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come to anything like a thorough elucidation of texts and Bible books, the expositor would need to be a man of very varied and accurate learning. And just as we can imagine the sons of the prophets taking sweet counsel together as they perused the law of the Lord, as we can conceive them resorting to Elijah or some father in Israel when the matter was too hard for themselves, so in recent times we find that the best and happiest expounders of the Word of God have been those who, like Scott, and Cecil, and Goode came together in some "Eclectic Society;" or who, like Beza, and Marckius, and De Moor sate at the feet of some teacher mighty in the Scriptures; or who, like McCheyne and his coevals, superadded their own exegetical association to the prelections of the class-room, bringing each his several contribution to the common store, and deriving their collective inspiration from some great master in Israel. Such an abundant book is the Bible, so plain yet so profound, so open yet so inexhaustible, that he who runs may read, and he who lingers the longest and ransacks the deepest, may find something still to explore. Like an honest and homely household, who have dwelt for years on their peaceful domain, ploughing the unreluctant acres, and extracting from the friendly soil food convenient, but unaware of the mineral wealth which lies deeply buried, so, many a plain believer has in his daily chapter found the answer to the prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread;" on the surface of his Bible he has found bread of life and spiritual sustenance, all unconscious of the vein of silver underneath, or the dust of gold deeper down. It is the business of the scribe well instructed to bring out of the treasure things new and old. It is his business to till the surface and bring out of it the bread which strengtheneth man's heartthe old and familiar treasure of food; and it is also his business to penetrate beneath that surface and find the new things, the yet ungathered gems of beauty, the rich ores of thought and wisdom which the great Proprietor has hid in that field: ores such as Archer Butler, and Bishop Butler in his sermons, such as the Germans Bengel, and Stier, and Olshausen, and Tholuck have excavated and partially smelted ;-gems such as Pascal, and Vinet, and Chalmers, and Hall have polished and made conspicuous in their brilliant setting.
But in order to secure this you must have scribes "well-instructed." Everyone here has read the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Paul, and myriads of sermons have been preached on isolated texts, cart-loads of comment been published. Yet, anyone who takes up a book like Conybeare and Howson's "Life of St. Paul," and goes through with it, will carry away an impression of that magnificent missionary, which for continuity, vividness, unity, will be totally new. It may very well happen that of special texts or particular doctrines, your own anterior understanding may be more correct, but of the entire apostolic career, from the gate of Damascus to the dungeons of Nero, you cannot possibly have had a view so clear and comprehensive. And for painting that splendid panorama, no mere natural vigour could have sufficed-no mere honesty of purpose. Besides great artistic skill-great power of recalling and revivifying the past-it needed a mastery of languages ancient and modern, an exactitude topographical and antiquarian, an acquaintance with previous commentators, and a faculty of agreeable narrative and true translation such as can alone be gained by high academic culture, and such as of itself is enough to justify institutions ample and well equipped for the training of Biblical interpreters.
Then, again, revealed truth has its first principles, its key-stones, its cardinal doctrines. With these it is very needful that the teacher of religion should be thoroughly acquainted--with their extent, their import, their rela
tive bearing. Hence arises what we call Systematic Divinity, or the scheme of Christian doctrine represented in the institutes of Melancthon and Calvin and other books, which are to the theologian what the "Principia" are to the astronomer, what Blackstone is to the English lawyer.
And Christianity has its history. Every error has its history, and in that history its confutation. Every sect or party has its history, and that history is full of lessons;-the state of religion from which it started into existence, the causes which contributed to its success, the weapons with which it fought its battles and gained its victories. And vital godliness has its history, its times of prosperity and persecution, its times of supineness or activity, its times of decay and flourishing; and the story, fully told, and wisely pondered, is replete with instruction, comfort, and warning.
And revelation has its enemies,-its open assailants, its insidious underminers, and that large number who have nothing particular to say against it, except that it says so much against them, but who on that account have no warm feeling towards it, and a latent sympathy with all attempts to impeach its truth and overturn its authority. And when to these you add its unwise defenders, the rash and ridiculous champions with which every good cause is encumbered, you will allow that the sons of the prophets should be thoroughly conversant with the Christian evidence. To every man who asketh a reason of the faith that is in them, they should be able to give it, and whilst others look forth on the landscape from the high towers of Zion, or luxuriate in its palaces, they should be able to speak to its enemies in the gate, and put to flight the armies of aliens.
When all this is borne in remembrance, you will not wonder that in every enlightened Christian community there has been a great effort to establish and sustain what may be called "schools of the prophets,"-colleges for instructing and training the Church's ministry. Even in lands so new as the Western Continent, and where the demand is enormous for active labourers, the services have been spared, for this purpose, of men like Dwight and Witherspoon, like Hodge and the Alexanders, like Moses Stuart and Edward Robinson. Amongst the English Nonconformists, similar posts have been filled since the days of Doddridge down to Cornelius Winter and Edward Williams-down to Pye Smith, and George Payne, and Ebenezer Henderson, by many of their brightest lights and finest minds. And in this anxiety to secure for its ministry a preparation sound, comprehensive, and thorough, perhaps the Presbyterian Churches may claim the pre-eminence. For the Cape of Good Hope, as well as for the wilds of Canada, theological colleges have been already provided. In their deep poverty our Waldensian brethren have made good provision for their valleys; as a city set on a hill, the Evangelical School of Geneva cannot be hid; and when we trace back the annals of the Scottish Churches, established and seceding, and recal the names of Welsh and Chalmers, of Paxton and McCrie, of Lawson and Balmer, of both the Browns, grandson and grandsire, of Campbell and Gerard and Hill, of Halyburton and Rutherford, of Dickson and Boyd, of Rollock and Melville, we shall find that it was usually to the professorial chair that the men of might were promoted, and it is over the college that the fame of the respective communities culminates.
Our own college well deserves the most strenuous efforts to maintain its efficiency. Under the presidency of theologians whose praise is in all the churches, in general intelligence, in zeal, in practical qualifications, those who come forth from it show themselves equal to their coevals from any sister institution. They are hearty in the cause of the Church; and whilst they are finding increasing favour with the congregations in England, by opening
its halls to non-professional attendants, and by providing attractive instruction. for the race that is rising, the college has established for itself a new claim on our attachment and gratitude.
No doubt it will be said that many good preachers never were at college, and that many come from college who do not turn out good preachers. As Amos says of himself, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son ; but I was a herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit; and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel ;"-so some may say, "I was no probationer; I was no student of theology. I was a collier, a blacksmith, a farmer, a country squire, when the Lord took me, and sent me to preach to the people." And the blessing which attended the labours of Howel Harris in Wales, of Sam Hicks and Bill Dawson in Yorkshire, is enough to show that God's choice is not restricted to the regular ministry. Nay more, we freely grant that to certain minds and for certain purposes a college would be an injury. Had Bunyan gone to Oxford, it would have spoiled the "Pilgrim's Progress;" just as Sam Hicks and William Dawson would have been destroyed had they been translated into grammar and into English. "Their strength was in their hair-in their locks, long, shaggy, and unshorn." Had they been trimmed and civilized, they would have been weak as other men. But whilst there
are exceptional cases-whilst every large-hearted man will do homage to genius, however wild-whilst every devout man will receive in reverence God's message, however grotesque the bearer-every wise and good man will agree that, as a rule, special work needs special training, and that the noblest service deserves the highest culture. Worthy is the Lamb to receive," not only power and riches, but "wisdom ;" and colleges fulfil their most exalted function when for a time like the present they prepare the appropriate missionaries and ministers-just as learning receives its highest consecration when laid at the feet of Jesus.
Whilst for that college I ask in all confidence a continuance of the needful financial support, I should be glad to announce from among the young men of London another and a no less essential contribution-the contribution of their personal attendance with a view to the Christian ministry. That ministry, the most sacred of callings, is also the largest and most comprehensive of professions, and ought to be the most delightful and self-rewarding. If you are young, if you are strong, if you can stand a great amount of application and study, if you are frank and warm-hearted, if you have pleasure in doing good, and if you truly love the Saviour, you are sure to make a useful minister. And although you may be useful in other spheres, would you not rather try for that the very business of which is benevolence -where your continual occupation and effort would be to promote the good and repress the evil-where the end and essence of all your labours would be the diffusion of truth and love and piety?
HOME MISSIONS IN LARGE TOWNS.*
I AM happy to have the opportunity of addressing you on the subject of Home Missions among the outcasts in great cities. We have had some experience in Glasgow of the practicability of alluring this careless class to ordinances by energetic efforts put forth by missionaries, and by God's
Address delivered to members of Canning Street Church, Liverpool, on the Monday after their communion, October, 1861.
people co-operating with them. In Glasgow about 100,000 persons “forsake the assembling of themselves together," and if those who attend church would, in the spirit of Him who came to seek as well as to save that which is lost, expend some energy in visiting them and drawing them to the house of God, much good would speedily be accomplished. It was remarked by the Ettrick Shepherd, well known in the south of Scotland, that when a blind sheep appeared in a flock, some other sheep would attach itself to it, accompany it in all its movements and wanderings, and when it approached a precipice, pool, or swamp, apprise it of its danger by earnest bleatings, and never cease its cries till it was away from the scene of danger. And I have often thought that if, in like manner, each follower of the Lamb in Glasgow would keep an eye upon even one family, or individual, who may have sunk into spiritual coldness and inattention to public worship, and would resolutely warn and visit such persons in their habitations, they might soon be brought to habits of church-going, and be induced to believe in the Saviour.
We have many good people in the city of Glasgow, but we found, in organising our present missionary operations, that comparatively few of them came into contact with the ungodly masses of the community. The latter reside in streets and alleys by themselves, and unless a minister, missionary, or visiting agent enters their abodes, they meet with none but those who are as corrupt and regardless of holy things as themselves. There is much salt in Glasgow, but salt will not avert putrefaction if kept separate from the substance; it must be brought into contact with it— rubbed into it; and, in like manner, good people must mingle freely with the bad by domiciliary visitation; they must bring truth before them, expostulate with them, and that with persevering energy if they would counteract the tendencies to moral decomposition.
In organising our plans for Missions in Glasgow, we fix upon particular districts, allot parts of these to special visitors who circulate tracts, and plead with them to repair to the place of meeting on the Sabbath, and deal with their consciences about eternal realities. The visitors must be assembled, at stated intervals, with the minister or missionary, relate their varied experiences for each other's instruction and encouragement, and be addressed that they may go forth invigorated for fresh exertion. Perhaps, when they first perform their rounds over their different localities, almost all the families spoken to will promise to attend church on the subsequent Sabbath, and not one will redeem the pledge given. The visitors will be startled at this result, and the next time they traverse their districts, promises of church attendance will not be given so freely, but some will be induced to present themselves at the place of meeting.
As they prosecute their work, they will find it necessary to deal very closely and energetically with the carnal and secure individuals whose well-being they aim at. I have often thought that the procedure of Elisha, when he lay upon the dead son of the Shunamite, "putting his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and when he stretched himself upon the child till the child's flesh waxed warm," is an emblem of what pious visitors must do when they alarm dead souls with their spiritual peril, when they represent to them the dying love of Christ, infusing into them their own vital heat.
But though systematic and prayerful labours may be arduous, they will not be in vain. A lady, once connected with this congregation, and who was a member in East Gorbals, was signally useful in drawing sunken and careless families to God's house and to the Saviour. Several of those among whom she toiled gave evidence of having received converting grace years
ago, and since she left us, other members of the same families have closed with Christ. Let me mention another case connected with a different visitor. About eight years ago a man and a woman who had four children, and who were living unmarried in a densely peopled stair, were visited and brought to church. They were convinced of sin, induced to marry, and their children were baptized. The eyes of the mother were soon anointed with the eye-salve of the Spirit, she saw her ruin, and the mode of recovery through Jesus, and thankfully rested on his finished work. As year glided on after year, her perception of the evil of sin expanded, and she wondered at the miry gulf of abomination in which she had been wallowing. Five years after her conversion she fell asleep in Jesus, and often before this expressed her deepening horror at the immensity of her past guilt, and often did she express her gratitude to him who had sought her out in her abode of wretchedness and iniquity, and changed it into a dwelling of the righteous, in which is the melody of joy and health.
Another necessary part of a mission apparatus is a school at which the young shall be taught, and trained in Scripture knowledge. It must include an evening class for adults whose education has been neglected. The teachers must be men of ability and the fees must be low. At East Gorbal's Territorial School we have above 900 pupils in daily attendance, and by the intellectual and spiritual instruction imparted, it is a means of incalculable good in the district.
A savings'-bank is another indispensable institution. I have been often struck with the amount of money which is in circulation among the workingclasses, and which, if providently hoarded, would relieve them in many an exigency when depression of trade stints their means. I have heard our female teachers complain that some of their children were doing little execution in sewing on particular mornings. "Why should that be?" I said. "Because their hands are sticky." "But why," I said, "should their hands be sticky ?" "Because," said the teachers, "they have been eating too many sweetmeats." Their parents will often give them two or three pence, which are expended on confections or other means of self-indulgence. A savings'-bank receives for future emergencies sums which are spent on these and other trifles, and often in intemperance.
But after some years of successful and persevering labour, the mission station is ripe for being followed up by a mission church. Parties, though excavated from a state of heathen indifference, will not continue to attend a mission station unless they are treated exactly like those who are organised into a regular congregation. The sacrament must be dispensed among them as in long-constituted churches; they must not be treated as an inferior class, for whom a secondary system of things is sufficient. As they frequent the place of meeting a remarkable improvement is seen in their dress, their general deportment, as well as in their religious conduct; and when a church is erected for them, and presided over by a suitable pastor, others in similar circumstances crowd to it, and after the maintenance of the minister has been supplemented for some years by grants from the Home Mission and other sources, they develope into a vigorous self-supporting congregation.
I began to labour in the Church of East Gorbals when it was totally empty; there are now connected with it above 1,100 communicants, and every Sabbath there sit in it some hundreds of excavated heathens. We have employed two missionaries to labour in the surrounding districts for eight years, and in virtue of their exertions another mission station is about to be followed up by a territorial church. Our mission church has become