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a different rule; and should indeed alterations, amendments and addi. attribute the evils he suffers ra tions, have been made in the conther to the prosecution instituted stitution, that will be productive of against him, than to this rule in re beneficial consequences. lation to appeals.
The additional remarks on the To this book the General Assem Confession of Faith reserved for bly have subjoined, in the way of an the close of this article, will now appendix, certain rules, forty-three claim the reader's attention. It is in number; which they recommend important to ascertain the design as proper to be adopted by the ses of this part of the constitution of sions, presbyteries, and synods, for our church. That it forms a conregulating their proceedings. As stituent part of the constitution these several judicatories differ cannot be doubted; because it is much from each other in respect enumerated as such in the title to size, it might be expected that in page, and was designed as such by a list of rules drawn up for all of the synod of New York and Philathem, some would be found unne delphia, by whom the constitution cessary
for such small bodies as our was framed, adopted and published. sessions. In general, sessions will See Assembly's Digest, p. 122. The feel no necessity to hamper their design of the Confession of Faith proceedings by subjecting them may
be considered as three fold. selves to the formalities which ought i. The church presents it to to be observed by presbyteries and the world as a public and correct synods; they will find it most con exhibition of her faith, that all convenient to transact their business in cerned may know what doctrines the free and unconstrained manner are believed and inculcated by her of private committees. Circum ministers. stances, however, will occur, where 2. The Confession was adopted it may be necessary in sessions to by the church for the maintenance act more formally; and in all such of her peace. It is well known to cases it ought to be understood and those who have read ecclesiastical agreed, that the moderator shall history what angry controversies have power to enforce the observ on particular points of doctrines ance of these rules, so far as they have been carried on to the reshall be found applicable to a ses proach of religion and the grief of sion.
the pious; and that controversies From a note it will be seen that between members of the same these rules form no part of our con
church have been marked with stitution; and that while the Ge more severity and bitterness, than neral Assembly recommend the controversies between members of adoption of them, they put them different churches. Now, in order entirely at the discretion of the se to guard against the occurrence of veral judicatories, who may adopt such controversies on important them in whole or in part, as they subjects in theology, among her may deem proper.
ministers, as well as to prevent that We have now gone through the agitation in the minds of her membook, and pointed out the principal bers that would follow from them, changes made in the constitution our church has adopted the Conof the Presbyterian Church. From fession of Faith. She is unwilling this review it appears, that no doc to receive into her communion, as trine in her Confession has been a preacher of the gospel, any one touched; no principle in her go who cannot subscribe to this admi. vernment abolished or altered. Her rable compend of Christian docdoctrines and her principles remain trine. She puts it into the hands the same. But wise and judicious of every candidate for licensure
or urdination, and says, “ This is the but no provision is found in our symbol of my faith; the doctrines book for taking such a security contained in it are connected with from every one who applies merely my peace. If you believe these
for the privilege of communion in doctrines to be the doctrines of the
sealing ordinances. Unity of faith Bible, and will receive them as in ministers and other officers is such, I will, if you be otherwise much more important to the peace qualified, admit you to my commu of the church than in private memnion. But if you cannot adopt my bers. Indeed many persons are Confession, I cannot, consistently qualified for the communion long with due regard to the peace of my before they could intelligently anchildren, admit you as a member of swer the question relative to the my family.”
adoption of the Confession. The 3. Maintenance of purity in doc framers of our constitution have trine was another object, which wisely accommodated its provisions the church had in view in adopting to the different classes of members the Confession of Faith. She be of the church; so that a sacred lieves that this compend contains pledge in regard to doctrine is dethe pure and wholesome doctrines manded from all her officers, which of the gospel; and from a sacred is not required from private memattachment to the truth she wishes bers, because it was not deemed all her ministers to teach these doc necessary to her peace. trines, and therefore binds them The Confession of Faith must not to inculcate any inconsistent govern all our presbyteries, both in with them.
receiving ministers, and in exercisSuch is the design of our church ing discipline over them. After in adopting the Confession of Faith; having sustained an examination as and to insure its accomplishment, to his acquaintance with experishe has wisely incorporated this ex- | mental religion and competency to cellent compend in her constitution teach, no person can be licensed or as an essential part. She has made ordained, until he has answered afit a rule that must govern all her firmatively this, as well as other judicatories and all her ministers. questions: "Do you sincerely receive That it is a rule cannot be doubted, and adopt the confession of faith of when it is considered that it forms this church, as containing the sysa part of the constitution; because tem of doctrine taught in the holy it is manifestly absurd to regard as scriptures ?” No presbytery has no rule what forms an essential por power to alter a word in this question of a constitution, which is the tion to accommodate it to the scrugreat rule of every society.
ples of any candidate; nor is a canIn judicial proceedings the Con didate allowed to put on it any but fession must certainly govern the a fair, grammatical construction. decisions of sessions, but sessions The presbytery is bound by the are not required to exact from ap constitution to propose it as it plicants for the communion that stands inscribed there ; and the full conformity to this standard, candidate is bound in honour and which must be demanded from all conscience to answer it candidly who aspire to the honour of being without mental reservation. office-bearers in the church. The 'The Confession of Faith is the constitution explicitly requires from rule too that must regulate the proall officers the adoption of the Con ceedings of presbyteries, when profession of Faith; and no man can cess is instituted against ministers constitutionally become a minister, for preaching false doctrine. In or elder, or deacon, until he has pub- proportion as the accused may be licly declared his adoption of it: convicted of departing from this
standard, presbyteries are obliged heresy: on the contrary we should to caution, admonish, or rebuke, to deem it their sacred duty not to alsuspend or depose them.
low him to escape from their con. It constitutes likewise a rule trol invested with the ministerial that must regulate the preaching of office, if it were in their
to all ministers in our connexion. A convict him of having adopted senminister, who, after his admission timents so subversive of the gospel into communion with the Presby of our Lord Jesus Christ. We only terian Church, happens to change design to express what we conceive his opinion in relation to certain would be an honourable and conpoints of doctrine, is not bound to scientious part for the man himself teach what he does not believe; to act who should undergo so fearbut he is obliged, by his own vo ful a change of sentiments, before luntary engagement, to refrain he had furnished ground for his from teaching any thing inconsist presbytery to lay upon him the ent with the Confession of Faith. hand of discipline.
J. J. J. Nor is this all :
(To be continued.)
1. A Discourse on the Necessity of cannot honourably retain his connexion with our church. To illus
contending for the Faith once detrate our meaning: Suppose a Pres
livered to the Saints: by the Rev.
William M*Millan, A. M. Washbyterian minister should so far depart from the faith as to become
ington, Pa. 1820. p. 16. 8vo. grossly heretical; it is manifest
2. A Discourse upon the Essential that the mere preaching of a sys
Doctrines of the Gospel, delivered
in the Court-house in Uniontown, tem of morals and the doctrines of what is termed rational religion,
Pa. March, 1821: by the Rev. Wilwhile he withheld from his people
liam Wylie. Uniontown, 1821. p.
24. 8vo. the bread of life, by not inculcating
3. First Principles, or Hints to suit the Godhead of Jesus Christ, his
the Times, and calculated to provicarious atonement, justifying
mote ecclesiastical Union: in a righteousness, and other peculiar and essential doctrines of the gos
Sermon, from Rom. 8. 2. “For I
bear them record, that they have a pel, could not amount to a fulfil
zeal of God, but not according to ment of the engagement made by knowledge:" delivered July 5th, adopting the Confession of Faith,
1820, in Princeton, at the instalalthough he should not openly deny lation of the Rev. G. S. Woodhull, what we deem the fundamental
as pastor of the congregation in truths of divine revelation. A sense that place : by the Rev. Isaac V. of honour and conscience would
Brown, A. M. Trenton, 1821. p. bind such an heretic to retire from
32. 8vo. the Presbyterian Church; or if he
4. An Humble Attempt to illustrate did not, it would become the duty the Character and Obligations of of his presbytery on conviction to
a Minister of the Gospel of Christ; inflict on him a just punishment, by in a Sermon, preached before the deposing him from the gospel mi
Presbytery of Fayetteville, July nistry. We do not by this state
30th, 1819, at the ordination of ment wish to be understood as in the Rev. William D. Snodgrass, timating, that a presbytery may together with the Charges, deliver suffer such a man voluntarily to re ed on that solemn occasion: by the tire from our connexion, when they Rev. Colin M Iver. Fayetteville, have just reason to believe him to N.C. 1820. p. 32. 8vo. be infected with so pernicious a 5. A Plea for the Theological Semi
nary at Princeton, N. J.: by the had more fine writing, and less of the Rev. Philip Lindsly. Trenton, marrow of the gospel. We may rea1821. p. 34. 8vo.
sonably expect them all to write good
English ; but if we must dispense The titles of the foregoing sermons with one or the other, let us have have been given together, as a list of sound doctrine, even if the rules of late publications; on which we de syntax go to the moles and to the sign to offer some brief remarks; fur bats. A few instances of censurable comparatively few as the single ser negligence in writing here follow. mons are, which are published by our
« We should not give up readily Presbyterian brethren in the United with those truths, which have been States, it would still be impossible to sealed with the blood of millions, for give a minute review in the Maga the empty declamations of a few prezine, of every one which may come tenders to new schemes in divinity." to our hand; unless we should ex Omit with, because it spoils the sense. clude all other matter. Of the five "And thatin the last days scoffers at just enumerated, we may say, that sound godliness shall come walking they are all useful tracts, written by in their own lusts.” 2 Pet. iii. 3. This sound men, each of whoin has a large is marked as a quotation from the circle of friends and acquaintance, to Bible, and all quotations should be derive peculiar pleasure from his pro accurate. Our pharaphrases should ductions.
not be incorporated with any text; The first discourse, by Mr. M‘Mil * Knowing this first, that there shall lan, president of Jefferson College, in come in the last days scoffers, walkthis state, gives "a brief statement of ing after their own lusts." the leading and fundamental doc “Errors in sentiment with retrines and principles of the Christian spect to the common salvation of faith, in their bearing and connexion which the author of this epistle writes, with each her,” and illustrates “the is [are] of a destructive tendency. necessity of maintaining them in Such errors the apostle Peter calls truth and in righteousness." It is damnable heresies.” justly remarked, that “as Christiani “Mankind sinners," is a bad subty was designed as the religion of sin stitute for “sinners of mankind," or ners, and the great object of it is to for "sinful men.” It is as bad a comteach such how they may glorify God, pound as "wilderness world," which and be rendered happy in the enjoy always offends the ear of taste. ment of him, those truths must be “ What motive would man have to considered the most essential which seek for salvation from sin and wrath, are the most intimately connected were he not guilty and stood exposed with this end, and without which it to condemnation and miseryo” Omit cannot be obtained.” Of course, he stood as superfluous, or else say, did enumerates as essential articles of he not stand ; for were he not stood, the Christian faith, the doctrines of as it now must be read, if we supply man's depravity and misery, of rege the ellipsis, would be hardly intelligi. neration, of atonement and media ble. tion by Jesus Christ, of justification We pass over some other things of through his imputed righteousness, this kind, and request the attention and of the gracious aids and effica of our readers to the important truths cious operations of the Divine Spirit, contained in the following extracts. to give gospel truth its operative ef “ The dangerous influence of error upon fect upon the soul.
the subjects of it, is a consideration forcibly Every part of this discourse is well illustrative of the necessity of maintaining supported; and we see nothing de
and supporting the truth with all earnest
ness. It is a maxim founded in nature, serving of reprehension, but several
that error in principle leads to error in pracgrammatical inaccuracies. From most tice. This must be the case as long as bepresidents of colleges we should have lief has influence upon conduct. Ad
mitting the truth of this, then, there results dination to the honour and glory of God,
a man who professed to be a Bible most serious consequences, and errors in
Christian, and under this disguise the less essential may lead to errors in the
attacked the most plain and impormore essential doctrines of Christianity. And every error in fact will proportionally
tant doctrines of our holy religion. influence our conduct, and this will have Concerning these professedly Bible a proportional bearing upon the peace and Christ-i-ans, it is remarked in the happiness of the soul.” p. 9.
advertisement, that they choose to “What indeed is any art or occupation be known by this name, that it may but the ascertaining and putting into practice those principles and rules which are
seem as if they alone possessed the conformable to the laws which nature has
doctrines of the sacred scriptures unadopted to promote her effects ?-And if influenced by the partialities of party they are not conformable to these, more or feelings, unobscured by former errors, less, we necessarily mistake our object, and uncontaminated by passing any and sustain proportional injury. It is so in this respect with regard to religious
human channel; and this because matters. If we would answer the end of they have discarded all creeds, conour being, and obtain its object, the glory of God and eternal life, we are bound to inquire into the truth of principle, and to * “ There is a moral and natural order of maintain and adopt that which is founded things, and the violation of this moral or. on scripture, which is the only infallible der or constitution, is equally attended with rule of correct judgment in matters of disorder and confusion, as the violation of Christianity. For whatever doctrines and natural order, and with an equal failure of principles we embrace which are not sanc the end in view in the one case as in the tioned by scripture, will lead us to mistake other. our object and disappoint us of the end in “Now, the doctrines and principles of view, less or more, according as they are Christianity, are but an annunciation, nay, less or more erroneous. The principles they are the very laws of this moral order, and laws of Christianity, which in reality and are the rule by which things in the are the doctrines of the gospel, correspond moral system are to be directed and gowith the principles and laws of nature in verned, in order to securing the end prothis, that the end or effect cannot be pro posed. A mistake of these laws, thereduced but in a compliance with them. fore, must be a mistake of the end in view, But the end and object of Christianity is less or more, according to the degree of to promote the salvation of man in subor. mistake.” p. 11.