Images de page

disposition and desire, that the su- settling a point so important as preme court should know the this, must, we think, be evident whole merits of this case, and to all who desire that the stanthus be prepared to make an equi- dards of our Church should be table and beneficial award.

correctly construed and sacredly As to the second part of the re- regarded. ference, containing certain speci- In the fifth specification, in which fied points, it was indisputably the Presbytery craved ihe judgtrue, as was stated in the pream- ment of the Assembly in regard to ble to the inquiries, that it had the correctness of the objections “ become a concern of deep inte- they had taken to the orthodoxy of rest to the whole Presbyterian the printed sermon of Mr. Barnes, Church, that a correct course of entitled “The Way of Salvation," procedure, in relation to the sub- and respectfully asked to be directjects of these specifications, should ed in regard to their future probe clearly ascertained and distinct- ceedings, there was surely no indily delineated.” A great part of cation of that arrogance and tyranthe ardent controversy in the case ny, with which they have been liof Mr. Barnes, had arisen out of berally charged. There was, on the different opinions entertained, the contrary, a demonstration of in relation to the proper answer to the perfect readiness of the Presbe given to the inquiries propound- bytery, to submit their judgment ed in the first three specifications. to the constitutional expression of And it was surely most desirable, the collected wisdom of the church. that the ground for such contro- We also wish that our readers may versies in future should be taken attentively examine the manner in away; not only for the benefit of which the Presbytery have expressthe Presbytery of Philadelphia, buted their objections to certain parts of every other Presbytery under of the sermon of Mr. Barnes. Let the care of the Assembly—by a them say, whether there is any apclear decision of that body in rela- pearance of harshness or severity, tion to the specified inquiries. On in a single sentence. We avow it the fourth specification, a decision as a part of our design, in publishwas rendered desirable, because ing the objections of the PresbyMr. Barnes had declared in open tery in detail, that our brethren Synod, that he did not believe in may be able to judge fairly and the statement made in one of the correctly in this matter. We think answers in our Shorter Catechism it due to the Presbytery, that the —that “the sinfulness of that es- real character of their measures tate whereinto man fell consists in should be known to the religious the guilt of Adam's first sin, the publick. They have had a difficult want of original righteousness, and part to sustain. A party though the corruption of his whole na- they are, they have a claim to a ture.” It was also found on inquiry, fair hearing-a claim to give the that a construction given to one of publick the means of judging whethe engagements made at the licen- ther they were not bound in duty sure and ordination of ministers of to notice, as they have done, the the gospel in our church, was be- sermon of Mr. Barnes; and whecoming prevalent; namely, that the ther, in discharging, what they Larger and Shorter Catechisms considered an indispensable obliwere not to be considered as inclu- gation, they have not acted with ded in “ the Confession of Faith of caution, temper, and tenderness. this Church,” which is then pro- We maintain that all the authenfessed to be “sincerely received tick documents in the case go to and adopted." The necessity for show, that in proceedings in which, at every step, they had to encoun- be extended far; and our readers ter opposition and opprobrium, will do us the favour to turn to they united, in a good degree, fide- the report, as given in our last lity to their sacred trust as watch- number; that they may see the men on the walls of Zion, with applicability of our observations, forbearance and moderation, in in- without repeating the resolutions flicting what they believed to be which were adopted. merited censure.

We think a general view of the A highly respected brother said report by any unprejudiced indito us, in an early stage of the pro- vidual, acquainted with the cire ceedings in the case of Mr. Barnes, cumstances of the case, will leave “Had you taken the stand you are no doubt that two leading printaking, twenty years ago, it would ciples governed the committee. have proved the salvation of the The first was, that Mr. Barnes was, Presbyterian Church; but I am at all events, to be acquitted, and afraid it is too late now.” We all farther proceedings in his case then said in reference to this re- to be prevented; and the second, mark, that if it was a Roman that there should be as much soothmaxim never to despair of the ing of the Presbytery, and of those republick, we thought it oughi to disposed to advocate its cause, as be a Christian maxim never to des- could consist with a strict adhepair of the church of Christ-not rence to the first principle. We even in that section of it deno- suspect that the committee themminated Presbyterian. Nor do we selves would admit this to be a yet despair. We have a cheering pretty correct statement; and we hope that the conflicting elements doubt not that there are those who which now agitate our denomi- will justify the course taken, and nation, like a tempest in the natu- say it was exactly right. Mr. Baral world, will serve to purify our con thinks it was right, but then religious atmosphere, sweep away he maintains, and very truly--that the pestilence of false doctrine, and this was not Presbyterianism, but give us health and vigour in build- Congregationalism. He says—and ing up on its true foundation, and again says truly_“Your way iswith increased activity, the church not by proposing terms of reconof our adored Redeemer. The ciliation, but by giving a direct, whole of the convulsion which is distinct and conclusive answer to now felt in every part of our Zion, every question involved in the reand the entire responsibility for ference, complaint, or appeal. This every evil produced, we consider I supposed would have been the as chargeable and belonging to the Presbyterian method of proceedinnovators on the doctrine and or- ing in the case of Mr. Barnes. But der of the Presbyterian Church. this course was not adopted.” No, They strive to throw the blame verily, it was not adopted. If it from themselves, on those whom had been, the Assembly would they have reduced to the necessity have been reduced to the dilemma of either giving them opposition, of either flagrantly contravening or of violating their consciences the standards of the church, both and their ordination vows. In such doctrinal and governmental, or of an alternative, we pray that those not so fully acquitting Mr. Barnes... with whom we act may never hesi- This, we doubt not, was seen, and tate; nor regret, in any event, that to avoid the dilemma, the report, they pursued the path of duty. of which we have given summarily

Our remarks on the report of in our last number what we take to the committee, which was sanc- be the true character, was, in direct tioned by the Assembly, will not violation of a constitutional order,

adopted by the Assembly. In this others also said, that the explanareport, it is intimated that “the tions did not remove, but confirm explanations" given by Mr. Barnes our belief that their author held senof the “unguarded and objection- timents in conflict with the stanable passages” of his sermon, dards of our church. He complains. should have satisfied the Presby- of "the little influence which his tery. Now it does seem to us a explanations had on the final senlittle marvellous, that the explana- tence” of the Presbytery. The true tions given in the Larger and Short- cause of this little influence we have er Catechisms, of the doctrines here assigned. contained in the Confession of The Assembly chose to "travel Faith, by the very men who framed out of the record,” in recommendthe Confession, may be rejected as ing a division of the Presbytery. erroneous, and yet that the expla- It is that

exclusive prerogative of nations of Mr. Barnes and his co- Synods to divide Presbyteries, and adjutor, should be considered as there was no co'nplaint before the sound and satisfactory. Search the Aşsembly that the Synod of Philaannals of heresy, from the days of delphia had neglected their duty Arius, Pelagius, and Socinus, to in this respect. Mr. Bradford inthe present hour, and you shall , deed had “presented a paper [to find invariably, that explanations - the Presbytery relative to the prohave protected the hereticks, and priety of requesting Synod to dibaffled the church in her attempts vide Presbytery.” This was done to discipline them, for years in at the meeting in April, about a succession. The truth is, that he month before the meeting of the who preaches and prints a sermon, Assembly; and the paper “was, or publishes an essay, which re- on motion, laid on the table until quires elaborate explanations to the next stated meeting of the reconcile it with the fundamentals Presbytery." Perhaps this minute of the Christian system, may be set of the Presbytery met the eye down at once, as a man unsound in some member of the committee; the faith, without danger of mis- or perhaps information was obtake; and for the justice of this po- tained in some other way, that it sition we again appeal to the history would be agreeable to Mr. Barnes of heresy, in every age of the church. and his friends, now that they A really orthodox man will very were no longer a majority, that rarely need to make any other expla- the Presbytery should be divided: nations than those which accompa- and the Assembly thought proper ny his statements; or if he has in- to let the Synod know what their cautiously said something that, is duty would be, when an applicaerroneous, he will acknowledge it tion should be made for this puras soon as is pointed out; and pose. This, if not unconstituby an open, candid, and unequivo- tional, was certainly, we think, cal avowal of his faith, in regard a very singular proceeding. to what he has misstated, put an With respect to what the comend at once to all suspicion and mittee and the Assembly are all controversy. Mr. Barnes might pleased to denominate “the ablong since have done this, if he had stract points, proposed to the Asbeen pri pared to do it. But has sembly, for their decision in the he done any thing like it? We think reference of the Presbytery,” we not. His printed explanations all think the refusal to settle the congo to defend and justify what he troversy in regard to these, was, has said in his sermon. Hence, by far, the most objectionable when we first heard these explana- thing in the whole award. These tions in the Synod; we said, and abstract points were no other than




practical principles, on which the last. The subjects of them we have Presbytery of Philadelphia had indicated in the title-subjects of been obliged to act in the case of the highest importance; and such Mr. Barnes; and that the Presby short and pithy essays as these, oftery had made a wrong decision ten do more good than long papers. in regard to these principles, and we hope our readers will give in consequence of this, had pur- them an attentive perusal, and be sued a wrong course, in nearly the benefited by the suggestions they whole of their proceedings in the contain. case of Mr. Barnes, subsequently to his installation, was the basis and the substance of the complaints laid before the Assembly. In the spring of 1829, Timothy, Other Presbyteries also were di- the hawker, called at my house vided and thrown into parties, by with his wares. My servants, who a difference of opinion among the recommend the Scriptures whenmembers, in regard to these prac- ever they have an opportunity, talktical principles. Yet the Assem- ed with this man on the value of bly say “if they be answered, they the New Testament, and advised had better be discussed and de- him to buy a copy. “Of what use cided in thesi, separate from the can it be to me,” said he,“ when I case of Mr. Barnes"-Abstract cannot read ?"" Yes, it


be of principles to be discussed in thesi, great service to you. You can carseems to us somewhat like tauto- ry it to your lodgings and have it logy in language. But the words read, or you can send it to your in thesi here, we suppose are to family, some of whom can read it. be interpreted (although we must It will do good. Buy one. The think it a new version of the terms) man attended to this advice, and to mean that the principles must be carried the book to his lodgings. discussed “separate from the case We saw nothing more of this of Mr. Barnes." And why separate man until autumn, when he returnfrom the case of Mr. Barnes? If Mr. ed and earnestly entreated a copy Barnes was innocent, no decision of every kind of book we could on abstract points could possibly give him. “ You can form no idea,” injure him. Yes, but it was seen said he,“ of the good that book has that a decision of these abstract done which I had here in the spring. points would really implicate There are more than thirty of us either him or the Assembly; and who mess together at the same therefore, however important to lodgings, and at the time when I. the peace and order of the Pres- first took home the New Testabytery of Philadelphia, and of se- ment, these men spent almost eveveral other Presbyteries under the ry night at the public house, and care of the Assembly, it was re- returned intoxicated; but now the solved not to touch them. scene is quite altered. Scarcely a this the performance or the dere- man leaves the lodgings in the liction of duty? Let every reader evening. There are three among answer the question for himself. us who can read, and they take it

by turns, and the others sit around and listen to them. There is no

drunkenness in our party now." THE BIBLE, TRACTS, AND MISSIONS.

Oh, what an interesting scene

would this group have presented The three following short arti- to the eye of an apostle! Thirty cles are taken from the London poor villagers collected together Evangelical Magazine for October from various parts of the coun

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

66 On

[ocr errors]

Sin no

try, listening to one of their num- Christians. I mean, the distribuber reading the words of eter- tion of religious tracts. It is one nal life; and, from this circum- which, both from its simplicity and stance, breaking off from their cheapness, is accessible to the vices, saving their hard earnings pious of all classes. The loan sysfor their families, and acting like tem is excellent. No minister of rational creatures! How true it is the gospel, in places where no sothat “godliness is profitable unto ciety exists for this purpose, should all things.” What an encourage- neglect this mode of benefiting the ment to the followers of Christ to

souls of men. I would also earmake known his holy gospel! If nestly recommend to every servant so much good is effected, through of Christ, the daily circulation of the Divine blessing, on one New tracts in every possible way. I Testament, what may we not anti- never leave my house without havcipate from the distribution of ten ing a number of these silent preachthousand! Even servants may be- ers in my pocket, and either give come useful coadjutors in the ser- them to persons as circumstances vice of God, when they feel inte- may require, or scatter them in varested in it; and with such proofs rious directions. Such papers as before us of the utility of the work, the “ Swearer's Prayer," surely we ought not to grow weary Drunkenness,"

“Poor Joseph, or faint-hearted. From the above “ Covey the Sailor," circumstance, those who have Trifle,” “On Repentance," &c. contributed in any way to the cir- will be either partially or wholly culation of the Scriptures, may applicable to the circumstances of see what an honour their God and most readers. Father is putting upon them. This

I fear these little monitors are is like the first ripe fruit, but an not duly appreciated by the Chrisabundant harvest will follow.- tian publick. God has testified his Amen.

approbation of them in innumeraSt. Petersburgh.

ble instances: The Tract Magazine, published by the Religious Tract Society, contains a large number of highly interesting anecdotes in proof of this assertion.

He who can peruse this work, and There never has been a period rise from its perusal unimpressed like the present, in respect to the

with the vast importance of relimultiplicity of means for the fur- gious tracts, as one of that class of therance of the eternal interests of agencies employed by God for the The warmest and most ar

conversion of men, cannot be open dent zeal may now gratify itself. to conviction. Millions of souls Facilities for the communication will, no doubt, have to bless God of divine truth present themselves through eternity, for the dissemiin every form. Bible societies, nation of the doctrines of the gosmissionary societies, tract socie- pel

in the form in question.

C. ties, and numerous others, press

Bristol, May 12, 1831. upon our notice; and, while claiming the assistance of the church of Christ for their support, offer in return the means of evangelizing the world.

The writer of this was once the There is one method of doing guest of a banker in the west of good, which I wish were more England. His host had long been generally recognised by individual celebrated as a heavenly-minded Ch. Adv.-VOL. X.







« PrécédentContinuer »