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have been the very reverse by all who have at heart the interests of true religion, and who also desire the continuance of the union between Church and State. For what—after little more than a century and a half—has been the result of this ecclesiastical viformity within the same kingdom ? It started with the anomaly that Scotch Presbyterians were thenceforth to be admitted to legislate for the Episcopal Church of England, and English Episcopalians to legislate for the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.” [And how the latter did legislate for that Church, within a very few years, Dr MacGregor tells us, in these emphatic words : “ The fruitful and far-reaching influence of a great national wrong, was never more strikingly illustrated than in the long train of miserable and not yet exhausted consequences which followed the ill-omened Act of Queen Anne, whereby, in 1712, against the unanimous will of the Church, patronage was restored,” p. 364.] “Hence Churchmen and Dissenters—both being capable of either description, according to the point of view and of locality, from which they are regarded—would be equally at a loss to maintain their true character; and the barrier was broken down, which had hitherto fenced ecclesiastical legislation in both countries from illegitimate intrusion. It is easy to see that by such a policy something more than the thin edge of the wedge was inserted, whereby all the subsequent breaches into the Constitution, upon its ecclesiastical side, have followed logically.”—Outlines, &c., p. 268 et seq.
I do not know whether Dr MacGregor accepts the opinion given by Dr R. Lee, that “ the two Churches established in Great Britain, as now existing, are rather antagonists than allies” (Ref. of Church of Scot. p. 4); but if he does, I think he must admit-in spite of Lord Macaulay, who, it is to be feared, had no strong interest in the welfare of any Church—that such a state of things, while at home it cannot fail to give very great advantage both to the Church of Rome and to advocates of the Voluntary principle, it must also have a very injurious effect upon the
propagation of the Gospel by the British nation throughout the world.
6. Our Lecturer observes at p. 378 that the agitation stirred and sustained by the Liberation Society is “more of English than of Scottish origin.” If by this he means to impute to England the blame of being the birthplace of that agitation, I am inclined to think he is mistaken. I can remember when the Society in question, then bearing the name of the “ Anti-State Church Association," had its headquarters in Edinburgh; and it was from thence that it spread, and eventually located itself in London under its present designation, probably in order to strengthen the hands of those who were then seeking to bring about the Disestablishment of the Irish Church. I have good reason to remember this, because twenty-nine years ago—viz., in 1852—I had occasion to allude to the proceedings of that Association, in a pamphlet which I addressed to the present Prime Minister, and therein ventured to warn him against its principles, to which he had appeared to me to be veering round; so much so, that I had, most reluctantly, been obliged to decline to support him when he first became a candidate for the University of Oxford, five years before, 1847, because even then I felt persuaded that, however able and accomplished, he would not really be a safe representative of opinions such as I held-viz., Conservative, especially in matters affecting the alliance of Church and State ; and never afterwards was I able to vote for him on the same account;—a resolution which his subsequent career has, from my point of view, more than justified. No! Scotland, I believe, is fully entitled to the credit, such as it is, of giving birth to the movement, which Dr MacGregor has denounced with such fervid eloquence; and now that it has borne fruit in Ireland, with Scotch concurrence if not encouragement, it is not unnatural that they who advocate its principles should expect to find a congenial soil for their propagation in Scottish ground.
Such are the particular passages of this last Lecture to
which I referred as naturally demanding some notice from us; and what little of further remark I have to make upon it will be merely general. I sincerely rejoice that Dr MacGregor, “speaking with the experience of a ministry of twenty-five years," is able to give such a gratifying report both of the material progress and of the spiritual condition of the Established Church. No one could have pleaded its cause more zealously, more powerfully. At the same time, I am sorry that I cannot congratulate him upon the breadth or largeness of the view which he has taken in so doing. Of the early centuries of the Church he appears to entertain no remembrance. Whenever he has occasion to refer to our sister country, he speaks of it with disparagement. The disastrous effect, to which the late Dr Norman Macleod on his return from India bore testimony, upon the evangelisation of the heathen caused by our unhappy division, especially between our two Established Churches, does not come within his range of thought. It is little to say that, for anything that appears to the contrary, he regards with perfect self-complacency the fact that the larger portion of the Proprietory of this country, by whose ancestors the endowments of the National Church were originally bestowed, are separated from its communion as it now exists. At the same time, he draws a pathetic picture of the perilous times that are come upon us through the increase of scepticism and infidelity, “through the aggressive efforts of Romanism on the one hand, and Rationalism on the other.” It would have been well if such complaints had been preceded by some indication of a consciousness that matters, such as those to which I have alluded, were honestly entitled to some regard. Nothing, as I have said, could be more energetic than our Lecturer's denunciation of Disestablishment, and of its advocates. He remarks, at p. 379, “ It has been asserted that the connection between Church and State is unscriptural, and sinful, and injurious to religion and morality. It must be a poor cause which could use such weapons.” But did it not occur to him
Prefatory Remarks on the S. Giles's Lectures.
that the very same things, totidem verbis, have been said against Episcopacy, and the “poor cause” which had recourse to such weapons was Presbyterianism ?
Dr MacGregor admits, that in the event of Disestablishment, “to some extent, perhaps to a large extent, Episcopacy will gain” (p. 382). There is little doubt of it. Are we, then, become Voluntaries with a view to our own interests ? I see no evidence that such is the case; and our venerable Primus has, not long since, spoken decidedly in deprecation of such a course. But what has been the result? I am sorry to have to say that while no indication of a recognition of the fact has come to my knowledge from the mouth of Dr MacGregor, or from any other quarter, I have observed, with pain, that even in the discussions of the General Assembly, the treatment we have received has sometimes been not only unbrotherly and unsympathetic, but contemptuous.
In concluding these remarks, I may be allowed to express a hope that the effect of the S. Giles's Lectures will be, upon the whole, good and salutary. And if I have appeared, more especially in one instance, to resent a harshness of language towards our Church, which, I think, is to be regretted, as much as it was uncalled for, I am fully conscious that the general tone and spirit of the Lecturers have been, for the most part, not unkindly or inconsiderate. If I have given vent to the conviction that there are some who, not content with the depression to which our Church has been subjected for nearly 200 years, would rejoice to see that depression continued still without hope of reprieve—some, in a word, whose ignoble courage prompts them “TÒv TTECóvta daktioal aléov," and whose exclusive patriotism would hope to invigorate the religious life of the nation by so doing !—the observation, be it remembered, was strictly limited to individuals. The great mass of the most respectable portion of the Presbyterian body are, I am persuaded, quite otherwise-minded.