The Influence of ECM on the City Authorities

God gave a promise to Abraham:

….I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22: 17 – 18

Who would have thought that God’s vision through David Nasmith would prepare the way here for such a massive breakthrough, that in turn would release thousands of missionaries trained here in the Bible colleges of Edinburgh to impact the world, bringing in millions of people for God’s Kingdom, the effects of which are still reverberating around the world in such places as Africa and China? Who would have thought that through that vision and little gathering of men in 375 High St., the Lord would have opened up the way eventually for Christianity to transform our nation through men in “the gates” or places of influence and policy making in Edinburgh? No wonder Scotland became known as the “Land of the Book” as these movements were added to the rich Christian history of the Reformation and Covenanters.

ECM had already appointed a team of Directors to run the Mission back in 1832, and a team of “Extraordinary Directors” was appointed in an advisory capacity in 1886. Their names reads like a “Who’s Who” in Edinburgh, showing the high regard that people had for ECM. In the Period between 1832 and 1970 the following men were either Directors, Extraordinary Directors, Examiners or Supporters, especially at the Annual Meetings. Some of these are listed below:

  • Rev Dr. D.T.K. Drummond (Director and founder of St. Thomas, a church through which have come the present day congregations of P’s and G’s and Emmanuel)
  • Rev Dr. David Dickson
  • Rev Dr. John Brown
  • Rev Daniel Bagot A.M.
  • Lord Provost, Adam Black, M.P. (his statue is in Princes Gardens)
  • Charles Cown M.P.
  • Colonel George Cadell
  • Sheriff Graham Speirs
  • Lord Provost, the Duke of Argyll
  • Rev Dr. Guthrie (founder of the Ragged Schools)
  • Rev Professor Thomas Chalmers (first Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland)
  • Principal Dr. Cunningham
  • Very Rev Dean Montgomery (Bishop of Edinburgh)
  • Sir William Muir (Principal of the University of Edinburgh)
  • Rev Professor Blaikie (Moderator of Free Church)
  • Major General Nepean Smith
  • Colonel A. G. Young
  • Sir Archibald Campbell
  • Professor Sir T. Grainger Stewart (Head Surgeon)
  • Earl of Moray
  • Councillor R.A. Douglas
  • Councillor John Laing
  • Councillor Neil McLeod
  • Bailie Martin (Head of Public Health)
  • Judge John Pitcairn
  • Sir Allan Colquhoun J.P.
  • Sheriff Orr K.C.
  • Sir Colin Macrae
  • Sir Andrew Frazer
  • Judge John Laing
  • Bailie Richardson
  • Bailie Pollard (he was the ECM Director who, by using our records, put pressure on government to reform sanitary conditions in Edinburgh, Annual Report 1896)
  • Lord Alness
  • Lord Polwarth
  • Lord Sands
  • Sir John Cowan
  • Rt. Hon. Robert Munro K.C.
  • Lord Provost Inches
  • Judge William Baird
  • Rev. Dr. Graham Scroggie
  • Bailie Rev. Dr. A.D. Sloan
  • Rt. Rev Professor Hugh R. Mackintosh (Moderator of the Church of Scotland)
  • Rev Dr. D.E. Hart-Davies
  • Hon. Lord Wark
  • Professor Sir John Frazer
  • Rt. Rev Professor David Lamont (Moderator of the C of S)
  • Rt. Rev Dr. James M. Black (Moderator of the Free Church)
  • Principal D.W. Lambert (Faith Mission)
  • Rev Professor Allan Barr (Moderator of the UF Church)
  • Lord Guthrie
  • Sir John Falconer
  • Lord Cooper
  • Earl of Southesk
  • Lady Stuart
  • Rev Dr. Dr. Whitley (St. Giles’ Cathedral)
  • Very Rev Charles L. Warr (St. Giles’ Cathedral)
  • Lord Provost, Alexander Stevenson
  • Rt. Rev Dr. Leonard Small
  • Judge W. R. Hall O.B.E.
  • Rt. Rev Professor Thomas F. Torrance M.B.E.
  • Rev Derek Prime (Charlotte Chapel)
  • Rev Colin Peckham (Faith Mission)

It was because God’s vehicle of ECM had such an impact on Edinburgh that the Church, Council and Government had great respect and support for its work, bringing about a lasting transformation.

Here are some of the comments made by the City’s leaders:

I am therefore glad to find that, in the operations of the City Mission, this principle (i.e. of having missionaries attached to 30 districts in the City) has been so far proceeded on, and should rejoice if, by the extension of your resources, you were enabled to carry it forward even till you have reached the desirable consummation.

Professor Dr. Thomas Chalmers, First Moderator of the Free Church, from his letter addressed to the first Annual Meeting, Jan 30th, 1846, in the Music Hall, George St., Annual Report: 1846: p.12

I approve of this society exceedingly, in one respect, especially, that it employs lay missionaries……..I rejoice…….in the unsectarian character of this society……

Lord Provost, the Duke of Argyll (Annual Meeting, Music Hall, Dec 23rd, 1850, Annual Report: 1850: p.7 – 8)

….(the churches) felt the reproof the City Mission addressed to them, and followed the example it set them.

Dr. Guthrie, Founder of the Ragged Schools (Annual Meeting, 1866, Annual Report: 1895: p.10)

There is no Society that more deserves the support and the thanks of the Community than the Edinburgh City Mission.

Lord Provost, W.S. Brown (Annual Meeting, Dec 22nd, 1909, Annual Report: 1909: p.3)

I believe in the City Mission……the old Gospel is not worn out. People who doubt it should come and make the acquaintance of this Society. There is broken earthenware being repaired in Edinburgh, and instead of remaining a curse to society, these become good husbands and fathers, and useful members of the community.

Sheriff R.L. Orr K.C. (Annual Meeting, Dec 19th, 1911, Annual Report: 1911: p.3)

This work has the warm approval of the City Authorities.

Lord Provost, Inches (Annual Meeting, Dec 16th, 1915, Annual Report: 1915: p.6)

There is a fine spirit in the Mission, and it is just the Spirit of Christ.

Rt. Rev Dr. Norman Maclean, Moderator of the Church of Scotland (Annual Report, 1927: p.8)

This Mission exists for the bringing of souls to Jesus Christ.

Bailie The Rev Dr. A.D. Sloan (Annual Meeting, March 20th, 1933)

There is no more valuable work done by any other agency in the City.

Hon. Lord Wark, High Court Judge (Annual Meeting, March 19th, 1934, Annual Report, 1934: p……)

The City Mission is doing a great work.

Bailie George D. Brown, City Treasurer (Annual Meeting, March 16th, 1937)

The Edinburgh City Mission is…….repeating the authentic spirit of Jesus Christ.

Rt. Rev. Professor Daniel Lamont D.D., Moderator of the Church of Scotland (Ibid)

We honour the Edinburgh City Mission, its workers, its ideals, its achievements…for it is a daily evidence of the Divine Command that we should love one another.

Professor Sir John Frazer, K.C.V.O, M.D., F.R.C.S. (Annual Meeting, March 22nd, 1938)

City Missions are indeed no longer upon their trial, their value having been proved and acknowledged for many years past….as Lord Shaftesbury remarked, Glasgow, to which we might add Edinburgh – puts London fairly to shame.

North British Daily Mail (Annual Report, 1873: p.12)

This is an extraordinary statement when we consider the previous paragraph had been a quotation from Lord Shaftesbury, who says that he, the former Prime Minister of France (M. Guizot) and Sir George Grey, all agreed that Christianity in London, particularly through the work of London City Mission, had held back the Revolution of 1848 that swept through Europe. The statement that ECM “puts London fairly to shame”, is indeed a sign of the national love and respect we had in those days.

The quotations of Lord Shaftesbury, who gave a speech at Wemyss Bay in the autumn of 1874, are recorded below:

“Were it not,” says his Lordship, “for the London City Mission, and other kindred associations, I really know not what would be the condition of the metropolis of London. But I am certain of this, that if God had not put it into the heart of excellent men like David Nasmyth, of whom all Scotsmen may well boast, some five and thirty years ago, to found and carry on the London City Mission, and kindred institutions, the metropolis of London, and a very large proportion of the empire of Great Britain would have been totally uninhabitable by anyone who pretended to civilization, morality and religion……I remember the great Revolution of 1848, when, as you know, every throne was in the dust….I remember, after that day, talking with M. Guizot, who had been Prime Minister of France, when he said, “I will tell you what saved your empire. It was not your constables; it was not your army; it was not your ministers, it was the deep, solemn, religious atmosphere… is the religion of England that saved the empire of Great Britain.” He was right…….Sir George Grey said to me “I am satisfied, as Secretary of State, that London could not have been kept in order, had not the state of mind been prepared by the operations of associations such as these.”

Lord Shaftesbury (Speech of Earl of Shaftesbury at Wemyss Bay, autumn, 1874, ECM Annual Report, 1874: p. 11 – 12)


Use the Links below to see the different topics in this section.