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was, no doubt, very courageous, in Mr. Blair, but it was not very discreet; for, if “a snare was laid for him,” as he alleges, he deliberately walked into it. Neither was his conduct, on the occasion, very decent; for, it would not be more unbecoming to accept a friend's hospitable invitation, and then to insult him at his own table, than it was in Mr. Blair to consent to preach at an Episcopal Visitation, and then to make a deliberate attack upon Prelacy. Even on Blair's own showing, the Bishop of Dromore was vastly his superior in temper and moderation ; and we cannot be surprized that such ostentatious and offensive displays of supposed independence produced irritation and subsequent evils.

Notwithstanding this courting of attack, however, such was the forbearance of Bishop Echlin, that Blair remained unmolested until the year 1630. In that year, he and Livingston visited Scotland; and being invited to assist in the administration of the Lord's Supper, at the Kirk of Shotts, they poured forth such invectives against “Popery and Prelacy,” that the Bishop of Glasgow represented the matter to Leslie, the Dean of Down, who laid the complaint before Bishop Echlin; and both Blair and Livingston were suspended from their ministerial office. Against this sentence, they appealed to Primate Ussher, who was a man of a peculiarly mild and tolerant spirit, as well as of immense erudition; and, at his request, Echlin restored them to the ministry.

Dissatisfied with this result, the Scottish prelatists applied to Charles, through Archbishop Laud, and obtained an order from the Lords Justices of Ireland, commanding Bishop Echlin to try the fanatical and recusant ministers of Ulster, and to deal with them as it might appear proper. The Bishop, therefore, cited before him not only Blair and Livingston, but likewise their fellow labourers, Dunbar and Welsh ; and, on their refusal to subscribe the Articles of the Church, without exception, he deposed them all from the ministry, in the year 1632. The extreme injustice of this sentence has been urged by a Member of the General Synod of Ulster, “because they had been exempted from conformity, when they entered on the ministry in Ireland.” In this opinion, I heartily concur, although they had courted and provoked hostility by their own ostentatious attacks on the episcopal church; but, how crushing is the condemnation which this man passes upon his brethren and himself, who, two hundred years later, and in an enlightened age, endeavoured, without the slightest provocation, to degrade, plunder, and ruin a large number of their fellowministers, in their own Church, "for not yielding a conformity from which they had been exempted, when they entered on the ministry!” Thus it is, that men still “ strain at gnats whilst they swallow camels ;” and, in condemning others pass righteous judgment upon themselves!

In their new difficulties, Blair again appealed to Archbishop Ussher; but, although expressing his sympathy, that worthy prelate declined interfering, as the matter had been committed, by the King, to the Lords Justices, who, in their turn, referred him to his Majesty Such an application, to a Monarch who was at that moment jeopardiz. ing his crown, by unremitting efforts to force episcopacy upon England and Scotland, seemed utterly chimerical; but, high-minded men, having a good cause, never abandon hope until they have exhausted exertion ; and Blair determined to proceed to London-undertaking a cheerless journey, of whose difficulties and dangers, we, in this age, can form no conception. Fortified with letters from many Scotch and Irish noblemen, he reached his destination; and, after numerous disappointments in quarters where he most expected aid, he found a valuable friend in a steady prelatist, through whose generous instrumentality, he obtained a letter from the King, ordering “the Ulster Ministers to be restored.” Unfortunately, this letter was addressed to Sir Thomas Wentworth, who had just been appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland ; but who did not enter upon his office until the ensuing year. In the mean time, the nature of the document being known, Blair was received with great demonstrations of joy; and three of the deposed ministers preached to their flocks, but without entering their pulpits. Livingston of Killinchy, however, was so harassed by Leslie, the dean of Down, that he was compelled to retire to Scotland.

In July, 1633, Wentworth arrived in Ireland, and Blair lost no time in personally presenting the King's letter, "adding, that he hoped for a ready compliance with it: but, the haughty man,” he continues, "did altogether slight that order, telling me that he had his Majesty's mind in his own breast. He then reviled the Kirk of Scotland, and upbraided me; bidding me come to my right wits, and then I should be regarded. With this intelligence, I went to Archbishop Ussher ; which was so disagreeable to him, that it drew tears from his eyes: but he could not help us.” Shortly afterwards, however, at the solicitation of Lord Castlestewart, (ancestor of the present Viscount of that name,) Wentworth consented, from political motives, to restore the suspended ministers for the period of six months. This created great joy in Ulster; and was looked upon merely as the prelude to their permanent restoration. It is probable, indeed, that they might have escaped farther annoyance, for some time at least, had not Wentworth been accompanied to Ireland, by an English Divine, named John Bramhall, a violent, able, and unscrupulous man, whom Archbishop Laud had recommended to his special favour, as a fitting adviser on all ecclesiastical affairs. This man was immediately made Bishop of Derry; and soon became the Lord Deputy's principal counsellor, both in the concerns of Church

and State. He was, in fact, so much the same to Wentworth, in Dublin, what Laud was to Charles, in London, that he got the title of “The Irish Canterbury;" and, being instigated by the Dean of Down, he obtained an order for the renewed suspension of the ministers who had been so lately restored. Bishop Echlin obeyed the injunction with evident reluctance; and Blair states, that “all hopes of farther liberty being cut off, we closed with celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and solemnly delivered up our people to the Great Bishop of souls, from whom we had received our charge." How solemn and affecting must have been that farewell communion ; and how shocking was the spectacle, in a Protestant Church, of devoted pastors and affectionate flocks torn asunder by the strong arm of unrighteous power, for no crime save their Christian fidelity!

The next stage of persecution was the utter deposition of those faithful Ministers of the Gospel, by Bishop Echlin ; and this, indeed, was almost bis last official act; for he shortly afterwards died, in great remorse of conscience, owing to the part which he had taken in these sad affairs; more, I feel persuaded, from infirmity of purpose than from intolerance of disposition.

Echlin died in July, 1635, and in the following October, Henry Leslie, dean of Down, was installed as his successor.

This able, though violent and unprincipled Scotchman, became a ready instrument of persecution, in the hands of Wentworth and Bramhall. His first act, as bishop, was the formal expulsion of Livingston, from Killinchy, to which he had privately returned from Scotland. Both Blair and Livingston continued to exhort in private houses; and, according to an authentic document, the latter “resided chiefly at the house of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Stevenson, at the Iron-furnace, at Malone, twelve miles from Killinchy." This place, still known by the name of Old-Forge,” is situated on the left bank of the river Lagan, in the vicinity of my present residence ; and was, until about forty years ago, the property of an old and respectable Presbyterian family; so that I am disposed to trace back some of the steady Presbyterianism of my own congregation, to the integrity and teachings of John Livingston, in the year 1635, and to point out, in this matter, another instance of the animating fact, that the good seeds of religious liberty are seldom sown in vain.

By a Convocation of the Clergy, held in Dublin, in the year 1634, the Articles of the Irish Church had been moulded into conformity with those of the English Establishment, through the tyranny of Wentworth and the dexterity of Bramhall; and, at his first visitation, in the month of July following his appointment, Leslie commanded the attendance of all his clergy, and required their subscription to the new Canons. With this requisition, Brice of Ballycarry, Bridge


of Antrim, Calvert of Oldstone, Cunningham of Holywood, and Hamilton of Ballywalter, peremptorily refused to comply. Though irritated by their “obstinacy,” Leslie was sufficiently aware of their talents and popularity to be anxious to retain them in the Church. He, therefore, restrained his passion, assumed an air of kindness, and invited them to a private conference, “in the hope of overcoming their scruples." Failing to shake their resolution, he convened a special assembly of his Clergy, at Belfast, on the 10th of August, where he preached from Matt. xviii. 17—"But if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." The Text sufficiently indicates the character of the Sermon, which was afterwards published, and which remains until the present day, a standing monument of prelatic insolence, assumption, and intole

Its main object was to assert the power of the Church to decree rites and ceremonies, and to denounce the Presbyterian Ministers as schismatic despisers of decency and order. Referring to their reported purpose of returning to Scotland, or emigrating to America, if prevented from preaching, he concluded by addressing them in the following indecent language: “It is said, that when Cain was cast out from the presence of God, that is, from his Church and the place of his worship, he went and dwelt in the land of Nod. So you, when you are cast out of the Church, are preparing to goe and dwell in the land of Noddies, (i. e. Simpletons or Asses,) and it is strange if the sides of one ship can contayne them who cannot be kept within the pale of the Church."

From this Discourse, it was evident that the fate of the recusant Ministers was sealed; but, being inflated with personal vanity, and encouraged by the flattery of his partisans, the Bishop had determined to secure his triumph by argument as well as by authority; and, consequently, he challenged them to a public Discussion, in the Church, on the following day. This offer, they joyfully accepted ; and Hamilton was chosen by his Brethren to manage the debate. A scene so novel and interesting, attracted a great assemblage of all ranks, including the Lords Chichester and Claneboy. Leslie, expecting an easy victory, displayed considerable suavity and moderation, and Hamilton proved himself an expert controversialist, as well as thoroughly acquainted with the Sacred Scriptures. Bramhall, who was present, had from the first, entirely disapproved of established orthodoxy condescending to debate with schismatic heresy; and the progress of the discussion did not tend to alter his opinion. He saw clearly, that, on the Protestant ground of the sufficiency of Scripture, and the right of individual judgment in its interpretation, his brother Bishop could not maintain the principle of Church Authority; and, therefore, after a debate of several hours, he interrupted the con

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ference, which Leslie adjourned until the following day. A few of Bramhall's remarks, during the discussion, will show his spirit; and are worth recording as an evidence of the way in which ecclesiastical power was disposed to deal with the advocates of Christian liberty, and the assertions of the supremacy of God's Word. My Lord of Down," said he, “in good faith I commend your charity but not your wisdom, in suffering such a prattling Jack to talk openly against the orders of the Church." Then turning to Hamilton, who had objected to receiving the Sacrament in a kneeling posture, as tending to idolatry, he exclaimed—“Worship thou the Devil, if thou wilt." When Hamilton pressed the Bishop of Down with another cogent argument, Bramhall vociferated—"It were more reason and more fit, this fellow were whipped than reasoned with! Get him hellebore to purge his brain from madness. Let the fellow sit down, and let another that can reason stand up and argue. Give him Scripture for a peck of oats for his horse!" Such was the vulgar and abusive ribaldry, with which a Bishop of the Established Church assailed a Christian minister, in every sense more respectable than himself, because he had the courage “to keep a conscience,” and to repudiate the arbitrary authority of man in the paramount concerns of the soul! The account of the entire Conference would be worth reporting, were it not too long for the mere Outline" to which I feel myself restricted; and I do not believe, that any impartial man, of any Church, ever read it, without being satisfied that Hamilton was triumphantly victorious. Indeed, the result clearly proved, that such was the conviction of the prelatists themselves; for, on the following day, the Bishop declared that he had gone farther than the law would justify, in allowing a public dispute, and that he must not go on in that kind." He then demanded, finally, “whether they would subscribe the Canons?” And being answered, firmly, in the negative, he proceeded to pass upon each of them, separately, the sentence of perpetual silence, within the Diocese of Down and Connor.” The conclusion of this sad scene was deeply affecting. Sentence being passed, the venerable Robert Cunningham arose, and in solemn accents addressed the Bishop thus: “I have now lived these twenty years amongst you in this kingdom, serving the Lord in his holy ministry; and thought so to have spent out the rest of my days which cannot be long, (for my body is very crased,) in the same employment. My doctrine and life, for that time, are known to most here present; and I appeal to all their consciences if they can say any thing against me, in either of them. Yea, I ever kept me close to the commission of my Lord; but now I am required to receive impositions upon my ministry which are against my conscience. I rather, therefore, lay down my ministry, at the feet of my Lord Jesus

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