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On this field the battle of the faith has now to be fought, and it eminently becomes all preachers and students to be well armed for the conflict. Throughout his long career, Dr. Brown had a pastoral charge, yet he found time for studies which have made him one of the most successful exegetes of the word. All he did was directed to the one aim of his life; and he grudged no labour, whether of linguistic or critical research, in order that he might fulfil that aim. Blended with this was the simplicity of a humble Christian, and the fidelity of a watchman on the tower of Zion.
Let the Church encourage scholarship in her clergy, and in the coming crisis it will be seen that those best prepared will be most influential in settling the convictions of inquiring minds, and in moulding the piety of the Church of the succeeding age. Let clergymen ponder these words from the “ Parting Counsels" of Dr. Brown : “ Ministers of Christ should be anointed with Peter's spirit: they should as a matter of duty, from an early period of their ministry, begin to lay up and finish with the utmost care what may be, when they have pat off this tabernacle, a valuable and availing treasure to the congregation, to the Church, and to the world. This would have good influence on their own minds. It would add to the edification of their people even now, and the number of good books, by no means too great, would be increased. It goes to soften the pang of
separation between a Christian pastor and his flock, when he knows that after his decease they will be able to remember the things which he has taught them; and when they know that even when dead he will continue to speak to them—the pages, as they peruse them, strangely calling
up the countenance and form hid in the grave, and echoing back a voice which they must hear no more for ever."
THE REV. THOMAS CHALMERS, D.D., LL.D.,
N the year 1780, the third of the four Georges
who reigned over Great Britain and Ireland
had reached the twentieth year of his long monarchy. The nation was embroiled in troubles. A powerful opposition and a dissatisfied people made the administration difficult. A war with Hyder Ali and the Mahrattas in India; with America, then five years after her declaration of independence; and with France and Spain—joined soon after by Holland-made the Ministry drain the resources of the people. Fears of a French invasion, which have periodically aroused the British Lion, were operating upon the nation, and volunteers were combining pro aris et focis in a manner worthy of British courage. The East India Company forgot their quarrels with the Government, and provided three seventy-four gun ships, and money for the levying of six thousand men. The people who had been tired of the American war, now burneci with desire to defeat the French.
In the same year the country was greatly excited by the attempt made in Parliament to remove some of the civil disabilities of the Roman Catholics. The cry of
“No Popery” was raised, and Lord George Gordon went to the House of Commons with a monster petition against the repeal of the penal statutes, and accompanied by a Protestant mob of fifty thousand persons, wearing blue cockades, and muttering threatenings against the Papists. Though the Legislature resisted the violence of the mob, various conflagrations of Roman Catholic chapels and other houses were caused, and the peace of the community threatened. The Government stood the test of office with great
The Armed Neutrality failed to crush the power of Great Britain.
Gibraltar was preserved while the Spanish fleet was taken. Internal rioters were punished, and combinations of men prohibited so strictly as to endanger civil liberty. Parliamentary opposition, which had threatened the Ministry, was subdued by the firmness of the Government in menacing times.
While in England Parliament is the index of the nation, in Scotland it is the General Assembly of the Church. Political matters in the one are paralleled only by ecclesiastical matters in the other. In the year 1780 the Church of Scotland had one of its memorable epochs. Dr. Robertson, who was minister of Greyfriars' Church and Principal of the University of Edinburgh, signalized the year by his retirement from the leadership of the General Assembly. He had been the presiding genius of Moderatism for a lengthened period, and had done all he could to enforce the law of patronage, and to intrude ministers upon disaffected congregations. His violent course had caused the second secession from the Church, as his predecessors had in a similar manner occasioned the first. The Presbytery of Dunfermline declined to settle
a minister who was not acceptable to the parishioners, and one of them, the Rev. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock, was deposed from the holy ministry for his refusal. He was the father of the secession called the Relief. The same policy settled a minister at Nigg in Ross-shire in an empty church from which the indignant parishioners, who objected in vain to his settlement, had gone. The same policy commanded the Presbytery to settle a minister at St. Ninians, though the people for seven years continued to object, and refused to sign his call. The day of induction came, and the moderator, instead of putting to the presentee the usual questions, thus addressed him: “We are met here this day to admit you
minister of St. Ninians. There has been a formidable opposition made against you by six hundred heads of families, sixty heritors, and all the elders of the parish except one. This opposition has continued for seven years by your own obstinacy; and if you should this day be admitted, you can have no pastoral relation to the souls of this parish; you will never be regarded as the shepherd to go before the sheep; they know you not, and they will never fol
You will draw misery and contempt upon yourself,—you will be despised,--you will be hated, you will be insulted and maltreated. One of the most eloquent and learned ministers of the Church told me lately that he would go twenty miles to see you deposed; and I do assure you that I and. twenty thousand more friends to our Church would do the same. What happiness can you propose to yourself in this mad, this desperate attempt of yours, without the concurrence of the people, and without the least prospect of usefulness in this parish? Your admission into it can only be re