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throw prejudices of ed&catdoa , prejudices or connexion ., prejudices of interest . He does not recollect that prepossessions and habits of thinking , which open attacks would only startle and rouse to obstinate and intemperate resistance will be undermined fey the sure * though g-radutd , advances of
truth , and the repeated vindication of the right of private judgment . That " Ireland is ripe for religious reformation , " I believe , from
repeatedly conversing on this subject both with clergy and laity , to be a most erroneous opinion , for , at least in that part of it in which Providence has fixed my place of abode , never did a thicker cloud of prejudice and bigotry appear to darken the prospect and threaten storm and tempest .
Precipitation and zeal ,. without knowledge , have frustrated many a well-meant and beneficial undertaking * , la two of the places to wh } h the writer refers , those causes would assuredly produce their most mischievous effects ; they would probably separate and ruin the
congregations ,, and thus demolish a strong and extending- bulwark against active intolerance and gioomy fanaticism . Surely the pulpit is naore usefully aad properly employed for , illustrating the evidences of natural and revealed religion , for enforcing the practice of piety and morality , than it would be if used as the vehicle of doubtful
disputations . In most , I may say in all , the Presbyterian Churches of the Synods of Antrim and Munster , public worship is conducted upon the great fundamental principle that religious adoration is due only to God , the Father Almighty , In most of them , children and young persons are catechised and
instructed in scripture knowledge . To many of them belong schools and vestry libraries , which afford their members the means of reading with respect to disputed points and doctnaes
* and which thus give them the opportunity of reflecting deliberately and of ju < Jjjing ; which few minds are capable or doing while listening to a uisjjourse on a controverted subject . Where
there are no places of Discing rational ww « bip > Missionaries rjflpt do good b y awakening the spirit ° * q ^ iry , by directing the attention ^ bearer s to the right of private judg-** & > and by asserting the impartial goodness and uniwriwa paternity . of
Almighty G © d ' $ but where there are already sutth churches of Christians , and regularly-settled ministers , their necessity , nay their expediency is by no means apparent , and they would place those ministers in very oisagreeable and delicate predicaments , and greatly impede the progress of liberality and inquiry .
The writer of the article in the Christian Reformer , ( VH . 260—263 , ) entitled € t On a late Attempt to revive Presbyterianism / ' misrepresents what is Irish Prestxyteriamsni . The
Presbyterian Clergy claim no authority , no divine right derived from the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands . Thffr Synods usurp no authority over the ' several congregations with respect to articles of iaith or forms of
worship , nor over their ministers . They meet annually to consult for the good of the common cause , and to receive statements of the situations of the different societies , with , respect to their numbers , &e . They constitute courts , in which may be registered the respective standing funds of the different
congregations , to prevent their being alienated , as has heretofore been the case where no such precaution existed . They constitute tribunals , for the settlement of disputes which may unhappily arise between ministers and people . They have frequently prevented the former from being treated unjustly
and dismissed without sufficient cause , and the latter from being neglected and ill-served . Such Presbyterianism can by no means be an obstacle , and certainly not a necessary one , to the progress of free inquiry and religious light and truth . SENIOR .
Sir , TT would much oblige me , and per-JL haps several of your other readers , if the Rev . Mr . Cooper , who I see by the Repository is returned from the West Indies , would he so good as to Ve us some account of the state of Se Negroes in the Islands he has
visited , as far as respects their disposition to embrace the Christian religion . Judging from the Annual Reports of the Methodist Missionary Society , it would seem that that disposition . is favourable to the reception of instruction ; and from the opinion of a jjentte man who occupies a station of eonri-
Vindication of frisk Presbyterians . 665
™*« . xvi . 4 r
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Nov. 2, 1821, page 665, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2506/page/33/