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servants of Christ to baptize them; never to taste the bread and the wine of the Redeemer's covenant rather than receive them from the hands of men whom the Redeemer himself hath commissioned to dispense them; and all this under the plea of lifting up a testimony for Christ? Surely the God of order is not to be charged with such confusion. He has commanded the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak, but not to cast them off. He has commanded his people to come out from the world, but he has not commanded them to come out from one another, or to separate themselves from any who love the Lord Jesus and call upon his name.
This pernicious error of separating from the fellowship of the Lord's people in worship and sealing ordinances, on the plea of bearing testimony against some corruption in doctrine or worship, carried to its extent, goes to the de. struction of all church fellowship. Every one who differs from us in any point of doctrine or worship is in error to us, and agreeably to this opinion, we are to maintain the truth and testify against the error, by dissolving the ties of church fellowship. This would be literally to make schism the appointed remedy for error or mistake in the church of Christ. Surely we are to separate from all men in what is sinful, but we are to separate from no man in what is duty. It is no more lawful to separate from a believer in loving the Lord Jesus than to separate from him in prayer, or praise, or commemorating the Redeemer's death.
These things being so, the path of duty with regard to the overture from the sister church, of the General Assembly, to unite with her, seems plain. This overture appears to have been made in the full spirit of brotherly kindness, being sanctioned by a unanimous vote on their part. This church professes the very same faith, has the same form of government and worship with ourselves. In uniting with her, we unite with the ministers of Christ, with the or. dinances of Christ, and the people of Christ, and that without making any necessary sacrifices either of doctrine or worship. Even supposing that there may be in this church men of corrupt doctrine and of corrupt practice, so there are in every church. The tares are every where growing with the wheat. It is not with them, but with the church of Christ we seek union. In making this union with a sister church, the General Synod certainly intend to cast no censure on their fathers of the secession church (whom they hold in high veneration) for erecting a separate church from the established church of Scotland.This in the first instance was matter of compulsion. And circumstances in the church of Scotland, were and are very different from what they are now in the churches in America.
It must be added too as matter of very great weight in the case, that the providence of God seems to have shut us up to the necessity of this measure, which seems so clear in point of principle. The defection of our brethren in the west, the separation by mutual consent of our Presbyteries of the south, have left us very small in numbers. Our funds are exhausted, and our Theological Seminary suspended. The prospect of replenishing the one, or reviving the other, is hopeless. Under such circumstances, when all appearances of advantage by keeping up a separate organization are vanished, we are ready to regard the overture of union as an indication by the head of the church of the path to be pursued.
Certainly it is deeply to be regretted that a measure of such moment could not have been carried with the consent of all our members. Had delay promised any advantage, had it even threatened no injurious results, gladly would a decision of this great question have been deferred out of deference to our dissenting brethren.
The Synod felt a degree of responsibility that cannot be well expressed. On the one hand, the situation of those brethren who had so long formed a part of their church, and our partiality for its continued existence, had that been practicable, were duly felt. On the other, we were shut up to the course we have pursued.
The supreme judicatory of a church is the only tribunal to which the decision of questions of general interest belongs, and the voice of a majority of that judicatory, particularly after a year's notice had been given to the Presbyterie's to send such delegates as would fairly represent their views and wishes, is the fair and legitimate expression of the will of a majority of the church. Private. estimates and reports are not to be put in competition with such evidence.
On the subject of psalmody, as some of our conscientious people have diffi. culties, the General Synod would offer a word of explanation. With one voice they declare their attachment to the psalms of inspiration, as literally versified as the laws of smooth and acceptable poetry will admit. They believe them as superior to any composition merely human, as the word of God is superior to the word of uninspired man. They are the great fountain of praise, from which the church will, as she heretofore has done, continue to draw streams to the end of the world. The Synod deem every one of them, correctly understood, to be not suitable merely, but specially profitable to be used according to circumstances in New Testament worship. But as the use of sound evangelical compositions in the praises of God, expressed in other words than those of inspiration, is allowed in many churches undeniably the churches of Christ, and as the subject has been matter of much dispute very unhappy for the church, the Synod deem it their duty to recommend forbearance, as they heretofore have done. Let not those wbo sing the songs of scripture judge them that sing sound evangelical compositions sanctioned by the judicatories of the church, and let not those who sing the truths of the gospel in words not inspired, judge them whose conscience allows them to use only the psalms of scripture. We say in the name of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, let there be forbear. ance. To stir up strife and hatred, to rend and divide the church of Christ, by unyielding contentions, must be highly criminal, and let it be remembered, that where divisions take place on the subject, the guilt of them must rest on those who refuse to make it matter of torbearance.
With regard to the duties that grow out of this union, they consist chiefly in extending to the ministers and people of the church with which we have united, the love of brethren in Christ Jesus, and giving full support to every measure that is for the general good. The fruit of division is alienation and opposition ; let the fruit of union be co-operation and love. Let no traces of party jealousy and distrust be visible. It may be even necessary, where parties have come together without a full knowledge of each other, and perhaps with some remaining prejudices, to exercise more forbearance and a greater caution in avoiding offences, than would be necessary under other circumstances. But this duty of forbearance and conciliating conduct, imposes no obligation to acquiesce in any thing that is really sinful. To dissent from error in doctrine and worship, and to use every proper means to have such error removed, must be always the duty of God's people. To contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, to be feelingly alive to every thing that involves the welfare of God's church, to be ready for every good work, is the course we hope ever to find you pursuing. But let fervent zeal for all that belongs to truth and duty, operate, not in exciting to angry contentions, supercilious selfsufficiency, biting censoriousness, absenting yourselves from public ordinances, and thwarting the proceedings of church judicatories; rather let it operate in exciting to fervent supplications at a throne of grace, exemplary conduct. laborious devotedness to the interests of Zion, united with great humility and self-denial. It is known to you that the deficiency of contributions, for several years back have compelled the Synod to expend the monies belonging to the permanent fund in the current'expenses of the Theological Seminary, assuming the money so expended as a debt at legal interest on the Synod. That good faith may be kept with the original donors, the united body have pledged them. selves to each other to make a united effort to restore the monies to this fund, and appropriate them to the support of a professorship in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, analogous to the one that existed in the Associate Reformed church. We confidently hope that no exercise of liberality necessary to redeem this pledge will be wanting on your part.
Very dear brethren, in addressing you for the last time in the capacity of a judicatory, our hearts are greatly moved. We feel all the tenderness that seems to belong to a last farewell,' But we will not indulge such feelings. We are not bidding you adieu; our connexion with you, though somewhat changed is not dissolved; still we have the same interest in you, and we hope only an increased opportunity of serving you, and the emotions of our bosoms at this dissolving moment, is, we hope, a certain pledge of our devotedness to your best interests. Be reminded that the time is short; yet a few more changes, and we shall meet at the tribunal of Him who shall judge the quick and the dead. Brethren, pray for us, that then it may be ours to have you, made perfect in glory and blessedness, for a crown of rejoicing for ever and ever. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
JAMES LAURIE, Moderator,
J. ARBUCKLE, Clerk. Philadelphia, May, 1822.
RELIGIOUS NOTICE. Proposals have been issued by a gentleman of this city, for publishing by subscription, an interesting little work entitled “ A Narrative of a Private Soi. dier, written by himself; detailing many circumstances relative to the Irish rebellion, the expedition to Holland, and the expedition to Egypt; and giving a particular account of his religious history and experience; with a preface, by Wie Rev. Ralph Wardlaw, D. D)."
The proceeds of the publication are to be devoted to the aid of the “United Foreign Missionary Society.” The publisher has been favoured with a recommendation of the work, signed by all the Presbyterian clergymen of this city.The work will be published in one neat volume, at the low price of 62} cents, payable on delivery. Persons wishing to become subscribers will please to leave their names with the printer, Mr. James Crissy, No. 177, Chesnut Street.
We confidently hope, that the young gentleman who has undertaken to pub. Jish an edition of the above interesting work, at his own risk, in aid of the Missionary cause, will be assisted in the laudable design by the friends of Christian Missions.
There are, whose bosoms glow in Solitude,
Who, reckless, stray in Dissipation's round,
The fadeless flower that Retrospection rears,
Then ask Seclusion, “what are they?”-she'll tell,
The Treasurer of the Trustees of the General Assembly of the Pres
byterian Church, acknowledges the receipt of the following sums for their Theological Seminary at Princeton, N.J. during the
month of June last, viz. Received of Rev. Dr. John M‘Dowell, the collection in First Presby
terian Church, Elizabethtown, made in compliance with the recom
mendation of the late General Assembly, to aid the Contingent Fund $38 00 Of Eliphalet Wickes, esq., do. in Jamaica, Long Island, for do.
34 00 Of Rev. W. C. Brownlee, his donation, for do.
5 00 Of E. Steel, a quarter's rent, for do.
87 50 Of Rev. Dr. John M‘Dowell, from a female friend in Elizabethtown,
for the Professorship to be endowed by the Synod of New York and New Jersey
50 00 of Rev. Dr. William Neill, the last instalment of Robert Smith, esq. of
Baltimore, on Dr. Neill's paper, and appropriated to the fund for endowing a Professorship by Synod of Philadelphia
50 00 Of Rev. N. S. S. Beman, from Rev. S. S. Davis, several instalments of
the ladies of Camden, South Carolina, for the Scholarship to be endowed by the ladies of Camden and Salem, South Carolina
100 00 Of do. from do. for the Union Scholarship, to be endowed by benevo
lent individuals in the counties of Liberty, M'Intosh, and Camden,
20 00 Mrs. General Stewart
20 00 and from Mrs. Colonel Wilson, all of Medway, Liberty county 20 00 Of do. from do, one instalment of Rev. S. S. Davis, for the Professor.
ship to be endowed in part by the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia
50 00 from ladies of Darien
50 00 Donation from B. E. Hand, esq. of Darien, do.
20 00 Contribution at the monthly concert of prayer, do.
30 00 and 2d instalment of Rev. Mr. Murphey, of Medway, Liberty county, Georgia, do.
50 00 Of Rev. Robert W. James, Bethel and Indian town, $20; and from
Messrs. R. Frierson, jr., T. Witherspoon, and D. D. Wilson, each $10; for do.
50 00 Of Rev. Eleazar Harris, Concord Presbytery, subscriptions of 1820, 86;
and of 1821, $16. His letter does not state to which fund they are to be credited
22 00 Of Thomas H. Mills, esq., interest on account of the Woodhull Scho. larship
FOR THE PRESBYTBRIAN MAGAZINE,
ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
(Continued from p. 296.) I before observed, that a complete enumeration of all the offices, which the members of the church sustained, must be collected from several partial catalogues. From these, I think it evident that the ordinary and occasional officers of the church were four, which are stated in the 169th page.
As no systematic and full account of them can be found in any one place, no inference can be drawn in favour of any particular views, from the position of these officers in any of the scripture catalogues. But in the examination and comparison of all the accounts, in connexion with the practice of the apostles, and the instructions of Paul, we come fairly and conclusively to the conviction, that pastors and lay elders are invested with the government of the church.
To support this doctrine I further introduce Rom. xii. 6–8: " Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
“ He that ruleth, with diligence,” is a sentence which conveys the idea of a distinct class of officers, who are invested with authority and power to rule in the church. The primary signification of agorça usvos, rendered “ ruleth,” is to place in authority, as a ruler. Whatever interpretation, therefore, may
be given of the other officers in this account, “ he that ruleth,” is evidently a distinct officer. And the apostle must, I think, on the soundest principles of exegesis, intend lay elders. The character of their administration favours this conclusion. They are to rule, in cason, with diligence. The original signifies careVOL. II.- Presb. Mag,