« السابقةمتابعة »
and coffee were served at five o'clock, and afterwards, in the unavoidable absence of the senior elder in the Presbytery, Mr. Nisbet was prevailed upon to take the chair. He stated briefly the objects he had in view in calling the Meeting, and then proposed that a considerable time should be devoted to devotional exercises; accordingly several psalms were sung, and appropriate passages of Scripture read, and prayer was offered up by Mr. Finch, of River-terrace Church, by Mr. Baisler, of Marylebone, and by Mr. Dalton, of Woolwich Church.
A lengthened conversation then followed, in which members of the several Sessions took part in succession, and in which many practical suggestions were offered. It was remarked by some of the speakers that great good might be anticipated from such Meetings, were it only to cultivate a more intimate personal acquaintance with each other, but still more from their engaging together in approaches to the throne of grace in the manner which they had now been doing; that much benefit might also arise from hints, which one Session might give to another as to the best means of promoting the spiritual interests of their people, and of advancing the schemes of the Church, and the spread of the Gospel. It seemed very desirable that Kirk Sessions should hold their Meetings periodically; say monthly, or, at farthest, quarterly; and it was well observed by an elder, that they never could be at a loss for business, however frequently they met, for they could always convert the Meeting into one for prayer for themselves and the congregation.
The importance of forming associations in aid of the schemes of the Church was strongly urged; the success which had attended those already in operation was reported as very encouraging, and it was stated, that after a time at least, the churchdoor and special collections had not been diminished thereby, but rather otherwise. Congregations should therefore not be deterred from having associations from any apprehensions of this kind. It was pleasing to learn that some of the Sessions were in the habit of having devotional exercises, both before and after the public services of the Sabbath, and it was striking to remark that congregations seemed to prosper just in proportion to the frequency and urgency of such exercises.
It appearing to be the unanimous desire of all present that such delightful Meetings should be continued, it was suggested by Mr. Gillespie, and cordially agreed to, that another should be held in the same place on the second Saturday of May, at six o'clock, then to fix the day of the week on which, and how often in the year, future Meetings
should be held.
The Chairman having expressed his gratification at the whole of the proceedings of the evening, gave out part of the cxxii. Psalm, which having been sung, Mr. Watson, late of Kelso, and an elder of the Free Church there, offered up a most impressive prayer, and the benediction having been pronounced, the Meeting separated about nine o'clock.
EXTRAORDINARY REFORMATION AMONG A COMMUNITY OF BOATMEN IN
THE coal mines on the banks of the Ruhr give employment to 1,000 barges, and to each they reckon four sailors. A large number of these live in Malheim, and have generally
been considered among the most rude, ignorant, and wicked of the lower classes. About two years ago one of these, named Wolf, preeminent in all these evil qualities, became thoughtful, and his conscience reproached him for his wicked life, and his cruel treatment of his wife and children in his drunken fits. He had very little knowledge of the truths of Christianity, for he could not read; but he was afraid of the judgment of God, and that he must be eternally lost should death overtake him in his sinful state. While under these severe conflicts of mind, he revealed himself to his brother-in-law, a man also in humble life, but a pious man, who told him that he knew a Physician who could cure him. "Oh! where does he live?" cried Wolf, "for I will gladly walk ten miles this night yet to find him." The brother-in-law now preached to him Christ, and pointed him out as the only Saviour and Pysician of sinsick souls.
Wolf returned home to his family; and, his wife told me, he fell upon his knees, and, in agony, cried long and earnestly to the Saviour for help and deliverance from the torments of his mind. His prayer was heard, and he found rest in Christ. He began to learn to read (which he soon accomplished), that he might be able to feed on the Word of God. He now appeared, among his former companions in wickedness, a changed man; and his heart was so full of love to the Saviour, for the peace which he had found, that he began to preach to them with a power and energy which astonished them, and the Holy Spirit confirmed his testimony.
The holy fire spread from boat to boat, and the eyes of many were opened on their sinful and lost state. Drunkards, thieves, and abandoned characters, were made penitent; and it was a joyful sight to behold them shedding tears under the sound of the glad tidings, and their weather-beaten countenances beaming with delight while joining in the praises of their Saviour. And now their huts, which were formerly habitations of riot and wretchedness, are changed into clean and comfortable dwellings, where peace and temperance reside. They now began to assemble in numbers for reading the Word of God and prayer. Hundreds have been savingly affected; and last winter these meetings were frequented by many from the neighbouring country, and also by the poor of Malheim. The narrator was present at one of them in which there were from 400 to 500 of these humble Christians.
The magistrates have openly acknowledged the improved state of morals among the lower orders, to whom this awakening seems to be exclusively confined.-Montreal Witness.
in a way very different from what he has expected; with that he has nothing to do. It would be presumption for us to prescribe a method by which the purposes of God should be accomplished. This we must leave with him; and, in doing it, we are consulting our own peace and safety. Were the Lord to say-"You shall have the answer to prayer— about that I am determined; but you shall choose the time when the answer shall come, and mark out the path in which my Spirit shall come with it," should we not be in great perplexity? or, if we decided, should we not be almost sure to fix upon the wrong moment and method? If we do not know what to pray for, we cannot know the best means of obtaining our request. Who would prefer a rough path to a smooth one? Yet the rough one is often the safest, and therefore the best. Were we left to the decisions of our own minds, notwithstanding all that God has said about the necessity and advantages of affliction, should we ever be tried? Mental suffering and bodily pain are repugnant to us, and who would not escape both if he could? But the absence of trouble would neither facilitate the spirituality of our minds, nor permanently increase our happiness. Just as the spirit is wounded the spirit is healed; and the mount of danger is the place of deliverance. We are not left to select the means of our spiritual training, any more than we are allowed to choose our providential heritage. The Lord provides for us, and judges for us in all things........ So far, then, from afflic tions being at variance with our interests or desires, they are actually in harmony with both. "Good is written upon all we receive from him." Yes, when the Lord tries us, he is doing his own work to realize the desires which his Spirit has created. He fulfils his own purposes, and answers our requests at the same time. Why, then, do we not thankfully adore him, even when he smites us? Why should we ever be dissatisfied with his ways? We ask him to purify our hearts, and to teach us his truth, which prayer he graciously answers; but because he puts us into the furnace to take our dross away, we are sometimes inclined to think that his hand is turned against us, and that his faithfulness has failed. Strange inconsistency! for by sanctified trials, more than by any other disciplinary means, he increases our conformity to his image of his Son, and introduces us to scenes and pleasures which, but for adversity, the eye would never see-the heart would never enjoy
The crossing of our designsthe blasting of our gourds-is not, strictly speaking, the answer to prayer, because we never ask God to do this; but it is the way in which he grants the desires of our hearts; and he does it in this way that, in addition to AFFLICTIONS ARE BUT BLESSINGS IN others, or awaken desires for others; and thus the blessings we actually seek, he may add
Ir clearly appears that, when God afflicts us, he is doing the thing we wish him to doyea, the very thing we ask him to do. He sometimes answers us by terrible things in righteousness; but, when the answer comes in this way, he sends it, as it were, at our request. When we pray for spiritual blessings, if we are sincere, and do indeed desire them, we are unconcerned about the way in which they may come. This is comparatively a matter of indifference. Being anxious to receive the mercies he has promised to impart, we do not allow the means he may employ to convey them to trouble us. The Christian does not know in what channel God may convey the answer to prayer: it may be
convince us, that as he is able, so he is willing, "to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think," Eph. iii. 20. He satisfies the soul, and increases its spiritual thirst at the same moment........Matthew Henry says, "God is always as good as his word, and sometimes better." But then he must so pour his mercy forth as to convince us that his exuberant kindness is all undeserved; and that it rolls on to our hearts in one direction, that, in another, it may bear us back to the ocean from which it came. In Christ there is peace for the troubled mind, his love is a refuge in every storm; and inward trials, as well as outward, are employed to set us free from self and sin, that we may seek and find our all in him alone.... I it not a strong support to patience and sub
mission to know, that even the most painful of all trials is working out for you the most blessed of all ends? It is not the will of God that any one should be unholy. Here, then, is an everlasting basis. It cannot fail; God is unchangeable. He never will choose, or appoint, or approve, anything connected with sin. Behold, then, on what an indestructible foundation you may build your hopes, when you sigh and cry for freedom from every plague of the heart. Your prayer is accept able to the Lord God. He will assuredly answer it, but in his own time and in his own That time you will one day acknowledge to have been right and seasonable, not a moment sooner nor a moment later than it
ought to have been. That way you will recognise to have been the safest by which you, with your peculiar temperament, and in your particular circumstances of life, could have been conducted from sin to holiness from earth to heaven.
The seventh day's rest is timely relief. Truly
METHOD OF PREACHING OF JAMES
RENWICK, THE MARTYR.
"A SKETCH of the place and manner of arrangements of Divine service at Bukkur (Upper Scinde), will strongly illustrate the kind of shifts to which a poor chaplain is liable to be reduced in this campaigning life. The church was prepared in a ruined building which had once had a groined and vaulted of shattered brick work seemed much inroof. This had given way, and large masses clined to follow it. On three sides were lofty pointed arches, which universally prevail, so Songhaunistan. The Ordnance Department had far as I have seen throughout Scinde and Affkindly issued planks, which were laid with the ends resting on empty ammunition boxes, so that the poor fellows (the soldiers) had comfortable seats. It was a curious, striking scene. As I stood, the arches to the right and left disclosed the tools and machinery of the Ordnance workshops, forges and anvils, carpenters' benches, lathes, &c., erected among the crumbling ruins, which lowered and frowned upon their sooty intruders, as an old country aristocrat might be supposed to do upon some upstart who had established himself in his neighbourhood. The centre was occupied by the officers and troops; a lofty archway behind gave, as a background, other crumbling ruins of the fort, glowing in the setting sun, and surrounded by cannon, mortars, tumbrils, tents, and all the other paraphernalia of modern warfare.
THE latter end of this year I heard that great man of God, Mr. James Renwick, preach on Song iii. 9, 10, when he treated greatly on the covenant of redemption agreed on between God the Father, and God the his equal, in favour of the elect; as also on the covenant of grace established with be lievers in Christ. O, this was a great and THE first Report has just been published. sweet day of the Gospel, for he handled and It is short, and consists chiefly of statements pressed the privileges of the covenant of grace relative to the origin and nature of the comwith seraphic-like enlargement, to the great mission, and explanations of the various edification of the hearers. Sweet and charmmatters contained in the appendix. The ap-ing were the offers which he made of Christ pendix contains much information, from to all sort of sinners. There was one thing which we select the following:-The incomes this day that was very remarkable to me; for of the archbishops and bishops of England it was raining from morning to night, and we and Wales, as they become subject to the wet as if we had been drenched in water, yet Act 6 and 7 Will. 4, c. 77, are as follows:- not one fell sick; and though there was a tent Canterbury, 15,000.; York, 10,000.; Lon- fixed for him, he would not go into it, but don, 10,000l.; Durham, 8,000l.; Winchester, stood without in the rain and preached 7,000!.; St. Asaph and Bangor, 5,2007.; which example had a great influence on the Bath and Wells, 5,000l.; Ely, 5,500l.; Wor- people to patience, when they saw his symcester, 5,000l.; Carlisle, 4,500/.; Chester, pathy with them; and though he was the 4,5001; Chichester, 4,2001.; St. David's, only minister that kept closest to his text, and 4.500/.; Exeter, 5,0007.; Gloucester and Bris- had the best method for the judgment and tol, 5,000l.; Hereford, 4,200.; Lichfield, memory of any that ever I heard, yet now 4.500%.; Lincoln, 5,000/.; Llandaff, 4,2001.; when he preached, the people crowded close Manchester, 4,5007.; Norwich, 4,500/.; Ox- together because of the rain, he digressed a ford, 5,000l.; Peterborough, 4,500.; Ripon, little, and cried with a pleasing, melting 4,500!.; Rochester, 5,000l.; Salisbury, 5,000/. voice, "My dear friends, do not be dis-total, 149,300l. There is also a list of 585 turbed because of the rain, for to have a livings augmented by the Commissioners, covenant interest in Christ, the true Solomon, comprising 267, in which the population and in the benefits of his blessed purchase, is being 2,000 and upwards, the income has well worth the enduring all temporal, been raised to 150/.; 98 in which, the elementary storms that can fall on us. And population being over 1,000, the income has this Solomon, who is here pointed at, endured been raised to 1204.; 85 of a population exa far other kind of storm for his people, even ceeding 500, where the income has been a storm of unmixed wrath. And, O! what raised to 100%.; and 60, having a popula- would poor reprobates in hell give for this tion less than 500, and in which the income day's offer of sweet and lovely Christ! and has been raised to 60%. per annum, The total how welcome would our suffering friends in amount, including some other permanent prison and banishment make this day's offer annual augmentations to the clergy, is stated of Christ! I, for my own part, as the Lord to have been 31,354/. The larger share of will keep me, shall bear my equal share of these augmentations appears to have fallen this rain, in sympathy with you." And he to the diocese of Chester, in which 134 returned to his sweet subject again, and churches are stated to have received grants to offered us grace and reconciliation with God the extent of 7,360. The next is Ripon-73 through Christ by his Spirit. He had a sweet churches, and 4,2157. The eight dioceses of charming eloquence in holding forth Christ as Chester, Durham, Lichfield, Lincoln, London, the only remedy for lost sinners.-Memoirs of Ripon, Winchester, and York have received Nisbet. an aggregate of 22,408/., eighteen other dioceses taking the remainder. The Commissioners have also undertaken to provide, and have partly made arrangements for providing houses of residence for the clergy of 120 benefices and churches, the annual incomes of which do not exceed 200/.
"THE SABBATH WAS MADE FOR MAN."
We know not what would induce us to submit to the privation of the rest of the Sab bath, as many are required to give it up.
A BRIEF REPORT.
A COMMITTEE on the state of religion in one
"Resolved. That the shepherds of the
• What a strange contrast (thought I) is my present life to an uniform routine of a curacy at home! Here I am feelingly convinced of the comparative insignificance of those outward accompaniments of worship, concerning which there are often such bitter disputes at home. While men are (there) as eagerly discussing the (relative) position of a pulpit (to the "altar "), the decorations of a communiontable, the form of vestment, as if their salvation depended upon it, I am satisfied to get under the fly of a tent or the shade of a ruined wall, with a discarded packing case for a pulpit to dispense the Word of Life to as many as will hear me.' Not that the decent solemnities of the house of God are to be regarded as unimportant; but surely such external things should not be allowed to cause a breach of Christian charity among members of the same body and sharers in the same blessed hope, through one common Saviour."--Diary of a March through Seinde, and Afghanistan, &c., by the Rev. J. N. Allen, B.A., Assistant Chaplain, 1843. pp.
[When a kingdom is assailed by a foreign enemy, internal factions are hushed, and all parties unite against the common foe; and missionaries of all denominations among the heathen live and act together as brethren. Their little differences among themselves in matters of rites, vestments, polity, and order, appear infinitely unimportant, compared with the vital points on which they are at one, and on which they all differ, and differ equally from the surrounding heathenism. A man on a wild perilous expedition is not only contented with, but grateful for, little com
DONATIONS TO THE COLLEGE
forts which he would have fretted under as This congregation deserves much credit. | admission into the present number, we are positive annoyances at home, and the greatest They have had to struggle with many and obliged to disarrange our order; but such is idolaters of surplices and altars, of presby-serious difficulties, all of which they met in a our love of Congregational Associations, that teries and synous, of conferences and class-spirit of faith and hopeful resolution, and by the grace of God they have converted their diffi- we, in this instance, violate a rule which leaders, of county unions and congregational culties into sources of success. With their nothing else could induce us to do. May we discipline, are mightily delighted when in a young and talented minister at their head, again request our friends to send us their waste howling moral wilderness they meet with the Divine aid, they have every reason communications, at the VERY LATEST, before with a little Christian society, whatever their to hope that not only are their difficulties at the 20th of each month.-ED.] an end, but that many and precious blessings forms, ritual, or polity, if only they but maniwill, through their instrumentality, be confest repentance towards God and faith in the ferred upon the neighbourhood where they Lord Jesus Christ. And why should it not have reared this temple to the Lord. be thus at home? We have all of us long enough tried what battering trains of arguments and scorching floods of passion can accomplish in the way of conquering our brethren and gaining a triumph to our own denominational peculiarities. Let us now at length try what a little intercourse in brotherly kindness and love can accomplish. The thing is surely worthy of being tried, were it only in the way of experiment.-ED.]
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, RIVERTERRACE, ISLINGTON, LONDON. THE enlargement of this Church having been completed, it was RE-OPENED for public worship on Wednesday, the 18th of March, at twelve o'clock, when the Rev. James Hamilton, of the National Scotch Church, Regent's square, preached an eloquent and appropriate sermon. The Rev. Messrs. Freeman (Independent), Chalmers (Marylebone), and Nicolson (London-wall), also took part in the services.
And on Sabbath, the 22d instant, the Rev. Dr. Burder, of Hackney officiated in the morning at eleven o'clock; and the Rev. Josias Wilson, Minister of the Church, in the evening, at half-past six o'clock. On both occasions the audiences were crowded, and the collections handsome. The whole scene must have been peculiarly gratifying to the eloquent and popular pastor. He has seen externally the fruits of his labours in an overcrowded congregation, leading to the necessity of an enlarged church, which we are certain will soon be filled to overflowing, and become, as we trust, the parent of other congregations. May God grant that he may be also privileged to witness the fruits of his ministrations in the conversion of sinners and the edification of saints! Acting upon the true Presbyterian plan, the congregation were not satisfied with procuring a church for themselves, a large and commodious schoolroom has also been erected, and it is proposed shortly to open a Week-day school.
THIS new and very handsome church was Dr. Harris, of opened on the 26th ult. Cheshunt College, (author of Mammon, &c.,) preached in the morning an admirable sermon, and the Rev. William Chalmers (minister of the Church) in the evening, in his usual instructive and impressive style, to large and delighted audiences. On the Sabbath following the Rev. Thomas Guthrie, of Edinburgh, in the morning and evening, and the Rev. Dr. Bunting in the afternoon, each in his own manner too well known to need being here characterized, preached to overflowing congregations. The collections made -after each service were large and liberal, fully equal, we believe, to the hopes of the friends of the cause.
Nor is the other congregation that left Swallow-street without ample grounds of hope and joy also. They have obtained a very comfortable church in Edward-street, Wardour-street; and if Dr. M'Aulay, their young minister, (about to be ordained) should (as we fully believe) realize in the pulpit the hopes he has excited when before the Presbytery, he will soon find the Church too small for him and his congregation. Nor even in this brief and hurried record should
From REV. JAMES HAMILTON. Forbesii à Corse Opera Omnia. Amsterdam, 1703. 2 vols., folio.
Whitby on the New Testament, with Appendix. 1706. 3 vols., folio.
Warburton's Works, 12 vols., 8vo.
Warburton's Literary Remains.
Whateley's Essays on the Dangers to Christian Faith.
Prideaux's Connexions, 4 vols.
The Tryal of the Witnesses, and Conversion of St. Paul.
we omit to mention Hampstead. We shall soon
What cause of gratitude have we in all these appointments! If we first saw Birmingham, Brighton, and Wolverhampton supplied, and our promising students ready for license, we would feel that the time had fully arrived for listening to the varied calls that have been made to us from so many quarters for ordinances and ministers.
THERE are at this moment in Italy 150
The Border Magazine, 2 vols.
Bellamy's True Religion Delineated.
Hall on the Faith and Influence of the Gospel.
Venning's Remains; or, Christ's School.
From Rev. JOHN WATSON, Belford.
Turnbull's Views and Experiences of Christianity.
From Mrs. HUTTON, Tweedmouth.
From Mr. ROBERT WILSON, Berwick.
Thomson's Elements of Chemistry.
Sherlock's Vindication of the Trinity.
Fisher's Shorter Catechism.
History of the Wars, 2 vols.
Burnet's Theory of the Earth.
Rollin's Ancient History, in numbers.
Wardlaw on the Socinian Controversy.
The Churchman's Monthly Review, 1841-3, incom-
From Miss ANNA JOHNSTON.
From Rev. JOHN MENEELY, Belfast.
Printed by ALEXANDER MACINTOSH, of No. 20, Great New street, Fetter-lane, London, and published by JAMES MACINTOSH, of No. 47, Church-road, De Beauvoirsquare, in the parish of Hackney, at the Office, No. 16, Exeter Hall, Strand, London, by whom communications to the Editor (post-paid) and advertisements are received. Wednesday, April 1, 1846.
Sold by HAMILTON, ADAMS, and Co., Paternoster-row; and JAMES NISBET and Co., 21, Berners-street.
We have now the pleasure of addressing our friends at the commencement of the second year of the "Messenger." In last number we said most of what we feel it needful at present to urge, and we shall do little more than here repeat our former
their desks might thus be communicated to thousands. Our younger ministers, who are forming their style, might have an opportunity of seeing how their sentences look in print. In short, for young and old we offer an open channel of communication with all the leading minds of our Church.
We have also to renew our request for In order that the " Messenger" may extracts from rare and useful works. Our answer the end for which it was started, it readers may thus confer a special favour will be necessary that our circulation should upon us and their fellow-readers. Along be considerably increased. The "Mes-with the extract we request the author's senger" is the only medium our Church name, the title and page of the work from possesses through which intelligence can be which the extract is made: or, if a slip is officially and authentically communicated. cut out from a periodical, let the title of The appeals of our various Committees the work be also given. We desire to which are intended to reach every member acknowledge our obligations wherever they and seat-holder in our Church cannot, are due, and this is the only way in which otherwise than through our columns, obtain we can be able to do so. the requisite publicity. The proceedings in our presbyteries are mostly restricted to the circulation we give them. The announcement of the contributions made to our various schemes is confined to the "Messenger." Suggestions and plans for the advantage of our Church find their appropriate and exclusive place in our pages. These and such-like matters give, or ought to give, the "Messenger a claim upon every English Presbyterian. In addition to the subjects above alluded to, the "Messenger" is intended to contain the usual topics of a monthly periodical. We make no vainglorious boast of the past, and no extravagant promises for the future; but this we think we may say, that no periodical does, or can, present such claims on the support of our people. For the support we have obtained we again desire to tender our acknowledgments, and trust it will be not only continued, but augmented.
Upon more mature consideration it was deemed advisable to retain our previous form.
As we must go to press before the time at which the Synod assembles, we cannot, in this number, give a report of its proceedings; but as our readers must be anxious to hear of its decisions before the regular time of our next publication, it is our intention to issue a supplemental number principally, or exclusively, devoted to the deliberations and determinations of Synod. If additional copies of the supplemental number are required, they should be ordered as early as possible, either from the Office, if for the stamped, or through the booksellers, if for the unstamped edition.
We have, as we did last year, to request our ministers, elders, deacons, tract distributors, Sabbath-school teachers, and associational collectors, to lend us their valued aid in pushing the "Messenger" into wider circulation. The excess of proceeds over the ordinary expenses of publication will be divided among the schemes of the Church. This is an additional reason why the parties attached to, and the friends of, the Church should feel it a public duty to promote the circulation of the Messen
We would renew our request for contributions. Our ministers, we know, are overburdened with congregational duties; but might they not occasionally send us materials for a column? We do trust they will not overlook the means of usefulness thus placed in their hands. Many a valu-ger."
Donations to College Library
ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE REV. PROFESSOR CAMPBELL, AT THE INDUCTION OF THE REV. WILLIAM COUSIN TO THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, CHELSEA, LONDON, APRIL 10, 1846. PRESBYTERIANISM occupies an intermediate position between Prelacy and Congregationalism. Prelacy is that system of Church government which (at least in theory) places the entire power of discipline and jurisdicdiction in the hands of the prelate. Congregationalism is that form of ecclesiastical tent to interfere in the affairs of a congregapolity which recognises no power as competion but what is lodged in its own members, and consequently places the entire power of discipline and jurisdiction in the general body of the Church members. Presbyterianism again, is that system of Church government which places the power of jurisdiction orderly assembled in a graduated system of and discipline in the members and elders, Church courts Sessions, Presbyteries, Synods; with right of appeal from the lower to the higher, up to the highest of these courts.
Were I to attempt to instance a parallel to each of these three systems of ecclesiastical polity in the civil governments of the world, I might say that the theory of Prelacy (and it is only in theory it exists in this country, because our laws and institutions modify its native form); the theory of Prelacy would be found analogous to an irresponsible monarchy, or rather to a confederation of monarchs, under one Suzeran, very similar to the constitution of the old Germanic Empire. The theory of Congregationalism, and also its actual form, is neither legislative nor executive officers analogous to a democracy, which recognised
distinct from the general body of the people, and in which every single individual member of the community had equal official powers and prerogatives, and all the affairs of the State were administered, and its laws enacted and executed by the vote of each of its members. Presby
terianism again is, both in theory and canism, where the Senate or governing inpractice, a species of old Roman Republistitute is composed of two classes of senators, both elected by the people, both holding office for life, both sitting in the same
assembly, and possessing equal powers in the administration of public affairs.
This, I am aware, is a very inadequate description of Presbyterianism, because in fact it has no parallel in any form of civil government that has ever yet appeared on earth. It is not like monarchy, limited or absolute, sole or confederated, for it has no sovereign officer. It is not like democracy; for it does not place the legislative and executive power directly in the hands of each member of the community. It is not like the Republicanism of old Rome, because there the governors were hereditary, while here they are elective, nor of modern America, because there the Government is in the hands of mere temporary officers, while here they hold office for life. Nor is it like the old Polish semi-monarchical semi-aristocratical Government, nor yet the old Italian Oligarchy, because, in both instances, the governing officers were hereditary, and the people possessed no influence, directly nor indirectly, either on the choice of their rulers or on the administration of affairs. But in the Presbyterian Church, as I have said, the officers, who, however, hold office for life, are elected by the people, and through the elders, who are so closely identified with them the people can exercise a very powerful, although an indirect influence upon the discipline and jurisdiction of the Church.
that all things are conducted in a proper and
very end and essence of a good polity; and the more perfect any form of government is, the more will it combine these two elements. And we have no hesitation in saying, that Presbyterianism reconciles and combines them. Our congregations are left as unfettered to devise and execute whatever may be necessary or expedient for their welfare as any congregations on earth. The superior Church courts lend them their counsel in all their perplexities, aid them with their power in every difficulty, support them in the prosecution of all their enterprises, and check or correct them only when they violate the laws, or constitutional principles, of the Church. The jurisdiction of every court is clearly defined, and there is no danger of collision. Within the large and well-defined territory of its own jurisdiction every Session administers The Synod with us consists of a minister its own affairs without check or hindrance. and an elder from each congregation of the Each congregation acts as its circumstances whole Church, and meets once a-year. Its require. Its local institutions, missions, sopowers may be described in one word. What-cieties, schools, its discipline and order; in ever powers the Session possesses over one short, whatever a congregation requires for congregation, or the Presbytery over the its own good it founds, superintends, manages, congregations within its bounds, such powers without any external intermeddling. It elects the Synod possesses over all the congregations its minister, it chooses its elders and deacons, of the entire Church. But in addition, the it appoints its trustees, it conducts all its Synod, as our supreme court, possesses certain local affairs-spiritual, economic, financial, exclusive powers and prerogatives. Its in virtue of its own inherent powers, without decisions in all cases of appeal are final. It requiring or receiving any interference from is both a legislative and executive court, the the superior Church courts. There is not in lower courts being only executive. With the three kingdoms, there is not on earth, a these differences, I repeat, whatever the Pres- more independent body in all that pertains to bytery is to the congregations within its its internal affairs, than one of our congrega bounds, that the Synod is to the whole tions. I am aware that our Independent Church. brethren seem to entertain some sort of horror of what they fancy to be the subordination, not to say slavery, of our congregations. But I beg leave to tell them, that in the whole annals of Presbytery, I never knew such interference with the internal affairs of one congregation by another, as has lately been shown by the Independent congrega tions in Glasgow towards some of their sister Churches. But do I condemn them for this? I condemn them not. I believe they found their own system utterly incapable of grappling with the difficulty, and like sensible men, they imitated our system, which has a provision fitted for every emergency. Instead of censuring I applaud them, and only wish they would embrace our entire system, which, I may add, I believe, when they know it better, they will all of them do. Our Independent brethren have seen some caricature of Presbyterianism, which malice or ignorance had sketched, and which credulity or sectarianism believed, and they have denounced, not what we profess, but what they had imagined to be our constitution. But let them contemplate the truth, without partiality or prejudice, and they will be com pelled to acknowledge that our general polity does not infringe, it only confirms and regu lates local liberty.
As I am aware I address many who know nothing of this system of Church government, and as it is my intention to confine myself, as indeed the time allotted compels me, to the merest elements of the subject, I may just give you the leading I am quite aware that although I have features of Presbyterianism. With us (with-made this description just as simple and as out at present regarding the deacons, whose clear as it is in my power, it is yet very prooffice is confined to the administration of bable that from its conciseness you may have secular affairs) every congregation is placed but a very inadequate, or even confused conunder the spiritual superintendence of a minis- ception of the constitution of the Presbyter and a certain number of elders, two being terian Church. I have said enough, I trust, the smallest number who can act. Both the however, and you now know enough to perminister and elders, as also the deacons, mit me, before I close, to point out just as are elected by the people. It is the minister concisely one advantage of incalculable praconly who is authorized to preach and tical importance that exists in Presbyterianadminister the sacraments. The minister ism, and in Presbyterianism alone. and elders form a court called the Session, of which the minister is moderator or president. The whole spiritual superintendence of the congregation, its discipline and jurisdiction, are lodged in the Session, all the members being invested, whether minister or elders, with equal powers. They have the power of admitting, suspending, censuring, and expelling members. They have the power of framing such by-laws for themselves as the circumstances of their congregation may require, care always being taken that these by-laws do not violate any of the general laws of the whole Church. They have the direct local and primary management of every matter that pertains to the well-being of their own congregation. Should any member of Session object to any act there performed, or should any member of the congregation subjected to discipline, deem himself aggrieved, he has a right to appeal to the Presbytery: and this leads me to describe that court in as simple and elementary a
form as I have now described the Session.
The Presbytery is composed of a minister and an elder from a certain number of churches, sufficiently contiguous to permit these officers frequently to assemble; commonly once a-month, or as often as it has business to transact. The Presbytery possesses visitorial powers over all the congregations of which it is composed. It has a right, and it is its duty, to inspect everything that pertains to each congregation, and to see
To a perfect system of government two elements are essential-individual and local liberty of action, and a centralized authority, and consequently, combined operations. Without local liberty of action men become slaves; but where that liberty exists without check or control, there is imminent danger of licentiousness, disorganization, and anarchy. Without centralized authority a Church becomes an ecclesiastical feudal kingdom, or a quasi confederation of independent cantons, where each petty baron rears his eyrie castlette, and frowns defiance on all his neighbours; or where each tiny, mile-square canton, intent only on what, in the profundity of its economic sagacity, it deems its individual interests, and most patriotically indifferent, if not even hostile, to the interests of It is true we claim great power and autho its sister states, frames all its laws, and admi-rity for our courts of appeal; and this, as it nisters all its affairs, and prosecutes all its implies our characteristic peculiarity, enterprises, on that primary principle of un- forms our distinguishing excellency. To a sanctified human nature, that every man good government we have said there is essenought to look exclusively to himself: and thus tial, not only local liberty of action, but without centralized authority a Church is centralized authority and general superbroken up into fragmentary sections, destitute intendence: and we possess both. Our conof every principle of cohesion, incapable of gregations are free to devise and to execute combined operations-aggressive or protec- all that they deem necessary or beneficial for tive, and liable to continual collisions. But, their own interests, as free as any municipal on the other hand, centralized authority, un- corporation, or any affiliated charitable or checked by local liberty of action, is exposed religious society, in any province of the to the danger of degenerating into despotism. empire. But the central government-the Now the object of good government is to parent society-has, and must have, a right reconcile, to combine these two-local liberty to see that each subordinate department acta of action with centralized power. This is the in accordance with the fundamental laws and