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WILLIAM DINWIDDIE, ESQ.
FATHER OF THE SESSION OF THE NATIONAL SCOTCH CHURCII;
WILLIAM HAMILTON, ESQ.
NATIONAL SCOTCH CHURCH;
TO THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE SESSION AND
My dearly beloved Brethren,
Though equally bound to you all, by the ties of the pastoral care, and gratitude for your zealous co-operation in the work of building up a church in this city, I have selected these two names from among your number, not only for the superabundance of their labours, acknowledged of all, but more especially for the part which they had, under Divine Providence, in my coming to this great city, to take the charge of your souls and the souls of the other members of the church. In acknowledging my gratitude to you all,
and especially to these two men, I am acknowledging my obligations, and the obligations of the church under my pastoral care, to the Providence of God, which hath made you the instruments of our edification and comfort in the Lord. And having offered this volume as my contribution to the good work in which you labour, to whom could I dedicate it so well, as to the men upon whose shoulders the burden, both temporal and spiritual, resteth ? Now, forasmuch as we have endured together much grievous misrepresentation of our enemies, for these six years, I count it good to put upon record in this place, and under the sanction of those to whom the truth of what I am to state is so well known, certain facts connected with my coming to this city ; because, I think, they form another testimony to God's faithfulness, and another encouragement for all devoted ministers, and for all dispersed flocks, to put their trust in the great Head of the Church.
The Caledonian Church had been placed under the pastoral care of two worthy ministers, who were successively called to parochial charges in the Church of Scotland; and by their removal, and for want of a stated ministry, it was reduced to great and almost hopeless straits. But faith hopeth against hope, und, when it does so, never faileth to be rewarded. This was proved in the case of those
two men, whose names I have singled out from your number, to give them that honour to which they are entitled in the face of the congregation. Having heard, through a friend of theirs, and now also of mine, but at that time unknown to me, of my unworthy labours in Glasgow, as Assistant to the Rev. Dr. Chalmers, they commissioned him to speak to me concerning their vacant church, and not to hide from me its present distress. Well do I remember the morning, when, as I sat in my lonely apartment, meditating the uncertainties of a preacher's calling, and revolving in my mind purposes of missionary work, this stranger stepped in upon my musing, and opened to me the commission with which he had been charged. The answer which I made to him, with which also I opened my correspondence with the brethren whose names are mentioned above, was to this effect :
“ If the times permitted, and your necessities required, that I should not only preach the Gospel without being burdensome to you, but also by the labour of my hands minister to your wants, this would I esteem a inore honourable degree than to be Archbishop of Canterbury.” And such as the beginning was, was also the continuance and the ending of this negociation. The merchant shepherds, the hireling pastors of this day, taunted me and scorned me, when I laid down the spirit of the Apostolic Missionary; but they knew not, in the multitude of their uncharitable speeches, that I learned it in my own experience, and had proved it all in my own person. From the day that I receive ed my commission to preach the Gospel, I have never bargained for a hire, nor have I ever sought a bond. The generosity of God's people hath supplied all my wants, and enabled me to minister to the wants of others. Since the days of the Apostles, and in their days, there never was joined between pastor and people a union upon more disinterested principles; as I believe, likewise, there are few which have been productive of more abundant love and consolation on every hand. · While I make these statements in justification of God's providence, in honour of Christ's headship of the church, and in refutation of my most calumnious enemies--who, God forgive them! under the guise of religious publications, do poison the ear of simple and honest-hearted people with all manner of falsehood, malice, and evil-speaking-I do feel within myself that i was a very unworthy minister, and Il furnished for my high calling, when I first set foot in this metropolis of the kingdom. I desire to humble myself before the Lord, upon every remembrance of his goodness; and I wish that youl, and all my people, should look upon me as a frail and sinful man, and give unto God the glory of all the benefits which
receive through such an unworthy instrument.
Being in such a spirit towards one another, the preliminaries were soon arranged ; indeed, I
may say needed no arrangement; and I came up on the day before the Christmas of 182), to make trial and proof of my gifts before the remnant of the congregation which still held together. Wherewith beingsatisfied, I took my journey homewards, waiting the good pleasure of the great Head of the church. Many were the difficulties and obstacles which Satan threw in the way, and which threatened hard to defeat altogether our desire and our purpose of being united in one. Amongst others, one, which would have deterred many men, was my inability to preach in the Gaelic language, of which I knew not a single word; but, such was the steadiness of purpose with which I desired to preach the Gospel in London, and to be your Pastor, that this impediment cost me not a thought, and I resolved forthwith to domesticate myself in the Highlands, and master their ancient tongue. God, having proved our willingness, was pleased to remove this obstacle out of the way. And another obstacle to my ordination, arising out of the rule of the Scottish Church not to ordain without an assurance on the part of the people calling the Minister to give him a livelihood,