“The great thing in the Church is CHRIST, the blood of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, the presence of Christ among us. The great thing is Christ, but there is also advantage in a certain government of the Church of Christ. I am a Presbyterian, not only of situation, but of conviction and choice. Our Presbyterian way is the good middle way between Episcopacy on the one side, and Congregationalism on the other. We combine the two great principles that must be maintained in the Church—Order and Liberty; the order of government, and the liberty of the people.”—Merle d’ Aubigne.
TEN REASONS FOR BEING A PRESBYTERIAN.
9. I AM A PRESBYTERIAN—because the Church of Christ was Presbyterian in her earliest and purest times. Ecclesiastical history tells me by what steps came the predicted falling away from apostolical doctrine and order (2 Thess. ii. 3); how the primitive Episcopacy (which we still hold) was supplanted by Prelacy and Popery; and how those Churches which were God’s faithful witnesses in the midst of the Anti-Christian apostasy, the Waldensian, the Albigensian, and other martyr-Churches were Presbyterian. And when the time of Reformation came, when men stood, and saw, and asked for the ancient paths, then the good old way of Presbyterianism, with its Evangelical truth, its apostolical order, its wholesome discipline, and primitive worship, was with one consent resumed by the Reformed Churches. In England alone it was not so; but for this we satisfactorily account in the assumption of the headship of the Church by Henry VIII.—the indecision of Cranmer and the early Reformers—the limited extent to which the work of Reformation could be carried—together with other later events in England’s national history.
Although outward forms in themselves are of minor consequence, yet they are important as means for the building up of the spiritual Church. And if Church history is of any use, we should search it to see which form of Christianity best fulfills the purposes of a Church of Christ. Let Presbyterianism be so tried : contrast the state of the English Church as to vital religion in the Puritan times, and after the restoration of Charles II., and the ejection of the two thousand Nonconformists, nearly all of whom were Presbyterians; contrast the present state of Presbyterian Ulster with any other province of Ireland; contrast the state of Scotland with any other country of Europe; and every friend of Bible instruction, of Sabbath observance, of true religion, ought to rejoice in the prospect of Presbyterianism being extended in every part of the world.