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care of the young,. "The Friend of Youth.” The exceedingly correct likeness of JAMES ĠALL, Esq. given in this number, is worth more than the annual subscription to the work. We have seldom seen the cover of a periodical turned to better advantage than that of this unpretending little book. It contains the verses for the month, which are committed to memory by the members of the British Verse Association.
REASONS FOR LEAVING THE CHURCH OF ROME. By the Rev.
L. J. NOLAN, lately a Roman Catholic Clergyman. W. CARSON. Dublin. P.p. 47. Fourth Edition. 1835.
THE appearance of this tract in its fourth edition, in a very short period from its publication, is evidence sufficient of the interest which it has ex. cited in the public mind. It is sensible and well written, and deserves to be widely circulated. Particularly, however, it is valuable as the record of conversion from ap Antichristian church, in the case of one who appears to be a conscientious, well-informed, and sincere Christian minister. It is stated that there are many others among the Roman Catholic Priests, likely soon to take a similar step. This, indeed, is no more than what is to be expected from the rapid spread of light and truth in the land. “The word of God shall not return to him void.” We trust the time is not far distant when it shall be recorded again, a great company of the Priests were obedient to the faith.” It is said, upon evidence deserving of regard, that the late Dr. Doyle was much exercised about the propriety of withdrawing from the Church of Rome.
AN ESSAY TOWARDS AN EASY AND USEFUL SYSTEM OF
LOGIC. By ROBERT BLAKEY, author of the History of Moral Science.
JAMES DUNCAN. London. P.p. 170. 1834. *This is a plain, practical, and well-written Essay, intended to reduce an extensive and difficult subject to a few simple priuciples and a parrow compass.' The following arrangement is observed. Part I. Preliminary observations-Objects of a system of Logic-Nature of Mathematital evidence, and the evidence of Natural Philosophy--the Mind-Morals -Political Philosophy-Religion-General remarks. Part II. Analysis and Synthesis-Analogy-Probable Evidence-Testimony-Language General remarks. Part III. Syllogisms Technical phrases in Logic Miscellaneous hints for the government and improvement of the Under standing. These various topics are treated with discrimination and inde. pendance of thought. The volume will be found to deserve an attentive perusal.
Ordinations. On Wednesday, the 11th February, the Presbytery of Raphoe ordained the Rev. George Hanson to the pastoral charge of the * newly-erected congregation of Ballylennon. The services of the day were condueted by the Rév. Messrs. Thompson, Killen, and Wray.
On Tuesday, February 17th, the Rev. William Blackwood was ordained by the Presbytery of Belfast to the pastoral charge of the congregation of Holywood, in connexion with the General Synod of Ulster. The Rev. John Dill, Rev. Dr. Cooke, Rev. Dr. Hanna, and Rev. James Morgan, conducted the usual services.
MUTATIONS of fortune belong to churches as well as to em. pires. Our recent researches on this topic have exhibited the Presbyterian Church in England rising from an obscure beginning, and rapidly advancing, amid many formidable obstructions, to a height of great eminence. But scarcely bad she reached the pleasing elevation, when adverse events began to impede, and ultimately to destroy her prosperous
In tracing, however, moral phenomena to their proper source, difficulties of greater magnitude cross the path of the inquirer, than what usually befall the student of science. The causes of the ever-varying aspect of society are diversified, as are the conditions of men—the elements of discord and misery are diverse, as are the degrees of ignorånoe, of prejudice, and of pernicious habits in a communitythe difficulty of distinguishing between the primary and proximate cause of debility in the social structure, often lies far removed from the eye of detection; and consequently, in searching out the grounds of a church's decline, the nicest discrimination, and the most patient investigation are essentially requisite. Deeply impressed with the difficulties of the subject, and also with the danger of ascribing the unprosperous fortunes of Presby: terianism in England to principles or practices which did not exist, it shall be our endeavour, looking at the same time for beavenly direction in the attempt, to make an accurate selection of facts, and cautiously deduce from them only the conclusions that they warrant.
That the superstructure of Presbyterian polity in England gave way, principally on account of grossly criminal conduct, which went to weaken the foundation, none can deny; yet the fact appears to stand upon equally indisputable authority, that the pressure from without had not a little to do in impairing the once-goodly fabric. In all ages, the political state of the world has, indeed, had much to do in promoting or retarding the prosperity of the church, and, unquestionably, the agita: tions, convulsions, and many untoward political circumstances of England, bore hard upon the Presbyterianism of the country. The reigning powers, for instance, from the Reformation to the Revolution,
not even excepting the interregnum itself, had either a secret or an avowed hostility to Presbytery; and they did not conceal the most determined opposition to its establishment in the kingdom. The success then which attended the English Presbyterians, for more than a hundred years subsequent to the dispersion of Popery's thickest darkness, took place not only without the smiles of royalty, but in defiancé of its most malignant frowns. But the progress of Presbyterianism was also sorely obstructed by the unworthy jealousies of its professed friends, in respect to the keys of discipline, whether they ought to reside in the state, or in the church, and by the foolish contentions between the city of London and the Parliament. Nor did the ecclesiastical institution, whose obstructions of an external nature now occupy our attention, suffer less embarrassment from the disorders occasioned by civil wars-from the violence of opposing sects ---from the total deprivation of the revenue which i
had for years maintained her clergy, by the Act of Uniformity, at the restoration of Charles II:—and from the many dreadful per. secutions that branded the infamous reigns of that monarch, aud his brother James. After death, however, had, in the one case; and after the prevailing voice of the nation had, in the other, turned these bloody princes from the throne of England, did this cruellypersecuted church obtain peace and unlimited religious toleration ? No; after these blood-stained kings had been bereft of the power to command their destroy ing demons to desolate the land, and even after King William and Queen Mary--the friends of Presbytery-had acquired the reins of government, the English Presbyterians had much to endure, as well as to retard their church's prosperity. Although the Presbyterians bad, upon two different occasions, employed their influence in favour of the Protestant Episcopal Church, rather than perpetuate republican misrule, at the one time, or allow the country to be overspread with the horrors of Popery, at the other; yet the abettors of Episcopacy have, even at this day, scarcely repaid their Presbyterian friends in England with anything else than broken pledges, fettered religious freedom, and much unkindness--not to mention-great ingratitude.
But other and more potent causes than these must have been in operation, to have reduced, in little more than a cen tury from this date, nine hundred flourishing churches to the paltry number of sixty congregations, of some of whom little better can be said than that they merely exist. It is most improbable that the mere impolicy of friends, the jealousies of secular power, or even the rage of princes, could so decidedly alter the prosperous fortunes of a church whose very, birth, place stood within the roar of cannon fully as terrific as the thunders of the vatican itself, and whose cradle sat amid the rocking billows of man's fiercest passions, until the child of heaven's indulgent care had arrived, in spite of every obstruction, at all the full-grown strength and distinguishing honours of a national establishment. No; had the Presbyterian Church of England continued to hold by the pillars of divine trutlı, bad she clung to her standards in the hour of trial, and had the vital godliness, for which her founders were characterized, descended to succeeding generations, all the horrors of a dungeon, all the pains and penalties that human laws could sanction, and all the threatened miseries of persecution, could never have reduced her to such a state of numerical weakness, and moral insignificance. The pressure from without would have met with a corresponding resistance from within, securing a triumph in the end: but when a church or nation abandons the strong-holds furnished by the Almighty, divisions, consequent feebleness, and ultimate ruin are the neverfailing results.
The ostensible cause of this sore declension must be ascribed to the deadly influence of Arian and Socinian tenets. Early in the eighteenth century, a revival of these pernicious heresies took place in England, when Whiston, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge, Dr. Clarke, Rector of St. James's, Westminster, and two Presbyterian ministers at Exeter-Hallet and Pierce-either openly, or more secretly became abettors of heretical sentiments, from whose agitation the church had for many years obtained rest. The hour, however, had again arrived when tares appeared amongst the wheat, the earliest knowledge of which produced, in several parts of the kingdom, a very painful sensation, but espe cially at Exeter the deepest distress prevailed. The friends of truth in the West of England naturally resorted for advice in their difficulties to the Board of Three Denominations in London, whose influence at that time was very great. Had the ministers in and around the metropolis been “valiant for the truth," had they been anxious to suppress error, and to extinguish the flames of discord which had arisen in the Western Province, they could not have hesitated to condemn the baneful heresies that opposed the doctrines of the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the necessity of an attonement for sin, they could not have refrained from instantly remonstrating with their erring brethren at Exeter; nor would they have scrupled for a moment in placing the impugned doctrine of the Trinity at the head of their remonstrance, affixing their signatures to it, and frankly avowing their belief in it as an essential article of the Christian faith. The Board, it is true, met, discussed, under the influence of passion, the questions in dispute, and, in an assembly of one hundred and ten ministers, fifty-seven voted that the advice to the Exeter brethren ought to overlook the very subject upon which the reference for counsel was founded. The article of the Trinity, they decided, the document should not contain: thus did they virtually condemn all creeds, and, in the most disgraceful manner, oppose the affixing of a signature, even to the doctrines which they professed to believe. In this majority of the Board, which met in 1719, there were many Baptists, and a few Independents, but, by far the greater number was of the Presbyterian persuasion, at least in name. In this opposition to creeds and signatures, there might be a show of liberality, and, along with it, an acknowledgement of hostility to the Arian tenets ; but succeeding history gives the clearest demonstration that something else existed than an objection to the subscription of creeds, inasmuch as many who at that time refused to subscribe one article of religion, very soon afterwards gave their signature to thirty-nine of them; and, mournful to relate, not a few of the men who would not oppose the heresies wbich had recently sprung up in the West of England, embraced these dangerous opinions as their own. Thus the leaven of error had diffused itself throughout the mass; the subscribers of the declaration containing the article of the Trinity separated from their non-subscribing brethren in the London Board ; a stigma became attached to the Presbyterian body, because of its ministers, whose heretical sentiments or false liberality made them connive at sin: and, from that period down almost to the present day, the withering blasts of heaven have blighted the Presbyterian interests in this kingdom.