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take a more lively interest in one another, and in the progress of the Redeemer's kingdom.
But whilst we cheerfully and cordially make these admissions, we fear that the General Council will do little or nothing, in the way of encouraging a faithful testimony, for unpopular though Scriptural truths and principles, or of healing the divisions of Zion in a Scriptural way. The sermon of Professor Flint may be regarded as the key-note of all the proceedings. Many of the delegates spoke approvingly of the use of uninspired hymns and instrumental music in the worship of God, and boasted of their communion at the Lord's table with Episcopalians, Baptists, Methodists, &c.
Though the various branches of the Presbyterian Church were invited to send a sketch of their history, statistics and work,* yet no opportunity was given to the delegates of these Churches to say anything of their distinctive principles. The tone of the great majority of speakers was, that these dis:inctive Principles were little matters, and of no moment with respect to Christian unity. But why, then, we may well enquire, do they maintain separate communion ! We could not help feeling, in view of the progress of Popery and widespread irreligion and infidelity, that the meeting of a general Presbyterian council was rather an occasion for public confession of sin, and return to the Lord, than for a grand demonstration and an ovation. If the result of the council be to discourage any from contending earnestly for the faith, or to lead them to abandon those truths which are emphatically “the word of Christ's patience," it can have no attraction for many of the warmest friends of Bible truth and unity. If no reference is to be made to distinctive principles, and no opportunity is to be given to delegates to speak in defence of truths intimately connected with the honour of Christ, and the welfare of Churches and nations, this does not augur well for the future of the council as an instrument for real and permanent benefit to the Church and the world. We fear there too much truth in the humorous remarks of an able writer, as to questions coming before it “ being referred to a Committee to be reported on to a future meeting of Council, which simply means more talk, to be referred to another Committee to be reported on to another meeting, for additional talk somewhere else and at some other time, and so on, ad infinitum.
But when they have gone, if any memory of them remains, it is only of something that was loud and singular; but what it was, or what it did, there is nothing palpable to show."
UNITED ORIGINAL SECESSION CHURCH. IN common with all true Protestants the Synod of United Original Seceders acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and new Testaments to be the supreme and only rule of faith and practice. They claim to be a branch of the Reformed and Covenanted Church of Scotland, and adhere to the whole of the Westminster
See subjoined sketch of the Original Secession Church, which was published and circulated in the council in a pampblet, entitled “the Presbyterian Churches throughout the world.”
Standards as these were received by the Church of Scotland as standards of union and uniformity for the Churches in the three kingdoms, and feel themselves bound by the sacred pledge given in the Solemn League and Covenant to adhere to them as such. They thus take their stand upon the principles of the first and particularly of the second Reformation, which took place between the year 1038 and 1050, which embodied in its proceedings and settlement all the valuable attainments of the first Reformation and carried them to a greater extent. They own the morality of public covenanting, and the continued and perpetual obligation of the National Covenant of Scotland, and of the Solemn League and Covenant, upon all ranks and classes in these lands, and acknowledge the duty of renewing these covenants in a bond suited to our circumstances. As Presbyterians, they hold that the Lord Jesus Christ, the alone King and Head of His Church, has appointed a particular form of government to take place therein, distinct from civil government, and not subordinate to the same, and that Presbyterial Church government is the only form laid down and appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ in His Word. As they believe that Church communion consists in the joint profession of the truths and observance of all the ordinances which Christ has appointed in His Word, and that the visible unity of the Church lies in the unity of her visible fellowship, they regard free communion as an obvious violation of that unity, and hold it to be unscriptural, and that the practice encourages persons to continue in corrupt communions, by leading them to conclude that there is no conscientious ground of difference between them and the persons who make no scruple of occasionally joining with them in the intimacies of Church fellowship. In the worship of God they make use of the Psalms of David only, believing that they were delivered to the Church by the Holy Spirit to be used as the matter of public praise, and they regard hymns of human composition as unwarrantable in the worship of God, and tending to endanger the purity both of the worship and the doctrines of the Church.
The Original Secession Synod dates its rise from 1733, and claims to represent the first seceders, who in their testimony, published in 1737, were careful to make it known that they were not dissenters from the National Church because of her civil establishment, but seceders from a corrupt and prevailing party in her judicatories, who carried on a general course of defection from our reformed and covenanted principles. The Original Secession Testimony published in 1827 applies the principles of the Judicial Testimony to public events that had occurred up till the date of its publication, and like it was designed to be a declaration of the sense of the standards, and of the way in which they were received by the Reformed and Covenanted Church of Scotland. It is a term of ministerial and Christian communion in the body, that is, office-bearers are required to signify their approval of its principles, and members to accede to them, so far as they know and understand them.
The Synod has from time to time been lessened by the separation of brethren. At present it consists of 41 congregations in Scotland, England, and Ireland ; of these 29 (including one in England) are in connection with the Synod in Scotland, and 12 constitute the Secession Synod in Ireland, in full communion with the Scottish Synod. The members and adherents are estimated at 6500. The income of the Scottish Synod last year amounted to about £5400. The Synod has several Home Mission stations, and also a prosperous Foreign Mission agency at Seoni in India, under the immediate charge of Rev. George Anderson, who is assisted by two catechists. There is an orphanage in connection with the mission, having eleven children, who are well fed, clad, and educated, and it is expected that the number will shortly be materially increased. A school is also carried on having one hundred and seventy scholars, and four teachers in addition to the missionary, and one catechist, in which the children are instructed in English, Urdu, and Hindi. The Synod is desirous of obtaining, and has ample funds for maintaining another ordained missionary in India. At home the divinity hall is carried on under the superintendence of the Rev. Professor W. F. Aitken, A.M., and the Rev. Professor James Spence. The library in connection with the hall has 1400 volumes. Under the editorship of the Rev. John Sturrock a bimonthly magazine is published having a circulation of 1200 copies each issue.
MEETING OF THE IRISH SECESSION SYNOD.
The Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, distinguished by the name Seceders, met in Lisburn on Tuesday, 3rd July, 1877; and was opened with a sermon by the Rev. John F. Moore, A.M., who preached from Exodus vii. 12, “But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."
Sermon concluded, the court was constituted with prayer by the Moderator. Roll was then made out, and testimonials from elders received and read. The ministers were all present with the exception of one member, who appeared at an after sederunt. Ruling Elders present were Messrs. John Foreman, from Boardmills; Andrew Fee, from Garmony's Grove; William M‘Lean, from Clare; Samuel Hamilton, from Belfast; John M‘Niell, from Lisburn; Joseph M'Crury, from Tyrone's Ditches; William Warnock, from Tullyvallen; and John Martin, from Coronary.
It was reported by a member of the Monaghan Presbytery, that since last meeting of Synod, Rev. William Auld had been ordained to the pastoral charge of the congregation of Coronary; and his name accordingly was added to the roll.
It was further moved by Clerk of Synod, that inasmuch as he had received an extract minute from Clerk of Synod in Scotland intimating that Rev. John M‘Kay and Rev. Andrew Miller were appointed a deputation to attend the present meeting, and inasmuch as these gentlemen are now present, it was agreed that their names be added to the roll, and that they be invited to take their seats in the court and deliberate.
The minutes of last meeting having been in the hands of members were held as read, and sustained as correct.
The following is a digest of the business transacted at the various sederunts :
APPOINTMENT OF MODERATOR. - The Moderator stated that his successor should now be appointed. Rev. Mr. Stuart was unanimously chosen, who accordingly took the chair, and thanked the Synod for the honour they had now conferred on him.
OTHER APPOINTMENTS.— The members to form Committees on Bills and Overtures were named, and those Committees appointed to meet Wednesday morning at half-past 9 o'clock. Presbyteries to meet to-night at 10 o'clock; the Moderator, one of the deputies from Scotland, Mr. Auld, and Mr. MacKenzie were named to conduct devotional exercises, at the commencement of the various Sessions.
REPORTS OF PRESBYTERIES. — The following reports were received and
I. MARKETHILL PRESBYTERY.—“The Presbytery of Markethill report that Rev. John H. Forsythe is their Moderator ; that they are sorry to state they have no students under their care ; that they have observed the day of humiliation and thanksgiving, appointed by Synod ; that Mr. Matthew M. Stuart, their Probationer, received a call from Aberdeen, Scotland, and was transferred to the Presbytery of Perth and Aberdeen.
(Signed, by order of Presbytery) “ THOMAS CLUGSTON, Clerk." II. MONAGHAN PRESBYTERY.- -“The Monaghan Presbytery report that. since last meeting of Synod they ordained the Rev. W. Auld to the pastoral charge of the Congregation of Coronary, that he is now their Moderator ; that during the
year they visited the congregation of Mullabrack; they further report that the congregation of Emyvale has contributed nothing during the past year for the Mutual Assistance fund ; that Presbytery had under consideration at one of their meetings, the overture regarding marriages, which they agreed to approve of ;. and that the day for humiliation and thanksgiving was observed in all the congregations under their inspection.
(By order of Presbytery) SAMUEL PETTIGREW, Clerk pro. tem. BELFAST CONGREGATION.-It was reported that after lengthened negotiations regarding the building of the Church, it is expected that in a few days the contract will be settled under very favourable circumstances, and funds will be required to meet the liabilities ; Synod instruct that the congregations of the Church be appealed to for contributions, and it is hoped the appeal will be liberally responded to.
COOTEHILL CONGREGATION.—Mr. Gamble reported that the congregation of Cootehill is making arrangements to purchase a Glebe and Manse for the Secession Congregation, availing themselves of the provisions of the Glebe and Manse Loan Act. The court approved very highly of the action taken by the congregation in this matter; and would urgently press upon all the congregations, who have Dot already done so, to take similar steps, and to do so at once, inasmuch as the provisions of this act expire about the time of next meeting of Synod.
OVERTURE ANENT THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE.-After very lengthened consideration of this subject, it was finally moved, and unanimously agreed to, that inasmuch as practically the law of the Church on this question, as enacted in 1845, has not been enforced by the Synod, it be therefore enacted that henceforth said law be not made a term of ministerial or christian communion.
PUBLIC PAPERS.-Mr. G. M‘Mahon read the paper appointed at last meeting of Synod on the subject of “The Revival of Religion.” “At the close of the reading of this paper, a vote of thanks was passed and conveyed to the writer by the moderator, with the request that the paper be printed for circulation. It was also suggested by the deputies from Scotland that said paper should be sent to the Editor of the Magazine for insertion. The committee appointed for preparing the paper will take these suggestions into their consideration.
Mr. Laverty also read a short paper on “The ministry of the gospel, the paucity of candidates for same, and the Church's duty in order to secure an increase of said candidates.” Mr. Laverty was thanked for the paper read, and requested to have it printed for circulation in our congregations.
CONFERENCE ON RELIGION.-The various members of court detailed in the order of the roll, some of the evidences of spiritual life in their congregations, and also some of those things amongst them, or around them, and particularly on temperance and Sabbath desecration, which are antagonistic to the interests of religion.
PRESCRIBED PAPERS.-Connected with the conference it. was moved and agreed to that Rev. John Powell, and Rev. Thomas Clugston be appointed a committee to prepare a paper for next meeting of Synod, on “ Personal Religion and its Scriptural Evidences.”—Mr. Powell Convener.
The moderator and clerk, with Mr. MacKenzie, were appointed a committee to prepare a paper on “Public Questions”—The Moderator Convener.
REPORTS OF COMMITTEES.---The report of Finance committee was submitted by Mr. Gamble, and adopted. The report contained a detailed statement of the various steps taken by committee during the year, and expressed regret, that notwithstanding their efforts and the fact that the future welfare of weak congregations depended upon the sympathy and support of the strong, yet the result was rather dispiriting and disappointing than otherwise. Whilst the court deplores the unsatisfactory issue reported, they would adopt and approve of the various suggestions, made and commended in the report, and would ask defaulting congregations to forward their contributions, and request all to observe punctuality in their payments to the fund. The committee were thanked for their past services, and continued with same Convener.
FOREIGN MISSION COMMITTEE.-Mr. Laverty read the report and moved its adoption, which was agreed to. The Committee was thanked for their labours in this matter, and continued with said Committee; and collections for this fund, throughout the church, were ordered to be taken up about the end of the year,
It was also reported that the sum of £22 78 6d,—the amount of a legacy left by his late father, for Missionary purposes had been given to Synod by Mr. David Kirkpatrick, through Mr. Clugston. It was resolved that the best thanks of Synod are due, and heartily tendered to Mr. Kirkpatrick for his consideration and generosity in the matter.
DEPUTATION FROM SCOTLAND.— The deputation from the U. 0. S. Synod in Scotland delivered very suggestive and interesting and instructive addresses, when a motion was passed and cordially agreed to, that the Court return their thanks to the deputies for their presence at this meeting, and the addresses now delivered The Moderator conveyed to the deputation the sentiments of the Court.
DEPUTATION TO SCOTLAND.— The Court appointed the Moderator and Rev. W. Auld to attend as a deputation at the next annual meeting of the U. O. S. Synod.
DAY OF HUMILIATION AND THANKSGIVING.— It was resolved that a day of humiliation and thanksgiving be observed in all our congregations on a suitable day in the month of December.
Next meeting of Synod to be held in Lisburn in July, 1878, and on the first Tuesday, at 12 oʻclock.
The Moderator engaged in prayer, and closed the meeting of Synod by pronouncing the benediction.
GEORGE M MAHON, Clerk.
The Books of the Old and New Testaments proved to be Canonical, and their Verbal
Inspiration Maintained and Established. By the late Robert Ha dane, author of Comm ntary on Romans," &c. Seventh edition. Edinburgh : Maclaren &
Macniven, 1877. It is with special pleasure we welcome and heartily recommend this, the seventh edition of a work which has done much good service in its day in behalf of the cause of Bible truth. Though it cannot, perhaps, be said to be fully abreast of the peculiar requirements of the present time in respect of meeting the views of that arrogant 30-called “higher criticism" which has been so fitly designated the " lower scepticism,” it nevertheless treats the subjects with which it deals in a most effective manner, presenting, as it does, in a plain intelligible form, those leading proofs and arguments which must ever constitute the stronghold of those who maintain the canonicity and inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures. The volume consists of three parts. In the first the author proves the genuineness and authenticity of the Old Testament Scriptures, and shows that the apocryphal books have no claim to a place in the Canon ; in the second part he does the same for the Books of the New Testament ; and in the third he establishes, at considerable length, the plenary verbal inspiration of the entire Scriptures, and refutes objections that have been brought against this all-important doctrine. The book is emphatically one for the people, and at the present moment its appearance is most opportune. Let thoughtful Christian men and women get hold of this work and master its contents, as they may easily do, and they will, through the blessing of God, both be firmly established in the belief of the Divine authorship of the Bible and its consequent supreme authority, and be able—if not to convince the gainsayers who, alas, are not easily convinced -to givo, at least, a reason, clear and unhesitating, for the faith and