Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon a form.

It seems these gentlemen will not come to dispute and defend their cause.' Meantime the brethren staid in the chamber, and those who had joined with the sectaries staid with them, persuading them to that dispute, and telling them there was no fear. Yea, Mr. Jeremy OʻQuin offered himself to undertake it, if the brethren would allow him. In the mean time, one of their friends came up and besought them, as they regarded the credit of their profession, to go down and answer those men; for they were triumphing. Upon this message the brethren, without

any

further deliberation or discourse, hastened to the place : and one of them, Mr. Patrick Adair, whom the rest had been speaking of among themselves to entertain this debate, and who had entertained most of the discourse in the chamber, did, with a kind of animosity and resolution unusual to him, step into the chair and set himself down there, Messrs. Taylor and Weeks sitting below

On this Mr. Taylor made a motion to Mr. Weeks that a brother should pray before the dispute begun, which Mr. Weeks motioned to the brother in the chair. Mr. Adair readily yielded to the motion and prayed, and then sat himself down in the chair, waiting what further step the brethren would make toward the dispute.

“Mr. Taylor then rose up, and delivered before the people a discourse, elaborate enough, and cunningly contrived to commend Independency, and disgrace Preebyterian government. In this he stated the question between the one and the other, made the Independent opinions more plausible to the common people, as to the constitution of their churchmembers, their tenderness in their walk, the freedom of God's people in that way, without any thing like tyranny over their consciences, not measuring their congregations by mearings of land, but by godliness, not taking in all the promiscuous multitude to be partakers of all ordinances, &c., &c. After Mr. Taylor had thus discoursed near to an hour, he sat himself down and said no more. Upon this, the brother who sat in the chair [Mr. Adair] rose up, and first spoke to the people, declaring the occasion of our coming there; that it was upon a brotherly letter from those gentlemen, pointing at Messrs. Taylor and Weeks, to a private and ami. cable conference, which now they of themselves, without their consent, had turned to a public dispute ; that they knew not what should be the matter of their debate till now; and that, therefore, they were not fitted to dispute upon such weighty matters off hand, especially with such a grave man as Mr. Taylor. But as Providence seemed to call them to say something for Presbyterial government, and the constitution of our churches, in opposition to the Independent way, they would now, as they could, answer wbat Mr. Taylor had said : and they besought the people, if their cause were not well managed by them, not to attribute it to the weakness of the cause, but to theirs, and, pastly, also to that indirect way

which had been taken with them to come to a public dispute.

* Upon which Mr. Adair then turned to Mr. Taylor and told him, that, not having known what should be the ground of his discourse before be heard it, and having no theses from bim to found a debate on, he could not so exactly mention all that Mr. Taylor bad said ; only some few heads he observed, and mentioned them. The first and principal being anent the constituent members of theirs and our churches : they were for visible saints, or such as in ground of charity bad positive holiness,—we took in all those who were willing to profess the truth and be subject to Christ's ordinances. And thus, Mr. Adair laboured to overthrow Mr. Taylor's pious-like opinion; and evidenced the way of constituting the visible church, not only by the constant practice of all the churches of Christ since the Apostles' times, except Donatists, Anabaptists, &c., but also by the way of constituting churches both under, the Old and New Testaments; wherein Mr. Adair instanced the first church, formed by Moses, thereafter in the times of David and the prophets. Mr. Taylor gave some answer to these instances, which were readily replied unto; the truth is, Mr. Taylor did not speak much after his elaborate discourse. Mr. Adair, who most spoke to him, being irritated by his unfair carriage, ard drawing them to a dispute under so much disadvantage, spoke with a confidence and animosity which Mr. Taylor expected not from a youth otherwise not endued with that gift. But it was owned by Mr. Adair to be more God's special band at that time giving light and courage, than any personal ability in himself. Thereafter, another brother began to debate the business with Mr. Taylor, a little between themselves, more quietly. And, in the meantime, Mr. Weeks proponed an argument to Mr. Adair, in a direct syllogism, which was easily answered by a distinction to which Mr. Weeks had no reply; nor did he propose another argument, for he had not been taught syllogisms.

When he became mute, Mr. Taylor turned from the other brother with whom he had been discoursing, and said to Weeks, 'What is become of your argument, brother ?' After this Mr. Weeks looked angry and

bashful, but gave no answer. At this Mr. Taylor again pro. posed that one should

pray. He himself being desired to do so by the brother who had prayed before, he prayed, and therein gave thanks to God for the moderation that had appeared in that debate. He seemed to take the brethren's carriage well, and so they parted. But those who favoured that way, who had been brought there of purpose to hear the brethren of the Presbytery affronted and disputed out of their principles, de. clared much dissatisfaction with Mr, Taylor's management, and said he had lost his cause. The people who favoured the poor

ministers returned much confirmed and rejoicitg. One of them, a very pious gentleman, said to Mr. Adair, that when he heard Mr. Taylor's first discourse, wherein he set forth the Independent way with all its seeming advantages, he was like to be taken, till he heard those pious-like pretences answered from Scripture, and the constitution of God's church opened both under the Old and New Testament.

“ The brethren, having a safe-conduct sent them in order to this meeting with the other ministers, parted fairly with them. They ventured to return to their congregations, more confidently and openly than before, no man forbidding, for a little time. This little respite, as a fruit of God's special providence, and the news of this dispute went to Scotland and reached the brethren there. Shortly after [in June there came over Mr. Archibald Ferguson, minister of Antrim, who had a letter from Venables upon a request by my Lady Clotworthy, mother to Sir John Clotworthy, a worthy matron, and who with her whole family had been of a long time not only favourers, but avowed friends of the way of God. Mr. Andrew Stewart, minister of Donaghadee, being then in Galloway, judged it also his duty to venture to give his congregation here a visit, and came over when he heard that Mr. Ferguson had been sent for."

MISSIONARY ZEAL.

[The following letter has been kindly given to us for publication. It is

from a very young man, whose mind has been impressed with the duty of giving up business and engaging in the work of Missions.]

New-York, April 29th, 1836. My Very Dear MOTHER, -As my letter to father, last packet, may have surprised you from my so suddenly disclosing to you the state of my mind on a very momentous subject, I have sat down this evening to endeavour, more distinctly and fully, to make you and my dear father and brother acquainted with my views of the vastly im. portant step wbich I have contemplated, and the high responsibility of which seems to increase the more I think of it; but, as the difficulties appear to increase in my path, the voice of conscience and the command of God seem to speak louder and louder, and say,-"My grace is sufficient for you!” Oh! mother, dearest mother, may I be guided to do simply what is the will of my heavenly Father, and so give my heart to him, that I shall be willing, - even rejoice,—to go where I can most glorify him, and honour that Saviour who was willing to die for me.

I feel now as if I never could be happy bere, once I was convinced that it was the will of the Lord that I should go as a missionary to the heathen. And would I deserve the name of Christian, if I loved “father or mother, or sister or brother," more than my Saviour ? Oh, no! I have no right to choose whether I shall remain in business, or go as a missionary, when God tells me that I am not my own, -that I am bought with a price, -it only remains for me to know, whether it is God's will that I should go.

I believe every young person who has been brought to think seriously, entertains a kind of desire to become a missionary, when he hears of the wants of a perishing world; but most, from one reason and another, say, "I pray thee, have me excused,” and, from so many impediments appearing in the path, are unwilling to prepare for the work. Some feel thatihey have not sufficient natural talent or ability, (although I am sure that many deceive themselves ;) others, that they need more grace to justify them in adopting such a holy profession; some, that the call of duty relains them at bome; but by far the greatest number put the question to themselves, " Should I go to the beatben ?” with a strong desire at heart to remain at home,—with a desire that it may not appear their duty to go, and so come to an improper and partial decision, and thus endeavour to silence the voice of conscience, and quietly remain at home. Yes, dear mother, I am per. suaded that we never can give a correct answer to the question, till we come to bave no will of our own, but only desire to do the will of our heavenly Father,-to leave all, and follow him. Now, when the Spirit of God first began to lead me to the Saviour,-to shew me the vanity of all

in this way

earthly things,-to make me feel that it would be by the sovereign grace of God alone that I would ever enter hea. ven, if I should get there, and when I heard that there were millions of my fellow-creatures living and dying without the knowledge of a Saviour, - I longed to go and be a missionary amongst them, and tell them of that Redeemer wbo, I trusted, had reconciled me to God, by washing away all my sins; but then I thought of the sacrifice I would have to make, of the holy life I would have to lead, and I gave up the idea; although, when Mr.

urged young men to think of the duty of devoting themselves to the missionary service, my conscience was not satisfied,

-still I saw no prospect of a suitable education, and I thought I was excused from going. But, oh! how little we understand the workings of Providence and the ways of God : for I thought it a hard thing to have to leave

you all, and come to this country; but it appears now to me that God had a work for me to do, which I knew not of then ; and I can see now, with clearer vision, the unsearchable wisdom of God; for the very first meeting which I attended here was that of the “Young Men's Education Society," and there I heard addresses from Mr. Kirk, of Albany, Mr. Barnes, and Mr. Patton, which went home to my heart ; and when Mr. K. said, that “he did not know how any young man in that house could have satisfactory evidence that he was a Christian, till he had conscientiously answered the question, should I become a missionary ?" I felt self-convicted, and determined to think mose seriously on the subject; but I wished to remain here, and I tried to exonerate myself from the duly,-but (oh! was not God very gracious,) conscience was faithful, and would not let me dismiss the subject from my mind, but brought the question before my mind, and convinced me more powerfully of duty every day, till I began to think of preparing for a missionary life; and then I thought I would work on for a few years, till I would make enough to educate me suitably, and then commence to study; but to this plan there were many objections. 1st, That my time is very precious now, and, if I had such an object in view, should not be spent in a business life. 2d, That there was great danger of my heart becoming too much engrossed in business, if I should commence, and of this Edward warned me, 3d, That a circumstance, which I may be permitted to mention hereafter, in some measure,

« PreviousContinue »