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Dumbarton, and other places of strength, had been seized and fortified. A large army was organized, and they sent over to Germany for Alexander Leslie, a brave old general, who had long fought by the side of the great Gustavus Adolphus, to take the chief command. Leslie gladly obeyed the summons, and brought with him many Scottish officers who had been trained to arms in the campaigns of "the thirty years' war." The greatest enthusiasm prevailed. In completing the fortification of Leith, not only men of rank, but women were seen carrying the materials necessary for the works. When the English fleet arrived in the Firth, Lady Hamilton, mother of the Marquis, rode into Leith at the head of a troop of her tenantry, with loaded pistols at her saddle, protesting she would sooner kill her son with her own hand than see him land as the enemy of religion and his country. She went out to the roads to visit him, the people saying as she went, "The son of such a mother cannot do us much harm." The main army of the Royalists, after delay from successful skirmishing, had by this time advanced as far as Dunse Law, a hill in Berwickshire, on the slopes of which they saw old Leslie and the Scottish army encamped, "every company having a colour flying at the captain's tentdoor, stamped with the Scottish arms, and this motto, For Christ's Crown, and Covenant,' in golden letters." The King seeing the determined front that was opposed to him, and fearing to provoke a collision, proposed a negotiation for peace. After much debate it was agreed, that the King should withdraw his fleet and army, and that a General Assembly and Parliament should be immediately summoned to consider all religious and civil grievances. The King returned to London greatly mortified, and was resolved to have his revenge on Scotland and Presbyterianism at the earliest opportunity.
Strafford, promised to furnish 8,000 men and
"As to reli
even its enemies being judges. members of the Established Church, and almost gion," says Lord Clarendon, "they were all to a man for Episcopal government. Though they were undevoted enough to the Court, they had all imaginable duty to the King, by law and ancient custom; and, without and affection for the Government established doubt, the majority of that body were persons of great and plentiful fortunes had no mind of gravity and wisdom, who being possessed to break the peace of the kingdom, or to make any considerable alterations of the statement of Lord Clarendon as to the reliGovernment of the Church or State." This Agion of the Long Parliament is so far correct, that the Members (with the exception of a very few, such as Hampden and Sir Harry Vane) still professed to belong to the Established Church.
tish war was extremely unpopular. Even
ment met. The King, in his opening speech,
The General Assembly and Parliament, which met at Edinburgh in 1639, did all they could to strengthen and maintain the position which the Covenanters had now assumed. They ratified the proceedings of the Glasgow Assembly of 1638, confirmed the establishment of Presbytery and the overthrow of Episcopacy, and appointed the Covenant to be taken throughout the kingdom. The King, provoked beyond measure, again resolved on reducing the Scottish subjects to obedience by force of arms. When the House proceeded to business it With the advice of Laud, was soon apparent what spirit and temper Hamilton, and Wentworth, who was sum- prevailed. Great efforts had been made by moned from Ireland for the deliberation, the the Court to influence the elections; but so war was thought so reasonable and necessary strong was the sense the people had of their for the King's honour and the honour of past wrongs, and so dear to them the prosEngland, that it might be ventured with the pect of regaining their lost liberty, that the consent and aid of an English Parliament. votes had almost universally run in favour of Having proposed this to the Council, the those whose actions and sufferings proclaimed proposal was approved of, and a Parliament their attachment to popular privileges. A was once more summoned to meet at West-mortifying instance of the prevailing feeling
On the opening of the House, the Lord Keeper Finch delivered his Majesty's message, declaring the undutiful and rebellious behaviour of the Scots, and requiring the aid of the faithful Commons to reduce them to submission. Instead of proceeding to vote supplies, the House at once appointed Committees for religion and grievances, which so provoked the King, that, after three weeks vain negotiation, he angrily dissolved the Parliament, and committed the leading Members to the Fleet and other prisons.
Having thus failed to obtain a Parliamentary supply, the Council advised the King to use his Royal prerogative to the utmost, and so procure what the exigency of the time required. Wentworth, now created Earl of
whom it was known that the King had fixed
custom to load this Parliament with abuse,
* So called from its continuing to sit for the greater
part of eighteen years.
feeling of dissatisfaction at the existing state But there was a general of the Church, and an earnest desire for reformation. The great body of the English Puritans, while they would perhaps have been content with a moderate Episcopacy, were decidedly Presbyterian in their convictions, Establishment brought into nearer conformity and would have rejoiced to see the English with the other Reformed Churches. The testimony of Clarendon is valuable, however, as shewing that by no party was it supposed tion had a footing in the new Parliament.* that any desire for rash and reckless innova
The House, after electing a lawyer, Mr. a day of public humiliation and Lenthall, as their Speaker, and having kept the Divine blessing on their counsels, apprayer for pointed various Committees to prepare the business. Such a multiplicity of petitions and memorials poured in upon them, that the Committees had to be subdivided into many groups,- for privileges, for elections, for grievances, for courts of justice, for trade, religion. It was soon found that the latter for Scotch and Irish affairs, and several for subject would demand a large share of their that had for a long period required investigatime and attention. Besides the grievances tion, new causes of complaint had been supplied by the Convocation, which had met along with the Short Parliament in the early dismissed by the King. The Convocation, part of that year, that had been so summarily however, contrary to usage and to law had continued to sit; and besides voting subsidies to the King, and other political movements, they had issued some new canons, and an oath which the whole body of the clergy and deprivation. This oath is usually called were required to take on pain of suspension the Et Cetera oath, from an &c. occurring in one part of it,-"I, A. B., do swear that I do approve the doctrine, discipline, and government established in the Church of England, as containing all things necessary indirectly, endeavour, by myself or any other, for salvation; and that I will not, directly or that which is so established; nor will I ever to bring in any Popish doctrine, contrary to give my consent to alter the government of and archdeacons, &c., as it now stands estabthis Church by archbishops, bishops, deans, lished, and as by right it ought to stand, nor superstitions of the see of Rome.” ever yet to subject it to the usurpations and
the one hand to oppress the Puritans by The object of this oath obviously was, on requiring strict conformity; and, on the other
* Lord Clarendon adds, that even after the battle of Edgehill the design against the Church was not grown popular in the House; that in 1642 and 1643, the Lords and Commons were in perfect conformity with the Church of England, and so was the army, and the generals and officers both by sea and land.
hand, under the guise of zeal against the Church of Rome, to save the English Church from the further reformation so much needed. Great indignation was manifested by the people during the sitting of this Convocation, and the house where they met had to be surrounded by guards. The cry of "No bishops!" began to be frequent in the streets of London, and men's minds were turned more than ever to ecclesiastical discussions. A vast number of treatises and pamphlets began to issue from the press, so that the subjects of Church order and government came to be thoroughly discussed. The result of this public discussion of course tended to the advancement of Presbytery; because a system founded on Scripture, and supported by history and the usages of other Protestant Churches, only required attention to be drawn to it in order to its general reception. Unhappily, the growing magnitude of political dangers, and the confusion into which the kingdom was thrown by the civil war, diverted the public attention from ecclesiastical affairs before the Presbyterian system had time to be firmly established in England. Sectarianism and irregular dissent began to prevail during the troubled times that followed, and with other well-ordered institutions the Presbyterian Church was overturned. The prevalence of Independency ever since has hindered any effective opposition to Prelacy, and has prevented the progress of the Anglican Reformation. Unfortunately, also, the ecclesiastical history of these times is so little known popularly, that the part acted by these two bodies has been too often mixed up under the common name of "Puritans;" the Independents getting the credit of the orderly and constitutional reforms which the Presbyterians effected down to the middle of the rule of the Long Parliament, and the Presbyterians getting the blame of the disorder and fanaticism which subsequently prevailed, and which tended to the restoration of the Stuarts and of Prelacy. This confusion has been increased by the unfair narratives of some writers. Even Neale, who is generally candid, while joyfully describing the reformation carried on at the beginning of the Long Parliament, tries to deprive the Presbyterians of the credit of it. "It may not be improper in this place," he says, "to make a few remarks on this part of Rapin's History of England,' who, in his account of these times, seems to represent the Puritans as Presbyterians. In the reigns of Elizabeth and James I., the Puritans were for the most part Presbyterians, though even then there were many Episcopalians among them; but from the time that Arminianism prevailed in the Church, and the whole of the Calvinists came to be distinguished by the name of 'Doctrinal Puritans,' both parties seemed to unite in a moderate Episcopacy. There were few, either of the clergy or laity, who had a zeal for Presbytery, or desired any more than to be rid of their oppressions." ." "It is true," adds Neale," that Presbytery did prevail after the beginning of the Parliament, especially among the common people, and in the Parliament also it gained the ascendant, but only through the influence of the Scots, on whose assistance the nation was at that time dependent against the King's party." The admissions here made by Neale, as to the Puritans of the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. being for the most part Presbyterians, and also as to the Presbyterianism prevailing among the common people, are noteworthy; and, indeed, the slightest atten
tion to the ecclesiastical movements since the
Neale's "History of the Puritans," vol. i. p. 573.
accession of Elizabeth must remove any
On the 11th of November, Mr. Pym, Sir John Hotham, and others, addressed the House on the evils that had resulted from the bad counsellors that surrounded the throne; and it was moved that Strafford should be impeached of high treason. Pym was chosen to carry up the accusation, and nearly the whole of the Members accompanied him to the House of Lords. They found the Lords in debate on the Scotch treaty, and Strafford was present. Pym appeared at the bar, and in the name of the Commons of England impeached him, and desired that he might be sequestered from all councils and put into custody. After brief debate, to the amazement of Strafford, and surprise of the Commons themselves, the demand was at once complied with. Strafford was committed to the Usher of the Black Rod, till particular One other remark Neale makes, to which charges could be brought against him at a Presbyterians would do well to give good public trial. The Commons next took up the heed. After showing how improbable it was consideration of the Convocation, whose prothat their influence could have effected so ceedings had caused great offence. The canon great movements, he adds:-" I will venture and the Et Cetera oath were condemned, to say, that if there were such invisible Pres- and as Laud was universally pointed to as the byterians behind the curtain, who planned prime author of these troubles, his impeachthe subversion of the hierarchy, and blew it ment was also resolved upon, and his up as it were without hands, they must have imprisonment being demanded, he was sent been abler Statesmen, and masters of much to the Tower. Startled by these vigorous more worldly politics than have ever distin- proceedings, and alarmed by the presentation guished their posterity." The truth of this of some petitions for more public movements; sarcastic remark we do fully admit, and trust the King, on the 13th December, came down that from past errors some wisdom may be to the House, and made a long harangue, gathered. This is one reason why we would offering a reconciliation of parties, and recall the history of our Church in England; promising once more to redress all grievances to the early portion of which we have devoted in Church and State. The House took no a proportionably large space because it is of notice of the King's speech, nor did they sufimportance to trace the steps by which, in fer this unconstitutional interruption to connexion with the political history of the interfere with their proceedings. They were nation, the Presbyterian Church rose to the then engaged in the consideration of a peeminence reached during the Westminster tition signed by about 15,000 citizens and Assembly. How they fell from the height inhabitants of London, praying for the abolithen attained can be more succinctly, and, tion of Episcopacy. This, which was called alas! too easily told. At the middle of the the "root and branch" petition from an exseventeenth century the Presbyterians had pression occurring in it, had been presented the destinies of England and of Christendom on the 11th of December. It represented the at their disposal. Every advantage of power, condition of the Church of England as too influence, and character, they possessed, full of abuses to admit of proper amendment, backed by the Scottish nation, and the weight and that it would be most for the interests of of all other Protestant Churches. These ad- religion and of liberty to destroy the Hiervantages they miserably threw away, partly archy "root and branch," and plant a better from blind loyalty to the Stuarts, partly from system in its place. In supporting the petifoolish intolerance of others. That tide in tion, Sir Harry Vane argued that as Episcopal their affairs omitted, all their voyage since government was unscriptural, and had been has been bound in shallows and in difficulties. brought in by Antichrist, as it had let in all Now that there are signs of reviving_energy, kind of superstition into the Church, and in and a Free Presbyterian Church in England England, had proved a great impediment to has been organized, we only trust it may not the Reformation and growth of religion, it be said of us, as Napoleon said of the Bour-ought to be taken away. After long debates, bons, at their second restoration, "These men have learned nothing from all their adversities."
in which, while few would go so far as Sir H. Vane, still fewer ventured to defend the Church as it was, the petition was ordered to remain in the hands of the clerk of the House;-where it remained till a Bill founded upon it was brought in for the extirpation of Prelacy, as will be seen hereafter.
We have meanwhile, however, with satisfaction to record, that before these times of confusion commenced, while the English Parliament and nation were yet intent only on the reformation of abuses, and the establish- From this time the Parliament proceeded ment of right order both in Church and State, steadily in the correction of abuses and in it was the deliberate decision of the Legis- the promotion of reform. The friends of lature and of the great body of the people, liberty in the Upper House were also reand of the most learned and godly of the solutely firm in their proceedings, and the divines of England, that Presbytery was the Bishops and Peers of the Court party soon scriptural form of Church government, and became feeble in their opposition. The inought to be the established religion through-juries of many past years were gradually out the land. How this change was effected, repaired, and steps were taken to prevent and how Presbytery became for a period of the like evils hereafter. With regard to the years the Established religion of the State, breaches of Parliamentary privilege, espewe have to narrate; first noticing briefly the cially the proceedings against Hollis, Elliott, proceedings of the Long Parliament, previous and other Members who had been imprito the meeting of the celebrated "ASSEMBLY soned, and with regard to the proceedings OF DIVINES," which was summoned to assist connected with Hampden's trial, it was unathem in their deliberations on ecclesiastical nimously resolved that reparation should be affairs. demanded for the wrongs that had been
done, and the writs of ship-money and other exactions of the Council were declared to have been illegal. The Lords nobly seconded this resolution; they voted the illegality of these proceedings, nemine contradicente; they ordered the records of the judicial decisions to be erased, and the judgment in Hampden's case to be brought into the House and cancelled in their presence. They likewise ordered that a copy of what they had done should be delivered to the judges to be published at the assizes, and that an Act of Parliament should be prepared concerning this matter. The judges having been examined, and it appearing that the Lord Keeper Finch and other Ministers of State had tampered with them, an impeachment was prepared against the guilty parties. Finch requested that he might be heard at the bar of the House of Commons, and in this humiliating position attempted to defend himself; but finding the House unmoved by his submission he made his escape that night beyond sea. The impeachment however was proceeded with, and Finch was found guilty and outlawed. Others, impelled by guilty conscience and fear, followed Finch's example, and fled from justice. All who had been illegally imprisoned were now set at liberty, and amongst others Leighton, Prynne, Lilbourne, and the victims of Laud's cruelty were conspicuous. These sufferers on returning to London from the prisons where they had been confined, were met by vast multitudes of the people, and received with every demonstration of joy.
By these bold and decisive measures the tyranny of the Crown was effectually checked, the majesty of law was vindicated, and the spirit of the constitution was once more freed from the illegal powers by which it had been oppressed and overborne.
The year 1641 witnessed a succession of events which hastened the open rupture between the King and the Parliament. The first great event was the trial of Strafford. This lasted for a long time, and was conducted with great ceremony in Westminster Hall. Legal objections being made to the impeachment, a Bill of Attainder was prepared. At length so many charges were brought home to him, and his defence was deemed so unsatisfactory, that the great majority of the Peers gave their voice for his execution. The King at first refused to sign the warrant, but being moved partly by fear and partly by the advice of the Queen, (who was persuaded by Lord Holland that her influence over the King would be more complete if Strafford and Laud were out of the way,) he gave up his favourite to death. He was beheaded on the Tower-hill.
During Strafford's trial a plot was discovered, part of which was to bring the army up to London, to seize various places of strength, and overawe the Parliament. As the King was supposed to be privy to this scheme, the people were greatly exasperated, and the greater determination was shewn that Strafford should not be allowed to escape justice.
The hext important step taken by Parliament was the reversal of all the illegal sentences passed in the Star Chamber and before the High Commission, and the abolishing of their arbitrary courts.
The King finding that his presence was no check upon the proceedings of Parliament left London, and went to strengthen his cause in the north. It had been agreed that both the English and Scottish armies should be disbanded. Charles so arranged his expedition as to visit them before this took place,
and applied himself with much assiduity to | Assembly of learned, godly, and judicious gain the chief officers to his interest. He divines, to be consulted with by the Parliaappointed Henderson who had been Modera- ment." tor of the Glasgow Assembly his chaplain, and on arriving at Edinburgh he shewed every favour to the chiefs of the Covenanting party.
While the King was in Scotland the intelligence arrived in England of the horrible massacre of the Protestants of Ireland by the Roman Catholics. The cruelties perpetrated in this tragedy exceeded all that the worst Pagan or Popish persecutions had witnessed previously. The scenes of the St. Bartholomew massacre in France were merciful compared with the atrocities of this Irish carnage. The brutal and ignorant people were instructed by the priests that it was pleasing to heaven to kill the heretics, and the more cruelly they did so the more merit. At the most moderate computation 100,000 persons fell victims. Although the immediate impulse of the executioners was religious frenzy, yet as the King had given commission to the Irish Popish leaders to rise in his cause, he did not escape a share of the indignation that rose on account of the event.
On returning to London, somewhat encouraged by his negotiations in the north, and by a favourable reception given to him by the city of London at his entrance on the 25th of November, the King prepared to renew his contest with the Parliament.
Of the events that ensued-the bold step taken by the King to impeach Lord Kimbolton, and five Members of the House of Commons; of his proceeding in person to the House to seize them;-the tumult that resulted;-the resentment of the Commons on this breach of privilege; the irresolution and submission of the King;-his retirement from London; -the preparations on both sides for war;-the raising of the Royal Standard at Nottingham in August 1642;of these and the political events that crowd the annals of the civil war we cannot further treat in detail now, but must proceed to the ecclesiastical movements connected with the Westminster Assembly.
Soon after the meeting of the Long Parliament, as we have seen, various Committees were appointed to attend to the matters of religion. Finding that the business connected with this department endlessly accumulated, and that the differences and difficulties on the subjects were noways diminished, and urged by the Commissioners of the Scottish Parliament and General Assembly, the House at length resolved to enter thoroughly into the religious questions by which the nation had been so long agitated.
On the 12th of June 1643, it was resolved that, "Whereas, amongst the infinite blessings of Almighty God upon this nation, none is nor can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion; and for that as yet many things remain in the Liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church, which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation than as yet hath been attained; which are impediments to the growth of religion, and prejudicial to the state and government of this kingdom: therefore they are resolved that the same shall be taken away; and that such a government shall be settled in the Church, as may be most agreeable to God's holy Word, and most apt to procure and preserve the peace of the Church at home, and nearer agreement with the Church of Scotland, and other Reformed Churches abroad," -"for the better effecting hereof, it is thought fit and necessary to call an
(To be continued.)
PRESBYTERIAN LOYALTY TO THE
To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger.
DEAR SIR,-I am truly surprised at the manner in which you have on one or two occasions alluded to the loyalty of the Presbyterians, more especially during the reign of the tyrant Charles I.
Now, to the following questions I would feel pleased by your returning an answer:
Do you consider the people justified in hurling the despotic Charles from the throne? Or, second, that they ought, as stated in the Messenger," to have been "most loyal, believing in the useful fiction that kings can do no wrong?" If, again, in the first instance they were right, wherein they asserted their freedom, and delivered themselves from tyranny, what comes then of the boasted loyalty of Presbyterians, but that they acknowledged themselves willing slaves? Your notice of the above will oblige,
Yours, most truly,
A MEMBER OF THE ENGLISH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. Liverpool, September 11, 1847. P.S.-I do not consider the people did right in putting Charles to death; in that they are to be condemned.
[If our correspondent will have patience till the Historical Sketch of the English Presbyterian Church reaches to the period referred to, he will be in possession of our views on these points. We beg him to notice that the remarks to which he alludes in the "Messenher," did not occur in editorial articles, but in reports of what was said by others, for which we are not answerable.
We may meanwhile state, for the satisfaction of our correspondent in reply to his que ries, that we consider the people were quite justified in dethroning Charles, and quite justified in putting him to death, if they honestly believed that he was the cause of so much blood having been shed, and if they thought there was no other way of self-defence. We think, however, that their judgment in this matter was wrong, and that the execu cution of Charles was a great blunder, if not a crime. But as to the right of the people to try the king we have no doubt; because the fiction that "kings can do no wrong," belongs to constitutional monarchy only. When Charles acted against the laws and constitution of the country, and ruled in the way of absolute monarchy, he thereby put himself beyond the protection of that useful principle, and by his own choice of governing in an arbitrary manner, exposed his conduct to be judged as that of an individual man, and not as the official head of the State. His being a king did not put him, if guilty, above the reach of censure or condemnation, for it is the glory of justice to regard neither high nor low in its impartial decisions. When Charles became an irresponsible tyrant instead of a constitutional monarch, he put himself on the same level as the meanest of his subjects, who might commit anything worthy of death. The constitutional principle that kings can do no wrong no longer applied to his right therefore of the people was undoubted, however much we may blame them for the exercise of it in the execution of Charles I.]
To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger. REV. AND DEAR SIR, I regret exceedingly that I was not better prepared to do justice to the subject, when I was so kindly, but unexpectedly requested by your Reverend body, the Presbytery of London, to make a few remarks before them on the present state and progress of religion in America. To make amends for my deficiency on that occasion, I will, in a very brief and condensed form, present a few facts which may enable your readers to form some notion of the state of Protestant religion on the other side of the Atlantic.
America, such as "The Seaman's Friend Society," Foreign Evangelical Society," "The Jews' Society," "Peace Society," "Home and Foreign Missionary Society," &c., &c. I shall state, however, without going into detail, that we as a Protestant country have about 1,000 missionaries in the foreign field-of which number 400 are ordained ministers of the Gospel-the rest are helpers and assistants-and that we expend in support of the various Evangelical enterprises of the age, one million of dollars, or 200,000l. annually.
PROTESTANT RELIGION IN AMERICA. | knowing. In immediate connexion with the | Evangelical and benevolent institutions of above facts, I would state, that there are in all about one hundred and seventy-three colleges and universities in the United States; and forty-two of this number are strictly under Presbyterian and Congregational influence, and a large proportion of the others are partially so. In addition to these, there are thirty-eight Evangelical Theological Seminaries, having one hundred professors, and eighteen hundred students. These facts, which might be greatly increased in number and interest, will afford you some idea of what is doing in America to prepare a ministry to preach the Gospel to our increasing millions. As to other means and instrumentalities for diffusing religious instruction and knowledge, I would mention first, the "American Bible Society," which next to your own great Institution of the same kind, has done more than any other Society in the world, in diffusing a knowledge of the Word of God. They print and publish, out and out, thirteen Bibles every minute, seven hundred and eighty every hour, and 671,500 Bibles and Testaments every year!
In order that due allowance may be made for the apparent deficiency of religious instruction and privileges in America, especially the western and south-western portions of it, I beg leave to call your attention, for a few moments, to the extent and rapid growth of our country. At the time we became an independent nation, the entire population of the United States did not exceed three millions and a-half of people; whereas, now it is eighteen millions. And according to a well-grounded calculation by one of our most learned and judicious men, the population of the United States, will, within fifty years from this time, have reached one hundred millions; and within fifty years more, or one hundred years from the present, three hundred
The circuit of the organized part of our country, since the annexation of Texas, is upwards of ten thousand miles, and one million four hundred thousand square miles, exclusive of Oregon and the great west, are organized into states and territories, an area, if I recollect correctly, twenty-eight times larger than England. The advance of the "settlements" along the entire western border, from the Gulf of Mexico on the south, to the British possessions on the north, is at the rate of seventeen miles annually. Thus, this tide of civilization, and of Angloinfluence, light, and knowledge, irresistible as an avalanche, is moving onward with amazing rapidity westward, towards the Rocky Mountains and the great Ocean. And if the shores of the Pacific arrest its onward march, they will prove a greater barrier than did the shores of the Atlantic. Consequently, in view of this amazing growth and rapid extension of our country, English Christians must not expect to find religion and religious privileges anything like as great as they are here. Still there is enough in the operation of American Christianity to cheer the hearts of all who have faith in the glorious promises of the final triumph of the Gospel. For illustration, there are between sixteen and seventeen thousand Evangelical clergy in the United States. Seven thousand of that number are learned men, and out of that number
again, five thousand seven hundred and fiftysix, are substantially Presbyterian ministers, who hold and teach the same blessed faith and doctrines with yourselves. I do not mean that so many belong to the "General Assembly," properly so called. You are doubtless aware that there are divers different branches and sects of Presbyterians in America, such
The "American Tract Society" stands next; it is doing wonders in the great work of evangelizing the world. They publish 1,252 different publications: of which number 212 are volumes. They print in the course of the year upwards of half a million of volumes, in 102 different dialects and languages! Their colporteurs are widely scattered over the vast country in all directions, and exert an untold agency in diffusing religious knowledge.
The "Sunday-school Union" comes third amongst the great bulwarks in propagating Bible truth. They had in their connexion, a few years back as many as 16,000 schools, 140,000 teachers, and 1,000,000 scholars, and published and sold 100,000 dollars, or 20,000l. worth of juvenile books annually.
The General Assembly's "Board of Publication" is engaged in the same great work of diffusing religious knowledge amongst men, by means of printed books and tracts. Their object is to scatter religious books in general, but especially such as explain and defend the great doctrines of the Westminster Assembly of Divines.
The Methodist Episcopal Church," commonly termed in this country "Wesleyans," have also a great "Book Concern," by means of which countless thousands of good books are distributed amongst their churches and societies. The Baptists also have their ciety for the publication of tracts, &c. In this way a vast deal is done to supply the deficiency occasioned by the paucity of living teachers in America.
As to Roman Catholicism, my own candid opinion is, that its spirit is not gaining ground in America. Such is the influence of the genius and spirit of our Government and institutions upon the minds of Catholic emigrants; and such is the rapid and extensive diffusion of general intelligence amongst the masses, that the Papacy is to a great extent disarmed, and loses in strength as much as it gains in numbers by emigration. I am not one of those who entertain apprehensions that Popery will ever gain the ascendency in America. Such a thing I regard as a moral impossibility: Popery is the product of darkness. It can live and flourish only in the damps and shades of ignorance and despotism. Light and freedom will either wither the plant or change its noxious qualities. Light and freedom are the watch words of American democracy. Therefore I do not apprehend any danger either to the religious or civil liberties of the United States from the Papacy.
The foregoing brief statement of facts, which might be greatly lengthened, were I not afraid of wearying your patience, may enable your readers to form some conception of the present state and progress of Protestant religion in America.
I remain, your brother in the bonds of the
London, Sept. 21, 1847.
STUDY OF PROPHECY:
MOST Christians, we fear, content themselves with very vague and general views of prophecy. They have caught up some of the prominent statements of Scripture regarding the future, such as that there will be a millenium, a resurrection, and a judgment So-day; and with these, or very little more, they are satisfied quite satisfied. Here they consider that their prophetic creed ought to shrink from all minuter investigation, conterminate. They advance no details. They demning it as presumptuous, or at least refusing it, as barren speculation.
Kindred to this, numerous religious newspapers are published every week, and widely circulated by the various sects and denominations of Christians. Thirty-four years ago, there was no religious newspaper in the United States!-now there are upwards of one hundred-and most of them printed and circulated weekly! The cheapness of these weekly sheets secure them a place in almost every family. Our largest and best weekly papers do not cost more than ten shillings per annum. In addition to these weekly papers, we have several able Quarterly Re"Dutch Reformed," "Covenanters," views, all devoted to the advancement of reNew England " Congregationalists," "Ger-ligion and Theology, such as the "Biblical man Reformed," &c. &c., all substantially Repertory," "Biblical Repository," "BiblioPresbyterians, and all well educated and theca Sacra," "Methodist Magazine and learned able men. There are also, in all, Quarterly Review," Baptist Christian Resome 1,600 young men who are aided in view," &c., &c. their preparation for the ministry. How many others are preparing to preach the GosPel I have not at present any means of
These facts will give you some idea of the religious machinery at work in America. I might enumerate a long list of the various
"The fact of God having revealed so the whole question as to the duty of every many particulars regarding the future settles believer to examine these. It is as plain as truth can be, that no investigation, however minute, can be called presumptuous, so long
as it restricts itself to what is written; nay, the more minute, the more accurate it is likely to be, and therefore more accordant with the mind of the Spirit. The presumption is all the other way. It is the presumption of closing the ear against the voice of God, the presumption of professing to decide how much of God's word may be studied with safety, and how much ought to be neglected as mysterious and unprofitable." Bonar's "Prophetical Landmarks," pp.
25 and 27.
WHO hath a sharper conflict than he who laboureth to overcome himself?
TO CORRESPONDENTS AND READERS.
Advertisements, business Letters or Parcels, and Money-orders (payable at Charing-cross Post-office), to be addressed to Mr. JAMES
SCHEMES OF THE CHURCH.
HOME MISSION FUND.
Amount already advertised
4 0 o
Edward-street, to appear for their interests at
a meeting of Presbytery to be held on the 30th September.
A petition was read from a number of individuals, now or lately connected with the
PENNYCOOK BROWN, Agent for the Presbyterian Birmingham Association, per Mr. John Turner 17 10 0 Congregation at River Terrace, expressing Church in England, 16, Exeter Hall.
8 13 2
their desire to form a new congregation in
3 18 6 bytery having maturely considered the same,
NORTH SUNDERLAND, Collection......
LIVERPOOL, Canning-street Church
MANCHESTER, Chalmers' Church
BERWICK, Hide Hill Church
NORTH SHIELDS ...............................................................
NEWCASTLE, Groat Market Church
Mr. Nicolson produced and read a letter which he had received from Mr. Simpson, of 117 3 Red Lion-square, requesting the consideration of the Presbytery on behalf of the Industrial Institution for the Jews. Several members of Presbytery having expressed their views as to the importance of the institution to which the letter of Mr. Simpson called their attention, a Committee was appointed to make inquiries regarding it, and to report,-the Committee to consist of the Moderator, and Messrs. Nicolson and Cousin, ministers; Messrs. Nisbet, Vertue, and Cotes, elders; the Moderator to be Convener.
2 1 9
1 10 0
1 0 0
posts in the Church Courts, we trust that the LIVERPOOL, St. George's Church ............................
deacons will not fail to attend to the duties
The American brethren then addressed the
Presbytery on the state of religion in the American Churches, and received the thanks of the Presbytery.
The Presbytery then adjourned to Thurs oday, the 30th September, at six o'clock in the evening.
ALEX. MORRISON, Treasurer,
JUVENILE MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION.
Missionary Association in connexion with our
Orphan Refuge, Calcutta
1 17 9
0 2 ..........
1 5 7
1 5 7
1 5 7
PRESBYTERY OF BIRMINGHAM
THIS Presbytery met at Wolverhampton, on Tuesday the 7th September, at three o'clock. Present, Rev. George Lewis, (Moderator); ministers; and Messrs. Henderson, M-CutMackenzie, Speers, Bryson, and Martin, cheon, and Wills, elders.
The Committee appointed to examine Communion Rolls and Session Records, reported that the records, so far as returned, had been 201 regularly kept, and with a few trifling excep tions the business of the respective congreg tions regularly conducted and recorded.
2, Percy Circus, Sept. 20, 1847.
PRESBYTERY OF LONDON.
THIS reverend Court held
The Rev. Messrs. Lyon and Gladney, from the Presbyterian Church in America, being present were associated.
Mr. Mackenzie called the attention of the Presbytery to the desirableness of having statistical account of the number of se holders, the average attendance, the number of communicants, and the state of the varie Sabbath-schools connected with congregations within the bounds of the Presbytery, a moved accordingly, which was unanimously agreed to.
The Moderator having adverted to the Minutes of Council of Education, which exclude schools held under churches or chapels system of education introduced by the prese from participating in the advantages of the Government; it was unanimously resolved that immediate steps be taken to bring the matter before the proper authorities.
The Presbytery, after transacting the or dinary business of the month, adjourned to meet again at Stafford, on the first Tuesday of November, at one o'clock.
PRESBYTERY OF LANCASHIRE.
Professor Campbell having applied for a THIS Presbytery met at Shelton, by remit
by the Free Church of Scotland to the Pres-