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SELECTIONS. From Rev. T. Boston's "BODY OF DIVINITY." The glutton and the drunkard, in Scripture language, are equivalent to a ne'er-do-weel in ours. It is a beastly sin. A heathen calls the glutton's belly a swine's trough.
A man may sin against God and his own body in the intemperate use of any sensual pleasure whatsoever, though in itself lawful; and no doubt much guilt is contracted in the intemperate use of tobacco, and such like things.
Where both grace and good manners are wanting, it is little wonder that people break their necks over one another.
Uncleanness is a sin that very few ever get grace to repent of. It stupefies the conscience, and washes all sense of sin from it. I have seen, alas! too many that have made public satisfaction for that sin; and allow me to say, I have seen very few by whose repentance I was much edified. : Every.man ought to have a lawful calling and employment, and duly use it, that so he may be useful to himself, and worth his room in th world, and not mice and rats, good for nothing but to devour what others labour for.
We must deal with God as if the eyes of men were on us, and with men as knowing the eyes of God are on us.
Slothfulness in business is next to doing nothing at all; and they that cannot put down their hands to work diligently, will hardly miss, some time or other, to put out their hands to steal.
By inveigling themselves unnecessarily in law pleas, the contentious humours of some have made them like the ass in the fable, that seeking his horns lost his ears. While with others, cautionry, or suretyship, has proved but a plucking the bread out of the mouths of their own, to put it in the mouths of strangers.
The way of sin is down the hill: let the devil get in a finger, and he will have in his hand next. He that will sin for a little will mend his service, if the devil will mend his wages; he will go from less to more till he come to the gallows here and to hell hereafter.
A Pythagorean bought a pair of shoes upon trust; the shoemaker dies, the philosopher is glad, and thinks them gain, but a while after his conscience twitches him, he repairs to the house of the dead, casts in his money with these words, " There, take thy due, thou livest to me, though dead to all besides.”
Reviews and Notices. The Prodigal's Return : its Lessons of Penitence and Pardon. By
Rev. W. Ritchie, Dunse. Small crown 8vo. Pp. 250. Edinburgh: W. Oliphant. 1869. There is no parable whose beauty and fulness of instruction has been more universally acknowledged than that of the Prodigal Son; and, perhaps, there is no part of Scripture of the same length, upon which, both in this country and in Germany, Protestantism has contributed so much valuable exposition. Its contents amply justify all that has been said of it, and upon it, “ for,” in the characteristic language of Henry, "it has been, and will be, while the world stands, of unspeakable use to poor sinners, both to direct and to encourage them in repenting, and in returning to God."
Mr Ritchie's volume is another contribution to the interpretation of the teaching of our Lord in this parable. His aim is to keep in view throughout the paramount object of the Saviour; to set forth the different steps of repentance unto life; and to show its benign result in the welcome and forgiveness of Sovereign grace;” and he has largely succeeded. In a lively and popular manner, and with much fulness of illustration, he presents the lesson of this crown and pearl of all parables. Homiletics and Pastoral Theology. By W. G. T. Shedd, D.D., Bald
win Professor in Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Crown 8vo. Pp. 375. Edinburgh: W. Oliphant & Co. 1869. Dr Shedd was, previous to his present professorship, occupant of the Chair of Sacred Rhetoric and Pastoral Theology in Auburn. The volume before us is one of the fruits of this early Professorship. It discusses "The relation of Sacred Eloquence to Biblical Exegesis, “Style,” “ Sermonizing,” “ Different species of sermons, nature and choice of a text,” “The plan of a sermon,
" Extemporaneous preaching," " The matter, manner, and spirit of preaching,' etc. Dr Shedd writes with clearness and force, and even beauty of style. His views are evangelical, and much sound sense characterises all that he says. Hence he has produced a book of no small value, and full of interest both to a Christian minister and a Christian hearer. Messrs Oliphant deserve credit for reproducing it in this country in so attractive a form. It will at once take rank as our best text-book on Homiletics and Pastoral Theology.
News of the Church.
BELFAST PRESBYTERY OF EASTERN REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN SYNOD-LICENSURE OF
At a meeting of the Belfast Presbytery of the Eastern Synod on Dec. 1st., John Fritz Beck, M.A., M.D., gave in the rest of his trials for license. All were cordially sustained, and he was licensed to preach the Gospel. Dr Beck, although under the care of the Eastern Synod, has gone through the full curriculum of five years theological study at our Theological Hall in Edinburgh.
This Presbytery met at Paisley on the 5th ult.--Rev. C. N. M'Caig moderator. The moderator and clerk reported the result of their visit to the Kilmarnock Presbytery with the call from Rothesay to Rev. J. Jackson of Girvan. It had been declined.
Rev. J. H. Thomson of Eaglesham was chosen moderator for the present year, and Rev. G. Clazy interim clerk.
Mr Alexander M-Pherson and Mr Neil M‘Lean, commissioners from Rothesay, made a statement in regard to the congregation there. The Presbytery expressed their satisfaction at the desire of the congregation to maintain ordinances among them, and to remain in connection with the Synod. Rev. John Hamilton of Renton was appointed to dispense the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in Rothesay on Sabbath, the 31st ult.
The commissioners expressed a desire to secure the services of an advanced student to labour as home missionary among them. The clerk was empowered to correspond with a student for such an object.
Rev. C. N. M‘Caig and Rev. D. Taylor were appointed to correspond with the Home Mission Committee respecting the congregation at Lorn. The Presbytery expressed their desire that the Rev. Donald M‘Lachlan receive as much support from the Church as possible.
Arrangements were made for the triennial visitation of the congregations within the bounds of the Presbytery.
This Presbytery met on the 12th ult. It was agreed that a moderation be granted to West Campbell Street on the 29th ult. Rev. John Edgar to preach and preside.
Arrangements were made for the triennial visitation of the congregations in the bounds of the Presbytery.
After lengthened discussion, it was agreed, in consideration of the present aspect of ecclesiastical affairs, to emit the following resolutions :
"I. That nations, in their national capacity, are under responsibility to God and to His Son, and are bound, under all modifications of government, devoutly to acknowledge the Supreme Ruler, and in their practical actings to have respect to the Divine Law, and to the will of Him' by whom kings reign and princes decree judgment.'
“II. That while there is no warrant for regarding the civil establishment of the Church as an express Divine institute, everywhere binding, yet it is not inconsistent with the nature and ends either of the Church or of the State, for a nation to appropriate a portion of its national resources towards the maintenance and extension of the Church, when this may be judged expedient, and when it can be done on principles that are just, and that harmonise with the Church's purity and freedom, and with the peace, welfare, and religious interests of the people.
“III. That, nevertheless, in the actual condition of things in this country, the Church being divided into so many separate denominations, and the nation itself so little capable of dealing, on sound principles, with ecclesiastical questions, it is unwarrantable to urge the principle of the civil establishment of the Church as if it were an indispensable test of loyalty to the Messiah, or essential to the religion of the nation; inasmuch as to do so is to expose ourselves to the danger of substituting a nationally sanctioned form of religion for the prevalence, among all classes, of that righteousness which exalteth a nation.'
"IV. That the unwarrantableness involved in strongly urging, in present circumstances, the principle of the civil establishment of the Church is greatly aggravated by the fact, that those who do so are in imminent danger of being implicated in the sin connected with the maintenance of existing establishments, and so of falling away from that energetic and practical protest against the Erastian supremacy of the State which has all along been one of the most prominent and characteristic articles of the Testimony of the Reformed Church of Scotland; a Testimony, the renewal of which seems specially demanded at the present time, when those in the State favourable to existing establishments, so plainly declare civil supremacy over the Church to be an essential condition of their existence, as well as a safeguard to the religious liberty of the subject.
“V. That the great mission of the Church, which carries in it as its ultimate aim the subjugation of the nations to the Messiah, is seriously hindered by the Church herself coming so sadly short of her own Scriptural standard in regard to sanctity, nobleness, and spirituality; and in particular, in her failing to set before the view of men, in the varied departments of civil life, an example, in her style of sentiment and speech, of that forbearance, and candour, and courtesy, and general dignity of deportment, which befits those who would transact the affairs of the Kingdom of God' on principles so sacred, and in a spirit so lovely and attractive as would suggest the old recognition—'Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners ?'
“VI. That one great means for bringing about, under the Supreme Ruler, a well ordered condition of national society, in which the claims of God and the rights of man would be alike respected, is awanting, so long as the Churches are distracted and weakened by their present divisions; and that, therefore, with a view to the triumph of godliness and morality and good government in the land, and the universal ascendancy of Divine truth, the Churches should feel the sacred obligation resting on them to draw closer to their Head, to His Word, and to one another; that so, becoming one in the hand of the Lord, and animated by His one Spirit, they might go forth unitedly and energetically to the pulling down of every stronghold of the
enemy, and the establishment of that kingdom 'which is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the IIoly Ghost.'"
The next meeting of Presbytery was appointed for the 9th inst.—to meet at 11 o'clock.
EDINBURGH.—MARTYRS' CHURCII ANNIVERSARY SERVICES. The anniversary services were held on Sabbath, the 10th ult., when discourses were delivered, in the forenoon, by the Rev. Hamilton M'Gill, Secretary United Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions; in the afternoon, by Rev. W. Symington, Glasgow; and in the evening, by the Rev. Dr Goold. The annual social meeting was held on the evening of Monday, the 11th ult.—Rev. Dr Goold in the chair. The annual report was read by Mr A. Blyth, and indicated the financial affairs to be in a prosperous condition. Mr P. Johnstone spoke in behalf of the young men's societies connected with the congregation. Rev. W. R. Paton read the annual report of the home mission; after which Mr M.Kelvie, in the name of a few of the members, presented him with “ Chambers' Cyclopædia,” and other works, on the occasion of his leaving the mission in Lady Lawson's Wynd, where he has been labouring very efficiently for the last five years. The Rev. Mr Muirhead, who has been occupied for twenty years in the mission at Shanghai, gave some account of the land of Sinim. The Rev. Messrs Symington, Glasgow, and Tasker, Free Church, West Port, Edinburgh, also addressed the meeting.
The annual meeting of this congregation was held on the 5th ult.—the Rev. Dr Graham in the chair. After tea and devotional exercises, the chairman addressed the meeting, wishing all “A happy New Year," in the very best and highest sense of that customary greeting, giving an account of the removals, deaths, admissions, baptisms, and marriages, which had taken place in connection with the congregation in the course of the past
year, and expressing the hope that the year now begun would be fraught with still greater prosperity than those which had preceded it. The various reports were submitted by Mr W. Stroyan, Mr Mackinnon, and Mr Crosbie, showing that a considerable balance remained in the hands of the treasurer, after discharging the ordinary liabilities of the church, and that the Sabbath school in China Street continued to prosper. It was also reported, that the new school premises, contiguous to the church, were nearly ready for use; and on the recommendation of the committee, it was unanimously agreed that steps be taken as early as possible, not only to commence a Sabbath school in these premises, but to institute a week-day school, under the superintendence of a thoroughly qualified teacher, so that the children connected with the church, and others also, may enjoy the benefit of a sound, substantial, and religious education. The thanks of the congregation were tendered to Mr Mackinnon, for his services as their president and treasurer; to Mr W. Stroyan, for his labours as their secretary; and to the committee generally, for their management during the past year.
ORDINATION OF REV. ROBERT HUNTER AT KILMORE, AUSTRALIA. The Presbytery of Melbourne met in the Melbourne Street Church, Kilmore, for the ordination of the Rev. Robert Hunter, and his induction to the pastorate of that congregation. Rev. P. S. Menzies preached from 1 Cor. iv. 5. Rev. Dr Cairns narrated the steps, and put the usual questions to Mr Hunter, after which Mr IIunter was solemnly ordained to the office and work of the ministry by prayer, and the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Dr Cairns then addressed Mr Hunter on the work of the Christian ministry. Rev. D. Macdonald addressed the people, and enjoined upon them the duty and privilege of being helpers to their young minister in the good work of the Lord. At the close of the service Mr Hunter received a cordial welcome from his people as they retired from the church. In the evening a tea meeting was held in the Mechanics’ Institute, which was crowded to the door. The chair was occupied by Rev. R. Hunter, and addresses were delivered by Rev. Dr Cairns, D. Macdonald, II. Darling, P. S. Menzies, J. Richards, and D. Watt. The proceedings were altogether of a most interesting character, and promise well for the future comfort and success of Mr Hunter. - Melbourne Christian Review for October. [Kilmore is a town about forty miles to the north of Melbourne. Mr Hunter was one of our probationers. An account of his voyage to Australia will be found in our Number for July 1866.]
SAILING OF, AND LETTERS FROM, REV. PETER MILNE. The Rev. Peter Milne, lately ordained as missionary to the New Hebrides, and his wife, sailed from London, for Otago, on the 25th of December. They have been detained by contrary winds and storms, in company with many other vessels all windbound, and have been opposite
till the 4th ult., and on the 9th were no farther than the Isle of Wight. Mr Milne's object in sailing so soon was to arrive in New Zealand before the “ Dayspring" leaves for the New Hebrides on the 25th of March. We fear that, from the unforeseen delay, he may arrive too late, but letters have been written to New Zealand that may have the effect of detaining
Dayspring” till the arrival of the “Mindora.” In a letter, dated “Ship Mindora, Straits of Dover, Jany. 4th," after an account of his delay, Mr Milne says :“On Sabbath evening I had a meeting with the sailors, and another in the saloon with the passengers and some of the officers. I intend to have public service twice every Sabbath; and the captain says that when the weather is fine I may have a meeting for a few minutes with the men on the afternoon of every day. I have worship at eight o'clock every evening in the saloon. I am anxious to have it also in the morning, but owing to the officers having had as yet no regular time for breakfast, I