PHSI Publication Abstracts
Below are reviews of some of the many publications available from the Society.
The Adair Narrative
The recent re-publication by the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland of the Adair Narrative, or to give it its full title, A True Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (1623-1670), by Rev. Patrick Adair, is to be welcomed for at least two main reasons.
The first is that it is the earliest written history of the beginning, growth and development of Presbyterianism in Ireland in the seventeenth century. As such it is an important, often eyewitness, account of the early Presbyterian settlers, giving an insight into their character, their way of life, their faith; and the struggles they faced to survive as a Church. It tells of the difficulties experienced particularly in their relationships with the Established Church and the Government authorities, and of how the fledgling Church took root and eventually began to grow and spread. Too few members of today's Presbyterian churches know anything about the struggles and sacrifices of our forefathers in the seventeenth century.
The second reason this publication is welcome is for the new general introduction, written by Dr. Joseph Thompson, in which he tells us about the author and the history of his manuscript which, though written in the 1600s wasnıt published until 1866, and then not without controversy.
At a time when there is increased interest in the history of seventeenth century Ireland, it is good to have widely available in a new format this valuable account of the role of Presbyterianism in the period. The book has been attractively produced in hardback by Tentmaker Publications and sells at the very reasonable price of £20 (plus postage) from the Presbyterian Historical Society, 26 College Green, Belfast, BT7 1LN.
Radicals and Revivals
This book was produced to pay tribute to Dr Desmond Bailie for his work for the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland over many years by bringing together in one book six representative samples of his important and varied work, rather than by using the work of other people - a kind of festschrift with a difference!
His piece on the 1859 Revival was his first published work, appearing in Biblical Theology in May 1958, while his work on the 1625 Six Mile Water Revival, though written in 1955 as a Paul Essay, wasn't published until 1976. It has always been very highly regarded and has been reprinted several times. William Steel Dickson first appeared as issue No. 6 of the Historical Society's Bulletin in 1976, though it has been revised since then, while Samuel Barber was contributed as a chapter to Challenge & Conflict in 1981. The article on Presbyterian Worship was given as the Robert Allen lecture in Union College in 1987, and that on Sir George Rawdon first appeared in the 1984 Bulletin.
Fasti of Seceder Ministers Ordained or Installed in Ireland 1746-1948
Arranged and edited by WD Bailie and LS Kirkpatrick
Published by the Presbyterian Historical Society 2005
In this very welcome book Desmond Bailie and Laurence Kirkpatrick have trawled through copious minutes, newspapers, histories, and other records to find out as much as can be discovered about some 368 Seceder ministers in Ireland. In a handful of cases nothing much was available but for the rest they have set out for the reader a very full and valuable record of the family background and ministerial service of a fascinating group of men.
The time taken to discover and/or verify the smallest detail must have been enormous, but their painstaking efforts have put the authors forever in our debt. Where possible they have been able to record for us where and when many of these men were born; their education; date of licensing; ordination and installation(s); marriage, and other family information; important publications; and the dates of their deaths. To me the surprise is not that in a few cases there is very little information, but that in so many cases there is so much detail given.
Andrew Weir of Manchuria (1873-1933)
Ivor F. Smith
Andrew Weir grew up on the slopes of Slieve Gallion, within a family who were members of Claggan Presbyterian Church. Following his studies he was ordained in 1899 for missionary service in China where he served from then until his death in 1933. He travelled thousands of miles across Manchuria on foot or by ox cart preaching the gospel and encountering dangers along the way. In addition he had a great influence within the Chinese Church as a very able church administrator and a wise counsellor. His son, the late Very Rev. Dr A.J. (Jack) Weir, was himself a missionary in China, and later Clerk and, in 1976, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. This lecture was given in Claggan to mark the centenary of his ordination.
Helen Waddell Presbyterian Medievalist
Professor Norman from the School of English and American Studies, University of Sussex, gave this Robert Allen Memorial Lecture in Union Theological College, Belfast in May 1996. Helen Waddell was born in Tokyo in 1889 the daughter of Irish Presbyterian parents. She had a brilliant career at Queen's University, Belfast from where she went on to Oxford and Paris. Unusually for a Presbyterian her great interest was in the history and scholarship of medieval Europe. Norman Vance paints a vivid picture of her life and accomplishments, "There has never been anyone quite like Helen Waddell, poet and novelist, romantic and religious humanist, scholar, translator and editor." She died in 1965, but her literary reputation remains high.
A Prophet Without Honour: Rev Prof James Kidd
This is a popular account of a remarkable Ulsterman who has been almost unknown in his native land. James Kidd was born in Loughbrickland in 1761, and brought up in Broughshane. Largely self-taught he became a schoolmaster while cherishing the hope of entering the Christian ministry. He emigrated to America where he was able to do some preliminary study but returned to Edinburgh to take the course of study for the ministry of the Church of Scotland. He was appointed to the Chair of Oriental Languages in Marischal College, Aberdeen. He also completed his studies for the ministry and was ordained as minister of Gilcolmston Old in 1801. A real eccentric and an uncompromising evangelical, Kidd began his ministry in the hey-day of moderatism. So great was his influence that he played a significant part in changing the theological climate of the city and in educating and shaping the thinking of many of its citizens. He was also a significant author, writing important works on the Trinity and the eternal sonship of Christ. Kidd died while in active service in 1834.
Times Passing: The Story of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland from 1907 - 2007
40pp, £3. ISBN 0-9538526-9-5.
Times Passing is an attempt in this centenary year to tell the story of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland in a popular way. Consequently footnotes are not included and works, from which the author quotes, are quoted in the text itself. Amongst the topics that the author focuses on are the following: the beginnings of the Society; help from America re rooms and constitution; a visit to the Society's rooms; recent donations to the Society; magazines, minutes, etc; communion tokens and other artefacts. Included in the booklet are a number of coloured photographs which illustrate the text and enhance the production.