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1V(« SllMlnsffa/^ 

^.^ PRINCETON, N. J. ^^^ 

Purchased by the 
Mrs. Robert Lenox Kennedy Church History Fund 

BX 8999 .A82 L3 1882 
Lathan, R., 1829-1896. 
History of the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the Sout 




OCT 8 1936 



Associate Reformed Synod 




A History of the Associate Presbyterian 


Reformed Pbesbyteriah Churches. 






Kiitcrcd, according to Act of Congress, in the year l.S,S:3, 


In till' OHice of the Librarian of Con2;ress, at Washinutnn. !). (' 


ganic existence for one hundred years. Still its origin and 
liistoryare scarcel}^ known to any outside of its pale, and but poorly 
known to many inside. The reason of this is obvious. No contin- 
uous hietor}' of the denomination has ever been given to the world. 
Sketches of detached portions have, on various occasions, been pub- 
lished, but the Church as a whole has no written histor3^ The 
Synod of the South has been singularly neglected, in that no one 
has either had the time, or the means, or the inclination to trace its 
rise and progress. The following is an effort to supply a long-felt 
want. The attempt has been made to trace the history of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church from its rise in the first Secession, in 1733, 
under the Erslvines, down to the present time. The facts haA'ebeen 
gleaned from every source accessible. Neither expense nor labor 
have been regarded. The principal authorities consulted and drawn 
upon are McKerrow's Histor}^ of the Secession, Gibb's Display,, 
Reid's History of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, Hethering- 
ton's History of the Church of Scotland, Struther's History of Scot. 
land, Woodrow's Histor}- of the Sufferings of the Church of Scot- 
land, Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly, Bail- 
lie's Letters and Journal, Crookshank's Works, besides a number 
of minor works. 

In that part which refers more immediately to the history of the 
formation of the Associate Reformed Church, and especially to the 
histor}'- of the Synod of the South, the principal authorities are the 
original docuiuents. The minutes of the Associate Presbytery of 
Pennsylvania, the minutes of the Associate Reformed Synod, the 
minutes of the General S3^nod, the minutes of the Synod of the 
South, and the various deliverances made by these ecclesiastical 
bodies, have been relied upon for facts. In addition to these, re. 
course was had to old, must}^ pamphlets which had long since found 
a resting place in garrets and waste-boxes. 


An eftbrt was made, with what success we cannot sa}', to render 
each part complete in itself, and at the same time to preserve the 
unit3' of the parts. This invoh-ed a considerable amount of repe- 

To a number of individuals, the author desires to return his sin- 
cere thanks for favors. To Drs. John Forsyth, Joseph T. Cooper 
and Thomas Sproul, he is under many obligations ; but especially 
he is under obligations to Dr. James B. Scouller, of Js'ewville, I'a. 
From Dr. James Boyce, of Due West, S. C, he received much 
valuable aid and encouragement. It would be an act of lasting 
ingratitude were he not to mention his indebtedness to D,r. R. A. 
Koss, his co-Presbyter, who, hour after hour, sat patiently hearing 
the manuscript read. 

Whether the work is a success or failure, the author cannot tell. 
The reader must judge. Its preparation has been a work of great 
labor, but of intense delight. Should it prove worthy of public 
support, it will be followed b}' another volume, containing a history 
of each of the congregations in the Associate Reformed Synod, 
and a biographical sketch of all its ministers, both living and 
dead. R. L. 


Table of Contents, 


Divisions in tlio Cliurcli— Tlie Associate Reformed Presbyterian Clnircli— History of 
tlie Associate Presbytery— Its Adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith- 
Origin not a Difficulty about Communion or Psalmody— The Relief Church- 
Church of Scotland Previous to 1733— Recissory Act— Presbyterian ^Ministers 
Ejected- Presbyterians Forbidden to Preach— James II. Abdicated tlie Throne— 
'• KillingTime'"— William of Orange— General Assembly Meets— Presbyterianism 
Restored— Its Charactcr-Cameronians— Causes which Led to the Organization of 
Associate Presbytery— Christianity Introduced into Scotland— Form of Church 
Government— Donald I. Baptized— Druids Succeeded by the Culdees— Paladius 
Sent to Scotland— Lollards of Kyle— Culdees Suppressed— The Retormation— 
First Confession of Faitli— Revolutionary Settlement— Its Defects— The Society 
Folk— Cameron and Cargill— Declaration of the Cameronians— Results of Seces- 
sion—The Second Cause of Secession— Church of Scotland Calvanistic— Doctrinal 
Notions of those who Composed it after the Revolutionary Settlement— Bishop 
Burnet's Statement— Character of Presbyterian Ministers— The Auchterarder 
Proposition— Craig Refuses to Subscribe it— Professor Simson's Doctrines— Gene- 
ral Assembly Favor Him— He is not Censured. — p. 5 to p. 26. 


-■• Marrow"' Con t rovers j'— The Author of "The Marrow of IModern Divinity"— Intro- 
duced into Scotland— Republished bj' Rev. James Hog— Excited Great Opposi- 
tion—Severely Criticised by Principal Haddow— Defended by Thomas Boston- 
Commission of tlie General Assembly— '-The Marrow of Modern Divinity"' Re- 
ferred to the Commission— Action of the Commission— Summon before them 
Hog, Hamilton, Brisbane and Warden— Report of the Commission-" The Marrow 
of Modern Divinity"' Condemned by the Assembly- The Eftect upon the People- 
Attempt to Again Bring the Matter before the Assembly—" Marrow" Men called 
" Representers " — Summoned Before the Commission— Twelve Questions— An- 
swers— Characters of the Answers p. 27 to p. 61. 


The Effect of the "Marrow" Controversy on the Church— Professor Simson Denies 
the Necessary Existence of .Jesus Christ— Is Tried by the Presbytery of Glasgow — 
His Case is Brought before the General Assembly— Charges all Proved— The 
Church Greatly Corrupted— Blasphemous Doctrines— Professor Simson"s Case 
Ended, 1729— Many were Grieved on Account of the Leniency Shown Him by the 
Assembly— The "Marrow" Men Protest— Effect Nothing— Patronage— Its Origin- 
Presbyterian Mode of Settling Vacant Congregations— The Manner Previous to 
the Secession— Patronage Law Revived by Charles II.— Abolished in 1688— Re- 
stored in 1711— Clergy in Favor of the .Patronage Act— The Assembly Appoints 
" Riding Committees"' to Settle Pastors— Tlae " Riding Committees'' Call out the 
Military to Assist Them— The Overture of 1731 Designed to Crush out the Rights 
of the People— The Overture Rejected by the Presbyteries, but Adopted by the Gen. 
eral Assembly— Character of the General Assembly— The Overture the Proximate 
Cause of the Secession— Robert Stark Forcibly Placed over the Congregation of 
Kinross— Ebenezer Erskine's Sermon — Adam Ferguson Moved the Appointing of 
a Committee to Consider the Sermon— Objection Stated by the Committee— Ser- 
mon Published— The Objectionable Passages Scriptural— Mr. Erskine Defends 


Himself— Tlie Kiiigsliipof Clirist Offensive to tlie Majority— Mr. Erskine'.s Defi- 
nition of a Call— Adlieres to his Notes— Mr. Erskine Censured by the Synod of 
Perth and Sterling— Twelve Ministers and two Elders Protest— Mr. Erskine i.s 
Ordered to be Rebuked in April— He Refuses to be Rebuked and Presents a Pa- 
per—General As.sembly met in May, 1733— Mr. Erskine's Protest Brought Before 
the Assembly— The Assembly Order Mr. Erskine to be Rebuked— He Declared he 
Could not .Submit — Protests of Wilson, Moncrieffand Fisher— Assembly Refuse<l 
to Hear the Protest Read— Protest Fell on the Floor— Is Read by Naesmith— Ex- 
citement in the Assembly— Protesters Sent for— Act of ]T3:i— Protesters Brought 
Before the Assembly— Ordered Before theCommis.sion in August- The Protesters 
Appear Before the Commission— Are not Permitted to Defend Them.selves— Divi- 
sion in the Commission— Protesters Suspended— Intense Interest Felt Throughout 
Scotland— Petitions Sent to the Commission— Commission Meet in November. 
1733— Higher Censure Inflicted by the Commission upon the Protesters— The Pro- 
testers Received the Sympathy of Many in the Church— They did not Secede, but 
were Violently Thrust Out- Meet at Oairney Bridge and Organize the Associate 
Presbytery.— 1». 62 to p. 89. 


Reformed Presbyterians Called by Different Names: Covenanters. Cannronians, 
Society People and Strict Presbyterians — Covenanters not Distinct! ve— The 
Church of Scotland a Cosenanting Church— Frequently Entered into Covenant 
with God— Fluctuations in the Church of Scotland— First Relormation— Culdees 
Suppressed— Moral Darkness— Lollards of Kyle— First Confession of Faith— Na- 
tional Covenant— Presbyterianism Established by Act of Parliament— Elizabeth 
Died — James VI. Beeomes King— English Dissenters— Millenary Petition— Hamp- 
ton Court — James Abuses the Puritans— Character of James— Westminster As- 
sembly— Conlcssion of Faith Ratified by tlie Church of Scotland— Charles I. Put 
to Death— Charles II. Crowned— Cromwell Dies — Charles II. Brought Back— 
"Killing I'eriod"— Origin of Reformed Presbyterians— Parties in the Church of 
Scotland— Charles F'>xhumes the Bones of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw— Ap- 
jirehends the Marquis of Argyle— Argyle Put to Death— Guthrie Executed— Res- 
cissory Act Passed— Drinking Parliament— Three Thousand Ministers Ejected— 
Twenty Thousand Presbyterians Put to Death— Cameronians would Make no 
Compromise— Rise o! the Strict Presbyterians, 1079— Order to Apprehend Welsh. 
Cameron. l)ouglass ami Kid— Murder of Archbishop Sharp— Persecutions on Ac- 
count of Roljert Hamilton— Rutherglen Declaration— Battle of Drumclog— Both- 
well Bridge— Queensferry Paper— The Three Presbyterian Ministers, Cameron, 
Cargill and Douglass— Cameron Killed, 1680— Cargill Executed, 1681— Society Peo- 
ple Send Young Men to Holland to Receive Ordination— Alexander Peden, James 
Renwick, Alexander Shields, Thomas Boyd and David Houston— Peden's Body 
Exhumed and Insulted— Renwick, the Last of the Scotch Martyrs-^Cameronian 
Principles — Prince of Orange— Linning, Boyd and Shields Join the National 
Church— Houston Without Influence— Religious Instruction Among the Society 
People— First Meeting of the Society |). 90 to p. 105. 


Reformed Presbyterians, Continued— The Rev. John McMillan Adopts the .Senti- 
ments of the Cameronians— Is Deposed— Covenanters Improperly Called McMil- 
lanites— McMillan's Congregation Cling to Him- General Meeting of the .Society 
People, in October, 1706— Call Presented to Mr. Mc:Millan— Begins his Pastoral 
Labors in 1707— Union of England and Scotland— Society People Opposed the 
Union— The Rev. John McNeil Joins the .Society People— Protestation and Testi- 
mony of the United Societies— Sanquhar Declaration— Objections to the Union of 
England and .Scotland— Protestation and Appeal— Religious and Political Parties 
in .Scotland— Friends of the Pretenders and Foes of the House of Hanover— Re- 
newing the Covenants— The Rev. John McMillan Defective as an Organizer- John 
McNeil Never Ordained— Efforts to Organize a Presbytery— Adamson, McHen- 
dry, Taylor and Gilchrist Deposed— Society People Attempt to Form a LTnion 
with Them— Also, with the '• Marrow" Men— Thomas Nairn Leaves the Associate 


Presbytery and Joins the Society People— Tlie Reformed Presbytery Constituted 
Ausriist 1st, 1743— Xairn Returns to the XationalChurch— Doctrines of the Society 
People— Political Opinions— Covenanters Come to America— Sent to New Jersey- 
Lord Pit loch y— Covenanters Scatter Over the Country— Their Number and Places 
of Residence in Scotland— Begin to Emigrate to America— Form Societies in 
America— First General Meeting at Middle Octoraro, March 41h, 1744— Covenant- 
ers Joined by Rev. Alexander Craighead— Mr. Craighead's Difficulties— His Con- 
gregation Called " Craighead Society"— Mr. Craighead Publishes a Pamphlet- 
Thomas Cookson Complains to the Synod of Philadelphia— The Synod Condemn 
the Pamphlet— The Rev. John Cuthbertson Comes to America— Mr. Cuthbertson"s 
Labors— First Communion— The Rev. Alexander McDowell and Mr. Cuthbertson 
Labor Together— Revs. Linn and Dobbin Come to America— Reformed Presbytery 
Constituted— Synod Organized— Division in the Sjnod.— 1>. 106 to p. IIS. 


Associate Presbytery Unpopular— A few Ministers in the National Church Friends 
of the Associate Presbytery— The Erskine Party Loosed from their Pastoral Re- 
lations— The Dominant Party Frightened— .\cts of As.sembly Annulled— Popular 
Movement— Assembly's Act in Reference to the Return of the Erskine Party- 
Synod of Perth and Stirling Restore the Seceders— Ebenezer Erskine Elected 
Moderator— People Desired the Secession Party to Return— Established Church— 
Tlie Secession Party Could not Return— Mr. Wil.son Perplexed— Seceders Sum- 
moned Before the Assembly— Appear asa Presbyterj-—Their Declinature— Action 
of the Assembly— Seceders Reluctantly Leave the Establi.shed Cliurch— They had 
ro Alternative- Mr. John Hunter Licensed— Andrew Clarkson Licensed— Thonia.s 
Nairn Joins the A.ssociate Presbytery— John Hunter Ordained— He Dies in 1740— 
James Thompson Joins the Associate Presbytery— James Mair and Adam Beugo 
Join tlie Associate Presbytery— They are Ordained Ministers in 1740— Growth of 
the Associate Presbytery— Strict Discipline— No Patronage— No Ruling Elders 
for Four Years— First Elders— Presbyterian Order— Theological Professor Chosen. 
— 1». 119 to p. 131. 


Important Facts Connected With the History of Associate Presbytery— Associate 
Synod Organized— Burgess Oath—Controversy Respecting Nairn Difficulty— 
Nairn Joins Cameronians— Returns to the National Church— Design of the Bur- 
gess Oath— American Government— Cameronians and Seceders Quarrel— Division 
ill the Associate Synod— Anti-Burghers and Burghers— Number of Anti-Burghers 
—Of lUirghers— Reunion and Formation of the United Associate Synod— Number 
of Ministers— Union of Secession Synod of Ireland and Synod of Ulster— Union 
of the United Secession and Relief Synod— Formation of the United Presbyterian 
r7(to-e7i— Strength of the United Presbyterian Church— Growth of the Associate 
Church— Its Missionary Character— Call for Laborers from Ireland— First Minis- 
ters Sent to America—Rev. Gilbert Tennant— Rev. John Moorhead— Organiza- 
tion of the Presbyterian Church in America— Nativity of its Ministers— Congre- 
gational Element— Old Side and New Side— Journal of ^Yhitfield— Belfast Society 
— F'irsi Petition for Preaching in America by Seceder.s— Alexander Craighead— 
Organization of the Synod of Philadelphia— Adopting Act— Misunderstanding 
Concerning.— p. 132 to p. 145. 


Gellatly and Arnot Come to America— Their Instructions-Seceder Societies— Hume 
and Jamieson Appointed to go to America— Andrew Bunyan Deprived of his Li- 
cense— (iood Effect— Condition of America in 17.51— Bunyan Restored— Apo.stolic 
Plan '• by two and 1 wo '— Gellatly and Arnot Solicited to Join the Presbyterian 
Church— Stigmatized as Schismatics- Warning Published— Delop's Pamphlet-^ 
• Controversy About the Nature of Faith and the Gospel Oflfer- Ralph Erskine's 
View— Finley and Smith and Gellatly and Arnot Controversy— Mr. Gellatley 
-Settles as Pastor— Arnot Returns to Scotland- James Proudfool Arrives in 


America— Settles at Pequa— Removes to Salem— Mission Station of Associate 
Synod— Matthew Henderson Comes to America— Settles at Oxford— John Mason, 
Robert Annan and John Smart Come to America— Mason Settles in New York ; 
Annan at Marsli Creelc — Smart Returns to Scotland— William Marshall Comes 
to America— Receives Three Calls— Occasions a Difficulty in the Presbytery— Mr. 
Henderson Dissents— Mr. Marshall Settles at Deep Run.— 1>. 146 to p. 155. 


Pastoral Charges in 1765— All Anti-Burghers— Thomas Clark First Burgher Minister 
who Came to America— Birth and Education of Mr. Clark— Licensed and Sent to 
Ireland— Settles at Ballybay— Main. Black and Clark Constitute Associate Pres- 
bytery of Down— Presbytery of Moyrah and Lisburn— History of Thomas Clark- 
Fought Against the Pretender— Difficulties in Ireland— Thrust into Prison- 
Forced to Leave the Country— In Company with Three Hundred Members of his 
Congregation Comes to America— Reasons for Leaving Ireland— Solicited by 
Friends to Come to America— ijpened a Correspondence with the Hon. Robert 
Harper— Obtains a Grant of Land— Part of his Congregation Settle in South Car- 
olina; the Other Part in New York— The Turner Grant— Erected a Church in 
1766-GT— Secession of the Cliurch— Dr. Clark Visited South Carolina in 1769— Re- 
signs the Pastorate of Salem, 1782, and Settles at Cedar Spring in 1786— Dr. Clark 
and the Anti-Burghers Coalesce in 1765— The Coalescence Disapproved by the 
Anti-Burgher .Synod— Kinlock and Telfair Sent to America— Join the Associate 
Presbytery of Pennsylvania — John Smith and John Rodgers Sent by the Anti- 
Burgher Synod to Dissolve the Union of the Burghers and Anti-Burghers in 
America— Take their Seats as Presbyter.s— Burgher Congregations in America.— 
1>. 156 to p. 164. 


Negotiations Looking to an LTnion of the Associates and Reformed Presbyterians- 
Division of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania— Revolutionary War- 
Spirit of Ecclesiastical Union- Proposition lor T7nion in 1754; Again in 1769— Ne- 
gotiations Cease- Political Disturbances Drew the .Associates and Covenanters 
Nearer Together— Tiieir DifTeronces Otily Political— Covenanters Opposed by all 
Denominations— Associates and Covenanters Warmly Espouse the Cause of the 
Colonies— Reasons why the Associates and Covenanters Should Unite — Anti- 
Burghers More Numerous than tlie Burghers— Burghers More Tolerant — Minis- 
ters Educated in .Scotland— Membership from Ireland— Scotch-Irish— Two Classes 
of Scotch-Irish— Membership of the Presbyterian Church— Corruptions of the 
Presbyterian Cliurch of Ireland— Belfast Society— Character of the Irish Seceders 
—Irish, English and Scotch Presbyterianism— Seceders Scotcli Presbyterians— 
Difl'erence between Associates and Covenanters— Occupied the Same Territory- 
Cultivate Each Other's Friendship— First Meetingfor Conferenc?—Botli Cautious 
—Second Meeting for Conference— The Matter Brought Before the Associate Pres- 
bytery—Overture by Rev. Murray— Associate Presbj'tery Met at Middle Octoraro 
—Spend Two Days in Conference— Principle Subjects Discussed by the Confer- 
ence—Basis of Union— Conference Met at Pequa, Pa — .Some of the .Associates Op- 
posed to the Union on -\ny Terms— Conference Meets at Big Spring— Basis of 
Union Discussed— Charges Made— Warm Discussion— New Proposition Drawn 
Up— Basis of LTniou Adopted by Presbytery of New Y'ork, 1780; by Reformed 
Presbytery, 1781 ; by Presbytery of Pennsylvania, 1782— James Clark.son and Wil- 
liam Marshall Refuse to go into the Union— Clarkson and Marshall Continue the 
Associate Presbytery— Associate Reformed Synod Organized— Names of those 
Composing the Associate Reformed Synod— .Andrew Patton— James Martin- 
William Martin— Object Designed to be EfTected by the Union— Result of the 
Union the Formation of Another Denomination- Th^ Prosperity of the Associate 
Presbytery Continued to Exist for Seventy-six Y'ear.s— The Covenanters Send to 
Scotland for Ministers— Covenanters Still Exist— The EflTect of the Covenanters 
and .Seceders on the American Government.— p. 165 top. 18-1. 



Pre.sbyteries Rearranged— Xew Names Given Them— Presbytery of Londonderry— 
It.s Members— Character of the Congregations in Connection With the Presbytery 
of Londonderry— Syuotl Disclaim all Responsibility for its Acts— Joins the Synod 
of Albany— Organization of the Presbytery of the Carolinasand Georgia — Organ- 
ization of tlie Presbyteries Previous to 1822— Four Synods Organized— First Meet- 
ing of the General Synod— Members Present— Education of Candidates for the 
Ministry— Theological Seminary Founded— John M. Mason .Sent to Europe in 
Behalf of the Theological Seminary— His .Success— Returns Home Accompanied 
by Five Ministers and One Probationer— John M. Mason Chosen Professor of 
Theology— Other Theological .Seminaries in America— Growth of the General 
Synod— Disturbing Elements— Associate Reformed Church in a Formative .State 
—Confession of Faith Adopted in 1799— .Sections of the .Scotch Confession Not 
Adopted— Finally Amended— Deliverence of the .Synoil Concerning Testimonies 
—The Little Constitution— Westminster Confession of Faith Defective— Not 
Adopted as a Whole by the Associate Reformed Churdi— First and .second Books 
of Discipline— Changes Made in the Westminster Confession of Faith by the As- 
sociate Reformed Church— The Overture Published- Its Object— Matthew Hen- 
derson Withdraws— Diversity of Opinions Among the Fathers of the Associate 
Reformed Church— John Smith's Difficulty— Judicial Testimonies Demanded— 
Synod Refused to Prepare a Testimony— Confession of Faith of the Associate Re- 
formed Church.— 1>. 1S5 lo]|>. 203. 


Disturbances Growing Out of the Unsettled .State of the Church— The First Insubor- 
dinate Act— I^ondouderry Presbytery- David Annan Admits .Samuel Taggart 
and then Ordains William Morrison— The .Synod Pronounced the Act Irregular, 
but the Ordination Valid— " The Presbytery of the Eastward" Coalesces With 
the Londonderry Presbytery — The 3Iembers of this New Organization Rarely At- 
tend Syno(.l— .Soon Began to .Show .Signs of La.xity— Congregational in Their No- 
tions—A Committee Appointed to Visit the Presbytery— Wrote a Letter— Nature 
of the Presbytery's Irregularities— Mr. Morrison's Reply tothe Lelterof theCom- 
mittee— Its Fallacies— Declared Insubordinate by the Synod— Associate Reformed 
Presbyterianism Ceased to Exist in New England — Revived in lS4Gby Dr. Blaikie 
—The Reformed Dissenting Presbytery— Its Origin and History— United With 
the Associate Church in 1851— Difficulty in the Presbytery of New York— Fast 
Days and Thanksgiving Days— Dr. John M. Mason's Course— The Difficulty Ar- 
ranged, but Not .Satisfactorily to All— Fkequent Commuxiox— Custom of the 
Church of Scotland— Dr. John M. Mason's Letters— Dr. Mason's Ability—Social 
Position— Made a Mistake— :Men Obey Custom Rather Than Law— Dr. Mason Ex- 
cited Suspicion— John .Smith .Soured— Mason and Proudfoot— Dr. JSIason an In- 
novator and Censurable.— p. 20-4 to p. 212 


Associate Reformed Church Began to Grow and Decline at the Same Time— Minis- 
ters Lose Confidence in Each Other— Causes Which Led to the Final Dissolution 
of the General Synod— The Psalmody Question— Its History in Connection with 
the Presbyterian Church in tlie United States— Watts' Immitations First Al- 
lowed ; then Watts' Hymns— Finally, Both Watts and Rouse Practically Laid 
Aside— History of Rouse's Version of the Psalms— The .Scotch Version— The 
Metre of Rouse's Version— Rouse's Version Amended and Adopted by the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the Church of Scotland— History of Uninspired Hymn.s— Para- 
phrases Allowed by the Church of Scotland— Their Character— Practice of the 
Covenanters— Practice of the Presbyterian Church Prior to 1753- The Result of 
Introducing Watts's Version— The History of Watts' Version— His Design as 
Stated by Himself— His Preface to his Imitations— Remarkable Production— His 
Hymns— Offensive to Many— Those Who Had Been Persecuted by Kings of Eng- 
land Could Not .Sing Them— Rouse's Version— What is Claimed for it— Its Poelic 
Excellence— The Doctrine of the Associate Reformed Church Concerning Psal- 


mody— Not a Version, but the Psalms— Psalmody Practically Divides the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church and all Hyniii-singing Churches— A Tendency in the As- 
sociate Reformed Church to Follow the Multitude- Marshall's Sermon on Psal- 
mody—The Associate Reformed Church Took Higher Ground on Psalmody than 
that Occupied hj' the Church of Scotland— Section in Confession of Faith on 
" Singing of Psalms "—The Section Quoted- Trouble About the Change Proposed 
in Paragraph 2 of Section III.— p. 213 to i>. 224. 


The Communion Question— Tlie Londonderry Presbytery— Dr. Mason's Difficulty 
Complicated- Dr. Mason's Reasons for Resigning his Charge— His Labor.s— Pur- 
pose Thwarted by the Trustees of the Congregation— With a Colony Began to Es- 
tablish a Third Congregation In Xew York— Had Difficulty to Get a Place of 
Worsliip— Was Granted Conditionally Dr. Romeyn's Church— The Offer Accepted 
—Dr. Mason's Preaching- The Effect Upon the Two Congregations— They Com- 
mune Together— The Case Came Before the General Synod— Dr. Mason's State- 
ments Respecting His Course— The Doctrine of the Associate Reformed Church 
Respecting the Communion of Saints— The XXVIth Chapter of the Westminster 
Confession of Faith— Tlie Little Constitui ion— Doctrine of the Early Seceders and 
Covenanters Respecting the Communion of Saints— Wilson Quoted— .Shields 
Quoted— Gellatly Quoted— The Narrative Quoted— The State of Things when the 
Associate Reformed .Synod was Organized— No Brotherly Love— This Had Been 
the Case .Since KJTO— The Burghers and Ant i-Burghers- Practically. There Was 
No Such Thing as Occasional Communion Prior to I810— Its Lawfulness Admit- 
ted by the Associate Reformed Church— The Occasional Communion of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Fathers Not the Modern, Catliolic Communion— Dr. Mason's Pe- 
culiar Circumstances— His Act was Contrary to Custom, but not to Law— The 
Case of Messrs. Mattliews and Clark— All Tried Together— This l^nfortunate- 
Resolution Passed— tieneral Dissatisfaclion—Dr. Mason Preaches for Dr. Romeyn 
— I'ses Watts' Psalms— Clear Violation of Law— Mr. Clark Censurable— The Vote 
in the Case- No One Satisfied- The Parties Disposed to be E.xtremists — 1>. 225 
to p. 237. 


Result of the .\ction of the Synod in Mason, Matthews and Clarke Case— Parties 
Lose Confidence in Each Other -The General Synod " Intermit the Functions of 
the Snbordina'e Synods "—General Synod Always Meets at Philadelphia— The 
Synods of the South and West Practically Excluded— Remonstrances Against 
the Action of the General Synod of 1811 by— Synod of Scioto Withdrew in 
1R20— Synod of the Carolinas Became Independent in 182-2— Synod of New York 
Never Meets— A Majority of the Peonle Opposed to the Course Pursued by Gen- 
eral Synod— The Result. Had the Matter Been Submitted to a Popular Vote- 
Correspondence Between the ."^ynod of Scioto and the .Synod of the South— The 
Condition of tlie Associate Reformed Church- Synod of tlie South Appoint a Fast 
Day— The Bishop-Rankin Difficulty— Settled to the Satisfaction of Neither Party 
—Character of Messrs. Bishop and Rankin -The Psalmody and Communion Ques- 
tion the Real of the DiflSculty Between Me.ssrs. Bishop and Rankin— Dr. 
Ma.son's Plea— :Mr. Rankin's Reply— The Downward Tendency of the General 
Synod— The Psalmody Question Revived— Ebenezer Clarke's Resolutions— A 
New Version of the Psalms Called For by a Few-The Reformed Dutch Version 
Allowed— The Union Spirit— Negotiations with the Reformed Dutch— This Broken 
Up by Similar Negotiations with the General A.s.sembly— A Union Formed with 
the General As.sembly— Basis and Condition of this Union— The Vote on Union- 
No Union Actually Formed— Names of the Ministers Going into the L'nion— The 
Theological Library Removed to Princeton— Law Suit for its Recovery— Library 
Restored in 1837.— p. 238 to p. 252. 


The United Presbyterian Chureli— Its Organization— Tlie Time and Place of tlie Or- 
ganization—Strength of the United Presbyterian ClyLU-ch- Present .Strength- 
Number of Presbyteries, Synods, Families, Communicants, Ministers and the 
Territory of the United Presbyterian Church— Foreign Missions— Basis of Union 
—Doctrines of tlie United Presbyterian Churcli— Number of Psalm-singing 
Churches in America— All Divided— p. 253 to p. 255. 


Synod of the Carolinas-Present Territory— Former Limits— The Grant of Charles II. 
in 1663— Territory Visitetl by Cabot, 1497— Claimed by the English. Spaniards and 
French— Spanish Attempt a Settlement in 1525— Admiral Coligny's Grant in 1562 
— Rebault Built Fort Carolina— Fort Carolina Destroyed by the Spaniards— Caro- 
lina Became the Property of the King in 1719— Divided into North and South 
Carolina in 1729— Georgia Settled in 1733— North Carolina, in 1653— South Carolina, 
in 1670— State of Things in England at That Time— Liberty of Conscience Granted 
loy the Charter-s— Design Was to Establish Prelacy— Was Legally Established- 
Covenanters Banished from Scotland to America— Some Came to Carolina— 
Their Principal Settlements— William Martin's Field of Labor— Petitions Sent 
from Carolina to the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, in 1760— Proud foot. 
Mason, Martin, Rodgers. Patten and Clark Sent to the Societies in Carolina- 
Martin Received a Call from Fourth Creek, inl774— The Associate Ministers from 
1782 to 1799— The Rev. Thomas Clark Comes South in 1782— Returned North in 1783 
—The Rev. John Jamieson Comes Soutli— Places of Preaching— Dr. CMark Re- 
turned to the South, and in 1786 Became Pastor of Cedar Spring and Long Cane- 
John Boyse Began to Preach at Coddle Creek, Gilead, Prosperity and Hopewell, 
in 1788— The Covenanters Visited by James Reid in 1790— McGarrah and King 
Come to South Carolina— Donnelly Licen.sed and Ordained— Covenanters Emi- 
grate on Account of Slavery— Brick Church Grave-yard.— 1>. 256 to p. 273. 


Facts of the Last Chapter— Petitions to the Presbyterian Church— Presbyterian Mis- 
sionaries—The Conclusion Likely to be Readied— First Presbyterian Minister 
Sent to North Carolina— Presbyterian Settlers of North Carolina— Cape Fear Set- 
tiers— Scotch Settlers of 1746-47— Their History— Battle of Cullodeu— Duke of Cum- 
berland— George II Tlie Scotch and the Pretender— Conditions on which the 

Prisoners were Pardoned— Bladen County Settlement— Other Scotch and Scotch- 
Irisli Settlements— The Harmony of tlie Presbyterians, Associates and Covenant- 
ers, in North Carolina— Effects of the Difficulties with England— The Lay Mem- 
bers of the Church of Scotland Always Friendly— Soundness in the Faith— In 
What it Consisted— Introduction of Watts' Imitation of the Psalms— Its Eflects 
—The Scotch-Irish of North Carolina — Two Classes of Scotch-Irish— Their Origin, 
and Difference- The Frequency of Petitions from Virginia and North Carolina — 
The Associate Presbj-tery of Pennsylvania— From Wliom These Petitions Came 
— Not Presbyterians— Associates in Virginia— Their Location— Coalesce witli the 
Presbyterian Church— p. 276 to p. 281. 


Emigration, After the War, from Ireland— The Old Irish Volunteer— Emigrants 
from the Churches of Ballynahinch, Killeleagh and Ahoghil— Their Certificates- 
Emigrants Settle in South Carolina— Rev. Peter McMuUan Comes to America — 
David Bothwell and James Rogers Land at Charleston, December 25, 1789— Both- 
well Goes to Queenstown, Rogers to Fairfield— Presbytery of the Carolinas and 
Georgia Constituted— Members Present— Congregations Lender Its Supervision 
—Their Name.s— Dr. Clark Clothes Himself in Canonical Robes— Number of Com- 
municants—Burghers and Anti-Burghers Coalesce— Covenanters Stand Alo'of— 
Character of the Congregations— Dr. Clark Dies— Rogers Ordained and Installed— 
Blackstock Arrives— Boyse Dies— McMullan Settles at Due West, Blackstock at 


Neely's Creek — .Jf)hii Hemphill Settles at Hopewell, and McKnighl at Coddle 
Creek — Dixon .Settles at King's Mountain, Turkey Creek and Bullock's Creek — 
Alexander Porter Settles in Dr. Clark's Olil Charge — Charges Brought Against 
Mr. McMullan— McMullan Suspended— Division of the Presbytery— Broad River 
the Dividing Line— James McGill Licensed— David Bothwell Dies, 1801— Mr. Mc- 
Mullan Restored at Sharon— Nature of Mr. McMullan's Difficulty- Messrs. Mc- 
Mullan and Dixon Decline the Authority of the Associate Reformed Church- 
Apply to the Associate Church— Orgiinized into a Presbytery, 1803— Members of 
the Presbytery— The McMuUan-Dixon Controversy p. 282 to |>. 294. 


Organization of the Synod of the Carolinas — Members Present— Changes Which Had 
Taken Place Since the Organization of the Presbytery ol the Carolinasand Geor- 
gia — Character of Those Who Organized the Synod of the Carolinas — Their Pas- 
toral Charges— Their Love for Each Other— The McMuUan-Dixon Difficulty- 
Course Pursued by the Synod— Charges Brought Against the Associate Reformed 
Church by McMullan ann Dixon— McMullan and Dixon Deposed— Division in the 
Associate Reformed Church— The Difference Between the Associate Reformed and 
the Associates— The Result of their Quarreling— The Presbytery of Chartiers— 
Resolutions of the Associate Synod Concerning Slavery— Rev. Tliomas Ketchin 
and Several Congregations Join the Associate Reformed Church— Remaining 
Hi.story of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas— All the Associates in the 
South Coalesced with the Associate Relormed Church in 1st4— Alinisters of the 
Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas.— p. 295 to p. »05. 


Slow Growth of the /Vssociale Reformed Synod of the Carolinas— Causes Emigration 
.and Withdrawals in Order to Join the Associates— Number of Communicants in 
1803- Associate Congregations all in First Presbytery— Strength of the Associate 
Presbytery of the Carolinas— Its Rapid Growth at First— Anti-Burghers All Join 
jf_Growth of the Associate Reformed Church— Numl)er of Presbyteries in 1804— 
General Synod Organized— Its Defects— Want of Harmony Among the Members 
—Synods of Scioto and the Carolinas Become Dissatisfied— Lexington Academy 
Memorial in its Beiialf— Memorial .Shows a Want of Confidence in the Theolo- 
gical Seminary— Some Envious— John Mason's Letters — His Talents — The Ma- 
son-Matthews and Clark Difliculty— .Settled to the Satisfaction of NoOne— Synod 
of Scioto Withdraws and the Synod of the Carolinas Requests to be Allowed to 
Become Independent— The Request Granted- Synod of the South Organized— Its 
Platform the Constitution as Adopted in 1799— Members Constituting the Synod 
>of the South— No Deaths in Nineteen Years.— p. 306 to p. 314. 


Object the Synod of the Carolinas had in View in Withdrawing from the General 
Synod— Did not Design Organizing a New Denomination— Their Constitution 
and Standards— The Basis of the Union which Formed the Associate Reformed 
Church— Westminster Confession of Faith— Its History— Westminster Assenibly 
—By Whom Called, and for What— Time and Place for Meeting— Standards of 
the Associate Reformed Church— Westminster Confession of Faith Adopted by 
the Associate Reformed Church— Certain Sections Changed— These all Refer to 
the Power of the Civil Magistrate— The Sections Quoted— Standards of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod of the South— Mistaken Notions about the Withdrawal of 
the Synod of the Carolinas— Slavery had Nothing to Do with the Withdrawal- 
Position of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South with Reference to Slavery 
in 1822— Real Cause of Separation— Believed that a Portion of the General Synod 
had Abandoned the Standards of the Associate Reformed Church— Subjects of 
Controversy— Communion and Psalmody— The Standards Quoted— The Word 
" Communion," as LTsed in the Standards— XXVlh and XXVIth Chapters of the 
Confession— Little Con.stitution— The Overture Quoted— Act to Amend the Con- 
stitution Quoted— Mason's Plea Published— The Grounds Taken in It— Psalmody 
—Standards on Psalmody Quoted.— p. 315 to p. 343. 



General Synod Dissolved Soon After the Organization of the Synod of the South- 
Synods of New York, Scioto and of the South Remain—Their Right to the Theo- 
logical Library Asserted— Character of the Union Formed by the General Synod 
with the General Assembly— Gloomy Period in the History of the Associate Re- 
formed Church— Death of Irwin, Rogers, McKnight, Blackstock and Hemphill— 
Death of two Theological Students. McJimsej' and Boyce— Dr. J. T. Pressley 
Called to Pittsburgh— Samuel P. Pressley went to Athens— Missionary Labors of 
the Associate Reformed Synod of the Soutli— Dr. Cooper of South Carolina Col- 
lege—Action of the Associate Reformed Synod of tlie South Concerning Him— 
His Charges Against Clergymen— Dr. Cooper's Influence— The Part the Associate 
Reformed Synod took in his Removal.— p. 344 to p. 351. 


The "Want of a College Retarded the Growth of the Synod of the South— Students 
went North to be Educated— Classical Schools Established in the Synod— Theo- 
logical Professors Appointed— Attempt to Reorganize the General Synod— Letter 
Sent to the Synods of New York and Scioto— Delegates Meet at Pittsburgh, on 
the 12th of September, 1827— Basis of Union Adopted and Sent to the Presby- 
teries—Disapproved and no Union Formed— Union of the Synods of New York 
and of the West in 1856— The Sul)ject of Slavery Introduced into the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the West by Emigrants from the .South— Overture from 
Hopewell, Ohio— Curious Facts in Respect to this Overture— Anti-Slavery 
Sentiments of Soutliern Origin— The First Presbytery of Ohio— Its Pastors 
Born in the South— The Synod of the South Memorialize the Legislature of 
South Carolina— The People of the United States Become Wildly Fanatical on 
Slavei-yi Pro and Con— Synod of the South Never Ultra on Slavery.— p. 353 to 
p. 363. 


The Prospects Brighten About 1834— Nullification and Protective Tariff Disturb- 
ance—South Carolinf|jFearfully Disturbed— Immorality and Vice Increase— Mr. 
Clay's "Compromise" of 1833— Peace and Quiet Restored— Number of Ministers 
in the Synod in 1834— Their Names— All Dead but Dr. Boyce- Change in Feeling 
on Account of Slavery— Slavery Dragged into Everything— To be Ultra was an 
Evidence of Loyalty— Friendly Intercourse Between the North and South— 
Resolution of the Synod of the South in 1834— Its Object— Resolution of 1835— Rev- 
Samuel W. McCracken Professor of Divinity for the Synod of the South— Politi- 
cians Prejudiced Against the Associate Reformed .Synod of the South—Ultra No- 
tions of Some— Attempt to Found a Manual Labor School— Failed— Agents Ap- 
pointed to Collect Money, to be Called an Educational Fund— Resolutions Re- 
specting the EstalDli.shing of a Seminary at Due West— Report of the Agents- 
Seminary Opened February, 1836— Called Clark and ErsUine Seminary— Theo- 
logical Seminary— Professor Elected— Rev. E. E. Pressley Elected in 1837 -Ers- 
kine College Founded.— p. 363 to p. 372. 


Effect of Erskiue College on the Synod of the South— A Great Undertaking Nobly 
Executed— Other Schools Spring up and Become Supporters of the College- 
Christian Magazine of the South Established- First Number Published Janu- 
ary, 1843— Continued to Flourish for Nine Years— Erskine Miscellany Begun— 
Strength of the Synod in 1842— Dr. Isaac Grier Died 1843— His Connection with 
the Synod— Missions Begun— Associate Church a Missionary Church— Labors of 
the Early Fathers— Of Those who Succeeded Them— Missionary Labors of the 
Fathers Confined to the Home Field— The Extent of this Field— Resolution of 
1817— Missionaries Sent West— Length of their Journeys— Funds Raised— Mis- 
sionaries Sent West Annually— Localities Visited -Young Men First Sent on a 
Tour West— Churches in the West Founded— Missions Still Continued— Foreign 


Missions— Resolution of I83T— Synod Assists the Synod of the North and the Re- 
formed Presbyterian Synod in Foreign Missions — Board of Foreign Missions — 
Rev. T. Turner'sResolutionof 1843— African Mission Seton Foot — Failed Through 
Mismanagement i». STa to p. 384. 


For Thirty Years only Two Presbyteries— Their Boundaries— Organization of the 
Tennessee Presbytery— Of the Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia Presbyteries— 
Of the Memphis Presbytery— Of Virginia Presbytery— Of Arkansas Presbytery— 
Of the Ohio Presbytery— Of the Texas Presbytery— Proposed Union with the 
Presbyterian Church— Tlieir DifTeronce.- p. 385 to p. 389. 


The War— Its Canses—Re.sults— State of the Country— Institutions of the Associate 
Reformed Cluirch— Krskine College— Foreign Missions— Theological Seminary— 
Cliristian Magazine of the South— Erskine Miscellany- Due West Telescope- 
Associate Reformetl Presbyterian— Due West Female College p. 390 to p. 405. 


Concluding Chapter— Faith and Practice of the Associate Reformed Church— De- 
nominational Standards— The Multitude Always Wrong— The Constitution of 
the Church is the Bible— Men do not Agree in its Interpretation— Creeds Neces- 
sary iu Order that there may be Harmony— Divisions in the Church to be De- 
plored—Christian Denominations Duty Bound to Publish their Creeds— Power of 
Ecclesiastical Courts— Administrative not Legislative Bodies — Dr. Samuel Mil- 
ler Quoted— Creed of the Associate Reformed Churcli— Of the Synod of the South 
—Judicial Acts Passed by the Old Associate Relormed Synod— These Acts Never 
Repealed— Still in Force in the Associate Reformed Synod of the South— These 
Acts Endorsed by the Associate Reformed Synod of the South in 18t8— Tract of 
1871 Quoted— Psalmody and Communion the Distinctive Features of the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the South.— p. 406 top. 418. 

Associate Reformed Presbyteriae Church. 


DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH— The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church 
— History of the Associate Presbytery — Its Adherence to the Westminster 
Confession of Faith — Origin not a Difficulty About Communion or Psalmody 
—The Relief Church— Church of Scotland Previous to 1733— Recissory Act — 
Presbyterian Ministers Ejected — Presbyterians Forbidden to Preach — James 
II. Abdicated the Throne — "Killing Time" — William of Orange — General 
Assembly Meets — Presbyterianism Restored — Its Character — Cameronians — 
Causes Which Led to the Organization of Associate Presbytery — -Christianity 
Introduced into Scotland — Form of Church Government — Donald I. Baptized 
— Druids Succeeded by the Culdees — Paladius Sent to Scotland — Lollards of 
Kyle-Culdees Suppressed — The Reformation — First Confession of Faith — 
Revolutionary ^ttlement — Its Defects — The Society Folk — Cameron and 
Cargill — -Declaration of the Cameronians — Results of Secession — The Second 
Cause of Secession — Church of Scotland Calvanistic — Doctrinal Notions of 
Those Who Composed It After the Revolutionary Settlement — Bishop Bur- 
net's Statement — Character of Presbyterian Ministers — The Auchterarder 
Proposition — Craig Refuses to Subscribe It — Professor Simson's Doctrines — 
General Assembly Favor Kim — He is not Censured. 

THE Church of God has, by the folly and wickedness of 
men, been divided into a multitude of fragments. How- 
ever much this is to be deplored, it has been overruled by an 
All-wise God for good. In these divisions in Israel, the King 
and Head of the Church has displayed His power and mani- 
fested His wisdom. He has brought order out of confusion, 
light out of darkness, and so overruled evil as to make it re- 
dound to His own glory and the good of His own dear people. 
Nothing more convincingly proves that the Church is not of 
man than the fact that it has withstood the shocks incident to 
these divisions. In spite of the persecutions of human govern- 
ments and the folly of ecclesiastical courts, the Church of God 
still lives and grows and spreads. 


The history of the Church is but the history of God's provi- 
dential and o^racious dealings with His peculiar people. To 
understand this history so as to make a practical application of 
it in our lives, we must have at least a correct outline of the 
history of the various branches of the Christian church. As 
he who would make himself thoroughly acquainted with the 
history of the ancient Jews must first stud}' the history of each 
of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, so he who would understand 
the history of the Church must make himself acquainted 
with the fragments, into which, unfortunately, the Church is 

One of the fragmentary parts into which the church mili- 
tant is divided, bears the name Associate Reformed Presby- 
terian It is our jiurpose, in the following pages, to trace the 
origin and [irogress of this Christian denomination, from its 
organization down to the present time. 

The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is the result 
of an union formally consummated between the Associate 
Presbyterians and the Reformed Presbj'terians of America, in 
Philadelphia, Pa., on the 1st of November, 178*2. The body 
formed by this union retained the distinctive names of the de- 
nominations composing it. Hence the name Associate Reformed 

In order that we may have a correct knowledge of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church, it will be necessary that we trace the 
origin of both the Associate and the Reformed Presbyterian 
Churches. As there can be no diftercnce between equals, and 
should be no jealousy among brothers, we propose to treat of 
the Associate first. 

History of the Associate Presbytery. 

IT is now near one liundred and fifty j^ears since Ebenezer 
Erskine, William Wilson, Alexander Moncrieff and James 
Fisher met at Gairney Bridge, near Kinross, in Scotland, and 
formed themselves into an ecclesiastical- body, which they called 
the Associate Presbytery. These four venerable divines seceded 
from the Established Church of Scotland. Hence they, and 
all of those who, from that time to the present, have followed 
them, have been called " Seceders." The name is scarcely .applica- 
ble to the members of the Associate Reformed Church. Still it is 
no disgrace to be called a Secede/-. On the contrary, it is hon- 
orable, ^o event, if we except the Reformation from Poperj-, 
has been productive of greater good, both to the Church and 
the State, than the secession. Many persons in connection with 
the Associate Reformed Church, and nearly all the ministers 
and members of other denominations, think that the Secession 
Church had its origin in a controversy about close communion 
and Rouse's version of David's psalms. The general opinion 
in this countrj', outside of the Associate Refornied Church, is 
that at the time the secession took place, all Scotland, except 
the secession party, were in favor of practicing Catholic com- 
munion and singing Watts' psalms and hymns. Ebenezer Ers- 
kine and his coadjutors, they think, opposed these things and 
in a pet left the church of their fathers. Whether the intro- 
duction of Watts' psalms, instead of Rouse's version, would 
have been just ground for a secession from the Church of Scot- 
land, or not, we shall not undertake to decide. One thing, 
however, is absolutely certain, psalmody and close communion 
had not one thing to do with bringing into existence the Se- 
cession Church. ISTot one word, by either party, was said about 
either Rouse's version of the psalms or Watts' version. jNlore 


than this : "Watts' version of the psahiis had scarcely at that 
time, been heard of in Scotland. Neither party used it. More 
than this: the Church of Scotland never did, only in isolated 
cases, use AVatts' version of the psalms. Dr. "Watts died in 
1748, soon after the secession took place. He was an English- 
man, and however well the original Seceders might have been 
pleased with his version of the psalms, there was something 
in the creed of Dr. Watts which would have caused the original 
Seceders to have stood aloof from him. Of this, however, we 
will speak in its jiroper place. The original Seceders, possibl}', 
would not have made any serious objection to the version of the 
psalms prepared by Dr. Watts, from the fact that the psalmody 
question had never, at that time, been agitated. Rouse's version 
was gotten up, or rather adopted, by the authority or instruc- 
tion of the Westminster Assembly ; but it was never used b}' 
any denomination of Christians. The General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland, in the month of August, 1647, rati- 
fied the Westminster Confession of Faith, and revised Rouse's 
version of the psalms. This revision, not Rouse's version, was 
adopted and has been in use, to the almost absolute exclusion of 
all others, from that time to the present, in the Church of Scot- 
land. For more than two hundred years it has been sung by 
all the I*resbyterians, of every name, in ever}^ nook and corner 
of that land. Neither psalmody nor close communion, it is cer- 
tain, had one single thing to do in originating the Associate 

From this Associate Presbytery sprung, in part, in the course 
of time, the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the 
United Presbyterian Church of North America, and the Asso- 
I'iate Reformed Presbyterian Church of the South. In all of 
these three denominations, one of the factors which entered to 
compose the denomination, was Associate. The Associate 
Church and the Relief Church united in 1847, and formed the 
United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In 1782 the Asso- 
ciate Church, or that part of it in America and the Covenanters 
of America, or the most of them, united and formed the As- 
sociate Reformed Church of North America. In 1858 that 
portion of the Associate Church which had not gone into the 
union of 1782, which formed the Associate Reformed Church, 


united witli tlie Associate Reformed Church in the north and 
nortliwestcrn portions of the United States of America, and 
formed the United Presbyterian Church of America. With 
the exception of the Covenanters, all these sprung from the 
secession which took place on the 6th of December, 1733, 
at Gairne}- Bridge, near Kinross, in Scotland. The leader in 
that bold but noble secession, was that venerable servant of 
God, Ebenezer Erskine. His worthy coadjntors were William 
Wilson, Alexander Moncrieft" and James Fisher. The original 
Seceders adopted, without alteration, the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith, and the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter; 
and those branches of the church which sprung from the 
church they formed, have all followed their example. The 
Covenanters did not go into the Church of Scotland on the re- 
establishing of that church after the revolationary settlement. 
These faithful witnesses for the crown rights of the Lamb of 
God did not enter the Church of Scotland, for the same rea- 
sons, as we shall see, that Ebenezer Erskine and his three min- 
isterial brethren were forced to come out of it. 

The Relief Church was organized in 1761. The leaders in 
this secession were Revs. Thomas Gillespie, Thomas Boston 
(son of Thomas Boston, the author of 3Ians Fourfold State) 
and Thomas Collier. The two iirst were the principal actors. 
The causes which led to the secession of 1761, and those which 
led to the secession of 1733, were, in the main, identical. The 
wonder is, that they did not all unite and form one church — 
one denomination. The Covenanters expected this. They 
were the more anxious for a union, from the fact that at the 
time of the Iirst secession, they had but one minister, Rev. 
John McMillan, and at the time of the second, the number 
had increased but little. A union was not formed ; and al- 
though we may not be able to see it, good, no doubt, has been 
accomplished by their keeping aloof from each other. 

It requires a somewhat extensive and accurate knowledge of 
the times, both during and preceding the secession of 1733, to 
be able to fully understand the actions of tlie Seceders. Whilst 
they have been called Seceders, and still the name is given 
to their followers, they never claimed to be revolutionists. 
They never asked that any portion of the Westminster Con- 


fessiou of Faith and Catechism, which the Church of Scothmd 
had adopted should be changed or amended in any particular 
whatever. They claimed that they did not secede from the 
Church of Scotland, but from the corrupt party in that church. 
If the Church of Scotland was corrupt, and these men could 
not, by remaining in that church, purge it of those corruptions, 
then they were justifiable in coming out of it. ~So right- 
minded individual will doubt this. 

Let us now take a brief review of the Church of Scotland 
previous to the secession of 1733. In 1661, Charles II. estab- 
lished prelacy in Scotland. The "Act Recissory " was passed, 
by which Presbyterianism was banished from Scotland, as far 
iis it conld be by the arm of the law% and prelac}' established. 
Presbyterian ministers were ejected from their pastoral charges, 
and prelatic ])reachers placed over the congregations, thus made 
vacant, by violence. All the acts of the Scotch Parliament, 
from 1638, with reference to the reformation of the Church, 
were annulled. It was made high treason to renew the Solemn 
League and Covenant. This struck a deadly blow at Presby- 
terianism in Scotland. Four hundred Presbyterian ministers 
were forbidden to preach the gospel unless they would first " af- 
firm, testify and declare by their solemn oath that they ac- 
knowledged King Charles II. only supreme governor of Scot- 
land, over all persons and in all causes." A very considerable 
number of jtrofessed Presbyterian ministers took this oath, 
rather than be deprived of their livings. The ejected minis- 
ters, although deprived of the use of the churches in which to 
worship God, began to hold meetings in the open fields. In 
order to put a sto}) to field preaching, in 1670 this enactment 
was made : " That if any man shall preach or pray in the fields, 
or in any house where there shall be more hearers than the 
house contains, so as some of them Ije without doors, he shall 
be punished with death and confiscation of goods." After this 
enactment, it was no uncommon thing for vile wretches to post 
themselves near the houses of pious families during the hour 
of family worship. The fact that they had heard the head of 
the famil}' praying was reported to some government officer, 
and tlie man who had no other crime than that some one con- 
cealed near his house had heard him praying, was put to death 


and his property contiscated, and his dependent family reduced 
to beg<j^ary. The result of this cruel law was to banish, for a 
time, famil}' worship out of the land. It was all that a man's 
life was worth to be heard praying in his own house. These 
things continued during the reign of Charles II., and until his 
brother and successor, James LL, abdicated the throne of 
England. This period has, with great propriety, been called 
the ''killing time." Charles il., it was truthfully said, "was 
everything b\- starts, and nothing long." At one time he was 
a Protestant ; at another time a Catholic ; sometimes a Presby- 
terian, and again a persecuting Prelatist ; in reality, a vile de- 
ceiver, a drunkard, a debauchee and bloodthiristy monster. 
James IL was a bigoted Catholic, and designed nothing less 
than subjecting the British dominions to the Pope of Rome. 
Both Charles II. and James IL regarded the Presbyterians as 
the great obstacle in their way to the restoration of Poper3% 
The s}>irit of the Puritans, they no doubt concluded was bro- 
ken, and the Episcopalians, they thought, would readily adopt 
Popery. In this they made a miscalculation. Puritanism still 
lived, and the Episcopalians, though decidedly and bigotedly 
opposed to the Presbyterians and Puritans, were, nevertheless, 
Protestants. The Presbyterians were first appointed to destruc- 
tion ; but the fury of the monsters was at length airected against 
all Pi'otestants. The heart sickens at the horrid cruelties which 
God's cliosen ones were called to suffer during this " killing 
time."" The reign of the wicked, however desolating, is not 
permitted to continue forever. The career of James II. was 
shortened, or not even the elect would have been saved. God 
overruled the bloody work of these monsters, Charles and 
James, for good, thus showing that he is able to make the wrath 
of the wicked to praise him. Multitudes of the Presbyterians 
were put to death in an endless variety of ways. Some tied 
from their native land and took refuge wherever they could 
find it, whilst not a few were sold as slaves and brought to the 
plantations in America, diaries II. attempted to banish Pres- 
byterianism from Scotland by establishing Prelacy. His secret 
object, however, was to reinstate Popery by first introducing 
Episcopacy. He was as wise as a serpent and as venomous as 
an adder. James IL, his successor, attempted to do directly 


and boldly what his wily brother had undertaken by a circuit- 
ous process. Both failed, and the Stuarts were thwarted in 
their nefarious plans and driven in disgrace from the throne of 
England. It makes the blood of a Protestant, and especially 
of a Presbyterian, boil to think of what his covenanted fathcr.s 
were made to suft'er by tliese fiends and their vile minions. No 
man but a tyrant, or a crouching slave, w^ill ever dare vindicate 
the character of Charles II. or his impious coadjutors. 

James II; was succeeded by AVilliam III., commonl}- called 
I the Prince of Orange. William had married Mary, the daugh- 
ter of James II. When James II. abdicated the throne of Eng- 
land, it was agreed that William and Mary should nominally 
reiofn conjointly. In reality, William was to be the sovereign. 
In English histor}^ this period is known as the Revolutionary 
Settlement, or the Revolution of 1688. All we need state re- 
specting this Revolution is that l^reslwterianism, the ancient 
and, by a majority of the inhabitants, cherished form of church 
government, was restored to Scotlan<l. The General Assembly 
of the Church of Scotland, wdiicli had not met for more than 
thirty years, now convened, and Presbyterianism was restored. 
AV^e must not, however, conclude that it was Presbyterianism 
sucli as exists a# the present day, or even such as had once ex- 
isted in Scotland. The truth is, as avc hope to be able to show, 
from the time the church established by the Apostles was cor- 
rupted, there never existed any Bible Presbyterian Church un- 
til the time of the secession. The Covenanters and Secession 
fathers were a long w^ay in advance of their age. This \vas not 
any sin, or even fault, on their part; but in a worldly point of 
view, it was a misfortune. 

The reorganization or reestablishing of Presbyterianism in 
Scotland, after the Revolutionary Settlement was anomalous 
and every way very defective. The doors of the church w^ere 
opened wide for any who desired to enter it. In fact, it was 
not claimed that the Bible form of church government is Pres- 
byterianism. All that Avas claimed, was that Presbyterianism 
was the form of church government at that time established' in 
Scotland. This opened the door for Prelatists to enter the 
church, and many ]^relatists did enter it. 


To any reflecting mind it will readilj' ap[^ear that that de- 
nomination of Christians which does not claim for its form of 
church government anytliing higher than that it is established 
l,)y the law of the land, is destitute of a firm base upon which 
to build. Such a denomination must change as the State 
changes. Such w^as the Church of Scotland as rgDrganized af- 
ter tlie overthrown of James II. As might have been expected, 
there was little unanimity of sentiment and less concert of ac- 
tion. Within its pale there were Presbyterians and Prelatists, 
Calvinists, Pelagians, Socinians, Arminians and Arians. This 
heterogeneous mass soon began to show signs of putrefaction. 
"We cannot too much admire the often-abused, and to this' day 
vilely slandered Cameronians for nc)t going into this church. 
The wonder is not that the secession took place in 1733, but 
that it did not take place sooner, and that when it did occur, 
that the number was only four. Had the Presbyterian system 
of church government been understood then as it is understood 
by some at the present day, the honor, of the secession of 1733 
would have been shared by a far greater number of persons. 
Oppression and cruelty, however, had made the multitude 
timid, and the general corruption of the period had produced 
carelessness in the minds of nearly all. 

The causes wdiich led to the organization of the Associate 
Presbytery, or to the founding of the Secession Church, may 
be summed up under three heads : 1st. A mongrel Presb}-- 
terian form of church government. 2nd. Heterodox doc- 
trines, or doctrines manifestly in conflict with those laid 
down in the Westminster Confession of Faith. 3rd. The un- 
righteous and consequently oppressive law of patronage. 

The form of church government which was, at an early 
period, adopted by the Scotch, w^as clearly Presbyterian. An- 
cient historians tell us that it was during the Second Persecu- 
tion. In A. J). 95 Domitian assumed, for the seventeentli 
time, the consulship of Pome. That same year he began, on 
account of his rapacity, to persecute the Jews. The Romans 
had not, at that time, learned to distinguish between Jews and 
Christians, and consequently Jews and Christians wereeqnally 
subjected to horrid cruelties. Many of these despised people 
fled from the country, that they might escape the monster. Of 


those who remained some were put to death, while others were 
banished to dreary abodes. John was l^anished to Patmos, 
where Jesns Christ was pleased to reveal to him " thino's which 
must shortly come to pass." At the same time, some individ- 
uals, whose names have not been recorded, fled to Scotland, 
and in that 

" Land of the brown heath and shaggy wood, 
Land of the mountain and the flood," 

propagated the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whoever these refu- 
gees were, they had learned the principles of the Christian 
religion from the apostles and early disciples of our Lord. It 
is possible that some of them had seen the Lord himself and 
learned lessons of wisdom from him who " spoke as never man 
spake." The influence of these Christians was very great. 
Paganism gradually gave way, and about the year A. D. 203, 
Donald I., together with his household and many of the nobles, 
made a public profession of Christianity and were bajjtized in 
the name of the Trinitj'. 

In the year A. D. 277, during the reign of King Crathilinth, 
Christianity greatly flourished. At this time a number of 
ministers of the gospel and private Christians, banished by 
Aurelius and Dioclesian, fled to Scotland. The Druids and 
their idolatrous worship melted awa}- before the sun of right- 
eousness. The idolatrous Druids were succeeded by the yiious 
Culdees. Manifestl}^, the form of church government first es- 
tablished in Scotland was Presbyterianism. It was the same 
as that established b}^ the Apostles of our Lord. Each pastor 
was a bishop. In other words, there were as many bishops as 
there were pastoral charges, and the number of ruling elders 
in each congregation was about eight. This form of church 
government continued in Scotland until the arrival of Paladins, 
in the 3^ear A. D. 452. Paladius was sent to Scotland by Pope 
Celestine. Simple Presbyterianism began gradually to be ex- 
changed for Popery, which continued until the appearance of 
the Lollards, of Kyle, in 1494. 

The conflict between truth and falsehood now began. The 
struggle was long and sore. Many eminent servants of the 
Lord perished in the efl:brt to redeem Scotland from the thral- 
dom of Popery. The Culdees were suppressed in the year 


1297, and darkness and gloom hung over the land. All Avas 
night, except a few stars which refused to be obscured by the 
lowering clouds of ignorance and superstition. 

Error may flourish for a short time ; but it must die. Truth 
cannot die. The Reformation began in 1494 with the Lollards, 
of Kyle, and was accomplished in 1560, mainly through the 
instrumentality of John Knox. In 1560, the First Confession 
of Faith was adopted. From the first introduction of the 
gospel into Scotland, up to the time of the Eevolutionary Set- 
tlement, the mass of the best people in Scotland were Presby- 
terians. They believed that Presbyterianism is the Bible form 
of church government. When the Presbyterian Church was 
reorganized, during the reign of William the Prince of Orange,. 
it was not claimed that the Bible contains any form of church 
government. Those who entered the Presbyterian Church of 
Scotland at that time did not subscribe to its Confession of 
Faith as sanctioned by the Word of God. The strictly Pres- 
byterian ministers had all been ejected during the reign of the 
two previous kings. At the time of the Revolutionary Settle- 
ment, only about sixty of these remained alive. Xo small 
number of the ejected ministers had traitorously deserted Pres- 
byterianism and o;one over to Prelacy. These were taken into 
the Presbyterian church on its reorganization. This is not all. 
The Episcopal ministers who were settled in Scotland, also 
were taken into the new organization. 

The majority of the Scotch people were Presbyterian in 
their sentiments, but the ministers were divided in their opin- 
ions respecting church government. There were the sixty old 
ejected ministers who had never deserted the Presbyterian 
banner during the past persecutions, and there were those who 
cared nothing whatever about the form of church government. 
Some of the latter class had once been Presbyterians, but that 
the}' might enjoy the revenues of the church, they joined the 
Episcopal Church when that was in power, and now they went 
into the Presbyterian Church for the same reasons. The third 
class consisted of those ministers who preferred Prelacy to 
Presbyterianism, but who went into the Presbyterian Church 
for the same reasons that some of the Presbyterian ministers 
had formerly ^one into the Episcopal Church. That every 


one might feel easy in the new <;hurch, the terms of admission 
were made as easy as possible. The boast was made that no 
one, no matter what were his notions respecting church govern- 
ment, was disturbed in this newly-organized church. 

It makes no sort of diifcrence what may be our individual 
notions respecting church government, we are warranted in 
saying that this Was a strange mixing up of things. The re- 
sults would have been identical liad the effort been to establish 
a nominal Prelatic church in Scotland. Nothing more was 
aimed at than simply to organize a nominal Presbyterian 
Church, and nothing more was effected. So far as the laity 
was concerned, the majority of the Scotch was in favor of the 
Presbyterian form of church government, but the clergy was 
divided. The few were strict Presbyterians ; the multitude 
either Prelatists or criminally indifferent on the subject of 
church government. The rigid Presbyterians were charged 
with being unreasonable. The prevailing sentiment was, that 
no one should be disturbed, in any way, about his notions con- 
cerning church government. Peace, on this subject, was cvery- 
tliing ; truth nothing. Any one can see that such a church or- 
gavdzation was poorly fitted to beget confidence in the wise and 
prudent. Men are so constituted that they will live more har- 
moniously together under a bad form of government, when 
that form of government is heartih' approved and sincerely 
adopted, than under a good form of government when it is 
adopted as a mere matter of polic\% The simple truth is, that 
the Scotch Church, at the time of the Revolutionary Settle- 
ment, acted, to a culpable extent, the part of a wheedling poli- 
tician. The Presbyterian portion admitted, as a mere matter 
of policy, the Prelatist to full membership, and for a similar 
reason, the Prelatists entered the Presbyterian Church. 

What could be more inconsistent, than for the bishops and 
other clergy of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, as estab- 
lished by Charles II. to meet in presbyteries, synods and gen- 
eral assemblies with those Presbyterians whom they had, in 
some sense, former]}" driven from their pastoral charges 't These 
men had been bitterly opposed to each other. The change of 
English sovereigns could not change their individual opinions. 


Each party hoped that b}^ being politic in its movements, 
it might get some advantage over the other. The object was 
to steal a march and obtain a more favorable time and place 
for the decisive conflict. 

The struggle came ; but not at the time, nor in the way that 
was expected. It came of necessity. Parties diametrically 
opposed to each other had formed a nominal coalescence ; indi- 
viduals entertaining dissimilar opinions concerning church 
government, had, for purposes of policy, placed themselves on 
the same platform and under the same banner. Their differ- 
ences were not concerning those things about which men ma}' 
disagree and still be united ; but their quarrels were about the 
fundamental principles of the Christian religion. 

It must not be forgotten that there always was in Scotland 
a respectable number of individuals who did not go into this 
newly-organized Presb3'terian Church. These were the " So- 
ciety Folk," or Covenanters. The misfortune of these people 
was, that they were fully a century ahead of the men of their 
age. Like John the Baptist, they were the forerunners of a 
better day ; and like John the Baptist, many of them were be- 
headed. Richard Cameron and Donald Cargill were the only 
ministers whom these pious people would acknowledge ; and 
both of them were called upon, in the providence of God, to 
<lie for the cause which they had espoused. Cameron fell at 
Airdsmoss. His head and hands were cut off and taken to 
Edinburgh. There they were exposed in a conspicuous place, 
to be gazed upon alike by friends and foes. He to whom was 
assigned this last office, said, while engaged in the work : 
*' These are the head and hands of the man who lived preaching 
and praying, and died fighting and praying." This was lit- 
erally true ; for previous to going into the conflict, he tenderly- 
praj'ed : " Lord, spare the green and take the ripe." Cargill 
was spared, but only that he might be murdered because he 
had dared to excommunicate from the privileges of the church 
Oharles II. and several other individuals, who had been proved 
guilty of drunkenness, hypocrisy, perjury, murder and adul- 
tery. These bold, and perhaps, we may say, to some extent, 
imprudent men, were permitted to give utterance to sentiments 
which are worth}' of free men. " AVe," say they, " declare 


that we shall set up over ourselves, and over what God shall 
give us power of, government and governors according to the 
word of God." They farther declare that they shall no more 
commit the government of themselves and the making of laws 
for them to a single person. Right or wrong, they were the 
hold advocates of a Presbyterian form of church government, 
and fearlessly proclaimed to the world a system of civil gov- 
ernment, which the rest of mankind were not, at that time, 
prepared to adopt. In the declarations of these despised Cove- 
nanters, we easily discover the germ of the American Constitu- 

From the Church of Scotland, re-organized as we have stated 
above, the founders of the Associate Presbytery seceded. One 
cause of the secession was, that the Church of Scotland claimed 
to be Presbyterian, whilst in reality, it was only partly so. 
The result of the secession was that a complete change has 
been effected in the Presbyterian Church in every portion of 
the world. It is an admitted fact that those Presbyterian 
Churches, which, in their mode of worship and formulas of 
doctrine most closely approach the Associate Fathers and Cove- 
nanters, present the truest type of Presbyterianism. Right or 
wrong, we need not stop to enquire, the Seceders have revolu- 
tionized and puriffed the Presbyterian Church, and the Seced- 
ers, Covenanters and Puritans have revolutionized the civil 
governments of the world. 

The second cause of the secession was unscriptural doctrines,, 
mainly respecting the divinity of our Sfiviour and the nature 
and extent of the atonement. 

When the Church of Scotland was reorganized after the 
Revolutionary Settlement, it was no more a unit on the cardi- 
nal doctrines of the Cross than it was with respect to church 

Strictly speaking, it is not the province of the historian to 
decide respecting systems of doctrine, as to which is orthodox 
and which is heterodox. The business of the historian is sim- 
ply and truthfully to state facts and their results. 

Such being the case, we may state that from its beginning, 
the Church of Scotland has ever claimed to be Calvanistic in 
its creed. Such it claimed to be when reoro;anized in 1688.. 


TIiG Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Catechism, 
Larger and Shorter, which are plainly Calvinistic, were adopted 
as expressive of the faith and practice of the church. 

•Still, it is no uncommon thing for a church to have a good 
creed and a wretchedly bad practice. Without much effort 
numerous instances might be cited to prove that the confes- 
sions of faith of churches and the actual belief and the practices 
of those churches are palpably antagonistic. Like the wit- 
nesses against our Saviour, they agree not with one another. 
Li theory, the Church of Scotland, in 1688, adopted a Calvin- 
istic creed, but in reality it was a mass of repugnant isms. 

This was the case with respect to the ministers, and par- 
tially true of the people. In a doctrinal point of view, the 
ministers of this newly-organized* Presbyterian Church were 
greatly divided. Those of the old ejected ministers who still 
were alive, were generally strict Calvinists ; the others were 
Arminians, Socinians and Arians in doctrine, and Erastians in 
church government. On the great cardinal doctrines of the 
Cross, they differed with each other. These all went into the 
Presbyterian Church, whilst only a small part of them were in 
reality Calvanistic Presbyterians in sentiment. 
. It matters not which one of the various parties forming the 
Church of Scotland, at the period of Avhich we are treating, 
could lay the highest claim to a Scriptural orthodoxy, or 
whether any of them was orthodox. All that is incum- 
bent upon us at present is to show that parties differing 
with each other on the fundamentals of the Christian re- 
ligion, did unite and form, what the majority of them, from 
mercenary motives, were content should be called a Presby- 
terian Church. That such an union was formed must be man- 
liest to any one who will reflect upon the fact that the bishops 
and other prelatic clergymen, who had been settled in Scotland 
during the reign of the two former kings, as well as the Presbj'- 
terian ministers, were actively concerned in the reorganization 
of the Church of Scotland. iSTo concessions were made by 
either party. The Episcopal bishops and clergymen were, 
after they entered the National Presbyterian Church, what- 
ever they were before they entered it. The principal section 
in the articles of tliat amalgamation which took jilace in the 


reorguniziDg of the l*rosbyteriaii Church of Scotland after 
the restoration, was that the parties should not disturb each 
other respecting their religious beliefs. This section, it is true, 
was not written ; but it was, with a few exceptions, adopted 
by the ministers and rigidly practiced by nearly- all. 

It seems strange that the bishops, who, in a particular sense 
had been actively connected with the recent persecutions, could 
dare to face those whom they had been instrumental in sub- 
jecting to so much deprivation and suffering. On the other 
hand it is marvelous that the Presbyterian ministers per- 
mitted the prelatic party to enter the Presbyterian Church 
without first demanding of them an humble confession of past 
offences and a promise that in future they would be faithful. 
Our wonder ceases when we reflect that the prospects of peace 
incited forgetfuliiess in tVie minds of the Presbyterian min- 
isters, and the uncertainty in their minds whether that anxiously 
looked for peace would be permanent, made them cautious 
even to timidit}'. They trembled, lest by a misguided and ill- 
timed blow, they might resuscitate the prostrate monster. 
With the prelatic clergymen it was different. They were re- 
duced to that state that they had to choose either to enter the 
Presbyterian Church or deprive themselves of all pecuniar}" 
su[)port by the Nati^onal Church. As the consciences of many 
of them were not very tender, thej'' were not slow in making a 
choice. A few years before, it may be added, a number of 
Presbyterian ministers had, for the sake of a comfortable liv- 
ing, gone into the Episcopal Church for the same reason that 
the Episcopal clergymen now went into the Presbyterian 

On the principle that what a man sows that shall he also reap, 
^ve might expect to lind a church composed of such discordant 
elements producing very dissimilar fruit. Such was, in reality, 
the case. In Scotland there were, at that time, eight hundred and 
ninety parishes. Of these, four hundred were supplied by cu- 
rates belonging to the Episcopal Cluirch. The greater number 
of the remaining parishes were vacant, and those not vacant 
weie occupied by apostate Presbyterian clergymen. By apos- 
tate l^resbyterian clergymen we mean Presbyterian ministers. 


who durins; the persecutions in the time of Charles 11. and 
James II., complied with the demands of the sovereigns, that 
they might enjoy the loaves and the fishes of the government. 

So far as churcli government and notions concerning the fun- 
damental doctrines of the Bible are concerned, there was no 
harmony among the leading men who composed the Church of 
Scotland at the time of its reorganization after the Revolution 
of 1688. It Avas not long until the fruits of this union became 
manifest. Bishop Burnet, in speaking of the Episcopal incum- 
bents, uses the following language: "They were the worst 
preachers I ever heard ; they were ignorant to a reproach, and 
many of them were clearly vicious. They were a disgrace to 
their orders, and were, indeed, the dregs and refuse of the 
northern parts. Those of them that rose above contempt and 
scandal were men of such violent tempers that they were as 
much hated as the others were despised." The same might be 
said concerning, perhaps, a majority of the Presbyterian cler- 
gymen. AVith the exception of the ejected preachers, most of 
vrhom were old and worn out with cares and troubles, and the 
few who inclined to the Cameronians, the other Presbyterian 
clergymen belonged to that class of men who are " carried 
about with everj' wind of doctrine," Thev were willing to 
profess one thing to-day and the very opposite thing to-mor- 
row. For the sake of peace, they were willing to subscribe to 
any thing, and that they might enjoy the livi^ig granted bj^the 
church, they Vv'ere prepared to change their creed as often as 
Laban changed Jacob's wages. Such men could be depended 
upon by no part}'. They were ever found in the ranks of that 
party which appeared to be most powerful and and most pop- 
ular. Jjike Charles IT., they were "every thing by starts, and 
nothing long." 

It is not true that a bad beginning makes a good ending. A 
bad beginning must terminate badly. Neither is it true that 
the motive, in every instance, gives character to the act. No 
doubt, the motive of Saul in oifering up a burnt ofliering and 
peace offerings, was good. Certainly Saul though his motive 
w^as good ; but God charged him with gross folly in that thing. 
He kept not the commandment of God, although he most cer- 
tainly thought he acted from proper motives. Whatever may 


have been the motives of those actively concerned in the reor- 
ganization of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, they cer- 
tainly acted very foolishly, in that they formed a union out of 
material so palpal)ly incongruous. The end was like the Ije- 
ginning. It was not long until it became a very common thing 
for the ministers to teach that sinners must prepare themselv^es 
before coming to Christ. One of the Presbyteries (Auchter- 
arder) in order to check the progress of this unscriptural doc- 
trine, rerpiired candidates for license to sign the following pro- 
position: " 1 believe that it is not sound and orthodox to teach 
that we must forsake our sins in order to our coming to Christ 
and instating us in covenant with God," This proposition 
seems to be in perfect harmony with the whole scope of the 
Scriptures. Our Saviour says: "The\' that be whole need not 
a physician, but they that are sick." If the sinner of himself 
can forsake his sins, it is very diiHcult to understand for what 
purpose he should go to Christ. The experience of all God's 
people is that it is only through the regenerating and sanctifying 
power of the Holy Spirit that sinners are enabled to break off 
their sins. Before the sinner can forsake his sins, hf must be 
born again — born of the Holy Spirit. Hence, to talk about tlie 
sinner forsaking his sins before lie comes to Christ, is mani- 
festly the same thing as to say that the sinner must save him- 
self before he comes to Christ to be saved. 

There is no sort of doubt concerning the agreement of this 
proposition of the Auchterarder Presb3-tery and the Westmin- 
ster Confession of Faith. Such being the case, it was but rea- 
sonable to suppose -that the General Assembly of the Church ot 
Scotland would have given to the proposition its hearty ap- 
proval. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, 
Larger and Shorter, had been adopted as the standards of that 
Cdiurch, and consequently, to have approved of the proposition, 
would have been only acting consistentl}'. Such, however, was 
not the case. 

The Presbj'tery of Auchterarder refused to license a Mr. 
Craig, because lie would not subscribe to this proposition. 
Craig brought the matter before the General Assembly, and the 
result was tliat the Presbytery was ordered to give him his li- 


cense. This was not all. The proposition was scoffingly called 
"the Anchterarder Creed," and the members of the Presbyter}- 
were charged not to use, in the future, any such expressions as 
those contained in this creed. 

To the Assembly or 1717, the same which passed sentence 
upon the Anchterarder proposition, it was clearly proved that 
John Sinison, Professor of Divinity in the University of Glas- 
gow, was accustomed to teach, in his lectures to the students, 
doctrines alike opposed to the word oi" God and the subordinate 
standards of the Church. That the reader nui}- know exactly 
Avhat these doctrines were, we give them in the language ot 
Professor Simson himself: 

"That by the hght of nature, and the works of creation and Providence, 
God has given an obscure, objective revelation of the Gospel ; and that it is 
probable none are excluded from the benefit of the remedy for sin provided 
by God and published twice to the whole world, except those who, by their 
actual sin, exclude themselves, and slight and reject the clear light of the 
Gospel revealed to the Church, or that obscurer discovery and offer of gi'ace 
made to all without the Church ; and that if the heathen would, in sincerity 
and truth, and in the diligent use of means that Providence lays to their 
hand, seek from God the knowledge of the way of reconciliation, necessary 
for their acceptable serving of Him, and being saved by Him, he would dis- 
cover it to them.'' 

In this language there is no small amount of that metaphys- 
ical obscurity which always characterized its wily author. His 
case had been on hand for three years, or since the Assembly 
of 1714, and he was careful to feel his way. He knew, as well 
as any man in the church, what were the doctrines of the Con- 
fession of Faith, and he knew that his teachings were subver- 
sive of the doctrines contained in that Confession of Faith. 

From this language of Professor Simson, it is evident that 
he taught that there are two ways by which sinners may, if 
they will, obtain salvation. The one is by following the light 
of nature as revealed in the works of creation and Providence, 
and the otiier is by believing in Jesus Christ as revealed in the 
Scriptures. It is also evident that Professor Simson places the 
ground of the sinner's condemnation, in either refusing to fol- 
low the light of nature, or in rejecting the Saviour. 


However plausible this may appear, it is not in harmony 
with the Westminster Confession of Faith which Professor Sim- 
son had adopted, and it is in plain conflict with the Word of 
God. To show that it is opposed to the subordinate standards 
of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, it will be sufficient to 
quote the answer to the sixtieth question in the Larger Cate- 
chism : 

" They wl)o, having never heard the Gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and 
believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they ever so diligent to frame their 
lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they 
profess ; neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone." 

The Churcli of Scotland, of which John Simsou was an hon- 
ored member, had adopted this as expressive of its belief on the 
subject of which it treats. ISTothing can be more glaring than 
the conflict which subsists between the doctrines taught by the 
Glasgow professor and the Larger Catechism. Professor Sim- 
son taught that men can be saved \)y sincerely and diligently 
seeking God according to the light of nature. • In other words, 
he taught that God has appointed two ways by which sinners 
may be saved from their sins. This will appear to be a fair de- 
duction from the following language used by the Professor in 
answer to the lil)el which was presented against him by Rev. 
James AVebster, of Edinburgh : " There are," he says, " Means 
appointed of God for obtaining saving grace, which means, 
when diligently used with seriousness, sincerely and faith of 
being heard, God has promised to bless with success; and the 
going about tliese means in the foresaid manner, is not above 
the reach of our natural ability and power." 

We admit that there are some metaph^^sical mazes concealed 
in the verbiage of the Professor; but if his language means 
anything, it means that there is a Avay of salvation with which 
Jesus Christ has nothing whatever to do, and that man in his 
natural state, and v/ith no other help except his natural ability 
and powei', can discover that way and be saved. We take it 
for granted that Professor Simson believed that sinners could 
be saved through Jesus Christ. If so, then it is fair to infer 
that he believed and taught that there are two ways by which 
men can be saved from their sins. 


In addition to tije above, rrotes?or Sinison declared, in his 
answer to AVebster's libel, that : 

'•It is inconsistent with the. iustice of God to create a soul without any 
original righteousness or any disposition to good ; and that the souls of infautsj 
since the fall, as they come from the hands of their Creator, are as pure and 
holy as the souls of infants would have been created, supposing man had not 
fallen ; and that they are created as pure and holy as Adam's was, except as 
to those qualifications and habits which he received, as being created in an 
adult state." 

Here he again flies in the face of both the Confession of Faith 
and the Bible. The latter teaches that men, so far from having 
in infancy, pure and holy souls, were shapen in iniquity, and 
in sin did their mothers conceive them ; and the former teaches 
that all mankind sined in Adam and fell with him in his first 
transgression, and that original sin is conveyed from Adam to 
his posterity, by ordinar}^ generation, so as all that proceed 
from him in that way, are conceived and born in sin. 

The case of Professor Simson was brought to the notice of 
the Assemblv of 1714, but was not terminated until 1717. It was 
evident, from the beginning, that the majority of the members 
of the Assembl}" were opposed to having anything to do with 
the case. It was proposed by Rev. James Webster, who called 
the attention of the Assembly of 1714: to the reports concern- 
ing the teaching of heterodox doctrines, by Professor Simson, 
that the matter be investigated bj'the Assembl}'. This course 
the Assembly postively refused to take ; but appointed, or rather 
permitted Mr. Webster and an}- others who might join him, to 
lay in their complaint against Professor Simson before the Pres- 
bytery of Glasgow. The Assembly refused to be responsible 
for any thing Mr. Webster and his adherents might do, but 
intimated ver}^ plainly that the Webster jiart}' would be re- 
garded as libelers of Professor Simson. AVhen, in 1717, the 
case had to be disposed of in some way, the Assembly neither 
deprived Professor Simson of his position, nor did the}" even 
censure him. They could not, without stultifying themselves, 
approve of his strange teaching ; hence, they simply say that 
he has been teaching some things not necessary to be taught in 
divinity, and that in the future he must abstain from given ex- 
pression to these notions. 


When we compare the decision of the same Assembly with 
regard to the Auchterarder proposition, and that of Professor 
Simson, we have too plain evidence that the Church of Scot- 
land was hetorodox in doctrine, -if the Westminster Confession 
of Faith is orthodox. The Auchterarder proposition and the 
Confession of Faith agree ; the doctrines of the Confession of 
Faith and those taught by Professor Simson disagree. Yet the 
former is, by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 
<.'ensured ; while the Assembly tacitly approves the latter. In 
censuring the Auchterarder Presbytery, it virtuall}^ condemned' 
the doctrines of the Westminster Confession of Faith, while, 
by not censuring Professor Simson, and by not thrusting him 
■out of office, it encouraged him to take a more decided stand 
against the trntli. 

It will be manifest to the reader that in doctrine the Church 
of Scotland was divided. Those who had accepted the AVest- 
niinster Confession of Faith as a matter of policy, soon ceased 
to be prudent and politic, and began to teach doctrines which 
have ever been regarded b^' orthodox J^resb3'terians as un- 



'•Marrow"' Controversy — The Author of " The Marrow of Modern Divin- 
ity'" — Introduced into Scotland — l^opublished by Rev. .lames Hog — 
Tixcited great Oiiposition — Sev-erely Criticised by Principal Haddow — 
Defended by Thomas Boston — Commission of the General Assembly — 
'' The Marrow of Modern Divinity'" Referred to the Commission — Action 
of the Commission — Summon before them Hog, Hamilton, Brisbane and 
Warden — Report of the Commission—" The Marrow of Modern Divinity" 
Condemned bj- the Assembly — The Eftect upon the People — Attempt to 
again Bring the Matter before the Assembly — "Marrow" INIen called 
" Rcpresenters"" — Summoned before the Commission — Twelve Questions 
— Answers — Character of the Answers. 

About the same time, or shortly ufter the difficulty about 
the Auchterarder proposition and the trial of Professor Sim- 
son occurred, another controversy sprung up in the Chnrch of 
Scotland. This was called the "Marrow difficulty." It was 
about a book called "The Marrow of Modern Divinit}'." 

As the controvers}' about this book was sharp, and had very 
much to do in bringing about the secession which formed the 
Associate Presbytery, it will be necessar}' to examine it carefully. 

The book called the " Marrow of Modern Divinity" consists 
of two parts. The first part was published in England, in 
1644 ; the second iu 1648. The first part treats of the 
covenant of works and the covenant of grace. The second 
part is an exposition of the Ten Commandments. Its 
author was Edward Fisher, of whom little more is known 
than his name. According to the most credible tradition, 
he at one time followed the humble occupation of a bar- 
ber in London ; but afterwards, in accordance with that 
marvelous Providence which raises the poor from the dust, 
he became minister to one of the Inde]3endeut cougrega- 
tions. The book is little else than a compilation from the 
works of the most Evangelical Protestaut divines. It was 
recommended by Caryl, Sprigge and many other distinguished 
non-conforming divines, and was so popular that it soon went 
through ten successive editions. 


The Ijook was introduced into Scotland in rather a re- 
markahle way. One of the members of the Simprin con- 
gregation, of which Thomas Boston was pastor, had been a 
soldier during the civil war. One day, when Mr. Boston was 
visiting this man and his family, he discovered, above the win- 
dow", two old books. He reached up and took the books down, 
and found that the title of one of the books was "Christ's 
Blood Flowing Freel}' for Sinners." The other book w^as the 
"Marrow of Modern Divinity."' These books the parishioner of 
Mr. Boston liad brought with him from England on his return 
from the war. With the "Marrow of Modern Divinity" Mr. 
Boston was highly pleased, and he recommended it to some of 
his ministerial brethren. So well pleased was Rev. James 
Hog, minister of Carnock, with the book, that in 1718 he re- 
published the first part of it, prefixing a recommendatory pre- 
face. With regard to the "Marrow of Modern Divinity," it 
never was claimed that it was free from all defects. Xo doubt 
there are some things said in it that are not in strict accord- 
ance witli the Scriptures. The same may be said of every 
human compend. But there are some things contained in 
it wliicli are true, though they are not expressed in the most 
ha[»py way. In a word, it is not an inspired work, nor was in- 
spiration ever claimed for it by its most enthusiastic admirers. 
Its author was only a man. but clearl}^ a man whose mind had 
been enlightened by the Spirit of God. The book was re- 
garded at the time of its publication as orthodox, and to the 
present day all those Christian denominations who have 
adopted that system of doctrine contained in the West- 
minster Confession of Faith, have adopted it as a stan- 
dard theological work. It has been repeatedly published 
in Europe and America, and is to-day in the library of nearly 
every thoroughly Calvinistic divine in England, in Ireland, 
in Scotland and in America. This book, the general 
orthodoxy of which has never been doubted by the most 
devoutly pious 'people on earth, created the most intense ex- 
citement in the Church of Scotland. Had the work been 
thoroughly and avowedly infidel in all its teachings, and i»osi- 
tively wicked in all its tendencies, it could not have excited 
more bitter opposition. It was assailed from the pulpit and 


the press by those ministers who opposed the Auchterarcler 
creed, as it was scoffingl}' called, and by the avowed or secret 
friends of Professor Simson's strange doctrines. In 1719 a com- 
plaint was formally made against the "Marrow of Modern Di- 
vinity." The charge was made that the book contained nnscrip- 
tural and dangerous sentiments. At the opening of the Sj'nod 
of Fife, in April, 1719, Principal Haddow^, of St. Andrew's 
preached a sermon in which he severely criticised the book. 
This sermon, in order to give it more publicity, was, ait the rc;- 
quest of the latitudinarian partv, issued from the press, and 
put into general circulation. The Boston and Hog party re- 
plied to this sermon, and soon the line of demarkation between 
the parties became distinct and well defined. 

When the •' Marrow of Modern Divinit}' " came up before 
the Assembl}', it was not disposed of in a presbyterial way, but 
was referred to the commission. 

That the reader may have a clear conception of w^hat was 
meant by the commission of the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland, it will suffice to say that w^heu each As- 
sembly adjourned, it did not adjourn sine die, but converted 
itself into a committee of the whole. To its number was 
added any persons, who, from some informality in the papers 
had been rejected, and some other individuals named by the 

This commission, which, in realit}', consisted of all the mem- 
bers of the Assembly and the additions mentioned, met in the 
Assembly House on the first day after the dissolution of the 
Assembl}' i;)roper, and thereafter at the expiration of every 
three months, until the next regular meeting of the Assembly. 
They had the right, however, to meet when and where, and as 
frecjuently as they deemed expedient. They were a kind of 
high commission, possessing full power to decide finall}' in the 
causes which came before them. 

The " Marrow of Modern Divinity " was referred to this 
high commission, to be dealt wdth as prejudice and ignorance 
might suggest. This is not too strong language ; for it is very 
certain that a majorit}' of the members of the commission had 


never seen the book, and it is equally certain, from what fol- 
lowed, that they had already decided upon the nature and 
character of its contents. 

The Assembly charged this court of inquiry to be very 
careful "that the purity of doctrine be preserved/' It was 
further enjoined upon the commission " to call before them any 
authors or recommenders of books or pamphlets containing 
any doctrine not agreeable to the Confession of Faith. 

All this appears very well ; but the sequel will show that it 
was fair only in appearance. The commission appointed a 
committee to take the matter under consideration and report 
to the next General Assembly. " This committee divided 
themselves into two sections, the one to meet at St. Andrew's, 
and the other at Edinburgh." That portion of the conmiittee 
which met at St. Andrew's made a number of extracts from 
the hated and prejudged publication, and sent them, together 
with various remarks, criticisms and condemnations, to the 
Edinburgh section of the committee. The Edinburgh division 
of the committee summoned before them James Hog, Alexan- 
der Hamilton, James Brisbane and John AVarden. These men 
were distinguished alike for their piety, zeal and orthodoxy. 
Like vile culprits who had been leagued together in some act 
of outlawry, these good men were dragged before this wing of 
the committee, and each examined separately and alone. 

When the Assembly of 1720 met, the committee in-esented 
a report containing a number of garbled extracts froiM the 
"Marrow of Modern Divinity." The object designed by 
these quotations was to show that the book was heterodox. 
The contents, or rather the supposed contents of the book, 
were discussed, and the following enactment adopted : 

•' All the ministers of the church are strictly prohibited and discharged, 
either by printing, writing or preaching, to recommend the Marrow, or in 
discourse to say anything in favor of it ; but, on the contrary, they are en- 
joined and required to warn and exhort their people, in whose hands the said 
book is, or may come, not to read or use the same." 

The passage of this act had an effect very difierent from 
what was intended. The book, heretofore little known, was 
now eagerly sought after and read by the masses of the people. 
It was expected that the book would be found full of startling 


errors and fatal heresies. Tlie people discovered, on the con- 
trary, that the book was just what its name purported 
to be — the marrow of modern divinity. Thomas Boston, 
and other good and godly men, styled it " a bundle of sweet 
and pleasant gospel truths." The condemnatory act of the 
Assembly served the purpose of advertising extensively the 
book which it was designed to consign to oblivion. 

The people generally, and a few of the most pious ministers 
of the gospel in the Church of Scotland, were grieved by the 
course which the General Assembly had taken. They regard- 
ed the highest ecclesiastical court of the National Church as 
having aimed a deadly blow at the fundamental doctrines of 
free grace. Laboring under these convictions, it was thought 
advisable to have the subject brought again before the Assem- 
bly, and, if possible, secure the repeal of the unjust act. A 
meeting for consultation and advice was appointed at the 
liouse of William Wardlaw, in Edinburgh. The meeting was 
attended by Revs. James Kidd, Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, 
James Wardlaw, AYilliam "Wilson, James Bathgate, Gabriel 
Wilson, Henry Davidson and Thomas Boston. These good 
men, whose names will go down to the latest generation of 
men, before taking up the business for which they had met, 
sought the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. 

Thomas Boston, whose piety has never been called in question, 
liad drawn up a paper in which the evils complained of and 
the relief sought, were clearly stated. This paper, it was agreed, 
should be put into the hands of Ebenezer Erskine, and that he 
should draw up a paper to be presented to the next General 
Assembly. After several meetings, at which the paper pre- 
pared by Ebener Erskine was carefully and prayerfully consid- 
ered, it was agreed to present it to the coming Assembly. This 
paper was signed by James Hog, Thomas Boston, John Bonar, 
John Williamson, James Kidd, Gabriel Wilson, Ebenezer Ers- 
kine, Ralph Erskine, James Wardlaw, Henry Davidson, James 
Bathgate and William Hunter. 

In 1721, the paper prepared by these good men was put into 
the hands of the committee on bills. The Representers, as the 
3Iarrow men were called, expected that it would be immedia- 
tely brought before the Assembly and considered; but the 


Kiiig't^ commis-sioncr taking sick suddeiily, the Assembly was 
dissolved. The paper prepared by tlie 3Iarrov- men was coni- 
mittod to the commission with instructioni^ tliat every thing 
shonld be prepared for the next Assembly. The}', however, 
were not granted power to linally decide this matter. 

The commission summoned the Representers before them 
frefpiently, and finally informed them that they would be re- 
quired to answer twelve questions. The questions were de- 
livered to the Representers in writing, and although the course 
taken and the demand made Avas unusual and unreasonable, the 
Representers thought it best to answer them. The answers 
were prepared by Ebenezer Erskine and William AVilson, and 
given to the commission. 


Adhering to, and holding as here repeated, our subscribed answer 
given in to the Reverend Commission, when by them called to receive these 
queries, — we come to adventure, under the conduct of the faithful and true 
AVitness, who has promised the Spirit of truth to lead his people into all 
truth, to make answer to the said queries. To the which before we proceed, 
we crave leave to represent, that the title, thereto prefixed, viz. "Queries 
to be put to Mr. .James Hog, and other ministers, who gave in a representa- 
tion in favour of the Marrow, to the General Assembly, 1721," as well as that 
prefixed to the Commission's overture anent this .aflair, hath a native tend- 
ency to divert and bemist the reader, to expose us, and to turn the matter off 
its proper hinge, by giving a wrong colour to our representation; as if the 
chief design of it was to plead, not for the precious truths of the gospel, 
which we conceived to be wounded by the condenniatory act, but for " The 
3Iarrow of ]\[odern Divinity;" the which though we value for a good and 
useful book, and doubt not but the church of God may be much edified by 
it, as we ourselves have been; yet came it never into oitr minds to hold it or 
any other private writing faultless, nor to put it on a level with our approved 
standards of doctrine. 

Query I. Whether are there any precepts in the gospel, that were not arixt- 
ally given before the gospel was revealed ? 

Answeh. The passages in our representation, marked out to us for the 
grounds of this query, are these: "The gospel-doctrine, known only by a 
new revelation after the fall.* — Of the same dismal tendency we apprehend 
to be the declaring of that distinction of the law, as it is the law of works, 
and as it is the law of Christ, as the author applies it, to be altogether 
groundless. -j — The erroneous doctrine of justification, for something wrought 
in or done by the sinner, as his righteousness, or keeping the new and gospel- 
law." t Now, leaving it to others to judge if these passages gave any just 
occasion to this question, — we answer, 

* Par. 2. t Par- 5. J Par penult. 


Imo, lu the gospel, taken strictly, and as coutradistinct from the law, 
for a doctrine of grace, or good news from heaven, of help in God through 
Jesus Christ, to lost, self-destroj'ing creatures of Adam's race, or the glad- 
tidings of a Saviour, with life and salvation in him to the chief of sinviers, 
there are no precepts ; all these, the command to believe and repent not ex- 
cepted, belonging to and flowing from the law, which fastens the new duty 
on us, the same moment the gospel reveals the new object. 

That in the gospel, taken strictly, there are no precepts, to us seems evi- 
dent from the holy scriptures. In the first revelation of it, made in these 
words, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent," 
Gen. iii. 15, we find no precept, but a promise, contahiing glad tidings of a 
Saviour, with grace, mercy, life, and salvation in him, to lost sinnei's of 
Adam's family. And the gospel preached unto Abraham, namely, " In 
thee (i. e. in thy seed, which is Christ) shall all nations be blessed;" Gal. iii. 
>!, compared with Gen. xii. 3, xxii. IS; Acts iii. 25, is of the same nature. 
The good tidings of great joy to all people, of a Saviour born in the city of 
David, wlio is Christ the Lord, brought and proclaimed from heaven by the 
angels, Luke ii. 10, 11, we take to have been the gosi)el, strictly and properly 
so called, yet is there no precei^t in these tidings. We find likewise, the 
gosijel of peace, and glad tidings of good things, are in scripture convertible 
terms, Rom. x. 15. And the word of the gospel, which Peter spoke to the 
Gentiles that they might believe, was no other than peace bj^ .lesus Christ, 
crucified, ri.sen and exalted to be Judge of quick and dead, with remission of 
sins through his name, to be received by every one believing in him, Acts 
XV. 7, XX. 36-43. Much more might be added on this head, which, that we 
be not tedious, we pass. See Luke iv. 18, compared with Isa. Ixi. 1, 3; Acts 
XX. 24; 2 Tim. i. 10. Of the same mind, as to this point, we find the body 
of reformed divines ; as, to instance in a few, Calvin, Chamier, Pemble, 
Wendelin, Alting, the professors of Leyden, Witsius, Mastrich, Maresius, 
Troughton, Essenius. 

That all precepts (those of faith and repentance not excepted) belong to, 
and are of the law, is no less evident to us: For the law of creation, or of 
the Ten Commandments, which was given to Adam in paradise in the form 
of a covenant of works, requiring us to believe whatever God should reveal 
or promise, and to obey whatever he should command; all px-ecepts whatso- 
ever must be virtually and really included in it : So that there never was, 
nor can be, an instance of duty owing by the creature to God, not commanded 
in the moral law, if not directly and expressly, yet indirectlj^ and by conse- 
quence. The same first command, for instance, which requires us to take 
the Lord for our God, to acknowledge his essential verity, and sovereign au- 
thority; to love, fear, and trust in Jehovah, after what manner soe^'er he shall 
be pleased to reveal himself to us ; and likewise to grieve and mourn for his 
dishonour or disjileasure; requires believing in Jehovah our Righteousness, 
as soon as ever he is revealed to us as such, and sorrowing after a godly sort 
for the transgression of His holy law, whether by one's self or by others. It 
is true, Adam was not actually obliged to believe in a Saviour, till, being 
lost and undone, a Saviour was revealed to him; but the same command that 
bound him ti> trust and dej end on, and to believe the promises of God Crea- 



tor, no doubt obliged liiin to believe in God Redeemer, when revealed. Xor 
was Adam obliged to sorrow for sin ere it was committed: But this same law 
that bound him to have a sense of the evil of sin in its nature and effects, to 
hate, loathe, and flee from sin, and to resolve against it, and for all holy obe- 
dience, to have a due apprehension of the goodness of God, obliged him also 
to mourn for it, whenever it should fall out. And we cannot see how the 
contrary doctrine is consistent with the perfection of the law; for if the law- 
be a complete rule of all moral, internal and sjiiritual, as well as external 
and ritual obedience, it must require faith and repentance, as well as it does 
all other good works: And that it does indeed require them, we can have no 
doubt, when we consider, that without them all other religious performances 
are in God's account as good as nothing; and that sin being, as the scrip- 
ture, 1 John iii. 4, and our own standards tell us, any want of conformity 
to, or transgression of the law of God, unbelief and impenitency must be so 
too; and if they be so, then must faith and repentance be obedience and con- 
formity to the same law, which the former are a transgression of, or an in- 
conformity unto; unbelief particularly, being a departing from the living 
God, Heb. iii. 12, is for certain forbidden in the first command; therefore 
faith must needs be required in the same command, Isa. xxvi. 4, according 
to a known rule. But what need we more, after our Lord has told us, that 
faith is one of the weightier matters of the law; Matth. xxiii. 23. And that, 
it is not a second table duty, which is there meant, is evident to us, by com - 
paring the parallel place in Luke, chap. xi. 42, where, in place oi faith, we 
have the love of God. As for repentance, in case of sin against God, it be- 
comes naturally a duty; and though neither the covenant of works or of 
grace admit of it, as any expiation of sin or federal condition giving right to 
life, it is a duty included in every command, on the supposal of a transgres- 

What moves us to be the more concerned for this point of doctrine, is. 
That if the law does not bind sinners to believe and repent, then we see not 
how faith and repentance, considered as works, are excluded from our jus- 
tification before God; since in that case they are not works of the law, un- 
der which character all works are in scripture excluded from the use of jus- 
tifying in the sight of God. And we call to mind, that on the contrary doc- 
trine Arminius laid the foundation of his rotten principles, touching suffi- 
cient grace, or rather natural power. "Adam," said he, "had not power to 
believe in Jesus Christ, because he needed him not; nor was he bound so to 
believe, because the law required it not: Therefore, since Adam by his fall, 
did not lose it, God is bound to give every man power to believe in Jesus 
Christ.'-' And Socinians, Arminians, Papists, and Baxterians, by holding 
the gospel to be a new, proper, preceptive law, with .sanction, and thereby 
turning it into a real, though milder covenant of works, have confounded, 
the law and the gospel, and brought works into the matter and c.iuse of a 
sinner's justification before God. And, we reckon, we are the rather called 
to be on our guard here, that the clause in our representation, making men- 
tion of the new, or gospel law, is marked out to us as one of the grounds oX 
this query, which we own to be somewhat alarming. Besides all this, the 
teaching that faith and repentance are gospel-commands, may yet again open, 
the door to Antinomianism, as it sometimes did already, if we may believe 


Mr. Cross, who says, " History tells us, that it spruiif? from such a mistake, 
that faith and repentance were taught and commanded by the gospel only, 
and that they contained all necessary to salvation : so the law was need- 
Jess." * 

On this head also, namely, that all precepts belong to the law, we might 
likewise adduce a cloud of witnesses beyond exception, such as Pemble, Es- 
senius, Anthony Burgess, Rutherford, Owen, Witsius, Dickson, Fergusson, 
Troughton, Larger Catechism on the duties required and sins forbidden in 
the first commandment. But, without insisting further, we answer, 

3. In the gospel, taken largely for the whole doctrine of Christ and the 
apostles, contained in the New Testament, or for a system of all the promi- 
ses, precepts, threatenings, doctrines, histories, that any way concern man's 
i-ecovery and salvation; in which respect, not only all the ten commandments 
but the doctrine of the covenant of works, belong to it, (but in this sense 
■the gospel is not contradistinct from the law:) In the gospel, taken thus at 
large, we say, there are doubtless many precepts that were not actually given, 
(that is, particularly and expressly promulgate or required,) before the gos- 
pel was revealed. Love to our enemies, to instance in a few of many, mercy 
.to the miserable, bearing of the cross, hope and joy in tribulations, in pros- 
pect of their having a desired issue, love, thankfulness, prayer, and obedi- 
ence to a God-Redeemer, zealous witnessing against sin, and for truth, in 
case of defection from the faith or holiness of the gospel, confessing our 
faults to, and forgiving one another: all the ceremonial precepts under the 
•Old Testament, together with the institutions of Christ under the New, faith 
in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with many more, to say nothing of per- 
sonal and particular precejits, were not actually given before the gospel was 
revealed; all which are nevertheless reducible to the law of the ten com- 
mands, many of them being plain duties of the law of nature, though they 
had no due and proper objects, nor occasions of being exercised in an inno- 
cent state. It is true, there are many of them we had never heard of. with- 
out the gospel had been revealed; yet are they not therefore, in any proper 
sense, precepts of the gospel, but of the law, which is exceeding broad, ex- 
tending to new objects, occasions, and circumstances. The law says one 
thing to the person unmarried, and another thing to the same person when 
married; one thing to him as a child, another thing to him as a parent, <kc., 
yet is it the same law still. The law of God, being perfect, and like unto its 
author, must reach to every condition of the creature; but if for every new 
duty or new object of faith, there behoved to be a new law, how strangely 
must laws be multiplied? The law itself, (even in the case of a man,) may 
meet with many changes, and yet remain the saine as to its essence. Now, 
as to faith and repentance, though ability to exercise them, and acceptance 
of them, be by tlie gospel; yet it is evident that they must be regulated by 
the same law, the transgression of which made them necessary. The essence 
of repentance, it is plain, lies in repeating and renewing, with a suitable 
frame of spirit, the duties omitted; or in observing the law one had formerly 
violated: For as the divine perfections are the rule and pattern of God's 
image in man, as well in his regeneration, as in his creation; so the holy law 
of God is the rule of our repentance, as well as of our primitive obedience. 

*.Sermon on Rom. iii. 27, page 1G5. 


And why faith, when it has God-Mediator or God-Redeemer for its object, 
may not be from the same law as when it had God-Creator or God-Preserver 
for its object, we cannot see. 

Query II. Ix not the believer now bound, by the authority of the Creator, 
to 'personal obedience to the moral law, though not in order to justification? 

Ans. What is given us for the ground of this query is the following clause 
of our Representation, viz. : " Since believers are not under it, to be thereby 
justified or condemned, we cannot comprehend how it continues any longer 
a covenant of works to them, or as such to have a commanding power over 
them, tliat covenant form of it being done away, in Christ, with respect to 
believers." * This clause of the Representation being so much one, even in 
words, with our Confession, chap. 19, § 6, we could never have expected the 
Reverend Commission would have moved a query upon it ; but since they 
have been pleased to think otherwise, we answer affirmatively — 

The believer, since he ceases not to be a creature, by being made a new 
creature, is, and must ever be bound to personal obedience to the law of the 
ten commands, by the authority of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, his Creator: 
But this authority is, as to him, issued by and from the Lord Jesus Christ, 
at whose mouth he receives the law, being as well his Lord God Creator, as 
his Lord God Redeemer, and having all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling 
in him; nor can, nor will, the sinful creature ever apply himself to obedience, 
acceptable to God, or comfortable to himself, without the Creator's authority 
come to him in that channel. 

We are clear and full of the same mind with our Confession, " That the 
moral law of the ten commandments doth for ever bind all, as well justified 
persons as others, to the obedience thereof, not only in regard of the matter 
contained in it, but also in respect of God the Creator, who gave it; and that 
Christ doth not in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this ob- • 
ligation," chap. 19. For, how can it lose any thing of its original authority, 
by being conveyed to the believer in such a sweet and blessed channel as the 
hand of Christ, since both he himself is the supreme God and Creator, and 
since the authority, majesty, and sovereignty of the Father is in his Son, he 
being the same in substance, equal in power and glory? "Beware of him," 
says the Lord unto Israel, concerning Christ, the angel of the covenant, "and 
obey his voice ; provoke him not, for my name is in him," Exod. xxiii. 24; 
that is, as we understand it. My authority, sovereignty, and other adorable 
excellencies, yea, the whole fulness of the Godhead is in him, and in him 
only will I be served and obeyed. And then it follows, "But if thou shalt 
indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak," ver. 22. The name of the 
Father is so in him, he is so of the same nature with his Father, that his 
voice is the Father's voice. "If thou obey his voice, and do all that I 

We desire to think and speak honourably of him whose name is "Wonder- 
ful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of 
Peace;" and it cannot but exceedingly grate our ears, and grieve our spirits, 
to find such doctrines or positions vented in this church, especially at a time 
when the Arian heresy is so prevalent in our neighbour nations, as have an 
obvious tendency to darken and disparage hi§ divine authority, as that, " If 

* Par. 4. 


a believer ought not to receive the law of the ten commandments at the 
hand of God, as he is Creator, out of Christ, then he is not under its obliga- 
tion, as it was delivered by God the Creator, but is loosed from all obedience 
to it, as it was enacted by authority of the Loi'd Creator; and that it is inju- 
rious to the infinite majesty of the Sovereign Lord Creator, and to the honour 
of his holy law, to restrict the believer to receive the ten commands only at 
the hand of Christ." AVhat can be more injurious to the infinite majesty of 
the Sovereign Lord Redeemer, by whom all things were created that are in 
heaven or in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or domin- 
ions, principalities or powers, than to speak as if the Creator's authority 
was not in him; or, as if the receiving the Creator's law from Christ did 
loose men from obedience to it, as enacted by the authority of the Father. 
Wo unto us if this doctrine be the truth ; for so should we be brought back 
to consuming fire indeed: For out of Christ, "he that made us will have no 
mercy on us; nor will he that fortned us shew us any favour." We humbly 
conceive, the Father does not reckon himself glorified, but contemned, 
by Christians ofl:ering obedience to him as Creator out of Christ: Nor does 
the offering to deal with him after this sort, or to teach others so, discover a 
due regard to the mystery of Christ revealed in the gospel; for it is the will 
of the Father, the Sovereign Lord Creator, that all men should honour the 
Son, even as they honour himself ; and that at or in the name of Jesus, every 
knee should bow; and that every tongue should confess that .Jesus Christ is 
Lord, to the glory of God the Father, who having in these last days spoken 
unto us by his Son, by whom also he made the world, and with an audible 
voice from heaven hath said, " This is my beloved Son. in whom I am well 
pleased; hear ye him." Were it not we would be thought tedious, Perkins, 
Durham, Owen, and others, might have been heard on this head. But we 
proceed to 

Q,UERY III. Doth the annexing of a promise of life, and a threatening of 
death to a precept, make it a covenant of works? 

We answer, as in our representation. That the promise of life and threat- 
ening of death superadded to the law of the Creator, made it a covenant of 
works to our first parents, proposed: xVnd their own consent, which sinless 
creatures could not refuse, made it a- covenant of works, accepted. "A law," 
saith the judicious Durham, "doth necessarily imply no more than, 1st, To 
direct; 2dli/, To command; enforcing that obedience by authority. A cove- 
nant doth further necessarily imply promises made upon some conditions or 
threatenings added, if such a condition be not performed. Now, says he, 
this law may be considered without the consideration of a covenant; for it 
was free to God to have added, or not to have added promises; and the threat- 
enings. upon supposition the law had been kept, might never have taken 
effect." Treatise on the commands, p. 4, quarto edit. From whence it is 
plain, in the judgment of this great divine, the law of nature was turned 
into a covenant by the addition of a promise of life, and threatening of death. 
Of the same mind is Burgess and the London Ministers, 'Vindicife Legis,' 
page 61. " There are only two things which go to the essence of a law; and 
that is, Imo, Direction; 2do, Obligation. Imo, Direction, therefore a law is 
a rule; hence the law of God is compared to light. 2do, Obligation; for 
therein lieth the essence of sin, that it breaketh this law, which supposes the 


oblioatory force of it. In the next place, there are two consequents of the 
law, which are, ad bene esse, that the law may be the better obeyed; and this 
indeed turneth the law into a covenant. \st, The sanction of it by way of 
promise, that is a mere free thing; God, by reason of that dominion which 
he had over man, might liave commanded his obedience, and yet never made 
a promise of eternal life unto him. And, 2dly, As for the other consequent 
act of the law, to curse and punish, this is but an accidental act, not ueces- 

sary to a law; for it comes in upon supposition of transgression, A law 

is a complete law, obliging though it do not actually curse; as in the con- 
firmed angels, it never had any more than obligatory and mandatory acts 
upon them: For that they were under a law, is plain, because otherwise 
they could not have sinned: for where there is no law, there is no transgres- 

Though there is no ground from our representation to add more on this 
head, yet we may say, that a promise of life made to a precept of doing, that 
is, in consideration or upon condition of one's doing, (be the doing more or 
less, it is all one, the divine will in the precept being the rule in this case,) 
is a covenant of works. And as to believers in Christ, though in the gospel, 
largely taken, we own there are promises of life, and threatenings of death, 
as well as precej^ts; and that godliness hath the promise, not only of this life, 
but of that which is to come, annexed to it, in the order of the covenant; yet 
we are clear, no promise of life is made to the performance of precepts, nor 
eternal death threatened, in case of their failing whatsoever in performing; 
else should their title to life be founded, not entirely on Christ, and his right- 
eousness imputed to them, but on something in, or done by themselves: And 
their after sins should again actually bring them under vindictive wrath, and 
the curse of the law; which, upon their union with Christ, who was made a 
curse for them, to redeem them from under it, they are, according to scripture, 
Rom. vi. 14, 15; Rom. viii. 1; Gal. iii. 13, 4, 5; and our Confession, chap. 20, 
§ 2. Chap. 11, § 5; for ever delivered -from. Hence we know of no sanc- 
tion the law, standing in the covenant of grace, hath with respect to believers, 
besides gracious rewards, all of them freely promised on Christ's account, 
for their encouragement in obedience; and fatherly chastisement and dis- 
pleasure, in case of their not walking in his commandments; Psal. Ixxxix. 
31, 33; 1 Cor. xi. 30, 32; Luke i. 20. Which to a believer are no less awful, 
and much more powerful restraint from sin, than the prospect of the curse 
and hell itself would be. The Reverend Commission will not, we hope, 
grudge to hear that eminent divine Mr. Perkins, in a few words, on this head, 
who having put the objection, " In the gospel, there are promises of life upon 
condition of our obedience, as Rom. viii. 13, ' If ye through the Spirit,' «fcc. 
Ans. ' The promises of the gospel are not made to the work, but to the 
worker; and to the worker, not for his work, but for Christ's sake according 
to his work; e. (j. the promise of life is not made to the work of mortifica- 
tion, but to him that mortifies his flesh; and that not for his mortification, 
but because he is in Christ, and his mortification is the token and evidence 
thereof."" This, as it is the old Protestant doctrine, so we take it to be the 
truth. And as to the believer's total and final freedom liom the curse of the 

* On Gal. page 236, in Fol. 


law, upon his union with Christ, Protestant divines, particularly Rutherford 
and Owen, throughout their writings, are full and clear on the head. 

Query IV. If the moral lair, antecedent to its receiving the form of a cove- 
nant of works, had a threatening of hell annexed to it 1 

Ans. Since the law of God never w^as, nor will ever in this world be the 
stated rule, either of man's duty towards God, or of God's dealing with man, 
but as it stands in one of the two covenants of works and of grace, we are at 
a loss to discover the real usefulness of this query, as well as what founda- 
tion it hath in our representation. 

As to the intrinsical demerit of sin, we are clear, whether there had ever 
been any covenaut of works or not, it deserves hell, even all that an infinite- 
ly holy and just God ever has, or shall inflict for it: Yet what behoved to 
have been the Creator's disposal of the creature, in the supposed event of 
sin's entering without a covenant being made, we incline not here to dip into; 
but, we reckon, it is not possible to prove a threatening of hell to be insep- 
arable from the law of creation, the obligation of which, because resulting- 
from the nature of God and of the creature, is eternal and immutable: for- 
confirmed angels, glorified saints, yea, and the human nature of Christ, are 
all of them naturally, necessarily, and eternally obliged to love, obey, depend 
on, and submit unto God, and to make him their blessedness and ultimate 
end ; but none, we conceive, will be peremptory in saying, they have a threat- 
ening of hell annexed to the law they are under. And we can by no means 
allow, that a believer, delivered by Christ from the curse of the covenant of 
works, is still obnoxious, upon every new transgression, to the threatening 
of hell, supposed to be inseparably annexed to the law of creation, or of the 
ten commandments; which law every reasonable creature must forever be- 
under, since this would in effect be no other than, after he is delivered front 
hell in one respect, to bind him over to it in another. Whatever threatening, 
one may suppose belonged to the moral law of the ten commandments, ante- 
cedently to its receiving a covenant form, all was, for certain, included in the 
sanction of the covenant of works: So that Christ, in bearing the curse oS.' 
it, redeemed believers from the hell, vindictive wrath and curse, their sins in 
any sort deserved ; the hand writing that was against them he cancelled, tore 
to pieces and nailed to the cross. Hence the thi-eateniug of hell and the 
curse ai-e actually separated from the law of the ten commandments, which 
believers are under as a rule of life : And to hold otherwise, is the leading 
error, yea, the very spring and fountain-head of Antinomianism, on all which, 
Burgess, Rutherford, and others, may be heard. 

Query V. If it be peculiar to believers, to be free of the commanding power 
of the law, as a covenant of works ? 

Though our saying. We cannot comprehend how the covenant of works, 
as such, continues to have a commanding power over believers, that cove- 
nant form of it being done away in Christ with respect to them,- gives no 
sufficient foundation to this query, since we affirm nothing concerning any 
but believers, whose freedom from the commanding power of that covenant, 
the query seems, as much as we do, to allow of ; we answer affirmatively; 
for, since it is only to believers the Spirit of God in scripture says, ' Ye are 

*Par. 4. 


not under the law,' (the main import of which phrase is, subjection to the power of it, as a covenant,) 'but under grrace,' Rom. vi. 14; 
Gal. iv. 5, 21 ; and since tliey only are, by virtue of their union with Christ, 
actually freed from being under the law, by Christ's being made under it, 
(«. e. under its command, as above, as well as under its curse; for them ; and 
since, according to our Confession, chap. 19, § 6, it is the peculiar privilege 
of believers, which therefore unbelievers have no interest in, not to be under 
the law as a covenant of works, to be justified or condemned thereby; we 
can allow no other, besides believers, to be invested with that immunity. 

All unbelie^ers within, as well as without the pale of the visible church, 
since they seek righteousness only by the works of the law, and are strang- 
ers to the covenant of grace, we always took to be debtors to the whole law, 
in their own persons : and this their obligation under the d'l, or command- 
ing power of that covenant, we took to be inviolably firm, till such time as 
by faith they had recourse to him, who "is the end of the law for righteous- 
ness to every one that believeth ;" else we thought, and do still think, if their 
obligation to the command of that covenant ba dissolved, merely by their 
living under an external gospel dispensation, they would be cast quite loose 
from being under any covenant at all ; contrary to the common received doc- 
trine of the Protestant churches, namely. That every person whatsoever is 
in and under one or other of the two covenants of works and grace : Nor 
could they, unless they be under the commanding power of the covenant of 
works, be ever found transgressors of the law of that covenant, by any ac- 
tual sin of their own, nor be bound over anew under the covenant-curse 

The covenant of works, it is true, is by the fall weak and ineft'ectual, as a 
covenant, to give us life, by reason of our weakness, and disability to fulfill 
it, being antecedently sinners, and obnoxious t© its curse ; which no person 
can be, and yet at the same time have a right unto its promise. Hence, for 
any to seek life and salvation by it now, is no other than to labour after an 
impossibility; yet does it nevertheless continue in full force as a law, requir- 
ing of all sinners, while they continue in their natural state, without taking 
hold by faith of Christ and the grace of the new covenant ; recpiiring of them, 
we say, personal and absolutely perfect obedience, and threatening death upon 
every the least transgression : From the commanding power of which law, 
retiuiring universal holiness in such rigour, as that on the least failure in sub- 
istiince, circumstance, or degree, all is rejected, and we are determined trans- 
gressors of the whole law, believers, and they only, are freed, as we said 
.-above. "But to suppose a ijerson, " says Dr. Owen, " bj' any means freed 
from the curse due unto sin, and then to deny, that upon the performance of 
the perfect sinless obedience which the law requires, he should have right to 
the promise of life theieby, is to deny the truth of God, and to reflect dis- 
honour upon his justice. Our Lord himself was justified by the law ; and 
it is immutably true. That he who does the things of it, shall live in 
them." (On .Justification, p. 345 ) "it is tiue," adds the same author, 
" that God did never formally and absolutely renew, or give again this law, 
as a covenant of works, a second time ; nor was there any need that so he 
should do, unless it were declaratively only : A ml so it was renewed at Sinai ; 
for the whole of it being an emanation of eternal right and truth, it abides, 


and must abide in fall force forever. Wherefore it is only so far broke as a 
covenant, that all mankind having sinned against the command of it, and so 
by guilt, with the impotency to obedience, which ensued thereupon, defeated 
themselves of any interest in its promise, and possibility of attaining any 
such interest, they cannot have any benefit by it. But as to its power to 
oblige all mankind unto obedience, and the unchangeable truths of its 
l^romises and threateniugs, it abides the same as it was from the begin- 
ning." — (Ibid.) "The introducing of another covenant," adds he again on 
the same head, "inconsistent with and contrary to it, does not instantly free 
men from the law as a covenant ; for, though a new law abrogates a former 
law inconsistent with it, and frees all from obedience, it is not so in a cove- 
nant, which operates not by sovereign authority, but becomes a covenant by 
consent of them with whom it is made. So there is no freedom from the old 
covenant, by the constitution of the new, till it be actually complied with : 
In Adam's covenant we must abide under obligation to duty and punishment, 
till by faith we be interested in the new." — (Ibid. 351.) 

From all which it appears to be no cogent reasoning to say, If the unbe- 
liever be under the commanding power of the covenant of works, then would 
he be under two opposite commands at once, viz. : to seek a perfect right- 
eousness in his own person, and to seek it also by faith in a Surety : For. 
though the law requires of us now both active and passive righteousness in 
our own i^ersons ; and likewise, upon the revelation of Jesus Christ in the 
gospel, as Jehovah our righteousness, obliges us to believe in, and submit to 
him as such ; yet as it is in many other cases of duties, the law requires both 
these of us, not in senso composito, as they say, but in senso diviso. The law 
is content to sustain, and hold for good, the payment of a responsible surety, 
though itself provides none ; and wills us, being insolvent ourselves, cheer- 
fully, thankfully, and without delay, to accept of the non-such favour offered 
unto us : But till the sinner, coiUinced of his vmdoneness otherwise, accept 
of, use and plead thati)enefit in his own behalf, the law will, and does go on, 
in its just demands, and diligence against him : Having never had pleasure 
in the sinful creature, by reason of our unfaithfulness, it can easily admit of 
the marriage to another husband, upon a lawful divorce, after fair count and 
reckoning, and full satisfaction and reparation made for all the invasions upon, 
and violation of, the first husband's honour ; but when the sinner, unwilling 
to hear of any such motion, still cleaves to the law, its first husband, what 
wonder the law, in that case, go on to use the sinner as he deserves? In 
short, this pretended absurdity, at worst, amounts to no more than this : 
Make full payment yourself, or find me good and sufficient paj ment by a 
surety, till which time I will continue to proceed against you, without miti- 
gation or mercy. Wherefore the unbeliever is justly condemned by the law, 
both because he did not continue in all things written in the book of the law* 
to do them, and because he did not believe on the name of the Son of God. 

Qi:ery VI. If a sinner, being justified, has all things at once that is neces- 
aary for salvation? And if personal holiness, and progress in holy obedience, 
is not necessary to a justified person'' s possession of glory, in case rf 7iis con- 
tinuing in life after his justification ? 

Ans. 1 he ground of this query, marked out to lis, is in these words of 
holy Luther: "For in Christ I have all things at once ; neither need I any 



tiling more that is necessary vmto salvation." And to us it is evident, that 
this is the believer's plea, viz.: Christ's most perfect obedience to the law 
iov him, in answer unto its demand of good Avorks for obtaining salvation, 
according to the tenor of the first covenant ; which plea the Representation 
alleges to be cut off, and condemned by the act of Assembly.* But without 
saying any thing of the old Popish reflection on the doctrine of free justifi- 
cation by faith without works, as it was taught by Luther and other reform- 
ers, or the hardshii) of having this question put to us, as if we had given 
ground of being suspected for enemies to gospel holiness, which, our con- 
sciences bear us witness, is our great desire to have advanced in ourselves 
and others, as being fully persuaded, that without it neither tliey nor we shall 
see the Lord, — we answer to the first part of the query. 

That since a justified person, being passed from death to life, translated 
from the power of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and blessed 
with all spiritual blessings in Christ, is, by virtue of his union with him, 
brought into, and secured in a state of salvation ; and therefore, in the lan- 
guage of the Holy Ghost, actually, though not completely, saved already ; 
and since, in him, he has particularly, a most perfect, law-biding, and law- 
magnifying righteousness, redemi:)tion in his blood, even the forgiveness of 
sins, peace with God, access, acceptance, wisdom, sanctification, everlasting 
strength, and in one word, an overflowing, everflowing fulness, from which, ■ 
according to the order of the covenant, he does, and shall receive whatever 
he wants : Hence, according to the scripture, in Christ all things are his, 
and in him he is complete : Considering, we say, these things, we think a 
justified person has in Christ, at once, all things necessary to salvation, though 
of himself he has nothing. 

To the second part of the query, we answer, that personal holiness and 
justification being inseparable in the believ;er, we are unwilling, so much as 
the query does, to suppose their separation. Personal holiness we reckon so 
necessary to the possession of glory, or to a state of perfect holiness and 
happiness, as is the morning light to the noon-day warmth and brightness ; 
as is a reasonable soul to a wise, healthy, strong, and full-grown man ; as an 
antecedent is to its consequent ; as a part is to the whole, (for the diftereuco 
betwixt a state of grace and of glory we take to be gradual only, according 
to the usual saying, 'Grace is glory begun, and glory, grace in perfection.') 
So necessary, again, as motion is to evidence life, or, in order to walking ; 
not only habitual, but actual holiness, and progress in holy obedience, one 
continuing in life, we are clear are so necessary, that without the same none 
can see the Lord. And as it is not only the believer's interest, but his neces- 
sary and indispensable duty, to be still going on "from sti-ength to strength, 
until he appear before the Lord in Zion ; so the righteous, we bel eve, will 
hold on his way, and he who is of clean hands will grow stronger and strong- 
er : " For though the believer's progress in holy obedience, by reason of the 
many stops, interiaiptions, and assaults, he frequently meets with from i^atan, 
the world, and indwelling corruption, is far from being alike at all times; 
'•yet the path of the just, though he frequently fall, will be as the shining 
light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day :" Though he may 
at times become " weary and faint in his mind ; yet shall he, by waiting on 

*Par. t;, 11. 


the Lord, renew his strength, and mount up as with eagle's wings," Jcc. But 
still the believer has all this in and from Christ : For. whence can our pro- 
gress in holiness come, but from the supply of his Spirit? Our walking in 
holy obedience, and every good motion of ours, must be in him, and from 
him, who is the way and the life, who is our head of influences, and the 
fountain of our strength, and who "works in us both to will anu to do." — 
"Abide in me," says he, "and I in you : For without me ye can do nothing. 
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered." 

But if the meaning of the query be, of such a necessity of holy obedience, 
in order to the possession of glory, as imjjorts any kind of casuality. we dare 
not answer in the affirmative ; for we cannot look on personal holiness, or 
good works, as properly federal and conditional means of obtaining the pos- 
session of heaven, though we own they are ueces.sary to make us meet for it. 

QuEiiY YII. lapreacliinrj the necessity of a lioly life, in order to the obtaining 
of eternal happiness, of dangerotis consequence to the doctrine of free grace? 

Ans. The last of the two clauses of the eighth act of Assembly, being 
complained of in the Representation, is the first and main ground of this 
query. "■ And ere we make answer to it, we crave leave to explain ourselves 
more fully, as to the offence we conceive to be given by that act ; namely, 
That in opposition to, and in place of the believer's i^lea of Christ's active 
righteousness, in answer to the law, demanding good works, for obtaining; 
salvation according to the tenor of the covenant, cut off, as we appre- 
hend, by the fifth act ; ministers are ordered, in the eighth act, to preach the 
necessity of our own personal holhiess, in order to the obtaining of everlast- 
ing happiness. As also, that our inherent holiness seems to be put too much 
upon the same foot, in point of necessity for obtaining everlasting happiness, 
with justification by the Surety; which the frame of the words, being as fol- 
lows, will well admit, viz. : " Of free justification through our blessed Sure- 
ty the Lord Jesus Christ, received by faith alone ; and of the necessity of an 
holy life, in order to the obtaining of everlasting happiness." Moreover, 
that tlie great fundamental of justification is laid down in such general terms, 
as adversaries will easily agree to, without mention of the Surety's right- 
eousness, active or passive, or the imputation of either ; especially since a 
motion in open assembly, for adding the few but momentous words, ' impu- 
ted righteousness,' was slighted. And finally. That that act is so little adapt- 
ed to the end it is now given out to have been designed for, viz. : a testimony 
of the supreme Godhead of our glorious God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and 
against Arianism ; especially since not the least intimation or warning against 
that damnable heresy is to be found in the act itself, nor was made to that 
Assembly in passing of it. 

To the query, we answer, That we cordially and sincerely own a holy life, 
or good works, necessary, as an acknowledsment of God's sovereignty, and 
in obedience to his command ; for this is the will of God, even our sanctifica- 
tion; and, by a special ordination, he has appointed believers to walk in them: 
Necessary, for glorifying God before the world, and shewing the virtues of 
him wlio hath called us out of darkness into this marvellous light : Xeces- 
sary, as being the end of our election, our redemption, eftectual calling, and, 

* Par. IG, 15. 

44 HISTORY or the 

regeneration ; for, "the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of 
the world, that we sliould be holy. The Son gave himself for us, that he 
might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, 
zealous of good works ;" and by the Holy Spirit we are created in Christ 
Jesus unto them : Necessary, as expressions of our gratitude to our great 
benefactor ; for, being bought with a price, we are no more our own, but 
henceforth in a most peculiar manner bound, in our bodies, and in our spir- 
its, which are his, to glorify, and by all possible ways to testify our thanks- 
giving to our Lord Redeemer and Ransomer ; " to Iiim who spared not his 
own Son, but gave him up to the death for us all ; to him who humbled him- 
self, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross for us:" 
Necessarj^, as being the design, not only of the word, but of all ordinances 
and providences ; even that as " he who has called is holy, so we should be 
holy in all manner of conversation:" Necessary again, for evidencing and 
confirming our faith, good works being the breath, the native offspring and 
issue of it : Necessary, for making our calling and election sure ; for they 
are, though no plea, a good evidence for heaven, or an argument confirming 
our assurance and hope of salvation: Necessary, to the maintaining of in- 
ward peace and comfort, though not as the ground or foundation, yet as 
effects, fruits, and concomitants of faith : Necessary, in order to our enter- 
taining communion with God, even in this life ; for. " if we say we have fel- 
lowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth :" 
Necessary, to the escaping of judgments, and to the enjoying of many prom- 
ised blessings ; particularly, there is a necessity of order and method, that 
one be holy ere he can be admitted to see find enjoy God in heaven ; that be- 
ing a disposing mean prcijaring for the salvation of it, and the king's high- 
way chalked out for the redeemed to walk into the city: Necessary, to adorn 
the gospel, and grace our holy calling and profession : Necessary, further, 
for the edification, good, and comfort of fellow-believers : Necessary, to 
prevent offence, and to stop the mouths of the wicked ; to win likewise the 
unbelieving, and to commend Christ and his ways to their consciences : 
Necessary, fuinlly, for the establishment, glory, and the security of churches 
and nations. Though we firmly believe holiness necessary upon all these, 
and more accounts, and that the Christian ought to live in the continued ex- 
ercise of gospel-repentance, which is one main constituent of gospel-holiness; 
yet we dare not say, a holy life is necessary in order to the obtaining of eter- 
nal happiness. For, to say nothing of the more gross sense of these words, 
(manifestly injurious to the free grace of our Lord .Jesus Christ, by faith in 
whose righteousness alone we are a^jpointed to obtain salvation, from first to 
last,) which yet is obvious enough, though we are far from imputing it to the 
Assembly ; we cannot, however they may be explained into an orthodox 
meaning, look upon them as wholesome words, since they have at least an 
appearance of evil, being such a way of expression as Protestant churches 
and divines, knowing the strong natural bias in all men towards seeking sal- 
vation, not by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, but by works of righteousness 
done by themselves, and the danger of symbolizing with Papists, and other 
enemies of the grace of the gospel, have industriously shunned to use on that 
head ; they chusing rather to call holiness and good works necessary duties 
of the persons justified and saved, tlian conditions of salvation, consequents 


and effects of salvation already obtained, or antecedents, disposing and pre- 
paring the subject for the salvation to be obtained, than any sort of causes, 
or proper means of obtaining the possession of salvation ; which last honour 
the scripture, for the high praise and glory of sovereign grace, seems to have 
reserved peculiarly unto faith: And rather to say that holiness is necessary 
to them that shall be saved, than necessary to salvation : That we are saved 
not by good works, but rather to them, as fruits and effects of saving grace ; 
or that holiness is necessary until salvation, not so much as a mean to the 
end, as a part of the end itself ; which part of our salvation is necessary to 
make us meet for the other that is yet behind. 

Wherefore, since this way of speaking of holiness with respect to salva- 
tion, is, we conceive, without warrant in the holy scripture, dissonant from 
the doctrinal standards of our own and other reformed churches, as well as 
from the chosen and deliberate speech of reformed divines treating on these 
heads ; and since it, being at best but 'propositio male sonans, (a proposition 
sounding ill,) may easily be mistaken, and afterwards improved, as a shade 
or veliicle, for conveying corrupt sentiments, anent the influence of works 
upon salvation : We cannot but reckon pi-eaching the necessity of holiness 
in such terms to be of some dangerous consequence to the doctrine of fiee 
grace. In which apprehension we are the more confirmed, that at this day the 
doctrine of Christ, and his free grace, both as to the purity and efficacy of 
the same, seems to be much on the wane, and Popery, with other dangerous 
errors and heresies destructive of it, on the waxing : which certainly calls 
aloud to the churches of Christ, and to his ministers in particular, for the 
more zeal, watchfulness, and caution, with reference to the interests of truth ; 
and that especially at such a time, Cum heretics nee nomina Jiabeamus com- 
munia, ne eorum errori f avert videamur. 

If in any case, certainly in framing acts and standards of doctrine, there 
is great need of delicacy in the choice of words : For the words of the Holy 
Ghost in scripture, under which we include such as in meaning and import 
are equivalent to them, being an ordinance of divine institution, for preserv- 
ing the truth of the gospel, if these be once altered or varied, all the wisdom 
and vigilance of men will be ineffectual to that end. And it is well known, 
by costly experience to the churches of Christ, that their falling in with the 
language or phrase of corrupt teachers, instead of serving the interest of 
truth, which never looks so well as in its own native simplicity, does but 
grieve the stable and judicious, stagger the weak, betray the ignorant, and. 
instead of gaining, harden and open the mouths of adversaries. And that 
it is said in a text, "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incor- 
ruptible," will not warrant the manner of speech in the query: For the word 
in the original, signifies only to receive or apprehend, being accordingly ren- 
dered in all Latin versions we have seen,and in our own translation,in the verse 
immediately proceeding, viz. : "One receiveth the prize ;' ' and though the word 
did signify to obtain, in the most strict and proper sense, it could not make for 
the purpose, unless it were meant of the believer's obtaining the incurruptible 
crown, not by faith, but by works. And that an ill chosen word in a stand- 
ard may prove more dangerous to the truth, than one not so justly rendered 
in a translation, with several other things on this head, might be made very 
evident, were it not that we have been, we fear, tedious on it already. 


QuEiiY Vlir. Is kiioioledrje, belief and persuasion that Christ died for me, 
a7id that he is mine, and that whatever Tie did and sujfered, he did and suffered 
for me, the direct act of faith, whereby a sinner is united to Christ, interested 
in him, instated in God^s covenant of grace? Or, is that knoicledge of persua- 
sion included in the very essence of that justifyiiig act ff faith? 

Ans. The query, it is evidcDt, exceedingly narrows the iraijort and design 
of tlie Representation in the place referred to:* For there we assert nothing 
positively concerning the passages relating to faith, but remonstrate against 
condemning them, as what to us seemed to hurt the appropriating act of 
faith, and to fix a blot upon the reformation, reformed churches and divines 
who had generally taught concerning faith as in the condemned passages ; 
all which we might say, without determining whether the persuasion spoke 
of in the query, was the very direct and formal act of justifying faith, yea 
or no. But now, since the query is put so close, and since the matter in ques- 
tion is no other than the old Protestant doctrine on that head, as we shall 
endeavor to make appear, the Reverend Commission, we humbly conceive, 
cannot take it amiss, we, in the first place, inquire into the true sense 
and meaning of this way of si)eaking of faith, that we are now questioned 

The main of the condemned passages the query refers to, runs not in the, 
order therein set down, but as follows : '"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
and thou shalt be saved; that is, be verily persuaded in your heart that 
Christ Jesus is jours, and that you shall have life and salvation by him; that 
whatever Christ did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for you; being 
in matter the same with what has been commonly taught in the Protestant 
churches, and in words of the renowned Mr. John Rogers of Dedham (a man 
so noted for orthodoxy, holiness, and the Lord's countenancing of his minis- 
try, that no sound Protestants in Britain or Ireland, of what denomination 
soever, would in the age wheiein he lived, have taken upon them to con- 
demn as erroneous) his definition of faith, which we have as follows : "A 
particular persuasion of my heart, that Christ Jesus is mine, and that I shall 
have life and salvation by his means ; that whatsoever Christ did for the re- 
demption of mankind, he did it for mc."f "Where one may see, though the 
diflcrence in words be almost none at all, yet it runs rather stronger with 
him, than in the Marrow. 

In which account of saving faith, we haye, first. The general nature of it, 
viz. a real persuasion, agreeing to all sorts of faith whatsoever; for, it is 
certain, whatever one believes he is verily persuaded of. IMore particularly, 
it is a persuasion in the heart, whereby it is distinguished from a general, 
dead and naked assent in the head, which one gives to things that no way 
attect him, because he reckons they do not coneeru him. "But with the heart 
man believes here: If thou believest with all thine heart," says the scripture, 
Acts viii. 37; Rom. x. 10. For as man's believing in his heart the dreadful 
tidings of the law, or its curse, imports not only an assent to them as true, 
but a horror of them as evil; so here the being persuaded in one's heart of 
the glad tidings of the gospel, bears not only an assent unto them as true, 
but a relish of them as good. 

Then we have the most special nature of it, viz. an appropriating persua- 
* Par. 7. t doctrine ol faith, page 'J."?. 


sion, or a persuasion with application to a person's self, that Christ is his. 
etc. The particulars whereof are, first, That Christ is yours; the ground of 
which persuasion is the ofter and grant of Christ as a Saviour in the word, 
to be believed in for salvation, by all to whom the gospel is made known '■ 
By which offer, and setting forth of Christ as a Saviour, though before 
we believe we, wanting union with him, have no actual or saving interest 
in him, yet he is in some sense ours,* namely, so as it is lawful and war- 
rantable for us, not for fallen angels, to take possession of him, and of 
his salvation by faith; without which, our common interest in him as a 
Saviour, by virtue of the offer and grant in the word, will avail ixs noth- 
ing. But though, the call and offer of the gospel being really particular, 
every one, both in point of duty and in point of interest, ou^ht to ap- 
propriate, apply, or make his own the thing offered by believing, they 
having good and sufficient ground and warrant in the word so to do; yet 
it is either neglected and despised, or the truth and sincerity of it sus- 
pected and called in question, until the Holy Spirit, by setting home the 
word of the gospel with such a measure of evidence and power as is effectual, . 
satisfies the convinced sinner, that, with application to himself in particular, 
"it is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, that .Jesus Christ came to 
save sinners;"' and enables him to believe it. Thus the persuasion of faith 
is begot, which is always proportioned to the measure of evidence and power 
from above, that soveieigu grace is pleased to put forth for working of it. 

The ne.rt branch of the persuasion is. That you shall have life and salva- 
tion by him, namely, the life of holiness, as well as of happiness; salvation 
from sin as well as from wrath, not in heaven only, but begun, carried on 
here, and comiileted hereafter: The true notion of life and salvation accord- 
ing to the scriptures, and as Protestant divines are wont to explain it. 
Wherefore this persuasion of faith is inconsistent with an unwillingness tc 
jiart with sin. a bent or purpose of heart to continue in it. There can be 
little question, we apprelienH, whether this branch of the persuasion belongs 
to the nature of justifying faith: For salvation being above all things in a 
sensible sinner's e\ e, iie can never bslieve any thing to his satisfaction, with- 
out he sees ground to believe comfortably concerning it: Few therefore will, 
we conceive, differ from Dr. Collins, laying it down as a conclusion on this 
very head, namely, That "a Christian cannot have true, saving, justifying 
faith, unless he doth (T, says he, do not say, unless he think he doth, or 
unless he saith he doth, but unless he doth) believe, and is persuaded that 
God will pardon his sins." (Cordial, part I. p. 308.) Further, this believing 
on the Son for life and salvation, is the same with receiving of him (as this 
last is explained by the Holy Spirit himself, John i 12,) and likewise evi- 
dently bears the soul's resting on Christ for salvation, without a persuasion 
that it shall have life and salvation by him; namely, a persuasion of the same 
measure and degree as resting is. 

* To any per.fon acquainted with tlie works of tlie Repre.senters, Boston, Erskines, 
&c., it is evident, tliey held, that a belief of tlie promises of 4he gospel with appUca- 
tion to one's self, or a confidence in a, crucified Saviour for a man's own salvation, is 
iheessenco of justifying faith; this, with them, was the assurance of faith, whicli 
widely differs from ilie Antinomian sense of the assurance or persuasion of faith. 
which is, that Christ and pardon of sin are ours in possession no less before believing.— 
a which the Marrow-men and all evangelical writers disclaim. 


The third branch of the persuasion, "That whatsoever Christ did for the 
redemption of mankind, he did it for you," being much the same, in other 
words, with these of the apostle, " Who loved me, and gave himself for me;" 
and coming in the last place, we think none will question, but whosoever 
believes in the manner before explained, may and ought to believe this in 
the like measure, and in the same order: And, it is certain, all who receive 
and rest on Christ for salvation, believe it, if not exj)licitly, yet virtually and 

Now, as this account of justifying faith runs in terms much less strong 
than those of many eminent Protestant divines, who used to define it by a 
persuasion of God's love; of his special mercy to one's self; of the remission 
of his sins, &c. ; so it is the same for substance and matter, though the words 
be not the same, with that of our Shorter Catechism, viz. "A receiving and 
resting upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel:'' 
"Where it is,evident, the offer of Christ to us, though mentioned in the last 
place, is to be believed first: For till the soul be persuaded, that Christ cru- 
cified is in the gospel .set forth, offered, and exhibited to it, as if expressed 
by name, there can be no believing on him: And when the ofi:er is brought ' 
home to a person by the Holy Ghost, there will be a measure of persuasion 
that Christ is his, as above explained: And that receiving or believing in 
and resting on him for life and salvation by him, was said already. But 
more directly to the query, 

"We answer, \mo. Since our reformers and their successors such as Lu- 
ther, Calvin, Melancton, Beza, Bullinger, Bucer, Knox, Craig, JNIelvil, Bruce, 
Davidson, Forbes, ^c, men eminently endowed with the Spirit of truth, and 
who fetch their actions of it immediately fi-om the fountain of the holy scrip- 
ture, the most eminent doctors and professors of theology that have been in 
the Protestant churches, such as Ursinias, Zanchius, Junius, Piscator, Pol- 
lock, Danjeus, "Wendelinus, Chamierus, Sharpius, Bodius, Parens, Altingius, 
Triglaudii (Gisbertus and Jacobus), Arnoldus, Maresius, the four professors 
of Leyden, viz. "Wallajus, Heidegerus, Esseniu.s, Turretinus, ifcc. ; with 
many eminent British divines, such as Perkins, Pemble, "Willet, Gouge, Rob- 
erts, Burgess, Owen, &c. ; the churches themselves of Helvetia, the Palati- 
nate' France, Holland, England, Ireland, Scotland, in tlieir standards of 
doctrine; all the Lutheran churphes, who in point of orthodoxy and faith are 
second to none; the renowned synod of Dort, made up of eminent divine?, 
called an commissionate from seven reformed states and kingdoms, besides 
these of the several provinces of the Nethe^-lauds; — since these, we say all of 
them, stand for their special ^rfi/c«a, confidence, or appropriating persuasion 
of faith spoke of in the condemned passages of the Marrow, upon which this 
query is raised; the synod of Dort, besides the minds of the several dele- 
gates on this head, in their several sufl:rages anent the five articles, declar- 
ing themselves plainly, both in their final decisions concerning the said arti- 
cles, and in their solemn and ample approbation of the Palatine Catechism, 
as agreeable to the word of God in all things, and as containing nothing that 
ought to be either altered or amended: "Which catechism being full and plain, 
as to this persuasion of faith, has been commented upon by many great di- 
vines, leceived by most of all the reformed churches, as a most excellent 
ccmpeud of the orthodox Chi-istian doctrine; and particularly by the church 


of Scotland, as the Rev. Mr. Robert Wcclrow lately told his present Majesty 
King George, in the dedication of his history: and since we, with this whole 
church and nation are, by virtue of the awful tie of the oath of God in our 
National Covenant, bound ever to abhor and detest the Popish "general and 
doubtsome faith, with all the erroneous decrees of Trent;" among which (in 
opposition to the special fiducia, therein condemned) this is established; 
being by Protestants, so called, mainly for their denying and opposing the 
confidence and persuasion of faith, with application to one's self, now in 
<luestion; by which renunciation our forefathers, no doubt, pointed at, and 
asserted to be held and professed as God's undoubted truth and verity, that 
particular and confident, or assured faith, then commonly known and main- 
tained in this church, as standing plain and express in her standards ; to the 
profession and defence of which, they in the same covenant#pi-omising and 
swearing by the great name of the Lord our Gud, bound themselves and us : 
And since the same persuasion of faith, however the way of speaking on that 
head is come to be somewhat altered, was never by any judicatory of a re- 
formed church, until now, denied or condemned: Con;ilering all these 
things, we say, and of what dangerous consequence such a judicial alteration 
may be, we cannot, we dare not consent unto the condemnation of that point 
of doctrine : For we cannot think of charging error or delusion in a matter 
of such importance, upon so many Protestant divines, eminent for holiness 
and learning ; upon the Protestant churches ; and upon our own forefathers, 
.'^o signally owned of the Lord; and also on the standards of Protestant doc- 
trine in this church, for nigh an hundred years after her reformation; Else, 
if Ave should thus speak, we are persuaded we would offend against the gen- 
eration of h?s children. Nor can it ever enter into our minds, that the fa- 
mous Assembly of "Westminster had it so much as once in their thoughts to 
depart in this point from the doctrine of their own, and of this church, which 
they were all of them by the strongest ties bound to maintain; or to go oft' 
from the synod of Dort, which had but so lately before them settled the 
Protestant principles as to doctrine; and by so doing, yield up to Socinians, 
Arminians, and Papists, what all of them have a mortal aversion to, namely, 
the special fiducia, or appropriating persuasion of faith, which Protestant 
divines before and since that time contended for to their utmost, as being 
not only a precious truth, but a point of vast consequence to religion. And 
we are sure, the Assemblies of this church ftnderstood and received, their 
Confessions and Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, as entirely consistent with 
our Confessions and Catechisms before that time, as we have already made 
evident in our Representation, from the acts of Assembly, receiving and ap- 
proving the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. 

Answer 2do, It is to be considered, that most of the words of the Holy 
Ghost, made use of in the Old and New Testament, for expressing the nature 
of faith and believing, do import the confidence or persuasion in question. 
And that confidence and trust in the Old Testament, are expounded by faith 
and believing in the New; and the same things attributed to the former; 
that diflfidence and doubting are in their natuie, acts and effects, contrary 
to faith: that peace and joy are the native effects of believing: that the 
promises of the gospel, and Christ in his priestly ofiice therein held forth, 
are the proper objects of justifying faith: that faithfulness In God, and faith 



ill the believer, being relatives, and the former the ground of the latter, our 
faith should answer to his faithfulness, by trusting to his word of promise 
for the sake of it: That it is certain, a believer, in the exercise of justifying 
faith, does believe something with reference to his own salvation, upon the 
ground of God's faithfulness in the promise; which if it be not to this pur- 
pose, that now Christ is and will be a Saviour to him, that he shall have life 
and salvation by him, we are utterly at a loss to conceive what it can be. 
That persuasion, conlidence, and assurance, are so much attributed to faith 
in the scripture, and the saints in scripture ordinarily express themselves in 
their addresses to God, in words of appropriation. And finally, That accord- 
ing to our Larger Catechism, faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, as 
an instrument, receiving and applying Christ, and his righteousness held 
forth in the jj^-omise of the gospel, and resteth thereupon for pardon of sin, 
and for the accepting and accounting one's person righteous before God for 
salvation; the which how faith can do without some measure of the confi- 
dence or appropriating persuasion we are now upon, seems extremely hard 
to conceive. Upon these considerations, and others too long to be here in- 
serted, we cannot but think, that confidence, or trust in Jesus Christ, as our 
Saviour, and the free grace and mercy of God in him as crucified, offered to 
us in tlie gospel for salvation, (including justification, sanctification and 
future glory,) upon the ground and security of the divine faithfulness, 
plighted in the gospel-promise; and upon the warrant of the divine call and 
command to believe in the name of the Son of God: Or, which is the same in 
other words, a persuasion of life and salvation, from the free love and mercy 
of God, in and through Jesus Christ; a crucified Saviour oft'ered to us upon 
the security and warrant aforesaid, is the very direct, uniting, justifying and 
appropriating act of faith, whereby the convinced sinner becomes possessed 
of Christ and his saving benefits, instated in God's covenant and family: 
Taking this always along, as supposed, that all is set home and wrought by 
the Holy Spirit, who brings Christ, his righteousness, salvation, and whole 
fulness, nigh to us in the promise and offer of the gospel; clearing at the 
sama time our right and warrant to intermeddle with all, without fear of 
vitious intromission, encouraging and enabling to a measure of confident ap- 
plication, and taking home to ourselves freely, without money, and without 

This confidence, persuasion, or whatever other name it may be called bj% 
we take to be the very same with what our Confession and Catechism call 
accepting, receiving, and resting on Christ offered in the gospel for salvation; 
and with what polemic and practical divines call fiducia specialis misericor- 
due, fiducial application, fiducial apprehension, fiducial adherence, recum- 
bence, affiance, fiducial acquiescence, ai^propriating persuasion, &c. All 
which, if duly explained, would issue in a measure of this confidence or per- 
suasion we have been si^eaking of. However, we are fully satisfied, this is 
what our fathers, and the body of Protestant divines, S2)eaking with the 
scriptures, called the Assurance of Faith. That once burning and shining- 
light of this church, Mr. .John Davidson, though in his Catechism he defines 
faith by a hearty assurance, that our sins are freely forgiven us in Christ; 
or, a sui'e persuasion of the heart, that Christ by his death and resurrection 
hath taken away our sins, and, clothing us with his own perfect righteous- 


iiess, has thoroughly restored us to the favour of God; which he reckoned 
all one with a "hearty receiving of Christ oifered in the gospel for the re- 
mission of sins:" Yet in a former part of the same Catechism, he gives us 
to understand what sort of assurance and persuasion it was he meant, as fol- 
lows: "And certain it is," says he, " that both the enlightening of the mind 
to acknowledge the truth of the promise of salvation to us in Christ, and the 
sealing up of the certainty thereof iu our hearts and minds, (of the whilk 
twa parts, as it were, faith consists,) are the works and effects of the Spirit 
of God." In like manner, iu our Confession of Faith,* it is called, "An as- 
sured faith in the promise of God, revealed to us in his word; by which faith 
we apprehend Jesus Christ, wuth the graces and benefits promised in him. 

This faith, and the assurance of the same, proceeds not from flesh and 

blood." And in our first Catechism, commonly called Calvin's Catechism, 
faith is defined by a sure persuasion and stedfast knowledge of God's tender 
love towards us, according as he has plainly uttered in the gospel, that he 
Avill be a Father and Saviour to us, through the means of Jesus Christ; and 
again, faith which God's Spirit worketh in our hearts, assuring of God's 
promises made to us in his holy gospel. In the Summula Catechismi, or 
Rudimenta Pietalis, to the Question, Quid est fides? the Answer is. Cum 
mihi persuadeo Deum me omuesque sanctos amare, nobisque Christum cum 
omnibus suis bonis gratis donare; and in the margin. Nam in fide duplex 
persuasio, 1. De amore Dei erga nos. 2. De Dei beneficiis qua ex amore 
tiuunt, Christo nimirum, cum omnibus sui bonis, ttc. And to that Ques- 
tion, Quomodo fide percipimus, and nobis applicamis corpus Chrisii crucifixi f 
the Answer is, Dum nobi^ persuademus Christi mortem and crucifixionem 
uon minus ad nos pertinere quam si ipsi nos pro peccatis nostris crucifixi 
essemus. Persuasio autem hfec est veras fidei. From all which it is evident 
they held, that a belief of the promises of the gospel, with application to 
one's self, or a confidence in a crucified Saviour for a man's own salvation, 
is the very essence of justifying faith; or, that we become actually possessed 
of Christ, remission of sins, &c., in and by the act of believing, or confidence 
in him, as above explained. And this with them was the assurance of faith, 
which widely difters from the Antinomian sense of the assurance or persua- 
sion of faith, which is, that Christ, and pardon of sin, are ours, no less be- 
fore believing than after; a sense which we heartily disclaim. 

Whether these words in the query, viz. Or, is that knowledge a persua- 
sion included in the very essence of that justifying act of faith? be exegeMc 
of the query; We answer. That we liave already explained the persuasion of 
faith by us held, and do think, that in the language of faith, though not in 
the language of philosophy, knowledge and persuasion, relating to the same 
object, go hand in hand in the same measure and degree. 

It is evident, that the confidence or persuasion of faith, for which we 
plead, includes, or necessarily and infallibly infers, consent and resting, to- 
gether with all the blessed fruits and eflects of faith, in proportion to the 
measure of it. And that we have mentioned consent, we cannot but be the 
more confirmed in this matter, when we consider, that such a noted person 
as Mr. Baxter, though he had made the marriage-consent to Christ, as King 
and Lord, the formal act of justifying faith, as being an epitome of all gos- 

* Art. 3. 12. 

52 History of the 

pel-obedience, includiiig and binding to all the duties ot' tlie married state, 
and so giving right to all the privileges; and had thereby, as well as by his 
other dangerous notions about justification and other points connected there- 
with, scattered through his works, corrupted the fountain, and endangered 
the faith of many; yet, after all, came to be of another mind, and had the 
humility to tell the world so much: For Mr. Cross informs us,* that INIr. 
Baxter, in his little book against Dr. Crisp's error, says, "I formerly be- 
lieved the formal nature of faith to lie in consent, but now I recant it: I be- 
lieve (says he) it lies in trust; this makes the right to lie in the object: for 
it is, I depend on Christ as the matter or merit of my pardon, my life, my 
ferown, my glory." 

Tliere are two things further, concerning this persuasion of faith, that 
should be adverted to. One is, that it is not axiomatical, but real, i. e. tiie 
sinner has not always, at his first closing with Christ, nor afterwards, such 
a clear, steady, and full persuasion that Christ is his, that his sins are for- 
given, and he eventually shall be saved; as that he dare profess the same to 
others, or even positively assert it within himself: Yet, upon the first saving 
manifestation of Christ to him, such a persuasion and humble confidence is 
begotten, as is real and relieving, and particular as to himself and his own 
salvation, and which works a proportionable hope as to the issue; though, 
through the humbling impressions he has of himself, and his own guilt at 
the time, the awe of God's majesty, justice, and holiness on his spirit, and 
his indistinct knowledge of the doctrine of the gospel, with the grounds and 
warrants of believing therein contained, he fears to express it directly and 
particularly of himself. The other is, that whatever is said of the habit, 
-actings, strength, weakness, and intermittings of the exercise of saving faith, 
the same is to be said of this persuasion in all points. From all which it is 
■ evident, the doubts, fears, and darkness so frequently to be found in true 
believei-s, can very well consist with this persuasion in the same subject: For 
though they may be, and often are, in the true believer, yet they are not of 
his faith, which, in its nature' and exercise, is as opt osite to them as light is 
to darkness, the flesh to the spirit; which, though they be in the same sub- 
ject, yet as contrary the one to the other. Gal. v. 17. And therefore faith 
wrestles against them, though with various success, it being sometimes so 
far overcome and brought under by the main force and much superior strength 
of prevailing unbelief, that it cannot be discerned more tlian the fire is when 
covered with ashes, or the sun when wrapped uj) in thick clouds. The con- 
fidence and persuasion of faith being in many, at first especially, as the grain 
of mustard seed cast into the ground, or like a spark amidst the trovibled sea 
of all manner of corruption and lusts, where the rolling waves of unbelieving 
doubts and fears, hellish temptations and suggestions, and the like, moving 
on the face of that deep, are every now and then going over it; and were 
there not a divine hand and care engaged for its preservation, would eff"ectu- 
ally extinguish and bury it: What wonder that in such a case it many times 
cannot be discerned? Yet will it still hold, so much of the exercise of justi- 
fying faith, so much persuasion. Yea, not only may a believer have this 
persuasion, and not know of it lor the time (as say Collins, Roberts, Ame- 

* Ser. on Rom. iv. 2, p. 148. 


sins, and others, who distin<;ui.>li the persuasion from tlie sensi of it), but 
he, being under the power of temptation and confusion of mind, may reso- 
lutely deny he has any such persuasion or confidence; while it is evident to 
others at tlie same time, by its effects, that he really has it: For which, one 
may, among others, see the hol7 and learned Mr. Halyburton, in his Inquiry 
into the nature of God's act of justification.* And if one would see the con- 
sistence of faith's persuasion with doubting, well discoursed and illustrated, 
he may cQnsult Downhame's Christian warfare. f But we 

Ansicer Sdly, There is a lull persuasion and assurance, by refiectiou' 
spiritual argumentatioii, or inward sensation, which we are far from holding 
to-be of the essence of faith; but this last, being mediate, and collected by 
inference, as we gather the cause from such signs and effects as give evidence 
of it, is very different from that confidence or persuasion, iiy divines called 
the "assurance of faith." Sanctification, says Rutherford, does not evidence 
justification, as faith doth evidence it, with sue); a sort of cleainess, as light 
evidenceth colours, though it be no sign, or evident mark of them; but as 
smoke evidenceth lire, and as the morning in the east evidencetli the 
sun will shortly rise; or as the streams prove there is a head-spring whence 
they issue; though none of these make what they evidence visible to the eye: 
So doth sanctification give evidence of justification, only as marks, signs, 
effects, give evidence of the cause. He jails it a light of arguing, and of 
heavenly logic, by which wc know, that we Isnow God by tl c light of faith, 
because we keep his commandments. In effect, says i:e, " we know rather 
the person must be justified, in whom these gracious evidences are by hear- 
sa\, report, or consequence, than that we know or see justification or faith 
itself ^;^ abstracto: But the light of faith, the t stimony of the Spirit by the 
operation of free grace, will cause us, as it were with onr eyes, see justifica- 
tion and faith, not by report, but as we see the sun-light." Again, he says, 
"We never bad a question with Antinomians, touching the first assurance 
of justification, such as is proper to the light of faith. He (Cornwall) might 
have spared all his arguments, to i rove that -we are first assured of our justi- 
fication by fciith, not by good vi'orks; for we grant the arguments of one sort 
of assurance, which is proper to faith; and they prove nothing against an- 
other sort of assurance by signs and effects, winch is also divine." Fur- 
ther, as to the difference between these two kinds of assurance; the assur- 
ance of faith has it's object and foundation without the man, but that of sense 
has them within him: I he assurance of faith looks to, the promise 
and covenant of God, and says, "This is all my salvation; God has spoken 
in his holiness, I will rejoice:" But the assurance of sense looks inward at 
the works of God, such as the person's own graces, attainments, experiences, 
and the like: The assurance of faith giving an evidence to things not seen, 
can claim an interest in, and plead a saving relation to a hiding, withdraw- 
ing God: Zion said, "My Lord hath forgotten me;" and the spouse, "I 
opened to my beloved, but my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone." 
So he may be a forgetting and a withdrawing God to ray feeling, and yet to 
my faith, my God and my Lord still, says holy Rutherford; even as the wife 
may believe the augiy and forsaking husband, is still her husband. But, on 
the other hand, the assurance of sense is the evidence of things seen and felt 

* Page 27. t P=i''' IJ^- lib. ii. p. VH. 


The one says, I take liim for mine; the uther says, I feel he is mine: The one 
says with the church, My God (though he cover himself with a cloud, that 
my prayer cannot pass through, yet) will hear me; the other. My God has 
heard me: The one says, He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall be- 
hold his righteousness: the other, He has bi*ought me forth to the light, and 
I do behold his righteousness: 'Ihe one says, Though he should kill me, yet 
will I trust in him; the other. He smiles and shines on me, therefore will I 
love him, and trust in him. 

Upon the whole, we humbly conceive, were the nature and grounds of 
faith's persuasion more narrowly and impartially under the guidance of the 
Spirit of truth, searclied into, and laid open, it would, instead of discourag- 
ing weak Christians, exceedingly tend to the strengthening and increase of 
faith, and consequently have a mighty influence on spiritual comfort, and 
true gospel holiness, which will always be found to bear proportion to faith, 
as effects do to the efficacy and influence of their causes. 

Query IX. What is tJiut act of faith, by ichich a uppn priates 
Christ, and his saving benefits, to himself? 

Ans. This ipiestion being fully and plainly answered, in what is said on 
the immediately foregoing, we refer thereto, and proceed to the tenth. 

Query X. Whether the revelation of the divine will in the word, affording 
a warrant to offer Christ unto all, and a warrant to all to receive him, can be 
said to he the Father'' s making a deed of gift and grant of Christ unto all man- 
kind? Js this grant made to all mankind by suvereign grace ? And whether is 
it absolute or conditional? 

Ans. Here we are directed to that part of our Representation, where we 
complain that the following passage is condemned, viz.: "The father hath 
made a deed of gift or grant unto all mankind, that whosoiver of them shall 
believe in his Son, shall not perish ;"' and where we say, "That this treat- 
ment of the said passage, seems to encroach on the warrant aforesaid, and 
also upon sovereign grace, which hath made this grant, not to devils, but to 
men, in terms than which none can be imagined more extensive ;" * agree- 
able to what we, have already said in our Representation We answer to the 
first part of the (luestion, that by the deed of gift or grant unto all mankind, 
we understand no more than the revelation of the divine will in the word, 
affording warrant to offer Christ to all, and a warrant to all to receive him : 
For although we believe the purchase and application of redemption to be 
peculiar to the elect, who were given by the Father to Christ in the counsel 
of peace ; yet tlie warrant to receive him is common to all : ministers, by 
virtue of the commission they have received from their great Lord and Mas- 
ter, are authorized and instructed to go to preach the gospel to every crea- 
ture, i e. to make a full, free, and unhampered offer of him, his grace, I'ight- 
eousness, and salvation, to every lational soul, to whom they may in provi- 
dence have access to speak. And though we had a voice like a trumpet, that 
could reach all the corners of the earth, we thiuk we would be bound, by 
virtue of our commiss-'on, to lift it up and say, ' '-o you, O men, do we call, 
and our \oitte is to tlie sons of men. God hath so loved the world, that he 

* Par. .s. 


gave his only-begotten Son, tliat wLosoever believes in him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life,' John iii. 16. And although this deed of gift and 
grant, "That whosoever believeth in Christ shall not perish," &c., is neither 
in our Eepresentation, nor in the passages of the book condemned on that 
head, called a deed of gift, and grant of Christ ; yet being required to give 
our judgment on this point, we think, that agreeable to the holy scriptures 
it may be so called, as particularly appears from the text last cited, John iii. 
16, where, bj' the giving of Christ, we understand not only his eternal des- 
tination by the Father, to be the Redeemer of an elect world, and his giving 
him unto the death for them, in the fulness of time ; but more especially, a 
giving of him in the word, unto all, to be received and believed in : The 
giving here, cannot be a giving in possession, which is peculiar only unto 
them who actually believe, but it must be such a giving, granting, or offer- 
ing, as warrants a man to believe or receive the gift ; and must therefore be 
anterior to actual believing. '1 his is evident enough from the text itself : 
He gave him, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, ikc. The 
context also, to us, puts it beyond controversy; the brazen serpent was given, 
and lifted up, as a common good to the whole camp of Israel, that whosoever 
in all the camp, being stung by the fiery serpents, looked thereunto, might 
not die, but live : So hei'e, Christ is given to a lost world, in the word, that 
whosoever believes in him should not perish, etc. And in this respect, we 
think, Christ is a common Saviour, and his salvation is a common salvation : 
and it is glad tidings of great joy unto all peoj^le, that unto us (not to angels 
that fell) this Son is given, and this Child is born, whose name is called 
Wonderful, &c. Isa. ix. 6. 

We have a scripture also to this purpose, John vi. 32, where Christ, 
speaking to a promiscuous multitude, makes a comparison between himself 
and the manna that fell about the tents of Israel in the wilderness, and says' 
" My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." As the simple rain- 
ing of the manna about their camp, is called a giving of it, ver. 31, before it 
was tasted or fed upon : so the very revelation and ofter of Christ is called 
(according to the judicious Calvin on the place) a giving of him, ere he be 
received and believed on. 

Cf his giving of Christ to mankind lost, we read also, 1 John v. 11, "And 
this is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in 
his Son." This giving in the text, is not, we conceive, a giving in posses- 
sion, in greater or lesser measure ; but a giving by way of grant and offer, 
whereupon one may warrantably take possession, and the party to whom, is 
not the election only, but lost mankind : For the record of God here, must 
be such a thing as warrants all to believe on the Son of God. But it can be 
no such warrant, to tell. That God hath given eternal life to the elect ; for 
the making of a gift to a certain select company of persons, can never be a 
warrant for all men to receive or take possession of it. This will be farther 
evident, if we consider, That the great sin of unbelief lies in not believing 
this record of God ; "he that believes not, hath made God a liar," says the 
4ipostle, ver. 10, "because he believes not the record that God gave of his 
Son;" and then it foUoweth, ver. 11, "And this is the record, that God hath 
given to us eternal life," etc. Xow, are we to think, that the rejecting of 
the record of God is a bare disbelieving of this proposition, " That God hath 

50 HISTORY OF tup: 

given eternal life vinto the elect?" No surely; for the most desperate unbe- 
lievers, such as Judas, and others, believe this ; and their belief of it adds to 
their anguish and torment : Or, do they, by believing this, set to their seal 
that God is true ? No, they still continue, notwithstanding of all this, to 
make him a liar, in not believing this record of God, That to lost mankind, 
and to themselves in particular, God hath given eternal life, by way of grant, 
so as they, as well as others, are warranted and welcome ; and every one to 
whom it comes, on their peril, required, by faith to receive, or take possession 
of it. By not receiving this gifted and offered remedy, with application and 
appropriation, they lly in the face of God's record and testimony; and there- 
fore do justly and deservedly perish, seeing the righteousness, salvation, and 
kingdom of God, was brought so near to them, in the free offer of the gospel, 
and yet they would not take it. The great pinch and strait, we think, of an 
awakened conscience, does not lie in believing, that God hath given eternal 
life to the elect ; but in believing or receiving Christ, offered to us in the 
gosjjel, with particular application to the man himself, in scripture called, 
"An eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of the Son of man." And yet, 
till this difiBculty be surmounted, in greater or lesser measure, he can never 
be said to believe in Christ, or receive and rest upon him for salvation ; the 
very taking or receiving must needs pre-suppose a giving of Christ ; and this 
giving may be, and is for the most part, where there is no receiving ; but 
there can be no receiving of Christ for salvation, where there is not revela- 
tion of Christ in the word of the gospel, aftbrding warrant to receive him, 
Rom. X. 14, and then, by the efi'ectual operation of the Spirit, persuading 
and enabling the sinner to embrace him upon this warrant and offer : "A 
man," says the Spirit of God, John iii. 27, "can receive nothing, except it be 
given him from heaven." Hence, Mr. Ruthtrford, in his Christ Dying and 
Drawing, &.C., page 443, says, "That reprobates have as fair a warrant to 
believe as the elect have." 

As to the second part of this question, to wit : " Is this grant made to all 
mankind by sovereign grace? And whether is it absolute or conditional?" 
We answer, That this grant made in common to lost mankind, is from sov- 
ereign grace only; and it being ministers' warrant to offer Christ unto all, 
and jjeople's warrant to receive him, it cannot fail to be absolutely free ; yet, 
so as none can be possessed of Christ and his benefits, till by faith they re- 
ceive him. 

Qdery XI. Is the division of the law, as explained and applied in the 
MarroiD, to he justified, and lohich cannot he rejected loithout hurying several 

Ajis. We humbly judge, the tripartite division of the law, if rightly un- 
derstood, may be admitted as orthodox ; yet, seeing that which we are con- 
cerned with, as contained in our Representation, is only the division of the 
law into the law of works and the law of Christ : we say. That we are still 
of opinion, that this distinction of the law is carefully to be maintained ; in 
regard that by the law of works, we, according to the scripture, understand 
the covenant of works, which believers are wholly and altogether delivered 
1 from, although they are certainly under the law of the ten commands in the 
hand of a Mediator : And if this distinction of the law, thus applied, be 
overthrown and declared groundless, several sweet gospel-truths must un- 


avoidably fall in the ruins of it. For instance, if there be no dift'erence put 
between the law as a covenant, and the law as a rule of life to believers in 
the hand of Christ ; it must needs follow, That the law still retains its cove- 
nant-form with respect .to believers, and that they are still under the law in 
this formality, contrary to scripture; Rom. vi. 14, and vii. 1, 2, 3; and to 
the Confession of Faith, chap. 19, ^ 6. It would also follow, that the sins 
of believers are still to be looked upon as breaches of the covenant of works ; 
and consequently, that their sins not only deserve the wrath and curse of 
God (which is a most certain truth,) but also makes them actually liable to 
the wrath of God, and the pains of hell for ever ; which is true only of them 
that are in a state of black nature, Lesser Catechism, Quest. 19 ; and con- 
trary to Confession of Faith, chap. 19, § 1. It will likewise follow. That 
believers are still to eye God as a vindictive and wrathful Judge, though his 
Justice be fully satisfied in the death and blood of their IJlessed Surety, appre- 
hended by faith. These, and many other sweet gospel-truths, we think fall, 
in the ruins of the foresaid distiuction condemned as groundless. 

Query XII. Is (he hope of heaven and fear of hell to he excluded from the 
motives (f the believer^ s obedience? And if not, how can the Marrow he de- 
fended, that expressly excludes them, though it should allow of other motives? 
Ans. Here we are referred to the third particular head, wherein we think 
the Marrow injured by the Assembly's act, which for brevity's sake we do 
not transcribe : But, agreeable both to our Representation and the scope of 
the ]\! arrow, we answer, That, taking heaven for a state of endless felicity, 
in fhe enjoyment of God in Christ, we are so far from thinking, that this is 
to be excluded from being a motive of the believer's obedience, that we think 
it the chief end of man, next to the glory of God, Psal. Ixxiii. 25, "Whom 
have I in heaven but thee ?" C:c. Heaven, instead of being a reward to the 
believer, would be a desolate wilderness to him, without the enjoyment of a 
God in Christ ; the Lord (:;od and the Lamb are the light of that place : God 
himself is the portion of his people ; he is their shield, and exceeding great 
reward. 'I he very cop -stone of the happiness of heaven lies in being for 
ever wi;h the Lord, and in beholding of his glory: and this indeed the be- 
liever is to have in his eye, as the recompense of reward, and a noble motive 
of obedience : Ihit, to form conceptions of heaven, as a place of pleasure 
and happiness, without the former views of it, and to fancy that this heaven 
is to be obtained by our own works and doings, is unworthy of a believer, a 
child of God, in regard it is slavish, legal, mercenary, and carnal. 

As for the fear of hell its being a motive of the believer's obedience, we reckon 
it one of the special branches of that glorious liberty wherewith Christ hath 
made his people free, that they yield obedience to the Lord, not out of slavish 
fear of hell and wrath, but out of a child-like love and willing mind ; Confess, 
chap. 20, § (). '-Christ hath delivered us out of the hands of our enemies, 
that we might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the 
days of our lives," Luke i. 74, 75. A filial fear of God, and of his fatherly 
displeasure, is worthy of the believer, being a fruit of faith, and of the Spirit 
of adoption ; but a slavish fear of hell and wrath, from which he is delivered 
by Christ, is not a fruit of faith, but of unbelief. And in so far as a believer 
is not drawn with love, but driven on in his obedience with a slavish fear of 
hell, we think him in so far under a spirit of bondage. And judging this to- 


be the JMarrow's sense of rewards and punishments with respect to a be- 
believer, we think it may and ought to be defended. 

And this doctrine, which we apprehend to be the truth, stands supported, 
not only by scripture and our Confession of Faith, but also by the suffrages 
of some of our soundest divines : For instance, Mr. Rutherford ; * "Be- 
lievers," says he, "are to be sad for their sins, as offensive to the authority 
of the Lawgiver and the love of Christ, though they be not to fear the eter- 
nal punishment of them ;" for sorrow for sin, and fear for sin, are most dif- 
ferent to us. Again, says the same author,! "servile obedience, under ap- 
prehension of legal terror, was never commanded in the spiritual law of God 
to the Jews, more than to us." Durham {loco citato,) "The believer," says 
he, "being free from the law as a covenant, his life depends not on the 
promises annexed to the law, nor is he in danger by threatening adjoined to 
it, both these to believers being made void through Christ." And to con- 
clude, We are clear of Dr. Owen's mind, anent the use of the threatenings of 
everlasting wrath with reference unto believers, who, though he owns them 
tD be declarative of God's hatred of sin, and his will to punish it ; yet, in 
regard the execution of them is inconsistent with the covenant, and God's 
faithfulness therein, says, "The use of them cannot be to beget in believers 
an anxious, doubting, solicitous fear about the punishment threatened, 
grounded on a supposition that the person fearing shall be overtaken with 
it, or a perplexing fear of hell-fire ; which, though it oft-times be a conse- 
quence of some of God's cli.spensatious towards us, of our own sins, or the 
weakness of our faith, is not anywhere prescribed unto us as a duty; nor is 
the ingenerating of it in us the design of any of the threatenings of God." 
His reasons, together with the nature of that fear which the threatenings of 
eternal wrath ought to beget in believers, may be viewed among the rest of 
the authorities. 

These are some thoughts that have ottered to us upon the queries, which 
we lay before the Reverend Commission, with all becoming deference, hum- 
bly craving that charity, which thinketh no evil, may procare a favourable 
construing of our words, so as no sense may be put upon, nor inference 
drawn from them, which we never intended. And in regard the tenor 
of our doctrine, and our aims in conversation, have (though with a mixture 
of much sinful weakness) been sincerely pointed at the honor of the Lord 
Jesus, as our King, as well as Priest, as our sanctitication as well as our right- 
eousness, — We cannot but regret our being aspersed, as turning the grace of 
ottr Ood into lasciviousness, and casting off the obligation of the holy law of 
the ten commands; being persuaded that the damnation of such as either do 
or teach so, is just and unavoidable, if mercy prevent it not. But now, if, 
after this plain and ingenuous declaration of our principles, we must still lie 
under the same load of reproach, it is our comfort that we have the testi- 
mony of our consciences clearing us in that matter, and doubt not that the 
Lord will in due time "bring forth our righteousness as the light, and oui' 
judgment as the noonday." We only add. That we adhere to our Repre- 
sentation and Petition in all points; and so much the lather, that we have 

* Christ dj-ing and drawing, &c., page 513. 
t Trial and triumph, old edit., page 107. 


already obsei'ved the sad fruits and bad iraprovemeut made of the Assem- 
bly's deed, therein complained of. 

These answers, contained in this and the sixteen px'ecediug pages, (viz. 
of the manuscript given in,) are subscribed at Edinburgh, March 12, 1722, 
by us. 

The names of the Subscribers, both of the Papers given in Nov. 9th, 1721, 
and of the preceding Answers. 
Mr. James Hog, minister of the Gospel at Ca"nock. 

Thomas Boston, do. Etfeerick. 

John Williamson, do. laveresk. 

James Kid, do. Queensferry. 

Gabriel Wilson, do. Maxton. 

Ebenezer Erskine, do. Portmoak. 

Ralph Erskine, J ^^ Dunferline. 

James Wardlaw, > 

Henry Davidson, do. Galashiels. 

James Bathgate, do. Orwell. 

William Hunter, do. Liliesleaf. 

iV. B. Mr. John Bonar, Minister of the Gospel at Torphichen, being de- 
tained by indisposition, could neither attend when the Queries were given, 
nor the Answers returned. 

With regard to these answers, it may be remarked that they 
contain a vast amount of sound theology, and display an amount 
of theological learning rarely found in the works of either an- 
■cient or modern divines. Had Ebenezer Erskine and William 
Wilson done nothing else, their answers to these unreasonable 
<j^uestions, propounded by the commission, would have perpetu- 
ated tlieir names as long as the English language is spoken, and 
pious men are pleased with sound, scriptural theology. 

The body of the ministers of the Church of Scotland, at that 
time, seem to have been ignorant of the gospel plan of salva- 
tion ; at least of that plan as deduced from the Scriptures and 
briefly but plainly stated in the Westminster Confession of 
Faith. The anti-Marroiv men, and they were in the majority, 
seem to have been unable to make the proper distinction be- 
tween the law as being a rule of life and not being a rule of 
justification. The true doctrine of both the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith and of the 3Iarrow men is, that the sinner is 
not justified on account of obedience to the law, but by faith 
in Jesus Christ. In other words, the ground of the sinner's 
pardon and justification, is the obedience and suftering of the 
Lamb of God. The death of Christ secures the believer's pardon, 
and the righteousness of Jesus imputed to him and received by 


faith alone — faith without works — in that on account of which 
he is pronounced just. Such being the case, while the law is 
a rule of sanctification, it is not, and never was designed — at 
least since the fall of Adam — to be a rule of justification. 

The Assembly of 1722 somewhat modified the act, condemn- 
ing, in no measured terms, the "Marrow of Modern Divinity ;" 
but still its most objectionable features were permitted to re- 
main in force. I^otonlyso; but the Assembly decided that 
the Representers or Marrow men should l)e publicly rebuked 
at their bar. 

The Representers appeared before the bar of the Assembly, 
and were, by the Moderator, rebuked. Having discovered how 
the matter was likely to terminate, they had previously 
prepared a protest. So soon as the Moderator had finish- 
ed his rebuke, this protest was presented by James Kidd, in 
liis own name, and in the name of the other 31arrow men. The 
Assembly flew into a rage, and would neither permit the pro- 
test to be read nor allow it to lie on the table. 

The Assembly was quickly dissolved, as if the object was to 
insult the Illarroio men. Here the matter ended. The parties 
had now grown warm ; nay, they had become bitterly angry. 
The anti-Mctrroirmcu, constituting themselves incpiisitors, set 
about to hunt up the Marroir men and drag them before the 
church courts, as if the object of the latter was to establish 
Popery. The controversy spread all over Scotland, and the 
book was eagerly sought for by both ministers and people — the 
former generally to condemn ; the latter to approve. Minis- 
ters who had never seen the book, })reached against it and 
pronounced anathemas against any of their parishioners who 
would dare to read it. This excited the curiosity of the peo- 
ple, who made it, on all occasions, a subject of conversation. 
The multitude of the people, who, when the controversy firet 
began, had never seen or heard of the book, were as much puz- 
zled to know what was its proper name, as to learn what were 
its real contents. Some argued that the title of the book was 
the "Marrow of Morality," whilst others declared that its 
proper title was the "Mother of Divinity." 

So soon as the mass of pious people became acquainted with 
its contents, from a personal examination, the popular current 
turned in favor of the Marrow ^yiQn. The anti- Marrow mew ^ 


especially the young men, ceased to preach Christ and Ilim 
Crucified, and turned their pulpit exercises into rant condemna- 
tory of Edward Fisher's book. The result was that the con- 
gregations of the Marroio men increased, whilst those of the op- 
posite party dwindled down. 



The eftect of the "Marrow" Controversy on the Church — Professor Simsoii 
Denies the necessary Existence of Jesus Christ — Is Tried by the Presby- 
tery of Glasgow — His case is Brought before the General Assembly — 
Charges all Proved — The Church greatly Corrupted — Blasphemous Doc- 
trines — Professor Simson's Case Ended, 1729 — Many were Grieved on 
account of the Leniency Shown him by the Assembly— The "Marrow" 
'Men Protest — Effect iSTothing — Patronage — Its Origin — Presbyterian 
Mode of SettUng Vacant Congregations — Tlie Mauner previous to the Se- 
cession — Patronage Law Revived by Charles II. — Abolished in 1688 — Re- 
stored iu 1711 — Clergy in favor of the Patronage Act — The Assembly 
Appoints " Riding Committees" to Settle Pastors— 1 he "Riding Com- 
mittees" Call out the Military to Assist Them— The Overture of 1731 
Designed to Crush out the Rights of the People — The Overture Rejected 
by the Presbyteries, but Adopted by the General Assembly — Character of 
the General Assembly — The Overture the proximate Cause of the Seces- 
sion — Robert Stark forcibly Placed over the Congregation of Kinross — 
Ebenezcr Erskine's Sermon — Adam Ferguson ]Moved the Appointing of 
a Committee to Consider the Sermon — Objection Stated by the Commit- 
tee — Sermon Published— The objectional Passages Scriptural — Mr. Ers- 
kine Defends Himself — The Kingship of Christ Offensive to the Majority 
— Mr. Erskine's Definition of a Call — Adheres to his Notes— Mr. Erskire 
censured by the Sjnod of Perth and Sterling — Twelve Ministers and two- 
Elders Protest — Mr. Erskine is Ordered to be Rebuked in April — He 
Refuses to be Rebuked and Presents a Paper — General Assembly Met in 
^lay, 17o3 — Mr. Erskine's Protest Brought before the Assembly — The 
Assembly Order Mr. Erskine to be Rebuked — He Declared he could not 
Submit — Protests of Wilson, Moncrieff and Fisher — Assembly Refused 
to Hear the Protest Read — Protest fell on the Floor — Is read by Nae- 
smith — Excitement in the Assembly — Protesters Sent for — Act of 1732 — 
Protesters Brought before the Assembly — Ordered before the Commis- 
sion in August — The Protesters Appear before the Commission — Are not 
Permitted to Defend Themselves — Division in the Commission — Pro- 
testers Suspended — Intense Interest Felt throughout Scotland — Petitions 
Sent to the Commission — Commission Meet in November, 1733 — Higher 
Censure Inflicted by the Commission upon the Protesters — The Protest- 
ers Received the Sympathy of Many in the Church — They did not Se- 
ceed, but were violently Thrust out — Meet at Gairney Bridge and Organ- 
ize the Associate Presbytery. 

From the adjournment of the Assembly of 1722 to the meet- 
ing of the Assembly of 1726, the church was in a ferment 
about the acts passed concerning the "Marrow of Modern Di- 


During all this time Professor Simson was busily eni^aged 
in teacliing doctrines subversive not only of the Westminster 
Confession of Faith, but also diametrically opposed to the 
whole Christian system. He continued to teach his former er- 
rors, and added one even more dangerous. This last error was 
the denying the necessary existence of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and the teaching that the three persons of the Trinity are 
not numerically one in substance or essence. In plain lan- 
guage. Professor Simson taught, in his theological lectures, that 
Jesils Christ is not divine — not God equal with the Father. 

The Glasgow Professor was again brought before the Assem- 
bly', but not until his case had been somewhat examined inta 
by the Presbytery of Glasgow. The case was begun by the 
Assembly of 1726, and ended by the Assembly of 1729. All 
the charges made against the Professor were substantiated. In 
fact, after the crafty Professor had exhausted all his cunnings 
he made an avowal of his belief, which was in accordance with 
the standards of the church, but he at the same time acknowl- 
edged that he had been teaching the heterodox doctrines 
of which he had been charged. His first attempt was to con- 
fuse the Assembly with his metaphysical statements and ex- 
planations. Finding he could not succeed in this, his next 
course was to recant and thereby save his salary, if he could not 
retain his position. 

That the rise of the Secession or Associate Presbytery ma}' 
be understood, it is necessary to mention the fact that old and 
dangerous errors had at this time been exhumed from the tomb 
in which they had lain forgotten for a long period. These er- 
rors were, in a number of ways, assiduously disseminated 
throughout Christendom. From a multitude of circumstances,, 
it would seem that doctrines subversive of the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith had been taught in the Divinity Hall of the 
University of Glasgow, before the days of John Simson. A 
spirit of restlessness seems to have seized not a few of the promi- 
nent ministers of the gospel in England, and Ireland and Scot- 
land. These men, through the pride of their own hearts and 
the temptations of the Wicked One, set about in earnest, but 
cautiously and adroitly, to tear down the fair fabric of the 
whole Christian system. Samuel Clark, William Whiston 
and Benjamin Hoardly boldly gave utterance to doctrines which. 


were justly regarded bj^ all pious persons as bordering on 
blasphemy. The Presbyterian churches in England, in Switzer- 
land and in Ireland were disturbed by ministers who had 
adopted these startling but not new doctrines. 

All these errorists were leagued together. Prominent among 
those who sowed the seeds of putrefaction in the church was 
the " Belfast Society" in Ireland. The leaders in this society 
Avere John Abernethy and James Kirkpatrick, These men 
had been fellows-students with Professor Simson in the Divin- 
ity Hall in Glasgow, and ever since had been in regular cor- 
respondence wdth him. They w-ere men of decided mental 
"DOAvers and had made no mean attainments in literature. John 
Abernethy was no ordinary man, and exercised a decided in- 
fluence over all the 3'oung ministers with wdiora he came in 
contact, Like Professor Simson, he was an avow^ed Arian ; 
that is, he denied tl:e divinity of Jesus Christ. 

In 1729 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 
brought the second trial of Professor Simson to a conclusion, 
but not to the honor of that e-cclesiastical court. The sin of 
Professor Simson and the ]^unishment inflicted upon him b}- 
the Assembly bore no adequate proportion to each other. He 
should have been deposed from the gospel ministry. He wa-s 
only suspended, and it w^as further added that it w^as not 
proper nor safe that Mr. Simson be longer employed in teach- 
ing divinity. This being done, it w^is evident, that for the 
sake of peace the whole matter should be allowed to rest. 

Except Thomas Boston, none of the Marrow men were mem- 
bers of the Assembly of 1729. He prepared ,a protest against 
the decision of the Assembly, but was persuaded to waive his 
right to have the paper incorporated in the minute. A num- 
ber of the 31arroio men were present, but only as spectators. 
Gabriel AYilson and Mr. Moncriefi', of Culfargie, having ob- 
tained })erniission to address the Assembly, expressed in 
strong and decided terms, their dissatisfaction wath the decis- 
ion of the Assembly. The two Erskines and James Hog and 
some others privately expressed their determination to adhere 
to the protest offered by the venerable Boston. 

It was now manifest to the people and to a number of godly 
ministers that the Church of Scotland had departed from her 
doctrinal standards. Her highest court did n.ot hesitate to 


censure those who maintained the doctrines of the Confession 
of Faith, and at the same time to sustain those who set them- 
selves in hostile array against that Confession of Faith. 

One of the features of all the controversies that took place 
in the Church of Scotland, during the twenty years that pre- 
ceded the Secession, was that they had a direct tendency to 
drive from the ^^ ational Church the stanch advocates for the 
doctrines taught in the "Westminster Confession of Faith. If 
the doctrines taught in that formula are correct, then those 
who afterwards seceded from the Church of Scotland were or- 
thodox ; otherwise, they were not. 

There was, in addition to the two causes already" mentioned, 
one other, which led to the organization of the Associate Pres- 
bytery. This was the system of patronage which existed in 
the Church of Scotland at that time. 

As many do not have a clear and distinct knowledge of what 
is meant by "patronage," it will be necessary to give a brief 
history of its origin and practical workings. This is the more 
necessary since the enforcement of the custom (which amounted 
to a law) of patronage was, more than anything else, the ap- 
parent and proximate cause of the Secession. 

The patronage law had reference to the mode of settling a 
minister in a vacant congregation. In strict Presbyterian con- 
gregations the process is very simple, and we may add, strictly 
democratic. When, in the providence of God, a congregation 
becomes destitute of a pastor, the first thing that is done, when 
the fact becomes ofiicially known to the Presbytery within 
whose bounds the congregation is situated, is, the Presbytery 
appoints some one of its members to visit the congregation, 
preach to them and declare the congregation vacant. When- 
ever the congregation desire to secure the services of a pastor, 
they make the fact known to the presbytery, and a member of 
the presbytery is appointed to moderate a call. In other 
words, some member of the presbytery, under whose inspec- 
tion the members of the congregation have voluntarily placed 
themselves, is appointed to act as chairman of a public meeting 
of the congregation, at which a call is made out for some in- 
dividual to take the pastoral care of the congregation. At 
this meeting of the congregation, or usually at a previous meet- 
ing, a pastor is chosen by ballot. 



It is manifest that this process secures to the people the right 
to choose the pastor whom they may desire. Keither the dea- 
cons nor the elders, nor the presbytery nor the synod, nor the 
General Assembly nor all these combined, can place a pastor 
over a congregation contrary to the will of the majority, or 
even a respectable minority of the members of the congrega- 
tion. This is one feature of the Associate Reformed Presbyte- 
rian Church. It is a grand feature. It gives the people the 
privilege of enjoying that precious gospel privilege of having 
jtastors according to their choice. 

Such was not the case in the Church of Scotland previous to- 
the days of the secession. Such a thing never had existed in 
the Church of Scotland, not even during the period Vv'hich 
elapsed between 1638 and 1650, her palmiest days. 

It is true, that in the First Book of Discipline, prepared 
mainl}^ by John Knox, the lawful vocation of a pastor was vested 
in the people, but it seems never to liave been put into practi- 
cal operation ; for in the Second Book of Discipline the choice 
of a pastor was vested in the eldership, only granting the peo- 
ple the right to acquiesce or dissent. In 1649, shortl}^ after the 
adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the General 
Assembly of the Church of Scotland framed and published 
along with its minutes a Directory for the choice of a pastor.. 
In this Directory it is provided that "the session of the con- 
gregation shall meet and proceed to the election " of a pastor. 

It matters, practically', very little what were the instructions 
given in either the First or the Second Book of Discipline, for 
the law of patronages and presentations enacted by the Parlia- 
ment was not repealed until 1649. 

The Directory of 1649 continued in full force ; that is, the 
sessions of vacant congregations continued to meet and choose 
the pastors for such congregations until 1660. In that year 
Charles II. again revived the law of patronage, and all the 
ministers who had been settled as pastors over congregations 
since 1649, were required by law to accept a presentation from 
the legal patron, or be thrust out. 

After the Restoration, in 1690, patronages and presentations 
were partially, and only partially, abolished. In appearance, 
an advance was made towards genuine Presbyterianism ; but it 
was only in appearance. The people were still deprived of 


the privilege of choosing their pastors. This privilege was 
vested in the sessions and the Protestant land owners, if the 
congregation was in the country, and in the magistrates, town 
council and sessions, if the congregation was in a town. 

It requires only a limited knowledge of human nature to he 
able to discern that such a reo-ulation made the way to violent 
abuses open and easy. It placed the many at the mercy of the 
few. In order that this may he understood, it is onl}^ neces- 
sary to know the origin of the right of patronage and the 
powers which it conferred upon a patron. 

The right of patronage was the power to present some one 
to a vacant congregation as a proper person to be its pastor and 
receive the benefice. It was clearly a relic of the dark days of 
Popery. This right of patronage was originally acquired in a 
variety of ways. Sometimes an individual gave a lot on which 
to erect a church, with the reserved right that the choice of a 
pastor for that church or congregation should be vested in him 
and his heirs forever. This was liable to great abuse.'' The 
donor of the church site might be a good and pious man; but 
his heirs might neither fear God nor regard man, and place- 
over the congregation a pastor likeminded with themselves. 
The right to select the patron for a particular congregation was- 
often bestowed by a bishop, and frequently sold by a bishop to 
some one. The more conmion mode of obtaining this right 
was by a direct gift from the Pope of Rome. 

This right of patronage was, to all intents, real i:)rop- 
erty. It could be disposed of by will ; it could be sold, or 
it could be given away. It is most evident that it deprived 
the people of those rights which God as a God of creation be- 
stows upon all men, and as a God of grace bestows upon all 
believers. Such a system was calculated either to crush out 
the spirit of freedom or incite rebellion. It was never accept- 
able to the Scotch people after the days of the First Reforma- 
tion, and vigorous but unsuccessful efforts were frequently made 
to abolish the system. 

In 1711, the act of 1G90, which partially abolished patron- 
age, was rescinded, and the unrighteous system again foisted 
upon the people. For some time it was attended with little 
evil consequences. The reasoii of this was the fact that it was 
generally regarded by the masses as disreputable for a minister 


to settle ilia congregation as pastor without a regular call from 
the people. The patrons, too, were at first prudent and re- 
served in exercising their legal rights. For a number of years, 
after 1711 , patrons generally tacitly allowed the people of vacant 
congregations to choose their own pastors ; or where the people 
of vacant congregations neglected to exercise this divine right, 
the Presbytery w^as allowed to settle a pastor over the congre- 
gation in accordance with wdiat they called the Jus Devolutum. 
By the Jus Devolutum was meant an unpresbyterial provision 
which obtained at that time in the Church of Scotland. It 
was provided that should neither the session, magistrates, 
town council nor patron, settle a pastor over a vacant congre- 
gation within six months after it became vacant, then the right 
devolved upon the Presbytery. This was the Jus Devolutum. 
It was a species of monarchy. The people were forced to have 
a pastor, but not permitted to select that pastor. Some one 
must do that for them. 

It was not long until a number of ministers ceased to regard 
the public odium which attached to accepting a presentation. 
The church now became divided and bitter and opposing feel- 
ings were aroused. The mass of the laity w^ere opposed to the 
patronage law, both in theory and practice. The clergy were 
divided. No doubt this division of the clergy, on the law of 
patronage and presentation, was due, in part, to the fact that 
in the reorganization of the National Church of Scotland, in 
1690, policy rather than principle predominated. 

The people began to appeal from the decisions of presby- 
teries and synods to the General Assembly. The popular cla- 
mor was loud that the divine right of election might be 
restored to the members of vacant congregations. The 
General Assembly was cramped. Such was the general and 
deep-seated corruption of the clei'gy respecting the rights of 
the people, that a majority of every Assembly were thoroughly 
in favor of the rigid enforcement of the law of patronage. 
Still, there was ever a minorit}'' in each Assembly w^ho fear- 
lessly and boldly advocated the cause of the people. Under 
the circumstances, the General Assembly, had it been unani- 
mous, could not have rendered any relief to those who appealed 
to it for assistance. The law recluired that pastors for vacant 
congregations should be chosen by the elders and landholders. 


TJnfortuuately there was a very stroi]g part}' who were in 
favor of placing the whole business of supplying pastors for 
vacant churches in the hands of the patrons of these congrega- 
tions. All that the Assembly did was to appoint committees to 
do the work which constituticnally belonged to the presbytery. 
It frequently occurred that a presbytery would not consent to 
install a minister over a congregation against the will of the 
people. To meet such emergencies, a committee was appointed 
by the General Assembly whose duty was to ride around the 
country and insfall pastors in refractory congregations. 
The law was imperative, and whenever patron and presentee 
insisted upon their rights, this "riding committee," as it 
was rightly called, would perpetrate the awful — we dare 
not say farcical sin — of making a man the pastor of a peo- 
peoplc who would not hear him preach. Things soon be- 
came alarming. It was no very uncoinmon thing for the peo- 
ple to threaten resistance. When this was the case, resort wa& 
had to arms by the patronage party. The military was called 
out, and with drums and fifes, and with all the pomp and 
pageantry of war, the party advanced through town and 
country to the church. The roadsides were lined with idle 
spectators, and with grieved, outraged and insulted Christians. 
The desire of the patron and presentee was accom}»lishefl. The 
latter was made, by force of arms, pastor of a people who did 
not desire him, and who never could love him, and never would 
be instructed by him. 

It is manifest to any reflecting mind that such a state of 
things could not exist long among a people not already reduced 
to the condition of abject and hopeless slavery. The crisis 
was fast approaching wdien reformation, rebellion or secession 
was inevitable. There is no way of concealing the fact that 
the acts of the prevailing party in the Church of Scotland 
tended, and that directly, to the establishment of a system of 
the most unexampled tyranny. 

In 1731 an overture was brought before the Assembly for 
the purpose of crushing out of the church the doctrine of the 
divine right of a congregation to choose their own pastor, and 
also for the purpose of silencing forever those who dared to 
advocate this doctrine. The avowed object of this overture 
was to establish a uniform mode of settlino- vacant churches. 


This was certainly desiraljle, provided it was proposed to act 
uniformly right. This it was not, however, proposed to do. 
By this overture it was proposed to deprive the people in every 
section of the land of all relio'ious liberty. The object de- 
signed by the dominant party was that the civil law of the 
land respecting the settlement of vacant churches should be 
rigid I}- enforced, and that henceforth no reasons of dissent 
against the determination of cliurch judicatories should be 
entered on the record. This overture was sent down to the 
presbyteries, but it was provided that in* the meantime it 
should be regarded the law of the church. In 1732, fort^'-nine 
presbyteries, through their commissioners,, sent up reports. 
Thirty-one presbyteries were opposed to the overture ; twelve 
required it to be materially amended before becoming a law. 
Only six ]tresb3'teries were willing that it be, without change, 
passed into a law. Xo report ^^■as received from eighteen 
presbyteries. More than one half of the ])resbyteries heard 
from Avere opposed to the overture as it had been sent to them. 
Such being the case, the overture was, according to Presby- 
terial usage, no longer before the Assembly. Strange to say, 
the Assembly added the eighteen presbj-teries not heard from 
to the eighteen whici) were either in favor of the overture as 
it stood, or as amended, and decided that the majority of the 
church was in favor of tlie overture. This was a gratuitous 
conclusion. The Assembly did not know officially, and con- 
sequentl}' did not know at all, how the eighteen presbyteries, 
which had not reported, would vote on the overture. 

Tyrants are not over-scrupulous. The majority in the As- 
sembly desired the overture passed into a law, and they deter- 
mined that a law it should be, no matter what the presbyteries 
or people might think or say to the contrary. So far as the As- 
sembly was able to judge by the Presbyterial reports, a decided 
majority was opposed to the overture, and to the mass of 
the people of Scotland, it was very obnoxious. It appears that 
unfair and unrighteous means were constantly" resorted to in 
the selection of the members to the General Assembly. It 
rarely was the case, from the Revolution to the time of which we 
are speaking, and for a number of years after, that the General 
Assenddy was a fair exponent of the sentiments of the people. 
The pe()[>le were constantly, and in great numbers, petitioning. 


for redress of grievances. Ministei's and elders from all sec- 
tions of the country were accustomed to send up complaints to, 
perhaps, every Assembly. The dominant party in the Church 
of Scotland expected, hy this overture, to silence forever all 
complaints. It was a modest, but most eftectual wa^'of declar- 
ing that the General Assembl}' was infallible. It had a direct 
tendeiic}' to ignore the presbyteries and crush the people. 

As this overture was the immediate cause of the Secession, 
it will be necessary that we be minute in our details. Against 
the action of the Assembly in adopting the overture, a number 
of ministers, of w^hom Ebenezer Erskine was the acknowledged 
leader, protested. At the same meeting, a petition signed by 
forty-two ministers and three elders, begging the Assembl}- not 
to adopt the overture, was handed in. Xo less than seventeen 
hundred people sent up a petition, in which they earnestly 
sought redress of grievances. The protest of Ebenezer Ers- 
kine was not allowed to bo read, and the petition of the forty- 
two ministers and three elders, as well as the complaint of the 
seventeen hundred people, was treated with the most profound 
contempt. A feeling of indignation and alarm spread all over 
Scotland. The people generally were indignant because the 
General Assembly, in not noticing their complaints, had added 
insult to injury, and the orthodox ministers and the people as a 
whole were alarmed, lest the Assembly, which now claimed in- 
fallibility, would advance one more step and take away all the 
landmarks of the Reformation. Ebenezer Erskine published 
his protest in the form of a pamphlet entitled " Defections of 
the Church of Scotland from her Reformation Principles." 
Fifteen of the forty-two ministers also protested against the 
treatment the}- had received from the Assembly. The people, 
no longer able to make themselves heard by the Church, ap- 
pealed to the civil ofhcers of the land, and " took instruments 
at the hand of a notary." 

Great excitement now prevailed throughout the whole coun- 
tr}'^, and the action of the commission had no tendency what- 
ever to allay it. The congregation of Kinross was, at this 
time (1732), vacant. The people had invited Francis Craig to 
become their pastor, but tlie presentation had been- given to 
Robert Stark. The congregation was under the care of the 
Presbyter}' of Dunfermline. Since the people all desired Craig, 


and none of tlieni Stark, the presbytery refused to ordain and 
install Stark. The commission, in the exercise of its unlimited 
and arbitrary powers, forthwith appointed a committee to pro- 
ceed at once to Kinross and settle Stark over the congregation, 
in spite of both the people and the Presbytery. The people 
and the Presbytery separately complained to the commission, 
that in the settlement of Stark, the constitutional law and or- 
der of the church had been trampled under foot, and that the 
heaveil-bequeathed rights of the people had been ignored. 
Their petitions and complaints only served to excite vengeance 
in the bosom of the commission. The Presbytery was ordered, 
in imperious tones, to put the name of Stark upon its rolL No 
protests were allowed. The powder of the Commission was un- 
limited, and regarding itself infallible, it quickly determined 
that its mandates, whether right or wrong, should be most 
scrupulously obeyed. The matter was taken to the Assembly 
of 1733, but the highest judiciary of the church not only con- 
lirmed the action of the commission, but ordered that the Pres- 
bytery of Dunfermline must respect the intruder Stark as a co- 
presbyter. The commission was charged to keep a close watch 
over the Presbytery, and see that this last instruction of the 
Assembly was rigidly obeyed to the letter. If the Presbytery 
was found to be disobedient, its members were to be subjected 
to the highest censure of the church — excommunication. In 
all this we can see a spirit of tyranny rarely equalled and never . 
surpassed. The reasoning of the dominant party in the Church 
of Scotland was such as is used only by those who lord over 
the heritage of God. The constitutional party had but one 
privilege left — the right to testify from the pulpit against these 
tyrannical and oppressive measures. This })rivilege, it was de- 
termined by the dominant party, should be taken from them. 
Things were rushing, as if driven by a tornado, to that state 
when silent acquiescence in all the acts of the General Assem- 
bly and its commission would be made a term of ministerial 
and Christian communion. To all human appearance, the time 
was not fur distant when a petition to the General Assembly 
for a redress of grievances, or a complaint on account of injur\', 
would be followed by excommunication from the pale of the 
church. This is what the dominarjt party, most of all things, 


Ever since 1690, the Church of Scotland had been only nom- 
inally a unit. In reality, it had been greatly divided. The 
anti-Presbyterian party had gained the ascendency in the church 
courts; but it had acquired its power not honestly, but by a 
SN'stem of ecclesiastical fraud and political scheming. There 
were in the church a number of able ministers who stood up 
manfully for the constitution of the church and the Word of 
God. Prominent among these, after the death of Thomas 
Boston, was Ebenezer Erskine, a man of deep-toned piety, ex- 
tensive theological attainments, and one of the most eloquent 
and instructive preachers of his day. In fact, Ebenezer Erskine 
and his brother Ralph have, as evangelical ministers, had few 
equals and fewer superiors. The dominant party in the church 
had no love for Ebenezer Erskine. In fact, the^'- hated him. 
He stood like an adamantine wall in the path of their innova- 

The dominant party were attempting to rob Jesus Christ of 
His kingly office, and the servants of Christ of their sacred 
privileges. On the 4th of June, 1732, soon after the adjournment 
of the General Assembly, Mr. Erskine exposed, in a sermon of 
commanding power, the unconstitutional acts of the Assembly. 
Thesermon was based upon Isaiah, ix. 6 : "The government shall 
be upon his shoulder.'"' On the 10th of October following, the 
Synod of Perth and Stirling met at Perth. Mr. Erskine was 
the retiring moderator. His opening sermon was preached 
from Psalm cxviii. 22. " The stone which the builders rejected 
is become the head of the corner." In this sermon it is shown 
that David was opposed b}- Saul ; that Jesus Christ was op- 
posed by the Jewish priest and rulers, and that the blood- 
bought church of God had its bitter enemies and rejectors in 
Scotland. The Synod was no sooner constituted and a new 
moderator elected, than Mr. Adam Ferguson moved that a 
committee be appointed to consider the statements made in 
Mr. Erskine's sermon. The motion was favored by Mr. James 
Mercer, Mr. James Mackie and the Laird of Glendoig. This 
motion called out a long discussion, but the Synod finally 
agreed to appoint a committee whose business should be to col- 
lect the objectionable passages in the sermon and present them 
at the next session of the Synod. The committee before pre- 
senting their report to the Synod, appointed four of their num- 


ber to hold a conference with Mr. Erskine for the purpose of 
persua(lin_£; him to retract the objectionable parts of his ser- 
mon, and to x^romise tliat in the future he would refrain from 
ojiving utterance to similar opinions. This sub-committee met 
with ^Ir. Erskine and stated their demands, to which ]\Ir. Ers- 
kine replied that he had uttered nothing in his sermon which 
his conscience would allow him to retract. On the next day, 
the committee, according to instructions, reported to the Synod. 
In this report, they presented a number of objectionable pas- 
sages collected from memory, from the sermon of Mr. Erskine. 

As this sermon was the proximate cause which led, about a 
year afterward, to the formation of the Associate or Secession 
Presbytery, it will be necessary to give the matter a careful 
and candid investigation. The sermon was preached on the 
10th of October, 17ii2, and was published shortly afterward. 
It will be found in the first volume of Mr. Erskine's collected 
sermons, and is to-day regarded b}' the mass of God's people, 
of all denoiiiinations, as strictly orthodox. It is, as any reader 
may discover, what is called a textual sermon. The truths 
taught or suggested by the text are clearly and fulh^ brought 
out. It would not be saying too much to say that this sermon, 
like the rest of Mr. Erskine's sermons, is in itself a complete 
body of divinity. Tty it the mind of tlie true child of God is 
enlightened and his heart warmed. 

The committee to whom Avas referred this sermon reported 
eight objectionable passages, upon which the}^ founded four 
charges. Every one of the objectionable passages, unfortunate- 
ly for the committee, are clearly in accordance with the ex- 
press and positive teachings of the Scriptures. These passages 
being quoted by the committee, from memory, are not verb- 
ally the same as those contained in the sermon itself; still, 
they arc, in the main, correct. One of the passages was, that 
Mr. Erskine, in speaking of the corruptions of the Jewish 
priests, said he " left it to the consciences of every one to judge 
what of these corruptions were to be found among ourselves at 
this day." Another passage was that it was said in tlie ser- 
mon that " mistaken notions of the kingdom of Jesus Christ 
was the ground of manv thino-s which were wrong amongst 
us at this day." " The Jewish teachers," he said, "being con- 
nected with the great, trampled upon the people as an unhal- 


lowed mob." " That it was a tr^eat crime to intrude in the 
office of a minister an individual who did not have a call. 
That to be a minister two things are necessary — the call of 
God and the call of the church. That every family and every 
•society has a natural riii;ht to select servants for themselves. 
The church is the freest society on earth ; therefore the church 
has the right to choose its own ministers." In speaking of 
the encroachments which the Church of Scotland had made 
ujDon the kingly office of Jesus Christ, Mr. Erskine said that 
the Saviour " was deeply Avounded by the Assembly of 1732, 
by lodging the power of choosing pastors for vacant congrega- 
tions in the hands of heritors (land-owners) and elders, to the 
exclusion of the people." 

We leave it to the decision of every Bible reader if everyone 
of these passages are not in strict accordance with the word of 
'God and the history of the times. Every sentiment they contain 
may be ap[)ropriately uttered, at any time, by any minister of 
the New Testameiit. The committee based upon these pas- 
sages the following charges against Mr. Erskine: 

1. '"That the strain of a great part of the sermou appears to compare 
the ministers of this church with the most corrupt teachers under the Old 

2. "He refnses that any minister had God's call, who had only a call 
from the heritors, or any other set of men ; by which he excludes the whole 
ministeis of the Church of Scotland, and himself among them, from having 
the caii of God, the body of Christians having never been allowed to vote in 
the election of a minister. 

;5. '• He charges our forefathers with a sinful silence or negligence. ^ 
4. '•That he spoke disrespectfully of the act of the Assembly lodging 
the power of election in heritors and elders." 

It is manifest that these charges were brought against Mr. 
Erskine because the Bible truths which he preached were un- 
palatable to some of the committee, and the sins and corrup- 
tions and innovations which he exposed, were iniquities with 
which they covered themselves as with a garment. James Mercer 
was a "■ hot,- violent man, a plague on the Presbytery of Perth, 
iind most active always in a bad cause." James ]Mackie was a 
man " smooth and subtile, but iiis hand was ever deep in the 
course of defection." The Laird of Glcndoig was " a follower 
of the fashions of this world." These, with sev^eral others of 
the same school, set themselves against Mr. Erskine because the 
Bible truths which he preached were unpalatable to them. 


After the committee had, in due form, presented their re- 
port to the Synod and made such remarks concerning it as they 
saAV fit, Mr. Erskinc asked that lie might be favored with a 
copy of it, as he designed preparing a written defence of him- 
self. This reasonable refpicst was positively denied him, and 
it was with great difficulty that he obtained permission to see 
the report. It is characteristic of tyrants to be unreason- 
able, arbitrary and cruel. What could be more unreasonable, 
more arbitrary and more cruel than to refuse to give Mr. Ers- 
kine a copy of the charges which wgre brought against him? 
Such a course deprived him of his natural liberty and of his 
ecclesiastical rights. The end designed to be accomplished was 
to crush him, and with him to crush all who were like-minded 
with himself. 

Mr. Erskine was not to be awed into silence. When the re- 
})ort of the committee came before the Synod for consideration, 
Mr. Erskine read an answer to all the charges. In this paper 
he showed that the first charge was not justified by anything 
that he had said in his sermon. I'hat there are corrupt min- 
isters in the Church of Scotland he boldly maintained ; but 
there are a great number of ministers in the same Church who 
are not corrupt. The fallacy, or rather malice of the commit- 
tee consisted in charging Mr. Ersiiine with saying that all the 
ministers of the Church of Scotland were corrupt, when he only 
intimated that some were corru];)t. The first charge was 
founded on the following jiassages in the sermon : "I leave it 
to every one to judge how far such evils or corruptions are to 
be found in our day." *•' I am persuaded that carnal notions of 
the kingdom of Christ, which is not of this world, lie at the bot- 
tom of many of the evils and corruptions in the day in Avhich we 
live." Nothing but an intellect blinded by malice and de- 
praved l)y wilful ignorance, could ever be led either to frame 
or support the first charge by these declarations. It was a part 
of Mr. Erskine's duty as a faithful minister of the gospel to ex- 
hort his hearers to make a personal application of the truths of 
God's Word to themselves. With regard to the other passage, 
it may be remarked that Mr. Erskine might have used even 
stronger language than he did, and still have been able to sup- 
port it by the Scri])tures. Carnal notions of Christ's kingdom 
lie at the bottom of all the corruptions in the church so far as 


its government is concerned. In fact, carnal notions of Christ's 
kingdom are connected, in some wa}' or other, with all corrup- 

When Mr. Erskine asserted the kingship of Jesus Christ, 
he touched a tender place in a very considerable number of the 
ministers of the Church of Scotland at that time. The opin- 
ion was very common that the General Assembly and the 
commission was king over the heritage of God. This opinion, 
most assuredly had its origin in the carnal notions concerning 
the kingdom of Christ. 

In answering the second charge, Mr. Erskine stated that the 
language upon which it was founded was not quoted correctly. 
He then read what lie had said. It is as follows: 

"There is a twofold call necessary for a minister meddling as a builder in 
the church of God; there is a call of God, and of his church, God's call 
consists in his qualifying a man for the work, and in his inspiring him with 
a lioly zeal and desire to enii)loy those qualifications for the glory of God and 
the good of his church. The call of the church lies in the free call and elec- 
tion of the Christian people. The promise of conduct and counsel in the 
choice of men that are to build, is not made to patrons, heritors, or any other 
set of men, but to the church, the body of Christ, to whom apostles, pro- 
phets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are given. As it is a natural privi- 
lege for every house or society of men to have the choice of their own sei-- 
vants or officers, so it is the privilege of the house of God, in a particular 
manner. What a miserable bondage would it be reckoned for any family to 
have stewai'ds or servants imposed upon them by strangers who might give 
the children a stone for bread, or a scorpion instead of a fish, poison instead 
of medicine! And shall we suppose that God ever granted a power to any 
set of men, patrons, heritors, or whatever they may be, a power to impose 
servants on his family, without his own consent, they being the freest society 
in the world?" 

Having read from his sermon the above quotation, Mr. Ers- 
kine calmly, but with an air of Christian majesty, said : 

"I adhere to my notes, but deny that from what I said, it can be inferred 
that I look upon all the ministers of the Church of Scotland as thieves and 

With regard to the latter clause of the second charge, he 
made the following declaration : 

"From the Revolution till the act of patronage came to be in force, I 
know of no settlements but where the body of the Christian people concurred 
in the election of their minister, and in the practice of the church, till of late, 
they were allowed to vote." 

This was the truth, and none but the grossly ignorant would 
have made a contradictory statement. With regard to the sec- 
ond charge, Mr. Erskine concluded by giving utterance to a 


bold but as noble and scriptural a sentiment as ever escaped 
from the lips of man : " I own," said he, " the call of a minis- 
ter ought not to be by heritors as such, since no such titles or 
distinctions of men are known in the kingdom of Christ. The 
only heritors that arc there are they that are rich in faith.'' 
That church is surely in a most degraded state when it is will- 
ing to be governed by the rich to the exclusion of the godly 

The third charge was founded by the committee upon the 
following words in the sermon of Mr. Erskine: 

" I do not remember of any particular act of Assembly, since the Revo- 
lution, by which the rights of the Crown of Christ are asserted, in opposi- 
tion to the encroachments that were made upon them in those days of public 
apostacy and persecution.'" 

Mr. Erskine told the Synod that in the event such an act of 
the Assembly could be shown, he would gladly own he w^as 
mistaken in what he had said. Every brave man, not to say 
Christian man, will own that this wns honorable. What Mr. 
.Erskine uttered was true, and the deductions he made from the 
facts were fair and just. 

The fourth charge Avas founded upon what was said by Mr. 
Erskine about the act of the Assembly of 1732, giving the elec- 
tion of pastors to the heritors and elders. In reply to this 
charge jSfr. Erskine said: 

"I dare not retract my testimony against it (the act) either before the 
Assembly, the day after it was passed into an act, or by what I said in my 
sermon before this reverned synod, since I cannot see the authority of the 
King of Zion giving warrant to confer the power of voting in the election of 
ministers upon heritors, beyond other Christians." 

It is highly probable that had Mr. Erskine said nothing 
against the act of the Assembly of 1732, no notice would have- 
been taken of his sermon at all. Mistaken notions of the 
Kingdom of Christ lay at the bottom of that act. It gave a 
})Ower and privilege in and over the church to the rich, which 
as rich men they did not possess. In Christ Jesus there are 
neither rich men nor poor men. To be possessed of countless- 
acres, gives the owner no privileges in the church above the 
poor peasants who may cultivate those acres. Riches and titles- 
are things of this world ; but Christ's Kingdom is not of this 


A Spirited debate followed the reply of Mr. Ei'&kiiie. This 
bein^ ended, the Synod of Perth and Stirling, by a majority of 
six votes, declared ]\Ir. Erskine censurable. Against this sen- 
tence twelve ministers and two ruling elders protested. Mr. 
Erskine and his son-in-law, who had not, on account of his 
relation to Mr. Erskine, been permitted to vote, protested, and 
appealed to the General Assembly. These dissents and protests 
amounted to nothing ; for the Synod decided at once that j\Ir, 
Erskine be rebuked at their bar and be admonished to behave 
more orderly in the future. 

When Mr. Erskine had given in his protest he retired; con- 
sequently, the rebuke could not, at that time be administered. 
It was ordered that he be called and rebuked on the following 
day. Mr, Erskine not appearing on the next day, the Synod 
ordered that he be called before their bar at their meeting in 
April, and be pul^licly rebuked and admonished. 

The Synod met at Stirling on the 12th of April, 1733. Seven 
of the twelve ministers who had, at the meeting at Perth, in 
October, 1732, protested, being present, gave in their reasons 
of dissent. Xo effort that the friends of Mr. Erskine could 
make would satisfy the Synod. It was the fixed determination 
of the dominant party that Mr. Erskine should be rebuked and 
admonished, unless he would retract what he had said in his 
sermon at Perth. This he w^ould not do. 

The ]\Ioderator called Mr. Erskine in order to be rebuked and 
admonished ; but Mr. Erskine, instead of receiving the rebuke,, 
read a paper in Avhich he declared his firm adherence to his 
former protest, and that he was not conscious of having done 
or said anything meriting a rebuke. 

At this meeting a petition, signed by fifteen elders of the 
Session of the Church of Stirling, was given in to the commit- 
tee of bills, but this committee refused to bring it before the- 
Synod. This shows that Mr. Erskine enjoyed the confidence 
of his own people. 

The Presbytery of Stirling also made an attempt to have the 
matter brought to a favorable issue, but failed. 

Xothing more could be done until the meeting of the Gen- 
eral Assembly. This court convened on the 3d of May, 1733, 
at Edinburgh. On the 14th the protest of Mr. Erskine came up. 
for consideration. 


For the purpose of coercing Mr. Erskine and his friends in- 
to an unmanly submission, the Assembly took up the case 
springing out of the violent settlement of Robert Stark over 
the congregation of Kinross. 

Of the case of Mr. Erskine the Assembly made quick work. 
After the papers were read, and the parties heard, it was de- 
cided that Mr. Erskine had vented expressions which were of- 
fensive to the Assembly and calculated to disturb the peace* of 
the church. That the matter might be brought to an end, it 
was decided that ]Mr. Erskine be immediately rebuked and ad- 
monished by the Moderator of the General Assembly. This 
sentence was executed, and the Synod of Perth and Stirling 
thanked for their diligence in watching over and guarding the 
interest and prerogatives of the Assembly. 

To this rebuke Mr. Erskine could not submit in silence, and 
he so declared. At the same time he presented a written pro- 
test, to which William AVilson, Alexander Moncrieff and James 
Fisher adhered. 

The Assembly would not sutFer this paper to be read, but in- 
sisted that it be withdrawn. This Mr. Erskine positively re- 
fused to do, and having laid the paper on the table, he and the 
other brethren, who adhered to his protest, walked out. 

It is strange what mighty events often grow out of appar- 
ently insignilicant circumstances. The paper laid by Mr. Ers- 
kine on the table, fell by accident, on the floor, and there it 
lay unnoticed for some time. Mr. Erskine and the three 
brethren who favored his cause, were gone, and it is probable 
they contemplated making no further eftbrt before the church 
courts. Certain it is, they at this time had not the most dis- 
tant idea of separating from the Church of Scotland. This was 
a remedy for evils that had as yet never entered their minds. 

iN'ear by the table sat James jSTaesmith, minister of Dalmenj- 
Mr. Naesmith took the paper from the floor, and having read 
it over, rose from his seat and in an excited tone called upon 
the Moderator to suspend the business of the Assembly until 
he would read the treasonable document. Had the paper con- 
tained a threat to subvert the doctrines and practices of the 
Church of Scotland, and to introduce in their stead the doc- 
trines and practices of the heathen, no greater stir could have 
been made by the Assembly. Naesmith and the whole Assem- 


bly became as violently excited as if the paper had offered a 
plain, positive and abusive insult to each and every member of 
the court. Had the paper contained an announcement that 
the British Parliament had passed a law depriving the people 
of Scotland of their civil and religious rights, and consigning 
them to the veriest vassalage, no greater uproar could have 
taken place. 

That the reader may be able to form his own judgment of 
the paper, we shall give it entire : 

"Although I have a very dutiful regard to the judit^atories of the church, to 
■whom I owe my subjection in the Lord ; yet, in respect the Assembly have found 
me censurable, and tendered a rebuke and admonition to me, for things I con- 
ceive agreeable unto, and founded upon, the word of God and our approven 
standards, I find myself obliged to protest against the said censure as importing 
that I have, in my doctrines, at the opening of the Synod at Perth, October last, 
departed from the word of God and the aforesaid standards ; and that I shall 
have liberty to preach the same truths of God, and to testify against the same 
or like defections of this wiurch upon all proper occasions. And I do hereby 
adhere unto the testimony I have formerly emitted against the act of Assembly 
of 1732, whether in the protest entered against it in open Assembly, or yet in 
my Synodical sermon, praying this protest and declarations to be inserted in the 
records of the Assembly, and that I may be allowed extracts thereof. 


" May 14, 1733." 

" We, undersubscribing ministers, dissenters from the sentence of the Synod 
of Perth and Stirling, do hereby adhere to the above protestation and declara- 
tion, containing a testimony against the act of Assembly of 1732, and asserting 
our privilege and duty to testify publicly against the same or like defections, 
upon all proper occasions. 

" I, Mr. James Fisher, Minister of Kinclaven, appellant against the sentence 
of the Synod of Perth, in this question, although the committee of bills did not 
think fit to transmit my reasons of appeal, find myself obliged to adhere unto 
the aforesaid protestation and declaration. 


It was the action of the Assembly respecting this protest 
and declaration, which shortly afterward led to the secession. 
This protest was mainly against the act of 1732. 

It is important that the reader have a clear and distinct idea 
of the peculiar features of that act. It provided that pastors 
for vacant congregations be chosen by the heritors and elders. 
The heritors were the land-owners. The sum and substance of 
the act was that before any individual would -be allowed to 
vote in the selection of a pastor for himself and family, he 



must be a landowner. "We need not say that such a Law re- 
ceives no sanction fi-oni the word of God, AVith great truth- 
fuhiess and propriety, Mr. Erskine said, in his Synodical ser- 
mon, that, "Whatever church authority maybe in that act, 
yet it wants the authority of the Son of God. All ecclesiasti- 
cal authority under Heaven is derived from Him ; and there- 
fore any act that wants His authority, has no authority at all." 
Such were the sentiments of Mr. Erskine. He regarded the 
Son of God as the only law-giver in the church ; the dominant 
part}' in the Church of Scotland thought differently. The}' re- 
garded the General Assembly and commission infallible law- 
givers. The student of the Bible is left to j-udge which was 
right, Mr. Erskine or the dominant part}' in the church. 

The Assembly, on hearing the protest of the Erskine party 
read, ordered its officer to go in search of the offenders. They 
were not found until mid-night. They had supposed that the 
matter was ended, and the probability is that they had con- 
cluded to give the Assembly no more trouble. iSTot that they 
were sorry for anything they had done or said, or that they 
were ready to abandon any of their former positions, but hav- 
ing so often failed to accomplish anything by protest, they had 
concluded to adhere strictly to the Avord of God and the ap- 
proved standards of the church. 

The next afternoon, the four brethren appeared before the 
Assembly. A committee was .appointed to hold a private con- 
ference with Mr. Erskine and the brethren adhering to his pro- 
test, for the purpose of persuading him and them to withdraw 
their protest. This they would not consent to do. The com- 
mittee reported accordingly. The Assembly, on hearing the 
report of this committee, adopted by an overwhelming major- 
ity the following overture : 

The General Assembly ordains that the four brethren appear before the com- 
mission in August next, and then show their sorrow for their conduct and mis- 
behavior, in offering to protest, and in giving in to this Assembly the paper by 
them subscribed, and that they retract the same. And in case they do not ap- 
pear before the said commission, in August, and then show their sorrow and re- 
tract, as said is, the commission is hereby empowered and appointed to suspend 
the said brethren, or such of them as shall not obey, froni the exercise of their 
ministry. And further, in case the said brethren shall be suspended by the said 
commission, and that they shall act contrary to the said sentence of suspension, 
the commission is hereby empowered and appointed, at their meeting in No- 


vember. or any subsequent meeting, to proceed to a higher censure against the 
said four brethren, or such of them as shall continue to offend by transgressing 
this act. And the General Assembly do appoint the several presbyteries of 
■which the said brethren are members to report to the commission in August, 
and subsequent meetings of it. their conduct and behavior with respect to this 

This is a most extraordinary act to be passed by a Presby- 
terian court. The oftense of Ebenezer Erskine, "William Wil- 
son, Alexander Moncrieft' and James Fisher consisted in "of- 
fering to protest" against anything the General Assembly might 
do or say ! This was claiming indirect]}', if not directly, in- 
fallibility for the Assembly. Such a claim, to whatever source 
it may trace its origin, is at variance with every principle of 
Presbyterianism, Protestantism and the Bible. 

This overture had been prepared by the committee before 
they reported that the Erskine party would not withdraw their 
protest. This shows that the Assembly was determined that 
its edicts should, at all hazards, be obeyed. "Ko one should bo 
allowed to say that what the Assembly, in any case, might do. 
or say, could be wrong. 

After this overture had been adopted, Mr. Erskine and his^ 
three adhering brethren attempted to read a paper in Avhicli 
they stated that it was an uncommon mode of procedure to pass 
a positive sentence upon individuals without ofiering them the 
opportunity to defend themselves. Such being the case, they 
declare that "they were not at liberty to take this affair to am 
advisandum.^' Xo sooner did they begin to read this paper than 
the officer of the Assembly was ordered to remove them from 
the house. What could not be effected by brow-beating a«d 
contempt, the Assembly determined should be accomplished l>y 
a sergeant-at-arms. On the eighth of August the commission 
met at Edinburgh. Mr. Ebenezer Erskine and his three ad- 
hering friends appeared before the bar of the commission with 
a written defense. This defense they were told they would not 
be permitted to read, since the commission had resolved not to 
admit any papers which were offered. After some time was 
spent in discussing the propriety and reasonableness of the ac- 
cused having the right to determine whether they would defend 
tliemselves in writing or viva voce, Messrs. Wilson, MoncriefF 
and Fisher were ordered to retire, and the commission pro- 


ceeded to interrogate Mr. Erskine separately. He was asked 
if he was ready to profess sorrow for offering to protest against 
the authority of the Assembly, and to retract the sentiments 
contained in his protest. To this Mr. Erskine replied, in sub- 
stance, tiiat he was indeed sorry that what he had said and 
done had been interpreted as a contempt of the authority of 
any of the judicatories of the church ; no such thing being de- 
signed by him. With regard to retracting his protestation, he 
said tliat he and his other brethren, having consulted upon this 
matter, had drawn ud deliberately a paper which contained all 
he had to say on that point. He asked that he might read this 
paper. This privilege the Moderator refused to grant. Mr. 
Erskine was asked whether the paper was a retraction of his 
protest. To this, Mr. Mr. Erskine replied: "This court is 
abundantly capable to judge, upon their reading the paper/' 
The commission now began to urge Mr. Erskine to retract his 
protest and make a confession of his sins. Having failed, they 
ordered him to be removed. 

"When Mr. Erskine had retired, a debate sprang up among 
the members of the commission as to whether the paper pre- 
sented by Mr. Erskine should be read. The vote was taken, 
and the majority decided on its being read. Mr. Erskine was 
recalled and told to read his paper, which he did with a dignity 
that commanded the respect of even his bitter opponents. 
Mesers. Fisher, Wilson and Moncrieft'were then separately called 
and asked the same question that had ])een propounded to Mr. 
Erskine. Their separate replies were nearly identical. 

The object the commission had in view, in calling the pro- 
testers before them separately, w^as to break the ranks of the 
Dissenters. This they did not accomplish. The Erskine party 
were contending for the truth, and not for promotion. They 
could not be awed into measures which they did not approve ; 
neither could they be wheedled into making an acknowledg- 
ment of sins which they did not believe they had committed. 
After some discussion, the vote was stated : " Suspend the four 
protesting brethren from the exercise of the yninistry and all parts 
thereof; or, Delay this affair f The question w^as put by the 
Moderator and carried, Suspend ; but not unanimously. From 
this decision of the commission three ministers, viz : Henry 
Lindsay, Alexander Wardropand James McGarroch, and Ruling 


Elders Colonel John Erskine, Alexander Brace and Albert 
Monro, dissented, Messrs. Erskine, Wilson, Moncrieft' and 
Fisher protested against the decision, and declared that they 
would regard it as null and void, and would continue to exer- 
cise their ministerial functions as if no such sentence had been 
inflicted upon them. 

It is proper to mention that so great was the interest felt in 
the Erskine party that petitions in their behalf were presented 
to the commission by the presbyteries of Stirling, Dunblane 
and Ellon, and by the magistrates, town councils and kirk ses- 
sions of Perth and Sterling. In this connection, it may also 
be mentioned that a very respectable minority of the commis- 
sion were in favor of delaj'ing the matter to a sul)sequent meet- 
ing. Hence the form of the vote — Suspend; or Delrn/. 

The commission met again on the 14th of November. This 
meeting of the commission was looked forward to witli the 
most intense anxiety by the Avhole of Scotland. It was known 
that the Assembly had peremptorily commanded the commis- 
sion to suspend Mr. Erskine and his three friends, in case they 
did not retract their protest. It was also known that these four 
ministers had been suspended. The commission was further 
ordered to depose them from the gospel ministry, provided thej^ 
did not submit to suspension. It was, in some sections of the 
country, a well-known fact that all four of these ministers had, 
in accordance with their own declarations, continued since the 
sentence of suspension was pronounced, to exercise their min- 
isterial functions, as if no sentence of suspension had been in- 
flicted. The question was asked in every circle, "What will 
the commission do with the protesters?" The sympathies of 
the people were in their favor. From all sections of the sur- 
rounding country the people, in vast numbers, assembled in 
Edinburgh. Long before the hour of meeting the Assembly 
house was full to its utmost capacity. The aisles were full, and 
in front of the doors an immense crowd of people was gathered. 
Before the members of the commission could enter the Assem- 
bly house the magistrates had to be called to make way for 
them through the crowd. 

The commissioners being seated, Mr. Erskine and his three 
friends, in compliance with the summons wdiich they had re- 
ceived, presented themselves before the bar. A kind of stereo- 


typed mode of proceeding in this matter, from its commence- 
ment, was to appoint a committee to converse with the protest- 
ers. Agatn this was done. Tlie committee having conversed 
with Mr. Erskine and his three brethren, and finding them 
still unwilling to retract their protest, so reported to the com- 
mission. The protesters were now asked if they had " obeyed 
the sentence of the commission in August last^ suspending them from 
the exercise of their ministry \^ Thev all replied that " they had 

According to the instructions given by the General Assembl}', 
the commission had nothing more to do in the case, except de- 
pose the protesting ministers from the gospel ministry. This 
was what a number of the commission were anxious to do ; 
but there were others who did not desire tci see these four good 
men ruthlessly thrnst out of the church. The former were in 
favor of proceeding at once to settle the matter. The latter 
were in favor of delaying it until March. The one party ar- 
gued that the instructions of the Assembly made it binding 
upon the connuission to proceed at once to intiict the higher 
censure upon the sus.pended ministers ; while the other party 
argued that the matter might be delayed until March. That 
this point might be determined, a vote was stated : " Proceed 
immediately to infiict a higher censure upon the four suspended 
ministers ; or^ Delay the same till March.'' It was found, on 
counting tlie votes, that the parties were equally divided. Mr. 
John Gowdie, the Moderator, in that case being entitled to a 
vote, cast it in favor of proceeding at once to depose the sus- 
pended ministers. This was the vote that thrust Ebenezer 
Erskine, William Wilson, Alexander Moncrietf and James 
Fisher out of the Church of Scotland. It was carried b}^ a 
single vote, and that the vote of the Moderator. 

Before the sentence was pronounced, another committee was 
appointed to converse with the suspended ministers. Iso ami- 
cable adjustment being effected, the commission agreed that 
the following should be the state of the question ; " Loose the 
relation of the said four ministers to their several charges, and. de- 
clare them no longer ministers of this chnrch, and j^rohibit cdl -min- 
isters of this church to employ them in any ministericd function ; 
or, Depose them simpliciter?" 


The question was thus stated for the purpose of securing a 
majority. A very considerable number of the commission was 
opposed to voting upon the question at all, and Avere decidedly 
opposed to inflicting a censure of any kind upon the suspended 
ministers. These would neither vote " Loose," nor " Depose." 
The roll being called, it was found that a decided majority of 
those voting were in favor of inflicting the higher censure of 
the church upon the four suspended ministers. 

The commission then proceeded to pass a formal sentence 
upon the protesters in the following language : 

The commission of the General Assembly did. and hereby do loose the relation 
of Mr. Ebenezer Erskine. minister at Stirling ; Mr. William Wilson, minister at 
Perth ; Mr. Alexander Moncrieff, minister at Abernethy ; and Mr. James Fishei-, 
minister at Kinclaven, to their said respective charges ; and do declare them no 
longer ministers of this church ; and do hereby prohibit all ministers of this church 
to employ them, or any of them, in any ministerial function! And the commission 
do declare the churches of the said Mr. Erskine, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Moncrieff and 
Mr. Fisher vacant from and after the date of this sentence ; and appoint that 
letters from the Moderator, and extracts from this sentence, be sent to the sev- 
eral Presbyteries within whose bounds the said ministers have had their charges, 
appointing them, as they are hereby appointed, to cause intimate this sentence 
in the foresaid several churches, now declared vacant, any time betwixt and the 
first of January next ; and also that notice of this sentence be sent, by letters 
from the Moderator of this commission to the magistrates of Perth and Stirling- 
to the sheriff-principal of Perth and bailie of the regality of Abei-nethy. 

. Tins sentence sounds very much like a proclamation issued 
by a king for the capture and execution of a band of highway 
robbers. We must remember that the General Assembly of 
the Church of Scotland and its commission claimed for them- 
selves supreme authorit}- over all the members of the Xa- 
tional Church. The principles of Republicanism were not un- 
derstood at that time. What, the reader may be ready to ask, 
had the sheriff-principal of Perth and bailie of the regality of 
Abernethy to do with this matter ? We answer, nothing, ac- 
cording to the word of God and principles of pure Presbyte- 
rianism. Christ's Kingdom is not of this world ; but this was 
not generally known in Scotland at the time of the secession. 
Well might Ebenezer Erskine say that " mistaken notions of 
Christ's Kingdom la}^ at the bottom of many errors." 

We are not to suppose that the action of the commission 
3net the approbation of an overwhelming majorit}' in the Xa- 
tioual Church. 


Tliere were, iit tluit time, only iifteen synods in" Scotland. 
B'rom seven of these synods petitions in favor of the Erskine 
jDarty were sent to the commission. Six of tliese petitions en- 
treated that the commission w^ould delay proceeding to inflict 
the higher censure, and one plead that the suspended ministers 
might he dealt with tenderly. The synods sending up these 
petitions were, Angus and Mearns, Perth and Stirling, Dum- 
fries, Moray, Ross, Galloway and Fife. It is certain, had the 
whole matter, from heginning to end, heen left to a popular 
vote, either of the ministers or people, or of hoth together, 
the protesters would _liave been cleared by a tremendous ma- 

It may be asked, liow did it happen that in the General As- 
sembly and commission there always was a majority against 
them ? We reply, because of the ecclesiastical trickery which 
was practiced in selecting the members of the General Assem- 
bly. Those persons were, by a kind of ecclesiastical intrigue, 
chosen as members of the Assembly, who, it was known, 
w^ould favor the very schemes which Mr. Erskine opposed. 
Against Mr. Erskine, either as a man or a ministei-, there %vas 
no op[)Osition. No charge of immorality was ever brought 
against him or his three coadjutors, and it was not so much as 
said that his Perth sermon w^as not scrii)tural. The objection 
to it was that it was scriptural, but it would not do to advance 
this idea. Ebenezer Erskine and his three brethren were ex- 
communicated from the Church of Scotland for a like reason 
that John the Baptist was beheaded. 

Before leaving Edinburgh, the four excommunicated minis- 
ters agreed to meet at Gairney Bridge on the 5th of December 
following. This was a small village about three miles south of 
Kinross. At the appointed time and place, all four of them met. 
The first day was " spent in prayer, humiliation and conference 
together concerning the present providence of God concerning 
them." They Avere bold and fearless men, but not rash men. 
It was agreed that they should meet again on the following 
day. Ealph Erskine and Thomas Mair met with them on both 
days, and took part with them both in their prayers and con- 
ferences. On the following day they met, and after prayer- 
fully considering the matter in all its probable results, both for 
time and eternity, this question was put : " Constitute presently 


into a presbytery or not?''' The vote to constitute was unani- 
mous. At two o'clock on the 6th of December, 1733, the As- 
sociate Presbytery was reguhirly constituted by prayer by the 
Rev. Ebenezer Erskine. After prayer, ]Mr. Erskine was chosen 
moderator, and James Fisher, clerk. 

Such was the origin of the Associate Presbytery, one of the 
religious denominations which entered into the union which 
formed the Associate Reformed Church. 

Xothing can be more evident that although those who or- 
ganized the Associate Presbyteiy were called Seceders, thej- did 
not secede, but were, by high-handed ecclesiastical tj-rrany, 
thrust out of the church of their fathers. For the Church of 
Scotland they never lost any of their first love ; but to submit 
([uietly to the usurpation of the corrupt party in that church, 
was what they could not do. The sequel will show that in the 
providence of God, no door was opened by which they, in con- 
sistency with their convictions of truth and right, could return 
to the mother church, but they continued to labor diligently 
and profitably in the organization which necessity forced them 
to form. Their names will go down to the latest generation 
of men as Seceders, and probabl}- all their descendants will 
bear the name ; but they did not secede. 



EEFORMED PRESBYTERIANS— Called by different Names : Covenanters, 
Cameronians, Society People, and Strict Presbyterians — Covenanters not Dis- 
tinctive — The Church of Scotland a Covenanting Church — Frequently en- 
tered into Covenant with God — Fluctuations in the Church of Scotland — 
First Reformation — Culdees Suppressed — Moral Darkness — Lollards of Kyle 
— First Confession of Faith — National Covenant — Presbyterianism Estab- 
lished by Act of Parliament — Elizabeth Died — James VI. Becomes King — 
English Dissenters — Millenary Petition — Hampton Court — James Abuses the 
Puritans — Character of James — Westminster Assembly — Confession of Faith 
Ratified by the Church of Scotland — Charles I. Put to Death — Charles II. 
Crowned — Cromwell Dies — Charles II. Brought Back — " Killing Period "- - 
Origin of Reformed Presbyterians — Parties in the Church of Scotland — 
Charles Exhumes the Bones of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw — Appre- 
hends the Marquis of Argyle — Argyle Put to Death — Guthrie Executed — 
Rescissory Act Passed — Drinking Parliament — Three Thousand Ministers 
Ejected — Twenty Thousand Presbyterians put to Death — Cameronians would 
make no Compromise — Rise of the Strict Presbyterians, 1(57!) — Order to Ap- 
prehend Welsh. Cameron. Douglass and Kid — Murder of Archbishop Sharp — 
Persecutions on Account of Robert Hamilton — Rutherglen Declaration 
Battle of Drumclog — Bothwell Bridge — Queensferry Paper — The Three Pres- 
byterian Ministers, Cameron. Cargill and Douglass — Cameron Killed. 1680- - 
Cargill Executed, 1681 — Society People send Young Men to Holland to Re 
ceive Ordination — Alexander Peden. James Renwick, Alexander Shields, 
Thomas Boyd, and David Houston — Peden's Body Exhumed and Insulted — 
Renwick, the Last of the Scotch Martyrs — Cameronian Principles — Prince 
of Orange — Linning. Boyd, and Shields Join the National Church — Houston 
without Influence — Religious Instruction among the Society People-First 

• Meeting of the Society. 

As stated in the previous chapter, the Associate Reformed 
Church is the result of a union which was formed between the 
Associate and the Reformed Presbyterian churches in Amer- 
ica. The members of the Associate Church were generally 
called Seceders, while those of the latter were always spoken of 
as Covenanters. Both had their origin in Scotland, and Avith 
some minor exceptions were, from the beginning, identical in 
all their religious beliefs and practices. 

The history of the Associate Church has been briefly nar- 
rated. It is our purpose, in the iiresent chapter, to give a sim- 
ilar outline of the history of tlie Reformed Presbj'terians. 


In ecclesiastical history, and especially in the histoiy of Scot- 
land, the Reformed Presbyterians are called by a number of 
names. Generall}^ they are called " Covenanters," sometimes 
they are designated as " Cameronians," and frequently they are 
mentioned as " Society People." Like the Associate Presbyte- 
rians, the}' were an offshoot from the Church of Scotland. Xot 
that they departed from any of the principles or practices 
set forth in the standards of that church. On the contrary, 
Avhile the multitude followed worldl}' devices, they clung, with 
true and unflinching devotion, to the high reformation attain- 
ments which the Church of Scotland had made in its palmiest 
days. Xever have the3' been charged with a want of devotion 
to the standards of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. For 
it they were willing to die. For it hundreds of them did die. 
It was dearer to them than life. Xot that they had a blind, 
superstitious devotion to these formulas of doctrine. Their 
faith Avas founded upon correct, Bible knowledge. It was not 
a stupid credence which believes everything without being able 
to give a reason for anything. 

The appellation Covenanter is not sufhciently distinctive to 
■enable us to distinguish the Reformed Presbyterians from the 
Ils'ational Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Ever since the days 
of the Reformation, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland has 
been a covenanting church. On many occasions did the ministers 
and pt'Dple enter into solemn engagements "that by the grace of 
God they would strive, with their whole power, substance and 
very lives, to maintain, set forward and establish the most 
blessed word of God and his congregations." The First Cov- 
enant was subscribed at Edinburgh, on the 3d day of Decem- 
ber, 1357. This was during the days of John Knox. At 
Perth, on the 31st of Ma}', 1559, the Second Covenant was sub- 
scribed, in the name of the whole congregation, by the Earls of 
Argyle and Glencairn, and by Lords Stewart, Boyd and Ochil- 
tree, and by Matthew Campbell of Terringland. 

At various other times, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland 
entered publicly into covenant with God. This being the case, 
Reformed Presbyterians are not accurately distinguished when 
they are called Covenanters, without we take into considera- 
tion the fact that of all others, they most rigidly adhered to 
their covenanted vows. 


In order tliat we may discover tlie rise of the Reformed 
l^resbjterian churcli, it will be necessary for us to trace the 
various Huctuations, which, at difierent periods, took place in 
the Church of Scotland, 

The first reformation from Popery hegan in Scotland about 
the year 1490. The Culdees had been suppressed, and for two 
hundred years a moral night brooded over the land. " Half 
the wealth of the nation was in the possession of a few indi- 
viduals who lived in pomp and splendor, while the multitude 
of the people were miserably ])Oor and degradedly ignorant. 
The revenues of the church were bestowed upon dice-players, 
strolling bards and the illegitimate sons of the bishops. Of re- 
ligion scarcely the name remained. The highest dignitaries 
in the church never discharged any of its public or private 
duties, and the lives of the inferior clergy were brutally vile." 

Like the pleasant rays of a morning sun, after a long and 
gloomy night, a faint light, in 1490, began to appear in the 
western districts of Kyle, Carrick and Cunningham. The 
demons of darkness were startled from their murky laiis and a 
desperate rush was made to extinguish its mellow rays. The 
Lollards were dragged before the Great Council, but a kind 
Providence interfered in their behalf. The enraged ])ishops 
were disconcerted in theii- nefarious plans, and the Lollards 
were dismissed with a gentle admonition " to beware of new 
doctrines and to content themselves with the faith of the 

This first reformation, began by the Lollards, was brought 
to a happy issue about the year 1560. In that year the First 
Confession of Faith was adopted and the reformation estab- 
lished. The main instrument chosen by God for lu'inging 
about this wonderful change in the spiritual att'airs of Scotland 
was John Ivnox. 

The Church of Scotland, uow established on a Scripture 
basis, continued to grow. The social and intellectual condi- 
tion of the masses was greatly improved. Li the year 1580, a 
national Covenant was formed for the support of the reforma- 
tion. This instrument was subscribed by King James VI. and 
his household. In the following year it was subscribed by the 
people of Scotland generally, and again in 1590. 


111 1592, Presbyterian form of church government was, by 
an Act of the Parliament, established in Scotland. At the 
same time the Parliament ratilied some of the leading propo- 
sitions of the Second Book of Discipline. 

During a period of one hundred years the reformation had 
been slowly but surely advancing in Scotland. The Parlia- 
mentary enactment of 1592 has ever since been looked upon as 
The Great Charter of the Church of Scotland. The strug- 
gle had been great. Queen Mary and many of the nobles 
placed themselves in deadly opposition to the reformation, and 
by every means within their reach tliwarted, as far as they 
could, its progress. James VI., her son and successor, was, ■ 
notwithstanding his high pretensions, never in full sj'mpath}- 
witli Presbyterianism. His predilections were all in favor of 
Prelacy as being more favorable to monarchy. 

In March, 1603, Elizabeth, Queen of England, died, and 
James VI., of Scotland, ascended the throne of England with 
the title of James I. Prelacy had been established in England 
by Henry VIIL, but a very large and inHuential number of the 
English people were Dissenters. These Dissenters arc generall}' 
known in ecclesiastical history as Puritans. 

When James arrived in London, he was met by a number of 
the Puritan ministers who laid before him what is called the 
Uillenari/ Petition. This name was given it because in the 
preamble the petitioners state that they, " to the number of 
more than a thousand ministers, groan under the burden of 
human rites and ceremonies." This petition was, however, 
signed by only seven hundred and fifty ministers. These were 
from only twenty-five counties, which shows that the state- 
ment in the petition was true. It also shows that the people 
of England were greatly divided concerning church rites and 

James was exceedingly vain and conceited. Anxious to 
make a display of his theological learning, he appointed a con- 
ference between the Puritans and Prelatists at Hampton Court. 
The debate was to take place in the presence of the King, who 
was to be judge. 

In this famous Hampton Court conference, James plainly 
showed that he was not disposed to deal fairly. The Puritans 
were treated with contempt, and finally he threatened "to 


make them conform, or he would harrie them out of the land^ 
or else do worse." This was a sad speech for James. If re- 
sulted in the beheading of his son Charles and contributed to 
the final overthrow of the race of Stuarts. 

On the last day of March, the intelligence of the death of 
Elizabeth reached Scotland. James was immediately pro- 
claimed King of Scotland, England, France and Ireland. On 
the following Sabbath, in the High Church of Edinburgh, he, 
in presence of the assembled people, declared his approbation 
of the Church of Scotland. The greater part of the people had, 
before this, ceased to have any confidence in the King's decla- 
rations. He had already proven, by his acts, that he was an 
unscrupulous villain who would solemnly engage to do one 
thing and deliberately do the very opposite. 

By the unrighteous acts of James I. and his successor Charles 
I. the Church of Scotland was greatly disturbed. A strenuous 
etibrt was made by both to root out rresbyterianism,and they 
succeeded in i:)art. 

The Puritans of England, who, in the days of James I., were 
" groaning under the burden of human rites and ceremonies," 
determined, during the reign of Charles I., to free themselves 
of this burden. Charles was rightly regarded as being favora- 
bl}' inclined to Popery, 

On the 12th of June, 1643, the English Parliament passed 
an ordinance calling an assembly of " learned and Godly di- 
vines." This was what is known as the "Westminster Assem- 
bly. The}"^ met, in accordance with the call, on the 1st day of 
July, lt)43. During their deliberations they framed the West- 
minster Confession of Faith, and the Shorter and the Larger 
Catechisms. To this Assembly the Scotch sent six commis- 

On the 4th of August, 1647, the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland met and ratified the Westminster Confes- 
sion. On the 30th of January, 1649, Charles I. was beheaded,, 
and in a short time Oliver Cromwell made himself master of 

The Scotch were opposed to the execution of Charles I., and 
immediately on his death proclaimed his son Charles II., King; 
and on the 1st of January, 1651, crowned him at Scone. The 
Duke of Argyle, Archibald Campbell, placed the crown on his 


head. Charles II., before being crowned, subscribed the Cove- 
nant. For nine years he was forced to live in exile — so long- 
as Cromwell had the control of the government. On the 3d of 
September, 1G58, Cromwell died, leaving his son Richard to 
succeed him. Richard wanted his father's capacity, and he 
was totally without his ambition. 

During the period of Cromwell's Commonwealth, the Scotch 
were greatly disturbed. In fact, the nation was reduced to 
subjection ; but, strange to say, in no period of the history of 
the Church of Scotland, was religion in a more flourishing 

After the death of Cromwell, the English people, tired of the 
unsettled state of aflairs, began to desire a king. Charles was 
brought back and placed on the throne of his ancestors, with 
the title of Charles II. This event took place on the 29th of 
May, 1660. 

Although the Scotch had been the constant friends of Charles 
II. during his exile, this was the beginning of sufferings to Scot- 
land unparalleled in the annals of any people. The period ex- 
tending from the crowning of Charles II., in 1660, to the Revo- 
lution of 1688, is, with eminent propriety, called the " Killing^ 

It was during this period that the strict Covenanters, or Re- 
tbrmed Presbyterians, became visible to the world. 

The Scotch acted rashly in proclaiming Charles II. King, and 
they seem to have been deluded, in that they disapproved of 
the execution of Charles I. He deserved death by law, and so 
did his father, James I. 

Some nations trace their greatness to their sovereigns ; but 
England and Scotland have attained a truly enviable greatness 
by opposing their sovereigns. The favorite expression of James 
I. was : " ]^o bishop, no king," and all his descendants were 
ready to say anything in order to be able to tyranize over the 

During the time of Charles I. the people of Scotland became 
divided. Three parties, bitterly opposed to each other, sprung 
into existence. These were : First, the strict I*resbyterians, or 
Covenanters ; second, the Hamiltonian partj^ ; and third, the 
Royalists. The Hamiltonian party had turned traitor to the 
national cause, and secretly concluded a treaty with the King. 


The Hamiltonians and Royalists, since the ultimate object 
aimed at by both was the same, readily united. This threw 
the strict Presl)yterian party in the minority. This was one of 
the greatest calamities Avhich ever betel the Presbyterian Church 
of Scotland. It opened the door for errors in doctrine, and 
paved the way for the introduction of Prelacy. 

AVhen Charles II. ascended the throne of England, made va- 
cant by the execution of his father, he found the Church of 
Scotland in a proper condition to become an easy prey to its 
enemies. To show his resentment to the Puritans, he had the 
bones of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw exhumed, and, as if 
still animated with life, hanged upon a felon's gallows aridthen 
bnried l^eneath it. 

Strong filial affection may be urged as a palliation for thus 
insulting the dead bodies of men who were his superiors in 
every respect, and whom he feared while living ; but no exten- 
uation can be offered in favor of his ponduct toward the Mar- 
(Uiis of Argyle. This nobleman had placed the crown upon the 
head of Charles at Scone, soon after the death of his father. 

Immediately after the restoration of Charles 11. , Argyle was 
earnestly solicited by many of the strict Presbyterian party to 
go to London and hold a conference with the King in behalf 
of the church. His personal regard for the King readily in- 
duced him to undertake the mission. Argyle, suspecting no 
danger, set out on his journey. He reached London on the 8th 
of July, only one month after the return of the King, and im- 
mediately repaired to AYhitehall to salute his sovereign, l^o 
sooner, however, had the King heard of his arrival, than he 
ordered Sir William Flemming to apprehend him and convey 
him to the tower. The ungrateful King caused him to be tried 
for treason, because he had entered into the Solemn League and 
Covenant with England. On the 27th of May, 1661, the Chris- 
tian nobleman's head was severed from his body and fixed upon 
the toll-booth of Edinburgh. Orders were, in a short time, 
given to imprison Sir James Stuart, Sir John Chiesley and Sir 
Archibald Johnston. 

Charles, notwithstanding his former solemn vows and fair 
promises, showed in no ambiguoas way, Ijy this act, that he 
hated Presbyterians and Presbyterianism, and the more strict 
the order the more deadly his hatred toward it. Hence the 


Protesters were more obnoxious to this ungrateful tyrant than 
any others. In order that he might break the unit}' of these 
faithful servants of God, the Rev. James Guthrie was indictep 
for high treason, condemned and executed ; and that terror 
might be spread among the ranks of the Protestors, his head 
was iixed on the netherbow of the city of Edinburgh, his es- 
tate confiscated, and his arms torn down. 

In 1661, a Scotch Parliament was called by the King. This 
Parliament, during the years 1661 and 1662, removed, as far 
as was w^ithin the power of man, all that v>'as near and dear to 
the strict Presbyterians of Scotland. The rescissory act was 
passed, and all parliamentary acts favoring the work of the 
Peformation of religion were repealed. 

So sweeping was this rescissory act, that it removed ever}' 
landmark in church and state. The blow was aimed at the 
Presbyterian church, but it struck everything that freemen 
held dear. The pillars upon w^hich rests civil society were dis- 
placed, and the fair fabric tottered and fell. 

This Parliament was stigmatized as the " Drinking Parlia- 
ment." The members spent the night in drunken revels, and 
went reeling and staggering to the Parliament, where they 
made enactments unworthy of any people possessed of even the 
lowest degree of civilization. 

During the year 1662 and 1663 near three thousand faithful 
ministers in England, Scotland and Ireland were ejected from 
their congregations because they would not accept a form of 
church government which they regarded as unscriptural, and 
conform to a mode of worship papal in its origin and papal in 
all its tendencies. Among these ejected ministers were Donald 
Cargill, one of the staunch advocates of Peformed Presbyterian 
j)rinciples, and Henry Erskine, the father of Ebenezer Ers- 
kine, the leader in the session of 1733. 

During the reign of Charles II. and his brother James II., 
twenty thousand persons were put to death because they were 
Presbyterians ; many were subjected to the boot, the thumbkin 
and the fire-match, while others were banished to America and 
sold as slaves, and from others the most exorbitant fines were 


These were truly times that tried men's souls. Many con- 
formed, and others accepted of indulgences, and by the multi- 
tude the standard of Presbyterianism was lowered. 

A few would make no compromise with the dominant party. 
These formed the germ from which, in due time, grew the Re- 
formed Presbyterian Church. 

As it is difficult to state with absolute precision the exact 
moment that the cloud which is to water the earth and cause 
it to bring forth bread for the eater and seed for the sower be- 
gins to form, so it is difficult to specify the precise day wdien 
Reformed Presbyterian principles began first to assume a dis- 
tinctive form. JSTotwithstanding this, we feel safe in naming 
the year 1679 as the period when the germ from which they 
sprang beiran to show visible signs of life. This was one of 
the most eventful years in the history of Scotland. Its records 
mio-ht, with eminent propriety, be written in blood. A reward 
was offisred for the apprehension of any non-conforming min- 
isters, and an order was issued to take John Welsh, Richard 
Cameron, Thomas Douglass and John Kid, dead or alive. The 
order provided that "in case these men shall resist they shall 
be pursued to death, and the officer or soldier who shall kill 
them shall not be called in question civily or criminally." This, 
was, by a number of persons, regarded as a declaration of w^ar 
against these three men. 

Three days after this order was issued, nine daring spirits 
determined to assassinate one Carmichall, whom Bishop Sharp 
had employed to exterminate Presbyterianism in Fifeshire. 
Carmichall, by his brutal cruelties, drove the people to despair. 
iSTine individuals secretly laid a plan either to put him to death 
or drive him from the country. Carmichall having heard that 
some persons were inquiring for him — and as a guilty con- 
science makes its possessor a coward — kept himself concealed. 

The persons who were looking for him were about to dis- 
band, when it was learned that Bishop Sharp was approaching. 
One of the party exclaimed : " Our arch-enemy is delivered 
into our hands." It was then proposed that they put him to 
death. One of them, Hackston, was opposed to their laying 
violent hands on the bishop, but finding his companions deter- 
mined, he consented to remain with them. 


Sharp AYRs then on his ^Yay to London in order to consum- 
mate a plan which he had devised for the complete destruction 
of Presbyterianism in Scotland. 

The party having determined to take his life, rode to Magus 
Moor, about three miles from St. Andrew's. The coach in 
which was the bishop now came in view. The party rushed 
forward at full gallop, for the purpose of intercepting it. The 
bishop, discovering that he was pursued, urged the driver to 
hasten his speed. 

The iTursuers soon overtook him, when one of them dis- 
mounted the driver, cut the traces, and put an end to the flight 
of the miserable bishop. Calling him b}- the name of him who 
betrayed the Son of God into tbe hand of sinners, he was or- 
dered to come out of his coach and prepare to die. In the most 
piteous tones he begged for his life, and clung to his daughter 
who was accompanying him. The party fired upon him, but 
without effect. 

It was manifest that so long as the bishop remained in the 
coach he could not be i»ut to death without taking the life of 
his daughter. This the party did not desire to do. Again he 
was ordered to come out of the coach, or they would drag him 
out. He obeyed, but continued to beg for his life. In the 
moment of despair he promised to give the men money, to 
abandon prelacy, and to do any and everything which might 
be demanded, if they would only spare his life. He was told 
of his perjury, of his betraying his friends, and of the eighteen 
years of bloodshed which he had caused. The conscience- 
smitten primate stood apparently forsaken of God. He was 
ordered to prepare for death. In this trying moment he was 
unable to offer up one petition. This caused those who had 
determined to take his life to stand for a moment appalled. 
During this moment the despairing bishop crept to Hackston, 
who had not dismounted, and begged him to interpose in his 
behalf. Hackston replied : " I shall never lay a hand upon 
you."' At this instant the party fired and the bishop fell. The 
party now prepared to depart ; but on looking back and dis- 
covering that the bishop was still alive, they returned and put 
an end to his life with their swords. 

This deed, perpetrated by a few individuals, Avhicli the Pres- 
byterian party never claimed to be lawful, incited the King 


and his vile minions to resolve upon the extermination of all 
who bore the Presbyterian name. The country was filled with 
tools of the prelatic party in search of the murderers of Sharp. 
Houses were searched and the inmates asked " whether they 
approved of the killing of the archbishop." 

The point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue and re- 
sistance becomes a duty, had now been clearly reached. At 
least, this was the opinion of a few. These were headed by 
Robert Hamilton, a man, whatever were his defects, of ac- 
knowledged personal piety. Robert Hamilton and a few 
others, mostly laymen, thought the time had now arrived 
when it was their duty to resist the tyrannical usurpations of 
the dominant party. Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill, and 
Thomas Douglass, adopted the l)old and defiant sentiments of 
these men. 

On the 29th of May, 1679, the anniversary of the return of 
Charles IT., less than one hundred of these friends of civil and 
religious lil)crty went armed to Rutherglen. Bonfires, in com- 
memoration of the Restoration, had been kindled. These they 
extinguished, and burned the acts of Parliament and Council, 
which devoted the Presbyterians to destruction. In addition 
to this, they read a Declaration and Testimony of their own. 
After having afilxed a copy of this paper to the market-cross, 
they peaceably retired. 

This was a move in advance of the age, and may be regarded 
as the first public act of the Covenanters or Reformed Presby- 
terian Church. It produced intense indignation among the 
prelatic party and led to the battle of Drumclog, in which 
Graham of Claverhouse was defeated. 

As the Rutherglen Declaration and Testimony is rarely, if 
ever, met with in modern books, and also contains facts that 
are worthy of being preserved, but especially since it was de- 
clared a proclamation of open rebellion, we have concluded to 
insert it entire : 

•• As the Lord hath been pleased to keep and preserve his interest in this land, 
by the testimony of faithful witnesses from the beginning, so some in our days 
have not been wanting, who, upon the greatest of hazards, have added their tes- 
timony to the testimony of those who have gone before them, and who have 
suifered imprisonments, finings, forfeitures, banishments, torture and death 
from an evil and perfidious adversary to the church and kingdom of our Lord 
Jesus Christ in the land. Now, we being pursued by the same adversary for our 


lives, while owning the interest of Christ, according to his word, antl the Na- 
tional and Solemn League and Covenants, judge it our duty (though unworthy, 
yet hoping we are true members of the Church of Scotland), to add our testi- 
mony to those of the worthies who have gone before us, in witnessing against 
all things that have been done publicly in prejudice of his interest, from the be- 
ginning of the work of reformation, especially from the year 1648 downward to 
the year 1600; but more paricularly those since, as: 

''1st. Against the Act rescissory for overturning the whole covenanted refor- 

"2d. Against the acts for erecting and estaljlishing of abjured prelacy. 

"8d. Against that declaration imposed upon and subscribed by all jiersOns 
in public trust, where the covenants are renounced and condemned. 

"4th. Against the Act and Declaration published at Glasgow for outing of the 
faithful ministers who would not comply with prelacy, whereby three hundred 
and upward of them were illegally ejected. 

" 5th. Against that presumptuous Act for imposing an holy anniversary day. 
as they call it, to be kept yearly upon the 29th of May. as a day of rejoicing and 
thanksgiving for the King's birth and restoration; whereby the appointers have 
intruded upon the Lord's prerogative, and the observers have given the glory to 
the creature that is due to our Lord Redeemer, and rejoiced over the setting up 
and usurping power to the destroying the interest of Christ in the land. 

''6th. Against the explicatory Act. 1669. and the sacriligious supremacy en- 
acted and established thereby. 

" Lastly. Against the Acts of Council, their warrants and instructions to. for 
indulgence, and all other their sinful and unlawful Acts, made and executed by 
them, for promoting their usurped supremacy. 

"And for confirmation of this our Testimony, Vv'e do this day. being the 
29th of May. 1679. publicly, at the Cross of Rutherglen, most justly burn the 
above-mentioned Acts, to evidence our dislike and testimony against the same, 
as they have unjustly, perfidiously and presumptuously burned our sacred Cov- 

Perhaps the reader may be unable to discover anything very 
noteworthy in this DcdaraUon and Testimony. Let it l^e re- 
membered that the men who published this paper were living- 
in the midst of a people who had not as yel learned that a gov- 
ernment could exist without a king, and who believed that the 
king was head of the church. However far the sentiments of 
the Rutherglen Declaration are behind those of the present 
age, they were as much in advance of those of the ago in which 
they were penned. 

The Presbyterians now became divided, and every event 
which transpired only served to make the lino of separation 
more distinct. 

This division was attended with many misfortunes. To it 
may be traced the unfortunate affair at Bothwell Bridge ; but 
in the end it was productive of great good. The nation, with- 


out acknowledging it, linall}' adopted, at least in part, the sen- 
timents of the Covenanters, and drove the race of Stuarts from 
the throne of England. 

On the 3d of June, 1680, the Covenanters, in the Qaeens- 
ferry Paper, as it is called, uttered a sentiment, which, near 
one hundred years afterward, was full\' evolved in America. 
This is it : 

•■ We do declare tiiat we shall set up over ourselves, and over what God shall 
give us power of, government and governors according to the word of God; — 
that we shall no more commit the government of ourselves and the making of 
laws for us to any one single person, this kind of government being most liable 
to inconveniences, and aptest to degenerate into tyranny." 

There is rebellion in this. It is the lano-aage of men struo-- 
gling to be free. It contains republican sentiments expressed 
in strong language. The principle upon which it is based, is 
that "every immoral constitution is disapproved of by God; 
and no man ought to swear allegiance to a power which God 
does not recognize." 

After the Rutherglen and (Queen's Ferry Declarations^ the 
Covenanters kept themselves aloof from all except their own 
party. They were few in number, and had but three ministers 
— Richard Cameron, Donald Cargill and Thomas Douglass. The 
two former were the most zealous, and the iirst was the ac- 
knowledged leader. Hence the Covenanters received the name 
of Cameronians. Cargill was a bold and fearless man. On the 
17th of September, 1680, in the presence of a large congrega- 
tion, he fearlessly excommunicated from the privileges of the 
visible church the King, the Duke of York, the Duke of Mon- 
mouth, the Duke of Lauderdale, the Duke of Rothes, General 
Dalziel and Sir George McKenzie. 

Cameron fell at Airdsmoss, on the 22d of July, 1680 ; but 
Cargill took the blood-stained standard from the field and 
bore it aloft until he was captured, and then, having been soon 
after condemned of high treason, was executed at Edinburgh, 
on the 27tli of July, 1681. 

The Covenanters were now without a minister ; but the soci- 
eties sent over to Holland a number of young men to be edu- 
cated with a view to entering the gospel ministry. So rigidly 
Presbyterian, were these Society people or Cameronians, that 


they ^voukl not recognize an}- one as a nnnister of the New 
Testament church ^vho had not been regularly ordained bj' a 

They had severed all ecclesiastical connection ^vith what 
they regarded the corrupt church of Scotland, and consequent- 
ly were dependent upon foreign churches for ministerial ordi- 
nation. In due time God raised up Alexander l*eden, James 
Renwick, Alexander Shields, Thomas Boyd and David Hous- 
ton to minister to the Cameronians in holy things. 

Alexander Peden died on the 26tli of January, 1686. "He 
was," says one who was able to judge, "a singularl}' j»ious 
man." This did not protect him from the cruelties of the 
prelatic party. On the contrary, it maddened their hatred into 
a diabolical frenzy. When he died, he was privately buried 
by David Boswell, in the church of Auchinleck; but the sol- 
diers, by whom he had been driven from mountain to moss, 
having learned the place of his interment, exhumed his bones 
iifter the\^ had lain in the grave for forty days, and took them 
to Cumnock and buried them at the foot of a gallows. 

James Renwick, who was ordained by the Classis of Griinin- 
gen to the full work of the gospel ministry, returned to Scot- 
land, and for a period of five years was faithful in preaching 
Christ and him crucified to the persecuted. Cameronians. On 
the 17th of Februar}', 1688, in the twenty-sixth year of his 
age, and the sixth of his ministry, he was put to death for his 
devotion to the crown-rights of Jesus and his Republican prin- 
ciples. The charge against him is in these words: 

'• You. James Renwick, have shaken off all fear of God and respect and regard 
to his majesty's authority and laws; and having entered yourself into the soci- 
ety of some rebels of raost damnable and pernicious principles, and disloyal prac- 
tices, you took upon you to be a preacher to those traitors, and became so 
desperate a villain, that you did openly and frequentlj- preach in the fields, de- 
claiming against the authority and government of our sovereign lord, the King, 
denying that our most gracious sovereign. King James the Seventh, is lawful 
King of these realms, asserting that he was an usurper, and that it was not law- 
ful to pay cess or taxes to his majesty; but that it was lawful and the duty of 
subjects to rise in arms and make w^ar against his majesty and those commis- 
sioned by him."' 

This indictment states the truth so far as denying the autho- 
rity of King James was concerned. One political principle of 
the Cameronians was that the abuse of power abrogates the 
right to use it. They boldly declared that. James II. of Eng- 


land, and VII. of Scotland, by his abuse of power, had for- 
feited all title to the crown, and that it should be conferred on 
the Prince of Orange. This principle all Protestants adopted, 
to a limited extent, at the Revolution of 1688, and drove the 
Stuarts from the throne of England. 

After the death of Renwick, the gospel was preached and 
the sacraments administered among the Society people, until 
the time of the Revolution, by Shields, Linning and Boyd. 
Before this, however, a few individuals in Ireland had espous- 
ed the Cameronian principles. These were ministered unto by 
David Houston. 

On the settlement of the Prince of Orange and the reestab- 
lishing of the Presb3'terian Church of Scotland, Shields, Lin- 
ning and Boyd went into the iSational church. Houston only 
remained true to his principles, but he seems not to have had 
much influence with the societies. This being the case, the 
Cameronians were left almost without a minister. 

In this condition they remained for a period of sixteen years. 
During this time they continued to meet in societies and re- 
new the covenants which their fathers had made with God. 
The Sabbath was remembered and kept holy by these pious 
people. Their children were brought up in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord. The older and more experienced in- 
structed the young ; and notwithstanding they never waited 
upon the ministry of any of the clergy, they made greater at- 
tainments in religious knowledge than those who did. 

To many it may seem strange that the covenanters did 
not go into the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, as restored 
and reoro-anized under William the Prince of Orano-e. For 
this they were, at the time, greatly abused, and .ever since, 
they have by a certain class of the human family, been held 
up to the world as a set of narrow-minded bigots. 

No doubt these people exhibited a culpable amount of stub- 
bornness, and sometimes magnified motes into mountains ; but 
when all the facts are investigated, they present an example of 
unparallelled consistency. The Prince of Orange was a Pres- 
byterian, but he apostatized, and becoming the head of the 
Church of England, exercised supreme control over the Church 
of Scotland. Episcopacy was established in England and Ire- 
land, and Presbyterianism was simply permitted in Scotland 


for IK) other, and no better reason than that it was agreeable to 
the people. The prerogative to convene and dissolve the Gen- 
eral Assembly was vested in the King's commissioner. Tfie 
Societv people claimed that the King might convene the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the church, in extraordinary cases, for tlie 
purpose of giving him advice ; but further than this he had no 
Scriptural authority to go. 

It was the misfortune of these Society people that they were 
in advance of the age in which they lived. Their notions of 
Presbyterianism w^ere clear and correct. It is not claimed that 
they never erred, even in the application of their own princi- 
ples. Neither is it denied that they sometimes pushed their 
principles too far, and thus ran into extremes. 

It is a fact that they did not enter the Presbyterian church 
after the Revolutionary Settlement. They were not led by 
their ministers ; for all the ministers, except one — Houston — 
deserted the people and joined the Established church. 

From the death of James Renwick, in 1688, to 1707, these 
devoted people were without a living ministry. 

Soon after the martyrdom of Cargill, they began to form 
themselves into societies for religious worship, and in the lat- 
ter part of 1681, a general meeting of these societies, by depu- 
ties, convened at Logan House, in the parish of Lesmahgow, 
Lanockshire. These societ}^ meetings were greatly blessed by 
the King and Head of the church for the good of these despised 



Adopts the Sentiments of the Cameronians — Is Deposed — Covenanters im- 
properly called M"Millanites — McMillan's Congregation Cling to Him — Gen- 
eral Meeting of the Society People, in October. 17()() — Call Presented to Mr. 
McMillan — Begins His Pastoral Labors in 1707 — Union of England and 
Scotland — Society People Opposed the Union — The Rev. John McNeil Joins 
the Society People — Protestation and Testimony of the United Societies — 
Sanquhar Declaration — Objections to the Union of England and Scotland — 
Protestation and Appeal — Religious and Political Parties in Scotland — 
Friends of the Pretenders and Foes of the House of Hanover — Renewing the 
Covenants — The Rev. John McMillan Defective as an Organizer — John Mc- 
Neil never Ordained -Efforts to Organize a Presbytery — Adamson. McHen- 
dry. Taylor and Gilchrist Deposed — Society People Attempt to Form a Union 
with them — Also, with the " Marrow" Men — Thomas Nairn Leaves the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery and Joins the Society People — The Reformed Presbytery 
Constituted, August 1st. 1743 — Nairn Returns to the National Church — Doc- 
trines of the Society People — Political Opinions — Covenanters come to Amer- 
ica — Sent to New Jersey — Lord Pitlochy — Covenanters Scatter over the Coun- 
try — Their Number and Places of Residence in Scotland— Begin to Emigrate 
to America — Form Societies in America — First General Meeting at Middle 
Octoraro. March 4th. 1744 — Covenanters Joined by Rev. Alexander Craighead 
— Mr. Craighead's Difficulties — His Congregation Called "Craighead Soci- 
ety'" — Mr. Craighead Publishes a Pamphlet — Thomas Cookson Complains to 
the Synod of Philadelphia — The Synod Condemn the Pamphlet — The Rev. 
John Cuthbertson Comes to America — Mr. Cuthbertson's Labors- First Com- 
munion — The Rev. Alexander McDowell and Mr. Cuthbertson Lal>or Togeth- 
— Revs. Linn and Dobbin Come to America — Reformed Presbytery Consti- 
tuted — Synod Organized — Division in the Synod. 

Ih 1703, John McMillan, a minister of the Church of Scot- 
land, adopted, at least in part, the opinions of the Cameronians. 
For this he was tried and condemned and deposed from the 
gospel ministry. The charge brought against him was that 
he held anti-government principles. 

From John McMillan the Covenanters were formerlj', in re- 
proach, called " McMillanites ;" but in no proper sense can it 
be said that John McMillan is the founder of the Covenanter 
or Reformed Presbyterian chm-ch. Instead of the Society Peo- 
ple or Cameronians adopting the opinions of John McMillan, 
he adopted the opinions of the Society Peojtle, and that not at 


once, but gradually. Immediately after lie was deposed, the 
effort was made to drive him away from the coHgregation of 
Balmaghie, of Avhich he was pastor. The people, to a man, 
clung with ardent attachment to their pastor, whom the}^ dear- 
ly loved. For some time Mr. McMillan abstained from the ex- 
ercise of his ministry ; but despairing of ever being able to 
secure an impartial hearing in the courts of the Established 
Church of Scotland, he resumed his ministerial labors ; not in 
the Church of Scotland, however, but among the Society Peo- 

In October, 1706, a general meeting of the Society People 
was held at Crawford-John. At this meeting a call was pre- 
sented to Mr. McMillan to labor among them. This call was not 
gotten up hastily. It seems that the matter had been under 
•consideration for several years, and the call was not presented 
at this meeting until it had been thoroughly discussed b}' the 
people. Mr. McMillan accepted the call, but for some reason 
that \ye have not been able to discover, did not begin his pas- 
toral labors among the Society People until December, 1707. 

It should be mentioned in this place, that in this year (1707) 
the union of England and Scotland was consummated. For 
fully one hundred years this matter had been under considera- 
tion. From the time of James VI the two nations had been 
governed bj' one monarch, but each had its own parliament 
iind national laws. In 1707 the two nations were united and 
the Scotch parliament was abolished. This union was far from 
being agreeable to the whole Scotch nation. Among those who 
opposed the union were the Societ}^ peoi)le. While negotia- 
tions were going on, they opposed the contemplated union, and 
«fter the Scotch parliament had risen, never again to be seated, 
they protested against what had l^een done. 

About this time John McISTeil, who had been deprived of his 
license, because of his opposition to the course pursued by both 
church and state, attached himself to the Society People. Un- 
der the inspection of McMillan and McXeil a paper was drawn 
up by some of the Society People, which bears the following 
title : " Protestation and Testimony of the United Societies of the 
Witnessing Remnant of the Antipojrish, Antiprelatic^Antierastia.n., 
Anti sectarian^ true Presbyterian Church of Christ in Scotland, 
against the sinful Incorporating Virion with England and their 


British Parliament^ Concluded and EstedjUshed May, 1707." This 
paper was published at Sanquhar, on the 22d of October, 1707. 
It is known as the "Sanquhar Declaration," and was the third 
of the kind which had been published. It is still a standard 
document amontr Eeformed I'resbyterians, and eets forth very 
clearly the views held b}' the Cameronians. 

The objections to the union of England and Scotland, as stated 
in the "Sanquhar Declaration," may be arranged under tvro 
heads : First, Because, by a union with England, Scotland loses 
her national identity ; or, in the language of the Declaration 
itself: "By this incorporating union with England in their 
sinful terms, this nation (Scotland) is debased and enslaved, its 
ancient independency lost and gone; t\\e jxirliainentary power 
dissolved, which was the very strength, bulwark and basis of 
all liberties and privileges of persons of all ranks ; of all man- 
ner of courts and judicatories, corporations and societies with- 
in this kingdom, all which now must be at the disposal and 
discretion of the BritiJi Parliament.'' Second, That b^' the 
union, the second Article of the Solemn League and Covenant 
was violated. The reasoning runs thus: The second Article of 
this Solemn League and Covenant binds those taking it to "'-en- 
deavor the extirpation of i»opery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, 
seism." &e. The established Church oi England is prelatic in 
its government; therefore, all who are in favor of the union 
of England and Scotland, tacitly assent to prelacy, and thus vio- 
late the second Article of the Solemn League and Covenant. 

In September, 1708, another paper, entitled "Protestation, 
Declinature and Appeal," was prepared and signed by Mr. Mc- 
Millan and Mr. McXeil. In this paper, Avhich in a literary 
l^oint of view is inferior to the Sanquhar Declaration, Mr. Mc- 
Millan and Mr. ^MclN^eil declare their firm and unfaltering at- 
tachment to the standards of the Church of Scotland and lift 
up their testimony against the defections of the times in both 
church and state. 

At this time, or soon after, Scotland became the scene of vio- 
lent religious and political parties. The papal party were, by 
no means, favorable to the house of Hanover, from which, it 
was correctl}'' judged, Avas to sjiring the future sovereigns of 
England. They were anxious that the race of Stuarts be re- 
stored, and hence they were the zealous but cautious friends 


of the Pretender. The Episcopal clergy of Scotland, who, in 
immorality were not a whit behind the papal priests, threw the 
weight of their influence in favor of the Pretender, whom, in 
pitying accents, they styled "the lineal heir of our crown." 
These, under the cloak of the name Protestant, affirmed that 
the Protestant successor to the throne of England was as much 
of a papist as the Pretender, and he was a pagan besides. By 
them it was falsely asserted that he "communicated thrice a 
year with the Romish church and sacrificed to the devil." 

The wise saw this fraud, but the unwary were deceived, and 
the Protestant succession was regarded with contempt by the 
unsuspecting. Staunch Protestants regarded these vile fabri- 
cations as a gross insult. Again John McMillan and John Mc- 
Xeil felt it their duty to take a more decided stand than they 
had done heretofore against papistry and prelac3^ 

At a general meeting of the Societies, at Crawford-John, in 
May, 1712, what they had previously done in advancing Refor- 
mation principles, was approved, and the 23d of July was ap- 
jDointed as the time for again making a public acknowledgment 
of sins and renewing the covenants. On the appointed day, 
the great mass of the Society People met at Auchinsaugh, near 
Douglass. Mr. McMillan began the work of the day with prayer 
for special assistance. After an exhortation by Mr. McMillan 
a sermon was preached by Mr. McXeil. On the next day Mr. 
McMillan preached, and read the acknowledgment of sins, which 
had been read on the previous day. Then followed the "en- 
o-agement to duties." 

These were solemn occasions. The people stood up, and with 
their right hands pointing to heaven, solemnly pledged them- 
selves to be for God and not for another. Truth demands that we 
say that the Society People were equally opposed to both the 
house of Stuart and the house of Hanover. They would join 
neither party. This exposed them politically to the reproach 
of papists and Protestants. 

Unfortunately, they lacked liarmony among themselves. 
With all due deference to the memory of John McMillan, we 
are compelled to say that he was defective as an organizer. It 
is true that he had great difficulties to contend with. The peo- 
ple with whom he was associated were men and women who 
thought for themselves. It was impossible to drive them into 


any measure, and it was no easy matter to lead them. Many 
of them were intellectually superior to both John McMillan. 
and John McNeil. The Sanquhar Declaration demonstrates^ 
this assertion.. 

The great difficulty thesp. Society People had to contend with, 
durino; the orreater part of Mr. McMillan's life, -vVas the fact 
that although they were Presbyterians of the strictest sort, 
they had no presbytery. John McXeil, so far as we have been 
able to discover, never w^as ordained. John McMillan was a 
frail man — so frail that he could not, for man}- years, dispense 
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 

To remedy these evils they labored diligently to restore har- 
mony among themselves ; but, unfortunately, without a pres- 
byter}^ this could not be effected. The removing of one diffi- 
culty generally introduced another. 

That they might be enabled to organize a presbytery, they, 
or at least a portion of them, insisted that some of their own 
number should accept ordination nt the hands of Mr. McMil- 
lan and the session, on the call of the people. Under the pecu- 
liar circumstances this, we suppose, would have been no viola- 
tion of Presb3terian principles. Some things are lawful in a 
formative church which would not be in a church fully organ- 
ized. In this, however, they could not, or did not, agree, and 
no one was ordained. 

During this period in the history of the Established Church 
of Scotland, there were several ministers who, because of their 
opposition to the many innovations which were creeping into 
the church, were deposed from the exercise of their ministerial, 
functions. Among these may be mentioned Adamson, Mc- 
llenry, Taylor and Gilchrist. With these the Society People 
honestly attempted to form a union, and thus put the church 
in a working condition. 

They also made a laudable effort to form a union with the- 
" twelve Marrow men," or the twelve individuals who espoused 
and defended the doctrines of grace as stated in the work enti- 
tled the 3Iarrow of 31odern Divinity. In these praiseworthy 
efforts they were unsuccessful. 

For a period of more than one-third of a century, John Mc- 
Millan was the only ordained minister who had the moral 


couras^e — rather should we not say the faith — to advocate pub- 
licly the principles held by the Society People. 

John McMillan presents an example of moral heroism un- 
exampled and unparalleled in the history of the world. Both 
he and the people among whom he labored were treated with 
disrespect — nay, with scorn and contempt — by both church 
and state. Xotwithstanding this, they were a power in the 
land ; and genuine Presbyterianism in every part of the world 
is gradually verging towards the high opinions held by these 
persecuted people. 

The Rev. Thomas Xairn, a member of the Associate Pre-^- 
bytery, having adopted the sentiments of the Cameronians re- 
specting civil government, became involved in a difficulty with 
the presbytery. The result was that Mr. Xairn renounced the 
authority of the Associate Church and joined the Cameronians. 

On the 1st of August, 1743, John McMillan and Thomas 
Xairn met, and with the usual formalities constituted them- 
selves into a presbytery which they called the Reformed Pres- 
bytery. It is true that Xairn, who seems to have been a 
restless spirit, left the Reformed Presbytery, which he had as- 
sisted in constituting, and returned to the Established Church 
of Scotland. In this case, as in every other, it is demonstrated 
that truth and right are not dependent upon men alone for 
their perpetuation, but upon the will of God. 

The Reformed Presbytery, as we have seen, having been 
regularly organized in 1743, continues, with some slight mod- 
ifications, unto this day. It never was strong in the popular 
sense of the word ; neither did it ever show signs of rapid 
growth. This, no one at all acquainted with human nature 
and the doctrines and practices advocated by the Reformed 
Presbyterian Church, would expect. Its doctrinal standards 
were too high, and its practical requirements too rigid to be at 
all palatable to the mass of the human family. Xotwith- 
standing all this, the Reformed Presbyterian Church has been, 
since its organization, a mighty power in the world. It stands 
among all other Christian denominations like a gnarled oak in 
a forest of dwarfed undergrowth. 

The doctrines held by the Society People, both before their 
organization and after it, were those contained in the ^Vest- 
minster Confession of Faith, and in the Larger and the Shorter 


Catechisms. In politics they were Republicans of the most 
ultra sect. They had suffered so much from Kings and Queens 
that they cherished a morljid hatred to monarch}- in all its 

We cannot more clearly, and certainly not more truthfully, 
set forth the peculiar political views of the Reformed Presbj'- 
terians or Society People than by quoting their own language : 

•• The Presbytery testifies against and condemns that principle that the Chris- 
tian people of God ought to give explicit acknowledgment of, and implicit sub- 
jection and obedience to. whatever civil authority (though most wicked and 
unlawful) the Lord, in his holy providence, may, for the trial and punishment 
of his church, permit a backsliding people to constitute and set up, without re- 
gard to the precepts of his word. And they hereby reject whatever, in ojDposi- 
tiou to the Church of Scotland, does justly and in its own nature imply, a vol- 
untary and real acknowledgment of the lawfulness of the title and authority of 
an anti-scriptural, anti-covenanted and Erastian government, constituted upon 
the ruin of a scriptural, covenanted reformation." 

So for as is positively known, the iirst Covenanters or " So- 
ciety People " who came to America were those banished from 
Scotland in the year 168.3. " About two hundred were arrested 
and thrust into prison, because of their supposed connection 
with the invasion of the Duke of Argyle. After having suf- 
fered greatl}^ in the places of their confinement, Dunnotter 
Castle and Bass-Rock, they, together with many others, were 
put on board a vessel ready to sail for ISTew Jersey. The}' 
sailed from Leith, in the JRichard Hutton, on the 5th of Sep- 
tember, and arrived in Xew Jersey about the middle of Decem- 
ber. The people of J^ew Jersey, near the coast, mistaking 
them at first for banished convicts, treated them harshly. "A 
little way up the country there was a town where there was a 
minister settled, and the inhabitants there were very kind to 
them. When they had information of the prisoners' circum- 
stances, they invited all who were able to travel to come and 
live with them, and sent horses for such as were not, and en- 
tertained them that winter freely and with much kindness." 

These prisoners had been given to George Scot, Lord of Pit- 
lochy, but Pitlochy died on the passage, and the prisoners fell 
into the hands of his son-in-law, Johnston. 

In the spring of 1686, Johnston caused all the prisoners to 
be cited before a court of the province. The jury decided that 
these prisoners had bargained with Pitlochy, not Johnston, 


'" for money or service, and, therefore, according to the laws of 
the country they were assoiled.'^ 

Some of these exiled covenanters remained in ISTew Jersey; 
some went to 'Sew England ; some of them to Pennsylvania ; 
and some of them, in after 3^ears, to South Carolina. 

The number of Covenanters in Scotland was very large. 
They resided mainly in the shires of Ranark, Renfrew, Ayr, 
Dumbarton, Stirling, IS'ithsdale, and the Stewartrics of Annan- 
dale, Wigton, Kirkcudbright, the Lothians, and Bathgate. 
After 1685, they began to emigrate to America, and their num- 
ber in America soon became equal, or nearly equal, to that in 
Scotland. In America, as in Scotland, they organized societies ; 
and although for a long time destitute of a minister, they pre- 
served the forms of religion and adhered firmly to the reforma- 
tion standards of the Church of Scotland. 

These societies were scattered over a large tract of country, 
or rather, some of them were at a great distance from the rest. 
The larger number of them were, as well as can be ascertained 
at this late day, in Pennsylvania; but there were societies in 
several other States. In every community in which there were 
two or three families, they organized themselves into what was 
called a society or correspondence. These societies or corres- 
pondences all met together by representation annually or semi- 
annually, very much as a presbytery or synod. This was called 
the General Meeting. The first General Meeting of which, 
so far as is known, any tecord remains, was at Middle Octoraro, 
March 4, 1744. There were present fourteen delegates, repre- 
senting seven societies. The Rev. Alexander Craighead was 
chosen President of this General Meeting. 

The history of Mr. Craighead's connection with the " Society 
People" is involved in very considerable obscurit}'. It is not 
certain when nor where he was born. The probability is that 
he was born and educated in Ireland. It is generally supposed 
that he was the son of the Rev. Thomas Craigliead. He was 
licensed by the Presbytery of. Donegal (Presbyterian) on the 
8th of October, 1734, and ordained and installed pastor of 
Middle Octoraro, on the 18th of November, 1735. He very 
soon became involved in a difficulty with some of his people 
and with some of the neighboring pastors. His difficultv" with 
the latter was that he " carried the gospel to the people of Xew 



London, in opposition to the wishes of tlie minister, the session 
and most of the congregation.'"" Some of the people of his pas- 
toral charge complained that he required them to adopt the 
Solemn League and Covenant when having tlieir children bap- 

When he first began to insist upon the adoption of the Sol- 
emn League and Covenant is not certainl}- known ; but it 
must have been very soon after his ordination^ from the fact 
that in the latter })art of 1740 he withdrew from the presby- 
tery. His case came up before the synod in May 1741, and 
after several days, or parts of days, had been spent in consid- 
ering it, the matter was finally lost sight of by a protest 
brought in by the Rev. Robert Cross. 

It is probable that during all the time that his case was be- 
fore the presbytery and synod, and even before this time, Mr. 
Craighead had been associated with the " Society People." 
The General Meeting of the societies to which reference has 
alread}' been made, was certainly in the church of which he 
was pastor, and at least a respectable portion of his congrega- 
tion held like views with himself. The evidence of this is the 
fact that his congregation is called the " Craighead Societ}'," 
and sent two representatives, Robert Laughhead and Josiah 

Mr. Craighead entertained the peculiar views of the Society 
People concerning civil government. Those opinions were 
oftensive both to the denomination with %vhich he was con- 
nected and to the civil officers. In the language of Foote, "He 
w^as ahead of his ministerial brethren in Ptmnsylvania in his 
views of civil government and religious liberty." Some time 
previous to 1743, Mr. Craighead published a pamphlet, the 
nature of which is not now certainly known, but it certainly 
was exceedingly offensive to the civil authorities. Thctmas 
Cookson, one of his majesty's justices of the peace for Lancas- 
ter county, in the name of the Governor, brought the subject 
matter of this pamphlet to the attention of the Synod of Phila- 
delphia, at its meeting in the spring of 1743. The s\mod hav- 
ing suspended its regular business, gave its undivided atten- 
tion to the consideration of this pamphlet. Mr. Craighead 
was not present. After due consideration, the synod " unani- 
mously agreed that it (the pamphlet) was full of treason, sedi- 


tion and distraction and grievous perverting of the sacred 
oracles to the ruin of all Societies and civil government, and 
directly and diametrically opposed to our religious principles, 
as we have, on all occasions openly and publicly declared to 
the world; and we hereby unanimously, with the greatest sin- 
cerity, declare that we detest this paper, and with it all princi- 
ples and practices that tend to destroy the civil or religious 
rights of mankind, or to foment or encourage sedition or dis- 
satisfaction with the civil government that we are now under, 
or rebellion, treason, or anything that is disloyal. And if Mr. 
Craighead be the author, we know nothing of the matter.. 
And we declare that he hath been no member of our Society 
for some time past, nor do we acknowledge him as such.'' 

It is most evident, from this declaration, that Mr. Craig- 
head's pamphlet was of a political and not of a religious char- 
acter. It is further evident that the Synod of Philadelphia 
was loyal to the crown, while Mr. Craighead, like the Cove- 
nanters, was disloyal and rebellious. 

Although Mr. Craighead cooperated with the Covenanters, 
he never was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. 
The exact length of the period of his cooperation cannot be 
lixed with absolute certainty. Perhaps it was not more than 
ten years, and, actively, a much shorter time than that. 

After leaving the Covenanters, he made ap[>lication, as will 
be seen in the proper place, to the Anti-Burghers of Scotland. 
The first Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian minister who 
came to America was the Rev. John Cuthbertson, a native of 
Scotland. He was ordained to the full work of the gospel min- 
istry some time previous to the year 1750, since at that time 
he was Moderator of the Reformed Presbyterian Presbyteiy. 
Very soon after this, probably the same year, he and Thomas 
Cameron were sent as missionaries by the presbytery to which 
they belonged to Ireland. This, so far as can be learned, is 
the date at which the Reformed Presbyterian Church began 
its missionary labors in Ireland. It is rather remarkable that 
John Cuthbertson should be the first Reformed Presbyterian 
missionaiy both to Ireland and America. 

Mr. Cuthbertson landed in America on the 5th of August, 
1751, and on the 9th of tlie same month, at the house of Joseph 
Ross, near the line that divides Pennsylvania from Maryland, 


preached the first sermon ever preached in America bj a Re- 
formed Pi-esbyterian minister. Previous to the arrival of Mr. 
Cuthhertson there were fifteen or twenty societies in eastern 
Penns^-lvania. We have no means of ascertaining the exact 
number in any of the other States. 

For a period of about twenty-three years Mr. Cuthhertson 
labored among the far-scattered societies of Eeformed Presby- 
terians in America. The greater part of his preaching was 
done in private houses, but it is highly probable that even be- 
fore his arrival some of the societies had erected houses of 

The labors, both physical and mental, of Mr, Cuthbertson 
during the first year of his residence in America, were simply 
ii:iarvelous. He preached one hundred and twenty days ; rode 
on horseback. over mountains and hills, often fording swollen 
creeks and deep rivers, nearly twenty-five hundred miles ; bap- 
tized one hundred and ten children, and married ten couples. 
His public services at each one of his preaching stations gen- 
erally consumed from four to five hours. On the 23d of Au- 
gust, 1752, he for the first time after coming to America, ad- 
ministered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The exercises 
on this occasion consumed nine hours. Six or eight persons 
were, on examination, admitted to membership, and two hun- 
dred communed. 

During the whole oH the twenty-three years that Mr. Cuth- 
bertson labored alone, his work, instead of decreasing in 
amount, increased; and instead of becoming lighter, became 
more burdensome. 

It is proper to be mentioned in this place that while it has 
been said that the Rev. John Cuthbertson was. the first Re- 
formed Presbyterian minister who came to America, this is 
true only so far as well-authenticated and specific facts show. 
AVhen, in 1685, the Covenanters landed in America, they were 
kindl}^ received by a minister of the gospel who seems to have 
held similar views with themselves. I^ot only so, but in Con- 
necticut, in 1759, Mr. Cuthbertson met with a Mr. Alexander 
McDowell, who, "ive are led to believe, was a Reformed Presby- 
terian minister. On several occasions Mr. McDowell preached 
for Mr. Cuthbertson, and assisted him in administering the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper in October, 1761. More than 


this: One of the Reformed Presbyterian congregations, prob- 
ably Rock Creek, (now Gettysburg,) made out a call for Mr. 
McDowell. It is clear that both Mr, Cuthbertson and the lay 
members of the Reformed Presbytery held Christian commun- 
ion with Mr. McDowell in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 
This, we suppose, they would not have done had Mr. Mc- 
Dowell not been a Reformed Presbyterian. Xeither would 
they have invited him to become their pastor. 

There is another fact in this connection which is worthy of 
note. When Mr. Cuthbertson, in 1759, went to Connecticut, 
he says he preached in a "meeting-house," implying that it 
was a Reformed Presbyterian Church. This house of worship 
was in Pelkham. About Mr. Alexander McDowell we know 
nothing more than the above fact, except that he lived east of 
the Connecticut river. 

In addition to Mr. McDowell there was a Mr. McClelland, 
who frequently and at several places assisted Mr. Cuthbertson 
on sacramental occasions. Mr. Cuthbertson first mentions his 
name in connection with dispensing the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper at Octoi-aro, in April, 176(3. Of this Mr. McClelland 
we know nothino; further than that ^h\ Cuthbertson not being 
altogether satisfied with him, he went to Xew England. 

From the facts stated with regard to ^Messrs. McDowell and 
McClelland, we are safe in concluding that they both were 
either Reformetl Presbyterians, or most positivel}^ in hearty 
sympathy with Reformed Presbyterians. At that time Re- 
formed Presbyterians were not accustomed to hold either min- 
isterial or Christian communion with any but Reformed l*res- 
byterians, or those in avowed sympathy with Reformed Pres- 

Early in 1774, the Rev. John Cuthbertson was joined by the 
Revs. Matthew Linn and Alexander Dobbin, missionaries sent 
out by the Reformed Presbyterian presbytery of Ireland. 

On the 9th of March, 1774, Messrs. Cuthbertson, Linn and 
Dobbin met at Paxton, Daupbin county. Pa., and took into 
consideration the propriety of organizing themselves into a 
presbytery. On the next day, the lOtli of March, 1774, they 
again rnet, and in due form consummated the organization 
concerning which they had deliberated on the previous day. 


During the year 1774 there were three meetings of the pres- 
bytery. The first, after its organization, was at Gettysburg, 
on the 23d and 24th of May. The next was "at George Gra- 
ham's, Pequa, on the 23d and 24th of November, and the third 
at Philadelphia on the 26th of I^ovember. 

AVhen, in 1782, the Associate Reformed Church was organ- 
ized, there were only five Reformed Presbyterian ministers in 
America, viz: John Cuthbertson, Matthew Linn, Alexander 
Dobbin, AVilliam ^Martin and David Telfar. Mr. Martin was 
under suspension and did not go into the union. A minority 
of the people did not coalesce with the Associate Presbytery. 
These applied to the judicatories of the motlier country and 
from them received ministerial aid. The fragments of the old 
congregations were gathered up and new ones organized, and 
the Reformed Presbj'terian Church srill has an existence in 

In 1809, " The Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church 
in America " was constituted. About the year 1830, a contro- 
versy sprung up in the Synod as to whether or not tlie general 
principles held by the church in regard to civil government, 
applied to the Constitution of the United States. The result Avas 
that an unfortunate division took ydace in the church, in 1838 
each claiming to be the true Reformed Presbyterian Church. 
The supremo judicatory of the one branch is denominated the 
General S3'nod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and of 
the other it is simph' the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian 
Churcli. Of these two branches the General Synod is the 
weaker, but the difterence in their strength is not great. 



ASSOCIATE PRESBYTERY UNPOPULAR— A few Ministers in the National 
Church Friends of the Associate Presbytery — The Erskine Party Loosed 
from their Pastoral Relations — The Dominant Party Frightened — Acts of 
Assembly Annulled — Popular Movement — Assembly's Act in Reference to 
the Return of the Erskine Party — Synod of Perth and Stirling Restore the 
Seceders — Ebenezer Erskine Elected Moderator — People Desired the Seces- 
sion Party to Return — Established Church — The Secession Party could not 
Return — Mr. Wilson Perplexed — Seceders Summoned before the Assembly — 
Appear as a Presbytery — Their Declinature — Action of the Assembly — Se- 
ceders Reluctantly Leave the Established Church — They Had no Alternative 
— Mr. John Hunter Licensed — Andrew Clarkson Licensed — Thomas Nairn 
Joins the Associate Presbytery — John* Hunter Ordained — He Dies in 1740 — 
James Thompson Joins the Associate Presbytery — James Mair and Adam 
Beugo Join the Associate Presbytery — They are Ordained Ministers in 1740 — 
Growth of the Associate Presbytery — Strict Discipline — No Patronage — No 
Ruling Elders for four years — First Elders — Presbyterian Order — Theologi- 
cal Professor Chosen. 

The Associate Presbytery, at the time of its ora;anizatioii, 
had but few friends among the ministers of the Established 
Church of Scotland. Among the lay-members it was far other- 
wise. It seems that error generally creeps into the visible 
church through the ministers, and reform is usually begun by 
the private members. A little learning makes some men mad. 
Very often, both in church and state, the voice of the people 
is the voice of God. The members of the Associate Presbyteiy 
were, for a number of years, very careful to avoid doing aii}'- 
thing that might even, by their enemies, be regarded as revo- 
lutionary in its tendency, or even in appearance. It was re- 
formation, not revolution, for which they contended. They 
desired no changes to be made in the Confession of Faith of 
the Church of Scotland, adopted in 1647. 

It is cheerfully admitted that there were a few ministers in 
Scotland who regarded the action of the Commission and Gen- 
eral JVssembly toward Ebenezer Erskine and his coadjutors as 
irregular, unpresb3'terial, tyrannical, unrighteous and shock- 
ingly wicked. 


For a short time these intense sympathizers, but timid friends, 
of the Erskine party, checked the dominant party. . An effort 
was made to restore the four seceding brethren to their former 
place and position in the Established Church. The action of 
both Commission and General Assembly by which they had 
been, in the language of that time, "loosed" from their pas- 
toral charges, and declared no longer ministers of the ISTational 
Church, was by the Assembly of 1734, declared to be inoper- 

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which 
met in May, 1734, was, in many respects, a very remarkable 
one. Considerable care had been taken in selecting delegates 
who were thought to be capable of doing right, and the number 
of heterodox members was less than usual, and far less bold and 
reckless. Only honest men are brave and fearless. Tyrants 
are all cowards. Such w^as demonstrated to be the case by the 
dominant party in the Established Church of Scotland at the 
period under consideration. By their tyrannical acts they had 
sown broadcast the seeds of disaffection, and now they trem- 
ble lest these seeds may spring up- and produce an open rup- 

There is a period in every man's life when conscience awakes 
from its slumbers and pierces his soul as with a two-edged 
sword. Some time in the history of every human being, 
brought up in a Christian land, his sins will find him out, and 
the prospects of their dread consequences will fill his very 
bones with weakness. 

For a period of about twenty years, the corrupt party in the 
Church of Scotland had been rushing on in a career of lawless- 
ness and folly. Xow (1734) they begin to tremble lest they 
have paved the way to their own destruction. 

To avoid this dreaded calamity, several odious acts of pre- 
vious Assemblies were repealed, and many of the acts and de~' 
cisions of the Commission were in some cases reversed, and in 
others annulled. 

A Commission w^as appointed to petition George II. for a 
repeal of the patronage act, and that ministerial freedom which 
had been by the Assembly of 1733 restrained tow^ards the Revs. 
Ebenezer Erskine, "William Wilson, Alexander Moncrieft' and 
James Fisher, was now granted. 


These were popular movements, designed to quiet the wide- 
extended dissatisfaction which tyrannical ecclesiastical legisla- 
tion had produced. Manifestly', the General Assembly of 1734 
was anxious to get the Seceders back, as the following act will 
abundantly show : 

•• The General Assembly, considering the great hurt and prejudice that hath 
at all times arisen, and must yet arise to the church, from divisions and ani- 
mosities creeping in and taking root among the members thereof, notwithstand- 
ing their unanimity in sentiments upon material and fundamental points, which 
more nearly concern the promoting the interests of our blessed Lord and Sav- 
iouiv the establishing the peace of the church and the advancement of practical 
godliness and true religion within the bounds of it. and particularly the lament- 
able consequences that have followed, and may yet follow, upon the separation 
of Messrs. Ebenezer Erskine. William Wilson. Alexander Moucrietf and James 
Fisher from this church and the judicatories thereof : and judging it their duty 
to endeavor, by all just and proper means, consistent with the honor and glory 
of God. and the maintaining the peace and authority of the church, to restore 
harmony and brotherly love among all the members of it : Therefore, the Gen- 
eral Assembly, without further inquiring into, the occasion or steps of proceed- 
ing, either on the part of the said brethren, or by the several judicatories under 
whose consideration the case hath been, which may have jjroduced that unhappy 
separation, but resolving that all questions on these heads shall for hereafter be 
comfortably removed, have empowered, and hereby do empower, the Synod of 
Perth and Stirling, before whom the exceptions to some part of the conduct of 
two of these four reverend brethren were first taken and tried, upon such api)li- 
cation made to them as they shall judge proper, to take the case of said four 
brethren, as it now stands, under their consideration, with full power to the said 
Synod to proceed and do therein as they shall find most justifiable and expedi- 
ent for restoring the peace and preserving the authority of this church and re- 
storing them to their respective charges. But with this express direction: that 
the Synod shall not take ujion them to judge of the legality or formality of the 
former proceedings of the church judicatories in relation to this afi!air, either to 
approve of or condemn the same: but shall only, in virtue of the power and au- 
thority now delegated to them by the Assembly, proceed to take such steps for 
attaining the above ends for the future as they shall find just and tending to 
edification; And the Assembly do hereby appoint the aforesaid Synod to meet 
at Stirling upon the first Tuesday of July next, and from time to time name and 
appoint the place and diets of their after meetings on the said affair as they shall 
see cause, until the matter shall be ripened for a final conclusion; and recom- 
mend to them to use their utmost endeavors to bring the matter, as soon as rea- 
sonably can be. to a final and happy issue."' 

This is a most wonderful enactment to be made by a grave 
and dignified and wise body of men as we are accustomed to 
think the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to be. 
It is difficult to understand by what motive, except fear, the 
Assembly was impelled, when it passed this act. It is unpres- 
byterian from beginning to end. The General Assembly of 


1734 does not say that the General Assembly of 1733 did wrong 
by its commission in " loosin^^ " from their pastoral charsjes 
Mr. Erskine and his three friends; but simply ordered the 
Sj'nod of Perth and Stirhng to restore them without inquiring 
into the " legality or formality '" of any former proceedings in 
their case. This, the Assembly had no right, according to 
Presbyterian form of church government, to do. All that it 
could do was to say that the former proceedings in the case of 
Mr. Erskine were right or wrong. If they were right — that 
is, lawful — it was sinful in the Assembly to order them to be 
restored. If wrong, all that it had to do was to declare those 
proceedings null and void. This, without any further act, 
would have restored Mr. Erskine and his three friends. 

It is manifest to any unprejudiced mind that it was not the 
design of the Assembl}', in passing this act, to advance the 
glory of God and maintain the authority of the church. 

A portion of the Assembly were thoroughly convinced that 
the Commission, in "loosing"' the protesting brethren from 
their pastoral charges, perpetrated a great wrong and flagrant 
injustice. The anxiety of this portion of the Assemby to se- 
cure the restoration of the Secession party was so great that it 
failed to scrutinize closely into the mode proposed b}^ the As- 
sembly to reinstate them to their former standing. In order 
to attain a desired good, the}' suffered a wrong to be done. 
Those opposed to the Secession — and they were in the ma- 
jority — seem to have been urged on by a fear that unless some 
act of clemency was passed, secession principles would be gen- 
erally adopted and the nuniber of iSeceders raj^idly multiplied. 
By the passage of the above-quoted act, it was thought the 
odium of secession would be cast upon the Seceders, and the 
tendency to secede effectuallj' stopped. 

Agreeably to the decree of the Assembly, the Synod of Perth 
and Stirling met on the 2d da}' of July, and " with one voice 
and consent took ofl:' the sentences pronounced by the Com- 
mission of the General Assembly of 1733 against the aforesaid 
four brethren, Messrs. Ebenezer Erskine, William Y/ilson, 
Alexander Moncrieif and James Fisher, declaring the same of 
no force or effect for the future ; united and restored them to 
ministerial communion in this church, to their several charges, 
and to the exercise of all parts of the ministerial function 


therein, as fully and freely as if there had never been act, sen- 
tence, obstacle or impediment whatsoever in the way thereof in 
time past ; all which are hereby declared sopite and set aside 
for the future." 

It is strange that the Synod of Perth and Stirling could be 
induced so to stultify themselves in the eyes of the world as to 
frame the above decision. It was this Synod that found Mr. 
Erskine censurable, because he had dared to intimate, in a ser- 
mon, that there were corruptions in the Church of Scotland. 
Mr. Erskine had retracted nothing that he had said in that 
sermon ; but on all proper occasions was ready to repeat it. 

To the contradictory actions of the Synod of Perth and Stir- 
ling there is an explanation. Every community is, to a very 
great extent, under the control of a few persons. The same is 
true of both civil governments and ecclesiastical courts. The 
tendency of every government is to degenerate into an aristoc- 
rac}-. The few control the many. Presbyterianism and igno- 
rance are incompatible. It is capable of demonstration that 
the mass of the Established Church of Scotland, at the period 
of the secession, had only ill-defined notions of Bible Presby- 
terian rsm. A representative republic was a form of govern- 
ment that was but poorly understood at the time the Secession 
Church was organized. The Synod of Perth and Stirling 
thought they must obey the General Assembly, whether the 
Assembly obeyed God or not. The unscriptural notion that 
the highest judicatory of the Church could not do wrong, was 
firmly fixed in the minds of many, both of the people and 

Xo doubt this notion led the Synod of Perth and Stirling to 
revoke all it had said and done concerning Mr. Erskine"s Perth 
sermon ; and it was led to find fault with that sermon because 
it was exceedingly unpalatable to the few who exercised do- 
minion, or were striving for dominion over the rest. 

But a short time after ttie Synod had "taken ofl:'"' the sen- 
tence pronounced by the Commission of the General Assembly, 
the Presbytery of Stirling met and elected Mr. Ebenezer Ers- 
kine moderator. Mr. Erskine was not present, and as yet had 
not signified his intentions or designs in view of the late pro- 
ceedings. A committee was appointed to wait upon him and 
inform him of the honor which had been conferred upon him. 


At this lato date we are scarcely able to come to a safe con- 
clusion as to the motives which prompted the Presbyteiy of 
Stirling, at this time, to elect Mr. Erskine its moderator. It 
was certainly imprudent, hasty and uncalled for. Mr. Erskine^ 
as he should have done under the circumstances, prudently but 
promptly declined the honor ; but the presbytery, for some 
reason best known to themselves, saw fit to keep the chair va- 
cant, avowedly for him. 

It appears that there was a general desire and expectation 
that the Seceders would return to the Established Church, and 
because they did not return, they were, at the time, severely 
censured, even by those who had before been tlieir friends. 

The misfortune of the Secession Fathers was that they were 
fully a centurj^ ahead of the age in which thc}^ lived. In the 
Church of Scotland, at the time of the secession, the majority 
of the ministers, although in every other respect orthodox, en- 
tertained mistaken notions concerning church government. 
"With them the jS'ational Church was the true church, no mat- 
ter what were its corruptions in doctrine and practice. In 
other words, they could not conceive of a church existing un- 
less it was established by law. This being the case, whatever 
chui'ch was established by law, was, according to their mis- 
taken notions, the true church, and all others were no churches. 

Without saying so in words, they declared by their actions 
that they believed the General Assembly was infallible, and con- 
sequently it was sinful to protest against an}- of its acts, no mat- 
ter how much these acts might clash with the Word and provi- 
dence of God. Many of this class, perhaps the majority, were 
pious; but unfortunately the doctrine of a representative re- 
public — Presbj'terianism — was not understood by them, and 
the notion that church and state must be united was tirmly 
iixed in their minds. With this class it was regarded a hein- 
ous sin for any^one to olFer a protest against anything that an 
ecclesiastical court might either do or say. 

For protesting, the Fathers of the Secession were rebuked, 
silenced and excommunicated ; and when the way was opened, 
as was thought, for their return to the Established Church and 
they did not avail themselves of it, this party, which hereto- 
fore had been their S3'mpathizers, if not their friends, became 
their avowed enemies. 


Besides the cla^s spoken of above, tlierc was another, which 
may, with the utmost ji^i-opriety, be named Temporizers. Like 
the first class, this was the advocate of a National Church ; but 
it made no sort of difference whether it Avas Prelatic or Presbj-- 
terian in its character. The former favoyed a Presbyterian 
•establishment ; the latter was indifferent as to the character of 
the establishment. All that it desired was an establishment 
favoring Protestantism rather than papacy. This class was 
ever ready to follow the multitude. In the proper sense the}' 
Avere time-servers. Peace and unanimity with them was every- 
thing, and purit}' and right nothing. Py these time-servers 
good old Thomas Boston was prevented from protesting against 
the decision of the Assembly of 1729, in the ease of Professor 
Simson ; and they were the main instruments in producing all 
the ruptures which have taken place in the Chu»ch of Scot- 

Whoever will study carefully all the circnmstances and facts 
■connected with the Secession, will not be slow in concluding 
that the* Secession party could not, without compromising 
themselves and sanctioning all the errors and corruptions of 
the Established Church, accept the offer made to them by the 
Synod of Perth and Stirling, in obedience to the command of 
the Assembly. It is manifest that either the Seceders were 
wrong, or the dominant party in the church was wrong. If 
the Seceders were wrong, then it would have been a sin on the 
part of the Established Church to have taken them back with- 
out first requiring them to acknowledge their past sins and ex- 
acting a profession of obedience for the future. If the domi- 
nant party was wrong, then it would have been a sin for the 
Seceders to have returned to the Established Church, unless 
the leaders of that church had confessed their sins and declared 
it to be their purpose to be faithful hereafter in the work of 
the Lord. 

Mr. William Wilson was, for some time, perplexed as to his 
duty in reference to continuing the separation from the Estab- 
lished Church. The other three of the Secession Fathers seem 
never to have hesitated in tdieir minds. 

Because they did not accept the conditions proposed by the 
Assembly, the}' were, in 1739, inidividually summoned to an- 
swer a libel which the Commission, in obedience to the Assem- 


bly, had framed. They appeared, not, liowever, as individ- 
uals, but as a regularly constituted presbyter}-. An Act of 
Declinature had been prepared by appointment of the Associ- 
ate Presbyterj", by Revs. "Wilson, Moncreifi' and Fisher. The 
Assembly met on the 10th of May. On the 17th, the Seceder& 
were brought in by the officer. They were preceded by their 
moderator, Mr. Thomas Mair. Their entr}^ produced ver}- con- 
siderable stir. So soon as this had subsided, the moderator of 
the Assembly tlius addressed them : 

•• Although you are called here to answer to a libel, the Assembly is very loth 
to be obliged to proceed upon it; and if you offenders will now show a disposi- 
tion to return to the duty and obedience you owe to this church, the Assembly 
is ready to forgive all that is past, and receive you with open arms." 

This the Assembly regarded as a conciliatoiy oifer ; but it is 
hard to discover anything very pacific in the language. To 
call a man an offender and require him to return to obedience, 
has something in it that is calculated to stir up a spirit of re- 
sentment. Tlie point of difference was that the Seceders re- 
garded the Assembly as offenders, and the Assembly, by its 
parleying with them, manifested a consciousness of guilt. This, 
wrongly- named conciliatory offer having been made, Mr. Mair^ 
the moderator of the Associate Presbytery, replied as follows : 

" We come here as a presbytery constituted in the name and by the authority 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only King and Head of His Church ; and since I 
am at present the moderator of the presbytery, however insufficient for and un- 
worthy of this trust. I am appointed as their mouth, to deliver their minds unto 
you by reading an act agreed upon by the presbytery.'' 

At this point the moderator of the Assembly immediateh' 
stopped him and called for the reading of the libel which the 
Commission of the Assembly had prepared. So soon as the 
reading of the libel was finished, Mr. Mair read the declina- 
ture of the Associate Presbytery and delivered it to the mod- 
erator of tlie Assembly. The Associate Presbytery then with- 

The Assembly ignored the declinature and appointed a com- 
mittee " to consider the process as it now stands, and to pre- 
pare an overture as to the Assembly's further procedure there- 
in." Th'^ committee prepared a report, but the Assembly de- 
layed final action until the l^th of May, 1740, at which time- 
they were thrust out of the church. 


Some may be ready to conclude that the Assembly showed 
great loDg-suttering towards the Secession Fathers, and that 
they exhibited great stubbornness. 

AVe will not undertake to say that the Secession Fathers 
neither did nor said anything, during this parleying period of 
six years, that was wrong. Xo doubt they did manj^ wrong 
things and gave utterance to man}' unguarded words. The 
majority of the ministers of the Church of Scotland regarded 
them schismatics and stigmatized those who adhered to them as 
stupid people ; but the world is indebted to the Secession Fa- 
thers ibr many things. They had clearer and more accurately- 
defined notions of Presbyterianism than any of their contem- 
poraries. When they seceded they appealed to the " first free, 
faithful and reforming General Assembly of the Church of 
Scotland." By a "free" Assembly, they meant an Assembly 
that was untrammeled by the State — an Assembly untainted 
with Erastianism. By a " faithful " Assembly, they meant an 
Assembly whose members were true to their ordination vows, 
the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Bible ; and hy a 
". reforming " Assembly, they meant an Assembly that prac- 
ticed Protestantism in opposition to Prelacy and Popery. 

Those who have not studied the causes v/hich led to the se- 
cession, and especial]}' those who conclude that the multitude 
are always right and the minority wrong, have jumped to the 
grossly erroneous conclusions that the Seceders adopted a form 
of church government and a system of doctrine at variance with 
the Westminster Confession of Faith. In fact, there are many 
at the present day who regard those denominations which have 
sprung immediately from the Seceders as a kind of mongrel 
Presbyterians, who have framed a confession of faith and form 
of church government different in all its grand features from 
that prepared by the Westminster Assembly and adopted by 
the Church of Scotland. Xothing could l)e further from the 
truth. No conclusion could be more absurd. The AVestmins- 
ter Confession of Faith never had more zealous defenders than 
the first Seceders,. and with the exception of that portion which 
treats of civil magistrates, it is dear to tlie Associate Re- 
formed Presbyterian Synod of the South. 

It may be well to mention, in-'this place, the fact that the 
Secession Fathers very reluctantly left the Established Church 


of Scotland. Had there been manifested any signs of reforma- 
tion on the part of the leaders of the Establishment, they would 
not have gone out of it ; and after they made the secession, 
had the church which tliey loved dearly exhibited any signs 
of true and godly sorrow on account of past ecclesiastical sins, 
they would have gladly returned to the bosom of the church. 

The simple, unvarnished truth is, the Secession Fathers were 
violently thrust out of the church of which they were bright 
examples of learning and piety, for no other reason than be- 
cause they would not consent to follow the multitude to do 
evil. The General Assemblj^ first attempted to awe them into 
an unscriptural submission. This they failed to accomplish. 
The Seceders had prayerfully deliberated before they acted. 
They were convinced that they were acting in conformitj- with 
the Scriptures. Such men cannot be awed into measures, nei- 
ther by threats of viole^nce nor by taunts of ridicule. 

Having failed to frighten them into measures clearly at va- 
riance with both the word of God and the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith, a cunningly-devised plan was arranged to lull 
the Seceders into silent subjection by a system of wheedling 
which would have done credit to a wily politician. This also 
failed. The Secession Fathers were neither cowards nor fools. 
They made an honest eftbrt to know the right, and they had 
the moral courage to attempt to do right in the face of the 
world. Because they would not be awed into submission to 
ecclesiastical tyranny, nor beguiled into silent acquiescence in 
unconstitutional measures, they were angrily thrust out of the 
Churcli. So far as we have been able to discover, no eiFort was 
made by the Secession Fathers to alienate the minds of either 
the people or the ministers of the Church of Scotland. They 
made no attempt to proselyte. They did not persuade the con- 
gregations to which they had been ministering to leave the 
Established Church and join the secession.. They continued to 
]^^>reach the gospel, and without any unscriptural efibrt on their 
part, their hands Avere in due time strengthened. 

In February, 1737, the Rev. Thomas Mair, of Orwell, and 
the Rev. Ralph Erskine, of Dunfermline, joined the Associate 
Presbytery. From the beginning of the controversy which led 
to the secession, both these individuals had been the open and 
avowed friends of the protesters. They were present when the 


Associate Presb3'tery was organized, and often after this met 
with them, consulted with them and iDra3^ed with them. 

In December, 1737, Mr. John Hunter Avas licensed to preach, 
the gospel. This was the first student of theology licensed by 
the Associate Presbj^tery. John Hunter and Andrew Clark- 
son had for some time been engaged in the study of theology 
under the Eev. '^Villiam Wilson ; but because of his Cam- 
eronian views, Andrew Clarkson was not, at this time, licensed. 
He afterwards satisfied the presbytery and was licensed. 

In October, 1737, the Rev. Thomas l>rairn withdrew from 
the Established Church and joined the secession. John Hun- 
ter having received a call from the congregations of Morebattle 
iind Stitchell, to become their pastor, was, on the ]7th of Octo- 
ber, 1739, ordained and set apart to the full work of the min- 
istry. In January, 1740, the wise Disposer of all things called 
•him from time to eternity. 

Some of the members of the Church of Scotland were foolish 
enough to say that the untimely death of their first licentiate 
indicated /that God was frowning upon the Secession cause. 
Drowning men catch at straws. As well might the Jews have 
said that because Stephen was stoned to death, God was frown- 
ing upon the Xew Testament Church. 

In June, 1738, the Rev. James Thomson, who had, for twenty 
years, been minister of the parish of Burntisland, gave in his 
adherence to the Associate Presbytery, and in July, 1739, the 
presbytery was strengthened by the accession of Gavin Beugo 
and James Mair, probationers of the Established Church. 

The ordained ministers in connection with the Associate 
Presbytery, in May, 1740, when the sentence of excommunica- 
tion was passed, were Ebeuezer Erskine, William Wilson 
Alexander Moncrieff, James Fisher, Ralph Erskine, Thomas 
Mair, Thomas I^airn and James Thomson. The probationers 
were Adam Gib, Andrew Clarkson, William Hutton, David 
Smyton, James Mair, Gavin Beugo and William Young. Two 
3'ears afterward, the number of pastoral charges had increased 
to twenty, with a proportional increase in the number of pro- 

The earl}' progress of the Associate Presbyter}' was very re- 
markable, when we take all the circumstances into considera- 
tion. There is no disguising the fact that the secession was, 


130 . HISTORY or THE 

with men of the Avorlcl, exceedingly unpopular. The multi- 
tude, both in church and state, regarded the secession as an act 
just less than treason. Those who adhered to the Associate 
Presbytery had few friends among the great and influential in 
the state, and the dominant part}' in the Established Church 
were their avowed enemies. Xot only this, but the ministers 
of the gospel who cast in their lot with the secession party de- 
prived themselves of all state patronage, and placed themselves 
for a maintenance upon the contributions of a poor and de- 
spised people. 

There are but few men Avho have the moral courage to do 
what the Secession Fathers did. The Established Church of 
Scotland embraced the mass of the Scotch people, and w^as re- 
garded with a degree of veneration which approaches idolatry. 
The fact is, by the Scotch people generally, nobles and peas- 
ants, ministers and laymen, it was thought that the church and 
state were so intimately and so inseparably connected, that he 
who dared to protest against the actions of the General As- 
sembly, committed a treasonable deed against the state. 

It is no doubt proper, in this place, to notice the fact that 
for a period of four years, or from December 6, 1733, to Jan- 
uary 5, 1737, there were no elders in the Associate Presbytery. 
The first lay elders who w^ere enrolled as members of the pres- 
bytery were Thomas AYatson and George Dron. During this 
interval the presbytery had met frequently and transacted some 
very important business. According to the principles of Pres- 
byterianism, a presbytery is composed of all the pastors within 
a specified territory and a lay or ruling elder from each pas- 
toral charge. In order to be a presbyter a preaching elder 
must be a pastor. In order that a lay elder may be entitled to 
act in a presbyterial capacity, he must be chosen for that pur- 
pose by the session of which he is a member. A presbytery 
cannot be lawfully constituted except a majority — more than 
one-half — of the pastors, and a majority of lay representatives 
from the pastoral charges embraced in the presbyterial bounds, 
be present. In the case of the Secession Fathers, the presb}-- 
tery which they organized consisted of only preaching elders, 
for, as we have seen, a period of four years. 

Although such was the case, the acts of the Associate Pres- 
bytery were not invalid ; because, during that period they were 


ill a formative state. Everything must have a beginning. 
There was a time in the historj' of the congregations organized 
by the apostles, when they had no lay or ruling elders. In 
point of time, and in the order of Presbyterianism, the preacher 
or evangelist is first ; then the congregation. The pastor and 
ruling elders are chosen by the people. 

AVe must not omit to record the fact that shortly after its 
organization the Associate Presbytery turned their attention, 
to educating young men for the ministry. They were at first 
unable to equip a theological seminary. This no one would 
have expected. They began their work at the beginning. 
They built upon the foundation laid by no man. In the spring 
of 1737 the presbytery appointed two of their number — Ebene- 
zer Erskine and Alexander Moncrieff — to prepare an overture 
with reference to the very extensive calls made to them for 
supplying destitute portions of the kingdom with the preached 
gospel. After due deliberation, the following conclusion was, 

■■ Therefore, (in view of the great destitution.) the committee are of opinion 
that this presbytery should make some step toward the relief of the Lord's op- 
pressed heritage, especially considering the loud call in Providence thereto, by- 
nominating and appointing one of their number to take the inspection of the 
youth that should offer themselves to be trained up for the holy ministry, and 
also that every one of the brethren should carefully look out for faithful men to 
whom the ministry should be committed." 

The matter was so urgent that the jiresbytery proceeded at 
once to the choice of a theological professor. The Rev. Wil- 
liam Wilson, of Perth, was chosen by the unanimous voice of 
the presb3'^tery. 

For this very responsible position Mr. Wilson was, accord- 
ing to the testimoii}^ of both the friends and enemies of the 
secession, eminently qualified. He was a graduate of the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow; a man of good family; of good natural 
abilities, well developed by a course of intense study, which 
had been kept up since his early boyhood; and besides all this, 
he was a man of exemplaiy piety, loved and respected by all 
who knew him. 



CIATE PRESBYTERY— Associate Synod Organized— Burgess Oath— Con- 
troversy Respecting Nairn Difficulty — Nairn Joins Cameronians — Returns to 
the National Church — Design of the Burgess Oath — American Government — 
Cameronians and Seceders Quarrel — Division in the Associate Synod — Anti- 
Burghers and Burghers — Number of Anti-Bui'ghers — Of Burghers — Reunion 
and Formation of the United Associate Synod — Number of Ministers — Union 
of Secession Synod of Ireland and Synod of Ulster — Union of the United 
Secession and Relief Synod — Formation of the United Presbyterian Church — 
Strength of the United Presbyterian Church — Growth of the Associate 
Church — Its Missionary Character — Call for Laborers f rom_ Ireland — First 
Ministers sent to America — Rev. Gilbert Tennant — Rev. John Moorhead — 
Organization of the Presbyterian Church in Americn — Nativity of its Min- 
isters — Congregational Element — Old Side and New Side — Journal of Whit- 
field; — Belfast Society — First Petition for Preaching in America by Seced- 
ers — Alexander Craighead — Organization of the Synod of Philadelphia — 
Adopting Act — Misunderstanding Concerning. 

With the previous chapter we might conclude the history of 
the Associate Presbytery ; but some of its subsequent acts are 
of too great importance to be passed over in silence, and the}" 
have at least a remote connection with the early history of the 
Associate Reformed Church. 

!No sooner, as we have seen, was the Associate Presbytery 
organized than it began to grow. In fact, notwithstanding it 
met with the determined opposition of the majority of the 
ministers of the Established Church, it flourished beyond the 
most sanguine expectations of its actual members and outside 
friends. In October, 1744, the number of ordained ministers 
having increased to twenty-six, the Associate S3mod was or- 
ganized and three presbyteries were formed, viz : Presbytery 
of Dunfermline, Presbytery of Glasgow and Presbytery of Ed- 
inburgh. The membership increased much more rapidl}^ than 
the number of ihe ministers. 

The first Tuesday of March, 1745, was named as the da.y for 
the firtot meeting of the Associate Synod, and Stirling as the 
place at which it should convene. In the " New Church " — 
the church built for the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine — at the time 


and place appointed, the Synod met, and aftpr being consti- 
tuted Avith prayer by the Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, the Rev. 
Ralph Erskine was chosen moderator, and John Reid was ap- 
pointed clerk. Several important matters came up for con- 
sideration by the Synod, but the most important was an over- 
ture sent up by the presb3'tery of Dunfermline. The impor- 
tance of this overture consisted not in its intrinsic merit — 
although this was not small — but to the grave results to which 
it, in a very short period, led. The following is the overture : 

" That the Synod take under their consideration whether or not the Burgess 
oatla be agreeable to the word of God and to the received principles of this 
church founded thereupon, and particularly to those in the Judicial Act and 
Testinaony emitted by the Associate Presbytery in the Act relating to Mr. Nairn's 
affair, and in the Act concerning the renovation of our covenants." 

The Rev. Thomas Nairn, whose name appears in the above- 
rj^uoted overture, was, at the time of the secession, pastor of 
Abbottshall. In the latter part of 1737, he joined the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery and appeared to be in full sympathy with 
it. At the meeting of the presbytery, in October, 1742, it was 
agreed to make preparation for renewing the covenants. At 
the same time that the covenants were renewed, it was cus- 
tomary with the Church of Scotland, and all others following 
her example, to make an acknowledgment of sins. Mr. Xairn 
dissented from the paragraph in the acknowledgment of sin 
which specified the resisting civil officers and propagating the 
gospel by offensive arms, as one of the sins advocated and 
practiced by some persons. It is probable that in this para- 
graph reference was made to the Cameronians. Mr. Xairn 
either had adopted the sentiments of these good people — but 
perhaps extremists in their notions of civil government — or at 
least he pretended to have adopted their sentiments. The lat- 
ter appears more probable ; for having renounced his connection 
with the Associate Presbytery, he joined the Cameronians, but 
soon left them and sought shelter in the National Church. 
After making a humiliating confession of his sin and folly in 
seceding from the National Church, he was again taken into 
its bosom. 

The objectionable feature in the proposed acknowle-^gment 
of sins was expunged, but Mr. Nairn had said some things 
during the debate which it occasioned, that the presbytery re- 


garded as subversive of all civil government. These declara- 
tions he was required by the presbyter}' to retract, or process 
would be entered against him. His conscience, he intimated, 
would not allow him to do this. Such being the case, and the 
presbytery being determined in its course, Mr. Xairn renounced 
the authority of the presbytery, and as the first seceders had 
done before him, appealed to the first faithful reforming eccle- 
siastical court. 

The unfortunate afi:air Avhich we are about to- mention had 
its origin in a condition of things that never had an existence 
in America, and, consequently, cannot be well appreciated by 
Americans. It paved the way for two results much to be re- 
gretted. One of these results was the arraying of the Seceders 
and Cameronians against each other in bitter, and, we ma}' 
add, avowed hostility. The other was a rent in the secession. 

Mr. Andrew Clarkson, who had been in connection with the 
Cameronians, joined the Associate Presbyter}' in 1787. He 
had finished his theological course of studies several years be- 
fore this period, but because these people had no ecclesiastical 
organization, had not been licensed to preach. He was, after 
due deliberation and much caution, licensed by the Associate 
Presbyter}' to make trial of his gifts as a minister of the 

The Cameronians, or " Hill folk," denounced Mr. Clarkson 
after this as a vile backslider, and the Seceders applied the 
same opprobrious epithet to Mr. l^airn. The breach between 
the Associates and Cameronians was thus widened and deei> 
ened, and remains in part unto tins day. This was greatly to 
be deplored, but the division which took place in the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery was to be more regretted. 

That an American may understand the cause of this division, 
he must acquaint himself with a state of things which, in the 
good providence of God, he has never been called to experience. 
Americans enjoy a degree of religious freedom which no nation 
except God's ancient people, the Jews, ever enjoyed. In our 
favored land every man is guaranteed the privilege of worship- 
ping God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and 
no one dare molest him in the enjoyment of this right. All 
the restraint that is put upon him is that he must not infringe 
upon the rights of others. 


In Scotland, at the time of the secession, the sovereign of 
England was, in a limited but practical sense; the head of the 
•Church of Scotland. Without the presence of the King's com- 
missioner the General Assembly could not be lawfully con- 
vened, and the withdrawal of this roj'al commissioner was 
sufficient cause for its being dissolved. In the Church of Scot- 
land, Jesus Christ was theoretically the king and head of the 
church ; in its government, however, the headship of the church 
was practically divided between Jesus and the Sovereign of 
Great Britain. 

From this unscriptural practice, both the Cameronians and 
the Seceders dissented. In part, at least, it constrained the 
Cameronians to stand aloof from the Established Church, when, 
in 1688, it was reorganized ; and on account of it, in part, the 
Seceders severed their connection with the same church. Both 
were jealous of what they conceived to be the crown rights of 
Jesus Christ. As was natural, they sometimes did not agree 
among themselves. The Seceders regarded the Cameronians 
as ultra in their notions in respect to civil government ; and 
on the contrar}', the Cameronians regarded the Seceders as 
latitudinarian in their notions concerning the rights and pre- 
rogatives of civil magistrates. 

The consequences of this diversity of opinion between the 
Seceders and Cameronians respecting the extent of the powers 
of civil magistrates, was surely bad enough ; but it was much 
worse when diversity of opinion on this same subject sprung 
up among the Seceders themselves. A war between strangers 
is a great calamity, and earnestly to be deprecated b}' every 
right-minded man ; but what language is sufficient even faintly 
to depict the field made crimson by a brother's blood shed bj' 
a brother's hand ? All quarrels are morally ugly things ; but 
nothing can be more revolting, or more to be deplored, than a 
family broil. 

Such a broil was begun b}' the members of the Secession 
Synod, in March, 1745, at Stirling— its first meeting — and con- 
tinued with much warmth for a period of two years, and 
finally resulted in the division »>f the Synod into Burghers and 

The dispute was about the consistency of the members of the 
Secession Church takins- a clause in a certain oath. 


The object lor which this oath seems to have been framed^ 
when viewed witli an unprejudiced eye, was to prevent Eoman 
Catholics from becoming citizens of Edinburgh, Glasgow and 
Perth, and other royal towns. 

Since these places were burghs or boroughs, the citizens were 
called burghers or burgesses, and the oath which caused so 
much disturbance in the Secession Church was called the 
Burgher oath. The following is the clause about which the 
controversy arose : " Here I protest before God and your lord- 
ship that I profess and allow with my heart, the true religion 
presently professed within this realm, and authorized by the 
laws thereof; I shall abide thereat and defend the same unto 
my life's end ; renouncing the Roman religion called Papistry." 

The parties disagreed respecting the meaning of the words, 
" the true religion presently professed within this realm and 
authorized b}' the laws thereof." One part claimed that these 
words meant the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, from which 
they had lately withdrawn, and to swear the King's oath was 
to stultifj^ themselves and abandon their testimony. The other 
party claimed that b}' " the true religion presently professed 
within this realm " was meant the Presbyterian Church with- 
out its corruptions, and as opposed to Papistry. This party 
was opposed to the Synod's saying, by a judicial act, that the 
taking of this oath was a transgression of law and order worthy 
of excommunication. Tlie other party pleaded that there should 
be neither ministerial nor Christian communion with those 
wdio should take it. 

The difference, at first small, grew rapidly, and in the short 
space of two j^ears assumed huge proportions. 

The debates were many and fierce, and those who had but a 
short time ago stood side by side in opposing the corruptions 
of the Established Church, now became as warmly opposed to 
each other. 

On the 9th of April the Synod was rent in twain. That part 
which was opposed to taking the Burgher oath organized them- 
selves on the following day into a Synod which they called the 
General Associate Synod, generally known as Anti-Burghers. 

The other part retained the original name. Associate Synod,. 
but in ecclesiastical history tliey are generally called Burghers. 

At the time this rupture took place the Secession Church 


numbered thirty-three ministers, nineteen of whom espoused 
the Anti-Burgher side oi the question, and fourteen the Burgh- 
er side. 

Xo doubt the enemies of the secession — and they were not 
few — now conchided that it would not be long before the Se- 
eeders would return to the jS^ational Church, confess their sins, 
be rebuked, and received back as prodigal sons into the bosom 
of the church. Such, however, was not the case. For a pe- 
riod of seventy -three years they remained separate organiza- 
tions. At half past twelve o'clock, on Friday, the 8th of Sep- 
tember, 1820, the two Synods met in Bristo-street Church and 
united into one body, which they appropriately named The 
UxiTED Associate Syxod of the Secession Ciiukcii. 

At this time there were in connection with the Burgher 
Synod one hundred and thirty-nine ministers, and in connec- 
tion with the Anti-Burgher Synod one hundred and twenty- 
three. On the 8th of April, 1840, the Secession Synod of Ire- 
land and the Synod of Ulster united and formed The Presbyte- 
rian Church in Ireland., and on the loth of May, 1847, a union 
Avas consummated in Edinburgh between the United Secession 
Synod and the Relief S3-nod, forming what is known as The 
United Presbyterian Church. 

In less than one hundred years the Associate Presbytery 
grew from one small Presbj^ter}^ of four members to twenty- 
two Presb3'teries, having under their care three hundred and 
sixty-one congregations, one hundred and twenty-six thousand 
communicants, and a population of nearly three hundred thou- 
sand. This does not include those in America, who adhered to 
the principles and practices of the Secession Fathers. When 
the union which formed the United Presbyterian Church was 
consummated, the united body had the oversio;ht of five hun- 
dred and four congregations, which were divided into twenty- 
eight presbyteries. Sixty of these congregations w^ere in Eng- 
land, and four hundred and forty-four in Scotland. This 
growth, although not so rapid as has been experienced by some 
other denominations of Christians, still, when everything is 
considered, it is a most marvelous increase. 

It is a fact universally admitted that Seceders have ever been 
regarded as austere in their manners, and rigidl}^ strict in their 
discipline. However much time and circumstances have ef- 


fected in removing their austerity of manners and lowering 
their standard of discipline, it is a fact well attested that there 
was a time in the past histor}^ of Secederism when it was no 
■easy matter to be admitted into full membership in the Se- 
ceder Church ; and it was by no means difficult to lose it when 
once obtained. Kot only so, but the doctrines taught and in- 
sisted upon by the Associate I'resbyter}- were at that time un- 
popular and ever will be unpopular with the mass of mankind. 
In no Ijranch of the church, which, directly or indirectly, in 
part or in whole, is descended from the Associate Presbyter}', 
is there anything that is calculated to captivate hy its glare 
the multitude. The character of tlie pulpit exercises, and all 
the forms of- private and public worship are at the farthest re- 
move from everything that savors of form. 

We are not, however, to conclude that the Associate Church 
grew as by miracle, without any effort on the part of those 
who adopted its principles and practices. ]S"o denomination of 
of Ch ristians did more missionary work. No ministers of the gos- 
pel since the days of Paul, could, with more propriety, adopt his 
language and say they had '• striven in all things to commend 
themselves as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, 
in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tu- 
mults, in labors, in watchings and in fastings," than the minis- 
ters of the Secession Church. 

The first sound that greeted their ears after their organiza- 
tion into a presbytery, was the Macedonian entreaty, " Come 
over and help us !" From its very beginning, the Associate 
Presbytery engaged in stupendous missionary labors. In the 
providence of God the}- were forced to engage in missionary, 
labors to an extent without a parallel in the history of Pres- 
byterianism before or since. In the year 1737, application was 
made to the presbyter}' by twenty-three societies to be taken 
under their care and supplied with the public means of grace. 
During the next year, by forty-eight societies. As early as 
1736, a number of families in Lisburn, Ireland, recpiested that 
some one would be sent by the Presbytery to labor among 

It- is, however, with the mission labors of the Associate 
Presbytery in America that we are more interested. AVith 
eminent propriety and exact truthfulness, it may be said that 


the Associate Reformed Church is the result of missionarj^ 
labors begun and carried on by the Associate and Reformed 
Presbyteries of Scotland and Ireland. 

The first ministers sent to America by the Secession Church 
was in 1753. This was after the division into Burghers and 
Anti-Burghers. Long before this, however, petitions had been 
addressed to the presbytery by persons residing in Pennsyl- 
vania. The first formal correspondence, so far as we have been 
able to discover, between persons in America and the Associate 
Presbytery, w^as in 1738. On the 20th of June of that year, 
the Rev. Gilbert Tennant, by the direction of the members of 
the Presbytery of Xew Brunswick, wrote a letter to the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery, in which the 'New Brunswick Presbytery 
" signified its hearty approbations of the seceding ministers." 
This letter was laid before the Associate Presbytery in August 
of the same year. About the same time, the Rev. Ralph Ers- 
kine received a letter from the Rev. Muirhead (or Moorhead) 
pastor of the " Church of Presbyterian Strangers," in Boston. 
The following very remarkable sentences occur in Mr. Moore- 
head's letter : 

" Go on, blessed champions, in the cause of God. Your trials are not greater 
than those of Zinzendorf, Whitfield, Tennant, and the poor, unworthy instru- 
ment that is now writing to you. W^e must have thorns lest we be exalted above 
measure. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution. The 
more of this if submitted to with gospel meekness, our crown, though sullied 
here by rebels to God and their own good, will shine the brighter through eter- 

It may appear strange that Gilbert Tennant and John Moor- 
head should, at so early a period, open a correspondence with 
the Associate Presbytery. When the facts are all known, this 
strangeness vanishes away. 

The Presbyterian Church was organized in America perhaps 
in the latter part of 1705 or early part of 1706. The, organiza- 
tion was given the name of " Presbytery of Philadelphia." 
Four of its seven members were from Ireland, two from Scot- 
land, and one a native of Kew England. In 1716 the denomi- 
nation had so increased that it was deemed advisable toorgan- 
c^iie four other Presbyteries, viz : The Presbyteiy of Philadel- 
phia, the Presbytery of New Castle, the Presbytery of Snow 
Hill, and the Presbytery of Long Island. At the same time 
these four Presbyteries were constituted into a Synod, called 


the S^-nocl of Philadelphia, i^ot long before this time a num- 
ber of congregations, with their pastors, in the Jerse\'s and 
Long Island, had connected themselves with the Presbj-tcrian 
Church. These congregations were originally Cougregation- 
alists, and although they formally connected themselves with 
the Presbyterian Church, they, at least in part, retained their 
congregational notions on some important points. By them 
the numerical strength of the Presbyterian denomination in 
America was increased, but its harmony and peace were greatly 
disturbed. It was not long until there were two conflicting- 
parties in the church. One was called the " Old Side," and the 
other the " Xew Side."' It is true that the Congregational 
element had little to do with the controversies engaged in be- 
tween the " Old Side '' and the " ]S'ew Side " parties. It was,, 
however, the little leaven wdnch,inl837,had permeated nearly 
one-half of the whole denomination. 

The " Old Side " and the " iSTew Side" controversy was mainly 
about " subscribing," as it was called, the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith ; not as a whole, but particularly with refer- 
ence to the ordination of ministers. It is possible, nay it is- 
highly probable, that the parties did not clearly understand 
each other. The " Xew Side"" party charged the "Old Side" 
with rigidly rerpiiring a candidate for ordination to subscribe 
the whole of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the chapters- 
on civil government included. The " Old Side "' party was also 
charged with requiring the candidate for ordination to be 
thoroughly educated, but at the same time they manifested a 
culpable indifference with regard to his piety. The " Old Side " 
party charged the "ISTew Side'/' with having little respect to 
the candidate's intellectual and educational qualifications, pro- 
vided he was pious. 

This was the beginning of the controversy ; but soon other 
things were dragged into it, and that which at first was a mere 
speck in the horizon, became a black and angry cloud, wliich^ 
in the language of the Rev. Robert Cross, " endangered the- 
very existence of the infant church." 

Previous to the year 1700 there were, in all the territory 
now embraced in the United States, not more than twenty 
Presbyterian ministers, and all of these, except six, were in the 
Xew England States. In Xew England Congregationalism 


then as now prevailed, and gave shape and coloring to every- 
thing. Several of the Presbj-terian preachers seem to have 
had no immediate connection with an}' presbytery. This was 
the case in Charleston, South Carolina. In the " White Meet- 
ing House," Presbyterians of English, Irish and Scotch descent, 
and Xew England and Old England Congregationalists, wor- 
shipped together in harmony and peace, having for twentv 
years a minister of the Church of Scotland. 

Facts warrant the conclusion that the Presbyterian Church 
in the United States had its origin in a blending of Irish Pres- 
byterianism and English Congregationalists, together with a 
slight mixture of Scotch Presbyterians. In, perhaps, all the 
American colonies there were, at this time, a very considerable 
number of the population who adhered to the more rigid fea- 
tures of the Church of Scotland, and in several of the colonies 
there were a few who embraced, with all their hearts, the po- 
litical and religious notions held b}' Cameron, Cargill and Ren- 
wick. To both of these classes the manner in which the Pres- 
byterian Church was organized in America was not agreeable, 
xmd very soon afterward they began to look with anxious hopes 
for relief by means of the party in the Church of Scotland, 
which was protesting against the patronage system. In fact, 
a very respectable number of persons, in full sympathy with 
the secession doctrine, had come to America several years be- 
fore the secession actually took place. Soon after the secession 
was accomplished, a number of families in connection with the 
Associate Presbytery, both in Scotland and Ireland, came to 
America. Some of these families settled in South Carolina, 
some in J^orth Carolina, some in Virginia, some in several of 
the ISTew England States ; but, perhaps, the greater part of them 
fixed their abode in Pennsylvania. Between these families and 
their friends in Ireland and Scotland, a correspondence was 
kept up, so that in this private way those in America were in- 
formed of what was transpiring, both in Church and State, in 
the mother country, and those in Ireland and Scotland gained 
similar information respecting afiairs in America. 

In 1739, the celebrated preacher, George AVhitfield, made 
the following entry in his journal respecting the elder William 
Tennant : 


" He keeps an academy about twenty miles from Philadelphia and has been 
blessed with four gracious sons, three of which have been, and still continue to 
be, eminently useful in the Church of Christ. * * * He is a great friend of 
Mr. Erskine, of Scotland, and as far as I can learn, both he and his sons are se- 
cretly despised by the generality of the synod (Philadelphia) as Mr. Erskine 
and his friends are hated by the judicatories of Edinburgh." 

It is a well-attested fact that Arianism, about the time that 
the Associate Presbj^tery was organized, began to crop out in 
the Synod of Ulster, Ireland. In 1705, the Belfast Society 
was organized. Its acknowledged leaders were the Eevs. John 
Abernethy and James Kirkpatrick, both of whom had been 
fellow students with the Rev. John Simson, professor of divini- 
ty in the University of Glasgow. John Abernethy was a man 
of fine attainments, of unbounded ambition, and every way 
qualified to be the leader of a [larty setting forth strange and 
anti-Presbytcrian doctrines and practices. This Arian party 
continued to exercise very considerable influence in the Church 
of Ireland for a period of more than one hundred years. Tho 
final contest was made in 1829, in which struggle Dr. Cook 
was the leader of the orthodox part}', and the Rev. Henry 
]\Iontgomery of the Arians. The Church of God was dis- 
turbed b}' these errorists in England, Ireland, Scotland and 
America, and by them good men, such as John Wesley, Ebe- 
nezer Erskine, the Tennants — father and sons — John Moorhead 
and Alexander Craighead, " were secretly hated." There is 
little doubt but Arianism and anti-Presbyterian notions had 
much to do in originating and keeping up the correspondence 
between the Associate Presb3'tery and AVilliam Tennant and 
John Moorhead. 

In nearly every one of the thirteen American colonies there 
were a few persons who were ready to afliliate with the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery so soon as it was organized. The first formal 
request that the Associate Presbytery received from persons in 
America for the preaching of the gospel, was in 1742. The 
probability is that this petition was presented in the early part 
of the year, and that it had been prepared in 1741. It came 
from persons in Chester county, Pennsjdvania. As an evidence 
of their earnestness, they " request the Presbytery to send 
them either an ordained minister or a probationer." They 
also. promise "to defray all the necessary charges of the mis- 
sion." This was only about seven years after the organization 


of the Associate Presbyteiy, and only two years after the se- 
cession ministers were thrust out of the Church of Scotland. 
The demands made upon the Presbytery from various portions 
of Ireland and Scotland Avere many, and so pressing that the 
petition from America could not be o;ranted. All that the 
Presbytery could at this time do was " to write a friendly let- 
ter to their friends beyond the Atlantic." 

It is probable that a correspondence was kept up regularly 
with the people of Londonderry, Chester county, Pa., but the 
next application " for sermon '' was in 1751. 

It is rather remarkable tliat this application should be made- 
b}' the Rev. Alexander Craighead, a member of the Synod of 
Philadelphia, and afterwards pastor of Sugar Creek congrega- 
tion, in Mecklenburg county, IST. C. The explanation is the 
fact that Mr. Craighead and a number of other ministers in 
the Presbyterian Church in America were dissatisfied with 
man}' things connected with the Presbyterian Church of 
America. "Whether this dissatisfaction was well founded or 
no*:, is a matter with which we are not at present further con- 
cerned than to account for the correspondence, which sprung 
up between the Associate Presbytery of Scotland and several 
individuals in connection w^itli the Presbyterian Church in 

The early history of what is now known as the Presbyterian 
Church in America is involved in ver}^ great obscurity. The 
exact date of the arrival of the first Presbyterian minister is 
not certainly known. Previous to 1700 there were but few 
organized congregations, and only a few ministers. These 
were scattered over an immense tract of country from Charles- 
ton, S. C, to Boston, Mass. The Presbytery of Philadelphia 
was, as has been elsewhere stated, organized either in tl^e early 
part of the year 1706, or in the latter part of 1705. In 1716 
the Presbyter^" of Philadelphia having increased greatly in 
numbers, it was determined to divide it into four })resbyteries, 
and these to form the Synod of Philadelphia. 

At the meeting of the Synod of Philadelphia, in 1729, what 
(Was called the "Adopting Act" was passed. This act, or parts 
of it, gave great oftense to some persons. One party in the 
church regarded it, or at least one clause or expression in it, as 
too loose, and another party looked upon the general tenor of 
the act as demandino- too much. 


It is most evident that at that period, and for several years 
previons, there was much diversity of opinion among the Pres- 
byterians respecting the Westminster Confession of Faith. 
This was natural, and to be expected, from the character and 
■circumstances of. the persons forming the organization. Some 
were Scotch, some Irish, some Welsh, some English, and some 
were from the continent of Europe. There was a very great 
similarity in their modes of worship and formulas of doctrine. 
Still they were in many things very dissimilar. They were 
generally Calvinists and nearly all Presbyterians. Still Eng- 
lish Presbyterianism dift'ered as much from Scotch Presb}-- 
terianism as either did from Episcopacy. The larger number - 
of Puritans who settled Kew England were English Presby- 
terians, yet so much did they differ from Scotch Presbyterians, 
■that the Puritans have all been regarded as Congregationalists. 

In an organization composed of materials so much alike, 
and yet so unlike, perfect harmony could not at first be ex- 

At the meeting of the Synod, in 1728, an overture was pre- 
sented in writing having reference to the subscribing of the 
Confession of Faith. On the second day of tlie meeting of the 
Synod, in 1729, a committee was appointed "to draw up an 
overture upon" this overture. This committee reported on the 
next da3^ " After long debating" this " overture of the com- 
mittee was adopted." There is no denying the fact that the 
adoption of this overture was offensive to many in the denom- 
ination. The following is the overture: 

'•Although the Synod do. not claim or pretend to any authority of imposing 
our faith upon other men's consciences, but do profess our just dissatisfaction 
with, and abhorence of such impositions, and do utterly disclaim all legislative 
power, and authority in the church, being willing to receive one another as 
Christ has received us, to the glory of God, and admit to fellowship, in sacred 
ordinances, all such as we have grounds to believe Christ will at last admit to 
the Kingdom of Heaven, yet we are undoubtedly obliged to take care that the 
faith once delivered to the saints be kept pure and uncorrupt among us. and so 
handed down to our posterity ; and do therefore agree that all the ministers of 
this Synod, or that shall hereafter be admitted into this Synod, shall declare 
their agreement in, and approbation of, the Confession of Faith, with the Larger 
and Shorter Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, as being in 
all the essential and necessary articles, good forms of sound words and systems 
of Christian doctrines, and do also adopt the said Confession and Catechisms 
as the confession of oiir faith. And we do also agree that all the presbyteries 


"Within our bounds shall always take care not to admit any candidate of the min- 
istry into the exercise of the sacred function but what declares his agreement in 
opinion with all the essential and necessary articles of said Confession, either by 
subscribing the said Confession of Faith and Catechisms, or by verbal declara- 
tion of their assent thereto as such minister or candidate shall think best. And 
in case any minister of this Synod, or any candidate for the ministry, shall hare 
any scruples with respect to any article or articles of said Confession or Cate- 
chisms, he shall, at the time of his making said declarations, declare his senti- 
ments to the presbytery or synod, who shall, notwithstanding, admit him to the 
exercise of the ministry within our bounds, and to ministerial communion, if 
the synod or presbytery shall judge his scruples or mistake to be only about 
articles not essential and necessary in doctrine, worship or government. But if 
the synod or presbytery shall judge such ministers or candidates erroneous in 
essential and necessary articles of faith, the synod or presbytery shall declare 
them incapable of communion with them. And the Synod do solemnly agree 
that none of us will traduce or use any opprobrious terms of those that differ 
from us in these extra-essential and not necessary points of doctrine, but treat 
them with the same friendship, kindness and brotherly love as if they had not 
differed from us in such sentiments."' 

It is most manifest that this overture, which was agreed upon 
by the Synod of Philadelphia in the very words above cited, and 
is usually called " The Adopting Act," was an attempt at a com- 
promise between parties entertaining conflicting opinions with 
respect to the doctrines and form of church government con- 
tained in the Westminster Confession of Faith. 

33y the passage of this overture, the strict Presbyterian party 
claimed a victory ; but really it is difficult to see in vrhat this 
victory consisted. It, together with other enactments, led to a 
rupture, in 1741 ; and the division of the Presbyterian Church 
into Old School and ]^ew School, in 1837, may be traced back 
to this Adopting Act of 1729. 

These unfortunate misunderstandings among the members of 
the Presbyterian Church in America led directl}^ to a corres- 
pondence between some of the dissatisfied parties and the 
Associate Presbytery of Scotland. Notwithstanding all this, 
when the Associate Presbytery sent missionaries to America, 
they, as we shall see, were not received by either party with 
even the social courtesies which are shown by one gentleman 
to another. 




GELLATLY AND ARNOT COME TO AMERICA— Their Instructions— Seceder- 
Societies — Hume and Jainieson Appointed to go to America — Andrew Bun- • 
yan deprived of his License — Good Effect — Condition of America in 1751 — 
Bunyan Restored — Apostolic plan, ''by two and two" — Gellatly and Arnot 
Solicited to join the Presbyterian Church — Stigmatized as Schismatics— 
AVarning Published — Delop's Pamphlet — Controversy about the Nature of 
Faith and the Gospel OffeiJ — Ralph Erskine's View — Finley and Smith and 
Gellatly and Arnot Controversy — Mr. Gellatly Settles as Pastor — Arnot Re- 
turns to Scotland — James Proudfoot Arrives in America — Settles at Pequa — 
Removes to Salem — Mission Station of Associate Synod — Matthew Hender- 
son Comes to America — Settles at Oxford — John Mason. Robert Annan and 
John Smart Come to America — Mason Settles in New York ; Annan at Marsh 
Creek — Smart Returns to Scotland — AVilliam Marshall Comes to America — 
Receives Three Calls — Occasions a Ditficulty in the Presbytery — Mr. Hen- 
derson Dissents — Mr. Marshall Settles at Deep Run. 

The first Associate ministers who came to America were the 
Revs. Alexander Gellatly and Andrew Arnot, both in connec- 
tion with the Anti-Bnrgher Synod of Scotland. They set sail 
for America in the beginnins^ of the summer of 1753, and ar- 
rived in Pennsylvania sometime before the close of the same 
year. According to the instrnc^^^ion given them by the judica- 
tory to which they belonged, they immediately on arriving in 
the ]^ew World, proceeded to organize themselves into a pres- 
bytery. The tenor of these instructions was that they, to- 
gether wHth two ruling elders, sliould constitute themselves 
into a presbj'tery under the title of the Associate Presbytery of 
Pennsjdvania, and that as soon as practicable, they should or- 
o:anize two cono-reo-ations, each haviuij; its own bench of ruling 
elders. They were further instructed not to admit any to the 
office of ruling elder who had not examined and approved the 
standards of the Secession Church, and who did not possess the 
scriptural qualifications for that sacred office. 

Although, so far as is known, there is no record to show that 
previous to the arrival of Messrs. Gr-ellatly and Arnot, there 
w^ere in America any ruling elders in connection with the Se- 
cession Church of Scotland, it is very probable there were sev- 


eral. The Seceders, like the Covenanters, formed themselves 
into societies so soon as they came to America. These socie- 
ties general!}', if not always, were under the supervision of a 
ruling elder. Xot only so, but these societies were, like the 
Scotch congregations, divided into " quarters," or, more cor- 
rectly, into sections, and a quarter or section assigned to each 
ruling elder. Over his quarter a ruling elder exercised a gen- 
eral supervision, and performed much that is now denominated 
pastoral duty. He visited the sick, catechised and instructed 
the children, comforted the afflicted, rebuked transgressors, 
and usually directed the public religious exercises of his quar- 
ter on the Sabbath. The persons who, in 1742, sent up the 
first formal petition to the Secession Church for preaching, 
seem to have been organized into a society, and were in gootl 
working condition. In other words, they seem to have had 
an enero-etic leader, in whom all had confidence. This is the 
more probable, since they, in their petition, declare their readi- 
ness to defray the expenses of the mission. 

Previous to the appointment of Messrs. Gellatly and Arnot 
as missionaries to America, the Secession Church had made 
several unsuccessful efforts to meet the urgent demands made 
upon it by the societies in the new world. 

At the meeting of the Anti-Burgher Synod, in August, 1751, 
the Secession Presbj'tery of Ireland was directed to ordain Mr. 
James Hume, with a view to his being sent to America as a 
missionary. At the same time, the Presbytery of Perth and 
Dunfermline Wcis instructed to license Mr. John Jamieson, that 
he might be ready, at the next meeting of Synod, to be sent 
to the same field, if the way should then be open. Mr. Hume,, 
who was obstinately opposed to undertaking the work assigned 
hjL|n b}^ the Synod, was dealt with in a very positive manner. 
Some time after his appointment as missionary to America, he 
received a call from the congregation of Moyrah and Lisburn, 
Ireland ; but the Synod refused to sustain the call, and ordered 
him to proceed to fulfill his appointment in America. ISTot- 
withstanding this, he still persisted, and the Synod finally con- 
cluded to grant his presbytery permission to settle him. This 
was done, but not until he had made satisfactory acknowledg- 
ment for his previous obstinacy. Mr. Jamieson received a call 
from Duke Street congregation, in the city of Glasgow, and 


was, by the permission of Synod, settled over them as their 
pastor. Mr. Jamieson, also, was unwilling to undertake the 
American mission ; but his unwillingness did not, as in the 
case of Mr, Hume, amount to obstinacy. Hence, he seems to 
have been dealt with more leniently. 

The conduct of Messrs. Hume and Jamieson caused a feeling 
of intense disappointment in the minds of the members of the 
Anti-Burgher Synod, and as they were men who could not bear 
to be trifled with, they, at their meeting in August, 1752, in- 
structed the presbyteries not to license any one to preach, until 
he had expressed his willingness to accept any missionary ap- 
pointment that the Synod might assio-n him, and that all theo- 
logical students who would not give an expression of their will- 
ingness to submit to the Synod in its missionary appointments, 
were to be no longer regarded as theological students. Almost 
immediatelj' after the .passage of this act, the application for 
ministerial aid was renewed by the friends of the Secession in 
Pennsylvania. The Synod ordered Messrs. Alexander Gellatly 
and Andrew Bunyan to be " licensed without delay," that they 
might be sent to minister to these people. 

The order was obeyed ; but. after having been licensedj Mr. 
Bunj'an began to hesitate in his mind, and caused another de- 
lay. He stated to the Presbytery the difficulties in the way of 
his undertaking the mission, and the presbytery referred them 
to the Synod. After having heard and considered the difficul- 
ties of Mr. Bunyan, the Synod declared that they were not 
pertinent, and ordered him to proceed with his trials for ordi- 
nation. Still, Mr. Bunyan declared that his " want of clear- 
ness " continued. The Synod determined not to swerve from 
its previous decision, and after several ineffectual efforts on the 
part of the Synod to remove the difficulties of Mr. Bunyan, his 
license was declared null and void. 

iSTo doubt there are some who will be ready to regard this as 
a hio-h-handed act of ecclesiastical tyranny. AH the facts in 
the case are not known, and the circumstances attending it are 
not, and cannot now, be well understood ; but from anything 
that appears to the contrary, this act of the Anti-Burgher 
Synod is defensible. The preacher of the gospel is the prop- 
erty of the church. The King and Head of the church com- 
mands him to go wherever the indications of Providence and 


the voice of the church (the people of God in tliis case), call 
him. His work is to preach the gospel. His individual pref- 
erences are ever to be regarded as matters of secondary consid- 
eration when compared with the voice of the church. It is 
not claimed that church courts are infallible. They often make 
mistakes ; but in the Presbyterian form of church government 
provision is made for correcting these mistakes. In the case 
of Mr. Bun3'an, it is, however, not claimed that the Anti- 
Burgher Synod did wrong in appointing him to go to Penn- 
sylvania. No doubt, as wise and prudent men, the}^ regarded 
him and Mr. Gellatly as the most tit persons who were at that 
time available for the transatlantic mission. The subsequent 
labors of Mr. Gellatly show that at least in his case, the judg- 
ment of the Synod was correct. 

At the time that the Anti-Burgher Synod ordered Messrs. 
Gellatly and Bunyan to Pennsylvania to preach the gospel, 
America was a wild waste, full of wild beasts and venomous 
serpents, and destitute of nearly all the comforts of civiliza- 
tion. To a mind anxious to secure a position of luxurj' and 
ease, there was nothing fascinating in the forests of Pennsyl- 
vania. On the contrary, there was, in the very name America 
everything to make such a mind shudder and shrink back 
from a voyage thither. Safely, it may be said, that tlie first 
ministers who came from Europe to preach tlie gospel to the 
inhabitants of America, were richlj^ endowed with a mission- 
ary spirit, and the ecclesiastical courts by which the first mis- 
sionaries were sent across the Atlantic, were richly endowed 
with a spirit of heavenly wisdom, the precious fruits of which 
th&nAmerican people are to-day enjoying. In depriving Mr. 
Bmlj'an of his license to preach because he refused to obey a 
lawful command, the Anti-Burgher Synod acted on the safe 
principle that law, to be respected, must be faithfully executed. 
The punishment was a wholesome warning to others, and it was 
profitable to Mr. Bunyan himself. Having had time for sober 
reflection, he presented himself before the Sj'nod and confessed 
that he had given just ground of offense, and declared his will- 
ingness to go as a missionary either to Pennsylvania, or to an}^ 
other field to which the Synod might see fit to send him. This 
being satisfactory to the Synod, his license was restored ; but 
he was not again appointed to preach the gospel in America. 


It would seem that in sendino; tbeir iirst missionaries to 
Pennsylvania, the Anti-Burgher Synod was governed by the 
example of our Lord. He sent out his discij^les " by two and 
two," and in conformity to his example did the Sj^nod send 
Alexander Gellatly and Andrew Arnot to Pennsylvania. Mr. 
Bunyan had occasioned a delay of nearl}' a year. Xo objection 
being made by Mr. Gellatly, he was, as soon as convenient, 
licensed and ordained by his presbytery, with a view to enter- 
ing upon the work to which he had Ijeeii appointed b}' tlie 

Mr. Arnot, the pastor of the congregation of Midholm, in 
the south of Scotland, volunteered to accompau}- Mr. Gellatl}- 
to l*cnnsylvania and remain for two j-ears, provided the Synod 
w^ould make provision for his congregation during his absence. 
The conditions upon which ]Mr. Arnot accompanied Mv. trel- 
latly seems to have been that he would remain two years in 
Pennsylvania, in the event no other missionary could be se- 
cured previous to that time ; and if he should see fit to remain 
in Pennsylvania, the Synod would give their assent. Mr. 
Arnot was every way acceptable to the Sjmod, and their con- 
sent was cordially given to the conditions upon whicli he pro- 
posed to undertake the mission to thp Xew World. 

Very soon after the arrival of Messrs, Gellatly and Arnot 
the Presbytery of New Castle, subordinate to the Synod of ISTew 
York and Pennsylvania, moved by a spirit which savors but 
little of the gospel of peace and love, ]iublished a " AVarning 
against the Seceders." In this "Warning," Messrs. Gellatly 
and* Arnot were stigmatized as '• schismatics and errorists." 
That they might show their spleen und give vent to their 
hatred for the doctrines and religious practices of the Seceders, 
they republished, at Lancaster, Pa., a book Avhich had, about 
1749, been publislied by the Pev. Samuel Delap, in Ireland. It 
is clear that Mr. Delap, who was regarded as one of the leaders 
of the orthodox party in the Synod of Ulster, had very indis- 
tinct notions of the tenets held by the Seceders. It is hard 
even to conjecture what led him to waste his time and display 
his learning and ability in writing the book. It is notorious 
that the Presbytery of New Castle, previous to publishing the 
"Warning" and republishing the book, or rather pamphlet of 
the Rev. Samuel Delap, invited Messrs. Gellatly and Arnot to 


unite ^vith them. This they could not, or at least did not do. 
The points on Avhich thej differed were " the nature of faith 
and extent of the gospel offer." These, together with a differ- 
ence respecting Covenanting, were the main grounds upon 
\vhich the separation was continued. It will be remembered 
that one of the controversies in the Church of Scotland was 
about the offer of the gospel. There was a party in the Estab- 
lished Church of Scotland who held to what may, with pro- 
priety, be called a limited or restricted offer of the gospel. In 
other words, this party held to the doctrine of a limited atone- 
ment, and restricted the offer of the gospel to those for whom 
an atonement had been made. The doctrine of the Secession 
Church on this point, in the language of Halph Erskine, is 
that the " offer of the gospel is universal to all that hear it." 
ABother doctrinal difference between the Seceders and a strong 
and dominant party in the Church of Scotland was as to whether 
or not the sinner should prepare himself to come to Jesus before 
he actually comes. The Seceders held that the sinner was un- 
able to make any preparation, and none was required. The 
party to whom reference is made, pronounced the following 
H-leliverance of the Auchterarder Presbytery as unsound: " It 
is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin in 
order to our coming to Christ, and instating us in covenant 
with God." 

It is not certainly known whether or not any of the early 
members of the New Castle Presbyter}^ held the same notions 
on these points as those held by a party in the Church of Scot- 
land ; but it is probable they did, since it is known that the 
contemplated union was frustrated because they differed or 
could not agree on these points, and it is a fact beyond all con- 
troversy that no change ever took place in the Secession Church 
on these points. 

It is but just and proper to remark that between the mem- 
bers of the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland and Ireland and 
the members of the Secession Church, both Burghers and Anti- 
Burgliers and Covenanters — there were cherished feelings far 
from Christian. Those belonging to the different denomina- 
tions, who came to America, brought with them the same hos- 
tile feelings which raged in their bosoms on the other side of 
•the Atlantic. The simple, unvarnished truth is, the Secession 


Church was hated and despised by Presbyterians, both in Eu- 
rope and America, and the members of the Secession Church 
looked with a painful, and, perhaps, sinful degree of suspicion 
upon all other branches of the Presbyterian Church. 

It will be admitted by every unprejudiced mind that these 
suspicions were not altogether without a foundation. One of 
the tendencies of the Presbyterian Church, both in Ireland and 
Scotland, is to embrace, in some of its forms, Arianism. The 
tendency of the Presbyterian Church, when first established in 
America, was to deo-enerate into Congregationalism, and jSTew 
England Congregationalism has developed itself into Arianism 
of all grades and shades. 

To the "Warning" issued by the Xew Castle Presbytery 
Messrs. Gellatly and Arnot replied in a pamphlet of 240 pages. 
In 1758, an answer to the work of ]Messrs. Gellatly and Arnot 
was published by Messrs. S.Einly and R. Smith. Mr. Gellatly 
again replied, in a work of more than 200 pages. 

oSTo one will contend that these controversies were attended 
wnth no injury to the cause of religion. Controversial writers 
wax warm and say many things that they themselves do not 
approve of when time cools the fever of dispute. Such was 
the case in the keen controversy which was carried on between 
Messrs. Finly and P. Smith, on the part of the Presbyterian 
Church, and Messrs. Gellatly and Arnot, on the part of the 
Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania. 

That controversy, however, did good as well as evil. In it- 
self it was only evil ; but God, who overrules all things, made 
it redound to his own glory. It gave the members of the As- 
sociate Presbytery a fair opportunity to publish and advocate 
the doctrines and practices of their standards, and it served as 
a salutary check to the Presbyterian Church. Both parties were 

Whatever harm or injury may have grown out of that bitter 
controversy must be, in all honesty, laid to the charge of the 
Presbytery of Xew Castle and individuals in the Presbyterian 
Church. By them the proposition for union was made, and 
when the union could not be eti:ected, the}^ issued the "Warn- 
ing" in which Gellatly and Arnot were published to the world 
as "disturbers of the peace, bigots and fanatics." 


This controversy lasted for about six years, but it did not 
turn away Mr. Gellatly from his work as au humble minister 
of the gospel. 

In JSTovember, 1753, the Associate Presbytery of Pennsyl- 
vania was organized, and during the first part of the next year 
Mr. Gellatly settled as pastor of Octoraro and Oxford congre- 
gations ; the former in Lancaster, and the latter in Chester 
county, Pa. Here he continued to labor until the 12th of 
March, 1761, when he died, in the forty-second year of his age, 
and the eighth year after his arrival in America. 

In the summer of 1754, Mr. Arnot returned to Scotland. 
Previous to his return, however, the Rev. James Proudfoot, a 
licentiate under the care of the Presbytery of Perth and Dun- 
fermline, was, by order of the Anti-Burgher Synod, ordained, 
and directed to proceed to the transatlantic mission. Mr. 
Proudfoot set sail from Greenock for Pennsylvania in the early 
part of August, 1754, about one month after his ordination. 
He reached Boston in the month of September, and as soon as 
was possible, set out for Pennsylvania. In the city of Phila- 
delphia he met the Rev. Andrew Arnot, then returning to 

After an itinerancy of four years, Mr. Proudfoot received a 
call from the Associate congregation in Pequa, Pa. Here he 
remained in the faithful discharge of his duties for a quarter 
of a century. After the Associate Reformed Church was con- 
stituted, Mr. Proudfoot having received and accepted a call 
from Salem, in the State of Xew York, moved there, with his 
family in the autumn of 1783, His earthly labors were brought 
to a close on the 22d of October, 1802, in the seventieth year 
of his age. 

Xotwithstanding the heavy demands made upon both 
branches of the Secession Church, at home, they never lost 
sight of the Foreign field. In less than thirty years after 
the constitution of the Associate Presbytery, two Presbyteries 
had been organized in Ireland, a number of missionaries sent 
to the Highlands of Scotland, and a mission station established 
in iS'ova Scotia. However interesting and edifying it might 
be to trace all the missionary labors and all the missionary suc- 
cesses of the Secession Church, it would not comport with our 


At a very early period, America was regarded b}' the Seces- 
sion Church as a most important missionary field. In 1758 
Messrs Gellatl_y and Proudfoot were joined b}' ]\Ir. ^Matthew 
Henderson. Very soon after his arrival in America, Mr. Hen- 
derson became the pastor of Oxford, Lancaster county, Pa. 
Here he labored for a period of about twenty years, or to the 
3^ear 1781. About two years after the arrival of Mr. Hender- 
son, the hands of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania 
were strengthened by the Rev. John ^Mason and two proba- 
tioners, Robert Annan and John Smart. They landed in ISTew 
York in June, 1761, and as Mr. Mason had been invited to 
come to America by a congregation in the city of Xew York, 
he was, in a short time, installed over this people, and remained 
their pastor until the time of his death, which occurred April 
19, 1792. The church of which Mr. ]\lason was pastor was 
long known as " the Cedar Street Chui'ch.'' 

After itinerating for a period of near two years, Mr. Annan 
•was, on the 8th of June, 1763, ordained and installed at Marsh 
Creek, Adams county, Pa., pastor of Marsh Creek and Little 
ConewatTO congregations. ^Mr. Smart, after remaining for a 
short time, returned to Scotland. 

In August, 1763, Mr. William Marshall, a probationer in 
connection with the Associate (Anti-Burgher) Presbytery of 
Perth, landed in Philadelphia. At the meeting of the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, at Octoraro, on the 1st of 
November, 1764, three calls — one from the congregation of 
Deep Run, one from Octoraro, and one from Muddy Creek — 
were presented for the ministerial services and pastoral labors 
of Mr. Marshall. Mr. Matthew Henderson claimed that it wa| 
the duty of the presbytery, in a judicial capacity, to say posi- 
tively which one of the three calls Mr. Marshall should accept. 
The other members of the presbytery, taking a ditierent view 
of the matter, decided that Mr. Marshall be allowed the privi- 
lege of accepting any one of the three calls. In genuine Sece- 
der style, Mr. Henderson had his dissent recorded in the min- 
utes of the presbyter^' . 

It is perhaps impossible, at this late date, when nearly all 
the circumstances connected with the case are forgotten, to 
decide which acted more in conformity with the principles of 
strict Presbyterianism, the presbytery or ]Mr. Henderson. Mr. 


Marshall certainly had the right to decline accepting all of the 
calls. This he could not, however, have done without first 
having given the presbj'tery good and sufficient reasons for his 
declinature. Had Mr. Marshall been in doubt as to which one 
of the calls he should accept, it was the duty of the presbyter3' 
to make the decision. The presbytery surely had the right to 
direct Mr. Marshall. 

The dissent of Mr. Henderson having amounted to little, 
Mr. Marshall accepted the call from Deep Eun, Bucks county, 
Pa., and on the 30th of August, 1765, was ordained and in- 
stalled their pastor. 



PASTORAL CHARGES IN 176o— All Anti-Burghers— Thomas Clark First 
Burgher Minister who Came to America— Birth and Education of Mr. Clark 
' —Licensed and Sent to Ireland— Settles at Ballybay — Main. Black and Clark 
Constitute Associate Presbyter}- of Down — Presbytery of Moyrah and Lis- 
burn— History of Thomas Clark— Fought against the Pretender— Difficul- 
ties in Ireland — Thrust into Prison — Forced to Leave the Country — In Com- 
pany with Three -Hundred Members of his Congregation Comes to Amer- 
ica — Reasons for Leaving Ireland — Solicited by Friends to Come to America 
— Opened a Correspondence with the Hon. Robert Harper — Obtains a Grant 
of Land — Part of his Congregation Settle in South Carolina; the other Part 
in New York — The Turner Grant — Erected a Church in 1766-67 — Secession 
of the Church — Dr. Clark Visited South Carolina in 1769— Resigns the Pas- 
torate of Salem. 1782. and Settles at Cedar Spring in 1786 — Dr. Clark and the 
Anti-Burghers Coalesce, in 176.5 — The Coalescence Disapi^roved by the Anti- 
Burgher Synod — Kinlo(5k and Telfair Sent to America — Join the Associate 
Presbytery of Pennsylvania — John Smith and John Rodgers Sent by the 
Anti-Burgher Synod to Dissolve the Union of the Burghers and Anti-Burgh- 
ers in America — Take their Seats as Presbyters — Burgher Congregations in 

The pastoral charges now (1765), in connection with the As- 
sociate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, were live. All the Seces- 
sion ministers who, up to 1764, had come to America, were in 
connection with the General Associate, or, as it was usually 
called, Anti- Burgher Synod. The first minister in connection 
with the Associate or Burgher Synod, who came to the new 
world, was the celebrated Thomas Clark, or Clarke^ according 
to his own orthograph}-. 

The Rev. Thomas Clark was, by birth and education, a 
Scotchman. He was born on the 5th of ISTovember, 1720, and 
graduated sometime previous to 1745, at the University of 
Glasgow. During the years 1745-46, he served his country 
faithfully in the army which fought against the Pretender. 
The first ecclesiastical mention that is made of his name, so far 
as has been discovered, is by the Burgher Synod, at its meeting 
at Stirling on the 16th of June, 1747. Application was made 
to that body, at that time, by several societies for a " supply 
of sermon." The field was too sreat for the number of labor- 


ers. The harvest was truly great; but the laborers were few. 
All that the Synod could do was to order that James Wright, 
Thomas Main and Thomas Clark be entered on trials for license 
by the Presbytery of Glasgow. This was done, and in April of 
the following year, Thomas Clark was licensed to preach the 
gospel. After preaching for about one year in Scotland, and 
two years in Ireland, he was, on the 23d of Jul}^, 1751, or- 
dained and installed pastor of the congregation of I3allibay, 
Ireland. On the next day, he, in connection with the Revs. 
Thomas Main and Andrew Black, were constituted into a 
Presbytery which they designated the " Associate Presbytery 
of Down." This Associate Presbj^ter}' of Down must not be 
confounded with the Presbytery of Moyrah and Lisburn in 
-connection with the Anti-Burgher Synod. This latter was 
formed on the 13th of April, 1750. The ministers in connec- 
tion with it, at the time of the organization, were Isaac Patton, 
David Arrott and Alexander Stewart. 

The history of the Rev. Thomas Clark is full of thrilling in- 
terest. It is little that is known of liini ; but that little is so 
wonderful that it produces an insatiable craving to know more. 
Having completed his literary course in the University of Glas- 
gow, he then graduated in medicine. Hence, he was at that 
time, and is yet spoken of as Dr. Clark. At some time previ- 
ous to 1745, he was " chaplain in the family of a gentleman 
resident in Galloway, and signalized his loyalty by taking up 
arms against the Pretender." It is hard to tell what significa- 
tion is to be attached to the word " chaplain " in the preced- 
ing quotation. Certain it is, according to the records of the 
Burgher Synod, that Mr. Clark was not licensed to preach 
until April, 1748. In June, 1749, he was sent by the Burgher 
Presbytery of Glasgow to Ireland. After his arrival in Ire- 
land, until his settlement as pastor of the congregation of Bal- 
lybay, a period of two years, his itinerate labors were very 
extensive, embracing the counties of Monaghan, Tyrone, Ar- 
magh amVDown. Without being what men of the world would 
call great,) he was regarded b}'' all as full of zeal and eminently 
pious, '^e wore a Highland bonnet, and expressed himself 
in broad Scotch, and there was nothing either in his dark 
visage, or in his tall, gaunt figure, fitted to make any very 


favorable impression on a stranger; bnt those who entered into 
conversation with him were soon made sensible that they were 
holding fellowship with a minister of Christ.'' 

In Ireland, Dr. Clark w^as loved, feared and hated. He was 
loved by all pious people, feared by profligate sinners, and 
hated by new-light ministers. Bj' this latter class of individ- 
uals he was fined, imprisoned, and on one occasion forced to 
leave the country for a time, in order to save his life. Under 
circumstances sufficient to try the faith and patience of any 
man. Dr. Clark labored in Ireland for nearly sixteen j-ears. 
His labors were by no means confined to his own congregation, 
but he was, in journeys, often, constantly on the lookout for 
some place where he could do something to advance his Mas- 
ter's kingdom. On the 10th of May, 1764, he, in company 
with about three hundred of his congregation and neighbors, 
set sail from jN'ewry, Ireland, for America. They landed in 
safety at i!s"ew York on the 28th of July. In the coming of 
Dr. Clark to America, and the circumstances which led to that 
event, as well as in every other dispensation of I'rovidence con- 
cerning him, may be traced in legible characters the purpose 
of God to overrule all things for his own glory and the good 
of his people. It is the prerogative of God to bring light out 
of darkness, order out of confusion, and good out of evil. This 
was demonstrated in the events resulting from the coming of 
Dr. Clark to America. 

It is said that the old eagle, when she would have her young 
ones quit the nest, tears it to pieces, thus forcing them to leave 
it. So God, when he would have his servants leave one field 
of labor and enter on another, he tears up the old nest — breeds 
confusion in the camp. 

Dr. Clark either had, or thought he had,. ceased to be usefal 
in the congregation of Ballybay. The youth of the congrega- 
tion had grown indift'erent, he says, with regard to religious 
instruction on the Sabbath, and the old spent the interval be- 
tween sermons on the Sabbath in foolish and secular conver- 
sation. The membership of the congregation was growing 
neither in numbers nor piety ; and in addition, they were with- 
holding from their pastor a comfortable support. Prompted 
b}^ the indications of Providence, and guided, as we may safely 
conclude, by God's Holy Spirit, he bid adieu to the friends of 


his youth and the scenes of his early labors, and turned his 
anxious eyes toward the home, of the oppressed of every clime. 

In addition to the fact that Dr. Clark's usefulness in Ireland 
was apparentl}' growing less and less each year, his personal 
friends, who had previously emigrated to America, were anx- 
ious that he would join them in their new home west of the 
Atlantic. As early as 1755, and perhaps at a date anterior to 
this, several families, members of the congregation at Bally- 
bay, came to America. Some of these families settled in Xew 
York ; one at least — the Harris family — in Mecklenburg 
county, ZST. C. ; and two — Kilpatrick and Hamilton — in Chester 
county, and one, by the name of Young, in York county, S. C. 
By these personal friends of Dr. Clark and other individuals 
in America, who at one time had been connected with the 
congregations under the supervision of the Associate Presb}'- 
tery of Down, he was earnestly solicited to come to America. 
Under existing circumstances, he concluded that it was his 
duty to yield to these solicitations. 

Before leaving Ireland, however, he made provision for the 
temporal comfort of those who might accompany him. Ho 
opened a correspondence with the Hon. Robert Harper, of 
King's College, in the city of Xew York. The names of one 
hundred families, which designed emigrating from the north 
of Ireland to America, were furnished Mr. Harper by Dr. Clark. 
That these families might be provided a home in the Xew 
AVorld, Mr. Harper obtained from the government, on the 23d 
of Xovember, 1763, forty thousand acres of land, in what is at 
present AVarren county, Kew York. After landing at Xew 
York city, the congregation (such it actuallj' was,) of Dr. Clark 
divided. Part set out by land for Long Cane and Cedar Spring,. 
in Abbeville county, S. C. ; and the other, and'greater part passed 
up the Hudson as far as Stillwater. There the larger part halted, 
while a few families proceeded to the tract of land secured by 
Mr. Harper for their settlement. 

Here they spent the winter ; but becoming discouraged on 
account of the dreary aspect of the country, they returned, in 
the earl^^ spring, to their friends at Stillwater; and although,, 
on the 15th of May, 1765, Mr. Harper obtained for each family 
a grant of four hundred acres of land, they preferred not to . 
accept this generous ofler. 


Dr. Clark now set about to find for his friends and congre- 
gation anotlier home. An extensive exploration, when the 
facilities for such a work ai'e considered, was made. The 
region of country embraced in "Washington county received 
his chief attention. During the spring of 1765, he visited the 
plain on which the town of Salem now" stands. In the house 
■of James Turner, the only inhabitant of the plain at that time, 
he preached to a few persons who had collected from the few 
scattering dwellings in the surrounding regions. 

In the providence of God, it was so ordered that the time at 
which Dr. Clark visited the region was most favorable for ac- 
complishing the object which he had in view, and all the cir- 
cumstances conspired to its favorable completion. 

On the 7th of August, 1764, the Governor of the province of 
JSTew York had conveyed to a company of twenty-four persons 
in Massachusetts 25,000 acres of land, in what is now "Wash- 
ington county. Two of the company were Alexander Turner 
and his son James. From the former, since he was, perhai:)S, 
the most efficient member of the compan^'^, the grant was 
designated as "Turner's Grant," and by this appellation it was 
long known. One half, or 12,000 acres of this grant was, by 
the original company, conveyed to Oliver De Lancey and Peter 
Dubois, of the city of Kew York. During the same year, 1764, 
the whole tract was surveyed and divided into lots of less than 
ninety acres each. The lots were then distributed by ballot, 
between the original company and De Lancey and Dubois. 
Previous to the drawing, however, it was mutually agreed and 
legally arranged that six lots, each containing eighty-eight 
acres, should be reserved and devoted exclusively to the sup- 
port of a minister and school-master. Having been apprised 
of these facts, and being favorably impressed with this region, 
Dr. Clark immediately set about to procure the De Lancey and 
Dubois part of the Turner grant, on which to settle his con- 
gregation. Without delay, he set out in person for New York, 
for the purpose of completing the arrangement with the pro- 
prietors. His eiibrts were crowned with success. De Lancey 
and Dubois conveyed to him the whole of the 12,000 acres of 
land free of all charge for five years, after which the settlers 
were to pay an annual rent of one shilling per acre. Part of 
the congregation removed from Stillwater, in September, 1765, 


and in the spring of the following year they were joined by 
the remainder. Families came from Scotland and Ireland, and 
the country was rapidh' settled by an energetic, thrifty and 
pious people. The town was called Salem, which name it still 

During the winter of 1766-67, a log church was erected — the 
first in Washington county, ISTew York, and at that time the 
only church in the State of Xew York north of Albany. In 
this rude structure the congregation assembled on the last Sat- 
urday in May, 1767, and worshipped the God of their fathers. 
Xo organization took place. A congregation of two hundred 
communicants, with its pastor, the Eev. Thomas Clark, M. D., 
and its elders, George Oswald, David Tomb, "William Thomp- 
son, William Moncrietf, William Wilson, Richard Hoy, John 
Foster and David Hanna, crossed the Atlantic and settled in 
the wild woods of eastern Xew York. 

In the year 1769, Dr. Clark visited that portion of his con- 
gregation which went to South Carolina. In the summer of 
1782, he resigned the pastorate of Salem, and in 1786, was in- 
stalled pastor of Cedar Spring and Long Cane congregations, 
in Abbeville county, S. C. Here, on the 26tli of December, 
1792, death terminated his earthly labors. 

Previous to the arrival of Dr. Clark, all the Secession min- 
isters who came to America, were in connection with the Anti- 
Burgher Sjmod. Dr. Clark was, as we have elsewhere stated, 
a member of the Presbytery of Down, Ireland, in connection 
with the Burgher Synod of Scotland. Since there were no royal 
towns in the wild woods of America, and consequently no 
Burgher oaths to be imposed on any one. Dr. Clark, like a sensible 
man, was unwilling to keep up a distinction where no differ- 
ence of opinion existed. Very soon after his arrival in Amer- 
ica, he made application to connect with the Associate Presby- 
tery of Pennsylvania. This application was made before his 
congregation left Stillwater. The members of the Associate 
Presbytery of Pennsylvania took the same view of the matter 
us that entertained by Dr. Clark, and on the 2d of September, 
1765, the union was consummated on a basis entirely satisfac- 
tory to the individuals immediately concerned. 



As it can be of but little interest to an}' one at the present 
day to know the conditions upon which Dr. Clark, a Burgher,, 
was received as a member of the Anti-Burgher Presb3'tery of 
Pennsylvania, it is not necessary that Ave transcribe the articles 
of agreement. Suffice it to say that both parties signilied their 
approbation of the "Act, Declaration and Testimony" of the 
Secession Church previous to the rupture caused by the differ- 
ence of opinion concerning the Burgher oath. Both parties 
were prohibited from either censuring or approving what had 
been done or said in favor of or against taking the Burgher- 
oath. Tins was wise, and if we consider the violent contro- 
versies which had been waged between Burghers and Anti- 
Burghers, it was eminently creditable to both the heads and. 
hearts of all the parties entering into that union. The course 
pursued by the Presbj'tery of Pennsylvania was disapproved of. 
by the Anti-Burgher Synod of Scotland ; but the Burgher 
Synod favored the action of Dr. Clark. 

The next Secession ministers sent to America were David 
Telfair and Samuel Kinlock. Both were in connection with 
the Burgher branch of the Secession. They sailed for Amer- 
ica in the early part of the spring of 1766. David Telfair was 
an ordained minister, and at the time of his appointment to go 
to America was the pastor of the congregation at Bridge-of- 
Teith, and Samuel Kinlock was a probationer. Almost imme- 
diately on the arrival of these two Burgher missionaries, they 
began to make arrangements for a coalesence with the Anti- 
Burgher Presbytery of Pennsylvania. David Telfair wrote 
home to the Burgher Synod that this union was consummated 
on the 5th of June, 1766. 

Both Telfiiir and Kinlock returned to Scotland — the latter 
in the spring of 1769, and the former during the latter part of 
1767, or spring of 1768. 

It was contemplated by the Burgher Synod of Scotland that 
Telfair and Kinlock, together with Dr. Clark, would constitute into a presbytery for the better man.agement of the 
mission entrusted to their care. Both Telfair and Kinlock 
concluded, as Dr. Clark had done before their arrival, that the}' 
could best advance the cause of the Redeemer by forming a 
nnion with the Anti-Burgher Presbytery of Pennsylvania. 
This union seems to have been, brought about by the earnest- 


solicitation of the people in America, in connection with the 
Burgher hranch of the Secession. Previous to Dr. Clark's 
union with the Anti-Burgher Presbytery of Pennsylvania, the 
people of that State, in connection with the Burgher Synod of 
Scotland, wrote a beseeching letter to the Burgher S^^nod that 
the controversies about the Burgher oath would forever cease^ 
and that Burghers and Anti-Burghers "micrht be one again in 
the Lord, both at home and abroad." To this entreaty the- 
Burgher Synod of Scotland was ever inclined to listen; but to. 
many in connection with the Anti-Burgher Synod the subject 
of a union was highly offensive. It is proper to mention in 
this place, that although a real union was formed between the 
Burghers and Anti-Burghers in America, neither party severed 
its connection with the denomination to which it originally 
belonged. We scarcely feel able to judge of this strange com- 
pact. So far as we are aware, it is without a precedent, and 
could only be justified on account of circumstances whicli 
rarely have an existence. There was but one presbytery, and 
yet part of the members of that presbytery were in connection 
with and subject to the higher courts of one denomination, 
and the other members to the higher courts of a diftcrent de- 

The union entered into between the Burghers and Anti- 
Burghers in America was heartily disapproved of by the Anti- 
Burgher Synod, of Scotland. In 1770, John Rodgers and John 
Smith were sent by the Anti-Burgher Synod of Scotland to 
America. They were instructed to require the Presbytery of 
Pennsjdvania to annul the compact which had been entered in- 
to with the Burghers. On the 5th of June, 1771, Messrs Smith 
and Rogers appeared before the Presbytery of Pennsylvania, at 
Pequa, and read the instructions of the Synod ; but no new 
presbytery was organized. Neither were the Burghers ex- 
pelled ; nor were the minutes of the union expunged, as the 
Synod ^kmanded, but Messrs. Smith and Rodgers both took 
their seats as presbyters. This indicates that Smith and Rod- 
gers approved of the course pursued by Mason and Annan and 
the other members of the Anti-Burgher Presbytery of Penn- 


From that time the controversies about tlie Burgher oatli 
forever ceased in America. It would have heen well if the 
mother church in Scotland had improved tlie lesson taught by 
her children in the New World. 

The prospects in America for the Burgher Synod were nearly, 
if not altogether as favorable as for the Anti-Burghers. Br. 
Clark might have waited patiently until Telfair and Kinlock 
arrived, and then, in accordance with the instructions given 
them by the Burgher Synod, they could have constituted them- 
selves into a presbytery and organized churches. This was not 
done, and it was wise that it was not. Only three strictly* 
Burgher congregations were ever gathered in America, and 
these were not canonicalh' organized. They were Salem, Ship- 
pen-street, Philadelphia, and Cambridge. All the other Seces- 
sion congregations were gathered by the Anti-Burghers, or by 
the united body. 

After the coalescence of the Burghers and Anti-Burghers, 
the Anti-Burgher Synod of Scotland took less interest than for- 
merly in its trans-Atlantic missions. In 1773, however, '\VH1- 
liam Logan and John jNIurray were sent to Pennsylvania. In 
1771 David Telfair returned to America, but remained an in- 
dependent Burgher until the 12th of August, 1780, when he 
united with the Reformed (Covenanter) Presbytery; and with 
that presb3'ter3^ came into the union forming the Associate Re- 
formed Church. 



NEGOTIATIONS looking to an Union of the Associates and Keformecl Presby- 
terians — Division of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania — Revolu- 
tionary War — Spirit of Ecclesiastical Union — Proposition for Union in 1754 ; 
again in 1769 — Negotiations Cease — Political Disturbances Drew the Associ- 
ates and Covenanters Nearer Together — Their Differences only Political — 
Covenanters Opposed by all Denominations — Associates and Covenanters 
Warmly Espouse the Cause of the Colonies — Reasons why the Associates and Co- 
venanters Should Unite — Anti-Burghers More Numerous than the Burghers — 
Burghers More Tolerant — Ministers Educated in Scotland — Membership from 
Ireland — Scotch-Irish — Two classes of Scotch-Irish — Menibership of the 
Presbyterian Church — Corruptions of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland — 
Belfast Society — Character of the Irish Seceders — Irish, English and Scotch 
Presbyterianism — Seceders Scotch Presbyterians — Diiference between Asso- 
ciates and Covenanters — Occupied the Same Territory — Cultivate Each Other's 
Friendship — First Meeting for Conference — Both Cautious — Second Meeting 
for Conference — The matter brought before the Associate Presbytery — Over- 
ture by Rev. Murray — Associate Presbytery met at Middle Octoraro — Spend 
Two Days in Conference — Principle Subjects Discussed by the Conference — 
Basis of Union — Conference met at Pequa. Pa. — Some of the Associates Op- 
posed to the Union on Any Terms — Conference Meets at Big Spring — Basis of 
Union Discussed — Charges Made — Warm Discussion — New Projiosition 
Drawn Up — Basis of Union Adopted by Presbytery of New York, 1780 ; by 
Reformed Presbytery, 1781 ; by Presbytery of Pennsylvania, 1782 — James 
Clarkson and William Marshall Refuse to go into the Union — Clarkson and 
Marshall Continue the Associate Pi-esbytery — Associate Reformed Synod or- 
ganized — Names of those Composing the Associate Reformed Synod — An- 
drew Patton — James Martin — William Martin — Object Designed to be Effected 
by the Union — Result of the Union the Formation of Another Denomination — 
The Prosperity of the Associate Presbytery Continued to Exist for Seventy-six 
Years — The Covenanters Send to Scotland for Ministers — Covenanters Still 
Exist — The Effect of the Covenanters and Seceders on the American Govern- 

We have now reached the period during which began those 
ecclesiastical negotiations which terminated in the formation of 
the Associate Eeformed Church. However interesting it might 
be, it is, at this late date, with the few and painfully meagre 
records which have been preserved, impossible to mark with 
precision the exact moment that those negotiations first began. 
Equally difficult would it be to state succinctl}' all the causes 
wdiich first led to friendly intercourse, and finally to more, for- 
mal negotiations between the parties. 


111 1776, the same year that the American Colonies declared 
themselves free and independent, the Associate Presbytery of 
Pennsylvania, which, as is elsewhere stated, was organized on 
the 2d of November, 1753, by Alexander Gellatly and Andrew 
Arnot, was divided into two presbyteries. One retained the 
original name— Presbytery of Pennsylvania — and the other was 
called the Presbytery of iSTew York. This division took place 
on the 20th of May, near two months before the signing of the 
Declaration of Independence. Jjy this division the Presbytery 
of Pennsylvania was made to consist of eight ministers, and 
that of ISTew York of three pastors and two probationers. The 
names of those belonging to the first were James Proud foot, Mat- 
thew Henderson, William Marshall, John Rodgers, John Smith, 
James Clarkson and John Murray, pastors ; and James Martin 
without a charge. The members of the Presbyter}' of Ifew 
York Avere John Mason, Robert Annan and Thomas Clark, 
pastors; and AVilliam Logan, licentiate. These two Presby- 
teries were coordinate, but independent, and sustained no other 
relation to each other than that thay were both subject to the 
Anti-Burgher Synod of Edinburgh. 

When the Presbytery of Xew York Avas organized, in the 
city of New York, on the 20th of May, 1776, the ties which 
bound the American colonies to the mother country had vir- 
tually been severed. The carnage had actually begun. The 
battles of Lexington, Bunker Hill and Quebec had been fought, 
and the blood of American citizens had been shed. Not only 
so, but the storm had been gathering since 1755, a period of 
more than twenty years. The love of the early settlers of 
America for the mother country had, in may instances, been 
changed into hatred ; and, in nearly ever}- case it had become 
cold, and was fast verging to positive indifl'erence. 

A spirit of ecclesiastical union had, for a number of years, 
been at work among all the churches in America holding the 
Presbyterian faith. The first formal eftbrt to unite the difi:er- 
ent branches of the Presbyterian church in America was made 
in 1754; the next in 1769. Both these efforts were unsuccess- 
ful, and all correspondence l^etween the Associate and Reformed 
Presbyterian judicatories on the one part, and tbe Synod of 
New York and Philadelphia on the othei* part, ceased. Priend- 
Jy intercourse was not, however, by any of these negotiations. 


broken between the Associates and the Reformed Presbyterians, 
and the political disturbances in which the countr}' was in- 
volved, had a direct and powerful tendency to draw these two 
branches of the Presbyterian family more closely together. 
This was to be expected. The diflerence which existed be- 
tween the Associates — both Burghers and Anti-Burghers — and 
the Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters was of a political 
rather than an ecclesiastical character. In doctrine and wor- 
ship they w^ere, to all human appearances, identical. The Cov- 
enanters were Presbyterians of the type which existed in Scot- 
land between the j'cars 1638 and 1650. The}' regarded the 
Government of Great Britain as stained with the blood of the 
Covenanted fathers, and on this account they rejected it as un- 
scriptural, and on all proper occasions boldly testiiied against 
it as a sinful compact which exposed the nation to the judg- 
ments of heaven. On account of their peculiar notions respect- 
ing the civil magistracy — notions which were not well under- 
stood, and more frequently wrongly interpreted — all parties in 
the State and all denominations of Christians joined hand in 
hand in heaping upon the Covenanters dishonorable epithets 
and in stigmatizing them as the "anti-government party." 

Both Associates and Covenanters heartily approved, of the 
course pursued b}' the American colonies. It is not saying too 
much to assert that the Covenanters had, as demonstrated b}' 
this approbation, changed to some extent their notions with re- 
spect to the duties and powers, or rather the extent of the i:)Ow- 
ers, of the civil magistrate. This removed the great, and, in 
fact, the only barrier in the way to a union w' ith the Associates. 

There were several reasons why a union w^as formed between 
the Associates and Covenanters, and why all efforts to form a 
union with the Synod of New York and Philadelphia were un- 

Of the two branches of the Secession in America, at the pe- 
riod of which we are treating, the Anti-Burghers were, per- 
haps, the more numerous ; but the Burghers constituted a part 
of nearly all the congregations, and were more tolerant in spirit, 
and consequently alwa\'s most ready to heal the divisions in the 
visible church. 


Previous to the union which formed the Associate Reformed 
Church, all the ministers of the American Associate Church, 
who liad any part in efi'ecting the union, were born and edu- 
cated classically, and all theologically, with, perhaps, a single ex- 
ception — that of David Annan — in Scotland. The membership 
however, were nearlj- all from Ireland ; less, perhaps, than one- 
fourth being from Scotland. They were wliat is known in his- 
tory as Scotch-Irish, Their ancestors had emigrated from Scot- 
land to Ireland during the cruel persecutions which began 
shortly after the restoration of Charles II. They belonged to 
the stricter or more rigid class of the Church of Scotland. The 
peculiar doctrines and practices which gave the Church of Scot- 
land its distinctive and distinguishing features were instilled by 
these exiles into the minds of their children. These children, as 
a necessary consequence, affiliated with the Secession Church, 
rather than with the Presbyterianism which prevailed at that 
time in Ireland, and as a natural consequehce introduced the 
Associate Presbytery into their adopted land. The member- 
ship of the American Presbyterian Church, previous to the 
American Revolution, was parth' Scotch-Irish, but very.dilier- 
ent in many respects from the Scotch Irisli which formed the 
prevailing clement in the American Associate Church. The 
Scotch-Irish, in connection with the American Presbyterian 
Church, were generally the descendants of the Scotch who be- 
gan to leave their native land and settle in Ireland during the 
reign of James I. For a long period they retained intact all 
the prevailing features of Scotch Presbyterianism. But grad- 
ually the leaven which had been opei'ating in the churches in 
England and on the continent of Europe was introduced, cau- 
tiously at first, but openly and defiantly after a short interval, 
into the Church of both Scotland and Ireland. The beginning 
of the eighteenth century and the formation of the 


marks the period of the visible introduction of error in doc- 
trine and laxity in practice into the Presbyterian Church of 
Ireland. The same period is noted as the beginning of a vis- 
ible decline in the Church of Scotland. To the Rev. John 
Simson, professor of divinity in the University of Glasgow, 
and his adherents is due the credit of disturbing the peace and 


harmony of the Church of Scotland, and the leaders of the 
corrupting part}' in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland were 
the Revs, John Abernethy, AV illiam Taylor, Alexander Brown 
and James Kirkpatrick. Abernethy and Kirkpatrick had 
been students with Simson in the Divinity Hall in Glasgow, 
and ever afterwards kept up with him a regular correspondence. 

It is a fact worthy of note that nearly all the ministers who 
joined the Belfast Society had been either the fellow students 
of Professor Simson or had been his pupils. From this fact it 
may be naturally inferred that the doctrines of Professor Sim- 
son and the doctrines of the Belfast Society were, in the main, 
identical. This is not a bare inference, but it is a fact well sub- 
stantiated by history. 

Those who opposed the doctrinal innovations of Professor 
Simson were ever regarded as the more strict party, and by the 
more rigid of this strict party was organized the Associate 
Presbj'tery. In Ireland the party which opposed the Belfast 
Societ}' belonged generally to the emigration from Scotland, 
which occurred during the reign of Charles IL, and were re- 
garded as more closel}' resembling in doctrine and worship the 
Church of Scotland at a period long past than they did either 
the Presbyterian Church of Ireland or the Church of Scotland 
as these churches then existed. It was by those who set them- 
selves in opposition to the innovations introduced by the Bel- 
fast Society that the Associate Church Avas introduced into 

It is common in some sections to regard Irish, English and 
Scotch Presbyterian ism as identical in doctrine, and the same 
in their mode of worship and form of government. This is 
far from the truth. English Presbj-terianism, especially at 
the time of which we are speaking, resembled Independency 
full}' as much as it did Scotch Presbyterianism. In America 
it has lost all, or nearly all, its Presbyterian features, and fully 
developed its Independency and the peculiar notions advocated 
by both Professor Simson, of Glasgow, and John Abernethy,. 
of Ireland. Irish Presbyterianism has ever been of a better /-^ 
type than that of England. Still, its standard, as exhibited in 
actual practice, has ever been of a more flexible character than 
that of the Scotch. The Seceders and Covenanters preserved — 
the former slightly modified and modernized, the latter in all 


its picturesque majesty — the Scotch type -of Presbj'terianism. 
In America both Seceder and Covenanter Churches were often 
called " Scotch Churches," and the members of these denomi- 
nations were called " Scotch people," and more frequently, "big- 
oted Scotchmen." The Presbyterian Church had been planted 
in America about fifty years before the Secession Church had 
an actual existence. Leaving out the Kew England Congrega- 
tionalist, which was but another name for English Presb}-- 
terianism, the mass of the American Presbyterian Church was of 
Irish descent, and generally the descendants of the Scotch who 
began to emigrate to Ireland in the reign of the First of the 
Stuarts. They w^ere Scotch-Irish-Ulster Presbyterians ; but 
it was a Presb3'terianism very different, in many of its leading 
features, from the Presbyterianism embraced b^^ the Covenant- 
ers and Associates. 

It is not the province of the mere historian to say which was 
best or which was worst ; which was genuine, or which was 
spurious. We may safely say neither was spurious ; but Ulster 
Presbyterianism was more pliable, less rigid, and exhibited an 
affinity for the Congregationalism of English Puritans, which 
to both the Associates and Covenanters was for a long period 

The peculiar features which characterized these three 
branches of the Presbyterian Church one hundred years ago, 
are, to a very noticeable extent, preserved to the present day. 
They have enough in common to show that they had the same 
origin and enough of diflerence to warrant tliem in maintain- 
ing distinct and separate organizations. The opposition to a 
union between the Associates and the Presbyterian Church 
was ever almost entirely confined to the Associates. At no 
time would there have been any difficulty in consummating a 
union, so far as the Presbyterian Church was concerned. It is 
true that so far as is remembered, no formal eflJbrt ever was 
made to form an union between the Covenanters and Presby- 
terians ; but had such an effi3rt been made, its only opponents 
would, in all probability, have been. Covenanters. 

However great may be the general resemblance existing be- 
tween the Presbyterian Church of either America, England or 
Ireland, and either the Reformed l^resbyterian Church or the 


Associate or Associate Reformed Church, there always have 
been, and are to-day particulars, both in doctrine and worship, 
in which they widely diifer. 

The only real diflerence, however, which existed between 
the Associates and Covenanters was with reference, as has been 
already stated, to the extent of the power of the civil mao'is- 
trate. This diflerence was really removed by the position taken 
by both parties in the struggle in which the American colonies 
were engaged. The Associates were, to a man, Whigs, and if 
there was a Tory among the Covenanters he was a recreant to 
his avowed principles and covenanted engagements, and so was 
no longer a Covenanter. The Covenanter Church and the As- 
sociate Church were planted in America by the same race of 
people and near the same time. The Rev. John Cuthbertsou 
came to America in 1751, and the Rev. Alexander Gellatly in 
1753. The Held occupied by these pioneers was the same ; and 
although the Associates and Covenanters in Scotland and Ire- 
land looked upon each other with a suspicious eye, in America 
they cultivated each other's friendship, and took a deep inter- 
est in each other's welfare. A pure and heaven-l^orn magnet- 
ism began to attract the parties towards each other so soon as 
they set their feet on American soil. They had buried at least 
much of their animosities in the Atlantic, and now sought the 
things which make for peace. Imperceptibl}^, and by a power 
like those infinitesimal forces which are apparently nothing at 
any particular moment, but which finally move mountains, the 
parties were drawn together. 

Thefirstformal meeting for conference was held in the house of 
Samuel Patterson, at Donegal, Lancaster county, Pa., on the 30th 
of September, 1777. Previous to this, the subject of union be- 
tween these two Scotch branches of the Presbvterian Church in 
America, had been, in all probabilit}^, discussed in private. 
Many years previous to the arrival of the Rev. Messrs. Mat- 
thew Linn and Alexander Dobbin, the Rev. John Cuthbertsou 
and the Associate ministers then in America had often met. 
So far as anything to the contrary appears, the Associate min- 
isters and John Cuthbertson lived on terms of social intimacy 
and ecclesiastical and religious friendship. 


When, then, it is said that the first conference for union was 
on the 30th of September, 1777, all that is meant is that prior 
to that date no formal action had been taken in the matter. 

Both the Associates and Covenanters belonged to that class 
of men who think before they act. "^Vith some plausibility 
they might be charged with having been self-willed and opin- 
ionated, but not with rashness. Thc}^ never came to a conclu- 
sion until they had examined the matter thoroughly in all its 
present and future bearings. Having, by rather a tedious pro- 
cess, reached a conclusion, they ceased to reason and began to 
act promptly, determinedly and fearlessly. It was near five 
years before the union was consummated, and not until after 
the parties had met in conference more than twenty times. 
At tlie first conference, onl}^ the Rev. John Cuthbertson,of the 
Eeformed Presbyterian Church, and the Eevs. John Smith, 
James Proudfoot and Matthew Henderson, of the Associate 
Church, were present. At this meeting little was done except 
appointing a time and selecting a place for another meeting. 
The second meeting was appointed to be held at Pequa, Pa., 
on March 31, 1778. At this conference all the Covenanter 
ministers were present, and the Rev. Messrs. Proudfoot, Mur- 
ray, Clarkson and Smith, of the Associate Presb3^tery. 

As many as three conferences were lield before the matter 
was brought before the Associate Presbytery in a judicial 
capacity. The object of these first conferences seems to have 
been to ascertain privately the sentiments of the parties. At 
the meeting of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, at 
Tohickon, Bucks county, Pa., October 21, 1778, the following 
overture Avas introduced by Rev. John Murray : 

■■ That this Presbytery expressly nominate and appoint, some week hereafter, 
as soon as convenience will permit, to take into serious consideration the subject 
of the proposed union with the Covenanters, and to confer with them in an ami- 
cable manner on the same subject, in order to try whether or not a coalescence 
can be brought about in consistency with the glory of God and the cause of truth 
and the comfort of the Church. And for proceeding in this matter with greater 
regularity, it is further projjosed that this Presbytery set apart one of the days 
of the week that may be nominated for the conference, for the purpose of con- 
ferring together by themselves on the subject of the proposed union, and for 
solemn prayer unto God for his special direction in this matter."' 

This overture was not adopted; but what was its equivalent, 
was. A. meeting for conference with the Covenanters had pre- 
viously been appointed, to be held at ^liddle Octoraro, on the- 


29tb of October. The Associate Presbytery of rennsylvania 
agreed to meet at tlie place selected for the conference, on the 
27th, t\vo days before the time appointed for the conference. 
Eight ministers and live ruling elders, in connection witli the 
Associate rresb3'tery of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. John Mason 
iind the Rev. Thomas C'lark, of the Associate Presbytery of Xew 
York, were present at the meeting of the] Presbytery on the 
-27th, and at the meeting of the conference, on the 29th of Oc- 
tober, 1778. All the members of the Reformed Presbytery 
were present. 

In the meeting of the Associate Presbyter}', at this time, the 
principal subject discussed was the propriety of holding a con- 
ference with the Reformed Presbytery. The Associate Presby- 
tery of Pennsylvania consumed two days in discussing this 
•question. In the debates, Messrs. Mason and Clark, of the As- 
sociate Presbytery of Xew York, took part. At length it was 
agreed, whether unanimously or not is not certainly Jcnown, 
but most probably not, to hold the conference. Messrs. Smith 
and Rodgers were appointed a committee to prepare the sub- 
jects to be considered by the conference. 

At 10 o'clock the conference met. It consisted of John 
Murray, James Proudfoot, Matthew Henderson, William 
Marshall, John Smith, James Clarkson and William Logan, 
ministers; and William Moore, James Brown, Robert Thom- 
son, William Pinley and Alexander Moore, ruling elders of 
the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania; the Rev. John 
Mason and the Rev. Thomas Clark, of the Associate Presby- 
tery of ISTew York ; and John Cuthbertsou, Matthew Linn and 
Alexander Dobbin, ministers of the Reformed Presbytery. 

Messrs. Smith and Rodgers presented the foUowiug^subjects 
for the consi(^eration of the conference, viz.: "Redemption." 
" The Origin and Channel of Civil Government." " The Moral 
Law." "The Kingdom of Christ," " The Qualilications of 
Civil Rulers." "The Obligation of our Solemn Covenants." 
" The Lawfulness of Civil Establishments in Religion." •' The 
Reformed Presbyterian's Testimon}-." 

After a free and full interchange of opinions, it was found 
that considerable diversity of sentiment existed among the 
members of the Conference. Associates diifered from Asso- 
ciates, and Covenanters from Covenanters about as much as 


Associates differed from Covenanters. • Some were of the opin- 
ion that all negotiations having in view an union of the two 
bodies should be dropped. The majority, however, thought 
differently, and tlie following pro})Ositions as a basis of union 
were drawn up : 

1. That Jesus Christ died only for the elect. 

2. That there is an appropriation in the nature of faith. 

3. That the gospel is indiscriminately addressed to mankind sinners. 

4. That the righteousness of Christ is the alone proper condition of the cove- 
nant of grace. 

n. That civil power originates from God as Creator, and not from Christ as 

6. That magistracy, in i-espect of its sanctified use. is dispensed by Christ, to 
whom the Kingdom of Providence is committed, in subserviency to the King- 
dom of Grace. 

7. That the law of nature and the moral law revealed in the Bible, are sub- 
stantially the same, though the latter expresses the will of God far more fully 
than the former ; and that therefore among Christians, magistracy and the du- 
ties thereunto belonging, are subject to the general' directions of the Holy 

8. That some qualifications are in Scripture required as essentially needful to 
the being of magistracy ; such as wisdom, justice and veracity, in due propor- 
tions ; but the profession of the true religion is not absolutely needful to the 
being of magistracy, except when it is made by the people a consideration of 
government, but is at all times of great nece.ssity to the well being of civil gov- 

The above propositions were submitted for future considera- 
tion, without any discussion at the time. 

Having agreed to hold the next meeting at Pequa, Pa., on 
June 9, 1779, the conference adjourned. 

From all the documents which have been preserved, it seems 
that the opposition to the contemplated union was confined 
mainly to the Associates. The Covenanter ministers and an 
overwhelming majority of the people belonging to the Reformed 
Presbytejy, were, from the l)eginning of these conferences, will- 
ing and anxious to form a union with the Associate Presbytery. 
Although the Covenanters were ever regarded as the more rigid 
in all their notions of doctrine and practice, they . entertained 
great regard for the Associate Presbytery. This was the case 
with the " Society People " prior to the organization of the- 
Reformed Presbytery in Scotland, in 1743. It is true that 
both Covenanters and Seceders, while in Scotland, did things, 
in their intercourse with each other, which may be rightly 


named puerile. The result of these i^uerile a«t3 was an aliena- 
tion of feeling which was sometimes developed into acts of 

In America both parties suffered the bitter feelings of the 
unsociable and unhappy past to die. 

There were, however, some persons in the Associate Presbj'- 
tery who opposed with all their might and main all corre- 
spondence with the Covenanters. The leaders of this opposing 
jiarty were the Rev. Messrs. James Clarkson and AYilliam Mar- 
shall, both members of the Associate Presbyter}- of Pennsyl- 

The next meeting of the Associate Presbytery was held 
at Big Spring, on ^May 26, 1779. All the members, except 
Messrs. Marshall and Henderson, were present. The eight 
propositions which had been submitted as a basis of union 
Avere taken up and considered seriatim. The first, second,, 
third, fourth and fifth were unanimously adopted, but the last 
three were rejected and the following substituted in their 
stead : 

Ck That the Kingdom of Providence is committed to our Lord Jesus Christ, 
by the Father, in subserviency to his Spiritual Kingdom in the churcli. Magis- 
tracy, as well as other common benefits, he limits, directs and overrules for ob- 
taining that great end. 

7. That though the law of nature be the grand foundation of magistracy, and 
the only proper standard by which every civil ruler can be directed in the ad- 
ministration of his government ; yet for obtaining the full advantage of the 
great ends of his office, the peace and happiness of civil society, he is indispen- 
sably bound to receive the aid that supernatural revelation (if in the possession 
of it) offers for the obtaining of that important end. 

8. That some degree of personal qualifications, and that of a moral kind, such 
as wisdom, justice, knowledge, &c., are absolutely necessary to render any indi- 
vidual capable of being invested with any civil office, and are absolutely neces- 
sary to the right administration of that office is a truth clearly indicated by the 
law of nature ; and although the profession of the true religion, the practice of 
holiness, with other . evidences of a person's interest in Christ (all of which is 
the prerogative of Scripture to reveal), are of great use to civil society, and the 
administration of civil power in that society, yet they are' not revealed in the 
law of nature ; therefore, are not the origin of civil power, nor the rule of its 
administration, but only of its advantage. 

It is certainly not very easy to discover wherein these pro- 
positions difier from those submitted "for future considera- 
tion '' at the meeting of the conference in October, 1778. All 
he difierence that can be discovered is in the words in which. 


the same ideas are expressed. The Associate Presbytery seems 
to have concluded, at least some of its members concluded, that 
the propositions submitted by the conference of 1778 for con- 
sideration at the ajjproaching conference were too vague, and 
capabjc of different interpretations. 

The conference met, according to adjournment, at Pequa, 
Pa., on the 9th of June, 1779. All the ministers in connec- 
tion with the Reformed Presbytery and three ruling elders, 
viz.: William Brown, James McKnight and David Dunwid- 
die, were present. Of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsyl- 
vania there were present James Proudfoot, James Clarkson, 
William Marshall and John Smith, ministers; and Eobcrt Ait- 
ken, Samuel Harper and William Moore, ruling elders. Rob- 
ert Annan and William Logan, ministers, and ruling elder 
William Gillespie, were present from the Associate Presbyter}- 
of Xew York. 

The Rev. James Clarkson was chosen president of the con- 
ference. The propositions submitted at Middle Octoraro "for 
future consideration" as a basis of union were read, and then 
the amendments made by the Associate Presbyter}- of Penn- 
sylvania were read. 

The Covenanters were read}' to accept the former, but ob- 
jected to the alterations made by the Associate Presbytery. A 
long and warm debate followed, which those who were op- 
posed to the contemplated union probably thought, and cer- 
tainly hoped, would put an end forever to all negotiations. 

The hair-splitting differences which existed between Cov- 
enanters and Seceders were all stated and discussed with an 
ability which did credit to the debaters. The blood of the 
Covenanter Matthew Linn became stirred, and he concluded his 
speech with the following sentence: "You may agree to what 
propositions you please, but we Covenanters will agree to none 
but with this interpretation, that all power and ability civil 
rulers have are from Christ the Prophet of the Covenant, and 
all the food and raiment mankind enjoy are from Christ the 
Priest of the Covenant." 

To something contained in this sentence some of the Asso- 
ciates formed serious objections. Surelj' it was not to the sen- 
timent, for it is .clearly defensible on the plainest Bible princi- 
ples. Paul says, Ephesians I., 22, that God the Father "hath 


put all things under His (Christ's) feet and gave Him to be the 
head over all things to the Church." Certainly, Matthew Linn 
did not say more than Paul says, nor did he say anything con- 
tra rj" to Avhat Paul says. 

Since the parties could not agree upon the propositions now 
before the conference, it was agreed by a majority' that Rev. 
Messrs. John Smith, Robert Annan, John Cuthbertson and 
Alexander Dobbin be appointed a committee to draw up other 
propositions. Every member of this committee was intensely 
anxious that the uniou of the two bodies be consummated at 
as early a da^' as possible. It is not asserting too much to say 
that they were men of more than ordinary abilit3^ 

In a ver}' short time, the committee reported propositions 
which were acceptable to the majority, and formed the maiu 
part of the basis upon which the union was finally consum- 

Since the union which formed the Associate Reformed Church 
•cannot be clearly understood unless the basis upon which that 
union was founded is known, all the propositions contained -in 
that basis will now be stated in the order in which they were 
finally agreed upon and adopted : 

1. That Jesus Christ died for the elect only. 

2. That there is an appropriation in the nature of faith. 

3. That the gospel is indiscriminately addressed to sinners of mankind. 

i. That the righteousness of Christ is the alone proper condition of the cov- 
enant of grace. 

5. That civil power originates from God the Creator, and not from Christ the 

6. That the administration of the Kingdom of Providence is committed to 
Jesus Christ the Mediator; and magistracy, the ordinance appointed by the 
moral Governor of the world to be the pillar or prop of civil order among men, 
as well as other things, is rendered subservient by the Mediator to the welfare 
of His spiritual kingdom, the Church, and beside the Church has the sanctified 
use of that and every common benefit, through the grace of our Lord Jesus 

7. That the law of nature and the moral law revealed in Scripture are sub- 
stantially the same, although the latter expresses the will of God more evidently 
and clearly than the former: and therefore magistrates among Christians ought 
to be regulated by the general directory of the Word as to the execution of their 
offices in faithfulness and righteousness. 

8. That the qualifications of justice, veracity. &c.. required in the law of na- 
ture for the being of a magistrate, are also more explicitly and clearly revealed 
as necessary in Scripture. But a religious test any farther than an oath of 
fidelity can never be essentially necessary to the being of a magistrate, except 
when the people make it a condition of government; then it may be among 
that people necessary by their own voluntary deed. 



9. That both parties, when united, shall adhere to the AVestminster Confession- 
of Faith; Catechisms. Larger and Shorter; Directory for Worship, and Propo- 
sitions concerning Church Government. 

10. That they shall claim the full exercise of church discijjline without de. 
pendence on foreign judicatories. 

To the consummation of the miion upon the basis set forth 
in the above propositions, the majority of both parties were- 
agreed. There were, however, quite a number of persons, both 
Covenanters and Associates, who were, it may safely be said,, 
violently opposed to an union on any terms whatever, and 
there were others who were conscientiously opposed to it on 
the proposed basis. 

That all parties might have time to reflect, and that all causes- 
pending before any of the three presbyteries might be finally 
adjudicated, the union was not consummated at this conference.. 
At Kew Perth (now Salem), Xew York, in the spring of 1780,. 
the proposed basis of union was unanimously adopted by the 
Presbyter}^ of ISTew York. The same basis of union was unan- 
imously adopted by the Reformed Presbytery, at a meeting 
held at Donegal, Pa., about the 1st of December, 1781. It was 
not, however, until the loth of June, 1782, that the basis of 
union was accepted by the Associate Presbytery of Pennsyl- 
vania, and then not unanimousl}^, but l)y a bare majoritj'. This- 
was at Pequa, Pa. 

There were several causes which had a direct tendency to 
delay the union on the part of the Associate Presbytery of 

The main reason, however, was the number and zeal of those 
who were opposed to the union. The majority of the minis- 
ters in connection with the presbytery finally went into the 
union. In fact, all the ministers, except James Clarkson and 
William Marshall, acceded to the basis of union. These two 
w^orthy men, together wath Robert Hunter, James Thomson 
and Alexander Moore, ruling elders, protested and appealed 
to the Associate Synod of Scotland. Some of those who went 
into the union had, at times during the negotiations, opposed 
it, and at last, with some degree of reluctance, consented to 
its consummation. At any period during the five years' ne- 
crotiations, there were in the Associate Presbvtery of Penn- 
syivania a majority in favor of the union, but there were al- 
ways some who were opposed to it on any and all terms. 


There was another cause of delay on the part of the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of Pennsylvania in consummating the union. 
There were before the Presbytery a number of cases requiring 
adjudication. It was a general understanding among the par- 
ties that each Presbytery should adjust all matters of this kind 
before it entered the Union Church. 

The 13th of June, 1782, marks the date of the union of the 
three presbyteries which formed the Associate Reformeci 
Church. The formal consummation of the union, however, did 
not take place until Friday, the 1st of I^sTovember, 1782. In 
the house of V/illiam Richards, on Wednesday, the 30tli of 
October, the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of ISTew York, and the Reformed Presbytery,, 
met in convention in the city of Philadelphia, and for two days 
were engaged in making the necessar}^ arrangements for the 
formal consummation of the long-desired union. On the 1st 
day of November, 1782, they met, and having chosen the Rev. 
John Mason moderator, in due form organized the Associate 
Reformed Synod, The following members were present: Of 
the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania— James Proudfoat, 
John Rodgers, William Logan and John Smith, ministers ; Jo- 
seph Miller and Thomas Douglass, ruling elders. Of the As- 
sociate Presbytery of New York — John Mason, Robert Annan, 
ministers ; William McKinley, ruling elder. Of the Reformed 
Presbytery — John Cuthbertson, Matthew Linn and Alexander 
Dobbin, ministers; James Bell, John Cochran and Robert Pat- 
terson, M. D., ruling elders. 

The naimes of those ministers constituting the Associate Re- 
formed Synod at the period of its organization, were James 
Proudfoot, Matthew Henderson, John Mason, Robert Annan,' 
John Smith, John Rodgers, Thomas Clark, William Logan, 
John Murray, David Annan, Associates ; John Cuthbertson, 
Alexander Dobbin, Matthew Linn and David Telfair, Reformed 
Presbyterians — in all fourteen. 

The on]y other ministers in connection with the Secession 
Church in America at the time the Associate Reformed Synod 
was organized were James Clarkson and William Marshall. 
Andrew Patton, who was received as a member of the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery at its meeting in New York, October 29, 1774, 
on credentials given by the Presbyter}' of Moyrah, Ireland, 


was, in 1778, deposed, and the sentence of Ino-hei- excommuni- 
•catioH pronounced upon him on account of his scandalous con- 
duct. James Martin, who, in August, 1775, presented to the 
Associate Presbytery in America credentials from the Presby- 
tery of Moyrah, Ireland, was received into the Presbytery as an 
" ordained minister in o-ood and regular standins;," withdrew 
from the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania and connected 
himself with the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, now 
the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church. 

So far as is known, there was only one minister in connec- 
tion with the Eeformed Presbj-tery who did not go into the 
union. Tliis was the Rev. William Martin, of South Carolina. 
Mr, Martin came to America in perhaps the early part of 1772. 
He began his ministerial labors on liocky Creek, Chester 
county, S. C., sometime in 1772. Unfortunately, among his 
many good and noble traits of Christian character, he had the 
bad habit, by far too common at that time, of indulging too 
freely in the social glass. Por the sin of intemperance he was 
■silenced, and consequently at the time the Associate Reformed 
■Synod w^as organized he was not in good standing. 

The design aimed at by those forming the Associate Re- 
formed Church, was certainly praiseworthy. In America there 
were two denominations of Christians having the same Con- 
fession of Faith, and all wliose forms of worship were, even to 
the smallest minutite, the same. That these two denominations 
might coalesce, and form but one, certainly was the single and 
only purpose which those good men labored to effect. That 
they desired tliat this union should be effected in accordance 
with the plain principles of God's word, and thus redound to 
the glory of God in the propagation of the pure and unadulter- 
ated gospel of Jesus Christ, no one will doubt who knows 
anything of the history of either the Associates or the Cove- 

Pure and holy as was their motive, and arduous and inde- 
fatigable as W'Cre their efforts, they only partially succeeded. 
The union was formed, as we have seen, but as we have also 
seen, it was not a complete union. Two ministers, William 
Marshall and James Clarkson — the former pastor of the Asso- 
ciate congregation in the city of Philadelphia, and the latter 
pastor of the Associate Church in Guinston, York county, Pa., 


together with all, or nearly all, of the members of their congre- 
gations — rejcered the basis of union and continued the exist- 
ence of the Associate Presbytery. Notwithstanding the fact 
that all the ministers in connection with the Reformed Pres- 
bytery, and a very large majority of the ruling elders and lay 
members in connection with that eluireh, went into the union, 
still there were some who could not see their way clear to unite 
with the Associates and thus form but one denomination. The 
result of the union was, contrar}- to that designed, the forma- 
tion of another denomination, instead of organizing two into 
one. This was to be deplored, and if we take only a surface 
view of the subject, we will be ready to censure severely both 
Covenanters and Associates, who were instrumental in bring- 
ing about such a state of things. If, however, we will look 
into the matter raore closely, and view it in the light of God's 
word and Providence, our conclusion will be of a far different 

Parties, both in church and state, are to be deplored ; but so 
long as the present condition of things remains, they are neces- 
sary. The people of God are at present no more prepared to 
be united into one ecclesiastical organization than the inliabit- 
ants of the world are prepared to be organized into one gov- 
ernment. It will be most readily admitted that there is but 
one church, just as there is liut one faith, one baptism, one 
God and Father of us all, and that the divisions in the visible 
church have been produced by the enemy of all good. So w^e 
learn were the tares in the wheat. The husbandman sowed 
wheat, but the enemy sowed tares. It is the duty and privi- 
lege of all God's people to pray that these divisions in the 
church may be healed ; but it is the province of the King and 
Head of the church to overrule them for his own glory and the 
good of all his people. 

Generally, in union there is strength, but huge masses are 
not often pure, and frequently they are ver}^ weak. The little 
stream that noiselessly steals its way through a small fissure 
in the rock is clear and sparkling, while the waters collected 
in majestic rivers are turbid. There is a moral strength in 
ipurity which is not in union. In the church, purity is first. 
The order established by its divine Head is "•first pure, then 
peaceable." The existence of three Christian denominations 


which resulted from the organization of the Associate Re- 
formed Church, rather than one formed h}' the union of two, 
was attended by some evils, but it was certainly not without 
some good results. 

William Marshall and James Olarkson went to work with 
that zeal and energy and self- sacrifice which has ever charac- 
terized Associate ministers. The fragments of the Associate 
Presbytery were gathered up and reorganized, and with the 
blessing of God the old church grew and waxed strong. It 
did this under the most unfavorable circumstances. Thus it 
continued until 1858— a period of seventy-six years — when its 
twenty-one Presbyteries, three hundred and twenty-six minis- 
ters and licentiates, and twenty- three thousand five hundred 
and five communicants went into the union which formed 
the United Presbyterian Church of ISTorth America. The few 
Covenanters who did not go into the union formed themselves 
into Societies, and with the moral heroism of martyrs, they 
<'lung to the covenanting principles of their illustrious ancestors. 
They petitioned the Reformed Presbytery of Scotland for min- 
isterial assistance. This, in due time, was granted, and a kind 
and merciful God continues to preserve in America the Cove- 
nanter, with all the main features wliich marked liim during 
the reign of William and Mary. 

The Associate, Associate Reformed and the Covenanter 
Churches were to each other at least an incentive to action. 
More than this. They prevented each other from pursuing 
devious courses. 

What, it is asked, is the present mission of the Covenanter 
Church in America? Nothing I is the prompt and positive 
reph^ which comes from the whole of the American people, 
except a fractional part, too small to be estimated. The mul- 
titude, both in church and state, find in the members of the 
Reformed Presbyterian Church fit objects for their derisive 
scorn. Notwithstanding all this, there is something pictur- 
esquely grand in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and it 
has, in the providence of God, a mission to fill ; otherwise, it 
would not have been preserved for more than two hundred 
years. The continued existence in America of the Reformed 
Presbyterian, of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian, and of 
the United Presbyterian Churches, aftbrds an example of God's 
preserving grace almost without a parallel. 


Eveiy other denomination of Christians in America has de- 
parted from its old landmarks and become modernized and 
Americanized. Not only so ; but the prevailing effort is to 
discard the old and adopt something new. The Seceders and 
Covenanters only have M^eathered the storms of innovation. 
They have been stigmatized as " Scotch bigots," as " a pecu- 
lia people not reckoned with the nation." Infidels and world- 
lings have exhausted their resources of wit and sarcasm that 
they might present these " Scotch people '' as objects of de- 
rision ; and many, professing to be followers of the meek 
and lowly Jesus, have lent these infidels and worldlings a 
helping hand. Still, Scotch Presbyterianism, in all its rugged 
features, is believed and taught by Seceders and Covenanters 
in America, and Seceders and Covenanters form an important 
factor in the American government. 

It often happens in this world that the profits and honors of 
useful inventions and remarkable discoveries are not bestowed 
■upon the rightful persons. The "Western Continent does not 
bear the name of its discoverer, and multitudes of inventors 
have died in obscurity and bequeathed to their ofl:spring a 
heritage of squalid poverty. The Declaration of American 
Independence and the Queensferry Paper breathe the same 
spirit. The former is but the development of the latter. 
Henry Hall and Donald Cargill were the authors of the 
Queensferry Paper; and either Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, 
or Hezekiah James Balch, of jS'orth Carolina, was the author 
of the Declaration of Independence. Every idea contained in 
the Declaration of American Independence, no matter who 
wrote it, is contained in the following single sentence in the 
Queensferry Paper : '• We do declare that we shall set up over 
ourselves and over what God shall give us power of, govern- 
ment and governors according to the word of God ; that we 
shall no more commit the government of ourselves and the 
making of laws for us to any one single person, this kind of 
government being most liable to inconveniences and aptest to 
degenerate into tyranny." This " rash declaration," as it was 
called at the time, by even the friends of liberty and the foes 
of tyrants, was put in circulation long before Jefferson or 
Balch was born. 


To Donald Cargill, Richard Cameron, Ebenezer Erskine, 
Adam Gib, John McMiHan and their coadjutors, the Amer- 
ican people are largely indebted for their liberty ; and these 
men lirst and most clearly, since the cessation of the ancient 
Jewish Theocracy, demonstrated to the world that there can 
be a church without a bishop, and a government without a 



PRESBYTEKIES REARRANGED~New Names Given Them -Presbytery of 
Lonclonderry — Its Members — Character of the Congregations in Connection 
With the Presbytery of Londonderry — Synod Disclaim all Responsibility for 
its Acts — Joins the Synod of Albany — Organization of the Presbytery of the 
Carolinas and Georgia — Organization of the Presbyteries Previous to 1822 — 
Four Synods Organized — First Meeting of the General Synod — Members 
Present — Education of Candidates for the Ministry- -Theological Seminary 
Founded — John M. Mason Sent to Eurojie in Behalf of the Theological Sem- 
inary — His Success — Returns Home Accompanied by Five Ministers and One 
Probationer — John M. Mason Chosen Professor of Theology — Other Theologi- 
cal Seminaries in America — Growth of the General Synod — Disturbing Ele- 
ments — Associate Reformed Church in a Formative State — Confession of 
Faith Adopted in 1799 — Sections of the Scotch Confession Not Adopted — 
Finally Amended — Deliverence of the Synod Concerning Testimonies — The 
Little Constitution — Westminster Confession of Faith Defective — Not Adopt- 
ed as a Whole by the Associate Reformed Church — First and Second Books 
of Discipline — Changes Made in the Westminster Confession of Faith by 
the Associate Reformed Church — The Overture Published — Its Object — Mat- 
thew Henderson Withdraws — Diversity of Opinions Among the Fathers of 
the Associate Reformed Church — John Smith's Difficulty — Judicial Testimo- 
nies Demanded — Synod Refused to Prepare a Testimony — Confession of Faith 
of the Associate Reformed Church. 

Previous to the adjournment of the meetino- at which the 
Associate Reformed Church was formally orsjanized, the three 
presbyteries constituting the Union Church were re-arranged, 
their boundaries iixed, and their old names dropped. They 
were designated The First, The Second and The Third. The 
First Associate Reformed Presbytery embraced all the congre- 
gations in the State of Pennsylvania east of the Susquehanna 
river. The ministers in connection with it were John Cnth- 
bertson, David Telfair, James Proudfoot and John Smith. 

The Second Associate Reformed Presbytery consisted of the- 
following ministers, viz. : Matthew Henderson, John Rogers, 
John Murray, William Logan, Matthew Linn and Alexander 
Dobbin. Its territory embraced all Pennsylvania .west of the 
Susquehanna river. This Presbytery was a continuation of the 
old Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania. 


The Third Associate Eeforined Presbytery consisted of the 
congregations in IS'ew York and the Eastern States. The min- 
isters were John Mason, Robert Annan, David Annan and 
Thomas CLark. It will be seen that the First and Second were 
organized from the Reformed Presbytery and the Associate 
Presbytery (f Pennsylvania, and that the Third was simply the 
Associate Presbytery of JSTew York, the name being changed. 

The territorial limits of all these Presbyteries were, within 
the period of about four years, readjusted and the names again 
changed. The First was changed to that of ISTew York. The 
Second received the name. Presbytery of Pennsylvania. The 
Third Presbytery was, in 1786, divided. Two of its ministers, 
-John Mason and James Proudfoot, with their congregations 
and contiguous vacancies, were annexed to the newly formed 
Presbytery of New York, and the congregations in jSTew Eng- 
land were constituted into a presbyter}' which was designated 
the Presbytery of Londonderry. The ministers in connection 
with the Presbytery of Londonderry were David Annan, Wil- 
liam Morrison and Samuel Taggart. In 1791 the Synod, at 
the request of David Annan, changed the name to " Presby- 
tery of i^ew England," but it was rarely so designated. The 
jiastoral charges in connection with the Presbytery of London, 
derry, or ISTew England, were all in the 'New England States. 
David Annan was pastor of Peterborough, Hillsborough county, 
New Hampshire. He was intemperate in his habits, vulgar in 
his conversation and abusive to his wife and children, on which 
latter account his wife divorced him. In 1800 he was deposed 
from the ministrj^, after which he went to Ireland and died in 
1802. Samuel Taggart was pastor of the congregation of Cole- 
raine, Franklin county, Massachusetts. In 1803 he was elected 
a. member of Congress, and for a period of fourteen j'ears de- 
voted his attention mainly to politics. William Morrison, af- 
terwards Dr. Morrison, was psstor of the congregation of Lon. 
donderrj'. New Hampshire. The congregations in connection 
with the Presbytery of Londonderry were all, or nearly all, dis- 
aflected congregations, received into the Associate Reformed 
Synod from other denominations. The majority of these never 
were in full accord with the principles and practices of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church. The result was, that in 1801, the 
Presbytery of Londondcrr}' was, "on account of defections 


from the principles of the Church, and insubordination to the 
Synod," declared to be no lono-er in connection with the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod. At the same time the Associate Re- 
formed Synod "disclaimed all responsibility for any of its 
transactions." Cut olf from the Associate Reformed Synod, 
it remained in the odd capacitj^ of an independent presbytery 
until 1809, when it was received into the Synod of Albau}- in 
connection with the Presbyterian Church. 

The next Associate Reformed Presbytery which was organ- 
ized was " The Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia." This 
organization w\as effected at Long Cane, Abbeville county, S. 
C, on the 24th of February, 1790. There Avere present at the 
organization : Thomas Clark, Peter McMuUan, John Boyse, 
David Bothwell, ordained ministers ; and James Rogers, licen- 
tiate ; and James McBride and AVilliam Dunlap, ruling elders. 
The territory embraced by the Presbytery of the Carolinas and 
■Georgia Avas the States of Xorth and South Carolina and 

Previous to the year 1822, there Avere in connection with the 
Associate Reformed Church thirteen presbyteries. These Avere, 
in addition to those already mentioned : The Second Presby- 
tery of Pennsylvania, organized at Yough Meeting-house, June 
.24th, 1793. Ministers — Matthew Henderson, John Jamieson, 
Adam Rankin and Robert "Warwick. Territory — all Avest of 
the Allegheny Mountains. The Presbytery of AVashington 
AA^as organized on the 14th of July, 1794. Ministers — James 
Proudfoot, John Dunlap, George Mairs and James IMairs. On 
the 7tli of October, 1799, Robert AVarwick, Adam Rankin and 
John Steele, members of the Second Pennsylvania Presbyter}^, 
living in the State of Kentuck}', Avere, together Avith a ruling 
elder from each of their pastoral charges, appointed by the 
presbytery to which they belonged, a " committee to meet from 
time to time and transact such presbyterial business as might 
come before them." On the 20th of May, 1800, the Synod so 
far sanctioned this apparently irregular act of the j^resbytery 
as " to adopt an order for the organization of the Presbj'tery 
of Kentucky, at such time and place as may he agreed upon." 
RcA'. Adam Rankin Avas appointed to preach the sermon usual 
on such occasions. The organization Avas effected, but the pre- 
cise date is not knoAvn. 


The Second Presbytery of the Caroliiias and Georgia was or- 
ganized at Cedar Spring, Abbeville county, S. C, on the 8th 
of April, 1801. The ministers in connection with this presby- 
tery were: Alexander Porter, William Dixon, Peter McMul- 
lan and David Bothwell. Its territor}^ was all west of Broad 

Big Spring Presbytery was organized at Fermanagh, Penn- 
sylvania, on the 18th of May, 1803. The ministers in connec- 
tion with it were: William Logan, John Young, Thomas 
Smitli, James Walker, James McConnell, William Baldridge 
and James Harper, Jr. Its territory- was Cumberland Valley 
and adjacent counties and south to the James River. 

On the 23d of May, 1803, at Rock Creek, Pa., the Presbytery 

of Philadelphia was organized. The ministers in connection 

w^thitwere: Robert Annan, Alexstnder Dobbin and Eben- 

'ezer Dicicej-. Its territor}' Avas eastward of the Cumberland 


The Presbytery of Saratoga was organized at Broadalbin, 
Xew York, on the 11th of October, 1808. The following min- 
isters, viz : James Mairs, William McAuley, John Burns and 
Robert Proudfoot, were in connection with it. The territory 
assigned it Avas nortli of Orange county and Avest of the Hud- 
son River. 

The Presbytery of Ohio was organized at Xenia, Ohio, on 
the 0th of April, 1817, from tl>e Presbytery of Kentucky. The 
actual division, however, did not take place until the 1st of 
January, 1818. The ministers assigned to the Presbytery of 
Ohio Avere William Baldridge, Alexander Porter, David Risk,. 
Samuel Carothers, John McFarland and Abraham Craig. All 
the southAvestern part of the State of Ohio Avas included Avithin 
the territorial limits of this presbyter3'. 

In the course of time, the territorial limits of nearly all the 
presbyteries Avere changed. One — Londonderry — ceased to 
have any connection Avith the Associate Reformed Church, and 
the names of several Avere changed, and a feAV Avere divided. 
For a period of tAventy years no change Avas made in the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod. The number of congregations rapidly 
increased, neAV presbyteries Avere organized, and the field occu- 
\)ied by the Associate Reformed Church became very extensive, 
embracing the territory included by nearly all the original 
thirteen States formino- the American Government. 


On the 22d of October, 1802, it ^vas determined to organize 
from the original S3'nod four coordinate Synods. On the 30th 
of October, 1802, the original Associate Reformed Synod was 
dissolved. Before its dissolution, however, the necessary ar- 
rangements were made for organizing four Synods, to be known 
respectively as the Synod of Isew York, the Sj'nod of Penn- 
sylvania, the Sj'Dod of the Carolinas and the Synod of Scioto. 
The Synod of ]^ew York was organized at Newburgh, J^, Y., 
on the 2Ttli of May, 1803. It Avas composed of the Presbj'te- 
ries of Xew York and Washington. 

The Presbyteries of Philadelphia and Big Spring, were, at 
Marsh Creek, Pa., on the 25th of May, 1803, organized into a 
«ynod called the Sj^nod of Pennsylvania. 

The Synod of the Carolinas was organized at Little River, 
now Ebenezer, Fairfield county, S. C, on the 9th of May, 1803. 
The presbyteries subordinate to this sj-nod were the First and 
Second Presbyteries of the Carolinas and Georgia. On the 2d 
of May, 1804, at Chillicotlie, Ohio, the Synod of Scioto was or- 
ganized. It was composed of the Presbyteries of Monongahela 
{originally the Second Presbytery of Pennsylvania) and Ken- 

These four synods were subordinate to a general synod to be 
■constituted by representatives chosen from the presbj^teries, as 
follows : 

" Every presbytery containing not more than two minister.?, shall be entitled 
to send one minister and one elder; and for every three ministers above that 
number, one minister and one elder more. This proportion shall be preserved 
till the number of delegates exceed thirty; after which each x^resbytery consist- 
ing of more than ten ministers, shall, for every four additional ministers, be en- 
titled to send one minister and one elder."' 

On Wednesday, the 30th of May, 1804, twenty-two repre- 
sentatives from the eight presbyteries composing the four 
Synods, met at Greencastle, Pa. The Rev. John M. Mason, in 
the absence of the Rev. Robert Annan, took the chair, and 
after preaching a sermon from the text : " Hold fast the faith- 
ful word," &c., Titus, 1: 9, constituted by prayer, The Gene- 
ral Synod of the Associate ReforaIed Church in jSTorth 
America. The court, when organized, consisted of the follow- 
ino; members : 

i;i() lusTouY or the 

Synod of New York, Freshytery of Washington. — George 
Mairs, Alexander Prouclfoot and Robert Proudfoot, ministers ; 
and Ebenezer Clark, John Magoffin and John Rowan, ruling 
elders. John Rowan was absent. 

Presbytery of New York. — John M. Mason and John Mc- 
Jimsey, ministers. Two ruling elders — George Lindsay and 
and John Shaw — were chosen to represent the Presbytery of 
New York, but neither attended. 

Synod of Pennsylvania, Presbytery of Fhiladeljjhia. — Alex- 
ander Dobbin and Ebenezer Dickey, ministers; Donald Cat- 
nach and John Morrow, ruling elders. 

Presbytery of Pig Spring. — Thomas Smith and James Mc- 
Connell, ministers; John Gabby and James McLenaghan, 
ruling elders. 

Synod of Scioto, Presbytery of Kentucky. — Adam Rankin, 
minister ; and Thomas Meek, ruling elder. 

Presbytery of Monongahela. — John Rlddell (absent) and David 
Proudfoot, ministers ; John Patterson and James Findlay, 
ruling elders. 

Synod of the Carolinas, First Presbytery. — ^John Hemphill, 
minister. No ruling elder was appointed. 

Second Presbytery. — James McGill, minister. No ruling elder 
was appointed. 

The Rev. Alexander Dobbin was chosen Moderator and the 
Rev. James Gray, Clerk. Previous to the organization of the 
General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church, the num- 
ber of vacancies had greatly increased, and their petitions for- 
the ordinances of God's house, although earnest, could not be 
answered by the Synod. There was a great demand for preach- 
ing, and only a few preachers to perform the work. In the 
years preceding the organization of the Associate Reformed 
Church, the Associate Presbyter}^ as well as the Reformed 
Presbytery, depended upon the judicatories in Europe for their- 
supply of ministers. The course pursued by both these gave, 
at the time, "[reat oft'ense to the judicatories in Scotland and 
Ireland, and partiall}' barred even friendly intercourse between, 
them and the Associate Reformed Synod. 


All the oltl ministers of both the Covenanter and Associate- 
Presbyteries, in America, were men of superior intellectual 
endowments, finished classical scholars, and thoroughly trained 
theologians. Of this statement there are many incontrovertible 

Having been well educated themselves, these old fathers of 
the Associate Reformed Church were able to appreciate the ad- 
vantages of an education, and were unwilling to admit any one 
to preach the gospel whom they did not consider qualified to 
instruct those among whom, in the providence of God, thev 
might be called to labor. 

For the first fifteen years after its organization, most of the 
candidates in the ministry in the Associate Reformed Church 
received both their literary and theological training in Dickinson. 
College, Carlisle, Pa. This college was founded in 1783. Its 
first president was the Rev. Dr. Charles Nisbet, a native of 
Scotland. At the request of a number of young men, gradu- 
ates of the college, who had the gospel ministry in view. Dr.. 
Xisbet delivered a course of lectures on Si/stemafic Theology/. 
The candidates for the ministrj' in the Associate Reformed 
Church usually, while in college, attended these lectures. ISTo 
doubt, the Associate Reformed Presbyteries entrusted the- 
training of their theological students to Dr. Xisbet because ot" 
the fact that he was known to be, both in Scotland and Amer- 
ica, a member of the Orthodox party. 

Some, perhaps all, or nearly all the ministers licensed by the 
Associate Reformed Church, during the first eighteen years, 
studied privately. Each pastor was a theological professor,, 
and his humble dwelling a theological seminary. Alexander 
Dobbin, John Mason, Matthew Linn, John Smith and. Robert 
Annan, rendered the church an important service in 
youno; men for the ministrv. 

In such a system of theological training, there was, no doubt,, 
something defective, but not so great as is,, perhaps, generally 
supposed. The system which reduces theory promptly to prac- 
tice, is not very defective. The most objectionable feature con- 
nected with the mode of theological training in existence dur- 
ing the early period of the Associate Reformed Church, was 
that it imposed upon pastors a very onerous burden. In addi- 
tion to this, when one denomination, of Christians entrusts the 


training of its theological stndents, either in part or in whole, 
to members of another denomination, it places its own dis- 
tinctive doctrines and practices in eminent peril, and opens 
wide the door that defections from doctrine and laxity iii prac- 
tice may pour in like a iiood. 

To remedy all defects, remove all objections and prevent -flU 
■evils connected with the existing mode of training candidates 
for the ministr}', and at the same time increase the number of 
able ministers, the Associate Reformed Church, as early as 
1796, began to direct its attention to the founding of a theo- 
logical seminary. It was not, however, until 1801 that the 
matter assumed a tangible form. The subject had, on several 
■occasions, been before the 8ynod, but the impoverished and de- 
, moralized condition of the countrj-, on account of the war, 
had, up to this time, retarded all visible progress. The matter 
was put into the hands of a committee. The report of that 
committee was taken up by the Synod on the 2d of June, 1801. 
"We cannot better express the mind of the Synod on this sub- 
ject than by quoting its own minute, which is as follows : 

" Took up the report of the committee for devising a phm of sujiiily to the 
vacancies ; and. after tlie most serious deliberations, came to the following con- 
clusion : 

1. That a minister of this Church be sent to Great Britain and Ireland, or 
either of them, to procure a competent number of evangelical ministers and 
probationers, and that his expenses be defrayed from the Synodical fund. 

2. That he be authorized to secure a number of pious and intelligent students 
of divinity, who shall engage to repair, after the completion of their studies, to 
the United States, and place themselves under the direction of this Synod. 

3. That he be further authorized and enjoined to solicit donations in money, 
for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a theological seminary for the edu- 
cation of youth for the holy ministry. 

4. That, according as the moneys in his hand shall permit, he be also author- 
ized to pui'chase a library for said seminary ; and collection of those books 
which are most needful and useful for this Synod, to be distributed among their 
ministers and students, as shall hereafter be directed ; using the advice and 
counsel of judicious and godly ministers with regard to the selection ; and that 
he solicit donations in books for both these uses.'' 

The Rev. John M. Mason was the person selected to dis- 
charge the duties imposed Ijy the above resolutions. For such . 
a mission he was eminentlj' well qualified.. In less than two 
months after his appointment he set sail for Europe, and on 
the 2d of September landed at Greenock. He was absent about 
fifteen months, during which time he collected about live thou- 



sand dollars. Nearly all this amount he expended in the pur- 
chase of books for the use of the contemplated seminar}'. lEc 
was also successful in prevailing n})0n five ministers and one 
probationer to come to the assistance of the Associate Reformed 
Svnod. A few days after the return of Mr. Mason (October, 
1802), the Synod convened in the city of Xew York. Mr. 
Mason met with it, and gave in a detailed account of his agency. 
The concluding sentence of his report is as follows : 

'■ The business of the mission having been brought to a close, toward the end 
of August, I lost no time in preparing for mj^ return, and on the 1st of Septem- 
ber sailed from Greenock, in company with the Rev. Messrs. James Scrimgeour, 
Alexander Calderhead, Robert Forest, Robert Easton, James Lawrie, ministers; 
and Robert Hamilton Bishop, probationer ; who, having had a prosperous voyage, 
by the will of God, are now present to tender their services to the churches." 

At the first meeting of the General Synod, in 1804, the Rev. 
Jolin M. Mason was chosen professor of divinit}-, and the city 
of ^ew York fixed upon as the proper place for the seminary. 

This was the second theological seminary established in 
America. Andover, Massachusetts, was established in 1808, 
and Princeton, Xew Jersey-, in 1812. Twelve yearn previous, 
however, to the founding of the Associate Reformed Theologi- 
cal Seminarj^, the Associate Presbyteiy — those who did not 
coalesce with the Covenanters — established a theological sem- 
inary in Beaver county, Pa. This was the first theological 
seminary established in America. The Rev. John Anderson — 
afterward Dr. John Anderson — was its first professor. For a 
period of twenty-seven years, or from 1792 to 1819, he con- 
tinued, single and alone, to discharge acceptably and profitably 
the onerous duties of his responsible ofiice. 

For several years peace and harmony reigned in the Gen- 
eral Synod, and the Associate Reformed Church seemed to be 
receiving a constant outpouring of the Spirit. All was not, 
boTvever, peace and harmony. There were, as the sequel will 
show^, a number of occurrences which disturbed the tranquility 
of the moment. In fact, there was in the Associate Reformed 
Church, from the period of its organization in 1782, up to 1822, 
an apparent want of stability. For nearly one half of this time 
it was in what may with some propriety be called a formative 
state. It was not until the 31st of May, 1799, that the Con- 
fession of Faith of the Associate Reformed Church was adopted. 



At its first meeting, in 1782, the Associate Reformed Synod,. 
" after serious deliberation and solemn prayer," unanimously 
adopted the following articles : 

I. It is the resolution of tiiis Synod to persevere in adherinpf to the system of 
truth contained in the Holy Scriptures, exhibited in the Confession of Faith. 
Catechisms — Larger and Shorter — and to the fundamental princif)les of gospel 
worship and ecclesiastical government agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines 
at Westminster, with the assistance of commissioners from the Church of Scot- 
land. This Declaration, however, does not extend to the following sections of 
the Confession of Faith which define the power of civil government in relation 
to religion: Chapter XX, Section 4; Chapter XXIII, Section 3; Chapter XXXI, 
Section 2. These Sections are reserved for a candid discussion on some future 
occasion, as God shall be pleased to direct. Nor is it to be construed as a resig- 
nation of our rights to adjust the circumstances of public worship and ecclesi- 
astical policy to the station in which Djvine Prov'idence may place us. All the 
members of the Synod acknowledge in the meanwhile that they are under the 
most sacred obligations to avoid unnecessary criticism upon any of these excel- 
lent treatises, which would have a native tendency to weaken their attachment 
to the truths therein contained. If any of the members of the Synod shall con- 
ceive any scruples at any Article or Articles of the Confession of Faith, Cate- 
chisms. Directory of Worship, or Form of Presbyterian Church Government, or 
shall think they have sufficient reason to make objections thereto, they shall 
have full liberty to communicate their scruples or objections to their brethren, 
who shall consider them with impartiality, meekness and patience, and endeavor 
to remove them by calm, dispassionate reasoning. No kind of censure shall be 
inflicted in cases of this nature unless those scrupling and objecting brethren 
shall disturb the peace of the Church by publishing their oi^inions to the people, 
or by urging them in judicatories with irritating and schismatic zeal. 

II. The ministers and elders in Synod assembled also declare their hearty 
ajiprobation cf the earnest contendings for the faith and magnanimous suffer- 
ings in its defense, by which our pious ancestors were enabled to distinguish 
themselves in the last two centuries; that they have an affectionate remem- 
brance of the National Covenant of Scotland, and of the Solemn League and 
Covenant of Scotland. England and Ireland, as well-intended engagements to 
support the cause of civil and religious liberty, and hold themselves bound by 
divine authority to practice all the moral duties therein contained according to 
their circumstances. That j)ublic and explicit covenanting with God is a moral 
duty under the gospel dispensation, to which they are resolved to attend, as He 
shall be pleased to direct. That it is their real intention to carry with them all 
the judicial testimonies against defections from the faith once delivered to the 
saints, which have been emitted in the present age by their brethren in Scot- 
land as far as these testimonies serve to display the truth, and comport with the 
circumstances of our church, and that they will avail themselves of every call to 
bear appointed testimony against the errors and delusions which prevail in this 

III. The members of Synod also acknowledge with gratitude that they are 
bound to honor the religious denominations in Britain to which they belonged,. 
on account of their zeal for the purity of the gospel and of those laudable efforts 


to promote it, not only in Britain and Ireland, but also in America, and they 
profess an unfeigned desire to hold an amicable correspondence with all or any 
of them, and to concur with them in every just and eligible measure for pro- 
moting true and undefiled religion. 

IV. It is also the resolution of this Synod never to introduce, nor suffer to be 
introduced in their church, the local controversy about the civil establishment, 
of Presbyterian religion, and the religious clause of some Burgess oaths in Scot- 
land, or any iinnecessary disputes about the origin of civil dominion, and requi- 
sites for rendering it legal in circumstances dissimilar to those in which them- 
selves are placed. They esteem th'emselves bound to detach their religious pro- 
fession from all foreign connections, and to honor the civil powers of America, 
conscientiously submitting to them in all their lawful operations. 

V. That the abuse of ecclesiastical censures may be effectually prevented, 
the following General Rule of Discipline is unanimously adopted, namely : That 
notorious violations of the law of God, and such errors m doctrine as un- 
hinge the Christian profession, shall be the only scandals for which deposition 
and excommunication shall be passed, and that the highest censures of other 
offenders shall be a dissolution of the connection between the Synod and the 

YI. The terms of admission to fixed communion with the Synod shall be 
soundness of faith as defined in the aliove-mentioned Confession and Cate- 
chisms, submission to the Government and discipline of the Church and a lioly 

VII. The members of Synod also acknowledge it to be their duty to treat 
pious persons of other denominations with great affection and tenderness. They 
are willing, as God affordeth opportunity, to extend communion to all who in 
every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus in conformity to His will. But 
as occasional communion in a divided state of the church maj' produce great 
disorders, if it be not conducted with much wisdom and moderation, they es- 
teem themselves and the people under their inspection inviolably bound, in all 
ordinary cases, to submit to every restriction of their liberty, which general ed- 
ification renders necessary. This article, however, is not to be construed as a 
license to encourage vagrant preachers who go about under pretence of extra- 
ordinary zeal and devotion, and are not subject to the government and discipline 
of any regular church. 

VIII. As the principles of the Synod are detached from the local peculiari- 
ties by which the most considerable parts of Presbyterians have been distin- 
guished, it is further agreed to reject all such applications for admissions to 
fixed communion with the Synod that may at any time be made by persons be- 
longing to other denominations of Presbyterians, as evidently arise from ca- 
price, personal prejudice, or any other schismatical principles, and that the only 
admissable application shall be such as shall, upon deliberate examination, be 
found to arise from a solid conviction of duty, and to discover Christian meek- 
ness towards the party whose communion is relinquished, or such as are made 
by considerable bodies of people who are not only destitute of a fixed gospel 
ministry, but cannot be reasonably provided for by the denomination of Pres- 
byterians to which they belong. It is, however, thought proper that applications 
of the last kind shall not be admitted till the bodies by whom they are admitted 


shall previously inform the judicatories which have the immediate inspection of 
them of the reasons of their intended application, and shall use all due means 
to obtain the concurrence of that judicatory. 

The above articles were afterwards revised, and in some par- 
ticulars slightly amended, and in connection with the Basis of 
Union, published under the title: The " Constitution of the Asso- 
ciate Eelormed Cliurch." They were known as '• The Little 

"Whoever will read the articles which made the " Little Con- 
stitution," in connection with the Basis of Union, will discover 
that the founders of the Associate Reformed Church endeav- 
ored to avoid some of the grave errors into which both Asso- 
ciates and Covenanters, both in America and Europe, had fallen. 
The Westminster Confession of Faith, with all its excellencies, 
was regarded by them as defective. This is manifest from the 
fact that one Section in each of three chapters was not adopted, 
but " reserved for a candid discussion on some future occasion." 

This reservation excited a feeling akin to suspicion in the 
minds of some. To question, some thought, one principle laid 
down in the Westminster Confession of Faith, was to ignore 
the whole. This was a gratuitous assumption — a conclusion 
reached without a knowledge of the facts. 

The parts of the Westminster Confession of Faith not 
adopted by the Synod of the Associate Reformed Church, all 
referred to the powers of the civil magistrate. The Church of 
Scotland, the mother of all the Presbyterian Churches in the 
world, was a National Church, and in some of its features anti- 
Presbyterian. This is not to be thought strange. The wonder 
is that so great attainments were made by the Church of Scot- 
land, and that she retained so little of papal corruptions. In 
the First Book of Discipline, prepared in 1560, by the justly 
celebrated John Knox, there is something that savors of Eras- 
tianism in almost every paragraph. It is decidedly anti-papal 
and anti-prelatic, but it is not, strictly speaking, Presbyterian. 
It resembles more the code of a tyrant than a system of laws 
and regulations by which freemen in Christ Jesus are to be 
governed. It certainly was adapted to the time at which it 
was formulated, but is totally unfit for a people far advanced in 
scriptural knowledge. 


The Second Book of Discipline, adopted in 1581, was in ad- 
vance, in some particulars, of the first ; in others it was not. 
In neither was the church and state kept separate and distinct. 
Most evidently was there an effort, strong and praiseworthy, 
in that direction; but it was the effort of men just emerging 
from the darkness of popery and living under a monarchial 
government. The Westminster Confession of Faith is far in 
advance of any similar production which preceded it. The 
Scotch Commissioners,^ Henderson and Gillespie, may, with 
some modification, be said to be its authors. It is a monument 
of wisdom and piety, and in the main is without an objection, 
because it is strictly scriptural. Still, the AVestminster Confes- 
sion of Faith is defective. So thought the fathers of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church, and so think all their descendants. 

These defects are confined excilusively to those Sections which 
treat, either directly' or indirectly, of the powers and preroga- 
tives of the civil magistrate. In Chapter XX. of the "West- 
minster Confession of Faith, the subject treated of is "Chris- 
tian liberty and liberty of conscience." The objectionable, fea- 
ture in the fourth Section of this chapter is that it declares that 
those who "resist the ordinance of God may be lawfully called 
to an account and proceeded against both by the church and 
by the c-ivil magistrate" 

In Section third of Chapter XXIII. it is made the duty of 
the civil magistrate "to take order that unity and peace be 
preserved in the church ; that the truth of God be kept pure 
and entire ; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed ; 
all corruptions and abuses in worship or discipline prevented 
or reformed ; and all the ordinances of God duh' settled, ad- 
ministered and observed, to thebetter effecting whereof, he hath 
power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that 
whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of 
God." Section second of Chapter XXXI. recognizes the right 
of civil magistrates to convene synods and councils, but re- 
serves the right to ministers to do this when the civil magis- 
trate is an open enemy of the church. These three Sections of 
the Westminister Confession of Faith were not adopted by the 
Associate Reformed Church, because they are clearly anti-Pres- 
byterian. They were considered, not hastily, but c'almly and 
dispassionately, for a period of more than sixteen years, and 


amended, and finally, on theSlst of May, 1799, adopted as they 
now stand in the Confession of Faith of the Associate Re- 
formed Ohnrch. The only other change which was made was 
the substituting of the word authorizing %v "tolerating" in the 
catalogue of sins contained in the answer to the 139th ques- 
tion of the Larger Catechism. This last change, however, is 
not always oljserved. 

Whoever will carefully compare the Confession of Faith of 
the Associate Reformed Church with the Westminster Confes- 
sion of Faith will be convinced that the fathers of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church acted wisely in making the reservation 
they did make, and that in amending the Sections referred to, 
they showed that they had clear and distinct ideas of pure 
Presbyterianisra, and that they freed the Westminster Confes- 
sion of Faith from Erastianism, and severed the church from 
the state in its government and discipline. 

It will also be observed that the Associate Reformed Church 
avoided the issuing of Testimonies. This was common in both 
branches of the church from which she was descended. Both 
Associates and Covenanters had covenant bonds and judicial 
testimonies which they regarded as of equal importance with 
the Confession of Faith itself, and sometimes apparently of 
more importance. These Covenant bonds and Judicial Testi- 
monies were made tests of Christian character, and an assent 
to them made a term of communion. The Associate Reformed 
Church began its existence without any of these. Those who 
did not correctly understand her position charged her with 
"burying the Covenants." 

There was a demand on the part of some of her own people 
for a testimony. This the Synod studiously avoided. An "Il- 
lustration and Defense of the Westminster Confession of 
Faith," prepared by order of Synod, in 1785, was printed in 
1787, but was not judicially adopted, but simply recommended 
as " an excellent and instructive illustration and application of 
those truths unto the present state of the Church of Christ in 

The committee appointed to prepare this " Illustration and 
Defense" consisted of Robert Annan, John Smith and John 
Mason. It is mainly the production of Robert Annan. The 
design contemplated in preparing this " Overture," as it has 


■always been called, seems to have been two-fold : one was to 
luish the clamor for a Testimony ; and the other, and no doubt 
the main design, was to ascertain the mind of the Synod in 
reference to the " excepted " Sections of the AVestminster Con- 
fession of Faitji. In other words, it was designed to be a 
movement in the direction of formulating and rendering per- 
manent the subordinate Standards of the Associate Reformed 

While this overture was under consideration, in 1789, the 
Eev. Matthew Henderson handed in the following paper, 
signed by himself, John Smith and William Logan: 

Will the Synod approve the judicial Act and Testimony of the Associate Pres- 
bytery of Scotland, and their Act concerning the doctrine of Grace ? Will the 
Synod adopt the Declaration made by the Associate Presbytery respecting civil 
dominion and the qualifications necessary to the being of a magistrate ? Do 
the Synod think that the renovation of the Covenant in the Secession is a reno- 
vation of the National Covenant and Solemn League 'i Do the Synod profess 
themselves to be under the formal obligation of these covenants, considered as 
ecclesiastical deeds? Will the Synod give up the scheme of occasional com- 
munion in all ordinary cases, and confine the privilege to the members of our 
own church? 

An effort was made in an extra-judicial conference to satisfy 
the minds of these brethren. Having failed, Mr. Henderson 
withdrew from the Associate Reformed Church and returned 
to the Associate Presbytery. In the autumn of 1795 John 
Smith followed his example. 

It is evident that during the formative period of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church there was some diversity of opinion on 
•several points. Mr. Henderson left her communion because she 
would not approve and adopt all that the Associate Presbytery 
^of Scotland had approved and adopted, and give up the scheme of 
■occasional communion. In the case of Mr. Henderson there 
can be little if any doubt that he acted from anything but pure 
motives. In the case of Mr. Smith it is probable that he left 
the Associate Reformed Church parth- , at least, because he did 
not obtain the pastorate of the congregation in Xew York, left 
vacant by the death, in 1792, of Dr. John Mason. 

It is clear that some, at least, of the Associate Reformed 
fathers were, at first, partially in favor of adopting a Judicial 
Testimony. This was traceable to the bias of early education 
and the influence of the past history of the Associate and Gov- 


enanter Churches. A moment's reflection, it would seenir 
would have satisfled any one who was not blinded by preju- 
dices that tlie matter of preparing a Judicial Testimony was 
attended with insuperable difliculties. The longer this matter 
was considered, and the more it was discussed, the greater be- 
came the embarrassment. 

It seems strange at this day that any one would ever, in 
America, after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, have 
insisted upon the adoption of the Solemn League and Covenant. 
That instrument will stand as one of the grandest monuments 
of the past. It marks an epo^h in the history of the church 
which will never be forgotten ; but it is strikingly national in 
its character, and the peculiar circumstances which made its 
approval at one time well nigh a matter of necessity have long 
ago passed away. 

To place themselves in a proper light before the world, the 
Synod of the Associate Reformed Church, in 1797, adopted 
the following paper: 

Whereas, A number of people, under the inspection of the Associate Re- 
formed Synod, entertain doubts as to their principles and intentions with re- 
spect to the maintenance of a faithful testimony for the truth as it is in Jesus; 
and whereas, these doubts are accompanied with anxiety for a judicial publica- 
tion, copiously illustrating and defending the doctrines of the gospel; and enu- 
merating, refuting and condemning errors and heresies, to be called a Testi- 
mony, the ministers and elders in Synod assembled think it incumbent on them 
to explain, and by this Act they do explain their real views of these interesting 

Upright and open testimony for the truths of the Lord's word, whether relat- 
ing to doctrine, worship or manners, is the indispensable duty of all Christians, 
especially of the ministers and judicatories of the church, who, from their office, 
ought to be set for the defense of the gospel. 

Judicial testimonies being designed to operate against error, are, lest they 
should miss their aim. to be wisely adapted to the immediate circumstances of 
the church. 

Both these principles have been fully recognized by the Synod, in their pub- 
lished Act of May, 1790. entitled An Act to amend the Constitution of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod. They therein declare that "they consider the Confession 
of Faith. Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Directory for Worship, and Form of 
Church Government, as therein received, as their Fixed Testimony, by which 
their principles are to be tried; or, as the judicial expression of the sense in 
which they understand the Holy Scriptures in the relation they have to the 
doctrine, the worship and government of the Christian church, and that it is 
their resolution to emit occasional testimonies, in particidar acts, against errors 
and delusions. The Synod, however, being frequently importuned to publish a. 


testimony of a different kind, renewed from time to time, their discussions on 
tliis point, and after the most impartial and serious deliberation, find it not 
their duty to recede from the above resolution." 

For the satisfaction of those who have not had the means to 
ascertain the grounds of this decision, some of them are sub- 
joined : 

1. In her excellent Confession of Faith, Catechisms. &c., the church is already 
possessed of a testimony so scriptural, concise, comprehensive and perspicuous, 
that the Synod despair of seeing it materially improved, and are convinced that 
the most eligible and useful method of maintaining the truths therein exhibited, 
is occasionally to elucidate them and direct them in particular acts against par- 
ticular errors, as circumstances require. 

2. There was drawn up and published by a committee of Synod, in the year 
1181, An Overture for illustrating and defending the doctrines of the Westminster 
Confession of Faith. And in May, 1790, Synod unanimously resolved that said 
overture is, " in substance an excellent and instructive illustration and ajiplica- 
tion of these truths unto the present state of the Church of Christ in America," 
and warmly recommended it as such to all the people under their inspection. 
"VThatever there might be effected on a general scale, by any similar pamphlet, 
in the form of a Judicial Testimony, may be effected by that overture. And to 
emit such a testimony would only be to repeat the same laborious and expen- 
sive work, without obtaining any proportional advantage. 

3. Could a Testimony universally acceptable be prepared, it would still be far 
from producing those beneficial effects which are so fondly expected: 

a. If it were to do tolerable justice to the prodigious extent of the Confession, 
it would swell into an immense work, of which the very bulk would defeat the 
intention. And if it were comprised in a volume suited to the leisure of an or- 
dinary reader, it would be defective, and defective, perhaps, on those very points 
on which the occurrences of a few months might require it to be particular and 

b. It could scarcely give a correcter view of the principles of the Synod than is 
already given in their received Confession, because it could scarcely hold forth any 
truths which are not therein held forth, or state them, upon the whole, with more 
luminous precision. The opinion that such a testimony is needful to ascertain 
the Synod's principles is a direct impeachment of the Confession itself; since, 
if they are not sufficiently ascertained by this, it must be either lame or ambig- 
uous; and then the church demands not a separate testimony, but an amended 
Confession. If any parts of it are differently interpreted and abused to the pro- 
motion of error, these ought to be explained in detached acts, and such explana- 
tion belongs strictly to the province of occasional testimonies. 

c. It could not deter from application for ministerial or Christian communion 
with the Synod any who are not really friendly to the doctrines of grace, since 
one who can profess an attachment to the Confession of Faith while he is secret- 
ly hostile to its truths, is too far advanced in dishonesty to be impeded, for a 
moment, by any testimony which the wisdom of man can frame. 

d. It could not silence the objections and cavils of such as incline to mis- 
represent the principles and character of the Synod, since it is impossible to 
satisfv. with anything, those who are determined to be satisfied with nothing. 


The very uncandid manner in which the Synod have already been often treated, 
both in Britain and America, leaves little reason to hope their plainest declara- 
tions will not be perverted, and their most upright intentions misconstrued. 

e. It could not lift up a ijerpetual banner for truth, since from the ever-fluc- 
tuating state of religious controversy, and the impossibility of foreseeing the 
different shapes which error may assume, some parts of it would gradually grow 
obsolete, while some would be deficient ; and the same necessity for occasional 
testimonies would still remain. In the nature of things, moreover, it would, after 
a short time, at most a few years, be out of print and out of date, and ceasing 
to interest the public curiosity, would utterly fail of accomplishing its end. 
There is also solid i-eason to fear that in the present unhappy contentions which 
divide the church, it would be used by too many as the rallying point of party, 
and would inflame those wounds in the body of Christ which it shouUl be our 
study and prayer to have speedily and thoroughly healed. 

While these and similar reasons impel the Synod to decline issuing such a 
Testimony as hath been desired, there are others which persuade them that the 
plan on which, as the Lord in His providence hath called them, they have hitherto 
acted, and on which they are resolved to act in future — the plan of emitting 
occasional testimonies— include^i all the excellencies of that which they reject; 
is free from its embarrassments, and is calculated to produce real and perma- 
nent good. 

As witnesses of the Most High, Christians are especially bound to avow and 
defend those truths which are more immediately decried, and to oppose those 
errors which immediately prevail. This is termed by the Spirit of God being 
established in the present trtdh. It is the very essence of a judicious testimony ; 
nor is there any way in which- judicatories can so well maintain it as in serious 
and scriptural occasional acts. 

Of this method of testifying there are plain and numerous traces in the Holy 
Scriptures and in the pious practice of the primitive church. Such testimonies 
have, moreover, special advantages ; they are brief — so that a reader of ordinary 
diligence can, in a very little time, make himself perfectly master of their con- 

They are pointed ; and by singling out the error which is doing prese>if mis- 
chief, they give more effectual warning of present danger than could possibly 
be done if they were interspersed through a large and general publication. 

They are new ; and for this very reason they arrest the attention of men more 
than if they were diffused through an older and more extended work, however 

They may also throw fresh light upon received truths, and make a deeper im- 
pression on the mind than if met with in the course of ordinary reading. 

They furnish special topics for religious conversation ; and by fixing the 
thoughts of pious people on a particular subject, render them greatly instru 
mental in edifying each other. 

As they confine the attention of judicatories within a small compass, there is 
a better prospect of their being executed with ability and success. 

They serve to cement the affections of judicatories and their people, as they 
oblige the former to watch, with peculiar zeal, over the interest of the latter, 
and afford the latter continual and enduring proofs of the faithfulness of the 


They are frequent, and thus have a happy tendency to keep alive the spirit of 
honest testimony for Jesus Christ, which would slumber much deeper and much 
longer, were that duty supposed to be discharged in a solitary volume. 

They will form, coUectirehj, a more complete and useful vindication of truth 
than could be expected if the different branches of it were all to be discussed in 
a continued work. 

They will show posterity what were the truths which, in a peculiar manner, 
their fathers were honored to maintain. 

In 1798, the Synod resolved to change the text of the AVest- 
minster Confession in the "excepted" sections, and thus free 
it from even the semblance of Erastianism. These changes 
having been made, the Confession of Faith was adopted at 
Greencastle, Pa., on the 31st of May, 1799. From that time 
down to the present, that Confession of Faith, without any 
alteration or any testimonies, has continued to be the Confes- 
sion of Faith of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South. 

To sa}^ that it is absolutely free from all defects, would be to 
claim for it what can be claimed for nothing merely human. 
It contains, however, a clear, precise and manh^ statement of 
the doctrines of free grace, and so much resembles the Bible in 
its phraseolog}-, that it may, with the strictest regard to truth, 
be said to be founded on and deduced from the Word of God. 
It was born, however, in a storm ; but it has outlived the tem- 
pest. Until it was formulated, the Associate Reformed Synod 
Avas in a kind of unsettled state. Its adoption brought com- 
parative peace ; at least it brought greater stability to the As- 
sociate Reformed Church. If it did not increase its friends, it 
<3ertainly drew clearly the line of distinction between the As- 
sociate Reformed Church and the other Scotch Presbyterian 
denominations. By both Covenanters and Associates, Burgh- 
•ers and Anti-Burghers, both in America and Scotland, the fra- 
mers of the Confession of Faith of the Associate Reformed 
Church were severely censured. So great was the opposition 
to the Associate Reformed Church, that only a few of the Se- 
cession emigrants from Scotland or Ireland to America — and 
these few all Burghers — joined the Associate Reformed Church. 
These were prejudiced against her, and without examining into 
the matter, came to the wild conclusion that the Associate Re- 
formed Church was full of heterodox doctrines and laxities in. 

Time, however, has reversed that hasty conclusion and vin- 
dicated the wisdom of the Associate Reformed fathers. 



DISTURBANCES Growing ( )ut of the Unsettled State of the Church— The First 
Insubordinate Act — Londonderry Presbytery — David Annan Admits Samuel 
Taggart and Then Ordains William Morrison — The Syiiod Pronounced the 
Act Irregular, But the Ordination Valid — '" The Presbytery of the Eastward " 
Coalesces With the Londonderry Presbytery — The Members of this New Or- 
ganization Rarely Attend Synod — Soon Began to Show Signs of Laxity — Con- 
gregational iu Their Notions — A Committee Appointed to Visit the Ri-esby tery 
— Wrote a Letter — Nature of the Presbytery's Irregularities — Mr. Morrison's 
Reply to the Letter of the Committee — Its Fallacies — Declared Insubordinate 
by the Synod — Associate Reformed Presbyterianism Ceased to Exist in New 
England — Revived in 1846 by Dr. Blaikie — The Reformed Dissenting Pres- 
bytery — Its Origin and History — United With the Associate Church iji 1851 — 
Difficulty in the Presbytery of New York — Fast Days and Thanksgiving 
Days — Dr. John M. Mason's Course — The Difficulty Arranged, but Not Satis, 
factorily to All — Feequent Communion — Custom of the Church of Scot- 
land — Dr. John M. Mason's Letters — Dr. Mason's Ability — Social Position — 
Made a Mistake — Men Obey Custom Rather Than Law — Dr. Mason Excited 
Suspicion — John Smith Soured — Mason and Proudfoot — Dr. Mason An In- 
novator and Censurable. 

Disturbances growing in part, perhaps, out of the unsettled 
state of things in the Associate Reformed Church from the pe- 
riod of her organization, in 1782, and the adoption of her con- 
stitution, in 1799, and partlj' arising from other causes, made 
the judicatories of the church often both unpleasant and un- 
profitable. We must not forget that purity is first ; then fol- 
lows peace as the shadow follows the substance. 

The first event wdiich occurred to give the Associated Re- 
formed Church much trouble, was the insubordinate course pur- 
sued bj' the Presbj'teiy of Londondeny. This Presbyterj-, or- 
ganized, as we have seen, in 178G, formed originally a part of the 
Third Presbytery. Tlie congregations in the Xew England States 
were taken from the Third Presb^'tery and erected into the 
Pres1)ytery of Londonderry, which was, in 1791, changed to 
the Presbytery of New England. Some of the members of this 
Presbytery began, at a very early period, to manifest a disre- 
gard for law and order. Previous to the erection of the Lon- 
donderry Presbytery, the Third Presbytery appointed a meeting 
at Londonderry, on the 13th of February, 1783. This was but 


a few months after the organization of the Associate Reformed 
Synod. The meeting was called for the purpose of ordaining 
William Morrison and installing him as pastor of the Second, or 
"VYest Parish of Londonderrj'. The onlj^ members of the Pres- 
bytery present were the Rev. David Annan and an elder from 
his charge. In the Presbytery there were four ordained minis- 
ters, viz.: John Mason, Robert Annan, David Annan and 
Thomas Clarke. It was manifest that the ordination and in- 
stallation of Mr. Morrison could not be proceeded with, for 
the want of a quorum. It so happened, however, that the 
Rev. SqjBuel Taggart, pastor of the Presbyterian congregation 
of Coleraine, Franklin county, ]Mass,, was present, with the 
avowed design of joining the Associate Reformed Presbyter}^. 
Mr. Annan, aware, no doubt, that he and the elder from his 
charge did not constitute the Presbyterj^ was unwilling to pro- 
ceed with the ordination and installation. To meet the emer- 
gency of the case, he first admitted Mr. Samuel Taggart as a 
member of the Presbytery, and then he and Mr. Taggart con- 
stituted the Presbytery and proceeded to ordain and install Mr. 
Morrison. At the next meeting of the Synod the facts were 
reported. The Synod, by an Act, sustained the validity of 
Mr. Morrison's ordination, but condemned the proceedings as 

In 1793, "The Presbytery of the Eastward," an independent 
presbytery, composed of some Irish congregations in "New Eng- 
land, which had not as yet united with any ecclesiastical bod}', 
and the Presbyter}^ of ]S"ew England, coalesced. This was with-' 
out the authority, or ever the knowledge of the Synod. 

Conscious of having acted in this whole matter in an irreg- 
ular and unconstitutional manner, the members of this new or- 
ganization kept themselves aloof from the Sj'nod. The name 
of their presbytery they changed and resumed the original 
name of Londonderry. 

They soon began to exliibit more marked signs of departure 
from the faith and practice of the church, in the mode and 
matter of worship, and in discipline and form of government. 
They had imbibed the Congregational notions of flieir Xew 
England neighbors, and in the face of the laAV of the Associate 
Reformed Church, introduced into the sanctuary of God the 
practices of the Americanized Puritans. AVith the hope of re- 


claiming this erratic Presbytery, the Synod appointed two of its- 
members a committee to visit them. The Rev. John JNI. Mason 
was chairman of this committee. 

The committee was providentially hindered from visiting in 
person the Presbyter}- ; bnt Mr. Mason, in the name and b}^ 
the authority of the committee, wrote to them an expostulatory 
letter condemning their irregularities and vindicating the action 
of the Synod. The irregularities of which the Presbytery of 
Londonderry was guilty were the introducing into the worship 
of God Watts' Psalms and Hymns; permitting non-profess- 
ors to vote in church matters, and neglecting to attend the 
meetings of the Synod. To the letter of Mr. Mason, the Pres- 
bytery, through Mr. Morrison, replied as follows: 

The distance of place, with other circumstances relative to me and my breth- 
ren in New England, render personal interview with our Southern brethren 
very inconvenient. Our presbytery have increased from the small number of 
three or four to ten settled ministers, viz : Messrs. Moore. Ewers. Annan. Tag- 
gart, Oliver, Dana, Tomb, Brewer, Pidgeon. and myself. This Presbytery con- 
sider themselves (with divine aid) competent to all the purposes of judicial au- 
thority in the churches or societies under their care ; and best acquainted with 
their customs, tempers and manners : and their situation with respect to other 
denominations. They have considered the Act of Synod respecting psalmody 
as injurious to the cause of Presbytery in New England : and have voted to re- 
ply accordingly to the letter of Synod on the subject. Should the committee 
yet come and warmly insist upon the observance of the late Synodical Acts re- 
specting psalmody and terms of communion, I will not say that they may grat 
ify a few ; but they will, I think, give a mortal wound to the influence of the 
Synod in this part of the continent. Common observation and experience con- 
cur with revelation in teaching us the necessity of governing people in a man- 
gier best adapted to their circumstances for their good and for the honor of • re- 

The above, although not all of the communication of Mr. 
Morrison, in behalf of the Presbyteiy of Londonderry, is all 
that it contains in reply to the letter of Mr. Mason, and in vin- 
dication of the irregular course which tlie Presbytery was pur- 
suing. It is frank and candid, but withal tinged with sophis- 
try and manifests an insubordinate spirit. 

Distance of place is stated as the cause of continued absence 
from the meetings of Synod. This was true only in [lart. The 
prime reason was the consciousness of having trampled under 
foot the rules and regulations of the church. The claim that 
people should be ecclesiastically governed according to their 
peculiar circumstances is based upon the assumption that there 


is no form of church government laid down in the Scriptures.. 
This, according to Presbyterians, which tliey professed to be, 
is false. The declaration that " the}' considered themselves 
competent to all the purposes of judicial authority in the 
churches or societies under their care" is not to be explained 
in accordance with any known principle of Presbyterianism. 

In this insubordinate state the Presbytery of Londonderry 
continued to have a nominal connection with the Associate Ke- 
formed Synod until 1801, when the Synod declared itself no 
longer responsible for any of its acts. In 1809, the Presbytery 
of Londonderry, after an existence of mongrel independency 
for about eight years, was received into the Presbyterian Synod 
of Albany. 

From 18 Gl to 1846 Associate Reformed Presbyterianism 
ceased to have an organic existence in New England. At the 
latter period an Associate Reformed congregation was organ- 
ized in the city of Boston, Mass., by the Rev. Dr. Alexander 

Another instance of at least apparent insubordination was 
the organization of The .Reformed Dissenting Presbytery^ by the 
Revs. Alexander J^fcCoy and Robert Warwick. This case,, 
however, was veiy diiferent from that of the Presbytery of 
Londonderry. The latter had no regard for the principles and 
practices of the Reformers, but was bent on making every thing 
in religion conform to the manners and customs of -the present 
hour. The former had, it may be safely said, more respect for 
the deliverances of the fathers than they had for principles, 
brought to light by the providences of God in his dealings with 
the children of men. 

AVhen the AVestminster Confession of Faith w\as modified 
" concerning the powders of the civil magistrate in matters of 
religion," and adopted as the " Constitution and Standards'' of 
the Associate Reformed Church, Mr. McCoy protested. lie, it 
seems, was opposed to any changes being made in the original 
Confession of Faith. Being unable to prevent the modification 
of the Sections reserved at the time of the union for " future 
consideration," he, on the 27th of June, 1799, declined the au- 
thority of the Associate Reformed Church. For the same rea- 
son, the Rev. Robert Warwick, on the 11th of Xovember, 1800, 
did the same thinsr. On the 27th of January, 1801, these two 


ministers and rnling elders John Pattison, Samuel Mitchell and 
Zaccheus Wilson, met at the house of John Scott, in Washing- 
ton county, Pa., and constituted themselves into a presbytery 
to which they gave the name, Reformed Dissenting Presby- 

This presbytery continued to exist as a separate organization 
for a period of about fifty years, or from the 27th of January, 
1801, to the summer of 1851, when it united with the Associate 

During the fifty years of its existence thirteen ministers la- 
bored to proi)agate that particular phase of Secederism which 
was embodied in the Testimony of the Reformed Dissenting 
Presbytery, organized hy Revs. McCoy and W^arwick. Their 
success was not at any time very encouraging. They labored 
under great disadvantages. Xo doubt that Fathers McCoy and 
Warwick were honest in declaring that to change the "West- 
minster Confession of Faith was an act of "unfaithfulness to 
reformation principles ;" l)ut the followers of these worthy men 
found it no easy matter to propagate their opinions concerning 
the powers of the civil magistrate. The Secession Church ef- 
fected a grand revolution in Christendom concerning the pow- 
ers of the civil magistrate in matters pertaining to the church. 
The fathers of the Reformed Dissenting Presbytery entertained 
the same opinion respecting the powers of the civil magistrate 
circa sacra wdiich were entertained by the Church of Scotland 
previous to the Secession. The doctrine that the church is 
"the free and independent kingdom of the Redeemer," and 
that the civil magistrate has no authority to interfere in its 
government is traceable to the Bible, but it was first practically 
evolved by Dissenters from the Church of Scotland. 

It is liiglil}^ probable that the brethren, McCoy and War- 
wick, were treated harshly. Little allowance was made for 
the bias of early education, and they were expected to see at a 
glance what they and their fathers had never been taught had 
an existence, viz. : a state separate from the church, or a church 
independent of the state. 

ISTear the same time that the trouble began with the Presb}'- 
terj' of Londonderry, a difficulty of a somewhat different char- 
acter sprang up in the Presbyter}- of New York. 


111 the Chiircli of Scotland, and in all tlie Dissenting branches 
-of that churcli, it had, for a period far beyond the memoiy of 
xiuy one living, been customary to observe a day of fasting pre- 
vious to the administration of the Lord's Supper, and a day of 
thanks-giving afterward. The session of the congregation in 
the city of Xew York resolved to discontinue this custom. 
This gave offense to some of the congregation. It was no easy 
matter for these conscientious people to give up a time-honored 
custom. They could not see hoAv it was possible for the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper to be properly dispensed without 
previousl}'' observing a fast-day. The Rev. John M. Mason 
was pastor of the congregation by whose session these supposed 
innovations were introduced. The matter being brought be- 
fore the Presbyteiy of l^ew York, occasioned considerable dis- 
•cussion. Finally it was, after various motions had been offered, 
" agreed to recommend mutual forbearance and affection, and 
leave the different sessions to act in this matter as they con- 
ceive the will of the Lord to be revealed in his word, and ex- 
plained by the Act and Directory of Sj^nod." This was not 
satisfactoiy to the party complaining. A^ery few persons have 
a clear and distinct idea of what is meant by the word forbear. 
With mau}^, if not with the majority, it means: "You must 
think as I think and do as I do, or you will do wrong, and I 
will have nothing to do with you." There certainly is no war- 
rant in the Scriptures for observing either fast-days or thanks- 
giving-days in connection wnth the Lord's Supper ; neither is 
there anj^ Scripture forbidding the observance of such days. 
Such being the case, the observance of such days should be left 
to the wisdom and discretion of Sessions. Mr. James Mairs 
took, conscientiousl}^, no doubt, a different view of this mat- 
ter, and having protested against the action of the presbj'tery, 
appealed to the S^'nod. AVhen the matter came before the 
Synod, Messrs. Mairs and Mason, the offender and the offended, 
were appointed a committee to prepare a report on the subject. 
A report was presented and unanimously adopted ; but it is 
doubtful whether it gave satisfaction to the people generally. 
We may safely say that while the report is founded on the 
plainest Scriptural principles, it was violently opposed by a 
very respectable minority, both of the ministers and lay mem- 
bers in connection with the denomination. 


210 insTOUY OF the: 

Shortl}^ after this, the Eev. John M. Mason began the prac^ 
tice of FREQUENT cOxMMUNiox. The custom of the Church of 
Scotland, after which both the Reformed Presb^'terian and As- 
sociate Churches were modified, was to administer the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper not oftener than twice during the- 
3'ear and frequently onl}" once. In the Church of Scotland 
there was no law on the subject. Custom had established a 
law a})parently in opposition to the " Directory for Public 
Worship,'"' adopted in 1645. In that Directory it is stated,, 
under the proper head, that '• the Comiuunion or Supper of the' 
Lord is frequently to be celebrated ;" but h(nv often is left to 
be determined by the pastor or other church officers in each 
congregation. The frequent administration of the Lord's Sup- 
per and the dispensing with the observance of fast and thanks- 
giving-days in connection with its administration, found in 
John M. Mason a zealous and able advocate. In order to 
propagate his opinion on this subject, he published, during 
the year 1798, a series of able letters, which were addressed to 
the members of the Associate Peformed Church. These letters 
gave offense to many, especially to the older members of the 
Associate Reformed Church, and caused them to regard their 
author with a degree of suspicion. lie was charged as an in- 
novator. If, however, he had waited quietly for a few years, 
the probability is that he would have outlived all tliis suspi- 
cion. The observance of fast-daj'S in connection with the ad- 
ministration of the Lord's Supper is, at present, left optional 
with the members of the Associate Reformed Church, and 
each congregation is permitted to celebrate the Lord's Supper 
as often each year as the office-bearers in the congregation may 
deem proper or necessary for edification. There is really no law 
on either of these subjects. Unfortunately for Mr. Mason, he was 
in advance of his age in this matter, and consequently, as must 
ever be the case with such men, he encountered strong opposi- 
tion. Intellectually, America has produced but few men who 
have equaled John M. Mason. As a pulpit orator he was first 
among the first. Nature did a great deal for him, and he en- 
joyed rare advantages for the cultivation of the gifts with 
which a kind Providence had endowed him. His own denom- 
ination was proud of him, and all others regarded him as a 
prince. In the city of l!^ew York he was brought in constant 


contact with those who occupied the highest position in soci- 
ety. The learned and honored were his companions. Judges, 
professors in colleges, and embassadors from European govern- 
ments sat entranced while he conversed. He was conscious of 
his powers, and no doubt, in the honesty of his heart, desired 
to refine and Americanize the church of his fathers. 

He made a" mistake. There is something which we may call 
metaphysically slow in the Scotch mind. John M. Mason 
could have led the whole of the French nation: but he could 
not lead the whole of the Associate Eeformed Church, small 
as it was in his day. Be moved too fust. He did not give the 
the masses of the denomination time to think. 

There is a disposition in most men to violate legal enact- 
ments ; but all men cling to that law which custom has estab- 
lished. It is hard for any man to understand how it is possi- 
ble for a custom which has prevailed for centuries not to be 
binding upon the consciences of all. .John M. Mason Vv^as an 
innovator. Kot that he introduced practices contrary to the 
word of God, but practices contrary to the time-honored 
usages of the church to which he belono-ed. The custom of 
observing a day of fasting before administering the sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, and a day of thanks-giving afterward, 
had, for good and solid reasons, been introduced into the 
Church of Scotland and adopted by all the Secession branches- 
of that church. The custom prevailed in some congregations- 
until ver}^ recently, and it is not easy to see any evil conse- 
quences which would result from such observances at the pres- 
ent time. In fact, every truly Godly man or woman will com- 
mend such a custom as eminently calculated to increase the 
growth oF grace in Christians. Still, there is no law in the 
word of God for such observances, and consequently it is 
wrong to say that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper cannot 
be properly received without observing a fast-day before its 
administration, and a day of thanksgiving afterward. It is 
probable that the controversies about fast-days and frequent 
communion, together with some other things which scarcely 
ever saw the li^ht, weakened the confidence of at least a re- 
spectable minority of the Associate Eeformed ministers and 
people in the Kev. John M. Mason. The Rev. John Smith 
left tlie Associate Reformed Church mainlv because Mr. Ma- 


son, then only a boy, was called to be pastor of tbe clmrcb 
made vacant by the death of his father. This position Mr. 
Smith was very anxious to secure, but failing — a boy being 
preferred before him — he became soured, and his friends be- 
came cold toward Mr. Mason. 

When the theological seminary was established, " some of 
the leading and most judicious members of the church in ISTew 
York were anxious that the Rev. Dr. Alexander Proudfoot be 
associated with the Rev. Dr. John M. Mason. This certainlj'- 
would have been wise ; but on account of a scheme of Dr. Ma- 
son's, which was never realized, it was not done." The result 
was a partial suspension of tlie friendship winch once existed 
between the two. Mr, Proudfoot never manifested that inter- 
est in the seminary Avhich was expected. It is true, that in the 
course of time the past Avas forgotten and wrongs forgiven. 
The Rev. John M. Mason's talents placed him prominently be- 
fore the public ; but it may well be doubted whether he ever 
had the entire confidence of the Associate Reformed Church 
after the controversy about fast-days and frequent communion. 

In one sense he was not to be censured, and in another he 
certainl}' was. Tie was not to be censured because he did not 
regard the observance of these days binding. IsTeither was he 
to be censured because he thought the Sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper ought to be administered oftener than was the custom 
in his day, because the Scriptures do not specify how often it 
is to be administered. He was, however, to be censured be- 
cause he seems to have had no regard for the opinions and prac- 
tices of the pious fathers. That man is to be sharply censured 
who ruthlessly tears down what the pious of past generations 
have built up. He must make for himself, if not open enemies, 
secret despisers ; weaken his influence for good, and do the 
cause of truth injury to the extent of his ability. He who has 
no regard for the past has very little respect for the present. 



ASSOCIATE REFORMED CHURCH Began to Grow and Decline at the Same 
Time — Ministers Lose Confidence in Each Other — Causes which Led to the 
Final Dissolution of the General Synod — The Psalmody Question — Its His- 
tory in Connection with the Presbyterian Church in the United States — 
Watts' Imitations First Allowed; then Watts' Hymns — Finally, both Watts 
and Rouse Practically Laid Aside — History of Rouse's Version of the Psalms 
— The Scotch .Version — The Metre of Rouse's Version — Rouse's Version 
Amended and Adopted by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland — 
History of Uninspired Hymns — Paraphrases Allowed by the Church of Scot- 
land — Their Character — Practice of the Covenanters — Practice of the Pres- 
byterian Church Prior to 1753 — The Result of Introducing Watts' Version — 
The History of Watts' Version — His Design as Stated by Himself — His Pre- 
face to his Imitations — Remarkable Production — His Hymns — Offensive to 
Many — Those who had been Persecuted by Kings of England could not Sing 
them — Rouse's Version — What is Claimed for it — Its Poetic Excellence — The 
Doctrine of the Associate Reformed Church concerning Psalmody — Not a 
Version, but the Psalms — Psalmody Practically Divides the Associate Re- 
formed Church and all Hymn-singing Churches — A Tendency in the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church to Follow the Multitude — Marshall's Sermon on 
Psalmody — The Associate Reformed Church took higher grountl on Psalm- 
ody than that occupied by the Church of Scotland — Section in Confession of 
Faith on " Singing of Psalms " — The Section Quoted — Trouble about the 
Change Proposed in Paragraph 2 of Section III. 

Of the Associate Reformed Church it may be said, however 
contradictory it may appear, that it began to grow and decline 
at the same time. In less tlian twenty years after its organi- 
zation, its ministers began to lose confidence in each other. 
This became distinctly visible after the year 1810. This unde- 
sirable state of things was brought about by a series of events, 
some trivial in themselves and others of great im[)ortance. 
These will now be stated as nearly in the order of time as the 
existing circumstances will permit. 

The Psalmody C[uestion began to disturb the church in 
America at a very early period. The Presbyterian Church 
began to be harassed by it prior to the arrival of Gellatly and 
Arnot. In 1753 this question was propounded to the Synod 
of Xew York, viz : " Whether a church session hath power to 
introduce a new version of psalms into the congregation to 


which they belong, without the consent of the majority of said 
<!ono-reo-ation." To this the Synod voted a unanimous nega- 
tive. Previous to tliis, some of the congregations under the 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Synod of Xcw York had intro- 
duced into the worship of God Watts' version of the psalms. 
This was not done by the consent of all the members of these 
•congregations, nor even of the majority. It seems that it was 
taken for granted that in this matter the rnajorit}^ had the 
right to rule. 

The question was before the higher judicatories of the Pres- 
.byterian Church for a number of years. At first the contest 
was between the Scotch version of the psalms and that by Dr. 
Isaac Watts. Afterward the propriety or admissibility of 
using Watts' hymns was introduced, and finally, both the 
Scotch version and Watts' version were practically laid aside 
and uninspired hymns, collected from all quarters, substituted 
in their place. Such is, practically, the state of the question in 
the Presbyterian Church at present. 

As the psalmody question had very much to do in disturbing 
the peace and harmony of the Associate Reformed Church, it is 
proper to trace the histor}- of that trouble. 

In the Church of Scotland, from which sprang both the As- 
sociate and Reformed Presbyterian churches, the version of 
psalms used in the worship of God, both publicly and privately, 
was what is generally but incorrectl}' called " Rouse's version." 
This was preceded in England and Scotland by the version of 
Sternhold and Hopkins. Previous to this the psalmody of the 
church was, like everything else, so grossly corrupted, that it 
was absolutely destitute of both devotion and sense. Hymns 
were gener-ally made for the present occasion, and were al- 
most always foolish, and sometimes grossly sensual and wicked. 

The history of what is properly known as Rouse's version of 
the psalms is simple and easy. Immediately previous to the 
convening of the Westminster divines, the version of the 
psalms in general use by all religious denominations in Eng- 
land and Scotland was the version of Sternhold and Hopkins. 
Oomplaints being made of this to the Parliament, they brought 
the matter to the attention of the Assembly, desiring them to 
recommends ome other version to be used in the churches. 
After havino- read over the version made and published by 


Francis Eoiise, and amending it in several particulars, the As- 
•sembl}'- sent the following to the House of Commons, on the 
14th of November, 1645 : 

Whebeas, The honorable House of Commons, by an order bearing date No- 
venaber 20, 1643, have recommended the psalms published by Mr. Rouse to the 
consideration of the Assembly of Divines, the Assembly has caused them to be 
carefully perused, and as they are now altered and amended do approve them, 
and humbly conceive they may be useful and profitable to the church, if they be 
permitted to be sung. 

On the reception of the above recommendation tho Parlia- 
ment authorized Rouse's version of the psalms. 

On the 28th of August, 1647, the General Asseinbl}" of the 
Church of Scotland passed an Act for revising the version of 
Rouse. The work of revision was distributed as follows, viz. : 
The first forty w^ere assigned to John Adamson ; the second 
forty to Thomas Crawford ; the third forty to John Row" ; and 
the remaining thirty to John [N'evey. 

These individuals w^ere instructed not to themselves 
in this matter to the version of Rouse, but to use any other 
that they might find better. In the version of Rouse, there 
were some of the psalms which were not adapted to common 
metre tunes. In such cases, it w^as recommended that a com- 
mon metre version be furnished. Zachary Eoyd was recom- 
mended to translate other Scripture songs into metre. At the 
next meeting of the General Assembly these individuals re- 
ported, and liouse's version, as amended by them, was sent to 
the Presbyteries to be further examined. The Presbyteries re- 
ported to the General Assembly in August, 1649. The As- 
sembly appointed James Hamilton, John Smith, Hugh Mackail, 
Robert Traill, George Hutcheson and Robert Lowrie, a com- 
mittee to i-eport on the matter ; but the Assembly not being 
iible "to overtake the work,'" instructed this committee to re- 
port to the commission of the General Assembly at their meet- 
ing in Edinburgh, in IS^ovember. The commission was granted 
full power to conclude the work and " publish and emit the 
same for public use." This they did, as the act of the com- 
mission of the Assembly clearly shows. The following is the 

"• The commission of the General Assembly having with great diligence con- 
sidered the iiaraphrase of the psalms in metre sent from the Assembly of Di- 
vines in England, by our commissioners whilst they were there, as it is corrected 


by former General Assemblies, committees from them, and now at last by the • 
brethren deputed from the late Assembly for that purpose ; and having exam- 
ined the same, do approve the said paraphrase, as it is now compiled ; and, 
therefore, according to the powers given them by the said Assembly, do appoint 
it to be printed and jiublished for public use ; hereby authorizing the same to be 
the only paraphrase of the psalms of David to be sung in the Kirk of Scotland ; 
and discharging the old paraphrase, and any other than this new paraphrase, to 
be made use of in any congregation or family after the first of May, 1650." 

It is a matter of fact that the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland constantly speak of the amended version 
of Rouse as the " new paraphrase of the psalms." The version 
in use before it the}' refer to also as a " paraphrase," and some- 
times as "our own paraphrase." 

The amended version of Rouse soon came into general use 
in the Church of Scotland, and continued to be used, to the 
exclusion of all other versions for more than one hundred' 

This was the case in all the bi-anehes of the Church of Scot- 
land. The Covenanters sung it, and the Scceders sung it. It 
was sung around the fireside of the humble peasant and in the 
lialls of the nobles. Soldiers sung it as they marched into 
battle, and the tendcn* mother sung it in her liumble home as 
she soothed her restless babe to sleep. It produced a deep and 
lasting impression upon the whole Scotch people and made 
them, like itself, ruggedlj- grand. In fact, so great was the 
effect of this version of the psalms of David upon the Scotch, 
that the very idiom of the Scotch peasants was that of the 
Jews in the days of Samuel. 

The question of singing uninspired Inarms in praise to God 
had no existence in the Church of Scotland from the Reforma- 
tion down to a very recent period. The practice was begun in- 
the days of papal darkness, was abolished at the Reformation, 
and again revived, so far as Presbyterians are concerned, in 
America. It is now well nigh universal. 

It is true, that in the Church of Scotland, and perhaps in all 
the branches of that church, paraphrases of other portions of 
Scripture were, at a very early period, authoritatively made. 
These paraphrases Avere seldom used, and that only by a few 
congregations. They were called hj-mns, but they were not 
hymns in the present popular meaning of that word. They 
were metrical renderings of passages selected from both the Oki 


and the IsTew Testament. In the Secession Church of Scotland 
these paraphrases were authorized as early as 1745 ; but ther& 
is no evidence that they were used, at least to any considerable 
extent, for a period of seventy-five years. The Reformed Pres- 
byterian or Covenanter Church has always, even down to the 
present day, adhered absolutely and exclusively to what is pop- 
ularly known as Rouse's version. 

In the Presbyterian Church in America Rouse's version of 
the psalms was used exclusiveh', or nearl}- so, in both the pub- 
lic and the private worship of God, from the time of its first 
organization down to about 1753, a period of about fifty years. 
From this time the subject was before the General Assembly 
of the Presbyterian Church for more than half a century. At 
first, the question was the exchange of Rouse's version for that 
of Dr. AVatts'. This continued to be a vexed question for more 
than forty years. The change was at first, and for a long time, 
very disagreeable to at least a respectable minority of thatchurch^ 
The "imitation of TV'atts," as it is uniformly called, being in- 
troduced, the next question was on the introduction of Watts' 
hymns. In 1802 the General Assembl}' made the following 
deliverance : 

AVheeeas, The version of the Psalms, made by Dr. Watts, has heretofore been 
allowed in the congregations under the care of the General Assembly, it is 
thought expedient that the hymns of Dr. Watts be also allowed. 

This date marks at least the oflicial introduction of the 
hymns of Dr. "Watts into the Presbyterian Church of America^ 
Previous to this, they were used by single individuals and sin- 
gle congregations, but not with the official sanction of the 
courts of the denomination. 

The church was by no means a unit in its approbation of this 
step. Many individuals were dissatisfied. A few withdrew 
from the denomination, and others, although they remained in 
it, never approved of the measure. 

A few Presbyterian congregations, the membership of which 
are of pure Scotch-Irish descent, continued, until very recently, 
to use exclusively Rouse's version of the psalms. In the great 
majority, however, of the congregations of the Presbyterian 
Church of the present day no one of the members ever heard 
sung one of the psalms in Rouse's version. 


With respect to the version or "imitation,"' as it is rio-btly 
called, of Watts, it may be said that it is so named from its 
author. Dr. Isaac Watts was a Dissenting minister of Eng- 
land, born in 1674, and died in 17-48. He was learned and 
pious, and although not worthy to be ranked <among the fii'st- 
class of poets, his works show that he was endowed with ver\' 
■considerable poetic talents. It has been asserted most posi- 
tively, but how truthfully we will not undertake to say, that 
he was, during the latter part of his life, in sympathy with 
-what was then known as the Arian part}', or that he denied 
the divinity of our Saviour. The works b}' which he is best 
known are his version of the Psalms and his religious hymns. 
These were published about the latter part of the year 1718. 
The design which he had in view is best expressed in his own 
words : " I come, therefore," he says in the preface, " to the 
third thing I propose ; and it is this, to explain my own de- 
sign, which, in short, is this, namely : to accommodate the 
Book of Psalms to Christian worship. And in order to 
this, it is necessary to divest David and Asaph, <fec , of everj^ 
other character but that of a psalmist and a saint, and to make 
them always speak the common sense of a Christian.'" 

Such, in his own language, was the design of Dr. Watts. 
Whether he succeeded in making "David and Asaph speak the 
common sense of a Christian," or not, it is not our province to 
say. We may say that he made a bold eftbrt, in order to suc- 
ceed, by changing the sense of the Psalms of the Bible. He 
was by no means afraid to tamper with the inspired songs. 
Some he excluded entirely ; from others he lopped oft" what he 
110 doubt regarded surplusages, and to others added what he 
conceived the H0I3' Spirit had either forgotten, neglected, or 
did not know. "Attempting the work with this view," he 
says, " I have entirely omitted some whole psalms and large 
pieces of many others ; and have chosen out of all of them 
such parts only as might easily and naturally be accommodated 
to the various occasions of the Christian life." 

He was not careful to give the exact meaning of David ; or, 
/to quote his own language: "I have not been so curious or ex- 
act in striving, everywhere, to express the ancient sense and 


meaning of David ; but have rather expressed myself as Imay 
suppose David would have done, had he lived in the daj's of 

Such is, briefly and in his own language, the design of Dr. 
Watts in prepariuga version of the psalms, and the rule which 
he adopted in order to eft'ect his design. 

He composed his hymns because "there are," he says, "a 
greatmany circumstances that attend common Christians, which 
cannot be agreeably expressed by any paraphrase on the words 
of David."' 

It is the business of the theologian, rather than of the his- 
torian, to discuss the question of psalmody on its merits ; but 
we may be permitted to say that Dr. Watts' preface to his 
psalms and hymns is a most wonderful production to be penned 
by a man who, we suppose,, believed that David and Asaph 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 

The unguarded- expressions in Dr. Watts' preface to his 
psalms and hj'mns, and the ruthless manner in which he added 
to and took away from God's Word, excited the fears of not a 
few pious men and women. They could have no confidence in 
the man who would dare to say that he had made David and 
Asaph " speak the common sense of a Christian." To sj^eak 
the language of David and Asaph, they thought, was to speak 
the language of heaven. There were, besides, many things in 
the language of some of Dr. Watts' hymns which were very 
oflensive to at least some, and consequcRtly they could not and 
would not sing them in praise of God. 

In his hymn entitled "A Song in Praise to God from Great 
Britain," he says, in speaking of the blessings which God was 
bestowing upon Great Britain : 

'• He builds and guards the British throne, 
And makes it gracious like his own; 
Makes our successive princes kind, 
And gives our dangers to the wind." 

Again, he says in another hymn : 

'■ The crowns of British princes shine 
With rays above the rest. 
Where laws and liberty combine 
To make the nation blest." 


These stanzas, however smooth, were not calcnlated to- 
awaken the devotional feelings of those whose ancestors had 
experienced the cruelties of the Stuarts. 

These and many other things of a similar character impelled 
Scotch Presbyterians generally to oppose the introduction of 
Watts', psalms and hymns into the worship of God. In addi- 
tion to this, if it were so that Dr. Watts, in his latter days, as 
has been often afhrmed and was certainly believed, turned 
Arian, this of itself would have rendered anything he would 
have said or done objectionable to the members of the Asso- 
ciate and Covenanter Churches. 

It will not be denied that at first the question discussed was 
the relative value of the two versions of the Book of Psalms. 
It was not long, however, until the controversy assumed a 
different aspect. 

Strictly speaking. Watts' version is nothing but an imita- 
tion, and confessedl}' a very imperfect imitation. Xo one has 
ever claimed that it Avas a literal rendering of the psalms into 
metre. Its author did not make this claim for it. Neither 
has any one claimed for Eouse's version t))at it is absolutely 
literal. It was however, claimed for it, on good and solid 
grounds, that it was " translated and diligently compared with 
the origliud text and foriiicr translcd'ons,'' and made " more 
smooth and agreeable to the fc.rf than auN" heretofore." 

It claimed to be agreeable to the text of the Hebrew Psal- 
ter, and to be smoother than any version of the psalms which 
had preceded it. That it is absolutely literal, and absolutely 
finished English verse, is a claim which has never been set up 
for it. 

The version of Dr. Watts is smoother, but certainly not so 
poetic, unless the whole of poetry consists in something which 
both Shakspcare and Milton did not possess. 

The relative merits of the two versions, however, is a matter 
of very little importance ; for these were soon lost sight of, 
and one of far graver importance took its place. That ques- 
tion is correctly stated thus : " Have we any authority in the 
Scriptures for singing in the formal public and private worship 
of God any psalms or hymns or s[)iritual songs, except those 
which God has given to the church, all of which are contained 
in the Bible ?" 


On this question the members of the Presbyterian Church 
were for a long time divided. The division was b}' no means 
equal — the great majority ever being on the side which re- 
garded it as a matter of indifference what was sung, provided 
it was not Rouse's version. The reason of this was because 
the pure Scotch element was never, at an}- time, very distinct 
and prominent in the Presbyterian Church of America. 

The members of the Associate Church generall}', and the 
Covenanters as a whole, were opposed to worshipping God 
with anything which he himself had not directly furnished. 

Both Associates and Covenanters were opposed to singing 
in formal worship anything but a literal version of the psalms, 
so far as this was possible, and on no account would they au- 
thorize a hymn composed by man — ^no matter how beautiful — : 
to be used in the formal worship of God. They regarded it as 
a sin. 

This at once made the dividing line between the Associates 
find Covenanters, on the one hand, and the hymn-singing Pres- 
byterians on the other, in America, clear and distinct. The 
Covenanters and Associates held that it was a sin to sing in 
worship to God compositions merely human, while the great 
body of the Presbyterian Church in America held that it was 

By no act of either the Associate Church, or the Eeformed 
Presbyterian Church, or the Associate Reformed Church, was 
■either Watts' psalms or Watts' hymns, or the hymns of any 
one else allowed to be used in the worship of God. 

From a variety of causes, however, at a very early period in 
the history of both the Associate and the Covenanter Churches 
in America, a tendency to depart from the old paths began to 
manifest itself. This, inallprobabilit}^ arose, in part, at least, 
from that inclination which is in most persons, to do as others 
•do. Previous to 1753, a few Presbyterian congregations had 
introduced Watts' psalms, and the General Assembly first tol- 
erated it and afterwards sanctioned it. 

In 1773, the Rev. William Marshall, by the appointment of 
the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, preached a sermon 
" designed to show that the Psalms of David only are to be 
used in worship." This sermon was afterward published and 
is still preserved as a relic of the past. 


The fact that the presbytery thought fit to " appoint one of 
its members to preach a sermon to show that the Psalms of 
David only are to be used in worship," seems to indicate with 
considerable certainty that some persons under the inspection 
of the presbytery, either had lax practices, or latitudinarian 
notions respecting psalmody. 

Dnrins^ the time that the Confession of Faitli of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church was under consideration, it was discov- 
ered that entire unanimity of sentiment did not exist among 
the members of the Associate Reformed Church on the question 
of psalmody. Some were in favor of adopting the same position 
on the question of psalmody as that occupied by the Church of 
Scotland and the Secession Church of Scotland. Others were 
in favor of adopting a higher, and, as was thought, a more 
Scriptural position. 

It is a fact well attested, that the Associate Reformed Church 
has always occupied higher ground on the psalmody question 
than either the ^National Church of Scotland or the Secession 
Church of Scotland. While both these adopted the psalms of 
David as proper to be used in singing ])raise to God, they did 
not forbid the use of paraphrases or hymns. This was the 
ground taken by some of those who originally constituted the 
Associate Reformed Church. How many there were who en- 
tertained this opinion it is impossible now to learn. There 
were others who entertained views on the psalmody question 
higher than their fathers. Hence, there is a difference between 
the Section '■'■on singing of psalms" in the Scotch Confession of 
Faith and that in the Associate Reformed Confession of Faith. 
That the reader may compare the two, and as the Scotch Con- 
fession is not generally accessible, the Section which treats of 
singing psalms will be quoted entire. It is as follows : ^ 

" It is the duty of Christiaus to praise God j^ublicly, by singing of psalms to- 
gether in the congregation, and also privately in the family. In singing of 
psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered ; but the chief care must 
be to sing with the understanding and with grace in the heart, making melody 
unto the Lord. That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that 
can read is to have a psalm-book ; all others not disabled by age or otherwiee 
are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the con- 
gregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit per- 
son appointed by him and the other ruling otBcers. do read the psalm, line by 
line, before the singing thereof." 


AVheu the above Avas adopted, the question of hvmn sine-insj 
did not exist in the Church of Scotland. In addition, it ma}'' 
be said that in this, as well as in several other things essential 
to the purity of the church, the Church of Scotland was only 
in a formative state. 

This section " on singing of psalms '"' the fathers of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church remodeled, as the reader will readily 
discover. The Section in the Associate Reformed Confession 
of Faith takes higher ground than the same section in the 
Scotch Confession ; but it is to be doubted whether it is as 
high as the uniform practice in strict Associate Reformed con- 
gregations has ever been. 

Paragraph 2 of Section III of the Directory for Public Wor- 
ship^ of the Associate Reformed Church, is both weak and 
strong. It is ambiguous. The first part of that Section is a 
mild commendation of the propriety of singing the psalms of 
David in the public and private worship of God, but it does 
not condemn the use of paraphrases of Scripture, or hymns 
merely human. The last sentence or clause of that Section 
o-ives force to the whole. It was, however, with considerable 
difficulty and only after long discussion, that this clause was 
added. Paragraph 2 of Section III, of the Directory for Wor- 
ships when first penned, read as follows : 

It is the will of God that the sacred songs contained in the Book of Psalms be 
sung in His worship, both public and private, to the end of the world; and the 
rich variety and perfect purity of their matter, the blessing of God upon them 
iu every age. and the edification of the church thence arising, sets the propriety 
of singing them in a convincing light. 

Here the paragraph ended, and here by some it was de- 
signed and desired to end. 

By some it was, and correctly, too, regarded as ambiguous. 
It praised the psalms of David, but did not condemn as unfit 
for the worship of God the hymns of Dr. Watts or of Alexan- 
der Pope, or of William Cowper, or of anybody else. 

To free the paragrajth of ambiguity the clause, '' Xor shall 
ail}' composure merely human be sung in any of the Associate 
Reformed Churches," was added by the Rev. John Hemphill,, 
of Hopewell, Chester county, S. C. 


Ally one reading over carefully the whole paragraph Avill 
discover that it is not the production of one man. The sen 
tence was so framed as to end with "convincing light," and 
the last clause is by another hand. 

The paragraph, when amended and adopted, was not as 
strong- as some of the members desired ; but when asked why 
the}^ did not make it stronger, they replied: ''It is the best 
we could get." 



THE COMMUNION QUESTION—The Londonderry Presbytery— Dr. Mason's 
Difficulty Complicated — Dr. Mason's Reasons for Resigning his Charge — His 
Labors — Purpose Thwarted by the Trustees of the Congregation — With a 
• Colony began to Establish a Third Congregation in New York — Had Diffi- 
culty to get a Place of Worship — Was Granted Conditionally Dr. Romeyn's 
Church — The Offer Accepted — Dr. Mason's Preaching — The Effect upon the 
Two Congregations — They Commune Together — The Case Came Before the 
General Synod — Dr. Mason's Statements Respecting His Course — The Doc- 
trine of the Associate Reformed Church Respecting the Communion of Saints 
—The XXVIth Chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith— The Little 
Constitution — Doctrine of the early Seceders and Covenanters respecting the 
Communion of Saints — Wilson Quoted — Shields Quoted — Gellatly Quoted — 
The Narrative Quoted — The State of Things when the Associate Reformed 
Synod was Organized — No Brotherly Love — This Had Been the Case since 
1679 — The Burghei-s and Anti-Burghers — Practically, There was No Such 
thing as Occasional Communion Prior to 1810 — Its Lawfulness Admitted by 
the Associate Reformed Church — The Occasional Communion of the Associ- 
ate Reformed Fathers not the Modern, Catholic Communion — Dr. Mason's 
Peculiar Circumstances — His Act was Conti-ary to Custom, but not to Law — 
The Case of Messrs. Matthews and Clark— All Tried Together— This Unfor- 
tunate — Resolution Passed — General Dissatisfaction — Dr. Mason Preaches for 
Dr. Romeyn — Uses Watts' Psalms — Clear Violation of Law — Mr. Clark Cen- 
surable — The Vote in the Case — No One Satisfied — The Parties Disposed to 
be Exti-emists. 

The psalmody question and the communion question may be 
vsaid to have been coeval, and became, not necessarily, but ac- 
tually connected. The Presbytery of Londonderry, as has 
been elsewhere stated, soon after its organization, hegan to 
show visible signs of insubordination to the ecclesiastical 
courts, both in the matter of psalmody and communion. It 
was not, however, until abput the year 1810 that the contro- 
versies on these questions began to disturb the church gene- 
rally and threaten its extermination. 

Prior to that time, although some diversity of opinion ex- 
isted among the members of the Associate Reformed Church 
concerning psalmody and communion, these questions had not 
•come, at least prominently before anj^ of the courts of the 



church for adjudication. From that time on, until 1822. the- 
General Synod' of the Associate Reformed Church hegan tc 
show constant and increasing signs of premature decay. 

On the 25th of May, 1810, Dr. John M. :Mason resigned the 
pastoral charge of the Cedar Street Clnirch, in ISTew York. 
lie had heen contemplating this for about three years. In 
1807 he asked for an assistant, but owing to the tinancial crisis- 
through which the country was soon called to pass this request 
was not pressed. The reasons which induced Dr. Mason to 
ask for an assistant afterward prompted him, in part, to demit 
the pastoral care of the congregation in which his father had- 
labored faithfully and diligently for thirty years. 

Besides being pastor of a large congregation, Dr. Mason was 
professor in the theological seminary, and in some way con- 
nected with all the benevolent operations and schemes of his 
own denomination and of several other denominations. His 
time was wholly occupied. He had no time to attend to his 
parochial duties. All that he could attempt as a pastor was to- 

In 1809, he proposed to the trustees of the church that some 
steps be taken to enlarge the house of worship. The avowed 
design he had in view by this movement was to increase the 
numerical strength of the congregation, and thereby increase 
it pecuniarily. This would enable the congregation to employ 
an assistant pastor. 

The trustees were unwilling to undertake the erection of a 
new house of worship at that time, and replied to his request 
that they had concluded to postpone the matter for the present. 
Dr. Mason promptly determined, on the reception of the reply 
of the trustees of the congregation, to demit his charge. 

It is highl}' probable that Dr. Mason felt aggrieved by the 
want of compliance on the part of the trustees. His plans 
were frustrated, and the long- cherished liope of obtaining an 
assistant blighted. Between him and the congregation there 
was no quarrel — no open rupture. By some he was the idol,, 
but by others — and thej^ of the older and stricter sort — he was 
simply " the prince of preachers." 

The congregation having been called together, were informed 
by Dr. Mason that it was his fixed purpose to resign his pas- 


toral charge. This he accordingly did, and -after some hesi- 
tancy, his resignation was, by the Presbytery of Xew York, 

It was not the design of Dr. Mason, in demitting his pas- 
toral charge, to abandon the pulpit. " To preach Jesus Christ 
and him crucified," he declared at the time, " is my honor and 
happiness." With a small colony he began immediately the 
building up of a third Associcite Reformed Church in the city 
of ISTew York. The erection of a liouse of worship was begun 
in Murray street. This, however, was not completed until the 
summer of 1812. 

Dr. Mason and his colony experienced considerable difficulty^ 
at first in obtaining a house of worship. In the midst of their 
strait, the trustees of the Presbyterian church in Cedar street 
generously tendered them the use of their house, at such times- 
as it was not occupied by themselves. 

The Rev. Dr. John B. Romeyn was, at the time, pastor of 
the cOno'reo-ation. The hours of worship were so arrano-ed 
that Dr. Mason immediately succeeded Dr. Romeyn. A large 
number of Dr. Romeyn's congregation remained and formed a 
jjart of Dr. Mason's constant hearers. 

At no time in all his life were the pulpit powers of Dr. Ma- 
son so manifestly felt. He exerted himself. His whole soul 
Avas in the work. His hearers were interested, delighted and 

By force of circumstances, the two congregations became ac- 
quainted with each other, and having become acquainted, they 
formed for each other a mutual attachment. Practicallj', they 
were, only for the time being, one congregation. "When the time 
came for administering the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 
Dr. Mason and his session resolved to invite Dr. Romeyn's 
congregation to unite with them in this holy ordinance. This 
invitation -was accepted, and a similar invitation was extended 
when Dr. Romeyn dispensed the sacrament to his people. This 
also was accepted. 

In describing this act, which resulted, we may safely say, in 
so much harm to the Associate Reformed Church, Dr. Mason 


■• The invitations \v<ere as cordially accepted as they were frankly given. The 
bulk of the members of both churches, as well as some belonging to correlate 
churches, mingled their affections and their testimony in the holy ordinance. 
The ministers reci^jrocated the services of the sacramental day ; and the com- 
munion thus established has been perpetuated with increasing delight and attach- 
ment, and has extended itself to ministers and private Christians of other 

Dr. Mason further adds that " such an event, it is believed, 
had never before occurred in the United States."' It is taken 
for granted that Dr. Mason thought deliberately when he 
penned this last sentence. Whatever may have been the prac- 
tice of the Presbyterian Church, it is true beyond all contro- 
versy that so far as the Associate Reformed Church was con- 
cerned, no such event had ever occurred. It w-as a clear and 
marked departure from the practice of the Associate Reformed 
Church, but not from her laws. Every one possessing even a 
tolerable knowledge of the history of the Associate Reformed 
Cburch will admit that in practice she did not difter from the 
Associate or Reformed Presbyterian Churches on the subject 
-of communion- 

The Associate Reformed Church adopted the XXVIth Chap- 
ter of the Westminster Confession of Faith. In that Chapter 
it is taught that " all saints that are united to Jesus Christ, 
their head, by his spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with 
him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection and glory." 
Again : " Saints by profession are bound to maintain a holy 
fellowship in the worship of God, and in performing such other 
spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification." 

The fathers of the Associate Reformed Church most certainly 
thought that they were warranted by the XXVIth Chapter of 
the Confession of Faith in extending communion to all who, 
in every place, call on the name of the Lord Jesus in conformity 
to his \Y\\\. Of this there can be no doubt, for they positively 
say so in so many words. 

At the first meeting of the Associate Reformed Synod, in 
1783, the following was adopted and became a part and parcel 
of wdiat is known as the Little Constitution: 

It is the resolution of this Synod to treat pious people of other denomina- 
tions with great attention and tenderness. They are willing, as God affords 
opportunity, to extend communion to all who, in every place, call upon the 
name of the Lord Jesus; but as occasional communion, in a divided state of the 


Church, may be attended with great disorders, they hold themselves bound to 
submit to every restriction of their liberty which general edification renders 

In a foot-note they say : 

The princi^jle expressed in this Article is not a new one. It is an original 
principle of the Secession, and is set in a convincing light in the XXVIth Chap- 
ter of the Confession of Faith. 

The following quotation from the Eev. AVilliam Wilson's 
" Defense of Reformed Principles " shows most clearly that the 
Seceders and Eeforraed Presbyterians held the same opinion on 
the subject of communion. The following is the language of 
Mr. AVilson, one of the four who organized the Associate Pres- 
bytery : 

There is a union and communion catholic and universal among all Christians, 
considered as such, and an ecclesiastical union and communion amongst mem- 
bers of one particular organical church, considered as members of that church. 
This, observe. I take from Mr. Shields on Church Communion, jjage 25. The 
same worthy author (Mr. Shields), likewise observes that organic communion 
must be on stricter terms than catholic communion with others that are not 
members of the same organic church. 

The above is also quoted by Mr. Gellatly, in his answer to 
the " Detection Detected," as expressing his views and the 
views of the Associate Presbytery of Scotland, and also of the 
Associate Presbytery of Pennsjdvauia. 

In the "Overture" published by order of Synod, in 1787, 
the follojving language occurs: 

That a temporary, or what is called occasional, communion with sister churches, 
may lawfully in some instances take place, is what no man of understanding, 
who is not too much pinched to support some favorite and false hypothesis, will 
deny. The terms of it are not materially different from the terms of stated 
communion, only making allowance for a variety of innocent customs and 

Those of the Associate Church who did not go into the 
union which formed the Associate Reformed Church, certainly 
thought that the Associate Reformed Synod regarded tem- 
porary or occasional communion lawful, in some instances, as 
the quotation from their " Xarrative " will show : 

This new Synod (the Associate Reformed), so far as we can understand the 
Sixth and Seventh Ai-ticles of their Constitution (Little Constitution), have one 
set of terms on which they admit people to what they call fixed communion; 
another set of terms on which they will admit people to what they call occasional 


At tlie time the Associate Reformed Synod was organized, 
all the branches of the Presbyterian Church were in a very 
disturbed state. This disturbance was one of long standing. 
After the battle of Bothwell Bridge, hi 1679, the strict Cov- 
enanters had very little social intercourse, and no Christian 
communion with the Church of Scotland. Time seems to have 
had very little effect in narrowing the chasm which separated 
these stanch adherents to the Covenants from all other parties. 
Among them occasional communion had no practical existence, 
although Alexander Shields says that "organic communion 
must be on stricter terms than catholic communion with others 
that are not members of the same organic church." 

After the organization of the Associate Presbytery, in 1733, 
practically all communion was broken between the Church of 
Scotland and the Secession party ; and after the rupture, in 
1747, in the Secession Church, there was even less social inter- 
course and Christian fellowship between the Burghers and 
Anti-Burghers than between them and those from whom both 
parties had seceded. 

The Burghers and Anti-Burghers carried their opposition to 
€ach other to an extent which fills the mind with astonish- 
ment. The cheek is mantled with shame on the mere recita- 
tion of the unchristian acts and words done and said by those 
Christian people. "The nearest relatives and once most affec- 
tionate friends beheld," says one who relates what he had wit- 
nessed, " one another with a vindictive* eye, and were mutually 
treated with a rudeness scarcely to be found among heathens 
standing under parallel connections. So raging was the infat- 
uation that many esteemed it a daring provocation of the most 
high God to join vvith any of the o]iposite party in the most 
general acts of divine worship, in familj' prayer, or even in ask- 
ing the Lord's blessing upon and returning him thanks for the 
bounties of common Providence." 

Practically, occasional or temporary communion had no exist- 
ence, only in very rare cases, in any branch of the Presbyte- 
rian Church, either in America or Europe, prior to 1810. Its 
lawfulness was admitted by all except those " pinched to sup- 
port a favorite and false hypothesis;" butits practice rarely had 
eveu a nominal existence. 


However shameful it may be, it is nevertheless true, that 
very little brotherly love existed between the various branches 
of the Presbyterian Church for more than a century prior to 
the organization of the Associate Reformed Church. It would 
do the cause of Christianity no good were the abusive epithets 
which they heaped upon each other repeated. Such being the 
case, no matter how they interpreted the XXVItli chapter of 
the Westminster Confession of Faith, tliey could not and did 
not practice occasional communion. 

It must be remembered that by occasional communion the 
fathers of the Associate Reformed Church did not mean the 
same thing as that which, at the present day is denominated 
catholic communion. This latitudinarian scheme, as it was 
called, they regarded as " subversive of the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith, and as having a natural tendency to promote 
error and to extinguish zeal for many important parts of the 

It ^is clear that the founders of the Associate Reformed 
Church desired and designed to be, on the communion ques- 
tion, both in theory and practice, neither absolutely restricted 
nor absolutely catholic. They endeavored to avoid both these, 
as they thought, unscriptural extremes, and to practice a cum- 
munion which was consistent with law and order. They did 
not design to unchurch all other churches by saying that under 
no circumstances their members would be allowed to commune 
with them ; neither did they design opening the door of the 
church so wide that all who claimed to be Christians would be 
.admitted to sealing ordinances. 

"Whether Dr. John M, Mason and his Infant congregation, 
•situated as they were, violated the law and order of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church, is a question which does not admit of 
positive affirmative or negative answer. If it is tested by the 
practice of the Associate, the Associate Reformed, the Re- 
formed Presbyterian, or the Church of Scotland, it was cer- 
tainly contrary to the common law of the church ; for " no such 
event had ever before occurred in America or in Europe." But if 
the Act is examined with respect to its conformity to the de- 
liverance of the Associate Reformed Synod, the conclusion 
cwould, in all probability be that Dr. Mason and his people only 


enjoyed a privilege granted them by the laws of the church. 
In 1811, the matter was brought before the General Synod by 
the following : 

It was moved by Dr. Gray aud Mr. Dick : 

Whebeas, Reports are in circulation, and generally believed, that the Rev- 
John M. Mason and the Rev. Messrs. James M. Matthews and John X. Clark 
have entered into ministerial and Christian communion with another church, 
which has excited a great deal of dissatisfaction in several parts of our church ; 
And whereas, It is the duty of this court to enquire into matters which affect the 
peace and unity of the church ; therefore, 

Resolved, That a committee be appointed to enquire into the truth of said 
report, and into the circumstances of the fact, if it prov^e to be a fact. 

The resolution was adopted, and a committee consisting of 
Dr. Gray, Messrs. Mairs, Henderson, McChord and McWilliams 
was appointed. 

This committee concluded that "the shortest way for gain- 
ing an accurate knowledge of the facts and circumstances in 
the case was to enquire at the mouth of the brethren them- 
selves." This they accordinglj^ did, and after each one of the 
brethren against whom complaint was brought had made his 
statement, the committee reported as follows : 

After Dr. Mason was released from the pastoral chai'ge of the First congrega- 
tion in the city of New York, and a part of that congregation was erected into a 
separate vacancy, to which he was appointed supply, it became necessary for 
this new congregation to obtain a place of meeting for their public worship. 
This they found no easy task; but were defeated in their attempts to procure a, 
temporary accommodation until the house which they contemplated building 
should be comjileted for their reception. At last the trustees of that Presbyte- 
rian Church, of which Dr. Romeyn is pastor, granted free use of their meeting 
house at such times as did not interfere with the seasons of their own worship. 
And Dr. Mason, with the vacancy under his care, have since that time held their 
meetings in said house, assembling after the dismission of Dr. Romeyn's church, 
on the Lord's day, both forenoon and afternoon. 

This circumstance introduced the two societies to the most intimate acquaint- 
ance, and occasioned each frequently to wait on the ministrations of the other. 
The consequence was a high degree of mutual affection, confidence and esteem. 
On the first occasion that Dr. Mason administered the sacrament of the Lord's 
Supper to his congregation, it was, on consultation with the session, thought 
proper to admit Dr. Romeyn and his people to the communion. 

When Dr. Romeyn next administered the Lord's Supper, an invitation was 
given to the people of Dr. Mason's charge to participate, and it was accepted. 

The intercommunion thus began has continued ever since. But it is not viewed 
by Dr. Mason and the people of his charge as any thing else than the application of 
the principle expressed in Chapter XXVI, Section 2, of the Confession of Faith; 
nor as involving the question or communion with any other church than that 


one iu which they are, in the Providence of God, so peculiarly connected. Nor 
is it contemplated to continue, after they shall obtain a separate place of public 
worship, which they are making preparation to build. 

With respect to ministerial communion, the following is the fact : That a few 
Sabbaths since. Dr. Mason received an invitation from Dr. Romeyn to conduct 
the public worship of his congregation, which he accepted ; and on that occasion 
used the established order of worship in the church. Mr. Matthews, who has no 
pastoral charge, joined in the communion before stated, as a member of Dr. 
Mason's church; but has never held ministerial communion with any other than 
the Associate Reformed Church. He looks upon this as merely occasional com- 
munion, rendered proper by the peculiarity of circumstances, and not as involv - 
ing the question of communion with any other congregation than that of Dr. 
Romeyn; nor with that under circumstances diflerent from the present. 

The case of Mr. Clarke is somewhat differently circumstanced. Being indis- 
posed, and having engaged a brother minister to fill his pulpit, he went to Dr. 
Millers church; and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper being that day dis- 
pensed, he accepted an invitation and participated. He has never engaged in 
ministerial communion out of the Associate Reformed Church. 

On reviewing all these facts and circumstances, the committee found itself 
involved in considerable difficulty. On the one hand they see no sufficient cause 
to depart from that restricted communion in the seals of the new covenant 
which has hitherto obtained in the Associate Reformed Church; much less can 
they approve of that vague and indiscriminate communion which prevails in 
different parts of the land, and which, by rendering the ascertainment of Chris- 
tian principles and character impossible, tends to make men indifferent to the 
faith, piety and righteousness of those whom they recognize as brethren in the 
Lord Jesus, and with whom they associate in the most solemn acts of religious 
worship. Also, everything tending to create jealousies, destroy confidence and 
mar the peace and unity of the Associate Reformed Church is deeply to be re- 

On the other hand, they cannot but acknowledge that the congregation in New 
York was placed in unusual circumstances. They were, in the holy providence 
of God, connected with the church of Dr. Romeyn by very tender ties; and they 
had full means of being morally satisfied respecting the faith and character of 
those with whom they were to hold communion. A declinature on their part to 
admit to their communion those whom they sustained on due means of knowl- 
edge, as brethren in Christ with whom they were daily associating in other acts 
of religious worship, and who were displaying great tenderness and good offices 
toward them, might have chilled Christian love on both sides, led to invidious 
inquiries and altercations and have exposed Christianity to derision in the eyes 
of its enemies. They must have anticipated, and did anticipate that the step 
they were taking would create uneasiness in the breasts of their brethren in 
other parts of the country. Thus situated, it must have been painful for them 
to reflect that, act as they might, they must give dissatisfaction to some persons. 
It is for this Synod to judge, whether, under all the circumstances, the conduc- 
of these ministers and that congregation was Christian and judicious, calculated 
to promote the interests of Christ's Kingdom, on the spot where the event took 
place ; as also whether it was compatible with that regard to peace and harmony 
so incumbent on those connected by the solemn bonds of ecclesiastical covenant.^. 


In regard to the ministerial commnnion wliicli Dr. Mason held with Dr. Ro- 
meyn, the only circumstance which has created any displeasure is that of the 
psalmody used on the occasion. 

On Mr. Clarke's conduct the committee cannot but look with disapprobation- 
They do not think it was his duty to neglect assembling with his own church, 
though another minister was to lead the public offices. And they cannot see 
that the providence of God called him, on so casual an event as that of stepping 
into a church during the period of administering the Lord's Sujjper, to join in 
that holy ordinance, knowing, as he must have done, that such conduct would 
displease and grieve a great portion of that part of the church of God with 
which he was connected; while a different conduct could give no offense to the 
family of faith. 

The facts in the case having been clearly, f ally and impiirtially 
set forth in the above report, at a subsequent session of the 
Synod, the following resolution was otfered b}' the Rev. Mat- 
thew Henderson, Jr., and the Rev. Mungo Dick. 

Whereas. It appears that Dr. Mason and Messrs. Matthews and Clarke have 
joined in the ortlinance of the Lord's Supper with the Presbyterian Church of 
North America; And ivhereas, It also appears that Dr. Mason has ministerially 
joined with said church in the use of psalms, the composition of which is merely 
human — all which being contrary to the established order of the Associate Re- 
formed Church, and having a tendency to injure the cause of the Redeemer in 
their hands; therefore, 

Resolved, That the Synod do declare their decided disapi^robation of the de- 
portment of said brethren in the premises, and command them to return to the 
established order of the church. 

When the vole on this resolution was taken, three voted in 
favor of it, thirteen voted against it, and two were silent. It 
was during the consideration of this resolution that Dr. J. M. 
Mason delivered the most powerful speech of his life. It con- 
sumed three hours in its delivery, and was ever after spoken of 
as the " mighty speech." 

The only reasonable interpretation of the vote of the Gene- 
ral Synod is that the overwhelming majority of the members 
present were disposed to interpret the action of the brethren. 
Mason, Matthews and Clarke, as not censurable. It was, per- 
haps, unfortunate that the resolution was so framed as to place 
the three on trial at the same time, and especially since two 
charges were brought np against Dr. Mason, and one only 
against Messrs. Matthews and Clarke. 

So far as the inteV-communion of Dr. Mason and his congre- 
gation, of which Mr. Matthews claimed to be a member, with 
Dr. Romeyn and his congregation was concerned, it is almost 
certain that it was allowable on a strict construction of the de- 


liverances of the Sj'Rod Oil various occasions. Dr. Mason did 
not, at the time, justify it on any other ground than the pecu- 
liar and extraordinary circumstances in which he and his con- 
gregation were placed. Further, he declared that it was neither 
his desire nor intention to practice this occasional communion 
after his church was completed. The case of Mr. Matthews 
iind Dr. Mason so far were identical. 

The case of Mr. Clarke, as the committee correctly say, was 
different. Having engaged Mr. Stansbury to fill his pulpit, he 
left his own church and went to worship in another, and one 
of a diflerent denomination. lie assorted that this was with- 
out any previous concert. No doubt this was true ; but be3'ond 
all controvers}^ it must also have been without any regard for 
common propriety. By no just interpretation could his com- 
muning with the congregation of Dr. Miller be regarded as the 
occasional communion contemplated by the fathersof the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church. Clearlj', Mr. Clarke violated not only 
the law and practice of the Associate Reformed Church, but 
transgressed the rules and regulations which are well estab- 
lished in every community of Christians. It is expected, and 
rightly, too, that every individual will worship in his own 
church when there are services in that church. To go else- 
i;\diere, is to treat those with whom he is denominationally con- 
nected with marked disrespect and want of social and Chris- 
tian courtesy. 

The other and graver charge brought against Dr. Mason was 
that while conducting public worship for Dr. Romeyn, he used 
" psalms the composition of which is merely human." This 
was a plain violation of the written rules and regulations of 
the Associate Reformed Church. It is not known on what 
grounds he attempted to vindicate this act. The language of 
the third Section of the third chapter of the Directory for 
Public Worship, adopted in 1799, is too positive to suppose 
that he undertook to claim that his course was lawful. ISTo 
matter how often "psalms the composition of which is merely 
human " have been sung by Associate Reformed people — no 
matter whether by preachers, elders, deacons or private mem- 
bers — it has been done, in every instance, in direct violation of 
the law of the church. 


The law of the Associate Eeformed Church, from its earliest 
existence down to the present time, ever has been that only 
the psalms contained in the Book of Psalms in the Bible are 
to be used in the public and private worship of God. Xo ver- 
sion of the psalms was ever formally adopted b}' the Associate 
Reformed Church. The use of the Scotch version was simply 
continued, but not formally adopted. The reason why its use 
was continued was mainly because it was, as a metrical trans- 
lation, regarded as far superior to any and all that had pre- 
ceded it. 

By the vote of the General Synod, Messrs. Mason, Matthe\ys 
and Clarke were not censured. 

No doubt, there Avere some who were ready to approve of 
their course ; but it is not fair to interpret the negative vote 
of the Synod as a vote of approbation. 

The discussion of Messrs. Plenderson and Dick's resolution 
took place on Saturday. On Monday morning Messrs. Eben- 
ezer Dickey and Alexander Porter moved the following pre- 
amble and resolution : 

Wheeeas, a diversity of judgment and practice has been found to exist 
among the ministers and members of this church relative to the application of 
the doctrine of the Confession of Faith concerning the communion of saints; 
And whereas, The course of correct procedure in this matter must dejiend. in a 
great measure, upon circumstances which cannot be provided for by any general 
rule; therefore, 

Resolved, 'That the judicatories, ministers and members of this church be. and 
hereby are, entreated and required to exercise mutual forbearance in the prem- 
ises; and in the use of their discretion to observe mutual tenderness and broth- 
erly love, studying to avoid whatever may be contrary thereto; and giving 
special heed to the preservation of sound and efficient discipline. 

The above was adopted almost unanimously — the vote being 
sixteen for it, and three against it. So far as the resolution 
itself is concerned, it certainly seems to be fair and impartial. 
]Sro advantage is taken of either party. Both parties are " re- 
quired to exercise mutual forbearance." It failed, however, to 
satisfy a very large portion of the church. The Synod of Scioto 
and the Synod of the South both felt aggrieved. 

The resolution of Messrs. Dickey and Porter was designed 
as a check to all parties. There were some who were more 
rigid in tlieir demands than tlie written law of the church re- 
([uircd, while there were others who, by their practice, gave 


immistakable signs that they held both the written law of the 
church and the law as established by the practice of a godl}' 
ancestry in contempt. 

Both parties, no doubt, might be characterized as extremists. 
The one looked on the attainments of the fathers with a sacred 
veneration ; the other viewed the practices of their sainted an- 
cestors with a feeling of commingled shame and disgust. 



RESULT of the Action of the Synod in Mason. Matthews and Clarke Case — 
Parties Lose Confidence in Each Other — The General Synod '' Intermit the 
Functions of the Subordinate Synods" — General Synod Always Meet at Phila- 
delphia — The Synods of the South and West Practically Excluded — Remon- 
strances Against the Action of the General Synod of 1811 by These — Synod 
of Scioto Withdrew in 1820 — Synod of the Carolinas Became Independent in 
1822 — Synod of New York Never Meets — A Majority of the People Opposed 
to the Course Pursued by General Synod — The Resiilt, had the Matter been 
Submitted to a Popular Vote — Correspondence Between the Synod of Scioto 
and the Synod of the South — The Condition of the Associate Reformed 
Church — Synod of the South Appoint a Fast Day — The Bishop-Rankin Diffi- 
culty — Settled to the Satisfaction of Neither Party — Character of Messrs. 
Bishop and Rankin — The Psalmody and Communion Question the Real 
Cause of the Difficulty Between Messrs. Bishop and Rankin — Dr. Mason's 
Plea— Mr. Rankin's Rejily — The Downward Tendency of the General Synod — 
The Psalmody' Question Revived — Ebenezer Clarke's Resolutions — A New 
Version of the Psalms Called for by a Few — The Reformed Dutch Version 
Allowed — The Union Spirit — Negotiations with the Reformed Dutch — This 
Broken Up by Similar Negotiations with the General Assembly — A Union 
Formed with the General Assemblj- — Basis and Condition of this Union — 
The Vote on Union — No Union Actuallj' Formed — Names of the Ministers 
Going into the Union — The Theological Library Removed to Princeton — Law 
Suit for its Recovery — Library Restored in 1837. 

The action of the General Synod in the Mason, Matthews 
and Clarke case was attended with the most disastrous results. 
The Associate Eeformed Church not only became divided in 
opinion on the communion and psalmody question, but the op- 
posing parties lost confidence in the integrity of each other. 
The latitudinarian party, as if afraid that the subordinate 
S^'nods would thwart their plans and frustrate all their schemes, 
in 1810, prevailed upon the General Synod to pass an Act " in- 
termitting the functions of the subordinate Synods." The 
passage of this Act virtually robbed the subordinate Synods of 
all power and control in the church. 

AVhen the General Synod w^as organized, it was designed 
that its meetings should be, not annual, but " every two or three 
years."' This was changed, and annual meetino:s ordered. 


By a kind of ecclesiastical trickery, the General Synod always 
met in the city of Philadelphia. In those days, when railroads 
and steamboats had no existence, and the mode of travel was 
entirely on horseback, the attendance upon the meetings of the 
General Synod was accompanied with no small expense, great 
loss of time, and very considerable wear and tear of both body 
and mind to the members of the Synods of the Carolinas and 
Scioto. In addition to this these two Synods came to the con- 
clusion, and rightly too, that they had very little weight in 
staying the downward tendency of things. 

Remonstrances against the action of the General Synod of 
1811 were sent up to its sabsequent meeting by the Synod of 
Scioto, by the Synod of the Carolinas, and by several presbyteries 
and single congregations. All this availed nothing. The result 
was that on the 27th of April, 1820, the Synod of Scioto for- 
mally renounced its subordination to the General Synod and 
constituted itself into an independent Synod under the name, 
'' The Associate Reformed Synod of the AVest." 

In 1821, the Synod of the Carolinas asked permission of the 
General Synod to \vithdraw^ and become an independent Synod. 
This was granted, and on the 1st of April, 1822, it was consti- 
tuted under the name, " The Associate Reformed Synod of the 
South," which name it still bears. 

The withdrawal of these two Synods left in connection with 
the General Synod only the Synod of Pennsylvania and the 
Synod of Xew York. The connection of the latter, however, 
was only nominal. From the autumn of 1812 to the spring of 
1822, a period of more than nine years, it never met. The 
reason was because, "the bitter and personal controversies upon 
psalmod}' and communion had so distracted and disheartened 
many of the ministers, that they felt like letting every thing 
outside of their pastoral charges go by default." It was not' 
because they acquiesced in the action of the General S3'nod of 
1810, in intermitting the functions of the subordinate synods. 
Against this action they remonstrated. 

That the reader may have a clear and distinct knowledge of 
the results of the action of the General Synod of 1811, it is- 
necessary to o-ive a brief statement of the. facts. 


An already intimated, the course pursued by the General 
Synod failed to give satisfaction. A largo minority of the 
ministers and a majority of the lay members of the church 
Avere decidedly opposed to the course which the General Synod 
pursued. Had the questions been separated and left to the 
popular vote of the denomination, it is almost certain that 
Dr. Mason and the Rev. J. X. Clarke would have been cen- 
sured ; the former for using a psalmody forbidden by the church, 
and the latter for practicing a communion not occasional, but 
clearly irregular. 

It is also highly probable that no censure would have been 
passed upon Dr. Mason and Mr. Matthews for holding com- 
munion with the congregation of Dr. Romeyn. By some the 
conduct of these brethren would not have been approved ; but 
the probability is that even l)y them the matter would have 
been overlooked. 

As it was, however, the church was greatly agitated. The 
Synod of Scioto feeling deeply aggrieved, met in Chillicothe, 
Ohio, on the 17th of October, 1811, and adopted the following 
preamble and resolutions : 

Whereas, In consequence of reports having been in circulation that the Rev. 
Messrs. Dr. Mason, J. M. Matthews and J. X. Clarke, had joined in communion 
■with the Presbyterian Church, and that Dr. Mason having received an invitation 
from Dr. Romeyn to conduct the public worship of his congregation, had con- 
formed on that occasion to the established order of worship in that church, 
which reports liad excited no small degree of dissatisfaction in various parts of 
this church ; And ivhereas, By direction of General Synod, at their last meeting, 
an inquiry had been instituted to ascertain the truth of these reports, which it 
appeared were well founded ; A7id whereas, A resolution was brought before 
Synod condemnatory of the conduct of these brethren in the premises, which 
resolution was negatived, thereby, as it is supposed, justifying and approving 
their conduct ; And whereas. It appears to this Synod that instead of being 
passed over in this manner, it merited disapprobation ; therefore, 

Besolved, That this Synod do hereby express their decided disapprobation in 
the conduct of these brethren in violating the order of communion established 
in this church ; and of Dr. Mason, in particular, in using a system of psalmody 
which the constitution and standards of the church not only do not recognize, 
but condemn. 

Besolved, That this Synod direct, as it hereby does, the different Presbyteries 
of which it is composed, to lay before the General Synod, at its next meeting, 
temperate yet firm remonstrances, against their decision, in negativing the reso- 
lution referred to above. 

Resolved, That a letter expressing the sentiments of this Synod, on these sub- 
jects, be addressed and forwarded to Dr. Mason. 


The resolution referred to as being negatived b}^ the General 

• Synod was that offered 1)}' Messrs. Henderson and Dick. 

On the next day, October l-8th, the Synod of Scioto again 
■met and passed the following resolution : 

•• That the clerk be, as he hereby is, directed to forward without delay, to the 

• clerk or some other member of each of the other particular synods of the Asso- 
- ciate Reformed Church a copy of the first and second resolutions." 

The Eev. John Steel, clerk of the Synod of Scioto, sent to the 
Eev, Isaac Grier, clerk of the Synod of the Carolinas, the two 
resolutions referred to above. These, together with an ex- 
planatory letter by Mr, Steel, were read and considered by the 
•Synod of the Carolinas at its meeting on the 3d of April, 1812, 
-lit King's Creek, IS'ewberry county, S. C. 

The Synod of the Carolinas returned an answer to these reso- 
lutions, in which the}' " express their concurrence in sentiment 
with the Scioto brethren." 

The Associate Reformed Church began at this time to pre- 
sent an awful spectacle of human weakness and human pas- 
sions. The General Synod possessed all the power, and outside 
of the Synod of Philadelphia there were few, either of the 
ministers or lay members of the church but looked upon it 
with feelings of commingled shame, sorrow and distrust. As 
one among many evidences of this fact, it may be mentioned 
that in 1812 the Synod of the Carolinas appointed a day of 
fasting, assigning as the first and most important reason for 
such appointment, " the afflictions and embarrassments of the 
church in general, and our own church in particular." 

In 1812, a quarrel sprung up between Messrs. Bishop and 
Eankin, which, after being^continued for about six ^^ears, was 
adjudicated by a commission of the General Synod, to the sat- 
isfaction of neither party. 

This difficulty originated as follows : The Presbytery of 
Kentucky appointed, in 1812, Messrs. Bishop and Rankin to 
prepare a pastoral letter to the churches on the duty of minis- 
terial support. The letter was written by Mr. Bishop, assisted 
by Mr. Rankin, and when presented to the presbytery passed 
without opposition. Such being the case, the presbytery, and 
not the committee, became responsible for whatever senti- 
ments it contained. In this pastoral letter, the tithe law, sup- 


242 HISTORY' OF the: 

posed to be oiiee in force in the Old Testament church, was ad- 
vocated. This £^ave offense in some sections, and especially in 
Ebenezer congrc^^ation, of which Mr. Bishop was pastor. 

In order to place the matter in a proper light and restore 
peace and harmony in the Ebenezer. congregation, the presby- 
tery addressed an official letter to the people of Ebenezer, stat- 
iugr that the pastoral letter was to be considered as the produc- 
tion of the presbytery, and not of any single individual. 

At that time Mr. Bishop was, in connection with some other- 
clergymen, publishing a religious monthly called the Evangeli- 
cal liccord and Western Beview. In this monthly Mr. Bishop 
published the official letter of the Kentucky Presbytery to the 
Ebenezer congregation, and also defended the pastoral letter. 
This may have been defensible, but for some cause which does 
not clearly appear, he said some hard things about Mr. Rankin, 
lie also published in the same work an article entitled "The 
Origin of the Eankinites." 

The course pursued by Mr. Bishoj) was calculated to offend 
Mr. Rankin and his friends. This it did. The matter came 
before the presbytery for adjudication. Mr. Bishop did not 
deny the charges he had made against Mr. Rankin. On the 
contrary, he offered to justify his conduct by proving that the- 
charges were true. This the presbytery refused tooillow him 
to do, on the ground that even if the charges were true, Mr- 
Bishop was censurable for having published them to the world, 
instead of proceeding against Mr. Rankin in accordance with 
the discipline of the church. 

In October, 1815, the Presbytery of Kentucky suspended. 
Mr. Bishop from the ministry. He refused to submit, and 
appealed to the General Synod. In May, 1816, the General 
Synod declared the act of the presbytery irregular, thereby re- 
moving the sentence of suspension, but directed that Mr. Bishop' 
be rebuked by his presbytery on account of the severe charges- 
which he had brought against Mr. Rankin. To this he also 
refused to submit, and forwarded reasons for so acting to the 
General Synod of 1817. A committee was appointed by the 
Synod to proceed to Kentucky, gather up all the facts in the 
case, and report to the Synod. This committee did nothing. 

In May, 1818, a commission^ consisting of John M. Mason^ 
Ebenezer Dickey and John Linn, ministers ; and John Ken- 


iiedy, Silas E. Weir and Jeremiah Morrow, elders, was ap- 
pointed for the purpose of takins^ the whole matter into con- 

That they might be able to conclude the ailair finally, the 
General Synod conferred upon this commission full power to 
do every thing necessary to bring the case to a final conclusion. 
Their action was to be subject, however, to review by next. 
General Synod. 

In September the commission met in Lexington and pro- 
ceeded to adjudicate tlie difliculty. In accordance with the- 
powers conferred upon them, Mr. Bishop was made the prose- 
cutor and Mr. Rankin the defendant. 

Mr. Bishop was first required to submit to the rebuke previ- 
ously ordered by the General Synod. Having complied with 
this requirement, he was then called upon to prefer his charges 
against Mr. Rankin. This he did. So soon as his testimony 
was all given in, Mr. Rankin asked that eight days be allowed 
him to prepare his defense. This the commission granted; 
but the time having expired, Mr. Rankin handed in a paper 
declining the authority of the commission. The trial went on, 
notwithstanding the absence of the defendant. The decision 
of the commission was that "Mr. Bishop, the prosecutor, 
should be j:)ublicly rebuked for the publication he had issued, 
and that Mr. Rankin, the defendant, being convicted of lying 
and slander, be, as he liereby is, suspended from the gospel 

It would be a hopeless task, were it undertaken, to decide 
whether this decision was just and equitable or not. ISTo doubt 
both Mr. Bishop and Rankin were censurable. Both were 
men of fine natural abilities and no mean attainments. Mr. — 
afterwards Doctor — Bishop was a fine classical scholar and dis- 
tinguished educator. 

Xotvvithstanding all this, he was rash and impulsive, given 
to speak unadvisedly, and frequently dealt in language which 
cut like a sword. His piety, so far as is known, was never 
called in question ; but, withal, he was disposed to push his 
own opinions and pursue his own counsel. In the autumn of 
1802 he came to America, and was sent by the Associate Re- 
formed Sj'nod to the Presbytery of Kentucky. In the summer 
of 1803 he received a call from the united congregations of 
Ebenezer and !N^ew Providence. 


About the same time he was elected to a professorship in 
Transylvania University, at Lexington. When the time ar- 
rived for his ordination and installation, the presbytery required 
him to resign liis professorship. This he refused to do, and 
the presbytery not only refnsed to proceed with his ordination 
and installation, but prosecuted and rebuked him for insubor- 
dination. The matter was referred to the Synod and the de- 
cree of the presbj'tery was reversed, but it was not until June, 
1808, that his ordination and installation took place. 

Of Mr. Rankin it is difficult to- speak with certainty. That 
he was the occasion of much disturbance in the church cannot 
be denied ; but of much of that disturbance he was probably 
only the innocent occasion. Mr. Rankin came from the Pres- 
byterian Church to the Associate Reformed Church about the 
year 1793. Tlie reason he left the Presbyterian Church was 
the introduction of AVatts' "imitation" of the Psalms of the 
Bible into the worship of God by some congregations in con- 
nection with the Presbyterian Church. Against this innova- 
tion he set himself with all his might, but not being able to 
prevent it, he withdrew, or rather because he opposed this inno- 
vation he was suspended by the Presbytery of Transylvania 
from the exercise of all ministerial functions. To this sen- 
tence of the presbytery he refused to submit, and ijjade appli- 
cation to the Second Associate Reformed Presbytery of Penn- 
sylvania, and was by that presbytery received into tlie Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church. 

It is highly probable that the psalmody and communion 
question was the main factor in the Bishop-Rankin difficulty. 
Mr. Bishop and Mr. Rankin held antagonistic views on those 

In 1819 Mr. Bishop left the Associate Reformed Church and 
joined the General Assembly Presbyterian Church. This 
shows that he either had no conscientious scruples about 
psalmody and communion, or that he acted contrary- to the 
convictions of his conscience. 

In 1816 Dr. J. M. Mason published, his work entitled "A 
Plea for Sacramental Communion on Catholic Principles." 
The position taken in this work b}' Dr. Mason is far in ad- 
vance of tliat assumed by him as the [>osition held by the As- 
sociate Reformed Church when his case was before the Synod 


in 1811. k^o much was Mr. Rankin o^jposed to the scheme 
advocated by Dr. Mason that he wrote an answer to Mason's 

The difhculty between Mr. Bishop and Mr. Rankin was 
settled in a way tiiat was calcnlated to do great injury to the 
cause of Jesns Christ. The appointing of the commission was 
an unpresbytcrial act. Mr. Bishop never brought an^- charges 
against Mr. Rankin before the Presbytery of Kentucky. So far 
as it appears, the whole matter was conducted in a way not 
sanctioned bj' the principles of J.^resbyterianism. 

Mr. Bishop should have brought charges against Mr. Ran- 
kin before the Presbj^tery of Kentucky. Had the Presbytery 
decided contrary to his views of law, then he should have ap- 
pealed to the Synod of Scioto, and had his supposed rights not 
been respected by the Synod of Scioto, then he had the right 
to appeal to the General Synod as a court of final resort. Un- 
fortunately, the General Synod had, in 1810, '"intermitted the 
functions of the subordinate synods," and in the Bishop-Ran- 
kin case the General Synod took upon itself to adjudicate a 
matter which properly belonged to the jurisdiction of the Pres- 
byter}^ of Kentuck}'. 

The tendency now was to the rapid dissolution of the Gene- 
ral Synod. In a few, and in only a few sections of the church 
there was a desire to thrust the old Scotch version of the 
Ps'alms out of the church and introduce a new version. The 
rough Hebrew-Scotch version, with its lines occasionally too 
long or too short, grated on the ears of the rising generation, 
and an incessant clamor for a new; version was raised by the 
dissatisfied few. 

It was the version that first agitated the church. This was 
as far as the psalmody question ever reached in the Associate 
Reformed Church. So far as is remembered, no man holding 
any official connection with the Associate Reformed Church 
has ever dared to advocate the introduction of-hymns, the com- 
position of which is merely human, into the worship of God. 
]!!^o doubt there were, at various periods, a number of individ- 
uals who did not hold the hio-h o-round which has ever been 

■^ OS 

held by strict Seceders on this suljject. These generally sought 

connections where they could practice in accordance with their 


Sometime during the year 1810, the question of a new metri- 
■cal version of the Psalms began to be discussed in certain As- 
sociate Reformed circles. Ebenezer Clark, an elder of Argyle, 
New York, wrote to Dr. J. M. Mason a letter in which he 
stated that he had drawn up and presented to presbytery a 
petition on the subject of an improved version of the Psalms. 
In that letter Mr. Clark states that " the presbytery were re- 
quested to petition Synod to furnish the church with a metre 
version of the Scripture psalms, hymns and songs adapted to 
the present condition of the church and the improved state of 
the English language," The petition addressed to the presby- 
tery encountered some opposition, but not to the extent that 
was feared. 

Dr. Mason approved of the course that was adopted by Mr. 
Clark, and stated that the subject had been before his mind for 
several years. The matter came before the General Synod 
soon after this, and a committee, consisting of Drs. Mason and 
Gray, and Revs. John X. Clarke, J. M. Matthews and Alex- 
ander Proudfoot, was appointed " to procure an improved ver- 
sion of Scriptural psalmody, and to have the same in readiness 
for such order as the General Synod shall see meet to make at 
the next stated meeting.'' 

Iso version was made, and no good grew out of the resolu- 
tion. The majority of the members of the church regarded 
a new version of the Psalms and the scheme of occasional com- 
munion on very latitudinarian principles, as inseparably con- 

In 1816 the General Synod passed an Act permitting such 
congregations of the Associate Reformed Church as might 
judge it for edification, "to use the version of the Book of 
Psalms in the Old Testament recently prepared for the use of 
the Reformed Dutch Church." 

AVhether there were serious objections to the Reformed 
Dutch version of the Psalms or not, is a matter that need not 
be discussed ; but it is a fact that only a few Associate Re- 
formed congregations — only three, perhaps — availed themselves 
of the liberty granted them by the highest court of the church, 
.and these only for a very short time 


A spirit of union seems early to have taken possession of at 
least some of the members of the Associate Reformed Church. 
In 1816, " a reo-ular and constant correspondence " was inaugu- 
rated with the Dutch Reformed Church, and in 1820 a com- 
mittee was appointed by the General Synod of the Associate 
Reformed Church to confer with a similar committee to be 
appointed by the General S}' nod of the Reformed Dutch Church, 
with a view to effecting a union of the two denominations. 

A basis of union, consisting of eight Articles, was drawn up. 
This basis the Reformed Dutch Sj'nod overtured to its classes. 
These reported almost unanimously in its favor. 

In 1821, the leaders of the General Synod of the Associate 
Reformed Church, having a prospect of a union with the Gen- 
eral Assembl}' of the Presbyterian Church, politely "declined, 
for the present, all further proceedings relative thereto, resting 
satisfied with the continuance of the established plan of inter- 
course and correspondence." 

The General Synod was now nearing its final dissolution. 
For more than ten years this event had been regarded by man}^ 
in every section of the church as inevitable. As the hour of 
its dissolution approached, the signs of the event became more 

In May, 1821, the General Synod, as usual, met in the city 
■of Philadelphia. From the General Assembly of the Presby- 
terian Church, then in session in the same city, an overture 
was received by the General Synod, proposing an organic union 
of the two denominations. 

A committee of its members was appointed b}^ each court to 
conduct the negotiations. After some consultation the folloAv- 
ing plan was agreed upon as a basis of union : 

1. The different presbyteries of the Associate Reformed Church shall either 
retain their separate organization, or be amalgamated with those of the Gen- 
eral Assembly, at their own choice. 

2. The theological seminary at Princeton, under the care of the General As- 
sembly, and the theological seminary of the Associate Reformed Church, shall 
be consolidated. 

3. The theological library and funds belonging to the Associate Reformed 
Church shall be transferred and belong to the seminary at Princeton. 

This plan of union, if such it may be called, was overtured, 
or pretended to be overtured, to the presbyteries. 


On the 15tli of May, 1822, the General Synod again met in- 
Philadelphia. Twenty-two delegates had been comniissioned, 
but only sixteen attended — six from the Presbytery of Phila- 
delphia ; four from the Presbytery of New York ; three from, 
the Presbytery of Saratoga ; and three from the Presbytery of 
Big Spring. The Presbyter}^ of AVashington was without a 
representative, and one delegate was absent from the Presby- 
tery of Big Spring, and another from the Presbytery of Sara- 

When the overture in reference to the projjosed union Avith 
the Presbyterian Church came up, it was found that the Pres- 
byteries of Saratoga and Washington Avere, without a dissent- 
ing vote, against it, and in the Presbytery of Big Spring, only 
a very small minority were in favor of it. The only Presby- 
teries in favor of it were those of ]S"ew York and Philadelphia,, 
and in each of these there was a respectable minority opposed 
to it. 

On strict Presbyterian principles, the overture was rejected. 
Of the five presbyteries at that time in connection with the 
General Synod, three voted against the overture, two unani- 
mously ; one with a small minority in favor of it, and not a 
single presbyter}^ unanimously in favor of it. In accordance 
with a well-established principle of Presbyterian church gov- 
ernment, the overture was no longer before the General Synod. 
That court, however, took a different view of the matter. 

In 1810, it had, by the passage of an Act, intermitted the 
functions of the subordinate Synods, and now 'it proceeded to 
ignore the prerogatives and usurp the functions of the presby- 

The matter was discussed for four days, and on Tuesday, the 
21st of May it was 

Besolved, That this Synod approve, and hereby do ratify the plan of union 
between the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and the Associate 
Reformed Church, proposed by commissioners from said churches. 

Seven voted in favor of the above resolution ; five voted 
against it, and four were silent. Those who voted in the af- 
firmative were James Laurie, the moderator ; Ebenezer Dickey 
and John M. Duncan, ministers ; Joseph is'ourse, James Mar- 
tin, Robert Patterson and John Forsyth, elders. Those voting 
in the negative were Robert Forrest, Thomas Smith, James. 


Otterson, ministers ; James LeiFerz and James McCullodi, elders. 
Those who did not vote were William AVert Phillips, Robert 
B. E. ]\IcLeod and John Linn, ministers ; and elder Robert 

Of the seven who voted in the affirmative, all were in con- 
nection with the Presbyteiy of Philadelphia, except elder John 

Thomas Smith claimed that seven was not a majority of six- 
teen. The moderator ruled that silent votes were to be counted 
with the majority, and that the resolution was adopted. Those 
who voted in the negative protested against his decision, be- 
cause it was in manifest opposition to the voice of the church. 

Of the six delegates who were absent, it was known that five 
were opposed to the proposed union. Objections and protests 
availed nothing. The few were determined to rule. Tlie union 
must be formed, was their motto, no matter what the presby- 
teries or single individuals said to the contrary. 

That this union of 1822 was not a union of the Associate 
Reformed Church and the Presbyterian Church, is evident, 
from the fact that onl^^ eleven ministers, and perhaps about the 
same number of pastoral charo-es acceded to it. The names of 
those ministers who went into the Presbyterian Church under 
the cloak of that farcical transaction were Ebenezer Dickey, 
John ]\I. Duncan, George Junkiu, James Laurie, Robert Mc- 
Carter, Charles G. McLean, Robert B, E. McLeod, John ]\L 
Mason, Ebenezer K. ^Maxwell, John Mulligan and William 
Wert Phillips. 

All of these were men of more than ordinary powers, and 
mau}^ of them men of massive intellects. They were also men 
of exemplary piety. It is, however, almost certain that they 
marred their happiness, and to some extent injured their influ- 
ence by so inconsiderately and rashly forming a union with the 
Presbyterian Church. To say that they believed that by that 
act they expressed the desires of the Associate Reformed 
people, is to charge them with gross and willful ignorance ; and 
to say that they knew they were acting in opposition to the- 
desires of the great body of the church to which they belonged, 
is to place them before the world in the unenviable attitude of 
self-constituted petty tyrants. 


The moderator having announced that the plan of union was 
adopted, the General Synod began to make arrangements for 
its own extinction. A committee was appointed to transfer 
the theological library of the Associate Reformed Semi- 
nary from 'New York to Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. J. Ar- 
buckle, clerk of the Sj'nod, and pastor-elect of Spruce Street 
Church, Philadelphia, a member of this committee, asked leave 
of absence that he might go at once to New York for the pur- 
pose of removing the library before any legal obstacles might 
be thrown in the way of the transfer. 

This indicated that they expected to encounter opposition, 
because they felt, no doubt, that they had acted in bad faith. 

On Thursday, the 23d, they met and drew up a pastoral let- 
ter ex[»lanatory of their action. The clerk was ordered to de- 
posit all the minutes and documents belonging to the General 
Synod wuth the session of the Spruce Street congregation. 

The General Assembl}^ having been officially informed of 
their action, invited them to seats in the Assembly as constit- 
uent members. 

The closing moment of the General Synod had now arrived. 
It has been customary, in all branches of the Church of Scot- 
land, to conclude the sessions of all ecclesiastical courts by 
singing the 133d Psalm. 

Had the union so recently formed been entirely agreeable to 
all parties, this would have been exceedingly appropriate ; but 
for some reason this was not done. In its place they very appro- 
priatel}^ sung the 130th Psalm, and finally adjourned. Two 
ministers, McLeod ahd Duncan, and two elders, Nourse and 
Patterson, took their seats in the General Assembly. The rest, 
tired and sad, all went home, and many of them sank into ob- 
scurity, or became notorious. Thus, after a stormy existence 
of eighteen years, perished the General Synod of the Associate 
Reformed Church, and with it the subordinate Synod of Penn- 

The Synod of Scioto having, on the ^7th of April, 1820, 
dissolved and reconstituted, as an indepen ^nt Synod, and the 
Synod of the Carolinas having, in accorda -^.e with jjermission 
granted by the General Synod, become independent, on the 1st 
of April, 1822, the Synod of New York alone remained to as- 
sert the rio-hts of the Associate Reformed Church. 


A pro re nata meeting of the S^'nod of Xew York was or- 
dered by its last moderator, the Rev. Robert Proudfoot, at 
Galway, on the 13th of February, 1822. 

The Presbyteries of Saratoga and Washington were repre- 
sented by both ministers and elders, while Mr. Daniel Farring- 
ton was the only representative from the Presbj'tery of JSTew 
York. At this meeting of the Synod of Xew York, the fol- 
lowing resolutions were adopted : 

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Synod, the union pi-oposed with the 
General Assemblj' is inexpedient, and calcuhited to di;*tui-b the peace of our 

Resolved, That this Synod will maintain its existence, in its present form, 
whatever be the decision of the General Synod upon the contemplated union. 

With the exception of one dissenting vote — that of the Rev. 
Ebenezer Iv. Maxwell — these resolutions were unanimously 
adopted. The S^'nod having passed these resolutions, ad- 
journe.d, to meet at Xewburgh, on the 13th of September, 
1822. ' 

During the interval, the union was formed. The Synod of 
Xew York, however, met at the appointed time, and was 
opened with a sermon by the Rev. James Scriingeour. There 
were present nineteen members, and three were absent. It was 
found that there still remained thirteen ministers and about 
tw^enty-five congregations that had not and did not design go- 
ing into the union. 

At this meeting of the Synod, a memorial to the General 
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in reference to restoring 
the library and funds transferred to Princeton, by Act of the 
General Synod, was prepared. This memorial was presented to 
the General Assembl}- in 1823, by Alexander Proudfoot and 
Robert Forrest. It was, however, for prudential reasons, with- 

For about seven years afterwards, no formal effort was made 
to recover this property. In 1830, another memorial was pre- 
pared and placed iv the' hands of the Rev. Joseph McCarrell 
and Mr. John For& .h, to be presented to the General Assem- 
bly at its next met i,ng. 

In ^lay, 1831, the commissioners — ]\IcCarrell and Forsyth — 
appeared before the General Assembly and presented the memo- 
riah The matter was referred by the Assembly to a special 


committee, which brought in an adverse report. This repprt,. 
liowever, was not adopted by the Assembl}^ but referred, to- 
gether with tlie memorial, to the trustees of the theological 
seminary at Princeton. 

A meeting of the board of trustees and commissioners was 
held in April, 18-32 ; but the trustees declined to decide the 
matter, and referred it back to the Assembly, advising that the 
memorial be rejected. 

When the question came up before the Assembly, Dr. Mc- 
Carrell desired to be heard. This was refused. The commis- 
sioners desired to present a written argument. This Avas also 

All friendly negotiations were now barred, and as a last, and 
only resort, suit was commenced in the court of chancery, in 
the State of Kew Jersey. Here the matter lay until July^. 
1837, when Chancellor Philemon Dickerson made a decree in 
favor of the complainants. By this decree, the board of trus- 
tees of the theological seminary at Princeton were necessitated 
to return to the Synod of 'Sew York, the legal heir of the- 
General Synod, a library of about twenty-five hundred vol- 
umes, and two thousand dollars in money. 

In 1837, the Synod of the AVest having spread over an ex- 
tensive territor}', was divided into two synods. The one Avas 
denominated the First Associate Eefornied Synod of the West, 
and the other the Second Associate Reformed Synod of the 
West. At the same time a General Synod was organized. In 
1852, the Second S^Miod of the West was divided, and all the- 
territory west of the State of Indiana erected into a synod 
called the Synod of Illinois. 

In 1855, these three synods and the Synod of Xew York 
united upon the simple basis of the Constitution of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church as adopted in 1799. On the 26th of 
May, 1858, these four synods, consisting of two hundred and 
forty ministers and probationers, and thirty-one thousand two 
hundred and eighty -four communicants, united with the Asso- 
ciate Synod, thus forming the United Presbyterian CiiuRcii. 
OF North America. * 



Place of the Organization — Strength of the United Presbyterian Church — • 
Present Strength — Number of Presbyteries, Synods, Families, Communicants, 
Ministers and the Territory of the United Presbyterian Church — Foreign 
Missions — Basis of Union — Doctrines of the United Presbyterian Church — • 
Number of Psalm-singing Churches in America — All Divided. 

Without some account of the United Presbyterian Church, 
our knowledge of the history and growth of the Associate Re- 
formed Presb^^terian Churches in America would be imperfect. 
The United Presbyterian Church of North America is the re- 
sult of a union formed between the Associate Reformed and 
the Associate Presbyterian Churches. This union was formally 
effected in the City Hall of Pittsburg, Pa., on tlie 26th of May, 

The union was harmonious so far as was possible. The 
great body of both denominations heartily entered into it. A 
few congregations and ministers in connection with each of the 
denominations did not, however, acquiesce with the majority. 
Some of these sought connection with other Christian denomi- 
nations, a few afterward went into the Union Church, and 
others continued to perpetuate the original organizations. 

The United Presbyterian Church is by far the largest and 
most influential of all those denominations in America which 
trace their ecclesiastical organizations back to the Erslcines, or 
to McMillan and Nairn, In connection with the United Presbyte- 
rian Church there were, in 1858, fifty-four thousand seven hun- 
dred and eighty-nine comraunicants ; thirty-one thousand three 
hundred and ninety-eight families ; four hundred and nineteen 
ministers ; sixty-five probationers, and about fort}^ students of 
theology. In connection with the denomination there were 
five synods and forty-nine presbyteries. 

The growth of the United Presbyterian Church has been 
steady. At present, (1881) there are in connection with it nine 
synods ; sixty-one presbyteries ; seven hundred and four or- 
dained ministers; forty-seven licentiates, and sixty-five stu- 


dents of theology. The membership, so far as reported, was, 
in 1881, eighty-two thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven. 

The United Presbyterian Church has two theological semi- 
naries — one at Xenia, Ohio, and tlie other at Allegheny, Pa. 
In addition to this, it controls live colleges. 

The territor}^ occupied by the United Presbyterian Church 
is very .jsxtensive, stretching from Boston to San Francisco. In 
addition to its labors in the home field, it is extensively en- 
gaged in foreign missionary efforts. It has in its connection a 
presbytery of fourteen members in Egypt. In connection Avith 
this presbytery there are more than one thousand communi- 
cants. It has also a presbs^tery in India, in connection with 
which there are seven members. The success of the United 
Presbyterian Church, in its missionary labors among the 
heathen, has been very great. 

In forming the United Presbyterian Church, neither the As- 
sociate nor the Associate Reformed Churches adopted any new 
doctrine or practice, or gave up any old doctrines or practices. 
There w^as a basis of union, a statement of difterences and 
points of agreement ; but at last they were and always had 
been one except in name. For more than three quarters of a 
century they had lived as separate organizations, believing and 
practicing the same thing. The Associate Reformed Church 
adopted the "V\"estminster Confession of Faith after having 
eliminated Erastianisra from portions of certain chapters. The- 
Associates adopted the same Confession of Faith entire and un- 
changed, just as it was adopted by the Church of Scotland in 
1647 ; but they emitted testimonies, in which they explained 
away, as they thought, its Erastian features. Both sung,, in 
private around the fireside, and in the great congregation, 
nothing but the majestic old Scotch version of the Psalms. As 
far as it were possible they were one. Certainly they did not 
difter on any doctrine essential to salvation. Yet for seventy- 
six years they lived separately and not always on very good 
terms. The doctrines of the United Presbyterian Church are 
those contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The 
form of church government is that laid down in the West- 
minster Confession of Faith, and its directory for worship is of 
the same origin. Adam Gib could have adopted it. Ebenezer 
Erskine could have adopted it, and so could Richard Cameron 
and Donald Cars-ill. 


The wonder is not that the union forming the United Pres- 
byterian Church was eft'ected in 1858, but that it was not ef- 
fected sooner. 

It is painful to think that the psahii -singing churches are so 
divided. In the two branches of the Reformed Presbyterian 
Church in America there are about two hundred ordained 
ministers and nearly twenty thousand communicants. In 
America there are more than twelve hundred psalm-singing 
congregations, with a baptized membership of more than five 
hundred thousand, and fully one hundred and twenty thousand 
communicants. To these about one thousand ministers are 
preaching the gospel. Unfortunately, they are not united — at 
least organically united. That they are interested in each 
other's welfare no one will deny ; but still they are divided. 
That they disagree on minor points will be admitted. Abso- 
lute harmony exists only in heaven. In matters purely re- 
ligious, Associates, Reformed Presbyterians, Associate Re- 
formed Presbyterians and United Presbyterians never have 
difi'ered. They are, to-day, one in doctrine, one in form of 
church government, one in worship, and one in everything but 
— shall we say — politics ; and this, and this alone divides them ! . 



^SYNOD OF THE CAR(JLINAS— Present Territory —Former Limits— The Grant 
of Charles II. in 1003— Territory Visited by Cabot, 1497~Claimed by the Eng- 
lish, Si^iiniards and French — Spanish Attempt a Settlement in 1525 — Admi- 
ral Coligny's Grant in 15()2 — Rebault Built Fort Carolina — Fort Carolina 
Destroyed by the Spaniards — Carolina Became the Property of the King in 
1719 — Divided into North and South Carolina in 1729 — Georgia Settled in 
1733— North Carolina, in 1653 — South Carolina, in 1670 — State of Things in 
England at That Time — Liberty of Conscience Granted by the Charters — 
Design Was to Establish Prelacy — Was Legally Established — Covenanters 
Banished from Scotland to America— Some Came to Carolina — Their Prin- 
cipal Settlements — William Martin's Field of Labor — Petitions Sent from 
Carolina to the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, in 1760 Proudfoot, 
Mason, Martin. Rodgers. Patten and Clark Sent to the Societies in Carolina 
—Martin Received a Call from Fourth Creek, in 1774— The Associate Minis- 
ters from 1782 to 1799— The Rev. Thomas Clark Comes South in 1782— 
Returned North in 1783 — The Rev. John Jamieson Comes South — Places of 
Preaching— Dr. Clark Returned to the South, and in 1786 Became Pastor of 
Cedar Spring and Long Cane— John Boyse Began to Preach at Coddle 
Creek, Gilead, Prosperity and Hopewell, in 1788— The Covenanters Visited 
by James Reid in 1790 — McGarrah and King Come to South Carolina — Don- 
nelly Licensed and Ordained — Covenanters Emigrate on Account of Slavery 
— Brick Church Grave-yard. 

The Associate Reformed S\mod of the South, at present, is 
spread over Virginia, ISTorth Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 
Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkan- 
sas and Texas. Originally it embraced only the two Carolinas 
and Georgia, and was appropriately named Synod of the Car- 

It is impossible to say, with absolutely certainty, when set- 
tlements were first made in the Carolinas and Georgia by dis- 
senters from the Church of Scotland. A number of circum- 
stances at the time conspired to consign such an event to obliv- 

All that vast territory between the thirty-first and thirty - 
sixth parallels of north latitude and the Atlantic and Pacific 
oceans, was, in 1663, granted to Edward, Earl of Clarendon; 
George, Duke of Albemarle ; William, Earl of Craven ; John, 
Lord Berkley ; Anthony, Lord Ashley ; Sir George Carteret ; 
;Sir John Colleton ; and Sir AVilliam Berkley. 


Tlie discovery of tlie territoiy whicli is now embraced by 
the two Oarolinas is lono; anterior to the o-rantino- of this char- 
ter. Its first discovery by Europeans was by Sebastian Cabot, 
in 1497. It was claimed by the English, by the Spaniards 
and by the French. The English knew it by the names of A"ir- 
ginia and Carolina ; the Spaniards called it Florida ; and b}' 
the French it was sometimes called Florida, and sometimes 
i^ew France. 

In 1520 Vasques de Ayllon, sailing from St. Domingo, ex- 
plored the coast of South Carolina, and in 1525, under a com- 
mission of Charles v., lie attempted to make a settlement on the 
south-western coast. Having, on his first visit, plundered the 
■country and kidnapped man}' of the unsuspecting natives, 
■Avhom he reduced to slavery, he was overtaken by the retribu- 
tive justice of God, and his attempt to plant a colony in South 
■Carolina completely frustrated. In 1562, Admiral Colign}" ob- 
tained a commission from Charles IX., of France, for the pur- 
pose of settling a colony of Protestants in America. The ex- 
pedition was entrusted to John Ribault. On the 2Tth of May, 
his ships anchored at the opening of the ba}', to which he gave 
the name of Port Ro3'al. Having explored the country, he 
landed, and at a point not far from the site of the present town 
■of Beaufort, South Carolina, he built a fort, which in honor of 
the King, he named Caroline. From this fort, the country, 
which, by the aborigines was called Chiekola, received the 
■^name Carolina. 

Fort Caroline was destroyed, and those in it cruelly mur- 
dered by the Spaniards from St. Augustine, in 1565. After 
this event, for a period of nearly one hundred years, scarcely 
an effort was made by any European power to settle the terri- 

The extensive tract of country granted by Charles 11. , to 
eight noblemen, in 1719, passed out of their possession into 
the hands of the King of England. In 1729 an official order 
w^as given for the division of the territorj-, but the separation 
was not actually effected until 1732. Since that time one part 
has borne the name of Xorth Carolina, and the other that of 
South Carolina. 



In 1732 that portion of South Carolina west of the Savan- 
nah River wa^., by George II., cut ott' an<l given to another- 
compan}', tliat a home might be provided for his " poor sub- 
jects, who, from misfortune and want of employment, had 
been reduced to great necessity." In honor of George II. it 
was called Georgia. Its settlement was begun in lT-^>3, under 
the direction of General James Oglethorpe. 

The settlement of that portion of the territory which is now 
called North Carolina, was begun ten years before the grant- 
ing of the charter, in 1663. Previous to 1653, the tract of 
country between the Eoanoke and Chowan had been a place of 
refuge for the persecuted (Quakers. Here, in 1653, Roger 
Greene and a colony of Virginians settled. In April, 1670,. 
the first permanent settlement of South Carolina, by Europeans 
was begun. 

This was the period when persecution was raging in Scot- 
land. Charles II. was restored in 1660 and died in 1685. He 
was succeeded by James II. In 1688, James was driven from 
the throne of England, and the world was delivered from the 
ill-fated House of the Stuarts. 

During all this long period of twenty-eight years, a cloud of" 
gloomy darkness hung over the Church of Scotland. It was 
a reign of terror. Charles attempted to establish prelacy in 
Scotland, and James undertook to revive and establish papacy 
in England, Ireland and Scotland. 

Every effort which human ingenuity could contrive, and 
diabolical malice plan, was resorted to, that the Presbyterian 
Church of Scotland might be subdued, humbled, corrupted and 
blotted out of existence. 

Strange as it ma}'- appear, Charles II., while persecuting 
God's people at home, granted a charter to eight noblemen, 
who, in the language of the charter, were " excited with a 
laudable and pious zeal for the piopagation of the Christian 
faith,'"' to plant a colony in the wilds of America. This act 
was a glaring contradiction of the whole course of his life. 

There can be no reasonable doubt that it was the design of 
Charles II. and those who obtained from him the charter to 
plant a colony in Carolina, to establish in that colony the 
Church of England. This was actually done, and the Church 
of England continued to be the legally established church of 


both the Carolinas until the surrender of Cornwallis at York- 
town, October 19, 1781, set the American people free from po- 
litical and ecclesiastical hierarchies. Notwithstanding this 
fact, both the first and the second charter, and also the Funda- 
mental Constitutions, drawn up by the celebrated John'Locke, 
granted, in a limited sense, the right to dissenters from the 
Church of England to worship God in accordance with the 
dictates of their own consciences. 

Such being the case, Carolina, at a very early period, became 
a place of refuge for those who, in various portions of the Old 
World, were persecuted on account of their religious belief and 

The first settlement made in South Carolina under the char- 
ter granted by Charles 11. ante-dates the battle of Bothwell 
Bridge but nine years. That battle marks the beginning of 
the separate existence of the strict Presbyterians or Covenant- 
ers. Soon afterwards some of the Covenanters were banished 
to Jamaica and some to Carolina. A number of those ban- 
ished to Jamaica, in a few years afterwards, made their way to 
Carolina. Some of them, prior to the year 1700, settled in the 
region of country in which the city of Savannah now stands. 
Some settled near Augusta, Georgia, and some of them found 
homes in the city of Charleston. These, in each succeeding 
year, were joined by emigrants from Scotland and Ireland. So 
that many years prior to the Revolutionary War, there were a 
few Covenanters in every settlement in the State of South Car- 
olina, and in many of .those in Xorth Carolina. The causes 
which led them to dissent from the Chyrcli of Scotland having 
scarcely an existence in the Carolinas, their offspring, in many 
instances, sought connection w'ith the Presbyterian Church. 
About the year 1750 their numbers, compared with the State 
population, became considerable in a few of the upper counties 
of South Carolina, and in the counties of Orange and Rowan, 
in North Carolina. They organized themselves into societies, 
and assembling too;ether on the Sabbath, read the Bible, cate- 
ohised the children, and, in America as they had done in Scot- 
land, perpetuated their existence without the help of preachers 
or presbyteries. 

Large numbers of Covenanters began to arrive in the coun- 
try about the year 1770. In 1772, Rev. William Martin came 


to America and besjaii to preacli to these scattered societies. 
Jlis iield of labor Avas very great, extending from Louisville, 
Georgia, on the south, to Statesville, Xorth Carolina, on the 
north. In all the intervening territor}^ there were a few Cov- 
enanter societies. In Georgia there were two, probably three ; 
in South Carolina, perhaps as many as ten; and in Xorth Car- 
olina two — probably more. 

It is probable that prior to tiie arrival of Mr. Martin the 
Covenanters had onl}' a few houses of worship in the South. 
In some cases they were joint owners with the Presbyterians 
and Associates in houses of worship. 

The early history of both the Associate and Covenanter con- 
gregations in the South is involved in o-reat obscurity. One 
reason which may be assigned for this is the fact that in the 
early ecclesiastical histories of the South, these two denomina- 
tions are either ignored,or classed with the Presbyterian Church. 
In none of the secular histories of either of the Carolinas, writ- 
ten before the Revolutionary war, or for some years afterward, 
is there any mention made of the Associate or Reformed Pres- 
byterian Churches. If alluded to at all, it is under the general 
head of Presbyterians. Another reason why so little is known 
about the early history of these two branches of the cliurch in 
the South, is that for a long period they had no settled pastors 
and no church courts. Previous to the Revolutionary war, so 
far as is positively known, there was no regularly-settled pas- 
tor in any of the Covenanter or Associate congregations, in 
either of the Carolinas or Georgia. There were, however, in 
the South several Covenanter and Associate ministers. "Wil- 
liam Martin, whose name was once familiar to every man, 
woman and child in the upper part of South Carolina, had his 
home on Rocky Creek, Chester county. South Carolina. John 
Renwick settled in K'ewberry county. South Carolina, in 1770. 
Thomas Beattie preached to the societies in Georgia, during the 
3'ear 177-4:. William Ronaldson preached in Abbeville countj-. 
South Carolina, and in what are now Jelferson and Burke 
counties, Georgia, until 1780. When he came to America is 
unknown. JSTone of these, however, were regularly installed 
pastors of any of the churches to which they ministered, nor 
were they organized into a presbyter}'. 


About tlie year 17G0, perhaps before this time, a petition was 
sent by some persons in Carolina to the Associate Presbytery 
of Pennsylvania " for a supply of sermon." Who these peti- 
tioners were, or in which of the Carolinas they resided, even 
tradition does not inform us. There are several circumstances 
which make it jirobable that some of them lived in North Caro- 
lina, and some in South Carolina, and that they were scattered 
over the reo^ion of country extending from Long Cane, in Abbe- 
ville county, South Carolina, to points north of Statesville, 
Korth Carolina. There were, however, but few of them in 
any particular locality. It is not at all improbable that some 
of the Covenanters joined with them in this petition. It is a 
fact that in Scotland, and especially in America, at this time, 
or rather a fev/ years previous to this time, the Covenanters 
cherished a very fraternal feeling towards the Seceders. 

At the meeting of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsyl- 
vania, on the 12th of October, 1762, "there was laid before 
them a petition from llawfields, North Carolina." This is 
definite, in that it mentions a particular locality ; but it is very 
indefinite, since "llawfields" is the name not of a particular 
place, but of a region of country the bounds of which were 
never accurately defined. The llawfields took their name from 
the abundance of hawthorns which grew in the region. For 
the same reason the stream which flows through the region is 
call Haw River. Tradition has handed down the aboriginal 
name of the river and the region through which it flows, as 
Saxapahaii\ though it is also claimed by some writers that the 
Indians applied the same name to Cape Fear River, of which 
the Haw is an affluent. The llawfields are in what was for- 
merly Orange county, but now Alamance. All that we cer- 
tainly know is, that this petition of October, 1702, to the As- 
sociate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, came from persons living 
in what is now Alamance county. North Carolina. A large 
portion of the inhabitants of the llawfields were Scotch-Irish, 
who, on coming to America, first settled in Pennsylvania, and 
afterwards, about 1755, or a few years earlier, some of them 
removed to North Carolina. It was not, however, until 1763 
that the petition from Carolina could be favorably considered. 
On the 30th of August, 1763, the Associate Presbytery of 
Pennsylvania, appointed the Rev. James Proudfoot to spend 


about two months iu Carolina. He was to preach in that re- 
gion the second, third and fourth Sabbaths in September, and 
the first, second and third Sabbaths in October. This appoint- 
ment ]Mr. Proudfoot did not filL The presbytery called upon 
liim to ojivehis reasons for not complying with its order. The 
reasons of Mr. Proudfoot having been slated, were regarded by 
the presbytery " as containing no weight in them." It was 
further ordered that Mr. Proudfoot " be admonished and the 
same appointment continued on him, to bo fulfilled some time 
betw'een tlie beginning of March and the end of May next." 
At this time, Mr. Proudfoot was appointed to preach four Sab- 
baths in Carolina. For some reason, wiiich was satisfactory to 
the presbytery, he remained in Carolina only a part of the time 
specified in the appointment. 

This missionary tour of Rev. James Proudfoot to Carolina 
was made sometime between the 25th of October, 1763, and 
the loth of April, 1704. The appointment wan made by the 
presbytery at its meeting at Muddy Creek, on the 25th of Oc- 
tober, 1763, and ^Ir. Proudfoot made his report to the presby- 
tery at its meeting at Oxford, on the loth of April, 1764. So 
far as is known, there is no datum bv which the visit of Mr. 
Proudfoot to Carolina can be more definitely fixed. 

The particular localities visited by ]SIr. Proudfoot are not 
certainly known ; but it is probable that they were in Xorth 
Carolina and confined to the society or societies in the Ilaw- 
fields, and those societies which afterward constituted in part 
the pastoral charge of Rev. John Pox'se. The congregations 
in JS'orth Carolina of which Mr. Boyse was pastor, Avere Cod- 
dle Creek, Gilead and Prosperity. Of these Coddle Creek is 
certain K^ the oldest. In fact, Coddle Creek is in all probability 
the oldest Associate Reformed congregation in the South. 
There was in the region of country in wdiicli Coddle Creek 
church is located, the nucleus of an Associate congregation be- 
fore 1760. 

In 1755 Braddock was defeated. This exposed the inhabit- 
ants of Pennsylvania to the hostile attacks of the Indians. 
To escape the cruelties of the savages, many persons came to 
ISTorth Carolina and settled. By these refugees, mainl}-, Pres- 
byterianism was introduced into the region of countrx' between 
the Yadkin and Catawba rivers. It is probable that the larger 


^number of these settlers were in connection with the Presby- 
terian Church ; but there were in the region of countrj^ in 
which Statesville is now situated several families in connection 
%vith the Associate Church, and a still greater number farther 
•south, iu Rowan county. These organized themselves into a 
societ}' at a very early period, giving to the organization the 
name Caudle (now Coddle) Creek. 

By these it is almost certain that the petition was sent, about 
1760, to the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania for " a sup- 
ply of sermon." 

From several facts, it seems that a number of petitions from 
Carolina were sent to the Presbytery in May, 1763, or that the 
services of more than one man were desired. This is the only 
reasonable construction which the following minute of the 
Presbj'tery will bear, viz: "The petition from Carolina is in- 
compatible for them (the Presbytery) to answer at this time; 
but that one of their number to gooiit to that part of the world 
is all they agree upon." The meaning of this rather obscure 
minute seems to be that either several petitions from Carolina 
were received by tlje presbj'tery ; or if only one, then more 
than "one of their number" was desired to labor among those 
sending the petition. It would seem from the above minute 
that some one was sent to preach to the vacancies in Carolina ; 
but no mention is made of his name, nor have we any means of 
ascertaining whether he obeyed the order of presbytery or not. 
The presbytery met again on the 30th of August, and Rev. 
James Proudfoot was appointed to preach in Carolina on the 
second, third and fourth Sabbaths in September, and on the 
first, second and third Sabbaths in October. The presbytery 
.met again on the 25th of October, and there was presented " a 
petition from Carolina for farther supplies." From this it 
would seem that they had received some supplies; but that 
they were anxious to obtain more, or that some other societies 
in Carolina desired supplies. 

It was at this meeting of the presbytery that Mr. Proudfoot 
was admonished to be faithful, and again appointed to go to 

When we take into consideration the fact that one hundred 
and twent}' years ago there were no mail facilities by which the 
petition of the people of Carolina could be conveyed to the As- 


sociate Presbytery of Pennsylvania^ we are forced to conclude- 
that the petition was carried by individuals in connection with 
the society sendinc^ it up. It will also be remembered that the 
Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania was organized on the 
2d of Xovember, 1753; consequently, the petitions for "supply 
of sermon " Avere sent up to it from Carolina in less than ten 
3'ears after its organization. The only possible way by which 
a knowledge of the existence of such an organization as the 
Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania could be obtained by the 
people of Carolina was through emigrants from Pennsylvania-.. 
^Newspapers had at that time no circulation in any part of 
northern South Carolina or western Xorth Carolina. There 
were no railroads, no stage lines, and few if any post offices 
outside of the seaport towns. All tlie facts and circumstances 
in the case seem to indicate that there were more than one pe- 
tition, and that Coddle Creek was one of the localities from 
which emanated the first petitions from Carolina to the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of Pennsylvania for " a supply of sermon." 
This is rendered highly probable, from the fact that many of 
the first settlers of the Coddle Creek section of iN'orth Carolina 
came from the resrion of countrv in which General Braddock 
was defeated. 

It is probable that Mr. Proudfoot extended his labors as far 
south as the counties of Chester and Fairfield, South Carolina. 
This, however, is only a conjecture based upon the fact that his 
name was more familiar to the first generation of Seceders in 
those counties, and held in greater esteem by them than any of 
the first Seceder ministers who came to America. 

As we advance, the darkness which envelops the early his- 
tory of the Associate Church in the South begins to dissipate, 
and beams of light begin to fall upon us. At the meeting of 
the presbytery at Oxford, on the 13th of April, 1764, " two 
petitions, one from Catawba River, Mecklenburgh county,. 
Xorth Carolina (now Hopewell Presbyterian Church), and an- 
other from Hawfields, were read : but no mention is made of 
anyone having been sent to preach to the petitioners. The 
demands made upon the presbytery were so many that only a 
few could be met, and these only in part. The fields cultivated 
were those contiguous to the laborers. The more distant were,, 
for the time, practically abandoned. 


On tlie 15th of August, 1764, the Associate rresbytery iiiet 
at Marsh Creek, Peunsj'lvania. At this meeting, "the peti- 
tions from Carolina (those previously sent) came under consid- 
eration," Rev. Robert Annan "was unanimously appointed 
to set out thither immediately after the first Sabbath of Sep- 
tember next, to be three Sabbaths at the Hawfields, and two at 
Sugaw Creek." This appointment Mr. Annan fulfilled. 

Sugaw Creek, usually called at the present time Sugar Creek^ 
is only about three miles, in a north-eastern direction, from the 
city of Charlotte, N. C. In this region of country, sometime 
between 1755 and 1758, Rev. Alexander Craighead began ta 
preach. Some time in the month of September, 1758, he was 
installed pastor of Rocky River Church. AVhat is now Sugar, 
or correctly, SugaAv, Creek Church, was part of Rocky River 
congregation. Rev. Alexander Craighead was nominally in 
connection with the Presb3'terian Church, and in this connec- 
tion he died ; but it was only a nominal connection. In sym- 
pathy he was inclined to both the Covenanters and the Se- 
ceders. Of this there can be no doubt In fact, from about 
the 3'ear 1742, or perhaps from 1741 to 1753, a period of about 
ten years, he Avas not in regular connection with the Presbyte- 
rian Church, althougli resting under no ecclesiastical censure. 
During a part of this time he cooperated with the Reformed 
Presbyterians or Covenanters. It is probable that he never 
was regularly received into the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 
but it is certain that he regarded himself a Covenanter, and 
was so regarded bv the Covenanter Societies. At the general 
meeting of the Covenanter Societies which met at Middle Oc- 
toraro, March 4, 1744, Mr. Craighead was chosen president or 
chairman of the meeting. Xot only so, but the congregation or 
congregations to which he regularly j^reached was called the 
Craigliead Society. In 1751, for some reason, not now fully 
known, he made application to the Anti-Burgher Synod qf 
Scotland for ministerial assistance ; but for some reason no- 
ministers were sent to his aid. About 1753 he returned to the 
Presbyterian Church, but he ever cherished for the Covenant- 
ers and Associates a tender regard, and so did they for him. 

It is more than probable that Mr. Craighead was, in some 
way or other, connected with the petition addressed to the As- 
sociate Presb^^tery of Pennsylvania from Sugaw Creek. 


In May, 1765, petitions were received by the Associate Pres- 
bytery of Pennsylvania from the Hawfielcls and Buffalo, in 
JSTorth Carolina, jointly craving, according to the obsolete but 
expressive language of the times, " a supply of sermon ;" but 
nothing is stated by which we are enabled to learn whether 
, these petitions were granted or not. In l^ovember, 1766, a 
petition was received by the Associate Presbytery from Craven 
county, North Carolina. The following is the minute of the 
presbytery respecting this petition : 

The petition from Craven county, in North Carolina, came lirst under con- 
sideration, concerning which it was agreed that Mr. Annan write to them a short 
detail of our principles, with difference between us and other denominations of 
Presbj^terians in America, and upon their acquiescing in them, to give tliem to 
hope that supplies will be endeavored to be sent thitlier. 

It is evident from this extract that the persons in Craven 
county, jSTorth Carolina, who petitioned the Associate Presby- 
tery of Pennsylvania for supplies were not in connection with 
the Associate Church. It is barel}' possible that some of them 
were Covenanters, but it is very probable that they all, or 
nearly all, were in connection with the Presbyterian Church. 
!N"o doubt this was the case in respect to several other places 
which sent up petitions. Why they were dissatisfied with the 
Presbyterian Church we need not inquire, only in part. All 
that we need know is that many of the more rigid Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians regarded the American Presbyterian Church 
as objectionable in some particulars. No doubt the latitudina- 
rian notions which were beginning to be entertained by some 
of the Presbyterian ministers constituted tlie principal objec- 
tion. So far as is known, no Associate congregation was ever 
organized in Craven county ; neither was any organized at 
several other points in North Carolina to which supplies of 
preaching were occasionally sent. If there is anything that 
the Seceders are free from, it is proselj^ting. "With them it has 
ever been a matter of conscience to receive individuals from 
other Christian denominations onl}' on certificate. In addition 
to this, there is on the statute books of the church an unre- 
pealed law to the effect that no countenance will be shown to 
ecclesiastical " tramps." 

In November, 1767, the people of the Ilawfields, in North 
Carolina, again petitioned for supplies, but none were granted 
them. During the earl}^ part of the year 1768, no petitions 


Avere sent from the societies in the South to the presbyteiy ; 
but in j^ovember of that year a petition from Korth Carolina 
was received. To this petition the presbj'tery replied by di- 
recting Rev. Thomas Clark to write to the petitioners, "advis- 
ing them to collect some money and send to Scotland for a 
minister." lN"othing more was heard from the societies in the 
South until ISTovember, 1769, when another petition was pre- 
sented from Rowan county, ISTorth Carolina. The following is 
the action of the presbyter}^ in reference to this petition : 

That Mr. Clark set out for Carolina, to continue three months and dispense 
gospel ordinances only in the following places: One Sabbath at Deep Run; three 
Sabbaths at Hawfields; three in Rowan county; three Sabbaths at Waxhaws; and 
three at Sugaw Creek, and that Mr. Clark encourage the people to apply only to 
the synod unto which this presbytery is subordinate, for ministers for them- 

These appointments Mr. Clark filled some time between the 
1st of May, 1770, and the 6th of l^ovember of the same year. 
This is inferred from the fact that he was given appointments 
in Pennsylvania until the end of April, and he was present at 
the meeting of the presbj'tery at Oxford on the 6tli of Novem- 

In August, 1771, some people in Mecklenburgh county, 
^N^orth Carolina, again petitioned for preaching ; but as it was 
impossible for the presbytery to grant the request of the peti- 
tioners, Rev. Messrs. Henderson, Rodgers and Smith were ap- 
pointed to write to the people of Mecklenburgh, " advising 
them to write home to Scotland for a minister." 

During the years 1772 and 1773, petitions for supplies were 
received by the presbytery from persons residing in N'orth 
Carolina ; but all that could be done by the presbytery was to 
write to them, advising them as they had done before, " to 
write home to Scotland for a minister." 

The presbytery did not, however, forget the people of ISTorth 
•Carolina. Mr. Rodgers, pastor of Timber Ridge and connec- 
tions in Virginia, was sent to Xorth Carolina in the fall of 
1774. He preached, probably, in the Hawfields, and to the so- 
cieties in Rowan county, the first, second, third and fourth 
Sabbaths of September, and the first Sabbath of October. 

In October, 1744, the Associate Presbytery met at IN'ew York. 
At this meeting three petitions were received from North Car- 
Molina. One was from the Hawfields. The other two were 

268 HISTORY or the 

from places which, so far as the records show, had never before 
sent, lip petitions to tlie Associate Presbytery. One of these 
was from Eno, or, following the orthography of the record, 
" Eimoe," and the other was from New^Plope, Tyron county, 
Xorth Carolina. Both those places were in the south-eastern 
corner of what is now Gaston county, IS'orth Carolina, near the 
Catawba river. In 1774, all that part of jSTorth Carolina west 
of the Catawba River, together with what now constitutes 
several of the upper counties of South Carolina, was known as 
Tryon county. When, then, it is said that petitions came from 
Tryon county, it may mean either from North Carolina or South 
Carolina. So far, however, as we have been able to discover, 
no petition from South Carolina was ever sent to the Associate 
Presbj'tery of Pennsjdvania. This is accounted for by the fact 
that the members of the Associate Church, who settled in South 
Carolina, with the exception of those in Long Cane and Cedar 
Spring, generally came directly from Ireland and Scotland, and 
not by way of Pennsylvania, and consequent!}^ knew nothing 
of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania. 

At the meeting of the Associate Presbyter}^ of Pennsylvania 
at Pequea, Pa., on August; 1st, 1775, petitions " craving a sup- 
ply of sermon were presented from the counties of Mecklen- 
burgh, Tryon and Rowan, in Xorth Carolina." 

The petition from Rowan, we feel satisfied, came from Cod- 
dle Creek and connections ; that from Mecklenburgh, from 
Steele Creek and AVaxhaws ; and that from Tr^^on, from Ena 
and Xew Hope, and an Associate congregation or society a 
short distance south of Lincolnton, called Goshen, and from 
which was formed in part what is at present Pisgah, in Gaston 
count}^, N". C. The first settlers of the region of country in 
which Pisgah is situated were Scotch-Irish, who first settled 
near Gettysburg, Pa. From that point they came to what was 
then Tr3'on county. In answer to the petitions above men- 
tioned, the following action was taken by the presbytery : 
■•• Mr. Martin preach at Raphoe, 1st Sabbath of August ; at 
Hanover, 2d Sabbath of August ; at Raphoe, 3d Sabbath of 
August ; at Cone wa go, 4th Sabbath of August ; at Marsh Creek, 
on the 1st and 2d Sabbaths of September; at Staunton, Va., 
3d Sabbath of September, and thenceforward to the next meet- 
ing supply in the different places in JSTorth Carolina where 
there are petitions from, and longer if he finds it necessary." 


Since Mr. Martin certain]}^ came to Xortli Carolina, and as 
there is no evidence to tlie contrary, it is taken for granted 
that he obeyed the order of tlie presbytery to the very letter. 
In October, 1776, Mr. Martin received a call from Fourth 
•Creek, in Xortli Carolina. By Fourth Creek is meant what 
was once the Presbyterian Church of tliat name, but i5 now 
known as the Presbyterian Church of Statesville, IST. C. This 
call the presbytery refused to sustain, because, of the inade- 
quacy of the support promised. 

It is evident, from a variety of facts, that tradition has not 
been careful in distinguishing the two Martins who labored 
among the Associate and Covenanter vacancies in the Caroli- 
nas. James Martin, the Associate minister, is by tradition, al- 
most entirely ignored. 

In 1777, the ilev. Andrew Patton ^yns sent to Xortli Caro- 
lina. For some time he preached in ]\Iecklcnburgh and adjoin- 
ing counties, and afterwards went to the city of Charleston, S. 
C. Of his labors in that city nothing is certainly known. He 
was very soon charged with gross immorality, and the proba- 
bility is, he did the cause wdiicli he was sent out to advance a 
real injury. 

In the fall of 1779, Rev. Thomas Clark preached to some of 
the Associate congregations or societies in Xorth Carolina, 
when on his w^ay to visit, bj^ order of presb}- teiy, that part of 
his congregation which settled in Abbeville county, South 

In 1767, a considerable portion of an Anti-Burgher congrega- 
tion came to America. They settled in what is now Newberiy 
county. South Carolina. In 1770, the}' were joined by their 
pastor. Rev. John Renwick, and another portion of the con- 
gregation. In this region of the countiy Mr. Renwick con- 
tinued to labor until the 20th of August, 1775, when he 
died. The societies to which Mr. Renwick principally minis- 
tered, were those out of which grew the churches. Cannon 
Creek, Head Spring and Prosperit}- . 

It is probable that from the fall of 1779 to the summer of 
1782, there was no Associate minister in the South, in good 
and regular standing, except a Mr. Ronaldson, of whom noth- 
ing is known, except that he sympathized wnth the British 
government, and for tbis offense was forced to leave Long 


Cane coDaTegation, to which he was preaching, probably as- 
stated suj-jply. He went to Georgia and became the pastor, or 
probably only stated supply, of some congregations occupying 
the territorj' in which Louisville is now situated ; but his tory 
notions, or rather loyalty to the British government, becoming 
know^i to tlie people, "his pastoral relations were," it is said, 
"violently dissolved," which means, no doubt, the people drove 
him away. 

The war between the coloniets and the mother country was- 
now absorbing the attention of all classes in society. Several 
(^f the Associate preachers were chaplains in the American 
army during the war, and the Associates and the Covenanters^ 
to a man, espoused the cause of the colonies. Such being the 
condition of the countrv, the Associate societies in the' South 
were temporarily abandoned. 

In the region of country between the Catawba and Broad 
rivers, the old Covenanter, AViliiam Martin, continued to 
preach both the gospel and resistance against the British gov- 
ernment, until he was taken prisoner by the tories and British, 
in the beginning of the summer of 1780.' 

There were, however, during all this ])eriod, several preach- 
ers who claimed to be ministers of the Associate Church. Of 
these men scarely anything except their names is known, and 
even these, in some instances, have been forgotten. The tradi- 
tion is that they had been deposed, on account of immoral con- 
duct — generally drunkenness and fornication. Writhing, 
probably, under disgrace, they came to America, and at- 
tempted to thrust themselves upon the people. In no in- 
stance were they successful in this among the Associate peo- 
ple, and so far as is known, their conduct became ver^' im- 
moral, and they sunk into open profligacy. 

In the spring of 1782, Rev. Thomas Clark was, at his own 
request, released from the pastoral care of Salem congregation, 
in !N"ew York. Soon afterward he repaired to Abbeville coun- 
ty. South Carolina, and spent the remainder of the year 1782, 
and the greater part of the year 1783, in laboring in the con- 
gregations of Long Cane, Little Eun and Cedar Creek. The 
majority of the members of these three congregations had 
been in connection with the church of which Mr. Clark was 
pastor in Ireland. Some time durhig the latter part of the 


summer of 1783 he veturned North, identified himself with 
the Associate Reformed Church, and was elected Moderator of 
the Synod. The following two years he labored as a mission- 
avy amon^^ the Associate Reformed Churches in the North. 

In IS'ovember, 1783, Rev. John Jamieson, a native of Scot- 
land and member of the Eurgher Synod, came to America and 
immediately joined the Associate Reformed Church. For a 
period of nearly twelve months he ministered mainly in the 
South. In May, 1785, Mr. Jamieson reported to the Associate 
Reformed Synod that " a number of people in and about 
Mecklenburgh and Rowan counties, North Carolina, and 
Rocky Creek, Cannon's Creek and Long Cane, in South 
Carolina, who are destitute of a settled ministry, desire to 
be taken nnder the judicial care of this Synod." On hearing 
this report, the Synod — 

Eesolred, That the desire of these people be complied with, and that the 
Second Presbytery be directed to take them under their immediate charge, and 
that Mr. Clark and Houleston be appointed to supply the people in North and 
South Carolina as soon in the fall as practicable. 

Mr. Clark came South sometime during the latter part of the 
year 1785, and began to labor permanently in Abbeville coun- 
ty. South Carolina. Mr. Adam Houleston died in March,. 
1786, without, it is supposed, having been able to fill the ap- 
pointment of Synod. 

For a period of about five years, the congregations at pres- 
ent forming the First and Second Presbyteries of the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the South were in connection with the 
Second Presb3'tery of Pennsylvania. In 1785, Rev. John 
Rodgeis settled as pastor of Timber Ridge and Old Provi- 
dence, Virginia. These congregations also were under the 
care of the Second Presbytery of Pennsylvania. 

On the 31st of May, 1786, the Associate Reformed Synod 
met in the city of Philadelphia. Pa. On the next day (June 
1st), a call to Rev. Thomas Clark, with a petition from the 
united congregations of Little Run, Long Cane and Cedar 
Creek, '• to admit the said Mr. Clark to the pastoral charge of 
the said congregations" was read. 

Mr. Clark was at time in South Carolina, laboring among 
the people, petitioning for his settlement as their pastor. The 
synod directed that he continue to labor among them till pro- 
vision be made for his resfular installment. 


So far as is certainl}' known, Mr. Clark was never formall}' 
installed over Cedar Spring (called Cedar Creek formerly), 
and Loni^ Cane. If it could be proved that lie never was in- 
stalled pastor of these congregations there would have been 
nothing irregular in the matter. He was regularlj" installed 
as pastor of l>allybay, Ireland, and be as pastor and the people 
iis members of Ballybay congregation came to America. Mr. 
John Renwick certainly was pastor of Cannon Creek and In- 
dian Creek, but he never was installed over that people. The 
oldest pastorate in any of the Seceder churches in the Caro- 
linas or Georgia is certainly that of John Renwick, in N'ew- 
berry. The next is that of Thomas Clark, in Cedar Spring 
and Long Cane. 

It is worth}' of mention in this place that none of the terri- 
tory south of the James River Avas, previous to 1785, included 
within the limits of any Associate Reformed presbytery. In 
the region of country extending from Lynchburg, A'irginia, to 
a point man}- miles south of Jjouisville, Georgia, there were a 
number of societies of the Associate and Covenanter faith. 
Some were Burghers, some were Anti-Burghers, and some 
were Covenanters. In relative strength, the Anti-Burghers 
and Covenanters were about equal, while the Burghers were 
generally few in number, except in Long Cane and Cedar, 
Spring congregations, where they were decidedly in the ma- 
jority. The tract of country occupied by these scattered soci- 
eties was fully four hundred miles long and about fifty wide. 
In this tract of country there were, as early as 1785, at least 
forty societies of Seceders, and perhaps half that number of 
Covenanters. Man}' of these consisted of only a few families. 
The whole number of Covenanters and Seceders in connection 
with these societies were not more, perhaps, than fifteen hun- 
dred or two thousand. 

Some of these societies had, previous to the Revolutionary 
war, houses of worship; but the probability is that the major- 
ity of them worshipped in private houses in the winter, and 
in the summer under the shade of the forest. 

Quite a number of these weak societies despairing, perhaps, 
of ever being able to secure organizations of their own faith 
and order, united with Presbyterian congregations. Some of 
these, in after years, became dissatisfied and returned to the 
church of their fathers; but the majority remained. 


Some time during the early part of the siinuner of 1788, llev. 
•John Boyse began to preach in the congregations of Coddle 
Creek, in Xorth Carolina, and in Eocky Creek, South Caro- 
lina. His ecclesiastical connection was with the Associate Ee- 
formed Presbytery of Pennsylvania. By this presbytery he 
was licensed, in the autumn of 1787, and onlaiued in the 
summer of 1789. Immediately after being licensed, ]Mr. Bo\'se 
came South and began to preach to two congregations, the 
members of which were scattered over a tract of country more 
than one hundred miles long, and fully twenty miles wide. 

It may not be out of place to remark that during the pastor- 
ate of Mr. Boyse, it was no uncommon thing for individuals 
to go a distance of thirty miles to church. The members of 
Hopewell congregation were scattered all over the counties of 
Chester and Fairfield, and several families (the Eoddeys and 
Galloways) lived in York county. 

The Associate Presb}' terians and Covenanters in the South 
had very little, if anything at all to do in effecting the union 
which resulted in the organization of the Associate Eeformed 
Church. They had, no doubt, learned through Eev. Thomas 
Clark that negotiations having a union in view were in pro- 
gress between the Associate and Eeformed Presbyterians. To 
the majority of the Burghers and Anti-Burghers in the South, 
the union was agreeable, and they readily entered the Associ- 
ate Eeformed Church. A few of the Covenanters in the South 
went into the union church; but the majority held themselves 
aloof from it. They kept up their society meetings and main- 
tained their existence for a period of eight or ten years without 
the aid of a minister. In 1790, they were visited by Eev. James 
Eeid, a missionary sent out b}^ the Eeformed Presbyterian 
Church of Scotland. Mr. Eeid returned in the summer of 
1790. In 1791, Eev. Mr. McGarragh was sent to South Car- 
olina, and in 1792, he was joined by Eev. William King. 
Thomas Donnelly, a graduate of Glasgow, Scotland, began the 
study of theolgy under Mr. King. He was licensed in 1799, 
and ordained in 1801. • 

For a few years, during the close of the last century and be- 
ginning of the present, a number of Covenanter congregations 
were organized in the South, and pastors settled over them. 
So far as is known, these were all in South Carolina, and nearly 



all in Chester comity. As early as the year 1800, the people- 
in connection with the Reformed Presbyterian Church began 
to emigrate from the South. About that time a number of 
families residing in York county, South Carolina, went to Penn- 
sylvania. Those who lirst left the South and went North were 
induced to take the step mainly on account of the prospective 
increase of slavery. Soon after the close of the Revolutionary 
war the number of negro slaves began to increase rapidly in^ 
the upper counties of South Carolina. These were tlie counties 
in wdiich were settled by far the greater number of the Cove- 
nantets. The institution was at lirst unpopular with the bet- 
ter class of citizens in every section of the State of South Car- 
olina, and for a time it was forbidden by law in Georgia. Dur- 
inof colonial times England forbid every restriction on the slave 
trade. South Carolina became alarmed on account of the in- 
crease of the negro slaves, and in ITGOattempted tores-trict the 
number of negro slaves brought upon her soil. For this phi- 
lanthropic eifort she received nothing save the rebuke of the 
English government. 

Prior to the Revolutionary war, there were only a few negro 
slaves in any of the upper counties of South Carolina, or the 
western counties of Xorth Carolina. The few that were in the 
regions designated had been generally brought b}' their masters 
from Virginia. The Scotch-Irish Presbyterians at lirst re- 
garded the institution Avith horror. Gradually, they became 
accustomed to it, and in the course of less than half a century, 
all or nearly all, became its practical supporters. 

It is probable that at the time of the surrender of Lord Corn- 
wallis there were not one hundred negroes owned by all the 
members of the Seceder and Covenanter churches in the South. 
As «arly as the beginning of the present century, a few of both 
these branches of the church purchased slaves; but in 1800 the 
bod}' of both Seceders and Covenanters le South w^ere de- 
cidedly opposed to slavery. AVith the annual growth of 
slavery, the annual emigration of the Coveianters increased. 
Some of those who had become owners of negroes manumitted 
them, while others who had less conscientious scruples on the 
subject of slavery, or having a greater thirst ior gold, sold their 
slaves and invested the money in the rich lands of the north- 
w^est. * 


There were, at various times since the organization of the 
Associate Reformed Church, about a dozen of Covenanter min- 
isters who settled and labored as pastors in South Carolina. 
The field of their labors was mainly included by the counties 
of Fairfield, Chester, Xewberry and York. Thej^are all gone. 
The dust of four of these faithful ministers of the ISTew Testa- 
ment sleeps in the old Brick Church grave yard on Rocky 
creek, in Chester county. South Carolina. The last Covenanter 
minister who settled in South Carolina was Thomas Donnelly. 
He finished his earthly labors on the 28th of Xovember, 1847. 
All the Covenanters are gone from the South. The greater 
part emigrated to the north-western states, and the rest are all 
dead. Their children and grandchildren, who remained in the 
South, are o-enerally members of the Associate Reformed 
Church. Some, however, are found in the Presbyterian Church, 
and a few in the Methodist. 




F AC TS OF THE LAST CHAPTER- Petitions to the Presbyterian Church— Pres- 
byterian Missionaries — The Coudusion Likely to be Reached — First Presbyte- 
rian Minister Sent to North Carolina — Presbyterian Settlers of North Caro- 
lina — Cape Fear Settlers— Scotch Settlers of 1746-47 — Their History — Battle 
of Culloden — Duke of Cumberland — George 11. — The Scotch and, the Pre- 
tender — Conditions on which the Prisoners were Pardoned — Bladen County 
Settlement — Other Scotch and Scotch-Irish Settlements — The Harmony of 
the Presbyterians, Associates and Covenanters in North Carolina — Effects of 
the Difficulties with England — The Lay Members of the Church of Scotland 
Always Friendly — Soundness in the Faith — In What it Consisted — Introduc- 
tion of AVatts' Imitation of the Psalms — Its Effects — The Scotch-Irish of 
North Carolina — Two Classes of Scotch-Irish — Their Origin and Difference — 
The Frequency of Petitions from Virginia and North Carolina — The Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of Pennsylvania — From Whom These Petitions Came — Not 
Presbyterians — Associates in Virginia — Their Location — Coalesce with the 
Presbyterian Church. 

Tho facts respecting the early history of the Associate Church 
in Carolina, narrated in the precedin2j chapter, deserve more 
than a simple statement. They were gathered almost entirel}' 
from the manuscript minutes of the Associate Presbytery of 
Pennsylvania, and from the manuscript minutes of the original 
Associate Reformed Synod. These two documents, taken to- 
gether, cover a period of nearly half a century, and contain the 
whole of the history of the Associate and Associate Reformed 
denominations during their infancy. So far as facts are con- 
cerned, they are reliable. 

Those who are familiar with the documentary history of the 
Presbyterian Church cannot but be impressed with the great 
similarity in the facts recorded in the minutes of the Presby- 
terian Churcli courts in reference to petitions from Xorth Caro- 
lina and those facts mentioned in the last chapter. From 
nearly all the places in Carolina sending up petitions to the 
Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, petitions were sent to 
the ecclesiastical courts of the Presbyterian Church. Ministers 
in connection with the Presbyterian Churcli preached at the 
Hawfields, at Coddle Creek, at Sugaw Creek, at New Hope, at 


Eno and at Goshen, probably before Proudfoot, Annan, Ma- 
son, Martin, Patten, Rodgers and Clark, and certainl\^ daring 
the time they were preaching at these places. 

To the o-eneral reader this no doubt appears strange, and 
withont an explanation he is ready to come to an erroneous 
conclusion. Is it possible that these petitioners from N'orth 
Carolina were ecclesiastical coquettes? Had they buried the 
AVestminster Confession of Faith, discarded all creed and con- 
fessions, broken down all denominational barriers, and reached 
that point in ecclesiastical decline when they could unite with 
an}?" party ? An imperfect knowledge of the facts and circum- 
stances in their case might lead to such a conclusion, but it 
would be grossly erroneous. 

So far as is certainly known, the first Presbyterian clergy- 
man who preached in Xorth Carolina was Rev. AVilliam Rob- 
inson. Tie spent the winter of 1742-43 in missionating in the 
region of country east of Yadkin river, extending his labors 
as far as the Pedee, in South Carolina. 

Previous to the visit of Mr. Robinson there were, in various 
sections of the State of ]^orth Carolina, a considerable number 
of Scotch and Scotch-Irish settlers. These were all Presbyte- 
rians, either by profession or by education. Previous to P729 
there were a few Scotch fettled on the Cape Fear River. These 
were all Covenanters who had fied from great tribulation in 
their native land, and come to .the wilds of America, that they 
might be permitted to worship God in peace and quiet. In 
1746 and 1747, a very large number of Scotch came to Xortli 
Carolina and settled in old Bladen county. The history of 
these people is touchingly interesting. It might be written in 

On tlie 16th of April, 1746, was fought the battle of Cullo- 
den. The English forces, under the Duke of Cumberland, 
were victorious, and the fortunes of Charles Edward Stuart, 
the young Pretender, were ruined, and his hopes of empire for- 
ever crushed. Many of the Scotch, forgetting that the Stuarts 
w^ere Catholics and the Scotch Protestants, and for the moment 
remembering only that the Stuarts were Scotch, espoused not 
the cause of the Pretender, but the Pretender himself. 

They made a sad mistake. We may pity them, but we dare 
not censure them. Their love for their country was genuine, 
but too stroncr. 

278 HISTORY or the 

Those sectious of Scotland which had declared for the Pre- 
tender Avere, by the conqueror, swept with the besom of de- 
struction. This done, the Duke of Cumberland returned to 
London to be honored as a conqueror and over afterward de- 
spised for his brutality towards the conquered. The Duke 
intended to put all the prisoners to death. The King, how- 
ever, was more merciful, and prc.posed to pardon a laro;e num- 
ber upon condition that they would take the oath of allegiance 
to the House of Hanover, and then emigrate to the American 

The condition was accepted, and during the years 1746 and 
1747 several ship loads of these generous and brave, 'but ill- 
advised and unfortunate people, landed in the region of coun- 
try embraced l)y the counties of Kortli Carolina watered by the 
Cape Fear and Little Pedee Rivers. To these people the Rev. 
James Campbell, a native of Scotland, began to preach in 1757. 
This settlement, in old Bladen county, is the oldest Presbyte- 
rian settlement in Xorth Carolina, and James Campbell was 
the lirst ordained Presbyterian minister who settled in the 

Several years previous to the defeat of General Braddock, 
many Scotch-Irish Presbyterian families had emigrated from 
Pennsylvania and Virginia and settled in the region of Xorth 
Carolina, from which were addressed petitions both to the As- 
sociate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, and to the synods and 
presbyteries in connection with the Presbyterian Church. 

The people sending up these petitions were all l^resbyterians 
of the Scotch or Scotch-Irish t3'pe. According to a nomencla- 
ture devised b}- themselves, and by common consent adopted, 
they were known and recognized as Presbyterians, Associates 
•or Seceders, and Reformed Presbyterians or Covenanters. 

Numerical]}', it is probable the Presbyterians were the stron- 
gest, and the Covenanters the weakest. The difference in num- 
bers in some sections of the country, between the Associates 
and the Presbyterians was scarcely perceptible. The peculiar cir- 
cumstances by which these people, in common with the people 
of the whole country, were surrounded, had much to do in 
causing them to forget those peculiar differences which rent 
into fragments the Church of Scotland, the mother of them 


111 Xortli Carolina there were no patrons ; neither were there 
any burgess oaths or patronage laws. They all loved the 
Church of Scotland. Properly speaking, none of them had 
seceded from it, and for it they all had suffered much, and 
were willing, if necessary, to suffer more. 

As time rolled on and events developed, fraternal love was 
increased. By whatever different names they had been called, 
and whatever were their former prejudices, they were now 
brethren. Presbyterians, Seccders and Covenanters were will- 
ing to worshijt God under the same roof, and hear tlie same 
man preach. In addition to the above, it may be added that 
however violent some of the ministers of the different branches 
of the Church of Scotland may have been in their opposition 
to each other, the strict lay members of the Church of Scot- 
land were ever the warm friends of both the Seceders and Cov- 
enanters, and for the Church of Scotland, pure and uncorrupted, 
neither Seceders nor Covenanters ever lost any of their first 

Such being the case, it was customary for Presbyterians, Se- 
ceders and Covenanters, in various sections of America, to 
unite in applications to the different church courts, for, as it 
was then said, " a supplj^ of sermon." 

In these ]^ortli Carolina Societies, as in some of those in 
South Carolina, the people were not particular whether the 
pireacher was in connection with the Presbyterian Church, with 
the Associate Church, or witii the Covenanters. Thej^ were, 
however, particnlar that he be a Presbyterian and sound in the 
faith ; which meant that he was ready and willing to subscribe 
to the doctrines contained in the AVestminster Confession of 
Faith, and the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter. 

The Presbyterian Church, b}' allowing the u'^e of Watts' ver- 
sion or " imitation "' of the Psalms, perpetuated the Associate 
Reformed Church in the South. Had this not been done, it is 
almost certain that after the Eevolutionaiy War, the two de- 
nominations would have, in at least the majority of cases, co- 

It is also probable that had the Associate Reformed Church 
been able to supply the people with the ordinances of God's 
house, a considerable number of Presbyterian congregations 
>would have withdrawn and united with the Associate Re- 


formed Church when the change was made in psahiiody. As 
it was, parts of several congregations did withdraw and organ- 
ize Associate Reformed congregations. 

In doctrine and form of worship, all the branches of the 
Presbyterian Church in Xorth Carolina, prior to the change in 
psalmody, were identical. Such was not the case in the States 
farther north. This is accounted for, in part, at least, by the 
fact that the Presbyterian settlers of western North Carolina 
were the descendants of those who fled from Scotland to Ire- 
land during the period which immediately preceded the reign 
of "William of Orange. They are known in history as Scotch- 
Irish — a name wliich is, as near as can be, a synonym of Pres- 

Between the descendants of the Scotch who emigrated to 
Ireland during the reigns of James I. and his successor, and 
the descendants of those who emigrated during the reigns 'of 
Charles 11. and James II., there was a marked ditt'erence. Both 
were appropriately called Scotch-Irish; but in the former a 
residence of fully three-quarters of a century in the Emerald 
Isle had produced great changes. They, had lost much of the 
Scotch type of Presbyterianism. Tlioy exhibited a fair exam- 
ple of Irish Presbyterianism, which, so far as purity of doctrine 
and rigidity in Scriptural modes of worshii-* are concerned, was 
next of kin to Scotch Presbyterianism. 

For a period of about twenty years, or from 1702 to 1779, 
petitions were sent to the Associate Presbytery of Pennsyl- 
vania by persons living in parts of Virginia and Xorth Caro- 
lina for "a suppl}^ of sermon." The Presbytery often met six 
times, and never less than four times, annuall}'. With only a 
few exceptions, petitions " for a supply of sermon '*' were read 
at ever}' meeting, either from Virginia or Xorth Carolina. At 
the same meeting there were frequently read petitions from 
four or five counties in Virginia, and from as manj' in North 

It is scarcely possible that the persons sending up these peti- 
tions were all members of the Presbyterian Church. Had this 
been the case, these petitions would have in all probability 
been answered, as was the petition from some persons in Craven 
county, North Carolina. Some members of the Presbyterj- 
would have been appointed, as was done in that case, to write- 


to the petitioners, giving them a clear statement of the particu- 
lars in which the Associate Presbytery diftered from other 
Presbyterians in America, and promising to send them supplies 
if they would agree to acquiesce with the Presbytery. This 
was not done, except in the case of the petition from Craven 
county. Consequently, we may safely conclude that the peti- 
tions came from adherents to the Associate Presbyterian Church. 
Such being the case, we are w^arranted in concluding that in 
that portion of Virginia, west of the Blue Ridge, there were 
certainl^^, as early as 1762 — perhaps several years prior to this — 
a number of congregations or societies in connection with the 
Associate Church. They were not all confined to this region. 
Petitions were sent to the Presbytery from "Westmoreland 
county, and from the " mouth of the James River." Prior 
to the Revolutionary Avar, a number of these societies had 
houses of worship, but how many cannot now be correctly as- 

All of these Associate congregations in Virginia, except 
about half a dozen, gradually coalesced with the Presbyterian 
Church. Here and there, at long intervals, may be found in 
what is West Virginia, a few old persons unknown to history, 
who still cherish for the church of their youth an ardent at- 
tachment. The old houses of worship have gone to decay^ 
and except in a few instances, their very sites have been for- 



teer — Emigrants from the Churches of Ballynahinch, Killeleagh and Aho- 
ghil — Their Certificates — Emigrants Settle in South Carolina — Rev. Peter 
McMullan Comes to America — David Bothwell and James Rogers Land at 
Charleston, December 25, 1789 — Bothwell Goes to Queenstown. Rogers to 
Fairfield — Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia Constituted — Members 
Present — Congregations Under Its Supervision — Their Names — Dr. Clark 
Clothes Himself in Caiaonical Robes — Number of Communicants — Burghers 
and Anti-Burghers Coalesce — Covenanters Stand Aloof — Character of the 
Congregations — Dr. Clark Dies — Rogers Ordained and Installed — Blackstock 
Arrives — Boyse Dies — McMullan Settles at Due "West, Blackstock at Neely's 
Creek — John Hemphill Settles at Hopewell, and McKnight at Coddle Ci-eek — 
Dixon Settles at King's Mountain. Turkey Creek and Bullock's Creek — Alex- 
ander Porter Settles in Dr. Clark's Old Charge — Charges Brought Against 
Mr. McMullan — McMullan Suspended — Division of the Presbytery — Broad 
River the Dividing Line — James McGill Licensed — David Bothwell Dies. 
1801— Mr. McMullan Restored at Sharon— Nature of Mr. McMuUan's Diffi- 
culty — Messrs. McMullan and Dixon Decline the Authority of the Associate 
Reformed Church — 'Apjily to the Associate Church — Organized into a Pres- 
bytery, 1803— Members of the Presbytery— The McMuUan-Dixon Contro- 

Almost immediately after the close of the Revolutionary 
Avar, the tide of immigration began to pour the distressed and 
oppressed inhabitants of every government of Europe into free 
America. Man}" Protestants of Ireland, sick at heart on ac- 
count of grievances, both political and ecclesiastical, left the 
bogs of Deny and Antrim, crossed the Atlantic and sat down 
in poverty, but glad at heart in the wild woods of the Sunny 
South. Mail}' and potent were the reasons w^hich induced the 
Seceders of Ireland to leave their native land and seek on the 
western side of the Atlantic a home. Upon many of them 
poverty pressed like a millstone, and derision pointed at them 
the finger of scorn and contempt. Panting for libert}', they 
left the land whose sea-beaten, shores the}' loved, but whose 
hardships they could no longer endure. 

In the winter of 1788-89, several hundred Seceders left Ire- 
land and came to South Carolina. They sailed in the Old Irish 
Volunteer^ and landed, in the city of Charleston about the last 


of January or first of February, 1789. From this point they 
sought homes in different sections of the State. A few went to 
join their relations in Williamsburg county. For the greater 
number the counties of Lancaster, Chester and Fairfield had 
special attractions. Some of them found homes in York ; a 
few settled in Lincoln county, Xorth Carolina, and the re- 
mainder joined friends and relatives in Abbeville county, South 
Carolina. They broug'ht certificates from the Church Sessions 
of Ballynahinch, Killeleagh and Ahoghil. Two of these cer- 
tificates — possibly more — are still preserved. 

On the 23d of May, 1789, the Fii-st Presbyterj- of Pennsyl- 
Tania reported to the Associate Reformed Synod that they had 
licensed Mr. John Boyse to preach the gospel, and that he had 
received a call frcTm the united congregations of Coddle Creek,- 
in yorth Carolina, and Hocky Creek, in South Carolina, which 
he had accepted. From this it seems that the original name 
of IIo})ewell, in Chester county. South Carolina, was Rockv 
Creek, and that Gilead and Prosperity were afterward added 
to the pastoral charge of Mr. Boyse. At the same time it was 
reported that Mr. Boyse had received and accepted the call 
from Coddle Creek and Rocky Creek (now Hopewell), " a pe- 
tition -was read fron Union congregation on Fishing Creek, 
praj'ing for the settlement of a gospel minister among them."' 
At the meeting of the Synod, in May, 1790, the Presbytery of 
Pennsylvania reported that "they had on the first of July, 
1789, ordained ]Mr. John Boyse as pastor of the united congre- 
gations of Coddle Creek, in Xorth Carolina, and Rocky Creek, 
in South Carolina." This is further evidence that the congre- 
gations of Gilead and Prosperit}- were not at first included in 
the pastoral charge of Mr. Boyse, and that the original name 
of Hopewell was Rocky Creek. 

It may not be out of place to remark, in this connection, that 
about the time of which we are speaking, the names of con- 
gregations were, in manj- instances, changed. Rocky Creek 
Meeting House became Union ; Little Run became Little River ; 
and Cedar Creek was changed to the present Cedar Spring. 
• From the minutes, it appears that in 1787, a call was pre- 
sented to Rev. John Jamieson from the congregations of Coddle 
Creek and Hopewell, in Xorth Carolina. Without some ex- 
planation, the reader might be led to suppose that the Hope- 


well here inentioned was the Hopewell iu Chester count}^ 
South Carolina. Such, however, is not the case. Previous to 
the settlement of !Mr. Hemphill, there was no such a place as 
Hopewell, the name of the church being Rocky Creek. The 
Hopewell, which in conjunction with Coddle Creek, presented in 
1787 a call to the Rev. John Jamieson, was the Presbyterian 
church which still bears that name. It is situated in Mecklen- 
burgh county, Xorth Carolina, west from Davidson College 
about ten miles, and about two miles east from the Catawba 
river. Mr. Jamieson was at at that time pastor of Big Spring 
congregation, in Pennsylvania, and "had no inclination to 
move." Hence the call from Coddle Creek and Hopewell, !N"orth 
Carolina was not acce[>ted. 

At this time, 1789, there were, in all the territory south of 
the James river, only two Associate Reformed ministers — Rev. 
Thomas Clark, pastor of Cedar Creek, Little Run and Long 
Cane; and Rev. John Boyse, stated supply and pastor-elect 
of Rocky Creek, in South Carolina, and of Coddle Creek, in 
Is'orth Carolina. 

Some time during the year 1780, the Rev. Peter MeMuUan, 
pastor of the Anti-Burgher congregation of xVhoghil, Ireland, 
came to America. During the succeeding autumn and winter 
he missionated among the churches within tlie bounds of what 
is now the First Presbytery. 

On the 25th of December, 1789, Rev. David Both well, an 
ordained minister, and James Rogers, a licentiate, landed in 
the city of Charleston, South Carolina. David Bothwell was 
sent to America in answer to a petition addressed by the Se- 
ceders in the vicinity of Queensborough, Georgia, to the Pres- 
bytery of Monaghan, Ireland. It is probable that David Both- 
well set out, immediately on landing at Charleston, for Queens- 
borough. James Rogers says, in his autobiography : '^ I re- 
mained two weeks in Charleston, at Alexander Robinson's, and 
then went into the back county of Fairfield, where my uncle, 
James Gray, resided." Having remained a few Sabbaths in 
Fairfield, he went to Long Cane. Here, on the 21th of Feb- 
ruary, 1790, the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia 
was oro-anized. The followino- is the ecclesiastical procedure 
in reference to the formation of the Presbytery of the Caro- 
linas and Georgia: 


At tlie meeting of the Associate Reformed Synod at Pliila- 
deipliia, on the 20th of May, 1789, a letter was received from 
Rev, Thomas Clark, in which he reported that he and jNIr. 
John JLJoyse had held a conference with Ivev. Peter McMullan, 
lately from Ireland, and that after prayerfully consider ino- the 
matter, Mr. McMullan " had agreed to join in communion 
with the Synod." This led to the following action : On mo- 

Resolved, That the Rev. Thomas Clark, Rev. Peter McMullan, of South Caro- 
lina, together with Mr. John Boyse, probationer, who is to be ordained this 
summer, be authorized to form themselves into a presbyterj' under the inspec- 
tion of this Synod, as soon as convenient. 

Incidentally, there is hrouglit to our notice a fact which 
may as well be mentioned here as elsewhere. When Mr. 
John Boyse was granted, the privilege of taking part in the 
organization of the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia, 
it was upon the expressed condition that he be ordained pastor 
of the united congregations of Coddle Creek and Rocky Creek. 
Such a thing as ordaining a licentiate sine titiilo, or in other 
words, ordaining a probationer before he received a call and 
signified to his presbytery his acceptance uf the call, had no 
existence among the early Associate Reformed fathers. The 
name of a probationer was never entered on the roll of Synod, 
and there were no presbyters among the preaching elders but 
pastors. Preaching elder, pastor and presbyter meant the 
same thing. 

In May, 1790, the First Presbyterj- of Pennsylvania reported 
that " in consequence of tlie two calls from the Carolinas to 
Mr. John Bo^-se, a probationer under the care of said presby- 
tery, he was ordained on July 1st, 1789, as pastor of the united 
congregations of Coddle Creek, in Xorth Carolina, and Rocky 
Creek, in South Carolina." So soon as this report was made, 
a resolution was offered and adopted, that " the name of the 
Rev. John Boyse be added to the Synod roll, and that he be 
invited to take his seat in Synod, which he did accordingly." 

When the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia was or- 
ganized at Long Cane, Abbeville county. South Carolina, on 
the 24th of February, 1790, there were present and took part 
in the ceremonies, and entered into the organization, Thomas 
Clark, Peter McMullan, John Boyse and Bavid Bothwel], or- 


dained ministers; and James McBride and AVilliam Dunlapy 
rulino; elders. James Rogers was present as a probationer, 
but his name was not entered on the roll. The territory over 
which tliis presbytery assumed ecclesiastical jurisdiction, un- 
der the King and Head of the Church, was very extensive. It 
embraced three large States — the two Carolinas and Georgia. 
In reality there was only a small part of this vast scope of 
country occupied by the peoj^le over whom the jn'esbytery 
claimed to exercise supervison. 

The name of the Associate Reformed congregations, at the 
tim.e of the organization of the Pkesbytery of the Carolinas 
AXD Georgia will, no doubt, be a matter of interest to the 
members of the Associate Reformed Church ; at any rate they 
should l)e preserved as a memento of the past. For tliTs rea- 
son they are here inserted. 

In Xorth Carolina there were fourteen, viz.: Ilawiields, 
Eno, Goshen, Fourth Creek (now Statesville), Coddle Creek, 
Xew Hope, Gilead, Prosperity, Rock Springs, Xew Stirling, 
]S'ew Perth, Sard is. Providence and Waxhaw. 

In South Carolina there were twenty-two, viz.: Ebenezer 
(in York county), Steel Creek (now Blackstock), ISTeely's 
(h*eek, Ebenezer (in Fairfield county), Rocky Creek (now 
Hopewell), Rock}' Creek Meeting-house (now Union), Ebene- 
zer (now ISTew Hope), Indian Creek (now King's Creek), 
Cannon Creek, Prosperity, Cedar Creek (now Cedar Spring), 
Long Cane, Little Run (now Little River, in Abbeville count}-), 
Rocky Springs (in Abbeville county), Gencrostee, Duet's Cor- 
iier (now Due AVest Corner), Diamond Hill, Crystal Spring 
Rocky Spring (in Anderson county). Little River (in Laurens 
county), AVarrior's Creek (in Laurens county), and city of 

In Georgia there were eight, viz: Queensborough, Buck 
Head, Big Creek, Joppa, Poplar Springs, Tweuty-Six-Mile 
Creek, Eighteen-Mile Creek, and Rayburn's Creek. In all, 

It is probable that there were other preaching points, but 
their names are lost in the wreck of the past. 

At some of these points there were houses of worship — very 
common, rude log cabins, without either chimney, stove or 
seats. The debris of some of these primitive buildings still 


remain as interesting monuments of the trials and triumphs, 
hardships and patient endurance, of our sainted ancestors. 

The organization of the Presbytery of the Carolixas and 
Georgia ^vas to Revs. Clark and Eoyse an event for which they 
had labored arduously and prayed devoutly. Its consumma- 
tion iilled their minds with joy. Tradition has handed down 
the fact that on the day after the organization, Mr. Clark, then 
a little more than sixty-nine years of age, came to the church 
clad in canonical robes. The people gazed with wild astonish- 
ment. On inquiry why he had laid aside his plain apparel and 
attired himself in a powdered wig, cocked hat and clergyman's 
gown, he replied that it was in commemoration of the organi- 
zation of the presbytcr3\ 

The whole number of communicants within the bounds of 
the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia, at the time of its 
organization, cannot be accurately ascertained. In some old 
documents which have been preserved, the number of families 
is stated as Jive hundred and tifty, and the number of commu- 
nicants as eight hundred and forty ; but not more than one- 
half the congregations are reported. 

In all these congregations there were Burghers and Anti- 
Burghei's, and in many of them a few Covenanters. The 
Burghers and Anti-Burghers who had come to America pre- 
vious to the Eevolutionarj^ War, readily coalesced, and » went 
into the Associate Eeformed Church. The Burghers who 
came to America after the war, also joined the Associate Re- 
formed Church without any hesitancy ; but the Anti-Burghers 
for a time hesitated. Ultimately all of them, or nearly all, 
went into the recently-organized church, but they did so, in 
many instances, with great reluctance. Some of them first 
made application to the Covenanter Societies, but Avere required 
to make some acknowdedgments or explanations before they 
Avould be admitted. This they refused to do, and as the best 
they could do, or would do, under the circumstances, they co- 
alesced with the Associate Reformed Church. Tiiey remained 
in the Associate Reformed Church for a period of more than 
ten years, and then, as the sequel will show, a very large num- 
ber of the Societies withdrew and joined the Associate Church. 

"When we consider all the circumstances by which the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Presbyterj- of the Carolinas and Georgia was 


surrouiided, wLeii it began its existence, we are at a loss to 
say wliether the prospects were bright or gloomy. There 
were certainly more than forty Societies to be watched over by 
four ordained ministers and one probationer. Tlie probationer 
was a boy witliout experience, and Thomas Clark was an old 
man, worn ont with trials, cares and labors, and a third was a 
diseased man. These societies were scattered over a long and 
wide belt of country, and with the exception of a very few, 
*' none of them," in the language of James Rogers, " were fixed 
in a congregational way." Generally, the people were poor. 
The common comforts of the present day would have been re- 
garded 1)3' them as the most extravagant luxuries. The coun- 
try was covered with the virgin forest, and, except at long- 
intervals, Avas inhabited only In* wild beasts. The sturdy 
Scotch-Irish immigrants, rejoicing in the freedom of the land 
of their adoption, went to work Avith a determination, by the 
blessing of Heaven, to succeed, and in due time their efforts 
were rewarded with an abundance of the necessaries and com- 
forts of life. 

The ministers went to work in earnest. They preached and 
prayed, and the blessing of the-King and Head of the Church 
attended their labors. Good old Thomas Clark continued to 
go in and out before the people of Cedar Spring and Long- 
Cane, until the 26th of December, 1792, wlien he " came to his 
grave in full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season." 
David Both well, immediately after the organization of the 
Presbytery, repaired to Georgia and settled as pastor of Buck 
Head and Big Creek congregations. On the 25th of December, 
1792, one day before the earthly labors of Rev. Thomas Clark 
were brought to a close. Rev. William Blackstock landed in 
Charleston, South Carolina. Rev. James Rogers missionated 
among the Societies until the 23d of February, 1791, when he 
was ordained and installed pastor of Little River, Cannon's 
Creek and Indian Creek congregations. This was the first 
ordination and installation services in which the Presbytery of 
the Carolinas and Georgia engaged, of which there is a record. 
The ordination sermon was preached by Rev. Peter McMullan 
and the charge, probably to both people and pastor, was deliv- 
ered by Rev. Thomas Clark. The installation of Rev, John 


Boyse, as pastor of Rocky Creek and Coddle Creek, was, accord- 
ing to tradition, eflected some time durino- the year 1790 ; but 
of this we liave no certain account. 

On the 18th of JMarclj, 1793, Rev. John Boyse died. In this 
there was something touchingly sad. Thomas Clark and John 
Boyse were the main instruments, in the hands of God, in or- 
ganizing the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia. In 
three years and one month, lacking but a few days after the 
accomplishment of the cherished objects of their hearts, both 
were translated from the church militant. Boyse lingered on 
the shores of time less than three months after Clark had 
crossed the river. Clark was an old man, full of j-ears. Boyse 
was in the prime of life. God's providences are always risrht, 
but often mysterious. 

God's providential dealings with the Church demonstrate 
that men, however eminent for their piety and learning, or 
however zealous and self-sacrificing they may be in gathering 
together the dispersed of Israel and in building up the waste 
places of Zion, are only instruments guided and controlled by 
the Holy Spirit. 

The perpetuity of Christ's Kingdom is not dependent upon 
the life or labors of any particular man. To short-sighted 
mortals the verj^ existence of the Presbytery of the Carolinas 
and Georgia appeared, no doubt, to depend upon Thomas 
Clark and John Boyse. They were mistaken. God, in due 
time, raised up other laborers to take their places, and the 
good work which they began has" b}' others been carried on 
until the present day. 

In the spring of 1794, Rev. Peter McMullan was settled as 
pastor of Due West Corner, and on the 8th of June, of the 
same year, Rev. WiUiam Blackstock was ordained and in- 
stalled pastor of Steele Creek, (now Blackstock), Ebenezer and 
]!^eely's Creek. The pastoral charges made vacant by the death 
of Messrs. Clark and Boyse remained in this condition for 
several years. During this period they received only occa- 
sional supplies. On the 19th of September, 1796, Rev. John 
Hemphill was installed pastor of Hopewell, Union and Little 
River (now Xew Hope), and in 1797, Rev. James McKnight 
was installed pastor of Coddle Creek, Gilead and Prosperity. 
"Thus in the short space of four years after the organization of 



the presbytery, the original cliarge of Mr. 13oyse was divided' 
and placed under the pastoral care of two able ministers of the 

In 1795, Mr. William Dixon was licensed, and on the oth of 
June, 1797, he was, at Bullock's Creek (now^ Sharon), ordained 
and installed pastor of King's Mountain, in Gaston county^ 
North Carolina, and Turkey Creek and Bullock's Creek (now: 
Sharon), in York county. South Carolina. 

On the 2d of April, 1798, Rev. Alexander Porter, a gradu- 
ate of Dickinson College, was ordained and installed pastor of 
Cedar Spring and Long Cane congregations. 

There were now (1798) in the Presbyter}' of the Carolinas 
and Georgia, eight settled pastors, viz. : James Rogers, Wil- 
liam Blackstock, Peter McMullan, John Ilempliill, James Mc- 
Knight, Alexander Porter and William Dixon. All of them, 
except James McKnight and Alexander Porter, were born iiL 
Ireland, and all except Ilomphill, McKnight and Porter, had 
received their collegiate edncation at Glasgow, Scotland. 
Rogers and Porter were Burghers ; Hemphill was a Cove- 
nanter, and the other five were Anti-Burghers by education, 
and profession. 

The basis upon which these coalesced was the AVestminister 
Confession of Faith. All parties — Burghers. Anti-Burghers 
and Covenanters — now enjoyed in the Carolinas and Georgia 
those privileges for which they and their ancestors had been 
earnestly contending and patiently suffering for more than one 
hundred years. God w^as smiling upon their efforts and caus- 
ing them to forget all the hardships through which they had 
passed. Troubles, however, soon came, and the joy of the Pres- 
bytery was turned into sorrow. In its infancy it was called 
upon to lament the death of the venerable Clark and the love- 
ly Boyse ; but now a greater trial awaits it. In the spring of 
1798 charges were presented to the presbytery against Rev. 
Peter McMullan. In these charges, which partook rather of 
the nature of a complaint, it was stated that Mr. McMullan 
was guiltj'' of intoxication, of profane swearing, and of col- 
lecting money for the purpose of purchasing "• Brown's Self- 
Interpreting Bible," and appropriating the money to his own 
use ; and in addition to this, contracting debts which he did. 
not pay promptly. 


The immediate result which flowed from these offenses was 
that on the 13th of October, 1801, Mr. McMullan was indefi- 
nitely suspended from the ministry. The final results will be 
noticed in their proper place. 

The church at Due West was now Avithout a pastor, and re- 
mained in this condition for a period of nearly twenty-nine 
years, or until the 7th of August, 1830. 

In October, 1800, the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Geor- 
gia was divided into two presbyteries, Broad River being 
made the dividing line. All that portion of the original pres- 
bytery on the east of Broad River was called " First Presby- 
ter}^ of the Carolinas and Georgia," and all west of the same 
river received the name, " Second Presbj'tery of the Carolinas. 
and Georgia." 

For several reasons, some of which are remembered and 
others forgotten, and none of which were of any great impor- 
tance, this division of the presbytery was not agreeable to 
some of the members, and for a number of years the dividirig 
line was practically ignored. The congregations of Cannon 
Creek, King's Creek and Prosperity were, until 1824, regarded 
as in the First Presbytery ; while Sardis, Providence and AVax- 
haw were in the Second Presbytery. In 1805, these congrega- 
tions, which at that time formed the pastoral charge of Rev. 
Isaac Grier, were by the Synod of the Carolinas, at the request 
of Mr. Grier, transferred from the Second to the First Pres- 

At the meeting of the Synod of Cedar Spring, in Xovember, 
1825, the following motion was passed, viz: " That the united 
congregations of King's Creek, Cannon Creek, Prosperity and 
Head Spring, which, heretofore, have been connected with the,- 
First Presbytery, be transferred to the Second Presbytery."' 
So long as the congregations forming the pastoral charge of 
Rev. William Dixon remained in connection with the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church, they were under the supervision of 
the Second Presbytery, although east of Broad river. 

In April, 1801, James McGill, a graduate of Dickinson Col- 
lege, and licentiate under the care of the First Presbytery 
of Pennsylvania, Avas received by the Second Presbytery of the 
Carolinas and Georgia, and in the spring of the next year or- 
dained and installed pastor of Little River and Rocky Springs, 


in Abbeville county. This accession to the roll of the pres- 
bytery was encouraging. Extremes, however, are usually not 
far apart. In the month of June, 1801, David BothAvell, the 
pastor of Buck Head and Big Creek, died. lie fell at his post, 
with the harness on, in the prime of life. Tlie removal, by 
death, of Clark, Boj'se and Bothwell Avas eminently calculated 
to impress their companions in labors. Xo doubt they were 
made more vigilant. 

In May, 1802, the Second Presbytery licensed Mr. Robert 
Irwin, and in December of the same year ordained and installed 
him over the congregations of Generostee and Diamond Hill. 

On the loth of April, 1802, the Second Presbytery met at 
Sharon, York county. South Carolina. The only members 
present were Messrs. AVilliam Dixon and Alexander Porter and 
their elders. At this meeting a petition Avas presented to the 
presbytery asking that the sentence of suspension be removed 
from Mr. McMulhxn. This itetition was subscribed b}' a num- 
ber of Mr. McMullan's neighbors. 

Mr. Dixon, who was the intimate friend and boon companion 
of Mr. McMullan, and the elders, voted to restore Mr. McMul- 
lan. Mr. Porter voted against it. The result was that Mr. 
McMullan was restored. 

AVere it not on account of the connection which this affair 
of Mr. McMullan has with another matter of grave importance, 
it might be dismissed. Very few persons of the present day 
feel any special interest either in the suspension or restoration 
of Bev. Peter McMullan. At the time, and for many years 
afterward, however, it produced intense excitement, and, as 
we shall see, terminated in a rupture in the Associate Reformed 

It is difficult to give a concise, and, at the same time a clear 
statement of the McMullan difficulty. The facts are as fol- 
lows: When Mr. McMullan came to America, he was an Anti- 
Buro-her, and seems not to have been aware of the fact that in 
America there were no Burgher oaths either to take or oppose. 
The first thing he did was to set himself in deadly opposition 
to Rev. Thomas Clark. The only ground of this opposition 
was the fact that Mr. Clark was known to be a Burgher. On 
meetino- with Mr. Clark, his Anti-Burgher feelings cooled 
down, and he cordially united, as we have seen, with Mr. Clark 


in organizing the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia. 
"When the presbyter}^ was divided, he claimed to be dissatis- 
fied about something, and Mr. Dixon, wlio studied theology 
with him, and unfortunately had contracted some of his bad 
habits, espoused the cause of his friend. These two began to 
abuse publicly the Associate Reformed Church. The proba- 
bility is that neither of these men was dissatisfied with any- 
thing about the Associate Reformed Church except the right- 
eous discipline in the case of Mr. !McMullan. The fact cannot 
be disguised that Mr. McMuUan was very intemperate, and 
that Mr. Dixon followed for a time his example in this respect. 
In 1798, Mr. McMullan was admonished, but it had no good 
effect. In 1801 he was, for drunkenness and other criminal 
acts, silenced. He was, by unfair means, as was thought at 
the time, restored in 1802. This was in the month of April. 
On the 2d of September, of the same year, Messrs. McMullan 
and Dixon informed the Second Presbytery that they declined 
the further authority of the Associate Reformed Church. Very 
soon afterward, if not before this, they made application to the 
Associate Presbytery of Chartiers for admission. In response 
to this request, two commissioners. Rev. (afterward, Dr.) John 
Anderson, and Rev. William Wilson, were sent to examine 
into the nature of the difficulty. The result was, that on the 
12th of January, 1803, either at Sharon or at King's Moun- 
tain — most probably at the later place — they met and constitu- 
ted Revs. Peter McMullan, William Dixon and John Cree, into 
a presbytery, which they called the Associate Presbytery of the 
Carolinas. Mr. Dixon's congregations went with him. Mr. 
McMullan was without any pastoral charge, and Mr. Cree 
was pastor of the Associate congregations in Rockbridge coun- 
ty, Virginia. 

It is highly probable that neither Mr. Anderson nor Mr. 
Wilson received a full and correct account of the nature of 
the difficulty which existed between Revs. Messrs. McMullan 
and Dixon and the Associate Reformed Church. From all that 
is known of Messrs. Anderson and Wilson, it is almost certain 
they would not have fraternized with them, had the course 
these men had been pursuing been known. Messrs. McMullan 
and Dixon had published a large and abusive pamphlet, in 


which they charge the Associate Reformed Clmrch with "lay-' 
ills' aside the "Westminster Confession of Faith," and a number 
of other things which were manifestly false. 

It may have been that Mr. McMullan and Mr. Dixon had 
conscientious scruples with regard to some of the changes which 
the Associate Reformed Church had made in certain Sections 
of the AVestminster Confession of Faith ; but the real difficul- 
ty originated in the intemperate habits of these men. 

The organization of the Associate Presbytery of the Caroli- 
nas was certainly an unfortunate thing. It divided those who 
ought to have been united. Pastoral charges were in some in- 
stances rent in twain. Pastors and people wasted and worse 
than wasted their time in detecting and refuting what they 
supposed to be the errors of those with wdiom they had once 
been united, and with whom they ought to have continued to 
dwell in peace and unity. 



ent — Changes which had Taken Place Since the Organization of the Presby- 
tery of the Carolinas and Georgia — Character of those who Organized the 
Synod of the Carolinas — Their Pastoral Charges — Their Love for Each 
Other — The McMullan-Dixon Difficulty — Course Pursued by the Synod — 
Charges Brought Against the Associate Reformed Church by McMuUan and 
Dixon — McMullan and Dixon Deposed — Division in the Associate Reformed 
Church — The Difference between the Associate Reformed and the Associates — 
The Result of their Quarreling — The Presbytery of Chartiers — Resolutions 
of the Associate Synod Concerning Slavery — Rev. Thomas Ketchin and Seve- 
ral Congregations Join the Associate Reformed Church — Remaining History 
of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas — All the Associates in the South 
Coalesced with the Associate Reformed Church in 1844 — Ministers of the 
Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas. 

As has been stated elsewhere, the original Synod of the 
Associate Reformed Church, at its meeting in the city of Xew 
York, on the 21st of October, 1802, adopted the following reso- 

Resolved, That this Synod will divide itself into four Synods and form a Gene- 
ral Synod. 

These four Synods were to be known as the Synod of New 
ToRK, Synod of Pennsylvania, Synod of Scioto and Synod of 
THE Carolinas. 

Previous to the dissolution of the old Associate Reformed 
Synod, a resolution appointing a time and place when and 
where each of the four subordinate Synods should be organ- 
ized, was adopted. Ebenezer Church, in Fairfield county, S. 
C, was specified as the place at which the Synod of the Caro- 
linas should be organized ; and the fourth Wednesday of April, 
1803, as the time. For some reason, as the following minute 
will show, the organization was not eftected until the 9th of 
May. The following is the minute : 

Whereas, The Associate Reformed Synod, at their meeting held at the city of 
New York, October the 21st, 1802, did, by the fourth resolution of said meeting, 
authorize the First and Second Presbyteries of the Carolinas and Georgia to 
constitute one Synod, to be called the Synod of the Carolinas (reference being 
had to the printed minutes of said meeting will more fully appear) ; And ivhereas 
The Synod appointed the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas to meet at 


Mr. Rogers' church the fourth Wednesday of April, 1803, to be opened by a ser- 
mon by Rev. James Rogers: Some circumstances prevented the Synod's meet- 
ing at the time appointed, but through the good hand of our God have we con- 
vened at the phice nominated, this 9th of May, 1803. 

Rev. James Rogers, who was, by the old Associate Reformed 
Synod, appointed moderator, preached a sermon from the words: 
"I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall 
feed you with knowledge and understanding.'' — Jer. 3:15. 
The sermon being ended, Mr. Rogers constituted the Associate 
Reformed Sj'iiod of the Carolinas by prayer. There Avere pres- 
ent seven ordained ministers, two probationers and six ruling- 
elders. Their names were James Rogers, William Blackstock, 
John Hemphill, James McKnight, Alexander Porter, James 
McGill and Robert Irwin, ordained ministers ; and Isaac Grier 
and James McAuley, probationers. The names of the ruling 
elders were : Charles Montgoraer}^, Alexander Stewart, Andrew 
McQuistou, Henry Hunter, Arthur Morrow and Duke Bell. 

Of these fathers of the Associate Reformed Synod of the 
Carolinas (now Associate Reforijied Synod of the South), it 
may be safely said that they were men mighty in the Scrip- 
tures. "With the exception of Rev. James McGill, who for 
many years labored under a partial insanity, they all were men 
of more than ordinary natural abilities, and of rare intellectual 
and theological attainments in their day. It would, perhaps, 
be extravagant to sa}- that they were iinished scholars or dis- 
tinguished pulpit orators. These, it is supposed, they were 
not; but they all were instructive preachers. They were pas- 
tors who fed the people of God " with knowledge and under- 
standing." They are all dead. For half a centurj^ all that 
was mortal of these pious men has been mingling with its kin- 
dred dust ; but by their self-sacrificing labors and godly ex- 
amples they made an impress upon society which is still visible. 
It is claimed for them that they lived eminently pious and 
useful lives and went down to their graves in j^eace, and be- 
queathed to the congregations which, under God, they planted 
and watered, a rich inheritance in their untarnished names. 

The pastoral charges in connection with the Associate Re- 
formed Synod of the Carolinas, at the time of its organization,, 
were seven, being equal to the number of ordained ministers. 
James Rogers was pastor of Cannon Creek, King's Creek and. 


Ebenezer. William Blackstock was i)astor of Steele Creek, 
Ebenezer and Neely's Creek. John Hemphill was pastor of 
Hopewell, Union and Little River (now Xew Hope). James 
McKnight was pastor of Coddle Creek, Gilead and Prosperity. 
Alexander Porter was pastor of Cedar Spring and Long Cane. 
James McGill was pastor of Little River and Rocky Springs, 
both in Abbeville county, S. C. Robert Irwin was pastor 
elect, but probably not installed, of Generostee and Diamond 

These seven pastors were bound together by the strongest 
possible ties. In each other's temporal, spiritual and eternal 
welfiire they w.ere deeply interested. They had the same great 
and good cause — the salvation of immortal souls — at heart. 
They had no private ends to accomplish ; no individual pur- 
poses to effect. Of them it may be truthfully said : " They 
took up their cross and followed Jesus." In all sincerity they 
endeavored to live at peace with each other and with all men. 
By the hlessing of God, they lived in perfect harmony with 
each other. If, as a Latin historian says, to love the same thing 
and to hate the same thing constitutes friendship, then the 
fathers of the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas were 

devoted friends. 

With all men they could not live in peace. Rev. Messrs. 
McMullan, Dixon and Cree, as we have seen, had, on the 12th 
of January, 1803, been constituted into a presbytery, which 
received the name. Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas. 

At the first meeting of the Associate Reformed Synod of 
the Carolinas, the following resolution was unanimousl}' 
adopted : 

Whekeas, Rev. Peter McMullan and William Dixon have declined the com- 
munion of the Associate Reformed Church in a disorderly, schismatical and 
scandalous manner, and the reasons accompanying their declinature are, some 
of them, false, and others frivolous ; therefore. 

Eesolveil, That they be suspended from the ofSce of the holy ministry, and be 
cited before the bar of the Synod at their next meeting. 

Mr. McMullan had been suspended, as is stated elsewhere, 
by the Second Presbytery, on the 13th of October, 1801, but 
was restored on the 15th of April, 1802. iMessrs. JMcMullan 
and Dixon were regularly cited to appear before the Synod y 
but to these citations they paid no attention whatever. The 
matter continued to be the only vexing question before the 


S3'nod for the next two meetings. In April, 1805, Messrs. 
McMullan and Dixon were solemnly deposed from the gospel 
ministry. This, however, did not end the matter. A very 
large number of the Societies soon became disaffected towards 
the Associate Reformed Church, and in a ver\' few years sev- 
eral congregations Avere divided — part remaining in the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church, and part withdrawing from that church 
iind joining the Associate Church. These divisions were not 
unattended with bitter feelings, vexatious words and evil con- 
sequences. The Societies, at first very weak, were, by these 
strifes, made weaker. God, no doubt, overruled the whole of 
this affair for his own glory and the good of his people; but 
it was certainly one of those instances in which He brings 
light out of darkness, order out of confusion and good out of 

The whole trouble grew out of the unministerial, not to say 
sinful, conduct of Messrs. McMullan and Dixon. So far as 
mortals can see, there was no other cause for the rupture in the 
Associate Reformed Societies ; neither was there any other 
ground for the organization of the Associate Presbytery of the 

These two denominations, instead of stimulating each other 
to greater diligence, and provoking each other to deeds of 
" charity which thinketh no evil," wasted their time and ex- 
hausted their strength in useless attempts to crush each other's 
supposed erroneous opinions on certain points out of existence. 
Both grew, but their growth was comparatively slow. No 
one, except themselves, could discover their differences. The 
Associate Reformed people could only say Sibboleth, while 
the Associates thought they could say distinctl}' Shibboleth ; but 
both meant the same thing. In all their opinions and prac- 
tices, both were genuine Seceders to the core. Both claimed 
to be scrupulous followers of Boston and the Erskines. 

So far as an3'thing to the contrary is known, all — certainly 
the overwhelming majority of the Seceders, both Anti-Burgh- 
ers and Burghers, in the South — entered into the Associate 
Reformed Church, when the Presbytery of the Carolinas and 
Georgia was organized. A few, it is admitted, entered with 
reluctance the Union Church, as it was called ; but these were 
graduall}' becoming attached to its principles and practices. 


Had not the difficulty sprung u|» with Mr. McMullan, the 
probability is that the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas 
would never have had an existence. 

Had all the Eeformed Presbyterians and all the Associates 
in the South united at the close of the last century, forgotten 
their differences and worked harmoniously together, it is but 
reasonable to suppose that the particular form of Presbyterian- 
ism which they all heartily embrace, and those practices which 
they all loved and clung to would have become the prevailing 
form of Christianity all over the sections of country in which 
they first settled. This they did not do. They quarreled 
among themselves, and the rich inheritance which God gave 
them rapidly passed largely into the possession of other Chris- 
tian denominations. No one can blame other denominations 
for cultivating the field which the Associates, Associate Re- 
formed and Reformed Presbj-terians, in their divided state, 
eould not cultivate. 

There is no ground for a belief that they diflered on any 
fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion, and it is abso- 
lutely certain that in their form of church government and 
modes of worship, they were rigidly and strictlj^ identical. 
As Christians, there was nothing to keep them from uniting ; 
but their Seceder and Covenanter prejudices kept them at arm's 
length from each other. 

We dare not lay the whole blame of this division exclusively 
on any one of these three denominations. Xo doubt they were 
all to blame. Like the rest of the human family, they were 
but men — short-sighted men. The reasons which kept all the 
Reformed Presbyterians, and all the Associate Presbyterians 
from uniting, in the formation of the Associate Reformed 
Church, have not as yet been discovered. Probabl}^ some good 
and valid reasons did exist ; but if so they are among the 
secret things which belong only to God. For the organization 
of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas there was no 
proper reason. It had its beginning, as we have seen, in the 
waywardness and disobedience of Messrs. McMullan and Dixon. 
The Associate Presbytery of Chartiers, by whose authority the 
organization was eft'ected, and the good men. Dr. John Ander- 
son and Rev. William Wilson, who officiated on the occasion, 
were in no way to be blamed, unless it be that they were over- 


zealous for their denomination. The fjicts in the case they 
seem never to have fnll}^ nnderstood. This division, in the 
good providence of God, as the sequel Avill show, has been 
healed, and by many of the ^'ounger ministers and members of 
the Associate Reformed Synod of the South it is scarcely 
known that there was once within the territorial limits of the 
Associate Reformed Synod a presbytery which was called the 
Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas. 

In May, 1831, the Associate Synod of Korth America met in 
Cannonsburg, Pa. At this meeting of the Synod a series of 
resolutions were adopted in which all the members of the As- 
sociate Church who owned slaves were required to set their 
slaves free. At that time there were nine presbyteries in con- 
nection with the Associate Synod, and but one — the Presbytery 
of the Carolinas — particularly implicated with the institution 
of slavery. There were a few slave-holders in some of the 
other presbyteries, but not man}'. Such being the case, the 
resolutions aifected only the members of this presbytery. The 
resolutions were protested against b}^ six members of the Synod, 
three of whom were members of the Presbytery of the Caroli- 
nas ; one was a member of the j'resbytery of Miami ; and two 
were members of the Presbj-tery of Chartiers. 

By the resolutions, the members of the Associate Church, 
holding slaves, were not only required to free their slaves, but 
they were required to free them forthwith. The protesters did 
not object to the law requiring the slaves to be set free; but, 
for a number of reasons, they objected to the precipitant man- 
ner in which it Avas proposed to enforce the law. Very many 
3'ears previous to this time, the Associate Synod had adopted 
anti-slavery resolutions. In fact, the Associate Synod was, from 
its earliest existence, decidedly and avowed!}- opposed to 

In 1831, when the resolutions referred to above weve adopted 
there were, in the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas, eight 
ministers and twenty-four congregations. Rev. Andrew Heron, 
J). D., was pastor of Ebenezer, Timber Ridge and Broad Creek, 
in Rockbridge county, Ya. Rev. John Wallace was pastor of 
ISTew Lebanon, Monroe county, Va. Rev. Thomas Ketchin 
was pastor of Shiloh, in Lancaster county, and Xeely's Creek, 
in York county, S. C. Rev. Abraham Anderson, D. D., Avas 


pastor of Steele Creek and Bethaii}' (now Back Creek), in 
Mecklenburg county, X. C. Rev. James Lyle was pastor of 
Smyrna, in Chester, and Little E-iver and Bethel (Winnsboro), 
in Fairfield county, S. C. Rev. W. M. McElmee, D. D., was 
pastor of Sharon and Tirzah, in York county, S. C. Rev. 
Joseph Banks was pastor-elect of Knob Creek and Pisgah, in 
Xorth Carolina, and Bethany and Sardis, in South Carolina. 
Rev. AVilliam Dixon being superannuated, was without a 

The vacancies in connection with the Associate Presbytery 
of the Carolinas, in 1831, were Virgin Springs, New Stirling, 
Cambridge, Gilead, McGailiard's, Cochran's Vale, Elgin and 
Piedmont, with some weak missionar}' stations. 

From 1831, the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas began 
to decline rapidly. Rev. Messrs. Heron, Anderson, Wallace, 
McElwee and Banks, being unable to enforce the Act of Synod, 
left their cono;reo;ations and went North, On the 28th of 
Afarch, 1832, Rev. Thomas Ketchin and the congregations of 
Shiloh and Neely's Creek tendered their declinature to the As- 
sociate Presbyter}' of the Carolinas. The reasons which the3' 
assigned for taking" this course were : F'irst, Because, in pass- 
ing the Act, the Synod has unscripturally interfered in civil 
matters. Second, The Act of the Synod sowed the seeds of 
rebellion in the civil community in which Mr. Ketchin and 
the members of his charge dwell. For these and other similar 
reasons, Mr. Ketchin and his congregations withdrew from the 
Associate Church. 

It was not long until it was discovered that seyeral other 
congregations, whose pastors had gone ott" and left them, were 
ready to join with Mr. Ketchin and his pastoral charge in con- 
ferring with the Associate Reformed Church with reference to 
a union. The object being agreeable to the Associate Reformed 
Church, a committee, appointed by that church, met a similar 
committee appointed by the Associate Church at Shiloh, in 
February, 1833. 

There were present, from the First Presbytery of the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod of the South, Rev. Isaac Grier, D. D., and 
ruling elders Robert Nelson and Alexander Nisbet. The dele- 
gates from the Associate Church were Rev. Thomas Ketchin 
and Mr. William Reid, from Shiloh ; John Campbell, from 


Xeely's Creek ; John ^IcEhvee, from Bethany ; John Falls^ 
from Pisgah ; and Charles Mclhvain, from Tirzah. 

When tlie parties came face to face, tliey readily agreed 
on every point, or were willing to forbear in love with respect 
to those points in which they could not agree. But for the 
apparent precipitancy' of the matter, the union would have 
heen formally consummated at the first meeting. Prudently, 
they agreed to meet again at Shiloh on the 10th of July. 

At the second meeting the delegates from the Associate 
Reformed Church were Rev. Messrs. "Warren Henniken and 
Isaac Grier, D. D., and ruling elders Alexander ^Scott, Robert Fee 
and James Irvine. The delegates from the Associate Church 
were Rev. Thomas Ketchin, Messrs. William Reid, William 
Campbell, Samuel Falkner and Charles Mclhvain. 

The union was consummated readil}'^ and good grew out of 
it to all concerned. The churches which came with Rev. Mr. 
Ketchin into the Associate Reformed Church were Shiloh, in 
Lancaster county, S. C. ; Neely's Creek, Tirzah, Sharon and 
Bethany, in York county, S. C. ; Sardis, in Union county, S. C. ;. 
and Pisgah and Bethany (now Back Creek), in Xorth Carolina. 
For reasons which need not be mentioned, the congregation of 
Xecly's Creek retraced its steps and remained nominally in 
connection with the vVssociate Presbytery until 1844. 

Rev. James Lyle was the only pastor left in the Associate 
Presbytery of the C/arolinas. The presbytery continued to 
exist until April, 1844, when its ministers and nearly all of its 
members united with the Associate Reformed Synod of the 

As a separate and distinct organization the usefulness of the 
Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas measurably ceased after 
1831. The congregations began to dwindle down, and the 
prospects were intensely gloomy. The subject of slavery began 
to be the absorbing question in the country, both politically 
and ecclesiasticall}'. 

It is probable that the majority of those in connection with 
the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas, in 183 i, had con- 
scientious scruples about the moral right of one man to hold 
anotlier man in a state of absolute slavery. It is certain that 
three of the pastors — McElwee, Heron and Anderson — declared 
at the time that " slavery is clearly condemned by the law of 


God." This doctrine they taught their people, from the pulpit 
and around the hreside, and it is true be3'ond a doubt that 
some of their people accepted their teachings on this subject^ 
as founded upon and agreeable to the Scriptures. It is also 
true that perhaps more than one-half — certainly more than one- 
half in some congregations — were slave-holders. Many of those 
slave-holders, strange as it may appear, were by no means the 
advocates of the institution. They regarded it as an evil which 
hud been inflicted upon the country by the British government 
during the colonial times, and perpetuated by circumstances 
over which, in many instances, they had no control. 

The peculiar circumstances of the people, in connection with 
the Associate Presbytery of the Oarolinas, was such, or at least 
they thought they were such, that they could not liberate their 
slaves immediately. For many years both pastors and people 
had been diligent in bringing up their slaves in "the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord."' Many of these slaves were mem- 
bers of the church, in good and regular standing. In fact, in 
some of the congregations more than one-half the regular wor- 
shippers were negro slaves. In Mr. Heron's charge, in 1831^ 
there were ninety-seven slaves ; of these, one-half, or forty- 
nine, had been taught to read ; six were members of the church ; 
and sixty-four worshipped regularly with their masters. In 
Mr. Ketchin's charge there were three hundred and sixty-five 
slaves. Of these the overwhelming majorit}' — all but about 
sixty^had been taught to read, and man^^ were members of 
the church, and all worshipped with their masters. In Mr. 
Anderson's charge there were two hundred and five slaves. 
Sixty-nine of these could read ; eight were members of the 
church ; and one hundred and fifty-seven were constantly being^ 
instructed in the fundamental doctrines of the Christian reli- 
gion. In the charge of ]\Ir. McElwee there were one hundred 
and fifty-seven slaves, and in the old charge of Mr. Dixon there 
were about the same number. In both of these charges all, 
or nearly all, the slaves were taught to read, and a very large 
proportion of them sat down at the same communion table with 
their masters, and with them celebrated the death of Jesuit 

It was regarded impossible, under the circumstances, to free 
the slaves '• immediately." The pastors having in good faith 


made the effort to cany out tlie law of the church, hut failing, 
demitted their charges and -went to regions of country in which 
the institution of slaver}^ did not exist. 

It is probable that had the Associate Synod not been so 
hasty and rash in their efforts to free the Presbytery of the 
Carolinas of slavery, that in due time most of those in con- 
nection with the presbytery would have manumitted their 
slaves. The Synod thought and acted differently. The result 
was that nearly all the people in connection with the presby- 
tery soon ceased to have any organic connection with the 
Synod. The members generall}- adojited the opinions concern- 
ing slavery which were held by the Associate Eeformed Church, 
and with that denomination coalesced or united. 

For a number of years previous to that union, it became evi- 
dent to the leading members of the Associate Presbyter}^ of 
the Carolinas that it was only a matter of time when many of 
the small societies under their care would perish, not only to 
the Associate Presbytery, but also to Christianity, unless a 
union was formed with the Associate Eeformed Church. Ne- 
gotiations were begun and carried on in the spirit of brotherly 
love, and happily consummated at Xew Perth, N. C, on the 
15th of April, 1844. Bj- the authoritj^ of the Associate Re- 
formed Synod, the union was formally consummated by the 
First Presb3'ter3\ The following is the minute of the transac- 
tion : 

Whereas. The First Associate Reformed Presbytery and the Associate Pres- 
bytery of the Carolinas have been for some time negotiating with a view to 
union, and have concluded these negotiations on terms hitherto expressed, being 
mutually satisfactory and approved by the Associate Reformed Synod of the 
South ; be it, therefore. 

Resolved. That this union be now consummated (the other presbytery being 
present) by the two presbyteries extending to each other the right hand of fel- 
lowship; this being the formal act by which the two bodies coalesce. 

Preparatory to carrying this resolution into effect, Mr. Ketchin invoked the 
divine blessing by prayer, after which the right hand of fellowship was extended. 
A part of the one hundred and second psalm was then sung, and thanksgiving 
to God for the present signal blessing by Mr. Thompson, of Virginia. 

The names of Horatio Thompson and John Patrick, minis- 
ters, and John Q. Cochran, John Young and James McCa}', 
elders, Avere added to the roll of the First Presbyteiy of the 
Associate Eeformed Synod of the South. 


From the time of its organization, in January, 1803, to the 
time of its union with the Associate Reformed Church, in 
April, 1844 — a period of a little more than forty-one jeRvs — 
there were in connection with the Associate Presbytery of the 
Carolinas fourteen ministers, viz.: Abraham Anderson, Joseph 
Banks. John Cree, AVilliam Dixon, Andrew Heron, Thomas 
Ketchin, James Lyle, William Meek McElwee, Peter McMul- 
lau, John Mushat, John Patrick, James Pringle, John Wallace 
and Archibald AVhyte. All these were men of more than or- 
dinary attainments and several of them were among the first 
pulpit orators of their day. With one or two exceptions they 
were men of exemplary piety. That they accomplished, in 
their isolated condition, some good no one will doubt ; but the 
good done was certainly little. It required a continual effort 
to perpetuate mere crotchets. 




SLOW GROWTH of the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas— Causes 
Emigration and Withdrawals in order to Join the Associates — Number of 
Communicants in 1803 — Associate Congregations all in First Presbytery — 
Strength of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas — Its Rapid Growth at 
First — Anti-Burghers All Join It — Growth of the Associate Reformed Church — 
Number of Presbyteries in 1804 — General Synod Organized — Its Defects — 
Want of Harmony among the Members — Synods of Scioto and the Carolinas 
Become Dissatisfied — Lexington Academy — Memorial in its Behalf — Memo- 
rial Shows a Want of Confidence in the Theological Seminary — Some En- 
vious — John Mason's Letters — His Talents — The Mason-Matthews and Clark 
Difficulty— Settled to the Satisfaction of No One— Synod of Scioto With- 
draws and the Synod of the Carolinas Requests to be Allowed to Become In- 
dependent — The Request Granted — Synod of the South Organized — Its Plat- 
form the Constitution as Adopted in 1791)- -Members Constituting the Synod 
of the South — ^No Deaths in Nineteen Years. 

The growth of the Associate Reformed Synod of tlie Caro- 
linas, for a number of years, was scarcely perceptible. The in- 
crease in the number of ministers, in a period of nineteen years, 
was only six, and the increase in the number of communicants 
was about in the same ratio. In 1803 there were in the Synod 
seven ordained ministers, and in 1822 there were only eleven. 
The number of communicants in 1803 was certainly more than 
one thousand, and perhaps less than two thousand. The num- 
ber of communicants in the pastoral charges in the First Pres- 
bytery, including Indian Creek, Cannon Creek and Prosperity, 
in the Second Presbytery, amounted to eight hundred and fifty, 
and it is probable that the number of communicants in the 
settled congregations in the Second Presbytery, and in the va- 
cant congregations in both presbyteries, were, at least, one 
thousand. This number is certainly not too large, since, in 
Cedar Spring and Long Cane congregations there were, in 1801, 
two hundred and sixty families and five hundred and twenty 
communicants. The other pastoral charges in the Second Pres- 
bytery, and the vacancies in both presbyteries were w^eak. 

The membership of the Associate Reformed Synod of the 
Carolinas, at the time of its organization, may be safely esti- 
mated at nineteen hundred. 


Some of the congregations seem to have decreased rapidly 
for a few years, and after that to have increased as rapidly. 
As an example of this fluctuation, it may be stated that in 
1804 the number of communicants in Mr. Hemphill's charge 
was three hundred and fifteen, and in 1807 the number was 
only two hundred and eighty. The number of communicants 
in this same charge was, in a few years afterwards, more than 
four hundred. 

For a few years immediately after the organization of the 
Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas, and the Associate Re- 
formed Synod of the Carolinas, the people were in a very un- 
settled condition. In some cases congregations divided — ^part 
withdrawing: from the Associate Reformed Church and con- 
necting with the Associate Church. In other instances, whole 
cono-resrations withdrew from the Associate Reformed Church 
and connected with the Associate Church. 

The congregations under the pastoral care of Rev. William 
Dixon went with him to the Associate Church, and the pas- 
toral charo;e of Rev. A\^illiam Blackstock, and several other 
single congregations were divided and nearly broken up. All 
these divisions occurred in the congregations within the terri- 
torial limits of the First Presbytery. So far as is known, no 
Associate congregation was ever organized in the territory 
occupied by the Second Presbytery. There were at a late date,, 
and perhaps as early as 1803, a few Associate families in 
Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee which were occasionally vis- 
ited by Associate ministers ; but so far as is known, none of 
these were organized into congregations by the Associate Pres- 
bytery of the Carolinas. 

Although there were no Associate congregations organized 
within the bounds of the Second Presbytery, the people were 
not entirely harmonious. There were a few persons who did 
not unite heartily with the Associate Reformed Church. Mr. 
McMullan continued to preach in the neighborhood of Due 
West — generally in his own house — until 1806, when he was 
suspended by the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas. 

It is probable that had Mr. McMullan abandoned his intem- 
perate habits after the organization of the Associate Presby- 
tery of the Carolinas, that he would have won back the affections 
of bis former charge, and they as a whole, or at least a ma- 


joi'ity of tljcm, would have followed him into the Associate 
Church. As it was, the church at Due West remained vacant 
for nearly tliirty years. 

The numher of those adhering to Messrs. McMullan and 
Dixon, at first, were very few — not more than three hundred. 
The whole numher of coraraunicants at any one time in connec- 
tion with the Associate Preshytery of the Carolinas did not 
amount to more than fifteen hundred. In 1830 — the most 
flourishing period of the Associate Presbytery of tlie Caro- 
linas — there were in its seven pastoral charges only about one 
thousand communicants, and the vacancies, with one or two 
exceptions, were very small. 

The growth of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas 
was very considerable during the first five or six years of its 
existence. This was the result of two causes. The one cause 
was the number of those who left the Associate Reformed 
'Church and joined it. The other was that nearly all the Anti- 
Burgliers who came into the country united with the Associate 
rather than with the Associate Reformed Church. 

This Avas the case in every section of America. The Anti- 
Burgher branch of the Secession Church, in both Scotland and 
Iieland regarded with decided disapprobation the Associate 
Reformed Church. Few of its members coming to America 
joined it. Of the donations made to establish the Associate 
Reformed Theological Seminary, nearly all were obtained from 
Burghers. Of the Anti-Burghers, it may be said they were 
generally opposed to all negotiations having a union in view, 
and opposed to unions when formed. Anti-Burgher ministers 
rarely ever coalesced with the Associate Reformed Church. 

In addition to the causes already mentioned, the growth of 
the Associate Reformed Synod of the South w^as greatly retarded 
by emigration. Previous to the organization of the Synod of the 
Carolinas, the people in connection with the Associate Reformed 
Church began to emigrate to the north-western States. This 
drain was kept up for fully thirty years. By it the numerical 
strength of the Associate ReformecV Synod of the Carolinas 
was, at one time, reduced below what it was when the organi- 
zation was effected. 


The history of the Synod of the Carolinas is necessarily in- 
volved in the history of the General S3'nod of the Associate 
Reformed Church. That we may be enabled to understand 
the former it will l)e necessary to repeat some things which 
have already been related concerning the history of the latter. 

jS'otwithstanding the many difficulties with which it had to 
contend, the growth of the Associate Reformed Church, for the 
first twenty years, was rapid and steady. Three presbyteries 
during that time had grown into eight, and the number of 
her ministers and members had been more than doubled. As 
has been stated elsewhere, in 1801 the Associate Reformed 
Synod took the initiatory steps with reference to forming a 
General Synod. In 1804, on the 30th of May, tlie General 
Synod met and was regularly constituted. 

For several years the church enjoyed peace and prosperity. 
It was deliberately said that the General S\niod "was founded 
in pride and perished in plunder." It is certain that it perished 
in plunder ; but it is scarcely correct — certain!}^ not charitable — 
to say, without some qualification, that it was founded in pride. 
Surely the fathers of the Associate Reformed Church were not 
wholly prompted by pride to organize the General Synod. 
There was a defect, it is readily admitted, in the General 
Synod ; but it is not easy to state correctly in few words in 
what that defect consisted. The defect was similar to that 
which existed in the General Assembly of the Church of Scot- 
land in the time of Boston and the Erskines. It was a defect 
which may exist in any representative body. The defect was 
not in the system, but in a wrong application or abuse of the 
principles involved in that system. 

The Associate Reformed Church was spread over a large ex- 
tent of territory. The larger number of the members of the 
denomination were in the States of New York and Pennsyl- 
vania. In these Skites were located the oldest and wealthiest 
churches- The pastors of these churches claimed a kind of 
primogenial right to have under their control all the institu- 
tions of the denomination. 

It matters not whethe^r this was actually the case, or whether 
it \yas a mere suspicion on the part of others. It is true be- 
yond a doubt that 'the members of the Synods of Scioto and 
the Carolinas began, at a very early period to show signs that 


they .were not satislied Avith the prospects. It is positive!}" as- 
serted that the resolution to divide the old Synod into two or 
more synods and form a General Synod was unanimous. At 
that meeting (in 1801) there were only a few representatives 
present from that portion of tlie denomination west of the Al- 
leghany mountains, and but one from ttie Presbyteries of the 
Carolinas and Georgia. 

At the first meeting of the General Synod, "a memorial 
from the Presbytery of Kentucky, on the subject of the Lex- 
ington Aeadem}', was read, with an extract from the minutes 
of said presbytery, and an extract from the minutes of the 
Synod of Scioto. The object of this paper was to prevail upon 
the General Sj-nod to take said academy under their patronage; 
to grant to it one-half of the books belonging to the Theologi- 
cal library ; to appropriate to its use all the money to be col- 
lected in the future within the bounds of the Synod of Scioto ; 
and to allow the trustees to lay before the General Synod, at 
every meeting, an account of the said academy." 

To this memorial the General Synod replied that thej^ could 
not, " consistently, with good faith, divide the mone3'3 con- 
tributed expressly for the Seminary, nor the books bought with 
the money." 

The Synod of Scioto was, however, allowed to retain the 
contributions made by its own members to the public fund 
within its bounds, for the next three years, and devote those 
contributions to the maintenance of Lexington Academy. 

In 1806 the trustees of Lexington Academy petitioned the 
General Sjmod for a continuance of the appropriation ; " and 
that Mr. William Wallace, a student of divinity, be exempt 
from a compliance with the Act relative to the Theological 
Seminary, so far as not to attend on the Professor." 

These memorials and petitions clearly indicated that there 
was not concert of action among the Synods composing the 
General Synod. It is as clear as the noon-day sun that what- 
ever aid was rendered the Lexington Academy was just so 
much support withheld, from the contemplated theological 
seminary. The denomination was, tit the time, unable to 
equip fully one seminary, much less two. For more than .ten 
3'ears the church had been exerting itself to provide the means 
by which its candidates for the ministry might be thoroughly 


prepared for their work. This, on account of their poverty, they 
were unable to accomplish. Generous friends in Great Britain 
came to their aid and contributed, " on account of the Synod, 
six thousand four hundred and sixty-three dollars." Of this 
amount, the sum of five thousand one hundred and forty -seven 
dollars was contributed for " the sole use of the theological 
seminary." By far the larger part of this amount Avas, by 
direction of the Synod, expended in the purchase of books for 
the use of the theological seminar^'. Had the General Synod 
undertaken to divide the books thus obtained, they would have 
acted ill bad faith towards the donors. 

It is difficult to discover the real cause or causes which led 
to the sending up of the memorial and petition already men- 
tioned, and in such matters it is dangerous to conjecture. It 
may, however, be safely said that there vvere in the Associate 
Reformed Church, at the time of the founding of the theologi- 
cal seminary, some persons who were more than suspicious that 
some of the acknowledged leaders in the church were bent on 
removing the old landmarks. There were others who, no 
doubt, were troubled with a spirit of env^'. 

In 1798, Rev. John M. Mason published a series of letters 
on " Frequent Communion and Sacramental Fasts and Thanks- 
givings." Many good people in the Associate Reformed 
Church began to regard Mr. Mason with suspicion, on account 
of the sentiments expressed in these letters. By these persons 
he was regarded as an innovator. 

In addition to this, it is a fact that the extraordinary talents 
possessed by Mr. Mason, and the almost unlimited influence he 
exerted in the denomination, rendered him an object of envy. 
How much these things had to do in prompting the memorial 
and petition which came up from the Presbytery of Kentucky 
in regard to the Lexington Academy, it will not be undertaken 
to say. ]!*^o matter what was the cause, nor whether it was a 
sufficient cause, it is a fact that from its very beginning there 
was a want of entire harmony and implicit confidence among 
the members of General Synod. 

The Synods of Scioto and the Carolinas were not entirely 
satisfied ; neither were all the members of the other two Syn- 
ods satisfied. Xotwithstanding this fact, the General Synod 
had a comparatively prosperous and harmonious existence for 
about six years. 


In May, 1811, the case of Messrs. Mason, Matthews and 
Clarke came up for adjudication. As all the circumstances con- 
nected with that case, and the decision of the General Synod, 
have been minutely related elsewhere, they need not be re- 
peated liere. From that day on to the hour of its final disso- 
lution, the General Synod was regarded by the subordinate 
Synods of Scioto and the Carolinas as a mere partisan court. 
In 1819 the Synod of Scioto withdrew and declared itself no 
longer subordinate to the General Synod, and in 1820 dissolved 
and reconstituted itself as an independent and coordinate 
Sj^nod. At this time it took to itself the name of " The Asso- 
ciate Reformed Synod of the West.'"' 

To the Synod of the Carolinas, at its meeting at Steele Creek, 
on the 2d of April, 1821, the First Presbytery reported that 
" It is the opinion of a majority of this presbytery that the re- 
lation which has hitherto existed between the sub-Synod of 
the Carolinas and Georgia and the General Synod should be 
dissolved." On the next day (April 3d), this report of the First 
Presbytery was taken into serious consideration, after which 
the following resolution was offered by Rev. John Hemphill, 
and seconded by Mr. John ISTisbet, ruling elder from Mr. Black- 
stock's charge, in Lancaster county, S. C. : 

"Whereas, Our distance from the place of synodical meeting is so great that 
it is altogether impracticable to maintain a full representation in General Synod: 
And u-hei'eas. It is supposed that the interests of truth and godliness may be 
promoted as successfully in a state of separation from General Synod: there- 

Resolved^ That be appointed a committee to write to Gen- 
eral Synod requesting permission to form ourselves into a sister coordinate 

The above resolution was adopted and the blank filled by 
inserting the names of Rev. Messrs. John Hemphill and John 
T. Pressley. The committee prepared . a letter, which was 
unanimously approved by the Synod and sent to the General 
Synod by Mr. Henry S. "Wilkin, a probationer in connection 
with the Presbytery of ISTew York. In reply to this letter, the 
following resolutions were adopted by the General Synod, on 
the 19th of May following : 

1st. Resolved, That the Synod of the Carolinas be and they hereby are author- 
ized to erect themselves into a separate church, if they continue to judge the 
interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom, in that quarter of the country, to call for 
such a measure. 


2cJ. Resolved, That Id the event of the Synod of the Carolinas becoming a sep- 
arate sister church, this Synod will continue to cherish, as heretofore, a Chris- 
tian affection for all members and ministers of said church, and be ready to 
keep up the most friendly correspondence, according to any plan that may be 
mutually agreed on between the two churches. 

On the 1st of April, 1822, the Synod of the Carolinas met at 
Xinsj's Creek, ]^e wherry count}', S. C. All the ministers, ex- 
cept Mr. Mclvnight, were present, and a ruling elder from all 
the pastoral charges except those of Hev. ]^lessrs. Eleazar Har- 
ris and Joseph Lowry. On the first day, " It was moved by 
Messrs. John T. Pressley and Joseph Lowry, that inquiry be 
made of the members whether they judge* that the interests of 
the Redeemer's Kingdom in this quarter of the country call 
for a separation according to the answer given by the General 
Synod to our petition on that subject. The members were 
unanimous in the opinion that the present state of the Church 
justified such a measure. It was, therefore, moved by Messrs. 
Hemphill and Rogers, that the Synod act on the permission of 
General Synod, and agreeably thereto resolve ourselves into an 
Independent Co-Ordinate Synod." 

To this resolution there was not a dissenting vote. So far 
as an3'thing to the contrary appears, the members were all of 
one mind. 

Immediately after the adoption of the resolution by which 
the Synod of the Carolinas was erected into an Independent 
and Coordinate' S3mod, the following motion by Revs. John 
Hemphill and William Blackstock was unanimously adopted : 

Resolved, That this Synod be hereafter known by the name of the Associate 
Refoemed Synod of the South ; adhering to the constitution and standards of 
the Associated Reformed Church, in that sense, in which they were received when 
adojjted at Greencastle, in the year 1799. and uniformly acted upon until the 
year 1811. 

Such was the origin of the Associate Reformed Sj^nod of 
the South. This event took place thirty-two 3'ears after the 
organization of the Associate Reformed Presbytery of the 
Carolinas and Georgia, and nineteen years subsequent to the 
organization of the S^^nod of the Carolinas. If the organization 
of the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas is excepted, very 
little change had taken place in the general features of the 
Associate Reformed Church in the South during either of these 
periods. When the Associate Reformed Presbytery of the 


Caroliiias was organized, there were present and participated 
in the ceremonies connected with that transaction four ordained 
mirtisters and one probationer. When the Synod of the Caro- 
linas WHS organized, there were present seven ordained minis- 
ters and two probationers; and when the Synod of the Caro- 
linas severed its connection with the General Synod, there were 
in connection with the church eleven ordained ministers. Six 
of tliese— James Rogers, "William Blackstock, John Hemp- 
hill, James McKnight, Robert Irwin and Isaac Grier — were 
present in 1803, when the Synod was organized. John Ren- 
wick, Joseph Lowry, Charles Strong, John T. Fresslev and 
Eleazar Harris had been added during the period which inter- 
vened between 1803 and 1822. During that period of nineteen 
years, not a single minister in connection with the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the Carolinas died. James McGill and 
Alexander Porter both went to Ohio; the former in 1807, the 
latter in 1814, but both were alive in 1822. 

With regard to the numerical increase of the denomination 
during the period that transpired between tiie years 1803 and 
1822, it is impossiljle to speak with any great degree of cer- 
tainty. Onl}' a few statistical tables of that period have come 
down to the present time, and these few are exceedingly de- 
fective. It is probable that the increase by accessions was bal- 
anced, if not more than balanced, by the decrease arising from 
emio-ration. The vacancies having the ordinances of God's 
house dispensed to them only at long and irregular intervals, 
as was natural, dwindled down until all were ready to perish ; 
and all of the pastoral charges were weakened numerically by 



OBJECT THE SYNOD of the Carolinas had in View in AYithdrawing from the 
General Synod — Did not Design Organizing a New Denomination — Their Con- 
stitution and Standards — The Basis of the Union which Formed the Associate 
Reformed Church — Westminster Confession of Faith — Its History — Westmin- 
ster Assembly — By Whom Called, and for AVhat — Time and Place of Meeting — 
Standards of the Associate Reformed Church — Westminster Confession of 
Faith Adopted by the Associate Reformed Church— Certain Sections Changed- 
These all Refer to the Power of the Civil Magistrate — The Sections Quoted — 
Standards of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South — Mistaken Notions 
about the Withdrawal of the Synod of the Carolinas — Slavery had Nothing 
to Do with the Withdrawal — Position of the Associate Reformed Synod of 
the South with Reference to Slavery in 1822 — Real Cause of Separation — 
Believed that a Portion of the General Synod had Abandoned the Standards 
of the Associate Reformed Church — Subjects of Controversy — Communion 
and P.-p.Imody — The Standards Quoted — The Word "Coniniunibn," as Used in 
the Dtandards— XXVth and XXVIth Chapters of the Confession— Little Con- 
rtitution — The Overture Quoted — Act to x\mend the Constitution Quoted — 
Mason's Plea Published — The Grounds Taken in It — Psalmody — Standards 
on Psalmody Quoted. 

When the Synod of the Carolinas withdrew from the Gene- 
ral Synod, it was not contemplated to foist upon the world a 
new Christian denomination ; neither was it designed to intro- 
duce into the Associate Reformed Clijurch any new doctrines or 
strange practices. On the contrary, the members of the Synod 
unanimously declared that it was their intention to adhere "to 
the Constitution and standards of the Associate Reformed 
Church, in that sense in which they were received when adopt- 
ed at Greencastle, in the year 1799, and uniformly acted upon 
until the year 1811. '"' 

"What, then, it may be inquired, were the Constitution and 
standards of the Associate Reformed Church, adopted in 1799, 
to which The Associate Reformed Synod of the South pledged 
adherence ? It may also be asked : If the Synod of the South 
proposed to adhere to these standards, why withdraw from the 
General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church '( It is sup- 
posed that a clear and truthful reply to these two questions 
will exhibit to the world the basis of doctrine and practice upon 
which the Associate Reformed Synod of the South has ever been 
endeavorino; to build. 


When the Associate Reformed Church was organized, in 
1782, the jSTinth Article in the basis of union read thus : 

Both parties ( Asr-ociate.^ and Covenanters), whe:!! united, shall adhere to the 
Westminster Confession of Faith; the Catechisms. Larger and Shorter; the Di- 
rectory for Worship; and Propositions Concerning Church Government. 

This was reiterated in the First Article of the Little Con- 


Of the Westminster Confession of Faith we have not the 
space to say much ; nor is it deemed necessary. Without some 
knowledge, however, of that formula of truth as accepted, be- 
lieved and practiced by the Associate Reformed Church, the 
history of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South cannot 
be well understood. 

The history of the Westminster Confession of Faith is inti- 
mately and inseparably connected with nearly every great na- 
tional event which has transpired in Christendom during the 
last two hundred and thirty years. It stands as the beginning 
point from which the greatest civil and ecclesiastical revolu- 
tions the world ever witnessed are reckoned. It is the result 
of the labors of a body of divines assembled in obedience to 
the call of the English Parliament. The ordinance calling for 
this assembly bears date June the 12th, 1643 ; and July the 
1st, of the same year, is named as the time for their meeting. 
The assembly, as selected by the Parliament, consisted of one 
hundred and twenty-one divines, ten lords and twenty com- 
moners. The place at which the}'^ were appointed to meet was 
" Westminster, in the chapel called King Henry the Seventh's 
Chapel." The names of those designed to constitute the assem- 
bly are all mentioned in the ordinance. The divines selected 
by the Parliament represented all the various creeds in exist- 
ence at that time in England. There were High Church Epis- 
copalians, with a strong tendenc}' to Popery ; and Low Church 
Episcopalians, with an earnest desire for more,-^'ital godliness 
and fewer unscriptural forms and popish ceremonies. There 
were Calvinists and Arminians ; Pedobaptists and Anabap- 
tists ; Presbyterians, Erastians and Independents. 


However coiillictiiig might have been their views, it is ad- 
mitted that they were all learned men, and no grave charge 
damaging to the moral character has been brought against any 
of the Westminster divines. They were godly men. The as- 
sembly has ever been called the Westminster Assembly, from 
the place at which it met. 

On the 1st of July, 1643, the day mentioned in the ordinance, 
the assembly met in the Abbey Church, Westminster. Sixty- 
three clerical members were present. 

Of the one hundred and fifty-one members appointed onl}" 
one hundred and twenty-five, at any one time, appeared. Only 
a few of the rigidly prelatic clergymen ever attended, and those 
who did took but little interest in the labors of the assembly. 
The prelatic clergy generally sided with the King, favoring 
monarchy and opposing republicanism. Although all the promi- 
nent religious denominations in England were represented by 
the divines selected by the Parliament, the assembly was actu- 
ally composed of Presbyterians, Independents and Erastians. 
It is not strange that the prelatic party did not attend, since 
one avowed object in calling the assembly was to free the church 
of prelac}-. 

The oi)jeet for which this assembly was called is plainly 
stated in the ordinance of the English Parliament. It is con- 
tained in the following extract : 

Whereas, amongst the infinite blessings of Almighty God upon this nation, 
none is, or can be, more dear nnto us than the purity of our religion; and for 
that as yet many things remain in the liturgy, discipline and government of the 
church which do necessarily require a further and more perfect reformation 
than yet hath been attained: And whereas, it hath been declared and resolved 
by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament that the present church 
government, by archbishops, bishops and their chancellors, commissaries, deans 
and chapters, archdeacons and other ecclesiastical officers depending upon the 
hierarchy, is evil, and justly offensive and burdensome to the kingdom, a great 
impediment to reformation and the growth of religion; and that therefore, they 
are resolved that the same shall be taken away, and that such a government shall 
be settled in the church as may be most agreeable to God's Holy Word, and 
most apt to procu ' and preserve the peace of the church at home, and nearer 
agreement with the Church of Scotland and other Reformed Churches abroad; 
and for the better effecting hereof, and for the vindicating and clearing of the 
doctrine of the Church of England from all false calumnies and aspersions, it is 
thought fit and necessary to call an assembly of learned, godly and judicious 
divines, to consult and advise of such matters and things touching the premises 


as shall be proposed unto them by both or either of the Houses of Parliament, 
and to give their advice and counsel therein to both or either of the said Houses, 
when and as often as they shall be thereto required. 

In addition to the one hundred and fifty -one members of the 
Westminster Assembly, appointed by the Eng-lish rarruimont, 
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, at the request 
of the English Parliament, appointed Robert Douglass, Samuel 
Rutherford, Alexander Henderson, Robert Baillie and George 
Gillespie, ministers ; and John, Earl of Cassilis, John Lord 
Maitland and Sir Archibald Johnston, ruling elders, commis- 
sioners to the Westminster Assembly. Erom the minutes of 
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, we learn that 
these commissioners were to "repair to England for the pur- 
pose of consulting with the Westminster Assembly in all mat- 
ters which ma}^ further the union of this Island in one form 
of church government, one confession of faith, one catechism, 
and one directory for the worship of God." The Scotch com- 
missioners were not appointed until the 19th of August. 

The Westminster Assembly of Divines adjourned on the 22d 
of February, 1649, liaving sat five years, six months and twen- 
ty-two days. During this time they held one thousand one 
hundred and sixty-three sessions. 

From the ordinances issued by the English Parliament, in 
connection with the instructions given the Scotch commis- 
sioners by the General Assembly of the Church. of Scotland, 
we are able to learn definitely the object proposed to be eftected 
by the Westminster Assembly. It was simply to reform the 
Church of England by abolishing unscriptural officers and un- 
scriptural ceremonies. In addition to this, it was the aim of 
the Scotch commissioners, and probably of some of the other 
members of the Assembly, to formulate a Scripture form of 
church government, and a Directory for Worship wdiich would 
be acceptable to all the Protestants in the world, and thus unite 
all Protestants in one church. The primary object was to unite 
England, Ireland and Scotland in one ecclesiastical organiza- 
tion; the ultimate design was to draw the line of demarca- 
tion clear and distinct between Protestantism and lr*opery. 

At that time the Church of England, whatever it may be at 
present, was simply a slightly — and but slightly — modified 
Ibrm of popery. It took its origin, no matter how much de- 


nied, in the lust and brutal passions of Henry the VIII. In 
popery proper, the Pope is the head of the church, and the 
church is head of the state ; consequently, the Pope is head of 
both church and state. The channel of his universal dominion 
flows throuo;h the church to all thinacs secular. In the Church 
of England, as originally established, Henry VIIL, who styled 
himself supreme head of the church and defender of the faith, 
was head of the state; the state was head of the church ; and 
consequentl}^ the King of England was head of both church 
and state. His dominion was designed to be absolute and over 
all things, both sacred and secular. The channel through which 
this universal empire flowed was first through the State ; then 
over all things sacred. In the Papal Church, the Pope usurps 
the prerogative of Jesus Christ. In the Church of England 
Henry VIIL usurped the prerogative of the Pope. In few 
words, the Church of England, during the reign of Henry 
VIIL, and his successors, was a strange commingling of Pro- 
testantism and Popery. During the time of Edward VI. 
Protestantism predominated ; in the time of Mary, commonly 
known as Bloody Mary, Popery in its worst form prevailed ; 
in the time of Elizabeth a deformed Protestantism again pre- 
vailed, and continued until Charles I. came to the throne. 
Then Popery was again revived. We are not to conclude that 
the Protestantism, which had at least a recognized existence 
in England for a period of over one hundred years, was genuine 
anti-Popery Protestantism. It was Protestantism disgraced, 
disfigured, deformed and polluted by Popish ceremonies and 
Popish rites. The form of church government was modeled 
after that of the hierarchy of Rome. Its feast-days and its 
fast-days were the same as those in the Papal Church. The 
Prayer Book was but a revised edition of the Mass Book. 
The church was governed by a horde of officers, the names of 
not one of vv'hich is found in the Bible, and the olfices which 
they pretended to fill have not the shadow of a sanction by the 
King and Head of the Church. 

It was to rid the Church of England of these unscriptural 
appendages and to bring it in doctrine, in form of government 
and in the mode of worship, to conform to the Scriptures, that 
the Westminster Assembly was called. The Scotch Commis- 


sioners, in addition to the above, labored to have but one 
church in England, Ireland and Scotland, with the intention 
of extending it to all the nations of the earth. 

After more than five years of hard work they produced what 
is knoAvn as the AVestminster Confession of Faith, It consists 
of a Confession of Faith proper ; of a Form of Chnrch Gov- 
ernment ; of a Directory for the Public Worship of God ; and 
of the Catechisms, Larger and Shorter. In addition to this, 
the Westminster Confession of Faith contains the Solemn 
League and Covenant for the Beformation and Defense of Re- 
ligion. This Solemn League and Covenant was approved by 
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and by both 
Houses of Parliament and subscribed by them in 1743, and 
afterwards by all ranks and classes of people in both England 
and Scotland. 

The Solemn League and Covenant was nothing more than a 
solemn engagement on the part of those who signed it, that 
the}^ would make all lawful endeavors and use all lawful 
means to promote the reformed religion in England, Ireland 
and Scotland ; and to accomplish this, they would, without 
respect to persons, endeavor to eifect the " extirpation of 
popery, prelacy (that is, church government by archbishops, 
bishops, their chancellors, commissaries, deans and chapters, 
arch-deacons and all other ecclesiastical officers depending on 
that hierarchy), superstition, heresy^ schism, profaneness, and 
whatsoever shall be found to be contrary' to sound doctrine and 
the power of godliness " 

It will be seen that in the Solemn League and Covenant the 
subscribers bound themselves to do the identical thing for which 
the English Parliament called the Westminster Assembly. 
The league was between England, Ireland and Scotland, and 
could not be binding upon any other parties. 

The Solemn League and Covenant was drawn up by Alex- 
ander Henderson, It received the name Solemn League and 
Covenant at the suggestion of Sir Henry Yane, that it might 
be satisfactory both to the Hhglish and the Scotch. The con- 
test in which the English were engaged at the time was of a 
civil character. Hence, the}' desired to be united with the 
Scotch in a civil league. The contest in which the Scotch 
were engaged was of a religious character. Hence, thej' de- 


sired to be united with the English in a religious covenant. 
The league in which they bound themselves was both civil 
and religious, and hence called The Solemn League axd Cov- 
enant. King Charles I. issued a proclamation, in Avhich he 
said the Solemn League and Covenant is " nothing else but a 
traitorous and seditious combination against iis and the estab- 
lished religion of this kingdom.'" Had he substituted for the 
words '> traitorous '" and " seditious," o/^e??, and righteous^ and 
omitted the pronoun referring to himself, he would have given 
utterance to the simple truth. The sentence would th-en have 
read thus : " The Solemn Leag-ue and Covenant is nothins; else 
but an open and righteous combination against the established 
religion of this kingdom." The Covenanters, that is, those 
intelligently signing the Solemn League and Covenant, vrere 
opposed to the established religion of England, because they 
regarded that religion as opposed to the religion of Jesus 
Christ and subversive of His Kingdom. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith consists of thirty-three 
short chapters. In these all the cardinal doctrines of the Chris- 
tian religion are concisely and clearly formulated. They treat 
of the existence and attributes of God ; of the Trinity ; of cre- 
ation and providence ; and of man in his estate of innocenc}', 
and in his lost and ruined state. The doctrine of the atone- 
ment ; of Christ the Eedeemer ; of the Holy Spirit, the sancti- 
fier ; of man in a redeemed state, and of man in a state of 
glory, is clearly and forcibly set forth in this Confession. Of 
the doctrines of this Confession of Faith it may be said that 
they are in direct opposition to all " Deistical, Popish, Arian, 
Socinian, Armiuiau, jSTeonomian and sectarian doctrines." 

The form of church government laid down in the TTestmin- 
ster Confession of Faith is Presbyterianism in opposition to 
prelac3^ on the one hand, and Independency on the other. The 
Director}' for Worship is simple, and claims to be rigidly in 
accordance with the Scriptures. According to this Directory, 
God is a spirit, and those who would worship Him acceptably 
must worship Him as a spirit and in the way which He has 
appointed in His word, and in no other way. The pretended 
worshipping of God through or b}' images, and the introducing 
into the worship of God anything not expressly enjoined in His 
AVord is discountenanced and regarded as a sin. 



The Catechisms, Larger and Shorter, are simply the truths 
taught in the Confession proper, reduced to the form of ques- 
tions and answers ; the Shorter being adapted, as the assembly 
thought, to the capacity of children and those just beginning 
to study the principles of the Christian religion, and the Larger 
being better fitted for those who have made some advancement 
in these studies. 

Such is a brief outline of the Westminster Confession of 
Faith. It is not the work of inspired men ; but it is the work 
of men who were required, on oath, to set down nothing in 
doctrine which they did not believe, and which they could not 
show to be either plainly taught in the Scriptures, or agree- 
able to the general teachings of the Scriptures. It would not 
be extravagant to say that every word in every sentence in the 
Westminster Confession of Faith was subjected to the severest 
criticism. Nothing was taken for granted ; nothing was done 
hastily. This is true respecting the doctrines, the form of 
church government, and the directory for church worship. It 
is what it is by the invincible power which is in truth. It has 
been abused and ridiculed, hated and despised, misrepresented 
and misquoted ; but with a few minor exceptions, no one has 
ever been able to show that there is a single thing taught in 
the Westminster Confession of Faith which is not taught in 
the Bible. 


This Confession of Faith ; Catechisms, Larger and Shorter ; 
Form of Church Government ; and Directory for Church Wor- 
ship, the Associate Reformed Church, ivt its organization, 
adopted, with the exception of Section IV. of Chapter 20 ; Sec- 
tion III. of Chapter 23 ; and Section II. of Chapter 31. 

That the reader may be able to form a correct opinion of the 
changes made in these sections, they are quoted below^ as they 
stand in the Westminster Confession, and then as amended and 
adopted by the Associate Reformed Church : 

Sec. IV.. Chapteb 20 — Westminstek Confession. — And because the powers 
which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not 
intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another: 
they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or 
the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance 
of God. And for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such 


practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of 
Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship or conversation; or to the power 
of godliness; or such erroneous opinions or practices as either in their own na- 
ture, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the 
external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church; they may 
lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the 
church, and by the power of the civil magistrate. 

Associate Refobmed Confession.^ — And because the powers which God hath 
ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God 
to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon 
pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exer- 
cise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God, and 
for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices as are 
contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, 
whether concerning faith, worship, conversation or the order which Christ hath 
established in His church, they may be lawfully called to account and proceeded 
against by the censures of the church; and in proportion as their erroneous 
opinions or practices, either in their own nature or in the manner of publishing 
or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace of the church and of 
civil society, they may be also proceeded against by the power of the civil mag- 

Sec. III., Chaptek 23 — Westminstek Confession. — The civil magistrate may 
not assume to himself the administration of the word and sacraments, or the 
power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; Xet he hath authority, and it is 
his duty, to take order that unity and peace be preserved in the Church; that 
the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies 
be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented 
or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered and ob- 
served. For the better effecting whereof .he hath power to call synods, to be 
present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be accord- 
ing to the mind of God. 

Associate Reformed Confession. — The civil magistrate may not assume to 
himself the administration of the word and the sacraments, or the power of the 
keys of the Kingdom of Heaven ; Yet, as the gospel revelation lays indispensa- 
ble obligations upon all classes of people who are favored with it, magistrates, 
as such, are bound to execute their respective offices in a subserviency thereunto, 
administering government on Christian principles, and ruling in the fear of 
God, according to the directions of His Word, as those who shall give an ac- 
count to the Lord Jesus whom God hath appointed to be the Judge of the 

Hence magistrates, as such, in a Christian country, are bound to promote the 
Christian religion as the most valuable interest of their subjects, by all such 
means as are not inconsistent with civil rights; and do not imply an interference 
with the policy of the Church, which is the free and independent Kingdom of 
the Redeemer, nor an assumption of dominion over conscience. 

Sec. II., Chapteb 31 — Westminsteb Confession. — As magistrates may law- 
fully call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to conduct and advise with 
about matters of religion, so if magistrates be open enemies to the Church, the 


ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of tiieir office, or they, with other 
fit persons upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in such as- 

Associate Reformed Confession. — The ministers of Christ, of themselves, 
and by virtue of their office, or they with other fit persons, upon delegation 
from their churches, have the exclusive right to appoint, adjourn or dissolve such 
synods or councils. Though in extraordinary cases it may be proper for magis- 
trates to desire the calling of a svnod of ministers and other fit persons, to con- 
sult and advise with about matters of religion, and in such cases it is the duty 
of churches to comply with their desire. 

When the Assochite Reformed Church was organized, the 
three Sections of the Westminster Confession of Faith, quoted 
above, were *' reserved for a candid discussion on some future 
occasion, as God sliall be pleased to direct." As opportunity 
was afforded, they were candidly discussed, in private and in 
public, for a period of more than sixteen years; and having 
been altered so as to make them conform to the Word of God, 
were adopted on the 31st day of May, 1799. 

It will be readily discovered that the three Sections of the 
AVestminster Confession of Faith which were altered by the 
Associate Reformed Chun^h all treat of the prerogatives of the 
civil magistrate. According to tlie teachings of these Sections, 
in the Westminster Confession, the civil magistrate has the 
right to call synods, to be present at them as a director of their 
deliberations, to suppress heresies, and punish those who do not 
conform to the rules and regulations of the church. This is 
Erastian doctrine. It renders to Ctesar the things that are 

It is not to be wondered at that some traces of Erastianism 
are to be found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. The 
wonder is that there are so few. There are traces of Popery in 
the English translation of the Bible which all English-speak- 
ino; Christians have been usino- for more than two hundred and 
fifty years. Keither is this to be wondered at. The preceding- 
ages were prolific in saints and festivals, and it is not strange 
that the translators of the Bible would affix the title " Saint " 
to the Apostles and convert the Passover into " Easter." 

During the period in which the Westminster Confession of 
Faith was prepared, Erastianism was making fearful havoc in 
the church. Erastian notions were wide spread and deepl}' 
rooted in the popular mind. Perhaps the most learned man 


in that Assembly was a thorough Erastian. The wonder, then, 
is that only parts of three Sections of the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith even savor of Erastianism. It has been denied 
that these three Sections, when rightly interpreted, favor 
Erastianism. This opinion, however, seems to be indefensible. 
The fathers of the Associate Reformed Church thought that 
these three Sections granted the ci-vil magistrate rights and 
prerogatives, on account of his office, which the King and 
Head of the Church does not grant him. For this reason they 
changed these Sections, and thus made, as they thought, and 
none deny, the church free from all dependence upon the state 
in all matters pertaining to government and discipline. 


The Associate Reformed Synod of the South, at the very 
beginning of its separate existence, as we have seen, adopted 
the Westminster Confession of Faith as it was adopted by the 
original Associate Reformed Synod, in 1799. To speak more 
correctly, the Associate Reformed Synod of the Carolinas de- 
clared, at the moment of its sei:)aration from the General Synod, 
that they would " adhere to the Constitution and Standards of 
the Associate Reformed Church in that sense in which they 
were received when adopted at Greencastle, in the year 1799, 
and uniformly acted upon until the year 1811.'"' 

This was the resolution offered by Messrs. Hemphill and 
Blackstock, and adopted unanimously by the Synod. From 
this resolution we are enabled to learn what was the doctrinal 
basis of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South. In ad- 
dition to this, we also learn its form of church government and 
its directory for worship. AVe are also enabled to infer what 
was the main reason inducing the Sj'uod to seek a separation 
from the General Synod. 

With regard to the last fact, it ma}^ be said that among many 
of the present day, mistaken notions are entertained both by 
those who are members of the Associate Reformed Church and 
by those who are not members of it. It is the opinion of some 
in the Associate Reformed Synod of the South that the separa- 
tion from the General Synod was on account of slavery. Such 
a conclusion is without a shadow of foundation. In 1822, the 


time of the separation, the Associate Reformed people of the 
South were by no means the advocates of the institution of 
slavery. In fact, a very laro^e number of them were decidedly 
opposed to it. Only a few of them were at that time slave- 
holders, and the probability is that had the question been sub- 
mitted to the Associate Reformed people — ministers, elders and 
laymen — slaver}- would have been voted out of the country by 
an overwhelming majority. Mr. Hemphill, the mover of the 
resolution, and nearly all the people of his charge, were, in 
1822, far from being the advocates of slavery. Mr. Hemphill 
lived and died opposed to slavery, and not a single one of the 
fathers of the Associate Reformed Church in the South Avere 
the advocates of the institution. In addition to this, the sub- 
ject of slavery had at this time never been formally introduced 
into the Associate Reformed Church. No memorial, petition, 
or anything of the kind concerning slavery, was ever presented 
to the General Synod. Slavery, no matter how much it may 
have, in after years, estranged the people of the two great sec- 
tions of the United States, had nothing whatever to do in the 
withdrawal of the Synod of the Carolinas from the General 
Sj'nod of the Associate Reformed Church. 

The name which the Synod took to itself, on becoming inde- 
pendent, might possibly, to a stranger, suggest this — the word 
South having become, in after years, a synonym for slavery, 
and North for anti-slavery — but the conclusion would be un- 
warranted by the facts in the case. In the petition which the 
Synod of the Carolinas sent up to the General Synod, it is 
stated that their "great distance from the place of the meeting 
of the General Synod made it altogether impracticable for them 
to maintain a full representation.'' This was one reason why 
they desired their connection with the General Synod dissolved. 
They also state that " it is supposed that the interests of truth 
and godliness maj' be promoted, by them, as successfully in a 
state of separation from the General Synod." 

From neither the first nor the second reason, nor from both 
together, are we able to do more than infer the true cause of 
their desiring to be separated from the General Synod. Jt is 
true, the distance from the nearest member of the Synod of the 
Carolinas and the city of Philadelphia — the place at which the 
General Svnod usuallv met — was more than four hundred miles. 


and that it ^Yas difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a full 
representation in the General Sj'nod at so great a distance. 
Still, this was no sufficient reason to warrant them in asking 
for a separation, if everj'thing else had been agreeable. In fact, 
if everything else had been as the}^ desired it to be, they never 
would have asked for a separation ; and had they asked it, the 
General Synod would not have granted it. Such a request 
would have been schismatical, and the o-rantino; of it would 
have been encouraging schism. 

From the resolution offered by Messrs. Hemphill and Black- 
stock, we are enabled to discover the true and only reason 
which prompted the Synod of the Carolinas to ask the General 
Synod for permission to resolve themselves into an independent, 
coordinate S3niod. The following is the resolution : 

Resolved, That this Synod be hereafter known by the name of the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the South — adhering to the Constitution and Standards of 
the Associate Reformed Church, in that sense in which they were received when 
adopted at Greencastle. in the year 1799. and uniformly acted upon until the 
year 1811. 

The last clause, beginning with the word " adhering,'"' is 
significant. It is the key which unlocks the whole mystery. 
To those who are acquainted with the history of the Associate 
Reformed Church during the ten years preceding 1821, the 
language of this part of the resolution is more than an intima- 
tion that since the year 1811, the Constitution and Standards 
of the Church had not been universally adhered to in the sense 
in which thoy were understood when adopted, in 1799. So far 
as the truth of history is cor.ccrned, it makes no sort of differ- 
ence whether they were correct in their conclusion with regard 
to the sense in which the Constitution and Standards of the 
Associate Reformed Church were understood, when adopted, 
or not. They certainly believed that a portion of the Associate 
Reformed Church had, in their practice, departed from these 
Standards, and despairing of ever being able to bring that party 
back to the Standards in practice, the}' desired to be separated 
from them. 

In this opinion the Synod of the Carolinas was not singular. 
The Synod of Scioto, and the Synod of Xew York, and a part 
of the Synod of Pennsylvania, entertained similar notions on 


this subject. In 1819 the Synod of Scioto resolved to with 
draw from the General Synod and constitute itself as an inde- 
pendent Synod, " adhering to the Confession of Faith, Larger 
and Shorter Catechisms, Form of Church Government and Di- 
rectory for Worship as received at Greencastle, Pa., on the 31st 
of May, 1799." The Synod of New York, although it did not 
withdraw from the General Synod, still its connection with 
that court from 1810 to its final dissolution was merely nqm- 
inal, or rather one of studied indifference. In fact, it never 
met from 1812 to 1822, and the pastors virtually neglected 
everything in connection with the denomination except what 
concerned their own immediate congregations. 

This state of things was brought about by a diversity of 
views concerning Communion and Psalmody. These two sub- 
jects have no necessary connection ; but they became, in all the 
controversies of the Associate Reformed Church, inseparably 
connected. The difiiculty began with Rev. Messrs. John M. 
Mason, John X. Clark and James M. Matthews, in 1811. As 
all that was thought necessary to be said about that difiiculty 
has been elsewhere narrated, it need not be repeated here, fur- 
ther than to say that it served as the beginning of a series of 
misunderstandings which terminated in the withdrawal of the 
Synods of Scioto and of the Carolinas, and the ignominious 
destruction of the General Synod itself. 

It may be mentioned that at a very early period in the his- 
tory of the General Synod, it began to be suspected by a num- 
ber of persons that there was a tendency to centralize the power 
of the denomination. This was soon demonstrated to be true 
beyond a doubt. The General Synod refused to meet else- 
where than in the cit}^ of Philadelphia, and in 1810, the Gen- 
eral Synod, by a formal Act, " intermitted the functions of the 
subordinate Synods." This masterly stroke of worldly wisdom 
paralyzed the church, and completed the centralization. The 
result was that the Synods of Scioto and of the Carolinas were 
ever afterward poorly represented in the General Synod. 

It was further suspected that the city pastors looked dow.n 
with a disdainful air upon their co-presbyters from the rural 
districts. It is to be hoped this was only a groundless suspi- 
cion ; but we must remember men are but men. If such was 
the case, it was certainly true, at least in some instances, that 
pride preceded a grievous fall. 



The subjects, and the only subjects about which there was 
any dispute between the parties, were, as already mentioned, 
Psalmody and Communion. The Synod of the Carolinas left 
the General Sj'nod because the General Synod had departed, as 
was thought, from the Constitution and Standards of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church in the matter of Communion and 


The communion about which the parties disagreed and finally 
separated was restricted mainly to what may be appropriately 
denominated sacramental communion. One party held that in 
the administering of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the 
privilege of communing was to be restricted, in ordinary cases, 
to the members of the Associate Reformed Church in good and 
regular standing. This was properly called a regulated, occa- 
sional or restricted communion. The opposite party held that 
the privilege of communion might be extended, on all occa- 
sions, to members of other Christian denominations who re- 
garded themselves in good standing. This was called the un- 
restricted or catholic communion scheme. 

It is the province of the theologian, and not of the historian, 
to determine which one of these practices, or whether either, 
is in accordance with the teachings of the Scriptures. All that 
devolves upon the historian is to show which one, if either, of 
these practices, was in harmony with the early practices and 
Standards of the Associate Reformed Church. It is believed 
that an honest examination of these Standards, as received by 
the Associate Reformed Church, will convince any one that 
they favor neither absolutely restricted communion nor catholic 
communion, but a communion consistent with purity of doc- 
trine and Scriptural discipline. This, it may be remarked, is 
the only plan that harmonizes with the Testimony of the first 

The doctrine of the Associate Reformed Church on the sub- 
ject of the Communion of Saints is contained in the XXVIth 
Chapter of the Confession of Faith. It is as follows: 

1. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit, and by 
faith, have fellowship with Him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection and 
glory. And being united to one another in love, they have communion in each 


other's gifts and graces and are obliged to the performance of f.nch duties, pub- 
lic and private, ar-. do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and out- 
ward man. 

2. Saints by profession are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and com- 
munion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual service 
as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward 
things, according to their several abilities and necessities. Which communion, 
as God offereth ojjportunity, is to be extended unto all those who. in every place, 
call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. 

3. This communion, which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them 
in anywise partakers of the substance of his Godhead, or to be equal with 
Christ in any respect; either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous. 
Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away or infringe 
the title or property which each man hath in his goods and possessions. 

The word " communion," as used in this section of the Confes- 
sion of Faith, has no special reference to the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. Its proper meaning, as used by the "Westmin- 
ster divines and adopted by the Associate Reformed fathers, is 
those things which are common to Christians. The XXVIth 
Chapter of tlie Confession designedly treats of those things 
which are common to the cburch. In the XXV th Chapter ot 
the Confession of Faith we are told what is meant by the word 
"church." It is not a system of laws, but a multitude of indi- 
viduals to whom God has given a system of laws. The church 
is two-fold, and each is catholic or universal. There is an in- 
visible church and a visible church. The invisible church, ac 
cording to the Confession of Faitii, "consists of the whole 
number of the elect that have been, are or shall be, gathered 
into one under Christ the Head thereof." " The visible church 
consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true 
religion, together with their children." 

No unprejudiced mind will come to any other conclusion 
than that the XXVth Chapter of the Confession of Faith 
teaches that there is one, and only one, visible church, and that 
the XXVIth Chapter of the same Confession of Faith teaches 
that whatever rights and privileges one member of the visible 
church is entitled to, all the members of the visible church are 
entitled to. This is not only the doctrine of the Confession of 
Faith, but it is the doctrine of the Bible, and so the framers 
of the Confession of Faith thought. 

The conclusion, then, to which we are forced is that the Con- 
fession of Faith teaches the doctrine of catholic communion, 


and that most emphatically. This it was desigaed to teach, in 
order that it might be Presbj'terian in all its features, and In- 
dependent in none. 

It must be remembered that this catholic communion which 
is so clearly and so positively taught in the XXYIth Chapter 
of the Confession of Faith is not designed to be restricted to 
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, but embraces all social and 
spiritual services which tend to procure and further the wealth 
and outward estate of others and also their spiritual growth. 
The fathers of the Associate Reformed Church admitted this. 
They were obliged to admit it, or denj- that the Confession of 
Faith was what its framers designed it to be, and what the}" 
claimed it actuall}" was — a Presbyterian Confession of Faith 
suited and actually designed for all Protestants in every part 
of the world. In this sense the first Seceders understood the 
XXVIth Article of the Westminster Confession of Faith. 
Hence Rev. Ralph Erskine said, in 1737, when he withdrew 
from the Established Church of Scotland and joined the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery : " By withdrawing from these judicatories 
at present, and joining the said brethren, I intend and under- 
stand no withdrawing from ministerial communion with any 
of the godly ministers of this Xational Church.'"' So thought 
al] the other members of the Associate Presb3-tery. The}- 
could have entertained no other notions without having ad- 
mitted tluit they had set about in a regularly organized form 
to pr(.[iagate schism. 

The primary object, as has been elsewhere stated, designed 
to be efiected by the AVestminster Assembly, was to free the 
Church of England from a prelatic hierarchy, and unite Eng- 
land, Ireland and Scotland in one form of church government. 
Tlje ultimate object was to unite all the Protestants in the world 
in one church, having one form of church government, one direc- 
tory for worship, and one confession of faith. In doctrine, in 
form of government and directory for worship, this church was 
designed to conform rigidly to the Scriptures. 

Every one who takes the Bible for his guide, in all matters 
of faith and practice, must admit that the object had in view 
by the AVestminster Assembly was eminently praiseworthy. 
It must be remembered, however, that while the primary ob- 
ject had in view by the framers of the Westminster Confession 


of Faith was to free the Church of England from prelacy, unite 
England, Ireland and Scotland in one church, and ultimately 
to unite all Protestants in all parts of the world in one church, 
having one confession of faith, one form of church govern- 
ment, one directory for worship, neither the primary nor the 
ultimate object was eifected. 

jSTotwithstanding this was the case, the fathers of the Asso- 
ciate Keformed Church adopted the XXVIth Chapter of the 
Confession of Faith in the same sense that it was understood 
by its framers, and in the same sense that it was adopted by 
the Church of Scotland. Since, however, this Confession of 
Faith was not adopted, as was expected, by all, and since the 
visible church is rent into numberless divisions and sub-divi- 
sions, each claiming to be the true Church of God, the Asso- 
ciate Reformed Church concluded that catholic communion 
was, under such circumstances, impracticable, unless they 
would accept the notion that one system of doctrine, and 
one form of church government and one directory for wor- 
ship is just as good as another. Or, more correctly, they re- 
garded catholic communiQU, in the present divided state of the 
church, as impracticable, unless they would first conclude that 
there is no form of church government and no directory for 
worship either laid down in the Bible or deducible from it, and 
that Unitarian, Trinitarian, Socinian, Pelagian, Arminian,. 
Sectarian and Calvanistic systems of doctrine are things about 
which men may wrangle, but which in reality are matters of 
no importaiice. 

These concessions the Associate Reformed fathers could not 
make and be honest. Consequently they rejected catholic 
communion simply as impracticable in tlie present divided state 
of the church. 

They also rejected that absolutely exclusive theory which 
unchurches all except those who hold it. They avoided both 
extremes and wisely chose what was regarded as the true 
Scripture ground. 

These statements and conclusions it is proposed to substan- 
tiate by quotations from the authoritative deliverances of the 
Associate Reformed Church. 

Previous to the union which resulted in the organization of 
the Associate Reformed Church, Rev. John' Afason, father of 


Dr. John M. Mason, presented to the conference a paper con- 
sistino^ of eio-ht Articles. This was designed to subserve the 
purpose of a temporary constitution until the reserved chap- 
ters had undergone " a candid discussion," were amended and 
adopted ; and it was also declared to be a "proper display of 
the princij^les upon which we (the Associate Reformed Church) 
intend to act." As such, this paper was agreed upon by the Con- 
vention, and as sucli it was adopted without a dissenting vote 
by the Associate Reformed Synod when organized. It may be 
proper to remark in this place that on the adoption of the Con- 
fession of Faith, in 1799, the "Little Constitution," or the 
eight Articles contained in the paper presented b}^ Mr. Mason 
and adopted in 1782, were not repealed, but still remained as 
the Standards of the Church, since the}" explained the sense in 
which the several doctrines of the Confession of Faith were 

It is to these and to an Overture published by tlie Synod in 
1787, and to an Act of the Synod in 1790, that the Synods of 
the Carolinas and Scioto refer when they say that they will 
"adhere to the Confession of Faith in the sense in which it 
was understood when adopted in 1799." 

Taking it for granted that the XXVIth Chapter of the Con 
fession of Faith taught the doctrine of catholic communion, 
they did not adopt it with the expectation of practicing it in 
its literal and wider sense, but in the sense which they express 
in the Yllth Article of the " Little Constitution," which is as 
follows : 

The members of this Synod also acknowledge it to be their duty to treat pious 
persons of other denominations with great tenderness. The}' are willing, as 
God affordeth opportunity, to extend communion to all who, in every place, call 
upon the name of the Lord Jesus in conformity to His will. But as occasional 
communion, in a divided state of the church, may produce great disorders, if it 
be not conducted with much wisdom and moderation, they esteem themselves, 
and the people under their inspection, inviolably bound, in all ordinary cases, to 
submit to every restriction of their liberty which general edification renders 

The reader must not conclude that the word " communion," as 
it occurs in the Little Constitution, nor as it occurs in the 
XXVIth Chapter of the Confession of Faith, is used in that 
restricted and narrow sense in which it is at present frequently 
used to mean the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It was un- 
derstood by those who adopted the " Little Constitution " to 


embrace everytliing that is meant by the word "worship."' As 
dispensing and receiving the Lord's Supper may be classed 
under the head of worship, the communion mentioned in this 
Article of the " Little Constitution " includes the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper, together with many other things. It is clear 
from this Article that the members of the Associate Ref irmed 
Church were held inviolably bound to restrict their liberty in 
the matter of communion, so far as was consistent with gen- 
eral edification. The reason given is plain, and we may add, 
charitable. They do not say that the Westminster Confession 
of Faith, which they had adopted, teaches restricted com- 
munion ; neither do they say, as some others say, ai?d as it has 
often been said they say, that all other denominations arc syn- 
agogues of Satan, but they simply say : " Occasional com- 
munion, in a divided state of the church, may produce great 
disorders." The Article itself, they further say, " is not to be 
construed as a license to encourage vagrant preachers who go 
about under pretense of extraordinary zeal and devotion, and 
are not subject to the government and discipline of any regular 
church." The reference here is to ministerial communion. 
To the whole Article a foot-note was added, in which it is de- 
clared that, " The principle expressed in this Article is not a 
new principle adopted by the Synod. It is one of the received 
principles adopted by the Secession, and it is set in a very- 
strong light in the XXYIth Chapter of the Confession of Faith. 
No objection, therefore, can be justly stated against it as it 
stands in the Article, but what may be made to it as it stands 
in the Confession of Faith, The application of the principle 
to particular cases may, indeed, be attended with some diffi- 
culties, as they arise from the divided state of the church of 
Christ. The Article is guarded, and cannot, without the most 
evident perversion, be construed as a license to hold unscrip- 
tural communion with other churches." 

We will next quote from the " Overture," as it was called. 
The Overture is an " Exposition and Defense of the Westmin- 
ster Assembly's Confession of Faith." It is mainly the pro- 
duction of Eev. Robert Annan, and was laid before the Synod 
and by them unanimously declared, in 1790, to be "in sub- 
stance an excellent and instructive illustration and application 
of these truths unto the present state of the chureh of Christ 


in America. And the Synod recommend it as such to all the 
people under their inspection." It may further be remarked 
that in this " Overture " the Chaptei-s of the Confession are 
taken up seriatim, and of each an exposition is given. The 
exposition of the XXVIth Chapter is long ; but as it is by no 
means a dull, prosy production, it is quoted entire, rather than 
run the risk of marring its beauty, or of conveying an improper 
idea of its import. It is as follows: 


The twenty-sixth chapter treats of the communion of saints. And the view 
given us in the preceding chapter of the nature of Christ's church, will in- 
struct us in another question: "What ought to be the terms of communion in 
His church? The word "communion" properly signifies something that is 
common to a number of persons; and thus it was said of the primitive Chris- 
tians who were so moved with the love of Christ and of each other, that the love 
of the world had no place in their hearts; "that they had all things common." 
The rich freely distributed to the poor, and no man called anything his own. 
exclusively of others. All true Christians have communion in Christ their head. 
They have all one God and Father with Him. "I ascend," says he, " to my God. 
and your God; to my Father and yoiir Father." One common inheritance. 
The J' are all heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. They have all communion 
with God the Father, with Christ and with each other in the truth. They all 
think as Christ thinks, on the great foundation truths of the gospel. They are 
all taught by the spirit of God, who leads them into all truth; and this com- 
munion reaches to the innumerable company of angels and the spirits of just 
men made perfect in heaven. The church, militant and triumphant, are one in 
this: there is a blessed harmony between them in the truth; and the strongest 
bonds of union in a Christian church are the knowledge of the truth, a ^m 
faith in it, love to it and to each other, for the truth's sake. True Christians 
have all communion in the justifying righteoasness and sanctifying spirit of 
Christ. They are adorned with the same robe of righteousness and drink into one 
spirit. They are heirs of the same promises and partakers of the same bless- 
ings. They eat the same spiritual meat, and drink the same spiritual drink: 
for they all drink of that spiritual rock which follows them; and that rock is 
Christ. They have one Lord, one faith and one baptism, and are called in one 
hope of their calling. And it is the duty of Christians to express this communion 
externally by observing all Christ's institutions in a social manner. These truths 
cannot be denied; and were it possible to get all true Christians throughout the 
whole world assembled into one church, while none others were admitted, there 
would be very little jarring between them; probablj' none, in the great truths and 
duties of the gospel. But this is impossible. God hath wisely ordered it other- 
wise. The tares and the wheat must grow together until the harvest. Chris- 
tians are the salt of the earth. God hath sprinkled this salt over a great part of 
the world, in order to season and preserve from total putrefaction the mass of 
mankind. Differences in the church of Christ, errors and corruptions, spring 
chiefly from false brethren; formal professors who have a name to live and yet 
are dead, the former without the power of godliness; the sons of Diotrephes. 


who love to have the preeminence; such ever will connect the church with the 
world, and conform her to it as far as they can. And we must hero also allow 
something to the different capacities of true Christians, their very various ad- 
vances in knowledge, grace and holiness, -and the power of temptation under 
which they sometimes fall. All these things being considered, we may safely 
say there is not a perfectly pure church on the face of the earth. The purest is 
the best, which we ought carefully to seek and embrace, as God gives opportu- 
nity. But in nowise must we withdraw from her communion altogether. As is 
common in other cases, so it is here; we are quick-sighted in discovering the 
spots and blemishes of other churches; and they are. no doubt, equally so in 
discerning ours. We cast guilt and blame on others, but no man saith, What 
have I done? There is an extreme danger of falling under the power of Phari- 
saical ostentation and religious pride in our profession. This was the great sin 
of the Jewish church in Christ's day, and this sin crucified the Lord of glory. 
It is natural for us to say, We are the people, and wisdom shall die with us: 
stand aside, we are holier than you. And there can be no greater evidence of 
gross hypocrisy, in a religious profession, than when a fondness for pompous 
and showy titles and pretension overthrows candor, meekness, charity, patience, 
forbearance and peace. 

Taking it for granted, therefore, that it is the duty of Christians to maintain 
a visible communion with the church of Christ, wherever Providence shall order 
their lot; that no church is perfectly pure; that it is their duty to seek the purest 
communion to which they can have access; we shall proceed to point out the 
tsrms of communion which in our opinion come nearest to the word of God ; on 
which terms any Christian may safely join in stated fellowship with any branch 
of the Christian church where Providence naay order his lot. They are briefly 
these: First, that the profession of faith of Christ in said church be full and 
pure. Secondly, that her worship be Scriptural, all of Christ's ordinances being 
purely administered. Thirdly, that her discipline and government be according 
to the word of God, temperate, pure, impartial, peaceful and gentle. Fourthly, 
th<B her morals be strictly conformed to the divine rule. Fifthly, that the unity 
of the spirit be maintained in the bond of peace. All this we maintain with an 
allowance for the unavoidable .weaknesses and infirmities incident to human 
nature in its present imperfect state. On the same conditions, or materially the 
same, may any church admit a new member to her communion in a stated way. 
It is requisite that he have a proper degree of knowledge, be sound in faith, 
holy in life, and profess a willing subjection to all the ordinances of Christ, par- 
ticularly to the discipline and government of his house. His continuance in 
fellowship naust depend upon his pure and peaceable deportment. The rulers 
of the church will find much scope for the exercise of wisdom, prudence, meek- 
ness, condescension, charity and patience in this case. They will see the neces- 
sity of attending to the various capacities, opportunities, means of improve- 
ment, docility of disposition, the different tempers and temptations of Chris 
tians; and govern themselves by that wisdom which is profitable to direct. 
When a person removes from one church to another, it is extremely proper, for 
the sake of good order, that he produce a testimonial of his soundness in the 
faith, and holy life. 

That a temporary, or what is called occasional communion with sister churches, 
may lawfully, in some instances, take place, is what no man of understanding 
■who is not much pinched to support some favorite and false hypothesis, will 


deny. The tei-ms of it are not materially different from the terms of stated 
communion, only making an allowance for a variety in innocent customs and 
forms. There are, doubtless, points of external order in churches which may be 
called indiiferent, such as, whether we begin public worship with prayer or 
praise; whether, in baptism, we sprinkle once or thrice; whether, in consecrat- 
ing the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, we pray once or twice; whether 
we give tokens of admission to the Lord's table or not, if otherwise proper care 
be taken to guard against an unhallowed communion; and some things may be 
lawful and expedient in one church which, though lawful, would not be expedient 
in another. There is also a difference between a church formed and the one 
only forming; and between a church advancing in reformation and one falling 
back from former attainments. 

By occasional communion we do not mean the admitting to our communion a 
person whom it would be sinful to continue in it; but a person who, on account 
of his local circumstances, cannot continue in it. Christians may for months 
and years be removed from the place of their stated communion. What shall 
they do in such circumstances? Shall they forsake the assemblies of the saints? 
Shall they cease to express ^publicly their love to Christ and His people? Shall 
they have no visible communion with that branch of the Church of Christ because 
it happens to be in another part of the world? Shall they cease to give public 
glory to their Redeemer, and to confess Him before men because they are not at 
home? Is their God a local deity confined to a particular place, or is His ac- 
ceptable worship so limited? No. Christians may worship God everywhere, 
lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting; and our Confession saith the 
same thing. Article 3. It is certainly circumscribing the doctrine of the Con- 
fession too much to say that the communion here meant, is no more than com- 
munion in the common benefits of life, because communion in these may be 
lawfully extended to Jews, Turks and heathens. '• Do good to all men, especially 
to the household of faith," is a divine precept. And if it be so, as some affirm^ 
that common benefits are not the fruits of Christ's death even to believers, are 
not benefits of the covenant of grace, are neither ajiplied by the Spirit nor re- 
ceived by faith, it is not easy to see how communion in these alone can be 
Christian communion which believers have with each other in Christ. It would 
be an unreasonable extension of the phrase, "With all who in every place call on 
the name of the Lord Jesus," to make it include all pretenders to Christianity. 
The phrase is purely Scriptural; and doubtless the apostolic sense, if we could 
ascertain it, is the true sense. It is quoted from I. Corinthians: 1, 2. It cannot 
be denied then that the apostle intended such churches as that at Corinth, though 
several things were imperfect and wrong in it, as will readily appear to any who 
will read the epistles to that church. The happy medium on this subject, which 
would neither extend communion too widely, nor circumscribe it too much, 
the true Scriptural model is that at which we would aim. The mind of Christ we 
wish to discern and follow. We are far from claiming the prerogatives of the 
whole catholic body of Christ, to our society, in an exclusive sense. We will not 
pretend to unchurch all the Protestant churches, or say that their communion is 
so impure that it would contaminate us to touch, taste or handle it in any case. 
But while we say so, to guard against the mistake as if we were pleading for a 
promiscuous or unhallowed communion, let it be observed that this question is 
not at all concerning the Church of Rome. God has described her as anti- 
Christian, as totally gone off the foundation, impure in doctrine, idolatrous in 


worship, tyrannical on one hand and totally loose on the other, in discipline her 
government an image of the lordly pride of this world ; her morals very impure ;, 
she is described as Sodom for filthiness; Babylon, for pride and cruelty; Egypt, 
for darkness, idolatry and tyranny ; His people are commanded to come out of 
her, that they partake not of her plagues. Nor is the question concerning rav- 
ing sectarians, who have corrupted some, or perhaps many of the doctrines of 
the gospel, who have set aside or maimed, added to or diminished the ordinances 
of Christ. What Christian can favor such opinions as these ? The light within, 
not the Word of God, is the rule of faith and life ; that is. men may believe and 
act just as every naan's own mind directs him, without having a regard to any 
rule or fixed standard. That we must attempt no duty until the Spirit of God 
moves us thereto, whereas Christ commands us to pray for His Spirit, and the 
consequence of that opinion is commonly that it leads to a general neglect of 
many, if not all religious duties. That every one that pleases may commence a 
teacher in the church of God, or as the Spirit moves him thereto. That there is 
no Sabbath, no sacraments under the gospel. Nor is the question concerning 
any church or religious society whatsoever, that would impose any sinful term 
or terms of communion; or with whom even a temporary communion would in- 
volve in a direct or imjilied apostasy from the testimony of Jesus, and that holy 
profession of his name to which we have attained. Whenever even a temporary 
communion would do this, it ought to be avoided. 

But the question is, concerning the regular, orderly Protestant churches, who 
have clearly expressed their orthodoxy in their Confessions of Faith, adhered 
thereto and walk in the order of the gospel, although differing from us in some 
external modes and forms. We cannot pretend to unchurch these sister churches, 
or pronounce their communion unclean, and in all cases improper to be touched. 
We could not defend such a principle from reason or Scripture, and so will not 
advance it. We might have said nothing on this offensive subject, as it is to 
some. We might have concealed our sentiments; but in a public declaration of 
our principles, we think this would have been uncandid; and we hope tender and 
humble Christians will not wish that we should advance principles which are not 
supported by reason, good sense, nor by the Word of God. From these churches 
we never separated. Our fathers never thought of pronouncing their com- 
munion unclean ; far less did they ever think of totally rejecting it. Knox held 
communion with the foreign churches. Welsh, with the Protestant Church of 
France. Moncrieff, with the Church of Holland, when he studied at Leyden. 
Renwick received ordination in the Church of Holland. And it is a fact that 
Rutherford, Henderson, Bailey, etc., held communion with their brethren in Eng- 
land, while they attended the Westminster Assembly. It was with the greatest 
reluctance that the ministers of the Association first withdrew from the Estab- 
lished Church of Scotland. They did it with holy fear and humility; considered 
it as an awful and important step ; still declared they meant no separation from 
the Church- of Scotland, but from a corrupt party in that church; and they held 
communion with several ministers of that church for some years after their 
separation. But now schisms and separations are with many a light matter; 
they tear and divide in a wanton manner, only to gratify pride, passion and un- 
godly zeal. May the Lord have mercy on us and give His healing Spirit. We 
shall only add that submission to the discipline of a church, while we are in her 


communion, is indispensably necessary. On the whole, we never can, and never 
will, embrace the principle that all the Protestant churches, except our own 
party, are unfit for Christian or holy communion. 


One more quotation will suffice. In the Act of the Synod, 
in 1797, amending the Confession of Faith, it is stated: " The 
XXVIth Chai3ter of the Confession of Faith is understood as 
opposed not only to bigotry, which at least, by implication, 
appropriates to a particular denomination the character and 
privileges of the Catholic Church ; but also to the scheme of 
communion called latitudinarian, which unites all parties of 
professed Christians in the fullest communion, on the footing 
only of those general principles that some distinguish by the name 
of essentials ; a scheme which is condemned as subservient of the 
design of this and every other stated Confession of Faith, and 
as having a natural tendency to promote error and to extinguish 
zeal for many important truths of the gospel, and consequently'- 
they (the Synod) do not consider themselves at liberty to hold 
organical communion with any denomination of Christians, 
that is inconsistent with a faithful and pointed testimony for 
any revealed truth, respecting doctrine, worship, discipline and 
church government." 

The conclusion to which we are forced to come, from these 
authoritative documents, is, that in theory the Associate Re- 
formed fathers believed in the doctrine of catholic coTnmunion, 
and in this sense did they understand the XXVIth Chapter of 
the Westminster Confession of Faith. Since, however, the 
church of God is in a divided state, they held that catholic 
communion could not, without great danger, be practiced. 
Hence, on the ground of expediency, they believed that they 
were " inviolably bound " to confine the privilege of communion 
to the members of the Associate Reformed Church, except in 
extraordinary cases. The doctrine that organic union is abso- 
lutely necessary, in order that there maybe communion among 
Christians in the ordinances of God's house, was held by neither 
the first Seceders, nor by the Associate Reformed fathers. Not- 
withstanding the fact that the Standards of the Associate Re- 
formed Church did admit of occasional communion on extra- 


ordinary occasions, it was never, or very rarely, practiced until 
1810. Previous to this time the practice of the church was 
more conservative than its Standards. This is easily accounted 
for. Outside of her own members the Associate Reformed 
Church had few friends and many enemies. 

In 1810 occasional communion, on an extraordinary occasion, 
Avas introduced by Rev. Dr. John M. Mason. The matter was 
brought before the highest judicatory of the church, and Dr. 
Mason was not censured. This action of the General Synod 
was interpreted by the Synods of the Carolinas and Scioto as a 
vote of approbation. By some congregations the practice of 
occasional communion was continued and the restrictions 
placed upon the XXVIth Chapter of the Confession of Faith 
were practically disregarded. In 1816 Dr. Maso;i vindicated 
this course by publishing A Plea for Sacramental Communion 
on Catholic Principles. This drew the dividing line between 
the parties, on the communion question, clear and distinct, and 
hastened their organic separation. 

The i)Osition taken by Dr. Mason, in his Plea, is verj- differ- 
ent from that held by him in 1811. His former position, al- 
though novel, was not in glaring conflict with the Standards 
of the Associate Reformed Church. l[e was placed under ex- 
traordinary circumstances, and what would have been unlaw^- 
ful under ordinary circumstances, would have been in all proba- 
bility allowed under his peculiar surroundings. 
• In his Plea, however,. Dr. Mason advocated a practice which 
was new, not only in the Associate Reformed Church, but new 
in all the Presbyterian Churches in the world at that time. It 
is a historic fact that although the Standards of the Associate 
Reformed Church have ever allowed, under extraordinary cir- 
cumstances, a regulated, restricted communion, the practice of 
the church was, up to 1811, very nearly an absolutely restricted 
communion. In other words, her practice was higher than her 

About 1811 some members of the Synods of Xew York and 
Pennsylvania began to practice what was called latitudinarian 
communion. This was contrary to the Standards of the church, 
and this was one of the reasons which led to the withdrawal of 
the Synods of Scioto and the Carolinas. When the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the South became independent, it was wuth 


the distinct understanding that the practice of the cliurch re- 
specting communion, iDrevious to 1811, be adhered to. In other 
^yords, that communion in the sacraments be restricted, except 
on extraordinary occasions, to the members of the Associate 
Reformed Church. 

The other cause which led the Synod of the Carolinas to 
withdraw from the General Synod was the introducing into 
the worship of God a system of psalmody different from that 
adopted by the Associate Reformed Church. The law of the 
church on this point is clear and distinct. It is contained in 
The Directory for Public Worship, Section 3, and is as follows : 

1. It is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly, by singing of psalms 
together with the congregation. 

2. It is the will of God, that the sacred songs contained in the Book of Psalms, 
be sung in His worship, both public and private, to the end of the world; and 
the rich variety and i^erfect purity of their matter, the blessing of God upon 
them in every age, and the edification of the church thence arising, set the pro- 
priety of singing them in a convincing light; nor shall any composure, merely 
human, be sung in any of the Associate Reformed Churches. 

The above, with the exception of the last clause, was adopt- 
ed in 1797. The last clause : " ISTor shall any composure, mere- 
ly human, be sung in an}^ of the Associate Reformed Churcheg," 
was afterwards added, tradition says, on the urgent solicitation 
of Rev. John Hemphill. It matters not particularly by whom it 
was added. It was certainly in the Article when adopted 'in 
1799, and has, without, note or comment, addition or diminu- 
tion, been the law of the Associate Reformed Church ever 

The metrical version of the Psalms then in general use, and 
which was adopted by the Associate I^eformed Church, was the 
Scotch version, popularly but erroneously called Rouse's ver- 
sion. Many, incited by a spirit of willful ignorance or bitter 
malignity against God's own Word, have ever heralded it to 
the world that it is Rouse's version of the Psalms and not the 
Psalms, to which the Associate Reformed Church is wedded. 
The disseminators of such a gratuitous falsehood are to be 
pitied rather than despised. Such statements are directly 
contradicted by the Synod's Act of 1797. In that Act they 
say : 

342 HISTORY OF the 

Whekeas, The poetical version of the Psalms, commonly called the Psalms of 
David, which hitherto has been used amongst us, is a safe translation of these 
Psalms, and has been instrumental in promoting sincere and unaffected devotion; 
it shall be retained in the congregations under the inspection of this Synod till 
another version equally safe and acceptable and more adapted to the improved 
state of the English language shall be prepared. 

This is all the fathers of the Associate Reformed Church say 
about Rouse's version of the Psalms. Had they said less, they 
would have subjected themselves to the charge of illiterate 
stupidity while poets continue to be born and not made. 

The doctrine of the Associate Reformed Church on psalmody 
has always been that it is the duty of the church to sing, in the 
public and private worship of God, the Psalms of the Bible in 
the best version that can be obtained, and that the church has 
no authority in God's "VYord, and, consequently, no authority at 
all to sing any hymns, in the formal worship of God, that are 
composed by uninspired men. 

This, it is readily admitted, is higher ground than that taken 
by the Secession fathers ; but it is in perfect harmony with the 
principles laid down in the Westminster Confession of Faith. 
In the use of any other system of psalmody there is a constant 
and unavoidable liability to worship God in a way not ap- 
pointed in his Word. Any and every departure from the prin- 
ciple on psalmody adopted by the Associate Reformed Church 
is, in its very nature, so far an encroachment upon the primary' 
notion of Presbyterianism, and has a direct tendency to prop- 
agate gross errors and perpetuate divisions in the church of 

This law of the Associate Reformed Church was, by Dr. 
John M. Mason, violated in 1810. His example was followed 
by others, to the great grief of not a few. 

In 1816 the Synod of the Carolinas sent up a remonstrance 
to the General Synod. The thing mostly complained of in this 
remonstrance is the scheme of communion lately introduced by 
some into the Associate Reformed Church. Kothing can be 
plainer than that the Synod of the Carolinas desired communion 
restricted to organic communion, and that " composures merel}" 
human" be entirely excluded from the worship of God, Be- 
cause they could not prevail upon the General Synod to do 
these two things, they asked and obtained permission to be- 
come an independent, coordinate S\niod. On becoming a sep- 


arate organization, the Associate Eeformed Synod of the South 
repealed no act of the Associate Reformed Church, adopted no 
new principle, and inaugurated no new practice respecting 
either psalmody or communion. 



GENERAL SYNOD DISSOLVED soon after the Organization of the Synod of 
the South — Synods of New York. Scioto and of the South Remain — Their 
Right to the Theological Library Asserted — Character of the Union Formed 
by the General Synod with the General Assembly — Gloomy Period in the 
History of the Associate Reformed Church — Death of L-win, Rogers, Mc- 
Knight. Blackstock and Hemphill — Death of Two Theological Students, Mc- 
Jimsey and Boyce — Dr. J. T. Pressley Called to Pittsburgh — Samuel P. 
Pressly AVent to Athens — Missionary Labors of the Associate Reformed 
Synod of the South — Dr. Cooi^er. of South Carolina College — Action of the 
Associate Reformed Synod of the South Concerning Him — His Charges 
Against Clergymen — Dr. Cooper's Influence — The Part the Associate Re- 
formed Synod Took in His Removal. 

On Monday, April the 1st, 1822, the Associate Reformed 
Synod of the South began its separate existence. Rev. Eleazer 
Harris was moderator. One month and twenty days after this 
transaction, the General Synod of the Associate Reformed 
Church, or a part of it, deliberately resolved itself out of exist- 
ence. Three fragmentary parts of the Associate Reformed 
Church remained firm to the principles and practices which 
they had pledged themselves to support. These were the Syn- 
ods of Xew York, Scioto and the South. They were widely 
separated from each other ; and although each had pledged its 
adherence to the same Confession of Faith, form of Church 
Government and Directory for AVorship, each one was inde- 
pendent of the other two. In the property which once be- 
longed to the General Synod they liad an equal right. The 
Synod of Scioto had forfeited its legal claims, by declaring itself 
independent, before the union was formed. This matter was 
not forgotten by the Synod of the South. The First Presby- 
tery, in its annual report to the Synod, recommended that : 

•• In the event the contemplated union of the Northern Synods (those of New 
York and Pennsylvania) with the General Assembly be effected, that the proper 
steps be taken by the Synod of the Carolinas to secure a due portion of the 
theological library of the Associate Reformed Church." 


This matter was duly considered by the Synod of the South. 
On the second day of its first meeting it was 

•• Resolved, That the Rev. John T. Pressley be. and he hereby is. directed to no- 
tify the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of our claim in the theo- 
logical library of the Associate Reformed Church; and that, in the issue of the 
transfer of the same to the seminary at Princeton, we will not relinquish our 
right, unless absolutely compelled.'' 

. In addition to the above, the following resolution, adopted 
by the unanimous voice of the Synod, was sent to the General 
Synod : 

•■ Resolved, That the Rev. J. T. Pressley be, and he hereby is, directed to assert^ 
in the letter to the General Synod, our claim in the theological library of our 
church; and that we do, therefore, protest against a transfer of it to the theo- 
logical seminary at Princeton."' 

The Synod of the South, it is evident, took it for granted 
that "the contemplated union" would be effected. In this 
they Avere not mistaken. Events had been drifting in that 
direction so long and the current was so strong, that they 
w-isely concluded it could not be successfully resisted. They 
were wrong, however, as the event showed, in concluding that 
the Synod of Xew York would go into the union. This it did 
not do. 

. The union was, by an act of high handed ecclesiastical tyr- 
ranny, efi'ected; the theological library was transferred in 
stealthy haste to Princeton, and was, after man}' long years of 
vexatious litigation, surrendered to the Synod of New York in 
1837 ; but the Associate Reformed Synod of the South neither 
asked for nor received any i^art of it. 

From 1822 to the founding of Erskine College, was, on ac- 
count of several reasons, a gloomy period in the history of the 
Associate Reformed Synod of the South. Death, that fell mon- 
ster, who, in the language of a Latin poet, " knocks impartially 
at the door of the poor man's hut and at the palace of the 
great," began his work. In 1824 Rev. Robert Irwin died,aiid 
in less than two years, beginning with August the 21st, 1830, 
James Rogers, James McKnight, William Blackstock and 
John Hemphill were taken away from the scenes of their 
earthly labors to their eternal reward. Two students of the- 
ology — John McJimsey and James S. Boyco, both having nearly 
completed their theological course — were stricken down, the 


former in the fall of 1828 and the latter in the fall of 1829. 
In 1831, E,ev., afterward Dr., John T. Pressley went to Pitts- 
burgh as professor of theology in the seminarj', but recently 
established in that citj^, and shortly afterward Rev. Samuel P. 
Pressley went to Georgia as professor in the college at Athens. 

These were truly dark days, but ministers and people seem 
to have clung together with a firmness and steadiness which is 
truly wonderful. If any one was disheartened he never made 
it known. Each in his station was faithful unto death. 

One of the features of the Associate Reformed Church is that 
it has always been a missionar}' church. Those old men, Black- 
stock and Grier, rode on several occasions over Florida, Georgia, 
Alabama, Temiessee and Kentucky, preaching the gospel to the 
people in connection with the Associate Reformed Church in 
these States. 

These missionary eiforts began at a ver}- early period in the 
history of the Synod. In 1819 Rev. John T. Pressley, by di- 
rection of the Synod, spent two mouths in laboring among the 
scattered vacancies in Georgia and Alabama. In his report to 
Synod he stated that he had rode more than nine hundred 
miles and preached on every alternate day. 

In 1822, Rev. Isaac Grier spent three months, and Rev. 
William Blackstock three and one-half months as missionaries 
in the West. The labors of Mr. Grier were conlined to the 
settlements in Georgia and Alabama, while those of Mr. Black- 
stock extended as far as Obion county, Tennessee. These mis- 
sionary tours were repeated annually by some member or mem- 
bers of the Synod. The missionaries, Blackstock, Pressley, 
Strong, Grier and Harris, traversed over the whole of the ter- 
ritor}^ included in the States of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Ten- 
nessee and Kentuck}'. On one of these tours a missionar}'- 
would ride on horseback, through a countrj' sparsely populated, 
more than two thousand miles, preach twice on every Sabbath 
and frequentl}- on week days. 

About the year 1822, or perhaps three or four years previous 
to that date, petitions for preaching began to be sent to the 
Synod, from Obion, Union, Hopewell (Maury county). Pros- 
perity, Bethel, Head Spring, and Hopewell (Lincoln county), 
Tennessee; and from K^anafalia, Pine Barren, Russell's Yalley, 


Salem, Tallahassee, Zalmonah, Js^ew Ireland, Fair View, Pros- 
perity, Cahawba Settlement, and perhaps a few others in 
Alabama. In the Cahawba Settlement there were, in 1822, 
iifty communicants. To these Rev. Isaac Grier preached and 
administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. All these 
vacancies, together witli those mentioned elsewhere, depended 
upon the Synod of the South for the preaching of the gospel 
and the administration of the sacraments. 

Under the peculiar circumstances the Synod could not sup- 
ply fully the spiritual wants of these communities. Every 
eftbrt that mortal men could make was exerted. They wrote 
to the Synod of the West and to the Associate Synod of Scot- 
land for ministerial assistance, and an eftbrt was made to unite 
with the Associate Presbytery of the Carolinas. Xo assistance 
came from Scotland, and a union was not eftected with the Asso- 
ciate Presbytery of the Carolinas, and but little assistance was 
received from the Synod of the "West.. 

Prior to 1822 occasionally laborers were sent from the North- 
ern Synods ; after that time the Synod of the South was left to 
struggle unaided, with all its surrounding difficulties. They 
wrote lettei^ to the vacancies, visited them in person as often 
as was possible, but in spite of all their eftbrts, several of these 
vacancies became disheartened and gradually coalesced with 
other Christian denominations. Some of them joined the 
Baptist, some the Methodist ; but the larger number united 
with the Presbyterian Church. 

At the time that the Synod of the South began its separate 
existence. Dr. Thomas Cooper was President of South Carolina 
College. Dr. Cooper had, in his day, the reputation of being 
a man of prodigious learning. He was a lawyer, a physician, 
a chemist, a mineralogist, a geologist and a politician. For a 
time, he was the idol of the great. It was not long, however,, 
before his influence began to weaken in some sections of the 
State. The college over which he presidecl became the scene 
of great and disgraceful disorders.. 

Dr. Cooper's learning was certainl}- very extensive, but it 
may be doubted whether he was either profound or accurate. 
He had read, much and thouo-ht little. 


This, however, would have caused no disturbance in the col- 
lege and produced no want of confidence in him by the people 
of the State. In addition to the fact that Dr. Cooper had the 
reputation of being a learned man, it was certainly known that 
he had no sympathy with the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
His much learning, if such was really the case, had made him mad. 
He began insidiously to poison the minds of the youth of the 
country. Many good people became alarmed. The South Caroli- 
na College was a State institution, founded by the State and sup- 
ported by the State. It really belonged to the people of South 
Carolina. Their money built its halls, furnished its library 
and apparatus, and supported its professors. 

In this institution the people of the State felt a peculiar in- 
terest. They could point to its splendid buildings, its fine ap- 
jiaratus and its extensive library with pride. In it they ex- 
pected their sons to be trained for honorable and useful stations 
in life. The people of the State were a Christian people, and 
since the South Carolina College belonged to them they had a 
right to demand that nothing prejudicial to the Christian reli- 
gion be taught within its walls. This expectation they did 
hot realize in Dr. Cooper. Adroitly he, by insinuations and 
innuendoes, poisoned the minds of the youth of the country 
placed under his care. 

It is probable, as is testified by those who were students in 
the South Carolina College during his connection with it, that 
Dr. Cooper rarely boldly attacked the Christian religion in 
the class-room. He was too crafty to do this. By apparently 
careless remarks and unimportant criticisms he ettected his 
purpose more successfully. That he did make some infidels, no 
one at all acquainted with the moral or religious history of some 
of those who waited upon his instruction will doubt. 

The people of the State, and especially of the up-country, 
were struck ^vitli astonishment. Among the first, if not the 
very first, to sound the alarm was the Associate Reformed 
Synod of the South. In his report to the Legislature in 1822, 
Dr. Cooper charged the clergymen of the State with all the 
misfortunes which Ttere befalling the college. The following 
is his language : 

" The most powerful obstacle to the prosperity of this institution is the sys- 
tematic hostility of the clergy generally, to any seminary of education which is 
not placed under their government and control." 


This was a grave charge, and one Avorthy of careful investi- 
gation. Surely Dr. Cooper did not expect the Legislature of 
South Carolina so far to stultify themselves in the eyes of all 
the civilized nations on earth, as to believe that he uttered the 
truth ? They knew that what he said was false. 

Protestant clergymen ever have beeu the fosterers of institu- 
tions of learning, and they have never claimed that it was 
their sole prerogative to govern and control these institutions. 
It is true that there have been but few institutions of any note 
in which clergymen have had no control. 

At its meeting in April, 1823, the Associate Reformed Synod 
of the South prepared and ordered to be published in one of 
the weekly papers of the State an address to the people of the 
State. In this address they deny that the ministers of the 
gospel are opposed to the College of South Carolina, and ap- 
peal from the " illiberal, unrighteous and sweeping charge of 
the learned president against the ministers of reconciliation, to 
the candor and good sense of the Christian commonwealth." 
Soon after this a controversy sprung up between Dr. Cooper 
and a minister of the Associate Reformed Sj-nod. The people 
of the State were thoroughly aroused. In December, 1831, the 
Ibllowing resolution was introduced into the House of Repre- 
sentatives by a graduate of the South Carolina College, and 
who afterwards was a minister in tlie Associate Reformed 
Synod of the Soiith, viz.: 

'' Besolved, That in the opinion of this House it is expedient that the board 
of trustees of the South Carolina College do forthwith investigate the conduct 
of Dr. Cooper, as President of the South Carolina College, and if they find that 
his continuance in office defeats the ends and aims of the institution, that they 
be requested to remove him." 

The board of trustees of the college found nothing in the 
charges which were brought against Dr. Cooper, which they 
thought rendered his continuance in office detrimental to the 
good of the college. It was not so with the people of the State. 
jSTothing would satisf}^ the friends of the college but the re- 
moval of Dr. Cooper. " The cry of revolution and reorganiza- 
tion was again heard echoing and reechoing from the moun- 
tain to the seaboard." E^othing would satisfy an insulted 
Christian people but the removal of the man who had dared 
to stigmatize their religion as a farce. They had hired him to 


teach chemistry, but he went out of his way to instill infidel 
notions into the minds of their children, and nothing would, 
satisfy them but his removal, and he accordingly was removed. 

The part which the Associate Reformed Synod took in the mat- 
ter of removing Dr, Cooper is highl}' creditable to them as Chris- 
tian ministers and. citizens of the State of South Carolina. It 
may be said it was a matter with which they were not imme- 
diately concerned. This is not even plausible. They were 
citizens of the State, and the South Carolina College was the 
Alma Mater of, at least, three of the ministers of the Associate 
Reformed Synod of the South, and of quite a number of her 
members. The South Carolina College, being a State institu- 
tion, all the citizens of the State — the humble as well as the 
high — had an interest in its welfare. Under the administra- 
tion of Dr. Cooper it had made a fair start to spread infidel 
notions broadcast over the State. 

The influence of Dr. Cooper for evil was certainly very irreat. 
His life had been spent in a continuous storm. He seems to 
have taken a peculiar pleasure in disturbing the peace of every 
community in which he was thrown, either by accident or 
business. All his literary and scientific works perished with 
him. Very few of the present day have ever seen his infidel 
l)roductions, and no one ever thinks of reading them. In fact 
they have no merit in them. His fame rested solely on his 
wonderful powers as a lecturer. He hated all his life the 
Christian religion, and, perhaps, without designing it, trans- 
ferred his hatred to those who professed it. In this opposition to 
Christianity, Dr. Cooper was honest, if sucli a thing be possible. 
Ho thought as he spoke,and spoke as bethought. He was neither 
a sycophant nor a hypocrite. This made him the more dan- 
gerous to the morals of those whom it was his business to in- 
struct. The simple fact that it was known that Dr. Cooper 
was an infidel, led many a thoughtless young man to weigh 
anchor and set sail on the ocean of infidel vagaries. Dr. 
Cooper exhumed errors long buried, paraded before the world 
their ghastly forms, and polluted society with their noisome 
stench. Some 3'oung men by him were ruined, and the use- 
fulness of others was for years greatly hindered. 


The Associate Reformed Synod took an honorable and use- 
ful part in vindicating the religion of Jesus Christ, and in pre- 
venting the spread of opinions which were calculated to sap 
the very foundations of society. Had not a prompt and vig- 
orous effort been made by the Christian people of South Caro- 
lina in opposition to the false and dangerous opinions held and 
propagated by Dr. Cooper, no one can safely estimate what 
would have been the consequences. As it was, the morals of 
the State were polluted, the spread of the gospel impeded, and 
it may be, the judgments (f God called down upon the land. 



THE WANT OF A COLLEGE Eetarded the Growth of the Synod of the South- 
Students went North to be Educated — Classical Schools Established in the 
Synod — Theological Professors Appointed — Attempt to Reorganize the 
General Synod — Letter Sent to the Synods of New York and Scioto — Dele- 
gates meet at Pittsburgh, on the 12th of September, 1827 — Basis of Union 
Adopted and sent to the Presbyteries — Disapproved and no Union Formed — 
Union of the Synods of New York and of the West in 1856 — The Subject of 
Slavery Introduced into the Associate Reformed Synod of the West by Emi- 
grants from the South — Overture from Hepewell, Ohio — Curious Facts in 
Respect to this Overture — Anti-Slavery Sentiments of Southern Origin — 
The First Presbytery of Ohio — Its Pastors Born in the South — The Synod of 
the South Memorialize the Legislature of South Carolina — The People of 
the United States become Wildly Fanatical on Slavery, Pro and Con — Synod 
of the South never Ultra on Slavery. 

Among the many things which retarded the early growth of 
the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, may be reckoned 
the want of a college and a theological seminary. The field 
to be cultivated was sufficient to have employed at least thirty 
laborers, and there were only about twelve, and one-half of 
these was becoming burdened with the weight of 3'ears. Sixty 
3'ears ago colleges and theological seminaries Avere few in 
the South. JL>3' a law of the Associate Reformed Church, which 
had been rigidly observed since the days of the Erskines, no 
man could be admitted to preach the gospel who had not com- 
pleted a classical course of learning in some college or universi- 
ty, and studied theology under some competent instructor 
for several years. This was the law in all the secession 
branches of the Church of Scotland, and also in the Reformed 
Presbyterian Church. 

At a very early period classical schools were established b}' 
members of the Associate Reformed Church. About the be- 
ginning of the present century, Rev. James Rogers opened a 
classical school at Monticello, Fairfield county, South Carolina. 
This institution, although neither owned nor controlled entire- 
ly by the Associate Reformed Synod, was presided over for 
more than a rjuarter of a century by an Associate Reformed 


minister and largely patronized by Associate Reformed people. 
In 1825 a petition was sent to the Sjmod, praying that the Ebene- 
zer Acadeni}^, in York county, be taken under its . patronage. 
This petition the Synod granted. Both of these institutions 
made for themselves an honorable reputation. They were 
largely patronized by the adjoining States ; and by Rev. James 
Rogers and Rev. Eleazar Harris were educated a number of 
young men who became distinguished at the forum, and on the 
bench, and as governors, physicians and theologians. 

Besides these, there were a number of other classical schools 
within the bounds of the Associate Reformed Synod of the 
South. These all subserved a good purpose, but there was no 
college in the State of South Carolina which the members of 
the Associate Reformed Church could conscientiously patron- 
ize. This Avas the case from 1820 to 1830. 

During that period, young men in connection w^ith the As- 
sociate Reformed Church having the gospel ministry in view, 
were placed under the necessity of going several hundred 
miles — some to Jefterson College, and others to Miami Uni- 
versity — that they might prepare themselves for their work. 

To meet in part the exigencies of their circumstances, the 
Synod determined, in 1825, to establish a theological seminar}-. 
They did not undertake to collect funds for the purpose of fit- 
ting up a seminary with all the modern improvements and 
advantages. They simply adopted a resolution establishing a 
theological school, with the Rev. John Hemphill, professor of 
didactic and polemic theology, and the Rev. John T. Pressley, 
professor of oriental languages, Biblical criticisms and church 

Under the circumstances, this was, in all probability, the best 
that the Synod could do. That was a day of small things, and 
it may be added, strange things. The professors were distant 
from each other fully one hundred miles. It is clear that the 
students would be under the necessity of completing one thing 
at a time. They could not recite on church history and 
polemic theolog}' on the same day to the professors appointed 
ibr these several departments. It is very probable that the 
work fell mainly upon ]SIr. Pressley. Mr. Hemphill was an 
old man, and began to decline rapidly in the course of a few 


years. He, for some time, discharged the duties imposed upon 
him by the church ; but how long, and to what extent is not 
certain!}^ known. 

In 1827, Mr. Hemphill tendered his resignation, which was 
accepted. From that time to the fall of 1831, Mr. Pressley 
was "sole teacher of theology," by appointment of the Synod. 

In 1826 the Synod resolved that a theological fund be estab- 
lished, and that the members of Synod be directed to make 
collections in their different congregations for this purpose. 
Rev. Samuel P. Presslej'^ wAs appointed treasurer of this fund. 

About this time (1825) an effort was made to colleot a library 
for the use of the theological seminary. Some success attended 
this effort, but how great is not certainly known. 

The S^^nod of the South continued, on all proper occasions, 
to direct their attention to the recovery of the theological 
library, transferred from ISTew York to Princeton, at the time 
of the so-called union of the Associate Reformed Church and 
the Presbj'terian Church. To accomplish this, as well as some 
other ends, the Synod of the South deemed it necessary that 
the General Synod, which perished in 1822, 1x3 reorganized. 
In 1826, the following resolution was adopted, viz. : 

" That an aggregate meeting of the three Synods of the Associate Reformed 
Church is a most desirable and important object, and that should our sister 
Synods concur, this meeting be held in the city of Pittsburgh, on the first Mon- 
day of September, 1827." 

This resolution, together with a letter, prepared by order of 
Synod by Pev. Samuel P. Pressley and Rev. Isaac Grier, was 
sent to the Synods of the West and Xew York. The follow- 
ing is the letter: 

Dear Bbethren : — Since the year 1822. the Associate Reformed Church in 
the United States has been in a dismembered state. Its existence as an organ- 
ized society has scarcely been recognized by those who reckon up the denomina- 
tions of Christendom. The General Synod, once the common center of motion 
and attraction, having dissolved, the parts once attracted to and moved bj' it 
have moved off in divergent courses. By the above extract you will perceive 
that this Synod is anxious to collect the disunited parts of our once organized 
church, to combine whatever of wisdom, prudence and piety, may be in our 
several Synods, to promote the common salvation of the church and the glory 
of her Lord. 

We cannot, in the compass of a single letter, fully exhibit those reasons which 
influence this Synod to adopt the above resolution. But a few of them shall be 
briefly stated. 


1. We are of opinion that the library, formerly belonging to our seminary in 
New York, never can be recovered, unless the General Synod of the Associate 
Reformed Church be reorganized. The body to which this library once be- 
longed does not formally exist; and though its component parts exist, it cannot 
be treated with until it be reorganized. We are, therefore, of opinion that every 
consideration which makes it desirable to recover the funds and library of the 
Associate Reformed Church, urges upon our Synods the necessity of reorganiza- 
tion. And this subject will very properly come before the Convention. 

2. The fact that we have so long remained independent and unconnected has 
been thought to be indication of a want of love and confidence. It has been 
thought and said that the Associate Reformed Church is extinct, that confidence 
between its parts is lost, that though its Synods do profess to adhere to the com- 
mon standards they do not associate upon common principles of like faith and 
hope. Representations of this kind are unfavorable to the growth and respect- 
ability of our church. And in order to show oar sympathy and confidence, and 
to prevent misrepresentation, we plead for the reorganization. 

3. Our Church has always insisted upon the necessity of a well educated min- 
istry. On this subject we agree with our fathers. And the want of an approved 
and well conducted school of the prophets is an affliction to our Synod. The 
effectiveness and respectability of the church's ministry are intimately connected 
with the existence of a well regulated theological seminary. To establish and 
conduct such a seminary, requires the wisdom, influence and wealth of the whole 
church. Our Synods, in their disunited state, are not adequate to this enter- 
prise. Our Church rose with the rise of our former seminary, nor did the 
General Synod long survive the suspension of its operations. Let us then re- 
organize our General Synod, that so our seminary may resume its operations. 
We say kesume; for, from the minutes of the General Synod for the year 1821, 
you will perceive that the operations of the seminary were suspended before the 
dissolution of the General Synod had taken place. This fact induces us to think 
that if General Synod were reorganized, and the operations of the seminary 
were resumed, our library might probably be regained. 

Other reasons might be ruentioned, but we forbear. Our Synod was unani- 
mous in the above resolution. We cannot express the anxiety which we feel to 
knov the views of our sister Synods on the subject. We claim no prerogatives, but 
to expedite the matter, we have specified a time and place of meeting, in which 
we hope our brethren will concur. It is upon the ground of common faith, 
hope and charity, as also of presbyterial parity, that we propose to meet. We 
hope you will consider these things in your Synods respectively, and that as soon 
as may be practicable, you will make us acquainted with the result of your de- 

Praying that the Head of the Church may direct you in all your deliberations, 
and in this business particularly, we subscribe ourselves. 

Your brethren, 



The Synod of the "West met at Cadiz, Ohio, in April, 1827, 
and adopted the following resolutions, viz. : 


" Resolved, By Messrs. Graham and Johnson, that we concur with our brethren 
of the Southern Synod in considering a meeting of delegates from the three 
Synods of the Associate Reformed Cliurch, in convention, a desirable and most 
important object. 

^^ Resolved, That Messrs. Thomas Smith, Joseph Kerr. David Proudfit. Alex- 
ander Porter and William Baldridge, ministers, be appointed delegates to at- 
tend the meeting of this kind which has been proposed, and that this meeting 
be held at Pittsburgh, on the second Monday of September, 1827." 

The Synod of New York met at Schenectad}', in May, 1827, 
and adopted the following resolutions, viz. : 

^^ Resolved, That this Synod receive, with much respect and affection, the 
friendly communications from our sister Synods of the South and West. 

^'Resolved, That this Synod will, and hereby do,' appoint two delegates, viz.: 
The Rev. Dr. Alexander Proudfit and the Rev. Donald C. McLaren, to meet with 
delegates from the South and West at Pittsburgh, on the 12th day of Septem- 
ber next." 

It will be seen from the above resolutions, adopted by the 
Synods of the West and ISTorth, that the proposition for a meet- 
ing of the three -Associate Reformed Synods apparently met 
their hearty approval. The plan contemplated by the S^'nod 
of the South seems to have been that the ministers of the three 
Synods meet at Pittsburgh, as a whole ; or that, as they say, in 
the arigregatc. This plan, for reasons not stated, was changed 
by the Synod of the West, and a meeting by delegates ap- 
pointed. The delegates, who were all ministers, were to 
equal, in the aggregate, the number of presbyteries in the 

At nine o'clock, on the 12th of September, 1827, all the 
delegates appointed by the Synods of the West, and Rev. John 
T. Fressley and Rev. Isaac drier, delegates appointed by the 
Synod of the SOuth, met at Pittsburgh. At three o'clock of 
the same day, Rev. Donald C. McLaren and William ISTisbet, 
delegates from the Synod of New York, appeared and took 
their seats. 

The meeting was organized by calling Rev. Alexander 
Porter to the chair, and appointing Rev. John T. Pressley, 

The object of the Convention being mainly to devise some 
plan by which the three Associate Reformed Synods might 
be united, the following preamble and resolution was presented 
by Rev. Messrs. Pressley and Proudfit, viz. : 


Whereas, Some visible bond of union among those who are one in faith, is 
a most important and desirable object; And ivhereas, By a series of unhappy 
events, the Associate Reformed Church has been thrown into a dismembered 
condition: And ivhereas. It is believed that the general interest of truth and 
godliness in the world, and particularly in the Associate Eeformed Church, 
might be efficientlj- promoted by a union of effort: therefore. 

Resolved. 1. That in the judgment of this Convention it is expedient that the 
General Synod be reorganized. 

2. That in the reorganizing General Synod, the respective Synods, for our mu 
tual satisfaction, and for the promotion of mutual confidence, solemnly renew our 
professions of adherence to the Constitution and Standards of this Church, as 
adopted by the Act of the Associate Reformed Synod, at Greencastle. on the 31st 
of May. 1799. 

And ichereas. The peace of this Church has. in times past, been greatly in- 
terrupted, and her very existence endangered, by the disputes which have existed 
on the subjects of psalmody and communion ; therefore. 

Resolved 3. That we solemnly renew our profession of adherence to the Act of 
the General Synod, explanatory of , the sense in which the doctrine of this church 
on these subjects is understood, particularly the Acts of 1790. 1793. 1799 and 
1820. Of which Acts the following are extracts : 

"An Act to amend the Constitution of the Associate Reformed Sj-nod," passed 
in 1790. The Synod declare that they understand the 2t)th Chapter of the Con- 
fession of Faith, •• as opposed not only to bigotry, which, at least by implica- 
tion, appropriates to a particular denomination of Christians, the character and 
privilege of the Catholic Church: but also to the scheme of communion called 
latitudinarian. which unites all parties of professed Christians in the fullest 
communion, on the footing only of those general principles that son?e distin- 
guish by the name of essentials; a scheme which they condemn as subversive of 
the design of this and every other stated confession of faith, and as having a 
natural tendency to promote error, and extinguish zeal for many important 
truths of the gospel, and consequently, that they do not consider themselves as 
left at liberty, by this part of the confession, to hold organical communion with 
any denomination of Christians, that is inconsistent with a faithful and pointed 
testimony for any revealed truth respecting doctrine, worship, discipline and 
church government:" 

"An Act concerning psalmody," passed 1793. "It is the will of God. that the 
sacred songs of Scripture be used in His worship to the end of the world. The 
substitution of devotional songs, composed by uninspired men, in the place of 
these sacred songs, is, therefore, a corruption of the worship of God." 

The Convention took up and discussed each of these resolu- 
tions separately. After mature del iheration they were adopted. 
This Convention held five sessions ; passed a number of resolu- 
tions bearinoj upon the general interest of the Associate Re- 
formed Church, and then adjourned. The utmost harmony 
prevailed from the beginning to the end of the Convention. 
The prospects for the union of the three Synods were exceed- 
ingly encouraging. 


The Pittsburcrh Convention had no power to consummate the 
proposed union. It was simply a consultation body. Their 
proceedings were, however, regularly brought before each of 
the three Synods at their next regular meeting. 

To all human appearances there was nothing Avhich made it 
incumbent upon either of the Synods to oppose the union, and 
many things which urged them to hasten its final consumma- 
tion. They had all adopted literally the same Confession of 
Faith, Form of Church Government and Directory for Worship. 
They had adopted it with the same explanations. Their op- 
position to the proceedings of the General Synod was common. 
In the recovery of the library of the Associate Reformed 
Church they had and felt a common interest. JSTo one of the 
Synods, it would seem, had a desire to be recognized as the 
Associate Reformed Church, to the exclusion of the other two. 
In good faith, they addressed each other affectionately, calling 
each other by the tender name of sister. Under these circum- 
stances it seemed impossible for them to remain in their dis- 
membered condition. 

In November, 1827, the Synod of the South " directed Rev. 
John T. Pressley to inform the Synods of the West and North 
that this Sj-nod did, at its present meeting consider and ap- 
prove of all the resolutions adopted by the Convention at Pitts- 
burgh."' For various reasons, both the other Synods saw fit to 
pursue a differnt course. 

The Synod of the West had an overture on slavery laid be- 
fore it. This was undecided ; and for this reason and this 
alone the Synod of the West was unwilling, at that time, to 
unite with the Synod of the South. With the Synod of the 
N^orth the Synod of the West Avas unwilling to unite, because 
of the latitudinarian opinions of some of the leading members 
of the N'orthern Synod in respect to psalmody and communion. 
The Synod of the JS'orth was unfavorable to the union because 
it desired to be let alone, and permitted to manage its own affairs 
in its own way. Thus terminated the eiibrt to reorganize the 
General Synod of the Associate Reformed Church. In this dis- 
membered state the Synods of the West and North remained until 
the 28th of May, 1856. At that time the Synods of New 
York, the First and Second of the West, and Illinois united 


at Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and organized the General Synod 
of North America.. The Synod of the South still maintains 
her 'independency. 

It is not easy to say with absolute certainty why the basis of 
union, agreed upon by the Pittsburgh Convention, was practi- 
cally rejected by the Synods of I^ew York and of the West. 
There can be no doubt that the Synod of the South was in- 
tensely anxious that a union should be eflected. The Synod of 
the West seems to have lost confidence in some of the mem- 
bers of the Synod of jS"e\v York, or of the I^orth,as it is often 
called. ]S"o doubt there were just grounds for this, but it was 
certainly not in keeping with the spirit of the gospel to con- 
vert an accidental separation into a schism. Some unions maj' 
be sinful, but all schisms are sinful. Tlie subject of slavery 
stood as the ostensible barrier in the way of union between the 
Synods of the West and the South. Were it not that there 
are some very curious facts connected with the history of slave- 
r}-, so far as it has reference to the Associate Reformed Church, 
the whole subject would be passed over in silence. 

Of the subject in its national results, it may be safely said 
that it was the prime and only cause of one of the most bloody 
civil wars the Christian world ever witnessed. Of the subject 
of slaverj'^ in general, however, it is not proposed to write. Its 
history cannot yet be written. The very mention of the sub- 
ject arouses feelings of bitter animosity. The American peo- 
ple are not yet prepared to believe the truth. A man places 
his reputation in jeopardy by daring either to write or speak 
of it in a calm, unbiased manner. The time has scarcely ar- 
rived when a man can aftord to be sober in his. views on this 
subject. Hy the clamor of the multitude he is pressed to be 
ultra on one side or the other. 

Discarding slavery in its national aspect, it is proposed to 
state briefly and dispassionately the origin and result of the 
slaver}^ controversy in the Associate Reformed Church. 'No- 
doubt the mass of the people of the United States, both North 
and South, will stand amazed when it is declared that the 
sentiment of the Associate Eeformecl people, both ministers 
and laymen, in the South, was decidedly anti-slavery from its 
origin down to about the year 1830. It is a fact that a very . 
large number of the Associate Reformed people in the South 


emigrated to the north-west for no other reason than their op- 
position to slavery. This is true of other Christian denomina- 
tions^ especially of the Covenanters and Associate Preslryte- 
rians. This emigration movement began about the close of the 
last century and continued for about thirty years. 

The first time that the subject of slavery was formally' intro- 
duced into any of the courts of the Associate Reformed Church 
was in the s]#ring of 1826. At that time an overture was sent 
up to the Synod of the West by the congregation of Hopewell, 
Preble count}', Ohio. The curious fact connected with this 
overture was tliat the congregation from which it came was of 
Southern origin. Its pastor, the Rev. Alexander Porter, was 
a native of Abbeville county. South Carolina, and all, or near- 
ly all, the members of the congregation were emigrants from 
the counties of Chester, Fairfield and Abbeville, S. C. The 
church in which they worshipped they named Hopewell, in 
honor of Hopewell, in Chester county, South Carolina. The 
conofregation was simply a colony of Associate Reformed peo- 
ple which had gone, some before their pastor, some about the 
same time, and some after him, and settled in Ohio. The set- 
tlement was begun about 1800, by some families from Hope- 
well, Chester county, S. C. These were, in subsequent years, 
joined by other families from the same region. In 1814, the 
Rev. Alexander Porter, the second pastor of Cedar Spring and 
Long Cane, became their pastor. These families emigrated 
from South Carolina on account of their opposition to slavery, 
and they were the first in the Associate Reformed Church to 
make an eftbrt for the overthrow of the institution. 

This calls up another fact that has long since been practical- 
ly ignored. It is this : Anti-slavery sentiments first existed in 
the slave-holding States, and were introduced into, what are 
known as free States, b}' Southern men. In the three presby- 
teries constituting, in 1826, the Synod of the West, only the 
First Presbytery of Ohio was decidedly in favor of the over- 
ture sent up by Hopewell congregation. In this presby- 
tery there Avere,' at the time this overture was under considera- 
tion, six pastoral charges. Three of the pastors, Alexander 
Porter, Samuel P. Magaw and David McDill, were born in 
South Carolina; another, Joseph Claybaugh, was born in Mary- 
land. John Steele, one of the remaining pastors, had been a 


pastor in Kentucky. In addition to this, Samuel C. Baldridge, 
one of its three students, wa's born in Rockbridge county, Vir- 

In 1826, the number of communicants in connection with 
the congregations under the supervision of the First Presb\'- 
ter}' of Ohio was about two thousand. Of this number, full}^ 
three-fourths were born in the South, or were the sons and 
daughters of parents who were born there. It was by these 
that the slavery question was first agitated in the Associate 
Reformed Church, and they gave the anti-slavery sentiment 
its first impulse in the denomination to which they belonged. 
It was by these mainly that the reorganizing of the General 
Synod was opposed in the Synod of the Vv^est. 

In connection with this general subject it may be stated that 
while tlie Synod of the West was engaged in discussing the 
overture which was designed to make slavery a term of com- 
munion, or which had for its object the excluding slavery 
from the church, a Cjuestion very similar in its general aspect 
was engaging the attention of the Synod of the South, About 
the year 1828, some politicians in South Carolina came to the 
conclusion that slavery could be perpetuated only by keeping 
the slaves in ignorance. To eftect this, it was purposed to peti- 
tion the Legislature of the State to pass a law prohibiting the 
instruction of slaves. To prevent the enactment of such a law, 
the following, submitted b}' Rev. John T. Pressle}' and Rev. 
John Hemphill, was unanimouslj' adopted by the Synod in 
1828, viz. : 

Whebeas. It is understood that petitions will be presented to the honorable 
Legislature of South Carolina, at its approaching meeting, praying the enact- 
ment of a law to prohibit the instruction of slaves to read; therefore. 

Resolved 1. That in the judgment of this Synod, such a law would be a seri- 
ous infringement of their rights of conscience. 

2. That the members of this Synod use active exertions to forward memorials 
to the honorable Legislature, remonstrating respectful!}', yet firmly, against the 
passage of any such law. 

It is' a fact which none dare deny, that on the subject of 
slavery a large number of the people of the United States be- 
came wildly fanatical. In the Xorth many proclaimed that it 
was " the sum of all villainies." In the South many plunged 
recklessly into the opposite extreme. The position taken b}' 
the Associate Reformed Church, both in the Xorth and South, 


was certainly not ultra. The deliverances of the Synods of 
the North and "West on slavery were extremely mild when 
compared with the deliverances of some other Christian de- 
nominations on the same subject. The Synod of the South 
never, at any time, made a deliverance on the subject ; and al- 
though the supposed diversity of opinion on the subject of 
slavery was the main reason why the effort in 1826 to re- 
organize the General Synod failed, the Synod of the South still 
continued to cherish a tender regard for the Synod of the AVest. 
For ten years the Synod of the South continued to indulge the 
hope that the fragments of the Associate Reformed Church 
would again be- united. Collections for foreign missions were 
regularly made in the congregations of the Southern Synod, 
and the money raised was sent, in some instances, to the Sj'uod 
of New York, to be used by them. There is no evidence that 
the S^mod of the South took offense at the Synod of the West 
on account of the position of that Synod on the subject of 
slaver}'. On the contrary, the Synod of the South continued 
to cherish for the other two Synods of the Associate Reformed 
Church, and especially for the Synod of the West, a tender re- 
gard, and no alienation of feelins; existed as late as 1836. After 
that time friendly intercourse began to be more formal and less 
frequent, and soon ceased altogether. 

It is due to the Synod of the West to say that it reciprocated 
the fraternal love cherished by the Synod of the South, and 
deferred the proposed union, fearing its deliverances on the 
subject of slavery would involve the Synod of the South in a 
difficulty with the civil authorities. This difficulty the Synod 
of the South seems to have ignored entirely, and was anxious 
for the union. 



THE PROSPECTS BRIGHTEN ABOUT 1834— Nullification and Protective 
Tariff Disturbance — South Carolina Fearfully Disturbed — Immorality and 
Vice Increase — Mr. Clay's '"Compromise" of 1833 — Peace and Quiet Re- 
stored — Number of Ministers in the Synod in 1834 — Their Names — All Dead 
but Dr. Boyce — Change in Feeling on Account of Slavery — Slavery Dragged 
into Everything — To be Ultra was an Evidence of Loyalty — Friendly Inter- 
course Between the North and South Cease — Resolution of the Synod of the 
South in 1834— Its Object— Resolution of 1835— Rev. Samuel W. McCracken 
Professor of Divinity for the Synod of the South-.-Politicians Prejudiced 
Against the Associate Reformed Synod of the South — Ultra Notions of 
Some — Attempt to Found a Manual Labor School — Failed — Agents Ap- 
poinled to Collect Money, to be Called an Educational Fund^ — Resolutions 
Respecting the Establishing of a Seminary at Due West — Report of the 
Agents — Seminary Opened February, 1836 — Called Clark and Erskine Sem- 
inary — Theological Seminary — Professor Elected — Rev. E. E. Pressley Elect- 
ed in 1837 — Erskine College Founded. 

About the year 1834 the prospects of the Associate Reformed 
S3'nod of the South began to brighten. For a period of thirty 
3"ears it had made but little progress. A number of difficul- 
ties had to be encountered, overcome or outlived. Daring the 
■existence of the General Sj-nod the energies of the Synod of 
the South were directed, in part, to the refutation of errors, 
and thereby partially paralyzed, so far as the spread of the 
gospel Avas concerned. In addition to the time wasted in 
efforts to effect a union with the Synods of the West and 
North, the political condition of the country was unfavorable 
to the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. In South 
Carolina the Nullification controversy disturbed everything for 
a number of years. ISTeighborhoods became divided, congrega- 
tions were rent, and, in some cases, father and sons espoused 
opposite parties. This difficulty had its origin in the passage 
of an act by the American Congress, in 1828, levying what 
was called a '■''Protective Tariff.'" In the session of 1831-2, 
Congress passed another act similar in its nature. This in- 
flamed the agricultural sections of the country against the 
manufacturins: districts. In the Senate of the United States 


Colonel Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, appeared as the 
champion of States' rights, and Daniel "Webster, of Massa- 
chusetts, as the advocate of the supremacy of the Constitution 
of the United States. In November, 1832, a Convention of 
delegates, called by the Legislature of South Carolina, assem- 
bled at Columbia and passed the Nullification Ordinance. The 
people of the State became divided, in what proportion it mat- 
ters not, so far as our present purpose is concerned. One party 
took, or was given, the name of Nidlifiers, aud the other was 
called Union men. From the Atlantic ocean on the east, to 
the Savannah river on the west, and from the islands on the 
south to the mountain districts on the north, there was nothing 
but bitter strife. The country was flooded with pamphlets ; 
some advocating IXuUification and others advocatins; Union, 
Everything else was partially forgotten. Congregations mot 
to worship God, and spent the intervals between the services in 
bitter disputes which sometimes terminated in iist tights. 

Such was the condition of things in South Carolina from 
1828 to 1833. The Church languished, and immorality and 
vice stalked over the land, joyful on account of their present 
achievements and jubilant in view of their prospective tri- 

On the 1st of March, 1833, the "Compromise Tariff" bill, 
introduced by Mr. Clay, was passed into a law by Congress. 
In consequence of this the Convention of South Carolina again 
assembled and repealed the Ordinance of jSTullification. Peace 
was again, at least partially, restored to the State. As far as 
could be,-the line, which had divided jSTulliliers and Union men 
Avas wiped out, and an honest effort was made to forget the 
past and live in peace during the future. 

"When the Synod of the Carolinas became independent, there 
were in connection with it eleven ministers; in 1834 there 
were only fourteen. During that period of twelve years James 
Rogers, William Blackstock, John Hemphill, Robert Irwin 
and Charles Strong had died ; John T. Pressley had gone tO' 
Allegheny, and Samuel P. Pressley had gone to Franklin Col- 
lege, Georgia, In 1833, Rev, Thomas Kitchin, of the Associate 
Presbytery of the Carolinas, and a number of congregations 
under the care of that presbytery, connected with the First 
Associate Reformed Presbytery. 


The members of the Synod, in 1834, were Isaac Grier, 
Thomas Kitchin, E. Harris, Joseph Lowrj', James Lowry, 
Henry Bryson, John Renwick, E. E. Pressley, James P. 
Pressley, James Boyce, Warren Flenniken, Robert M. Gal- 
loway, I. G. "Whitherspoon, and Jonathan Galloway, proba- 
tioner. Of these fourteen, Isaac Grier was the only one who 
was present in 1803, when the Sjaiod was organized, and the 
Rev. Dr. James Bo3'ce is the only one that is now alive of the 
whole number. TJie rest have all fallen asleep. 

About the year 1834 that friendly feeling which had hereto* 
fore existed between the three Synods of the Associate Re- 
formed Church underwent a marked change. This was pro- 
duced by a number of causes ; the principal one, however, was 
the opposite views which now began to be held with regard to 
the institution of slavery. Sectional feelings had been aroused, 
and the epithets Xorth and South were applied as terms of re- 
proach. Societies were organized in the Xorth for the purpose 
of emancipating the slaves of the South. By these societies 
incendiary tracts were circulated among the slaves of the 

The country soon became divided. The subject of slavery' 
was dragged into everything. It was discussed around the 
Hreside, on the public highway, in the harvest-field, in legisla- 
tive halls and often in the pulpit. The children of the two 
great sections were educated to cherish for each other deadly 
hatred. Every new book had something in it either for or 
against slavery. To abuse the South was a large part of the 
religion of many at the North, and an unmistakable evidence 
of their loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. The 
sons and daughters of those who had exterminated the Algon- 
quins, Hurons and Dakotas, melted into tears at the thoughts 
of the poor African, who had been stolen from his native land, 
brought to the sunny South and forced to cultivate the soil for 
a master. In the South every one learned to abuse the Xorth. 
This was the evidence of patriotism. IN'o southern man, it was 
thought, could love his country without hating the ISTorth, 
Friendl}' intercourse between the two sections of the country 
soon ceased to exist. It was more than a northern man's rep- 
utation was worth to be friendly towards the South, and the 
southern man who was not violently opposed to the Xorth and 


northern sentinicnts respecting slavery made himself an object 
of scorn and contempt to all his neighbors and even to his own 
blood kin. As a result of this alienation of sentiment the As- 
sociate Reformed Synod of the South, in 1834, deliberately and 
unanimously declared by j-esolution ''that in tbeir opinion it 
is prejudicial to the Southern Church to send our joung men 
to the Is^orth or West, either to college or to a theological 

In this resolution not one Avord is said either for or against 
slavery. All that is said, is that it was not for the interest of 
the Synod that their young men go to the Xorth to be educat- 
ed. The church, as a church, did not introduce pure!}' politi- 
cal questions into its deliberations. So difierent, however, 
were the political opinions of the North and West from those 
of the South, and so violent were the different sections of coun- 
try in promulgating their opinions, that the Synod wisely re- 
garded the practice of sending young men to the Xortli or 
West to be educated as exposing the church in the South to 
unnecessary reproach by ultra politicians. 

The affection of the Synod of the South for the Synods of 
the North and West, although it may not have been as warm 
as it once was, had not cooled down into indifference. An 
evidence of this is found in the fact that at the meeting of the 
Synod at Cedar Spring, in 1835, '• The propriety of a reorgan- 
ization of General Syiiod was spoken of, and Synod wire ex- 
horted to keep this object in view, so soon as the providence of 
God seems to point the way." Another evidence that the 
Synod of the South cherished no hatred toward the Synods of 
the North and West, is the fact that in 1836 Rev Samuel W. 
McCracken, a member of the First Presbytery of Ohio, " was 
unanimously chosen to be Professor of Divinity for the Synod 
of the South." In fact the election of ]Mr. McCracken "to be 
Professor of 'Theology in the Southern Synod," is a very re- 
markable thing when the circumstances are considered. The 
presbytery to which, he belonged w^as the only presbytery 
which, either in the Synod of the North or West, was decided 
]y Opposed to slavery. It would be but fair to conclude that 
Mr. McCracken was opposed to slavery since he was pastor of 
Hopewell congregation, in Preble county, Ohio. This congre- 
gation, it will be remembered, first introduced the subject of 


slavery into the Associate Eeformed Church, and was always 
decided in its opposition to the institution. It is scarcely pos- 
sible, certainl}' not probable, that a congregation so decided in 
its convictions on the subject of slavery would have tolerated 
a pastor whose opinions were not eqtially as decided. 

Other facts might be brought forward to show that the 
Synod of the South, while it was firm and unwavering in its 
attachment to the Constitution of the Associate Reformed 
Church, and was ready, at all times, to oppose any and all in- 
novations, either in doctrine or practice, never went out of the 
■^vay to discuss political questions in ecclesiastical courts. 

It is probable that the efl:orts' to reorganize the General 
Synod, limited and unsuccessful as these eflbrts were, pre- 
judiced some Southern politicians against the Associate Re- 
formed Church, and, to some extent, retarded its growth. The 
minds of not a few in the South, as well as in the Xorth, 
had become morbid. They were ready to drive a man from 
the country if he said, as the Associate Eeformed Synod said 
in 1828, " That it is the duty of masters to instruct their 
servants to read the -word of God"; or, as they said in 1839, 
■' That it is the duty of church sessions' to require of Christian 
masters and heads of families, belonging to their communion, 
to have their servants, who are 'bought with their money or 
born in their house,' baptized, as well as their children." 

In 1834 it became manifest that the existence of the S3mod 
of the South depended, under God, in ceasing to depend upon 
other denominations for educational advantages. For a num- 
ber of years prior to this the providences of God had been 
pointing in that direction. On the 10th of Xovem.ber, 1831, 
the Synod met at Due "West Corner, Abbeville District (now 
county). South Carolina. On- the next day (the 11th), the fol- 
lowing resolutions were adopted, viz : 

1st. Resolved, That it is expedient to make an effort to establish, in the 
bounds of tliis Synod, one or more schools or academies, on " the manual labor 

2d. Resolved, That between this time and the next meeting of the Synod the 
members of Synod make inquiries in their respective congregations, as to the 
amount of funds which could be raised, or lands or stock which would or 
might be furnished, by any congregation or congregations in the bounds of this 


3d. Resolved, That the Clerk of this Synod correspond with the princijials of 
some approved manual labor schools in the United States, for the purpose of 
obtaihing the most correct knowledge on the best mode of conducting a manual 
labor school. 

4th. Resolved, That the teachers of said schools shall be members of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church. 

5th. Resolved, That said academies shall be so located that the students may 
conveniently attend some Associate Reformed Church. 

The adoption of the above resohitions marks a new and im- 
portant era in the history of the Associate Reformed Synod of 
the South. Important results became visible at once. The 
energies of the denomination were immediatel}- concentrated. 
The object proposed to be accomplished was one which all re- 
garded worthy of their efforts. 

Ill 1835 the Synod met at Cedar Spring, in Abbeville count}', 
South Carolina. The subject of education came up for con- 
sideration at an early hour on the first day. " Ministers were 
called on to see if they had laid the manual labor plan of edu- 
cation before their people." The reports were not favorable. 
The people did not favor the manual labor plan. Some con- 
gregations would give nothing for its support, others would 
support it on certain conditions. The Synod came to the con- 
elusion that the manual labor plan was impracticable, and at 
once abandoned it. 

The thing proposed to be accomplished was not however 
abandoned. A committee on education was appointed. This 
x^ommittee, on the next day, presented a report, which was 
amended and adopted, as follows, viz.: 

1st. Resolved, That Synod embark immediatelj' in raising a fund, which shall 
be called the Synod's Educational Fund. The interest of which fund shall be 
annually appropriated to aid young men in preparing for the ministry, and in 
procuring a necessary theological library for the beneSt of the Associate Re- 
formed Church. 

2d. Resolved, That W. Flennikin be an agent in the First Presbytery, and E. 
E. Pressley in the Second Presbytery, to visit all the churches in the bounds, and 
such other places as their prudence may direct, to solicit funds; and, also, that 
Messrs. T. Turner, Jno. Wilson and James Lowry, be additional agents in the 
vacancies and remote jiarts of the church. 

3d. Resolved, That the Synod hereby appoint James Lowry, in the First Pres- 
bytery, and James Lindsay, in the Second Presbytery, treasurers, to lend out 
such funds as the Synod may commit to their hands, and account for the same, 
giving to the Sj'nod proper bond and security, for both principal and interest; 
and these treasurers shall report at e^ery annual meeting of the Synod, and such 
treasurers shall retain not exceeding two per centum annually for their trouble 
in receiving and paying such moneys. 


4th. Resolved, That every student so educated shall refund to the Synod the 
money advanced by Synod, in the space of five years after he is licensed, pro- 
vided he join another denomination of Christians. 

5th. Besolved. That in a case when a student may be assisted with a view to 
the ministry, yet at some period of his course he declines studying divinity, 
such student shall refund the money advanced by the Synod in three years from 
the time at which he so declines. 

6th. Besolved, That we establish a school at Due AVest Corner, Abbeville Dis- 
trict, S. C, and elect John S. Pressley, as our teacher. In this school shall be 
faithfully taught all those branches necessary to an entrance into the junior 
class in any respectable college. The Synod bind themselves to said John S. 
Pressley, in the sum of five hundred dollars, for the space of ten months. The 
school shall be opened for any student the first year, and afterwards to be regu- 
lated by the wisdom of the Svnod. 

7th. Resolved, That although we have a school, to which we expect, when at 
all convenient, our students will go, still we would give aid to any whose circum- 
stances might seem to warrant them in going to another school. 

8th. Resolved, That Rev. E. E. Pressley, A. C. Hawthorn, Jas. Lindsay. Jas. ■ 
Fair and Abraham Haddon, be a Board of Directors of said school, whose duties 
shall be to secure the Teacher elect, examine beneficiaries, attend to the moral 
and religious character of the institution, discharge the debts of the students 
which were contracted by their order, and all other duties connected with such 
direction, and report their doings annually to the Synod. 

9th. Resolved, That said school shall commence as soon as the first of Feb- 

10th. Resolved, That agents, in collecting funds, exercise discretionary power 
as to the number of installments — but shall be limited to five years ; and the first 
payment shall be considered due on the first of January, 1836. 

11th. Resolved, That the Synod api^ly to the Legislature of South Carolina to 
be incorporated. 

12th. Resolved, That J. Dulin and J. Foster, Esqs., be a committee on behalf 
of this Synod to apply to said Legislature, as above directed. 

13th. Resolved, That the Synod at its next regular meeting reconsider ali 
their proceedings relative to its Educational Fund, so that the dates of these in- 
struments may be subsequent to the date of the Corporation Act. 

Resolved, That the Clerk of this Synod report, at its next meeting, a catalogue 
of a theological library; which library shall not cost more than five hundred 

Resolved, That the election of professor of divinity shall be postponed till 
next meeting of the Synod; and that in the meantime, students of divinity be 
under the direction of their respective presbyteries. 

The above resolutions are important in themselves, and be- 
sides they indicate very clearly a vigorous state of life and 
activity which heretofore had not existed in the Associate Re- 
formed Synod of the South. There was a crudit}' in the man- 
ual labor plan of education, which the practical sense of the 
people soon discovered. The plan now adopted met the hearty 
approbation of the Associate Reformed people. At the next 


meeting of the Synod, the agents of the Synod's Educational 
Fund reported that they had " received in moneys and subscrip- 
tions seven thousand and thirty-five doHars," Nearly all this 
amount was raised in the settled charges — -the vacancies con- 
tributing but little. 

At this same meeting Abraham Iladdon, chairman of the 
Board of Directors of Education, reported that they " proceeded 
to erect a building to be occupied as an academy." The build- 
ing, he states, " was constructed on the most approved and 
most convenient plan." It was furnished with the necessary 
furniture, such as desks and globes. On the first Monday of 
February, 1836, the exercises of the academy commenced. 
During the year there were about twenty classical students in 
attendance. The whole number of students is not stated. 

The primary design contemplated by the Synod was to es- 
tablish a first class high school, in which young men having 
the gospel ministry' in view might be prepared for tlie junior 
class in any respectable college. The ultimate end was the 
founding of a college. 

The name given the institution at first was simply " The 
Academy at Due West Corner." In the act of incorporation 
the name " Clark and Erskine Seminary" was given it. 

The theological seminar}' is older than the literary institution. 
The latter was designed to be the hand-maid of the former. 
In this the Synod of the South followed the example of the 
ifirst seceders. The}^, immediately, on being thrust out of the 
Church of Scotland, erected a "Divinity Hall" and in connec- 
tion with it established a '' school of philosophy," Ten 3'ears 
before the founing of the academy at Due West the Synod de- 
termined " to establish a school of tlieology Avitlun their 
bounds." Two professors, Rev. John Hemphill and Rev. John 
T. Pressley, were elected. In the providence of God this ar- 
rangement was of short duration. 

The necessity of a theological seminary was deeply felt, and 
at the same time that the Literary Academy vras established at 
Due West it was determined to establish a theological seminary- 
at the same place. In 1836 " Rev. Samuel W. McCracken, A. 
M., Professor of Ancient Languages in Miami University, Ox- 
ford, Ohio, was unanimously chosen to be Professor of Divinity 
for the Synod of the South." The salary of the theological 


professor was fixed at eight hundred dollars. Mr. McCracken, 
however, did not accept. His reason for declining was, briefly, 
" the importance to the Associate Reformed Church of his 
present situation in the Miami University. 

To meet the present emergency, Rev. E. E. Pressley was, in 
1837, elected Professor of Theology for one year, with a salary 
of five hundred dollars. In 1838, the Synod " solemnly resolved 
to go into an election for a permanent professor of theology." 
The result was that Rev. E. E. Pressley was chosen. ISTo doubt 
he would have been chosen in 1837, had not Mr. McCracken 
intimated that, in the event, " a suitable person could be found 
to fill his place at Oxford," he would accept the position to 
which he was elected by the Synod of the South. 

In 1839, at the meeting of the Synod at Due West Corner, 
Mr. John S. Pressley tendered his resignation as principal of 
the literary department of Clark and Erskine Seminary. The 
resignation was accepted and a vote of thanks tendered to Mr. 
Pressley for the ability and zeal with which he had served the 

The growth of the institution over which Mr. Pressley pre- 
sided, was, from the beginning, rapid. In 1839, a select com- 
mittee, appointed by the Synod to take into consideration the 
interests of the institution, recommended the extending of the 
course of studies. The report was adopted and a committee 
appointed to nominate a president and two professors. 

Rev. E. E. Pressley was elected President and Professor of 
Moral Science; Keil M. Gordon, Professor of Languages, pro 
tem., and Jolm N. Young, Professor of Mathematics and 
Xatural Philosophy, pro tern.. In 1840, John N. Young was 
elected permanent Professor of Mathematics and Xatural 
Philosoph}-, and Rev. James P. Pressley, permanent Professor 
of Languages, and that he "■ take part in the theological de- 

At the same meeting of Synod, the board of directors of 
Clark and Erskine Seminary called the attention of Synod to 
the pressing need of a suitable building in which tcf conduct 
the exercises of the institution. It had grown from a small 
beginning until now it assumed all the essential features of a 
literary college, in connection with a theological seminary. 


Tlie following recommendation was presented and adopted, 

viz. : 

■ •• That each minister be directed to act as agent in his own congregation and 
neighborhood, to collect money for the purpose of supporting the college at 
Due West Corner, and that they report to the board of directors, as soon as con- 
venient, as to what amount can be raised, and if the amount be sufficient to 
■warrant the board to commence a college edifice, costing not more than five 
thousand dollars, that they be instructed to commence it immediately on some 
cheap and suitable site in the neighborhood of the present location." 

At the meeting of the Synod at o^ewhope, in Fairfield coun- 
ty, South Carolina, in October, in 1843, the board of directors 
reported as follows, viz. : 

" The college building is now complete, and the entire cost thereof has been 
met by the treasurer of the building committee and of the literary and theo- 
logical funds." 

The entire cost was seven thousand and ninet}' dollars. The 
name Clark and Erskine Seminary was exchanged for Erskine 
College. In 1842 the first class graduated. The institution 
continued to grow in public favor, and, at the breaking out of 
the civil war, was the most flourishing denoroinational college 
in the South. 



Great Undertaking Nobly Executed — Other Schools Spring up and Become 
Supporters of the College — Christian Magazine of the South Established — 
First Number Published January, 1843 — Continued to Flourish for Nine 
Years — Erskine Miscellany Begun — Strength of the Synod in 1842 — Dr. 
Isaac Grier died 1843 — His Connection with the Synod — Missions Begun — 
Associate Church a Missionary Church — Labors of the Early Fathers — Of 
Those who Succeeded Them — Missionary Labors of the Fathers Confined to 
the Home Field— The Extent of this Field— Resolution of 1817— Mission- 
aries Sent West — Length of their Journeys — Funds Raised— ^Missionaries 
Sent West Annuallj' — Localities Visited — Young Men First Sent on a Tour 
West — Churches in the AVest Founded — Missions still Continued — Foreign 
Missions — Resolution of 1837 — Synod Assists the Synod of the North and 
the Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Foreign Missions — Board of Foreign 
Missions — Rev. T. Turner's Resolution of 1843 — African Mission Set on 
Foot — Failed Through Mismanagement. 

The founding of Erskine College infused a fepirit of enter- 
prise into the Associate Reformed Synod of the South. It 
was a grand undertaking, and nobly was it accomplished. 
Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the venerable 
fathers who conceived the idea, nor upon the people of the 
denomination who came up to the help of the Lord. Erskine 
College has done for the Associate Reformed Church and for 
the country a precious work. In it nearly all the living 
preachers in the Associate Reformed Synod of the South 
received their literary and theological education. 

In addition to this, the founding and supporting of Erskine 
College stimulated the people of the denomination to under- 
take other important enterprises. 

Very soon after Clark and Erskine Seminary was established 
at Due West, other classical schools were established in different 
sections of the Church. These, in due time, became supporters 
of Erskine College. 

About the same time the necessity of a religious magazine, 
published under the sanction of the denomination, became 
manifest. The subject was discussed, first in private, and, in 
1841, formally brought before the Synod. In this way the 


attention of tlie church wiis directed to the proposed enter- 
prise. It was approved of by the people, and, in October, 1842, 
the committee, to which the matter had been referred, submit- 
ted the following report, which was adopted, viz. : 

" AVe recommend that the editorship of the Christian Magazine of the South 
be committed to Rev. J. Boyce; the subscription now on hand be put into his 
possession, and that he commence the periodical, if possible, as early as Janu- 
ary. 1843." 

In accordance with the above recommendation, the first 
number of the '•'■ Christian 3Iagazine of the South" was pub- 
lished in Januaiy, 1843. The magazine continued to be issued 
monthly for nine years. From the beginning, it ranked high 
both in a literary and theological point of view. 

In 1850, Messrs. W. R. Hemphill, J. O. Lindsay and J. I. 
Bonner, began the publication of the " Erskine Miscellany^''' a 
weekly religious paper. 

In December, 1851, the publication of the '•'Christian Maga- 
zine of the South'" ceased. 

It is probable that the people of the Associate Reformed 
Synod of the South were unable at that time to sustain both 
publications, and that a weekly paper was demanded b}^ the 
times ; but it is almost certain, that it would have been to the 
interest of the church to have sustained the magazine. There 
are some denominational features which a publication similar 
to the '•'■ Christian Magazine of the South" is admirably adapted to 
advance, but are generally thought to be inconsistent with the 
popular notions of a Aveekly religious newspaper. 

In this connection it may be noticed that, although the 
^^ Christian Magazine of the South" was published in tlie interest 
of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, it was not a 
remunerative enterprise to its editor. It accomplished much 
for the church, but little for its editor. Those were the palmy 
days of the credit system. Year after year Dr. Boyce con- 
tinued to prepare editorials, which in elegance of style will 
compare favorably with the best productions in the English 
language. They were read, admired and praised, but in too 
many instances not paid for. 

"With a well equipped college and a monthly magazine well 
conducted, the Associate Reformed Church began to move for- 
ward at once. Still so few were the ministers and members in 
connection w^ith the denomination, that it was no uncommon 


thing for its name to be on:iitted " by those who reckon up the 
religious denominations of the world." In 1842 there were 
■only twenty-five ministers, fifty-six congregations, thirteen 
hundred families, and about three thousand communicants. 

In November, 1843, Eev. Isaac Grier, D. D., died. In 1803 
lie was present, as a licentiate when the the Associate Retormed 
Synod of the Carolinas was ors^anized. As a pastor he was 
present when the Synod, in 1822, withdrew from the General 
Synod and resolved itself into an Independent Synod, assum- 
ing the name "Synod of the South," and in 1839 he Avas chair- 
man of the committee which prepared a course of study to be 
pursued in the Theological Seminary. He saw the Associate 
Reformed Church in the South when it was like tlie cloud 
which the prophet's servant saw rise out of the sea-^a mere 
SDeck on the sky. He saAv it again taking root and spreading 
out its branches in every direction. He saw it again after it 
had been visited by death ; weak, disheartened, and ready to 
perish. Finally, he saw it strong and vigorous, attacking 
Satan in his fortified castles, and bearing the glad tidings of 
the gospel into portions of ever}' Southern State. 


The Associate Reformed Synod of the South, no matter what 
is said to the contrary, has ever been zealous in prosecuting 
the work of Missions. This is true of all the branches of the 
Secession Church. By missionaries the Secession Church was 
planted in America, and by the labors of missionaries its prin- 
ciples and practices have been disseminated from Boston to 

By the self-sacrificing labors of Proudfoot, Martin, Clark and 
Boyse the Scotch Seceder and Covenanters Societies in the 
Carolinas and Georgia Avere first visited, encouraged and 
cheered. By these same men, in connection with Blackstock, 
Hemphill, Rogers, McKnight, Pressley, Irwin and Grier, these 
societies were organized into congregations. From 1803 to 
1840, or even later, it might be said that every minister in 
connection with the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, 
no matter whether he were a settled pastor or not, was a mis- 
sionary. With few excei^tions, each made an annual mission- 
ary tour of three or four months. Mr. Blackstock, when he 


was an old man, rode over Florida, Georgia, Alabama and 
Tennessee, as far as Obion county. During the winter of 
1835-6 Rev. T. Turner rode more than eighteen hundred 
miles and preached thirty seven times in three months. 

The early missionary efforts of the Associate Reformed 
Church of the South were so great in themselves, and so im- 
portant in their final results, that their history demands more 
than a passing notice. That we may be able to place a due 
estimate on the early missionary enterprises begun and finally 
accomplished, at least in part, by the Associate Reibrmed 
Church, we must take into consideration all the surrounding 

One hundred years ago the greater portion of the two Caro- 
linas and Georgia was a wilderness, dotted with only a few 
settlements at long intervals apart. These few settlements had 
been reduced to a state bordering on abject poverty. They 
had just emerged from a long and desolating war, which left 
the inhabitants of the country stripped of everj^thing but the 
soil and liberty to tell it. Scarcely had the sad consequences 
of the Revolutionar\^ war passed away and the blessings of 
peace begun to he enjoyed, than the country was visited by 
another war. The effort to propagate Secederisni in the South 
was made just before the Revolutionary war ; was suspended 
during that contest, and then again begun before the treaty of 
peace was signed. In less than six months after the surrender 
of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the venerable Thomas Clark set 
out from Salem, New York, on a missionary tour to the South. 
He was followed by John Jamison in 1783, and a few years 
afterward Ijy John Boyse and John Hemphill, All these, ex- 
cept John Jamison, settled as pastors, but their pastoral charges 
were in reality extensive missionary fields. For a period of 
thirty -five years, a few men — never more than seven— preached 
the gospel, administered the sacraments, and performed other 
pastoral labors in not less than fiftj^ societies, or congregations, 
scattered over a tract of country longer than England and wider 
than Scotland. 

These labors were performed cheerfully, but with a degree of 
bodily toil and sacrifice, at the thoughts of which a modern 
missionary's heart would faint and fail. The men who planted 
the Associate Reformed Church in tbe South were literally 


'•in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, 
in perils of their own countrymen, * * in perils in the wil- 
derness," and several of them were " in perils of the sea," and 
sad are we to say that they all were sometimes " in perils 
amons^ false brethren." They sought neither gold nor silver 'y 
houses nor land ; but God granted them all an abundance of 
the good things of life, and bestowed upon them the rich bless- 
ing which attends the consciousness of having been faithful 
even unto death. 

At the meeting of the Synod at Hopewell, Chester county, 
South Carolina, in October, 1817, the following resolutions 
were adopted, viz : 

^^ ReHolved. That for the purpose of supporting and extending the influence of 
Messiali's reign and more effectually propagating the doctrines of grace and 
salvation, a Missionary Fund be raised and missionaries be sent out to preach 
the gospel to sinners. 

'• Resolved. That John T. Pressley and Charles Strong be a committee to pre- 
pare an address to the chui'ches relating to supporting missionaries engaged in 
proclaiming the gospel to sinners." 

At the same meeting pastors were instructed to take up col- 
lections in their several congregations and report to the Synod 
at the next meeting. 

A thousand copies of the address prepared by Messrs. Press- 
ley and Strong were printed and distributed among the congre- 
gations ; but, so far as appears from the minutes, but little was 
done in the way of collecting money. 

Rev. Isaac Grier reported that one of his congregations. Steel 
Creek, had contributed forty dollars. During the year 1819 three 
hundred and twenty-three dollars and seventy-three and three - 
fourths cents were collected. Of this amount, Mr. HemphilTs 
charge contributed one hundred and eighty-nine dollars and 
twelve and one-half cents; the united congregations of Canon 
Creek, King's Creek and Prosperity, one hundred and two dol- 
lars and twelve and one-half cents ; Mr. Blackstock, thirty-two 
dollars and fortj^-eight and three-fourth cents. The whole, to- 
gether with the forty dollars contributed by Steel Creek, was 
put into the hands of Mr. Hemphill, Synod's treasurer. The 
object for which the n:iissionary fund was created, was for "the 
purpose of supporting those who were sent out to preach the 
gospel to sinners." In harmony with the letter and spirit of 
this design, the Synod, in 1819, directed Rev. John T. Pressley 


"to take a missionary tour of eight weeks in a western direc- 
tion." At the next meeting of Synod, }»lr. I.'ressley reported 
that he had rode upward of nine hundred miles, and preached 
on an average ever}" alternate day. His expenses were thirty- 
three dollars and forty-three cents, and he received from those 
to whom he preaclied seventeen dollars and twenty-iive cents. 
Synod ordered tliat his expenses be paid, and he be allowed 
seven dollars per week. 

In this missionary tour, Mr. Pressley visited and preached 
nt a number of points in Georgia, in Alabama and in Middle 
Tennessee. The small societies in those States were gathered 
together and, as a result of his labors, were in a few years or- 
ganized into congregations. 

In 1820, Rev. Isaac Grier " was a[i[)ointed to the labors of a 
missionary,'" but for how long and in wliat region the minutes 
do not state. From another and reliable source it is learned 
that his labors were confined to the States of Florida, Alabama 
and Georgia, and that they continued for three or four months. 
According to his journal, Mr. Grier "traversed upwards of 
thirteen hundred miles, preached on twenty dift'erent days, re- 
•ceived fifty dollars for Synod's fund and expended thirty seven 

In 1821, "Rev. Mr. Blackstockwas appointed a missionary to 
perform a tour of fourteen weeks, nearly in the same course of 
former missionaries." The duty assigned him he performed to 
the entire satisfaction of the Synod. It is worthy of being put 
on record, that, although the field to be traversed by these first 
missionaries of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South was 
ver}' large, and the labor exhausting and the comforts few, 
there is not a single instance in which a failure is reported. 
Xearly the whole of this early missionary work was, for good 
reasons, no doubt, put upon Messrs. Blackstock, Grier and 
Pressley. The first work given a young man, after being 
licensed, was to send him out on an extensive missionary tour. 
The points visited b\' Messrs. Grier, Pressley and Blackstock, 
and their location, so far as can be learned at present, were 
what is now Troj', Obion county, Tennessee. This point was 
visited first by Mr. Blackstock, in the winter of 1821-2. Union 
and Hopewell, in Maury county, and Xew-Hope, Head Spring 
and Prosperity, in Lincoln count}', Tennessee, were visited by 


Rev. Jolm T. Pressley, in the winter of 1819-20. Covington, 
Georj^ia, was visited by Rev. John T. Pressley, first in the win- 
ter of 1819 ; at the same time he visited Bethel, Prosperity 
and Salem, in Alabama. The other points in Alabama were 
Hopewell, 'New Ireland, Fairview, Mount Pleasant, Cahaba, 
Zalmonah, Xanafalia, Pine Barren and Russel's Valley. In 
Florida, Tallahasse and other points Avere visited by both Mr. 
Grier and Blackstock. The names of several of these places 
were changed, some still bear the old names, some have ceased 
to exist, and a few are knov/n b}^ the old names but are in con- 
nection with other denominations of Christians. 

With some propriety, the missionary tours of Messrs. Black- 
stock, Grier and Pressley might be called exploring expedi- 
tions. Perhaps it would be more in accordance with Scripture 
phraseoloo^y to call them Evangelists, and their labors evangel- 
istic labors. If they did not build up strong Associate Re- 
formed congregations, they contributed in no small degree to 
the evangelizing of the great States in which th^ir labors were 
performed. They began a work which is not yet finished. It 
is still going on, and will go on until sun and moon and stars 
fade into darkness. 

The territory explored by these venerable fathers was after- 
ward visited by Harris, Bryson, Gallov^'ay, Boyce, Turner and 
-others, and finally the Presbyteries of Alabama, Tennessee, 
Kentucky and Memphis were organized out of the materials 
gathered up and arranged by these faithful missionaries of the 

It would be doing the memories of the fathers, Hemphill, 
Rogers, McKnight, Irwin, Reuwick, Lowrj* and Strong, great 
injustice were it not mentioned that while Blackstock, Pressley 
and Grier were making their long missionary tours, they were 
supplying their pulpits and performing pastoral work in their 
respective congregations. 

To this system of domestic missions the present existence of 
the Associate Reformed Church in the South is mainh' due. 
The Synod has ever been crippled in prosecuting this great 
work to the full extent of the demands, on account of the want 
■of preachers and the means to support them. 



When all the circumstances connected with the early history 
of the Associate Reformed Synod of the South are duly con- 
sidered, we are prepared to conclude that, by the providence of 
God, the missionar}^ efforts of the denomination were restricted 
to the home field. For more than a quarter of a century no 
door of opening was made for the Synod, by the Head of the 
Church, to carry the gospel to a people of a strange language. 
During this period the domestic missionary labors of the Synod 
were attended with all and even more b<.)dily sacrifice and men- 
tal solicitude than at present attends similar labors among the 
inhabitants of China, or among the Copts of Egypt, or the 
Catholics of Mexico. 

The first time, so far as the minutes show, that the subject 
of Foreign Missions was brought before the Synod, was in 
October, 1837. At that time it was " resolved that every min- 
ister of our Synod lift a collection at his Spring communion to 
aid Foreign Missions.'"' It is probable that collections " to aid 
Foroio;!! Missions" had been "lifted" in all the settled charges 
long before this period. The members of the denomination 
had been trained to contribute to support foreign missions- 
The Associate Reformed Cliurch in l>oth its branches was, as 
has been seen, the direct fruit of foreign missionarj' labors, sup- 
ported by contributions made by the mother Church in Ire- 
land and Scotland. As a proof of the statement that the 
Associate Reformed people were educated to believe that the 
support of Foreign Missions was a part of Christian duty, it 
may be stated that nine congregations, in 1838, contributed 
for that purpose three hundred and twenty-seven dollars. 

It was not, at that time, the intention of tjie Synod to send 
out a missionarj^ into some foreign land. For this they were 
not prepared, and so they wisely concluded. With a noble 
Christian generosit}^ they proposed to assist, to the measure of 
their ability, other Christian denominations to do what God in 
His providence saw fit not to permit them to do themselves. 

The Board of Foreign Missions, which at that time (1837) 
consisted of Messrs. J. L. Young, John Wilson andW. Flenni- 
kin were directed " to transmit the moneys that are collected 
for Foreign Missions, to the Board of Commissioners of the 


Synod of Xew York." In 1839 the following resolution, f)f- 
fered by Messrs. J. Boyce and T. Turner, was adopted, viz : 

" That the moneys now in the hands of the Committee of Foreign Missions 
and moneys hereafter to be collected shall be transmitted to the Board of Foreign 
Missions of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanters), to be applied to 
the use of their missionaries in India, until Synod shall have missionai-ies of her 
own to send to a foreign field." 

To what extent the Associate Reformed Synod of ISTew York 
and the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church were aid- 
ed in supporting Foreign Missions by the Associate Reformed 
Synod of the South is not certainly known. Botli received 
assistance, but only for a few years. 

It is worthy of mention in this place that three of the first 
converts in India from heathen darkness, through the instru- 
mentality of the labors of Covenanter missionaries, were given 
the Christian names, William Blackstock, Isaac Grier and John 
Hemphill. This was an indication of a feeling of gratitude 
towards the Associate Reformed Synod of the South which 
both the converted heathen and the Reformed Presbyterian 
Ohurch were anxious to express. 

In 1843, " Mr. T. Turner ottered to the Synod a preamble and 
resolution, recommending that inquiries be instituted in rela- 
tion to the expedienc}' of establishing a mission in the colony 
•of Liberia, or ac some point on the western coast of Africa."' 
The words, "some foreign field" were substituted for "the 
<?olony of Liberia, or at some point on the western coast of 
Africa." This change being made, the preamble and resolu- 
tion were adopted, and ]\Iessrs. J. Boyce, T. Turner and X. ]M. 
'Gordon appointed a committee to j-cport on the subject at the 
next meeting of Sj'nod. 

The committee reported " that, as far as their inquiries had 
extended, they have not been able to discover in the present 
possession of Synod, either men or means adequate to the im- 
mediate midertaking ; yet, in their estimation, the day is not 
far distant, when, with the blessing of God, we may be able to 
secure suitable laborers, and have at command all the facilities 
to .engage in the laudable work of preaching the gospel beyond 
the limits of our domestic field, even among the heathen na- 
tions of the world." 

The committee recommended, as a proper location for com- 
mencing the work of Foreign Missions, either the south-west 


of oar own countrj^amoncr the Indian tribes, or on the western 
coast of Africa. The committee concluded their report by 
recommending the adoption of the following resolution, viz. : 

That it be the duty of each minister of Synod to make inquiry for a suitable 
person or jjersons, who will engaj^e in this important work, in either of the above 
named fields, and if the desired information ho obtained report the same to 
Synod as soon as practicable. 

This resolution was adopted, and also another, recommend- 
ing Rev. J. C Chalmers, treasurer of the Foi'eign IMissionary 
Fund, to place all moneys on hand, or hereafter collected, at 

The subject of Foreign Missions now began to assume the 
proportions of a living reality. The people became interested. 
Missionary societies were organized. Missionarj' sermons and 
missionary conferences became a regular part of the business 
transactions at every meeting of Synod. A number of persons 
generously offered to give valuable servants to the Synod, that 
they might be prepared to preach the gospel and then be sent to 
proclaim the glad tidings to the sable sons of Africa. 

At the meeting of the Synod in 1845, Mr. Turner proposed 
that a mission be established in Liberia, and that a colored man 
be sent in the capacity of a missionary to that point. This be- 
ing regarded by the Synod as too precipitate, the matter was 
deferred for a year. In the meantime the subject was discussed 
in the '•'• Christian Ilagazinc of the South." 

In 1846, Mr. W. R. Hemphill, in behalf of the special com- 
mittee on Foreign Missions, "recommended the establishment 
of a mission school in Kentucky, in Africa, to be under the 
supervision of Thomas Ware, a colored nian, now in Africa." 

The recommendation of Mr. Hemphill gave rise to the 
adoption of the following resolutions, viz. : 

1. That Rev. Gilbert Gordon, Rev. N. M. Gordon and Mr. Shannon Reid. of 
Kentucky, be appointed a committee to ascertain the character of Thomas 
AVare, his suitableness as a mission teacher, a suitable location for a school, ex- 
penses of such school, and report to next meeting of Synod. 

2. That Messrs. Watt, Grier, J. M. Young and D. Pressley be a committee to 
select some two colored persons who have been offered to the service of Synod, 
to be sent to Kentucky, to be educated for the African mission. 

During the next synodical year little progress was made, 
except that a place in Liberia, called Kentucky, was settled 
upon a^ the proper location in which to establish a Foreign 


Mission. The prospects, for a few years, seemed to warrant 
the indulgence of the hope tliat the enterprise would finally 
be crowned with success. 

At their meeting in October, 1847, Synod appointed a com- 
mittee, consisting of a member selected from each of the six 
presbyteries, to take the whole matter in hand, and, if possi- 
ble, put the mission into operation. 

This committee opened a correspondence with the secretary 
of the African Colonization Society, and also with Thomas 
AVare, a colored man, who was at that time engaged in teach- 
ing in Liberia. The correspondence was every way satisfactory, 
and a call was made for missionaries. Three colored boys were 
placed at the disposal of the Synod. Dr. George W. Pressley 
gave his boy Harrison, Mr. James Robinson gave his boy Wil- 
liam, and the Misses Murphy gave their boy Pinkney. 

In :N"ovember, 1848, Thomas Ware died, but Rev. H. W. 
Erskine, of the Presbyterian Board, took his place. An ap- 
plication was made to the government of Liberia for a grant 
of twenty acres of land. This request was readily acceded to. 
Four boys were placed under the care of Mr. Erskine, to be 
trained for the ministr}'. These boys were selected by Mr. 
Erskine himself in Africa. 

In the meantime a school was opened by the Synod in Ken- 
tucky, for the training of colored men for the responsible posi- 
tion of missionaries. The school was presided over by iST. M. 
Gordon, of the Presbytery of Kentucky, and was modeled on 
the " manual labor" plan. That his school was defective in its 
organization and in its mode of operation, does not admit of a 
moment's doubt. Some enterprises fail because they do not re- 
ceive moral and pecuniary support. Such was not the case 
with respect to the African Mission School established in Ken- 
tucky b}' the Associate Reformed Sjmod of the South. It 
failed because of its defective organization. 

The African Mission dragged itself along until 1853. The 
Board of Foreign Missions, in their report of that year, say : 

•■ It becomes our painful duty to report to the Sj'nod the failure of the African 
Mission, so far as regards the training or preparation of the boys that have been 
placed under the supervision of Rev. N. M. Gordon."' 


Two of the boys became immoral In their conduct, and the 
third was regarded as intellectually unfit to accomplish the 
w^ork for which he had been selected. 

The preparatory mission school closed, and no further effort 
was ever made to open it. 

In Africa some good, no doubt, was done, but it was of the 
most general character. 

In the school of Mr. Erskine four boys were supported for 
several years by the Synod. So far as establishing an Asso- 
ciate Reformed Mission was concerned, nothing was efiected. In 
1855 the Board recommended that, for the present, the Synod 
cease to support "the boys in Mr. Erskine's school." The en- 
terprise cost Synod a considei'able sum of money, which appa- 
rently accomplished little good. The great defect of the school 
established in Kentucky, and presided over by Rev. 'N. M. Gor- 
non, was that the " manual labor" feature was made too prom- 
inent, and it was suspicioned this was for the private ends of 
those immediately in charge. It was an all work and no study 



ganization of the Tennessee Presbytery — Of the Alabama, Kentucky and 
Georgia Presbyteries — Of the Memphis Presbytery — Of Virginia Presbytery 
— Of Arkansas Presbytery — Of the Ohio Presbytery — Of the Texas Presby- 
tery — Proposed Union with tlie Presbyterian Church — Their Difference. 

For a period of more tljan thirty 3'ears the Associate Re- 
formed Synod of the South was composed of 01113^ two presby- 
teries. The presbytery organized at Long Cane, Abbeville 
county, South Carolina, on February 24th, 1790, was appro- 
priately named the Presbyterj^ of the Carolinas and Georgia, 
because the congregations over which it assumed jurisdiction 
were situated in the two Carolinas and Georgia. For the con- 
venience of the members, and also as a preparatory step to the 
organization of the General Synod, the Presbytery of the Caro- 
linas and Georgia was divided, and two presbyteries formed. 
Broad river, in South Carolina, was made the dividing line. 
All east of that stream and south of Virginia was denominated 
the First Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia, and all west, 
the Second Vreshytery of the .Carolinas arid Georgia These pres- 
byteries are how^ known as the First and the Second. 

The First Presbytery perpetuated the original organization. 
The Second was constitutionally organized at Cedar Spring, 
Abbeville county. South Carolina, on the 8th of April, 1801. 
The members of the Second Presbytery, at the time of its or- 
ganization, were Alexander Porter, Peter McMullan, William 
Dixon and David Bothwell, settled pastors ; James McGil], 
licentiate; Robert Irwin and Isaac Grier, students of theology. 

It will be seen that the boundaries of both these presbyteries 
were very indefinite. The territory south and west of Vir- 
ginia was divided by Broad river, and in it two presbyteries 
constituted. The Second Presbytery, like the original bounda- 
r}^ of South Carolina, extended westward from Broad river to 
the South Sea. 

386 HISTORY or the 

This arrano^ement coiitinaed until the fall of 183G when, on 
account of its increase, the Synod deemed "it expedient to 
form a new presbyterj^ in the West." The boundary of this 
new presbytery is thus given : " To commence on the Missis- 
sippi river at the point of 34° north latitude, and run east to 
the Georgia line, thence north to Tennessee, thence with the 
eastern line of Tennessee to the middle of the State of Ken- 
tucky, thence west to the Mississippi river, thence down that 
river to the beginning." The ecclesiastical court having juris- 
diction over the members of the Associate Reformed Church 
who were scattered over this extensive district, Avas named the 
Presbytery op Tennessee. 

The ministers laboring within the bounds of this new pres- 
bytery, and in connection with it, were R. M. Galloway, Henry 
Bryson, Eleazar Harris and John Wilson. These, in accord- 
ance with the appointment of Synod, met at Salem Church, 
Tipton county, West Tennessee, on the fourth ISlonday of 
April, 1837, and constituted the Presbytery of Tennessee. At 
the meeting of the Sj-nod in 1842, it was thought proper to- 
erect three new presbyteries, and a resolution to that effect was 
offered and adopted. These three new presbyteries Avere to be 
designated, respectivelj', Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. 

The Alabama Presbytery, the territorial limits of which 
were those of the States of Alabama and Mississippi, was or- 
ganized on Friday before the first Sabbath of December, 1842, 
at Prosperity Church, Dallas count}-, Alabama. The ministers 
in connection with this presbytery at the time of its organiza- 
tion were, Joseph McCreary, James M. Young and David 

The Kentuck}' Presbytery, which embraced all the Associate 
Reformed congregations in the States of Kentucky and Mis- 
souri, was organized at Ebenezer Church, Jessamine county, 
Kentucky, on Friday before the third Sabbath in December^ 
1842. The ministers at that time in connection with the Ken- 
tucky Presbyter}^ were, Gilbert Gordon, IST. M. Gordon and 
William II. Rainey. 

The Presbytery of Georgia was organized at Bethel, Burke 
county, Georgia, on Friday, the 31st of March, 1843. This 
presbytery embraced the State of Georgia, and a few vacancies 
in Alabama and Tennessee. The ministers constituting: the 


Presbytery of Georgia were John S. Pressley, Thomas Turner 
and J). C. Haslett. The ruling elders were Alexander Cowan 
and William Little. 

On Friday, before the second Sabbath of April, 1853, the 
Memphis Presbytei'y was organized at Salem Church, Tipton 
county, Tennessee. This Presbytery consisted of all the mem- 
bers of the Synod living in the western district of Tennessee, 
and in north iSIississippi. Their names were John Wilson, J. 
P. Weed, J. K. Boyce, J. A. Sloan, II. II. Robinson, J. L. 
Young and S. P. Davis. 

The Presbytery of Virginia was organized at Ebenezer, 
Rockbridge count}-, Virginia, on INIonday, the 8th of May, 
1854. It embraced all the ministers and congregations in con- 
nection with the Associate Reformed Synod of the South, 
within the geographical limits of the State of Virginia. The 
ministers connected with the Virginia Presbytery were Horatio 
Thompson, I. G. ]McLaiighlin and W. M. McElwee ; and A. 
B. Beamer, student. 

The Arkansas Presbytery was organized at Pisgah Church, 
Pope county, Arkansas, on Friday, before the first Sabbath of 
May, 1861. Its territorial limits were those of the State of 
Arkansas. The ministers in connection with the Arkansas 
Presbytery, at the time of its organization, were John Patrick, 
J. M. Brown, J. A. Dickson, W. S. Moftat and A. Mayn. 

The Ohio Presbytery was organized at the house of Mr. Na- 
thaniel Taylor, in Belmont county, Ohio, on the 20th of Febru- 
ary, 1865. Its proper name was the First Associate Reformed 
Presbytery of Ohio. Those taking part in the organization were 
Revs. E. B. Calderhead and James Borrows, and ruling elders, 
William Andrews and Joseph Mehollin. In 1867 it made ap- 
plication to be received under the care of the Associate Re- 
formed Sjniod of the South. This request was granted, and it 
was ever after known as the Presbytery of Ohio. 

The Texas Presbytery was organized at Harmony Church, 
Freestone county, Texas, on the 9th of December, 1876. The 
ministers constitutiug the organization were T. J. Bonner, J. 
M. Little and W. L. Patterson. This presbytery has ecclesi- 
astical jurisdiction over all the Associate Reformed congrega- 
tions in the State of Texas. 


Two (-f these presbyteries — Georgia and Ohio — liave ceased 
to have an oiganic existeuee. In 1875 the Georgia Presbytery 
was, at its own request, merged into the Second Presbytery ; 
and, in 1879, the Presbytery of Ohio asked and obtained per- 
mission of Synod to coalesce with tlie United Presbyterian 
Chm-cli. This it did not, however, do until the 30th of May, 

The Presbyteries of Tennessee and Alabama were, by the ac- 
tion of Synod, consolidated on the 24tii of September, 1881. 
The consolidated Presbytery held its first meeting at Ilopew^ell, 
Maury county, Tennessee, on the 21st of April, 1882. It is 
now known as the Presbytery of Tennessee and Alabama. 

On several occasions, beginning at an early period, efforts 
were made to form a union between the Presbyterian Church 
and the Associate Reformed Synod of the South. Committees 
were appointed by both bodies, and conferences were held, but 
no basis was ever devised which was entirely satisfactory to 
either party. The main barrier in the way to an organic union 
between these two bodies is the different doctrinal opinions 
lield by the two denonvinations respecting psalmody. The 
point of divergence is not respecting, as some erroneously 
think, a version of the Psalms, but the Psalms themselves. 
The Confession of Faith of these two denominations is, we 
may safely say, the same. It is the Westminster Confession of 
Faith and Catechisms, Larger and Shorter. The psalmody of 
the two churches, however, is as different in practice as it is 
possible for it to be. 

The position held by the Associate Reformed Church on 
psalmod}", as laid down in her Confession of Faith, and as ex- 
hibited in her practice, is that the one hundred and fifty 
psalms contained in the Book of Psalms, in the Bible, is the 
psalmody of the church. That there may be no ambiguity 
about the position held, it is added, " nor shall any composure 
merely human be sung in anv of the Associate Reformed 

iNot one word is said about the version. It is taken for 
granted that some metrical version which is faithful to the 
original, or which will express the whole sense, and nothing but 
the sense of the Hebrew Psalter will be adopted. 


jSTo matter what may be the position occupied by the Pres- 
byterian Church on psahiiody, it is manifestly, both in theorj- 
and practice, not that held by the Associate Reformed Church. 
Such being the case, every effort which has been made to unite 
the two denominations has been ineffectual ; and so long as the 
two denominations continue to hold their present opinions con- 
cerning psalmody, no organic union will ever be formed. 

It ma3' be added, as a matter of history, that every effort to 
consolidate the Presbyterian and Associate Reformed denomi- 
nations resulted, not only ineffectual, but injurious. !Misunder- 
standings sprung up between the committees, and these Avere 
disseminated, in various ways, among the membership of 
the two denominations. The Presbyterian Church was not 
strengthened, and it is certain the Associate Reformed Church 
was weakened, and a real injury done to Christianity. 

The general sameness of these two denominations is admit- 
ted by both the ministerial and lay members in their connec- 
tion. They have, in part, the same ecclesiastical ancestry — 
both claim the Church of Scotland as mother — and in a long 
series of doctrines and duties they are one. In addition to 
this, it may be added, the congregations of the two denomina- 
tions in several sections of the countr\' overlap each other, and 
the members are wedded together by the ties of consanguinity 
and marriage. Still they differ on psalmody. This has been 
sufficient to keep up the separate organizations. No doubt 
their division is schism, but the blame does not rest exclusively 
on the Associate Reformed Church. It is proper to mention 
that all the efforts made to effect a union of the Presbyterian 
and Associate Reformed Synod of the South were made prior 
to the union of the Old School and Xew School Presbyterian 

This transaction had a direct tendency to cool the ardor of 
the most earnest advocates of union in the Associate Reformed 
Synod. Those who had most earnestly plead for union with 
the Old School Presbyterian Church ceased entirely to advo- 
cate it, and became its open opposers when the union of the 
Old School and Isew School denominations was consummated. 
Right or wrong the N'ew School branch was regarded as hold- 
ing many heterodox doctrines, as well as being very loose in 



THE WAR — Its Causes — Results — State of the Country — Institutions of the As- 
sociate Reformed Church — Erskine College — Foreign Missions — Theological 
Seminary — Christian Magazine of the South — Erskine Miscellany — Due West 
Telescope — Associate Reformed Presbyterian — Due West Female College. 

At the general election in the autumn of 1860, Abraham 
Lincoln, of Illinois, was chosen President of the United States. 
This was the proximate cause of what, with propriety, is called 
the civil war. The real causes of that event Avere many and 
complicated. It would perhaps be safe to say that the princi- 
pal cause was slavery. For a period of half a century the opin- 
ions of the two great sections of the United States had been 
constantly verging toward ultraism with reference to the sys- 
tem of slavery as it existed in the South. There was, in addi- 
tion to the diversity of opinions respecting the institution of 
slavery, a want of agreement in opinion respecting the import 
of the National Constitution. One party held that the States 
are subordinate to the general government, and that the union 
of the States is indissoluble. Another party held that the sov- 
ereignty of the nation is lodged, not in the general govern- 
ment, but in the individual States ; and that the compact en- 
tered into between the several States is only voluntary, and, 
consequently, not indissoluble. There were several other causes 
wdiich served to foster the alienation of feeling produced by 
the discussion of the main questions at issue. Among these 
may be mentioned the 31issouri Agitation of 1820-21 ; the Nul- 
lification Ads of South Carolina, in 1832; the Annexation of 
l^exas in 1845, and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. 

In addition to the above causes of the rupture, it may be 
mentioned that from 1850 to 1860, to say nothing of the pre- 
ceding and succeeding years, the country was overstocked with 
third-rate politicians. Statesmanship of the first order, and 
genuine patriotism had been forced to retire into obscurity, and 


the management of the public aliairs of the countiy had been, 
by a fatal necessity, entrusted largel}' to ambitious, not to saj' 
unprincipled, demagogues. 

The election of Abraham Lincoln was followed b}" a Con- 
•vention of the people of South Carolina. This Convention 
met in the city of Columbia, on the 17th of December, 1860; 
organized, and on the same day adjourned to Institute Hall, in 
the citj' of Charleston. Here, on the 20th, was passed an Or- 
dinance by which all compacts previously entered into between 
the State of South Carolina and the" other States constituing 
the United States of N^orth America were dissolved, and the 
independent sovereignty of the State of South Carolina boldly 

Other States followed the example of South Carolina ; the 
Confederate government was organized, and the two great 
sections of the country began in earnest to make preparations 
for the conflict. 

The first gun was fired on Fort Sumter, at lialf-past four 
o'clock, on the morning of the 12th of April, 1861, from a 
South Carolina battery. The first blood shed was on the