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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 read :
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 ; Śynod 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 not 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 toprepare 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 7s 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 MʻMAHON, Clerk.
The Book 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 give, at least, a reason, clear and unhesitating, for the faith and
hope that are in them. Never, we are persuaded, were the following words of warning, taken from the concluding paragraphs of his excellent little volume, more needed than now :
“Christians ought to beware of giving np in the smallest degree the inspiration of the Bible. That precious deposit is now delivered to their keeping as the first portio of it was committed to the Jews. The Jews were constituted the 'witnesses' of Jehovah until the time arrived when, in His sovereign pleasure, He appointed otherwisnesses.'
Having now become the depositaries of the wbole volume of inspiration, let Christians regard it with the same unshaken fidelity with which, before being completed, “The words which the Lord of Hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets' (Zecb. vii. 7-12), were preserved by the Jews. Let them not weaken, by vain reasonings, the impression produced upon their minils by the testimony of the Bible itself concerning its full inspiration in every part, nor substitute for it a book wbich, in their imagination, is only partially inspired, which contaios sometimes the words of God, and sometimes the words of men, who spake not as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, but who were only preserved from error, or who wrote . as any other plain and faithful men might do.' By such sentiments the offspring of philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of med, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, has the Bible been degraded, and its high title to the designation of the oracles of God” made void. In opposition to these heretical opinions, be they ancient or modern, let every disciple of him whose command it is to search the Scriptures' regard it as a faithful saying, and not liable to doubtful interpreta. tions, that 'ALL Scripture is given by ivspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that. the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.'”
The Martyr Graves of Scotland : Being the travels of a country minister in his own
country. Second series. By the Rev. John H. Thomson, Eaglesham. Edin
burgh : Johostone, Hunter, & Co., 1877. By those at least who have had the privilege of becoming acquainted with the First Series—and we trust by many more besides—this Second Series of the " Martyr Graves of Scotland” will be cordially welcomed. Like its predecessor, the volume before us cannot but be fraught with deep interest to all by whom the memory of our martyred forefathers is revered, and their “faithful contendings” gratefully admired, and who realize the fact that we are now reaping in peace what they sowed in tears and wrestlings and blood. To no fewer than thirty-three different localities, where lies precious martyr dust, does our indefatigable pedestrian author here conduct us, and in his usual easy, unpretentious style, well suited to the subject, he tells us the thrilling, and heart-rending stories of the lives these noble men lived and the deaths they died. Among the localities visited are Cupar, Magus Moor, St. Andrews, Dunnottar, Kirk of Shotts, Hamilton, Lanark, Paisley, Ayr, Barrhill, Colmonell, Old Cumnock, South Queensferry, and Blackness. Like thé former volume, this one is also adorned with a goodly number of neat wood-cut illustrations of notable places and buildings. And we may add that the respected publishers have done it ample justice, so that its outward appearance is attractive as well as its contents.
In his Preface Mr. Thomson informs us that his first volume contained an account of visits to twenty-two graves, that this one contains thirty-five, and that so far as he knows there remains forty-seven yet to be noticedthe names of the forty-seven martyrs being given. Before he leaves his travels he wishes to visit every such spot in the land, and he will be glad to be informed if he has overlooked anyFor what he has done Mr. Thomson certainly deserves the warmest acknowledgments, and we rejoice to know that so many as four thousand copies of his first volume were disposed of within a few weeks after its publication. We trust the present volume will be equally successful, and that its author will be encouraged and enabled to overtake all he desires, and that the public will soon be favoured with a third, and if necessary a fourth, volume from his ready pen.
The Christian Treasury: a family miscellany. Edited by Rev. H. Bonar, D.D.
Jai uary-August, 1877. Edinburgh : Johnstone, Hunter, & Co., WE regret that it has not been in our power to notice the present year's issues of this valuable periodical until now. For thirty-three years the Christian Treasury has maintained its place among the serial religious literature of the day, and the like, we believe, can be said of few similiar publications. During that long period how many “monthlies have appeared and disappeared and are forgotten. And not only has the Treasury existed so long, but in respect of the high character of its contents it may be said to have remained unchanged. Of how few such periodicals again could this be affirmed. How many have gradually fallen away from the comparatively high standard with which they set out, until they have, in almost every thing but the name, ceased to be what they once were. Considering the number and variety of new publications that have recently come upon the field and appealed to popular favour, it is hardly to be wondered at that, as we are informed, the number of original subscribers to the Christian Treasury is now considerably reduced. But though not surprising, this is to be regretted, for this sterling tried periodical is certainly much more worthy of being supported by the Christian public, than many of its competitors which have reached very large circulations chiefly through pandering to the prevailing taste for sensational fiction. Of the serial-story element there is extremely little in this Treasury, which in our estimation is a recommendation and not a fault, while what there is of it is of a good kind. The staple contents are high-class papers, original and selected, on doctrinal and practical religious subjects, the perusal of which is fitted both to inform the mind and improve the heart of the reader. It is also rich in short portions for the aged and for the young ; in
gems ” from old authors well chosen ; and in religious poetry for the quality of which the Editor's name is a sufficient guarantee. We have very much pleasure in heartily recommending this excellent periodical. If any of our readers should wish a monthly magazine for Sabbath family reading, either in addition to what they are getting or in room of another, they could not do better than order the Christian Treasury. The price is sixpence monthly, or in weekly parts at a penny. The yearly volumes can be had at 6s 6d each.
Notes on the Psalm Book, especially on the Scotch Metrical Version. By Hugh
Barclay, Perth. Wm. Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh. 1877. EVERY becoming effort to commend the inspired Psalter to the devout study and admiration of men, and especially of the young, in these days of growing sentimentalism in religious worship, ought to be thankfully hailed by all who love the “Songs of Zion” and who are grieved to see them so much supplanted in the service of praise in the Sanctuary. Such an effort we have in this bulky pamphlet from the pen of the venerable Sheriff-substitute of Perth, who, it is well known, has done not a little through the press and in other ways to promote the moral and religious welfare of the rising generation. These Notes, we are informed, origin