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Full text of "A brief history of the rise, progress, and termination of the proceedings of the Synod of Kentucky, relative to the late Cumberland presbytery : in which is brought to view a brief account of the origin and present standing of the people usually denominated Cumberland Presbyterians : as taken from official documents and facts in possession of Synod"

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A 

or THE 
|tISE, PROGRESS, AND TERMINATION • 

OF THE 

PROCEEDINGS 

OF TBB 
RELATIVE TO THE LATE 

CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERY : 

r A BRIEB ACCODNT OF THE Oueilf iXO 



CUMBERLAfTD PRE3BTTEBIAN8; 

FROM OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AND FACTS IN POSSES- 
SION OF SYNOD. 



Py^tiihtd bg oritr of Synod at their ttitiims held in JJarrodtburg^) 
Oct. 1822. 



LEXINGTON, KY. 

nuHTED BY TEAHAS T. aKlLLJjIJJI. 

1823. 



3X 






0^ A 0^j^ I ^^-^^-yt-^'*-'-*^ 



,:^ A BRIEF HISTORY, &c. 

The Synod of Kentucky, having* been repeatedly advised 
^f the necessity, expediency, and utility of laying before the 
public at large, but more especially the churches under their 
^eare, a plain and correct account itt their proceedings rela* 
tive to the late Cumberland Presbjftery, have, in compliance 
With those solicitation^ and advicesj deemed it proper to pre* 
sent the following statement of facti, substantiated by official 
documents, and references to the ricords of the several judi- 
catories relative to the origin, progress, and termination of 
their proceedings in the very un|Aeasani case of that Pres- 
bytery. This they have undertaken under a full convictioii 
that information on this subject is imperiously required, par- 
ticularly for the benefit of those tbo emigrate from distant 
sections af our Church, and fall within the range of those 
people who style themselves ^'Cuntberland Presbyterians;'*— 
a people who have no ecclesiastkai connectio^^ith us what- 
ever; and moreover, are not reco|;nized by us as^] being in 
correct Presbyterial standing. ~^ 

It is -the intention of the Synod to give a fair and impar- 
tial statement of facts and circumstances as they actually 
transpired, that the candid and the judicious miay be enabled 
to judge, whether, as sound and consistent Presbyterians, we 
were not justifiable in endeavouring to arrest the progress of 
a branch of our connection which had greatly erred from 
presbyterial usage and order; and which appeared to us to 
threaten a total overthrow of the Presbyterian ChUrch in the 
west; whose interests and prosperity had, until then, gradu- 
ally increased, and promised an almost unrivalled prospec- 
tive strength and permanency. 

The first Presbytery organized in Kentucky was at Dan- 
ville, on the 17th day of October, 1786. It was compo- 



[4] 

ud of five memberE, and called "Tranaylvania Presbytery;" 
beloDging to the Synod of New- York and Philadelphia, hav- 
ing been by that Synod, at their Eesaions id May preceding, 
divided off froin tbt Presbytery of Abington. With the in- 
crease and population of the country it grew in numbers, un- 
la »fa«ut tiie year 1798, wibeti Ibe PresbyteiFies ef '^West 
JUoxingtoH" aai "Waskioglon," w«f€ enected out«i' its East- 
«ra and tN«rth Weeteni twtiioas, making the Kentucky river 
«((«astern IwiiBdary, 7be Synod «if JCentucky Was i:onet»- 
bited in Ute yew 1S0S, — nade up t>{ the Presbiyteriee het»tt 
Bwtt^ne^, aud the Troisylvania P'reabyKevy. At the 'irtt 
meeting «r the 6yBa4 ofK«ntacky, they divided the Ttan- 
^^Msia Presbytery agair, and formed the ComberlaBd Pf et* 
1>f tM7 «B .(be W«et, incltdiog the Cumberland aMiBmenU. 
3%i6 Pretbyteiy held its Snt meeting in Aftil, 1603. The 
disMden and in-eijahiritM^, (rhteh required at kngtb the in- 
lerferesoe of SyaMl, origmted a Transylva&ia Presbytery 
{treviouB -to tlaeiT laat divition, at their faH sessions in 186U 
koldat "Muddy Ktver Chircjb." At this meetm^ afternack 
all«n:ati»tL, Joar me^ viz: Messrs. Anderson, Ewin^, Kit^, 
31^ ftPCIatn, wbo made no pretensions to the literary -^jnali- 
fiications required by our Form of <30vemiHeBt, "offered 
themselves to the Presbytery for the service »f the Cbbrch," 
and were "appointed to the business of exhortation and cat- 
echizing. They were also directed "to prepare discourses" 
on di^fereat suhjects "to be read at tJie next spring session of 
Presbytery." (Records, p. 35.) Their next stated meeting 
vas lield at *'6eaver Creek Church," in Barren County, 
April 13, 1802. It was (hen and there "resolved, that Alex- 
ander Anderson, Finis Ewiog, and Samuel King, be permit- 
ted to cf/me forward and read their pieces assigned (he«B at 
the hist stated sessions." (p. 49.) It was futber "ordered that 
Mr. AndeKon prepare a termoe as a specimefi of trial on 
Luke ,xiii. 24." (p. 53.) So that Mr. Anderson appcaw, 
from the record;, to be thconly one of thess (i»ree cnndi4at-e«, at 
Ihat'tisw, approved, and conlinied by the Presbytery, Eer 



vpecMsg the fate of the other two, the record is wleot, and it 
is/presumed thej were discontinued. 

Tb^ Presbytery being under the controul of the lower 
members almost eKcIusively, and vrtiich had been the case 
for tw^ke WMaths, held their next slated meeting in October 
foHoiwing at "Springfield Church," still further westward, and 
consequently at a greater distance from those members who 
were known to be oipposed to the lontemplated procedure; 
and therefore it was carried still flrther ofli — the object of 
whkh 'even charity, which thinketb no evil, can scarcely 
avoid discermng* At this meeting 'there were present, ac- 
cordwg to the. enrolment, eight mini^rs and fourteen ruling 
elders; — ^all belonging to that iection of the Presbytery* 
Eight ministers siore, and all residiiig in the eastern section 
of the Presbytery, were noted as abient. This circumstance 
will readily account for that triumphant assertion in the 6th 
.piigeof the "Reply to a Pastoral Letter of West Tennessee," 
which states, that 'Hhe next Transylrania Presbytery [not th« 
Cumberland] took them up, and by a la&gs majority licensed 
Anderson, Ewtng, and King, to pneach the everlasting gos- 
pel." The majority, indeed, was large, being 17 to 5; — three 
Tuinisters and two elders, having strenuously opposed the pro- 
ceedings without success, entered the following dissent: — 

"We, whose names. are under written, dissent from the 
judgment of the Presbytery in licensing Messrs. Ewing and 
King, because, though they were rejected by the last session 
of Presbytery, as persons unfit to be continued as candidates, 
and were now received by petitions from the people, which 
we think ought not to have been received, as they had a ten- 
dency to influence the minds of the members who were bound 
by solemn vows to judge impartially of their qualifications, 
a»d because their trials on that occasion consisted only in one 
short sermon, and an examination on experimental religion and 
divinity, being destitute of classical learning, and they discov- 
ered no such extraordiniH*y talents as to justify such measure." 

The Presbytery, in assigning reasons, for their departuri*' 



[6] 

from common usage in this matter, state, on their record, that 
"several petitions having came forward from many of our va- 
cancies earnestly and importunately praying Presbytery to li- 
cense them to preach the gospel," "and after mature de- 
liberation, considering this mailer as coming under the vievf 
of (hat extraordinary case excepted inth^ book of discipline," 
&c. licensed them to preach the g<^pel. (p. p. 59, 60.) This 
licensure took place on the 8th day of October, 1802, in the 
same month, onlt/ six days prior to .(he^rsi meeting ©rthe 
'Sjnod of Kentuclcy, and nearly 200 miles from the place 
where the Presbytery met. So that at the first sessions' of 
the Synod, these proceedings could not be revievFed ; nor in- 
deed could the Synod tiien be apprized of them, by reason 
of the shortness of the lime and the great distance that inter- 
vened. This accounts also for the general absence of the 
eight members of the Presbytery before mentioned, — they 
liaving determined to attend the meeting of the Synod nliich 
was essential in order to form a constitutional quorum. Ap- 
prehending no danger, therefore, ihc Synod proceeded to the 
formation of a new Presbytery, by the name of "Cumberland 
Presbytery;" which, pursuant to the appointment of Synod, 
met at the "Ridge meelifig-honse, the 5th of April 1803.". 
A few dnys before this division took place by the act of the 
Synod, the T raiisylvania Presbytery, having been, as before 
observed, for some time almost entirely under the controul 
of the loiver members with a ruling elder from every 
small vacancy, and thus constituting "a large majority," had 
adjourned to -meet in the spring at "Mount Pisgah," on Red 
River. Just before that adjournment, near the elose of their 
proceeding?, it is stated that "Mr. James Hawe, a regular 
member of the Republican Methodist Church, made applica- 
tion to connect himself with thd Presbytery, and was cordial- 
ly received." This same James Hawe had been well known 
to mtfny in KenlucLy as a violent opposer of Presbyterians, 
and a great declaimer, both from ^he Pulpit and the Press, 
a2:iinst wliat lie ignorantiy or disingenuously charged upon 



[7] 

them as Catvinisin, dressed up in a very hideous and ludicrous 
manner, the bjetter to suit his purpose in stigmatizing and de-. 
predating the influence of his oppcffients. This man was 
nevertheless ^^cordially recdved^^ and .admitted to a' seat in a 
Presbyterian Judicature, without any recantation, — any ex- 
amination on doctrine,*— -and without .being required to adopt 
the standards of our Church. He ^as accordingly enrolled 
with the members of the new Presbj^ery at their first meet- 
ing, and was their moderator when called before the Com*" 
mission of Synod. 

The Cumberland Presbytery now vent with great rapidity 
in thgir own way:^ — many offered themselves, and were (ta 
use the words of the Presbytery) ''licensed as regular exhort^ 
ers," and "authorized to make public appointments in any 
congregation or settlement within the bounds of the Presby* 
tery." . Messrs. Crawford and Dooly were ^'licensed to ex- 
hort in the bounds of the Presbytery, or wherever God in his 
providence may call them." The ohurches under the care 
of the Presbytery were ordered "to oontribute to the exhort- 
ers" for their pecuniary support. "Each licentiate to exhort" 
was ordered "to exercise himself in composition on any sub*- 
ject he might choose, and show as nmny pieces of such comr 
position to the nearest minister as he could with convenience." 
Some were received as candidates for the holy ministry 
on the delivery of a discourse as the first evidence or spe- 
cimen of their abilities. Those who were licensed to preachy 
and those who were ordained, were required, at their licen- 
sure and ordination, to adopt the Confession of Faith, so far 
onljfy as they believed it to agree with the word of God ; which, 
according to Presbyterian law and usage, was irregular and 
unconstitutionaL This opened a door to any one who might 
choose to enter, no matter what his creed might be. This 
covering, of such loose and wide dimensions, suited very well 
snch men as James Hawe ,and Reuben Dooly, and others, 
who could turn round and round in it, without interrupting 
its sbape^ or disturbing their own consclejic^. 



tn thii way matters went oft, until the numWr of tfaeaa 
men, including exhorten, licentintee, and a few wbo iraio 
thus uttconalitutionallt/ ordaioed, amounted to oeaitlji Ihirtv. 
Some were now entitled to a eeat in Sjnod, and began t^ap- 
, pear there. A number "of yonag societies," as they state, 
had been organized, and the most of them reppesent«4 by 
their elders, who, from their numbers, were about t!» create 
an overwhelming majori^ in the Synod. They alao estab- 
lished what they caUed "Circuits," which were principally 
supplied by the licentiates. The meetings of the Presbytv- 
ry were very frequent for licensures and' ordinatu>Ds;-~aQd 
had not Iheic progress been impeded in some way or utfaer, 
there is little doubt but that Presbytery, by its rapid 
movementa, in a very short time, would hare gained such an 
ascendency in' the Synod, as to have completely swayed Hat 
body in any measure which they might wish la canj. This 
will not be considered either an unju^tifiabla or eitravagant 
calculation by any one acquainted n ith their rapid aKnob aff 
terwards, or their present standing, ae it respects the numbs* 
of their ministers and elders. But in thai Presbytery ttlar* 
were a few, who, in whatever el«e they may have been- con- 
sidered blameable, were evidently justifiable in Ibeirbold 
and continued opposition to those measures which they view- 
ed as unwarantable and dangerous encroach meats, calculated 
to overthrow the goverattent and discipline of the Presbyte- 
rian Church altogether. 

At the next meeting of the Syhod, (in September, 1803, at 
Lexington,) there was not a member from the Cumberlaod 
Presbytery present ; nor were their records sent up for f«v,l«w. 
It was not, therefore, until October, 1804, that this busineH 
was taken up by the Synod, which they then found impracti- 
cable to investigate; and consequently did nothing more tbaB 
order citations to be given to all parties to appear at- the 
next stated meeting. The minority and the majority of the 
Cumberland Presbytery, as they were afterwards caHed by 
way of discrimination, appeared to be, and actually w«re, 



[9]' 

considered two parties before the Synod, — as accusers and 
accused. The Synod met in October, 1805, at Dan^ ille O \y 
two oiembers from Cumberland Presbytery were noted as 
present, who brought with them their Presbyterial Records,— 
which were reviewed and found very defective, — the history 
obscure and discordant, — and the mode ff transacting busi- 
ness frequently violating the rules of our discipline. The 
remonstrance of the minority, setting forth their grievances, 
and their dissent, had been before Ibe Synod at their last 
meeting. Synodical interference' was now loudly called for, 
And imperiously required. The time had arrived when duty 
and prevailing irregularities called on the Synod to do some" 
thing speedily. But they found not the parties yet fairly be- 
fore them. They had not the evidence of the disqualifica- 
tion of the young men, so loudly comi^iained of, sufficiently 
clear, to act upon: — nor was there any official record, that 
they had been licensed and ordained in the irregular and un- 
constitutional manner charged against the majority, they hav- 
ing omitted to record that fact, i. e. the partial and reserved 
adoption of the Confession of Faith, in their proceedings* 
The Synod was in a state of great perplexity and anxiety. 
They were at a loss to know what was the most eligible course 
to adopt* The evil bad greatly extended, and was still pro- 
gressing. The remedy )iad already been too long delayed* 
To lay the matter over another year, was impolitic and dan- 
gerous. To adjourn their annual meeting to the lower coun- 
try was objectionable in two points of view; — ^first, that the 
time would be too long, as Sjrnodicsu interference was imme- 
diately required ; — tbesecond, was the great liability to fail- 
ure in obtaining a constitutional quorum ;'^the upper Presby- 
tery being mostly in the state of Ohio, and the lower con- 
sidered as standing at the bar of the Synod ; — and it may be 
added further, — ^tbe Constitution of our Church, at that time^ 
not aflTording the facility of obtaining a quorum that it did 
some time after, in consequence of its amendment in that re- 
spect. The object before the Synod was to suppress the 



f 10 J 

Rowing irregularities in the west, and yet save one of htr 
presbyteries from disruption and final ruin. Tti this state of 
anxiety, after ample discussion and mature deliberation, the 
plan of a Commission of Synod was suggested and adopted* 
The appointment of this Commission has been, through ignor- 
ance^ or some other cause, frequently reprobated as tyranni- 
cal, and unprecedented in the annah of Presby terianism 5 and 
the minds of many hatte been thus improperly prejudiced 
against both it and the Synod. The General Assembly hav- 
ing reviewed and approved of the measure;, the false and un- 
generous insinuation should have ceased. The following ex- 
tract from Stewards Collections of the acts of the Church of 
Scotland, ought to put the subject to rest: — "What matters 
General Assemblies cannot undertake themselves, they do re- 
fer to their Commissibns; in propriety of speech they do im- 
port the same thing witft eommittees; yet, depraan\ a com- 
mittee is appointed only to prepare matters, whereas a com* 
mission determines in matters committed to them, and from 
whose sentence therein lieth no appeal to the ensuing Gener- 
al Assembly, though a complaint may be tabled before the 
next General Assembly against the Commission on account of 
their proceedings." Stetoart^s Collevtions^ Book I. Title 15r^ 
Sec aiso Buck^s Dictionary^ Art* Seceders* 

Here tet it be remarked, that not merely a Commission, 
was appointed to determine a certain case in peculiar cir- 
cumstances, but standing Commissions appointed to determine 
all unfinished business. The propriety of this we shall not 
defend,^but the fact shows the ignorance, or something worse, 
of those who have assumed the name of Presbyterians, anS 
declare that this Synod acted without a precedent in appoint- 
ing the foresaid Commission. To say that it was an Assem- 
bly, and not a Synod, that afforded the precedent in appoint- 
ing these Commissions, and therefore not a rule for us, will 
avail nothing; for the Assembly being the highest court, an4 
including Synod, must be the proper court for affording pre-v 
ced^ents ta the subordinate judicatories. 



[ " 1 

Bat now a difficulty yet remained respecting the practOnlh^ 
4y of the measure; — can there be found members enough 
wh0 will pledge themselves to attend, so that a disappoint 
onent may not be sustained? Such a pledge was immediate- 
/Jy obtained: — the way appeared fairly to be open: — the Com- 
Buissian was made up, and here -foUo^m its appointment:— 

^^On motion, Resolved, that the bus^ess of the Cumberland 
JPresbytery be again taken up. After considerable delibera- 
tion, it was resolved, that the Rev. John Lyle, John P. Caoip- 
bell, Archibald Cameron, Joseph P. Howe, Samuel Rannalls^ 
Robert Stuart, Joshua L. Wilson, Robert Wilson, Thomas 
CleJand, and Isaac Tall, together with Messrs. William 
lI'Dowell, Robert Brank, James Atten, Janpes Henderson, 
Richard Gaines, and Andrew Walla/oe, ruling elders, or any 
•even ministers of them, with as many elders as may be pres- 
ent, be a Commission, vested wkh fuU Synodical powers, to 
confer with the members of CumberJaod Presbytery, and ad- 
jadicate on their Presbyterial proceedings which appear upoa 
the minutes of said Prebytery, for the purpose aforesaid, and 
taken notice of by the Committee appointed by Synod to ex- 
amine said minutes — that the said Commission meet on the 
first Tuesday in December next, at Gasper meeting-house« Lo- 
gan County, in the bounds of said Presbytery, for the purpose 
aforesaid* That notice be given io the members of said 
Presbytery, by the stated Clerk of Synod, to attend on the 
day and at the place aforesaid, — so that a full, fair, and 
friendly investigation may take place. That the said Com- 
mission take into consideration, and decide upon a letter from 
the Rev. T. B* Craighead and others,^' &.c. 

This Commission met the 3d of December, 1805, about 
«lx weeks after its appointment; at the time and place ap< 
pointed. The members were all present except Messrs. 
Oampbell, Henderson, and R. Wilson. Prior to the meeting, 
tjie most ungenerous and unfavourable representations res- 
f»ecting the motives and designs of the Synod were extensive- 
ly spread in the region round about where the Commissioa 



[12.] 

was to meet;— coDsequently, the moat unfavourable impres 
•ions were made od (he minds of the people there. Preju- 
dice, iD her most scowling aspect, had fled lii^e lightning be- 
fore the Commission, and taken her seat in the bosonts of al! 
classes. The Commission was stigmatized with (he unhal- 
lowed name of an "Inquisition," sent down by the Synod to 
destroy the revival of religion, and to cut off all the young 
preachers, because they had not learned Latin and Greek. 
Mr. Rankin, the minister of the place, who afterwards be- 
came a Shaker, delivered an inflammatory address to bis peo- 
ple, on the evening preceding the communion, and in the pre- 
sence of the Commission, accompanied with threats, or Ian* 
gaage indicative of peraooal violence and opposition. The 
most of the members of the Commission were nick-named, and 
given some appellatioD intended either to affix a stigma, or 
confer an encomium, as the fruitful and ingenuous inventors 
thought the individuals were favourable or unfavourable to 
their cause. Under such very unpleasant and forbidding cir- 
cumstances, did the Commission meet and transact their busi- 
ness. 

The second day of tHeir sessions (bey "took under conside- 
jation the case of Mr. James Hawe, as stated in the report 
of the committee" (of the Synod) "and were unanimously of 
opinion that tbe Presbytery had acted illegally in receiving 
him, as a regular minister of the Methodist Republican 
Church, without examinii^ him upon divinity, or requiring 
. him to adopt the Confession of Faith of tbe Presbyteriaa 
Church." (Min. Com. p. 4.) They next invited, and entered 
into a friendly conference with the Presbytery, and thereby, 
together with their records, received all the evidence neces- 
sary to the establishment of tbe "charge of licensing and or- 
daining men to preach the gospel contrary to the rules and 
discipline of the Presbyterian Chuich." Being fully satis- 
fied on this point, "tbe Commission then requested, in a 
friendly manner, the majority of the Cumberland Presbytery 
to give the reasons, wby, in licensing and ordaining persone 



[13] 

to preach the gospel, they required them to adopt the Con^ 
fessioD of Faith so far odIj, as they in reason think it corres* 
ponds witii the scriptures ?" The answer was, "that the Con^ 
fession of* Faith was human composition and fallible, and that 
they could not in conscience feel th«nselves bound any furth- 
er than they believe it corresponds with Scripture," Where- 
upon the Commission adopted th# following preamble and 
resolution: — "Whereas it appears t^ the Commission of Syn- 
od, from the Records of Cumberland Presbytery, from the dis- 
sent of the minority of said Presbytery, and from the open 
confession of those who were at the time of the dissent a 
majority, that they did license a considerable number of men 
to preach the gospel, and administer ordinances in the church, 
contrary to the rules and regulations of the Presbyterian 
Church in such cases made and provided; — and whereas, 
those men have been required by said Presbytery to adopt the 
gaid Confession of Faith and Disdpline of said Church no 
farther than they believe it to be agreeable to the word of 
God, by which no man can know What they believe in matters 
of doctrine; — and whereas^ it is alleged, by said Presbytery, 
that those men possess extraordinary talents, by which they 
have been induced to license and ordain them, without at* 
tending to the method prescribed by the Book of Discipline: 
— therefore, on motion. Resolved, that the Commission of Syn- 
od now proceed to examine those irregularly licensed, and 
those irregularly ordained by Cumberland Presbytery, and 
judge of their qualifications for the gospel ministry." 

To this resolution the majority of the Presbytery, who had 
been active in bringing these young men into the ministry, 
objected, and refused to surrender them to an examination, 
alleging, that ^Hhey had the exclusive privilege of examining 
and licensing their own candidates, and that Synod had no 
right to take the business out of their hands." The young 
men also, when called upon, refused, individually, to submit 
to the examination required, in consequence of all which con- 
duct, the following resolution was adopted by the Commls- 



[ 14 ] 

■ioD, viz: "Resolved, that, as tbe above named pereoDE oerer 
bad regular authority from the Presbytery of Cumberland 
to preach the gospel, Slc. tbe Commiseion of Synod prohibit; 
and they do bereby Bolemnly prohibit the eaid persons from 
exhorting, preaching, and administering ordinances in conse- 
quence of any authority which they lave obtained from the 
Cumberland Presbytery." No further steps were taken by 
the Commission relative to the majority of the Presbytery 
who refused submission to their authority, but to cite them to 
■ppear before the next Synod, to answer for their conduct, 
and likewise to answer to a chaise of common &me, for 
"propagating doctrines contrary to those contained in the 
Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian Church." 

It was by "the record of these proceedings" passing the re- 
view of the General Assembly, that ihey came to tbe knowl- 
edge of them; or, to use their own language, ihat "the mark- 
ed attention of the Assembly was attracted." They pror.oan- 
eed theta "at least of quesUonable regularity," and advised 
the Synod, in a friendly letter written at their annual session! 
in 1807, "serioudy to. review Uiose proceedings." With this 
advice the Synod, without hesjlation, complied, at their an- 
nual meeting in the tall of tbe same year, and the result was, 
a firm adherence to their former proceedings. This was com- 
municated, as the Synod expected, to the neit Assembly, by 
an address containing theit explanations, and defence of their 
former conduct; which, however, through some mismanage- 
ment, or neglect, did not reach the Assembly that year. As 
the Assembly mention this leUer, at a subsequent meeting, as 
a document explaining and defending the proceedings of Syn- 
od "in a respectful and able manner," it is deemed advisable 
here to insert that part of it which relates to the subject in 
band: — it is as follows; 

"The Synod assure the General Assembly that they have 
carefully reviewed their proceedings which were by you 
deemed of questionable regularity, and beg leave to lay be- 



1 15] ^ 

'tore you the result of their proceedings, with a summary of 
the reasons on which they founded their decisions. 

"The attention of the Synod was first directed to the fol- 
lowing question, arising from the Assembly's letter:— Were 
the proceedings of the Synod, in requiring the young men ir- 
regularly licensed and ordained, t6 be given up, regular? 
The Synod determined, by a large majority, that they were 
regular. In support of this decisicft, the Synod offer the fol- 
lowing reasons: — We find that a veij' ^tensive power is con- 
ceded to Synod, by our Book of Discipline, in these words :-^ 
*The Synod hate power to redress whatever hath been done 
by Presbyteries contrary to order.' The Synod do not sup- 
pose they have the power of licensing and ordaining candi- 
dates. This they think is the duty and prerogative of Pres- 
byteries. But the Synod do conceive that, when a Presbyte- 
ry has introduced insufficient men into the ministry, and there 
is evidence to believe that the majority of the Presbytery are 
so disposed as to leave no rational probability that the evil 
will be redressed by them, it becomes the duty of Synod to 
inquire into the qualifications of the persons in question, 
and confirm or disannul their licensure. And inasmuch as 
th6 Book of Discipline has prescribed no form in which Syn- 
od should proceed in redressing disorders of this kind, we 
thought ourselves at liberty to exercise a sound disjcretion, 
and choose that mode which appeared best to us, provided 
we did nothing contrary to our directory, or the decisions of 
the General Assembly. The Synod further observe, that thejr 
were called upon, by a letter containing complaints, and a pe- 
tition, in October, 1804, io issue a matter in dispute between 
the majority and minority of the Cumberland Presbytery. 
The minority, namely, five members, complained, that incom^ 
petent men, and men unsound in the faith, were introduced 
into the gospel ministry. The majority, being six members, 
asserted, that those men possessed extraordinary talents, and 
were competent to the work of the ministry. The only alter- 
natire, therefore, was, either te disregard the dissent and cono- 



, [ 16 ] 

plaint of the minority, or examine the men whose qualifica- 
tions were in question ; fur the Synod cocceived that Ihe man- 
ifestation of their qualifications whs the only evidence on 
which the controversy could be decided. Further, Synod 
thought, that among so many young men, there might be 
found at least a few who would shortly be qualified for the 
office of the gospel ministry, could they be induced to use the 
proper means. The Synod are of opinion, that they did not 
suspend the youn^ men irregularly licensed and ordained, aa 
inlimated in the Asbembly's letter. They think no person 
can be suspended from the exercise of the ministry, who has 
never been regtilarl^ inlrvditced into that sacred office. The 
Synod think, that the persons in question never had any r^- 
lar*(ffft(/in^ as ministers: — therefore, did sjlnpiy /iroAiiif them 
from exhorting, preaching, or administering ordinances, in 
consequence of any authority derived from the Cumberland 
Presbytery, as appears from the record, (p. 93.) 

"Arnther point which ihe Assembly's letter brought under 
the review of the Syuod, was, the conduct of the Commission 
in forbidding the young men irregularly licensed and ordain- 
ed topreach, &c. and without process had in their case. In justi- 
fication of their conduct in this particular, Synod take the li- 
berty to remind you that the irregularity of the licensure of 
these men had been a subject of dispute between the majority 
and the minority of Cumberland Presbytery for more than 
two years. The Presbytery had been cited to appear before 
Synod lo render an account of their licensures. They did 
not appear. The Commission was then appointed, — Ihe re- 
cords of Presbylery were produced, — the open confession of 
the majority was made that the sacred office had been confer- 
ed without regard to Ihe requirements of our discipline, and 
the young men refused to give any evidence of their qualifi- 
cations for the ministry. Synod, therefore, supposed it a 
sacred duly, which they owed to the Church of Jesus Christ, 
to declare, solemnly, that these young men were introduced to 
the important work of preaching the gospel contrary to our 



f 17*] 

institution, and in a manner wbich Imperiously demanded 

their prohibition from every part of the ministry with us. 

Therefore, all the processes were bad which the nature of 

the case admitted.^ 

This matter was again taken trp by the Assembly in 1809, 

accompanied by the foregoing address, with the further ex- 
planations and support of three Coibmissioners from the Syn- 
od. The issue wa^ highly honourable to the Synod, as will 
appear from the following decision of the Assembly on that 
occasion : 

"The Assembly took into consideration a letter from the Syn- 
od of Kentucky; and having carefully reviewed the same, 
and having also read another better from their records, which 
by accident was detained from the last Assembly, were of opin- 
ion, that the Synod have, in these letters, exercised their war 
ifaestionable right of explaining their proceedings, which 
they have done in a respectful and able manner, and to the AiH 
satisfaction of this Assembly: and the Assembly think it due 
to the Synod, to say, that they deserve the thanks of the 
Church for the firmness and zeal, with which they have act- 
ed, in the trying circumstances in which they have been pla- 
4:ed.'' {Assemhlifs DigesiU p^ 140.) This decision was highly 
favourable to the interests of our Church. It strengthened 
the hands of the Synod, whose censure and condemnation 
had been eagerly desired, and Jealously sought after, by the 
friends and abettors of the Cumberland Presbytery, without 
any proper acknowledgment, on their part, of their irregular- 
ities and ecclesiastical aberrations, or even appearing before 
the Assembly in an attitude to enable that Judicature. to 
form a legal decision. This will appear from the following 
extract of a letter, addressed by the Assembly, to Mr. 
M'Adow and others, in 1807: — ^"Brethren, the Assembly have 
received your address, in which you inform them, that (he 
Synod of Kentucky have suspended you from the ministerial 
crffice, and in which you request this A3sembly to interpose 

'{n your case without delay. The Assembly are grieved at 

3 



Ci«J 

M^ing Qiatany unb^py (JiffereDces exist io Ibat part «r tfi«- 
Church of Christ in which you reside. The conduct of the 
■Presbytery of Cumberland, in licensing and ordaioiog a num- 
l)er of persons not possessing the qualifications required bj.- 
our Book of Discipline, and mthml ei^licit adiptioa of the 
Gmfanon of Faith, appears to have been Ibe origin ol the, 
evils .of which you now complain. The Assembly ace con- 
strained to express their decided disapprobation of this con- 
duct, as being highly irregular and tincorulittUional) leading t» 
the most dangerous consequences. But inasmuch as yoa 
have not regularly appealed to ikis Assembly, they do not con- 
sider themselves as called judicially to decide in your case 
The Assembly have advised the Sj'nod of Kentucky to re- 
view Ibeir proeeedings with regard to you^and to their de- 
cision we refer you.-" 

The Synod did review their proceed'mgST as we hare seenr- 
and the result was, a firm adherence to their former proceed- 
ings, which ultimately gained the approbation of the Aasero^ 
bly, as has also been shown. The complaining party nevec 
appeared before the Assembly in the attitude of appellants* 
and consequently they could pass no judicial decision in tbeii* 
- case. It sooD became more and more evident, that the regu- 
lar course was not the one by which they desired to obtaitt 
redress, otherwise they might have adopted it, seeing iC 
was perfectly open and plain. Time and circumstances have 
long ago fully es lab I is bed the correctness of the course 
pursued by the higher judicatories in arresting the "highly 
irregular and unconstitutional" conduct of the Cumberland 
Presbytery. Even tlieir distant advocates at leagth became 
silent, and gave »p all hopes of ever reclaiming them to the 
BoiMid and correct SaWh and discipline of the Presbyterian 
Church. 

Such was the disjointed and enfeebled state of things in 
the Cumberland Presbytery, that the Synod found it neces- 
sary to dissolve it; which they did accordingly, at their 
meeting in October, 1806, and annexed the regular members of 



.,-J 



I « 1 

"Trhich it was compoaed to the Presbytery of Transylvania* 
2knd at their next meeting, in 1807, all the unfinished busi- 
ness, arising out of the late Cumberland Presbytery, em1)ra« 
•ing the case of those under suspension by the Synod, and 
those under citation, was transfered to the aforesaid Presby;' 
tery of Transylvania; who, at their semi-annual meeting, in 
October following, adopted what they conceived to be the 
most pacific, friendly, and eligible course that possibly could 
be devised in matters of such magnitude, involved too, as 
they were, in mazes of great perplexity and difficulty. They 
therefore addressed the following letter to Messrs. Hodge, 
Rankin, M'Gready, M'Gee, and M'Adowj — the two first were 
under suspension by the Synod, and the rest under citation. 

'fDear Brethren, 

"We are anxious to see you, and have a friendly 
Interview with you respecting the difficulties which exist in 
your case. The Synod of Kentucky have directed us to en- 
deavour to settle the business which lay before them respect- 
ing you. We hope you will meet with us at Glasgow, in 
Barren County, on Wednesday the 23d day of March next, 
-and bring with you as many of those men who were declared 
\ij the Commission to be destitute of authority to preach the 
gospel, as you may think proper, that they may be sharers in 
the friendly interview. May the Lord direct us, and heal 
every disorder. Farewell." 

At the time and place appointed the Presbytery met, and 
Mr. Hodge appeared alone on that occasion. With him the 
Presbytery had a friendly interview, and to use their own 
language, *'after seven hours spent in conference with Mc 
Hodge, in a friendly and familiar way, without coming to any 
certain determination relative to his case,'' ^"and he wish- 
ing further time to deliberate on this matter, Presbytery, in 
conformity to a particular ajid final request of Mr. Hodge, — 
that they should write him and his brethren in connection a 
letter, stating the terms on which a reconciliation could be 
effected," a§re,e.d to address the following;^ 



"I)ear Sir, 

"Agreeably to your request, Presbytery bava thoHghfr 
proper to address you by letter, and tbrough yoo, all thoee 
likewise who are interested with you. We again renew oar 
declaration of an earnest solicitude and unfeigned anxiety, 
that the unhappy breach which has taken place between us 
may be healed, and the present existing differences removed. 
And as you have requested a direct and formal statement 
from us of the terms on which that desirable and important 
object may be effected; — ^we, with the same friendly spirit 
that was manUested in our late conference, and we hope with 
that honesty and integrity of heart which ought to actuate 
the servants of our Divine Lord and Master, do proceed to 
itate those terms and requisitions, which, to descend to the 
lowest stage of accommodation, we think are necessary. And 
in tfae first place, as to yourself, we think Uie ground of your 
suspension by the Synod, just, and consequently the reasons 
Sit that procedure right and proper. With this impression, 
we aonceive that your restoration ran only be effected by a 
proper acknowledgment of the faith, and submission to the 
suthority of our Church, as contained in our Book of Disci- 
pline, to which you are referred. The same will be required 
of those brethren who are yet under citation for not submit- 
ting to the authority of Synod as exercised by their Commis- 
sion. Any thing less than this, would subject us to the cen-. 
sure of that body, a part of which we compose, and of whose 
adjudications, in the case of the late Cumberland Prsshytery, 
we approve. 

"In the next place, vi(h regard to the young men licensed 
and ordained by the aforesaid Presbytery, we do humbly con- 
ceive, that a formal examination of them, respecting doctrine 
and discipline, is indispensable, as the only way, under pres- 
ent circumstances, for us to be salisfied, as a Presbytery, res- 
pecting their sentiments, and consequently, whether w« are 
agreed in points of doctrine, without which a union would be 
iiiconsistenf, and afford no security for further peace wid bar- 



t «* 1 

mony in the Churdk From hence it may be readily Inferred 
that an unequivocal adoption of our Confession of Faith is at 
10 iodispensablek This woald only be placing thena upon the 
same ground upou which we ourselves stand, and any other 
could not be advisable or desirable to either those young men, 
or ourselves* For them to adopt the Confession only inpart^ 
and we in thi^ wkole^ would by no means, in our opinion, e^ 
feet a anion according to truth and reality ,—^and we conceive 
a mere nomiaal union *Would not prove a sufficient security 
against future difficulties* And whatever inference may be 
drawn by others respecting what is called fatality, from our 
views as expressed in the Confession respecting the Divine 
sovereignty in the decree of predestination and election, we 
conceive, that no such conclusion can follow from the premi* 
^es as there laid down* After our desires, that the great head 
o( the Church may interpose and direct you and us, to that 
which is right and proper, with every sentiment of concilia- 
tion and esteem, you have our best wishes for your welfare 
here, and happiness in a change of existence." 

This measure produced the' desired effect in part; for on 
the 6th day of December following the Presbytery met at 
Greensburg, for the special purpose of restoring Mr. Hodge 
and others, as will appear from the following minute on their 
records: — "Mr. Hodge appeared before Presbytery, and in- 
formed them, that he came forward as an individual, and 
made such statements, acknowledgments, professions of sor- 
row for past irregularities, together with a determination to 
submit to the authoritf and discipline of our Church,— and 
that he fully and unequivocally adopted and adhered to the 
Confession," &c. that he was without hesitation restored to 
bis former standing in the ministry. There were also pres- 
ent two of the persons irregularly licensed and ordained by 
the late Cumberland Presbytery. The mild, indulgent, and 
paci&c conduct of Presbytery towards these men, will be am- 
ply manifested from the record of their proceedings, as follows: 

^'Messrs. Thomas Nelson and Samuel Hodge, two of the 



[22] 

^nng men formerly licensed and ordained bj the late Cum- 
berland Presbytery, and prohibited by the CommisgioD of Syix' 
od, came forward and expressed their desire to submit them- 
■elvea to the wisdom and discretion of this Preabytety:^ 
Whereupon, Presbytery proceeded to consider their case, 
and lengthily and particularly examined them so far as was 
tiiougbt expedient; and on account of the difference of their 
situation from that of ordinary candidates, Presbytery thought 
■ft unnecessary to record the parts of trial in detail, and being 
satisfied with Messrs Nelson and Hodge, in respect of their 
doctrinal qualifications for the gospel ministry, their aptness 
to teach, and after their adopting the Confession of Faith and 
Discipline of cur Church, and promising, in a solemn man- 
ner, conformity lo the rules and regulations of the Church, 
and Bubmision to their brethren in the Lord, — their former li- 
censure and ordination were recognized and confirmed unani- 
mously, and they were authorized to exercise all the functions 
»r the gospel ministry agreeably lo the rules of our Church. 
They were consequently recognized as members of this Pres- 
bytery, and invited to take their seats, which they did acctird- 
ingly." 

After this, it is truly astonishing, that any accusation or 
complaint should ever lie against the Presbytery and the Syn- 
od, that all etibrts for reconciliation, &c. were fruitless and 
Dnavailing. Sorely candour cannot bring such a railing ac- 
cusation, and credulity itsqlf will not believe it. The return 
of Messrs. Hodge and M'Gready lo the order and discipline of 
our Church; — their unreserved submission to and cordial ac- 
knowlegment of its authority and doctrines, and the final apos- . 
tacy of Mr. Rankin to the abominations of Shakerism, de- 
prived the complaining party of the three principal leaders 
and promoters of the irregularities that caused the interfe- 
rence of Synod. None of the old members now remained, of 
that parly, except Messrs. William M'Gee and Samue| 
M'Adow, who were both under citation for their non-submis- 
sion to the authority of Synod, for which Messrs. Hodge and 



f 23} 

Rankin had been suspended by the Synod. The suspension 
of Mr. M'Adow, by the Transylvania Presbytery, took place 
on the 5th of April, ISIO, and that of Mr. M'Gee shortly af^ 
terwards, by the Presbytery of Muhlenburgh. Prior to these 
events, the complainants had excited the sympathy, and en- 
listed the support of distant individuals, as their friends. 
Their cries were very loud and reiterated against the Synod 
#f Kentucky, which had been, in their estimation, very disor- 
defly in violating the constitution and discipline of the 
Church. They used every ungenerous effort, and adopted 
every irregular method, to obtain the censure and condemna- 
tion of the Synod, without one single acknowledgment of er- 
ror and irregularity on their part. The Assembly could only 
peach the Synod and bring them before her through the re- 
eord of their proceedings; but the complaining party, as we 
have seen, never did, and appeared cautiously to avoid ap- 
pearing before the Assembly by way of appeal, or in any oth- 
«r way whereby a judicial decision could be obtained. They 
formed, and for some time continued in what they denomina- 
ted, a"CounciV until on the 4th day of February, 1810, they 
were constituted into Presbyterial form by Samuel M'Adow, 
Finis Ewing, and Samuel King, who, in Buck's Dictionary, 
have styled themselves, '^regularly ordained ministers of the 
Presbyterian Church," notwithstanding the General Assem- 
bly, in their letter to M'^Adow and others, in 1 807, almost 
three years before, declared that very act of the Presbytery 
in licensing and ordaining Ewing, King, and others, without 
eicplicit adoption of the Confession of Fdith^ as being highly zr- 
regular and unconstitutionaL {See Assembly's Digest, p. 139.) 
These two last named persons were, in consequence of their 
irregular induction into the ministry, laid under a prohibition 
"by the Commission of Synod, which they without foundatioa 
call an ^^unconstitutiond act," alleging, that "they only pro* 
hibited from the exercise of an authority derived from' Cum- 
berland Presbytery, whereas, they niaiutain, that "it was the 
Transylvania Presbytery that licensed this Mr. jawing and 



f24] 

King to preach the gospe V and that, "therefore^ their licens^. 
at least remains untouched hy any church judicature,''*' 
This, to say the least of it, is a mere quibhie, and exhibits at 
once the weakness and fallacy of th« plea for regular ordina- 
tion. We have already seen how these men were licensed hf 
a "large majority" of Transylvania Presbytery, a few days 
only before its division, and while entirely under the con* 
troul of that section who were, in consequence of that divi- 
aion, called Cumberland Presbytery. JVommalfy^ therefore,, it 
was Transylvania Presbytery who licensed Ewing and King; 
but virtually^ it was the Presbytery of Cumberland, being the 
very same members who, after the division, were called by 
that name; and o/^cta//y, it w^as that Presbytery who after- 
wards ordained them; and both as to licensure and ordination 
it was the illegal act^ (no matter by what name the Presbyte- 
ry was called,) that really was condemned by the Synod, 
whose conduct was approved by the General Assembly. So 
that every candid man, in any measure acquainted with our 
ecclesiastical authority and discipline, must judge, with what 
propriety tjiese two men could be styled "regularly ordained 
ministers of the Presbyterian Church," especially when that 
Church, by her highest judicature, has disavowed the recog- 
nition of those Presbyterial acts, whether done by Transylva- 
nia or Cumberland Prebytery ; and declared them to be high* 
ly irregular and unconstitutionaL A mere omission or inadver- 
tence in the name of the Presbytery, surely cannot be plead 
by honest men, as validating an illegal act^ which the higher 
judicatories all along meant to condemn. These observations 
will be further confirmed by bringing to view here the real 
ground on which these people, as a religious community, are 
viewed by the Genei'al Assembly, expressed in the Extracts 
from their minutes of 1814, and the Digest, p. 157. "The 
Committee to which was referred the consideration of the 
manner in which certain persons should be treated, who for- 

*Reply to a Pastoral Letter of West Teoaefse Presbytery, p. SS> 



meAj lielonged to the Camberland Presbytery, and who, slndfe 
:tbe dissc^uH^n of said Pre«bytery, continue to style thenb 
selves the Cumberland Presbytery, reported; and their r6- 
|)ort being read, was adopted, and is as follows, viz: 

*'Th2ft*those persons were under the censure of the church 
at the time of their constituting as a Presbytery, — that they 
had neglected to take the regular steps for the removal of 
that censure, — that they erected themselves into a judi- 
catory contrary to the rules of our discipline, — that the 
grounds of -the separation from us were, that we would not 
relax our discipline, and surrender some important doctrines 
of our Confession of Faith: — Wherefore, Resolved, that the 
aforesaid persons be viewed as having derived no authority 
from us to exercise discipKne, or administer the ordinances 
of the Cburcb, and ^at out regular members -cannot treat 
with them ats a body, but only as individuals*^''^ 

This is the filial conclusion ef the Assembly, and the last 
^entimient they ever expressed on this subject Jt is clear and 
oxf^icit, and leaves the matter just where it should be, and 
Afyliere it is likely to rest. The legality and authority of the 
Commission of Synod, as a court of Chri«t, cannot be justly 
questioned* And if it should be, its proceedings have been 
sanctioned and confirmed, both by the Synod and General 
AsseR)bly; atid therefore, the conclusion is fair, that the ori- 
gin of the present Cumberland Presbyterians, as an ecclesi- 

*lt Is the opinion of some that there is good and legitimate 
or4in?fction among those of the self-made Cumberland Pres- 
bytery, or, as now styled. Synod. Without saying any thing 
more on this point than we have said, we would state that ac- 
cording to their own documents and acknowledgements, they 
cannot be recognized as any^ branch or section of the Presb^te- 
jnan Chuijch, because they have set aside some of the import- 
ant doctrines and regulations which belong to legitimate or- 
dination in said Church* If they have legitimately ordained 
ministers among them, they have them not according to Pres- 
byterian rules, and therefore we are certainly correct in dis- 
owning thecBu 



[26 3 

astical body of the Presbyterian order, ia spurious and ille- 
gitimate, inasmuch as two of the ministers wh6 organized 
and constituted their first Presbytery, were not only illegally 
and unconstitutionally prdained at first, but likewise that ordi* 
nation itself pronounced null and void by our highest judicature* 
several years anterior to the event. Their line of ordina- 
tion cannot, therefore, upon sound and correct ecclesiastical 
principles, be traced to a legitimate source. 

It is moreover due to the cause of truth and candoUr, as 
well as to our church at large, and the public generally, to 
correct a statement, or solemnly disavow the truth of a 
statement, widely circulated in the account given of the Cum^ 
berland Presbyterians in "Buck's Theological Dictionary," 
(fifth edition, by W. W. Woodward, p. 419.) It is there sta-r 
ted, that the '^Commission exhibited many charges, &c. all 
of which were chiefly comprized in the two following, viz: — 
1st. Licensing men to preach the gospel who had not been, 
examined on the languages. 2d. That those men who were 
licensed, both learned and less learned, had been only requi- 
red to adopt the Confession of Faith partially, that is, as far 
as they believed it to agree with the word of God." This 
latter charge is true, but the former is not. And for the truth 
of this disavowal, we appeal to the testimony of those mem" 
bers of the Commission qf Synod who are yet living. We 
appeal to the records of that Commission, where no such 
charge can be found specified or tabled against the Presbyte- 
ry on that occasion. We appeal to the fact of the Transyl- 
vania Presbytery's having subsequently, under the connivance 
and approbation of the Synod, received two of those 
young men alluded to in the statement in question. And we 
appeal to the expressions of the Synod, in their explanation 
and defence to the General Assembly already given, which 
says: "Further, Synod thought that among so many young 
men there might be found at least a few, who would shortly 
be qualified for theofiice of the gospel ministry, could they be 
induced to use the proper means." It is therefore denied 



T27 3 

|hat the charge under consideration is true. Admitting, how 
ever, the truth of the statement, the Synod entertain no fears 
that any disorder, disgrace, or odium, has ever been attached 
to their cause on that account. Nor are they willing to be- 
lieve that any correct, judicious, and orderly Presbyterian, 
either of the clergy or laity, ever thought the less of the Com- 
mission, or even for a moment called iri question their conduct 
in point of orthodoxy or discipline, by reading in Buck's Dic- 
tionary the charges before mentioned. And while the pro- 
gress of Theological Seminaries and Education Societies 
maintain their course, and the increasing thirst and demand 
for an able and orthodox ministry continues in our Church, 
she has thereby afibrded unto her an ample pledge, that the 
aforesaid charges will never diminish her credit nor tarnish 
her glory. And this is one principal reason why she has been 
so long tardy or indifferent respecting her disavowal of the 
correctness of the statement in question. 

The article in Buck's Dictionary further says: "As to the 
first ground of complaint, the Presbytery not only pled the 
exception in the Discipline in ^extraordinary cases,' but also 
the example of a number of Presbyteries in different parts of 
the United States." This declaration is based upon a false 
construction of discipline, and consequently the reference to 
Presbyterial precedents is irrelevant. The "extraordinary 
cases," called "the exception in the Discipline," refer not to 
the literary qualifications of the candidate, but to the term of 
time allotted for his theological studies^. The words are: "That 
the most effectual measures be taken to guard against the ad- 
mission of insufficient men into the sacred office, it is recom- 
mended, that no candidate, (except in extraordinary cases,) 
be licensed, unless after his having completed the usual course 
of academical studies, he shall have studied divinity at least 
two years* (Form of Gov. Chap. xiii. Sec. 4.) The plain con- 
struction is this ; that after academical studies, no man should 
be licensed, without having studied divinity at least two years^ 
except in extraordinary cases* This is also the idea conveyed 



p28T 

ill the margin of former editions of the Discipline opposite 
the article under consideration. Some men of literary quali* 
fications, of sound faith, of public habits, and of advanced 
age, might in such extraordinary cases, be licensed probably 
in six months after becoming candidates. Bat the conduct of 
the Cumberland Presbytery, as it respected extraordinary ca- 
ses, was certainly unprecedented. They had nearly thirty 
such cases, according to their construction of that article of 
the Discipline, and the moat extraordinary cas^ of all, ai^d' 
which exhibited a perfect anomaly in Presbyterianism, wa& 
that of James Hawe, "the regular member of the Methodist;. 
Republican Church." And if we predicate their practice 
upon the same rule of construction,, their cases have all been^ 
extraordinary to Jhis day, i. e. their licentiates^, without lite- 
rary qualifications, are, generally, if not ail, men of extraordi^ 
nary talents. Such a rule is so vague and unceKain, that it 
may be applied equally to one society, as another, even where 
no pretensions to literary qualifications are set up.. These 
observations are not designed either to impugn or call ift 
question the motives and conduct of those Presbyteries who 
have occasionally introduced men, destitute, in part at least^ 
of literary qualifications, into the ministry. Such cases/how- 
ever, rarely happen; and no Presbytery in the United States 
has ever afforded such a precedent as is pleaded for by the 
author of the article in Buck's Dictionary. It is therefore to^- 
be regretted, in so far as candour and truth are concerned^ 
that such an article, bearing upon its front the indubitable 
marks of insincerity and untruth, should ever have been ad- 
mitted hy an American Publisher into an originad work, witlH 
out the privity or sanction of the author; and thereby afford 
an almost unlimittcd currency to a statement so exceptionable, 
and at least, as it resjKJcts some parts of it, so unfounded in 
truth. Such a conduct was ungenerous towards the author 
of that highly and deservedly popular work; and also clearly 
unauthorized by modesty, as well as the dictates of prudences, 
and sound policy. IJqually s^ is the conduct of the Cumber- 



[29} 

land Synod, as they are termed, in which, to use their own. 
words, they ^^have ventured to model, to expunge, and to add 
to, the Confession of the General Presbyterian Church." In 
doing which, they have not only mutilated our Confession, 
and altered our Shorter Catechism, which thereby has shared 
the same fate, and consequently greatly marred its beautiful 
symmetry, its just proportion, and harmony of its parts; but al- 
so, by such conduct, have manifested a lack of independence, 
of modesty, and of generosity; and have moreover displayed 
a hardihood and temerity, in garbling and mangling those 
works, that no people ever thought of, or attempted before. 
With such a book, modelled, expunged, and added according to 
thetr own taste and fancy^ and adopted as a symbol of their 
faith, with the imposing and beguiling name of Presbyterian^ it 
is not to be wondered at that a number of our connection, em- 
igrating to those parts within the range of these people, 
should readily be imposed upon, and beguiled into their com- 
munion as a matter either of convenience or indifference, be- 
cause of the supposed affinity and simUarily held up to view 
between the orthodoxy and discipline of the two connections. 
It is deemed our duty, therefore, to make known to all who 
have a predilection for, and wish to retain their standing in 
the Presbyterian Church, that it is their duty to adhere to our 
Confession of Faith and Catechisms, in their original and un- 
broken form, as all along delivered to them; and likewise to 
our late Improved, and highly approved Form of Government 
and Discipline, ^^as amended and ratified by the General As- 
sembly in May, 1821." In doing this they will avoid the 
charge of inconsistency; they will not jeopardize their own 
standing in their Church, but will continue to promote its in- 
terests; will add strength to themselves towards obtaining a 
stated ministry according to their desire, and will avoid th^ 
imputation of being connected with a people whose origin 
and standing ij at least of queationaWe itsgnlarity*,. 



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