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tion to the Presbytery of Stranraer, in which they declared, " That Mr. Andrew Ross, their present minister, has been Rector of this parish for these twelve years, during all which time he has done his duty among them like a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, ever labouring for their welfare, and endearing himself to his flock by his attentive and friendly behaviour. That they know him to be a conscientious and upright man, worthy of the character he bears, and eminently useful in the country where he resides. That it is with the greatest concern they see differences arising between him and his brethren, about points which they humbly think need not be so exactly insisted upon as they are. That as nothing but conscience, they very well know, bas induced their minister to move in these points, they think it is their duty also to give their testimony to the same cause, and to declare their joint opinion of the subject now in debate, so far as their lights serve them. They scruple not, nay, they glory to declare, that it is their firm belief that the Scriptures of God are a sufficient standard to men, both of faith and practice—they are sufficient for salvation in the sight of God, and much more should they be deemed sufficient for Christian communion in the sight of men. It is their opinion, that no church upon earth bas a right to put any thing in place of the Scriptures, or to require a subscription from their ministers to any thing but the Scriptures. They think that every
church should leave its members free to search the Scriptures, and not to bind them down for ever to one sense of them. In all these points they agree most cordially with their minister, and will be happy, extremely happy, to live with him
upon these terms. What an admirable, what a Christian declaration is this. Maintaining principles such as these, a church would finely contrast with establishments founded on exclusive and anathematizing Confessions, or Articles upheld by Act of Parliament ordination. And those principles, that declaration, found their response in the Presbytery of Stranraer, the Synod of Galloway. By their sanction and approval, Mr. Ross withdrew his subscription to the Confession of Faith, and made this declaration on the books of the Presbytery:
“I, Andrew Ross, minister of the Gospel in the parish of Inch, for the exoneration of my conscience, more particularly with respect to the terms of ministerial communion enjoined by this Church, hereby declare, That I firmly adhere to the fundamental principles of the Protestant religion, namely, that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the only rule of faith and practice; that the exercise of private judgment is the undoubted right and duty of every Christian, and of every Christian minister, and that it is the best means of discovering the true sense of Scripture; that the Lord Jesus Christ is appointed the sole head and lawgiver in his Church, and the only Master in religion. And I also declare, that I reject all doctrines and practices that are inconsistent with these principles."
This was in 1776, and it was honourable to the age and country. It is now 1831, but past history and present facts give no warnings, impart no instruction to some minds. Many years have elapsed since those events occurred. Has the Church of Scotland improved in their revolution? Its best friends will not affirm it. Blair and Gerard and Campbell are no more.
Ichabod. The age has increased in light, but on the Establishment gloom sits brooding. The schoolmaster is abroad, and intelligence and science follow in his track, but the cherished knowledge of her sons is still “ the A B C, or Shorter Catechism." Liberty is brightening the hopes of the nation, and reformation points the path to glory, but her ecclesiastics stir not in the struggle. Their struggle still
, is to bind down the human mind, not to expand it. Not one jot or, tittle sball its members swerve from the embodied - wisdom of our ancestors" in 1647. For this Presbyteries meet and Synods censure. Their censures and their meetings are in vain. The sound of freedom is gone forth, and they cannot quell it. “ The imposition of the hands of the Presbytery," must share the fate of other impositions. Canute, and his freaks with the waves of ocean, is their type; and if they cannot read the moral themselves, it will be read to them by others. ARGUS.
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, JUNE 1, 1831. “We have yet to learn, that in this age of Bible circulation, they have, as a body, distinguished themselves by their efforts in that cause.' It is thus that the Rev. R. Brodie, one of the Relief Ministers of this City, speaks of the Unitarians. That this charge is unfounded, he has ere this learned. An additional evidence of its instability has been furnished within the last month, by no less authority than the British and Foreign Bible Society itself. At its late anniversary meeting in London, a motion was made, to exclude the Unitarians from being any longer contributors to its funds! Weak-minded and intolerant as that resolution proved its proposer to be, is it to be credited that such a resolution would bave been proposed at all, had there been no Unitarians to exclude? The proposer of that resolution, was Captain Gordon, one of the travelling agents of the self-styled British Reformation Society. Will nothing teach that individual and his coadjutors wisdom? Does he still turn the ear of deafness to the remonstrances even of those who, holding a similar faith to his, have not forgotten as be bas done, that cbarity is the end of the commandment? Has be forgotten the lessons taught him at Birmingham and Bristol? He must have done so, or he would not thus bave attempted an alteration in the institution, which violates the very principle on which the Bible Society was originally founded. That he did not succeed in his unrighteous project, does not take away, in the smallest degree, bis criminality in moving it. And who were his coadjutors in the unhallowed work of exclusion?- That Edward Irving, whose speech is of millennial glories! A fine millenium truly, whose herald is intolerance, whose spirit bigotry! It may be of the millenium of Calvinism, that he propheciesthough, if he predicts that shall continue a thousand years, we trust it will prove a false prediction. Of the reign of Christ he knows not, for assuredly the pharisaical watchword, “ Stand by, I am holier than thou,” is not the harbinger of the Saviour of the world. Peace on earth, good will to man, consists not with creed presumption or sectarian arrogance; and other and holier and more benevolent must be the precursors of the kingdom of righteousness and harmony and joy.
Had Captain Gordon any other aider and abettor? Yes, a person tolerably celebrated in his way; but whether it be the way of truth and soberness, is another question. He is a clergyman of the Church of England, and is no unapt personification of the Athanasian Creed. His discourses are as pregnant with mystery and damnation, and they are delivered with a sound and fury befitting the fanaticism and intolerance they contain. His name is Armstrong. He is an itinerant advocate of the British Reformation Society, and is worthy the cause he advocates. For surely a more complete imposition on the public was never framed, than that Society. It bad its origin in anti-catholic mania, and its object is to prop up, by excitement and extravagance, a Church whose doom is as certain as the progress of time. That such a Society should thrive amidst the bitterness and rancour of party feeling and party prejudices in Ireland, is not extraordinary. That unfortunate country has long been celebrated for the variety and strangeness of its sectarian combinations. Peep-of-day Boys, and Terry Alts, and British Reformation Societies, are only illustrations of the national peculiarity. Had this Society confined its exertions or its ravages to Ireland, it might have passed unnoticed. But when its agents venture across the channel -when, not satisfied with the millions wrung from a benighted and starving people, they attempt, whether in England or Scotland, to draw from the pockets of their auditors other sums in aid of the most oppressive and degrading system that ever impoverished and brutalized a country—when their public exhortations are stained by denunciations of the idolatrous Catholics, and the blasphemous Unitarians—when thus they speed through the land, not as proclaimers of glad tidings, but as theological fire-brands, demanding fuel io spread the unhallowed flame of bigotry they have kindled, then does it become the bounden duty of every friend of his species, to expose the bollow pretension, and to lay bare the real purpose, and to cry aloud and spare not those who, whilst revelling in earth's comforts, calumniate the poor whom they cannot instruct, and brand the intelligent whom they cannot answer.
Mr. Armstrong paid a visit to this City some time since. Crowds attended his ministrations, and newspapers lauded the power of his eloquence. The religious world and the fashionable world were both in ecstacy. Coarseness and indelicacy were in Mr. Armstrong thought to be grace and elegance. Language which in the draw. ing-room would not have been tolerated an instant, was listened to from the pulpit for hours with rapture. Though he told the fashionable and crowded audience at St. Mary's they were all going to the Devil, they manifested no dis
approbation. His week-day exhibitions at the Tabernacle were equally Christian. He sported his personal wit on his Catholic adversaries, and bis satellites applauded the melancholy impertinence. Talk of the intelligence of Glasgow! Where is it to be found? Not amongst the votaries of the fashionable religion of the times, who profess what they do not believe, and give the sanction of their
presence and influence to that they deem unchristian. Where is that intelligence to be found? Not amongst the adherents of exclusiveness and intolerance, whose religion is gloom and persecution, whose charity is bounded by their sectarian feelings, and who see the enemies of man and the foes of God, in all who cannot utter the shibboleth of their sanctuary. That Glasgow does number many, many intelligent individuals, cannot be questioned; but their intelligence is generally confined to worldly and scientific pursuits. Religion, the best gift of God to man, is too often regarded either as a mere state machine, well enough adapted to keep in awe the common berd, but unfit, except as a guard to property, for men of intelligence; or, it is looked up to as too mysterious and sacred for any inquiry to be made respecting its nature—as a matter to be believed, but not comprehended. The preaching of such men as Mr. Armstrong, and the efforts of such Societies as that of the British Reformation, tend to confirm these delusive and mischievous conceptions. Posted as he was about the streets, as having uttered statements he could not substantiate, and challenged as he was by the Catholics he bad wronged, either to prove what he had stated, or apologize for the calumny, be still pursued bis calumniating career—and the fashionable and religious public followed applauding in his train!
When we heard of Captain Gordon's proposition, therefore, we immediately looked for Mr. Armstrong as his supporter. He did not disappoint our expectations. He was labouring in his vocation. For once, however, he had an audience to whom principle and liberality were more dear than the worldling's applause or the bigot's sanction. The motion was lost—the British and Foreign Bible Society was not prostrated beneath the hoof of intolerance and exclusiveness.
Uninstructed by defeat, a similar motion was essayed at the annual meeting of the Naval & Military Bible Society. And whether it was, that the friends of liberality