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of any mad, to judge the heart, is the prerogative of God only, it is to judge merely the profession of faith, and the mode of life; and if these are not obviously opposed to the Word of God, they are to be admitted as professors of religion, leaving it to God to judge the heart, Here he has fallen away from Presbyterianism into Independency. Another perrading principle of his pamphlet is, that it is wrong to demand subscription to the Confession, ivasmuch as being the work of fal. lible men it must contain sin and error. We confess we do not well know what is meant by sin in a book, and we imagine the pbrase was used only for the sake of the frightsomeness of the expression ; but, admitting that the work is not infallible, we ask, will Mr. Carlile demand assent to nothing that is not infallible? We have been at an ordination, where Mr. Carlile officiated, and took his share in the entire service,—the candidate for ordination was examined touching his views of doctrine and Church government,--his assent was demanded to certain prepared ques. tions, and in all this Mr. Carlile concurred. Does he mean to say there was nothing infallible in that procedure? that there was no sin and error there ? He could not say so ; and here is the man practising the very thing which he so vehemently condemns in the Church of which he is. a member. What deception nien practise on themselves.
A third principle of the pamphlet is, that the candidate for the ministry should be thoroughly examined by the Presbytery, but do not ask him to sign any thing written. Infallibility, it must be supposed, may attach to any oral creed and confession ; but error and sin necessarily attach to that which is written, Now we would have been inclined just to have beld the opposite opinion, and to consider a well-digested and printed creed more likely to be correct than the crude effusions of every examinator. In truth, the question between the advantages of an oral and written creed is not de bateable. Nothing but the blindest infatuation could ever have instituted a comparison. To ask the assent of a candidate for the ministry to doctrines which he has never had an opportunity thoroughly to examine! It is prepos. terous; yet this is the substitute proposed by Mr. Carlile for the Confession of Faith, the production of the wisest, ablest, and best men England ever
These truly are the days of enlightenment. We take no notice of the glaring contradictions of the pamphlet, such as that the Confession is the best of books, yet sinful and erroneous ; nor of the very awkward situation in which he has placed himself, remaining to this hour a licentiate of the Church of Scotland, and understood by her to be a subscriber Lo the Confession of Faith ; nor of the manner in which be bas pandered to a libertine age, writing whole pages of such inflamed rhapsody as could bare been intended only for garnishing the columns of a radical press ; nor of the big bly indecorous and uncalled for abuse which he bas beaped or bis own Church, the Church of Scotland, all whose revival in godliness he can overlook to light on some yet unhealed distemper ; nor of his misrepresentation, sounding an alarm, that every man, woman, and child must sign the Confession of Faith, or be excluded from the membership of the Synod, while such a thought, we venture to say, dever entered the mind of any minister of the body. All these things we pass by, and conclude by alluding to the latter part of the pamphlet, in which Mr. Carlile reduces to some particulars the errors with which he charges the Confession. And, reader, after all the fury into which he hus throwu himself, what are these? They are shiefly confined to verbal criticisms. No ope important doctrine of the Confession does he venture to attack or
deny, with a single exception, Any thing so ridiculous as the end of all his parade we have seldom witnessed. He treats his readers to an analysis of the meaning of the phrase, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ;" and by forcing bis own meaning on it, be would make the Confession contradici science. How desirable to be a learned man ! But even we, who are unlearned, can gain one lesson from all this, that Mr. Carlile was unable to find real objec. tions to the Confession, or he would not have fallen upon ideal ones. He seems to say this much himself. Against the chapter on the Magistracy he directs all his force, as this seemed to present somewhat of a front that might be wounded. But what is the amount of bis accusation? Why some contend that the passage countenances persecution, while others deny it. It has, therefore, become matter of dispute how its compilers understood it. To ascertain their opinion, an appeal is made to their conduct, actions being considered a fair test and criterion of principles. It is allowed they never persecuted, ---even Mr. Carlile admits this. And yet he will contend that the article was meant by them in a persecuting sense. He labours to find out reasons why they did not persecute, and endeavours to persuade his readers they would have done so if they could. That is, tre contend Mr. Carlile would do an act that is dishonourable,-we allow, indeed, he never did one, but we shrewdly conjecture it was because he bad not the opportunity. What character would stand before such a judgment? Is this the charity that thinketh no evil? We dismiss the pamphlet with a very reduced estimate, compared with what we formerly entertained of the power and candour of its author; and our earnest prayer to God for him is, that he may be stopped in his downward career.
TAE RISE AND Progress OF POPERY, AND OF THE PROTESTANT
REFORMATION. A Discourse, By the Rev. JOSIAS WILSON, Belfast.
W. M'COMB, Belfast. 1836. We are gratified to find that a second edition of this valuable Discourse has been called for by the public. Originally it was preached in Drogheda, on occasion the third centenary of the Reformation. It is characterised by an uncompromising faithfulness in the inculcation of truth and the exposure of error. And we regard the circulation of such a Discourse as highly seasonable and imperatively called for in the present times. In tbe success of its author in his mioisterial labours we cordially and greatly rejoice. We cannot withhold from him the praise of “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” An attempt has been made, on many bands, to injure him in public reputation, for a rash expression, tortured into a meaning which it was never intended to bear; but the friends of truth will rejoice to know that the ridiculous outcry raised against him has only bound an attached flock to him the more, and inspired them with increased confi. dence in his person and ministry. By a well sustained and able minis. tration, bis congregation is now one of the most numerous in Belfast; and about a week ago, when it was announced that a few sittings, which bad become vacant, would be let, there were applications for them from the representatives of not less than sixty-four families. We pray God that his bow may long abide in strength, and that the truth delivered by him may be effectual to the salvation of many.
The SCOTTISH CHRISTIAN HERALD, Vol. I., Part 1. J. Joenston,
Ediriburgh ; W. M'COMB, Belfast. 1836. We rejoice in the very extended circulation of this excellent Periodical. From the practical nature of its contents, the variety of its topics, the character of its principal contributors, whose names are usually affixed to their productions, the frequency of its publication, and its cheapness, it is well calculated to be productive of much good. We congratulate its conductors on the happy thought of offering to the public a temperate, sound, and practical Periodical, studiously avoiding subjects of controversy in both politics and theology, at a time when such subjects are so generally occupying the public mind. The Christian Herald was needed; for. however necessary it is to contend for the faith, and to have some Periodicals devoted to this particular department of labour, it is no less necessary that something should be put into the hands of the people, in which the great subjects of religion shall be treated free from the excite. ment and prejudice of disputation. In this department the Herald has been must successful, and, we trust, shall prove to be eminently useful. THE ADVOCATE OF ORAL REFORM. A Monthly Periodical. Vol. I.
Belfast, 1836. 'THE worthy Editor of this periodical has completed the first year of his labours, and we congratulate him on the publication of his first volume. His subject was povel, difficult, and delicate; but he has been enabled to treat it with prudenee and faithfulness. The fearful and wide-spread evil of licentiousness, wliich it is his object to reprove, will require a well sustained and vigorous effort to repress it; and we trust he will be in. duced to persevere in his honourable labours, until the public shall be made better acquainted with the hideousness and shamefulness of the crime which he reprobates. We understand his efforts have been highly estimated in distant parts of our own and other lands; and it will be no small reward of his toil, should he be enabled to raise the voice of the people generally against the prevailing violations of the seventh com. mandment..
WESLEYAN METHODISM AND CALVINISM CONTRASTED. A Sermon.
By the Rev. J. B. Rentoul, Garvagh. P.p. 39. 1836. The author of this sernion justifies the delivery and the publication of it by certain efforts that are made in his neighbourhood for the spread of Arminian doctrines. We do not think that the one or the other needed any justification, it being at all times the duty of the Christian minister to advocate the truth and expose error. The sermon is every way worthy of being presented to the public, whether viewed as a theo. logical or literary composition. It is sound and simple, plain and con. vincing, and we trust that its circulation will be serviceable to the cause of truth and righteousness. These are times when the members of our Churches should be diligently instructed in all the doctrines of their most holy faith ; and while we rejoice that Christ is preached by any section of the Catholic Church, and wish for success to their labours, yet can we not conceal our aoxiety, that the genuine principles of Presbyterianism should universally prevail, as they are laid down in its Confession of Faith and Catecliisms, and in its Form of Church government.
ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. .
No. LXXXVII. DECEMBER, 1836. VOL. VIII.
It is said to be the custom, in some nations, to mourn at the birth of a child, because of the anticipated evils which it is destined to endure in this vale of tears. This is, doubtless, to form a false estimate of human life, in which, on the average, pleasure far predominates over pain ; and surely the contrary custom of rejoicing, when another rational and immortal creature is ought into existence, is much more justifiable. But I am not certain that the same principle will apply to the birth of a new year. There are so many recollections of past delinquencies and omissions, and of losses that can never be repaired, to unite with anticipations of the future—so much to regret as well as to fear,—that the thoughtless levity with which this first day of another annual cycle is generally ushered in, seems to be altogether misplaced. We should certainly do, what is at once more reasonable and more edifying, were we to spend the first hours of a new year in solemn meditation, both on the past and on the future.
But, in such an exercise, while there is cause of self-accusation and of sorrow, there is also ground for gratitude, for hope, and for enjo, ment. The protecting care of an overruling Providence is a fruitful source of these feelings, whether we regard external nature, or reflect on our own individual experience of the guidance and protection of a Father's unseen hand. It is to the former of these subjects, that the peculiar nature of this work seems at present to call our attention.
When nature lies in the sleep of winter, all seems dreary, and desolate, and hopeless. Day after day, the sun, whose beams bad shed light and life over the world, takes a shorter and a lower path in the heavens; his brightness and warmth decrease; chilling blasts sweep the plain ; the flowers fade ; the leaves fall; the grass no longer springs for the cattle; the sound of music is hushed ; the earth becomes rigid; the surface of the waters is converted into crystal ; the snow descends and covers all with its cold and cheerless mantle. ** Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons.”—(Winter.)-By the Rev. Henry Duncan, D.D., Ruthwell. Oliphant & Son, Edinburgh. pp. 394.
Nature, however, is only in a state of repose. Rest was necessary to recruit her exhausted strength. But during her repose, the hand of Him who “slumbereth not” bas been working in secret. The germs of future plants and flowers have been wonderfully preserved : insects, reptiles, birds, and beasts, have all partaken of a Father's care; and bis rational creatures have been enabled, by employing the higher powers with which he has gifted them, provide for the supply of their more numerous necessities and comforts.
And now a new scene appears. The sun has changed his course, and begins again to take a wider circuit in the bearens. Soon his warmth, and glory, and genial influence will return. Nature will burst anew into life, and beauty, and joy. The husbandman will once more ply his labours, while hope cheers his toil, and
The lark, high-poised, Makes heaven's blue concave vocal with his lay ;and, all around, the cattle browse on the tender berbage as it rises, and the bleating lambs play amidst the flocks scattered over the neighbouring bills.
As the year advances, summer will again begin to smile, and will cast from her green lap a profusion of flowers. The seed thrown into the bosom of the earth will germinate and grow : the tender blade will rise and shoot, sometimes watered by the rain and dew; sometimes cherished by the genial beat of the sun's direct rays; sometimes shaded from his too fervid beams by the gathering clouds, and refreshed by the morning and evening breeze.
At last comes autumn, crowned with plenty. The orchards teem with golden fruit; the full ears of yellow grain wave in the fields; the busy reaper sings as he toils; the barns are filled with food for man and beast, and the hopes of the husbandman are fulfilled. Amidst a thousand varied and most bountiful preparations for the sustenance of animal and vegetable life, during the rigours of an ungenial sky, winter returns, and again prepares the earth, by a night of rest, for the labours of the coming year.
These wonders of Divine Providence need only to be mentioned, to shew with what consummate skill and goodness God accommodates the seasons to the comfort, the convenience, and the happiness of every thing that lives, and especially of the human family. The labour to which man is doomed strengthens his bodily powers, and rouses, exercises, and sharpens his mental faculties. The changes, too, which are continually taking place, are highly conducive to his improvement and happiness. Sameness deadens curiosity, and satiates enjoyment. We are so constituted, as to require constant changes for stimulating the mind, and giving relish to our exercises;
and in each season of the year we find employments