Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

impartial —they did not seem to have any leaning either one way or another. I wish I could say the same thing of the witnesses on the other side. It is no matter of calumny that all these gentlemen are my reverend brother's private friends that they entertain his opinions, and, as far as their influence extends, endeavour to propagate them. I have no doubt they see the difference, in point of efficiency, as their agent, between Mr. C., minister of the parish of Row, and Mr. C., stript of his gown, wandering up and down through the country expounding his principles. We are all, even the most impartial of us, acting every day under the influence of motives of which we are not conscious.

I will not enter more minutely upon the evidence, for reasons that I have already stated. I agree most completely with my reverend fathers, Drs. Grahame and Hamilton. The doctrine of universal atonement and pardon is just as distinctly admitted by Mr. C., at the 15th page of his answers, as it is possible for words to make it; and the other doctrine, that assurance is of the essence of faith and necessary to salvation, is evidently written, as with a sunbeam, in almost every page, both of his answers and the depositions.

Mr. Proudfoot expressed his regret that the opinion which he found himself compelled to entertain, regarding this case, was any thing but the opinion he could, from the bottom of his heart have wished to entertain. He said that the evidence appeared to him so full, distinct, and conclusive, that he felt he had only one duty to discharge as a minister of the Church of Scotland, and a believer in the revealed word of God, and that was to declare, after going fully into the libel and the evidence, that the doctrines charged in the libel were fully proven ; and that, with regard to the different counts, he need only. say, that he fully agreed with the opinions already expressed by his reverend fathers. He concluded by saying, that while he would willingly turn round and embrace his brother, did he see him what he had hoped to see him,-a labourer in the same vineyard, entertaining the same views, and animated with the same hopes, as himself,— that no tie, however strong, would deter him from declaring fearlessly that the charges, in every iota, were fully and distinctly proven.

Mr. Story

It will be in the recollection of my reverend fathers and brethren, that when Mr. C.'s answers were laid upon the table, I then gave it as my opinion that any farther investigation of his peculiar opinions was totally unnecessary. I was, I believe, solitary in my opinion. I was sure, from what. I knew of Mr. C.'s opinions, and from what I saw in his answers, that he had given a very open and ingenuous exposition of his theological principles. It was thought, however, necessary to engage in this most laborious investigation of so many days; and the consequence has been the accumulation of an immense mass of evidenee; and, after all, it appears that nothing is contained in these statements but what was contained in his answers, At least this is the opinion of my fathers and brethren who have spoken before me. I certainly am sorry to think that it is necessary for me to allude to some observations made by those who have preceded me, before I examine the evidence which bears on the different counts. I attended most carefully from the beginning to the close of every sederunt of this reverend Presbytery; and my conclusion from the evidence was very different from that of the reverend brother who spoke last. I never did see, upon the whole, so many individuals apparently most conscientiously delivering their evidence on a difficult matter. I mean to apply this, generally, to the witnesses for the prosecution and the defence. It has been confessed by Dr. Hamilton that the doctrines were not understood but by the followers of Mr. C., therefore, those individuals who were giving their testimony could not be supposed always, and at once, to understand what was meant by the questions that were put. This may account for the delay of some of the witnesses in giving their answers; while there is nothing that can, in the least, impeach their conscientiousness and veracity. But without making any other observations, in reference to what has passed, I feel that, as a judge in this Court, I cannot but come to a different conclusion from those who have preceded me.

Mr. Story then went over the different counts in the libel, and, at considerable length, examined the evidence adduced in proof of them.

He remarked, with regard to the second and fourth counts,

that he was still of the same opinion that he formerly expressed, viz. that they ought not to have been sent to proof, seeing that they referred to a sermon which the members of Presbytery had themselves heard, so that they could themselves easily ascertain the truth or falsehood of what was charged in them; and that it was a mockery of judicial inquiry to ask at witnesses about what they had heard with their own ears.

He contended that the 4th, 6th, 8th, and 9th counts were not proven, and that while the 1st, 2d, and 10th were proven in words, or in substance, that they did not include the doctrines charged in the major proposition of the libel.

He stated that Mr. C. had, in his answers, explained that what he meant by pardon was access to God that the death of Christ had removed the barrier which previously existed between God and the sinner. And the whole evidence had proved that this was his meaning, and that he had always explained that this was his meaning. And this could never be supposed to be the doctrine charged in the major proposition of the libel. Mr. Story then observed, “And we find that it does not require learning or intellectual accomplishments, or individuals of cultivated minds, to understand the meaning of Mr. C.'s teaching. You find the most intelligent witnesses even among the lower orders of those whom he has called. I allude to Douglas's deposition, which gives a very clear and satisfactory explanation of what Mr. C. meant when he used the word pardon; and which could leaye no doubt whatever on the minds of his people what he meant when he used the word, You find MʻLeod, and also MʻAuslen, neither of them men of education, and comparatively in humble situations, but obviously having a clear and precise view of Mr. C.'s teaching; therefore there does not appear to me to be the least foundation for the imputation cast on Mr. C.'s doctrine, that it could not be understood—there does not appear, to my mind, the slightest appearance of misconception as to his terms-they are well defined."

And, for the reasons he assigned, he declared, he must dissent from the finding proposed by Dr. Graham.

Mr.Jaffray, and Mr. Carr, both stated, that at that late hour they would merely state that, though with great reluctance, they could not hesitate to agree with the finding proposed by Dr. Graham.

Mr. Sym. I had been better pleased to give a silent vote, were it not that although I agree almost entirely with the finding of Dr. Grabam, yet the grounds on which I arrive at this conclusion are, in some respects, different from his. You will remember, Sir, that, in the beginning of our proceedings, an objection was stated as to leading proof on the general statement of the minor proposition. The more I have considered that objection, the more am I satisfied that it is well founded ; and I fear that, if any part of your finding is to proceed on proof so led, that your proceedings must be overturned altogether. It were desirable, therefore, that we should avoid, in our finding, taking any notice of any proof except that bearing upon the nine specific charges. Confining myself, then, to the specific charges, I come to the same result aś Dr. Graham; though he has admitted some evidence that I conceive is not admissable: I shall not detain you by going over it. Then coming to the third and fifth charges ; there is here the objection, in the first place, of the error in date, which I am afraid is a vital objection. There is also the objection arising from the evidence of Dr. Burns not being corroborated by any other evidence. The eighth charge is in the same circumstances. I am disposed, however, to give not a little weight to the argument given by Dr. Hamilton, that, if you have similar testimony relevantly brought as to the other charges, these may go to corroborate this. Upon the whole, I would agree with Dr. Graham in finding the charges proven.

Mr. Lochore. Moderator,-I cannot conceive a more painfully interesting situation in which ministers can be placed, than when grave and serious charges are submitted to their consideration affecting the doctrine and the character of a brother minister. Such is the situation in which we now stand in reference to Mr. Campbell. Not one of us, I am confident, courted this investigation, but would have been most happy to have prevented it, had that been possible; or to have avoided it had that been advisable: the case, however, having come before us, I am fain to believe, that Mr. C. will admit, that we, as judges, have given to the details of the evidence a patient hearing, and I trust that human passion and prejudice did not at all warp the mind of any one of us, and that we came to the decision on the merits of this question with: unbiased mind. For myself, I must say, that the opinion I have come to, from reading and comparing the evidence, has not been formed rashly, while I rise up here, in my place, and state, that I consider the libel against Mr. C. proven. The question before us is, not what are Mr. C.'s views regarding the Word of God, as understood by him, but whether these views consist with the Standards of our church. Mr. C. is at liberty to maintain and propagate any opinions, on any subject--this is the age and the land of freedom-but, Mr. C. having connected himself with a society whose opinions are defined and recorded for its regulation, he ought to consider himself as bound to stand by the tenets of that church, or honestly to withdraw from that church, to the doctrines of which he had subscribed; but from some of which, I think, he has departed.' I conceive that in Mr. C.'s statements, there is much interesting truth-much that is according to life and godliness; but I do likewise say, Sir, much that is opposed to what I have always considered the truth, and to the Standards of the church to which I belong. I do not mean to enter into details as to the manner in which I have arrived at this finding of mine, as to the proving of the libel; the materials which I had collected for that purpose having been anticipated by those who have preceded me. While I

say

these things, I do so, I trust, without the least hostile feeling to Mr. C. Not a doubt have I, Sir, of Mr. C.'s sincerity in the adopting, or of his zeal in maintaining, these opinions of his; and not a doubt have I of his great anxiety to be a devoted servant of the Master he is intending to serve ; and, as little doubt have I that from this heresy God will cause truth to arise-that the truth will be more inquired after, and pure and undefiled religion will be more appreciated. And cause have we to humble ourselves, and to make it a subject of prayer, that we may not be found in any one thing resisting the will of God, or obstructing the cause of truth-if this counsel be of man it will come to nought-if it be of God we cannot overthrow it, for then shall we be found fighting against God.

« AnteriorContinuar »