OF THE PROCEEDING OF THE
Brush Creek meeting house, Adams Co. O. June 2, 1845.
The Ref[orme]d Presby[tery] met according to adjournment, and was constituted by prayer. The following members were present:—Rev. Robert Lusk, Mod[erator] Rev. David Steele, and Mr. Samuel W. Couser, ruling elder. The election of officers was deferred at present. Messrs. T. Ralston, and W. M’Kinley being present, were invited to seats as consultative members. They accepted the invitation. Rev. D. Steele was called to act as Clerk pro tem.
The minutes of last meeting being read and approved, papers were called for. There was a petition from Mercer, Co. Pa. asking supplies, which for the time was laid on the table.
The following petition was also presented:—To the Reformed Presbytery to meet at Brush-creek, on the first Monday of June, 1845.
Rev. Fathers and Brethren,—
Your petitioner would request you to repeal your act “submitting the Testimony in overture,” passed in May last.
Your petitioner would farther ask, that if, in your judgment there are sentiments in the American Testimony contrary to the other standards of the church; you would appoint the ministerial members of the Presbytery to make the proper corrections and submit these in overture for the people’s considerations.
June 2d, 1845.
After some remarks on the general sentiment of this paper, the court, on motion, adjourned to meet here tomorrow at 11 O’clock A. M.—Closed with prayer.
Same place, June 3d. 11 O’Clock A. M.
Court met agreeably to adjournment, and constituted by prayer. Members present as above, except Wm. M’Kinley, who afterwards appeared.
Rev. D. Steele was, on motion, chosen Mod. and Mr. Thomas Ralston appointed Clerk. After some farther remarks on the aforementioned petition, adjourned by prayer to meet here at 4 o’clock P. M.
Agreeably to adjournment, Presbytery met and constituted by prayer. Members present as above.—
Proceeded to the consideration of Mr. Ralston’s petition. Some progress was made in supplying the defects in the Declaratory part of “Reformation Principles Exhibited,” when on motion, the court adjourned to meet here tomorrow at 11 o’clock A. M.
Same place, June 4th. 11 O’Clock A. M.
Court met and constituted by prayer. Present members as before, except M’Kinley.
Resumed the business in which the court had made progress yesterday; namely, supplying defects in the Declaratory part of Ref[ormation] P[rinciples] Ex[habited]. The amendments having been approved, they were ordered to be inserted in their proper connexions severally.
The action of Presby. in this matter is subjoined.—
In relation to the petition presented by Mr. Ralston, the following order was taken:—
Inasmuch as sufficient time, it is thought, has elapsed since the documents contemplated, were laid before the people for their consideration: and although verbal amendments on the Declaratory part have been frequently suggested; yet none have been presented in writing:—And whereas former action of this court in relation to “Reformation Principles Exhibited,” has been by some misapprehended—notwithstanding a rule furnished for judging in the case:—And moreover, the Declaratory part having been previously in overture, and objections for a length of time, obtaining against obvious defects in that document: it would appear that action in the case cannot be considered premature.
As to the “Historical View” the facts in the case are different:—First,—It came to the people aside from the channel of presbyterian order, not having been presented for their examination, so far as we have legal evidence in the case. Second,—The “Historical View” is declared to be “no article of faith,” and moreover,—“should not be incorporated with the confession of the Church’s faith:” (See Preface to Ref. Prin. Ex.) and yet it is declared in the same Historical view, that history was a component part of the “bond of connexion—and of one of the terms upon which our fathers joined together in ministerial and christian communion.” page 115. Edition 1835. Third,—Some important and prominent doctrines of the Church, are by this instrument, rendered void in their application. According to this principle the Church would be deprived of a rule to direct her members in relation to the civil and ecclesiastical communities of our time:—Such as, an oath of allegiance,—holding office,—exercising the elective franchise—acting as jurors,—and what is usually denominated occasional hearing.
In order to supply the deficiencies in the Declaratory part; let the following amendment be inserted: viz.
CHAP. II.—SEC. 2.—“Man is a free agent, unconscious of restraint in his volitions by the execution of the immutable decree of God; and it is not possible” &c.
C. XXI.—S. 4.—“It is the duty of a christian to pray for the Church of Christ: to inquire diligently into her scriptural character, and to seek covenant blessings in her communions.”
C. XXI.—S. 5.—“If the majority should violate the terms upon which church members were united: it is lawful for the minority to testify against the defection, and to walk by the rule of their former attainments. And when any community, assuming to be the church of Christ, imposes sinful terms of communion—when the constitution is antiscriptural—when the administration is corrupt, and attempts at its reformation have proved ineffectual; it is the duty of christian to separate from it.—COME OUT OF HER. Rev. 18:4.
C. XXVI.—S. 4.—add,—“It is competent to the civil magistrate in a heathen land, to call to national fasting or thanksgiving; but to the Church, it pertains as imperative duty, where the nation organized on scriptural principles.” Jonah 3:7. Jer. 13:18.
Same. C. and Sec.—Error 3, Add,—“in a heathen nation.”
Chap. XXIX.—Error 3. “That civil government is not to be regulated in constitution, and administration by the word of God.”
Deeming it proper for the time, to continue the “”Historical View” in overture; it is thought expedient to furnish the following general rules to aid in forming an estimate of such a document.
First,—The history of the Church should be a record of the faithfulness of God in his dealings with his own covenant people.
Second,—Her faithfulness amidst manifold trials, in keeping covenant with God.
Third,—Her ingenuous confession of sin committed, and acknowledgment of guilt contracted; and these before God and the world.
Fourth,—Her holding fast attainments and pressing on to perfection, together with a consistent and faithful testimony against all opposition.
While thus applying these, or the like rules, in the examination of the “Historical view,” let it be borne in mind, that the application of the doctrines of the church is still binding. We therefore deem it proper, as in other cases, to reiterate the declaration,—That no member of the church, without contracting guilt, in the present state of society, can take the oath of allegiance to the government of these United States, hold office, exercise the elective franchise, act as a juror, or hold communion in other bodies, by what is commonly styled OCCASIONAL HEARING.
In the meantime it is requested that the members of the Church, forward their remarks on the “Historical View” in writing to this court at next meeting.
In relation to the petition from Mercer Co. Pa.—supplies were promised so far as providence may enable.
As there was representation from Miami congregation, their call as presented at last meeting, was continued on Presbytery’s table.
The minutes were read and approved, when the court, on motion, adjourned to meet at Xenia on the last Monday of May, 1846.
Closed with prayer.
D. STEELE, Modr.
T. RALSTON, Clk.