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CRITICAL NOTICES .
Art . IV . ^ 1 % 0 Effect ofMtyn ' s Wrath in Hie Agitation of Religious Controversies ; a Sermon , prfyched at the Opening of th $ New Presbyterian Chanel in Belft&t , on l ^ abbath , 23 d September , L 82 JC By Thomas Chalmers , D . D . Professor of MoL ral Philosophy iij the University of St . Andrews . Collins , Glasgow .
The state of the Presbyterian body in the North of Ireland , has been laid before our readers in several preceding numbers ; and they would perceive that controversy is carried on with great bitterness , and that man ' s wrath , provoking retaliation , has nearly destroyed that harmony which used to appear , at least , between the old and new -light parties , though we doubt its ever having ; been
more than apparent in the greater nutnbee ; The old-light party have lately had occasion for a new meeting-house in Belfast , the population of which has greatly increased , and having erected a large and splendid structure , they were desirous of opening it with more than common display . Dr . Chalmers was prevailed on to come to Ireland on the
occasion ; the noblemen and gentlemen of greatest influence , near Belfast , were induced to become collectors of a contribution towards the building ; admission was arranged by tickets ; and the other Presbyterian places of worship were closed , in order that the ministers and members might shew their good-will to the . new establishment , by their attendance . Such , too , is the high character which Dr , Chalmers has acquired , that numbers of ministers came in from even distant parts of the country to meet him . Such an audience is seldom brought together as was on this occasion , and never did preacher more nobly avail himself of such an opportunity than Or . Chalmers
did . Instead of increasing the agitation of the troubled waters , by dwelling on the doctrines of his church , which he iuight hope would be the subject of preaching in this new erection $ instead pf joining in the denunciations that had been pronounced on those who differ , it was hie object to still the waters by a copious effusion of the oil of Christian
love , ancj in order that the effects of it may be more lasting , and more extensive , he has yielded to the numerous and urgent requests that were presented by persons of all ranks and all parties , by ' giyirig that sermon to the" press , ' which was heard with the almost universal
admiration of an attentive audience . As there was an evident allusion to the circumstances of the North of Ireland , some were ready enough to apply it to particular persons ; but it was evident to those who attended closely to the sermon , that this eould not have been the Doctor ' s intention . " Placed as I was , " he observes in his short Preface , " at a distance from the scene , and
unacquainted with the detail of those theological contentions which have lately taketi place , I should have deemed it both presumptuous and indecorous to have set myself forth in the capacity of a judge , and far more in that of a censor , either on the proceedings of public bodies , in regard to this question , or on the conduct of individuals . " But though it would
be unjust to suppose that Dr . Chalmers alluded to the conduct of individuals , and . intended to censure them , he had heard that the public mind in the North of Ireland was occupied with discussions respecting the person aiid dignity of the Saviour ; and he knew that such discussions , like other controversies , are too generally conducted With bitterness and
wrath ; and he was anxious to impress upon those of his own opinions , that such was hot the way to promote their opinions ; and he availed himself of the opportunity to serve the cause of peace and love , by delivering such sentiments as do equal honour to his head and to his heart , to his wisdom as a man , and to his charity as a Christian . The sermon had been
preached three years ago in behalf of the Catholic Schools in Glasgow ; but an alteration was made at the 23 d and following pages , to suit it for the present occasion . The text was taken from the Epistle of James i . 20 : The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God . Without waiting to expound the text , or to shew its connexion , he proceeded at once to select two applications of it , " the effect of man's wrath when inter-
C 49 ) . : ¦
VOL . II . E
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1828, page 49, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2556/page/49/