Page images
[ocr errors]

astical priviliges and authority, yet one man, merely from possessing superior powers of understanding or of elocution, will have greater Influence than another. The disparity of rank produced by classification therefore, is not inconsistent with presbyterian principles: because a similar disparity must necessarily exist in every state of the church. I do not pretend to say that the system of classification is a good one. I originally thought and do still think that the equalizing-system would have been bet ter; but for very different reasons from those assigned by R. and which it is not necessary for me at present to enumerate. By the bye, it may not be amiss to inform R. that he is incorrect in his account of the classification. The bounty is given not in two por tions of £100, and 250, as he states, but in three: and-sixty-two ministers receive £100, per annum, 62, 751. and 62, 50t.

Further, I contend, that minis ters becoming more independent of their people than formerly is not at variance either with the principles they profess, or the constitution of the church. First, however, I must observe, that this greater independence, which some have so migh tily insisted upon, as prejudicial to the presbyterian interest, is really much misrepresented. It is well known that money has greatly diminished in value, within the last 50 or 60 years: insomuch that the augmen tation of bounty has done little more than obviate the effect of that diminution. And if in any congre gation a cry arose (though I do not believe there did,) that there was now no occasion to increase the stipend, but rather a propriety in diminishing it, in consequence of the augmentation of bounty, the people must have been-most-gross

ly and absurdly ignorant of the rank which it is right the clergy should hold in society, as well as of the necessities of the times. Every necessary of life has increased in price perhaps a third or more, in the last 50 years and even in the matter of education alone, how ex tremely expensive is it to qualify a young man for any of the learned professions, now, compared with what it was, 15 or 20 years ago! A minister even of the first class, with all that can be reasonably ex peeted from his congregation; wilk find it a sufficiently difficult matter to educate a family of five or six children in a liberal manner, especia ally if any are designed for the learned professions, unless he has something else to depend on than his stipend and bounty. It must appear therefore, that ministers are not so independent of their people now, any more than formerly, when the R. D. was only 321. per annum as to undervalue their contributions, or to think of relaxing their exer tions in the discharge of their duty, because they no longer require their support.

When R. is informed that in the Scottish church the ministers are not paid by the people, and that, except in the relief church, the people do not even choose their own pastors, he will find, he has totally mista ken the nature, and misapprehended the spirit of Presbyterianism." The mode of choosing and paying ministers, forms no necessary part of Presbyterianism. At the same time,


consider our plan a better one than that of the Scottish establish ment. And notwithstanding the exception made by some very sincere men to R. D. in any form, so far from considering it an evil, I am incliued to think it has always tended's to promote the Presbyterian interest. In so far as it has contributed to raise



[ocr errors]

our ministers from among the lowest of the people, it has had a good effect, and at present it affords a tolerable provision, not subject to the irregularity or uncertainty of congregational collections, for such ministers as from age or infirmity, are under the necessity of having assistants.

As to the evil which R. forbodes, that the people" will slacken still more in their contributions, until the government stipend and their own, shall bear nomanner of proportion to each other." I am I am confident, he will be complete, ly mistaken. "Slacken still more"more than what? I presume he means more than they have done already. But I do not believe, that any congregation has yet diminished its stipend. On the contrary, I know several that, on the settlement of a new minister, have increased their stipend, since the augmentation. If R. knows any congregation that has lowered its stipend, he will do well to mention it but I trust that congregations are too well aware of the necessities of the times, to think of withdrawing any part of their former support. Should any mean-spirited societies adopt this system, it is plain, that they themselves will also sutter-for a man of talents will scarcely think of preferring a small settlement to one that proposes to give him a better and more suitable .support.

R. is incorrect again, in stating that "under these circumstances, should any disagreement arise, between a congregation and their pas. tor, the latter may retire on his sinecure; while the former, long`unaccustomed to make due provision for their spiritual instruction, may feel hoth careless and incapable of procuring another, and thus, in a christian country, be deprived, for a time, of the preaching of the gos

pel" When writers, instead of fol lowing simple truth, amuse themselves with phantoms of their own imaginations, there is no end to their absurdities. R. should have known, before he exposed himself so grossly, by writing the above passage, that it is not in the power of a mini, ster to retire from the charge of a congregation, and procure an assis tant, when he pleases. That matter rests with his presbytery, who will not suffer him to enjoy a sinccure, unless through age or infirmity, he be incapable of fully discharging the duties of his office. When this appears, an assistant and successor is sought for by the congregationtill whose appointment, should their minister be unable to preach, the presbytery supply the congregation. There is no instance, such as R. speaks of, of a congregation being deprived, for a time, of the preach. ing of the gospel. The discipline of the church makes every necessary provision for the instruction of the people.

To R.'s last paragraph, in which indeed there is nothing but assertion and supposition it is unnecessary to make any reply, as it appears to be a sort of deduction from his former incorrect statements. I shall therefore take leave of him, and of the writer of the Retrospect, by requesting, when they write again on this subject, they will treat Presbyterian ministers with a little more justice and candour; and that they will not, by mis-statements and uwarrantable insinuations, endeavour to make our people entertain an unfavourable opinion of their ministers' principles and conduct. Let truth be told respecting them, and let them, then, be left to the impartial judgment of the world.

[ocr errors]

I am, Sir, yours, &c...


P.S. As an idea appears to have

taken possession of the minds of some imperfectly acquainted with the subject that the principles and discipline of the Presbyterian church, as well as the patronising of its ministers, are essentially affected by their dependance on the crown; it may be proper to say a few words respecting the settlement and conduct of the Presbyterians in Ulster.

In the reign of James I., the Irish parliament gave an invitation to the Scots to settle in Ireland, for the purpose of promoting the reformed religion, and supporting the English interest. The first Presbyterian ministers came over with this colony, under the sanction of govern ment, not as Dissenters from the established church, but rather as comprenended in it; being so far encouraged and supported by the state, that all of them were inducted into the churches, and had the tithes. And Eehlin, bishop of Down, and Knox of Raphoe, joined with their presbyteries in their ordinations. They frequently met and consulted with the bishops about affairs of cour mon concernment to the interest of religion. Some of them were members of the convocation in the year 1631. The mutual moderation of the Episcopals and Presbyterians in Ireland, at that time, was of essential service to the settlement and plantation of Ulster." It would seem from this, that the Presbyterians did not consider their princi ples or discipline injured or destroy ed, by their ministers receiving support from the crown, even at a time when zeal for truth and principle was much greater than it is at present. It may also be observed, that the arguments respecting freedom and patriotism, on which the writer of the Retrospect insists, will bear with equal or greater force against

• Dr. Campbell's Vindication

[ocr errors]

the Presbyterians of those early times, as those of the present day. There was then greater hazard of their losing their livings, from the disturbed and fluctuating state of public atlairs and, of course, it might have been expected, they would have been more slavishly devoted to the civil power; but nothing of this appears. The patriotism of Presbyterians was such, that the parliament particularly sets forth their usefulness, in farther civilizing, strengthening, and securing this realm against rebels at home, and all foreign invasion." The Presbyterians have always been distinguishe ed for that loyalty, which is dictated by a regard for the constitution, and a love of country. They opposed the violent measures of government under Charles, though they consented not to his death. They resisted the authority of the Rump parlia ment, and refused the oath called the engagement, which stood in opposition to the constitution. They afterwards opposed the usurpation of Cromwell, though at the risk of forfeiting the salary which they then bad from government. I contend, therefore, that if support from government; even in the form of clas sification, (for we cannot suppose that the salaries resulting from the tithes were all equal,) were not lie consistent with the ancient princi ples and privileges of the Presbyterian church, nor yet hostile to the loyalty, to the patriotism of Presbyterian ministers, we have no reason to be alarmed for the safety of the Presbyterian interest, from the grant of R. D. made in modera times.

For the Belfast Monthly Magazine

[ocr errors]

(RAMBLE, CONTINUED.) From vol. 6, page 20, THESE persons were young men, dressed quite a-la-mode; they

gave themselves what is usually called an air of consequence, and doubt less wished to impress on others their great importance; for in a few minutes they disclosed in their minced chat, that they were persons of a very superior class, viza gauger, a clerk, in a department of the revenue, and an apothecary, who answered very agreeably to the word doctor. He however bore his faculties more meekly" than the others, for they stunned my ears" with the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind," and if dress, as a great moralist has observed, "oft denotes the man," these must have been very bright gentlemen indeed. The lough here being only about an English mile in breadth, we soon reached the beach close by the ruins of Ol derfleet-castle, and paying the fare, which was only one penny, I left my noisy companions, who were protesting to each other, as they groped their pockets, that they had na change! This I thought very strange, as they had previously agreed to give the boatman a fivepenny-bit, and I rather suppose, that their present affirmation arose from neither being willing to be the generous person, for fear of not being reimbursed by the others Be this as it may, I left them in this dilemma, and went to examine the forementioned ruin, thinking on the following words of the immortal Shakespear, that "nature had made strange fellows in her time." The present state of the ruin fully demonstrates the truth of an observation made by a late author, who says,→ "buildings are always best preserved in places little frequented;" for several of the adjoining houses are evidently built of the stones torn from its walls. This peninsula, near the extremity of which this ruin stands, was formerly called Older fleet, but now the Curran, which in the

Irish language signifies a Hook; the adjacent harbour is still in many modern maps and charts, called Oldfleet, which is certainly a corrup tion from its ancient name. History and tradition are silent as to the founding of this building, yet its shape leaves reason to suppose it to be one of those founded by the English, after their conquest of the country; it was formerly considered a most important fortress, as it protected the place against the visits of the Scots; in 1559, Sir Moses Hill, ancestor to the marquis of Downshire, was governor. May 28th, 1603, James I. granted this peninsula to Sir Randel Mac Sorley Mac Donald, of Dunluce, and on the 14th July, 1606, he received a regrant of the same. The castle and lands were afterwards granted by James I. in the 10th of his reign, to Sir Arthur Chichester, and the right of the ferry between this place and island Magce, also the ancient church and lands of Chundumales, consisting of about 15 acres: Olderfleet lands were at the same time attached to the manor of castle Chichester, Island Magee. This place gives title of Baron to Trevor Hill, Viscount Dungannon. Viscount Dungannon. On the 25th April, or May, 1815, Lord Edward Bruce arrived here, andlanded from a fleet of barques about 6000 men; numerous bodies of the Irish flocked to his standard, and hoth massacred the English settlers; and Bruce defeating Richard de Burgo, Earl of Ulster, near Colerain, desolated the country in the most wanton manner, and laid siege to Carrickfergus. But to proceed on my journey, i now set off to Larne, which was only about one mile distant: the sea on the left, each tide, overflows a large tract of land between it and the town, which could easily be reclaimed into excellent meadow, or pasturage; yet none of the gentle

number wounded, among whom was the commandant; the latter one kil led, and some wounded: the party of the army however kept possession of their barrack, till relieved next day by a detachment from Carrickfergus.

(To be concluded in our next.)

For the Belfast Monthly Magazine.

men, I was told, evince even a wish to rob old Neptune of any part of his domain; which is really surprizing, as from the increasing value of land, a few years would pay the expense of the undertaking. Larne consists of an old and new town, the latter chiefly of one long street, pretty well built of stone, the houses of which have generally an a'r of neatness; in the old town the houses are also mostly decent, but the street and lanes are narrow, crook

ed, and badly paved, so that it has but an indifferent appearance. By accounts taken January 1st, 1808, the number of dwelling-houses in both was 421, and the families 563; containing 2512 persons, 1120 of whom were males, and 1392 females. The inhabitants, from their numerous places of public worship, seem rather of a religious cast, there being an established church, three dissenting meeting-point had arrived at a state, when houses, and a catholic and metho- any blunder in it was almost imposdist chapels. There are two large sible, when even it was ready for book clubs here, that of the gentle- the last coping stone, I have the men is said to be extensive and disappointment to find that the inwell chosen, the other has also some genuity of man in going astray is valuable works; in the town is like beyond calculation, and that in laywise a circulating library. Markets ing this very last course, the bu lare held here on the first Monday of ders have contrived to disfigure the each month, for linen-yarn, &c. whole pile, so as to take away much fairs are also held the 31st July, more from the appearance of the and 1st of December. Here are street than I hoped it would have large flour-mills and a linen-bleach added. It might be thought that field, but the chief business is the when the front was so near complecotton, chiefly the calico branch, the tion, so great a change was imposweaving of which employs a consi- sible: but let any one consider how derable number of hands, very few a handsome lady would look, dresbeing employed weaving linen.-- sed becomingly in every other resThere is likewise a manufactory of pect, who to finish her toiler, shoul 1 sail-cloth, and two small rope waths. clap on her head a grenadier's cap,. Early on the morning of June 7th, a judges wig, a coal-scartle, or any 1798, a slight skirmish took place other preposterous article, and he here between a party of the king's will have some idea how an iacontroops, and a large body of insur- grous termination may spoil the look gents, in which the former, by the of a building, that but for it would imprudence of the officers command- bave been ornamental to the town. ing, had three killed, and the same

I admite the Grecian arenitecture


E ს



ONSIDERING the new chapel ia Donegall-street, in an architectural point of view solely (for as to its other effects they are matters with which I never meddle, leaving every man to his own orthodory, as I wish to be left to mine,) I was much pleased with its progress, promising as it did to form an handsome ornament to a handsome street. But just as I thought the

« PreviousContinue »