Imatges de pÓgina

confirm me the more in my position. But to be perfect, your branch must become a root, and all its ramifications must partake of the nature and sap of the root. If this be your object, I bid you God speed. Nothing would delight me more than to see the subject fully taken up in our own church. For I have, at least, satisfied my own mind that no barrier to the free and subduing power of the Gospel is greater than our unnatural adherence to the principle of reasoning practised during the dark ages; and that a return to the principles of sound reason and apos tolical example would be accompanied with a revival like life from the dead. Fifthly, to your foreign missions. The example of the early Christians is on this subject of great weight. The Gospel was first preached at Jerusalem, then throughout Judea, and Samaria, and Syria, and on to the ends of the earth. Like heat, radiating, but losing power with expansion, unless supported by ignition on fresh fuel, your power of doing good is greater on the outskirts of your own congregations than when isolated among strangers. You can do more with the same means in the south and west of your own country than in Canada. But you can do more there than among heathens. It will be easier to warm, and melt, and unite a thousand Irish hearts on the banks of the St. Lawrence, than to make yourselves understood by as many Hindoos on the banks of the Ganges. Besides, not a few of your countrymen have still their Irish harps, though hung on the tall cedars of the forest, and tuned only by the wild howling of the storm, which they will be ready to take down and tune anew, to the simple but melting airs of their father land. They remember yet the songs of your Zion, and need but the hallowed voice of one bringing good tidings,' to awaken in them a thousand associations; and, under the blessing of God, to bring them under the power of his grace. But this reminds me of what I had almost forgotten-your Irish psalmody. It is of very great importance. Music is the language of the heart, and the medium through which, ove all others, endearing reminiscences and associations may be conveyed. I am delighted that my friend Dr. M'Leod takes part in it.

I sat down to write, intending to comply with your request, to furnish you with some account of the principal decisions of our late Assembly. But after entering on a review of Irish matters, I had almost forgot my own pur


pose. But if you be satisfied, so am I. We shall thus have the Synod of Ulster and the General Assembly placed side by side, as they ought to be; striving, if not together, at least with one spirit, for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the welfare of immortal souls.

Now, my dear Sir, it is a matter of congratulation among all right-hearted men here as well as with you, that God has been pleased to awaken us, as a church, to greater doings than we have hitherto been accustomed to. I shall not trouble you by detailing the various means which he has thought fit to employ in bringing about this issue. Some of these have been in operation for many years, and were every year increasing our hopes, and I trust also our endeavours. Others, again, are of more recent origin. Neither have I any wish nicely to balance between these, even in my own mind. Recognizing God as the Supreme Director of every event and condition, I find it to be most safe and profitable to my own heart, to think only of his design; and admiring the wisdom by which means so various and even opposite were made to work together for good, to keep my mind fixed on the farther openings of providence, as betokening purposes yet to be fulfilled. To give you some idea of the ground connected with our late meeting of Assembly, on which such anticipations may be formed, I shall take up a series of topics under so many separate heads.


SABBATH OBSERVANCE. You are aware that we have had a committee on this subject for several years past. It is remarkable, and to be noticed as a mark of divine favor, that varied and pressing as was the business of this Assembly, almost the very first thing taken up was "Sabbath Observance.' On the very day on which the Assembly met, this matter was pressed on their attention. The following is the entry made in the minutes of Assembly, as printed in the abridgement: It having been represented by some members, that several irregularities have occurred on the Lord's day during the sitting of former Assemblies, the Assembly authorize the Moderator to request an audience of his Grace, the Lord High Commissioner, that he may have an opportunity of making a communication on the subject.' This was on Thursday. The following entry of Saturday will show the result: The Moderator reported, that his Grace, the Lord High Commissioner, had been pleased to favour him with an audience


on the subject referred to in the meeting on Thursday, and had informed him, that in consequence of the communication with the General Assembly's Committee, he had brought under the notice of his Majesty, the subject of the usual Sunday dinners and processions, and that his Majesty had been graciously pleased to approve of the discontinuance of the public dinners on the Lord's day; and to leave it to his Grace to make such arrangements in the other subjects as might appear to him expedient, and most in accordance with the wishes of the members of Assembly. The General Assembly having heard this statement, with high gratification appointed a Committee for the purpose of preparing an address of thanks to his Majesty,' &c. This matter was taken up by the Assembly's Committee in 1832, and has thus, by perseverance, issued in a removal of the evils complained of. Nor were these small. The example of military processions and public dinners, connected with our highest ecclesiastical judicatory, neutralized the efforts of good men over all the country, where they endeavoured to suppress similar evils in their own neighbourhood. You are probably aware, that efforts have been made in different parts of Scotland for a number of years, to suppress military music on the Lord's day. And they have, for some years past, proved generally successful. Troops march to church in Scotland without any music whatever. And public dinners, as you are no doubt aware, can scarcely be said to exist among us. These matters being brought before his Majesty, and listened to, may do good elsewhere; and ought not to be lost sight of, especially by Presbyterian Ulster. Another matter brought before the Assembly on this subject, was Sir A. Agnew's Sabbath Bill for Scotland. This being at a time when torrents of abuse were poured on the mover and on his bill, and by not a few professing godliness, was seasonable and encouraging to practical christians, whether in or out of our establishment. The Assembly agreed to Another branch of petition both Houses of Parliament. the subject still, was brought before the Assembly. A report on the whole subject having been given in, which recommended especially the issuing of a pastoral admonition on Sabbath observance, a draft was prepared and agreed to, and ordered to be printed and sent to all the ministers of the church, to be read from their pulpits on the first Sabbath after being received. This we trust will

do much good. Coming from so high a quarter, it will of itself have weight, and find an entrance where no other document perhaps would. And it will, moreover, shield and encourage such as really desire to do something towards a renovation of Sabbath observance.

I now find that both time and paper forbid my entering on a second topic at present. And perhaps in this I have been led unintentionally to meet your own original wishes. Permit me, however, before concluding, to remind your readers, that on the subject of Sabbath observance we have yet much to do; and yet, that without attaining to something here, we have done little any where. True Sabbath observance may well be considered as the barometer of practical christianity. The late exhibition of profanity among some of our wise rulers, shows us that we have much to do; and our cause being God's, ought to satisfy us that we have nothing to fear. Two points ought to be kept in view. Christian society ought to be well instructed in the authority of the Sabbath as of divine appointment, and divine command, and God's special reserve. And the public mind ought to be continually assailed with arguments and short clear statements. The whole being consecrated to God by prayer.

I am, dear Sir,

In haste, yours truly,


In the conclusion of our former article upon this Discussion, we announced it as our intention again to resume the subject, and therefore we feel ourselves imperatively called upon to fulfil the promise that we then made. We almost, however, now regret having made such a promise; not that we feel any disposition to shrink from the defence of our principles, but because we deem it in some measure unnecessary farther to expose the flimsiness of the arguments of Mr. Porter, in consequence of the two very able reviews of Messrs. Carson and M'Afee, which have since

issued from the press; and because we really do commis serate the condition of the Unitarian champion who sustained such a notorious and total defeat. We have mercy in our composition, though we, perhaps, get very little credit for its possession from Unitarians; they generally, we might almost say universally, regard us as a set of the most remorseless ecclesiastical barbarians without one drop of the milk of human kindness within us,-without one of those amiable feelings which cast the halo of their loveliness around the nature in which we, in common with them, participate-possessed of spirits, dark, malignant, persecuting, and intolerant: now we may not, perhaps, be able to convince them of their error in this, nor, in reality, do we much care; we leave them in the possession of these charitable ruminations, alike fearless of their censure, and unambitious of their applause. But we have verily no desire to trample on a fallen foe, or "thrice to slay the slain ;" and as even Mr. Porter's friends are now beginning in public, as they have done since the termination of the Discussion in private, to acknowledge his defeat, we do not wish to add poignancy to the bitter feelings of disgrace, of which he must be the unhappy subject. Under these circumstances we would much prefer exposing no farther his absurdities and follies; but a feeling of justice to our readers compels us to do our duty. We were amongst the very first who gave a decided opinion upon the merits of this Discussion; and we have experienced no small degree of satisfaction, that the opinions which we then expressed have been corroborated and confirmed by some of the ablest critics, and some of the best theologians of which our country can boast. We felt assured that the cause of truth had been rendered completely triumphant in the hands of Mr. Bagot-we at once, through the pages of our periodical, proclaimed this fact; and the more we examine the subject, the more thoroughly are we convinced of the unscriptural and flimsy character of Unitarianism; and the more completely have our minds been impressed with the abiding conviction, that whenever Trinitarianism and Unitarianism are confronted on the platform of Scripture testimony, the latter must bow in humble obeisance to the former, acknowledging its own falsehoods, and bewailing its temerity in having provoked the encounter. Mr. Porter was put forward by his party as the ablest champion of their cause that could be found amongst their ranks;

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