Ashbel Green.

The Christian advocate online

. (page 30 of 93)
Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian advocate → online text (page 30 of 93)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


mical Recreations, that the know-
ledge of the stars would afford new
objects of interest to those who de-
light in evening rambles, and would
enable the mariner to pass away
the night-watches with pleasure to
himself, and with gratification to
his friends.

9th^— The weather is pleasaiit,
though we still have but little or
no wind. I am getting, I find, more
reconciled to Uving at sea than I
have yet been, but it is still horrid.
A vessel hove in sight this evening,
but we passed her, as we had done
all the others we have seen, with-
out hailing her. The captain seem-
ed desirous to speak her, but a
breeze springing up just as our
signals were hoisted, we soon lost
sight of each other. It is wonder-
ful how acute the sight of an old
sailor is upon the ocean $ our first
mate has often discovered a sail,
or rather spar, just peeping above
the horizon, which could not be
seen even with the assistance of the
telescope, by most of us on board.

10th.— We shall make, perhaps,
but little progress to-day, as we
are nearly becalmed. We are only
300 miles from Cape Clear, which
is the nearest land, yet we shall not
probably make it tor many days.
During the first eight days of our



Digitized by



Google



18S9. Rev. H. Caok^s Speech in the St/nod of Ulster.



211



passage, we sailed more than half
the distance of our whole voyage,
and it is a little trying to be kept
htrt doing nothing, when my time
is so precious. 1 nevertheless endea-
vour to be satisfied, knowing that
all things and all occurrences, will
be ordered aright.

llth.-^Another Sabbath is pass-
ing over without, I fear, being pro-
perly improved.

1 2th. — This momiue I was roused
by the cry of " sail ho!" Upon go-
ing on deck I saw a Danish mer-

» chant ship just off our lee bow, with
her national flag flying from one of
her spars; the captain was prepar-
ing to speak her, and when we were
side by side, and about 20 yards
apart, a short dialogue ensued, be-
tween the captains of both vessels,
through their speaking trumpets,

• the most important part of which
was, that their longitude and ours
was almost identical. The Danish
ship wa^ from Vera Cruz, and
bound to Copenhagen. The whole
of this transaction was by far the
most interesting of any that I have
witnessed at sea— *whether it was
approaching so near to a fine ship
under full sail, or whether it was
seeing human beings and hearing
their voices, coming, as it were,
from the bosom of the deep, I know
not; but my blood thrilled through
every vein. The former remarks
made upon this subject are still
correct, for the process of seeing a
ship at sea is pretty much as fol-
lows:— a passenger or officer on
board inquires whether you see
that ship, pointing in a particular
direction; you answer no; he then
endeavours to bring it into your
view by remarking its position, in
regard to certain of your own spars
or riggings you are still in doubt;
he then hands you the telescope;
and after much manoeuvring and
feconnoitring, you at last see
something'^this is called pass-
ing a ship at sea. — ^There is a
strong breeze, but then it is dead
aheao^ and we have little prospect



of seeing Cape Clear fpr some
days, though only at the distance
of 150 miles.

1 4th .—Yesterday we were be-
calmed till towards evening, when
a strong head wind carried us di-
rectly south, and continued to blow
all night — During the night the
mate of the ship supposed we were
just on a reef ot rocks, as the water
appeared white; but upon heaving
the deep-sea-lead, soundings were
obtained at about 120 fathoms.
The white appearance of the water
was then found to be occasioned by
myriads of small fish, similar to
those used for making anchovies.
The sea air now, for the first time,
has the same odour as that on
shore. Last evening two swallows
flew and chirped round the ship,
driven I suppose by the wind from
shore, and then probably lodged on
our shrouds during the night. The
wind being still ahead to-day, all
hands of us seem dejected and irri-
table.

{To be continued.)

SPBEOH IN THE GBNBRAL SYKOD OF
ULSTBR.— -IRELANB.
( Continued from p, 175.)

There it one topic coontected with this
subiect on which Mr. M. hu been pecu-
liarly imprenive. He accuses us of *< at-
tempting to infringe on the rij^hu of the
people," This ta a nne topic for a deciaina-
tion ; but it is auite unfit for an accusation
against the Ortnodox members of this Sy-
nod. 1 trust 1 shall not be accused of unpar-
donable egotism when 1 tell this house, that
the only instance in which the original ri^hte
of the people have yet been restored, was
effected by myself, aided by my Orthodox
friends, after many a hard and unoompto-
mising contest for the nound, which was
yielded to us only inch ov inch— a case in
which also we enlarged the privileges and
opportunities of our Probationers, as well
as restored the rights of our congre^
tions— 1 allude to the manner in which
vacant congregations were formerly sup-
plied with preaching. They were made
the absolute monopoly of each Presby-
teiy. And in cases of Arian Presbyteries,
with Arian Probationers, and some Ortho-
dox vacancies, the people know full well
how their religious interests were neglect-
ed. Such congregations were compelled



Digitized by



Google



21£



B§v. K Cookies 8pee(A in the Synod of Ulster. M^t,



to receive, from week to week, those very
Arian Probationen. without the possibili^ "
of relief, till they could ask some candi-
date upon trial. After much contending,
however, we have introduced a law where-
by a vacant congregation may select the
Probationers of any Presbytery for their
supplies. By this means, the varied merits
of our young preachers have a field of ex-
ercise, and our people an unconfined op-
portunity of malting a selection of their
minister. — This is no proof of our being
adverse to the *' rights of the people ;^
and I hope we shall maintain them in pos-
session of this right, in oppontion to every
effort by which its curtailment may be at-
tempted.

But Mr. M. SRys we will not allow the
people to select, except from the fkvoured
number sealed with our approbation. I
totally and unequivocally deny the charge.
1 should cerUmly advite the people to
choose from those we had approved— but
if they did not take my advice^ I should as
ceitainly leave them to select vhere they
pleased. But then, says Mr. H., you would
not ordain. Certainly we would not.
We leave the people to their freedom —
but the people must leave us to our free-
dom. They are not our serfs: we are not
their thralls. They owe us no allegiance
beyond the bounds of their consciences ;
we owe them no compliance beyond the
limits of ours. But they would not get
Uie royal endowment, says Mr. M., except
they submitted to your authority. And
why should they not? Does not the
Presbytery of Antrim, which is Arian, en-
joy the royal endowment f Is not the Sy-
nod of Monster, which is nearly Arian and
Socinian, even somewhat more liberally
endowed? And should any of our con-
gregations turn ARan,and contrary to our
recommendation, make wilful choice of an
Arian ministry, I wonder would either of
those two bodies shut their doors against
their entrance; or would we act so op-
pressively as to refuse them permission to
retire ? I trust such an event may never
occur; but if it did occur to-morrow, we
should allow to the people the same liber-
ty of choice which we ourselves enjoy.
They are not bound to elect at our recom-
mendation'^we are not bound to erdain at
their eUctien. But as they are voluntary ,
members of a voluntary association, they
are at liberty to dissolve when they please
m connexion which their will alone has
formed, and to seek from others, those mi-
nisters or ordinances which we may feel
bound to refuse.

As an instance of the different manner,
in which different individuals view the*
same object, I may just notice, en passam^
Mr. M.'s declaration, «• That bv our atten-
titm to polemic theol<^, we b we turned



the current of public preaehing into an im-
proper channel." €>ur young ministerB,
especially, he considers as forsakijig ptac-
tical subjects, and bending their whole at-
tention to doctrinal topics. I most ac-
knowledge 1 seldom have the pleasure of
hearing any of our young preachers; but,
as often as I have had the opportunity, Mr.
M.'s regret has been my joy. I delist
to hear a young minister's sermon nse
above the grovelling pueritilies of a mere
essay on ethics, and aim at the sublime
and glorious realities of a gospel sermon.
*« Talk they of morals ; Oh, thou bleeding
Love ! the chief morality is love of thee!"
What is a merely moral sermon ? I say
it is a more polished mode of preaching
the mere principles of condemnation. I
could show you some of the finest moral
essays in the universe-^sermons, as they
are called— and yet they would not tell
you, in « dozen volumes, bow a poor sin-
ner might be saved! If any man, how-
ever, neglect Gospel morality, he is a
•* workman that needetb' to be ashamed ;"
but, if any man ne^eet to preach « the
Gospel of the jrrace of God*'— to preach
"Christ crucified"— to itivite sinners to
the '•blood that cleanseth, and that alone
cleanseth, from all sin,*'— he may preach
ethics like a Socrates, or a Cicero, or a
Seneca, and, after aH, he may, like theoa,
be a heathen, unacquainted with the first
principles of tlic gksnous Gospel of Christ.
I rejoice to hear that some of our young
ministers are taking a more elevated rank
of subjects ; and I would say unto>*tbeiiw
go on openly, and piously, and feariessly
^preach the whole tmth, and God will
be with you.

Before I close the review of his argu-
ments, I shall just advert, for a moment,
to Mr. M.'s proposal of a conjoint pubfica-
tton-— one half Arian, the other half Ortho-
dox, to be issued at common cost, and dis-
tributed among our congregations. I had
considered this as a kind of solemn jest;
but Mr. M. declares he was in so^r ear-
nest. Well, upon the part of Mr. M.
there is the advantage cf apparent cou-
rage ; in refusing the challenge, we nu^
be suspected of cowardice. When, how-
ever, 1 refuse it for myself^ I trust tlie re-
fusal piticeeds not from fear, but fh)ra
principle. My people I consider iree to
read what they please : 1 claim only the
privilege of advianff them to avoid what
IS wrong. But, upon Mr. M.*s plan, 1
must advise them to read what J believe to
be envneout. Nay, I must become the
very agent, and pander to the pervewnoo
of my people's principles. God hath
given me a commission to preach the Ooe-
pel of his Son ; but he hath not given me
a commission to send them another Gospel.
God hath given me a command, ** Rightly



Digitized by



Google



l«29.



JZev. K Cook^s Spetck in the Synod of Ubter.



£13



to diytde the void of truth; bat God hath
n6t given me a commiaBion to eomimngle it
•mith error. The Lord bath given Vne a
commisBion to be <■ a fellow worker with
God ;" but he hath not given me a commis-
sion to lend a band to other work. God
hath been pleaaed to lend me ** to sow the
^Med of the word ;" but he hath not per-
mitted me to aid in scattering the tares.
Mr. M. is free from any coercive influence
of mine to pursue his own courses ; but
he must not expect me to join him in a
nei#and forbidden speculation, when I
am seeking to dissolve the CKisting part*
n«ship.

There is one portion of Scripture, to
which I would be^ the attention of the
hoQse^^as the description of a true Church
of Chiist— and let any one compare it
with Mr. M/s pbm of procedure— Eph. ih
30, •< Built upon the foundation or Pro-

gheta and Aposdes; Jesus Chiist himself
eing the ehief comer stone ; in whom off
the bvUdingJUUf framed together^ groweth
up a holy temple in the Lord." Mr. M.
proposes, that he and I shall build a tem-
ple. Well, we are first to dispute about
the nature of the foundation. We cannot,
<yr we do not agree; so we must build
without one, or let the temple remain un-
veared. Well, now, we are to consider
the materials of the building. I am en-
gaged in polishing the marble columns ;
Mr. M. pours upon them a corroding acid.
The one lays down a course of ponderous
atone ; the other a coutk of " wood, hay,
stubbie." The walls being ^us erected,
and ** daubed with untempered mortar,"
we are next to rOof the temple. Mr. M«
brings beams of Arian fir; I prefer Cal-
vinistic oak. We are to frame the mate-
rials toother. But the variety in their
nsepective strengths and dimensions,
strains and distorts the whole. I1ien we
are to ^frame them fitly together ;" yet
we can agree, neither about mortice nor
tenon ; so we elevate a shapeless and un-
■abaunttat mass, without proportion, beau-
ty, or durability. No wise master builder.
Sir, would thus rear a house for man ; and
shall we thus unfitly attempt to raise up a
temple for God! No; no. Sir. Mr. M.
may retire to the '* sublime scenery" of
hia favourite mountsin8» and build himself
a castle amonjc the evries of the eagle. I
shall advise bim to choose a site less ele-
vated. But, if he will not be advised, I
wifl not become a co-partner in his habita-
tion. But he will permit me to retire to
aome sheltered valley, where, far from the
ae^bourhood of the clouds and the
howNngs of the storm, 1 may build me a
oottaffe, and feed the fiock which the
Chief Shepherd hath committed to my
care : that» when the Chief Shepherd may
appear, I may render them back to hi«i



unscathed by the enemy, and be acknow*
ledged, in bis mercy, *< a good and fiuthful
servant."

And this, Sir, reminds me of the mis-
placed irony with which Mr. M. was
E leased to treat my allusion to ** a uniform
very." Had Mr. M. pleased, he must
have observed my phrase was, " the uni-
form lively of a regiment;" — that livery,
Sir, in which the heroes of England tri-
umphed over all thSr foes ;— *tbat livery
of the King and Nation, which ennobles
the Commoner and elevates the Prince.
But, by a little '• rhetorical artifice," which
Mr. M.'s large acqusintance with the world
enables him so dexterously to employ, he
conjured up another scene from Aladdin,
and capes, and pockets, and skirts, and
Pantaloon and Harlequin passed before us ;
as if the actual Harlequin himself had ap-
peared upon the stage, with a synodiod
scene of pantomime, to relieve our cleri-
cal drowsiness. I willingly yield to Mr. i
M. all the advantage derivable from this
disagreeable word; but 1 would remind
bim, that Iriul I even alluded to one of
those useful individuals, to whose services
we are indebted for so many of our com-
forts, there was yet no cause for his reiter-
ated sarcasms. Peter, has not refosed, in
his Second Epistle, i. 1, to style himself a
tervant and apostle of Jesus Christ James
(i. 1.) has described himself by the same
humble title. Nay, 1 would tell Mr. M.
that we all are but servants, and, even at
the best, <* unprofiuble servants;" and.
should he still oe disposed to derive one
idea of ridicule from the title ** servant"—
oh, I will remind him of one, ** who, being
in the form of God, thought it not robbe-
ry to be equal with God; but made him-
self of no reputation, and took upon him
the form of a oervant."

In concluding my review of Mr. Mont*
gomery^s arguments, it gives me pleasure
to state, that on one point we are aneed.
By an accommodation of Acts v. 38, to
the subject of Arianism, he advises — *«If
this counsel be of men, it will come to
nought ; but if it be of God,<.ye cannot
overthrow it, lest haply ye be found to
fight against God." And upon this he ap-
plies the advice by which it is introduced
— •* And now I say unto you, refrain from
theoe men and let them alone,'' And here
our views of the subject are in perfect
unison. Af^er an earnest appeal, and so-
lemn advice, to examine tne Scriptures
anew; and after earnest prayer that their
eyes may be enlightened ; if they still re-
mained wedded to their erroneous opi-
nions, 1 woald *• refrain /rwa theoe men, I
would let them alone," They bring to our
house ** another Gospel," and I would no
longer consider them as members of tlie
fhmily.



Digitized by



Google



214



Jlrr. K Cooke'^s Speech in the Synod of UbUr.



May,



Why, then, it nay be nid, if such be
iDv views, have I appeared as the mover
of the amended resolutions of this year,
which do not contempbite separation of
our present constituency, but merely go
to erect a barrier against future inroads ?
I shall render to this house the reasons of
my conduct.

1. I do not think we have yet taken all
the steps by which so momentous a nnat-
ter ought to be preceded. Our congre-

Sations have not been addressed ; our el-
ership has not been sufficiently consult,
ed; we have given no admonition; we
have proclaimed no fast, aa^ in every reli-
gious emergency, our Scotdsh forefathers
would have done. Now, all these are
measures 1 coooeive absolutfely pre«requi-
site: therefore, until they shall have
been attempted or taken, 1 do not conceive
separation scriptural.

2. 1 sincereljf declare, that I am nqt only
open to conviction, but actually wishing to
be convinced, that separation is unneces-
sary. The man who attempts to reason
me out of my present opinions, has, I must
confess, an opponent preiudiced in his fa-
vour. I hope, particulanv, my friend Mr.
Carlile will discuss the subjeet ; and if he
can convince me,/rom Scripture, that Trinu
tariane, Jirian», and Sodniane^ conform a
scriptural Churchy and cordially unite in H*
cmnng" and ordaining' one anotherf I shall
willin^y resign my present views, and unite
with him in preserving our present consti-
tuency. But, as I have yet heard no argu-
ment that convinces me of the propriety
of remaining in our present <*rnost admired
disorder," I do hope that somethinsr new
will be produced ; and, above all tnings,
that Scripture be&irly and fiilly examined,
and shown to give most explicit testimony
upon the subject, before I be expected to
yield my judgment, or consent to the con-
tinuance of a nominal union, that only
proves how really we are disunited.

3. I have rested for the present in the
amended resolutions, because they are in
accordance with the opinions of men, for
whose opinions I entertain the highest re-
spect. My own opinion is decidedly for te-
paraUon of the opposing elements of this
Body, Upon this point I most cordially eon^
cur vrith the opinions delivered by my ve-
Herated friends, Messrs, Elder, Dill, tfc,
and by my young friends, Messrs, Bamett
and Brovn^ £^c. But when I see arrayed
against us men, of whose orthodoxy 1 can
entertain no doubt; men, of whose zeal I
have seen most convincing proofs :— when
I see my friends, Messrs. Homer, and
Hanna, and Wright, and Morell, and Stew-
art, and Reid, &c. &c. willing to go no far-
ther than the present resolutions;— and
when I know that the opinion of 1>r.
Chalmers, whose name ana praise are in



all the Churches, goes no ftrther^-l most
confess, 'that, in ftce of this array, it re-
quires a nuin to have no little share of de-
cision to hold his opinion without AJter-
iog. in face of it I do hesitate, but still
my opinion is unchan^d; yet I submit
with deference, for a time, to the judg-
ment of wiser and better men, that I may
judge of the probable efficacy of their
measures, by the result of a reasonable
experiment.

As the motion of which I now sive no-
tice contemplates a separation of this btdy,
permit me to remove the impression de-
rivable from the declaration of Dr. Wright,
that there is ** no instance of separation to
be found in the Scripture." 1 would re-
fer the Doctor to 1 Tim. i. 20, where he
will find a decided example of separatioD
upon doctrinal grounds. I will refer him
to the general prindple — Gal. i. 7, 8, 9,
where tlie anathema of the Apostle, ac-
cording to the discipline to which he re-
ferred, clearly intimated separation from
the body of the Church. And not until
the Doctor has exphdned away my viewa
of these texts, can I yiekl assent to his as-
sertions, or surrender my ideas of the ne-
cesnty of a separation.

Dr. Wright has also told us " that sepa-
ration has never done good." The ex-
perience of this Synod is a proof of the
contraiy. The Antrim Presbyteir, was
separated from this Synod ; and what has
followed ? Why we are told, all their con-
gregations adhered to them, are now
Arians, and lost to this Synod. Never
was there a more palpable misstatement.
The meeting-houses, no doubt, remained
to the Arian ministers of Belfast ; but the
third congregation sprang up in the Sy-
nod more populous than the other two.
Newtownanls, Holywood, Antrim, Lame,
are examples to the same effect. One
part of the people, no doubt, fbllowed an
Arian ministry. But generally, by much
the more numerous portion, faithfully ad-
hered to the Synod and Orthodoxy. Had
not the Antrim Presbytery been separated
from the Synod, perhaps one-tenth of the
entire Presbvterian population of Ulster,
had now, unaer their successors, been the
followers of an Arian ministry. — Whereas,
in general, their conmgations are much
le» numerous than me OKhodox bodies
which have adhered to the Synod. If
Dr. Wri(cht then adroit that an Orthodox
ministry is preferable to an Arian ministiy,
he will be compelled to acknowledge, by
an appeal to fiu^t, that separation has done
extensive good in the General Synod of
Ulster.

By more than one member of this house
we have been informed that any separa-
tion would injure our *' importance," and
tend to weaken essentially the '^Presby-



Digitized by



Google



1829. . Bn. K Cwikifs Speech in the Synod oj Ulster.



S15



terian inteicat" I do not indeed compre-
hend what 19 meant by the ** Presbyterian
inteiesf If it signify our influence with
the Government or the Country, experi-
ence proves . that Government have ever
looked upon Arian and Orthodox with
equal eye. Nor has the separation of the
Secession Church from the Synod weaken-
ed the ** Presbyterian interest" in the eyes
of Government, but rather seems to have
given it an additional importance. But I
hope this cannot be what is meant by the
** Presbyterian interest ;" and if it be not,
I know of no other *< interest" a Church
can have at heart, hut the interett ^f Chritt
in the tatvaUon of einnert. That separa-
tion woald strengthen this *' interest," I
think* must be obvious to every observer.
Between Arian and Orthodox, there is
really no communion. Engaged in the
same yoke, we are wasting our strength
by pulling in opposite directions. But
• not only is communion dissolved between
those opposing parties, but is it not near*

Sr*Jn effect, dissolved between the Ortho-
ox themselves P Our minds are so occu-
piedy our time is so wasted, in fruitless and
endless debates, that the real interesu of
vital religion are neglected, and the real
purpoaea of a religious meeting entirely
overlooked or defeated.

«* Behold, (says the Divine Word,) how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity." Behold,
says our melancholy experience, how un-
profitable and unhappy it is to dwell to-
gether in disagreement I shall relate
an instance of toe ill effects of our ** dis-
united union," and exhibit them in the
unhappy misrepresentations consequent
upon our divisions,

Hr. Montgomery has written, and hia
friends have pubUshed to the world, that
Mr. Cooke said, at Strabane, ** that he is
only to lore those of his own creed ; and
▼iew those who differ from him as he
would regard robbers." Since misrepre-
sentations were first made, the instance
before us has never been surpassed. Such
a feentiment never rose in Mr. Cooke's
mind— was never uttered by his Ups.
Well might Mr. M. call it the product of
"passion," and not the dictate of <*the
spirit of truth." But to whatever origin
it is to be ascribed, the good or the evil
M not mine. To Mr. M. it owes its ex-
istence, and he may bestow it as he
pleases. The real statement is as fol-
lows :— In answer to the argument for
continued union between Ariaos, Socini-
ana^ and Orthodox, in this Synod* which
was drawn from the text «love as bre-
thren," I observed, that in order to ieel
the knre refened to in the text, it was
necessary, first, to be "bretbrenj" par-
weiB or the same/aJiAy ^nd h»pe^ andpro*



m$e8. Perfect Christian love, I observed,
was distinguished by divines, and cor-



Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian advocate → online text (page 30 of 93)