Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

courageous men who laid the foundations of civil and religious Liberty, in our native Land.

The Calvinists alleged, in the third place – That their doctrinal views were universally held by the Presbyterians of Ulster, until late in the last century: for, although some of them swore in the Clough Case, that John Abernethy and the other eminent founders of the Presbytery of Antrim, in 1726, were all Unitarians, they maintained, during the struggle concerning the Chapels Bill, that the very same men were all Trinitarians ! But, is there not distinct internal evidence, in the very fact of the enforcement of subscription in 1698, and 1705, that heterodoxy had obtained a footing in the Church, and was likely to spread? Had there been no danger, fences and safeguards would not have been necessary, and would never have been dreamt of. In the history of civil and criminal legislation, we perceive that new offences always preceded new and repressive enactments; and, in the records of the Church, it is equally evident that Creeds were the followers and not the precursors of alleged heresies. The Council of Nice framed a Creed for the suppression of Arianism ; and the Synod of Dort adopted a similar course, in the hope of eradi. cating the alleged heterodoxy of Arminius, in Holland. So it was, precisely, with the General Synod of Ulster, in the end of the seventeenth century and the commencement of the eighteenth. Free inquiry, in a free Church, had naturally produced diversities of opinion; and the majority endeavoured to sustain Calvinism against more liberal views, by coercive and penal enactments. It is no evi. dence of the incorrectness of this argument, that the repressive laws were passed in the Synod with ostensible unanimity; because the new enactments had no retrospective action, and did not trench upon the liberties either of Elders or ordained Ministers; and I have witnessed quite enough of human frailty and selfishness, in my own day, to know how very few men will contend for an abstract principle of right and truth, where the feelings and interests of others are alone concerned. I am confirmed in this view of the case, by the notorious fact, that heresies appeared in the Synod almost immediately after the enforcement of the restrictive laws; and that measures were actually commenced so early as the year 1719, for the expulsion of those heterodox members who subsequently formed the Presbytery of Antrim. If those eminent and upright men were previously “sound in the faith," error must be a plant of very rapid growth: and, if a creedless Church contained no heresy, it is no great evidence of the advantage of creeds, that their enactment was followed by a luxuriant crop of heterodoxy, in the short space of fourteen years! If the Calvinists still maintain that there was no error in the Church, antecedent to their first labours in creed-making, I maintain, that, on their own showing, and for the promotion of their own alleged objects, their tyranny was not only useless but pernicious!

I have dwelt upon these points at greater length than I should otherwise have done, in order to show the nature of that evil fountain from which have issued all the bitter waters that have overflowed the Presbyterian Church, from time to time, during the last one hundred and fifty years. To the history of the creation of the Westminster Confession, in the year 1643, I adverted in its due chronological order ; and having now arrived at the period of its first imposition on the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, I consider it of essential importance that I should give a brief Outline of the Contents of that extraordinary Production, which, as I sincerely believe, has exercised so disastrous an influence, in several countries, on Christian truth and Christian liberty; and which, although universally known by name, is, I feel persuaded, very little understood, either by its professed friends or adversaries.

(To be continued.)


Unitarianism Reconsidered, and found to be in accordance with the First

Commandment, as delivered by God to MosesExodus xx. 3 ; the Lord Jesus Christ to his Disciples --Mark xii. 29 ; and the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth.--1. Cor. viii. 6. Being a Reply to Archdeacon Digby's Pamphlet, entitled, “Unitarianism Considered.By WILLIAM SMITH,

Minister of the Unitarian Church, Torquay.–Pages 11. Our friend, Mr. Smith, is happy in the selection of a title for his excellent Tract. It would appear, that he has been obliged to encounter, in Archdeacon Digby, a fierce and unscrupulous opponent. The little Pamphlet now before us, is not so much a defence of Unitarianism, as a well-timed and indignant rebuke, addressed to a person who seems to have rendered himself conspicuous as a bigot. At page 8, Mr. Smith introduces this worthy to his readers in the following terms, viz. :

“ Were it not that we despaired of reaching the better feelings of a writer who can abandon himself to the intemperate passion these declarations betray; were it not that he shows himself as ignorant of sacred criticism as he is defective in Christian charity, we might attempt to reason, or venture to expostulate ; but either course would be equally misplaced in the case of Archdeacon Digby, who appears to be one of those unhappy specimens of the Irish Protestant Priesthood, who seek notoriety by showing how cordially they can hate, how inconclusively they can reason, and how zealously they can fan the flame of religious bigotry and contention. His residence here has been but brief: he found the Catholic and the Protestant, the Churchman and Dissenter, living on terms of mutual charity,


Christian courtesy, and prudent forbearance ; he has laboured to destroy this good understanding, with a determination worthy of a better cause—and, to the sorrow of all Christian men, he has, in part, succeeded. This is the third unprovoked attack he has made upon the Christian Churches of this locality-stinging the hand that had welcomed him, and the bosom that had warmed him into renewed life. Twice has he been chastised with a spirit and a talent that should have suffused his cheeks with blushes, and drowned his eyes in tears ; but, untaught by past experience, he has again put forth his hand to strike, scorning the warning of his Lord — With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again ;' and disregarding the apostolic rebuke— Why dost thou judge thy brother, or why dost thou set at nought thy brother, for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ."'.

Archdeacon Digby, in his attempts to explain what is called the Trinity, has substituted the term face, for the common word person. This, we submit, does not mend the matter, but rather tends to make the fable more objectionable. He says, that in Exodus xx. 3, and Deut. vi. 4—" The oneness of the divine nature or essence is asserted, and also the plurality of persons in that one nature. These two texts express and witness, that in this eternal being, there are more faces than one!” On this assertion, Mr. Smith makes the following comment, viz.:

“May we conclude, that in reading the so-called creed of Athanasius, the Archdeacon edifies his flock by the following exhortation :* The Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the PACEs nor dividing the sub

For there is one face of the Father, and another FACE of the Son, another face of the Holy Ghost, but the whole three facES are co-eternal and co-equall' and in addressing the Almighty that he prays thus— O Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three face and one God, have mercy upon us!'

What folly and presumption to substitute this unmeaning jargon for the plain and intelligible language of the Saviour— This is life eternal, to know THEE the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent;' when ye pray, say, 'Our Father !'


An importunate petitioner pushed world or the next, because I know your her way into the inside office of a honour would not like it.” The old sayfriend of ours, and interrupted his at- ing, that a “soft answer turneth away tention by this odd question, "Are wrath,” is a practical one; but here you idle,' sir?” The disturbance, the momentary annoyance was subthe intrusion, and the slight imputa- dued by an apology, and the quainttion which the question threw on a ness — and, indeed, compliment-of hard-worker, drew from our friend, the prayer, got the poor woman more if not a courteous, at least a “curt” than a patient-an interested hearreply, viz. “Nonsense, woman, get ing: Her application was acceded to, out of that." To which rebuff the and she had proof, that to ascertain offender meekly answered, “I am if a person was idle was not a bad sorry I disturbed you, sir; but, at all introduction.- Religious Monthly Maevents, may you never be idle in this gazine.



NEWCASTLE AND NORTH OF ENGLAND UNI- nected with one cross table at its head. TARIAN CHRISTIAN TRACT AND MISSION- Preparation was made for five hund

red and twenty-six, and the tables JUNE 14 and 15, the first annual meet

were filled,

The meeting was deing of this Society was held at New- signed to celebrate, in addition to that castle-upon-Tyne. Many friends from of the Tract and Missionary Society, places in connexion with the Society the anniversary of the Hanoverattended this Christian gathering: Square Congregation, and the settleAlnwick, Morpeth, Carlisle, Wetheral, ment of Mr. Harris as its Minister. The Rothbury, Sunderland, Churton, South Rev. Geo. Harris presided ; the ViceShields, "Stockton-on-Tees, Barnard Presidents being R. W. Swan, Esq. Castle, Darlington, Shildon. Others T. M. Greenhow, Esq. Captain Weatrom beyond the district were present therley of Newcastle ; Mr. Brown of

-Liverpool, Park Lane, Lancashire, Barnard Castle ; Mr. Stott of AlnEdinburgh; whilst several, to their wick; Mr. Braithwaite, and Rev. J. great regret, were unavoidably pre- Wright of Sunderland. Forty young vented_Kendal, Warkworth, Stock- men of the Newcastle Congregation ton-on-Tees, Gilling, Wensleydale. acted as stewards. Prayer was ofThe Rev. Dr. Montgomery conducted fered by the Chairman before tea, the religious services on Sunday, both and after the repast a hymn of thanksmorning and evening, in Hanover- giving was sung. Mr. Harris then Square Chapel. His discourses were addressed the company, and afterpowerfully argumentative and Scrip- wards as secretary of this Christian tural illustrations of the plain, simple, union, read the report of the Combenevolent principles of the Gospel, mittee. It detailed the origin of the as contrasted with the mysterious, Newcastle Unitarian Tract Society gloomy, anti-social doctrines of the in 1813, of which the present assocurrent theology, and were listened to ciation is a revival and extension, with delighted attention by very nu- stating that it was the first to reprint merous audiences. The collection was Mr. afterwards Dr. Channing's Balti£25 18. 6d.

more Sermon, as also the first in cheap The New Music Hall, on Monday printing for the masses, and had thus afternoon, presented a most pleasing sent forth eighty thousand copies of and animated appearance. Festoons various useful and important defences of ivy, laurel, oak, lilac, laburnum, in- of the Christian Unitarian faith, makterspersed with a variety of flowers, ing grants to distant places as well as encircled the spacious building, amidst near, not limiting its'exertions to the which appeared busts, paintings, and locality which gave it birth. Since its engravings of departed and living ad- revival, correspondence had been openvocates of the Christian Unitarian ed with individuals or societies in faith. Numerous vases of different thirty-four places in the Northern colour and form, filled with choice counties, in many of which it had not flowers, geraniums, &c. furnished by previously been known that believers members of the congregation, were in these principles were resident.placed at regular intervals on the Earnest desire expressed by all for tables. A scroll bearing the inscription, missionary preaching and tract dis“Sunday-Schools first established in tribution. The Society designed its the North of England by Rev. W. operations in Northumberland, DurTarner, 1784,” extended across the ham, Cumberland, Westmoreland, front of the gallery, in which were and the Northern Division of Yorkseated one hundred and thirty child- shire, and by union of friends scatren, educating in the several Day and tered abroad over this district hoped Sunday-Schools connected with Han- much might be done. A devoted over-Square Chapel. Seven tables Missionary placed at Barnard Castle, extended the length of the Hall, con- as a centre, would be aided in a pro

mising field of Christian usefulness instructive Assembly with prayer and by several efficient coadjutors as lay- benediction. preachers; they already are spread- The following resolutions were ading the truth by their Sunday opted by the meeting :ministrations. Wensleydale, Arkin- Moved by Mr. Brown, of Barnard garthdale, Bedale, and the Valley of Castle ; seconded by Mr. Stort, of the Tees, are anxious for the word of Alnwick—That this meeting, in exlife. Rev. J. M‘Dowell, of Stockton, pressing their approval and adoption and Mr. Harris, had preached at Gil- of the Report of the Tract and Misling, near Catterick, and Barnard sionary Society, would give utterance Castle, to considerable audiences on to their earnest hope, that by combined week-day evenings. Other circuits exertions, in which Christian union is might be formed in different directions maintained without the sacrifice of -but these plans could only be carried individual opinion or congregational into execution by increased means, freedom, the plans suggested for the the conjoint aid of all friends, wher- dissemination and practice of Scripever dwelling. Three thousand three tural Christianity may be thoroughly hundred tracts had been sent out dur- carried into execution. That in order ing the year, The reports from con- to make these plans and principles gregations were detailed, and amongst more widely known, as well as to call the rest that from Hanover-Square forth increased sympathy and cordial Chapel stated, that its various insti- co-operation in their furtherance, the tutions were never in more prosperous Report be printed, and copies forcondition - Schools, Libraries, and warded to every kindred Association; Benevolent Societies; in the past year to the churches and individual suba Day-School for girls had been for- scribers connected with the Society; med, as also a Benevolent Society for and also to all, in every place, who the relief of the sick and poor: and may be considered friendly to the one hundred and three new subscribers objects which it founded to accomhad been added to the congregation, plish. many of them heads of large families. Moved by Rev. J. WRIGHT, of SunThe Tract and Missionary Society derland ; seconded by R. BUSBY, numbered 116 subscribers in the dis- Esq. of Alnwick—That this meeting, trict; income in past year, £39 48. 3}d. regarding the great scriptural prin-expenditure, £29 6s. 4 d.

ciples of the essential Unity and BeVarious resolutions were proposed nevolence of God, even the Father, in the course of the evening, and and the Divine Commission and unanimously adopted. In reply to the Authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, vote of thanks, Dr. Montgomery in- as fraught with incalculable blessings structed and delighted the friends by to mankind, rejoice in the wider dithis lucid statements, eloquent imagery, fusion of the knowledge of those prinand glowing appeals to the best and ciples, and recognise most fully the holiest feelings, and left an impression bounden duty of those who value on all hearts which must prove effica- them as honourable to God and benecious, salutary, and permanent. At ficial to Man, putting forth increasing a subsequent part of the evening, in and persevering efforts, by missionary moving, by request of the Missionary labour, tract distribution, converand Chapel Committees, the resolution sation and example, for their dissemiof thanks to Mr. Harris, and present- nation amongst the masses of the ing, on the part of the subscribers people. Mr. Harris's Portrait, painted by a Moved by R. W. Swan, Esq. seNewcastle artist, to the congregation, conded by Capt. WEATHERLEY, of Newto be placed in the vestry of the chapel castle-upon-Tyne-That this meeting, as companion to that of Mr. Turner. in presenting their warmest thanks Dr. Montgomery uttered a fervent to their respected friend, the Rev. Dr. eulogy of his friend and brother's Montgomery, for his interesting, inlabours and life. Mr. Harris having structive, and admirable services at expressed his acknowledgments, and this anniversary, gladly embrace the urged the meeting to continuous, in- opportunity of recording, the lively creasing exertions in the dissemination seuse they entertain of his arduous, and practice of Christian truth, Dr. persevering struggles in behalf of ReMontgomery closed this happy and ligious and Civil Freedom, and their

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »