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They are anxious, therefore, that care should be taken not to elevate the Questions into that place of authority which would result if they were sent down to Presbyteries and Sessions for approval. The purposes designed in the preparation of the Questions would (as it seems to your Committee) be sufficiently served, if Synod—in the event of its approving of them—would simply express approval, and issue them with a recommendation to Sessions to employ them in the admission of applicants into the full communion of the Church.
But although anxious not to add another document to the Standards of the Church, your Committee think it right, in conclusion, to express the conviction which they hold, that some such Series of Questions as that now submitted is exceedingly to be desired. On the one hand, it is of great importance that persons entering the full communion of the Church should, in a formal way, profess their faith in Christ, and obedience to Him; that they should promise submission to those who are to have the oversight over them in the Lord; and should indicate their acceptance of those views of truth and Church order which are held in the Church, so far as this can reasonably be required from all applicants. And, on the other hand, it is highly expedient that the Questions put in such solemn circumstances should be provided by the Synod itself, so that applicants may have some protection against modes of procedure to which they may be exposed, where the mode of eliciting the requisite profession is left to be decided on by every minister and session for themselves.
LETTER FROM MRS INGLIS.
ROOFING THE INSTITUTION HOUSE-ADDRESSES BY WILLIAMU AND ONE OF
THE NATIVE TEACHERS.
[MRS Kay has kindly forwarded us the following Letter and deeply interesting Addresses :-)
ANEITYUM, Oct. 28th, 1868. MY DEAR MRS KAY,- We are both well, and busy making all things as straight as possible to leave with the natives. We expect to leave this island in about three weeks. Mr Inglis has had a letter from Dr Burns, wishing us to be there early in January, so that he might be present at their meeting of Synod. Dr Burns has given us a very kind invitation to make his house our home while in Otago. We value this the more, as we are perfect strangers there.
We had the people, last week, roofing the institution. All the women were employed, two or three days, gathering and sewing the sugar-cape leaf; and all the men, or nearly so, on this side of the island, were at the putting of it on; they took off the old roof and put on the new in two days. They wrought so pleasantly at it, that it did one good to see their blythe faces; and a number of women came yesterday to clear all the rubbish away. They look upon the church and institution as more especially their own houses.
With very kind regards to yourself, Mr Kay, and the dear children,- I remain, etc.
P.S.-Nov. 16th.— Yesterday, Mr Inglis was away preaching at one of the out-stations, about seven miles distant, and the services here were conducted by the elders and teachers. Williamu had charge of the first service, and gave a very good address. He was urging them, very earnestly, to prepare for death, and went on to say,—“Nobody lived long on this island.
We cannot keep away death. The missionary cannot keep away death. It is in the ground, and we cannot keep it from rising; and the ships that come here bring those diseases that have killed so many of us; but we cannot stop them in the sea, and keep them away from our shores. But, if we are prepared for death, it does not matter to us when it
It is true we are all Christians as to our bodies, but what good will that do us if we are hypocrites in our hearts. We are but a few people on this island, but many of us are hypocrites in our hearts. I went to Britain with the missionary. I saw what the land and the people are there. This island, what is it? It is nothing—it is just like one's hand; but Britain, it is just like the great ocean—it has no bounds; and the people are so many, they are like the sand on the sea-shore for multitude; but they are all good-none of them are bad; they have not two kinds of Christians there as we have here; they are all one in beart; they are all one in conduct. I did not see one bad person all the time I was there. Their conduct is all good—just like that of the angels in heaven." (!!!) This last comparison you will certainly look upon as a piece of oriental hyperbole. But it was accepted here as literally true. The church was well attended, and the services very well conducted.
The second service was conducted by Nalvatimi, one of our teachers, who also gave a very good address.
He began by saying --" Long ago a man of this island went to the missionary to ask to be allowed to go to Tanna in the 'John Knox,' and said that he could speak Tannese, and would help the teachers to speak to the people. The missionary believed him, and allowed him to go. On the next Sabbath-day, when the teachers went to speak to the people of the different villages, this man went with them; and when they had spoken, and asked him to speak, he stood up, but his speech was very short. He simply said, “Men of Tanna, men of Tanna, the Word of Jehovah is true,' and he sat down. At the next village he said the same words, and the same at every village. Now, I am like that man, my words will be very few. I will read you a verse in 2 Cor. i. 22, “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.' A number of you have lately got the seal of baptism in your bodies, but have you got the seal of the Holy Spirit in your hearts? If you
have not, the other will do you no good. When God made the world, He did not first make it and then think about it. No, He first thought about it, and then He planned it, and then He made it. He first made the earth and the sea, He then made the grass and the fruits, and then He made the fishes, and the birds, and the beasts; and then, when He had made. these, and there was plenty of food, He made man, and He saw that everything was good,
When the missionary made this church, he did not begin to make it without first thinking, and then marking and fixing the size and the shape. He first got us to clear the ground, and then he measured and marked the length, and the breadth, and the height, and then we made it as he marked it, and it was a good church. Some of you came seeking the seal of baptism, but the missionary and the elders and the deacons said, No, you cannot get it just now, you must wait a little till we see what your conduct is. But you go away, and you shake your heads, and are angry at them, and say, No, we will not come back to seek it any more. This is not good conduct. You want first to be marked as God's people, and then you will think what sort of people you will be. This is beginning at the wrong end. Think first what a Christian should be. Pray to God to teach you, and seal your hearts by His Holy Spirit, and then come and seek to have the mark of God's children on your bodies, and do not behave in this foolish way." J. I.
PRESBYTERIANISM IN VICTORIA AND OTAGO AND
SOUTHLAND. [WE have taken this account of two of the Churches in Australasia, associated with us in the New Hebrides Mission, from “The Presbyterian Calender of Australasia,” noticed in our May number.]
“The late Rev. James Clow was the first Presbyterian minister in the district of Port Philip, now the colony of Victoria. The River Yarra was first entered by a white man in August 1835, and the first land sale took place in Melbourne in June 1837. Mr Clow, a retired Indian chaplain, arrived within the same year, and at once began to preach the Gospel and to gather the elements of a Presbyterian congregation. Mr Clow survived till 1861, without, however, becoming the pastor of a fixed charge. The first minister of a settled charge was the late Rev. James Forbes, who came to the colony in 1838, and died in 1851. He was subsequently followed by the late Rev. Andrew Love and others, from the Church of Scotland.
“The Presbytery of Melbourne first met on the 1st of June 1842.
“The influence of the Scottish Disruption was felt in due time in Australia ; and in 1846 the Rev. James Forbes went with the Free Church movement. In a few years a Free Church Synod was formed, which grew into considerable proportions. In 1847 the Rev. A. M. Ramsay, representing the U. P. section of the Presbyterian denomination, arrived in Melbourne, and he, also, was soon followed by other brethren from the same branch of the Presbyterian body.
“So rapidly did the colony develop after the great gold discoveries in 1851, that in 1859 there were about 60 Presbyterian ministers labouring in the colony. On the 7th of April of that year 53 of these brethren, representing almost all the sections of the Presbyterian Church holding the Westminster Standards, met in Melbourne, and, with the representative elders of their various congregations, constituted the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria—an Act of the Colonial Legislature having been previously obtained to give civil effect to the union. The following is the basis of union of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria :
"1. The Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, the Form of Preshyterial Church Government, the Directory for Public Worship, and the Second Book of Discipline, are the Standards and Formularies of this Church.
“2. Inasmuch as there is a difference of opinion in regard to the doctrines contained in these Standards, relative to the power and duty of the civil magistrate in matters of religion, the office-bearers of this Church, in subscribing these Standards and Formularies, are not to be held as countenancing any persecuting or intolerant principles, or as professing any views in reference to the power and duty of the civil magistrate, inconsistent with the liberty of personal conscience or the right of private judgment.
"3. This Church asserts for itself a separate and independent character and position as a Church; possesses supreme jurisdiction over its subordinate judicatories, congregations, and people; and will receive all ministers and preachers from other Presbyterian Churches, applying for admission, on an equal footing, who shall thereupon become subject to its jurisdiction alone.
The properties of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria consist of the various Presbyterian churches, manses, and schools throughout the colony, with the Scotch College (Melbourne), the sites on which the properties are erected, and several glebe lands throughout the colony. There are 171 churches, capable of containing 33,000 worshippers, with 85 manses and 78 schools. There are connected with the Church 200 Sabbath schools, taught by 1110 teachers, and attended by 12,000 children. The properties of the Church are generally built on Government sites, and have been erected at a cost of about £300,000. The revenue of the Church for the year 1868 was £70,000.”
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF OTAGO AND SOUTHLAND. “ The Settlement of Otago was founded by an association of gentlemen in connection with the Free Church of Scotland, and the first party of settlers were accompanied by the Rev. Thomas Burns as their pastor. Their landing took place early in 1848, and from that time until last year this Father of the Church ministered to the First Church Congregation, Dunedin. He is still senior pastor of the church, but has retired from active work. In 1854, the Revs. Wm. Hill and Wm. Bannerman arrived, and immediately thereafter the Presbytery of Otago was constituted. The next additions were in 1858 of one minister, then two in 1860, and after that the progress was more rapid, until now the number of ministers is 28. In 1861 proposals were made for a union of the Church in Otago with the Presbyterians in the other Provinces ; but after negotiations were nearly completed the arrangements were broken off; so that there are the two Presbyterian Churches in New Zealand, called respectively the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, and the Presbyterian Church of Otago and Southland. When the Church had become inconveniently large to be managed by one Presbytery, a subdivision was made in 1865 into three Presbyteries, and then, in 1866, a Synod was constituted under the name of the Synod of Otago and Southland, which is at present the highest court of the Church. This Church has followed the example of the Free Church of Scotland in reference to the support of the ministry by means of a General Sustentation Fund, out of which all receive an equal dividend; and had it not been for this fund churches could not have been planted and ministers supported in many of the districts now supplied. The equal dividend for 1867 was £213: 158. As yet no regular provision has been made for the education of a native ministry; but Presbyteries are meanwhile empowered to conduct the studies of young men within their bounds, and in this way there are at present three students under training; two in their theological, and one in his literary course. Each course extends over three years. It is expected that better provision will soon be made, as the Provincial Government are taking steps for the founding of a Uni
versity in Dunedin, and the Presbyterian Church has offered to endow at once one chair out of the funds at her disposal for that purpose.
“The total amount collected throughout the Church for all purposes during the year 1867 was £13,856 : 18: 3, exclusive of trust-funds, giving an average of rather more than £4 to each member."
REASONS IN OPPOSITION TO THE BILL FOR LEGALIS
ING MARRIAGE WITH A DECEASED WIFE'S SISTER. This Bill proposes to recognise as a legal marriage a kind of connection hitherto excluded as immoral, and still regarded in that light by the general sentiment of the community. If passed, it will seriously affect the interests of most of the Churches, and the condition of the great majority of families, altering at once the recognised position and relations of brothers-inlaw and sisters-in-law wherever they exist. It is especially submitted that, while no man's conscience is or can be aggrieved by the present law, the change now proposed is in direct opposition to the Law of God, and in every way inexpedient.
I. The prohibitions of the Levitical Statute (chap. 18), following the original law, as interpreted by Christ, they twain shall be one flesh," were not intended to apply peculiarly to the Jews, but to guard domestic life in all ages from the nameless impurities of heathenism. This appears from the express references to the practices of the Egyptians and Canaanites, with which the prohibitions are introduced; and it has been justly said, that if we have not here a law of incest, no such Divine law exists at all, and there is no protection whatever, on the ground of principle, around the purity of domestic life.
II. Not only have we here a Divine law which cannot lawfully be set aside by any human authority, but the principles laid down in regard to one sex throughout the chapter are clearly applicable to the other, whilst the prohibitions include relations by marriage as well as by blood. Thus, the passage fully warrants the statement of the Westminster Confession of Faith—"The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than her own.
III. One of the express provisions is as follows :- -" Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife;" upon which it has been justly remarked, “By this same law, if it is not lawful for a man to have his brother's wife, it is not lawful for a woman to have her sister's husband --in other words, if it is not lawful for a woman to marry two brothers, it is not lawful for a man to marry two sisters." This seems clear and conclusive; and the statement (v. 18)—which refers to another matter-rightly interpreted, yields no sanction to the marriage of two sisters by one man in succession, because it must be ruled in consistency with the avowed principles of the whole passage, and not in such a way as to destroy and nullify them.
IV. The Christian Church in general, from the earliest times and downwards, has held that marriage with a deceased wife's sister is as certainly included in the general principle of the prohibitions as marriage with a wife's mother and daughter. This principle became the law of Christian nations long before it was incorporated in what is called the Canon Law. It was affirmed anew at the Reformation, and embodied with great advantage in the system of jurisprudence in these realms. It has made brothers and sisters by marriage regard each other as brothers and sisters by blood, and has thus refined and elevated the familiar love of family relations, and enabled the sister of the wife to live in the house of her husband as his own sister, to the great advantage and blessing of the whole domestic circle.