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PRESBYTERIAN SYNOD., Issue 8051, 30 October 1889
The Synod resumed at seven o'clock last night under the chairmanship of the Very Rev. the Modorator, and there was a large attendance of members. DECLARATORY ACT. Mr Adams moved—" That the minutes of Committee on the Declaratory Act relative to the Confession of Faith be printed and circulated with the report among members of the Synod." He considered he was justified in moving in this direction, as the Committee in question had been asked to do a most important work, and the value of the report of a committee depended entirely upon who were present at its meetings. It was suggested that the minutes should merely be read instead of expense being incurred by their publication, and the motion was adopted in this form. STATE OF RELIGION. ; The Rev. R. R. M. Sutherland, convener of the Committeo appointed to report upon the state of religion throughout the country, brought up an exhaustive report, concluding with the following:—Your Committee beg respectfully to submit the following as things urgently needed by tho great body of the church's members : 1. A clearer and fuller apprehension of the nature and mission of the church. 2 A fuller and more living knowledge or tuc duties and responsibilities implied in church membership. . 3 A better understanding of the nature of a Christian home, and of the duties and responsibilities of Christian parents. 4. A higher idea of what it means to bear the name of Christ and profess discipleship. 5. Most of all, that every member of the church should be "filled with the Holy Ghost (Aots ii., 4; iv., 31). The following suggestions are made for approval and adoption : 1. That ministers be recommended to give special attention and prominence in their teaching to the matters mentioned above. 2. That the Synod appoint the week 0 f for special humiliation and prayer all over the chuich for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 3. That the Synod appoint evangelistic deputies to do work under the direction of this Committee, the pulpits of ministers, when so engaged, to be supplied as far as possible by ministers who arc on the aged and infirm ministers'fund. 4. That ministers be instructed to preach on Sabbath observance. 5. That evangelistic services be held as widely r.s possible during the year. In laying the report on the table, the Rev, Mr Sutherland emphasised the supreme importance of the matter with which the report dealt, and expressed regret that it was not of a more favorable nature. It was, however, a fair representation of the true state of thing-', and as such was submitted by the Committee. The Rev. Mr Kirkland thought there was not really much to be lamented over in the indications in the report of want of spiritual life, for very much of that life moved unseen, and could not be measured nor dealt with in a report of this kind. Referring to the visit of himself and the convener to the goldfields, he alluded to the isolation of those congregations, and the important results that might be obtained from periodical visits of such a kind. He moved the following deliverance :
Adopt the report, record the thanks of the Synod, especially to the convener; rejoice in the amount of interest manifested in spiritual thing?, and in the hopeful indications of im provement in the near future; notice with satisfaction the increase in the attendance at the ordinary services of the Sabbath, and that the various agencies by which the church carries on her work may be said to be well and fully organised tkroughout the bounds ; lament the lack of due attention to family worship and to tho religious up-bringing of the young; further, the Synod call the attention of ministers and office-bearers and members to the urgent necessity for discountenancing by any means at their disposal every hindrance to the prosperity of vital godliness; recommend the obtervance of a week of prayer, and agree to appoindeputies to receive the report and suggestions cf the Committee, and remit them to ministers and sessions to give effect to them. Mr D. Wrigiit seconded the motion, and spoke in favor of taking a hopeful view of the state of religion, saying that it was impossible to gauge the true state of things from any returns sent in. With regard to a statement that had been made that the working men of the country did not attend Sabbath worship, he was proud to state that in his experience such was not the case: and that the working men, who wcro the bickbone of the country, were, as a body, regular attendants at church. The Rev. Dr Stcakt, referring to the fact that Knox Church was mentioned as having omitted to send in a report, explained that a report had been made out but had gone astray in some unaccountable manner. That church was by no means behindhand in work, in fact the congregation were to be congratulated on the spiritual energy of its members and elders; and on the work done by its various religious and benevolent associations. With regard to the general position of the church throughout the country, he was of opinion that no church had more spiritual life or energy. Mr W. Hutchison combatted the statement made by Mr Wright as to the attendance at church of the workiDg men. His own experience was that they turned their backs upon the church, and this was to be explained by the fact that the church showed indifference towards them. Mr E. B. Cargill took exception to the amount of verbiage in the report, which rendered it in some parts contradictory. The report also contained platitudes which were valueless in the direction of practical bearing on the evils that had to be dealt with by the church. He regretted having to deal with the report in this critical way, but he really thought the contradictory parts should be deleted.
Mr A. C. Begg attributed a great deal of what waa deplored in the report to ignorance of Scripture. The Rev. Mr Borrie regarded the paragraph in the report alluding to a meeting of railway employes on Sabbath as being invidious, as very much higher officials of the Civil Service held meetings on Sabbath for the discussion of public business. He moved that the words referred to be struck out.
This was seconded by the Rev, Mr Ciiisholm, and carried after a short discission.
Mr Adam drew attention to the reference to family prayer, and advocated the adoption of a form of prayer. He pointed out that the Episcopalians had an advantage over the Presbyterians in having a beautiful book of prayer, and he suggested the formation of a committee to deal with the matter. The deliverance having, after some further discussion, been adopted, a committee was appointed to report at a future sederunt as to the week of prayer and appointment of deputies. welcome to the governor.
Mr E. B. Cahgill said that on all preTious occasions when a Governor had visited the bounds of the Synod for the first time he had been formally welcomed by the Synod; he moved, therefore, that a loyal address be drawn up for presentation to
Hia Excellency on his approaching visit. _ The motion was carried by acclamation, and the following were appointed a committee to draw up the address: The moderator, the clerk of Synod, the Rev. Dr Stuart, Messrs W. D. Stewart, R. A. LawsoD, and B. B, Cargill. The Synod adjourned at 10.30 p.m.
PRESBYTERIAN SYNOD., Issue 8051, 30 October 1889
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