The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20
No. V.—The Irish Presbyterian Church
No. V.—The Irish Presbyterian Church.
This Church is nearly as large as the United Presbyterian. A deputation from it appeared at the Convocation, to cheer the hearts of our ministers in their time of difficulty; and at the Disruption itself, they, in the face of the Government, cordially made common cause with the Free Church. This brotherly intercourse has ever since been maintained; but it is a very natural and important question, Can it be maintained after the contemplated Union, or is the Union to consist only in breaking up one alliance for the purpose of forming another? This question was discussed page 39 in the Union Committee, and it was very evident that the strongest opposition would be made in the event of the Union, both by the United and Reformed Presbyterian sections to the continuance of the existing intercourse. After assuming various forms, the final answer of the United Presbyterian Committee on the subject, as given in to last Assembly, was as follows:—"That, as the views held and universally acted upon in the United Presbyterian Church are opposed to Civil Establishments of Religion, and as the endowment of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland forms part of a system of indiscriminate endowment of truth and error, we are very much opposed to any such intercourse with the Irish Presbyterian Church as would commit or seem to commit us to an approval of the course adopted by said Church in this matter; but, at the same time, we would leave it to the United Church to decide what ought to be done in this case, reserving for members of the the United Church liberty to testify against what they regard as objectionable." The meaning of this is sufficiently obvious; but the discussions in the last United Presbyterian Synod made it still more clear. In reference to the appointment of a deputation to the Irish Presbyterian Church, it was asked, "Would the Moderator, or Dr Cairns himself, consent to act upon the deputation? "Dr Cairns is reported to have said in reply, "It was distinctly understood in the whole of the discussion, that it would be a perfectly open question in the Free Church to appoint or not to appoint that deputation; but that if it were carried by a majority, I, for one, would take leave to enter my decided protest."