The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

The Government of the Kingdom of Christ.— Part III.
by Rev. James Moir Porteous.
(Published in 1888.)

Chapter X.
Ireland and Presbytery.

"Ev'n as a bird out of the fowler's snare
Escapes away, so is our soul set free:
Broke are their nets, and thus escaped we.
Therefore our help is in the Lord's great name,
Who heaven and earth by His great power did frame."

1. EARLY STAGES.

T HE primitive Church of Ireland was identical with that of the Culdees. This was the original Scotland. Here also Christianity found a shelter, spread, and propagated itself, when persecuted in South Britain by heathenism. Only in the twelfth century was this Church, as that in Caledonia, brought into subjection to Rome. Pope Adrian IV. arrogantly claimed the sovereignty of the island; and upon the consent of Henry II. of England by force of arms to bring it wholly in subjection to the spiritual supremacy of the Pontiff, the sovereignty of Ireland was conferred upon the English King by a bull in the year 1155. This was opposed by the native chieftains and the rural ministers. Eventually all opposition was silenced, and this Church reduced to subjection.

Thereafter Romish bishops carried their authority to an extravagant height. Learning, that formerly flourished, was brought to the lowest ebb. The profligacy of the clergy was shameless, and true religion seemed banished. The six hundred religious houses were filled with members equal to one half the population. These vied with the regular clergy who should delude and deceive the most. When the Reformation broke out, noble spirits were wanting to lead forth the people, and religious inquiry was repressed both by the ignorance of the population and the disturbed condition of the country.

In 1535, Henry VIII caused George Brown to be appointed archbishop of Dublin, and himself to be proclaimed supreme over the Church as over the State. The Romish clergy opposed, and excited resistance; but the supremacy of the English monarch was acknowledged by a Parliament in 1536. The supporters of the Pope were then declared guilty of treason, and Popery declared abolished. As no true reformation was aimed at, and the people left in the deepest ignorance — these proceedings caused universal dissatisfaction. The adherents of the Pope declared the supporters of the King accursed, while images and relics were, notwithstanding the order to remove, retained in the churches; and only four prelates adopted the English liturgy in 1551. After the dread ascendancy of Popery under Queen Mary, protection for Protestants came with Elizabeth. Only two bishops now refused to conform; and in 1569 the printing press and a university were established. Still the Reformation in Ireland made very small progress, a grand mistake was then committed. Instead of instructing the people in their native Irish, the service was ordered to be performed in Latin.

In the reign of James I., schemes to plant the east of Ireland with colonists failed. Forfeited estates, and especially the rebellion of the native chief Shane O'Neill, paved the way; and at length many English and Scotch were introduced. Londonderry and Coleraine were colonised by London merchants; Down and Antrim chiefly from Scotland. These early colonists were subjected to almost unparalleled hardships, and were but poorly supplied with religious ordinances.

In 1615 the Irish Church met in Convocation, and adopted a 'Confession of Faith,' drawn up by Dr. James Usher. Calvinistic in doctrine, the validity of ordination by presbyters is recognised. No authority for enforcing canons, rites, and ceremonies, or consecrating higher orders of clergy, is there claimed. Those Scotch ministers who had accompanied their countrymen to Ulster were freely admitted to labour in the Church for the people's good. The prelatic persecution in Scotland forced many others, both ministers and people, to settle in the counties of Down, Antrim, and Derry. The purer creed and the tolerant spirit of the Irish Church was felt to be a relief from the tyranny of Scottish Prelacy. Edward Brice came in 1613, Robert Cunningham 1615, James Glendinning 1622, Robert Blair 1623, James Hamilton 1625, Welsh and Livingston 1630. Messrs. Hubbard, Ridge, and Calvert also came from England. These, and other labourers, were welcomed by the good Dr. Usher. Sharing in the duties and privileges of the Establishment, their ministry was greatly blessed. At Antrim, meetings for conference, prayer, and preaching were held every month, and the communion was celebrated in some parish on the following Sabbath. But this prosperous period soon passed, and Prelacy began to reveal her intolerance. Bishop Echlin, of Down, jealous of the popularity of these Presbyterian ministers, would ordain no more, unless they strictly conformed to prelatic rules. The Bishop of Raphoe continued for a time 'to come in as a presbyter' at ordinations. Only by the exertions of Usher was Echlin prevented from pronouncing censure on Blair and Livingston for 'exciting the people to ecstasies.' Four ministers at length were silenced without relief.

Under Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, rigid conformity to Prelacy was enforced. The influence of the tyrant Laud also reached Ireland in 1634. Now a Court of High Commission deposed, excommunicated, and drove Presbyterian ministers from their labours. The Black Oath, 'to obey, and not protest against any of the King's royal commands,' was employed to crush the people. Heavy penalties followed refusal.

That persecution was a foreshadow of the terrible carnage produced by the Popish rebellion under Sir Phelim O'Neill in 1641-42. By savage bands, all Protestants were slaughtered without regard to sex or age. So sudden was the rising, that time only sufficed to save Dublin Castle from the conspirators. That winter finds no parallel in Irish history. In several towns the Protestants stood on the defence; but death reigned. Not fewer than 40,000 Protestants fell in the first year of that rebellion. The Presbyterians suffered less than others. Many had retired to Scotland to escape the tyranny of Strafford and the bishops. Those who remained were at first unmolested. They had thus time to procure arms and stand on the defence. Wherever they trusted to the pretensions of the Irish they suffered the penalty of their misplaced confidence. At length, by the aid of Scottish troops, under Major-General Munro, who occupied the Castle of Carrickfergus, protection was afforded from the rebels, who were never subdued or punished.

2. ORGANISATION

Presbytery awoke from that scene of blood to do battle for the Lord. Several ministers and people under the pressure of persecution embarked for New England, but were driven back by storms for which they were not prepared. Messrs. Blair and Hamilton were sent by the General Assembly in Scotland. Then multitudes hastened to declare themselves in favour of the Presbyterian Church. The chaplains of the troops led in organisation, the first presbytery being formed in Carrickfergus in 1642 By the year 1647, thirty ministers were located in the province of Ulster. The Solemn League and Covenant was now heartily entered into, and the doings of the sectaries of England were condemned, especially their execution of Charles I. Presbyterians subjected themselves 'to the lawful authority of the righteous King and free Parliament of England,' and refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Republic, and so had to flee. Cromwell, however, treated them kindly, so that in 1654 there were sixty ministers in Ulster.

At the restoration of Charles II. many of the Presbyterian ministers were ejected and prohibited from preaching, only seven conforming to Prelacy. Even Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, ejected thirty-six ministers in one day; the Covenant was burned in the principal towns by the common hangman, and Presbyterians were as bitterly persecuted as if they had been the foes instead of the faithful adherents of royalty. A poor wheelwright in Armagh, named John Goodal, was imprisoned three years, because he had wrought at his trade on Christmas Day, and refused otherwise to conform. In 1664, four ministers of the Lagan district, near Belfast, were excommunicated by Bishop Leslie, and then imprisoned for six years in Lifford, simply for refusing to join the Establishment. Severity was at length relaxed, so that places of worship were erected, ordination secretly performed, and prisoners released. A small grant was also divided amongst the ministers on account of their sufferings for ten years in 1672. Towards the close of the reign of Charles, persecution again broke out. Four ministers were fined �21 each, and imprisoned for eight months, for proclaiming a public fast in their congregations; public service being forbidden, and the churches shut, only in secret could they assemble to worship God.

Liberty to preach was brought about by the designs of James II. to restore Popery; and when William Prince of Orange and Mary Stuart were proclaimed joint sovereigns, Presbyterians were foremost in declaring their adhesion; but they were soon called to give a more decided proof of their loyalty.

3. DERRY — LIBERTY AND REGIUM DONUM.

A few apprentice boys in Derry seized the keys, and shut the gates of the city on the 7th December 1688. The people were excited from a report that the Papists were again about to rise and murder the Protestants. Bishop Hopkins and other prelates would have allowed 'Lord Antrim's Redshanks,' a Roman Catholic regiment, to garrison the city. The apprentice boys bravely acted as advised by the Presbyterian minister of Glendermot, thereby saving the city, and providing a place of refuge for the Protestants of the province. Derry and Enniskillen were the chief places held for William and Mary, who were proclaimed in Ulster in March 1689. Derry was then besieged on behalf of James by the Lord-Deputy Tyrconnel, the native Irish, and King James in person. Lundy, the governor, entering into a secret engagement to betray the city, had to escape, and Major Baker and the Rev. George Walker, an Episcopalian, were appointed instead. The vast majority of the inferior officers and soldiers were Presbyterians, with superior officers belonging to the Establishment. Eight Presbyterian and seventeen Episcopal ministers and curates assisted in the defence. Gladly in that time of danger did the persecutors receive the aid of the persecuted, and returning good for evil, the Presbyterians gave their lives to secure the common good.

The siege lasted 105 days — a gallant struggle against an overwhelming force. At length an English frigate broke the boom that was stretched across the river Foyle, and two vessels laden with provisions entered that city, which was greatly wasted by famine and other horrors. On the following night, July 31, 1689, the force of James retreated, having suffered heavy loss. King William arrived at Carrickfergus nearly a year thereafter, and ordered �1200 to be paid annually to the Presbyterian ministers, in consideration of their gallant conduct in defending that city and materially securing the establishment of his government. This 'regium donum,' or royal gift, was increased and continued to the year 1870. A great battle was fought on the banks of the Boyne on the 1st July 1690, when James was defeated with heavy loss, and the destiny of the three kingdoms decided. That year the first meeting of the General Synod of Ulster was held at Belfast.

Still these services of the Presbyterian population did not secure for them thorough toleration. Prelacy alone had the sanction of law, and lost few opportunities of enforcing her claims. A rector would insist on his right to read the burial service over a Presbyterian's corpse, and thus excite indignation. The minister was sent to jail who conducted worship in his own church without the liturgy — the most respectable Presbyterian was summoned before the ecclesiastical court, on a charge of fornication, because he was not married by a minister of the Establishment; or he was nominated church warden, without his consent, and obliged to violate his conscience by an obnoxious oath. Every effort was made to have the bounty withdrawn. Everything to their discredit was reported to Government. The Presbyterians felt wholly at the mercy of their oppressors.

Still the Church made progress. Besides the general synod, three sub-synods and nine presbyteries existed at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Fidelity to Zion's King was manifested. In 1698 the synod enacted that no young man should be licensed unless he 'subscribed the Confession of Faith in all the articles thereof, as the confession of his faith.' Then also, when the liberty of meeting in synod was questioned, the Church gave forth no uncertain sound. In 1702 the Rev. T. Embyn was deposed, confessing himself an Arian, 'for holding a doctrine which struck at the foundation of Christianity, and was of too dangerous a consequence to be tolerated among them.'

Two years after that act of faithfulness, Presbyterianism was proscribed. No civil office was to be held by any who refused to take the sacrament in the prelatic church, within three months. Through the influence of the prelates every effort was unavailing for the repeal of that sacramental test. But this system of State bribery failed to move them from their steadfastness; public offices were rather resigned and refused by them than repudiate their principles. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, defended that Test Act, maintaining that Presbyterians were more dangerous to the Establishment than Romanists. Dr. Tisdal contended that 'they deserved no toleration.' These attacks were repelled by writers, who gave 'a sample of jet-black Prelacy,' but more practical samples were publicly given. The presbytery of Monaghan, met to organise a congregation, were taken into custody and charged with holding an unlawful and riotous assembly. Ministers were prosecuted for celebrating marriages, and an Act imposed a penalty of imprisonment on any person other than Episcopalians who presumed to teach a school.

The darkest hour precedes the dawn. Relief came with the accession of George I. in 1714. Theregium donum, which had been withdrawn, was restored. At length toleration for their worship was granted and annually renewed till the Test Act was finally abolished. The Church now consisted of one hundred and forty congregations and eleven presbyteries. Efforts were also put forth to reach the native Irish in their own tongue.

The Church was not free from internal troubles. Arminian and Pelagian errors were introduced by the influence of a Glasgow professor, whose lectures were attended by the Irish students. This resulted in seventeen ministers and congregations withdrawing and forming the 'non-subscribing' presbytery of Antrim in 1726. Several tainted with these views remained within the general synod. The publications of an Arian prelatist also influenced many. Hence subscription to the Confession of Faith, was evaded, and a period of ignorance and death as to spiritual religion prevailed. Notwithstanding a great revival of purity and power, men who denied the deity of the Son of God entered Presbyterian pulpits. By the able generalship of the late venerable Dr. Henry Cooke, the synod declared in 1827 its belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, and at length seventeen Arian ministers and congregations again withdrew, and in 1830 formed the 'Remonstrant Synod of Ulster' (See 'Life and Times of Henry Cooke, D.D.,' by Dr. Porter).

4. UNION AND PROGRESS.

There sprang up, side by side with the synod, congregations connected with almost all bodies of Presbyterians that branched off the Established Church of Scotland. The Associate Presbytery had a footing in 1745; the sections of Burghers and Antiburghers soon after. These ministers and congregations were of invaluable service in preserving alive a healthy spirit of life and love during a long period of spiritual blight. The Reformed Presbyterians, or Covenanters, formed a presbytery in 1763. They have 5 presbyteries, 32 churches and ministers. The Eastern Reformed has 9 churches, 8 ministers. United Original Seceders, 4 presbyteries, 23 ministers.

'The Presbyterian synod of Ireland, distinguished by the name Seceders,' was formed out of the Burgher and Anti-Burgher synods at Cookstown on the 9th July 1818. These congregations partially received the Regium Donum. That Secession body finally merged with the General Synod in 1840 into 'The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland,' forming in all 33 presbyteries, and 431 congregations. In that union no sacrifices were necessary on either side, both parties holding the same essential principles, and both being partially endowed by the State bounty. In the United Church, one of the most beneficial practices is still carried out, by which the people are stimulated to the maintenance of their principles. On every occasion of the ordination of a minister, a member of presbytery is specially appointed to expound and defend the principles of Presbyterian polity. This is an example that might be followed with most wholesome effect by every branch of the Presbyterian Church. The 'Plea of Presbytery' has also done great service.

There are 10 ministers and churches, 38 elders, and 1161 communicants in connection with the Scottish United Presbyterian Church.

By the recent disestablishment scheme, the Irish Presbyterian Church lost her Regium Donum on the 1st January 1871.

'The Presbyterian Church calmly "accepted the situation." Considerable regret was felt that disendowment left the Episcopal Church so much to set up house with in comparison with the Presbyterian. This difference, however, was unavoidable, owing to the different comparative values of the vested interests. On an average, the former Church got from �250 to �300 for each minister, the latter from �36 to �39. In the endowment period the Episcopal Church had sixteen times the income of the Presbyterian; in the compensation period it will have only ten times as much. As finally altered, the bill provides that if three-fourths of the clergy of a diocese, of the General Assembly, or other Presbyterian body, consent to commute their life-interests, 12 per cent additional will be given to each diocese, assembly, or body. In other words, to encourage commutation, Government will give �112 where there is only value for �100. The amount of each minister's annuity will be calculated separately, and the total will be handed over to the commissioners appointed to carry out the Act, 12 per cent being added to it.'

Only a few ministers refused to commute, and the result is such that they may be expected to fall in. With great energy a sustentation fund was organised. In 1870 it produced �1885, 6s. 2d. In 1871 it yielded �22,011, 14s. 71/2d. This added to the commutation money has secured �10 more to each minister than was realised by the regium donum. The commutation scheme now secures a small permanent national endowment to every congregation.

The theological college was opened in Belfast in 1853, by Dr. D'Aubign� of Geneva. The Magee College in Derry enjoys an endowment to the extent of �250 annually to each professor, arising from a legacy of �20,000 left by a lady in Dublin.

The General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church meets annually in June. It is composed of all Ministers, Professors ordained Assistants, Missionaries, and Chaplains, with one elder from each congregation. To it Presbyteries furnish a report of their proceedings during the year, which are printed in the Blue-book. Its five Synods of Dublin, Armagh and Monaghan, Ballymena and Coleraine, Belfast, with Derry and Omagh, have 36 Presbyteries and 587 Congregations. Notwithstanding a few imperfect returns, the Statistics, ample as to almost every particular, show that in 1887 there were 78,937 families — 82 over the previous year, 102,075 members, 2,124 elders, 7,454 deacons, 756 Day and 1,107 Sabbath Schools. General progress was manifested in all departments. As to finances there were 42,332 who contributed �21,704, 17s. 11d. for Sustentation Fund. The Ministerial income from all sources was �89,993, 11s., with 404 Manses. The total Congregational Contributions, including Missions and Charities, amounted to �159,550, while there was �2,373 of Endowments. This Congregational income was �2,721 more than the previous year, and �10,335 more than in the year 1883; but 268 Congregations have debt amounting to �81,250. The Report states that 'Doubtless much of this is borrowed from the Board of Works under the provisions of the Glebes Loan Act, and is being paid off in annual instalments. Yet it cannot fail to prove a hindrance to the development of Congregational activity and spiritual life.'

The Address of the General Assembly of 1887 congratulating Queen Victoria on the completion of the fiftieth year of her reign, inscribed on an illuminated album, and enclosed in a casket of Irish bog oak, was presented to Her Majesty in person at Windsor Castle by the Rev. Drs. Orr and Wilson, Moderator and Clerk. It stated that 'the half century during which your Majesty has reigned over this great and growing Empire has been the brightest period in its history. At the time of your Majesty's Coronation the inhabitants of these British Isles formed one United Kingdom, and we earnestly hope that no change will be made tending to weaken the Union then subsisting, or to endanger the integrity of the Empire. Unjustifiable as such a change would have been at any previous period, it would be still more culpable during a reign that has done more to secure the freedom and establish the civil and religious rights of all sections of the community on a constitutional and permanent basis than was accomplished during many preceding centuries.'

The reply of the Assembly to the letter of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of England expresses encouragement 'by the assurance it brougnt of sincere good-will and support in time of trial. You say truly that never in its history did one Church stand more in need of the sympathy of the great Presbyterian brotherhood, and of the hearty support of all true friends of civil and religious freedom. That need still remains, for though the dark clouds have to some extent passed away, yet our position is still one of danger and uncertainty. We know not how soon the perils by which our independence, our civil and religious freedom, and perhaps our very existence as a Church were menaced, may return in an aggravated form. Our political prospect is still far from being reassuring. Elements of disorder are still at work. In all the provinces there are combinations dangerous to the integrity of the Empire, and to the peace and prosperity of the United Kingdom.

'We are assured that the work given us to do in this land has not yet been completed, indeed that it has only been begun, and that by the political changes and perils through which we are now passing, God is fitting us more and more for becoming a blessing to the land in which he has planted us.'

'Our missions, fourteen in India and China, and four to the Jews, are healthy and prosperous. Our Home Mission is carried on with hopeful energy. Weak congregations and Mission stations in the south and west of Ireland are centres of light and life. A large and well-trained staff of colporteurs is circulating the Scriptures and religious books, and they are well received by people of every creed. Our colleges in Belfast and Derry are numerously attended, and are efficient in imparting a sound literary, scientific, and theological education, while the religious interests of the outlying masses in our large towns are carefully attended to.'

THE IRISH MISSION.

In Connaught there are 18 ordained ministers, and 39 schools, with 46 teachers and 1,500 scholars, requiring �1,500 a year. The Orphanage and Home, under the care of the Rev. T. Armstrong, at Ballina, County Mayo, and an excellent matron, has trained 400 servant girls in Christian principles. It numbers at present 60, of whom one half are boys. Fifty colporteurs, supported by the Bible and Colportage Society, labour harmoniously with the Twenty of the General Assembly. These paid 34,000 visits during the year. They have an abundant entrance amongst the Irish-speaking population; and their all-important and so far successful work, if increasingly maintained, would yield, as Dr. Magee of Dublin shows, good grounds for the expectation that the day of Ireland's deliverance draweth nigh.

Prayer Unions on behalf of Ireland have very much encouraged Christian labourers in Connaught and other parts of the mission field. It is in this direction that the true hope of Ireland lies. It is above all the unresting prayers of the 'Lord's remembrancers,' which are destined to bring abiding liberty and peace to the distracted people.

BOND FOR UNITY.

The feeling that a solemn bond for prayerful action faithfully acted out will secure help from on high at once in raising up, guiding, and blessing needed instruments, and in overturning and overruling, begins to impress itself on many hearts concerned for the well-being of the people and of the United Kingdom as such.

Thus, from Dublin this prayer arises:-

'"God save Ireland!" loud and high, rose the people's party cry.
In my heart I answered them, with an earnest deep Amen!
May He save who only can, vain is all our trust in man
"God save Ireland!" let us pray, leaving unto Him the way,
Though it were through judgments dire: saved indeed "yet as by fire."
From the evils of the past, may God save our land at last.'

Thus, from London this Call goes forth to pray earnestly:-

'That all who own Jesus Christ as their Lord may be witnesses unto Him by living in unity and godly love; and, That the rulers of our country may be guided by the Lord, and that the nation at large may reverence the living God and His law in its national life at home and abroad.'

Thus, from Edinburgh:-

'That in the present critical condition of affairs, every Christian is called upon strenuously to maintain and extend the true religion of Jesus Christ. That in order to this it is essential that the Constitution and integrity of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland be preserved. And further, that all who desire this end should daily unite in earnest supplication to Almighty God, that He would be pleased to overrule all that is taking place, so that His own Sovereign purposes may be accomplished in securing to the entire population, especially in Ireland, the unspeakable blessings of peace and good-will.'

These desires are being embodied, in order to united action, in this

NATIONAL PROTESTANT BOND.

In consideration of the present serious aspect of affairs, I do cordially approve of this National Protestant Bond for 1888, and do hereby engage -

FIRST — That I shall maintain, to the utmost of my power, the pure Gospel and the Reformed Protestant Religion, and this in opposition to all Rationalistic and Popish innovations; and,

SECOND — That in like manner I shall use every possible and lawful means to preserve the Protestant Constitution and Succession, together with the unity of the United Kingdom.

THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF IRELAND,

which claimed 683,295 out of a population of 5,402,759, was disestablished in 1871, as not being the Church of the majority, by the votes of the British Parliament. By that Act rights were so respected that a partial and permanent endowment was secured. Seven and a half millions sterling, besides churches and schools, were retained.

It has 1 General and 23 Diocesan Synods, 2 Archbishops and 11 Bishops, who receive �3,000 each per annum. There are 1,850 clergy, 1,550 churches, and 636,000 members; but a number of churches have ceased to exist in the south and west owing to the Disestablishment Act. Notwithstanding, the voluntary contributions in 1885 amounted to �137,167, and it had �130,000 of endowment, the church obtaining as commutations, annuities amounting to �590,000, in addition to �500,000 in lieu of private endowments.

The residue of property retained by the Commissioners was in 1880 valued at �12,000,000, producing a revenue of �574,000.

THE RE-CONSTRUCTION,

or re-constitution of the Church, was effected, and has been wrought with good results, the Convention giving place to Synods. Every churchman has a vote in the congregation; while those who worship who have property and residence, have equivalent votes.

Representation is also introduced — the minister choosing one church warden and the people another to form a vestry; and twelve men, who with the vestry are a committee for secular affairs. The diocesan synod embraces ministers, and two laymen from each parish for each minister. The same proportion is had in the general synod. This synod modifies patronage and election, and exercises supervision over the lower assemblies, and holds supreme legislative power, with a few exceptions. Local matters dealt with by diocesan synods, and boundaries of unwilling dioceses are not to be middled with. The Prayer Book is not to be changed without time and large majorities. Voting is according to orders, and the bishops have a veto. 'The bishop of a diocese cannot finally nullify a bill, but he can send it up for the opinion of the general synod. Nor in the general synod can a mere majority of the bishops effect anything, since if a bill they reject be re-affirmed by two-thirds of the other orders, it will become law unless two-thirds of the bishops are on the spot, and still prepared to record their hostile votes. This is that episcopal veto.'

This reconstitution at first sight appears somewhat cumbrous. Time, however, will test its working power. The most objectionable feature evidently is the bishops' veto. However desirable any reform may be, they may reject the bill, and even if re-affirmed by two thirds of the other orders, all that is necessary to secure its rejection is the presence of two-thirds of the bishops who are opposed. Still, so long as Prelacy is retained, it is difficult to see how any better plan could be devised. If it is found that 'the bishops' veto' constantly stops the course of improvements desired, that will soon lead the people to desire a system that is at once scriptural, liberal, and conservative.

Meanwhile, instead of indulging in useless denunciations, either as to this veto, or as to the adoption of any particular name — this being a free country — the great advances made by that Church in the pathway of reform ought to be rejoiced over by all Christians. What would the Puritans of England have given for such a measure of liberty? Ay! the early Presbyterians of Ulster would not have despised the boon so long as they had some Episcopal connection The two facts — (1.) that the people are represented, and that (2.) in representative assemblies, give much cause for hopeful rejoicing.

PROTESTANTS IN IRELAND.

Episcopalian,

636,000

Presbyterian,

486,000

Methodist,

48,839

Independent,

6,210

Baptist,

4,874

Friends,

3,645

Total

1,185,568

This estimate of 1,185,578 was made in 1881. It must now be far short of the actual number.

THE CELTIC POPULATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

was 2,067,359 in 1881. Of these in Wales and Monmouth 950,000, or 70 per cent., speak Cymbric — a third that only. Scotland 231,594, or 6.20 per cent Gaelic — most able to speak English also. Ireland 885,765, or 1.24 speak Irish Gaelic — 1.24 per cent Irish only.

THE FLUCTUATION IN IRELAND HAS BEEN MOST MARKED.

INCREASE. — In 1801 the population was 5,395,456; in 1841, 8,175,124.

DECREASE. — In 1857 it had sunk to 6,552,385 — a decline of 20 per cent. From 1851 to 1861 it was 8.10 per cent. From 1861 to 1871 it was 6.83 per cent.

The decrease between 1871 and 1881 in the Provinces was in Leinster, 60,462, or 4.5 per cent;

Munster, 62,370, or 4.48 per cent; Ulster, 90,153, or 2.9 per cent — or a total of 4.4 per cent.

From 1881 to 1884 it was 3.5 per cent., or 1.16 per cent per annum.

EMIGRATION FROM IRELAND

increased from 37,587 in 1876 to 95,517 in 1880, and 89,566 in 1882 to 108,724 in 1883. It decreased thereafter to 75,863 in 1884, and to 62,064 in 1885.

BENEFICIAL LEGISLATION AND EDUCATION.

Irish Christians contend — although doubtless England did mis-govern Ireland in the past that since the Union she has conferred upon the sister Island the full treasure of Catholic Emancipation, while every vestige of the Penal Laws has long since disappeared. The Franchise has been extended until every householder has the right to vote. The College of Maynooth received an enormous annual grant from the State for the education and supply of Romish priests for every parish in Ireland, until it was commuted in 1869 by a liberal lump sum in compensation. It was alleged that as long as the Protestant Church received the endowments and the status of an Establishment, Roman Catholics suffered wrong and injustice, or at least were liable to a sentiment of jealousy on account of the lighter burdens of Protestants. The Irish Church was promptly disestablished and disendowed. Thirty-three millions of money have been advanced out of the Imperial Exchequer for public works in Ireland, of which over seven millions have been forgiven. In every respect the Irish tenant is in a position which is more favourable than that of any agricultural tenant throughout the whole of Europe — I will say in any civilised country on the face of the globe.... There are thousands and tens of thousands of tenants throughout Scotland and England who would receive as an inestimable boon those opportunities which the Irish tenant so scornfully rejects. And the savings of Irish farmers, instead of being five millions, as it was forty years ago, amounts to nearly thirty millions of money; while the revenue of Ireland, which was scarcely four and a half millions in 1852, has risen to little short of eight millions in 1885.

By the National system of Education every child can receive at the expense of the State as good an education as in any other part of the kingdom.

The effect of this legislation is that while in 1837 there were in Ireland 1,384 National Schools, with 169,548 pupils, and receiving �50,000 in grants, in 1885 the schools had risen in number to 7,936, the pupils to 1,075,604, and the grants to �814,003. The curse of British Rule is shown by the decline in the numbers of illiterate persons, from 53 per cent of the population in 1841 to 25 per cent in 1881. It were easy to point to the provisions for intermediate and higher education, the Queen's Colleges, and the Royal University, and the admission of Catholics to all the prizes of Trinity College, Dublin, on equal terms with Protestants. Then the great fundamental, all dominating question of the spiritual emancipation of three and a half millions of souls at present held fast in ignorance of God's glad tidings should not be all but wholly passed over as though unworthy of consideration. Christians in Ireland are unanimous. 'We want justice for all, and we want freedom for body and soul for the masses. Therefore we pray, and believe that our prayers will be heard' (see Our Christianity Defended — J. Bellows, Gloucester). Notwithstanding all that has been done, what a contrast is presented by comparing the Parliamentary statement in 1885 of the -

ILLITERATES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

Portion.

Illiterates.

Voters.

Percentage of
Illiterates.

England & Wales

80,430

3,734,693

2.10

Scotland

7,708

447,588

1.63

Ireland

98,404

450,906

21.82

Total

186,542

4,633,187

4.02

'This fact, that 21.82 per cent voted as illiterate in Ireland, whilst only 1.63 in Scotland, and 2.10 in England, claimed to be so, ought to rouse every British patriot, whether Celt or Saxon, to inquire into the cause or causes.' — (The Crisis in Scotland, 1887).

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN IRELAND

has 4 archbishops — Armagh, Cashel, Dublin, Tuam; 23 bishops, 3,960,891 population returned by census of 1881.

A successor to a vacant bishopric is nominated and petitioned for by the clergy of a diocese; and the bishops also put certain names before the Pope — the appointment being made by the cardinals. The emoluments of a bishop are drawn from licenses for marriages, and an annual sum varying from �2 to �10 from each parish priest. The income of the clergy generally is obtained from Christmas, Easter, and other dues.

Roman Catholics in Great Britain are estimated at 2,000,000. In England and Wales, one archbishop and 14 bishops, united in the so-called 'Province of Westminster,' 1,280 chapels and stations, 2,273 clergy in 1886, an increase of 653 in 1871.

In Scotland, 2 archbishops, 4 bishops, and 326 priests.

THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM IN 1881.

England

24,613,926

Wales

1,360,513

Isle of Man, &c.

141,791

Soldiers and sailors abroad

242,844

Scotland

3,735,573

Ireland

5,174,836

Total, United Kingdom

35,269,483

RELIGIOUS POPULATION. — UNITED KINGDOM.


England

Scotland

Ireland

Episcopal

18,798,000

99,000

636,000

Roman Catholic

1,066,000

318,000

3,952,000

Presbyterian

114,000

2,997,000

486,000

Methodist, &c.

5,990,000

281,000

48,000

Total

25,968,000

3,695,000

5,122,000

The ratio of Church attendance to the population shows 37 per cent Church of England, 8 per cent Roman Catholic, and 55 per cent of the various Protestant Churches.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.

BRANCHES.

Synods.

Presby-
teries.

Churches.

Minis-
ters.

Elders.

Deacons,
&c.

Communi-
cants.

ENGLAND—








English Presbyterian

1

10

286

267

1,737

2,951

61,781

English National Scotch Church

1

14

20

17

28

2,100

Welsh Calvinistic

2

24

1,098

522

3,739

106,742

In England and Wales

4

38

1,404

806

5,501

2,951

170,623

SCOTLAND—








Established Church of Scotland

16

84

1,414

1,480

8,062

571,079

Free Church of Scotland

16

73

1,018

1,131

6,500

6,500

331,055

United Presbyterian Church

1

32

594

610

4,977

4,157

182,063

Reformed Presbyterian (O.S.)

1

2

13

7

75

1,200

Original Session

1

4

27

22

3,000

In Scotland

35

195

3,066

3,250

19,614

10,657

1,088,347

IRELAND—








General Assembly

5

36

587

620

2,124

7,454

102,075

Reformed Presbyterian

1

4

36

26

188

200

4,734

Eastern Reformed Presbyterian

1

1

8

8

Secession Church of Ireland

2

11

9

50

1,750

In Ireland

7

43

642

663

2,362

7,654

108,559

In Great Britain and Ireland

46

276

5,112

4,719

27,477

21,262

1,367,529

The Established Church of Scotland have military chaplains stationed at Shornecliffe, Chatham, London, Aldershot, Colchester Darley, Dover Castle, Western Heights, Netley, Winchester, Portsmouth, Gosport, Parkhurst, &c. The Irish Presbyterians also have chaplains at Diblin, Curragh Camp, Sheerness and Shoeburyness.