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Presbyterian Church in Ireland to the attention and perusal of our readers.
HISTORY of the PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in IR ELAND.
By J. S. Rein, D.D. Concluded by W. D.
D.D. Vol. III. London: Whittaker & Co.
THE CHIEF SUBJECT OF SCRIPTURE.
This is the concluding volume of a very
THE CABINET. elaborate and talented work. The esteemed author, Dr Reid, was not permitted to complete the History he began. Having published two volumes, he contemplated a One commanding object prevades the third, but died in March 1851, leaving Scriptures, and rises to view on every page: materials sufficient to constitute but half this recurring theme, towards which all of the volume in a state fit for publication. | instructions and histories tend, is the great In these circumstances, his executors and anxious question of condemnation or applied to the Professor of Ecclesiastical acquittal at the bar of God, when the History for the General Assembly of the irreversible sentence shall come to be Presbyterian Church in Ireland to finish | pronounced. “How shall man be just the work, to which proposal Dr Killen with God ?' is the inquiry ever and again very readily and generously assented. The urged upon the conscience of him who consequence is, that a chasm is now filled reads the Bible with a humble and teachup which has long existed in the ecclesi- able desire to find therein the way of life. astical history of the empire.
In subserviency to this leading intention, Although it is only the third and con- the themes which run through the sacred cluding volume that presently lies before writings, and which destinguish those us, we may inform our readers that the writings by an immense dissimilarity from first volume commences with a sketch of all the polytheistic literature, are those of the progress of the Reformed religion in guilt, shame, contrition, love, joy, gratiIreland, during the sixteenth century, and tude, and effectionate obedience. And then proceeds to trace the history of the moreover, in conformity with this same Presbyterian Church from 1603 down to intention, the Divine Being is revealed, if time of the Westminster Assembly and not exclusively, yet chiefly, as the party the swearing of the Solemn League. The in the great controversy which sin has second volume brings down the history to occasioned. The intercourse, therefore, the siege of Der and to the period of which is opened between heaven and earth, the arrival of William III. in Ulster; | is almost confined to the momentous and the third, to the present day.
transaction of reconciliation and renewed The work as a whole is entitled to the friendship. When the Hearer of prayer highest commendation. Dr Reid left invites interlocution with man, it is not, nothing undone which it was in his power as perhaps in Eden, for the purpose of to accomplish to supply a full and accu- free and discursive converse, but for conrate account of the portion of the Church ference on a special business. • Come of which it treats. And he has succeeded. now, let us reason together, said the We have read the work with the deepest Almighty; though your sins be as scarlet, interest, and rose from its perusal with they shall be white as snow; though they greatly enlarged information respecting be red like crimson, they shall be as wool? the religious history of the Sister Isle. -Natural History of Enthusiasm. The last volume is peculiarly interesting to Scottish Seceders, as it contains very ample details respecting the bearing of the Secession of 1733 on the Irish Presbyterian In order to unmask our hearts, let us Church. This part of the work is the not be contented to examine our vices, let composition of Dr Killen, and does him us examine our virtues also, 'those smaller the highest credit. We have given a con- faults. Let us scrutinize to the bottom siderable extract from this section of the those qualities and actions which have History in the present Number (see pp. more particularly obtained public estima263-65.)
tion. Let us inquire if they were genuine While we thus express our high ap- ' in the principle, simple in the intention, probation of this History, it will not be honest in the prosecution. Let us ask supposed that we approve entirely of ourselves whether in some admired inall the views held and advocated by its stances our generosity had no tincture of authors, nor of all the movements to which vanity, our charity no taint of ostentation ? they give their support. But neither our whether, when we did such a right action space nor our inclination allows of our which brought us into credit, we should entering at present on certain quæstiones have persisted in doing it had'we foreseen vexatæ, and we close our notice by very that it would incur censure ? warmly recommending the History of the never deceive ourselves by mistaking a
constitutional indifference of temper, for burial, in token of complete humiliation Christian moderation? Do we never con- | under the adversary of man- these are strue our love of ease into deadness to but the prominent features of his history; the world ? our animal activity into Chris- but what heart can dwell on them without tian zeal ? Do we never mistake our emotion, or fail to acknowledge, that if, obstinacy for firmness,- our pride for according to the Scriptures, this was thé fortitude,our selfishness for feeling,– Son of God, verily he has offered a satis. our love of controversy for the love of faction more precious than language can God-our idolence of temper for supe-| express, or angel conceive ?-Rev. James riority to human applause? When we Buchanan. have stripped our good qualities naked; when we have made all due deduction for natural temper, easiness of disposition,
THE PRIVILEGES OF THE CHRISTIAN. self-interest, desire of admiration, when
How great and honourable is the privi
lege of a true believer! That he has pendage, every illegitimate motive, let us
neither wisdom nor strength in himself is fairly cast up the account, and we shall be
no disadvantage; for he is connected with mortified to see how little will remain. Linfinite wisdom and almighty power. Pride may impose itself upon us even in
Though weak as a worm, his arms are the shape of repentance. The humble
strengthened by the mighty God of Jacob, Christian is aggrieved at his faults, the
and all things become possible, yea easy proud man is angry at them. He is in
to him, that occur within the compass of dignant when he discovers he has done
his proper duty and calling. The Lord wrong, not so much because sin offends
whom he serves, engages to proportion God, as because it has let him see that he
his strength to his day, whether it be a is not quite so good as he had tried to
day of service or of suffering; and, though make himself believe.-Mrs H. More.
he be fallible and short-sighted, exceeding
liable to mistake and imposition, yet while THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST. he retains a sense that he is so, and with
the simplicity of a child asks counsel and The history of Jesus' humiliation, direction of the Lord, he seldom takes a whereby satisfaction was rendered to di
wrong step, at least not in matters of convine justice, is replete with details of the
sequence—and even his inadvertencies are lowest debasement, and most excruciating overruled for good. If he forgets his true sufferings. His humble birth-his per
state, and thinks himself to be something, secuted infancy-his continued poverty | he presently finds he is indeed nothing; during the whole of an arduous ministry, but if he is content to be nothing, and to his incessant exposure to obloquy, as the have nothing, he is sure to find a seasonson of a carpenter, a Nazarene, a friend able and abundant communication of all of publicans and sinners, a deceiver of that he wants. Thus he lives, like Israel the people, a blasphemer and a sorcerer- in the wilderness, upon mere bounty; but his violent struggles with Satan—his con
then it is a bounty unchangeable, untest with the bigoted rulers and cruel
wearied, inexhaustible, and all-sufficient. populace of Judea, who threatened to | Rev. J. Newton. throw him headlong from a precipice-his public apprehension as a malefactor, through the perfidy of a traitor-his agony
GODLINESS. in the garden, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death—his deser
GODLINESS is the worshipping of God tion by the very friends whom he had / in the inward motions of the heart, and the tenderly cherished-his violent arraign
outward actions of the life. Where the ment and unjust trial-his buffetings by
spring of the affections is clear, and the the very menials who surrounded him
stream of the affections runs clear, there is his appearance before the judgment-seat
true godliness. The Egyptians, of all of a heathen-his spiteful coronation
fruits, would make choice of the peach to his mock honours, when with devil's malice
consecrate to their goddess; and they gave they bowed the knee, and said, 'Hail !
this reason for it: because the fruit thereof king of the Jews !'-his suspension on
resembleth an heart, and the leaf the the cross, where his bodily torments were
tongue. As they gave heart and tongue only exceeded by the agony of his soul. I to the false god, we must to the true God. racked by the withdrawment of his Father's | Heart-godliness pleaseth God, but lifecountenance, and the malice of Satan— godliness honours him most; the conjuncthe suffering which was condensed in that tion of both makes a complete Christian."hour of the power of darkness,' when he Swinnock. exclaimed, “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?'--and finally, his | THOMAS ARANT, PRINTER, EDINBURGH.
THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.
That God is everywhere present, is one possible that they could insult him to the of those first principles which lie at the face, and take greater liberties with him foundation of religion, and which are than they dare presume to take with the admitted by all, who do not absolutely meanest and weakest of their fellowdeny the being of a God. This truth creatures ? Either God is not in their enters largely, perhaps more largely than thoughts at all, or his name merely is reany other, into our idea of God, into our membered by them as the representative conception of his nature and the mode of of a dim and shadowy imagination; but his existence; and is proclaimed aloud by their minds do not distinctly recognise all his works in all places of his dominion. the majestic and terrible presence of such Wherever there exists a creature of any a being as God really is. kind, animate or inanimate, corporeal or In proof of this, we need only refer to spiritual, the fact that it does exist there, the effects which are instantaneously and and that it possesses such properties as it irresistibly produced by preternatural apdoes possess, is a proof, as clear and pearances, or what are deemed to be such. strong as demonstration, that God is there. Were an inhabitant of the invisible world In every page of the Bible the same truth to indicate his presence by the slightest is either tacitly implied, or is expressly external token—by the falling of a leaf, inculcated, and frequently in the most or the turning of a straw—the pale faces sublime and emphatic manner. • Whither and erect hair of the stoutest-hearted shall I go from thy Spirit?' says the among us would bear witness, in a moment, Psalmist, or whither shall I flee froin to the awe and terror which that presence thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, had inspired. When the angel, with a thou art there; if I inake my hed in hell, countenance like lightning, and raiment behold, thou art there. If I take the white as snow, showed himself to the wings of the morning, and dwell in the Roman soldiers who guarded the Saviour's uttermost parts of the sea; even there tomb, they shook for fear of him, and shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand became as dead men. When the fingers sball hold me.'
of a man's hand, writing on the wall of But are the minds of all men habitually the king of Babylon's palace, indicated impressed with the belief that God is pre- the presence of an unearthly being—that sent with them, and do they live under proud and impious monarch, in the midst the practical influence of that belief? By of his guards, and feasting with a thousand
When the doctrine of the of his lords, was struck with dismay and divine omnipresence is presented to them horror. His countenance was changed, in the form of a proposition, when it is and his thoughts troubled him, so that expressed in so many words, they admit the joints of his loins were loosed, and it,-it forms a part of their creed, and if his knees smote one against another!' it be questioned or denied, they will con- The effect which such extraordinary aptend for it, and, it may be, will produce pearances produce is partly owing, no arguments in proof of it which no adver- doubt, to the suspicion which naturally sary can baffle. But with most men, after arises in the guilty mind, that they foreall, it is little more than a vague notion, bode some unknown and direful calamity; recollected now and then as a thing which but independently of that suspicion-an they have been taught, and to which they overwhelming emotion of unearthly awe have yielded an indolent assent; but it is irresistibly excited by the conviction has no place in their hearts as an abiding which flashes on the mind, that a being and deeply felt sentiment, and even the superior to man is really present. And defined and vivid perception of it is seldom is not this a proof, that men are very present with their understandings. Of little under the influence of that faith
this, their conduct is a mournful proof. which is the evidence of things not seen? | How feeble is the restraint which their Is it not a proof, that their words are not
professed belief in the presence of God sincere, when they profess to believe exercises over their conduct! When no that the invisible God surrounds them human eye is upon them, how inuch do continually with his presence, and is perthey feel themselves at liberty to act ac- fectly acquainted with all their thoughts cording to their own pleasure, though and ways? they profess to believe that the eye of What lamentable evidence have we of God is continually upon them! But if this practical infidelity, this atheism of they really felt themselves in the presence the heart, even in our worshipping assemof that great and dreadful Being, is it I blies ! When men stand up before the No. XXI.--NEW SERIES.
Most High, in the attitude of devotion, lightly of the opinion of men. Wbat and formally address him and plead with matters it to him though he be despised him, whence can arise the inattention and by the world, though he be a fool in the levity which their conduct too often estimation of men, if he be wise and good betrays? They do not truly believe, even in the judgment of God! The conduct of then, that God is present; and were He Moses in refusing to be called the son of to make it known, by some token obvious Pharaoh's daughter, in choosing rather to to the senses, that he was really in the suffer affliction with the oppressed and midst of them, how deep a feeling of awe enslaved people of God, than to sway the and dread would the discovery instantly scepter of an opulent and flourishing produce! and how foolish and impious kingdom--this conduct appears inexpliwould they reckon it, to behave n'w as cable to those who are unacquainted with they were doing but a moment before, his principles and motives; but the apostle when their convictions were professedly perfectly accounts for it by simply saying, the same!
'he endured, as seeing Him who is inIn the Scriptures, a life of piety is often visible.' expressed by the phrase, 'walking with Göd.' It is plain, that walking with God’ implies such an impression of his presence as is not felt by men in general; THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF and this impression, this seeing of Him
THE SAVIOUR. who is invisible, forms an essential part of that faith by which just men live. When the angels who over the plains When we walk with a man, our senses | of Bethlehem celebrated, in the still ear tell us that he is present; and we cannot of night, the infant Saviour, who on that be said to walk with God, unless we have same day had been born of the house of as firm a belief and as lively a sense of David, the shepherds who caught the echo his preseuce, as we cannot but have of of the celestial music were seized with a the presence of a man with whom we panic of terror, and but for the gentle and converse.
delightful terms in which they were acWhat a powerful tendency must this costed by one of the angelic choir, they secing of the invisible God have to purify would, in all probability, have betaken and elevate the soul! It is well known themselves to precipitate flight. But, that a man's character is apt to be strongly supposing that these rustic herdsmen had affected by that of the individuals with been endued with such fearless and inwhom be converses. From the tendency trepid minds as to have enabled them to of evil to propagate itself, no man is safe inquire of the heavenly choristers what in bad company. On the other hand, the was the subject of their sprightly notes, presence of a wise and holy man operates and what had induced them to breathe as a check on vice, and constrains even the such divine enchanting ravishment' over profligate to hide their shame, unless they the midnight repose of slumbering Judah, are lost to all sense of decency. The con- | would not the answer have been immetemplation of what is great and noble, diately, that Mary, the betrothed spouse elevates and ennobles the soul. The Chris of Joseph, had brought forth a son, in tian, whose mind is habitually fixed on the city of David ? But, supposing that God, has the greatest and most glorious the lowly appearance, and poor accomobject in the universe continually before modation, and external commonness, of his view. The idea which possesses and all that pertained to this infant, had led fills his mind is the grandest that can be the shepherds to ask how he was worthy conceived. His thoughts are daily con- of such celestial welcomeness, the angels versant with infinite excellence. The would have returned the ready answer, beauty and loveliness on which his eye that this infant of days was the first-born reposes are absolutely perfect. The pre- of all creation, was a manifestation not of sence, from which he can never withdraw, humanity, corrupt and sinful, and wrecked, is unspeakably more august and venerable but of humanity, sinless, and conjoined than that of a congregated world. The with God's own nature, and constituted, eye which follows him into darkness and in short, that long-expected Saviour, who solitude, is far more coinmanding and is Christ the Lord. An event, therefore, overawing than the united gaze of the which in Bethleham wore no other aspect greatest assembly that ever met on earth. than that of a case of maternal poverty What a check must this be on evil! and infant suffering, was yet so transcenWhat a motive to holiness! What a dently important as to evoke the sympasource of courage and happiness to a thies of God's loftiest creatures, and to good man! The man who walks with bring down the angels of heaven to tell God, who is for ever conscious of the the inhabitants of earth that Jehovah can presence of his Maker, may well think extend his good will to men. Now, it
might in like manner seem, at a first wisdom, or his miracles of heavenly mercy, survey, to those especially who judged but that his disciples might 'show forth merely from external appearances, that his death till he came. the crucifixion of Jesus was an event cal. If, therefore, the angels who appeared culated only to excite feelings of sorrow to the shepherds of Bethlehem were and gloom. For he was an innocent vic- transported with wonder and joy at the tim of oppression and violence. He was fact, that he whose nativity they heralded, a stranger to transgression, and the sub- and whose dignity was eternal, infinité orned blasphemers who stamped their and divine, came into a sinful world, borne accusation of him with the seal of perjury, down by that humiliation which sin has tended but the more conclusively to esta- introduced; then certainly not less wonder blish his unimpeachable integrity. The and joy ought there to be excited in our light of day, that had seen so much minds by the fact, that we, who profess iniquity committed on the earth, refused the Christian name, are, by Christ's testato shine on the perpetrators of that mentary will, constituted the heralds of nefarious crime which took place on his death. If it was a matter that called Calvary, and the earth itself gave strange forth the joyous anthems of heaven's most indication of its effects. Nature trembled seraphic minstrelsy, when, lowly though through all its domains; death, in the he was, Jesus appeared as the Saviour of unconsciousness of frantic alarm, un- his people from their sins, then where bolted for a time the portals of the grave, shall we find utterance so high, and emoand the veil in the Jewish temple which tions so warm, to express the state of separated the holy from the accessible mind by which we ought to be animated apartments, rent asunder, by miraculous when we contemplate the redeeming love agency, as if to show that there had been of our blessed Saviour! The theme of the contracted such dreadful guilt as defiled angels was magnificent, but ours is overthe purity of the holy place. Yet Jesus whelming. Theirs was one of the grand himself, when he was going to leave his progressive steps in the development of disciples a memorial of his character, the counsel of God respecting man's resingled out, not those words of eternal demption ; ours is the crowning point and life which he had so often and affection consummation of that scheme. Theirs was ately expounded, not those miraculous a theme in which they had no other than endowments which he had imparted to a relative and indirect interest; ours inhis apostles, not any of those wonderful volves all our salvation and all our desire. achievements, which, in the course of his. If, therefore, the angels, by celebrating the public ministry, our Lord, by his own birth of the infant Saviour, aroused manomnipotence, performed; but that last, kind to the knowledge of the fact, let us and darkest, and dreadfulest part of his reciprocate and repay the communion, by humiliation, when betrayed by man and showing to all the wide-spread family of forsaken of God, lacerated in body and God the stupendous fact of Christ's love wounded in spirit, scourged by the minions to the fallen family of man, to the intent of power, and scorned by the vilest pests that unto the principalities and powers in of outcast society, he was nailed to an heavenly places may be made known the accursed tree, and, amidst the lamenta- | manifold wisdom of God. tions of his followers and the sneers of his enemies, gave up the ghost. He might have instituted as a commemorative type for his disciples something connected FRAUD CONDEMNED. with his brilliant miracles, his double baptism of John and of the Holy Spirit, Since the fall of man, human nature his long and signally baffled temptation by has ever been the same. Men in former Satan in the wilderness, his feeding the five ages strikingly resemble in character and thousand, his healing the sick, raising the conduct the present inhabitants of the dead, infusing miraculous energy into world. How exactly, for instance, does his disciples, or his taking them up to the the remark of the wise man correspond Mount of Transfiguration, to show them, with what is daily witnessed in the comas from a spiritual Mount Pisgah, the mercial intercourse between man and glories of the celestial Canaan. But when, man, in describing the means which in the prospect of death and disseverment were in his day employed by a dishonest from his disciples, he instituted an ordi- buyer to procure the articles which he nance by which they might remember him, wanted to purchase for less than their real that ordinance was not based on a reference worth: 'It is naught, it is naught; but to any of these wonderful works, but to when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.' the crucifixion of the Son of Man--not He represents him as, with this view, exthe Lord's eternal dignity nor mediatorial aggerating their defects, and pretending fulness, not his messages of heavenly that they are worthless. The article you