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Happily he has oct considered it to be necessary to acquaint bis students with all the foolish, as well as all the wise things that have been said upon every subject which he handles. He seems to be satisfied if he succeeds in placing before them what the Word of God teaches. Not that he wants the power of a controversialist. In some places this is conspicu. ously displayed, but is not his habitual method. There are times, indeed, when he indulges in the severity of controrersy in a manner to be blamed. There is occasionally a tone of severe irony against those whose errors he exposes, and sometimes a severe expression of contempt for the follies that have been hroached in the name of religion. These tbings had been as well spared, but they are not indulged to any serious extent. Upon the whole, we think the work may be fairly characterized as a medium between that of Hill and of Dwight. It is more full, and in; teresting, and practical, than the dry, though correct summary of Hill, And though it is less eloquent than the full and flowing style of Dwight, yet is it more accurate in its doctrinal statements. It cannot be said to be original in its views, and this is, perhaps, one of its recommendations. Upon a track so beaten, it is not reasonable to look for any thing new in matter, and little that is novel in illustration can be expected. Yet the author has thought, and that fully and accurately, for himself, he has 'followed out his own views and expositions, and he has produced a work which will associate bis name with the soundest teachers of theology, and will hand it down to posterity, hanoured as that of one who, while he lived, served his day and generation, and being dead, yet speaketh.
HINTS designed to regulate the INTERCOURSE of CHRISTIANS.
By W. B. SPRAGUE, D. D. America; with a Preface, by W. URWICK, D.D. J. ROBERTSON and Co. Dublin. 1834.
P. p. 242,
DR. SPRAGUE is already known to the public as the author of a Treatise upon revivals of religion. That is a judicious work, and this is not less
"It treats of a subject not a little difficult and delicate, but it is handled by a master. He has disposed it under two heads the intercourse of Christians with each other, and with the world. Under the former he briefly discusses the object of Christian intercourse-its grounds -hindrances—mode of conducting it-occasions-opportunities—in the family-of youth-of the higher and lower classes-by letter-its perversion-and obligations. Under the latter he considers the Christian's intercourse with the world in the common concerns life-in the social circle-gaieties of the world-responsibility of Christians in the higher walks of life--and the Christian's intercourse with the unrenewed sinner, in respect to his salvation. These various topics are wisely and profitably treated. Such a work was needed, and it is seasonably published in this country. It is subject of thankfulness that Christian in. tercourse begins to obtain some prominence in society, and that man does no trifling service who gives good counsel upon its management. It is one of those instruments by which good or ill must be extensively promoted; and if the considerations suggested in this little volume are at. tended to, they will go far to render it the means of extensive and lasting benefit.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX PRESBYTERIAN. SIR,
In my former letter, published in August, I was able to overtake only one of the many important matters brought before our late Assembly-Sabbath Observance.
II.-On Popery. Passing over reports on our church missions and various other general topics, I think it right to advert to the revived attention of our church, relative to Popery. The attention of our fathers was much directed to this point. The range of their missionary operations being comparatively limited, and the dread of Popish influence hanging still over them, their energies were much more powerfully directed against this delusion, than ours have of late been. For many years Popery ceased, in this country, to cause either fear or any very lively sympathy in behalf of the few who, in some remote corners, remained its devotees. The immense number of settlers from Ireland during the last fifty years, bas, however, greatly changed our circumstances. In all the manufacturing districts in this country, and in some strictly agricultural, we have a considerable number of
connected with the church of Rome, living among us. This of itself calls for our most active endeavours. To enlighten those who are thus brought to our very doors, ignorant of the gospel, is a christian duty. But Popery having now assumed a political character, and coalesced with practical infidelity in seeking to change, if not to unchristianize the government of the country, it again occupies a place of national importance, and demands the serious consideration of the Protestant community at large. In these circumstances, we were happy to observe that the subject was taken up by our late Assembly, as the following entry will explain—“ The General Assembly took into consideration an overture from, eighteen members of Assembly, relative to Popery. It was
moved, seconded, and agreed to—That the General Assembly, adhering to the doctrine held forth in the standards of the Church of Scotland, and often repeated by former Assemblies, that Popery is that falling away from the pure christian faith foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus, do hereby recommend to all the ministers of this church to preach occasionally on the errors of Popery, and principles of the Reformation, as recommended by the Assembly, 1749, especially in those quarters of the country where Popery is still prevalent; and to be at pains with Papists, by endeavouring to bring them to a knowledge of their errors by affectionate instruction and counsel; and farther, the Assembly do appoint a committee to collect information as to the present state of Popery in Scotland, and to suggest means which may be adopted by this church, for enlightening and convincing those who are still led captive by the delusion of this
system. III. On the Call. This subject has occupied much of the attention of our church during the last three years. To enable
your readers rightly to understand the nature and effect of the call, it may be necessary to mention, that it has always been the law of our church to proceed with the settlement of ministers, not on the nomination of a patron, but on the call of the people over whom he is to be placed in holy things. The patron, if such there be, nominates, and the people either call and invite, or refuse their assent; assigning the reason, which may be any thing affecting the acceptableness of the presentee, and thus the edification of the people. In the one case, the Presbytery being otherwise satisfied, proceed; in the other, they risk procedure, and instruct the patron to look out for some one more agreeable to the wishes of the people. This, we have said, is the only sense in which patronage has ever had any legal existence in our church; and it is well that persons
may have acquired their ideas of church-patronage from the practice of Episcopalians, should be aware of this. The king being ecclesiastically the head of the Church of England—he presents directly, without any intervening check. And to wreath a similar yoke about the neck of the Scottish Church was part of the general policy of the court, from the accession of James VI. to the crown of England, down to the revolution. But this she perseveringly resisted; and firmly grasping her own blue banner, carried it through many a field of blood, till this, with other valued privileges, was secured to her perpetually at the Union. But the security of law does not always guarantee practice. A variety of moral as well as political causes, led to the neglect of this salutary provision. And although there has been a growing attention to the subject for many years, it is only during the last three that it has been fully and generally discussed. In 1832, those who wished to give full effect to the case, were defeated, but not without throwing considerable light on the just and legal claims of the people, and arousing the friends of practical godliness over the whole church. Overtures were poured in to the Assembly of 1833, formidable from their numbers, and resistless from the determined spirit by which they were animated. Those who had before opposed us, now took lower ground; they were willing to grant the full exercise of all we have above described, knowing that nothing less would be carried. But the movement party, confident of their strength, and many of them anxious to render unnecessary any general discussion on the law of patronage as existing under this check, raised their demands. Dr. Chalmers camo forward with a motion, giving an unconditional veto to the people, and which was lost only by a small majority. But a very large minority is seldom willing to sit down under a defeat; the question was again renewed this year; and for the first time, after a long series of years, the evangelical party, as they are sometimes called, carried this, and all the leading questions on which they divided, their own way. The following extracts from the printed minutes of Assembly will explain what has been done on the subject--- The General Assembly called for the overtures relating to the calling of ministers. The overtures from the Synod of Lothian and Tweeddale, from the Synod of Aberdeen, and the Presbytery of Inverness, were read. After reasoning, the following motion was made and seconded—That the General Assembly having maturely considered the overtures, do declare that it is a fundamental law of the church, that no pastor shall be intruded on any congregation contrary to the will of the people; and that in order to carry this principle into full effect, the Presbyteries of this church shall be instructed, that, if at the moderating in a call to a vacant pastoral charge, the major part of the male heads of families, members of the
vacant congregation, and in full cominunion with the church, shall disapprove of the person in whose favour the call is proposed to be moderated in, such disapproval shall be deemed sufficient ground for the Presbytery rejecting such person, and that he shall be rejected accordingly, and due notice thereot forthwith given to all concerned; but that, if the major part of the heads of families shall not disapprove of such
person to be their pastor, the Presbytery shall proceed with the settlement according to the rules of the church ; and farther declare, that no person shall be held to be entitled to disapprove as aforesaid, who shall refuse, if required, solemnly to declare in presence of the Presbytery, that he is actuated by no factious or malicious motive, but solely by a conscientious regard to the spiritual interest of himself or the congregation; and resolve that a committee be appointed to report to a future diet of this Assembly, in which manner,
and by what particular measure, this declaration and instruction may be best carried into full operation. It was also moved and seconded, That the General Assembly adhere to the declaratory laws of last Assembly-approve of the report of the committee of last Assembly for preparing regulations—and direct Presby, teries to proceed in terms thereof. The vote being called for, it was agreed, that the state of the vote should be first or second motion; and the roll being called and votes marked, it carried first motion by 184 to 139, and therefore the General Assembly declare in terms of the first motion. A committee having been appointed, regulations were prepared and afterwards agreed to. The above, with the regulations, was also converted into what is called an interim act; that is, an act having for the time the authority of law; but, in conformity with a standing rule of our church, it must yet be approved by the majority of Presbyteries, before it be adopted as a part of the constitution of the church. Respecting the result of this ordeal, few fears are, however, entertained. Modifications may be introduced, and, perhaps, ought, but the principle will not be lost sight of. And thus have we virtually attained to the full enjoyment of this valued and valuable privilege. It opens widely the door of access to popular and acceptable ministers; and it has already produced a moral impression, and given an impulse to other healthful measures of great, though subordinate, importance,
After obtaining so satisfactory a decision on this point, it was not to be expected that any considerable number of members would seek to agitate, at least for sonie time, the remaining question of patronage. Some were of opinion that patronage, in these altered circumstances, could scarcely be called an evil; and many who thought differently, yet felt it due to the measure achieved, that it should be allowed a fair trial before any farther change be adopted. And hence, although a small party did urge the duty of attacking this