The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

Memoirs of Rev James Begg, D.D., by Rev. Thomas Smith, D.D.

CHAPTER XVII.

PRESENTATION TO THE PARISH OF LIBERTON.

W ITH the exception of some short paragraphs stating that Dr. Begg occupied the chair at various meetings and soirées held in connection with the Paisley Church Defence Association, of which he was president, I find nothing in the Scottish Guardian of 1835 until the 3rd of February, when there appears the following quotation from the official London Gazette :-

"WHITEHALL, January 29. - The King has been pleased to present the Rev. James Begg, of Paisley, to the church and parish of Liberton, in the Presbytery and county of Edinburgh, in the room of Mr. Wm. Purdie, deceased. - London Gazette of Friday."

In the same issue of the Guardian there is the following "leader," commenting on this announcement:-

"The London Gazette of Friday announces the appointment of the Rev. Mr. Begg, of Paisley, to the church of Liberton. The parish of Liberton has always been reckoned one of the most desirable in Scotland, being beautifully situated about a mile from Edinburgh, and possessing many advantages. Of course when it became vacant lately there were a vast number of applications, but the present appointment reflects the highest honour both on the heritors and the Government. It so happens, rather curiously, that this church was the first that became vacant after the admission to office of the late Whig Ministers; and they, with admirable consistency, after all their outcry about jobs and corruption, appointed a minister at once - an excellent man, as it turned out - but only the tutor of Mr, Cockburn, and therefore appointed without consulting a single individual in the parish. The same church was the first to become vacant also after the appointment of the present Ministry; and the heritors, with the full concurrence of the parishioners, having made application for one of the ministers of our Church to whom they were personally utter strangers, and whom they knew only by reputation - the Ministry, with a liberality for which in former times they were ever distinguished, have sent down to him the presentation. This fact should be proclaimed all over Scotland. It illustrates strikingly the difference between profession and practice; and along with the case of Mr. Dale, recently appointed by Sir Robert Peel, under similar circumstances, to an important and valuable living in London, proves how much the members and friends of the Established Church may justly expect from their upright and honourable exercise of trust."

While it is one of the things which have come to "go without saying" that the Whigs have always been more alive than the Tories to party and family interest in the exercise of their patronage, the two appointments to Liberton are not very strong cases in point. First, as to Mr. Purdie's appointment by the Whigs. It is true that Mr. Purdie had been for ten years tutor in the Solicitor-General's family, and that it was in consequence of the high opinion he had formed of him in that relation that Mr. Cockburn was anxious to bring about his appointment to Liberton. Now it was understood that the patron of Liberton was Wauchope of Niddry. He was a minor, and his guardians had agreed to present Mr. Purdie. After the presentation was actually made, but before it was made public, a doubt was raised whether the patronage was not exclusively, or alternately, vested in the Crown. This could only be determined by a legal process which was sure to be tedious, and which would have caused a long vacancy. It was at this point that Mr. Cockburn interposed, and urged Lord Melbourne to grant a presentation in favour of the same man, so that he might be immediately inducted, leaving it to the law courts to determine at their leisure which was the valid presentation and which the superfluous one. This was done. Of course there are several points in the transaction of which I have no knowledge. I do not know, for example, whether the presentation by the Niddrie curators was obtained at Mr. Cockburn's instance, nor whether he would, or would not, have made application on Mr. Purdie's behalf with the same urgency had it been understood from the first that the presentation was in the hands of the Crown. Very likely he would; but the argument which he actually used would in that case have been invalid.

Granted patronage, the appointment of Mr. Purdie by the Whig Government was not a very flagrant instance of the abuse of it. And then, during his short life and ministry, he justified Lord Cockburn's estimate of him, and his early death was sincerely mourned by the whole parish, to whom he had endeared himself by personal and professional qualities of a high order.

And then, as to Dr. Begg's appointment by the Tory Government, we have his own testimony that the motives which led to it were not specially commendable. In his jubilee speech (18th May 1880) is the following passage:-

"His transference from Paisley to Liberton was in connection with a somewhat singular event. His excellent friend Dr. Jones lived at Liberton Tower, and he (Dr. Begg) went there to spend the Sabbath with him. It so happened that the minister of Liberton, a young man, only one year there, became unwell, and the people, hearing that he was at Dr. Jones's house, came and asked him to preach, which he readily did. That worthy minister died immediately after. The people determined to do what they could to get him as their minister. In those days, however, patronage was paramount; but it so happened that there was a political election going on at the time, and the people of Liberton having it very much in their power to turn the election, they went to Sir John Clerk and said, 'Get this man appointed for us as our minister; if not, we'll not vote for you.' That was the way he came to be minister of Liberton."

It does not appear, then, that, in the matter of the successive presentations to Liberton, either political party was in a position to throw a stone at the other. If the one was smeared with the colour of the pot, the other bore no faint trace of the hue of the kettle.

"Iliacos intra muros peccatur et extra."

Of more consequence than any attempt to apportion the blame betwixt the rival parties in the State, is the consideration how much better it would have been if the power of evil had never been in the hands of either, or that it had been removed long ago. How different might the ecclesiastical and social history of Scotland have been if patronage had been abolished half a century sooner. Alas, that its abolition came too late to modify that history so materially as it would have done had it been effected earlier!

It was not to be expected that the "Paisley bodies" would tacitly acquiesce in the removal of such a minister from the midst of them. Nor did they. Accordingly, the issue of the Guardian immediately following contains the following letter:-

"Mr. EDITOR, - I was surprised to find in your excellent paper of Tuesday, which announced the Rev. Mr. Begg's appointment to Liberton, your approbation of his removal to that parish. As I have always regarded you to be a Church Reformer, and one zealous for treading again in the old paths, I expected, when you announced such an appointment, you would have spoken plainly out your mind as to the monstrous evil of frequent translations. It is not enough, as you seem to think, that a parish should be 'desirable,' and should have many rural and picturesque attractions, to justify the removal of a minister from a charge where he is labouring with acceptance and usefulness. Mr. Begg, by the consent of all thinking men, is already in the very niche he was designed to fill. He has energy, and hardihood, and readiness of mind, for contending with the infidel and Voluntary population of Paisley, beyond most men; and during the three past years, he has contended not unsuccessfully. According to his own frequently reiterated accounts, Paisley is the most destitute of all the towns of Scotland, and lies under the double shade of irreligion and voluntaryism. Why should he withdraw his light from its horizon ere it has well arisen? I would advise you, Mr. Editor, to say nothing favourable of such a translation, and Mr. Begg, with all respect, to reject the temptation (if temptation it be) now offered to loose him from his present charge, reminding him of the old Scotch proverb, 'a rolling stone gathers no fog.' The Church acknowledges Mr. Begg at present as one of her stars. Let him beware, lest, by his frequent translations, he provoke her to change the designation, and to call him henceforth, 'the wandering star.' - I am, Sir, yours,

"A LOVER OF CONSISTENCY AND CONSTANCY."

The Guardian comments upon this letter in a leader, from which I can only extract a few sentences. "The approbation of the conduct of the Ministry, in thus consulting the feelings of the parishioners, implies no sort of opinion, favourable or otherwise, to the removal of Mr. Begg from his present sphere of usefulness. This question we leave to Mr. Begg's own high sense of ministerial duty, so frequently expressed in his speeches, and so strongly signified in his zeal for the defence, purity, and extension of the Church. That gentleman's admiration of the ancient worthies of the Scottish Church, his praises of the 'old paths,' his longings for the return of the spirit of disinterestedness and singleness of heart, as opposed to the self-seeking and mercenary spirit of modern ecclesiastics, forbid the idea that Mr. Begg can avail himself of any presentation which his well-deserved popularity may have obtained for him, for any other purpose than to give fresh proof to the Church of his determination to act in the spirit of the olden time, and to join high practice to high profession."

Although this leader professes to maintain absolute neutrality, and expresses the conviction that Dr. Begg might be trusted to act conscientiously in the matter, yet it is not difficult to "read between the lines" the writer's belief that it would be better for Dr. Begg to remain in Paisley. And, no doubt, there was strong reason for a presumption that that would be the better course. He went to Maxwelltown in May 1830, and the presentation to Liberton was dated in the first month of 1835, and it was - and is - probably without example that a man should leave his third charge after being a minister for only four years and a half. But it is impossible to formulate general rules or laws with respect to such a matter. Every case must be judged on its own merits, and on a consideration of its own circumstances. Very naturally, and very properly, we all respect the man who faithfully and perseveringly has laboured in a remote and obscure parish, "Nor e'er has changed, or wished to change, his place;" and every book of ecclesiastical anecdotes contains witty and sneering jests, of which the point is that the "call of the Lord" is always from the smaller to the larger stipend, and never from the larger to the smaller. But there are cases in which men are bound to set their faces as flints against such jeers, and to break the ties that kind them to loving and loved congregations, if they will be faithful to the Church, and to her living Head. Such a case, I honestly think, was that before us. The Middle Church of Paisley needed, and well deserved, the whole energies of an energetic man. Such a man, above most, was their minister. But at that particular time it was absolutely necessary that some of the ministers of the Church should give a very considerable amount of their time and energies to other than parochial work, and just because Liberton was an easier, and in some respects a less important charge than Paisley, it was more fitting - ad magno bonum ecclesiæ - that it should have the man on whom the general voice of the Church imposed a large share of extra parochial work.

It was very much on this ground that his old and dear friend, and former co-presbyter, Dr. Cunningham, pleaded for the translation. Dr. Cunningham had been translated from Greenock to the College Church in Edinburgh, and was sent as a commissioner from the Edinburgh Presbytery to prosecute the translation. The proceedings are recorded, very briefly, as follows:-

"The Rev. Mr. Cunningham, as one of the commissioners from the Presbytery of Edinburgh for prosecuting Mr. Begg's translation to the church of Liberton, laid upon the table of the Presbytery the various necessary documents, and especially a call signed by 500 males, heritors, elders, and communicants in the parish of Liberton, praying Mr. Begg to become their minister; and reasons of translation, signed by Mr. Bruce and Mr. Cunningham of Edinburgh, Mr. Buchanan of North Leith, and Mr. Torrance, elder.

"Mr. Cunningham was heard at some length in support of these reasons, and stated strongly his conviction that the proposed translation would greatly promote the interests of the Established Church. He paid a high compliment to Mr. Begg, and expressed his great desire to see him translated to the Presbytery and neighbourhood of Edinburgh, as the centre of Scotland, and the great headquarters of ecclesiastical influence. He knew no man, he honestly declared, all things considered, more eminently qualified for such an important station.

"Dr. Burns could not give a final opinion on this important subject, but thought there was enough of evidence to warrant the Presbytery in proceeding to take the usual steps. He was delighted to see such a harmonious, he might say unexampled, call, and whilst he should regret exceedingly Mr. Begg's removal, he was convinced that, in a parish so important in itself, and situated at the very centre of Scottish influence, more ample scope would be afforded for Mr. Begg's talents and exertions.

"Mr. MacNaughtan was then appointed to preach in the Middle Church on the third Sabbath of April, and intimate the call to Mr. Begg's congregation."

It is probable that Dr. Begg explained to his congregation his reasons for accepting the Liberton call, and requested them to offer no opposition to it. Accordingly, at next meeting of Presbytery, "after some preliminary business it was agreed, after summoning all parties, and considering the reasons of translation assigned by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, to loose Mr. Begg from the Middle Parish of Paisley, with a view to his induction to the parish of Liberton." The deliverance would of course contain the customary clause that he should continue minister of Paisley until the date of his actual induction by the Presbytery of Edinburgh; for, as the king never dies, so a minister translated from one charge to another does not cease to be minister of the one till the instant of his becoming minister of the other.

I find no notice of his "farewell sermons;" but it may be safely assumed that they were characterised by the faithfulness and the tenderness which were ever characteristic of his ministrations. But I do find a notice of a farewell soirée held in his honour on the eve of his quitting Paisley; and of this I find among his papers a full report of the proceedings on that occasion, transcribed from the local paper, manifestly with the intention of its being incorporated in his "Autobiography." Considering myself pledged to present that autobiography in all the fulness that it ever attained, I insert the paper without the abridgment to which I should certainly have subjected it had it come into my hands otherwise, or with less distinct intimation of the purpose to which it was destined:-

"On Tuesday evening a soirée was given in the Renfrewshire Tontine Assembly Rooms by the friends of the Church in honour of the Rev. James Begg, previous to his departure for Liberton. A. H. Simpson, Esq., was in the chair, supported on the right by Mr. Begg and Mr. Macnair; and on his left by the Rev. Mr. Gibson and Mr. M'Corkle, from Glasgow. A blessing was asked by Mr. Macnair, and thanks returned by Mr. Stevenson. After the customary services of tea and its accompaniments,

"The Chairman shortly addressed the audience. He believed it would be thought by most of those who were present that he should hardly congratulate them on the occasion of their present meeting, originating, as it did, in an event which they had all so many reasons to regret, namely, the removal from Paisley of their talented guest, Mr. Begg. They must be aware, however, that they had not assembled this evening to mourn over Mr. Begg's departure, but for the express purpose of doing him honour for his unwearied and strenuous exertions on behalf of the Church of Scotland.

"They might well then be happy for an hour or two in the grateful recollection that the star which was about to become fixed in the east had shone for a time with such benign and gladdening influence in the west, and instead of sorrowing that the luminary was now to leave them, they should rather rejoice in the belief that it would only be to shine with increasing brightness in another region - in that constellation of Chalmerses and Gordons, and other radiant lights, whose glories shed a lustre over the whole land. He did not intend to occupy their time with any statement of the grounds on which it had been deemed proper to offer this public testimony of their affectionate regard for their respected friend. His great merits were perfectly known to every individual present, and the fact of their assembling here this evening was a sufficient acknowledgment that they recognised in Mr. Begg not only an eloquent preacher and a sound divine, but a most zealous and intrepid churchman - an able and courageous defender of that venerable establishment whose ministrations in days of old rendered the people of Scotland the praise and renown of Christendom, and in whose reviving strength and greatly enlarged efficiency we shall find the surest guarantee for their happiness and welfare in time to come. He could not doubt that such a meeting as the present must be highly gratifying to Mr. Begg; but he felt convinced that this gratification would arise much less from anything in the meeting that was personal towards himself, than in the persuasion that by assembling here to-night in such large numbers they were expressing their devoted attachment to the Church of Scotland; and that while they were breathing forth the most ardent wishes for his future happiness, they were at the same time resolving to exert all their energies to accelerate her coming greatness and future glory.

"In conclusion, he apologised shortly for the absence of Sir D. K. Sandford and Mr. Colquhoun of Killermont, both of whom had been expected, but had, from indisposition, been unable to attend.

"Mr. Gibson expressed his regret at the unavoidable absence of Sir D. K. Sandford and Mr. Colquhoun of Killermont, both of whom had been expected, and both of whom, he was sure, would have entertained them better than he could do. He found himself pretty much in the same predicament as the Waterloo sergeant, who, when asked to describe the scene, said he would rather fight the battle over again than give a history of it. In like manner, he felt that he would rather fight his battle over again with the Voluntaries, than make a speech on the present occasion. The rev. gentleman, after a handsome eulogium on Mr. Begg, and after alluding to the mixed feelings with which he, in common with the assemblage present, contemplated his removal, proceeded at considerable length to show the claims which the Established Church had on the affections of the people of Scotland. He conceived that the extinction of the Established Church involved the extinction of religion itself, and strongly deprecated the principle which would deprive men in their collective capacity from having anything to do with religion. Their opponents attempted, in their endeavours to sever the Church from the State, to set aside the authority of the Old Testament when it militated against their cause; but he held that all Scripture was given by inspiration, and that we were not at liberty to set it aside as it suited our purpose. If the authority of the Old Testament might be set aside, so might the authority of the New, which was founded on it. If the Old Testament could thus be set aside, what rule could those have had for their guidance who lived between the Old Testament dispensation and the time when the New Testament was written? He could not avoid expressing his satisfaction in seeing such a number present on the occasion, expressive of their attachment, not to their guest alone, but to that Church of which he was so able a supporter. He conceived that Voluntaryism was by no means the greatest enemy the Church had to fear. The religious men who ranged under its banners were cheered and urged onwards by other agents who had other and more dangerous designs in view. They were placed in the front rank by infidels and Papists, whose object was to undermine the Protestant religion altogether. But the Voluntaries, should their object prove successful, would very soon find themselves overwhelmed by the torrent which they had helped to swell. He adverted to the great increase of Popery, both in this country and in America, of which he gave several proofs, and adduced from this various arguments to show how necessary it was for Protestants to be on the alert. He was happy to see such favourable symptoms abroad. In Scotland alone, £70,000 had been raised in the course of one year for the purpose of extending the benefits of religion in connection with the Established Church. He concluded by reading and commenting on a few passages of a book published recently in America, and sent to this country by Mr. Thomson, in which the working of the Voluntary system was depicted in the most fearful colours.

"Mr M'Corkle afterwards addressed the meeting in a speech imbued with good humour and good feeling, in which he took occasion to eulogise Mr. Begg for the great zeal, intrepidity, and candour with which he had stood up in defence of the Church, and trusted that his exertions would be still more conspicuous when exerted in a more influential sphere.

"Mr. Begg said he was not vain enough to think himself deserving of the flattering testimonies of respect that had been paid him by his friends. Considerable allowance must be made for the colouring of friendship, though he did not think that one of them had advanced what they themselves did not fully believe to be true. For his own part, he felt conscious of his deficiencies. He had done nothing but what he had felt it his duty to do; or rather, he had done much less. He was convinced that he ought to have exerted himself still more on behalf of a cause on which the temporal and everlasting happiness of so many depended. He acknowledged with gratitude the kindness shown him by so many assembled on such an occasion, and would ever bear it in warm remembrance. He conceived that it was not to do him a kindness merely that they had assembled, but to testify their love to that Church of which they were members, and which in times past had proved a praise and a glory on the earth; - to testify their willingness to defend her, and to express their hopes that she would continue with increasing usefulness and increasing extension, to be a blessing and praise to the latest generations.

"It was their duty to unite for this purpose, for it was by the benefits of union that great actions could be achieved. In no cause more honourably or more extensively useful could they combine, it being to stem the current of infidelity and atheism that had been threatening such devastations. From the whole tenor of Scripture, and from the lessons of ancient and modern history, they might learn how beneficial it was that religion, the most important of all subjects in the destinies of men, should be acknowledged, and protected, and encouraged by the State; and no Church had ever had the hardihood to put upon their records that kings, as such should abjure God. Whatever outcry the Voluntaries might raise against an endowed church, he was not aware that they had ever refused money when offered them. The acceptance of the 'Regium Donum' in Ireland was a proof that they would accept of it when placed within their reach. To what better use, he would ask, could money be applied than in educating a nation on religious principles? He would appeal to the considerate reason of every man whether the most advantageous way of doing so was not to divide the land into districts, and place an able and efficient minister in each.

"Were a thousand cultivators let loose upon an island at once and at random, could we, even on the supposition that the number was sufficient, expect that the whole island would be well cultivated? No. We would expect that they would crowd to the banks of rivers, and to the fertile plains, where the greatest crops could be reaped with the least exertion; while the distant rugged glens, where it would be almost banishment to live, the barren uplands and the shaggy wilds, would all be left in an uncultivated and barren waste. So with spiritual labourers. They would crowd to the busy towns and the populous cities, while the great extent over which a thinly scattered agricultural population was extended, would be left to all the destitution of moral and spiritual barrenness. He contended, therefore, that it was one of the brightest ideas that had ever entered the mind of man to divide a country intended to be brought under the influence of religion into distinctly defined portions, and to appoint a schoolmaster and a minister of religion to each. It was a system on which any true lover of his country was bound to look with admiration, and exert his time, and talents, and influence in its preservation and extension. The attacks on the Established Church were precisely the same as had taken place in France when men's principles and practice were boiling up in angry ebullition against religion and government. It was the duty of men to learn wisdom and take warning from experience, and resist the beginning to prevent the end. He was bound to consider how much good the Church of Scotland had done, and to respect her accordingly. She was a Church that had proved most beneficial to the nation, and that was enough for him. If the boat carry us safely across the ocean of life, and bring us to our harbour, that was the principal consideration; and he was not to be driven to abandon her on complaint of her not being accurately trimmed, nor scientifically balanced, nor so well rigged as speculators require. He would pity the man having the blood of a Scotchman in him that did not reverence this Church, when he considered that she had been the means of securing religious liberty to those who now aimed at her downfall, and use the liberty she had procured them in reviling her. When he considered the close connection of religion and education with the Established Church, and considered the high rank to which Scotland in former times had been raised by their joint influence, he could not but think that the man had a cold heart and a reckless hand who should attempt her overthrow. He believed, however, that the controversy was now settled, settled beyond a doubt; all the cavilling of their opponents had been met and refuted over and over again, and what they had advanced in the shape of argument had been turned against them. In the parish he was about to go to there were no seat-rents charged whatever. The parishioners had their seats free, and they had the spot to which they were to be consigned as their last resting-place free, and this was just the privilege which he wished to see extended. Therefore it was that he wished endowments. Not certainly that ministers might live in idleness, because he would scorn the man that would eat of her bread and refuse to do her work; but that the poor might have free access to the temple in which they were to offer up their prayer and their praise. Their opponents could bear with speeches, and with writings, and with refutations, but they could not bear with the building of churches. This was the point which most galled them, and which they regarded with the most bitter dislike, and of course it was the point to which the friends of the Church should give most attention. The great object of all should be to place the benefits of religious instruction within reach of the poorest in the land; and this was the grand practical issue which the friends of church extension had in view; and until this was accomplished, the Church was not what she ought to be. Her enemies, no doubt, thought they had deprived her of power, that they had shorn her locks, and, after making her the sport of her enemies, cried out, 'The Philistines be upon thee!' but she had risen with vigour from her apparent apathy, and totally discomfited her enemies. It gladdened his heart to see so many hopeful symptoms to the Church of Scotland, and it gladdened his heart to see so many kind looks from so many of her friends.

"He did not wish to look on those who were enemies of the Church as his enemies, though, perhaps, he could not altogether avoid looking at them with a sidelong glance. He did not wish to hate them, but he wished to wring out of their degenerate bosoms that awful hatred to a Church to which they were so much indebted, and to render abortive their efforts in rendering the Church of Scotland from becoming co-extensive with the population. Allusion had been made to his driving the Church of Scotland with steam: he would certainly endeavour to give her more power. When beset with adverse currents, he would strive to increase the power of the engine that she might make headway against them, and be enabled with her crew of immortal souls to reach in safety the haven of rest. He wished them all a most cordial farewell. He would hear from them often through various channels, and would always delight to hear of their prosperity. He would rejoice to hear in the extension of their schools - in the extension of their churches - and in the prosperity of their religious societies. He trusted the young men would persevere in their attachment to the Church of their fathers, and that many of them who had now united for her defence would become her office-bearers, and that some of them might be honoured to minister at her altars, and that the Church among them might increase in usefulness a thousand-fold."

[During the delivery of his speech, of which the above is but an imperfect outline, the rev. gentleman was often warmly cheered, and at its close the cheering was enthusiastic.]

"The meeting was afterwards addressed by Mr. M'Rae and Mr. M'Kay, two young gentlemen from Glasgow, and by the Rev. Mr. M'Nair, but our limits do not admit of going into detail. Mr. M'Nair stated that three different reasons had induced him that evening to attend; the first was, that the meeting was in honour of the Church of which he professed himself a warm friend; the second, to do honour to their guest, whose talents he admired, and whose friendship he highly valued; and in the third place, out of respect to the congregation, for whom, on account of several circumstances enumerated, he entertained much regard. The rev. gentleman spoke with great satisfaction of the friendship which had existed between them since the commencement of their acquaintance, and of the intrepidity, zeal, and ardour which his friend had ever shown in the cause of the Church. In allusion to some remarks by foregoing speakers relative to a star shifting its sphere, he jocosely remarked that Mr. Begg was not going to be a completely fixed star in the east, for he intended, like a comet, to visit us occasionally - (cheers) - and he was happy to say that one of these visits would be soon to preach on behalf of the infant schools. He hoped many now present would attend on that day, and assist them to shake off the incumbrance of a little debt that had been contracted in the erection of the school. They would at least have seats that day without money and without price. He concluded by warmly desiring the welfare of his friend and of the congregation he was leaving, and his prayer was, that they might all meet together hereafter in peace.

"Besides Mr. Bennie's band, which exhibited its usual ability, the choir of the Middle Church was in attendance, and sung some sacred airs in excellent style. The services were managed with much skill, and the company seemed highly delighted. We never on any occasion witnessed the room more densely crowded. About half-past eleven the meeting was closed with prayer by Mr. Gibson, and the company (with the exception of great numbers who lingered to take farewell of their pastor) retired, to the air of the King's Anthem.

"The numbers present on this occasion, the agreeable manner in which everything was conducted, the enlogiums bestowed on the principal guest for his zealous exertions in defending and extending the Church, the solicitude displayed by so many to get a parting word with him, and a parting shake of his hand, could not but prove highly gratifying to Mr. Begg, evincing, as it did, that he was leaving behind him many warmly attached friends."

For the sake of connection it ought to be stated that the General Assembly of this year passed the interim Acts of 1834 on calls (the Veto Act), and on chapel ministers into standing laws of the Church; and pronounced the famous decision in the Auchterarder case which was so fruitful of consequences. Dr. Begg was not a member of that Assembly.