Speech. . . .
The following speech was delivered by Dr. Candlish following the Address by W.C.Burns in the St. George's Church on the evening immediately preceding the Monday of the Assembly upon which it was planned to secede - the Disruption.
In closing the meeting in St George's, Dr CANDLISH said,
"I have to request that on the conclusion of this meeting,
those who take an interest in the St George's Indian Missionary Association,
remain to pass a resolution which the office-bearers of our society have put
into my hands. It is to the effect that the St George's Association be this
night dissolved. It is evident, brethren, that the dissolution of an
Association like this, must remind every one of the winding up, now nigh at
hand, of many other similar associations; nay, that it is the immediate fore
runner of the breaking up of this congregation in its present connection. It is
a thought as solemn as it is difficult to realise, that this night we are on
the very eve of an event which is to bring about so many momentous
consequences, and the sounding of which will be heard more or less distinctly
to the utmost bounds of Christendom, even the event of the
disruption of our National Establishment. We can
now speak of it as a thing certain, in so far as we can speak of any event not
yet past, that tomorrow's sun will behold its goodly structure rent in twain;
that before the setting of to-morrow's sun, scenes will be enacted, which will
find the Establishment of the country as the company of two armies; and to
prevent this, I believe that nothing short of a miracle would be sufficient.
We are very apt, when living in times like the present, and in circumstances such as those in which this night we stand, very much to underrate and underestimate the magnitude of the results of these events which are passing around us. Unable to grasp a comprehensive view of these in all their extensive bearings, and surrounded and engrossed by the passing and trivial occurrences of ordinary life, such events often produce a far deeper influence on the minds of those who behold them from a distance, than they do upon the men who are themselves the actors in them. Be that as it may, and be our insensibility ever so great, the truth, I believe, is this, that to-morrow will see the spectacle of the consummation of a great revolution in this land, the effects of which, as I before said, will not be experienced in this land alone, a moral and a religious revolution, the greatest that has taken place since 1688, if not the greatest that has taken place since the grand revolution of the Reformation. We are faniiliarised with hearing such an event spoken of.as an everyday occurrence is spoken of; and we almost begin to listen to the recital of what a few years ago were unheard of transactions, with coolness, and sometimes with apathy.
But, brethren, I ask not, "How do Scotchmen look on the scenes passing around them ?" but I ask, "How do men of other nations look upon us ?" I do not say in England. England has her faithful ones; but, alas! over her there is come a cloud of awful delusion and heresy. But cross the Channel, or cross the Atlantic, and how do men there look upon us? I speak of the serious, the thoughtful, the religious men of other lands. Brethren, they know the value of these principles for which we contend, and they see that, though not in deed too dearly bought, yet we are willing to sacrifice to them our earthly all; and they look on with intense interest to see what will be the end of this momentous struggle. And the eyes of our own countrymen are beginning to open. If they resist not the light, they will soon believe, what the people of the living God have been too slow to learn, that the world and evangelical religion must soon part company. A state of things was coming about in this land, for which no provision is made in the Word of God, and therefore we might have foreseen that it could not last long. Evangelical religion was beginning to be fashionable, at least a profession of it was in no way inconsistent with fashion. It was finding its way, esteemed, unopposed, and sometimes flattered, into the drawing-rooms of the great; and the purest form of the religion of Jesus had begun to be dandled on the lap of this world's ease and favour. Such an order of things could not last long. The law of God forbids that it should be so: the enmity of Satan renders it impossible: and so to rid himself of these obnoxious truths, he usually employs two means, of the practical working of both of which the British Empire offers abundant proofs.
The one method - perhaps the most effectual, and the most like to that which would deceive, if it were possible, the very elect - is that of introducing, through the channels of pure religion, a spurious substitute for it, assuming its appearance, but wholly destitute of its essentials, nay, full of the most soul-destroying delusions, these being the most dangerous, the more imperceptible they are, and the better they are concealed. That is the one weapon used by the great deceiver to destroy the power of the truth. The other is very different in many of its features, for it consists in the open persecution of the woman's seed by the serpent, and through his willing agents upon the earth, and in the raising up of a storm of opposition to the truth when faithfully preached. Both these methods are now employed in these lands; the former in a sister church, the latter in our own country. This war seems to be but beginning. What shall be the end thereof?
From "Revival Sermons" - William C. Burns - Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh.
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