The Purity of Our Religion
“Whereas, amongst the infinite blessings of Almighty God upon this nation, none is nor can be more dear unto us than the purity of our religion; … “. So begins the document which formally established the Westminster Assembly of Divines on June 12, 1643. It was concern for the “purity of our religion” which lay at the foundation of our Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. This purity could not be maintained without protest against impurity. This same document specifies further that the Westminster Assembly was convened in protest against “… that present church-government by archbishops, their chancellors, commissars, deans … ” etc. because such a “hierarchy is evil, and justly offensive and burdensome to the kingdom, a great impediment to reformation and growth of religion . . . “. In undertaking their work the members of the Assembly were “. . . resolved … that such a government be settled in the church as may be most agreeable to God’s holy Word, and most apt to procure and preserve the peace of the church. . . “.
[excerpted from the RPCES report on “Apostasy as it relates to Ecclesiastical Separation.” (1978)]
The Man Whom God Prepares
ALEXANDER McLEOD, D.D.*
Alexander McLeod was born at Ardcrisinish, in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, June 12, 1774. His father was the Rev. Niel McLeod, who was connected with the Established Church of Scotland, and was Minister of the United Parishes of Kilfinichen and Kilvichewen. His mother was Margaret McLean, daughter of the Kev. Archibald McLean, who was the immediate predecessor of his son-in-law, Mr. McLeod, in the same charge. Both his parents were eminent for talents and piety. The great Dr. Johnson, in his tour through the “Western Islands, was a visitor at his father’s house, and, in referring to the circumstance, Johnson says,—” We were entertained by Mr. McLean,” (by mistake he used the name of the lady for that of her husband,) ” a minister that lives upon the coast, whose elegance of conversation and strength of judgment would make him conspicuous in places of greater celebrity.”
At the age of five years, Alexander McLeod lost his father; but, even at that early period, his mind seems to have been alive to religious impressions; for when the tidings of his father’s death were announced to the family, the child was upon his knees in prayer. From that time for several years the general conduct of his education devolved upon his mother, than whom perhaps no mother could have contributed more effectually to the development and right direction of his faculties. His mother, however, employed a tutor in the house, who immediately superintended his studies; and his uncommon quickness of apprehension and facility at acquiring knowledge, were indicated by the fact that he had mastered his Latin Grammar before he had completed his sixth year. He subsequently attended the parish school of Braeadale, in the Island of Skye, for three or four years, and availed himself also of the advantages furnished by other schools, with reference to particular branches, which were understood to be taught in them with unusual efficiency. He lost his mother at the age of about fifteen, when he was absent from home at school. So deeply was he affected by the tidings of her death, that, for a time, there were serious apprehensions that it would be the occasion of depriving him of his reason. As he was consecrated to the ministry in the intention of his parents, he seems, before he was six years old, to have formed a distinct purpose of carrying out their intention; and of that purpose he never lost sight, amidst all the subsequent vicissitudes which he experienced. He was always remarkable for an intrepid and adventurous spirit, and was not infrequently confined by injuries which he received in consequence of too freely indulging it.