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The Presbyterian Church has, I conceive, been led, in the good providence of God, to the best possible expedient for accomplishing the moral reformation of this unhappy and distracted land. In those resolutions passed at her two missionary meetings, she recognizes the principle of sending forth among Irishmen, who still hold dear their own native tongue, whose accents they first lisped, and whose words of endearment and tenderness have soothed their waywardness, or dried up, as by magic, the fountain of their sorrows, Irish missionaries, armed with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, sheathed in a scabbard of Irish manufacture, and on this account, more trenchent and terrible when drawn forth for the cause and covenant of the Lord God of Hosts.
This attempt of our church is founded upon no ingenious speculation or plausible theory, but upon the solid basis of experience and experiment. For at so early a period as the year 1630, Bedell, then Provost of Trinity College, and a Presbyterian in principle, established an Irish lecture for the education of native missionaries to preach in the vernacular tongue; and when afterwards promoted to the See of Kilmore and Ardagh, which he held more in the style of a moderator of a Presbytery, than of a prelate of a diocess, he there not only preached one-half of the sabbath day in Irish, but endeavoured strenuously to procure the translation of the whole Bible into the Irish language, that it might be freely circulated among his adopted countrymen; and though his plans and purposes of reformation were opposed and thwarted by the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of his day, yet were they blessed with partial and very encouraging success. They constituted the true system of a godly reformation, by the following out of which, with vigour and perseverance, Ireland must, at this moment, have been not a country of superstition and discord, but a land of righteousness and peace. Other measures were adopted by other men of a different spirit; but they were, in general, measures of proscription, which all miserably failed in doing good, and tended only to increase the evils of ignorance and error...
When we turn to the records of our own church, we find, that in the year 1710, at a meeting of Synod, held in Monaghan, it was overtured, that six ministers and three probationers, who understood the Irish language, should be sent out by this church, as its witnesses for the truth, into every dark corner of Ireland. Had even this cheap and small machinery
been fairly tried, and workmen provided and supported, commensurate with the spiritual necessities of the people, and with the great object sought to be accomplished, we have no doubt, that by this period of time, Presbytery would have established its apostolic discipline not only in every province, but in every county and parish of this land. Of late years, it is well known, that certain societies have exerted themselves by every legiti mate method in this, the noblest of all our schemes of public benevolence; and their labours, I rejoice to say, have been crowned with abundant success. We should be proud, too, that a member of our own church has prepared and equipped many a good soldier for this holy warfare; but along with individual zeal and energy, we want and demand, in the name of our Great King and Head, a combined and vigorous exertion on the part of every Presbytery and congregation in this righteous cause. We are not trammelled by any rules of ecclesiastical polity, which can, in the least, retard our movements of love towards those who, on all sides of us, are perishing for lack of knowledge. All we want are the men and the means; and by the divine blessing, we shall soon evangelize Ireland. It is a spurious liberality to talk of preaching the word of life without reference to name or church. We prize not our principles, unless we feel and exhibit anxiety to spread them, and to gain for them a favourable acceptance among the people. And it is because we think our system of church government, and our doctrinal creed sound and scriptural, and best fitted to promote the faith and purity of the gospel within the walls of Zion, and to make inroads on the territory of ignorance and sin beyond, that we are anxious to set about this good work of the Lord with all the energy and all the forces that we can muster.
It is now nearly two centuries and a-half since a scion from the old stock of Scottish Presbytery was planted in this soil; God prepared room before it, and did cause it to take ke deep root; but it filled not the land, though many still were covered with the shadow of it; and the boughs thereof of were like the goodly cedars; yet were its hedges broken down, not by force, so that all they, which passed
but by fraud and carelessness boar out of the wood wasted it;
by the way did pluck her; the and the wild beasts of the field devoured it; but the Lord looked down from heaven, and beheld, and selected this vine, and the vineyard which his right hand had planted, and the branch which he had made strong for himself; and in proof of this great and glorious revival, the church has now a mission
arranged on Presbyterian principles, by which, to send forth among our own countrymen, who are either professors of the same creed, and sons of the same holy ancestry or brethren and kinsmen, in virtue of our common father, and our common bounty, the faith once once delivered to the saints in the form of sound words, and in the frame-work of a wholesome discipline. It would appear that our church has been awarded by providence, the mighty work of Ireland's spiritual regeneration! Her ministers are neither obnoxious to the people, nor oppressive to the national resources. We have an open door in the most turbulent districts; while to others, it must be guarded by police and military; and could we make the government understand and adopt the same policy which would ensure peace and prosperity to Ireland, it would soon be found that a hundred additional Presbyterian ministers could do more in repressing agitation, and confirming the commonwealth by the mild coercion of the law of love and gospel truth, than the execution can effect by the fierce gleaming of a hundred thousand bayonets. We hold and do maintain that Presbytery is the main stay and bulwark of Protestantism in this land. It is a tower of strength from which, though lately no standard floated, because the camp of Israel lay idle and in disorder, from want of discipline; yet now, when the trumpet has sounded an alarm which has stirred mightily the church, and shaken her children from their delusive slumbers, that standard has been again unfurled, which was wrought of old in the storied and trophied halls of Westminster, where our fathers in the ministry struggled, alas ! in vain, to make Presbytery not merely the established, but the loved and heartfelt religion of the realm. Let us be up and doing the soul's work, lest the curse of lukewarmness be left upon us, because we have shunned to declare the great controversy of heaven among the inhabitants of this land.
"A late resolution of the Synod refers to the expediency of printing and publishing the Metrical Psalms in the Irish language. None can be ignorant of the intense sympathy of Irish hearts with music and melody. Many of the national superstitions have been preserved from age to age, because verse and poetry. The ancient history of Ireland is, in a poetical fable; and the glimpses which it affords of the glories of the days gone by before the foot of the stranger polluted the green shores of Erin, are just the fields where superstition reposed and reveled in the mock ma
jesty and deceitful halo of a thousand years. Our countrymen have been ridiculed, as a false and feeble-minded race; but alas! they have shown no fickleness in their fond and fervent attachment to a system which is erroneous and unscriptural. And had it not been that the language and assiduities of love all belonged to their church, and that it became the object of hatred and injury, I am persuaded many of them would long ago have rejoiced in the conscious dignity of freemen in the Lord. The Presbyterian Church has never so far forgot her true Protestant original, as to employ carnal weapons in defence of truth.
She, too, suffered for the truth's sake, whilst the mass around her, whom she would long ere this have leavened with her principles, and reclaimed by her arguments, had she been left free and untramelled in her energies, became darker and more terrible than ever, frowning defiance upon the very cause which failed to make them proselytes, because it neglected the grand principle of Christianizing them, by plying the ministrations of love upon the conscience with all the untiring energy which a love to human souls can impart. Now by sending forth the book of Psalms in a dress of Irish growth and manufacture, we procure a welcome for the stranger in every cottage home, and in every Irish heart. We touch the spring of our national sensibilities; and if we could convert the wild imagination, and often reckless character of our countrymen, into zeal for the truth as it is in Jesus, and with love for the faithful ministers who watch earnestly for souls as those who must give an account, then may we expect, even in our own day, to be received not as a foreign and hostile church which made a violent settlement on these shores, but as a company of Christian ministers who wandered from our own land in search of freedom, and, having found it here, bequeathed it as a most precious legacy to those by whom we were received and entertained. And where is the Presbyterian worthy of the name, whose soul would not thrill with gratitude to Almighty God, when called by business either to reside in, or to travel through, the Southern and Western provinces of Ireland, or when a visitant in search of health amid nature's peace and loveliness, he has lingered among its scenery of romantic beauty, or of sternest sublimity, and there heard the old psalm tunes of his fathers floating in the morning or the evening breeze; and when he entered the sanctuary of God on the Sabbath, he there beheld a congregation of Irish faces drink-:
ing in the sincere milk of the word, and there singing the sweet songs of Zion, not as we do, so cold and carelessly, but in one full and rapturous burst of sacred melody. Let the Presbyterian Church act vigorously and unitedly upon her own principles, and then will such scenes of moral beauty gladden the heart of the Christian philanthrophist, and speedily convert our beloved country into what God designed it to be a well-watered and fertile garden, filled with the ble fruits of righteousness.
PRESBYTERY OF MAGHERAFELT.
THIS new Presbytery was solemnly constituted at Magherafelt, on the 2d of September last. After the devotional exercises had been concluded, the first public act of the body was to recognize the law of the church, which requires subscription to the Westminster Confession of Faith, by each member affixing his signature to it.
Certain resolutions, conducive to the advancement of religion, were then submitted for consideration, and were unanimously adopted by the Presbytery at their second meeting on the 4th inst., when it was enjoined, that the same be read by each minister to his congregation, and seriously impressed upon their attention and observance.
I. That this Presbytery, assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King and Head of the Church, do earnestly recommend to every family under our care, to have in their possession, besides the Holy Scriptures, a copy of the Westminster Confession of Faith, as a standard book for family Instruction, and as a form of sound words, exhibiting the doctrines, government, and order of our Presbyterian Church.
II. That every family be exhorted, agreeably to the example of holy men of old, to the spirit of the New Testament, and the practice of faithful christians in every age of the church, to worship God morning and evening by singing his praises, reading a portion of his word, and calling upon his name in prayer together, as well as individually, and in secret.
III. That they be admonished strictly to "Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy," by "spending it in the publie and private exercises of God's worship;" taking their children and domestics with them to the house of prayer, and afterwards teaching them from the Scriptures of truth, from the Shorter and Larger Catechisms, or other pious books, in con