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GENERAL SYNOD OF ULSTER,
1. THE Annual meeting of this body took place on Tuesday, the 28th Jude, at Omagh, in the meeting-house of the First Presbyterian Congregation. The Rev. Joba Barnett, of Moneymore, the Moderator for the past year, preached an excellent and useful discourse from Mat. xv. 13. « Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Amongst those errors that must be rooted up, he adverted, in the first place, to POPERY, which is not merely a noxious plant, but a wilderness of weeds, which the great Head of Zion would destroy, by the “ breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming.” The withering system of Unitarianism was ably exposed : Erastianism was proved to be contrary to the letter and spirit of the New Testament: and the errors of the Arminian system were unfolded with a master's hand. A more able Synodical discourse we have not heard ; and we hope, that, in accordance with the unanimous request of his brethren, Mr. Barnett may be induced to publish it. The introductory services having been concluded, the Synod proceeded to the election of a Moderator, when the Rev. Mr. Rodgers, of Kilrea, was chosen. After a good deal of routine business had been transacted, the operations of the Home Mission were brought before the Synod, on Thursday, by the Rev. Mr. Bellis, the Secretary, who read the report. It extended to such a length, that we can only give an outline of the Society's operations :
În Clonmel, there was a stated pastor, the Rev. J. Dill, of the Presbytery of Derry, who had lately been ordained; the congregation was flourishing, and they had raised the sum of £400, for the purpose of erecting a house of worship. The report from Athlone was not so favourable as could be wished, owing to the want of regular preaching; the zeal of the people had cooled, and no additional subscriptions were proeured, for building a house of worship: this station must either be abandoned, or more vigorously upheld Westport suffered from the same cause as Athlone, -the want of regular preaching. Cork: the Rev. Mr. Wallace, the excellent minister of this place, was in a delicate state of health since March, and it was determined to send a licentiate to his as. sistance. The town congregation was so numerous, that it required the undivided attention of a minister, and the outposts were too important to be abandoned. Mr. Kitchie, one of the licentiates from the Presbytery of Down, had promised his services for twelve months, and it was ex. pected that others would follow his example. In Lougford, the number of their body was increasing, and the principles of Presbyterianism were generally approved of; by collections in the town and neighbourhood, they were enabled to liquidate the debt incurred by the erection of a meeting-house, which was now finished. In Stafford, in England, Mr. Stewart, the minister, had met with a cheering measure of success; the major part of the congregations were persons who had been reclaimed from Sabbath-breaking, blaspheming, drunkenness, and other vices: and the congregation had grown the largest, most respectable, and influ. ential in the district, except that of the Established Church. £500 bad: been collected there for building a meeting-house, and it was expected that there would not be a penny to pay when the house was opened; the congregation bad contributed £20 and upwards to the Home Mission, fuod ; then other new congregations had done the same, as for instance Cork and Longford, so that the funds expended in erecting congregations were repaid to the parent Church. In this department of Missionary labours, the directors acknowledged, with gratitude, the cordial and libe. ral support they had received from the Dublin Presbytery. The second agency employed by this Society was Scripture-readers; the number of Scripture-readers or Catechists amounted to twenty,—that is, three more than they had last year; nine of these are students in course of preparation for the ministry. Their duty is to read and expound the Scriptures,-to bold prayer meetings, to instruct the young, and to circulate the Scriptures. The following is a summary of the labours of fifteen Scripture readers, in the space of three months, prior to the first of May: -Visited 6991 families ; 1250 sick persons; they had held 820 prayer meetings, and had taught regularly 1328 children; they had distributed upwards of 3000 tracts and 84 Bibles. Under the inspection of the Rev. Mr. Allen, of Stewartstown, the Irish schools connected with this Society were making rapid progress; they had 62 Irish schools in Tyrone, and 13 iu Cushendall, in which there were 2598 scholars; of those, 2500 had been examined at the last inspection, among wliom there were 1554 translators. In the space of sixteen months, they had taught 1412 persons, whose ages varied from fifteen to twenty, to read the Word of God in their native tongue. The chief opposition experienced by the Society in this department of their labour, arises from the bitter apathemas launched by certain parties against those who attend their inspections. The report detailed some conversations that occurred between the Inspectors, or Irish teachers, and their pupils, which were highly interesting, and shewed that the latter had studied the Scriptures with extraordinary assiduity. The Committee of the Home Mission Society supplied primers, and the Hibernian Bible Society had made large grants of Bibles and Testaments. If the Church went on using the instrumentality of the Irish language, Ireland might again become worthy of the title, “ Isle of saints.” The metrical version of the Psalms in Irish was now nearly completed, and would soon issue from the press ; the first impression would be to the extent of 2000 copies, and it was hoped that the warm interest felt on this subject two years ago, when it was so powerfully brought before them by Dr. M‘Leod, the Molerator of the General As. sembly, bad not diminished. Another branch of missionary enterprise was, that poor young men were prepared for the ministry, on condition that they became missionaries for five years, and that they promised to repay, if possible, the sums expended on them by the directors. The directors had found that the services of a general agent were desirable, and accordingly they had appointed Mr. George Field to that situation, in August last; he entered on his duties with zeal, and discharged them with fidelity and ability. Notwithstanding the overture of last year, it was found that funds had been collected in only 130 congregations, so that 120 congregations bad sent forward no contributions to the missions
2. G. 2
The receipts for the last year, with the balance of £400 in the Treasurer's hands, amounted to £1,429 4s. 11d.; the expenditure to £1,379 Is. 104d.---leaving in the Treasurer's hands the balance of £50 3s. 0£d. Demands to more than treble that amount were to be met in three months, and the Synod must again appeal to the different corgregations for support.
Mr. Field, the agent, then read his report. It stated that be bad
formed auxiliaries in almost all the congregations he visited since his ap. pointment; and he testified, in the strongest manner, to the usefulness and efficiency of Scripture-readers and Irish teaching,
Several ministers then addressed the Synod, in the most heart-stirring spirit : the interest was sustained for seven or eight hours; and, by all present, it was truly felt to be a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
The Synod was finally closed on Saturday, having adjourned till the second Tuesday of August next, to meet at Cookstown, at 12 o'clock, a.m., to take into consideration the question of subscription, of connexion with the Church of Scotland,--the subject of Synodical Schools, and any other business left undecided. Some of the above-mentioned subjects are so important in themselves, and involve such important interests, that a full attendance, both of ministers and elders, may naturally be expected. Surely it may well be said, that, in this country, and in these times, “ The Church of Christ expects every man to do his duty."
In looking into the society and intercourse of men, no one can fail to perceive, that death is a subject greatly disliked and generally shunned. Every one knows, that “tlie first-born of death shall devour his strength; that his confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle; and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.” “ Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return. Thàu this, there is not one threatening in the whole Word of God more firmly believed, and yet more fearfully neglected; so universally received, and yet so generally and awfully trifled with. The immortal poet has caught hold of this melancholy and dark delusion of the human mind, and has set it forth, as it plays about the fancy and fosters the fatal dream, with equal power and truth :
“ All men think all men mortal but themselves.” The young, generally, put death far away from them. To their untutored eye, his lonely dwelling place is far beyond the heedless days of youth, the sunny plains of sportive amusement, of bowers, and loves, and imagination's swells. It recedes far behind the fields of manhood's mightiest achievements, leaving alone, in sweet repose, the dwelling of the happy pair; and the activities of business, and the gains and advantages of trade, untouched; and all the smiles of fame and honourable attainments, like the blushing rose, under the drops of morning dew, unmoved by the breeze and unscorched by the sun. Far away in the misty distance is his dwelling place, among the
grey locks, and the deep wrinkles, the stooping form, the slow pace, the shortness of breathing, and the hollow moan, that live at the very limits of human life.
This is generally the delusion of the little playful mind of both sexes. It strengthens as they are strong. It lives in the bosom the more vigorous, in proportion as they are in vigorous health. It is strengthened also by the mutual intercourse of playfellows and companions; and it were well if this were all ; but, alas ! how often do the parents and tutors heighten it into a conviction, that death is very far away.
Dear little creatures, they do not know that his tent is pitched at the very entrance into life. Little do they know, that he does the one-half of all his work in the ten sliort years of youth. Little do they think, that his hand may be in the very act of being stretched out to call one and another of them hence, while the busy thought of a long and happy life is working in their bosoms.
What foolish parents ! Did not they receive them from God, just to train them how to die? Have they not yet learned, that the chief end of man's existence is
to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever ?” “ Until death part you," is inscribed over every lawful relationship that is formed. What parent would wish to stand by the bed-side of the dying child, and see every prospect which the child's mind had been led out upon becoming one bleak and barren desert, and the little one itself falling as the brighted blossom, at the rising of the sun ? Oh! what a dreadful thing to die like the rich fool! He lay down in his bed, I suppose
prayer less state, and, if he even had a form of prayer, it is evident he had no fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. His was a prayerless, graceless heart. On his bed he began to imagine what he would do. The goodness of God had swelled his crops to such an extent, that he had not room to store the plentiful fruits of his fields. He knew not, that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance.
He loved the creature more than the Creator. He clung to the gift, and forgat the giver. All absorbed in his worldly
affairs, he said, on his bed, “This will I do, I will pull down my barns, and build greater ; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods; and I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry: Bat God said unto him, Thou fool! this night' thy soul shall be required of thee: then, whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?" It was in the midst of the fond imagination of long life that God swept him into death. It
was that very night, when in his heart and soul he was wor. shipping mammon, that God calls him straight into judg. ment. He had never touched the old barns, they stand in their place, but his soul was at the bar of God, and his body a lifeless carcase. The place that knew him knows him no more, for ever.
Was he in a fit state to enter into judgment with a holy God? What would his feelings be then? What, oh what the confounding, amazing, blackening horror that sat down on his soul, when he found himself snatched from all his imagined years, and ease, and eating, and drinking, and carnal enjoyments, now standing, a disembodied spirit, before the judgmentseat of the Eternal ? Consider this, ye that forget God. “Remember thy Creator and thy Redeemer in the days of thy youth.” God himself entreats you in these tender, these melting words, “ Wilt thou not from this time
cry unto me, thou art my Father, and the guide of my youth."
But there are other persons than the young who forget to consider their latter end, and other modes of doing it too. You will see those men we call the brave, sporting with death in the field of battle. You will see those we call humane, tossing it on the point of the lancet in the experimental cell. Enter we the sick room, and there the softest, sweetest'maiden, bowing over the dying parent, may be wholly forgetful of her own death, and the all-important and necessary preparation for it, faith in Christ,—that which would make it come a messenger of heaven, to call home the child to higher and purer enjoyments, Some are putting it off by a mere acknowledgment, a hard, heartless acknowledgment of the fact,—"we must all die, there is no evading of that.” Oh! it is vexatious to meet with a person full of years, ripe in life, and yet dead to all the ends of life, to all the purposes for which he was created and preserved, -well versed in all the trickery of iniquity, accompanied with the hardness of a seared conscience, alike unable and unwilling to look forward to death. Putting it as far away as he did when young, and feeling and expressing a greater desire to live in sin and in lust than ever; tottering on the brink of the grave, and dreaming that he has a covenant made with death, and an agreement with hell! concluding that he is as safe as any man, though he has come along a line of sin, and filled up an amount of iniquity that would have sunk ten thousand worlds beneath the frown of a holy God, Oh! how beart-melting to see one who is not only a father, but a grandfather,—one who has trained his children, both by ex.