Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

wasted a moment of time, in attempting to undeceive the public. They would very soon have undeceived themselves.

But in the present age, when scurrility too often usurps the place of wit, when effrontery styles itself independence of spirit, and when downright falsehood arrogates to herself the honourable titles of candour and liberality of sentiment, a very different conduct must be observed, by every man who has character to lose. Rebuke with all au“ thority: let no man despise thee,” are the injunctions of one who knew well how far motives of de. licacy, and the principles of the Gospel, require Christian Ministers to sit in silence under the in. sulting tongue of the scorner.

Even Christian « charity, which suffereth long, “ and is kind,” orders us to shake off this mental apathy, which hath hitherto only provoked the reiteration of injuries : She says, the moment is now come, when not only self-defence, the honour of our Ecclesiastical Order, and the purity of our National Worship; but likewise, what we believe to be an essential truth of the everlasting Gospel, imperiously call upon us to detect unfounded slanders, to expose them to the indignation and abhorrence of every honest and virtuous mind;-and to let the world know, that the judgment passed by the Presbytery of Glasgow, on the 7th of October, 1807, prohibiting the use of Organs in all the Churches and Chapels within their jurisdiction, was founded

on the Word of God, agreeable to the Law of the Land, and to the Law and Constitution of the Established Church of Scotland.

Does not every Scotsman know, that had the Presbytery passed an improper judgment, a complaint or an appeal was competent to their Ecclesiastical Superiors ? But neither complaint nor appeal was made. Does

not every

Scotsman know, that had the Presbytery treated any Member of Court with that cruelty which has been laid to their charge, they were amenable to the Laws of their Country? And had they been so wantonly tyronnical, as even to attempt to deprive any body of Christians of “ their just hereditary

rights,” does not every Scotsman know, that there is a legal and constitutional method, by which redress might honourably be obtained?

But the Public conduct of a legal constituted Court, recognized and protected by the State, and acting in their judicial capacity, must not be attacked and vilified by an obscure individual: nor the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council of the City : of Glasgow, following out the precise line of conduct prescribed to them by their predecessors in office, be, with impunity, calumniated by an anonymous. Pamphleteer.

Does not every virtuous and honest man clearly perceive, that in wantonly addressing Letters to the Lord Provost about an Ecclesiastical business, the Writer could have no other object in view, than the

gratification of private malice, or the ill-timed defence of Irish Roman Catholic Claims (which he hath so irregularly foisted into his production) or the disseminating among the multitude, writings which have a manifest tendency to bring the most respectable constituted Civil Authorities into contempt, with those who are taught to hate all order in Church and State.

Why are Records and Letters designedly misquoted, so as to perplex and mislead the unwary reader. Why is the plain language of Epistolary Writing so tortured, as to give it the appearance of the technical formalities of Law? Is it not from the illiberal intention of putting an argument into the mouth of the First Magistrate of the City, upon which the Letter-writer may pour ridicule, and then demolish at pleasure? We know not what answer the adinirers of Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of God, may give to these plain questions; nor do

But the world can be at no loss to perceive, that this controversy about the Organ, in the Presbytery of Glasgow, the popular topic of the day, iş made a mere vehicle to give currency to the disappointed malice or envy of some one, who has lictle character to lose.

We certainly do not wish to infringe the liberty of the Press. Long may it be a successful instrument to protect innocence, to defend the Laws and Constitution of our Country, and to expose the ignorance, and lash the vanity of weak and pre

we care.

sumptuous Authors. But when the liberty of the Press is prostituted to serve the despicable purpose of vilifying the conduct of the Ministers of the Gospel, acting legally in their judicial capacity, and confining their speeches and writings within the precincts of their own court, and never either directly or indirectly, soliciting the Public to interest themselves in the discussion, such conduct, we arffim, is a gross abuse of the liberty of the Press.

If there are some unprincipled persons, actuated with such a spirit of knight-errantry, as to-induce them to wander about in search of literary adventures, offering their services to those who are so unwise as to purchase their venal labours, it would be but fair and honest in those who employ them, to give some pledge to the public that such adventurers should observe the laws of honour and truth, in this warfare of words.

The public has an undoubted right to investigate the motives which could induce these adventurers to engage in the literary quarrels of others. The public has a right to judge of their sources of information, and to examine with impartiality, whether they have heretofore shewn themselves to be friends to peace, to good order, to decency, and to truth. Perhaps such a pledge will not easily be obtained. The Lord Provost and Magistrates of Glasgow are known to the world. The members of the Presbytery of Glasgow are known to the world. The public holds a pledge from these bodies of men, that they neither will state

a single circumstance but what is true, nor advance a single opinion but what they conceive to be just. But upon an anonymous pamphleteer the public hath no hold whatever. · He may be, and most likely is, the veriest bankrupt in private character, at the very moment he is wantonly calumniating the Civil Magistrates of the Country, and the Ministers of Religion. To use the pen of a satyrist with propriety, requires much good sense, much honour, and much virtue. A man who labours under a natural malignity of temper, and to whose soul invective and calumny is daily bread, is incapable of using the legitimate, poignant touches of irony. To satyrise, is a dangerous employment.--" Are we not " in sport? are we not amusing the public, when « we attempt to derogate from the respect due - to constituted Civil Authority, when we at“ tempt to undermine the pillars of the Church?” -is language well known to the disciples of Paine and Voltaire; and to the admirers of Paine and Voltaire, we abandon the Letters of this anonymous Pamphleteer.

The Presbytery of Glasgow neither began this controversy, nor wished it to be continued.

For no less than two years have our ears been stunned with what we then considered as idle and impertinent rumours, viz. That an attempt would soon be made by the Minister and Congregation of St. Andrew's Church, to introduce an Organ into the Public Worship of God. And to render the tale more plausible, we

« ZurückWeiter »