Reformed Presbyterian Church.
HOUSE OF JAMES F. FULTON,
NORTH UNION, BUTLER CO., PA., June 8, 1903.
The General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, by agreement, met on the above date instead of the first day of June, and was opened with prayer.
Members present: James F. Fulton, minister; H.M. Hartzell, S.M. Hartzell, O.E. Hartzell, William Edgar, William Watson and James Blair, of Brownsdale. James Blair was continued Chairman.
The minutes of last meeting were read and approved. James F. Fulton, chairman of the committee on the Signs of the Times, reported that on account of continued ill health he had been unable to fulfill his appointment. His reason was sustained. The committee continued and directed to prepare report and have it published with the minutes.
The committee appointed to prepare a memorial on the death of George Love, reported. The report was accepted and is as follows:
MEMORIAL ON THE DEATH OF GEORGE LOVE.
Died in Clinton township, Butler county, Pa., December 21, 1901, George Love, in his 79th year.
Born of Covenanter parents, he followed their counsel and became a member of Lovejoy congregation under the pastorate of Rev. John Galbraith.
With others of his faithful brethren he was grieved at the steps of defection in the church of his youth; and always raised his voice in defense of the good old paths marked by the blood-stained footsteps of the martyrs of Jesus.
When the R.P. Synod, in 1871, adopted the Pittsburg Covenant he refused to be ensnared by that unholy bond; believing it in substance and by the avowed declaration of its framers, a virtual rejection of the National Covenant of Scotland and the Solemn League and Covenant of the three kingdoms. Remembering the Divine injunction, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil," he looked about for some body still standing on the rock of truth. He carefully studied the principles held by the Reformed Presbytery, convinced that they were the attainments of the Witnesses; he joined that body in 1873 and remained a firm and consistent member to the day of his death.
Mr. Love was a singer of uncommon ability and held the place of Precentor for about forty years. Of a mild and peaceful disposition, his credulity often led unprincipled men to prey upon his worldly substance. He was known and respected by a large circle of friends. His sickness, which lasted over a year, he bore with Christian resignation.
A short time before his death he said he was thankful that his eyes had been opened and his footsteps directed to the Reformed Presbytery though few in numbers and laughed to scorn, the principles they held were the attainments of the Second Reformation.
"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord * * * that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them."
The finance committee reported finances in same condition they were last year. The interest accruing on the funds hand was directed to be paid to James F. Fulton; the expense of publishing the minutes to be borne by him. The day’s of Fasting and Thanksgiving were observed. James F. Fulton, William Edgar, James Blair and S.M. Hartzell were appointed a committee on the Signs of the Times, to report at our next meeting.
The last Thursday of November, 1903, was appointed a day of Thanksgiving, and the last Thursday of February, 1904, day of fasting. The meeting adjourned with prayer to meet the call of the chairman.
JAMES BLAIR, Chairman.
H.M. HARTZELL, Permanent Clerk.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE SIGNS
OF THE TIMES IS AS FOLLOWS:
CAUSES OF FASTING.
The moral law revealed in the Bible is the only supreme and infallible rule for individual and social conduct. It is a revelation of the preceptive will of God, and a knowledge of is essential to salvation.
It is the province of the church, through her officers, to interpret and apply this law to individuals and society; to make a faithful application of the Divine law they must have, "Understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do." 1 Chron. 12:32.
The family, the church, and the state are the integral parts of divinely organized society. In attempting to ascertain the relation these bear to each other and to God; we readily find many causes of deep humiliation before Him, who, "Shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Rom. 2:16.
1. In respect to ourselves we are called to bewail our natural guilt and depravity, our proneness to sin and slackness in duty. The understanding, created to know God’s will, is full of darkness. The heart, instead of being the abode of righteousness, is full of evil thoughts. Our affections are too much set on the things of time and sense, and those which pertain to our soul’s eternal salvation are often neglected. The desires are earthly, sensual, devilish. "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Is. 64:6.
2. Pride. We are prone to glory in our own wisdom and ability. The desire of earthly applause is too often in our hearts; "The praise of men more than the praise of God." John 12:43.
We do not sufficiently consider how vile we are, and the great excellence of humility.
3. Want of brotherly love. "Love one another with a pure heart fervently." 1 Pet. 1:22. Lack of due preparation for the holy Sabbath. Misimprovement of precious time and precious privileges. When we consider these and many other sins, each one may say as David: "Mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me." Ps. 38:4.
When we, "Look upon Zion the city of our solemnities." Is. 33:20. "Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; her king and princes are among the Gentiles; the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord." Lam. 2:9. "There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth." Is. 51:18. "Truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth." Jer. 7:28
1. We discover great lukewarmness with respect to the church of the living God. While professed Christians run hither and thither to attend upon their own inventions, there is no inquiry what the church is as to her institution or constitution, what are her officers, ordinances, lawful assemblies, or how each one should behave himself, "In the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." 1 Tim. 3:15.
The pastors, whose duty is to show the people the laws of God’s house, neither know nor wish to know them. "Thou son of man show the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern." Ezek. 43:10.
While a stiffnecked people say, to the pastors: "Prophesy unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophecy deceits." Is. 30:10.
This willful ignorance proclaims that they do not belong to Christ’s Witnessing Church; she has ever been noted for keeping pure and entire everything belonging to her Divinely appointed order and doctrine.
For this they suffered the loss of all earthly comforts; imprisonment, banishment and even death.
2. Among professors, there is a general falling away from the doctrines formerly held, whether true or false. This is a precursor of anarchy and skepticism; or the adoption of principles more baneful to man’s spiritual and temporal interests, than the former doctrines were.
The least departure from the truths sealed by the blood of the martyrs is especially dangerous. It is a step downward—a step toward the anti-christian camp; and the unhappy apostate seldom fails of being finally enrolled under the devil’s banner, and becoming an inveterate enemy of that church which applies the Measuring Reed to test all doctrines whether they be truth.
3. The doctrines of God’s word are stigmatized as mere fictions utterly to be disregarded in man’s moral conduct. Personal feeling is substituted for the graces of the Holy Spirit. This betrays the most lamentable ignorance of the cause of the destruction of nations and churches.
Not understanding the doctrines of the scriptures concerning Jesus Christ and the atonement wrought by him; and substituting their own dogmas for the doctrines of the Old Testament, caused the destruction of the Jews. The bitter oppressions and hardships they endure to this very day, have arisen from their rejection of the Savior. "Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." Rom. 9:31. "For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God." Chap. 10:3.
4. The Presbyterian Church has placed herself clearly in the outer court by trampling underfoot the attainments of the witnesses.
Pretending to improve the language and make clear the meaning: she has cast aside all the cardinal truths of The Westminster Confession of Faith—which is a summary of the faithful contendings of the martyrs of Jesus up to 1644. It’s truths have been sealed by their blood; and God will esteem as dishonor done to him all defacing the carved walls of Zion. "He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye." Zech. 2:8.
5. Vital Godliness is utterly lacking in most professors of religion. Individuals and families live and act as heathens. Parents sinfully ignorant of the covenant boldly demand an application of its seals to themselves and children; office bearers too readily comply admitting to full church privileges multitudes who neglect secret prayer; who have thrown down the family altar; and daily lay up in store the wrath of God against their souls by taking His holy name in vain; While pastors are often chief in the trespass. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16.
The Presbyterian Church has licensed men, who say that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth. What will they preach? Assuredly not the gospel; for, the denial of Adam as our covenant head strikes at the foundation of all religion. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22. Another evidence of the decline of godliness is the immense amount of money expended on edifices for worship and embellishing them with statuary and paintings; following hard after the Mother of Harlots.
A feverish missionary spirit pervades all churches. Glowing reports are published of the good being done and the number of heathen converted. A stream cannot rise higher than its source. The missionaries will not make better converts than they are themselves. "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." Mat. 23:15.
The ignoring of authentic history by the R.P. church shows blindness of mind. No church can exist without history. The Covenanted church is necessarily and essentially a historical church as all her distinctive names plainly indicate to every intelligent person.
When we look upon the nations, we behold society, in a chaotic state. "All the foundations of the earth are out of course." Ps. 82:5. Vices and crimes the most unnatural and revolting are rampant.
1. Murder in all its forms, is daily committed, while many escape without punishment, thus encouraging iniquity. "The land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of Him that shed it." Num. 35:33
2. Uncleanness, which rears her horrid head on every side, not only permitted, but licensed by public authority, destroys more than any other vice in the land.
3. All the ways which the ingenuity of man can invent are employed to defraud every man his brother. There is injustice and unfaithfulness in matters of trust. Mutual distrust exists between employer and employee; each endeavoring to rob the other. They swear falsely one to another, and, "From the least of them even unto the greatest of them everyone is given to covetousness." Jer. 6:13.
4. The earth is deluged with a mighty flood of error, which the dragon has cast out of his month to destroy the Woman. Many false Christs and false teachers are abroad in the land, "To seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." Mark 13:22.
5. Throughout the length and breadth of the earth, man, who was created to glorify God, profanes the Holy Sabbath. It is made a day of pleasure, by excursions to parks and places of amusement; a day of profit, by performing all kinds of work. "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Jer. 5:9. There is no better index of the character of an individual, family, church or nation, than to see how they observe God’s Holy Day. It is: "A sign between me and you, that ye may known that I am the Lord your God." Ezek. 20:20.
6. All the nations of the world maintain their attitude of hostility to the Lord and his Anointed: saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." Luke 19:14. Those who bear civil rule, and those whom they represent are everywhere harmonious in this unholy conspiracy. A time serving ministry are greatly to blame, who preach smooth things and deceits to the people, not proclaiming Jesus Christ as "King of Kings and Lord of Lords." Nor do they set forth the duty of magistrates, as keepers of both tables of the law, to minister to and protect God’s true Church and it only. "The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." Is. 60:12.
7. During the last year the Lord has poured out many judgments on the earth; yet, men continue in their course of sin and rebellion, refusing to be admonished. They will not believe that the evils which befall them are the judgments of God; but ascribe all their misfortunes to natural causes. Thus they act worse than the heathen, who ascribed all the evils that befell them to the wrath of their gods. This generation not only disregards God and his holy law but acts in defiance of his righteous judgments by rebuilding the rendezvouses of wickedness which God overthrew in his righteous indignation. They run upon the thick bosses of Jehovah’s bucklers; and consider not what an evil and bitter thing it is to offend Him, before whom even devils tremble. But they shall know in judgments by rebuilding their rendezvouses of wickedness, which God overthrew in his righteous indignation. They run upon the think bosses of Jehovah’s bucklers; and consider not what an evil and bitter thing it is to offend Him, before whom even devils tremble.
But they shall know in that day, when they say to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb." Rev. 6:16.
8. Poor, ignorant, vain, men professing to know more than the All Wise God who made them; say that the work of creation was not accomplished in six natural days, as we are told in the scriptures of truth. "Professing themselves to be wise they became fools." Rom. 1:22.
These and many other sins call for mourning and lamentation. We live in portentous times. There is great unrest in society; and evidence that the Lord is about to come "Out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Is. 26:21.
Though few and despised we feel assured that the cause is the Lord’s, and if the Lord be on our side, we need not fear for anything that man can do. We may not say, "A confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say a confederacy." Is. 8:12.
It would be at the peril of our immortal souls to join with backsliders in pulling down a covenanted work of reformation; but our duty is, to walk about the walls of Zion, to cry aloud and spare not, to lift up the voice like a trumpet; peradventure some may turn from the error of their own way to serve the living and true God.
CAUSES OF THANKSGIVING.
1. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lam. 3:22. We have peace and quietness in the portion of land in which we dwell. The earth has yielded a goodly portion of her increase for the support of man and beast.
2. We still enjoy some of the ordinances. God’s holy Word is accessible to all in this land, and the dark portions of the earth are being illuminated by its light.
3. We have reason to believe that our Lord still has disciples throughout the earth, hidden ones, who have not the fortitude to shine as lights in the world.
4. There is evidence the Gracious Lord will soon send a reviving time to Zion; the darkest hour is just before dawn.
5. We are glad to see that some are having their eyes opened to see the evil and immoral tendency of Sunday Schools, Christian Endeavor Societies and kindred affiliations.
6. Some effort is being made to prevent the profanation of the Holy Sabbath, and although little has been accomplished, yet, God may put into men’s hearts to search and see how His Holy Day is to be observed.
7. Science and art are still advancing with rapid strides, bringing all nations of the earth into closer communication; thus opening avenues for the spread of the Gospel, when the Lord shall send forth His word in spirit and in power.
Looking at God’s providences in the light of His word we see many other things which call forth our gratitude to the giver of all good; and say to us, "O give thanks unto the God of heaven for His mercy endureth forever." Ps. 136:26.
SOME OBJECTIONS NOTICED.
Few and despised, we are men wondered at, and laughed to scorn.
And although the objections to our position have been irrefutably answered time and again by our beloved standard bearers, we will restate some of the most common, popular and plausible.
1. What good do you few expect to do sitting in a corner? Why don’t you come out and hear good preaching, and mingle with society?
Noah, Nehemiah and many other of the faithful heard the same cry; it has echoed and re-echoed through the ages. We answer in the words of Nehemiah, "We are doing a great work," we are testifying for the crown rights and royal prerogatives of King Jesus, they, who consider this nothing, we leave to the judge of all the earth. Occasional hearing is a shaft which the devil has used with wonderful success to break down the covenanted work of Reformation.
No church which permits its members to go where, and fear whom they please, can be a witnessing church. The charge against the Israelites was: They were mingled with the heathen and learned their works. Intercourse with corrupt churches is just as bad. We utter a solemn warning to those who see the degeneracy of the bodies to which they belong, yet stay in communion with them, that they are jeopardizing their immortal souls. Every one in the communion of a body is chargeable with the sins of that body whether he approve or disapprove of its actions. The Divine command is, "Come out from among them and be ye separate." 2 Cor. 6:17. "Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly." 2 Thes. 3:6. Corrupt churches are never reclaimed, but go on to destruction; while individuals may come out and take a higher position.
2. "You think nobody right but yourselves." Certainly; in the points wherein others differ from us; or else we would be acting the part of hypocrites, and the deceitful man is abhorred of God. Ps. 5:6.
3. "Do not be so strenuous and stubborn about small points of doctrine."
However small it may appear to men, no truth is small in God’s sight. If right, we must not give up one jot or tittle. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith quit you like men, be strong." 1 Cor. 16:13 God’s truths are not ours to do as we please with; they are entrusted to us to be kept pure and entire; and, if we surrender them we are traitors to Jehovah. Awful thought!
4. From some quarters we hear, "There is not enough difference to keep your body and the Old Light R.P. synod apart." Very well then; come to us, we are willing to receive all who repent of their divisive courses and sincerely seek the "Good old paths;" but we cannot join with them. The body calling themselves the "Old Light Synod," have lost all claim to be a witnessing church. What can they witness against? They unite with men of all religions and no religion in so-called National Reform. They have disowned history as testimony. Discarded the renovation of the Covenants at Auchensaugh, and practically renounced the Covenants themselves. They drink deeply from the fountain and origin of all our sinful departures from the Covenanted Work of Reformation, Occasional Hearing. They strengthen men in their evil ways, and lull their consciences to the sleep of eternal death, by funeral sermons. Their idols; Sunday Schools, Christian Endeavor Societies and kindred associations receive their homage. We might go on enumerating points of difference; but think those given sufficient, so that all who want to see can discover a wide distinction in our doctrine and practice from that of the R.P. Synod.
If our feeble efforts may be the means of directing any who are in darkness what to do, may the glory redound to Him, who doeth whatsoever pleaseth him m the armies of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth Arise, O God, plead thine own cause Ps 74:22.