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it was Erskine who rediscovered the Gospel for Scotland,1 to be followed in his revolutionary teaching by such truly apostolic men as John MʻLeod Campbell, Alexander Scott of Manchester, who was by far the profoundest thinker in the 'goodly fellowship’of insurgents against the ‘Confession of Faith,' Bishop Ewing, and not a few still living persons.
Instead of a precarious 'offer of salvation,' Thomas Erskine proclaimed that the fatherhood of God and the kingdom of Christ are coexten sive with all humanity, that the forgiveness of sin is the reigning law, and that the Gospel does not depend for its truth upon the changeful feelings of men, that it shines like the sun in the heavens, and that it is glad tidings of great joy to all the world.
In sermons, in biographies, in philosophic treatises, in bold criticism, and in the fine poems of Walter Smith, we see tokens of the sign of the Son of Man, and that a great day of the Lord is dawning over Scotland. And that Scottish philosophy, and Scottish poetry, and Scottish piety are now flowing together as one refreshing stream, we
I Professor Maurice acknowledged, in dedicating his Kings and Prophets' to Mr. Erskine, that he rediscovered the Gospel for England also, at least for himself, the greatest English theologian of his day.
owe mainly to these two men, Thomas Carlyle and Thomas Erskine. The loudest beating of drums cannot prevent the rising of the sun. Edward Irving with his doctrine of the humanity of Christ, John MʻLeod Campbell with his testimony on behalf of universal pardon, Alexander Scott with his profound philosophic insight, were cast out of the Presbyterian synagogue. But truth survives. The Gospel of liberty and of the love of God in Christ is penetrating by sundry crannies all the three sections alike into which the Kirk is divided; and there is good ground for cherishing the hope that all Scottish children, like our own children of the English Church, will ere long be taught in their earliest years to claim as their dearest heritage the Lord's Prayer, and learn to look on God not as a supreme and arbitrary ordainer of fixed conditions of weal or woe, but as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who willeth all men to be saved-nay more, who has made all,' and 'redeemed all mankind.'
Men will then be 'good' indeed, as they will be free, when they understand that for all their lives their one great guiding star shines in the words : · Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children.'
The Christianity of Erskine, now heard in so many Scottish pulpits, would have gladdened the heart of Walter Scott, and it might have saved Robert Burns—the prodigal son of the Church,' to use Dean Stanley's pathetic yet prophetic characterisation—from some of the errors of his ways.
I look forward hopefully to the future of Scotland, but not of Scotland only; and Robert Burns
—to allude once more to the peasant thunder-god,' as the Germans call him—has prophesied of a day in the advent of which I believe with my whole heart, because Christ is in the nations the hope of glory
It's coming yet for a' that,
Shall brothers be for a' that. Yet the fulfilment of this blessed expectation will not come about, as the saying is, 'anyhow.' Brotherhood implies fatherhood ; and in words that will, I trust, become household ones throughout our country, in order that we may be saved from the ‘fraternity' which has become fratricide in other lands, the saintly M‘Leod Campbell has reminded us that to look up to heaven and see no Father there is to look round upon the earth and then find that we have lost our brother man.
· Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.'-ST. LUKE xvii. 21.
THE Quakers seem already to belong to a past age. The soberly and quaintly dressed women with their rich silks and scuttle-shaped bonnets, seem separated by centuries from their artistically or fantastically clad daughters. The sedate youths, with their deliberate speech, their habits of silence, and their faces refined by restraint, seem to have little in common with the eager, anxious, hurrying crowd which throng our streets. To step from Bishopsgate into the courtyard of Devonshire House is to enter an old world, a world whose inhabitants are ‘solid, inward and still.'
Yet it is only two hundred years since George Fox told the judge how his friends ‘feared and quaked at the word of the Lord,' and so won for the sect he was forming the nickname of Quakers.
Their history is thus a short one.
by God to men in the form of a beautiful and perfect figure. The figure was broken, and the contending sects each succeeded in getting a broken fragment. Each has a portion of the truth, but none possesses the truth. The Society of Friends, or the Quakers, has, as the other sects, its truth which has deeply marked English life. England's boast of her religious liberty, of her flag which never floats over a slave, of her wise interest in the prisoners and the poor, is more or less due to the influence of the Quakers. If now we see that theirs was not the whole truth, yet we may well stop to consider their teaching, that so we may give to their truth its proper place in that body, the Church, in which there are many members differing from one another in glory.
George Fox founded the sect, and the journal of his sermons and sufferings still contains the best expression of its principles. As he herded cattle in the fields of Leicestershire, his mind brooded on tales told by his mother of martyred kinsfolk ; as he came to the village he heard the disputes of those whose business and politics were religion ; in all the talk of his fellows he saw that the one concern was to understand God. George Fox and Oliver Cromwell were children of the times.