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BELMONT STREET. Seven persons belonging to Mr Bisset's congregation, reference to which has been made in the preceding article, acceded to the General Associate (Antiburgher) Synod, when the other seceders in Aberdeen obtained supply of sermon from the Associate (Burgher) branch of the Secession, and formed themselves into an association for prayer and mutual exhortation. They attended public worship at Craigdam, eighteen miles distant from Aberdeen, in favourable weather ; but met on other occasions in an upper room in the city, which they had hired for the purpose. Their number having increased, though still small, they removed to a larger room in 1772; and applied to the Synod for supply of sermon once a month, which was granted. In 1775 they removed to a room in Spittal, which was always crowded, but few members were added to the church. On 12th November 1777, they were disjoined at their own request from Craigdam, and formed into a separate congregation, the communicants amounting at the time to 40. Church built, 1779; sittings, 800. A new church was opened ioth January 1869, with sittings for 694 ; cost, £3100, 5s. 6d.
Ist Minister.—MICHAEL ARTHUR, previously of Peebles. Translated to Aberdeen 26th June 1772. Mr Arthur was moderator of the Synod in 1779, on which occasion he preached a sermon, which was subsequently published, containing the following passage : “The unhappy rupture or breach which so early happened in the Seceding body, has been much improved against the testimony and cause in which we are embarked. The mournful breach in the Associate Synod deserves indeed to be lamented and bewailed to the latest ages. We have reason to consider that dismal event as a providential intimation of what was to befall the generation. Matters were so ordered by a God of judgment, that a stumblingblock was laid in the way of the generation, and they judicially left to harden and confirm themselves against that great cause in which we have embarked. Thus that mournful dispensation bespeaks not so much, perhaps, dissatisfaction with the parties between whom the rupture happened, as displeasure with the generation among whom they live, and who so violently oppose their testimony. Whatever sinful hand the one party or the other, or both, had in the breach, God had an all-wise, unerring, and over-ruling hand in it.” For this passage, the Rev. Adam Gib libelled Mr Arthur before the Synod, giving as his reason, “that he considered the Breach as the most distinguished article of the Magnalia Dei (the great things of God) in the course of the Secession, and which ought to be held in a most thankful remembrance among all posterity in the Secession body, as being the immediate fountain whence the perpetuating of the Secession cause among the hands of this Synod has flowed all along from that day to this; and therefore he protested against all dissembling or defaming it, such as is meant in the above quoted passage, reckoning that incumbent upon him—as he now remained alone in the Synod of all who were engaged in the contendings of that day-the only other survivor of them, in Earlston Presbytery, having been incapable for some years of attendance in the synodical meetings.” Mr Arthur charged Mr Gib “with bringing this libel against him because he attended a meeting of ministers and others belonging to both branches of the Secession in the neighbourhood of Peebles, to ascertain the practicability of bringing about a union betwixt them; and Mr Gib himself with having described the Breach as that melancholy event in his 'Present Truth.'
volume first, page 49." The Synod enjoined both Mr Gib and Mr Arthur to abstain from the further prosecution of this affair ; but at the next meeting Mr Arthur again introduced the subject, stating that he considered the decision of the last meeting respecting him dishonourable to the Synod and injurious to him, and that he had therefore resigned his charge into the hands of the Presbytery, which had admitted him, on the 8th of February (1786). Mr Arthur was summoned to attend the next meeting of Synod, which he did; and after delivering sentiments similar to those already stated, withdrew. The Synod then declared him no longer a minister or member of the Secession Church. Mr Arthur was received, on application, into connection with the Relief Church ; and shortly afterwards emigrated to America, along with his son, who had recently received license as a probationer, where they both died.
The congregation then called Mr Frederick M‘Farlane, who was appointed to Montrose.
2d Minister.-WILLIAM M'Caul, from Sanquhar, South, called to Kilmaurs and Stewarton, then united congregations, also to Burntisland, and Aberdeen. Ordained 8th April 1789. Resigned, on account of ill health, 20th November 1798. Became a farmer in the neighbourhood of Sanquhar, and died there.
The congregation then called the Rev. John Bunyan, who remained in his charge at Whitehill.
3d Minister.— JAMES TEMPLETON, from Kilmaurs. Ordained ad September 1801. Joined the Protesters 1820, re-admitted 10th July 1827. See further, under the congregation of Charlotte Street.
4th Minister.—ROBERT SEDGEWICK, from Regent Place, Glasgow; called to Cumbernauld and Aberdeen. Ordained as colleague to Mr Templeton 21st September 1836. Resigned 12th February 1849. Emigrated to Nova Scotia, and became minister of a congregation there. Author of a sermon entitled “ Times of Refreshing,” suggested by the recent efforts which the United Secession Church had made on behalf of her weak congregations, and a small work on “Fellowship with Christ.”
5th Minister.—JOHN CROMBIE BROWN, LL.D., from Haddington East, of which his grandfather was minister. Received into connection with the United Presbyterian Church as a probationer 5th June 1849. Ordained at St Petersburg 6th December 1835; was afterwards at Cape Town. Inducted to the pastorate of Belmont Street, Aberdeen, 24th April 1850. Had the degree of LL.D. conferred upon him by King's College, Aberdeen, 1858, in which college he was Lecturer on Botany. Demitted his charge on accepting appointment as Professor of Botany, Cape of Good Hope, roth February 1863. Returned to this country, and was afterwards minister in Berwick.
The congregation called Mr Adam Welsh, who preferred Kincardine ; Mr Robert Stewart Bruce, who preferred Wishaw; Mr Robert Lyon, who preferred North Leith.
6th Minister.—DAVID BEATT, from Dundee, School Wynd ; called to Hartlepool and Aberdeen. Ordained 18th April 1865.
FIRST RELIEF (Now EXTINCT). A difference having taken place among the members of the Chapel of Ease, Gilcomston, respecting the appointment of the Rev. Mr Johnston to be their minister, the dissatisfied party applied to the Relief Presbytery of Perth for supply of sermon,
which was granted 1771. The congregation thus formed met in a hall in the city till 1778, when they removed to a place of worship they had built for themselves in Belmont Street, where they called Mr Bryce, who was ordained over them in 1780. Mr Brodie was a rival candidate with Mr Bryce, and his supporters induced him to settle in Aberdeen, and continued to adhere to him. In 1791 Mr Brodie and his congregation were received, upon petition, into connection with the Synod of Relief, from which they had separated themselves by their ecclesiastical irregularity, in failing to concur with the majority. This gave so much offence to Mr Bryce, that he immediately renounced connection with the denomination, and took steps to have the place of worship and the people of his charge recognised by the General Assembly as a Chapel of Ease and Congregation in connection with the Church of Scotland ; in which he succeeded. The South Parish Church, Belmont Street, now occupies the site on which the quondam Relief Church and subsequent Chapel of Ease formerly stood. Mr Bryce continued minister of the chapel in his adopted ecclesiastical connection till his death. His son, Dr James Bryce, formerly chaplain in India, is author of a “History of the Church of Scotland.”
SECOND RELIEF (Now Extinct). As stated in the preceding article, Mr Brodie was the unsuccessful candidate at the election of Mr Bryce as minister of the First Relief Congregation, Aberdeen. By an agreement entered into previous to the hearing of candidates, subscribers to the building of the chapel were alone allowed to vote in the election, and were unanimous in favour of Mr Bryce. The other adherents to the cause, who constituted a majority, finding themselves precluded from a voice in the election, immediately separated from the minority, and were received upon petition into connection with the Old Relief Presbytery. Mr Brodie was also received, and was soon after called by the people to be their pastor. They erected a place of worship in the Ship-row, which was at last removed to make way for the new market.
1st Minister.—JOHN BRODIE, ordained 6th August 1780. Translated to Dove Hill, Glasgow, September 1798; called by his former congregation in Aberdeen, but preferred remaining in Glasgow.
2d Minister.—ALEXANDER BOWER, a licentiate of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. Received into connection with the Relief Synod as a probationer; ordained 6th November 1799 ; resigned 23d September 1806. Joined the Church of Scotland, but never obtained a settlement in that connection. Author of a “ History of the University of Edinburgh,” “Life of Dr Beattie,” etc. After Mr Bower's resignation, the congregation dispersed, and the place of worship was subsequently sold.
ST NICHOLAS LANE. A large minority of the first Secession congregation, Aberdeen, were opposed to the call of Mr Brunton, before noticed, and refused to submit to his ministry. In 1794 they were recognised upon petition to the (Burgher) Synod, with which they were connected, as a separate congregation. They met in a hall in the city till 1801. First church built in Belmont Street, but removed when Union Bridge was erected. Second church built in St Nicholas Lane in 1802, with 604 sittings: rebuilt, 1845 ; 710 sittings.
Before obtaining a fixed pastor, the congregation called, ist, Mr John Dick, 20th January 1796, and again, 3d July 1796, who was appointed by the Synod to Slateford; 2d, George Henderson, 26th December 1797 ; 3d, Thomas Burn, 20th August 1798; 4th, Ebenezer Bonar, 6th November 1798.
'Ist Minister.—LAURENCE GLASS, from Milnathort. Called to Crail and Aberdeen. Ordained 5th March 1800; died 7th May 1813, in the 35th year of his age, and 13th of his ministry. Author of a Sermon on “Missions."
The congregation then called the Rev. John Jamieson, who preferred remaining in his charge at Scone.
2d Minister.-HENRY ANGUS, A.M., from Inverkeithing. Called to Lochwinnoch and Aberdeen. Ordained 230 July 1816; died 28th June 1860, in the 66th year of his age and 44th of his ministry. Author of a pamphlet on “The Voluntary Controversy;" a Sermon on “The Spirituality of the Christian Church, preached at the opening of the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church,” of which he was moderator, May 1851; “Separation from Brethren for Conscience' Sake;" “Reply to Rev. A. Gray;” and “Works of Fiction ; their Use and Abuse:” a Lecture.
3d Minister.-J. M. M-KERROW, B.A., from the congregation of Brunswick Street, Manchester, of which his father is minister. Ordained 19th October 1859. Author of a Sermon preached on the death of Mr Angus. Mr M‘Kerrow was called twice to Birmingham ; loosed from his charge in Aberdeen on accepting the second call, 13th August 1867.
The congregation called the Rev. R. S. Bruce, Wishaw, who declined the call.
4th Minister.—JOHN RUTHERFORD, B.D., from Edinburgh, North Richmond Street, of which his father is minister. Ordained 11th November 1868.
GEORGE STREET. Mr TEMPLETON, third minister of the congregation of Belmont Street, Aberdeen, declined, with the majority of his congregation, to accede to the Union of the two branches of the Secession in 1820, though both did so sometime afterwards. In the interim, a large minority of his congregation, favourable to the Union, withdrew from his ministry, and formed the congregation now worshipping in George Street. Church built, 1821 ; sittings, 747.
ist Minister.- JAMES STIRLING, from Strathaven (First). Ordained 25th September 1824. Died 22d June 1871, in the 720 year of his age, and 47th of his ministry.
The congregation called Mr G. S. Scotland, who declined the call; Mr M‘Donald, who preferred Cumnock; and Mr John Boyd, M.A., who preferred Skelmorlie.
2d Minister.–ARCHIBALD YOUNG, M.A., from Glasgow, London Road; called to Middlesboro' and Aberdeen. Ordained 6th September 1871.
CHARLOTTE STREET. Mr TEMPLETON, third minister of the congregation of Belmont Street, Aberdeen, differed with his colleague on a doctrinal point then agitating the Church, and separated from him. He began a preaching station in Gallowgate. For this act the Presbytery laid him under suspension, but afterwards removed the sentence. He was then dying, and received no benefit from the act. He died 11th August 1840, in the 70th year of his age and 39th of his ministry. After his death his adherents were restored, upon petition, to their connection with the Synod, and recognised as a separate congregation, 18th January 1841. In 1841 they erected the present place of worship in Charlotte Street, containing 1000 sittings.
Ist Minister.- JAMES TEMPLETON, ordained 1801. Died 1840, in the 70th year of his age, and 39th of his ministry.
2d Minister.—PATRICK ROBERTSON, previously of Craigdam. Translated to Aberdeen 30th June 1841. Joined the Free Church on 14th January 1845, and became minister of Culsalmond in 1846. Died 26th July 1867, in the gist year of his age.
3d Minister.-JOHN BROCKET RITCHIE, from Potterrow, Edinburgh, of which his father was minister. Ordained 3d December 1845. Author of three discourses on “The Armour of the Christian Church.” Demitted his charge 6th February 1866. Retired to Portobello as ordained preacher.
The congregation called Mr W. T. Henderson, who preferred Millport; Rev. W. Turner, Craigdam ; and Rev. W. Galletly, Peterhead.
4th Minister.-JAMES CORDINER, from Campbelton, called to Shapinshay and Aberdeen. Ordained 5th February 1868. Died 13th September 1868, in the 30th year of his age, and ist of his ministry.
5th Minister.-MATTHEW GALBRAITH, M.A., from Liverpool, Mount Pleasant; called to Moffat and Aberdeen. Ordained 13th April 1869.
ST PAUL'S STREET. About a year previous to Mr Bower's resignation,* several persons had withdrawn from his ministry. They applied for supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Perth, which was granted. The original place of meeting was a hall in St Andrew's Street. First church built in 1805; second (in St Paul's Street), in 1842 ; sittings, 900.
Before obtaining a fixed pastor, the congregation called the Rev. William Strang, previously of Newton-Stewart, then acting as a probationer, who declined the call.
Ist Minister.—SAMUEL M‘Millan, from Campbell Street, Glasgow. Ordained 9th February 1807. Died 11th January 1864, in the goth year of his age and 57th of his ministry. His library was presented to the Synod.
Mr M‘Millan published "A Discourse concerning reading set forms of prayer in the worship of God,” and “The Beauties of Ralph Erskine." Also author of “Illustration and Vindication of Two Important Doctrines of Scripture ;” another, “Explanation and Vindication of Important Doctrines :" Editor of Ralph Erskine's Works, 7 volumes; and of Works of Thomas Boston, 12 volumes.
In 1836 the congregation called Mr Thomas Sommerville to be colleague to Mr M‘Millan, who preferred Auchtergaven.
2d Minister.–WILLIAM BECKETT, from Thread Street, Paisley. Ordained as colleague to Mr M‘Millan 29th November 1837. Translated to Rutherglen, 13th August 1840.
3d Minister.-JOHN THORBURN, from Allars, Hawick. Ordained as colleague to Mr M‘Millan, 27th May 1841. Resigned, 1845. Admitted to the Relief congregation, Dunning, 1846.
4th Minister.—ANDREW DICKIE, previously of Colinsburgh. Admitted colleague to Mr M‘Millan, 18th August 1847.
* See Second Relief, p. 56.