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Database

1894.

James Dodson

MINUTES

OF THE

GENERAL MEETING

OF THE

Reformed Presbyterian Church.

HOUSE OF MISS LIZZIE ANDERSON,

NORTH UNION, BUTLER CO., PA., June 11, 1894.

The General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church met, according to adjournment, and was opened with prayer. Members present: James F. Fulton, minister; David A. Renfrew, George Love and Henry M. Hartzell, of North Union, Pa.; George Alexander, of Allegheny City, and Robert Alexander, of Philadelphia, Pa.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and adopted. The former Chairman and Clerk were continued.

A donation from Miss Perry, of Dumfries, Scotland, and her sister, was gratefully accepted.

Causes of fasting and thanksgiving were considered by paragraphs and adopted.

The report of George Alexander and H.M. Hartzell, on Miss Young’s donation, was approved.

George Love, David A. Renfrew and Henry M. Hartzell were appointed a committee to prepare causes of fasting and thanksgiving for our next meeting.

The last Thursday of November, 1894, and the last Thursday of February, 1895, were appointed as days of fasting and thanksgiving.

Adjourned by prayer to meet in this place on the second Monday of June, 1895.

CAUSES OF FASTING.

Gross ignorance of God, of his word, and of his works, prevails among all classes of society. Though all have or may have the Bible in a language which they can read and understand, the great majority are shamefully ignorant, even of the very letter of the Scriptures, and, therefore, cannot understand the great doctrines which they teach. That this ignorance is very provoking to God is manifest by the awful threatenings of his word against it. 2 Thess. 1:8. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.

Following this neglect and contempt of the Scriptures, is that of the writings of the good and great men whom the Mediator raised up and qualified to interpret them. Prov. 17:16. Why is there a price put into the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it? While these writings and the Scriptures are thus treated, the vile, trashy and corrupting novels that issue from the press, like the flood from the dragon’s mouth, are greedily devoured by a generation that know not God. Prov. 13:20. He that walketh with wise men, shall himself be wise; but the companion of fools shall he destroyed.

This ignorance pervades all classes. Jer. 5:4. "Therefore, I said, Surely, these are poor; they are foolish; for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me to the great men, and speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God; but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds."

This soul-destroying lack of knowledge is seen in the shameful ignorance everywhere prevalent of the voluntary and economic relations of the persons of Godhead, of the offices of him whom the Father hath sent; of man’s need of a Savior, invested with the offices of prophet, priest and king; of man’s fall, and his utter inability to recover himself; of the invincibility of Divine grace of the perseverance of saints; and that "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Of many it might almost be said, "That they have not heard whether there be any Holy Ghost;" though the Lord Jesus Christ has sent Him to apply the "purchased redemption," and to supply his bodily absence from his Church, and that it is THROUGH JESUS CHRIST "ALL HAVE ACCESS BY THIS ONE SPIRIT UNTO THEFATHER."

The providence of God is practically and theoretically denied. The language of the Scriptures dearly teaches how provoking this is to God. Ps. 28:5. "Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hand, He shall destroy them and not build them up." God has been laying his hand on men by commercial distress, by strikes, which result in untold loss to the employer and employee, and are accompanied with destruction of property, riot and bloodshed, railroad disasters, by fire, and by storms, etc.; yet these things still seem to be regarded as chances that happen [to] men. Ezek. 9:9. "Then said unto me, ‘The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness; for they say, The LORD seeth not. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head,’" By the figure of searching with candles, the Lord declares that he will not make any abatement of the punishment of those, who, through long success in sin, conclude that he cares not for it. Zeph. 1:12.. "And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees; that say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.’"

The nations of the earth are saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." They are endeavoring to eliminate from their constitutions every religious principle, and to adapt them to the doctrine, "That civil government has nothing to do with religion, and that it is as much bound to protect the grossest idolatry as the religion of Jesus Christ."

The mediatorial dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ seems not to be understood, even by self-styled "National Reformers." We, since the fall, have nothing to do with an absolute God. It is wholly owing to the interposition of the Second Person of the ever blessed Trinity that the world stands. Ps. 75:3. "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved; I bear up the pillars of it." Neither individuals nor nations can approach to God but by him. Mat. 11:27. "All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Man having by the fall lost all true knowledge of God, the Son has been appointed by the Father to reveal his will to men, and to be the only means of intercourse between Heaven and earth.

It has been well said, "That the Church of Scotland had, in her reformation from Popery, urged other rights and put forth more extensive claims than did her sisters, elder and younger, on the continent. She put forth the claim, and in virtue thereof urged her rights and her duty, that the Lord Jesus Christ, her Lord and Law-giver, is entitled to the homage of his people in their various relations, DOMESTIC, CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTIC, and to yield this homage, the Scriptures of Truth as a rule of action and of life, in the hand of the Mediator must be regarded. Her claims were admitted by her Lord to be rational, Scriptural, just, and therefore was she

led on to victory, in open day and deadly conflict, December 20, 1638. The covenant (National) was ratified by parliament June 11, 1640, and thus became the constitutional law of the land." And thus Scotland became a Christian, a Covenanted nation.

The Scriptural acknowledgment of God carries with it the acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, and the establishment of the true Church. Isa. 60:12. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee (the Church) shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. Assyria, Babylon and Rome are witnesses of the fulfillment of this prophecy, and evidences are multiplying that the Mediator is beginning to smite the earth with his iron rod. Ps. 2:9. "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel." Every day brings additional evidence that a perverse spirit is abroad in all lands disintegrating the governments and disorganizing society.

It is to be lamented that men glorying in the name of Covenanter, and that they are the descendants of the heroes of 1638, should be so intoxicated with the wine of the mother of harlots as to believe a nation can become Christian by merely acknowledging God in the constitution, even when accompanied by that of Jesus Christ. Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord; and do not the things which I say. The insult given to the Lord Jesus Christ by men calling themselves his servants, his ministers, sitting down on equality with heathen in the so-called Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, 1893, has borne its native fruit in emboldening them in adhering to and in defending their own God, dishonoring and man-debasing systems of religion. It is also evident to an attentive reader of the current news that infidels and practical atheists in this Christian (?) land were greatly encouraged in their ungodly course.

A so-called Covenanter minister gave aid and comfort to these enemies of his Lord and Master by taking a seat in that Assembly of conspirators against him.[1]

Evidences are multiplying that the surrounding communities are treading the "Outer Court." Rev. 11:1,2. "And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood saying, ‘Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it; for it is given to the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.’ The temple is the Church of God in her New Testament organization. The ALTAR, as it was the place upon which the offerings were presented, is the symbol of Divine worship. The worshipers are themselves to be measured by the sacred Rule."—McLeod. All admit that the Measuring Reed is the Scriptures of truth. Therefore, the community claiming to be a church of Christ, which in its doctrine, government, worship and discipline cannot bear the Measuring Reed, belongs to the "Outer Court." To secure a learned and pious and faithful ministry was an especial object for which our reforming ancestors labored and suffered. To prevent this the devil and his agents exerted all their subtlety and power. Both parties knew that as long as the Gospel was fearlessly and faithfully preached, the Church could withstand the attacks of all her enemies. Some, therefore, make the faithful preaching of the Word to be a sufficient sign of the true Church. No disorder or false doctrine can exist where this is done. When a community becomes careless about the qualifications of her ministry, and teaches that any man can preach, she no longer meets the requirements of the Bible, and must be cast out. Jer. 23:21. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken unto them, yet they prophesied. Much less can that church do so which affiliates with societies of Christian Endeavor, Sons and Daughters of the King, Salvation Armies and a host of other inventions.

That government of the church which corresponds to the Divine rule, must he one that, can promptly reach the whole body in order to root out error, heresies and corrupt teachers. When a body that should have all the means given by the Mediator for this purpose, is years in dealing with heresy and heretical men; she manifests unfaithfulness. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church should have at once condemned the doctrines of [Robertson] Smith and [Charles] Briggs, and if they and their adherents refused to submit to the censures of the church, should have expelled them from her communion. Her neglect of duty argues that she was more influenced by the opinion of men than the law of Christ. We rejoice that the Assembly has sustained the Synod’s action in Smith’s case; but hold that she was guilty in not. amputating the gangrened member at once to prevent its affecting the whole body. If her discipline prevents this, it should be promptly revised.

Shameful disorder is frequently manifested in church courts, The following taken from the report of the proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of N[orth] A[merica] by a secular paper should mantle the cheek with shame. Mr.—— denied all the charges complained of in the memorial and stated that the Presbytery did nothing but what was right and proper. His remarks brought the other side to their feet and a stormy scene similar to yesterday afternoon followed.

We repeat it, there can be no steadfastness in the faith without order. Col. 2:5. "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ." It is a strange statement to be found in a professedly Covenanter publication: "All regeneration must found itself on the germs of good left in the nature to be regenerated." This proposition is from an article published in the Christian Nation, May 9, 1864, and credited to the Spectator. If there are germs of good in human nature what hinders them, without grace, to spring up and to bear fruit to eternal life.

The sins pointed out in former causes of fasting are increasing in number and aggravations. Blood touches blood. The employment of dynamite to accomplish the wicked designs of bloody men, proves that the nineteenth century is not behind the dark ages in cruelty. Thefts, embezzlements, robberies and burglaries are of every day occurrence. Not even on railway trains are the lives and property of travelers safe.

Irresponsible associations of employees are permitted to seize the property of employers and not allow them to use it. Taxation implies protection; yet the aid given is heartless and inefficient, and rioters are allowed to shed blood almost with impunity, while officers who use their weapons in self-defense do so at the risk of their lives or liberty.

We are not the advocate of employers of labor. In every age they have been guilty of avarice and oppression; but the good order of society will not be promoted by permitting men under any pretense to deprive their fellowmen of their property or its use.

The failure of the attempt to close the World’s Fair on the Sabbath, manifests how little influence the Christian sentiment of the country possesses, and that the managers felt sure that there was little earnestness behind that movement. "How could those who kept open doors from Sabbath morning to midnight, expect that their efforts to close the gates of the World’s Fair would be regarded?"

It is certainly amazing that so-called Covenanters will persist in calling this a Christian nation when one-half, or fifty per cent., never attend any kind of public worship, 20 per cent. attend irregularly, leaving only 30 per cent. whose attendance is worth consideration. The great majority of these make a profession that is abominable to God, and which can only bring His wrath upon them. Gal. 1:8. "But though we or an angel front heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Why should such a preacher be accursed, if his doctrine is not destructive to the souls of men?

CAUSES OF THANKSGIVING.

Although our sins and shortcomings are many, we are still preserved in the land of the living under circumstances of much mercy.

God caused the earth to bring forth an abundant supply of food for man and beast.

While the judgments of God have been falling out on various parts of the earth, and on the land in which we dwell, yet we have been preserved both from the fury of the elements and the rage of ungodly men.

We still enjoy communion with [others] in word and sacrament, and have been permitted to confer, in a [way] competent to us, about the interests of our New Testament Zion.

The signs of the times indicate that that the time of the Church’s deliverance from anti-Christian tyranny is drawing near, and that she will ere long enjoy all the privileges purchased for her by her glorious Head; and also that the time is not far off when the vilest of men will no longer be advanced to power and trust in the nations, and when men shall "choose able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness," to be rulers over the people.

 

OBITUARY.

James Anderson, an elder of North Union congregation, departed this life February 20, 1894, in his eighty-second year.

The deceased was a firm and consistent Covenanter. Few, if any that knew him, ever doubted his piety. He loved his brethren, and was loved by them. He also loved the ordinances of Divine appointment above many.

When asked, a few weeks before his death, whether he ever repented of leaving the so-called Old Light Synod and uniting with the Reformed Presbytery, he replied with earnestness: "I NEVER HAVE, AND I TRUST I NEVER WILL."

To his children we may truly say, "Sorrow not as others, which have no hope."

We might say a great deal more, but our departed brother was no friend to modern obituaries. 

Footnote:

[1]It is said that several of this man’s brethren were also present, which we do not doubt but the one referred to is was reported as taking part in the discussions of that body.