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I am exceedingly unwilling, at this late hour, to detain you : still I cannot give a silent vote. In a case, where the character or the office of a minister is at stake-where the peace and edification of a whole parish are concerned—where the religious feelings of a large district are interested, and in which the doctrine and discipline of our national Church are involved, it is surely right for all of us to be cautious in coming to a conclusion, and be ready to give to all who may ask it, a reason for the conclusion we have come to. The proceedings have been of unparalleled length, and I think we may say, that we displayed great patience in conducting the case; and while there might occasionally be some symptoms of impatience, yet, considering the great length of the proceedings, these symptoms are by no means to be wondered at. And now, I am sure, that all these feelings are over, and that every one of us is ready to do according to truth and justice. For myself, I have not a single wish in the matter, except the wish to give righteous judgment-to award, on the one hand, to the prosecutors such redress as the' merits of the case will warrant; and to the defender, on the other hand, that calm and charitable construction of every thing tending to exculpate, to which he is entitled. Much of what I should have felt inclined to say, has been said already; but, Sir, I happen to differ, fortunately or unfortunately, in some respects from many of my reverend fathers. Indeed, I am not sure that any one of them agree with me in what I consider a very important point in this case. This libel, after stating, in general terms, that the defender holds and has promulgated certain doctrines. These charges were found, by this Court, to be relevant charges. Now, the time and place are first stated generally, and then the statement of time and place is broken down into ten separate charges ; and, in deliberating on the relevancy of the minor proposition of the libel, the Presbytery gave no deliverance on the relevancy of any thing in the minor of the libel, previous to these ten charges - they passed on to the consideration of the separate charges, and found all of them, with one exception, relevant. Now this fact, of the Presbytery not having found the general statements of the minor relevant, has a very important bearing.
You will see, from the printed proof, that the counsel for the defender
objected, that the Presbytery had remitted nothing to proof but such portions of these ten charges as had been found relevant by them; and therefore, that nothing beyond these limits could properly be investigated or proved. On this point I gave the best judgment I could, on the spur of the moment that the libellers were entitled to lead proof on the general statement; but I added, unless there was some technical objection. Now, I am still of opinion, that if we had found these general statements relevant, we might have admitted them to proof; but not having found them relevant, I am afraid we are precluded from admitting any proof of them. I am, therefore, for giving the defender the full benefit of that objection; and, in making up my mind, I ex. cluded entirely from my view any thing that was said under that head of the proof. It is scarcely necessary for me: to go over the separate charges, because my opinion still coincides very much with that expressed by almost all the members of the Court.
Dr. Fleming then went over the various counts, and the evi. dence relative to them, dwelling at considerable length upon that referring to the sixth charge. He then proceeded :
“ Now, Sir,” Mr. Story says, after having gone over all these charges, "let Mr. C. explain his own words.” Most assuredly.What have the court been doing, while hearing Mr. C.'s witnesses in exculpation, but hearing his own explanations. If the examination was intended to take the edge off the accusation against Mr. C., it has completely failed. So far as I could underistand the drift of the defence, it was that what Mr. Campbell meant, when he said that all were pardoned, was, that by the death of Christ the barrier, that existed between God and sinners, was broken down, and they had now free access to him : and, certainly, if it could have been made out, that he had taught that all men are put merely into a pardonable state, a very important point would have been gained in behalf of Mr. C. It would have been happy for him, and for the parish of Row. But what is the effect of this exculpatory proof? The amount of it, to my mind, is, that the witnesses understood him to state, that, by the death of Christ, the sins of all men are actually forgiven forgiven, whether they believe or not and that they who are at. last condemned, are condemned for disbelieving the fact of
their having been so pardoned, and so being found in their ánrighteous state.
“ If the evidence we have heard does not prove that Mr. C. has been using the language that was condemned by the Act of As sembly, I do not see how it can be proved at all. · Then in regard to assurance, I could not see any attempt that was successful to take the edge off this charge. I think that neither the Scriptures nor the Standards maintain that assurance is essential to true faith—and it is denied by the Act of 1772, that assurance is of the essence of faith. Dr. Fleming, after a few more remarks, concluded by proposing the judgment of the Presbytery which was ultimately adopted."
I will not take up much of the time of the Presbytery with the few observations I have to make. . I must first express my surprise that the Court should be led by three Rev. Drs. into the supposition that Mr. C. debarred certain people from coming to the Lord's table. I'have read the evidence with a good deal of attention, and I do not find that any one witness swore that he debarred any person from coming to the Lord's table. · He may have warned certain descriptions of people, and I always heard clergymen so warn them, and tell that under such and such circumstances, they would be unwelcome guests at the Lord's table.
There seems to be a very general opinion in the Presbytery, that Mr. C.'s admissions, in his answers, were a sufficient proof of 'the libel. This was the opinion of the majority of the members in September, when the answers were given in; but, in December, these members seemed to have taken a new view of it, and did not then consider that the answers of Mr. C. were sufficient “to prove the libel. This was my opinion from the beginning. But the question I now ask is, if, by the admissions of Mr. C., in his answers, the libel was not proven, is it proven now by the examinations which have been gone into, while it has not been asserted that this evidence proves any thing more than what Mr. C. has himself admitted ?
A good deal of weight has been given by some of the members to Dr. Burns' evidence. I am disposed to pay no attention to
his evidence. There are circumstances, in regard to Dr. Burns, which appear to me to make him rather an improper evidence. He had written a pamphlet against Mr. C.-perhaps made money by it-he was a party man-it was Burns versus Campo bell. I might make some observations on the evidence of another Reverend gentleman, who, I think, had most improperly prejudged the question. I have learned that he, and some other clergymen, made an attempt to debar Mr. C. from preaching in the Floating Chapel, at Greenock; and, I consider this a highly improper interference, while Mr. C. was on his trial before this Court. It does not appear to me that the case has been made one bit better for the prosecution in consequence of the evidence that has been led : and when I take into consideration the highly respectable body of evidence for the defence-when I find from it what he really preached—I am perfectly satisfied that there is no proof of heresy; and I can lay my hand upon my heart and declare, as I shall answer in the day of judgment, that I consider the libel not proven.
After some conversation among the inembers, Dr. Graham expressed his willingness to alter the finding he had proposed, to meet the views of Mr. Sym and Dr. Fleming, and it was accordingly altered to the form in which it appears in the extract from the Presbytery record, given at page 165.
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