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commanded to believe in Him, to love Him, and to look to Him for grace and help in every conflict and in every trial; but what sufficient confidence could he have in a being of finite and limited resources, equally dependent with himself upon the power and mercy of an infinitely superior God? How irrational to hear Paul exclaiming :—"Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” if he believed that power to be no more than the poor and restricted ability of a creature. How absurd to hear him saying, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” if he did not at the same time repose an unlimited confidence in the omnipotence of that Redeemer, in whom he was accustomed so ardently to rejoice.
And if we are indebted to the Three Persons of the Godhead for the work performed by each in connexion with our redemption, it is equally important to believe in the Deity of the Holy Spirit, as in the Deity of the Father and the Son. It is, indeed, impossible to conceive how the Holy Spirit could perform His work of teaching, guiding, comforting, and sanctifying the Christian, if He did not possess the attributes of Deity, to give Him a command over the mental and moral constitution of men; a power to regulate their sentiments and their feelings, to control their wills, and a faculty of universal and perpetual presence, to enable him to dwell in every member of the Church. But we are under the discipline of the Spirit, of whom it is said, that He searcheth all things, even the deep things of God.
From what we have said upon this most important subject, we can, at least, perceive with what earnestness and fervency we should send up to a Throne of Grace the petition which the Church has prescribed for the service of Trinity Sunday, that the “ Almighty and everlasting God, who has given unto us grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the Eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity, may keep us evermore steadfast in this faith.” And may it be our lot, in a better and a brighter world, to bend in grateful homage before the throne of God, and to join with angels and archangels and the noble army of martyrs, and with the spirits of just men maile perfect, in saying, — “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts : the whole universe is full of His glory.”
LIFE OF THE REV. JAMES ROBERTSON. The Life of the Rev. James Robertson, Professor of Divinity and
Ecclesiastical History in the University of Edinburgh. By the Rev. A. H. Charteris, M.A.
We offer to our readers a sketch of a Presbyterian minister, one of the Established Church of Scotland, lately removed from his Church, where he held for several years a place of some distinction. We cannot place him in the highest rank, either of talents or of celebrity ; but for upright motives and useful service he may be justly esteemed.
His origin, progress, and character are illustrative of a state of society which, though common in Scotland, is more unusual in England: not unknown to us certainly, for we have had, in the highest offices both of Church and State, eminent examples of men who have sprung from a humble rank; and, if the emoluments of our Church continue to sink, we are likely to have many more examples. It may be useful, therefore, to follow a history, which within the Presbyterian Church is not uncommon, where from a lower class men are always pressing upward into the offices of the ministry, rendering valuable service. There is another interest in the life which we select. It is difficult to give our English readers a correct understanding of the ecclesiastical parties into which Scotland is divided. Within the Presbyterian Church they differ radically from ours. Still, to use English language, there has been, and even after the convulsions of the Free Church there remains, a large section of the Kirk of Scotland, who, though not quite identical, are yet congenial with the Evangelical party in the English Church. Of this party Dr. Robertson was not originally a member. He was one of the leaders of the opposite party, who in Scotland are styled (for reasons with which we need not embarrass our readers) Moderates. After the fashion (must we say it ?) of theologians, these two parties regard each other with grave suspicion ; they draw between their ranks a sharp line of separation, and plant on either side of the line the sentinels and outposts of war. If a man is on their side of the boundary, he is right; and if on the other side, wrong. But these divisions are often unsound. They lead to frequent mistakes, and an illustration of these will be found in the
biography. Though in his church-opinions Dr. Robertson separated himself from the Evangelical party, his faith, and the practice of his life, were one with theirs. When a col mon enterprise carried them across the line, and placed them in concert, they were surprised to find how entirely they agreed. They held the same truth, and loved the same faith,
and, as the smoke of controversy cleared away, they found that they could cordially embrace; when the evening drew on, and a stiller air made the objects more distinct, they perceived that they had been travelling all the while, by roads not far apart, to the gates of the same Eternal City.*
These remarks lead us to our story; a story laid in a country with which our readers are less familiar, and among the institutions of a Presbyterian State. In our day, Scottish Episcopacy has acquired, from special causes amongst ourselves, considerable notoriety, and has attracted the English attention in a degree disproportioned to its numbers. It enrolls in its ranks many men of high birth and position, and it has a standing in Parliament by no means to be overlooked. Yet it is well to remember that, in spite of this, Episcopalians form an infinitesimal section of the Scottish people, nor is there the faintest probability that that section will ever be much increased. It may embrace—it is not unlikely that it will—the upper ten thousand, who for many social reasons send their sons to the great schools of England, and to our universities. These will come back with the religious sympathies of the English Church. But when they return, and take their place, either as landed proprietors, or in the legal profession of their country, it is to find themselves isolated in the midst of a Presbyterian people. The tradesmen in towns, the handicraftsmen there and in hamlets, with scarce an exception, are Presbyterians. The labourers, except the mass of Irish imınigrants, hold the same faith. When the proprietors reach their estates, it is to discover the same fact. The lands on which they live scarcely present a handful of persons to join in their worship. Their tenants are Presbyterians, so are their workmen; and if they tried to lay down as a condition either of tenure or labour, that their dependents should hold the same faith as themselves, their pleasure grounds would lie waste, and their estates would become a wilderness ; a pretty strong check to intolerant proselytism. In this state of things, which beyond the Tweed is, we believe, irrevocable, late divisions have made no change. It is true that, in our own time, Scotch Presbytery has been rent in twain. The secession of the Free Church, in 1813, split the fabric to its centre. Not quite half the laity, above one third of the clergy, left the Establishment. Those who withdrew were not equal in nambers with those who remained, but they were more than equal in repute. The men of highest mark were among the seceders. The impression spread in England that Presbytery was doomed, and that in its fall it would leave a space vacant for the in
* Our friend is far better acquainted only to the best men among the Modewith the state of things in Scotland than rates, a party now happily almost ex. ourselves, but we thiuk he is too cha- tinct. - ED. ritable. At least, his description applies
road of Episcopacy. The mistake was natural, but it was a mistake. The effect of the secession has been to add strength to Presbyterianism. It has spread through Scotland an instant increase of Presbyterian churches. It has raised between the old church and the new an active and vigorous emulation. Both parties are alive, eager to gain or to keep their flock; and that done, to make inroads on the mass of virtual heathenism. The passions of the first rivalry have abated; the healthy emulation of the struggle remains. But that either party have ever dreamt, in their wildest fancy, of abandoning their national faith, is an entire delusion. Each claims to be the Church of John Knox, and each clings to that Church with an intensity enhanced by conflict. The North and South, beyond the Atlantic, might as well be expected to renounce their stars and stripes, and adopt the monarchy and flag of England. The fact is, and it is well to note it, that in the late
. split in Scotland there is no novelty. A large secession from the Church of Scotland took place in the middle of the last century. At a time when both the Established Churches of England and Scotland were paralyzed, a secession from each—in England the Methodists, the anti-patronage men in Scotland — drained out of the two churches a current of enthusiastic piety. In Scotland, the same question which arose in the century before, touching, as it does, the delicate limits of State and Church control, reappeared in our day, and led to another secession. But, in both cases, the secession has had a like origin, and is now finding its limits. Into the causes we do not enter; we have no mind to step between the embattled lines-periculosa plenum opus aleæe : to draw on ourselves the fire of both armies, and to be raked by a double battery, would be Quixotic and needless. Enough of the past quarrel. We shall not drop a word to renew it.
This, however, is due to truth, and every careful observer must acknowledge it: the expectations of neither party in the conflict have been realized. The members of the Established Church at first derided the movement. They undervalued the numbers, they doubted the constancy, of the seceders. Some gravely informed our English statesmen that forty clergy would be the maximum of secession. They found that, in place of forty, above four hundred clergymen followed their great leader Dr. Chalmers. That number has not diminished. It has increased. The churches they then built have been added to. It was said they would have no funds. The average income of the Free Church minister is higher than the average income of the English clergy. They have covered Scotland with ornamental churches. They have built excellent parsonagehouses for their pastors. They have set up and they support two large colleges. They have suflicient and well-endowed professorships. They have dropped none of the schemes of bene
volence which, while members of the Established Church, they maintained. Their schools are well filled and their teachers well paid. They have missions abroad and at home. More than a third of a million, raised yearly, attests and sustains their activities. It is highly improbable that such a movement will be ephemeral or trivial. It is a vigorous plant, the product of a healthy soil.
But, on the other side, while the predictions adverse to the Free Church have been refuted, their own prophecies have not been fulfilled. Against the Church, "the Residuary,” as they left it, they shook off the dust of their feet, and poured out a flood of oracles. It was mere refuse, a compound of sordidness and decay, fit only for reprobation. It was corrupt, and must perish. It had no roots, and it would wither. It had no followers, and no future. A few old, decrepit, prejudiced men might cling to it. The earnest, the stout-hearted, the young, and the mature, would assuredly desert it. Its churches would soon be desolate, and none but the feeblest and most venal persons would fill its pulpits. When the people had departed, the Church, unworthy any longer to be called the Church of the nation, would be dropped by the State as a scandal and a shame. Such were the Free Church prophecies.
It is right to say, and it is a fit rebuke to confident disputants, that these predictions had the same reality and fate as the prophecies against the Free Church. All have been falsified. No doubt, in certain districts of the IIighlands, the blow was severe. The mass of the population left the Establishment. It is not likely (though experience warns us not to prophesy) that they will return. But this applies only to peculiar districts, highland tracts of moss and muir, with a scanty and scattered population. The populous counties, seats of wealth and numbers, the cities and hamlets, are fairly and equally divided. In these the tendency now is rather back to the Church than out of it. Nor is this surprising; for the prediction, that
. no young men of talent would enter the Established Church, has been remarkably refuted. By far the ablest preachers swelled the ranks of the secession; but as they fall, their places are not supplied. As the arrows of death fly fast, and the standardbearers drop, we look in vain, within the Free Church, for men who will fill their places. It is the reverse in the Kirk of Scotland. The men of note found in it at first were few. They have rapidly multiplied. The young men among them are more distinguished as preachers than their contemporaries in the Free Church. The generation now in their maturity are far more known as authors, preachers, and divines. In place of the city churches being deserted, they are filled by congregations as numerous, and perhaps more influential, than their rivals. In place of the Church establishment being stationary or declining, it makes progress.
New churches have been added to it, and new congregations formed. In