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164

STATEMENT BY HIS KIRK SESSION.

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“London, 15th December, 1830. “We, the Minister, Missionary, Elders, and Deacons, of the National Scotch Church, Regent Square, feel it a duty we owe to ourselves, to the congregation to which we belong, to the Church of Christ, and to all honest men, no longer to remain silent under the heavy charges that are brought against us, whether from ignorance, misapprehension, or wilful perversion of the truth; and therefore we solemnly declare

“ That we utterly detest and abhor any doctrine that would charge with sin, original or actual, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom we worship and adore as the

" very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father ; who, when the fulness of the time was come, did take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;' very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man;' who in the days of His flesh was holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth;' who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God;' “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,' 'a Lamb without blemish and without spot;' in which offering of Himself · He made a proper, real, and full satisfaction to His Father's justice in our behalf. And we further declare that all our peace of conscience, progress in sanctification, and hope of eternal blessedness, resteth upon the sinlessness of that sacrifice, and the completeness of that atonement, which He hath made for us as our substitute.

“ And, finally, we do solemnly declare that these are the doctrines which are constantly taught in this Church, agreeably to the standards of the Church of Scotland, and the Word of God.

“ EDWARD IRVING, Minister.

DAVID Brown, Missionary. ARCHIBALD Horn, ?

CHARLES VERTUE, DAVID BLYTH,

Alex. GILLISPIE, JUN. WM. HAMILTON, ΕΙ ers.

John THOMSON,

Deacons. Duncan MACKENZIE,

J. C. HENDERSON,
JAMES Nisbet,

Thos. CarsWELL,
DAVID KER,

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PETITION TO THE KING.

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In the midst of these personal agitations and ecclesiastical troubles, a quaint and characteristic public incident diversifies the history. The congregation at Regent Square, under Irving's inspiration, had decided upon presenting a petition to the King, calling upon him to appoint a national fast. The petition itself, a powerful and eloquent production, like all Irving's personal appeals, is now only to be found in collections of the tracts and pamphlets of the period. Accompanied by three of his elders, he went to Lord Melbourne by appointment, to present this singular address. While they waited in the anteroom the premier's leisure, Irving called upon his somewhat amazed and embarrassed companions to kneel and pray for “favour in the sight of the King's minister,” as a private letter describes it. When they were admitted to the jaunty presence of that cheerful functionary, the preacher read over to him at length the remarkable document he came to present; during the reading of which, we are told, “Lord Melbourne was much impressed; and also by some solemn things Mr. Mackenzie (one of the elders) said, on the only means of saving this country.” When they took leave, the minister “shook hands heartily" with Irving, who, holding that hand in his gigantic grasp, “implored the blessing and guidance of God on his administration.” A scene more remarkable could scarcely be. On one side an impersonation of the goodhearted, cheerful man of the world, bland by temper and policy, to whom most things were humbug, and truth a fluctuating possibility; and confronting him the man of God, in utter loyalty and simplicity, mournful over falsehood, but little suspicious of it, to whom all truth

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was absolute, and hesitation or compromise unknown. They confronted each other for a moment, a wonderful spectacle; the prophet soul bestowing lofty benedictions upon the awed and wondering statesman. It is a picture with which we may well close the record of this momentous year.

CHAPTER IV.

1831.

THE

year 1831 dawned upon Irving solemnly, full of all the prognostics of approaching fate. He was himself separated from the little ecclesiastical world which had hitherto represented to him the Church of his country and his heart. The Presbytery, in which he had heretofore found a sufficient symbol of ecclesiastical authority, and which stood in the place of all those venerable institutions of Church government and legislation on which he had lavished the admiration and reverence of his filial heart, had rejected him, and been rejected by him. While still strenuously upholding his own title to be considered a minister of the Church of Scotland, he stood isolated from all the fellowships and restraints of Presbyterianism, virtually separatedthough always refusing to believe in or admit that separation — from the Church upon which he still and always looked with so much longing love. His closest and most prized friends were in actual conflict with the same ecclesiastical authorities ; or at least with the popular courts and theological controversialists, who were all that Scotland had to represent the grave and patient authority of the Church. Mr. Campbell, of Row, after

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168

CHURCH CONFLICTS.

years of apostolical labour, the efficacy of which was testified by the whole district which his influence pervaded, a man whose vital piety and apostolical life nobody could impugn; and Mr. Maclean, younger, less

; wise, but not less a faithful servant of his Master, were both struggling for bare existence in the Church, and approaching the decision of their fate within her bounds. Their names were identified and united with that of the solitary champion in London, whose forlorn but dauntless standard had risen for years among all the enmities which can be encountered by man. He who had not hesitated to adopt the cause of both with warm enthusiasm, stood far off in his solitude, watching, with a heart that ached over his own powerlessness to avert it, the approaching crisis, at which his beloved Church was, according to his conception, to deny the truth, and condemn her own hopes and future life in the persons of these “ defenders” at her bar. Nearer home, Mr. Scott had temporarily withdrawn from the contest, which, in his case also, was to be decided at the sitting of the General Assembly, in the ensuing May. Without even that dangerous but beloved henchman at his elbow, supported only by an assistant, who, doubtless entirely conscientious and trustworthy so long as his support lasted, was yet to fail him in his hour of need, Irving stood alone, at the head of his Session, clinging to that last prop of the ecclesiastical order in which during all his former life his soul had delighted. Condemned by his Presbytery, and held in suspicion by the distant Church to which he owed allegiance, the little local consistory stood by him loyally, without an appearance as yet of division.

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