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CREETOWN. Creetown is a village on the river Cree, in the parish of Kirkmabreck and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 71 miles south-east of Newton-Stewart, and 11 west of Gatehouse.
This congregation originated in the dissatisfaction felt by a number of persons in the parish with the ministrations of the parochial incumbent. They applied for, and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate (Burgher) Presbytery of Annan, 1819. In 1835 they purchased a property consisting of several dwelling-houses, part of which they fitted up as a place of worship, containing 170 sittings. New church, 1860; sittings, 240.
Before obtaining a fixed pastor, the congregation called Mr Morris, who declined the call.
Ist Minister.—PETER HANNAY, previously of Oban. Admitted 26th July 1837. Translated to Wigtown, 3d January 1849.
2d Minister.—JAMES R. Scott, from Edinburgh (Rose Street). Ordained 6th June 1849. Called to Mossbank, Shetland, in 1852, but continued in Creetown. Demitted his charge, 15th June 1858, and proceeded to Canada.
3d Minister.—JAMES BROWN, M.A., from Moffat. Ordained 17th August 1859. Translated to Morningside, Edinburgh, 230 November 1864.
4th Minister.—JOHN MUNRO, formerly of Gardenston. Inducted 6th June 1865. Demitted his charge 6th November 1866. Now living in Edinburgh.
5th Minister.-ROBERT LINDSAY, M.A., from Dalry. Called to Sandwick, Lochmaben, and Creetown. Ordained 3d March 1868.
PORT-WILLIAM. Port-William is a village in the parish of Mochrum, Wigtownshire, 7 miles westnorth-west of Whithorn, 11 miles south-west of Wigtown, and 24 south-east of Stranraer.
The Rev. Alexander Young, minister of Mochrum, adopted the views of the Rev. Edward Irving, regarding the peccability of Christ's human nature and His millennial reign. Two of his elders, deputed by the most intelligent class of his parishioners, charged him with heresy before the Presbytery of Wigtown; but, in consequence of some informality in the libel, it was dismissed. The protesters, seeing that a deaf ear was turned to their complaint, and desirous of obtaining evangelical preaching, applied to the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow for supply of sermon, which was granted ist May 1832. Church built, 1833 ; sittings, 330.
ist Minister.–GEORGE WALKER, from Falkirk (West). Ordained 29th May 1833. Resigned 7th December 1835. Emigrated to America, and became minister of a congregation in Dobbsferry, State of New York.
2d Minister.—William Dunlop, from Irvine (Relief). Ordained 2d November 1836.
GATEHOUSE. Gatehouse is a town partly in Girthon parish, and partly in that of Anwoth, 7 miles north-west of Kirkcudbright, and 33 from Dumfries, on the road to Portpatrick.
This congregation originated with members of the congregation of Kirkcud
bright, resident in and about Gatehouse, who felt it inconvenient to travel so far every week to attend public ordinances, and who besides were persuaded that there was room and need for another place of worship in the town, containing at that time 2000 inhabitants. Under this conviction, they applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Wigtown, 1835. Mr Murray, the baronial superior of the town, granted them half an acre of ground in feu, and gave them besides £25 of subscription towards the building of a place of worship, which they erected in 1840, containing 200 sittings.
Before obtaining a fixed pastor, the congregation called Mr Muckersie, who preferred Ferryport-on-Craig.
Ist Minister.—JAMES FALCONER, from East Campbell Street, Glasgow. Ordained 5th April 1842. Resigned 20th April 1847. Admitted to Spittal, 1848.
2d Minister.—John THORBURN, previously of Dunning. Admitted 11th January 1851. Pastoral relationship dissolved 23d August 1859. Died in Glasgow.
3d Minister.—ANDREW Clark, from Paisley (Thread Street). Ordained 23d October 1860.
KIRKCOWAN. Kirkcowan is a village in the parish of the same name, Wigtownshire, 10 miles north-east of Glenluce, and 8 north of Wigtown.
Dissenting ministers of various denominations had been in the habit of preaching in Kirkcowan for a considerable time prior to 1837. In that year the persons accustomed to attend their ministrations applied for and obtained regular supply from the United Associate Presbytery of Wigtown. They purchased a dwellinghouse and had it fitted up as a place of worship, with 160 sittings. A new church was opened on 16th March 1862. The congregation of Eaglesham contributed to the support of the station for four years.
Ist Minister.—THOMAS SMAIL. Located as a missionary at Kirkcowan, 24th June 1838. Next year he was ordained at large ; and on 16th July 1844, a pastoral relation was formed between him and the congregation by a formal induction to office. Died 26th April 1860, in the 69th year of his age, and 22d of his ministry.
2d Minister.—John Dawson, from Glasgow (Montrose Street). Ordained 26th June 1861. Died 17th August 1871, in the 11th year of his ministry. Author of “ The Irish Church, in Ten Letters to a friend."
The congregation called Mr Adam Gray, M.A., preacher, in 1872, but he declined the call.
PRESBYTERY OF GLASGOW. The Associate Synod in 1744 divided itself into three Presbyteries, of which Glasgow was one. This Presbytery then comprehended all the Secession congregations in the west and south-west of Scotland, from Falkirk to Urr, in Galloway. The General Associate (Antiburgher), and the Associate (Burgher) Synods, had each a Presbytery of Glasgow after the Breach in 1747, which were conjoined at the union of the two great branches of the Secession in 1820. The Relief Synod had also a Presbytery of Glasgow, which was amalgamated with the United Associate Presbytery of Glasgow at the union of the Secession and Relief Churches in 1847. The territory assigned by the Associate Synod to the Presbytery of Glasgow at its formation in 1744, now contains ten Presbyteries.
CONGREGATIONS IN THE CITY OF GLASGOW.
GREYFRIARS. The Act of Assembly, 1737, Anent the election of ministers, gave great offence to a portion of the inhabitants of Glasgow, so much so, that few ministers or probationers would allow themselves to be put in nomination for the charges that were then vacant in the city, or accept of calls when offered them. Such was the difficulty thence arising, that the Town Council were under the necessity of making the following representation to the General Assembly, 1733 : “ That although the said city consists of six very considerable and populous parishes, yet, at present, and for some time past, three of the said six parishes, notwithstanding all endeavours to plant the vacancies, by calling not only ministers but probationers, continue still vacant, to the great prejudice of the souls of the inhabitants.” In reference to this representation, “the Assembly recommended the care of the said city to all judicatories of this church, before which any process for planting the said vacancies shall come; in particular, they empower their Commission to receive appeals in process for transportation, and finally to determine them for the speedy planting of so important a post to this Church.” This recommendation of the Assembly was instrumental in effecting some very unpopular settlements of ministers in the city, and producing another cause of defection from the Established Church, which subsequently took place. Further, the ministers thus settled, along with others in the surrounding parishes, persisted in reading the obnoxious “ Porteous Act" from the pulpit. Praying societies, which had existed in the city from the times of the Solemn League and Covenant, now began to take the ecclesiastical state of matters into consideration, and determine on the course of conduct they ought to pursue. What followed, will be easiest told by extracts from their minutes now before us : " It being the duty of Christians, and of the disciples of Christ, in all times, to build up and establish themselves in the faith, and that not only with respect to their own souls, but by provoking one another to love, and good works; and as they ought to know the duty of the day, so also to perform the same, agreeable to the station God has placed them in the world; especially in a dark and cloudy day, when the Lord seems to hide His face, and go to His place until iniquity be acknowledged ; instead of which, when all ranks seem more and more to harden themselves in a course of sinning against the Lord, and are holding fast deceit, refusing to return, they ought to speak and assemble themselves often together, according to the example and precept given us in the Word ; and being such a day that our lot is fallen in, it was thought proper by some societies for prayer in and about Glasgow, that a day should be set apart for mutual conference, one with another, in order to lay a foundation for a Correspondent and adherence to the present judicial testimony with accession to the Reverend Associate Presbytery, which was unanimously agreed to by some societies, in and about the foresaid place, and the 23d of October 1738 appointed for that end. According to which appointment the societies being met,-after some time spent in prayer, a preses was chosen, and a question proposed to be asked every one— Whether or not, after reading and considering the present judicial testimony, they in judgment did approve the same, and were clear to adhere thereunto ?' All present unanimously answered they did approve thereof, and were clear to adhere unto the same. Another question was proposed—Whether or not a private society, the major part whereof are Dissenters, yet joining in Christian communion with some in the society who are not Dissenters, shall be allowed to be members of the Correspondent (the aggregate meeting of delegates from the different societies)?' It was answered, nemine contradicente, that they might be allowed, upon condition that those of the society be only chosen who are Dissenters, ..." ist November 1738—“Some difficulties having arisen as to the meaning of the term “ Dissenter,” as used in the minutes, as to whether it meant dissenting only from such as had a direct active hand in the present course of defection, and those specially who had read the late Act of Parliament anent Captain Porteous, but were clear to hold communion with many others in the Established Church, though they joined with those that were guilty of both evils ? or whether it meant those only who, after reading, considering, and approving of "The Testimony' of the Associate Presbytery, are clear to adhere thereunto, and have no freedom to join in ministerial communion with any that either have not an active hand in, or give not their helping hand unto, the testimony; and though they had not come up to the length of some, yet might be constructed of, in charity, to be groaning under and wrestling against the present course of defection, both doctrinally and practically bearing testimony against the same?”.... 8th November 1738—" It was proposed that those who were come to a point with respect to hearing in the bounds, should go on in the duty themselves, though they were not taken alongst with them, seeing room was still left for them to come in when they were come to further light in the matter ; and that as they had showed an inclination that way, that they would go on to know the Lord. They all answered unanimously, they were very willing that those who were clear should go on, and were not at all offended, but should come up as they could, and wished the Lord would prosper the design."
These societies, represented by one or more of their members, then constituted themselves into “A Correspondent "—that is, a representative meetingnamely, the society that met in the house of Mr John Waters, Carnabel, in the house of Mr William Scott, Rutherglen, in the house of Mr John Ritchie, Calder, and in the houses of Messrs William Imrie, Robert Marshall, John Greig, Robert Reid, John Morison, James Smith, sen., Robert M'Nair, William Provan, and John Marshall, Glasgow. Among the members of these societies thus acting, were five elders and two deacons of the Established Church. At a subsequent meeting, the Correspondence was increased by the accession of a society ihát met in the house of Mr David Robertson, Calton, another that met in the house of Mr Robert Lang, New Kirkpatrick,
i third and fourth that met in the houses of Messrs Charles Swanston and Matthew Davidson, Glasgow. A petition, signed by eighty-three persons, members of these societies, was presented to the Associate Presbytery, which met at Stirling on the 13th December 1738, craving to be taken under their inspection, which was granted. At the next meeting of “The Correspondence,” a society in Cathcart, another in Gorbals, and a third in Govan, were received into connection with it. With this large association of seceders from the Established Church, the Rev. Messrs Erskine of Stirling and Dunfermline, and the Rev. Mr Thomson of Burntisland, met at Rochesay, the property of Mr William Lethem, barony parish, held a fast, and organised the association as a congregation on the 26th April 1739. The Rev. Ralph Erskine states in his diary, that there were two tents erected on the occasion, and that he himself preached from Gal. i. 8. The collection was seven guineas, which was divided among the poor of the Praying Societies. Supply of sermon was afforded to the newly formed congregation, once at Bogtown, once at Balscagrie, and four times at Petershill, till June 1739, when William Thomson, Esq. of Corsehill, parish of Cathcart, two miles from Glasgow, himself at that time a member of the Established Church, though he afterwards seceded from it, intimated" that they were welcome to set up their tent on his ground.” A piece of ground was afterwards leased at Corsehill, and sermon regularly afforded there once a month throughout the spring and summer following. On the 8th October 1741, the induction of the first minister of the congregation took place there, at which time, societies in Kirkintilloch, East Kilbride, and several places, were publicly recognised as having been received into connection with the congregation. Corsehill being found an inconvenient place of meeting, it was resolved to remove it to Glasgow. With this view the congregation bought an enclosure in Rotten Row, and worshipped there in the open air till 1742, when they removed to a church they had built in Shuttle Street, but continued to hold tent preaching on sacramental and other occasions, in the enclosure in Rotten Row, which they retained for the purpose. In 1821 they built a more commodious and elegant place of worship on a site in North Albion Street, containing 1522 sittings, which they named Greyfriars, from the circumstance of the same site having once been occupied by a monastery, possessed by ecclesiastics of that order.
ist Minister.—JAMES FISHER, A.M., previously of Kinclaven. Translated to Glasgow 8th October 1741. Appointed Professor of Theology by the Associate (Burgher) Synod, 1749. Died 28th September 1775, in the 75th year of his age, and 50th of his ministry. Mr Fisher was the youngest of the Four Brethren who were honoured to be founders of the Secession Church, and the last survivor of them.
Author of “ The Inestimable Value of Divine Truth Considered” in a Sermon from Proverbs xxiii. 23, preached at Fenwick, March 3, 1738 ; “ Christ Jesus the Lord, considered as the Inexhaustible Matter of Gospel Preaching," a Sermon preached at the Ordination of the Rev. James Mair, at Linton, May 29, 1740; “A Review of the Preface to a Narrative of the extraordinary work at Kilsyth, and other Congregations in the neighbourhood, written by the Rev. James Robe, Minister of Kilsyth, wherein the Principles of the Promoters of it are discovered from the said Preface, and other Papers lately Published : and likewise the address to the Brethren of the Associate Presbytery anent their late Act for a Public Fast is considered ;” “Review of a Pamphlet entitled, “A Serious Inquiry into the Burgess Oaths of Edinburgh, Perth, and Glasgow, wherein the most material arguments against the Burgess Oath are impartially weighed and examined ;'" "A Letter to the Burgesses and others of his Congregation who have withdrawn from his ministry, because he cannot condemn the Burgess Oath as a ground of Separation and Excommunication, nor even admit the sinfulness thereof to be a term of Ministerial and Christian Communion ;" "A Vindication of Mr Fisher's Private Missive, published with an answer thereunto, by Mr How, wherein the errors of Mr How's Discourse on Prayer are plainly detected, together with an answer to his defence of Clandestine Marriages and Private Baptisms;" “ The Character of a Faithful Minister of Christ :” being a Sermon preached immediately after the ordination of Mr James Erskine at Stirling, January 22, 1752 ;