Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

bearers have now come to the conclusion "I have no hope of accomplishing this obthat Lay Preaching should be encouraged ject (the work of raising and Christianising and recognised by the Church in such a way as your correspondent has wisely and prudently indicated in his letter. If it were confined to elders and deacons, as he has properly observed, who are supposed to be men of intelligence and character, and who would necessarily be "under the immediate eye of their brethren," it might be fairly anticipated that the rule-"Let all things be done decently and in order," would not be outraged or violated. I believe there are many of our office-bearers, who are capable of addressing an audience intelligently upon the great realities of our holy religion, and who, if they were permitted and authorised by the Church to exercise their gifts in this way, would very gladly do so; but so long as the rules of the Church forbid them they feel a delicacy to stand up to proclaim the unsearchable riches of divine grace. I would ask, why are such men to be prevented preaching the Gospel of Jesus? Is there any precept to be found in the New Testament that forbids them? No, not one that I know. On the contrary, are Christians not commanded to dedicate their talents to the service of God? (1 Peter iv. 10, 11.) "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth." So long as our Church adheres to the old rule of preventing Lay Preaching, it is presenting a barrier to the extension and prosperity of our Church and of the Redeemer's kingdom.

our masses) if the Churches are to be laced up by their old rules, and people are to leave everything to ministers and missionaries. Why should not he that heareth, as well as he that preacheth, say, Come? Why should not they that are preached to preach? Our Lord gave to the disciples. Yes; but they gave to the people. And why should not some who now, on Sabbath-days, enjoy two services in the house of God, content themselves with one, and at the time of the other go forth to give what they have got? The bread would multiply in their hands. People may tell me they are not learned,-I reply, that to tell these poor sinners of Jesus, whether beneath the roof of a house or the open roof of heaven, needs no learning. They need nothing but the love of Christ, zeal for souls, and the use of their mothertongue. Possessed of no qualifications but these, endowed with the Spirit, and ordained of heaven, see what the first Christians did! They conquered the world. See what the first Methodists did! They changed the face of England. See what the church in Hamburg did! Twenty years ago five Christian men met there in a cobbler's shop. They also, when they beheld the city, wept over it. They resolved to form themselves into à Church-a missionary Church, with Hamburg and the land around for the field of their labours. What their particular creed was, to what denomination of Protestants they belonged, I am not careful to inquire. High above the regimental colours of that little band floated the royal banner of the cross. They fought for the crown of Jesus. They toiled, they watched, they laboured for Have not the labours of Laymen in the the salvation of souls. One article of their last few years been greatly owned and blessed creed, one term of their communion was of the Lord? With whom did the revivals this:-that every member of that Christian in America, Ireland, Scotland, and other church should be a working Christian. So, places originate? Was it not with Laymen? in the afternoons and evenings of the Lord'sPermit me to indulge the carnest hope that day they went forth to work, and gather in the Synod will take this matter into their loiterers by the high ways and the hedges. prayerful and serious consideration at its Every member they gained was more than next meeting. I would just add, that many an accession to their numbers-he was an of the most distinguished ministers of the accession to their power. And with what Free Church sympathise with Lay Preach results were their labours attended? With ing, in proof of which, allow me to con- such as should encourage all other congreclude with the following quotation from that gations and churches to go and do likeprince of living preachers, Dr. Guthrie.— wise.' That handful of corn is now waving

in the golden harvests of many fields. That acorn is now shot up into a mighty oak, that nestles the birds of heaven, and braves the tempest, and throws a broad shadow on the ground. The Church which was at first constituted of these five men, who met in an obscure and humble shop, has, in the course of twenty years, been blessed of God to convert many thousand souls, and bring some fifty thousand people under the regular ministrations of the Gospel.

"See what the Lord has wrought! In that experiment, and its sublime results, in the rich effusion of the Spirit on the labours of these humble men and women-every one working in their own sphere, but all at work -who does not hear the voice of Providence saying, as it mingles with the songs of rejoicing angels, 'Go and do likewise'? And should any one bring the news that such and such an office-bearer, or member of this congregation, was preaching in our streets, I would hail the tidings, and borrow a reply from Moses. A young man came running to say, 'Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua, jealous for his master's honour, interposed, saying, 'My Lord Moses, forbid them.' How noble his answer! Enviest thou for me? Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord did put his Spirit upon them!"" -The City, its Sins and Sorrows, p. 115. AN OFFICE BEARER.

PRESBYTERIANISM IN

ENGLAND.

To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger. DEAR SIR,-I have to thank you for your favourable notice of my pamphlet on English Presbyterianism. I might complain, indeed, that while you cannot "adopt in a sanguine manner the whole of my proposals," you, in the very same number of your "Messenger," and in a leading article, urge these proposals more strenuously than I have done. May I ask, sir, what is impracticable in getting your friends to give up their "Scottishness" in England, and form one united Church, as they have done in Ireland, and Canada, and Australia? What is impracticable in publishing a PRIZE ESSAY of fifty guineas on the history and position of your Church, and forcing her claims upon the sister churches of Scotland and Ireland? What is impracticable in getting your ministers to exchange visits

with us, and in our large towns take collections for your Home Mission, while they would be interesting us and others in your welfare? sends an annual deputation to our country, The London Missionary Society and from Belfast alone has sometimes taken away £100. Why should not you, who have greater claims upon us, follow their example? We are inviting you in many places

to do so.

We are beseeching you to take advantage of the admirable interest getting up in your behalf in this country, and in Scotland. What is there impracticable in your doing this? What is there impracti cable in your using London journals, which even now open to your you confess are influence, and in establishing a central metropolitan press which would advocate your cause before all England? What is there impracticable in holding a PRESBYTERIAN CONFERENCE at your Synod next year, and during the Exhibition of 1862, with the eyes of entire Christendom upon you, and with representatives from the great family of the Presbyterian churches throughout the world? I must say, sir, that here, and in Scotland, we cannot see the impracticable character of these proposals; and further, vails among many of the English Presbythat we are amazed at the apathy which preterian ministers about the interests of their own Church!

But I cannot-perhaps here I should say I dare not-enlarge. Measures are now, I am happy to say, in progress which will test every man amongst us as to his sincerity in this matter; and if there be a spark of loyalty to our principles, will draw it forth in a flame of zeal and holy energy. At a meeting of the committee of our assembly on this matter, when the Rev. Dr. Candlish, moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, attended, Dr. McKenzie, of Birmingham, as deputy of the English Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Edgar, of Belfast, and others, on behalf of the Irish assembly, it was urged on all hands to make an effort to have a joint Committee of the Free Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the English and the Irish Presbyterian Churches, with the sole object of consider ing the advancement of their common cause in England. This is a grand idea, and the very attempt to realise it will disarm prejudices and lead to forbearance and co-operation. At a subsequent meeting of our Committee it was resolved to ask your Church, through their Home Mission Committee, to put before us in Ireland their own views as to the way in which we could best assist them, and to specify, as far as possible, the places in which that assistance should in the first instance be rendered. My belief now is, that if the friends of your Church continue faithful and devoted to her

interests, one other year will be sufficient to mature a scheme for putting England among the mission fields of the Scotch and Irish churches, and thus give to many of the noblest of our people the realisation of their progress and efforts. Let all our energies be directed to this last-named project. Allow me to say in conclusion, that I shall be happy to receive any suggestion

cerning the paraphrase of the Psalms sent from England, and finding that it is very necessary that the said paraphrase be yet revised, therefore doth appoint Mr. John Adamson to examine the first forty Psalms, Mr. Thomas Crauford the second forty, Mr. John Row the third forty, and Mr. John Nevey the last thirty Psalms of that paraphrase; and in their

from any of your readers on this matter, and especially as to preparation for that Presby-examination they shall not only observe

terian Conference to which I have alluded.
Dear Sir, yours very truly,
JOHN DODD.
Newry, Co. Down, Ireland,
20th Sept. 1861.

[ocr errors]

use

what they think needs to be amended, but also set down their own essay for correcting thereof; and for this purpose recommends to them to make use of the travels of Rowallan, Mr. Zachary Boyd, or of any other on that subject, but especially of our own To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger. paraphrase, that what they find better in any of these works may be chosen ; SIR,-Referring to the paper in Sep- and likewise they shall make tember's "Messenger,' Presbyterianism of the animadversion sent from in England," it is too true our Church has Presbyteries, who for this made little progress in England. Whether are hereby desired to it be owing to our form of worship, the dogmatic style of preaching, or the elocution of the ministers who have joined us under the sifting process, I cannot tell, but somehow we do not get on; nay more, were it not for new comers from Scotland and Ireland, many of our congregations in ten years would be nearly extinct. So now, after a probation of twenty years, we are still a weakly exotic.

cause

hasten their observations unto them; and they are to make the report of their labours herein to the commission of the Assembly for public affairs against their first meeting in February next. And the commission, after revising thereof, shall send the same to provincial assemblies, to be transmitted to Presbyteries, that by their further consideration the matter may be fully prepared to the next AsThe United Presbyterian Church deserves credit for the efforts she is now in that paraphrase sent from England And because some Psalms sembly. making in behalf of her people, in sending are composed in verses which do not some of her most able men to England, agree with the common tunes, therefore with stipends exceeding those of any it is also recommended that these denomination out of the Establishment. Psalms be likewise turned in other verses That Church is doing what neither the which may agree Church of Scotland nor the Free Church tunes, that is, having the first line of ever did, and the Presbyterian Church in eight syllabs, and the second line of six ; England might do well to take a lesson that so both versions being together, use from her zeal, though she be a Volunmay be made of either of them in congretary. gations as shall be found convenient. And the Assembly doth further recommend that Mr. Zachary Boyd be at the pains to translate the other scriptural songs in metre, and to report his travels also to the commission of Assembly, that after their examination thereof they may send the same to Presbyteries to be there considered until the next General Assembly."

In the same paper, at page 274, allusion is made to the Psalms as being rendered into verse by an Englishman. This is correct only so far as the following Act of Assembly shows.

Yours truly,

R. R.

"Edinburgh, 28th August, 1647, Post Meridian, Sess. xxv. "Act for revising the Paraphrase of the Psalms brought from England, with a recommendation for translating the other Scriptural songs in metre. "The General Assembly having considered the report of the committee con

to the common

To the Editor of the English Presbyterian Messenger.

SIR,-It was with great surprise that I found in the "Messenger" for September an article headed "The Popery of Scottish Presbyterianism;" consisting of an extract

[ocr errors]

from a review of Mr. Buckle's work which these points? And if so, when and by appeared in the Times. I have no objection whom? And if not, which is the truth? to the occasional insertion of au extract from what is the meaning of the" great advance"? the Times, provided it be done in a proper The doctrines of the Confession on the above Inanner; but I do object most emphatically subjects were true in the days of the Aposto the insertion of anything like the first tles and in those of the Covenanters; they half of the extract in question, without a pro- are true now, and will be, as they have been, per caveat against the false and dangerous true and unchangeable for all time. These sentiments contained in it. The reviewer doctrines are infinitely removed beyond the tells us that the theological "system adopted influence of science and literature. They by the Scotch," Calvinism, namely, "has are no more liable to be affected by the adthe merit of being elastic." Its "beauty" vancement or decline of science and literais "that it embraces the two contradictory ture than the sun and stars are liable to be truths of predestination and free will; the affected by the artificial lights wherewith result of which is, that though theoretically men illuminate their cities, or by the clouds the high Calvinism of the Covenanters is of vapour that arise from their manufactories. identical with the low Calvinism of the pre- A more perfect or adequate expression of sent, practically there is considerable oppo- the teachings of Scripture on these points sition between the two." They are "in than that of the Confession is impossible for reality different." "There has been a great the human faculties in the present state. advance," toward a more correct theology of Any "advance "upon these doctrines, therecourse. "The form remains, but the spirit, fore, is absurd. The "great advance" of though bad enough, has been wonderfully the reviewer must be retrogressive-a backchanged." "The mad Calvinism of the ward movement towards error; or a libel 17th century has been followed by the ra- upon the Church to the effect that she distional Calvinism of the 19th, and that, let believes the truths she professes to hold. us hope, will before long give place to some- This is the kind of advance made by the thing wider and better." Now the extract rationalists in the Church of England, who containing these statements is introduced by have subscribed the Articles, retain their the remark that it "is worth perusal." To offices and emoluments, and the "form" of some it is worth perusal, to those, namely, the old theology, while they operate a "wonwho are sufficiently instructed to see in it derful change upon its "spirit " by denyan exhibition of petulant flippancy, shallow ing and seeking to overthrow the theology philosophy, and theological ignorance. It itself. It is to be hoped that from all such was probably for the sake of this class alone" rational Calvinism," great advances," that it was inserted. But this class alone "changes of the spirit," and "wider and does not compose the Church. There is better" things of this stamp, our Church another class who will be utterly unable to will ever be preserved; and that our see the extract in that light, but will be apt, ministers will never be induced, by any conbecause of their inclination to the Anti- siderations or influences whatsoever, to Scriptural liberalism which is at present so shrink from declaring fully the whole counhighly praised and so widely prevalent, to sel of God, giving all due prominence to regard it as plain sober truth, the more those doctrines which magnify divine grace especially as the manner of its insertion and humble the sinner, as the absolute so(unintentionally of course) is fitted to give vereignty of God manifested in election and the impression that its statements are ap- the whole scheme of redemption, and the proved by the authority under which the total depravity, inability, and helpless misery Messenger" is published, to wit, the autho- of man. That any intelligent minister of rity of the Church, than which there cannot our Church ignores, suppresses, or in his be a greater mistake. It ought to be observed own heart denies, or refuses due prominence that the Calvinism of the Covenanters is in his public ministrations to any of the just the Calvinism of the Westminster Con- great doctrines of Calvinism, is what we do fession-the Confession of our own Church not believe. Such a course would be incon-and we should like to know what is the sistent with a due regard to God's authority "great advance" that has been made upon and his design in making these doctrines that. Has it been discovered that the doc- known in Scripture; inconsistent with a due trines, e.g., of the total depravity of human regard to the salvation of sinners, to say nature, the freedom or bondage of the will, nothing of its utter inconsistency with comelection, particular redemption, the necessity mon honesty. and irresistibility of the special grace of the Holy Spirit in effectual calling, the perseverance of the saints, as laid down in the Confession, are not true? or that the statements of the Confession do not embody fully and accurately what Scripture teaches on

[ocr errors]

It is well known that Calvinism is regarded by many in this country with a feeling of strong dislike, and some even in our own Church regard it with aversion. Nothing should be done to foster that feeling; but everything should be done to destroy it, and

Our

substitute the opposite and correct feeling | tract in question with its heading as it apin its stead. And at present when error abounds and encroaches on every side, and the tendency to loosen and break up every firm foundation is so strong, it is certainly not the time to give countenance in any way to the beggarly imbecilities of what are called "liberal opinions," or to attacks upon or sneers at the faith once delivered to the saints. The extract in the "Messenger" shews conclusively that the reviewer of Mr. Buckle's book is too ignorant of both philosophy and theology to be capable of discussing theological subjects, and it ought to be known that his judgment on these matters is absolutely worthless.

I am, &c.,

CALVINISTES.

pears in our columns, it really looks like an
insult to the intelligence of our readers to
suppose that any one of them could for a
moment conjecture that the reviewer's
"statements are approved by the authority
under which the Messenger' is published,
to wit, the authority of the Church."
correspondent thinks that a
proper caveat"
was necessary to warn our readers against
the poison. Does a mother need to be
always crying "Fire!" when her children
are in the room? The extract is interesting
and curious; our object in reprinting it
must be obvious to most of our readers, and
we trust our correspondent is alone in sup-
posing that we, in any measure, stamp with
approval the sentiments of the writer. The
"Messenger is not published "under the

[ocr errors]

[We have made room for the unneces-authority of the Church; it never was so, sarily long letter of our correspondent more and we trust never will be. It is published out of respect for himself than from any for the benefit of the Church, but not under sympathy with his fears. Taking the ex- her "authority."]

Presbyterian Church in England.

THE COLLEGE FUND.

great and all-important work of becoming

taking up the banner of truth, once so eminently displayed in England, and never more needed than at the present day, when error in every form is abounding so much around us.

ACCORDING to the appointment of ambassadors for Christ, and of manfully Synod, the annual collection on behalf of the College Fund should be made in all our churches on the third Sabbath of November, and the Committee sincerely trust that this appeal will be punctually and liberally responded to by the several congregations.

The Winter Session was publicly opened at the College Hall, on the 8th instant, with an address by the Rev. Dr. McCrie, on the "Catholicity of our Presbyterian Forefathers," which was delivered before a numerous and attentive audience of the friends of the Institution.

Notwithstanding the earnestness of the appeal which was made this time last year, the Committee have seen with regret that the aggregate collections fell short of what they had been on the year previous, which, combined with an unavoidable increase of expenditure, has conspired to augment the Treasurer's difficulties in meeting the demands which are made upon him. The Several promising qlumni have entered, Committee, therefore, as their only rewho have recently and satisfactorily com- source, again cast themselves upon the pleted their preparatory course in various liberality of the several congregations, universities. But the College is suffering, trusting that not only will the respective in common with similar institutions both contributions show an increase when comin our own country and in America, from a pared with the past, but that, when the sad deficiency of candidates for the Synod's annual accounts come to be made ministry. And the Committee would up, fewer blanks than formerly may be take this opportunity of reiterating their observed in the general column dedicated often expressed desire, that heads of to this Institution.

families, as well as ministers and officebearers of churches, would endeavour to stimulate youths of suitable acquirements and gifts to dedicate themselves to the

By order of the Committee,

ARCHIBALD T. RITCHIE,

London, 26, Poultry, E.C.

Treasurer.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »