Every species of co-operation with the appointed functionaries of an immoral and unscriptural civil government, may not imply the recognition of that power to be the ordinance of God. To co-operate with these for example, in the execution of justice, is not necessarily to acknowledge that the power is of God. If the forms of procedure be in themselves proper, and the laws just, the carrying of them into effect for the good of society and for the glory of God, is in itself right. But it is one thing to say that justice should be done in society, and also to aid in the execution of it, and it may be quite another to acknowledge that the civil rulers of the given society have a right to do so in virtue of authority from God. Justice should be done, by a civil power -- agreeable to God's preceptive will. If no such power exist, the community are to blame for not originating such a power. And if justice be not done, they are also culpable; -- because of the want of such a power justice is not to be undone. Were such to be allowed, the community would be chargeable with the crimes of both remaining without a proper civil power and permitting evil to be committed with impunity. To co-operate with an unlawful civil power in doing justice, is therefore to do less evil, yea more good, than would be done by refraining from co-operation.
The swearing of an oath by those called to testify to truth, or to act in the weighing of evidence, as on a jury, in order to the execution of justice, does not necessarily imply a recognition of the authority that calls to do so, to be of God. It is the using of a lawful means of giving assurance regarding truth necessary to be ascertained, but does not essentially imply that the claims of those exercising power to the use of that power, are good. A lawful constituted authority, whether civil or ecclesiastical, has a right to claim an oath for proper purposes. But an oath may be sworn to others besides. It may be sworn for a good end, even to those whose pretensions to power and authority may not be well founded, but not as if they had a right to claim it, but merely because of the giving of it being in itself right. The oath may be sworn for a proper purpose before an individual who has correct impressions of its sacredness, even though he may be acting for an unwarranted civil authority. It is not easy to conceive, however, how one could swear an oath to an infidel, or to any other who regards not the oath as a solemn religious engagement. The giving of an oath before a judge and jury, or on a jury before a judge, under an unscriptural government, does not include the recognition of those as using a power deputed by God; but contemplates them as Christian men, though mistaken as to their power, yet doing what is in itself right, and which, if done by those possessed of authority from God, would be done in all things, though imperfectly, according to his will. To swear to do justice, is not to swear an oath of allegiance to an evil power. The one is a duty; the other would be sinful. It is because that no better means of doing justice can be employed, that oaths to do justice in the said circumstances should be given. For the assumption of power which does not belong to them, those who make it, but not those who even make oath before them to do what is in itself good, while they protest against their unlawful claims to authority, are responsible.
A civil government must either be the ordinance of God or not. It cannot be viewed as acting, in some things, in the character of a power ordained of God, but in others, as not possessed of authority from him. A good government, like a true Christian, often does what is evil. But a bad government, like the wicked, even though it do what in itself is right, cannot be viewed as in possession of privilege from God, or as acting for his glory. Yet the inflicting of a just penalty, even by an unwarranted power, is not to be reckoned as injustice, or -- if a capital punishment, as murder. It is the claim to power which is made, but not the accomplishment of the deed of retribution -- which in itself is just, that is faulty. Take for example the execution of justice on a murderer. Murder is not the crime to be laid to the charge of those who, acting for or under the authority of a power that is not of God, on proper evidence put to death one who has unjustly taken away the life of a fellow creature. If a government not authorised by God, after due investigation put a murderer to death, they do what in itself is right; but if they do so as those who in their incorporate capacity act for Him, they do what is wrong. By the deed they are chargeable with the sin, not of murder, but of assuming to themselves a designation which they do not sustain. No man in society should take upon him by himself to execute justice for the shedding of blood, whether he live under a good or a bad government, except the government refuse to defend the lives and properties of subjects, and even as some, nay, many governments have been, be chargeable with oppression and bloodshed. The reason why none should so interfere, is, that it is likely that the whole community would execute justice with more propriety than an individual. Yea, a whole community under an improper civil power should not of itself execute justice, if there were an accessible power apart from or connected with it, in which were lodged authority from God. Those, however, who would in such circumstances claim that power, may often be looked upon with a jealous eye, as in general they would be found least entitled to the possession of it. Those who have most warrantably declaimed against evil constitutions, have been among those who were least given to assume to themselves a title to power; -- they have been found to defend themselves, but not rashly to usurp authority. If there were but one individual who could avenge bloodshed, and were his mind in a proper state, he would seem to have a call addressed to him to do so; failing to attend to it he would err. Were a community under an authority not of God, to fail to execute justice, they would be chargeable with two sins, -- that of letting the murderer go unpunished, and that of not, in recognising the law of God, forming a constitution or government gifted with power lawfully to proceed against the criminal. Thus were either an individual or a community to avenge bloodshed, a lawful power being awanting, such would not be chargeable with murder. Were a community to do so without acknowledging themselves to be possessed of authority from God, they would be chargeable with sin, for not endeavouring to constitute an authority having attributes which He would recognise as in accordance with his will. Were they to do so as if possessed of that authority, while destitute of it, they would be chargeable with the sin essentially of usurpation; and with them, because of this, others acting so as to support their claim, would be guilty.
Reflecting on the descending obligations of the British Covenants on the people of these lands, by the current of an eventful providence we are conducted to the consideration of the circumstances of the |Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.| The events in the National Church of Scotland which have led to the separation from her communion, of the Protesting Church, and finally, the disruption itself, cannot be forgotten. The struggle that was maintained for the rights of the Christian people, for the independence of Christ's house, and the glory of the Redeemer as King of Zion and King of kings, is worthy of the most cordial approbation. With those who were employed as the willing and honoured instruments of emancipating the Church from the tyrannical restraints under which she so long groaned, and effected a dissolution of a connection with the State, fraught with so many evils as have been long felt by her, there ought to be but one feeling of Christian sympathy. A testimony for the truth, calmly, and effectively, and devotedly, has been borne by her, to her lasting honour. The Church has declared that the government has acted a tyrannical and wicked part by interfering with her privileges; and the people of Scotland have practically and memorably said, that it is sinful for the Church of Christ to be connected with an anti-christian State. The government of the land has been baffled. The rulers were not overborne by the voices of a majority in either House of Parliament; but by a calm and efficient resolution, we do not say, becoming the Scottish people, but worthy of Christian men, they have been defeated; and that would be wise policy, indeed, which would remove the shame of their overthrow. For the steps of reformation taken, for the noble sacrifice made by those who gave up their emoluments that they might be faithful, commendation is due; and that the Free Protesting Church may come to maintain, to its utmost extent, not merely doctrinally but practically, the testimony of Christ, is ardently to be desired. The accession of a great proportion of the youth preparing for the ministry, and of those engaged as itinerants in preaching the gospel, is a token for good; and the devotedness of the people of Scotland on the great emergency, in adhering to the |Protesting Church,| and in yielding of their substance for it, is peculiarly cheering to the mind. The countenance given by those of the Presbyterian Church in England who were present, was encouraging and estimable, as it might have been expected; while the approving sentiments expressed by those from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, in their circumstances, were truly honouring to them, and to that community. It was becoming others that by deputation they testified to their approval of the step taken at the great disruption. And, though what is here said is asserted on individual responsibility alone, it is declared, without fear of being in error, that another Community in the land -- who consider it to be their duty to adhere to the whole of the Second Reformation, and to the testimonies of the martyrs who suffered after it, though not present by representation at the memorable secession, in order to signify their approbation, do rejoice at the step, and trust to see it followed by other procedures alike faithful.
The importance of the effects that are possible to follow from the disruption, demands the exercise of great wisdom on the part of the Protesting Church. Not less than the power to originate the great movement that has taken place, is requisite ability to direct it aright. The people of Scotland, like a mighty mass, have been brought to act; much depends upon the plan according to which the moving body may be made to bear. The future interests of the land, under Providence, would seem to be in the hands of those who now guide the ecclesiastical movement. The destinies of Scotland were in the hands of a few in days of peril. They were not unworthy of the trust committed to them. By the adoption of the same principles which the martyrs practically illustrated, be it the honour of the Protesting Church, free from persecution, if the Lord will, but still faithfully, though called to suffering, to transmit to posterity a legacy, ennobling and beneficial as that which those left.
It is necessary that the Church of Christ should proceed on principles laid down in the Divine word. When it does not do this, it acts not in character, but gives the enemies of the truth occasion to load it with reproach. The |Free Presbyterian Church| sustaining, as we conceive, the character of a Church of Christ, should do so in all things.
It is Presbyterian, and is therefore called to base its attachment to that form of government, on the principle, that it is of Divine right. To maintain, or admit, that other forms of Church government are of Divine original, is to surrender a scriptural truth, to act as if facts in providence could modify the institutes of that society which is essentially spiritual, to become liable to inefficiency in the maintenance of the truth, and to give scope to the unworthy suggestions of those who would contend, that what right even the Church maintains on an improper ground, other communities besides could claim as well as she. The state has no right to claim the prerogatives of the Church, nor to dictate to her the form of her government, or prescribe for her in other matters. The State has no right to say to the Church, that, because she does not hold presbyterianism on proper grounds, therefore it might declare that her government shall be prelatic. But, by holding Presbytery as alone of Divine origin, she would most effectively discountenance such unjust claims.
The Church, by a noble act, has thrown off the fetters of erastianism that had for so long been fastened upon her; let her act so as to be on her guard against every encroachment of that nature that might be proposed by the civil power. The struggle for the independence of the Church was resolutely maintained, and the yoke of those who attempted to diminish it, was dutifully thrown off. Let not any overture hereafter, ranging between complete submission to the State, and the mere use of the veto, on the part of the civil power, upon the appointment of a given minister to a congregation, though made by the State in the most attractive manner, be entertained. But let it be practically shown, as well as solemnly resolved by her, that she recognises only one Master -- who is in heaven.
During the last few years, an arduous struggle has been maintained, in order to secure, as far as possible, the rights of the christian people. Now, it is possible to put the people in possession of the unfettered privilege of electing their own office-bearers; but to put any other party in possession of that right, would be to do those injury. The claims of lay patrons are without foundation in the word of God. The claims of presbyteries, or any other parties than the members of the Church themselves, are alike unsupported there. In order that the Church may act in character, her procedure in regard to the election of pastors and elders, must be scriptural. It is true, that whether the Church act scripturally or not, no civil class are warranted to usurp her rights; yet, were her procedure not according to the law of Christ, she would act undutifully, and would give advantage to enemies to declaim against her, to the diminution of her influence for good. Though the Church were to declare for The Call, merely on the principle of expediency, but not as if according to the will of Christ, the State would have no proper ground for affirming, that therefore it had a right to use patronage -- its principle of expediency; for a right of the Church can never be transferred to a civil power; yet the Church, by not legislating on scriptural grounds, could not act in such a manner as to deserve the recognition of her by the people as proceeding according to her true character.
The last few years have added to the Church of Scotland a high proportion of godly and devoted ministers. Errors, that would have been winked at in previous periods by some in her Assemblies, have been brought to light, and the laws of Christ's house have been brought to bear on those who maintained them. Purity of doctrine was a jewel among the late reforming majority. The orthodoxy of the ministers in general of the separated Church is undoubted. She adheres to the Confession of Faith. It is requisite that she direct a testimony against unsound doctrine, including the errors prevalent now in Churches called Christian; and that whatever scheme of co-operation with other Christians she may embark in, may be consistent with her regard for the truth.
The Headship of Christ over the nations is maintained by the Protesting Church; on that is founded the principle of the establishment of religion by the civil magistrate; that, was recognised in the late contendings with the civil powers, and especially in the second series of resolutions made at the Convocation of November; on that principle these resolutions were carried into effect at the late disruption; -- it is desirable that, in the progress of the newly modelled community the principle be properly applied. The important application of that, which is now necessary, is the lifting up of a protest against the civil power, as immoral and unscriptural, and a consistent course of procedure in consequence. What justifies the disruption requires a dissent from the civil power, as a power not of God. That State with which the Church could not be connected, so as to enjoy her own privileges, cannot be the ordinance of God. If the government has been guilty of violating the rights and privileges of the Presbyterians of Scotland, has it not been acting in opposition to the will of Christ, and setting at nought his authority? Were the civil government possessed of less influence than it really has, men would likely be disposed to esteem it more agreeably to its true character, than they really are. Is an individual denounced for an act of injustice or oppression? And why should not a government? Even is a government, acting for the time being, worthy of being denounced for some things, and yet worthy of approbation, as if acting for God? Yea, is that constitution sound which admits of tyranny over the Church -- injustice of a highly aggravated character, to be cordially supported by those who complain of its oppression? The same pretensions to power over her, that were put forth in acts of parliament, when the Church was disorganised, and for acting on which the house of the Stuarts was driven from the British throne, have been of late made in the councils of the nation. Can the power that would do so be approved? Why should any cling to an oath of allegiance to a power that, in this particular, as well as in others, is anti-christian? All have reason to beware of the attractions of such civil powers. What is it that gives evil governments their influence, but their power to terrify, and their wealth and honours to seduce? In one case, the ministers of the Community to whom we now direct our thoughts, have nobly cast the latter aside. It becomes her to act in other matters consistently with this. There are those who would overthrow the institutions of the land, that are noble, and plant anarchy where oppression flourished. But her principles, yea, the principles of all who hold the truth, are the reverse. These would wish that good men in power should be brought to see what is duty. They would not refuse to obey laws that in themselves are right. But they should not do so from a regard to the authorities in the land that enjoin them. If the present system of civil government cannot stand of itself, why should the people of Scotland, escaped from the trammels of tyranny, pledge themselves to support it? They ought not to bring in revolution, but neither ought they to continue, by adhering to their oath of allegiance, to give countenance to an unlawful civil power. Let their determination, and that of their brethren in the other parts of the empire, prove itself to be of a nobler order than what will be abated by unfavourable circumstances. Let it be put forth in leading to abstain from countenancing an evil constitution, and to raise above the fear of consequences. Arising from Christian principle, deep hid in the breast, let it give an energy which opposition would only increase, and which death itself would not subdue, but hand over with increased vigour to others.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland should recognise the attainments made during the Second Reformation. Whatever steps of real reformation have been taken of late, have been in accordance with some of these. It is desirable that all of them should now be adopted. Tho Revolution Settlement suffered not the Church to advance beyond the Reformation made at 1592. Now that that compact has been abandoned by the Church herself, let her occupy fully the ground on which the Reformers, between 1638 and 1649, so honourably stood. By some laws of the land, indeed, many of these are condemned. But these laws are monuments of the tyranny and oppression of the government that made them. The Revolution Church of Scotland never recognised, as a whole the brightest attainments made in the history of the Church in the land. During the late contest, indeed, the Act of Assembly, 1647, adopting the Westminster Confession, has been pleaded as the Act of the Church of Scotland at the Revolution, which had been made by the same Church before. But though that could not have been properly maintained without admitting that other laws of the former era, not ecclesiastically repealed, were also the law of the Church at the latter, let the Church, now that she is completely unfettered, by ecclesiastical legislation solemnly adopt all the distinct attainments of the second reforming period, and thus serve herself an heir to the highest privileges enjoyed by the Church in our land.
It is good that the Free Presbyterian Church contemplates the erection of a Theological Seminary for a rising ministry. May it be called into operation, and greatly prosper; and may her youth -- kept from the chilling influences of error, evangelically instructed and eminently pious, prove the means of diffusing widely the truth, in consequence of a momentous reformation.
And, above all, it is necessary that the Free Presbyterian Church should have regard to explicit solemn covenant obligations. The vows of God, made by the Church in this land, are upon her; these she ought to acknowledge, and to endeavour to renew. Though these covenants were condemned by the laws of the land, they are still binding. The act of Queen Anne was against the Revolution Settlement, and, therefore, the reforming party in the Church of late declared that it was unconstitutional. The Revolution Settlement itself was based upon the overthrow of the whole of the Covenanted Reformation; and no more than the act of Queen Anne, regarding patronage, ought the sinful parts of it to be regarded. Popery exists, and Prelacy, absorbing Popery, exists. Would that the Free Presbyterian Church, by recognising the binding obligation of the covenants, National, and Solemn League and Covenant, and by adding to the binding obligations of these, engagements suited to the times, were to go forth in opposition to all evil, in all the gracious vigour of a faithful witness for the whole truth.
The movement that has been lately made, contemplated in its highest character, appears the work of God. By a wondrous providence he has shut up the Church to a course of duty, and has plainly indicated the necessity to persevere in it. On the other hand, contemplating the human instrumentality called to accomplish an estimable work, and approving much of the agents immediately employed, we should not be forgetful of the corresponding efforts made in time past, even in the National Church. Our heart is to the memory of such as had in their view the objects lately contended for, and in a day when the rights of the people were trampled on without remorse, willingly lifted the voice in the Assembly against patronage, and otherwise laboured for the removal of its flagrant enormities. There was good principle in the National Church, but evil caused much of it to be unseen, though some of it remained manifest. Gold may be dissolved by a compound acid, and for a time may cease to be observed, but not beyond the power of re-appearing. The gold cannot be decomposed: let a test be added, and the indestructible ore will re-appear. By a powerful solvent the noble principle in the National Church became nearly all invisible, though some of it could not be dissolved. A test has been added, and the whole has been precipitated, and nearly all of it has come out. The sound principle and piety in the Church were the gold; moderatism, including erastianism and patronage, was the solvent; a wondrous providence applied a test; and the gold of true excellence shines forth. Let it be united by Covenanting, into one glorious mass, and be exhibited for beauty, and glory to God. Let the Free Presbyterian Church, remembering the past, wisely look forward to the future; and, reflecting upon what may be the effect of its procedure on other nations of the world, now act so as to present an example worthy the imitation of all. And it is humbly presumed that the standing of the Church, in the days of her greatest glory and efficiency in the land, in preference to every other, claims her adoption. The position, ecclesiastical and civil, of the friends and followers of the Second Reformation, like an ancient fortress held by comparatively few, but venerable from its eventful history, remarkable amid the ruin which time has laid around it, and displaying a massive grandeur as it rests on its broad and solid foundations, which had, during periods not very remote, been contemplated more as an affecting memorial of the past, than as a strength which should be available in time to come, has of late, while tyranny made progress, been somewhat approached, as it stands begirt with its gigantic bulwarks, surmounted with the banner of the Covenant, manifestly high above all other means of defending the Church; and it faithfully promises a vantage-ground, noble from its commanding altitude, and unassailable within its high defences, to which all in the land who love the truth should come, that to whatever outward peril they might be brought, they might maintain their christian warfare, to their continued honour and final triumph.
In order to suggest a good basis, whereon all in the land who hold the truth might unite in a capacity more or less intimate, the following observations are humbly presented for consideration. The friends of truth cannot justifiably persevere in supporting the British Constitution as the ordinance of God. The government, in order to its dignity and efficiency, proclaims itself to be worthy of cordial support. The claims which it puts forth may not be regarded by itself as of a very high order, yet it views them as indisputable; and even, though manifestly not an ordinance of God nor friendly to true religion, it seeks to strengthen its authority by availing itself of the use of a most sacred institution in religion -- the oath. The government itself, though for certain ends it applies the oath, is not scriptural. And why should good men claim for it the character of an ordinance of God, to which even of itself it does not aspire? What right has an unscriptural civil power, any more than a corrupt ecclesiastical constitution, -- what right has the British Constitution, any more than the Church of Rome, to claim for itself in things civil, the title, such as that usurps in things ecclesiastical, of an ordinance of God? Nay, the very fact of a government in gospel times supporting Popery, must cut it off from the title of a power delegated from above. It is simply because bad civil governments have great influence, that they lead men to pay them a deference which they would not yield to other systems charged with their evils. Why is an evil government at one period viewed as the ordinance of God, and at another as worthy of being overthrown? Does the character of such change by the accumulation or the long pressure of the very same -- not new, evils? In the former case, the people who approve, misapprehend its true character, while they are able to endure; in the latter, they see it clearly, oppression having opened their eyes. Such were the governments of Charles II. and James VII. Though some approved of them as the ordinance of God, yet, at the Revolution, the nation declared that they were not. And consequently they should never have been acknowledged as such. Men acknowledge the British Constitution at present as a power ordained of God. If Puseyism go on till the Protestantism of the empire be swamped in an inundation of Popery, the nation will form right views of the subject. May they soon entertain such views, lest such an event arrive!
The friends of truth under the present government should say to it in such a manner as not to be misunderstood, -- We will obey your good laws, because they are good; but by oaths or otherwise we will not recognise your authority as of God. -- We will co-operate with you in doing what is good; but so long as you continue to support evil, we cannot swear allegiance to you. Abolish all oaths of allegiance, and we will act along with you in every right matter. -- Were all those who hold the truth in the united kingdom to do so, would not the request extort regard? And might not rulers see the propriety of yielding? Were such oaths to the present government abolished, then those who love the truth might enter parliament, and act without being responsible for the evils of the civil constitution and of the administration, and at the same time lead to essential political reformation; and the people could with a clear conscience return to parliament such men as might be possessed of proper character, and be of known attachment to the truth. Were a door opened in this manner for men consistently uttering their voice in the councils of the nation, then means should be assiduously used, on the part of the people and on the part of their representatives, for scripturally reforming the State, and for giving to true religion that external countenance and support which is due to it. The government would not act a weak part in conceding the abolition of the oath in the said cases. It would rather thereby attach to the support of what is good in it, men who would be equally at least with all others, amenable to every good law, but bound to duty by ties far stronger than those which human laws themselves could fasten. A good government should maintain the oath; but a government such as the British, ought not to claim it for the purpose of securing allegiance. That government seems at present disposed to concede the abolition of that oath to the Catholics of Ireland. Why should not the friends of truth in the empire, strive for the abolition of the oaths of allegiance sworn by themselves, in using which they, directly or indirectly, support what is evil, while Catholics are unwilling to swear, because, that by swearing they are in some measure prevented from giving scope to their own cause?
Even in order to abolish these oaths, the going into parliament by swearing any of them, cannot be recommended. But since legislators in either house, having sworn oaths of allegiance -- even not justifiable, are in possession of privileges, for the time being, of which the Legislature cannot deprive them, let such have put into their hands, memorials on the subject, by the people, and let them use their privilege in order to gain their object. It does not appear how any one can act dutifully by remaining in parliament, except in endeavouring to carry into effect this measure.
But should Popery continue to make progress, as it has done of late, and receive more countenance from the civil power, the friends of truth would find it difficult, in any way to co-operate with the government, but would be urged to take higher ground, in opposition to error, or even tyranny, than they have in general lately taken. They may even have to confederate against powers that would seek to rob them of their christian privileges -- wherewith the Lord Jesus has gifted them. Should they have to engage in a struggle for these, let their efforts be made without hesitation or wavering. Let their minds be wholly devoted. Under the influence of that faith which makes humble, but also enables to do all things in the strength of Christ, let them enter on duty. Having taken up their position, as if bound by the adamantine chain of necessity, yet free as the orbs of heaven -- under the influence of gravity, let them, cordially engaged to one another, occupy that ground, there to stand or fall together. Let there be taken by them the calm and noble resolution, which knows not to fail; which fear cannot agitate, nor outward evils diminish; which peril and distress would only display in all its mighty strength; which, immovable as the pillars of heaven, stedfast in the midst of opposition, as the summit of the mountain on which the thunderbolts are expended in vain, would sustain undismayed the assault of every foe; which though pressed to the utmost would not desert the field; but which, though like the warrior, black and weary through the toil of conflict, it might be misrepresented or not recognised, would at some era, more or less remote, shine forth in the glory of victory, to be celebrated and employed for good in all time to come.
The Reformed Presbyterian Church has for some time had in view the performance of the duty of Covenanting in her social capacity. There are the most abundant reasons why the object should be more and more steadily contemplated, till it be attained. We profess that Covenanting is a duty. We have not for a length of time engaged socially in the formal discharge of it. We acknowledge ourselves to be bound by the obligations of the Church of God in past times, especially of his Church in these lands; and should view ourselves, as by these obligations bound to the duty. An example should be set by us to others who do not entertain the same views of the importance of the duty that we do. The events of the age are arousing. Many are making efforts for the maintenance of the truth. The enemies of true religion are on the alert. Besides, within the last few years, many, some of whom, we should trust, love the truth, though their views of parts of it would seem to be inadequate, have acted as if men become engaged to a system of conduct only when they promise to follow it; and have virtually acted as if their own doings could bind them to a given course. Be it ours, by Covenanting to testify practically, that we feel bound to pledge ourselves to the service of God, not by caprice, but according to his law, -- commanding to vow, and finding those who enter into covenant bound by his authority through their own deed. Let us not be undecided. There is duty incumbent on us which we cannot devolve on others. Let us be active, lest even the tide of liberalism, like a refluent wave, bring society back to a sea of trouble, before the glorious work of Covenanting which will be performed in future times will be begun, and we who should have used direct means to lead to it will be dishonoured. That some are engaged in making reformation, is no reason why we should not be diligent. We have our duty to perform; and in being most active ourselves, we would most heartily show that we approve of the faithful exertions of these others. Our duties are peculiar. If we make no progress, we encourage not the movements for good, of society around us. While we rejoice to think of many maintaining truth, we also ought to advance to duty. We would account it incumbent on us to stand steadfastly by the side of all the lovers of true godliness in the nation, in defending the interests of truth and righteousness. By doing the service incumbent on us at present, we would most completely take means to lead to union of purpose and exertion, the most effective. We ought not to anticipate the good that may be done by others in such a manner as to suppose, that little will be required at our hands. Whatever step of obedience we take will aid in encouraging others; but, wherein we may now fail to advance, when victory will be complete, we will, like a squadron on the field, waiting for the success or aid of a fellow-battalion, fail of attaining to the true honour that will be shared in the triumph of truth.
Of the years 1661, 1662.
See a valuable pamphlet, entitled, |The Revolution Settlement considered in reference to the independence and present position of the Church of Scotland.| Glasgow: 1840.
For a luminous view of what would seem to be the Church's duty at present, we refer to an article in the |Scottish Presbyterian| for May, 1843, entitled, |Friendly Hints to the projected Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.|
On the subject of the duty of those who still abide by the Establishment, see three powerful and seasonable discourses, entitled, |Come out and be separate,| by the Rev. Dr. Bates. Glasgow, 1843.