OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE
House of Mr. Robert Scott, Logan co., O[hio]., Oct. 23d, 1844.
Presbytery met according to adjournment, and was constituted by prayer. Members present,—Rev. Robert Lusk, Moderator; Rev. David Steele; Matthew Mitchell, from the session of Miami congregation; and Matthew Mitchell, from the session of Xenia and Massie’s Creek congregation—ruling elders.
On motion, Rev. R. Lusk was continued Moderator, owing to the indisposition of Rev. D. Steele; M. Mitchell was, on motion, continued Clerk.
The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. The following amendment was ordered, to render the record more minute—Mr. Ralston’s appearance in court, noted p. 307 of the C[ontending] Witness, precedes action on the report of the committee on paper No. 1,—noted in the last published minutes, page 306.
The court proceeded to unfinished business. Inquiry was made, whether Rev. D. Steele had fulfilled his appointment to Mercer co. Pa. He answered in the affirmative.
The committee appointed to have in readiness the causes of fasting and thanksgiving, being called upon to report, were unprepared. On motion, the court ordered this committee to be in readiness to report tomorrow. On motion, adjourned to meet here tomorrow at 11 o’clock A. M. Closed with prayer.
Same place, Oct. 24th, 11 o’clock A. M.
Court met and was constituted by prayer, The members were all present. Mr. Robert Scott was invited to a seat as a consultative member. He accepted the invitation.
The committee on causes of fasting &c., reported. Mr. John French, on invitation, took his seat as a consultative member of court. The report on causes &c., was, on motion accepted; and being read and examined paragraph by paragraph, the document was amended. Mr. Nathan Johnson, ruling elder, from Greenfield, appeared in court and his name was added to the roll as a member of Presbytery. After examination and amendment, the report on causes of fasting and thanksgiving was adopted, and is as follows:
THE CAUSES OF FASTING.
Man, endowed with powers by his Creator and Lord, by which he is capable of reflection and of action, should constantly bear in mind his accountability for the deeds done in the body; that after death is the judgment,—an award rendered according to the actions of individual and social life—a destiny irreversibly fixed. In view of these indisputable facts, how assiduously should our ways be pondered, our actions and relations weighed: and since such awful responsibility attaches, how carefully should the best guides be consulted, the best way chosen, and the marks of that way understood and regarded, that in the end, when we shall have finished our course, it may appear that we have kept the faith, attained to the perfection of our nature, Eph. 5:12, and be greeted, well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.
From the concurrence of prophecy and providential developments, in the times wherein we live, the attentive observer may be fully apprised that there is a great work upon the wheels. Few comparatively of the professors of religion, are redeemed from the earth of antichristianism; and the difficulties which these few have to encounter, who stand on Mount Zion with their glorious Lord, are counted but small matters by the anti-christian communities of the day—the agencies of the Dragon. Rev. 14:3, 4; 12:7. Deriving instruction from the word of God, the history of past generations, the examples of the flock that has gone before, the aspect of the times and the state of society, the christian, Issachar-like of old, (1 Chron. 12:32.) should know what Israel ought to do. When judgments are abroad in the earth—God manifesting his controversy with Zion, the citizens thereof, who profess subjection to Immanuel, should be learning righteousness, and the way whereby to escape the wrath to come; seeing providential aspects would intimate, that the time is not very distant, when will be realized the declaration, in actual fulfilment:—The day of vengeance is in mine heart, because the year of my redeemed is come. Isa. 63:4.
In view of these alarming considerations the language of every person who wishes well to himself and to social order should be;—Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, (Jehovah) and bow myself before the high God? Micah 6:6. The answer is subjoined, which should be intelligently and conscientiously exemplified,—He hath showed, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord (Jehovah) require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. v. 8. But in order to compliance with this direction,—mercy must be sought, grace obtained, repentance manifested by acknowledging transgression: so as with engagedness of heart and fixedness of purpose, in the strength of promised grace, to walk in all the commandments and ordinances of God blamelessly.—The following specifications are submitted, in view of the solemn work of humiliation.
And 1. Various and extensive idolatry is prevalent in our time. Gods made by men, are worshipped and served more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Rom. 1:25.—Witness the civil governments of the day, pronounced by the voice of inspiration—Beasts,—yea, wild beasts,—beasts of prey—Bloody, tyrannical and idolatrous.—The papacy and its filiations.—Candidates for office,—the creatures of partisan partiality and devotion. All these are creatures of man’s making, and objects of his devotion, acting in opposition, to the requisitions, and regardless of the authority of God; and also in violation of the voluntary obligations under which the recipients of the seals—baptism and the Lord’s supper come, in submitting to these sacramental ordinances.
2. Much precious time and valuable property are worse than wasted by the devotees of these idolatrous observances.—How much time is consumed in their processions, ceremonies and trainings.—How much property is squandered as devoted to sacrifice in these idolatrous observances? Are such as act thus, doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God?—Obedience is better than such sacrifice.
3. Gambling prevails as heretofore,—political, ecclesiastical and in common life.—Betting on the election of a favorite. This is complicated wickedness.
4. Aristocracy abounds.—The few lead the many, in civil and ecclesiastical relations.
5. Excitement is kept up by these political and ecclesiastical leaders for carnal ends; so that society is in constant agitation—the unwary, the thoughtless, the ignorant and the mercenary are taken; and religion has too generally become a sordid system of amusement to the sense, rather than a corrective of the heart, and guide to the understanding.
6. General immorality is often countenanced, and too seldom restrained by moral guardians of social order—ecclesiastical, civil and domestic.
7. Divine institutions are not prized nor improved—often set at naught or new modeled.
An inquiry from these considerations, forces itself on the mind of the thoughtful:—Who are chargeable with opening the flood-gates of error and wickedness, that a generation may be elevated, who are so deeply stained with immorality; and characterized by such flagrant enormities? as are causes of fasting, mourning and supplication—a rending of the heart and not the garments?—
1. Parents, by inattention to the exercise of that authority, of which they are made by God the depositories; and for the exercise of which, to him they must render an account. In domestic relationship, parents must see that youthful lust be restrained—unsanctified ambition curbed—docility and circumspection inculcated; and a regard cherished toward their superiors and equals; on the ground of the authority of God, and in accordance with the fifth precept of the moral law. But although both parents and children are candidates for an unalterable destination; the means of divine appointment are too seldom regarded and more rarely exemplified. Is the domestic altar surrounded, morning and evening? Is religious instruction furnished, or the sabbath duly sanctified? In social life, do parents restrain their charge from immoral and vicious company; and in education, from the superintendence of any and of all, who are given to dissemble; or who are destitute of frankness, simplicity and dignity—be their literacy acquisitions what they may?—Disposition is specially to be regarded in a teacher, as the principle of imitation is so deeply seated in the human constitution, and so soon developed in youth.
2. The trustees of literacy institutions are deeply involved and chargeable with the immoralities of the time. They regard not generally disposition in the teacher; yea, when even fully apprised of his double dealing and want to frankness and dignity, dismiss him not immediately. Thus they become the patrons of deception and hypocrisy.
3. Ecclesiastical officers are deeply involved. To those who minister holy things, pertains the supervision of Religion and morals. They as watchmen, are under awful responsibility: yet how few make themselves familiar with the state of society; and warn, exhort, entreat or rebuke, as the case may be,—as their commission and oath of office demand:—jeopardizing at once their own souls, and those of them that hear them! Ex. 3:17-21.
Faithfulness in the discharge of duty will be found best in the end,—the claims of ignorance, timidity, avarice or man-pleasing, to the contrary notwithstanding. The whole range of social life and order, falling under their cognizance, not only positive evils; but also the ways, and instruments of seduction should be regarded, and the voice of rebuke and of warning be raised, which should reach from the cottage to the throne. And if all be disregarded, let the voice not falter, but proceed to denounce the judgments of God upon the impenitent. Isa. 3:11. Rev. 14:9, 10.
4. The people are accessory. Is there not so much virtue or common sense to be found among them, as to rebuke the waywardness of ministers, legislators and politicians? and if ineffectual, cast them off—count the relation and authority void, 1 Cor. 11:1. Let the people but say the word, with firmness and resolution; and they will soon be rid of the claims of aristocracy, deceitful teachers and mere gamblers as guides. They will expose the ignorance, or hypocrisy of those who prefer mere conventional regulations, to the great principles of the moral law - such as the tariff and United States bank, to holding men in bondage,—robbing them of all their rights. The thief and the robber are, by the divine law subjected to capital punishment. Ex. 21:16. Of course the slaveholder, having by the law of God, forfeited his life, cannot be entrusted with power, without involving the constituents in an aggravated crime, prohibited by infinite wisdom. Should the people say the word—unhallowed associations would be abandoned. This has been already exemplified in our country, in reference to Free-Mason Lodges. These, in relation to the murder of Morgan, set at nought all the forms and provisions of law; yet withered by the popular breath: and that ceasing to blow, those “unhallowed clubs” are revived.
CAUSES OF THANKSGIVING.
However portentous the aspects of providence—betokening wrath and desolation to the anti-christian communities of the day:—matter of thanksgiving and praise is abundantly furnished for the humble disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus, who rules over all—causing the wrath of man to praise him and saying to the combinations of the enemy,—hitherto shalt thou come, and no further.
His faithfulness is as much pledged by promise to his covenant people of this generation as of old to his people in Egypt, in order to strengthen their faith and induce an unwavering reliance upon him. Jehovah is still a covenant title, importing an external defence (shield) and an abundant satisfaction (exceeding great reward) to his people; and also the avenger of their wrongs upon all impenitent foes.
Long have been going up to the hearer of prayer, the petitions—thy kingdom come—the kingdom of grace advanced—of satan destroyed, and of glory hastened. And long have the “redeemed from the earth” been crying;—How long Lord dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. The promise is,—I will shake the heavens and the earth—anti-christian communities, ecclesiastical and civil; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen. Hag. 2:22.
1. The period of Zion’s sojourning in the wilderness, appears from prophecy and concurring providences, to be drawing to a close. Civil government are shaking, and dismemberment is apprehended by their votaries. The shaking, however it may be estimated by those in power, is in order to be overthrown.—Ecclesiastical communities, in what form soever they countenance the powers that be, promise no permanency. What of old was history, in order to the accomplishing of the promise, relative to the land of Canaan; may now be viewed as prophecy in relation to the promise, constituting Abraham heir of the world. Rom. 4:11, 13.—Gen. 12:3; 17:2, 4, 5.—But I am Jehovah thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared; Jehovah of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundation of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. Isa. 57:15, 16.
That the promise unto Abraham, or in other words, that the saints—Abraham’s heirs according to the promise. Gal. 3:29, may take the kingdom, and possess it forever, Dan. 7:22, 27; the opposing communities—Babylon, the mother and her harlot daughters, must go, as it is written of them; in order to the planting of the heavens—ecclesiastical government—and laying the foundations of the earth—civil rule, and say unto Zion, in her millennial splendor,—thou art my people. The shaking of antichristian communities; the dismemberments which have taken place, and are still in progress; would seem to imitate, that efficacy is a giving to the command,—Come out of her my people. Truth has been the gainer, in the secessions which have been effected—the minority leaving the corrupt body; and as to those in progress, some one or more points will be gained.
2. Individual rights continue to be claimed, however confused the conceptions of person may be, as to their origin and exercise.
3. A pleasure is felt in the dust of Zion. Important documents, long since enacted and forgotten, or held in contempt; are brought to light; and thus the curiosity, the taste and the cravings of the age; will bring the readers to an acquaintance with measures of olden time, and with men of whom the world was not worthy. Hence the “Reminiscences, Anecdotes, Traditions, History” &c. of the Covenanters.
4. Moral character, as before, is by some advocated as proper to be kept in view, in relation to a candidate for office.
5. Slaveholders, Freemasons, and Oddfellows, are excluded from fellowship, by several communities.
6. Education, as to general sentiment, is more highly esteemed than in former times.
7. The mind of man, in some instances, awakes to oppose arbitrary measures in church and state.
Rev. R. Lusk was appointed to moderate in a call, in Miami congregation, at his earliest convenience; in compliance with their petition of last spring; and also to administer the sacrament of the Lord’s supper in the same, on sabbath week.
The court then, on motion, adjourned, to meet on Monday next week, in the bounds of Miami congregation, at the call of the Moderator. Closed with prayer.
R. LUSK, Mod.
M. MITCHELL, Clk.