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favour of their indulgence, he has attempted the same coursé. If it bé not a crime to publish on this controversy, then had yout Presbytery no sort of right to involve me, for so doing, in the pains of prosecution. If, on the other hand, to have published be a fault, then how came your Synod to sanction misdemeanor by avowedly waiting for such a publication? Under cover of your sanction, may any man do wrong? By virtue of your dispensation, may he be shielded from penalty? Then has protestantism departed from your councils; and we have only a factious and hydra-headed monster, in place of the Father with his tripple
But, it may be said, the libel charges opinions on the subject of communion, such as have never been made questions on this floor, and ought not to be tolerated by any Christian court. True, Moderator, the libel does charge such opinions—most groundlessly, and unfairly charge them; and it is only to such portions of that marvellous production that I think it at this time needful to advert.
I call your attention to the fourteenth count, the only one on the subject of communion, to which I do not subscribe. It is in these words, “ That all churches are bound to admit to their communion, all whom they may charitably believe are Christians." What all? Moderator! No salvo to subserve the ends of discipline? None to cover considerations of edification? No, sir, you meet with no such salvo. The book, say my libellers, prostrates all discipline, merges all considerations of Christian charity and prudence, and amalgamates at one fell process, all professions of every name and tenet, where hope may discover but one peg to fasten on within the precincts of any of their churches. Now, sir, the essay contains no such doctrine: it explicitly disa claims-disclaims at the very outset such a sweeping proposition. Hear what it says at the beginning of the discussion.
« Our readers surely need not be told that, it is on every hand conceded that the exercise of wholesome discipline and the question of edification, will of course interpose their exceptions to this conclusion in all cases, however wide be its range in every other respect. Nor is it more than barely worth while to remark; that the expression “ saints by profession,” is not designed to include all persons or sectaries who choose to assume the name
of Christians; but only those who make a credible profession; that is to say, those whose views of fundamental truth are clearly consistent with a sound profession, and whose conduct does not contradict the profession made by them.” P. 54.
I ask how any set of men who had this volume in possession for nearly eighteen months before they framed their libel; and before whom the part of it here complained of, had been in the shape of a periodical paper, for full two years—I ask you how such men, with such exceptions staring them in the face, could dare to bring a charge so palpably and attrociously false! Let it not be pretended that they have founded their charges on other passages of the essay, and that in those passages these exceptions are not made. Sir, was I bound, in establishing the general principle, to drag in perpetually the exceptions which had been admitted? Was it not enough to have once admitted them, and to have then explicitly stated that they were always to be kept in view? Would it have been creditable to the composition of the author, would it have been decorous toward the understandings of his readers, to have cumbered every paragraph and clouded every argument with incessant references to so plain a point? No, sir; as a person of common sense, writing for a people who likewise have common sense, I never will submit to the ungracious task of perpetually recurring to the same plain idea; like a child rhyming over at each successive step, all that had been before named as in anywise connected with the famous “ house that Jack built.”
The exceptions once noted, had they never more been mentioned, enough was said to secure from misconception. But I did not rest content with once noticing the exceptions. I did, in order to secure from the possibility of error, I did more than once submit to repetition. No farther away than the very next page, you will find that “cow with the crumplety horn" cooped up within the limits of a parenthesis. Thus speaks the book:
“ The whole of the regulations and ordinances found in the church were given to it as one. The right, therefore, to partake, arises out of the fact, that the party enjoying or applying for it is a member of that body, for the edifying of'* which they are declaredly provided. And there remains no way of lawfully refusing this claim the exceptions above noted kept in mind) but
* Ephes. iv. 12.
by making it out that the claim itself is void, i. e. that the party applying is without credible pretensions to the character of a true Christian.” P. 55.
Here then is the exception which nullifies your charge. Did your Presbytery know of it when they prefered their libel? Of that, sir, you must judge. They certainly have not recognized the page as among those on which the charge is grounded. But whether they did or did not know of this exception, they knew full well the passage in which it is contained: for to this very page they refer you in the preceding count, as the first on which they ground a separate charge. How then could they overlook the exception thus expressed? How impute a principle which admits of no exception? How possibly overlook this unfortunate parenthesis? Perhaps, Moderator, they shut their eyes against it: perhaps they concluded that, as grammarians tell us, parenthesis may be omitted without injury to the sense,-perhaps they concluded, “ best never mind it.”
Again, at the head of the 57th page you will find the same exception in another parenthesis, equally unfortunate in their cold neglect. Nor are these the only passages that will serve to chastise the misrepresentations of the libel. There are many interwoven with the discussion of the question—too many to justify the delay of noting them. One only, I will read you.
“ But because you testify against whatever you deem wrong, it by no means follows that you should refuse your sanction to any thing that is right: it by no means follows that errors in other evangelical churches should estrange you entirely from their fellowship, any more than the things which you cannot approve in the churches of your own denomination impose on you a necessity of estranging yourselves from them. Evangelical churches, be it remembered, we have said. For though there may be in others, persons
upon sufficient acquaintance you feel constrained to acknowledge as fellow members of the Lord, yet with these individuals you must proceed on different principles; for while a church is ostensibly built upon the sand,” you are not to proceed with her as if founded on the “ rock." You are certainly as a Christian to maintain no intercourse with them who are ostensibly unconnected with the body of Jesus Christ. Whether it be individuals, or whether it be churches, the fellowship we contend for is the fellowship of saints,' and it is upon the scriptural evidence that they are really such, you are warranted, nay comnianded to embrace them." P. 114.
And now, I beseech you, sir, what more could have been required? Do not these passages refute the allegation of the libel? Were they not open to the inspection of the Presbytery for two full years before the charge was framed? Did not the Presbytery know of them when they sustained the libel? O yes, sir, they knew of them: for on some of these passages they have grounded other charges, as your libel will attest. Yes, sir, they knew of them; for when the charge was tried, I pointed out to them, one by one-the passages now submitted, and commented in a style which they no doubt well remember, on their want of candour in bringing such a charge. Yet they adhered to it, yet they sustained it, in the courts of God's house, in the name of our common Lord. Sir, I will not comment on the nature of such conduct: I will not permit myself to glance at the intentions or at the characters of its abettors. But one thing I will say: to have framed it as they did, under such circumstances, evinced a spirit of most adventurous daring; and to have adhered to it as they did, in the face of such evidence, betokens a temper of heroic perseverance.
This is all I have to say to any of the counts on the subject of communion, or in relation to our treatment of truly Christian churches. The others I admit as substantially correct. Only I must warn you to read the passages referred to by the Presbytery,
before you proceed to judge them. The libel, I have said, is drawn with great ability; and I am by no means certain that you will interpret any of its phrases in the one of several senses to which alone I am ready to subscribe. In the phraseology of the essay, I hope there is no obscurity: by it you are to test the expressions of the libel; and with this needful caution I cheerfully submit it.
Permit me now to call your attention for a moment to the nineteenth count. It is the only other one of a miscellaneous cast, on which I think it worth while to spend a single breath. On recurring to the passage complained of, you will find that it asserts nothing on the question of psalmody. But the fact is, that question is the hobby of the associate-reformed in the western country, and its introduction into the libel was a highly popular stroke. The only subject to which that paragraph relates, is the indiffer
ence manifested by western Christians, and especially by associate-reformed Christians, to the article of religious intelligence; and their backwardness in supporting the vehicles of such intelligence. This you will gather from the 247th page, in which the descant commences.
« Let the churches, too, consider how far the marked and remarkable indifference to the prosperity and extension of the Redeemer's kingdom in other quarters of the world, which so lamentably betrays itself in the Christian community, bespeaks a union with the living Head. It is certainly the shame as well as the bane of the west, that while political effusions and articles of intelligence are circulated every where by the almost innumerable gazettes of the day, it is found impossible to support for any length of time, or to circulate to any desirable extent, publica. tions which record the achievments of the saints while toiling in
the battle of the Lord of Hosts against the mighty. This cir. cumstance, which at any time would be humiliating and disgraceful, is doubly surprising at the present æra, when the movements to be recorded of the church of Christ are still more extensive and still more eventful than any that are occuring in the political world.”
Continuing the subject the book goes on to say.
"Our Lord has decided it as a common sense suggestion, that the heart will always veer towards the depository of our treasure. Why then, thou Christian, if thy treasure be in heaven; why, if thy main interest be in Zion's welfare; why, if her extension be the burden of thy prayer; why, if God's dealings be the theme of celebration and the source of joywhy manifest so little of the interest which a Christian should take, and which a lively Christian must take in the great and glorious working of our God, since he has come forth from his place to scatter all his enemies, and to establish far and wide the foundations of his praise.”
Still continuing the same strain, the essay thus concludes in the language here complained of.
Why then, if you never either read or regarded any thing but the news, why be so little anxious about God's dealings with Zion, as to reason in this case as you reason in no other, and contribute by your negligence to put down every attempt to kindle in the bosoms of the religious public, a devotedness more settled to “ the great concern.' Does it not look as if you were forgetting Jerusalem, before your right hand has forgot its cunning?' Does it not look as if you were careless of being bettered by the displays of God's mercy and kindness to the nations? Does it not