« PreviousContinue »
tinian, although taught more clearly and solemnly by our Lord Himself than by any of His prophets or apostles. Those doctrines lie at the foundation of the whole system of redemption. They enter into all genuine Christian experience. They are essential to the purity and power of religion. They are believed by all Christians with the heart, even when rejected by the understanding, and denied with the lips. Every true believer is an Augustinian on his knees. When the Holy Spirit convinces a man of sin, He convinces him that he is lost; that he can no more save himself than he can raise the dead; that if delivered from the pollution and condemnation of sin, it must be by the supernatural and almighty power of God, exercised in the sovereignty of His love, and through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ as his substitute and surety, and by His prevalent intercession, without a shadow of merit or worthiness on his part. That such are the experience and inward convictions of every true Christian, is proved by Scripture, by history, and by the common consciousness of the Church.'
“ It is exceedingly painful to stand aloof from such a movement. We were in the Philadelphia Convention, and felt the full power of the spirit by which that assembly was pervaded. And had we been in either of the Assemblies recently convened in New York, we doubt not our hearts would have melted with the rest. Neither popular opinion, however, nor popular feeling, is the rule either of faith or practice. While constrained thus to dissent from a majority of our brethren, for whom we cherish undiminished respect and confidence, we still hope for the best. We earnestly pray, that, should the union be consummated, it may produce not only a great increase of efficiency, but also of the power of religion and zeal for the truth. If the truth be lost, all is lost. Our numbers, wealth, and influence, will avail us nothing." Christian Singers of Germany. By Catharine Winkworth. Crown
8vo. Pp. 340. London: Macmillan & Co. 1869. Tue Wesleys were among the first in England that discovered that in the German language there was a vast store of Christian song, rich in beauty, and remarkable for the vigour with which it expressed in a poetic form the leading truths of the Gospel, especially those that the struggles of the Reformation brought into great prominence before the minds of men. Of this discovery the Wesleys made good
Some of the best of their hymns are merely adaptations into English of what they had found in the treasures of Germany. Since their time there have been few good hymn writers in this country that have not been largely indebted to the same source. The discovery of the Wesleys was in reality no new discovery. The Scotch Reformers were before them. " The Gude and Godlie Ballates” of 1578, republished by Mr Laing last year, after having become the rarest of books, and Mr George Macdonald's translations of Luther's
Spiritual Songs” in the Sunday Magazine for 1867, now afford full materials for comparing the Psalms and Hymns of the Scotch Reformers with those of the German. The comparison abundantly shows that the hymn writers of Scotland at the Reformation were perfectly
familiar with the Christian Singers of Germany. Several of their Psalms, and many of the Hymns that accompany them, are little else than translations from the Songs of Luther and his associates. There is nothing remarkable in this, when we remember that Patrick Hamilton, Ales, and the Wedderburns, studied under
Luther and Melanchthon. As a specimen of this indebtedness to Germany, we may take a few stanzas from Luther's well-known
Song for Christmas Eve," as translated by Mr Macdonald, and put alongside them the corresponding verses in the “Compendious Book of Psalms and Spiritual Songs," commonly known as “The Gude and Godlie Ballates," with the spelling slightly modernised :
Miss Winkworth's volume is a series of short biographical sketches of the leading hymn writers of the land of Luther, and the sketches are followed by translations of their best efforts. Miss Winkworth's labours in the “Lyra Germanica” have made her largely acquainted with the German hymn writers, and she has certainly done more than any living writer to bring their productions before the English mind. The result is a book full of interest, such as no one but herself could have done so well, and a book that will be much prized by students of the nobler parts of German literature. Miss Winkworth is obviously Broad Church in her principles, and does scant justice to Calvinism, which she evidently has studied elsewhere than in the pages of Calvin himself. Neither the great Reformer nor the Westminster Confession ever denied, as she fancies, that God is a loving Father over all His creatures.
Many of the translations are very happily done. One of the best is that with which the volume closes. It is a lyric of Friedrich Rueckert's, a distinguished poet, who died in 1866. It is
BETHLEHEM AND CALVARY.
Whose birth has brought us life and light;
He died that broke Death's cruel might.
How hath your pomp been swept away;
By power that knows not of decay!
Wherein did toiling mortals build
Not peace, wherewith your depths are filled.
Fair Schiraz' gardens of the rose;
Ye shores where soft the spice-wind blows,
and life's true Fountain see
Against which half the world to-day
Lit by thy Crescent's pallid ray:
The childish form, the manger poor ;
All pain didst on the Cross endure.
The kings approach, to worship there
The Paschal Lamb, the shepherd race;
As pilgrims to the Holy Place.
But with the Spirit let us go,
As Christ is conquering still below.
Afar through Orient lands to roam ;
And this the word I bring you home :
His cradle where the sunrise glows?
The grave whence long ago He rose ?
News of the Church.
On the 11th ult., Mr Allan M'Dougall, A.M., by the Presbytery of Paisley
CALL TO REV. ALEXANDER DAVIDSON, STROMNESS. On the 23rd ult., the Congregation of Rothesay gave a call to Rev. Alexander Davidson of Stromness. Rev. John H. Thomson, Eaglesham, preached and presided.
PRESBYTERY OF GLASGOW. ---ACCEPTANCE OF CALL.
This Presbytery met at Glasgow on the 10th ult., when the call from Greenock to Rev. Andrew Symington of Laurieston was accepted.
PRESBYTERY OF PAISLEY, This Presbytery met at Paisley on the 11th ult.-Rev. J. H. Thomson, Eaglesham, moderator.
The commissioners appointed at last meeting to prosecute the call from Greenock before the Glasgow Presbytery, reported that Rev. A. Symington had accepted. The induction was fixed for Wednesday, the 1st inst., at seven o'clock-Rev. G. Clazy, to preach ; Rev. J. Hamilton, to induct; and Rev. J. H. Thomson, to give the charges.
Mr A. M‘Pherson appeared as commissioner from Rothesay, with a petition for a moderation. The petition was granted, and the 23rd ult. appointed for the moderation.
Mr Allan M.Dougall, A.M., gave in his trials for license, which were cordially sustained, and he was licensed to preach the Gospel.
DUNDEE. -ORDINATION OF REV. JOHN WYLIE.
On Thursday, the 12th ult., the Edinburgh Presbytery met at Dundee for the ordination of Mr John Wylie, probationer. There was a large attendance. Dr Binnie, Stirling, and Mr Edgar, Glasgow, being present, were invited to a seat in court. After the usual arrangements the Presbytery adjourned to the church. Rev. Dr Goold, of Edinburgh, preached from Mark vii. 24, “He could not be hid;" Rev. T. Martin, Strathmiglo, put the questions of the Formula, and offered prayer; Rev. W. White, Carnoustie, addressed the newly ordained minister and the congregation. The members of Presbytery and friends afterwards dined in Mr Lamb's Hotel,- Thomas Binnie, Esq., Glasgow, presided. In the evening a soiree was held in the church,-Rev. John Wylie in the chair.
The meeting was addressed by the chairman, who gave an account of the circumstances by which this much-tried congregation has risen to its present highly promising state; by Rev. Dr Binnie, Stirling; Rev. J. R. M'Gavin, D.D., United Presbyterian Church, Dundee ; Rev. W. White, Carnoustie; Rev. J. Edgar, Glasgow; Rev. R. Naismith, Chirnside; Messrs Binnie and Wylie, Glasgow; Towert, Edinburgh; and M'Connell and Wilson, of the congregation. Rev. John Edgar introduced Mr Wylie on the following Sabbath to his people.
UNION QUESTION-REPORT OF THE UNION
EDINBURGH, August 20, 1869. It was agreed at the last meeting of Synod, that, in the course of the year, an opportunity should be given to the Church generally, of pondering the conclusions at which the Joint Committee had arrived, as presented in their Report. For this purpose, instructions were given to print the whole Report in the Magazine of the Church, and to forward one or two copies to the Sessions of the different congregations. These instructions have been fulfilled. It is hoped that, long by this time, the members of the Church have given that serious and thoughtful attention to the various matters brought up for their consideration in the Report, which their great importance demands.
In connection with the duty to which the Church is thus summoned, the Union Committee, at its last meeting, resolved to commend the whole subject to the special prayers of the Church. Similar appeals have been issued by the Union Committees of the other Churches engaged in negotiations for union. The Supreme Courts also have indicated, in the resolutions they have adopted, a conviction of the importance of prayer in connection with a movement on which the spiritual life and vigour of Scottish Presbyterianism in future years, under the Divine blessing, may in a great measure depend.
We would be the last to defend or plead for any compromise of