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PRINCETON, N. J.



Shelf.



BR A5 .H36 v. 18
Hamilton, Thomas, 18A2-1925
History of the Irish
Presbyterian Church



(^



anUljciofes for MMt Classes
anti ^3rii3ate ^tuUents*

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HISTORY OF THE IRISH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
BY REV. THOMAS HAMILTON, D.D.



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EDINBURGH:
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HISTORY



OF THE



Irish Presbyterian Church.



BY THE



REV. THOMAS ^HAMILTON, D.D,



BELFAST.



^econtj Stiitton.



EDINBURGH:
T. &^ T. CLARK, 38 GEORGE STREET



PREFACE.



In writing this handbook I have had two objects in view.
First, I wished to do what in me lay to make Irish Presby-
terians thoroughly acquainted with their own history. It is
neither creditable nor advantageous that so many of us know
far more about the past life of other Churches than of our own

are better acquainted with the olden ecclesiastical history of

Scotland or England, or even Germany, than of Ireland — and
can tell more of Knox and Melville, of Bothwell Brig and the
Pentlands, of Latimer and Cranmer, and Luther and Calvin,
than of St. Patrick and Edward Brice and Robert Blair, of
'The Eagle Wing' and 'The Black Oath,' of the Sixmilewater
Awakening and the persecutions in the days of the Charleses
and Anne. Knowledge must prepare the way before loyalty
can reign. We cannot be expected to take that interest in,
or have that love for, the Church of our fathers which we
ought — we cannot clearly comprehend either her position or
her rights in this land, unless we know something of her origin,
her contendings, her sufferings, her whole past experience. If
this book helps in any measure to spread among Irish Presby-
terians a knowledge of the history of their Church, — a history
of which it is a shame and a loss to be ignorant,— it will have



vm PREFACE.

accomplished the first object for which it was penned. I have
had another aim in preparing it. Recent poHtical events have
called public attention very prominently to Ireland, and largely to
the North of Ireland, where Presbyterian ism was planted in the
beginning of the seventeenth century, and where still its great
strength lies. It is well at such a time to see to it that the
circumstances and needs of the people are properly understood,
that they are read not in the deceptive glare of a passing
excitement, but by the calm, clear light of the torch of history.
It is especially important, not only to Irish Protestantism but to
all Irish interests, that the position and the past of Ulster should
be accurately discerned and read. If this handbook helps at all
towards the attainment of these desirable, indeed necessary,
ends, its second raison d'etre will have been most gratifyingly
vindicated.

Dr. Reid's History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland^ with
its continuation by Dr. Killen, has no doubt served both pur-
poses to some extent already. We have no more admirable history
of any Church. Mr. Froude has well said that it is 'the very
best book which has ever been written on these matters.' It is
only when one has had occasion, as I have had, to study it
minutely, to compare it with the authorities on which it is based,
and with other histories which run side by side with it, that the
patient research, the arduous toil, the accuracy, the fidelity, the
soundness of judgment to which almost every page of that
splendid work bears witness, can be fully appreciated or
appraised. But evidently this great work is too large and too
expensive to be circulated as widely as the history of the
Irish Presbyterian Church ought to be. A three-volume book
can never be expected to penetrate to the farmhouses and
cottages of the country-side, or to the artisans' dwellings in the



PREFACE. IX

city, still less to be read by the young generation which is
attending Bible Class and Sabbath School. It is not even
every wealthy merchant or country gentleman that will study, as
it deserves to be studied, a work so large. The existence
of a compact and concise handbook on the subject will at
all events render ignorance, if not impossible, at least inexcus-
able, and may have the happy effect of so whetting the appetite
of the reader that he will not be satisfied until he has feasted on
the rich fare provided by the first and best historians of the Irish
Presbyterian Church. Many things also have happened during
the nearly twenty years which have passed since the last (and
best) edition of this Presbyterian classic was published, not to
speak of the more than fifty which have elapsed since the
first appearance of its first volume. Valuable State papers
have been given to the public, other historians have re -sifted
Reid and Killen's materials, re-weighed their conclusions, and
thrown fresh light on many transactions with which they deal,
while important events have occurred, some of them so lately as
this present year, which deserve a more permanent record than
they can obtain in the columns of a newspaper. Besides, it will
be noticed that the present work carries back our ecclesiastical
story further into the past than Dr. Reid has done, so that both
at beginning and end it covers a larger ground.

To Reid obligations will be found in many cases acknowledged
throughout the work. But much more is due to him than could
be acknowledged. Besides other indebtednesses which are
owned in the proper place, it is only right also to mention here
the large general help derived from President Killen's Ecclesias-
tical History ofIrela?id, Dr. Witherow's Derry and Enniskilleit^
and The Boyne and Aghrim^ and valuable hints obtained from
the late Dr. Croskery, not only through the medium of various



X PREFACE.

productions of his pen, but in personal intercourse. From the
Rev. T. Y. Killen, D.D.,^ and the Rev. Alexander Gordon
of Belfast, the Rev. C. H. Irwin, M.A., Bray, and the Rev.
J. Armstrong, Plymouth, not a few helpful kindnesses were also
received.

I trust that the handbook may be found to have set in a clear
light, and before many eyes, one of the noblest histories which
the Church of Christ has to tell, that its perusal may bind Irish
Presbyterians in firmer allegiance to their grand old Church,
and lead many besides Irish Presbyterians better to understand
and appreciate our past history and our present position.

Bkookvale House,
Belfast, October, 1886.

1 While the first edition of this work was passing through the press. Dr.
Killen was suddenly cut down on October 21st, 1886. He was born in Bally-
mena on October 30th, 1826, entered Belfast College in 1842, was licensed by
the Presbytery of Carrickfergus in 1848, and laboured successively as a mis-
sionary at Camlin, and as pastor of the congregations of 3rd Ramelton,
Ballykelly. and Duncairn, Belfast, with great fidelity.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

The fact that within three months after the first appearance of
this httle book the preparation of a Second Edition had to be set
about, sufficiently demonstrates the need which was felt for some
such manual of our Irish Presbyterian Church history. The work
has now been carefully revised throughout ; typographical and
other errors have been corrected ; some additions have been made,
and an Index has been appended which will facilitate consultation.
In this improved form it is hoped that the handbook will be found
better fitted than ever to serve the ends for which it was written.

Brookvale House,
Belfast, Aprils 1887.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.— (Pp. 1-4)
INTRODUCTORY.

Early History of Ireland-Who are the real Irish ?-Treland the first Scot-
land, and the first Scotchmen Irishmen— Introduction of Chnstiamty—
The Scoto-Irish Church.

CHAPTER II.— (Pp. 5-14.)

ST. PATRICK.

Difficulty of ascertaining the Facts about him— His Birthplace-Shepherd
Life near Ballymena— His Conversion— His Strange Dream— His Theo-
loev— The 'Creed of St. Patrick'— Was he the First Primate?— His
Church Polity not Prelatic— Where is ' The Church of Ireland now?—
Patrick's Character.

CHAPTER III.— (Pp. 15-22.)

FROM THE BIRTH OF COLUMBA TO THE REFORMATION.

Birth of Columba— The Voyage to lona— Life in the Monastery— 'The
Apostle of the Northern Picts '—His Last Sabbath— The Early Irish
Monastic System— Bangor Abbey— Columbanus— Gallus—Kihan—Fn-
dohn— Rome gains the upper hand— The Synod of Rathbreasail— The
Synod of Kells— Diocesan Episcopacy established— Ireland granted by
Pope Adrian IV. to Henry II.— Vices of the Bishops— Deplorable State of
the Church.

CHAPTER IV.— (Pp. 23-27.)

FROM THE DAWN OF THE REFORMATION TO THE
PLANTATION OF ULSTER.

The Reformation— Causes of its Failure in Ireland— Reign of Edward VI.—
Bale, Bishop of Ossory— Romanism re-established by Queen Mary-



XU CONTENTS.

Persecutions ordered — Cole's Ludicrous Mishap — Mary's Death — Pro-
testantism re-established — How the Bishops trimmed their Sails — State
of Ireland in Elizabeth's Reign — Spenser's Description — Rebellion quelled
— Establishment of Trinity College, Dublin.



CHAPTER v.— (Pp. 28-41.)

THE PLANTATION OF ULSTER AND THE PIONEERS OF
IRISH PRESBYTERIANISM.

The Flight of the Earls— The Plantation— The New Settlers— Effects of the
Plantation — State of Affairs in Scotland — Prelacy reimposed — Laud's
Tyranny — Janet Geddes's Stool — The National Covenant — The Second
Reformation— The Fathers of the Irish Presbyterian Church — Edward
Brice — The Articles of Religion of 1615 — The Early Presbyterian
Ministers enjoy the Tithes — Hubbard of Carrickfergus — Glendinning —
John Ridge of Antrim — Robert Blair of Bangor — James Hamilton of
Ballywalter — Robert Cunningham of Holywood — Josias Welsh of Temple-
patrick — Andrew Stewart of Donegore — George Dunbar of Ballymena and
Larne — John Livingstone of Killinchy — Summary.



CHAPTER VL— (Pp. 42-55.)

BLESSING WITHIN. TROUBLE WITHOUT.

The Sixmilewater Revival — Glendinning — Remarkable Scenes — The Antrim
Monthly Meeting — The Beginning of Sorrows — The Friar's Challenge
— Sectaries — A Champion of Arminianism — Public Discussion — Persecu-
tion of the Ministers — Blair's Sermon before the Primate — Blair and
Livingstone suspended by Bishop Echlin — Four of the Ministers deposed
— Blair's Journey to London — Wentworth appointed Lord Deputy —
Severe Persecutions — The Presbyterians resolve to go to America — Their
Plan thwarted — A Lull in the Storm — The Last Communion in Bangor
— Ministers silenced — Miserable Death of Echlin — A Remarkable
Meeting in Belfast — Five more Ministers silenced — Cunningham's Noble
Speech — Death of Brice — ' The Eagle Wing ' — An Ill-Starred Voyage —
The Persecution grows hotter — 'The Black Oath '— Terrible Sufferings
of the Presbyterians — Case of Mr. Henry Stewart — Proposed Banishment
of the Presbyterians from Ulster — Death of Strafford.



CHAPTER VIL— (Pp. 56-63.)

1641 AND ITS ISSUES.

The Rebellion of 1641- Its Designs— Ulster a Sea of Blood— Appalling
Sufferings of the Protestants — The Numbers that perislicd — The Rebel-
lion a Romish Movement — The Massacre at Island Magee — Strange
Fictions of Romish Writers — Arrival of Scottish Troops at Carrickfergus
—The First Presbytery — Its Members — New Congregations erected.



CONTENTS. Xiii

CHAPTER VIII.— (Pp. 64-73.)

THE TIMES OF THE COMMONWEALTH.

Affairs in England — The Long Parliament — Ussher's Plan of Reconciliation
— Prelacy abolished by Parliament — The Westminster Assembly — The
Solemn League and Covenant — Governors sent by the Parliament to
Ulster — Execution of Charles 1. — Views of the Irish Presbyterians —
The Belfast ' Representation ' and Milton's Reply — Cromwell's Irish
Campaign — How Irish Presbyterians fared under Cromwell — Proposal to
banish them to Munster — The Tide turns — They are endowed — Growth
of the Church — Death of Cromwell.

CHAPTER IX.— (Pp. 74-83.)

UNDER CHARLES II.

Irish Presbyterians help to bring Charles back — Persecution recommences—
Jeremy 'J'aylor's Severities — Ejection of 1661 — Blood's Plot — More Perse-
cutions by the Bishops — Meetings in Glens and Farmhouses — Presby-
terianism mocked in a Dublin Theatre — The Regium Donum granted —
John Howe at Antrim — Francis Makemie sails to America and organizes
the First American Presbytery — The Tennents and ' Log College.'

CHAPTER X.— (Pp. 84-108.)

UNDER JAMES AND WILLIAM.

James II. ascends the Throne — His Efforts to Romanize the Country — The
Comber Letter — Shutting of the Gates of Deny — The Apprentice Boys
and Bishop Hopkins — Expected Massacre in Ulster — ' Lying Dick ' —
Lundy sent to Derry — The ' Break of Dromore ' — The Siege of Derry —
Walker not the Governor — Terrible Sufferings in the Maiden City —
Rosen's Atrocities — ' No Surrender ' — Kirke's Squadron — The Relief of
Derry — The Defence largely a Presbyterian Exploit — Enniskillen's
Gallant Stand— Rev. Robert Kelso—' The Break of Belleek '- Battle of
Belturbet — Battle of Lisnaskea — Battle of Nevilonbutler — William III. —
His Presbyterianism — His Calvinism — His Broad Protestantism — Schom-
berg lands at Groomsport — His Campaign — King William arrives at
Carrickfergus — Regium Donum granted at Hillsborough — Battle of the
Boyne — Vacillation of the EpiscopaHans — Renewed Persecution of the
Presbyterians — Mr. Ambrose imprisoned — Attempts of the Bishops to
have the Regium Donufn withdrawTi — Scandalous State of the Episcopal
Church — Case of Rev. John M 'Bride of Belfast — Of Rev. William Biggar
of Limerick — The Episcopalians seek to deprive Presbyterian Ministers
of the Right to solemnize Marriages.

CHAPTER XL— (Pp. 109-115.)

THE REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE.

The ' Schools of Philosophy '—The Test Act— Its Effects— Determined Efforts
to stamp out Presbyterianism — The Belturbet Case — The Nonjuring



XIV CONTENTS.

Controversy — Establishment of the ' General Fund ' — ' A Sample of Jet-
Black Prelatic Calumny ' — Kirkpatrick's ' Presbyterian Loyalty ' — Death
of Anne — The ' Toleration Act ' passed.



CHAPTER XII.— (Pp. 1 16-122.)

THE ' NEW LIGHT.'

• The Belfast Society' — Rev. John Abernethy's Sermon — The ' Pacific Act ' —
Case of Rev. Samuel Halliday of Belfast — 'Subscribers' and 'Non-
Subscribers ' — Establishment of Rosemary Street Church — A War of-
Pamphlets — Case of Rev. Thomas Nevin — The Presbytery of Antrim
separated from the Synod of Ulster.

CHAPTER XIII.— (Pp. 123-128.)

THE SECEDERS.

Rise of the Secession in Scotland — Ebenezer Erskine — Establishment of Lyle-
hill Congregation — Ordination of Rev. Isaac Patton — Other early
Secession Congregations — The ' Burghers ' and ' Antiburghers ' — Opposi-
tion of the Synod of Ulster — The IBallyrashane Discussion — \M-iat the
Seceders did for Ireland.

CHAPTER XIV.— (Pp. 129-135.)

A TIME OF DEADNESS.

Character of the i8th Century — Subscription to the Confession of Faith falls
into Abeyance in Ireland — Professors Simson and Leechman — Francis
Hutcheson — Decadence of the Synod of Ulster — Counteracting Influences
— The Seceders — First Irish Associate Presbytery — Rev. Thomas Clark
— The Covenanters — Sad State of the Episcopal Church — Large Emigra-
tion to America — Its Causes and Effects — Amelioration of the Condition
of Irish Presbyterians — Repeal of the Test Act — Validity of Presbyterian
Marriages declared — Increase of Regium Donum.



CHAPTER XV.— (Pp. 136-145.)

FROM THE RISE OF THE VOLUNTEERS TO Tllii
LEGISLATIVE UNION.

The Volunteers — The Dungannon Meeting — Grattan's Parliament — The Re-
bellion of 1798 — Battle of Antrim — Battle of Ballynahinch — The Insurrec-
tion in the South of Ireland — Father Murphy of Boolavogue — Vinegar
Hill — Scullabogue Barn — Opposition of the Presbyterians to the Rebellion
— The Legislative Union — Another Increase oi Retyium Donnm.



CONTENTS. XV

CHAPTER XVL— (Pp. 146-158.)

THE EVANGELICAL REVIVAL.

Signs of returning Life — Visit of the Rev. Dr. Waugh of London — The Bel-
fast Academical Institution — Dr. Cooke — His Early Life — Ministry at
Duneane — At Donegore — At Killyleagh — Beginning of the Arian Con-
troversy — The Chase after Smetliurst — Ministers called upon to declare
themselves — Dr. Stewart — Dr. Montgomery — Debate on the ' Theological
Committee' — The 'Remonstrance' — The Lurgan Meeting — Mont-
gomery's Speech — Cooke's Reply — Secession of the Arians — After
History of the Two Bodies — Subscription to the Confession of Faith
made absolute — Church Extension in Belfast — Dr. Edgar — Dr. Morgan.



CHAPTER XVII.— (Pp. 159-162.)

WORK AND WARFARE.

Rise of the Temperance Movement — Drinking Habits in the Beginning of the
Century — Visit to Ireland of Rev. Joseph Penny — Dr. Edgar commences
a Temperance Crusade — His Letter in the Belfast Newsletter — The First
Temperance Society in Europe — The Ulster Temperance Society — Total
Abstinence Movement — The National Education Controversy — Dr.
Carlile — Dr. Stewart's ' Model Application ' — The General Assembly and
the Board.

CHAPTER XVIII.— (Pp. 163-173.)

THE UNION OF THE SYNODS, AND AFTER.

Union of the Synod of Ulster and Secession Synod — The Students' Prayer
Meeting — Scene at the Union — Personnel of the First General Assembly
— Establishment of the Foreign Mission — Previous Missionary Enter-
prises of the Presbyterian Bodies — Establishment of the Jewish Mission
— Of the Colonial Mission — Of the Continental Mission — Of the Mission
to Soldiers and Sailors — The Bicentenary of Irish Presbyterianism — The
College Controversy — Foundation of the Queen's Colleges — Mrs. Magee's
Bequests — Assembly's College, Belfast — Magee College, Londonderry —
' The Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland.'

CHAPTER XIX.— (Pp. 174-178.)

PRESBYTERIANISM OUTSIDE ULSTER.

In Dublin — Rev. Walter Travers — Trinity College — John Owen and Stephen
Charnock — Wood Street Congregation — Cook Street — New Row — Plun-
ket Street — Capel Street — Early Seceding Congregations in Dublin —
Boyse — Iredell — Leland — Clonmel and other Southern Congregations
— Causes of the Decline of many of them — The Synod of Munster —
The Famine — Dr. Edgar's Action — Estabhshment of the Connaught
Schools — Results of the Famine.



XVI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XX.— (Pp. 179-187.)

THE LAST THIRTY YEARS.

The Church and Manse Fund — Rev. David Hamilton's Labours — The Revival
of 1859 — Strange Scenes — Its Results — Foundation of the Sabbath School
Society — Of the Presbyterian Orphan Society — Of the Society for the
Orphans of Ministers — The ' Irish Church Act ' — The Special Assembly
of 1870 — The Lay Conference — The Commutation and Sustentation
Funds — Death of Dr. Cooke — The Instrumental Music Controversy —
The Settlement of 1886 — Renewal of Intercourse with the Church of
Scotland — The General Assembly and Mr. Gladstone's 'Home Rule'
Bill.

CHAPTER XXI.— (Pp. 188-192.)

CONCLUSION.

Review of the Church's History — What Presbyterianism has done for Ireland
— Ulster changed — Its Agriculture — Manufactures — Prosperity — Kohl's
Testimony — Statistics of Pauperism and Crime — Presbyterianism a
Moderating Force in the Land — Distinctively Religious Blessings which
Ireland owes to it — Present Condition and Future Prospects of the
Church.



HISTORY



OF THE



IRISH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY.

When one begins to inquire into the early history of Ireland,
ecclesiastical or civil, it very soon becomes painfully evident that
it is only in a glass darkly that we can see it. The native
annalists give us indeed plenty of history, but it is such a con-
fused farrago of myth and legend and fable, that it is almost
impossible to pierce down through it to any solid rock-bed of
fact. They profess to tell us, with the utmost circumstantiality,
all about the affairs of the country from the days of Noah.
What can one make out of such history .? They give us a con-
fused account of successive invasions and colonizations by Fir-
Bolgs (who are said to have come over from Greece), and Tuatha
de Danaan (whose native country we are told was Scandinavia),
and Milesians from Spain. It is not easy to say how far the
stories of these incursions are fact and how far fiction, or
whether there is substantial substratum of fact in them at all.
This much, however, seems clear beyond doubt, that the present
inhabitants of all the four provinces of Ireland are the descend-
ants of successive bodies of invaders, who from time to time

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