This magazine first appeared in February 1858. It consisted of 24 medium octavo pages in a blue cover and ‘offering to the young Presbyterian the largest and cheapest periodical to which he could subscribe – an organ from which he may ever be able to glean something to interest and instruct.’
It was published monthly by C. Aitchison, 9 High Street, Belfast, with the aim of ‘imparting a more extended knowledge of the doctrines and history of the Church and at the same time at promoting the intellectual and literary improvement of its readers’.
From January 1859 the magazine was issued under the auspices of the Presbyterian Young Men’s Association but it would appear that the January 1859 issue was the last.
Also known as the Protestant Missionary Revivalist.
This magazine only ran for a very short time. It first appeared in October 1834 and was published monthly at 1 Donegall Square East, Belfast. Most issues were printed by James Wilson, 70 High Street, Belfast. The last number appeared in September 1837.
Its object were ‘to promote vital godliness, active piety, and a spirit of missionary enterprise amongst professors of religion throughout the province’, and, according to the prospectus, it was to contain ‘brief original articles from clergymen and others, biography of eminent reformers and divines, illustrations of Scripture, poetry, anecdotes and extracts from rare and valuable works, with much interesting missionary intelligence.
The Orthodox Presbyterian started in 1829 by the Synod of Ulster, and was published by the well- known Presbyterian bookseller and poet, William McComb, High Street, Belfast, who published the Presbyterian Almanac for many years.
The prospectus clearly sets out the tenets of the magazine – ‘In its pages the precious truths of the Gospel shall be faithfully maintained, the principles of the Reformation vindicated, the cause of vital godliness advocated, and the distinguishing tenets of Presbyterianism explained and defended’.
One of the chief promoters of the Orthodox Presbyterian was the Rev Dr Henry Cooke who for many years was a regular contributor to its pages. The article on Presbyterianism in the first number and a series of papers on Education were all written by Cooke.
Other notable contributors were Rev Dr Seaton Reid, the Rev Thomas Toye, Belfast, Professor W D Killen, the Rev Dr James Morgan, and the Rev James Glasgow. Up until 1838 the editorship fell largely to the Rev James Morgan who was succeeded by the Rev Samuel Davidson, Professor of Biblical Criticism for the Synod of Ulster.
Volume 8 ended in September 1837 with an announcement that the size would be altered from duodecimo to octavo and that the price would rise from half a crown to 4 shillings per year. The new series began in January 1838 under Davidson’s editorship with a new feature entitled ‘Missionary Register’ containing periodical accounts of the progress of home and foreign missions.
The first six volumes were printed by Thomas Mairs and the last three by Paul Kelso, both of Belfast.
The Covenanter started in 1830 as a monthly publication but a new series began in 1841 as a bi-monthly publication and has become the official magazine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. It became about as a result of the differences between the Rev Thomas Houston and the Rev John Paul over the doctrine of the civil magistrate.
In December 1830 Houston, apparently at his own expense, published the first copy of the Covenanter setting out his views.
The aim of the magazine was to put forth the ‘system of religious doctrine and discipline of the ’good old cause’. It deals with the events and social problems of the period as well as providing information about the Reformed Synod and Presbytery meetings, congregations and ministers.
Only the magazines from 1830-43 have been digitised.
Four months after the ‘Orthodox Presbyterian’ was started by the Synod of Ulster, the Non – Subscribers started the Bible Christian’ and almost invariably every monthly issue contained an attack, either direct or indirect, on the practice or teaching of the opposite party. The Bible Christian first appeared in February 1830 and appeared in 3 series: 1830-35, 1836-38 and 1839-45.
It provides much information on the events of the period such as the Clough and Killinchy cases over the property rights following the secession of the Non –Subscribers from the Synod of Ulster, and Royal Belfast Academical Institution, as well as many historical articles including the origins of Presbyterianism in Belfast.
It is also an important source of information on the Remonstrant Synod, presbyteries and congregations and contains many theological articles especially on the inconsistency of Calvinism.