June 12: Presbyterianism the Friend of Liberty

Last week we posted a summary of a little tract entitled Ten Reasons for Being a Presbyterian, Appended to that work is this little essay, which caught our eye.

PRESBYTERIANISM THE FRIEND OF LIBERTY.

The Presbyterian system is essentially Republican, and secures to all, both laity and clergy, the rights and privileges which are guaranteed in the freest and purest governments on earth. These principles give to the governed a voice in the formation of their own laws and rules of administration, the choice of their own preachers and other officers, and the right to hold and distribute their own property. How absolutely these principles are opposed by Romanism, and even by some Protestant sects, we need not stay to illustrate. No Presbyterian can be oppressed, unless he agree to oppress himself. All the rights of the humblest member of the church are fully secured; no church can be required to receive an unacceptable minister, nor can any power above the church remove one from his charge while he and his people are satisfied to remain together. No power can require a church to pay its minister any sum but such as it may itself choose to promise. No individual minister or member is above the reach of the discipline and government of the church, as exercised by its constituted judicatories. It is thus at once a scriptural, free, and republican body, in which all its parts are duly arranged, all its duties enforced, and all rights secured.

Hence Presbyterians have ever been, and must be, if they act out their principles, the earnest and zealous advocates of a learned, wise, and pious ministry, and of the general diffusion of education and knowledge among all classes of the people. They can never tolerate for a moment, the Roman Catholic dogma, that, “ignorance is the mother of devotion.” Here our position needs no proof. Wherever the banner of our religion is unfolded, there beneath its shade are found the school-house and means of instruction. Light, intellectual and religious, is the great instrumentality through which, under God, we hope for the renovation and salvation of the world.—Presbyterian Advocate.

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