Page images

elders of this Church, tbus affording ample good hand of our God upon us, we have come opportunity for its examination and dis- to the close of our sittings;


beg to cussion, and that as it now stands it congratulate you on the fact that we have embodies the results of criticisms and sug- reached the close of our work in an unpregestions from all quarters of the Church, cedented manner. I remember no Synod and considering further, as appears from of our Church in which we have done so the Report of the Committee of the Synod, much real business, with so much harmony that the collection is one to which no and so much facility. It is not for me to serious objections have been made, whilst criticise the results of the de iberations. it has been universally allowed that as a I hare had, and have now, but one duty to whole, it is admirahle, and that the accom- discharge; I have tried to the best of my panying music is of a very high order; the power to do this, to moderate in your proSynod do appoint a Committee of their ceedings. I only crave leave to say, therefore, number to consider the emendations sug- that in my opening address I asked your gested in the report, and give effect to the forbearance in my attempt to discharge same in so far as they commend themselves that duty, and I have got it; and from my to their judgment, and generally to com- heart I thank you. I asked also for your plete the volume for publication, and prayers, and you have responded, and I thank authorize them to issue them for the use you more heartily still. If in anything I of the congregations within the bounds ; have exceeded my duty, or acted in such a and hereby strongly recommend that when way as to offend the feelings of the least of bymns are employed in divine worship, the brethren, I hartily beg you will pardon this collection be adopted.”

me, and forgive and forget as I hereby do. A second motion was made by Mr. W. For the progress we have made in all our K. Coubrough, and seconded by Dr. Leone operations we have manifest reason to Levi, as follows :

thank God. Let us do it, and let us do it "Thank the Committee, especially Mr. now; let us continue to do it; and let us Watson, for their labour in preparing this even abound in thanksgiving. Let us thank hymn-book, and remit the same to the God, and take courage. Experience Presbyteries in terms of the Barrier Act.” worketh hope. This God is our God for

After reasoning, which continued till a ever ; his bounty never ebbs, his strength very late hour, it was resolved to take the nerer tires. He is mighty to save.

All senee of the House on the two motions by that we have got, is simply an earnest and a show of hands, which being done, there slight foretaste of his abur dant riches, appeared a large majority in behalf of the which all lie open and all but untouched first motion ; wherefore the Synod did and before us. Our gettings from God, up to hereby do resolve in terms of said motion. this time, are only a few bunches of the

On the motion of Dr. Duncan the goodly grapes that grow in gladsome tbanks of the Synod were given to Dr. clusters in the glorious land that lies still Hamilton and the office-bearers of Regent all un possessed beyond. And now fathers Square Congregation for the use of their and brethren, I dismiss you to your Courch, and for the admirable arrange- wore habitual work. I hope i hat, like myments made for the convenience of this self, you will go back to your flocks reSynod since it first convened, and to all freshed, strengthened, encouraged, gladthe families of the various Churches in dened by our meeting. As iron sharpeneth London, who have shown so much kind- iron, so doth the face of a man his friend. ness and hospitality to the men bers of Let us preach Christ in the pulpit and out Synod during the present sittings. of it, "as go we” and after we have gone

The Minutes of this Diet were then read to a place; Christ, and him crucified ; and sustained, and ordered to be attested Christ dead, dead for sin; Christ the subwith the other Records by the Moderator stitute, and Christ the security; Christ and Clerks; and the Synod having, in the dead, and we dead in him, dead to sin, kind providence of God, now brought its dead to pride, dead to ambition, dead to business to a close, was addressed by the wealth, dead to the world, alive to God, Moderator, who declared this Synod closed, with God, possessed with a life hid with and indicted the next Synod to be held, Christ in God. The Lord bless and keep as already resolved on, at Manchester, in sou; the Lord make his face shine on you the Grosvenor Square Church there, on and be gracious to you ; the Lord light up the third Monday in April, 1867 years, at his countenance on you and give you

peace. And as I began so I close, by sayThe following is the Moderator's closing ing, Peace be with all those that love our address :— Fat! ers and brethren, by the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

6 o'clock p.m.

Jatires af Buoks.

Life of John Welsh, Minister of Ayr. By venerable books of Moses. Dr. Murphy

the late Rev. JAMES YOUNG. Edin- has proved his title to an honourable place burgh: John Maclaren.

in that little band of Belfast professors who We have read the life of Welsh, very logical, philosophical, and historical lite

have contributed so largely to the theocarefully, and we can speak of it in terms of the highest praise. Mr. Young spent

rature of the day. many years in gathering, arranging, and The House of Herod; or Judah’s Sceptre verifyirg bis materials, and throughout, his work bears evidence of having had ex

Departing. Edinburgh : Inghis & Jack. pended on it an extraordinary amount of This book has the merit of novelty. In labour and care. Few biographies of old a series of short chapters it describes the worthies have received such justice at the career of the Herod dynasty, showing, by hands of their authors ; and it may be said the way, its relation both to olden prophecy that Mr. Young has done Welsh all and to the insitution of the Christian ecothat is possible to be done. It is amazing noms. The idea is a good one, and, as what he has succeeded in gathering together designed for the general reader, is well concerning one about whom to little was carried out. The plan of the work is known. Welsh was one of the most active simple; its aim is unambitious; and the and famous men of his day, having borne a style is clear. For his historical facts the leading part in the religious controversies author seems to have been indebted mainly and changes in the sixteenth and seven- if not solely to Josephus, but as his purteenth centuries, and lived on terms of pose evidently is to give, not a critical and friendship with many of the best men of exhaustive history, but simply a plain and that time; and a thorough biography of connected narrative for ordinary Bible such a man could not have been written readers, we must not be too exacting. He without throwing much light upon the has contributed in a pleasing way to the general history of the period in which he elucidation of certain portions of the lived. Hence, Mr. Young's book gives an Gospel history, and he has shown how a admirable picture of the religious, political, similar treatment of political and social and social condition of an epoch which is life of the men and manners that ruled involved in much obscurity, but which in the world, and influenced the Church exerted an incalculable influence upon sub- for good or ill

, might do much to enable sequent times. We wish for so genuine a many to read their Bibles with more work the circulation it deserves.

intelligence and interest than they now do.

His reflections on the events that he records A Critical and Exegetical Commentary are equally pious and appropriate, and

on the Book of Exodus. By J. G. no one can read his little work without MURPHY, LL.D., T.C.D. Edinburgh : benefit. T. & T. Clark. This is the second contribution of Dr. Scenes and Characters in a Scotch Pas-Murphy to the critical exposition of the

torale. By the Rev. J. R. M'GAVIN, Pentateuch. His Commentary on the Book

D.D. London: J. Nisbet & Co. of Genesis appeared about three years ago, This is a deeply interesting book, and and was well received by Biblical students. will be found useful by ministers in the The present volume will, we believe, add discharge of pastoral work. There is noto the reputation which the author has thing more difficult in the ministerial life acquired, for sound scholarship and la- than to learn how to meet the varied cases. borious and honest workmanship. It is a of sorrow and sin which claim the pastor's very satisfactory performance, showing an aid. We have here the experience, as emintimate acquaintance not only with the bodied in facts, taken from his official literature that has grown up around the case-book," of one who has evidently fulBook of Exodus, but with recent contro. filled the duties of a long and active minisversies for which it and its companion try; and many hints may be obtained from books have furnished the materials. We it by those who are earnestly engaged in cordially recommend it to ministers and the same work. We learn not only somestudents and to all who wish to obtain thing of the miseries of human life, but more than a superficial knowledge of the something of the rondrous power of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

many editions.

Gospel to adapt itself to all imaginable con- | interesting papers which have for their ditions of the soul. Perhaps the volume title “Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood.” kas suffered to some extent by the modesty OUR OWN FIRESIDE is full of varied and of the writer, who carefully suppresses the excellent reading, and is well illustrated. ego. It would have been more lively and THE WATCHWORD is a new periodical effective in style if he had introduced more issued in connection with the Free Church, of the personal element.

and seems to be the exponent of the views

held by Drs. Gibson and Begg, and other Manual of Devotion. By ST. AUGUSTINE. friends. It promises well. THE RAINBOW

Translated by the Rev. Marcus Dons, is edited by Dr. W. Leask, and contem-
A.M. Second Edition. Edinburgh: plates specially the “Revealed Future of
Ingbis & Jack.

the Church and the World." It forms & The Prayer that teaches to pray. By the repertory of prophetic and millenarian

Rev. MARCUS Dods, A.M. Second literature, and is conducted in the spirit of
Edition. Edinburgh: Inghis & Jack. charity. THE PULPIT ANALYST is a new

Monthly, and is designed for “Preachers, We know of no better closet companion Students, and Teachers.” It seems to be than St. Augustine's “ Manual of Devo. ably conducted, and if it proceeds as it has tion.” The translation by Mr. Dods is begun, it is sure to command the attention everywhere excellent; and the appearance of many. The HOUSEHOLD promises to be a of the book is suitably attractive. We no- useful family magazine, containing much that ticed at some length the first edition of ought to be known by all house-managers, Mr. Dods' exposition of the Lord's Prayer. THE IMPERIAL BIBLE DICTIONARY, edited It is an admirable little work, bearing evi. by Dr. Fairbairn, has reached its 21st part, dence throughout of a thoughtful and cul- and continues to exhibit that soundness of tivated mind. We trust it will go through view and thoroughness of execution which

distinguish it from some other productions

of the same kind. DAILY BIBLE ILLUS. The Lord's Law and Day. A Review of

Dr. Macleod's Speech. By the Rev. G TRATIONS, by Dr. John Kitto, is a work so
MACAULAY. Glasgow: T. Murray & well known and appreciated that it needs

no recommendation from us. A new ediSon.

tion, under the care of Professor Porter, is We can only say at present that this is a being issued in sbilling parts. A DICTIONfull and searching reply to the speech of ANY OF THE BIBLE, by Brown, of Haddingthe Queen's Chaplain, exhibiting much ton, edited and revised by his son Dr. Wm. knowledge of the subject, considerable Brown, and now published in shilling parts, reasoning power, and a great command of is a thoroughly sound and useful work, and language.

considering the handsome form in which it

is produced, is remarkably cheap. The Preaching Christ Crucified. A Sermon by GARDENER'S MAGAZINE is as varied, lively, the J. OSWALD DYKES, A.M.

and useful as ever. OLD JONATHAN is a The Bright Morning Star. A Farewell valuable help to the pastor or Christian

Sermon. By the Rev. ANDREW Crich- visitor, containing much excellent matter
TON, B.A. Edinburgh : John Maclaren. and unusually fine woodcuts.

Two powerful sermons from young men whose present performances give promise of an honourable future. Particularly able is the sermon of Mr. Dykes, who dis

BOOKS RECEIVED. courses on preaching,” and well worthy the careful study of those on whom that

The Parables read in the light of the onerous duty rests.

Present Day. By Thomas GUTHRIE, D.D.
London: Alex. Strahan.

Waymarks for the Guidance of Little

Feet. By the Rev. J. A. WALLACE. MAGAZINES AND SERIALS. Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter. CHRISTIAN Work maintains its charac- London : Rivingtons.

Sunday Morning in Leather Lane. ter as a solid and practical publication.

The The April Number contains some able

Smaller Congregational Hymn articles and much valuable religious infor- Book. Jackson, Walford, and Hodder. mation. The SunDaY MAGAZINE grows Italy in some of its Political and Relibetter as it grows older. One contributor gious Aspects. By ROBERT Mc Ewen, Esq. to it-a vicar—is causing something like a Manchester : W. Wilson; London : J. sensation by a series of unusually able and / Nisbet and Co.






JUNE, 1866.





[ocr errors]

It is often alleged, that as the Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants, no other standard of truth should be used in the Church; that to set up forms of human composition as tests of orthodoxy is to infringe on the supremacy of Scripture, and practically to deny its perspicuity and perfection, by assuming that men can invent forms of expression more clear and distinct, or more perfect and better fitted to be standards of truth than the inspired Word of God. Again, it is said, that the enforcement of such tests is a violation of the freedom of inquiry and thought in religious matters; that it is to impose a human yoke on men's souls, to make the entrance of the kingdom of heaven narrower than Christ has left it, and to exalt human theories and modes of expression to a supremacy that keeps men's consciences in an unwarrantable state of bondage. It is not denied by those who urge these objections, that the Reformers and their successors, for more than one hundred years, while contending for liberty of conscience, and maintaining against the Papists the Bible as the only rule of faith, did not scruple to compose and employ Confessions of Faith; and so far were they from seeing in this anything inconsistent with their principles, that in those very documents they embodied very clear and emphatic statements of the sole authority of Scripture and the right of private judgment. But then it is said that they were really inconsistent in this; that they did not carry out their principles to their legitimate and necessary results; and that practically they did by the imposition and maintenance of human standards to some extent infringe upon that supremacy of Scripture and that liberi v of conscience which theoretically they asserted; and that the thorough carrying out the principles which alone justified the revolt from the Church of Rome would require the abolition of such standards as remnants of her tyranny. Such is the point of view from which all authoritative Confessions of Faith are regarded by not a few in the present day. Now it is not denied, that in some respects the Reformers failed to carry out to their full and fair extent the principles of Protestantism, and especially that right views on the subject of toleration and religious liberty were long of being established, either in theory or in practice, even among Protestants. It may be admitted further, that Church standards have sometimes been defended on grounds, and have often been used in ways, inconsistent with Protestant principles. But with all these admissions, it is still maintained that when they are rightly and judiciously framed and properly used, they do not deserve the abuse often poured upon them, and are thoroughly consistent with the inestimable ProNo. 222.-New Series.


[ocr errors]

testant principles of the supremacy of Scripture and the right of private judgment.

We propose at present to consider them in relation to the former of these principles, the supreme authority of Scripture, reserving for a future occasion their bearing on the right of free inquiry and private judgment. The supremacy of Scripture is undoubtedly one of the great fundamental principles of Protestantism. This truth was reasserted and bronight to light by the Reformers in opposition to the Church of Rome, which exalted tradition and the decisions of the Fathers and Councils to an authority equal to that of Scripture. Now, it is alleged, that a full recognition of the principle, that the Bible alone is the religion of Protestants, is fatal to the establishment or maintenance of any human compositions as tests of soundness in the faith. But we who use such documents maintain, as earnestly as any man can do, that the Word of God is the only rule of faith and practice, the only infallible and authoritative standard of truth; and we will not be satisfied with a mere assertion of the inconsistency of our practice with our principles. The burden of proof lies on those who oppose Church standards on this ground; and we are entitled to put it as a question to them, Wherein are we inconsistent in the use of them? Do we give to our Corfessions a co-ordinate authority with Scripture, as the Papists do to tradition ? No; we maintain that Scripture alone is the rule of faith. Do we, like the Papist, claim for the Church the exclusive right of interpreting Scripture, and say that Scripture must be understood as the Church standards have explained it ? No; we maintain that the Spirit who inspired the Word also interprets it; and that the Spirit is given for this purpose, not to Churchmen alone, but to all who seek his aid. Do we expect or desire men to give implicit faith to the Church's standards, and not to inquire or examine whether they are true or not ? No; we exhort all to search the Scriptures, whether these things are so, and to receive nothing as true unless they shall find it to be taught in Scripture. What, then, is the true position and use we assign to Church standards ? It is a very different one from that which belongs to the Bible. They are subordinate standards; and as such stand to the Church not only in a different but in an opposite relation to that of the Bible. They have no original or independent authority, as Scripture has; they derive all their authority from it; they are only accepted and maintained because they are in accordance with Scripture; this is the test by which they must be tried; and whenever it is made to appear that they are at variance with it they are to be rejected or amended.

The Church holds the Confessions in a very different way from that in which she holds the Bible. Indeed, she does not so much hold the Bible as she is held by it; the Church is created by the Bible, upheld and preserved in existence by it, controiled and guided by it in everything. But, on the other hand, the Church creates her own standards, and has them absolutely under her own control. While the Word of God holds and models the Church, the Church, on the other hand, holds and models the Creeds; the Bible makes known to us things that are true, and that are to be believed on the authority of God; the Creeds make known to us things that are believed by the Church, because found in the Word of God. When the faith of the Church is found at any time to be at variance with the Bible, she is bound to alter her faith to bring the two into harmony; when a like disagreement occurs between her faith and her Confession, she is bound to remove it, not by altering her faith, but by altering her Confession so as to agree with her altered faith. Hence the Church has been always ready to do this; and has in many instances discarded an existing Confession in favour of one that


« PreviousContinue »