Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

a deep and grateful sense of the privileges which they enjoy under the spiritual superintendence and fostering care of this reverend court, and feel thereby the more encouraged to submit to their paternal consideration the subject of this memorial. The public worship of the sanctuary, in the observance of which they were brought up, they devoutly respect for its venerable simplicity and its scriptural authority; the system of Psalmody they peculiarly revere as the inspiration and institution of God. Its contents have been their songs in the house of their pilgrimage: it is the fixed purpose of their minds to continue the use of them. Your memorialists, however, humbly conceive, that as it hath pleased God to consummate the revelation of grace and mercy under the new dispensation by Jesus Christ, it is suitable to their profession, as followers of God, to assimilate their spiritual songs, as much as may be, to these new discoveries of his grace and love. This they humbly apprehend may be safely done, by adding to the collection of Psalms now in public use other portions of Scripture, containing discoveries of redeeming love, descriptions of Christian duty and Christian hope, in sentiment perfectly consonant to the Scripture, and, as much as may be, in the dignified and impressive language of the Holy Ghost. Thus there will be more visible harmony between the other parts of the public worship and the Psalmody. What was the object of prayer will, when graciously bestowed, become, nearly in the same language, the theme of song. The Psalm will breathe' the New Testament spirit

of the sermon. The church will sing the song of the Lamb as well as of Moses.

“ Your memorialists, however, do not hold themselves warranted to make any alteration whatever in the doctrine, the discipline, or the worship of the church, without the knowledge and approbation, explicit or understood, of the reverend Synod; or to introduce even any scriptural songs, without first submitting them to the eye of that venerable court. It is their privilege, and they duly prize it, to enjoy a form of church order which is equally distant from spiritual domination and from popular confusion, and which is calculated to promote the unity of the church, and secure at the same time the sacred rights of individual Christians.

Your memorialists beg leave also to state, that it is not their purpose to introduce the addition referred to, unless there be a reasonable prospect of its perpetuating the peace and promoting the spiritual edification of the church, whose peace and edification will ever lie near to their hearts.

“Your memorialists are encouraged in this measure by the example of the Kirk of Scotland, in her times of distinguished reformation, and particularly by the acts of Assembly, August 28, 1647, and August 10, 1648; and by the countenance given to the same object by the Associate Synod, 1747, and also at a later period.

“May it, therefore, please this reverend court to grant permission to prepare for their inspection a collection of scriptural songs, or paraphrases, to

measi

as

be occasionally used in the public worship, in addition to the book of Psalms, if found for edification ; and your petitioners shall ever pray that a large measure of the Spirit of knowledge, wisdom, and love, may descend from on high on this reverend court, may rest on every heart, and on all the congregations committed to their spiritual care and government.---Done at Wells Street, this 11th day of April, 1811, and attested by Alexander Waugh, moderator.”

After the important and beneficial overture regarding the Psalmody had been adopted by the Synod, at their meeting in April, 1812, as he was tenderly alive to the peace and edification of the church, he embraced the earliest opportunity of making the following communication from the pulpit : ,

“ In consequence of an act of the General Assembly, there was published, in 1745, a collection of translations and paraphrases in verse of several passages of God's holy word, which was used in several churches. In 1781, the collection was revised, and by an act of Assembly allowed to be used in all the congregations of the land,

“ The Secession church viewed the matter in the same light, and by an act of Synod, in 1747, recommended to one of their brethren, the Rev. Ralph Erskine, the work of turning all the rest of the Scripture songs into metre, as the Psalms of David are, and for the same public use. .

This matter has not been lost sight of by our fathers. At their meeting in September last, they appointed a committee to prepare a suitable addition of scriptural songs, to be used in the public worship; and at their last meeting, in the present month, agreed unanimously, and without one dissenting voice, either of minister or elder, to permit the translations and paraphrases published by the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland, to be used in all the churches under their spiritual care.

“ Let it be carefully recollected, that the object of the reverend Synod is not to dispense with any part of Divine revelation, particularly the Book of Psalms, which has been so long the hallowed instrument of God the Spirit, in creating, strengthening, and regulating every devotional disposition in the heart; but merely to enlarge the means of fanning the flame of our devotion, in a suitableness to the enlargement of the discoveries of God's love to us under the new dispensation of knowledge and grace.

“ Having received their permission, the minister proposes occasionally, and as the theme of his instruction may require, to avail himself of the use of these translations and paraphrases, which he humbly hopes, and earnestly prays, the Lord the Spirit may make very useful in raising your pious desires and longings of soul to God.”

During the period from 1806 to 1815, Mr. Waugh was employed on numerous and important missionary tours, which will be more particularly noticed in the subsequent chapter. During this period also, the chapel in Wells Street, which had been previously very incommodious, was taken down and rebuilt. In reference to this event, we find the following notice, in a letter to one of his daughters :

“ I am employing myself in preparing a sermon for the opening of the kirk. The seats, by the bye, Mr. - tells me, have been let as rapidly as it could reasonably be expected. It grieves me that the advance on them should be found to bear on any worthy man whose circumstances are limited, and whose family is numerous. I hope prudent measures will be taken to alleviate the evil, and remove the complaints, which, though only in two or three instances, ought to be removed, and doubtless will. It is to the poor that the Gospel is preached, and in all churches provision should be made that the poor have opportunity of hearing its joyful sound.”

The great exertions of the congregation (consisting generally of people in moderate circumstances) on this and other occasions, and the liberal conduct of a few members whom God had blessed with temporal prosperity, and with what is far more to be prized —a willing heart to use it for worthy purposes,--deserve to be commemorated, both for their own honour and for that of their pastor, who so successfully exerted the great influence he possessed among them to excite a generous emulation in giving of their substance liberally to the service of the sanctuary, and especially to the help of their poorer brethren. Between him and them mutual

« ZurückWeiter »