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THE FIRST HUNDRED* YEARS OF PRESBYTERIANISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES.
(See'letterpress on next page.)
THE LATE REV. ALEXANDER M'EWAN, ? ?? ? ? of Mudgee. .
EBENEZER CHURCH, HAWKESBURY RIVER, BUILT IN 1809.
THE .LATE REV. A. C. GEIKIE, D.D.
of St. Stephens, Bathurst.
THE LATE REV. ADAM THOMSON,
First Principal of St. Andrew's College, Sydney.
j THE LATE REV. JOHN DUNMORE LANG, D.D.
THE LATE REV. GEO. McKIE, ' , Late Minister of Ebenezer and Pittwater. .'. 1
. . . . ? ' . 'I
'.' .. ' "I
THE LATE REV. WILLIAM GRANT,
' M.A., D.D.,
i of Shoalhaven.
THE SCOTS CHURCH, CHURCH HILL., SYDNEY.
REV. JOHN KINROSS, D.D., j
Present Principal of St. Andrew's College, Sydney.
A Hundred Years of Presby
terianism in N.8. W.
(By the Rev. Dr. Cameron, of Richmond.)
The history of Prèsbyteriahism ia New South Wales furnishes , a striking .illustration of great results flowing from small beginnings'; v-'* and bf formidable difficulties conquered by patient and ' persevering effort. - The Presbyterian Ghurch has won for herself an honorable place among uhe Churches of the colony, and we may warrantably anticipate for her a prosperous future. She has,'we belie vé, a high mission to-fulfil, and an important part to play in shaping aright the religious future of these new -lands. ' The colony 'will be-norie the worse, but all the better for having in it a vigor ous Presbyterian Church. She is the representa tive of principles which vitally affect a nation's well-being. "
More than a dozen years before there was any Presbyterian Church in Sydney, Presbyterianism had rooted there firmly in the gentle soil of the Hawkesbury River, at Portland Head, .some seven miles below Windsor. There a band of free set tlers, Presbyterians from the South of Scotland, were able, with the aid of a catechist, a good anti godly man, tb maintáin Presbyterian services in. their own simple form, years before they< received a visit from a Presbyterian minister. After some years a church was built, a 'neat stone.structure^ the first church built by voluntary contributions in Australia. The church still stands, the oldest church extant, of any denomination, and is filled from Sabbath to Sabbath with devout worship pers. In 1823, Rev. John Dunmore Lang arrived, first ordained-minister of the Presbyterian Church. A churqh was built for him, the Scots Church, which may still be seen, little changed externally, at, the top of Jamieson-street, .in Sydney. Ppr eight years he. stood alone, but as the fruit of,repeated yisits to the home country, preachers^'
teachers, and immigrants of a superior class beV' gah to flow' into the colony, andi the Church' to make rapid progress. But along with the niïhlsf tera who came from "home, there came, unfortu nately, the divisions 'which prevailed in the home land. ' These divisions caused1 no small perplexity,1' and were a source of weakness. . Ta the ecole-' siástlcal "contests which arose out bf them thë'coih batants gave evidence of a talent for the différéii-*' j; tiation of principles, and the framing of dlstinc
tions so impalpable to ordinary minds, that only
those possessed of the intellectual, acumen' -and'. I the metaphysical genius of a Scotchman : could ? properly understand them. . But we are happy I to say that the burning questions of former days ! have at length 'burnt themselves - out, i and peace : ;now- reigns: within . our bor I ders, andi peace has- brought with it a 1 gratifying prosperity. The little, one ¿has § become a thousand.. From the humble.nucleus I of Portland Head, we can now point with pride to
I over nine hundred preaching centres, all over the í colony, from Tumberumba to the Tweed River.
I In all the larger centres handsome churches and ' I manses have been erected, and of school halls I there are not a few.. , . .
I In.the matter of education, the Church, true- to??,
I The Rev. Dr. Cameron, of I , Richmond,
I TREASURER OF'THE CENTENARY FUND.
I her traditions, has exhibiteda, laudable zeal. She,
?% has cordially supported our Public School system, $ and her Sunday school machinery is so extensive .j? and so effective as to'furnish valid ground 1er he ' lieving that all, or wéllnigh all, the children be
longing to her, are being well instructed in sacred as well asîin secular knowledge. And as regards s the higher education, her colleges and academies, Z as results show, are second to none.
'i The Presbyterian Church has always stood up
for a high standard of qualification for the office I4 of the sacred ministry. A large number of her ~xl ministers hold University degrees, and of the,
/| others the major part have either received a Uni
m versify education or attained an equivalent. As
J regards the provision for the training of a native
y ministry, gratifying progress is being made in ;3 conjunction with St. Andrew's College for secur
4 ing a fully equipped Theological .Hall, with endow- . )t ments for the requisite professorships, and even ,j now very full provision exists for imparting ade ;| quote instruction in all the branches of mlnister
m ial education.
m As regards the methods employed for the main
Hj tenance of the ministry, it is obvious that no \
I'û method, however good in itself, can nullify the fl effects of bad seasons, or draw liberal gifts from Ü empty coffers, but much may be done in this
business by a wise method and a well-ordered or ganisation. The Sustentation Fund method, bor rowed from Scotland, ls the method that has been adopted by thé Presbyterian Church In this col ony. The fundamental idea of this method ls that
The Réyerend the Cbm.m1ä.sjo.i^'ör;-:
: .of the General Assembly ¡
(REv*. JOHN WALKER; OF WOOLLAHRA)^;[
of a common fund, to which all the congregations contribute. Through congregational associations appointed for the purpose, out of this central fund, ' an equal dividend is distributed in accordance with regulations which have been framed to guard against abuses, and secure an equitable disposal of tho money available. Although the Susten tation Fund, has not yielded the full measure of benefit aimed at, it has proved a great boon to our country ministers especially, securing for them prompt and regular payment of their salar ies every quarter, with a certain amount of aid beyond the amount raised by the individual cbn ! gregation.
There is an Aged and Infirm Ministers' Fund, out of .which each minister is entitled to receive \ £100 per annum when compelled by age or infir mity tc retire from active service. There is a'so a Widows and Orphans' Fund, from which a fair amount of aid is obtainable by those who, through death, have been brought into that condition.
While, by her Home'Mission, the Church has been putting forth vigorous efforts to overtake the spiritual wants of those within her borders, she has not been unmindful of those at a distance. In the New Hebrides Islands, in India, amongst the aboriginals of Northern Queensland, and1 in China she is maintaining missionary operations, and en deavoring to do her part in extending the Klng . dom of Christ among the heathen. Through dona
tions and bequests from liberal friends, who have passed away, rthe Church ls now m possession of a considerable amount of invested funds, and these have proved of great service to the church in carry ing on hèr important work. '
Thankful for what our Head on high has enabl ed us as a Church to become and to do in the cen tury which, we may now 'Speak bf as past,' we are looking forward to our entrance on a~new century with interest, with expectation, and with high resolve. If the past century has been fitly de signated the "Wonderful Century" (if it has been indeed wonderful In its discoveries, its inventions, in the triumphs of science, in the mastery of mind over matter,.in the development of higher spiri tual forces, and in the conquests won by the King dom of our-Lord), may we not warrantably believe that the new ceùtury will prove to be more won derful still-that it will bring with It achieve ments alike In the material and the spiritual sphere still more striking, and triumphs and grace still more wonderful than any we have yet seen, or even imagined. And in view bf the possibi lities inherent in the new century, it well be comes us to be Inquiring and considering, what we can do-what service, as a Church, we can render to make the .new century more wonderful than any that haye gone before. That we are/think ing of great 'things, and are girding ourse-ves for high endeavors ls manifest. In prpof of this, we need but to mention the fact that we have already entered on the campáign for raising one hundred thousand\ guineas for enabling us to make a be fittihg start in the century that lies before us. -Thb sum may seem large, but it may be that the very magnitude of it will prove the best guaran tee of its'success, andi every penny asked is urgent ly needed1. If we want our people to do great things for us, we must show that we have faith In them-If we would have God do great things for us, we must show ithat we trust Him. Tihe success of the Centenary Thanksgiving Fund will mean reinvigoration and greatly enlarged in fluence for the Church for long years to come.
The Presbyterianism which we seek to plant firmly on these new lands is not a new and untried system. It goes back through the ages to the days of the apostles, and is drawn from the writ ing they have left for our guidance. Though old, 'tis ever new, possessing a remarkable capacity for adapting itself bo the ever changing exigencies of the times. The genius of' Presbyterianism admirably adapts it to the circumstances of a new land like this, with: its fresh, young life, and its love of liberty and of popular rights. It may be said to be a democratic system in the best sense. The vox populi has ample place and p'ay in it; and to the sanctified intelligence of our peo ple we trust tb giiard against popular excesses^.
In Canada, Presbyterianism has won for itself a leading'place. In the United States there is no .Church more influential than the Presbyterian, . and BO let our atm be, and our fervent prayer be,
.that God would ,enable "us to make Ahe Church of
our fathers'a mighty power for good in these Aus- .: frailan lands;v which God has given us for our heritage. " . : -.. :': ¡< '"' ' ':.:'