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ceed from a system founded on dogmas | the minds of many professing Chris. such as these :—That man is a mere tians. machine, wholly the creature of circum-/ Of Combe's “ Constitution of Man," in stances; that he cannot be any thing but which many or most of these doctrines what he is ; that he is not responsible are contained, a hundred thousand copies either for his opinions or his conduct, are understood to have been circulated ; and cannot therefore be the object of and the popularity and rapid sale of such praise or blame, of reward or punish- works as the “ Vestiges of the Natural ment; that to discard all religion is the History of Creation,” indicate to what first step to intelligence and social im- extent the poison has been received, and provement; that the soul is mortal ; that call on all who know and love the truth the institution of marriage is an accursed “ as it is in Jesus," to be upon the alert. thing; and that Christ was an impostor -- For let the hand of God, as seen in an ignorant pretender, who knew no Creation and Providence, be thus veiled; thing of the real nature of man-a proud let his presiding care over his visible and deceitful seducer of mankind, who or invisible works be denied; or let the propagated among them false doctrines only recognitions of his power and wisand empty fables. These salient points dom in the arrangements and operations of Socialism, or Owenism, mingled with of nature be carried far back into the coarse ribaldry and furious invective, depths of the mysterious and unrecorded having been presented to society in thou- past,—and the corrupt heart will soon sands of publications, must have destroy- find little difficulty in forgetting or denyed the consciences and debased the hearts ing his existence altogether, and so sinkof myriads of the young, the ignorant, ing into unmitigated Atheism. The truth and the unwary ; while they have fur- and authority of scripture are already, by nished a deceitful sanction to the disso- this system, discarded, and even the lute and the immoral. The evil fruits of possibility of a revelation well nigh dissuch maxims cannot be estimated. avowed.
Now are open-mouthed blasphemy and Of the measures which our association ribaldry the only means by which infi- may be led to adopt to oppose these delity has been assailing and endeavouring errors, we cannot yet very fully or defito overthrow the defences of truth and nitely speak. We feel the need of virtue ; it has been, perhaps, still more prudence and caution; and our desire is, widely successful in sapping their foun- in the first instance, to collect informadations by a refined species of materialism tion, and by means of auxiliary associanow in vogue. That the world has within tions or committees throughout the itself the elements of improvement and country, to watch the progress of the perfection ; that supernatural influences evil, and adopt the most safe and effective for transforming human character are means for its cure. We have, however, neither necessary nor to be expected ; begun to do something, in the way of that obedience to natural laws, under the preparing and publishing reports on guidance of phrenology, is all that is Popery, Puseyism, and Infidelity- of required for the improvement of the inquiring after and selecting tracts to be human race-moral laws being of little reprinted--and of seeking the wider cirvalue, and revelation, except in so far as culation of approved treatises on the appears to harmonize with reason and christian evidences. We have already science, to be rejected ; that man was sold at a reduced price, in various quarcreated mortal, and with the same dis- ters, especially in Edinburgh, several positions and tendencies as now govern hundreds of copies of Bogue's “ Essay on him ; and that a remedial economy must the Divine Authority of the New Testatherefore be a dream, faith a delusion, and ment ;" we have issued a small treatise, devotion a mark of folly,—these, and entitled “ Nature and Revelation Harsuch as these, are the seminal principles, monious," in refutation of the dangerous or direct and obvious conclusions of this principles of Combe's “ Constitution of popular system of materialism, or anti- Man;" and several tracts on Socialism supernaturalism, which being taught in are ready for gratuitous circulation. very insidious forms, and mixed up with Other measures are also in contemmuch interesting and useful knowledge, plation ; but, in the meantime, we earnestly has been diffused extensively in general solicit your countenance to the association, society, and even found its way, there is in the way of imparting to us whatever reason to suspect, to some extent, into information and advice on the above topics, and whatever pecuniary assistance, of those holding sentiments usually known you may have it in your power to afford : under the name of Evangelical ; and the and you will permit us to suggest the principle on which new members are adpropriety of your using measures to induce mitted shall be, that they are nominated a number of the known and tried friends by five of the Committee, whose names of evangelical truth, in your neighbour- are hereto appended, or of their suchood, of different denominations, to form cessors in office. themselves into an auxiliary association, V.-The business of the Association for the more effectual accomplishment of shall be managed by said Committee in the ends in view, with which we may Edinburgh-who shall have power to add have the privilege of corresponding from to their number—and who shall employ time to time, as circumstances may render the services of a Secretary to conduct desirable. The following is the proposed their correspondence, and keep a record constitution of the association :
of all their transactions-five members CONSTITUTION :
of Committee to be a quorum. 1.—The name of the Society shall be VI.-It shall be the duty of the ComThe Scottisu ASSOCIATION FOR OPPOSING mittee to open a correspondence with PREVALENT ERRORS.
friends of Evangelical truth in the various II.-The object of the Association parts of the country, for the purpose of shall be to counteract the efforts which encouraging the formation of auxiliary, or are making, or may be made, to diffuse sister Associations, with which the central opinions at variance with Christianity, Association may communicate regarding whether in support of Superstition, as their common objects. Popery and Puseyism ; or of Infidelity, VII.-The Association shall have a as Pantheism, Anti-supernaturalism, and depository in Edinburgh-and, if pracSocialism.
ticable, in other towns in Scotland-in III.-The instrumentality employed which its publications shall be disposed of by the Association shall chiefly consist on reduced terms. of the issuing original publications, and VIII.—There shall be an Annual promoting the extensive circulation of Meeting of the Members of the Associaworks already existing, which may be tion, at which the Report of the proceeddeemed peculiarly fitted to gain this ings of the Committee throughout the object.
year shall be presented, and office-bearers IV.—The Association shall consist only chosen.
STATE OF THE COUNTRY.
tariff, partly owing to so large anamount of
capital being absorbed by railways, partly It is with deep regret that we see the as the result of the price of provisions, affairs of the country getting into an un- which, though far short of what it has satisfactory condition. The corn bill, with often been, is incompatible with a flourishwhich the welfare of the nation is so ing condition of manufactures, and perclosely bound up, has of late been making haps in some measure also as the effect absolutely no progress. The ministry of our still dubious relations with America. themselves, apparently with the view of In Ireland the people are now nearly conciliating their opponents, have ad- destitute of potatoes, the staple article of journed its discussion on the plea of ex- food, and, as might naturally be expected, pediting the Irish coercion bill, which, disease is becoming prevalent, and sympafter all, is not expedited in the least, toms of turbulence are occasionally maniand the provisions of which are of a very festing themselves, and putting on an questionable, and several of them of a alarming appearance. Government, howhighly obnoxious description, as is readily ever, have most opportunely, by an order admitted by many who hold that some in council, admitted maize at a nominal measure is absolutely necessary, for ren- duty; and we trust the happiest consedering life and property more secure in quences will follow, both in the preservathe sister isle. Trade, in the meantime, tion of life in that wretched part of the is becoming decidedly bad, partly in conse- empire, and also in moderating the cost quence of the uncertainty respecting the of food throughout Britain. Maize is
universally acknowledged to be whole- ring which have agitated the minds of some and nutritious. We reckon it not men since the Revolution. That the unpalatable ; and, making all due allow- priests will accept of endowments, proance for diversity of taste, the man is too vided they are offered sufficient in amount fastidious who deems it a hardship to be and in their own way, we have no doubt. reduced to such an article of diet. We But should this event take place, on whom hope, that under providence, this plant is will the blame rest ? We answer emphatidestined to be of essential advantage to cally, on the endowed Presbyterians of this country, by furnishing us with a low Ireland. Their regium donum has furpriced kind of food, which is vastly more nished the type of the endowment of the substantial, and in almost every respect priests, and it is in their power, by the better than the potato.
timely rejection of their own endowment, to prevent the endowment of the latter
now and for ever. * * * The REGIUM DONUM.
dissolution of the connexion of the Pres
byterians of Ireland with the powers We have repeatedly given expression to that be,' would be an event of the highest our opinions on this subject, and have no importance to religion, and the interests doubt that our readers, nearly all, hold of civil and religious liberty. We know these opinions as decidedly as ourselves. the body, and though enervated by their Last year we duly noticed the attempt present connexion with the state, we can that was made by means of two memo- confidently affirm that the elements of rials, one from Belfast, and another from greatness are in their nature. They are Londonderry, to induce the General the descendants of Knox and Melville. Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian The spirit of freedom slumbers in their Church to repudiate the donum ; as well breasts. Their emancipation would be, as the strong and faithful remonstrance in the full sense of the terms, the grand of the Eastern Reformed (Cameronian) prelude to the emancipation of the sister Presbytery of Ireland, in which they ex- isle. It would speedily elevate the press their conviction on the subject in standard of piety among themselves, open the following terms :-" The balance the founts of christian liberality, and preof power is in the hands of the General pare them for uniting with other bodies Assembly. On them it depends, under of Christians, in giving to their country providence, whether the Roman Catholic the blessings of a pure Christianity. They religion shall be the established religion would at once become resolute and bold of Ireland or not. If they give up the asserters of anti-state church principles, royal bounty, it cannot be established. and before the mighty onset of their comIf they do not give up that grant, it will | bined energies, the Irish state-church, be established. This opinion we expressed that source of everlasting irritation, would ten years ago in our Signs of the Times.' be subverted. This would be the deathIn this opinion we are now confirmed.” blow of the establishment principle. Our attention has been directed afresh to Romanism would not, could not, dare not this subject, by an article in the Eclectic attempt to revive it. for April.
" The dissenters of England have not “ If we may judge,” says the reviewer, discharged the duty they owe to their “ from the signs of the times, the period endowed brethren in Ireland,- that of is not distant (indeed we may say it now faithful remonstrance. The conduct of is) when the Presbyterians of Ireland some leading ministers in the ranks of will be called to give up their endowments English dissent, in regard to that paltry on other grounds than those on which affair, the English regium donum, has, on they have been generally appealed to the contrary, tended to justify the Irish from love to their country,—to avert a presbyterians in the acceptance of theirs ; great national calamity-the civil endow- and one learned name in the theological ment of Romanism. We are fast ap- world [Dr Pye Smith), has, we know, proaching a mighty crisis in the history of been frequently appealed to as affording Ireland, perhaps in that of the empire. a complete sanction for their conduct. A storm threatens. The cloud already By this means the hands of the little thickens, and the thunder is heard in the band of men in the sister island, who are distance. The question of the endowment striving by word and deed to vindicate of the Roman Catholic priesthood of the scripturality and justice of the voIreland, will prove one of the most stir- luntary principle, have been greatly weakened. The dissenters of Britain “A valued friend of mine, in America, will only have discharged their responsi- who was once a slave-holder, but under bilities to Irish presbyterians, when they the ennobling influence of Christianity have scattered, over the length and had emancipated his slaves, told me, that breadth of the land, addresses and re-on going once into a slave-mart, he saw monstrances, exposing the evil of this among those to be sold, a reniarkably grant.
fine slave. When put up for sale, the Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks auctioneer described him as a man of In Vallombrosa.'_"
much physical power, and besides a skilTo these sentiments of the Eclectic we ful worker in iron. Such a man, it was are disposed in the main to subscribe, and expected, would bring a large price, and deem it not unseasonable to ask whether such was the case. There was a slavethe dissenters of Scotland have done purchaser present, who, as the bidding their duty to the receivers of the donum. I proceeded, kept ahead of the rest, which either in England or Ireland ? The for the slave observed. After a time, the mer class consists of Baptists. Indepen- slave stepped off the block, and said to dents, and Socinians, under the name of this bidder : " Well, sir, perceive Presbyterians. On these last, remonstrance you will be my master ; out,
you will be my master ; but, massa, you would be thrown away ; but possibly the must not only buy me, you must buy my case of the two other sections might not wife too.” “I don't know that I shall be equally hopeless. The fact, we believe. purchase you,” said he ; “ go get upon is, that they keep the Irish presbyterians the block again." The bidding went on, in countenance, just as the latter, it is this person still keeping in advance. The alleged, furnish a plausible pretext for the slave again stepped off, and made a simipapists. Some of our English brethren. I lar request, and met with a like repulse. we observe. are anxious to institute a In a short time after, he bought the slave, sustentation fund, after the manner of the
who then said : “ Master, my wife and Free Church, with the view of getting rid
I are much attached to each other ; she of regium donum. Others, and we be
will be of little use to whoever may purlieve, a much greater number, deprecate
chase her ; but buy my wife and I will such a measure, as necessarily tending to be a faithful slave to you. I am a skil. centralization, and destructive of minis- ful worker in iron, and will bring you terial independence. Whatever be the good wages ; do, master, buy my wife.” proper remedy, the evil is flagrant, and/“I came not,” said his master, “ to buy ought to be instantly and uncompro- your wife, but you.” On this he turned misingly put away.
and embraced her tenderly, clasping her in his arms, when, as if a new thought
had struck him, he came again to his AMERICAN SLAVERY.
master, and said, “ You must buy my
wife, and I will be to you a faithful slave.” This subject we understand will be His master sternly refused. “ Weil,” brought, by overture, before both the said he, “ if you will not buy my wife, I Relief Synod and our own; and what-shall never be your slave," and immeever diversity of opinion may exist re- diately killed himself with a weapon specting questions with which it may be which he drew from under his garment. complicated, we cannot doubt that both When I say “ wife," I mean the woman Synods will unanimously record their he called so, for by the law of the United continued, unabated, and unqualified ab- States, the honourable relation of hushorrence of the diabolical enormity itself. band and wife is forbidden to the slave. The following anecdotes related by J. The same friend, (continued Mr Scoble) Scoble, Esq., at an anti-slavery meet. also told me, that he was present at the ing, held last March in the Friends' embarkation of several slaves ; and a few meeting house, Norwich, where J. J. minutes' delay was occasioned by one of Gurney, Esq. presided, may not have the poor women, who remained behind fallen under the eye of many of our to perform a necessary act of maternal readers ; we, therefore, make no apology care for her infant. This so excited the for transcribing them. They embody anger of the master, that when she came nothing new in point of principle ; but up he inquired in a rage the cause of her the heart of the man is not to be envied, detention. She explained to him the who can read them without strong emo reason, but his rage was such that, for tion :
the delay of only a few minutes, he took
the child abruptly from the woman's to be remembered that many of them are arms, and holding it up, asked who would public funds, to which the parishioners take it. Unnatural and revolting as was have an equal legal right, irrespective this offer, yet one was found to take the of their religious profession. Unhappily child ; and the poor mother had to em- these are, in many cases, like the poor bark in the steamer without her child." funds in Scotland, too much under the
control of the clergy, who it seems may LAW OF LIBEL.—CLERICAL IMMUNITY. be guilty of what malversations they The editor of the Nonconformist news
please, liable perhaps to a contly action paper has just been prosecuted for libel at law, but not amenable to the cheap, by a clergyman of the Church of England, and prompt, and salutary awards of public on account of an article which appeared opinion. The established church is to all in that paper, and the jury have given a intents and purposes, a national instituverdict for L.200 damages, together with
or with tion. Its office-bearers are consequently expenses. With calumny and defama- all public functionaries. But, unlike all tion we have no sympathy : and with the others, they are exempt from the supermerits of this individual case we are not
vision and animadversion of the public concerned. We have frequently heard
in the discharge of their official duties, the article in question represented as not
so long as they take care not to publish altogether justifiable. The editor declares
their sermons. Such a state of the law that it was not written by hiin, and that
is unendurable. We are glad to underit contains expressions of which he does
stand that a new trial is to be applied for, not entirely approve ; but having pub
in order more fully to ascertain how the lished it, he honourably took on himself
matter stands, and if this shall prove unthe whole responsibility. The affair,
satisfactory, we hope the legislature will however, has excited, and we think next be appealed to. Considering the reasonably, a very considerable degree of
number of cases which have lately come interest among the friends of the freedom
before the courts, in which clergymen of the press, in consequence of the charge
have been not only charged with, but delivered to the jury by the presiding
convicted of, most gross and scandalous judge, Mr Justice Parke. That learned crimes, such as seduction and adultery, it person is reported to have laid down the seems highly expedient that they should law from the bench in the following
be specially open to the surveillance of terms :—“I have yet to learn that there
the public. In the meantime a subscripis any right in the press to publish an
tion has been commenced for defraying opinion of the conduct of a clergyman in the expenses of the editor of the Nonhis parish, and the method in wnich he may conformist, who is so well known as the see fit to administer its charities. If indeed
| able and zealous advocate of civil and a clergyman publish a sermon which he religious liberty. We hope a sum fully delivered to his parish, he makes it public
| adequate to the object will be realised, property, and confers thereby on the
especially as the damages are almost public the right of observing on it, and
universally admitted to have been excriticising it, if done fairly, and without
cessive, even on the supposition that damalicious motives. Short of this, there
mages were due. is nothing in the conduct of a clergyman which can confer on the press any ground
RAILWAY LABOURERS. for commenting on him.” We entirely THESE are now in many districts a very concur in the opinion which has been numerous class of people ; and from the expressed in many of the public journals | peculiarities of their case, plainly demand of different political principles, and at a no small degree of attention from the number of meetings in London and else- benevolent and pious. They are in very where, that if this be the law, it is high great danger not only of becoming feartime it were mended. Under such pro- fully corrupt and debased themselves, but tection, what may a clergyman not per- of diffusing their contamination far and petrate with impunity, under the abused wide. Besides being exposed to all the name of preaching ? The parish churches, temptations and disadvantages of being it seems, are privileged places for the from home-always from home-in fact, utterance--provided it be by men in so having no home-and probably some of called holy orders-of every sort of outrage them fugitives from home-besides all on truth, decency, and right feeling. As to this, it is invariably found that where what are miscalled the “charities," it is numbers of labourers are congregated to