The story of Presbyterians in Ulster is a story rich with the grace and the power of God. The founding fathers of Ulster's Presbyterianism were men of principle, men of power, and men of prayer. They were well educated. They came of good and great lineage. They were eloquent preachers of the Gospel, but above all they were totally committed to the Bible as the Infallible Word of God.
A little extract from my book on the Fifty-Nine Revival sums up who they were: "Blair, the minister of Bangor, was six years a Professor in the College of Glasgow before coming to Ireland. He arrived from Port Patrick at Larne. He walked to Bangor. He stated that on the way he got over a hedge and at the back of a dyke spent time communing with God." (You don't get many Presbyterian ministers today climbing the dyke-side and getting down at the back of a dyke to seek God). "What sweet communion I had with my Lord, and I knew that there would be days of refreshing in Bangor when I arrived to take up my ministry."
Josiah Welch was the grandson of John Knox, and the great-grandson of Lord Ochiltree. Welch's bones rest in the soil of Ulster. When you go into Templepatrick turn off to the right, to the graveyard, and there you will find the last resting place of Welch of Templepatrick. He was called the 'Cock of the Conscience' so strongly did he preach the Gospel of Christ.
Livingstone was that pious young man who at the Kirk of Shotts on a Communion Monday, 21st June 1630, preached the sermon on Ezekiel chapter 36, verses 25and 26, which resulted in the conversion on the spot of 500 souls. And when he was in Ulster he was minister at Killinchy. He travelled to help his colleague Cunningham in Holywood, and on a similar day of the Sacrament there, 200 souls in one meeting were converted to Christ. He says in his little book called 'The Characteristics of the Life of Livingstone', "Those were the two best sermons he ever preached and he felt that he was really preaching on those occasions." Well, I think I would settle for less results and still feel I was preaching fairly well. Think of it, seven hundred souls in two services. And when our forefathers talked about souls they didn't talk about decision-card converts, they talked about those that shewed, to use an expression of old John Owen, 'The evidences of the faith of God's elect, and if you haven't read that book by John Owen it is no wonder nobody knows you, for you will never be known until you read that book by John Owen, 'The Evidences of the Faith of God's Elect'. He was one of the most able linguists in his day, afterwards exiled to Holland and died in exile for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Bruce was of the highest descent. His lineal ancestor John de Bruce was uncle to the famous King Robert the Bruce. Ridge, a native of England, was the friend of Lord Chichester, and was described by a contemporary as a judicious and gracious minister.
Cunningham had been chaplain to the Earl of Beaul's regiment in Holland. His likeness to his master was so remarkable that a contemporary said of him, "He was so far reverenced by all, even by the wicked, that that Scripture greatly troubled him 'Woe to you when all men speak well of you'." (That will never trouble me, that Scripture, because I don't have any trouble with that at all).
Hamilton was a man of learning, nephew of Lord Clandeboye. Upon the ministry of such men the blessing of God could have been expected to descend "as dew upon the mown grass", and so it did, and there was the great Sixmilecross Revival which laid the foundation of Presbyterianism in Ulster.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century the leavening and poisoning of Arianism or Unitarianism started to take effect upon the Synod of Ulster, as Presbyterianism was organised into that Synod in our land.
In 1726 a partial separation took place. The Arians or Unitarians were put into one separate Presbytery known as the Presbytery of Antrim. It was not a complete separation, because their ministers still fellowshipped with their fellow ministers in the Synod of Ulster, occupying the pulpits and also helping them in the days of the Sacramental Sabbaths. But God raised up a great man of God, the greatest son that Ulster Presbyterianism has ever had, Dr. Henry Cooke. Cooke's testimony was ringing and true to the Scriptures. This is what he said:
"If you can convince me from Scripture that Trinitarians, Arians and Socinians can form a Scriptural Church, and cordially united in licensing and ordaining one another, I shall resign my present views and unite with you in preserving the present Constitution."
My friend, Unitarians and Trinitarians, Fundamentalists and Liberals cannot unit to form a Scriptural Church, and it is only in separation that the true Scriptural Church of Christ can be formed and can be maintained.
In 1829 at the Annual Meeting of the Synod of Ulster, Henry Cooke righted, in debate, Henry Montgomery the great Unitarian leader, called the Lion of Dunmurry, and Non-Subscribers left the Church and formed the Non-Subscribing Synod of Ulster, which eventually united with the Presbytery of Antrim to form the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Ireland which is Unitarian in doctrine, and which hates and detests the precious Blood of Divine redemption.
1840 was a great landmark in Presbyterian history. The seceders from Scotland - the Erskinites - had come to Ulster. They planted Churches right across this Province, and many flocked to the warm evangelical preaching of the secession leaders. That is why in small villages in Ulster today you will find two or three Presbyterian Meeting Houses. One of them was built by the secession leaders. But in 1840 the Synod of Ulster and the Secession Synod united to form the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and at that meeting they were visited by a godly young man, Robert Murray McCheyne, and Robert Murray McCheyne brought the greetings of the mother Church of Scotland to the first General Assembly of the Irish Presbyterian Church.
God always honours those who honour His Word. And the separation of 1829 and the union of 1840 paved the way for that gracious and wonderful movement known in Ulster's history as The '59 Revival, and upon the Presbyterian Church more than any other Church was poured rich effusions of Divine grace, and in one year one hundred thousand souls were swept into the Kingdom of God. Other Churches of course benefited, but the Church to benefit most was the Church that had gone through this separation experience and was prepared to receive the outpouring of the Spirit of God. But, alas, where God works the Devil is sure to work in mighty opposition.
Let me go back a little in history, and this year is a very appropriate year because it marks the 500th Anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther. Protestantism is the religion of the Book. Romanism is the religion of the Pope. That is why the proper name for a Roman Catholic is a Papist. You don't insult a Roman Catholic when you call them a Papist, you call them by their right name, because Romanism is Papistry as our forefathers called it. Where is the authority in the Roman Catholic Church? It is in the Pope. Where is the authority in the true Church of Christ? It is in the word of God. And the battle today is the same battle of Luther's day, it is a battle for authority. Where is our authority? Our authority is in the Word of God. Of course, modern evangelicalism says, 'our authority is not the Bible', they talk pious, they say 'our authority is Jesus'. Let me tell you, you can know nothing about Jesus and what is found in this Book. The Jesus of the modernist, the Jesus of Billy Graham evangelism, the Jesus of the Charismatic heresy, is a Jesus of their own imagination. It is not the Lord Jesus Christ of this Book. The Word of God Inspired and the word of God Incarnate cannot be separated, they stand or fall together.
What did Rome do? Rome saw that the Book was the might of Protestantism, so Rome started what is known as the counter-Reformation, and the counter-Reformation was an onslaught by Rome with physical violence on the adherents to the Word of God. She burned them; she blasted them; she tortured them; she imprisoned them. The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church. The more they were hammered and beaten and lacerated; the more they were boiled in oil and roasted in cauldrons; the more they were buried in deep holes; the more they were thrown over the cliff face; the more their fingers were torn from their hands and their limbs from their bodies; the more the Protestant people held on to the Book. Then Rome changed her tactics and decided that the best way to destroy Protestantism was not by a frontal attack but to destroy Protestant belief in the Bible, and so in Germany where the Reformation started, Rome planted in the Universities teachers to undermine the Bible. The Jesuits started to sow the seeds of what is known in theology as German rationalism, and the German rationalists poisoned the Universities and that poisonous stream flowed down to the training colleges of the Churches, until eventually the Churches were corrupted at their fountain head.
A preacher may destroy his thousands if he preaches false doctrine, but the Principal of a College can destroy tens of thousands if he preaches false doctrine, for he sends out emissaries of Hell to preach another gospel which deludes and darkens men, and eventually leads them to damnation in the outer darkness of Hell for evermore.
There was one minister who saw what was happening, the late Rev. James Hunter, Master of Arts, Minister of Knock Presbyterian Church. He was the minister of the most posh congregation in Belfast, but he was a sound evangelical and totally dedicated to the cause of the Gospel. I was speaking to one of his congregation some time ago, and he told me one morning Rev. Hunter preached to that posh congregation on Jezebel. Now, he was a very dignified looking gentleman and he looked over his glasses and said, "Do you know who Jezebel is? She would be a most suitable person to be President of Knock Presbyterian Missionary Society. She would be most capable of being a leader in this respectable congregation. I can discern her powder, I can see her paint." Some preaching! We haven't many preachers like that around, and certainly not in posh congregations today. James Hunter blew the trumpet, he saw the modernistic rationalism poisoning not only the Church but the students of the Church, and he was determined to do something about it. So there was formed the Presbyterian Bible Standards League. Many prominent ministers and elders of the Church took part in the work of this League. It was a League of like-minded brethren, dedicated totally to defend the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and to battle against heresy and heterodoxy in the Church of Irish Presbyterianism. The Rev. John Ross of Ravenhill Presbyterian Church was a prominent member, as were also the Rev. Dr. Sam Hanna of Berry Street Presbyterian Church, the Rev. James Edgar of Castlecaulfield, the Rev. Sammy Simms of Bethany Presbyterian Church and the Rev. James Hunter himself.
As a result of the work of the Bible Standards League Mr. Hunter issued three S.O.S.'s to Irish Presbyterians. They were four pages of quarto sheets, and they had in large letters across them, "FAITH OR INFIDELITY, WHAT SHALL IT BE?", and they had "The Assembly's College, a seedbed of Rationalism", and in these papers warning notes were sounded, quotations were given from the text books used in the College, and as a result the whole of the Church was alarmed - alarmed that a group of ministers should dare to attack 'The Holiest of All', the Assembly's College, and point the finger at the leading Professors of the Church, and so the College Committee convened a special meeting. The students from the College were summoned and one pamphlet which dealt with 'Six Reasons why you shouldn't believe the Inerrancy of the Bible given by Principal James Haire' - (Mr. Nicholson used to say "There couldn't be anything good from a hare for the Bible teaches it is an unclean animal". And certainly the uncleanness in this Professor was exposed.) There was only one stalwart on the College Committee, the Rev. James Hunter. Instead of trying the Professors for their heresy they tried the Rev. James Hunter. They rebuked him for daring to go out and publish these pamphlets, and when he appealed to the General Assembly he was publicly rebuked, by 499 votes to 115, for the action he took in warning the Church about the leavening process of apostasy and heresy which flowed from the Assembly's College.
Nineteen hundred and twenty-one is an important year, because that year Professor J. E. Davey, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity, delivered a series of lectures known as the Kerry lectures. The subject was 'The Changing Vesture of the Faith - Studies in the Origins and Development of Christian Forms of Belief, Institution and Observance'. These lectures were published. Let me read you a few extracts and you will realise the type of heresy that Professor Davey was propagating:
"The faith which is found to depend on Book or Church has put these things in place of God; the visible in place of the invisible on whom alone faith can depend, and such idolatry is always helpless in the face of reason and progress."
So Professor Davey said it was idolatry to put your faith in the Blessed Book of God. 'It was idolatry'. Just as evil to bow before the graven image as to take out the Bible and believe its Precious Truth and its Divinely revealed doctrine.
Let me give you another extract from this same publication: "Protestants' insistence on the Sacred Book which touches us most closely has been progressively modified under the attacks of modern scholarship. To the quest for an external Infallibility there is no answer. Throughout all the search of men for such an external Infallibility the heavens are as brass, and all the Infallibilities which men have laboriously pieced together crumble away at the touch of criticism."
I'm glad my old Bible has not crumbled away at the touch of criticism. Professor Davey's body is today eaten by the skin worms; his soul is in Hell in the torments of the damned, if this Book is right, but, thank God, God's Truth is marching on and marching on to final and blessed victory.
Let us go on. In page 27 of this book, he makes a terrible indictment, he says: "The new vigour of Rome after the Reformation, evidenced especially in the counter-Reformation in all its aspects, and in the great missionary activities in which Rome gave the lead to Protestantism is a sure sign that in Romanism there are elements of life as genuine as in the opposing faith." (Shades of Ecumenism) that "Romanism has elements of life as genuine as lies in the heart of Protestantism."
Then he "looks for a new Christianity." It reminds me of the mad dreamers of Jude. "Filthy dreamers" the Bible calls them, and they have a nightmare about a new Church that is coming. He says, "In the near future we are going to have a new type of Christianity, as different from orthodox Protestantism as the latter was from the Romanism out of which it was born." Filthy dreamers, dreaming of this Babel that God has already confounded. But, my, when modernists come to the Cross, when they come to the Blood Atonement, when they come to that great Sacrifice for sin once offered to God and finally and fully, then you see all their Satanic venom and you discover that they are indeed the agents of Beelzebub and of the generation of Lucifer himself, of their father the Devil, and the works of their father they will do.
Think of it, that glorious doctrine so ably set forth in our Catechism, "What is Justification?" "It is an act of God's free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the Righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone."
He goes on in the book to say, "We can't even be certain there is a God at all; no one can be certain of the Being of God"; and he tells us that "Christian Science and Spiritism are great vital movements. They testify to a new and living religious spirit seeking after God. These movements are not purely speculative, they are doing positive good, making better, stronger and wiser men and women." So when that was published the Bible Standards League knew, and Mr. Hunter knew, the battle-lines were really drawn. The next year Professor Davey lectured to the Students' Christian Movement, and he published his lectures under the title, "Our Faith in God through Jesus Christ, Its reasonableness, necessity, effectiveness and finality," and again we have the poison.
On page 61 in answer to the great Gospel question, "What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?", Professor Davey tells the students, "Christ is the decentest chap we know of." Think of that! Christ the Eternal Son of the Everlasting Father, the One Who was and is and forever will be; the One Who in the Eternity of the past was in the bosom of the Father, co-equal and co-Eternal in the Blessed relationship of the Trinity, and that One Who humbled Himself and came down to this earth and dwelt among men, that One of Whom Paul could write, "Great is the Mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the flesh." J. Ernest Davey says "He is the decentest chap we know of." And he goes on in this book to tell us that "we don't accept the views of Christ as final, not at all. In Christ we have a perfect spirit, a perfect life, a final faith in the imperfect vestments, social, historical and intellectual, of a provincial Judaism and apocalyptical peasant piety. That is, that we must penetrate beneath the clothes to the abiding reality for our final faith. This finality lies and will lie so far as our mind can conceive the problem and the future at all in the moral finality of His spirit."
So if the Bible Standards League had cause to lift a standard, they had cause to lift a standard now. When a student, Mr. W. J. Grier, Bachelor of Arts, returned from doing two years in Princetown Seminary, and came to finish his final year in Assembly's College, he was aghast at what Profesor Davey was teaching. Another student, Mr. Nesbitt, was also aghast at the statements which the Professor was making. The Rev. W. A. Nesbitt affirmed that when he was a student in Assembly's College, one day Professor Davey said, "The Jewish view was that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Joseph and Mary, and I accept that view." Mary was a stumpet and our Lord a bastard, according to Professor Davey.
Another student, who is now settled in a Church, stated that "he himself did not believe in the Virgin Birth, neither did Professor Davey."
On another occasion the Professor said, "Jesus had a downward tendency which our forefathers would call original sin, but which we would call the dregs of evolution." So the Lord came from a monkey according to Professor Davey.
Charge number four alleged that Professor Davey held and taught what is contrary to the doctrine of the sinfulness of all sins proceedeth only from the creature and not from God. Charge number five alleged that Professor Davey held and taught that the doctrine of the Trinity is not taught in the Word of God.
Those were the five charges that were listed. They were signed by ministers and elders of the Church. My first Kirk Session had three godly elders in it, Thomas H. Watson (who was my first clerk of Session); Alfred Carson (who was treasurer of our church) and W. L. Harbinson who was also in our Church. They were then elders in Ravenhill Presbyterian Church, and they signed. Dr. Hanna, the Rev. James Edgar, the Rev. John Ross and, of course, the Rev. James Hunter signed the charges also, along with other very prominent elders and members of the Church.
Charges were formulated before the Belfast Presbytery. The Belfast Presbytery set the hearing for those charges, they were listed formally on the 7th December, 1926, and on the 15th February 1927 at 11.00 a.m. in the Assembly Buildings in the Presbytery Room, the first session of that Trial took place. It had 14 sessions in all, and it finished on March 29th, 1927. Now the majority of the members of the Presbytery had already sided with Professor Davey, and the whole Court of the Church was like a star chamber under King Charles I. The decision was already made before ever a charge was listened to, or evidence was brought. Professor Davey summoned all his accusers as witnesses, and when the accusers protested and said, "We have come to accuse not witness for you", the Moderator over-ruled their objections. Then James Hunter decided that they should call Professor Davey as a witness for them so that they could cross-examine him, but that was ruled out of order. So it was a farce of a trial. Then it was decided that no mention was to be made outside the room of any of the happenings, and those who dared to hold public meetings or talk about the Trial would be referred to the Discipline Committee of the assembly, and the Moderator ruled that they shouldn't even pray publicly about the matter. So it was decided to muzzle those that were standing for truth.
Neither James Hunter nor Sam Hanna would be muzzled, so as the Trial went on they went round this country standing on the ramparts of the Church and blowing loud trumpet blasts to arouse up a lackadaisical Church to what was really happening. Mr. Hunter issued a series of pamphlets in which he brought out exactly what Professor Davey had said and was saying in the Trial. The record of the Trial was published along with the hearing of Appeals, and so we have not what the accusers said Professor Davey said but what the church officially recorded that he said, and I want to give you some quotations of what he said when he was on trial.
In the last four charges he entered a plea of justification and maintained he was allowed under the Presbyterian Church to hold the views that he held.
"I point out that our faith as a final and ultimate thing is in God as revealed and known in Christ, not in the Galilean Jew who had a certain size and shape and language and education, but in the Eternal Spirit which manifested itself in Him."
So Jesus Christ, to Professor Davey, was "the Galilean Jew; the decentest chap we know of, and a certain size and certain shape, a certain language, and a certain education."
He, the Lord Jesus Christ, needed not for any man to teach Him what was in man, for He knew what was in man. My Blessed Lord is not a Galilean Jew, He is the Mighty God enthroned in Humanity, and I can say of Him, as Thomas said of Him, "My Lord and my God."
Professor Davey went on to speak words of blasphemy about the Cross: "As Christ approach the Cross, there was darkness of mind. He could not see at the moment how His sufferings and death were to accomplish their purpose. And on the side of common sense there was much to be said against death and in favour of remaining alive. Teaching and working as before His apostles were weak men, poor representatives of His message; they did not understand Him, and by dying He would be leaving the kingdom at their mercy. If He was mistaken in the Father's will then all was lost, even the very kingdom of God which had been entrusted to Him; for which He had lived and which He knew as the greatest thing of all human history and life."
The Lord Jesus Christ: "To this end came I into the world". "Mine hour has not yet come." And from Bethlehem to Calvary He has set His face and taught His disciples, "Ought not Christ to suffer and then enter into His Kingdom."
Professor Davey went on, "He faced the awful possibility that a time might come when He realised that His choice was wrong. Such a moment did seem to come on the Cross, when it was now too late to re-consider the matter or retrace His steps. In the hour of physical exhaustion and nervous depression before death the very thing He had feared seemed to come upon Him."
Christ didn't die under the darkness, Christ died in the broad light of victory. He cried, "It is finished," and all that He purposed to do He did upon the Cross. Of course the modernists will always attack the Cross!
When we come to the Bible, Professor Davey takes it upon himself to tear the Blessed Book to shreds. He said before his accusers at his Trial, "We are not as Christians committed to an intellectual infallibility of either Christ or Bible. Without hesitation I should say that there are literally hundreds of similar discrepancies or direct contradictions in the Old and New Testaments. It was a dreadful day for me when I found it out. I held at one time very strongly the views of my accusers." He goes on to make other statements: "Christ's work was not to give correct scientific and historic opinions about authorship of books, or about scientific questions of the future, or the common ideas of His time regarding the world about Him. So I do not think His opinions which reflect the standpoint and education of His day regarding stars or evil spirits, or Old Testament critical questions are final for us. They are irrelevant to any true doctrine of the authority of Christ and the Bible."
Listen my friend, if the Bible is not accurate on a scientific fact how can we trust it on a spiritual fact which far outshines all scientific facts? If Christ did not know the things of this earth, how can He Infallibly teach us the things of the world that is to come? My Blessed Saviour was absolutely Infallible. All that He said is eternally true.
Jesus Christ is final in everything, in everything that He said, and every doctrine that He taught.
Of course, Professor Davey goes on to say many other things against the precious principles of God's Truth: "Human limitations of the Book in knowledge and outlook is part of the purpose of God. We are not as Christians committed to an intellectual infallibility of either Christ or the Bible. Jesus when He met things in the Old Testament which He disapproved of said they weren't even true."
Some statement, is it not, that Christ said the Old Testament wasn't even true?
"Christ's theories of angels and demons I do not personally think are final for me. Christ's theories of Deuteronomy and the Psalms I do not personally think are final for us. I do not think His opinions which reflect the standpoint and education of His day regarding the stars or evil spirits or Old Testament critical questions are final for us. In both these points better views have been found possible to reach by scientific investigation. There are elements in the Book of Revelation that are not truly Christian. I don't think Moses wrote of himself. The books of the Bible must be dealt with exactly as one would deal with other histories. My view of the story of the crossing of Jordan is a blow up in imitation of the Red Sea crossing. There was no miracle there at all. They crossed by a ford."
The Presbytery voted on charge one, sixty to five that he was not guilty. On charge two, sixty-three to seven that he was not guilty. On charge three, sixty-five to eleven that he was not guilty. On charge four, sixty-nine to ten that he was not guilty, and on charge five, sixty-nine to eleven that he was not guilty. So the Belfast Presbytery upheld that Jesus was only a Galilean Jew with the limitation of His upbringing and age. The Belfast Presbytery put its stamp of approval on the fact that Jesus thought the Cross was a mistake, and all He could see at Calvary was darkness. They set their stamp of approval upon the fact that the Bible had thousands of discrepancies and direct contradictions; that the people never crossed the Jordan miraculously; that they walked over by a ford, and so on and so forth.
James Hunter and his friends appealed to the General Assembly, and the General Assembly of June 1927 heard the appeal. In the meantime Mr. Hunter campaigned up and down the country, trying to rouse the Church from its lethargy and to warn them what was afoot. One of his associates was a very eminent evangelist, Mr. Montgomery, and Mr. Montgomery made the first speech for the accusers. His last paragraph is interesting:
"I freely acknowledge that Professor Davey has made a wonderful defence. His pleas of justification are so manipulated that he actually makes himself out the orthodox man, the upholder of the doctrines of the standards of our Presbyterian Church, the innocent one, and we his accusers are the unorthodox and guilty of heresy. I said to a friend the other day, there is not a K.C. or a Q.C. or M.P. from the great Dan O'Connell to Sir Edward Carson who could hold a candle to Professor Davey, but what after all is it? Just a great clever, elaborate and intricate piece of human reasoning for which he gives us no scripture whatsoever. I would rather have one clear statement from the Word of God than ten thousand pages from man's productions."
And he goes on to mention, "For seven years I had the privilege of conducting evangelistic missions in a hundred or more of our Presbyterian Churches, and dealt personally with 1500 to 2000 inquirers." He says, "if Professor Davey is right I have no Gospel to preach, and have been preaching a false Gospel for over 50 years, and God has graciously set His seal to that Gospel in the salvation of all sorts of sinners, religious and irreligious, educated and uneducated, old and young. If Professor Davey is right, Heaven is Hell. If Professor Davey is right, God Almighty is a Devil. If Professor Davey is right, salvation is in reality damnation. That is exactly what we must logically conclude from his modernistic apostasy."
Professor Davey, at the Presbytery meeting, talked about his great Keswick experience of the Holy Spirit, and also in the General Assembly talked about his great Keswick experience of the Holy Spirit, and many, no doubt, foolish people with no loyalty to God, were deceived by those words of this perjurer who did more to destroy the great Irish Presbyterian Church than any other man that ever came upon thescene. By 707 votes to 82, in June 1927, the General Assembly voted that Professor Davey was an orthodox and sound Presbyterian, and they not only did that but a few years later they elevated him to be Principal of the College, and some time after that they made him Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
What of the consequences? Our Lord stood on trial in June, 1927, in that Assembly. It was Christ that was at the Bar. The Irish Presbyterian Church resolved He was not God manifest in the flesh; He was only a Galilean Jew with a limitation of His upbringing and age. He was not the Son of God and God the Son, but just the decentest chap we know of. They resolved that His Death was not for sin; that anyone Who believed that might as well go to the Mass, for, said Davey, "The doctrine of Imputation is just as irrational as the doctrine of Transubstantiation and the Mass." And in doing that they took indelible ink and they wrote across their Assembly 'Ichabod' for the glory had departed, and that glory has been fading every since.
James Hunter, at the end of the day, stood absolutely alone. His fellow ministers remained in the Presbyterian Church, but that old warrior after 39 years in the ministry resigned with a small number of people and commenced the Irish Evangelical Church. The Rev. W. J. Grier received his mantle when the aged Mr. Hunter passed on. Mr. Grier became the Elisha for the Elijah in that Church.
When I was ordained to the Christian ministry it was the Rev. W. J. Grier who preached my ordination sermon. God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. I was born the very year the Heresy Charges were laid against Professor Davey in 1926, and in the goodness of God I went to minister in that Secession Congregation which left the Irish Presbyterian Church, led by those men who had signed the Charges of Heresy against Professor Davey. In 1951 the battlelines were drawn, and in Crossgar the first congregation of the Free Presbyterian Church was established. It is my great regret, and I say it with a pain in my heart, that when that decision was taken the Irish Evangelical Church saw fit to go public and condemn our stand. I say that with great sorrow, because I preached as a student in the pulpits of that Church and found its people a loyal and Bible-loving people, but I learned that I too must walk alone. I believe if the Rev. James Hunter had still been living a different story would have been told tonight.
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster has been the only Church to really challenge the apostasy of Irish Presbyterianism. It commenced in a little tin mission hall in Killyleagh Street in a tiny village called Crossgar on the 17th March, 1951. One man, when he came into that little Hall that day, was from the top of his overcoat to the bottom, covered in saliva. We were despised, hated, maligned, persecuted, imprisoned, but God was in it, and, tonight, thank God this Church is marching on. We are in a far better position now to challenge apostasy than ever we have been, and we are in a far better position now to preach the Gospel than we have ever been.
I remember a prominent clergyman meeting me in those days, and he said, "Ian, you are a fool. You have neither scholarship nor standing nor influence, and yet you say you will plant churches across Ulster, and you will have influence and you will gather people from out of Presbyterianism." I said, "That is right. Go on and make the catalogue as long as you like, but at the end of it write these words, 'But God'. Just write that at the end of it." That man joined a World Council of Churches church. He is long since in his grave; his ministry ended in oblivion, but, thank God, I continue to this day, witnessing to small and great, saying none other thing than Moses and the prophets said concerning Him, that Christ should suffer and He should be the first-fruits to rise from the dead and give forgiveness to His people. It has not been an easy road and it is not going to be an easy road, but in the will of God He has raised up a standard in Ulster, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
I would like to finish this message with the words of Dr. Horatius Bonar. (Bonar was a prophet, he saw what was coming, and although he lived at the close of the last century this is what he said):
"The creeds have gone, so speaks the Age,
The era of the sects is past,
Forward in spite of saints or sage,
True freedom has begun at last.
The Christ of God is now no more,
The Christ of men now sits supreme;
The Cross is part of mythic lore,
The Resurrection morn a dream.
The ages progress fears no God,
No righteous law, no judge's throne;
Man bounds along his new found road,
And calls this universe his own. 
Not faith in God, but faith in man,
Is Pilate now, and sail and oar;
The creeds are shrivelled, cold and wan,
True Christ has been is no more.
Old Truth which once struck deep in hearts,
Fights hard for life and fights in vain,
Old error into vigour starts
And feeble comes to life again.
Old misbelief becomes earth's creed,
The falsehood lives, the truth has died,
Man leans upon a broken reed,
And falls in helplessness of pride.
The lips that would have spoken love,
The Book that would his would have fed,
And taught the Wisdom from above.
The Everstanding Cross, to him
Is but a Hebrew relic, vain,
The Virgin Birth at Bethlehem
A fiction of the wandering brain.
He wants no Saviour and no light,
No teacher but himself he needs;
He knows not of a human night
Save from the darkness of the creeds.
Eternal light hide not thy face,
Eternal Truth, direct our way;
Eternal love, shine forth in grace,
Reveal our darkness and Thy day!"