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lukewarm Christians, who garnish the tombs of the martyrs; and throws a new and copious stream of light upon the reformation in Scotland. His book has deservedly acquired great reputation, for its author, even among the members of the church of England, and he is justly considered one of the first literary men in Britain. His life of Knox and Magee on the atonement, seem to indicate that a revival of sound theology, and solid Christian literature, is about to commence in the British empire. While Magee vindicates the doctrine of the atonement, against the sophistry of heretics, M'Crie illustrates, and defends the characters of those excellent men, who first taught the British nation to purge itself from popish errors, and brought to light, after a long night of darkness, the way of salvation through the satisfaction and mediation of Messiah.
Though the secession has been broken into three sections, by various practical and theoretical questions, yet they all continue sound on the doctrine of the atonement, and perfectly harmonise in their opposition to Arminianism, and all its brood of heresies. They have two large synods in Ireland and in Scotland, and a presbytery consisting of about twelve ministers, forming a separate ecclesiastical body. The Irish synods have been somewhat enfeebled, and their clergy have rendered themselves unpopular by accepting, since the united societies created disturbance, a bonus from the government, as a reward for their public prayers, op behalf of the government. This was an act altogether unworthy of faithful ministers of Christ Jesus.
The reformed presbyterians, usually known by the name of Covenanters, are another respectable body of dissenters in Britain. When the king and his government, partly by persecution and partly by seduction, had drawn off the attention of all the clergy of the three kingdoms from the convenanted reformation, there still remained a considerble body of intelligent and respectable Christians, among the laity, who refused to follow their spiritual guides, in an abandonment of the covenants, which they considered
as an oath, binding the whole nation to maintain the truth. They declared that they would not forsake that cause, in which they had seen so many of their brethren ascend the scaffold, and approach the stake. They would not even receive the ordinances of the gospel at the hand of those whom they considered as apostates and as having violated the oath of God. They worshipped in private societies, refusing even to hear the gospel preached by the ministers, whom they esteemed guilty of so criminal a direliction of principle. The societies corresponded with each other, and thus kept up a visible organization, as far as this could be done without the public officers and ordinances of the church. They refused to accede to the revolution settlement, when William and Mary ascended the throne, because the covenants were not recognised, and because they considered the whole establishment a mere production of human policy, without any respect to the glory of the Creator, or to the interests of truth and righteousness.
In 1706, this body of people was joined by the Rev. John M.Millan, a minister who had separated himself from the established church of Scotland, on account of the numerous errors with which it abounded. He was afterwards joined by the Rev. Mr. Nairn, a minister of the Secession church. A presbytery was now constituted, and stiled the Reformed Presbytery, from their adherence to the system of truth and order established at the time of the adoption of the covenants, when, they believed, the reformation had attained to its greatest glory. From the attachment of these people to the covenants, they were called Covenanters. They were also called Mountain men, from the circumstance of many of them having been forced to take refuge in the mountains as a shelter from the rage of their persecutors.
In 1761, they published an instrument, which they styled the Act, Declaration and Testimony, in which they narrate briefly their history, and express a warm attachment to the cause and memory of those martyrs who had laid down their lives for the sake of the truth, and on behalf of the
covenants, to which they profess in the most solemn man. ner their stedfast attachment. They adopt the Westminster confession of faith, as an exhibition of those truths which form their creed. They, at the same time, give a condensed view of the same doctrines, expressed in their own words, and testify against the numerous errors of the ecclesiastical and civil establishments of the nation. They were a devout and intelligent people; but by their lukewarm neighbours, were viewed in the light of bigots.
They and the Secession body differed, in their views re. specting civil government only. While the latter testified against the government for not adhering to the covenants, they acknowledged that they were the ordinance of God and entitled to respect and obedience as such. They also held offices under the government, and took an active part in its concerns. The covenanters, on the other hand, maintained, that its apostacy was of such a character as to deprive it of all right to rule, and that it was to be numbered among those that had given their power to the beast;" “ one of the thrones of iniquity, with which God has declared that he will have no fellowship.” With relation to the doctrine of the atonement, these two branches of the church perfectly harmonize.
The covenanters have, a synod in Ireland and one in Scotland, and their numbers, respectability and influence are rapidly increasing. Their preachers are learned, popular, and eloquent. There is one point, on which they lay great stress and generally deal largely in their pulpit exhibi. tions, the headship of Messiah over the nations. They say that in consequence of that humiliation to which he submitted, in order to make an atonement, God the Father has highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess; that in his mediatorial character, he governs the nations, and that the nations should subject themselves to his government, and regulate all their civil movements according to those laws, which as Medi. ator he has revealed in the scriptures. The Christian nation.
which will not do so, they maintain is in a state of rebellion against his regal government, and will be overturned “when he cometh out of his place to shake terribly the inhabitants of the earth;" and that therefore they are not entitled to the support of the people of God, as the legal representatives of Messiah upon earth. These are consequences deduced from the atonement, which thousands of Christians admit, but upon which none but the reformed presbyterians lay much emphasis.
A very respectable work on the Trinity has lately been published in Britain, written by a Mr, Kidd. It is replete with curious matter and profound speculation. He attempts to prove the doctrine of the Trinity without the aid of die vine revelation. He says that as God cannot impart to his intelligent creatures any power which does not reside in himself, and as he has imparted perception and social powers to all his intelligent creatures, he therefore must have had them himself from all eternity: he must have possessed power to perceive objects exterior to his own person, and social powers; that these powers cannot be supposed to have existed from eternity without ever having been ex ercised until the creation of this universe; that they must have had a field to exercise themselves upon, commen, surate with their extent; and that these powers of God the Father must have been employed in contemplating the person of the Son; which, from the data before laid down, must be infinite in all perfection. Thus he believes, that he proves from reason, at least the existence of two persons; and the third person, the Holy Spirit, he says proceeds from the Father and the Son, as a necessary consequence of the constitution of the two other hypostases, or persons, and the exercise of their powers. This is not perhaps doing justice to Mr. Kidd. Indeed it is impossible to do justice to such a work in so short an abstract. These views he attempts to establish from the Holy Scriptures. All orthodox divines have maintained that the Trinity was as necessary and natural as the existence of an eternal God, but none, so far as we know, has ever attempted to demonstrate from rea
son, this necessity. His work has acquired great celebrity in Britain, and, whatever may be thought of his success in the chief object which he sets before him, he must rank high as a man of great powers and profound speculation. As to the qualities of matter, Deity can and does produce all the effects, that proceed from them: the properties of matter are no more than the results of his energetic operations.
Before we take leave of Europe, we must cast a glance at the Roman catholic church. The ground which that church took at the great council of Trent, which met in the early part of the sixteenth century, was utterly subversive of the atonement. All those who deny the efficacy of indulgences, the absolutions of the priests, and various other means of procuring pardon, are anathematized. But the reformation soon operated a very considerable change for the better in the opinions of catholics. In 1641, Jansenius, archbishop of Ypres, published a book on the doctrine of grace, which professes to contain an explanation of the opinions held by Augustine, on the nature of the atonement. In 1653, pope Innocent III. condemned as extracts from Jansenius the following propositions: 1.“ That there are some commands impossible to the saints, because they have not sufficient grace. 2. That grace is irresistible. 3. That a liberty free from restraint, not necessity, is sufficient to constitute merit or demerit. 4. That the Semipelagian heresy consisted in maintaining, that it was impossible to resist or comply with the motions of grace. 5. That Jesus Christ did not die for all men." As far as this is perspicuous, and as far as it goes, it is the same with the doctrine which Calvin was teaching at Geneva, at the very time when the pope condemned the book of Jansenius. Great numbers of the catholic clergy espoused the cause of Jansenius, and embraced the doctrines which he taught. A very great body of them united in stopping a writ of error, which had issued against his book. The laity of the catholic church are more enlightened than they were previously to the reformation.
The prospect, however, for the interests of truth are in