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It is to them of the utmost importance that they should be directed aright in seeking after knowledge, and that proper food should be supplied to their mental appetite. Of these, we believe, a class could be formed in every congregation, who would cheerfully meet on the Sabbath morning, not in the character of Sunday-school children, but as the youthful friends of their beloved pastor, to be delighted by his kind and familiar instructions, and to be trained by him for the service of time and the joys of eternity. And here there is little danger of matter being exhausted; for after they have laboured long in the acquisition of the rich and valuable truths contained in the Bible, they will find that these shall serve as so many lamps to guide them in digging deeper into the mine, and in collecting other gems.
There is just one objection to the plan which we shall notice. Some may say, this would be too hard work for ministers on the Sabbath morning. That it might be so to a few, who are of very delicate constitution, we will not deny; but we believe it would not be too severe for a great majority of our ministers. We know it would prove laborious to all; but to many, if they were once engaged in it, that labour would be delightful, and even in this life they would not lose their reward. And even though there should apparently in this life be no reward, and much spending of strength, yet we will ask at each minister's conscience, in the language of a good old writer of the sixteenth century-" For what is a candle but to burn?" or in the language of scripture-for what is a minister but to spend and be spent?
And well assured we are, that the minister who, having finished his pulpit preparations on Saturday, is at liberty to spend the Sabbath morning in prayer, and in the pleasant and important work of instructing such a class, will not generally be found, though he have spent some strength in the morning's work, to be more uninteresting or unprofitable in the pulpit, or less beloved by his people, than others who reserve all their powers for the public exercises. As this is a plan, therefore, which we believe almost every minister may adopt, and as we believe it would tend to an incalculable extent to make the ministrations of our pulpits more effective, to revive the cause of vital godliness in our congregations by the conversion of the young, and to train them for extensive usefulness in their future life; we would earnestly press the consideration of this subject on our brethren in the ministry, and on all interested in the education of the young. I am, &c.
PRESBYTERIANISM AND INDEPENDENCY.
[Upon the appearance of Mr. Carlile's letter, a young friend expressed a wish to be allowed to reply to it in our pages. This we cheerfully yielded to him, and the following is the issue. In the last Number we pronounced Mr. C.'s production to be "unworthy of a scholar or a divine," and the public will judge whether the observation was a just one, when they read the letter of the "Student." It appears he has quoted Greek while incompetent to read it, far less to criticise upon it. He is also charged with having fought with the weapons of others, without acknowledging it. For the proof we refer to the subsequent letter. We are sorry to occupy so much of our space, and of the time of our readers, with such a subject, but we are necessitated to do so. Mr. C. it is true, has made no reply to our Review, deserving the name, and, indeed, his having fled to another subject is a proof that he felt himself unable to do so. But although he has fled from the question at issue, and produced a letter, whose title is a mere trap to catch this unstable generation, and its argumentations truly puerile-yet there is a use making of it which obliges us to notice it. A few members of his church are carrying it about to such weak members of the Presbyterian Church as they think might be affected by it. And it has been put into the hands of a number of such persons who had never seen the review of his former production. We by no means make this charge against the members of his church generally. For while a few of them seem to have no other employment than proselytism, the remainder abstain from any improper interference with others, while some of them with whom we have conversed, are much dissatisfied with Mr. C.'s conduct in this matter. It is their opinion, as it is ours, that it would have been better for him to have let his Presbyterian neighbours alone. Perhaps he may now learn this lesson himself. For Mr. C. we entertain the respect due to a Christian, and a Christian minister; but we must tell him that his attainments are not such as to qualify him for controversy; and that even if they were, they might be better employed than in attempting to sow the seeds of dissension among our Presbyterian congregations. Happily his efforts have had the opposite effect, and so must it ever be; for the more the Presbyterians know their own system, the more will they admire and maintain it. We have had many applications to publish our review in a separate pamphlet, and it is probable we shall gratify our friends, by publishing it and the following admirable letter together.-EDIT.]
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. SIR,
A PAMPHLET, bearing the title of " Compulsory Assessments for the Support of Religion, and other Principles of Ecclesiastical Polity calmly considered, in a Letter to a Presbyterian Minister," has lately been published by the Rev. James Carlile, minister of the Congregational Church, Belfast. It purports to be a reply to a paper published in your journal, containing strictures on a previous pamphlet of Mr. Carlile,
in defence of the Independent form of church government. Mr. C. commences by complaining of the animus manifested in the review, while he has not given publicity, he informs us, to any sentence intended, and he hopes he may add, calculated to offend. This is as it ought to be, particularly in one who censures the real or supposed bad temper of another. Against his designs it is not my intention to make any charge; but I know that his letter contains much calculated to offend, and to impress the reader with the idea, that he wrote under the impulse of a double portion of the animus he so feelingly complains of in the reviewer. I shall produce a few instances.
He charges the reviewer with "premature judging," p. 8. He 66 says, your opinion was founded on the Synod's code of discipline," p. 9. Mr. C. may handle the reviewer's reasonings as it best suits him; but why does he, after haranguing so loudly about temper and candour, charge his antagonist with prejudice, and with founding his opinions on any authority inferior to that of the Scriptures? How would Mr. C. feel, did I charge him with basing his views on Carson's book on Independency, and on Dr. Wardlaw's Sermon on Establishments? And yet I am prepared to show, that almost all, if not all, his arguments, are found in these authors, and generally in nearly the same words. No inconsistency can surpass that of Mr. C. in this instance. He falsely charges the reviewer with bowing to human authority; and yet he has himself, in a variety of instances, been guilty of direct plagiarism. For proof of this, compare pages 14, 15, 17, and 20, of his pamphlet with pages 190, 187, 292, and 98, of Carson's Work on Independency. He tells the reviewer: "you have written about a system, one of whose elementary principles you have yet to learn," p. 11. What is the ground of this meek and candid assertion? The reviewer had said, that in Independent congregations, ruling belongs to all the members: this was "the head and front of his offending." Now if this implies ignorance of Independent principles, I must rank myself with the reviewer, even after the lucid exposition of the subject given by Mr. C. In the "Address to the Independents of the North and North-West of Ireland," bearing, among other signatures, that of James Carlile, the following is stated as the third fundamental principle of Independency: "Pastors of churches are only executive rulers; they have no power to make regulations of their own; they simply rule by applying the laws of Christ." Now
I hold that an executive ruler is no ruler, unless it be allowed, that in criminal cases the executioner is the ruler, and the only ruler in the land. If their pastors be only executive rulers, I ask, who are the rulers ? It will not do, to say that Christ is the real and perpetual ruler and head of his church. This is indeed a glorious and cheering truth; but how are we to agree, as to what is the mind of Christ laid down in the Scriptures ? Mr. C. will probably tell us from the same Address," the "members of the churches judge of the application of the laws of Christ, and according to their judgment, the pastor executes the law or suspends it." He will tell us he rules as a judge on the bench rules. Now either the pastor's judgment is received in connexion with that of the members, or it is not. If it is, then in passing the law they are all alike; their judge leaves the bench, and becomes a jury-man; he is no longer a mere executive ruler, for he both assists in judging of the application of the law, and he executes it. If it is not, then it is the people and not the pastor that determine what is to be done; and the pastor, instead of ruling, has to serve the people by executing the law. He has no veto, since, if he refused to obey, the decision of the members would stand, and he would be suspended or censured for being refractory. Mr. C. may call this ruling; and the reviewer may look upon his doing so as an unwarrantable abuse of language; but Mr. C.'s business evidently was to show the propriety of the language, rather than nakedly to assert it; and surely it is too bad that the reviewer's objection to the use of such language should be set down to the account of his ignorance, rather than to its true cause the sad deficiency in Mr. C.'s proof.
The same remarks apply to the following disgraceful charge made against the reviewer by Mr. C.-"When you assert that the pastor has no authority in ruling, and that ruling belongs to all the members, you bear false witness against your neighbour," p. 11. The reviewer has not denied that Mr. C. applies the term ruling to pastors; but his reasoning goes to shew that this application of the term is a palpable misnomer; and I conceive that Mr. C. has as yet gone but a very little way, indeed, in establishing the contrary. Who is it, then, that in this instance, at least, has borne false witness against his neighbour? Mr. C. ought to have seen that his business was to prove his own principles, and not scurrilously to denounce as false witnesses all who are not able to believe whatever he asserts to be truth, or who think and maintain that on Independent principles, pastors, though absurdly and perti.
naciously termed rulers, possess no real power of ruling; and surely in a pamphlet professing to breathe all the suavity of Christian meekness, it would have been more consistent and Iore becoming to have told the reviewer he had taken a wrong meaning out of his words, and to have proved this if he could, than to denounce him as a flagrant violator of the letter of God's law, simply because he could not see eye to eye with him on a certain nice point.
In the full flow of that kind and charitable feeling which thinketh no evil, and in the exercise of which he thinks the reviewer so deficient, Mr. C. hesitates not to ascribe the views of the latter to an invincible prejudice, blinding all the faculties of his mind, and rendering him incapable of perceiving the beauty and the force of the clearest demonstrations. Many in reading this may be disposed to think that all the prejudice does not rest with the reviewer, and that Mr. C. felt it necessary, on various occasions, to prop up his flimsy reasonings by the reiterated cries of "premature judging," "ignorance," "false witness," "blind prejudice," &c.
Were I to enter into an examination of all the injurious, and as they appear to me, unfounded insinuations contained in the pamphlet, and to apply the question "quo animo ?" to each, I would unnecessarily extend this article, and might be betrayed into a state of feeling I wish as much as possible to avoid. I shall, therefore, not protract this unpleasant part of the subject, but proceed to examine some of Mr. C.'s assertions and reasonings.
The title of the pamphlet seems a very evident attempt to excite the odium theologicum against the reviewer and his cause, by its being so well fitted, in the present state of public affairs, to kindle hostility, while yet it has a very slender connexion with what he had previously written. The question of the divine authority of Independency or Presbyterianism, was the subject of discussion; while one occasional remark on a state-provision for the support of religion is all I find in the review. Yet Mr. C.-if we are to believe his title, makes this the main part of his reply, while in reality it occupies only about one-seventh of the whole pamphlet. The title, then, is not a faithful index to the contents. I have no objection, and no fear to enter with Mr. C. into the question of religious establishments; but I have strong objections against discussing one question, and telling the public we are discussing another.
Mr. C. has, in more than one place, particularly in his former pamphlet, repudiated all reasoning drawn from any source