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kindle another flame, destined to burn on even into our own day, not only with undiminished, but with increasing brilliancy.

Some twenty years after the yoke of patronage had been placed anew on the necks of the people of Scotland, it was attempted still more firmly to rivet its chains by a kind of supplemental act, depriving the people of the last vestige of popular privileges they yet enjoyed. The deep undertone of discontent with which this proposition was received, found a tongue in the famous sermon of Ebenezer Erskine, preached before the Synod of Perth and Stirling, October 10, 1732. Devout men inly hailed Erskine on that day as a noble witness for the truth. But, unfortunately, the mass of the ministers of the Church of Scotland were rapidly becoming so deeply leavened with the Erastian spirit of the existing powers, as to be no longer willing “the stone which the builders rejected should be made the headstone of the corner." Light could not any more be borne by ecclesiastical judicatures; and Erskine, Fisher, Wilson, and Moncrieff, bore with them, in their secession, the torch of truth, with which they had sought, but sought in vain, to relume the flickering altar fires of the church of their fathers.

Complaint has been made by ecclesiastical historians entertaining substantially the principles for which the Erskines contended, that they should not rather have stayed within the Church, and endeavoured to turn the tide, then so strongly set in favour of moderatism, into an evangelical channel. Whether this could have been accomplished by some astute tacticians we do not presume to say. But it could not, we think, have been well effected by the fathers of the Secession-men obviously rather evangelical teachers than ecclesiastical

leaders. The reluctance of the seceders to return to

the bosom of mother church has also, we think, been too harshly dealt with. The Church of Scotland of that day is judged too favourably if judged in the light of the spasmodic efforts made to induce Erskine and his coadjutors to retrace their steps.

In the history of the next twenty years we shall find the amplest material for the corroboration of this opinion. At the close of that period, moderatism has found its true chief. William Robertson, of Gladsmuir, afterwards known as Principal Robertson, inaugurated his accession to the post of leadership by the direction of proceedings issuing in the deposition of the Rev. Thomas Gillespie of Carnock, founder of that branch of the Secession long known as the Relief Church. The mani. festo of the moderate party which this case drew forth, (drawn up by Robertson,) seems almost identical in its principles with the principles of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. That a modern sceptic should garnish his philosophy with the maxims of a heathen moralist ig not wonderful; but that any Christian minister should have been found virtually asserting the state is the highest ethics,” was surely passing strange. For more than a quarter of a century did Robertson guide the policy of the Scottish Church. When he resigned the reins so long held with so firm a hand, a party had arisen in the Church (his own special friends) demanding that subscription to the Confession of Faith should henceforth be discontinued.

Dr. Hill of St. Andrews, successor of Robertson in the leadership of the Church, pursued the Robertsonian policy; going even a step further than his predecessor. That wary leader had, while supporting to the utmost the rights of patrons, always preserved the form of a call in deference to the traditions of the Church. Hill, bringing a narrower and severer logic to the consideration of the question, seeing, as no doubt Robertson also saw, that patronage and a call were virtually destructive of each other, proposed that the call be abolished. The counsel was not exactly followed, but the fact of it having been given shows the desolate and dangerous coast on which the church was rapidly drifting. Amidst the general unfaithfulness, a bold and energetic voice—the voice of Dr. Thomas Hardy-is heard, honestly declaring that the experience of seventy years, and the revolt of one hundred thousand of her people, are proofs that absolute patronage is irreconcilable with the genius of presbytery. What a man so honest and so able as Hardy might have done for the church, had life been given him, we cannot tell; as it was, he had little more than time to lift the trumpet to his mouth, and to sound this jarring and dolorous blast in the ears of the moderates of his day, ere death summoned him from the church militant to the church triumphant. At this epoch moderatism may be considered to have fully developed itself as a system within the Church of Scotland. How far it had deflected from the doctrines and the spirit of the Reformers may be learned from two facts,-its leading lights had been the friends of Hume—their followers were the tools of Dundas.

CHAPTER IX.

NON-INTRUSION.

SINGULARLY enough, to the pecuniary difficulties of the Edinburgh Town Council does Scotland owe it, that the dreary and leaden reign of moderatism was first broken. In 1810, Dr. Andrew Thomson was brought to Edinburgh; in 1814, he became minister of St. George's. His popularity was unbounded; he filled the coffers of the Town Council, and he destroyed the prestige of the moderates, who up to that hour had numbered in their ranks the leading intellect of the Church. This tribune of the people clothed himself with a threefold power; from the pulpit, the platform, and the press he assailed, with all the energy of his intensely-earnest nature, whatever opposed itself to the purity of God's truth, or the freedom of God's children. Five years after Thomson is settled in Edinburgh, Chalmers is settled in Kilmany-like stars in the horizon, one by one the evangelical leaders of the Scottish Church are appearing. From Kilmany Chalmers went to Glasgow; from Glasgow to St. Andrews; from St.

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