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III CONSTANCE LYNDSAY; OR THE PROGRESS OF ERROR.- CHAPs. I. & II.
VII. GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
VIII. ASPECTS OF THE EDUCATIONAL QUESTION,
JAMES NISBET & CO.
JOHN D. LOWE, 69 GEORGE STREET.
JAMES NISBET & CO.
At the very outset of our undertaking, we would fain address to the Electors of Scotland a few plain counsels on the subject of their present duty. The dissolution, or the natural death, of the existing Parliament is at hand. A general election may take place at any time; and the seven years, for which, in all human probability, the next Parliament is to be chosen—under a Queen, God bless her, in the prime of youthful health-and with a Ministry called to office as well-nigh the only Ministry that can be got together-promise to be years in which questions must be settled that are of gigantic magnitude, affecting this country's position for ages.
In these circumstances, we would entreat our friends to suffer a word of warning and exhortation, in which we know we have the concurrence of not a few of their fellow-countrymen and fellow-Christians—men of various political opinions, but united in one overwhelming sense of the perils of the present crisis, and the responsibility lying upon all who have any influence in the government of this great empire.
We freely admit that we have no right, and we disclaim any wish, to dictate. We merely give utterance to our own deep convictions and anxieties ; and we ask intelligent Electors to judge for themselves of what we say, as in the sight of God, and as largely intrusted, under God, with the destinies of their country.
We are not political partisans. In fact, one thing that makes us bold enough to open this subject, is the general and obvious breaking up of all the old party distinctions in politics. We are not the supporters of any particular class of men; we have no candidates to propose or favour. Nor are we the advocates of any particular constitutional question; we have no specific measures to suggest or to recommend.
But it has been deeply impressed upon our thoughts, that the British House of Commons does not represent the religious mind of the community. It may be a sufficient index and executor of the national will in many, or in all other respects; but that there is more real Christianity in the land than the proportional amount of Christianity in Parliament would imply, no one can doubt.
The reason of this is to be found, partly in the divisions of Christians among themselves, and their want of confidence in one another; and partly, also, in the nature of the business which members of Parliament have been chosen to transact. That business has generally been of a merely secular character, so as to make elections turn chiefly on political and party considerations. Or, if religious interests have been at stake, they have been presented to the electors in the worst possible shape for bringing out the religious element; mixed up, as they have generally been, with less spiritual or more worldly controversies.
The time, however, is come when it is plain that religion must be involved