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follow the teaching of John Darby, who has been one of their most influential leaders. They also lay much stress upon the visible advent and personal reign of Christ upon earth, as means of bringing the nations under His sceptre.
A better step toward Christian unity than that proposed by the Plymouth Brethren in their levelling scheme was taken in 1846, through the founding, at a great meeting in London, of the Evangelical Alliance. Without interfering with denominational integrity, the Alliance was designed to promote fraternal sentiments among Protestants, and to aid in the defence of religious freedom. As a doctrinal basis, the following specifications were adopted : “1. The divine inspiration, authority, and sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures. 2. The unity of the Godhead, and the trinity of the Persons therein. 3. The utter depravity of human nature in consequence of the fall. 4. The incarnation of the Son of God, His work of atonement, and His mediatorial intercession and reign. 5. The justification of the sinner by faith alone. 6. The work of the Holy Spirit in the conversion and sanctification of the sinner. 7. The right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. 8. The divine institution of the Christian ministry, and the authority and perpetuity of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper. 9. The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the judgment of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, with the eternal blessedness of the righteous and the eternal punishment of the wicked.” Some opposition was expressed to the eighth article, as excluding the Quakers. The ninth also provoked a measure of dissent, it being doubted by several whether an expression on the eternal lot of the wicked was necessary in a general basis of Christian fellowship. In practice, a very rigid adherence to the doctrinal platform has not been exacted, and occasionally persons who have not subscribed thereto have been invited to take part in the meetings of the organization.
Near the time that the Evangelical Alliance was instituted, another form of association, which also crossed denominational lines, was set on foot in London. As a means of uniting young men in Christian work, and providing for their social and mental, as well as their religious needs, the Young Men's Christian Association was started.
Some of the more important facts respecting the Roman Catholic wing of Dissenters have been given in the account of the Tractarian movement. That movement, judged by the distinction and rank of those who were borne into the Romish camp, was a very serviceable ally of the Pope. But no proportionate following went with the persons of eminence. While there has been a large increase of Roman Catholics since 1829, much of it must be credited to immigration rather than to converts from the Protestant population.
Considerable agitation was caused in 1850*by the action of the Pope in restoring the Romish hierarchy in England. The jealousy which was naturally excited by the reappearing shadow of papal pretension and sovereignty was not at all soothed by the manner in which the new archbishop, Wiseman, announced the unwelcome measure. “Catholic England,” he wrote from Rome, “has been restored to its orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament, from which its light had long vanished, and begins now anew its course of regularly adjusted action round the centre of unity, the source of jurisdiction, of light, and of unity.” Earnest denunciation followed. But explanations were offered, and after a temporary outburst public feeling was quieted.
V. - CHURCH POLITY AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT IN
The ascendency of the Moderates in the Scottish Church was broken in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, and the Evangelicals, now aided by the prestige of distinguished leaders, began to claim a majority in the General Assembly.
As a party, the Evangelicals were inclined to emphasize, the relative independence of the Church, or its autonomy in relation to its own affairs. Those, on the other hand, who followed the traditions of the Moderates, were more tolerant of an Erastian mode of church administration. As this mode was congenial to the thought of the British ministry and Parliament, it had the advantage in an appeal to state authority. Thus, the sentiments of a majority of the Scottish clergy and people were likely to be affronted and thwarted. Herein the conditions were made ready for collision and disruption.
The impulse to the collision came from that old vexation, the question of patronage. In 1834 the Assembly passed an act which was of the nature of a limitation
upon the power of the patron, providing that the heads of families in a parish might veto his nomination. Shortly afterwards the validity of this act was brought to a test. The decisions rendered by the secular tribunals were adverse. At the same time various trespasses upon the jurisdiction of the Church took place. The attempt of the Assembly to discipline a number of the ministers was nullified by the Court of Session. The same authority also undertook to interdict preaching within a given territory to all except specified individuals. Dissatisfaction naturally ran high. A large proportion of the clergy came to the conclusion that the aid which the Church received from the State was no adequate compensation for the independence sacrificed. They determined therefore to resign their positions, and place themselves outside of the Establishment. At the Assembly of 1843 notice was given that their benefices might be considered vacant. Four hundred and seventyfour ministers signed the deed of demission. As a proportionate fraction of the people heartily approved their act, their confidence was not belied. Five hundred chapels had been built for the Free Church of Scotland by the end of the first year of its existence.
The most prominent leader in the disruption was a man who has won an esteem throughout the length and breadth of Scotland which scarcely another has been able to rival in recent times. Both as respects the influence which he exercised during his life and the honor which has attached to his name since his death, Thomas Chalmers stands in the front rank of Scottish theologians. In the various positions which he filled, as preacher and pastor at Glasgow (1815–1823), as pro
fessor of moral philosophy in the University of St. Andrews, as professor of divinity in the University of Edinburgh, he commanded an extraordinary degree of enthusiastic interest. It speaks not a little for the extent of his reputation in his own generation, that he received the singular honor of being appointed a corresponding member of the Royal Institute of France; and we are impressed with the fact that his laurels have not yet faded, when we find a recent biographer pronouncing him “ the most important and influential personality that has sprung up in Scotland for at least two hundred years."
If we look at the title of his fame, we find that it does not rest upon an exceptional degree of literary genius or philosophical profundity. The esteem and reverence with which his memory has been crowned are due rather to an impression of manly strength, dignity, and worth, produced by a unique balance of faculties. We see in him at once the qualities of the effective orator, the clear-sighted statesman, the discreet philanthropist, the rock-like champion of principle, a union of force and common sense, of loftiness and simplicity, which is always an authentic certificate of leadership.
The pulpit oratory of Chalmers was not a very high specimen of grace and finish; but it had a convincing force, and was especially adapted to take captive a Scotch audience. “I have heard," says Lockhart, “very many deliver sermons far more uniform in elegance both of conception and style; but most unquestionably I have never heard, either in England or Scotland, or in any other country, any preacher whose eloquence is
1 Donald Fraser, 1881.