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different, but not less wise, and not less kind. The scene of labour was in a strange land; but the stranger's help was present there. The labourer was sickly; but the Holy Spirit makes his own word powerful, though it be spoken by trembling lips. The time was short: but in it the work was done, and the servant was the sooner relieved from toil—the sooner admitted to the joy of his Lord."

The rest of this short but interesting life-history is soon told. He arrived at home on the 28th July, and his earthly career terminated on the 16th March following. For a time after his return, he was able to go about a little, but he paid his last visit on the 8th of October. He continued however throughout the most of the winter able to occupy a sofa in the parlour, and it was only during the last two or three weeks that he was almost or altogether confined to bed. During all that time, however, he never lost sight of his approaching dissolution, and he spoke of it always with perfect coolness. He presented the rare example of a “believer who would not assume the attitude of victor, and never dared to adopt the language of triumph, yet through the Saviour actually overcoming death and him who had its power." The last scene his sister thus narrates:

“He was much distressed that day. About three, Mr Gibson called and prayed. When I asked if he had heard, he said distinctly, “Yes, every word,' and thanked him. About five, Mr J. Smith called, and prayed shortly with him. He said, “My friend, we have been commending yon to God. James answered, 'I too endeavoured to pray through the one Mediator,' and then added with much difficulty, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is very weak. In an hour, perhaps, afterwards, in a paroxysm of pain and restlessness, he tossed the clothes off him, and would be up. He said something very indistinctly; I only caught the word Emmanuel, and said, God with us.' He replied, emphatically, “Yes, with us;' and, so far as I can recollect, these were the last words he uttered. Yet I believe he was conscious to the very last. A minute or two before his departure, he raised his dear hand, and passed it slowly all over his face. It was the cold dew of death stealing over him that he felt. He seemed satisfied when he ascertained this; and replacing his hand on his bosom, almost immediately expired."


Thus, at the early age of twenty-eight, departed one who, had he been spared, would have been, so far as man can see, not less an ornament to the church than a mighty instrument of good to the world. But it was otherwise determined. Ílis life, ineteor-like in its brilliancy and duration, yet resembled, in its close, rather the setting of the sun than the extinguishment which is the meteor's end: "For he, being dead, yet speaketh.” The story of his life presents us with an instance of rare talents consecrated to the service of God--an ardent desire to be useful in the church, wrought into subjection to the will of God—the blasting of all earthly hopes resignedly submitted to, and the burden of a painful and lingering disorder cheerfully borne as coming from the hand of God. And it reads to us a lesson of personal piety, and close and strict self-examination, which all would do well to place before them as a model. It is true, Mr Halley's spiritual state was peculiar. The expression quoted, in reference to the part taken by him in the prayer meeting, indicates this. The fact is, the tendency of his mind led him to such close examination and reasoning, and weighing of argument for and against, as made him look more to the ascertaining of his actual condition than to a lively exercise of faith. Ile looked too much in upon himself, compared with the amount of his looking outward and upward. The consequence of this was, that while he never wavered in the faith, and never was left for a moment to doubt the certainty of the scriptural plan of salvation, he was often involved in darkness respecting his own experience; and he never attained, as already noticed, to that rejoicing in the Lord which it has been the lot of others of God's saints to reach. With all this, he seems clearly to have attained to assurance of his own peace with God. He writes, in his journal for 4th October, 1838, on the occasion of bursting a bloodvessel, “Record it thankfully, that at the moment of the attack I felt no fear, and was enabled to commit my soul to Christ.” “Towards the close of his days there were many expressions, which, taking into account bis extreme caution on these subjects, his friends accounted equivalent to a good hope through grace--a hope that his life was hid with Christ in God. One thing is certain, his faith failed not. He who in sovereignty saw meet to keep a cloud between his own countenance and the uplifted eye of bis servant, gra. ciously preserved from fainting that servant's soul, and so strengthened his faith that it held by the Saviour to the last without the aid of joyous emotion. The word that lingered latest on his dying lips was, 'God with us.' The change came, and he was with God."

With the reiterated remark, that the “ Memoir of the late James Halley" belongs to the highest class of biography, and is one of the best of its class we have had the good fortune to meet with, we commend it to the attention of our readers. They will find in it much that we have not been able to indicate; and we may venture to predict, that they will rise from its perusal, if sadder, also better, and with the deeply-felt, if not spoken, aspiration, "May my last end be like his !"


(To the Editor of the Original Secession Magazine.) SIR,—It may be presumed that some recollections of the Synod of May last have accompanied all the members to their individual spheres of labour, and that not a few earnest and anxious searchings of heart, in regard to it, have been experienced. What the fruits of that meeting shall be, will depend on the spirit with which it is followed up. It may be assumed that none can remember it with unmingled satisfaction ; but every one is able to act in reference to it in a spirit of unmingled conciliation ; and who would not cherish the hope that as it was the first, it may also be the last occasion in which any real or even apparent collision in principle may occur? It is entirely in this spirit of conciliation that I now ask a few pages in which to advert to the proposal to re-open negotiations for union with the Free Church ; and I should regret if any expression should occur justly calculated to irritate or offend any one who took part in that debate.

If the overture introduced by Mr William M'Crie be viewed simply as a proposal of union with a sister church, no question could be more legitimate; and if higher and more defensible ground had been assumed, perhaps there was no question more appropriate. At first sight, and before the light of a searching examination bas been let in among the principles and details of such a proposal, the idea of unconditional surrender is apt to lay strong hold of the mind. The Free Church, in not a few of its aspects, is fitted to lead captive the imagination. It was projected into the field of dissent, not like the first Secession, in the slender weakness of infancy, but in the full maturity of manhood. It had borne away with it, from the unsafe keeping of an Erastian state, the unmutilated standards of the Church of Scotland. It had traced on its banner not a few of the same precious principles around which the adherents of the Secession, a century ago, had rallied; and it numbered in its ranks whatever in the Establishment was distinguished by high attainment, or had on it the impress of strength, of principle, and depth of piety. During the progress, also, of the events which issued in the rending of the tie which bound it to the state, members of the Synod, and the Synod itself had applauded, in no measured or jealous terms, the stand


it was making for truth; and of all the branches of the church in Scotland, we stood alone in giving it a unanimous and hearty welcome to the position it had so magnanimously assumed. It was to be expected, therefore, that the desire for union would be early and eagerly raised, and that that desire would not be early or easily quenched. The abortive negotiations of the past seven years is a proof of the one; the overture and advocacy of Mr M'Crie, at the late Synod, is a not less decisive proof of the other. That there are seeming advantages which might accrue from an immediate fusion with the Free Church, may be granted. It would take one from the number of our divisions. It would afford to our congregations an opportunity of contributing at once and effectively to the cause of missions. Distributed throughout the Free Church, we should find a wider field of action, and a larger number of cultivated minds to listen to our advocacy of the tenets which still keep us asunder; and these are great and undeniable advantages. But it is certainly possible to pay a price for them far beyond their worth. It may be questioned if there be one congregation within the bounds of the Synod which could be translated into the Free Church, without a partial, or even an extensive disruption. With a feeling of sincere respect towards that church, there prevails a deep and diffused conviction that the time for union with it has not yet come; and the very fact of the co-existence of these feelings, must, in candid minds, go far to prove that the opposition to immediate union is generated by no mere sectarian bias-rests on no mere habit of standing apart, but on a comprehensive and well-considered view of what is demanded by the interests of truth.

Again, by union with the Free Church on any terms at present attainable, our position as a church, in regard to profession, would be instantly lowered. I have not yet forgotten the address to the struggling Church of Scotland, in 1841, which occurs at the close of Mr Beattie's History of the Commonwealth. The music of that truly-eloquent appeal still lingers in the ears of not a few both of our ministers and our people. Speaking to the men who were then the leaders of the Established and are now the leaders of the Free Church of Scotland, Mr Beattie says,— Let them at once ascend to the higher and more honourable altitude of the Second Reformation. There they will find firm footing and free air ; there they may expect more of the cheering light of the Sun of Righteousness, and more of the bracing and invigorating influences of the breath of the Lord from the four winds. This mount Zion is all before them. Its inhabitants are few and scattered, and greatly discouraged. But it is holy ground. It is the battle-field where the Lord triumphed gloriously. There Henderson led the armies of the living God on to victory. There Rutherford, and Durham, and Douglas stood with the Lamb, and served him in spirit and truth. There Argyle died. And it was there that Guthrie and a great cloud of witnesses overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and loved not their lives unto the death. It is covenanting ground—the place for asserting the honours of Christ, and the liberties of his people — the proper altitude for concerting measures of extension and union, and every enterprise that is grand, and liberal, and glorious. The ground occupied by the Free Church is in every essential point, and almost formally the same now, as that of the Established Church then. It contained then no reference to the Second Reformation, as guaranteed and guarded by the engagements into which the nation had entered ; nor does an allusion or expression to that effect occur in the Claim of Right, or in the protest in which the church took its final leave of the civil power, and these continue unaltered to constitute the exhibition of her distinctive principles. A union, therefore, in present circumstances, would be a manifest descent. From the moment in which it was consummated, the Synod would cease to hold the Westminster Standards exactly in the

terms in which they were received by the Reformed and Covenanted Church of Scotland ; nay, such a union would do more than annibilate a formal adhesion to these as standards of covenanted uniformity; it would declare that no such adhesion ought to exist. It is something that so many congregations and presbyteries can still lift an applauding and independent voice in behalf of the magnificent scheme of Alexander Henderson-can judicially unite, and through their supreme court tell the legislature of Britain that it has sinned in repudiating the solemn League, and trampling on the Reformation which it carried in its train. A union on lower grounds than this would subject congregations and individaals to be told that these sentiments were not held by the body to which they now belonged-that the expression of them was inerely tolerated, and if still entertained, must be so held as not to disturb the peace of the church.

It would indeed greatly abate the force of these considerations if the question of covenant obligation had made such way in the Free Church, as to have nearly divided the views of her courts. If, for example, the same breadth of intelligence and strength of principle were to be tound in the presbyteries south and north which pervades that of Arbroath, the argument for immediate union in most minds would be immensely increased in force. It might be said that to diffuse even our limited numbers through that church would be to supply just what was wanted—a casting vote-would be to throw the atom into the trembling balance which would turn the scale — would be to give the slight additional momentum required, to uplift the ecclesiastical apparatus to covenanting ground. But it is far otherwise.

In the twenty-six presbyteries of the Free Church, among which our congregations would find themselves distributed, they would, in the majority of instances, stand alone in their views; being, besides, for the most part, inferior in numbers, their influence would be proportionally small, and, to all practical ends, their Testimony would be buried and lost. Nor would the degree in which it would be otherwise in a few presbyteries, materially affect the result as a whole, throughout so immense a community as the Free Church. To such discouraging facts and suggestions, it may be answered, that to plant one or more votes which could be always calculated on in behalf of the recognition of our national engagements, in so many, and these not the least influential presbyteries of the Free Church, would be to gain an end of no mean importance. It would; but might not the same adverse influences which prevent Dr Candlish from introducing the subject into the Presbytery of Edinburgh, also prevent Dr M'Crie ; and is it certain that similar adverse influences would not overawe Messrs Murray and Manson in the Presbyteries of Glasgow and Perth?. The history of the past justifies fear, not hope. Every union which has hitherto been effected by the compromise of a principle—which has issued in ejecting a tenet from the creed of the body, to be but the creed of the individual, has been an altar to Concord reared on the grave of Truth. The brethren of the Original Burgber Synod, who, in the year 1839, merged their separate testimony in the then awakened and reforming establishment, intended, perhaps, to advocate within what they held without the church; but if their voice was ever raised in behalf of this, it was feebly and infrequently—it commanded no attention, and wrought out no results; and are we better than they? or can it be expected that a zeal which manifests itself in proposals to extinguish a judi

a cial testimony, now existing without the Free Church, would display much ardour in behalf of the cause within it?

But while forecasting the probable effect upon ourselves of an immediate union, it would be unwise and ungenerous to overlook the effect of an illconsidered movement towards it, on the few, but increasing, and resolute defenders of covenant obligation within the Free Church. They have caught


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up the idea-an idea familiar to us, but long lost sight of in the Establishment, and only, as yet, struggling into view in the Free Church-that the Westminster Standards are not only true and scriptural, but that the British nations are pledged to adhere to them by the superadded obligation of an oath. They believe that the acknowledgment of this on the part of the Free Church, while it would discharge a solemn duty to God, would also invest that church with a moral security against error-a security which she does not at this moment possess.

In their estimation, it is desirable to place every possible obstacle in the way of departure from any one of the doctrines embodied in these standards. They consider our present position in this respect better than their own. They are pleading with their own church to look back to the great things which God has done for this church and nation in times past, especially in regard to a covenanted work of reformation. And nothing surely could be more fitted to disconcert the measures or discourage the efforts of these faithful and enlightened men, whether in the ministry or in the eldership, than an indication, however faint, on the part of any number of our courts, to desert that position. The effect on them of an increasing tendency, on our part so unprincipled and ill advised, would be, either that, discouraged by our instability, they would allow the subject to sink into its former quiescence, and abandon their purpose in despair, or, disdaining to acknowledge us as the representatives of the great truth hitherto identified with our name, they would proceed with the movement irrespective of our existence and independent of our aid.

If there be any truth or force in these considerations, they tend to the conclusion, arrived at by a unanimous Synod, that the time to resume negotiations for union with the Free Church has not yet come. The few who are disposed to adopt an opposite policy have been patiently heard at the bar of the Synod, and answered. To prolong the controversy further, to plead the question again at the bar of the public, can serve no other end than to protract contention, turn diversity of view into bitterness, and urge on result which it may in charity be believed they neither contemplate nor desire. Nor does this suggestion rest on any dread of controversy, either as an evil in itself or as directed against the position of the Synod." That position is invulnerable to argument; it can be put in peril only by error or indifference. In all ordinary circumstances, the truth which that position defends invites the most searching examination; and whoever holds a principle which he dreads to hear controverted, may assure himself that he has some just reason for his fear-either he is ill acquainted with the ground on which his faith rests, or a consciousness, deeper than his own self-scrutiny can reach, tells him that his creed cannot bear to be dragged into the light-that it cannot admit to be touched except by the most delicate and maternal hands. That controversy which is to be deprecated among us, is strife among those who profess to be of one mind even on the point which happens to be the occasion of the strife. The place, the true place at present for the discussion of the question of covenant obligation, is the broad arena of the Free Church.

To us, as Seceders, the question is settled a century ago; it was settled again at the breach of 1806; again, by the protesting brethren of 1820; and again, at the unions of 1827 and '43; and to open it now can only have the effect of diffusing a spirit of dissension among ourselves, and weakening the hands of our able and right-hearted associates in the bosom of the Free Church.

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