the Testimony of 1842, that is referred to. And there is no question that brings out, apart from human documents, our distinctive position as a Church, as testifying to our Lord's moral dominion over the nations, and to the supremacy of His law
in Church and State. It is not desirable, causelessly, to alter the
. language of documents that occupy so high a place in our Church procedure as our Formulas. But we have abundant cause. And our Formulas were evidently hastily compiled, and mainly out of the forms enjoined by the General Assembly in 1711, as well as those of the Associate Presbytery, while the 13th Quest., respecting ministerial duties, is very like a production of the elder Fairley, so that there need be no scruple in endeavouring to restate the truths, and the duties they set forth, in language suitable to modern modes of thought and action. Two objects were evidently before the minds of the compilers of our Formulas. They wished both to bind the office-bearers to the maintenance of truth, and to hold
before the assembled congregation-on such occasions often very largetruth that they, too, would do well to receive and uphold. These objects are still worthy of attention, and, doubtless, will be before the mind of the Presbyteries and Sessions when called to decide upon the overture.
The UNION Report occupied the Synod for a large part of two sederunts. Not that there was really any diversity of opinion, calling for much speaking ere it could be cleared away, but the interests at stake demanded that a document so important should not be passed over in silence. For six years have the members of the Joint-Committee been engaged in comparing each others modes of stating the doctrine of the Westminster Confession, and in examining into the working of each others Churches. They have satisfied themselves that their respective Churches are one in doctrine, and that the only point of difference is in regard to the application of a principle which they hold in common. They agree that the civil ruler is bound to regulate his official.conduct by the law of Christ revealed in Scripture. But the one holds that circumstances may arise in which the Church may accept money aid from the State, while the other affirms that there are no such circumstances,—that the Church is ever bound to support itself out of its own resources. All the negotiating Churches, however, now support themselves out of their own resources, and with a liberality that has drawn. forth the admiration of Christendom. All the Churches are capable of doing more than they have done, much as that has been--none of the Churches would accept State aid were it now offered them; and all regard the national maintenance of the present Established Churches as gross injustice to the rest of the community. The difference between the Churches is, therefore, very narrow indeed.
The Report is in two sections. The first is that of our own