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sod his God." This proposition sounds
well. It senred the lecturer to show, tliat
we, as a Synod, could, therefore, have no
possible right to interfere in the matter.
It is strange. Sir, how nearly a proposition
can approach to truth — and, afler all, be
untrue. I'hat religion is a matter between
fuan and hit God^ is a truth most certain ;
but that i^eligion is a matter enUrely be-
tween man and his God« is an assertion
most unfounded Were the lecturer's
proposition true, I wonder how a minister
should attempt to interfere in the religious
instruction of his parish. Why is he to
be instant in season and out of season, to
exhort, rebuke* with all long suffering
and doctrine ? Were the proposition true,
I wonder why Paul has said, " Now, then,
we are ambassadors for Christ ; as though
Qod did beseech you by us. We pray
you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled
unto God." Were the proposition true,
well might our children turn round upon
us, and say, ** How dare you press upon us
the reading of the Bible, the committal of
Catechisms, or the troublesome attendance
of the Sabbath? There is a great man
who has lately discovered that religion is
entirely a matter between man and his
God ; and therefore we beg you will not
interfere, if you attempt, in any form,
to influence our minds, you are interfering
in a matter in which ^ou have no concern."
I wonder what criticism the lecturer would
make upon a jtivenile essay of this de-
scription. He would reply— "You are
mistaken, my children. Religion is, in-
deed, a matter between God and a man's
conscience : but the means by which the
knowledTC of it is to be brought to the
mind, and the power tff it pressed upon
the conscience, are committed to me as
your parent; and I am commanded by
God himself, in Deut. vi. 6, to teach you
diligently in his holy commandments ; to
employ every possible exertion to show
you the truth, to preserve you from error,
to lead you to holiness; and thus to bring
you to the knowledge of religion, wiUi
prayer "and hope, that you may enjoy its
comforts." And is not this Synod, Sir,
in place of such a parent to the people P
Is there a single duty to which the natural
parent is bound, which we, the spiritual
parents, are permitted to neglect ? Not
one. Religion is not then a matter enUre-

ly between a man and hia God. But there
is a laige portion of its outward ioitru-
mentality which is entirely a matter be-
tween roan and man ; yet regulated in its
ministration, not by the wilT of man, but
by a strict conformity to the revelation of
God. It is upon this principle, Sir, that
this Synod is bound, humbly, yet vigor-
ously, perseverin^l;^, and zealously, to in-
terfere in the religious instruction of tho
people — to protect them from error— to
furnish them with wholesome instruction
in the truth — and edify, in faith and love,
the body of Christ ^mmitted to their

The second proposition announced by
our lecturer was this — ** I will be account-
able to no man in matters of religion, as
no man can be accountable for me." This
is another of those simple, yet splendid
fallacies, by which inconsiderate minds are
led captive. 'Tis a bit of common glass,
finely cut, and set as a jewel; deriving its
play of colours from a httle foil ingenious*
ly placed beneath it. Take it asunder—
the colours, and the beauty, and the value,
are gone; and a bit of glass, worth not
one farthing, is all that remains of your
precious gem! I shall separate then this
gem from its setting, that its true value
may be asceflained. "No man can be
accountable for me." This is the reason,
the gem of the argument. Now, if by
** accountable" you mean that no man can
be made a substitute for you, so that he
may perish, and you be saved, 1 freely admit
its correctness. In this sense take it ; and
draw what conclusion you may.- But our
lecturer is too wise a nuin to exhibit such
truisms to bis pupils* In opposition, then,
to the only other meaning he can have, I
am ready to affirm, and to confirm it by
the word of unerring truth, " that men,
in certain circumstances, are accountable
for one another,'* and that too under the
most awful penalties that the Divine Word
has revealed. Ezek. iii. 17 — ^"^Sou of
man; 1 have made thee a watchman unto
the house of Israel; therefore hear the
word at my moutU, and give them warn-
ing from me. When I say unto the wick-
ed, thou shalt surely die ; and thou givest
him not warning, nor speakest to warn the
wicked from his wicked way, to save his
life ; the same wicked, man shall die in his
iniquity, but hio Hood -will J reqwre at i%
hand** Where is now* Sir, the high
sounding proposition, that one man b not
accountable for another } God has spoken,
and it is fled ; and the sound of its error
shall be heard no more. Yes, Sir, Mr.
Montgomery shall be accountable and am-
fully accountable, for every word of truth
or of error that he has uttered to his con-
gregation. And the minister that instruct-
ed Mr. Montgomery, if he kept back the

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1889. Beo. H. Co(jki?s Speech in ike Synod oj Ulster.

Gospel from his youthful mind, or imbued
it with one tinge of erroneous doctrine,
shall, upon his part, render an awful ac-
count for the neglect, or misdirection of
that riant intellect. And we. Sir, every
one or us, must be accottniable for the nub
•fmiT people^ if we have neglected to warn
them against error, to solicit them to the
truth ; and if they fall and perish, through
our indolence, indifference, or misdirec-
tion, lAafr hl»f^ triU the Lord require at

The other fragment of the lecturer's
. proposition — ** I will be accountable to no
man in matters of religion" — is a bold, and
open, and heroic announcement— yet to-
tally inconnstent with the purposes of the
Gospel. I have akeady proved that the
object of the Gospel is to bear witness.
Now, an unaccountable -mtnetM is rather a
novelty in jurisprudence, it is unlike the
conduct ot Paul. Acts zx. 27 — ** 1 have
not shunned to decUre unto you all the
oouiisel of God.'' And it is only by this
open and unreserved declaration that the
ApoBtle ia able to say in the 26th vene—
** I take you to record, this day, that I am
pure from the blood of all men." Mr. Mi
is also at total variance with the advice of
Pet. ill. 15— << Be readv always to give an
answer to every man that asketh a reason
of the hope that is in you." This advice
clearly indicates an unrestricted accounta-
bility, not only of our faith, but of the
grounds and reasons upon which our hopes
ate rested.

But as lectures. Sir, are tiresome things,
the lamp was rubbed, and the scene was
changed. From the comforuble meet-
ing-house of this peaceful village, we were
insUntly transported to Spain, and found
ourselves situated in the great sphere of
Madrid. The belb were tolling sullenly
f^m the steeples of the proud escurial ;
a dark procession was advancing with slow
and measured steps. I saw certain pri-
soners whom they were conducting to
execution. Their garments were painted
with evil spirits and flames. And I saw
the rack, and the other instruments of tor-
ture ; and I saw the faggots that they had
heaped op to feed the murky fires of their
att/o da fe. And I heard the prisoners
groan and shriek in the midst of their tor-
tures—I started as from a horrible dream,
and I exclaimed, what is all this ! !— «« Oh !"
replied a proud Castilian that was stand-
ing by— ••It is merely a Presbyterian mi-
nister-requested by his brethren to declare
his real religious opinions."

By another dexterous turn of the lamp,
the scene changes from Madrid to Money-
inore; and we pass from the horrors of
the Inquisition, to the solemnities of the
communion.— Mr. Bamet had declared,
^hat I believe every erangelical Presby-


terian in the kingdom will declare, that
he was not an advocate for what is called
of en communion i and that, under certain
circumstances, he would feel himself war-
ranted in denying, to certain individuals,
admission to the Lord's table. Mr. M.
professed himself horror-struck at such
an audacious interference; and to com-
plete the tragedy, thought fit to kill the
applicant on ttie very night of the refusal.
All this, no doubt, semcd very fine, and
quite irresistible, to the advocates of,
what is called, open communion. But I
do profess myself so much a pupil of •• the
o^ school," that I believe it to be in di-
rect opposition to the word of God. . Will
Mr. M. read, at his leisure, 1 Cor. v. 11 —
and then say, if we are not with such cha-
racters to eat an ordinary repast, are we
to make no attempt to exclude such cha-
racters from the sacred ordinance of the
Lord's Supper. Will Mr. M. also consi-
der 1 Cor. xi. 27, and will he then say,
whether Mr. Bamet, who instructs, ex-
horts, and warns, or even authoritatively
forbids the unhallowed approach of un-
godly men to the Lord's table, or those
who admit all characters, without any dis-
tinction, be the real friends of such unhap-
py individuals? That the scrupulosity of
examination has been greatly relaxed,
that the fence of discipline has been sadly
broken down, and that, under the pre-
tence of liberality, licentiousness has been
encouraged, are melancholy marks of the
degeneracy of churches. Nevertheless,
the foundation, a discriminative discipline,
remains unshaken, both on account of the
danger of unworthy communicating, which
affects the communicant himself; and
upon account of the duty of the Church,
to preserve, as far as possible, the purity
of her fellowship, and the efficiency of
her discipline.

Scarcely ever in my life. Sir, was I
more surprised, than when, from this so-
lemn scene, we were magically transport-
ed to the top of Parnassus — ^where •* the
Goddesses around did throng, and all the
Muses nine," — while Mr. M. himself ap-
peared in the midst— the " Magnus Apol-
lo" of the assembly. Then, by way
of relieving our tired faculties, we had a
farce-^and ** mental lodgment," and
'< private judgment," rung again ivpd again
in our ears— and '• we did laugh, sans inter-
misuon, an hour by his dial." But, in
midst of our amusement, the lamp is rub*
bed again ; and lo! we are transported to
the lofty mountains of Dungiven. The
sun is riding hi^h in the heavens; bis
beams are sleeping on the heath; the
peasantry are pursuing their peaceful toils,
and the children are gathering the fuel for
the ruddy bonfire of midsummer. The
cattle are mminating in quiet, or lowing

Digitized by



Beo.EsCock&$ SfeeekinUie SpiodqfVUkr. kasu

to retpoiMttre echoes: and Che dear blue
SM spvklet in the disUnce of the west,
roflectinK the beauties of the scene in the
mirror of iu pbcid bosom. The i^nius of
the scene is roUing slowW alongv enjoyingr
at once the beauties oS nature, and tlie
comforts of his easy chariot ; and his mind
is indol^ing* in all the reveries of the su-
blime and beautiful, or soaring into the
loftier contempbtions of ezatted piety.
But mark ye, how suddenly and lamenta-
bly the scene is changed. The contem*
pntions of philanthropy are inteirupted
and dlwrranged; and the late placid face
of nature assumes a sudden and unac«
countable scowl, indicative of some migh-
ty, and monstrous, and adverse agency.
Can the Muses of epie poetry or tragedy,
account for this wondrous change? or,
if there have arisen a Muse of novel or
romance, can she aid us in explaining the

Shenomenon i Yes, between them, some«
ow, they have discovered a solitary Cal-
vinistic minister, plodding his weary way
to the meeting of the Synod of Ulster, and
nature has shrunk affrighted at his pre-
sence, and the genius of Arianism has parti-
cipated i n the discomposure. John Calvin, I
have heard many a charge hud at thy door;
and, from Pope, I have heard of " Presby-
terians sour;'' but the nnaster-charge of all
remained for you, Mr. Montgomery, when
you made the presence of a solitaiy Cal-
vinist cast a gloom over the festivities
of nature. If this thing be a jest, 'tis a
very good jest But Mr. IL is no joker.
If it be meant for a picture, 'tis a very good
picture; arid as fine a specimen of the
*< creative," as you would wish in a sum-
mer's day. But Mr. M. avers that it is so-
ber earnest, and real fact Then as such
let us examine it.

Look out upon that pladd scene which
the lamp of Aladdin has summoned up be-
fbre you. Mark well the genius or the
story entranced in the contemplation of its
loveliness. The scene is overcast— 'the
reverie of pleasure is interrupted; and
the cause of disturbance assigned, is the
unhappy appearance of a sohtary Presby-
terian minister. Alas! how prone are we,
poor mortals, to ascribe to otners the evils
which we should charge against ourselves !
When the philosophic reverie of Mr.
Montgomery was so unhsppily interrupted
by the presence of this Calvinistic in-
truder, bad he paused to turn his eve from
the bright son and blue waters of the west
—and had he cast one glance to the eastern
side of the horizon, he would then have
discovered, that hb disturbance arose not
firom the presence of this unwelcome vi-
siter, but from the consciousness of the
bitter things that he himself had record<Ml
against him or his brethren. In the east,
he would have seen flatniBg oa high %

banner, inscribed with the temficwofds
— ^DVAaswamxn, and uvAvawBrnaBfiB;** '
and beneath this title, he would have read
the following list of nam^ and charges
the most comprehensive in crime, that
has ever yet been recorded in the annida
of tiberahty. In the front, you read how
this man and his brethren are chai|^ with
conjoint ** weakness and wickedness."
Our effort in what we believe the cause
of truth, is denounced as <*an impious at-
tempt" Then follow, in rapid succes-
uon, ■•impious vanitv," — <*make hypo-
crites of the weak, and the crafty, and the
worldly," — '*you clasp, with the grasp of
friendshipi the hand that is black with the
stains of peijury,"— •* falsehood and dis-
simulation are your bonds of union,"—
your course of procedure is ** tyranny,
Jesuitism, and hypocrisy,"—** libel on the
Deity,"— •• impious supposition,"—-" so-
lemn signature to a lie." Then we have the
** bigotted multitude,"— then a man whom
we compel to bring ** falsehood upon his
soul:" then fallow •• these fiinatical times^"
— •• fury of persecution,"— <« tnitocs
among us^" — ** treaeherously turning on
their comrades,"— <* rso/ traitors,"-^'* ig-
norant enthusiasta,"— and the ••lowest
dregs of fanatidsm ;"— while, to bring ap
the rear, something is hinted about this
••malignity of a demon." Now, the
whole of these accusations^ so blazoned
on high, are aecompanied with the criti-
cal observation, that the •<Ohl LightaP'
of this Synod had ••adopted a vulgar
system of abuse." if they have done ao»
I am really ashamed of them. Abuse is
at aU times bad sense, bad argument
But vulgar abuse is worse than mere abuse,
because it is lower in the scale of civiliza*
tion. Should any of my brethren, then,
feel inclined to improve the system of
abuse, I know not any method by which
they could so effectudUy rise from the vnd*
gar to the polUhed style, as by committing
the (bregomr choice epithets to memory*
and employmg them upon all occasiona
when they may feel abusively inclined.
And if, by such employment, their abusive
capacities be not sufficiently invisovated
and elevated, I do pronounce them bejond
instruction; and would eameatly entreat
them to lay the practice aside for ever.
Which side of this house has most ened
by the employment of abusive phrases^ it
is not for me to dedde; yet I have judged
It neoessaty to cull the few foregoing
••flowers of Arian rhetoric,"— the very
•• elegantiae" of the school of ••civil and
religious liber^,"— because the reading
of them in the mes of a newspaper,
was originally sumoient to throw half a
kingdom into a kind of hvsterics of de-
light, and to induce their publicationt
^'fsMy with a view of diiaeniaatiBg prtiH

Digitized by


t8S9. Met. E.Cook^$ Speech in the Synod i^VlBter.


ciplet of CMiHoH chatiif and mutmal fir'
biaroHce aiBongBt persons of all relig^ious
pemusioiis." And perhB|M, Sir, upon
the principle of ** lucus a non luce^ao/'
they may be tolerably efficacious in pro<*
duoinfr the desirable result And I am
not without a kind of belief that the men
who used them once, would not now utter
them again ; and that he himself has been
the first patient to experience a cure from
the severity of his own prescriptions.

Havine now, Sir, endeavoured to dis-
pose of that part of Mr. Montgomery's ad-
dress which I would deiumiinate the '* pic-
tnresque/' 1 come to submit to you a con-
densed view of whatever can be consider-
ed ** argumentative ."

As the very front of our ofFending, we
are accused of <* prescribing a creed" to
our brethren. I anawer-^we prescribe
no creed. We openly tell our own opi-
niona. We say to those who wish to join
ua, ** what are your reUgioua opiniona ?"
K we cannot agree, we part as we met.
We jitfe our own opiniona openly ; but we
pte&cribe them to no man.— -1 have alrea-
dy. Sir, given you my views of what ia
called ** private judgment," and, in my
statement of principles, this house appear*
cd universally to acquiesce. 1 shall,
therefore, only now add, that while I can-
not recognise the use of ** private judg-
ment" aa a ri^t from God to think as a
man pleases without restrstnt from the re»
vcaled will of God, I do not therefore im*
|»iy, that any man has right, or privilege*
or power from Ood, to interfere by coer-
cion with the private opiniona of another.
I disclaim such interference with any man,
except by counael, advice, or argument.
I permit no such interference with my-
self, except when men come armed with
the mere weapona of logical discussion,
sad scriptural argument, i^ by ** private
judgment" is merely meant, that no |iub-
lie body has a right to pretcribe opinions
to private individuals^ 1 most heartily as-
sent to the proposition. But the same
principle that refuses to the public body
the right to prticribe to the individual, re-
liises to the individual the right to pr^
9erib9 to the public body. My private,
my individual opinion is - that we should
Bot hold intimate church fellowship with
persons diffiiring from us on frindamental
doctrinea of religion. Mr. Montgomery
thinks we should be united, though of
the most essentially discordant materials.
Whether now, must Mr. M. <v I surrender
cor individual opinions ? My plan is, to
leave Mr. M. free to form his opinions, and
to propagate them as he may, but not in
my company, or under my sanction. Mr.
M. is determined to keep in our company,
though not over agreeable, with the be-
■ignant wirii of convetting us from our

error— and, triflmgss the ihflueneo of our .
sanction may appear in his eyes, he if de-
termined to exhibit it in tlie eye of tho
world. And will we, nU we, he and his
brethren will not part from us. Who now
pre$erib€9 the creed in this case? I an-
swer, it is Mr. M. and his friends who wibih
to exercise over our fiuth such overwhelm-
ing lordship, as will not even permit us to
choose our own company.

To prove, however, that we should rest
fully satisfied with the principles of his
faith, Mr. M. dechu«s, ««the Bible is our
(the Arian's) creed." So saya every 8o»
cinian in the kingdom. Yet, would Mr.
M. therefore give him the right hand of
fellowship i But, when Mr. M. announces
^the Bible is our creed," surely this is
as much a creed in ** human iangttage^*
as the Westminster Confession or Thir-
ty^ne Articles! Had I Cruden's Con-
cordance before me, I am afraid I shoold
search in vain for such an announcement
Strange ! that Mr. M., who has such an
aversion for what he calls ''Auiwifi tarn'
jiiajv," in declaring hia religious opinionsb
should yet manufacture a creed in whidh
Scripture language is notto be found. To
illustrate the delusiveness of Mr. M.'s de-
claration, J merely reply— you aay, the Bi«
ble is your creed-i-we ssk you, tahat Bi*
bkf The Amn Bible? The Sociniaa
Bible? or the phdn ^orthodox" Bible?
Till these questions be answered in pJain,
intelligible ** human language," Mr. M.*s
decbiration of creed conveys no mote of
his meaniiig than if it were spoken in a
language we did net understand.

But you must not inquire into our opi-
nions, says Mr. M., for, ^'when creeds
were formed, corruptions began." This
proposition is marvellously near the truth.
Reverse the ends of the sentence, and you
have it perfect. It will then stand thus.
When corruptions began in the Churches,
then creeds were formed to counteract
them. The corruptions of Arius surely
preceded the Nicene creed, or else my
knowledge of Church history is wondcN
foU^ erroneous. That the best and most
Scriptural creeds have formed insufficient
barriers against error, is a fact I vrill readi-
ly admit But wherever tl|ey have been
inefficient, the fruit has been in the ad-
ministrators, not in the law. The Churdi
of Geneva has been overwhelmed with
neology; but not till sfter her ministers
had begun, under the influence of Voliaire,
to ** take the liberty" of dbpensiog with
her established creeds. Just the same
was the case of the Synod of Ulster. In
proportion as her Presbyteries adhered to
their public formularies^ in the same pro-
portion did they retain their orthodox;]^ .
In proportion as Presbyteries laid tbcnr
formularies aride, in the same proportion

Digitized by



arv^H.C9ok^s Speech in the Synod of Ulster. AniL,

vere tbejr ovenpretd with Arianism.
And jtut la proportion to the return of
Presbyteries to orthodoxy, has been their
resumption of the ancient formularies of
the Church of Scotland.

But, says Mr. M., " we hold all that you
hold," as essential to religion ; and he un-
dertakes to prove this by a public repeti-
tion of alt that Scripture decUres about
the dignity of the «* Son of God." You,
saya Mr. M., hold this, we hold the very
same. No doubt, I reply, you hold the
same •wordt; but mere wordt are but
wound*;, it is your meaning we would have.
And until you tell us the meamng you at-
tach to the -wordot we really do not know
whether we hold in common to the amount
of one Hngle idea,

Mr. M. replies by repeating a roll of
Scripture phrases.— Now surely, he ob-
serves, we hold the truth $ for ** the truth
i» in the Scriptures.*' No doubt of all
this ; the truth is in the Scriptures ; but
Mr. M.'s meamng is not in the Scriptures.
— ^The meaning he attaches to Scnpture.
is, in bis own heart and headset him tell
us what is there, and we will know how
to reply to him. ^

Let us then, says Mr. M. leave **aUdio^
puted points ; poinU trijiing and uneeoen-
Half*' and let us come to an agreement
upon undisputed, important, and funda-
mental mattjerB.-H[Mr. M.— " 1 did not use
the word* triflin^f.'")

Mr. M. Sir, denies that he used the word
•* trifling." But I noted it down at the
moment it was uttered; and my friend,
Mr. Houston, with whom I have nev^r
spoken upon the subject, has it also in his
notes. A coincidence sufficient to esta-
blish my correctness. Mr. M. no doubt,
remembers how he applied the word
*' trifles" to the same subject at Strabane;
and perhaps he has some slight recollec-
tion of the application I made of it in re-
ply to his ** unanswered and unanswer-
able" speech. But as he now denies the
use of it, I waive all reference to that part
of the subject ; and confine myself to the
words he has not denied— " undisputed
and unessential." — And if. Sir, our creed
is to be formed of " undisputed .points we
must far excel those individuals who are
characterized as *< scanty in creed."
There is not a point in religion that has
not been over and over again disputed.
The existence of the world, the very be-
ing of God, as a spirit, have been disputed.
Were we to take Mr. M.'s advice, and
avoid any disputed point, we might fly
round the world like Noah's dove, and re-
turn with wearied wing, to our meeting
in the Synod of Ulster, without obtaining
one single spot of undisputed ground as a
rest for the sole of our foot.

And, alas! Sir, is it come to tiiii! that

the character of our Lord himself is an*
nounced as a point "not essenlial."^-
Surely, Sir, the doctrine of his deity is ««•

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