Imatges de pÓgina

*V. A maintenance by a participation in men's temporals, for those who preach the Gospel, being expressly appointed by Jesus Christ, and reference for the proportion, being directly made by the apostle, unto the proportion allotted by God himself under the Old Testament; for any man, or number of men, to suppose they can make a better and wiser allotment, especially when and where a near approachment thereunto is already made by Providence, seems to be a contending with him, who is migbtier than they.

*VI. To deprive preachers of the Gospel, when sent out into their Master's harvest, and attending unto their work, according to the best of the light which the present age enjoyeth, with visible and glorious success, of the portion, hire, wages, or temporal supportment prepared for them in the good providence of God, upon pretences of inconveniencies, and dissatisfactions of some prejudiced men, seems to be an attempt not to be paralleled from the foundation of the world.

«VII. Wherever, or in what nation soever, there hath been a removal of the maintenance provided in the providence of God, for the necessary supportment of the public dispensers of the word, the issue hath been a fatal and irrecoverable disadvantage to the Gospel and interest of Christ in those nations.

“It appears then, first, That to take away the public maintenance provided in the good providence of God, for the public dispensers of the Gospel, upon pretences of present inconvenience, or promise of future provision, is a contempt of the care and faithfulness of God towards his church, and in plain terms, downright robbery.

“Secondly, To entitle a nation unto such an action, by imposing it on them without their consent, is downright oppression.

“VIII. An alteration of the way of payment of that revenue which is provided in the providence of God for public preachers, by the way of tithes, into some other way of payment, continuing the present right, is not obnoxious or liable to any of the forementioned evils, but its convenience or inconvenience may be freely debated.”

Without expressing my own opinion upon these sentiments of the Great Owen, I am entitled to ask of Mr. Carlile, why do Independents now teach a different doctrine upon the general question of a national support for the ministry ? Some may say because the times are changed. Judging from what has been of what might be, we may conclude that Independents would receive a stipend from the state, ifall things were answerable. It is amazing how much we are the creatures of circumstances. Many of our Secession brethren in Scotland make a great outcry against Government support-the R. D. of Ulster they call a royal abomination-while their brethren of Ulster, as good men, if not better, than they, comfortably enjoy the pension. If the one half of the Independent minigters enjoyed a pension, and the other not, it is probable a similar diversity of opinion would prevail among them. But I must say with Mr. Carlile, “time will not permit me to enter on this inviting theme.”.

Mr. Carlile concludes with boasting of the numbers, loyalty, love of liberty, liberality, unity, and usefulness of his Independent brethren. As to numbers, in this country, the following is the account given by one of themselves—the Rev. W. H. Cooper;

“ There are but THIRTY-THREE Congregational ministers labouring in Ireland; of whom only NINETEEN are recognised as the pastors of churches. The number of organized churches, is but TWENTY-THREE, of which number, at least, TEN were in existence twenty years ago. The congregations connected with these churches, with but two or three ex. ceptions, are by no means large; but in comparison to the amount of hearers in those congregations, the aggregate number of actual communicants, would, I fear, be found deplorably small. I do not know of a single church in our connexion throughout Ireland, that at present embraces in its communion more than ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY members, and I apprehend there are several which do not exceed a tithe of that amount, if there be not some that even fall below it. Nor do our churches reckon among their members the wealthy or the great. Hecce few of them are able without assistance to support a gospel ministry; and had it not been for the liberality of our brethren in England and Scotland, many of them would have been to the present day without a pastor ; and some, humanly speaking, must have become totally extinct." Discourse, 1832."

Such is the energy of Independency--this the fruit o nearly half a century's labour. And what is far worse, every effort has been made to engage Presbyterians to work for them. Under the name of the Evangelical Society, they profess to unite Presbyterians and Independents in one com

And then, as soon as any place will bear it, it is settled as an Independent congregation. Yet, even with this ingenuity, we see the amount of their feeble efforts. For myself

, I will only say I wish them prosperity in every good work; but I cannot help fearing they are at present in much danger of losing any influence to which they have attained in a sister kingdom. It is a serious thing that several of their eminent divines have fallen into some important errors, which do not appear to have been severely repulsed by any of the members of their own denomination. The public are acquainted with the exposure which Mr. Carson has made of Dr. Pye Smith's views of inspiration. That author, excellent in other respects as he is, has expunged a whole book from the Volume of Inspiration, and holds unsound views of the general question. Many of them also, I have reason to believe, have fallen into incorrect views of the extent of the atonement. I do not like these things, and think it is doubtful where they may end. I am free, also, to confess, that the union

mon cause.

of the Independents with Socinians in what they deem a common cause, and that of many of them with the infidels and radicals of our times in their attacks upon the old institutions of the country, are, in my apprehension, not a little ominous. It is my prayer that God may keep them and render them more useful than they have ever yet been. But when I find any of their number indulging in vain boastings, I think it right to address these cautions to him.

In conclusion, let me remark, that the discourse on which I have now freely commented comes with a bad grace from Mr. Carlile. I have sometimes heard him speak at our public meetings; and I think, in the majority of such cases, he quoted the lines

“ Let names, and sects, and parties fall,

And Jesus Christ be all in all." Why does he not act on the principle involved in them ? So much do I dislike any disputation, that I hesitated whether, so far as I was concerned, I would not allow his unprovoked attack to pass without notice. And I believe this is the conclusion to which I would have come, had I not had reason to fear it would be carried about through Presbyterian families, and trumpeted forth as unanswerable because it had not been answered. Perhaps, after all, I have been wrong in noticing it, for hitherto it has attracted almost no notice, notwithstanding all the influence of newspaper advertisements and reviews. The reader need not wonder if he hears soon of a second edition, for I can tell him a secret which will account for that. I promise you and your readers, however, that I will not be easily provoked to revert to the subject again. Far rather would I be employed in encouraging Mr. Carlile and the Presbyterian ministers of Belfast to go hand in hand, in every good word and work. Earnestly do I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And it is only because I felt that principles dear to me, in common with many of

your readers, were, without any provocation, assailed, that I have

with this defence. To those who wish to understand the subject of church government, I very much recommend the brief and cheap Ecclesiastical Catechism of Dr. MʻLeod. Our Presbyterian ministers would find it to be an excellent manual for instructing the young of their churches on that subject. I have the honor to be, yours, &c.,


troubled you



EDINBURGA, December 12th, 1833. MY DEAR SIR,

I FEEL much pleasure in communicating to you the following vote of thanks, by the directors of the Scottish Missionary Society, to our Christian brethren in the North of Ireland, on account of the kind reception which they gave our deputation this year, and for the liberal contributions which they made to its funds, amounting to nearly £700.

• Resolved, that the cordial thanks of the directors of the Scottish Missionary Society be presented to the ministers and congregations in the North of Ireland, who were so kind as to receive the late deputation of the Society, and make collections in its behalf; and also to the societies, the collectors, and the various individuals who have contributed to its funds." í The aid which we have received from our Christian brethren in the North of Ireland this year has been of the utmost importance to us, having been peculiarly seasonable, in consequence of the very depressed state of our funds. Without it, indeed, we must have found it impossible to meet our expenditure; and we should, at this moment, have been involved in great pecuniary difficulties. I earnestly hope, that the interest in the cause of missions among the heathen will continue to extend from year to year in the sister kingdom; and though I am well aware that our own countrymen have not only the first, but peculiar claims on our Christian benevolence; yet, from past experience, I feel persuaded, that the more we labour to extend the Gospel abroad, the more will it prosper at home ;- that the more we seek to cultivate the moral wilderness of the heathen world, the more will our own waste places be cultivated. We have at present powerful calls, both from the East and West Indies, for an increase of missionaries; but without an increase

of funds, it is impossible for us to listen to them. The West Indies, in particular, has at present peculiar claims on the most vigorous efforts of British Christians. The emancipation of the negroes lays us under new and powerful obligations to communicate to them religious instruction, that they may, without delay, be prepared for making a right use of their liberties, and for making good servants when they shall cease to be slaves. I cannot conclude without expressing my earnest hope, that the urgent necessities of the negroes in the West Indies will awaken the liveliest sympathies in the hearts of the friends of our society in Ireland, as

well as in this part of the United kingdom; and that, through their liberality, we shall speedily be enabled to extend our operations in a field of missionary labour, which is at present so peculiarly interesting.

I am, my dear Sir, &c.


Secretary to the Ulster Auxiliary

Missionary Society, Belfast.


[ocr errors]

In the session of 1832, when a select committee for inquiring into the

laws and practices relating to the Sabbath-day, was moved for, the following notice was distributed to all the members at the door of the House of Commons.

THE object of the desired amendment is, that all classes of the community should be PROTECTED in the uninterrupted enjoyment of the Lord's-day as a day of rest ; and that those occupations should be prohibited which either tend to the open dishonour of Almighty God, or operate as temptations to lead persons into evil. It is therefore conceived, that within such limits a Christian legislature is under an imperious obligation to provide for the observance of the Sabbath.

It is by no means desired that the performance of religious duties should be enforced by law, or that there should be any interference beyond the limits above suggested with the manner in which individuals may see fit to observe the day : this must be left to the effect of the law of God upon the conscience, and does not properly, come within the province of human legislation.

In regard to the necessity of the proposed amendment, it may be observed, that Almighty God has in great mercy given to man one day in seven as a season of rest from his ordinary occupation; but in the present state of society, a large proportion of the people are virtually deprived of the benefit thus provided for them, and which will more or less be the case, unless the Laws of the State afford them protection. It is notorious, that among persons engaged in any trade or business, there is much rivalry and competition ; and that many, having no regard for the institutions of religion, are disposed to follow their worldly callings on the Lord's-day, who thereby in effect compel others in similar businesses either to do the same, or to submit to the loss of a considerable portion of their ordinary gains, which are thus obtained by their less conscientious neighbours. By such means, it happens that many have not only themselves become engaged in a systematic breach of the Sabbath, but as a necessary conse- " quence others, employed as shopmen or servants, or in other dependent situations, are also FORCED to engage in worldly occupations on the Lord's-day, and are thereby not only deprived of a season of requisite temporal rest, but also of the chief opportunities which they would other. wise have for religious instruction. Now it is ascertained, that many of the masters and employers of persons in these subordinate situations are most anxious to have the Sunday free from that attention to worldly business, which is now imposed upon them by the conduct of those who

« AnteriorContinua »