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WHAT MIGHT BE DONE FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF EDINBURGH.
To the Editor of Lowe's Magazine.
MORNINGSIDE, December 1846. the kind of Sabbath service that should DEAR SIR,—In your last number I be provided, and how the attendance promised a few sentences on the way in upon it might be fostered and recruited which I thought that the home mission from the various seminaries in the ary work might be effectually carried on place—above all, the immense efficacy in Edinburgh—that is, by the ministers and charm which lay in the visits of a of various denominations, each assuming well-appointed, because a well-princia district, and by the aid of his own pled agency, each assuming his own church, who might furnish him with the little group of households, and convertmeans and the agency, providing as far ing it into a home-walk for all the as in them lay for its religious and edu- duties and charities of the gospel. cational wants. I farther hinted at We do hope that our Free Church the arrangement of these ministers ministers will freely and fully take part meeting by rotation in each other's in such a glorious combination. We houses, but not for the purpose of know that many of them have already control, and only for that of mutual selected their districts for the work counsel and encouragement. I would
and labour of love which we have now bave each to operate in his own sphere specified. Let all who are thus engaged with the full, the unimpaired sense, of meet together as we have ventured to an individual and independent vitality recommend, and in our town of Edin
- or would I have this feeling check- burgh we could have a miniature Evaned or overborne by the authority of any gelical Alliance. Were such to be superintending body whatever. This formed in other towns also, we might would just land us in the delays and thus have a basis of induction suffiother disadvantages of an unwieldy ciently extensive and firm, on which to committeeship, and restrain the hand rear an edifice of greater promise than of immediate action from setting forth we can at all look for from any atupon its task. Yet there were a mighty tempts which have been made hitherto. benefit in these meetings, though not There is one great benefit that would vested with any power.
The right as
ensue from such an intercommunion signation of new districts would require between the Free Church ministers and the knowledge of what had been pre
those of other denominations. They viously done, and could be easily settled might come to see from our example,
friendly deliberation. what I am persuaded they do not yet And they could compare each other's fully comprehend—the mighty advanmethods, and profit by each other's tage of a general fund. Without this, experience, and devise more effectual we should never have been able to ways for speeding onward the work; maintain our church as it came out at and in these as well as a thousand other the Disruption, and far less should we nameless respects, could mightily encou
have been able to extend it. Even as rage each other's hearts and strengthen it is, and though we have made an adeach other's hands. And many are the
dition of about two hundred regular interesting questions that would fall charges in less than four years, we have to be discussed upon such occasions not yet overtaken the supply of our the proper size and population for a own adherents, and never made any district-the immense good of a female inroad at all on the outfield territory. superadded to a general school—the Let us not then feel independent of education that would best tell on the aid from others in this great work, or domestic habits of comfort and cleanli- think that by the strength of our own nessthe adoption of sanatory ex- solitary arm we shall conjure up the pedients by the reinoval of nuisances- means for so vast an achievement as
in the course
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DONE FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF EDINBURGH. gazine.
the kind of Sabbath service that should last number I be provided, and how the attendance on the way in upon it might be fostered and recruited home mission- from the various seminaries in the ally carried on place—above all, the immense efficacy the ministers and charm which lay in the visits of a each assuming well-appointed, because a well-princiI of his own pled agency, each assuming his own him with the little group of households, and convertviding as far ing it into a home-walk for all the ous and edu- duties and charities of the gospel. er hinted at We do hope that our Free Church se ministers ministers will freely and fully take part each other's in such a glorious combination. We
purpose of know that many of them have already t of mutual selected their districts for the work it. I would and labour of love which we have now own sphere specified. Let all who are thus engaged red sense, of meet together as we have ventured to lent vitality recommend, and in our town of Edineling check- burgh we could have a miniature Evanority of any gelical Alliance. Were such to be ever. This formed in other towns also, we might
delays and thus have a basis of induction suffin unwieldy ciently extensive and firm, on which to in the hand rear an edifice of greater promise than etting forth we can at all look for from any at
re a mighty tempts which have been made hitherto. though not There is one great benefit that would 'he right as- ensue from such an intercommunion
ould require between the Free Church ministers and
They asily settled might come to see from our example, leliberation. what I am persuaded they do not yet each other's fully comprehend—the mighty advaneach other's tage of a general fund. Without this, ore effectual we should never have been able to d the work; maintain our church as it came out at ousand other the Disruption, and far less should we ghtily encou- have been able to extend it. Even as d strengthen it is, and though we have made an adnany are the dition of about two hundred regular
would fall charges in less than four years, we have occasions not yet overtaken the supply of our ilation for a own adherents, and never made any d of a female inroad at all on the outfield territory.
school--the Let us not then feel independent of t tell on the aid from others in this great work, or t and cleanli- think that by the strength of our own sanatory ex- solitary arm we shall conjure up the f nuisances- means for so vast an achievement as
out i undi latere cann st hati
"ession as et Zomer Pelea
ze of pro
the provision of schools for all, and terminable, and so a cruel arrest be laid churches for all. We should, if we on the progress of the work. What have at all the spirit of true Christian we want is unfettered activity in each patriotism, rejoice in the co-operation of the parts; and no other uniformity of all other evangelical bodies. The throughout the whole, than what will agencies of all, and the funds of all, at at length spontaneously emerge from least judging by what has yet been call experience, and persuasion, and good ed forth in our day—a day truly of sense. The authority of aught like small things—would need to be put into jurisdiction or control in this matter is requisition for many years, ere a sen- much to be deprecated; and no other sible progress can be made in raising authority should be desired or sought the great bulk and body of our people after than that which lies in the weight from the degeneracy into which they of opinion; gradually ripening into a have fallen.
common or conventional understandLet us imagine that the desire now ing, in proportion as observations are abroad for Christian union, and a desire multiplied, and the work is intellifor the Christian good of our perish- gently studied as well as steadily pering countrymen, and the disposition of severed in. Christian liberality—that all these were At the outset of such a combination, pressed together into the service of (if it shall really be entered on) one that cause which we now advocate. feels a greater difficulty in presuming Then, by a law of our nature, each of to lesson those of other denominations these affections, languid and feeble it than those of his own. We must first may be when alone, would be mightily act together for some time, ere that a strengthened and increased, in pure mutual frankness, and confidence, and virtue of their conjunct and contempor- ease shall have become universal. But aneous operation. They would lend a that is no reason why, with all fulness, as mutual excitement, would mutually sus- well as in all earnestness and simplicity, tain and aliment each other. The the ministers of the same church should success and devotedness of their mis- not freely communicate with each other. sionaries would call forth an unwonted On this principle we shall conclude munificence in the congregations that these our brief remarks, with one or employ them; and the congregations two more addressed to our brethren of of various name would, in the spirit of the Free Church of Scotland. a generous rivalship, provoke each other And first, we do fear that they are to love and to good works, so as that fast losing hold of the territorial prinaltogether we should behold an amount ciple. It is long, indeed, since the miof sacrifice and of high conception and nisters of our towns 'ever held, or at effort, which has long been unknown in least ever felt, this principle in any Christendom.
strong degree. Their main concern The system which we propose recon
and duty were with their congregaciles two advantages that very generally tions, and they sat loose to their pacome into conflict with and neutralise rishes; and, now that since the Disrupeach other. We would have each con- tion they have no parishes, there is gregation to operate apart, each select- danger lest the alienation shall speedily ing their own district and taking their become complete and irrecoverable. It own way with it. But we would have were well, therefore, that they entered the representatives of these congrega- on the work of district cultivation; and tions to meet periodically, when, we it is delightful to think that many of feel quite sure, that, as the fruit of their them are doing it. Well do we know converse, there would ensue a rapid en- that it lies not within the limits of lightenment both in the principles and human strength for them to do much methods of what might be termed the in their own persons; and that, with missionary art. Let them never think the care of their congregations, and of aiming at an authoritative uniformi- their attention to the public interests ty, else we shall be landed in motions of the church, they are in the state of and speeches and adjournments in- over-worked men—a state of exhaustion, aggravated by the extravagant ces in this great cause. But something notions of ministerial ubiquity, which more than service is wanted; although abound every where, and in virtue of it must be admitted that our chief difwhich they are plied with demands for ficulty lies in the want of service. We service from all points of the compass. find a far greater number of people In these circumstances we should expect willing to give than willing to act. little more from each of the ministers, Yet even the rate of giving must be than a monthly meeting, with an agency prodigiously elevated, ere that any called forth out of their own people, great or sensible progress can be made who have resolved that part of their in the elevation of the masses. In additime shall be consecrated to the best tion, then, to the requisite labour, we and highest interests of their fel- must try to raise the standard of Chrislow townsmen. He might call them tian liberality. Not satisfied with the forth by the power of a moral sua- rare, and what to this degenerate age sion addressed to each of them per- seem the romantic, sacrifices of the sonally ; or it were quite legitimate few, we must study to generalize the that they should be called forth by habit of giving amongst the many, and à regular sermon from the pulpit, greatly to work up the average of those and that from the text of "Put them in contributions which are made for Chrismind to be ready to every good work.” tian objects. Were the luxury of doing (Titus iii. 1.) They may be such good, but to displace some one of the works as he himself cannot put forth his innumerable luxuries of human indulhand to. For his is a higher walk- gence, it would give birth to an annual that of dealing with the hearts and the revenue far greater than has yet been eonsciences of men. His proper vo
realized in this country for all religious cation is that of study for the ministry purposes put together. When God shall of the word and prayer, and to which, be pleased to enlarge by His grace the like the apostles of old, he should give hearts of our professing Christians, we himself wholly. “Meditate on these shallthen see what a fund is in reserve for things; give thyself wholly to them; the highest designs of philanthropy and that thy profiting may appear to all.” patriotism, for truly all that has been (1 Tim. iv. 15.)
yet yielded in support of these has, geIt were well if the feeling became nerally speaking, made no sensible inmore prevalent that each man is or road on the style and expenditure of ought to be his brother's keeper; and families. that, under the sense or principle of this We should rejoice if our Free Church responsibility, a living missionary spi- congregations in Edinburgh would take rit were to seize our congregations-a these things to heart, and this under spirit that might discharge itself on the an adequate sense of the magnitude of plebeian streets, and lanes, and closes the task that we would fain put into of our city. In this direction there is their hands. Say that each of their not the glare of a distant enterprise, congregations charged itself with a pleand nothing of the excitement, or ro- beian district of from one to two thoumance, or poetical character of an ex- sand people, and with this as their ultipedition to other lands. But we are mate design, that all within its limits not sure if this homelier undertaking should be educated; and also that all do not evince a greater strength of bro- should have the ample opportunities of therhood to our species, if the roughness a Sabbath service, as well as an abunand reality of this plain work, divested dant supply of household ministrations of all those accompaniments which tell at the hands of an ecclesiastical laon the imagination, do not constitute a bourer. We believe that the failure test more decisive and unequivocal of of every former effort has arisen from our affection for human souls.
attempting too much, and with means What noble results might not be most inadequately slender. It is not looked for under the blessing of God, enough that we provide Sabbathif a whole army from our various schools, and family prayer-meetings churches were thus to offer their servi- and monthly tracts; and, in a word, by