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are giving their attention to the work which is placed before them. The bishops continue to hold meetings with the clergy and laity, in which many high qualities are displayed—the cheerful acceptance of their position, and an intelligent and earnest determination to maintain the character of the Church, and to increase its efficiency and usefulness. They have no financial difficulties worthy of the name. The preservation of the life-interests—the facilities for commutation afforded by the Actthe interval of time before any heavy demands are made upon them —and the cheering evidences of liberality already manifestedought to keep their minds free from excessive and unbelieving anxiety. Her doctrine, discipline, and organisation, will give rise to much discussion, and furnish questions of extreme complexity. Hitherto her doctrine has been much purer than that of the Church of England; and she has been saved from the scandal of containing such monstrous extremes as are represented by Bennett and Voysey. We trust that the future will be in honourable consistency with the past; that she will rely on the intrinsic purity and power of the truth as it is in Jesus, and not be fascinated by the intellectual idol of antichristian comprehensiveness. It is evident, that if a Church is to keep her position, and advance along the lines of true progress, she must admit the Christian people to a share in her government. The Episcopal Church of Scotland has recently recognised the principle, by giving the laity a share in the government, in all matters except doctrine and clerical discipline. The exception is a portentous blunder, as will be speedily discovered, for indirect control, without direct responsibility, tends to real supremacy. The clergy, in the long run, are sure to have the worst of it, while the laity will use the power they have so as to exercise all the power they ought to have. Better give them the power at once, with a full sense of direct responsibility for the use they make of it. The sister Church of Ireland is looking in the same direction, and there is no room for doubt that she will give to her members a real and influential voice in her administration. As Presbyterians, we hail the recognition of such a principle as a tribute to the radical healthiness of our own order, and as containing the germ of possible and ultimate adjustment. In the meantime, we take it as a sign of strength in those from whom we are widely separated, and have perfect confidence that the legitimate influence of the members will give vitality, and freedom, and variety, to the movements of the Church. The prayerful and affectionate services of her own people will be incomparably more valuable than the stiff and reluctant action of the State, while the perfect freedom to meet and deliberate, the sense of increased responsibility, the spirituality of her aims, and her fraternal fellowship with other Churches, ought to have the happiest influence on her own character, and to qualify her for effective work. Those who had the strongest conviction of the untenableness of her former connexion, cherish the strongest desires for her growing prosperity and success.
Reviews and Notices. A Commentary on the Confession of Faith : With Questions for Theo
logical Students and Bible Classes. By Rev. Archibald Alexander Hodge, D.D., Professor of Didactic and Polemical Theology, in the Western Theological Seminary of Allegheny, Pa. Crown 8vo. Pp. 549. Philadelphia : Presbyterian Board of
Publication. 1869. CONFESSIONS OF Faith, and other formulas of doctrine, issued by the Church, have been much decried, but without reason. The principle involved in them is recognised in the action of many other societies, when they seek to let the world know for what purpose they are associated together. A Confession of Faith is simply the Church's statement of the views it holds, and of the ends it seeks to follow and to secure. A Church cannot long exist without some such document. It will generally be found that the objections to Confessions of Faith originate, not so much from dislike to creeds, as from a dislike to the truths they set forth. Most of the Confessions of the Evangelical Churches are expressed with great ability; and an able statement is an able argument, a thing much easier to decry than to answer or to set aside. It is not, therefore, matter of wonder that the enemies of the doctrines of grace should also be opposed to Confessions of Faith. It is quite what might have been expected.
· Of all the formulas drawn up by any branch of the Church of Christ, no one is more remarkable for the clearness, the precision, the terse vigour with which it expresses the faith of the people of God, than the Confession of the Westminster Assembly. With the exception of its sections on the magistrate's power, it would be difficult to say how the truths of revelation could be better stated. Its statements respecting the civil magistrate began to be taken exception to by the General Assembly so early as 1647, and continue to be more or less qualified or demurred to in the Testimonies, or other authorised documents of the different branches of the Presbyterianism of Scotland, save in the single instance of the Establishment. The Church has now attained to a much more correct view of the magistrate's duty to the religion of Christ, than in the century immediately after the secession from Rome. And it would not have been creditable to her, after all the controversy on the subject during this and the preceding century, had it been otherwise. Surely, then, the time has come when a more Scriptural statement than that in the Confession should be given forth to the world. The Joint Union Committee, in its “Principles which the negotiating Churches hold in common," as to the province of the civil magistrate in relation to religion and the Christian Church,” bas done much to furnish the materials out of which such a chapter might be formed.
The Presbyterian Churches in America have been before us in
this matter. So early as 1729, in the “ Adopting Act," a qualification was put upon the passages respecting the civil magistrate. In 1788, they “took into consideration the last paragraph of the twentieth chapter,” “the third paragraph of the twenty-third chapter, and the first paragraph of the thirty-first,” and altered them into the form in which they are now received. While these alterations are, perhaps, an improvement on the original paragraphs in the Confession, they are not satisfactory, and are very defective when contrasted with the Statement of the Joint Union Committee. But the early date at which they were made explains this shortcoming. From the following paragraphs of Dr A. A. Hodge, it will be seen that the Presbyterians in America have made the same progress as the Churches here, in the fuller realisation of the teachings of Scripture on the subject. They are paragraphs far ahead of the alterations in the Confession they profess to explain. It is true these alterations appear to have received the approbation of some of the opponents of the present movement for the union of Evangelical Presbyterians, when they expressed their willingness to cease their opposition if the Confession were to be received as in the American Church. But, evidently, these foes of the Union movement are ignorant of the fact of the alterations.
“1st. . . . . . In the development of the plan of redemption the Godman, as mediatorial King, has assumed the government of the universe.Matt. xxviii. 18; Phil. ii. 9-11; Eph. i. 17–23. As the universe constitutes one physical and moral system, it was necessary that His headship as Mediator should extend to the whole and to every department thereof, in order that all things should work together for good to His people and for His glory, that all his enemies should be subdued and finally judged and punished, and that all creatures should worship Him, as His Father had determined.—Rom. viii. 28; 1 Cor. xv. 25; Heb. x. 13; i. 6; Rev. v. 9–13. Hence the present providential Governor of the physical universe and 'Ruler among the nations, is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, to whose will all laws should be conformed, and whom all nations and all rulers of men should acknowledge and serve. "He hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'—Rev. xix. 16.
“2d. The proximate end for which God has ordained magistrates, is the promotion of the public good; and the ultimate end, is the promotion of His own glory. This evidently follows from the revealed fact, that the glory or manifested excellence of the Creator is the chief end He had in the general system of things, and hence the appointed chief end of each intelligent agent.—Rom. ix. 22, 23 ; xi. 36; Col. i. 16; Eph. i. 5, 6; 1 Pet. iv. 11. If the glory of God is the chief end of every man, it must be the chief end equally of all nations and communities of men, and it ought to be made the governing purpose of every individual in all his relations and actions, public and official, as well as private and personal. And if the glory of God is his chief end, it is that to which all other objects and designs are subordinated as ends. The specific way in which the civil magistrate is to endeavour to advance the glory of God, is through the promotion of the good of the community (Rom. xiii. 4) in temporal concerns, including
* The altered form of the Statements on the Civil Magistrate in the Westminster Confession, in use among the American Churches, will be found in a Note in our July number, page 277.
education, morals, physical prosperity, and the protection of life and property, and the preservation of order; and,
“ 3d. Christian magistrates should also seek, in their influential positions, to promote piety as well as order.—2 Tim. ii. 1. This they are to do, not by assuming the functions of the Church, nor by attempting, by endowments, officially to patronise or control the Church, but personally by their example, and officially by giving impartial protection and all due facility for the Church in its work; by the explicit recognition of God and of Jesus Christ as Ruler among the nations;' and by the enactment and enforcement of all laws conceived in the true spirit of the Gospel, touching all questions upon which the Scriptures indicate the will of God specifically or in general principle, and especially as touching questions of the Sabbath day, the oath, marriage and divorce, capital punishments, etc. etc.
" 4th. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate. This is evident enough. Indeed, in the highest sense, it is lawful for none other than Christians to be magistrates or anything else, since it is a violation of God's will that any man is not a Christian. And the greater the number and the importance of the relations a man assumes, the greater becomes bis obligation to be a Christian, in order that he may be qualified to discharge them all for the glory of God and the good of all concerned."
Dr Archibald Hodge's Commentary is of the masterly nature which his previous works, the "Outlines of Theology," and "The Atonement,” prepared us to expect. It goes over the whole thirtythree chapters of the Confession with equal care. Indeed, the closing chapters on The state of men after death,” and “The last judgment,” are about the best in the book. Appended to each chapter is a series of questions on the theme discussed, and prefixed to the Commentary are two chapters containing a history of creeds and confessions, and an account of the origin of the Westminster Confession. The whole constitutes a book much needed, and of great value, and sure to find a ready acceptance with the persons for whom it is designed—theological students and Bible classes. Affliction ; or, The Refiner Watching the Crucille. By Rev. C.
Stanford. 16mo. Pp. 55.--The Dying Saviour and the Gipsy
and Stoughton. 1869. MR STANFORD's little book is an interesting and well-written discourse on a theme in regard to which multitudes in this world of sin and sorrow will ever need counsel and consolation.
Miss SIBREE's work is a successful attempt to unfold, in the form of a story, how a sinner may be saved. She is obviously fond of art, but overrates the effect for good that pictures of our Lord are fitted to produce. The great masters have nearly all tried to depict the features of the Man of Sorrows. Many of these paintings are such as super-eminent genius could alone produce. As works of art they stand high; but as attempts to give a representation of the Saviour, that corresponds to what faith sees in the inspired narrative, they are failures, and must ever be so, for they are altogether products of the painter's imagination, and, with such a theme, the thinking soul can be satisfied with nothing but reality. Papists,
ignorant of Holy Scripture, may delight in such productions, but Protestants can never take kindly to them, and simply because of the nobler conceptions their study of the sacred pages has produced in their minds.
A Book of Praise for Home and School. Selected and Arranged by
S. D. Major. 32mo. Pp. 196. Bath: S. D. Major. 1869. A VERY good selection of Sacred Songs for Children, with one or two that might have been omitted, such as the piece of sentimental twaddle, “I want to be an angel.” It is one of the glories of redemption, that, out of the ruins of the fall, it has brought to us a greater good than that which we had lost. Man, created a little lower than the angels, has, by redemption, been linked to the Lord of angels by the tie of a common nature, and introduced to honours such as they do not enjoy. I want to be an angel” is, therefore, simply to want something less than Christ offers sinners, when He says,
“ To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.”
LANDRESSY STREET CONGREGATION, GLASGOW.
REPORT, READ AT THE OPENING SOIREE ON SEPTEMBER 21. It is now fully twenty years since the Great Hamilton Street Reformed Presbyterian Congregation, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dr Wm. Symington, commenced mission work in the district in Calton lying to the north and east of their own place of worship. Their agents were first located in the upper flat of an old building, now removed, which stood on the east side of Risk Street. After some years the large premises in Green Street, from which we recently removed, were bought, and there teachers and missionary found greatly increased accommodation. For
many years the mission agent was the Rev. John G. Paton. The success which attended his labours was very encouraging, and numbers were added through his means to the membership of all the surrounding Churches. But although in this way removed from his immediate superintendence, his spiritual children clung to him with a wondrous veneration, and gladly continued to attend his ministrations on the Sabbath evening. Ere he left Glasgow, Mr Paton could name several hundred consistent Church members who had passed through his Bible class. Those of us who knew him best, and knew his work, hoped that, on the completion of his studies, he would occupy the position of pastor in Green Street. But he felt that his Master had called him to engage in other work, and bidding farewell to his attached people, and prospects bright with promise, he went forth to undertake that work in the New Hebrides mission field which he has done so well.
After Mr Paton's departure the work in Green Street languished for a considerable time. The Mission Committee of Great Hamilton Street Congregation felt that permanent success could only be attained by the employment of an agent who would aim at organising a Mission congregation. Several years passed during which the work was carried on by student missionaries connected with the Glasgow City Mission. At last, about the close of the year 1860, the attention of the committee was called to Mr Edgar, then a student of divinity, well advanced in his studies, and labouring as a city missionary at the West Port in Edinburgh. In the month of March 1861, Mr Edgar came to Glasgow to begin these labours