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Such is the latitudinarian scheme of union when carried out, and I am therefore opposed to its very beginnings. In my opinion, it is a much more dangerous thing than bigotry. I had rather an amusing conversation on this subject in the autumn of last year. Being in company with some gentlemen in the western parts of Scotland, the conversation took a turn which led us to speak of the comparative merits of bigotry and latitudinarianism. I altogether mistake you, said one of the gentlemen, if you would not much rather be a latitudinarian than a bigot. I am not quite sure of that, was the reply. What! said he, would you not rather be a latitudinarian than a bigot?' 'I should not like to be either a bigot or a latitudinarian, but if forced to choose between them, I rather think I would go with the bigots. What reason could you assign for that? said the gentleman. A very plain one, was the reply. If I go with the bigots, I will always know where I am, but were I to go with the latitudinarians, I would never have any certainty where I was; for if here to-day, I would be away to-morrow. It just reminds me of the lamentation of an old coachman at the time when the railways were first opened. He was depicting the more awful consequences involved in a railway accident, as compared with those which sometimes befel stage coaches on the highway. When the stage coach is overturned, said he, THERE YOU ARE; but when the steam carriage goes off the rails, WHERE ARE YOU? And just so when the bigot's coach is overset, there you are; but when the latitudinarian coach goes off the rails, where are you? I know of no logical halting-place between latitudinarianism and scepticism, and therefore I am decidedly opposed to the terms on which union was advocated last night by my respected friend. He no doubt told us of the great advantage that had accrued to the United Secession Church from uniting on this plan. They had since that time greatly increased in energy and vitality. I am glad to hear of this, for there is a very general impression that since that time they had become more and more careless about divine truth, less and less concerned about principle, relaxing their hold of one important doctrine after another, until our brother, Mr Marshall, found it impossible to remain longer among them. (Mr M'Crie here rose, and explained that he referred to the influence which the union had in promoting the cause of christian missions, and that if he thought there was anything in the principles or testimony of our church calculated to repress sympathy with the noble efforts now making by that church on the missionary field, he would say-perish the testimony, all other testimonies ever penned by mortal men.) The formerspeaker, in continuation, said, I entirely concur in what Mr M'Crie has just now stated respecting the United Secession. I shall not say, perish the testimony, but in so far as that body is instrumental in doing good, I rejoice with all my heart. This, however, is a very different question from the terms of their union, which I believe to have been of such a nature as have proved very injurious to the cause of trath among them. In the course of his observations, Mr M'Crie said that parties should unite without a change on either side, that they should come together, while each retained the sentiments he held in a state of separation. I could not help being reminded of the Lord Advocate and his three sticks of wax. The Burghers, the Anti-Burghers, and the Relief, he said, had been united together, and yet they were not united, for each party retained its old distinctions. They might be compared to three sticks of wax joined together, while each retained its own colour, the one being red, the other yellow, and the other blue. This is thescheme adopted by my respected friend MrM'Crie. Hewould barethe sticks of wax united, but he would have each of them to retain its own colour. Mr M'Crie also stated that he would have the various parties to unite in the way of burying their differences. (Mr M'Crie here again rose, and began to explain, but was called to order as not being a member of court, and the former speaker resumed.) I took down the words, and think I am not mistaken, but I have no wish to misrepresent bim ; I would scorn myself if I could take

such an advantage, for there is nothing that I like better, next to a cordial friend, than an open and manly, although a determined opponent. I shall therefore, since he demurs, pass over this expression without comment.

• Mr M'Crie, I thought, was somewhat unjust to ministers, in charging them with being generally ringleaders in controversy. This may be the case sometimes, but it is not the case always. Who, I ask, has been the ringleader in this controversy ? Who bas raised all this agitation in our denomination ? Not the ministers, but our friend himself. And if it should be the case that ministers are sometimes the ringleaders in controversy, this is not to be wondered at, for by their position they are called upon to take a lead. They are set “for the defence of the gospel," and it is no shame to them, but a duty ard an honour, to be ringleaders in contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.

• There was another expression used by Mr M'Crie which was very offensive, and must have grated on the ears of every member of this house. He spoke of persons who "bowled around the graves of the martyrs.” That, sir, was language that ought not to have been used here; and I felt at the time what I now express, that it was language fitter for the lips of a descendant of the author of Old Mortality, than for those of my respected friend.

. In regard to the question of union with the Free Church, it is well known that I have all along been as anxious upon that head as any person in this Synod. There is no difference among us about the desirableness of union ; if there be any difference, it is about the terms of union. There is no such monster among us, I am convinced, as a person who is against union. For myself, I can declare that there is no one thing in all the world that would give me greater pleasure than a union formed between the Original Secession and the Free Church, on terms honourable to truth. But we must beware of acting according to our friend's advice, and sinking our differences. To do so would rather show our indifference to truth than our desire of union. And as we have been exhorted, we ought to beware of “fair and plausible schemes of union. Remember, the spirit of error takes an active part in the unions as well as in the divisions of christians, and be not ignorant of his devices. Of old he deceived the people of God by crying peace, peace; and so successful has he been, that he has ever since had recourse to it at intervals. There is a rage for peace as well as for contention, and men, otherwise wise and good, have been seized by it as well as the giddy multitude. If religion has suffered from merciless polemics and cruel dividers, history shows that it has suffered no less from the false lenity and unskilful cuts of pretended physicians—the motley tribe of those who have assumed the name of reconcilers."?*

ANOTHER WORD TO THE WITNESS. Since writing the above, the Witness newspaper has come to hand, in which we found a leading article, entitled, "The Original Secessior Synod,' the contents of which filled us with surprise. " • We have seen with some regret,' so reads the article, that our friends of the Original Secession have betaken themselves this year, in their ecclesiastical capacity, to the unprofitable trade of reviewing pamphlets. Now, our friends may depend on it, that church courts would better let the critical department alone, seeing it is a department in which their exact status has not yet been fixed. Now, this writer should have known, in the first place, that his friends of the Original Secession did not 'betuke themselves' to what he calls the trade of reviewing pamphlets. The production referred to was laid upon the table in a regular way, by overture, and the Synod was under the necessity of disposing of it in some manner. The public can therefore judge of the fairness and honesty of the Witness in speaking of the Synod as if it had intermeddled with the pamphlet of its own accord, and without being compelled to do so in the discharge of its ordinary duties. In the second place, if this writer had read the report of the Synod, as it appeared in the Witness, he would have seen that the Synod unanimously decided that it was unnecessary to enter upon the consideration of the pamphlet, seeing it was anonymous ; and if he had been present in the Synod he would have heard every member who spoke, express regret that the pamphlet had been brought forward. How, then, in the face of an unanimous decision not to enter on the consideration of the pamphlet, and in the face of a universal declaration that it would have been better if it had not been brought forward in the face of these notorious facts, how can this writer bave the impudence to tell the public that the Original Secession had betaken themselves to the trade of reviewing pamphlets?' The pamphlet was never so much as opened by the Synod; no party, or person, proposed that it should be reviewed, and yet this writer proclaims it through all Scotland, that the Synod bad betaken itself to the trade of reviewing pamphlets! He tells the world that the Synod did what was not so much as once proposed to be done. He declares that the Synod reviewed a pamphlet, which it unanimously resolved not to review. What can one make of this ?. The most charitable supposition is, that the author of the article was writing at random, from some vague idea of what had been done, for no one who was not utterly bereft of common sense, would have ventured, knowingly, to publish so wanton an outrage on truth. But in the third place, although the Original Secession Synod had betaken itself to the trade of reviewing pamphlets, is this anything new? It has been customary with the courts of all presbyterian churches, in the discharge of their duty, to examine any writing brought before them in a regular way. And right or wrong, this writer might have known that the Original Secession Synod actually did last year what he falsely charges them with having done this year. Why was he silent on that occasion ? Were his eyes not then opened to the danger of church courts reviewing pamphlets? Or being opened, did he shut them? Or bas his zeal only one eye, that can see only on the one side? Or had he gone at the time on a journey to the stars, to consult them about the doom of the Pope, with which he was then much occupied ? However that may be, the Original Secession Church, and all other churches, have been in the habit of reviewing writings, submitted in a regular manner to their judgment, and if their decisions are not uprighteous, to talk in the style of this writer, is no better than mere empty twaddle.


* Dr M-Crie's Sermons on Unity, page 104.

But let us hear this great oracle on criticism. 'In the reviewing department, we repeat, church courts have no special vocation.' What! Is not a Synod everywhere known to be specially a court of review, and what should hinder it, when necessary, from reviewing pamphlets as well as anything else? But this writer asks, what is the critical standing of a presbytery? Is it equal to that of a penny periodical? And does a Synod rise to the dignity of a three-halfpenny one? Are we to regard the General Assembly of the Established Church of Scotland, as equal, in virtue of its legal standing, to Blackwood's Magazine, and the Convocation in England as on the level of the Quarterly?! Now, is there anything in this more than mere words? Can any man extract from it a single particle of common sense? The writer would be humorous or satirical if he only knew the way; and his readers must accept of the will for the deed, more especially as they get abundance both of wit and satire, when the Genius of the Old Red Sandstone comes forth in propria persona. He asks, what is the critical standing of a presbytery?'

Was it too profound a thought to occur to him that its critical standing depends entirely on the critical ability of its members? He gravely desires to be informed respecting the relative value of the critical opinions of church courts and periodicals. In reply to a question of so great importance, we venture to give it as our solemn opinion, that a good critic will be a good critic even in a Presbytery, a Synod, or a General Assembly, while a bad critic will be a bad critic, even though connected with a Magazine, a Review, or a newspaper. We hope this view of the matter may be regarded as at least one step towards the solution of the great question raised by the Witness respecting the critical status of church courts, and if so, we shall feel abundantly rewarded for the great mental effort that was necessary to be put forth in grappling with such a weighty problem. Meanwhile, let all men know that the Witness states what is precisely the reverse of the fact, when he says that his friends, the Original Secession, bad betaken themselves to the reviewing of pamphlets, the said Synod having never so much as opened the pamphlet, but resolved unanimously that they were not called to review an anonymous publication. We are very anxious to live at peace with all men, and all periodicals, and particularly with the Witness; but if he cannot afford to live in peace with the Original Secession, we would bave him to consider whether there be not something mean, and pitiful, and cowardly, in declining honourable warfare, and yet dogging a party, and taking every advantage that opens to give a sly blow from behind ; and we would have lim, both for his own sake, and for ours, either to take the open field, and discuss questions of principle, or to keep silent respecting questions that can serve no purpose, but to gratify the malignant passions, and to engender strife and contention.


The above statements in the Witness, it is possible, may have arisen from unisapprehension; but it is not possible to put so charitable a construction on a leading article on 'The Original Secession Church,' which appeared the same day in the Scottish Press. In that communication it is intimated to the press and its readers, that the author of the pamphlet On Union with the Free Church,'had judged rightly of the state of feeling among the majority of his brethren, and that he had struck a chord to which a response was given both hearty and general.' It is also announced that the party who supported the overture (Mr W. M'Crie's) occupied the superior position in the Synod in point of numbers and influence;' and it is asserted that, on the question of union, there are two parties in the Synod—the one of which he calls progress men, and the other obstructionists—the former of which has the ascendancy. Now it would not be easy to conceive of anything wider from the truth than these affirmations. The article is a pure fabrication from beginning to end, and does not contain a single statement on the subject, of which at least the one-half is not untrue. In the first place, so far from the pamphlet having struck a chord to which a hearty and general response was given, it has been received among Seceders, “from Maidenkirk to John o Groat's, with the most intense disapprobation; and the current of opposition to its sentiments is so strong in the body, that not a single member of Synod ventured to insinuate bis agreement with that production. In the second place, his assertion that the party who supported Mr W. M'Crie's overture were superior in point of number and influence, is equally veracious with the above. So far from that overture being in accordance with the general mind of the court, the motion to grant its prayer was advocated only by its mover. The whole Synod, besides, were unanimous in judging that it was inexpedient to grant the prayer of the overture. No party had, or ever had, any objections to the standing committee entering into negotiations with the Free Church whenever that body should appoint a committee. But the overture proposed that additional steps in the initiative should be taken on our part at present; and this proposal, which constituted the prayer of the overture, was negatived by universal consent. It is wonderful that any person can have the hardihood to say that the supporters of the overture were the superior party in the Synod, when it is impossible for him to mention more than two, or at most three, individuals who expressed a desire that it should be granted. In the third place, there has as yet been no two such parties formed in the Synod, on the subject of union, to whom the names of obstructionists and progress men can appropriately be given. Those whom the Press calls obstructionists vehemently protest that they are most anxious for union, and eager to enter, when they can do so honourably, on all those preparatory discussions which must go before union. Those whom he would call progress men, on the other hand, have repudiated the name-again and again declaring, during the late meeting of Synod, that they would have no union inconsistent with our received principles. Unless by challenging the honesty of men as good as himself, the writer in the Press will have great difficulty in finding a party, great or small, within the Synod, who hold progress principles as he understands them. The division which took place on Mr Shaw's motion was not between a party opposed to negotiations for union, and a party favourable to such negotiations. All agreed that it was inexpedient to open negotiations at present, as the overture desired; and, at the same time, all were agreeable, so far as we know, that the standing committee should re-open negotiations when the Free Church might show any desire to do so. The question which came to the vote was not between obstructionists and progress men, whether there should be negotiations or not, but in respect to a question of practical detail, when the negotiations should begin ; and a number of what the Press would call the strongest obstructionists in the Synod voted for the motion carried, while several of them did not vote at all. From these statements the true character of the article in the Press will be apparent. We have a strong conviction that it is of foreign origin, being neither the production of an Original Seceder nor of a United Presbyterian. Be this, however, as it may, we leave it with our readers to determine whether he be not one of those, qui coelum et teroamomniaque miscent. From the peculiar manner in which the news. paper press has interfered in this matter, and putting all things together, it is evident that we have arrived at the second stage of this drama, and that we are now to be 'assailed by policy. Let every man, therefore, betake himself to eye-gate and ear.gate, and take good heed both to what he hears, and to what he sees. To argument we have heretofore opposed argument, and not without success. To policy let us now oppose faith, and integrity, and constancy, and we may, with all confidence, leave the issue of the matter in the hands of God.

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