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even the object of her worship and the ground of her acceptance. A faithful testimony has been borne to the truth, and the church has been thereby greatly renovated. But the world has been moved against us for bearing this testimony, according to that saying of Christ, men shall revile



and shall

say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for

my name sake.” We have been held up to public hatred or contempt, as the enemies of knowledge and improvement; as trampling down the sacred rights of conscience, and enforcing unscriptural terms of communion; as erecting the opinions of erring man into an impious supremacy over the infallible word of God; as men actuated by the basest motives, factious leaders, or furious partisans"full of all subtilty and all mischief"'_“whited sepulchres"! Nay, as the zeal of our opponents waxes stronger, we are charged with all the horrors of the Popish inquisition: the dungeon, the rack, the faggot, with the whole apparatus of torture, contribute to the awful description, and raise it to the very height of the sublime! Well-we have been enabled to bear this injurious treatment, and still we continue to bear it; “ being reviled we bless, being persecuted we suffer it, being defamed we entreat.” In answer to all these “railing accusations,” we hold out to the world one broad fact, and it is this : in every case where a division has taken place, our people have been compelled to surrender their property in the meeting-houses which their fathers had built, and without receiving the slightest compensation, even where they proved the decided majority, they have been driven forth to worship God under the canopy of heaven, until they shall have once more erected houses for themselves. But whilst we prove our Christian meekness, let us also

prove our Christian faithfulness. Let us continue to bear our testimony, by zealously reproving corruptions, exhibiting “the truth in love," correcting and exalting our discipline to the primitive standard, and firmly maintaining the cause of Christ, wheresoever or by whomsoever it may be assailed. Nowise dismayed by the sneers or clamour of ungodly men, let us hold on our way “rejoicing in the truth,' assured that “greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.”

We live in momentous times, and the question daily becomes more urgent—“Who is on the Lord's side? Who?" An insidious policy is banishing the Bible from our schools, and stripping our national education of all its religious character. What, then, is our path of duty ? It is as plain as the light of heaven can make it. As Christians, we must reject an “experiment" which virtually excludes Christianity from national education, of which it should ever be the foundation and the cope-stone. As Protestants, we must- reject an." experiment which casts on God's word the foul refleetion, that it is improper or insufficient to train and form the rising generation. The very essence of Protestantism is inyolved in this question. We are now, in the nineteenth century, called to vindicate the first principle of the Reformation to reassert the rights of the Bible against the usurpations of Rome. We are told, indeed, that no Protestant principle is compromised, for that under certain arrangements, the Scriptures may still be read in our schools. The Board, it appears, will not extend its anti-bible surveillance beyond “school hours," while these hours may be limited in favour of the Scriptures by the local committees, and thus, under cover of a miserable fiction, may they still be read in the schools. But is it come to this, that “the Word of the living God” cannot be read but by CONNIVANCE, in the national schools of this Protestant empire ? that it enjoys at best but an imperfect and uncertain toleration ? An uncertain toleration, we repeat, for the same power that now permits the Bible after school hours," may, at a convenient season, deny it the benefit of this paltry fiction, and proscribe it altogether. Shall we then accept as a boon, under such unworthy conditions, that Bible which, in the spirit of Protestant freedom, we may claim as a right? God forbid! Or can we, as Presbyterians, sanction an experiment” which usurps the authority of the only King and Head of the church, and curtails that fair inheritance which is sealed to us by the blood of our fathers ? No! To our rulers we cheerfully render a civil allegiance—we reverence their authority as “the ordinance of God,” but we must remind them with all faithfulness, that we owe a higher allegiance than they can claim, that we possess higher privileges than they can bestow, and that we will neither deny the former nor surrender the latter. And we bless God that a portion of our fathers' spirit has descended to their sons, and that, under much reproach, we have been enabled to uphold their venerable testimony. We regard the firm, uncompromising stand which the Synod of Ulster has made on this great question, as one of the noblest monuments in her his tory, and as a token for good, that the downward progress of public principle will yet be arrested by Christian courage and constancy. Let us then maintain our integrity, as well against the blandishments as the frowns of the world. If we are ad

monished to the duties of conciliation and concession, we frankly reply, that it is, indeed, our duty to conciliate man, but our sin and folly to conciliate error; and that while we can freely give up much that is our own, we shall never concede one jot or tittle that is God's. If we are accused of political partisanship, we fling out the charge with contempt. By the grace of God we shall never mix in the vulgar politics of the world, the jarring elements of “hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife," but we may, we must assert these great principles that may be styled sacred politics, principles which our Scottish ancestors, those true patriots, those champions of genuine freedom, vindicated at the price of their blood. We repel the charge of faction in the terse and forceable language of Andrew Melville on a like occasion* This will be called meddling with civil affairs,” (exclaimed he) “but these things tend to the wreck of religion, and therefore I rehearse them."'*

But whilst we spurn the charge of party politics, we are here compelled to go farther and lift our testimony against that prevailing system of infidel politics, which rejects or despises Christian principle. With Newton, we profess that “The Bible is our system of politics," and by this infallible standard do we judge and condemn the politics of the world. In the politics of the Bible, the cause of Christ is the grand interest; in the politics of the world, it is an interest virtually unrecognised. In the politics of the Bible, inflexible principle is the rule of action; in the politics of the world, an evershifting expediency supplies its place. In the former, public 'opinion is placed under the discipline of divine tuition and control; in the latter, it acknowledges no higher authority than its own supreme wisdom and will. In the former, religious principle is regarded as the only effectual means of national regeneration; in the latter, this great end is to be accomplished, forsooth, by mere literary instruction, political reforms, Mr. Owen's parallelograms, or the thousand and one notable projects that are daily amusing the world. In the politics of the Bible, dependence and prayer are the sacred principles that support and animate the church in every change, binding fast all her interests to the throne of the Eternal; in the politics of the world, an infidel self-sufficiency laughs to scorn these weak, puritanical principles, and administers the councils of “the sovereign people” on the maxims of practical Atheism. Such politics we reprobate as treason against the majesty of heaven! We acknowledge a higher code "The Bible is our system of politics;" and in obedience to its dietates, we fearlessly denounce every project of national education that excludes Christian principle, or controls its freeest operation.

* M'Crie's Life of Melville, vol. I. p. 271.

The times in which our lot is cast require more than common firmness. We are pressed by irreligion on the one side and superstition on the other. We must defend our Christian principles against the deadly thrusts of infidelity, and our Protestant principles against the corruptions of Rome. must guard the life as well as the purity of the truth. If we assert the heroic spirit of our fathers, and maintain the cause of God in the strength of God, then may we say with the psalmist, “We will not be afraid of ten thousands that have set themselves against us round about.” But if we begin to compromise our principles, if we suffer ourselves to be awed or allured into worldly compliances, if we shuffle, and trim, and fashion our course to the ungodly standard of public opinion, then we may rest assured that the Lord will maintain his own cause, but not by means of us. At the present crisis we occupy a very important station in this country. In a political view we form the real bond of British connexion, and our devoted loyalty is now the best pledge for the integrity of the empire. But it is in a religious light that we regard our station here as peculiarly interesting. We are “set for the defence” of Protestantism. We are charged with the sacred duty of supporting the reformation standard, and bearing it forward into the dark confines of superstition and death. From Presbyterian Ulster the moral regeneration of Ireland must proceed. But never shall we realize this glorious hope, unless by a resolute adherence to our principles. It was not by the conciliation of error or the concession of truth that our hardy ancestors raised this northern bulwark of Protestantism, nor shall we defend it long by these profligate arts of liberalism. Popery must be subdued, not conciliated, and the sword of the Spirit faithfully wielded, will accomplish the work. But our success is bound up in our integrity. The faithful Protestant is “ a strong man armed;" but the moment he yields to the Delilah of liberalism, he is shorn of his strength, and gives himself


into the hands of the enemy. As Presbyterian Protestants, we occupy vantage-ground either for the defence or promotion of truth. Blessed with a well-organized constitution and discipline, we are preserved


from those irregular impulses, those crude, uncertain councils that disturb some Christian societies, and therefore can prosecute our measures with consistency, firmness, and dignity. It is true we cannot boast the rank of our national establishment, but then we are free from its Erastianism, its political sirifes, its unreforming spirit, its invidious opulence. Clothed in the simple garb of primitive Christianity, “standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made her free," and armed with all the mighty energies of truth, the Presbyterian Church of Ulster should prove a distinguished and successful witness against abounding corruptions. And yet with all her advantages, how little has she accomplished! Where are the monuments of her zeal and faithfulness in latter days? When we compare the noble, arduous, self-denying labours of the venerable fathers of our church with the miserable scantling we have to produce, we are struck with humiliation and so

Alas! “we have left our first love." We are fallen from our high estate as a missionary church and a witness for Christ. But whilst we mourn over past declensions, we would rejoice in the opening prospect of better days. A gracious revival is already felt and confessed: the dry bones live! May we not address our church in the inspiring language of the prophet—" Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!" °Purified by “a fiery trial from her grosser corruptions, she has come forth with brightened zeal to the Christian warfare. She is resuming her proper station among the churches of the empire, and pressing onward to the foremost ranks of honourable exertion. We rejoice in her growing prosperity, for well we are assured that all her zeal and faithfulness will soon be required to uphold the cause of God in this land. A dark, portentous cloud is gathering over us. The enemies of truth are assuming a fiercer, more determined aspect, and urging forward their destructive projects with all the virulence of malice, the zeal of faction, and the confidence of success. The struggle may, indeed, be terrible, but we fear not the issue, for the Lord is arbiter in his own cause. “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.' The truth of the everlasting God is pledged for the safety of his church; and “though the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, his kindness shall not depart from her, neither shall the covenant of his peace be removed.” But while we rejoice in the promise, let

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