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shall refuse to declare their sense of the truths in the Confession, when judi. cially required to do so, shall be censured at the discretion of the judicatory deinanding it. The fourth recommended, that every Minister and ruling Elder should subscribe the Confession before being allowed to vote. The fifth pronounced a suspension on the Moderator and Clerk of every judicatory, reversing or altering the decisions of a superior one.
“ The expedients of the moderate party were not brought forward till the following vear, 1726, at Dungannon. They contain an exposition of their principles, at considerable length. They maintain, that Scripture is sufficient for government, as well as doctrine; that every circumstance is provided for by invariable laws; and that all who comply with Christ's terms are entitled to communion in every Christian church; that the qualifications of candidates and Ministers may be ascertained without subscription or assent to uninspired forms; and that none who give such assurance, can be refused license, ordination or instalment; much less should such forms be required as a condition for baptism or the Lord's Supper.
" At the opening of the fourth session, 1726, the Moderator informed the Synod, that the subscribing Body had met, and prepared an Overture. It was for a breach of communion with non-subscribers in church judicatories. The first argument advanced in favour of a rupture was, that now the nonsubscribers are erected into a Presbytery, they have an opportunity to license and ordain ; and this they will do agreeably to their principles; and the person ordained will become a member of the Synod, of course. This, however, was occasioned by their own act; for in 1725, they had collected the pon-subscribers from their several Presbyteries, and united them in one, without any application or wish on their part. This would tempt one to think that the Synod had made this order, on purpose that they might have a handle to cast thein out: and after all, the Synod could easily have remedied this, by dispersing them through the Presbyteries to which they had belonged, or any others in which they would have been the smaller number, and consequently not have it in their power to break the rules of the Synod. But they seem to bave been afraid of the infectious nature of nonsubscribing principles. As to the Synod being obliged to receive a candidate upon the faith of the Presbytery, without actual knowledge of his principles, the non-subscribers asserted, that this was done with respect to the other Presbyteries also; for some insist on every article of the Confession, and others dispense with some. This was admitted ; but still it was contended that there were a good many articles in which they were all agreed. To this, it was replied, that the greater number subscribed with a reserve of the Pacific Act, which allows an alteration of phrases ; and what some would call an alteration of a phrase, others would call a denial of the doctrine. The one party adopted the Confession, subject to a variation of phraseology; the other, the Scripture, without any reserve.
“Upon this, Mr. Livingston challenged them to go through the Confession, article, by article. Mr. Haliday and Mr. Abernethy said, with all my heart. Mr. Kirkpatrick also assented, if they were to compare them with the Word of God: but a simple yea or no would operate as a test. To this his brethren agreed; and Mr. Haliday said, if they did so, they would become as moderate as the assembly that composed it, who abhorred the thought of making subscription to it a term of communion; and when it was proposed to them to subscribe the Shorter Catechism, rejected it as a plain imposition. Captain Henderson answered, there was no need for their subscribing it. Mr. Haliday replied, I am sure there was as much need then as now ; for there were many in the assembly, who did not agree to all the points that were carried in it, but differed more about some points than, I believe, this assembly does. When some answered I do not believe that; Mr. Haliday
replied, I can produce for proof the words of Mr. Baxter. (He then read the words from the History of the Bishops and Councils abridyed.) “I have lived to see such an assembly of Ministers, where three or four leading men were so prevalent, as to form a Confession of Faith in the name of the whole party, which had that in it which particular members did disown, &e.” The subscribers thought it unreasonable to enter into a dispute about all their articles of faith, and said, that if they would tell the articles they disliked, and their exceptions against them, they would hear them.
“ The last argument was to this effect:—'Tis plain our continuing together answers no good end, but has been the occasion of endless disputes and contention The experience of live or six years may convince us that we cannot get our necessary affairs minded, while the non-subscribers are
“Beside these arguments, the practice of the churches was pleaded, which led to several historical debates. These were checked by a lay Elder, who thought the council of the Apostles (Acts xv.) a better precedent than any other, and contrasted it with the proceedings of the Synod. But he was told that it was not to the purpose. The Synod now grew impatient for a decision. Several subscribing ministers, however, exerted themselves to stave off the evil day. It was proposed that the non-subscribers should waive their privilege of sitting in Synod for one year, and that the Synod should drop the Overture. This, it was thought, might have prevenied a breach, by leaving time for men's minds to cool. The Synod seemed generally to fall in with this expedient; and the friends of peace pressed the pon-subscribers exceedingly to come into it. These stated, that they bad once formed a design of absenting themselves from this Synod, and had written a letter to explain their motives; but some of them feared that they would be charged with originating the rupture, and therefore attended. They thought they might be of the same mind next year, if the Synod would waive the points in debate, and give them an assurance that nothing which might affect them would be done in their absence. They were pressed for a more direct answer; and, after conference, gave the following :— that they could not engage for their absent brethren—that the interest of their sessions and congregations might require their attendance; but under these limitations, they would waive their privilege. Some proposed that they should waive their privilege for the remainder of this Synod, and nothing seemed wanting to prevent a breach but their agreeing io this. The non-subscribing brethren suggested that there was important business to come on, asfecting the Presbyteries of Antrim and Belfast, of which some of them were members; and left it to the Synod to judge if they might waive their privilege, and they would do as they might direct. Many declared that these concessions were satisfactory; but others called loudly for the question on the Overture. One of the non-subscribers, after shewing that they had complied with every demand, said, these motions, it appears now, were to try whether you could get a handle against us; but we have agreed to every thing, and you have not stood to your own proposals. Then the High Party vehemently insisted on the question approving the Overture. The cry was Proceed! proceed! a vote! a vote! we have had reasoning enough! Upon which the previous question was put—which of these questions shall be put, approve the Overture, or declare the concessions satisfactory ? It carried the first. This resolution was carried by the votes of the Elders against a considerable majority of Ministers : 40 Ministers voted against, and only 29 for it. Then the question-agree to the overture from the subscribing body, was put, and it carried, Agree. Of the Ministers present, 35 or 36 voted for the Overture ; 34 voted against it; 2 voted non liquet ; '6, who had been present, gave no vote; some of whom staid in the Synod, but did
not answer their names, and others left the house before their names were called. One, who on the Monday following joined in the protest, was, by sickness, detained in his lodging in Dungannon ; another, who had left town, joined in the protest. So that the majority present at the debate, did not vote for the Synodical breach. The 36 who concurred in the rupture were not one-fourth of the Ministers of the General Synod.
“ Notwithstanding this statement, the protest was signed by no more than 12 members, one of whom was an Elder. Of these, eight had not subscribed the last protest. It is probable that many had gone home before the reasons of protest were ready. The protest was refused, the non-subscribers having ceased to be members.
“ The ejected took their leave with solemn, pathetic, and affectionate speeches; and Mr. Patrick Simpson, Minister of Dundalk, who was a subscriber, with his Elder, did the same ; and told them that "he had observed much partiality in them, and be would have no more to do with them, but would take his lot with the non-subscribers."
The preceding details have been chiefly drawn from “ A Narrative of the Seven Synods," compiled by the leading Members of the Presbytery of Antrim, immediately after their expulsion from the General Synod. This work, which extends to several hundred pages, is still a very interesting document; and, had I been writing more than mere “Outlines of the History of Presbyterianism," I should have gladly availed myself more largely of its contents. I believe, however, that what I bave given affords a fair view of the grounds of dispute between the two parties, of the temper and spirit by which they were actuated, and of the progress of those Debates which led to the final separation. The names of its Authors are not attached to The Narrative, in order, as they say, might receive especial praise, or be exposed to particular odium.” Considering the temper of the times, this was no more than a reasonable precaution ; but, although not distinctly avowed, Abernethy, Haliday, and Kirkpatrick, were well known to have been the principal, if not the only writers.
Abernethy was a man of singular memory, great general talents, and remarkable ability as a preacher. His father was Minister of Moneymore ; and he was himself, ordained in Antrim, in the year 1703. He remained there for 27 years, although during that period he had received unanimous and pressing invitations from the congregations of Coleraine, Derry, Belfast, and Usher's Quay, Dublin. Through all the Debates of “the Seven Synods,” he took a conspicuous position on the side of religious liberty; and was finally prevailed upon to become Pastor of the important congregation of Wood-street, (now Strand-street,) in Dublin. He filled that situation with remarkable acceptance and success, from the year 1730, until his death, ten years subsequently, in the 60th year of his age.
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His Sermons on the Divine Attributes, published during his life, are still universally admired, by the members of all churches; and one volume of controversial Tracts, with several volumes of miscellaneous Discourses, was published after his death. The late celebrated and eccentric Surgeon Abernethy, of London, was his Grandson ; and, in the Brysons, of Antrim, we have still his living descendants, who are, in point of intellectual vigour, sterling integrity, and moral excellence, not unworthy of their distinguished progenitor.
Mr. Haliday, also, was a very able and very eminent man. His “Reasons against Subscription to Human Creeds" are remarkably cogent: the part which he took in the debates was highly creditaable: and his share in “the Narrative" was very considerable. His son became the most eminent Physician in Ulster; and, for many years, enlivened the private society of Belfast by his sparkling wit, and influenced the public proceedings of its citizens by bis ardent patriotism, as a distinguished Whig. Dr. Haliday acquired a considerable landed estate, near Belfast, which is now in the possession of his grand nephew, Mr. Henry Haliday, of Clifton—a gentleman who largely inherits the great talents, moral worth, and sterling patriotism of his ancestors-united, however, with a retiring diffidence which has prevented him from taking that place in the van of great public movements, which he is so eminently qualified to occupy.
Dr. Kirkpatrick was also a distinguished man, and took a large share in the synodical debates and publications of his day. In the year 1713, he published an admirable work, entitled “ Presbyterian Loyalty,” in reply to several uufounded aspersions cast upon Presbyterians, by certain prelatical writers. This triumphant and unanswerable vindication of the steady attachment of Irish Presbyterians to the great principles of monarchical government and civil liberty, remains a standard work until the present time. Of Dr. Kirkpatrick's descendants, I have been able to procure no information.
Next to the three great men mentioned above, Mr. Nevin, of Downpatrick, occupied the most conspicnous place amongst the ejected Ministers. He was succeeded in the congregation of Down by his son and grandson, who were both distinguished by zeal and talent, in support of religious liberty and truth; but I lament to say, that all their direct descendants have forsaken the paths on which their fathers so honourably trod, and are now connected with
creed-bound churches. I do not, however, deny men's right to exercise their private judgment in putting on fetters, as well as in taking them off ; though I cannot avoid regretting that individuals, otherwise estimable, have withdrawn their countenance from principles which I believe to be founded on the Word of God, and eminently calculated to advance the best interests of mankind.
The following is a List of the honoured Ministers who, with their congregations, retired from the General Synod: “ Rev. John Abernethy, Antrim; Rev. John Mearns, Newtownards; Rev. Michael Bruce, Holywood; Rev. Thos. Nevin, Downpatrick ;, Rev. Josias Clugston, Larne; Rev. John Orr, Comber; Rev. John Elder, Aghadoey ; Rev. Thomas Shaw, Ahoghill ; Rev. Saml. Haliday, Belfast (first) Rev. Patrick Simpson, Dundalk ; Rev. John Henderson, Dunean; Rey. Wm. Taylor, Cairncastle ; Rev. Robt. Higginbotham, C.raine Rev. Thomas Wilson, Ballyclare; Rev. Samuel Harpur, Moira ; Rev. Thos. M'Clean, Monaghan; Rev. J. Kirkpatrick, Belfast, (2nd) Rev. Thos. Crawford, Crumlin.”
With regard to the last two Ministers, I entertain some doubt which of them Seceded, as the insertion of both their names would increase the List to 18—whereas only 17 Members were expelled.
( To be continued.)
NOTICES OF BOOKS.
A Journal of a Visit of Three Days to Skibbereen, and its Neigh
bourhood. By Elihu BURRITT.
Our readers do not require to be told that Elihu Burritt is well known in these countries, and more especially in America, his native land, as an honoured and successful labourer in the great cause of peace.
He is the Editor of the “ Christian Citizen," a weekly paper, published at Worcester, Mass., and devoted to the discussion of such subjects as are more immediately connected with the prac. tical improvement of society. He has adopted an ingenious method of making his views very generally known, namely, by printing brief articles of about half a column each, in favour of Peace, and sending these “ Olive Leaves," as he appropriately terms them, to the Editors of the various journals throughout the country. He has been in England for some time past, and has recently visited Ireland, with a view of sending a statement of facts from his own observation, to his native country, together with an appeal on behalf of the sufferers under the awful pressure of famine and disease.” His appeal, which has been transmitted to the United States,