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Paragraph 7th is a death blow to all Sunday-schools, whenever the Board please to exercise their despotic authority. If any use be made of school-houses on Sundays, 'tending to contentions,' it is competent for the Board to interfere.” That is, whenever Roman Catholics think fit to complain, the Board are competent to do what they think fit. This is a hapless state of despotism. to which we trust our free-born necks are never destined to bow. But if so be that Protestants will submit to the yoke, we shall yet have this consolation, that we have resisted its imposition.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE BELFAST SECESSION PRESBYEERY.
In our last Number we made a few remarks on this “ important” document; and we have accordingly roused the gentle spirit of the committee and their chairman--the Rev. John Coulter. Mr. Coulter has assailed us in a newspaper letter that does equal credit to his head and bis heart, Mr. Coulter's letter is one of those characteristic effusions in which pure personality supplies the absence of argument. We pity, and we will not retaliate. We deal not in personalities; but on a few points, in which the public are concerned, we shall offer a word of remark.
1. Mr. Coulter, supposing Dr. Cooke the writer of our remarks, (which we neither admit nor deny,) accuses him of promising not to write a word against the resolutions, and afterwards of breaking this promise. This is a grave charge, to which our answer is short-it is true, and it is false. It is true Dr. Cooke declared he would not, even when challenged by Mr. Coulter, write one word against the resolutions of Presbytery, as reported to him by Mr. Coulter ; but it is false that he promised not to write against the resolutions, as published in the newspaper. Happily this conversation took place before witnesses, and to them the appeal lies. In reporting to Dr. Cooke the resolutions of the Presbytery, Mr. Coulter took special care to behead them and unfang them, by suppressing, or omitting, or forgetting the first resolution, containing the libellous calumny against the Synod of Ulster and other opponents of the new education system. Had the resolutions been published as they were repeated, without the calumnious libel by which they were introduced, they should never have occupied our thoughts or our payes. But when this appeared with the suppressed heading, of which Mr. Coulter had never breathed a syllable, it became a public and an imperative duty to repel the attack-a duty to which we shall at all times hold ourselves. bound, when the slander and the slanderer seems worthy of reply. 12. We have expressed our regret that this gratuitous attack of the Belfast Secession Presbytery led to produce alienation between them and the Synod of Ulster, and to disappoint the hopes of those who would have cordially laboured for a more general Presbyterian union in Ulster. Upon this head we have been met by renewed calumnies against the Synod. That the Synod is not perfect, we believe; that she hath many defects, we do not deny; yet it is a dangerous thing to throw the first stone against her. This only we know, that in the very committee of the Belfast Secession Presbytery, who now vent their indignation against the Synod, there are two members, who, within the last six months, were wil. ling, and more than willing, to enter the Synod of Ulster, provided they could have obtained congregations. We regret being compelled to make this statement; but there is an insolence in the attack of Mr. Coulter, that renders self-defence in perative. If Mr. Coulter desire the names of
the members, they are at his service; and the negociations were happily so much before witnesses, that denial is impossible.
3. We shall only refer to another point, in which Mr. Couiter accuses us of seeking to produce jealousies and divisions between Ministers and their congregations. This charge we distinctly deny. We have been accustomed to hold every member of the Belfast Secession Presbytery in high esteem, and heartily to wish them God speed. But when they choose, not merely to express their own opinion upon a public question, but to libel and calumniate all who differ from them, we feel bound to forget all personal considerations, and to defend the public character of our brethren from unmerited attacks. We will tell the Belfast Presbytery our opinions freely. They had a right to express their own opinions; but they should have done so without impeaching the motives and principles of their neighbours. We had no intention of producing a single movement of ill will between any Minister and his people, when we ani. madverted on the Belfast resolutions; but we did think it a public duty to guard the people against the undue influence of ministerial authority. We do look upon the Secession Eldership and people as forming a mighty phalanx of the "old Protestant system ;” and, we say it without meaning offence, that we believe they will not generally join with the Belfast Presbytery in sanctioning a system of education that resigns their Presbyterian and parental rights into the hands of an undefined and unrestrained despotism.
THE BRITISH VERSE ASSOCIATION.
[We publish the following extract from the Appeal of the Directors of
the British Verse Association, and we earnestly recommend the subject to the attention of our readers.--EDIT.]
The design of the system is briefly this to induce every person to commit to memory one and the same verse of scripture every day. A system which is now widely spread, and the advantages of which have neither been few nor small. --May God's name be glorified by this simple plan!
The teacher of a Sabbath evening school in Sullivan, Madison County, N. Y., who, having been himself brought to God by means of a verse which he had learned in his youth, proposed that his Sabbath scholars should commit to memory, each day, one and the same verse of the New Testament. This was immediately acceded to, and the first verse of the second chapter of St. John's Gospel was given out as the lessson for that day, which was the 15th of November, 1829. There was no particular design in commencing with this verse; it was simply intended as an excercise for a single school. Each succeeding verse was regularly committed to memory on each succeeding day, and the children of the school had a task next Sabbath evening, in some instances, larger; in almost all, more perfect than before. During the week, it was ascertained that they had taken pleasure in hearing each other repeat the verse for the day, and had watched who were diligent, aud who were careless, often putting the latter to the blush. A single verse, in one whole day, seemed a task so easy as to allow scarcely any excuse for neglecting it; and a requsition, on their master's part, so far from rigid, as to make noncompliance with it almost unpardonable. The delight and heart with whieh the children thus entered into the plan, and the benefits which it promised certainly to produce, encouraged the teacher of that school'to go on regularly in the chapters of St. Jobn, and to recommend the adoption of the plan to the teachers of the other schools around him. By degrees, one school after another followed this advice, and the teachers expressed their gratitude for the benefits it conferred. The promulgation of the plan from school to school from one district of the city to anotherand from that city to those surrounding it was effected with ease and success. Any teacher who desired to try it, was sure to meet with a cordial acquiescence on the part of the children; for he needed but to tell them, “That, at a certain school, a short time before, all the children and teachers learned by heart one verse of Scripture, and that every day through the week they had learned another that the children and teach ers in several other schools had followed their example ; and that now, he wished his dear children to join them, by beginning to-morrow morning with that verse, which all in these schools would then be learning." Some such statement as this, ensured a reception to the system, so that it spread like wild-fire from county to county.' Within a year, and before any notice of it had been published, the system had far extended itself on every side of where it first originated ; and in January, 1831, a new impetus was given to its progress, by the active measures of an association of Sabbath school teachers, in the county of Oswego. The directors of this association were the first who drew the attention of the public to the system. They issued a circular to the teachers of the county,--they printed an appeal to the public, which was extensivcly circulated,.--they requested the editors of the newspapers to publish weekly the verses for each week, and the publishers of the Christian Almanack to insert a reference to the verse for each day in the year. In October, they edited and published the first Number of a Newspaper, entitled, “THE VERSE HERALD," which is “wholly to be devoted to the promulgation of the Verse system.”
Since that time, the progress of this system bas been uninterrupted, and unusually great. In certain districts, where revivals of religion have oc.. curred, the Verse a-day system has been regularly adopted. In some places, God has been pleased to bless it, as a mean of revival ; and, in others, as a strengthening to those who had already been brought to a knowledge of his love. The Indian tribes have not rejected it, but many of them hail it as a sure and simple means of acquainting themselves with God. France also, and several other quarters of the globe, have, by American sailors, and by American enterprise, been made acquainted by this time, with the intention of the system ; for a resolution was forming in America, and was being carried into execution, when the latest accounts were received, to introduce the Bible into certain departments of France, and into every house within each of these, requesting the people to join in learning, day after day, at least one Verse of that Sacred Record.
Such is the origin and progress of that system, on behalf of which, the Directors of the British Verse Association do now make an appeal to their fellow-christians—their fellow-countrymen. The goodness of the cause gives them boldness to plead it, and the oneness of our interest in it, gives them liberty to urge it.
Are you a Minister --There are perhaps few members of your con. gregation who would refuse to join if you requested them. And might not the verse committed to memory by yourself and people, during the week, furnish seasonable matter for an occasional, if not a stated lectare or sermon on the following Sabbath ?
Are you a Householder or Parent! Would it be too much to expect of you, when at the breakfast table, or family altar, to require each mem ber of your household to repeat the verse for the day ? Conversation on the verse might furnish manna to the souls of those who are dear to you.'
1. Are you a Sabbath school teacher ! Let the children in your school, not only, themselves reap the fruits of this system, which has been faund so well adapted to benefit the young, but let them also be the mean af spreading it, by urging them to request respectfully their parents, companions, and friends, to adopt it. If one verse a day be not sufficient for the exercises of your school, the parallel texts will furnish the required addition.,
Are you apsious to benefit a friend, an acquaintance, or a neighbour? To enduce them to join the association, is a very simple, but very eficacious mode of doing so, for every day it brings them into direct contact with the Word of Life.
Do you mourn the difficulty of introducing spiritual conversation amongst friends, when you meet with them? Will not the verse for the day prove a seasonable assistance to you, if you have persuaded these friends to learn it with you?
It may be you have a friend at a distance, or that you maintain an ex. tensive correspondence; like the pious Hervey, resolve that every letter shall say something for Christ.
If you know the privilege of coming to the throne of gracé, cease not to pray in faith, that all who are treasuring the Scriptures in their memory, may be made through the power of the Holy Ghost, to feel, their transform ing and purifying influence. The Directors would invite you to join their weekly concert, as expressed in the following resolution upon their minutes :
RESOLVED,"That in our prayers on every Moaday morning, we shall ask a special blessing from God to rest upon the object, and members of the British Verse Association."",
Should any circumstance occur in your experience, or come to your knowledge, showing the advantages of this system, you will oblige the Directors, by communicating the same in writing to the Secretaries of the British Verse Association, or to the Office Bearers of any Auxiliary in your vicinity, with a list of the names of all, who, by agreeing to learn the verse a-day, have joined the Association.
Let us remember that this system insures a daily attention to the Seriptures, which may induce a more thorough and babitual study of its contents ;--that it requires but a moment of time; that all learn the same verse, and thus the same truth is bearing upon the minds of the community, and suggesting the same prayers to the faithful, And let us pray, that, as this system is universally practicable wherever the Bible is known, so. each little verse may prove the power of God uato salvation.
GUIDE FOR 1832, Shewing the verse for every Sabbath, from which the verses for the
other days of the week may be ascertained. - Acts ir. ---June 3 S. ver. 4. 10 S. ver. 11. 17 S. ver. 18. 21 S. ver. 25. July 1 S. ver. 32. ACTS V. -8 S. ver. 2. 15 S. ver. 9. 22 8. ver. 16. 29 S. ver. 23. August 5 S. ver. 30.' 125. ver. 37. ACTS vj.-19 S. ver. 2. 26 S. ver. 9. Acts vii.--September 2 S. ver. | 9 S. ver. 8. 16 S. ver. 15. 23 S. ver. 22. 30 s. ver. 29. October 7 S. ver 36. 14 S. ver. 43 21 S. vey. 50. 28 S. ver. 57. ACT3 viï. November 4 S. ver. 4. I S. ver. 11. 18 s. ver. 18. 25 S. ver. 25. December 2 S. ver. 32. 9 S. ver. 39. Acts ix.--16 . ver. 6. 23 S. ver. 13. 30 S, ver. 20,
During the prevalence and spread of this judgment from God, we hold it to be our duty to keep the subject steadily before the eyes of our readers. And this we do, not for the purpose of creating or fostering a public alarm, but for the sake of allaying it, by pointing to those remedies, divine and human, which God, in his mercy, has revealed. We say, and we say it advisedly, that the remedies, “ dici vine and human,” are equally revealed of God, though they come through different channels. The first come immediately from the Spirit of God, speaking in his word the second come mediately, through human investigation and experience, yet they are not, upon that account, the less to be ascribed to the Spirit, wisdom, and goodness of God. No doubt a large portion of the world, aye, and of the religious world too, are habituated to consider hu. man remedies, and indeed all human means, as derived merely from human skill; but such an opinion must al. ways proceed from great ignorance of the Scriptures. No doubt a considerable proportion of medical practitioners would deride the idea, that the discovery of remedies is a merciful revelation of God. So the monarch of Babylon, when he ascended his high tower, and looked around upon the grandeur of his imperial city, exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the king. dom, by the might of my power, and for the bonour of my majesty.”—Dan. iv. 30. But Jehovah soon taught him, by his judgments, to acknowledge his own blindness and sin, and to extol and honour the King of heaven. So the great multitude of our artificers would perhaps reject the idea, that their skill was, in any degree, derived from God; but Jehovah himself, who alone knows the origin and history of all human attainments, testifies to Moses—Exod, xxxi. 2, “See I have called by name Bezaleel, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and under.