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Subjects

Anti-Tolerance Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience

James Dodson

There is no liberty of conscience to sin. For example, known obstinate  witches must be punished.

There is no liberty of conscience to sin. For example, known obstinate  witches must be punished.

"It was justice, not cruelty, yea mercy to the Church of God, to take away the life of Servetus, who used such spirituall and diabolick cruelty to many thousand soules, whom he did pervert, and by his Booke, does yet lead into perdition."—Samuel Rutherfurd, A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. (1649).

 

Works Concerned with Dispelling False Liberty of Conscience:

 

Of Judgment, and the Office of the Judge; that Christians are not Forbidden to Judge.-1549-Henry Bullinger (1504-1575).-A sermon outlining the duties and responsibilities of the magistrates together with a defense of Christians holding this office.

The Execution of Servetus for Blasphemy, Heresy & Obstinate Anabaptism, Defended.-1560-John Knox.-Mr. Knox takes up the case of the burning of Servetus; he declares the various wicked opinions of the man and defends the right and duty of the magistrate to execute such obstinate heretics.

Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty.-1644-George Gillespie.-A tract concerning the extent and application of the laws of the Bible in the civil affairs of nations with a discussion of how this comports with liberty of conscience.

A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ, and to our Solemn League and Covenant;-1648-London Ministers (many of whom were Westminster Divines).-A somewhat lengthy testimony against the numerous heresies and errors which were circulating contrary to the doctrine of the Westminster Confession making these against the Solemn League and Covenant.

Samuel Rutherfurd's Preface to his Survey of Spirituall Antichrist.

A Testimony of the Ministers in the Province of Salop, to the Truth of Jesus Christ and to the Solemn League and Covenant,-1648-Ministers of the Province of Salop.-One of many testimonies issued around this time in support of the Solemn League and Covenant, it was signed by many English ministers who opposed the toleration and heresies of the various Independents and Sectaries of their day.

A Solemn Testimony Against Toleration.-1649-Commissioners of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.-This is a testimony against the principles of toleration that were afoot in England at that time with arguments against it and a description of the divine doom such toleration incurs.

Whether it be Lawful, Just, & Expedient, that there be an Ordinance of Parliament for the Taking of the Solemn League & Covenant, By All Persons in the Kingdom, Under a Considerable Penalty.-1649-George Gillespie.-An essay designed to explain both the necessity of enforcing the Solemn League and the duty of requiring all persons who are capable in the kingdom to take this as their own vow under threat of civil penalties.

A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ.-1659-Ministers of Perth and Fife.-A joint testimony against the various corruptions and defections plaguing the once reformed Church of Scotland by a group of Protestor ministers.

Some Considerations Contributing unto the Discovery of the Dangers that threaten Religion,-1660-James Guthrie.-This is a plea which raises concern over ten dangers that threaten the cause of covenanted reformation in Scotland, including ignorance, toleration and division.

Thirty-Fourth Question: The Political Government of the Church.-1685-Francis Turretin (1623-1687).-In this section, there is a comprehensive overview of the issues, limits and duties of the civil magistrate in all matters circa sacra together with a defense of punishing obstinate heretics.

A Preface.-1783-John Howie (1735-1793).-This preface contains one of Howie's classic essays against the flood of toleration that was then sweeping Scotland which, he believed (and has proven true), would bring destruction to the interests of the covenanted reformation and with it all concern for true religion.

Essay on Tolerance.-1823-James Renwick Willson.-In this essay, Mr. Willson attacks one of the most cherished false doctrines of his day and ours, the wicked notion that tolerance is always a good position in religious matters.

The Christian Magistrate: A Discourse.-1832-Thomas Houston.-An excellent survey of the qualifications and duties of the civil magistrate.  Houston is particularly helpful to explain how a Christian magistrate is responsible to establish the true religion and his power circa sacra. His discussion of punishing heretics and idolaters required a full length defense which he issued the following year. This is a strong indictment of theological liberalism and its tendencies.

The Reviewer Reviewed, and The Covenanter and Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Vindicated, from the Perversions and Groundless Allegations of the Rev. John Paul, in a Pamphlet, Entitled, "The Covenanter Reviewed & Persecution Condemned."-1833-Thomas Houston.-A vigorous defense of his discourse on the Christian Magistrate from charges of being contrary to the received doctrine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Houston demonstrates the depth of historical support for this doctrine.  This pamphlet also has much to teach about historical testimony and the engagement to walk in the footsteps of the flock.

Argument On The Magistrate’s Power Circa-Sacra. [Published as an Overture.]-1834-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, written by Rev. William Sloane, who was a member of the Synod, defends the Reformed position the power of the magistrate circa sacra. It does so contrasting this view against that of Erastians and those who hold to religious toleration.

Baptism

James Dodson

Covenanters dispensing the ordinance of baptism.

Covenanters dispensing the ordinance of baptism.

The Meaning And Mode Of Christian Baptism Homepage

"Why is it the will of God that unbelievers and impenitent sinners should not be baptized? It is because he denies them the grace, he will not grant them the sign. If, therefore, God denies the sign to the infant seed of believers, it must be because he denies them the grace of it; and then all the children of believing parents dying in their infancy, must without hope perish."—James Milligan, A Plea for Infant Baptism. (1818).

 

Works On The Meaning And Mode Of Baptism: 

 

A Sermon of the Baptizing of Infants.-1644-Stephen Marshall.-A sermon by one of the Westminster divines showing the continuity of the Covenant of Grace between the Old and New Testaments and its implications for the baptizing of infants.

On Infant-Baptisme.-1649-George Gillespie.-This is a short chapter in defense of infant baptism against some of the assertions of Mr. John Tombes, a Presbyterian who held antipædobaptist views.

The Church Membership of Children, and Their Right to Baptism.-1662-Thomas Shepard (1605-1649).-A treatise on the inclusion of children in the church covenant and their entitlement to the sacrament of baptism by New England Puritan and minister to Harvard University.

Vindiciæ Legis et Fœderis-1690-John Flavel.-A defense of infant baptism wherein it is shown that the continuity of the law whether in the Covenant of Works, in the covenant of circumcision with Abraham or at Sinai are all the same and altogether distinct from the Gospel.

A Discourse on the Nature, the Proper Subjects, and the Benefits of Baptism.-1808-Samuel Stanhope Smith (1751-1819).-A sermon defending the baptism of infants together with a discussion of why Presbyterians baptize using sprinkling or pouring rather than immersion.

The Waldenses no Anabaptists, but Presbyterians.-1838-Samuel Miller.-Written at the request of Mr. James Wharey, for his small history of the church, this brief appendix contains Miller's learned opinion that the Waldenses practiced infant baptism.

The Substance of some Discourses on Baptism;-1846-John Black.-This is a very good summary of Black's discourses on baptism. The first portion defends the doctrine of infant baptism; the second portion is devoted to the defense of sprinkling as a proper mode of baptism.

Card-Playing, Dicing and the Use of Lots in Gaming

James Dodson

An idle apprentice caught gaming with dice.

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE USE OF THE LOT FOR GAMING.

"Cards and dice I reject entirely and would consign them to the carrion-pit."—Ulrich Zwingli, The Christian Education of Youth (1526).

 

Works on Against Lots, Dicing and Card Playing:

 

CHAPTER II.-Against Dicing, Cards, and such like Games.-1687-Increase Mather (1639-1723).-This chapter testifies against the use and abuse of the lot for purposes of gaming showing the wicked heathenism of many pastimes now considered innocent.

Some Important Cases of Conscience Answered, CASE III.-1755-Samuel Pike (1717?-1773).-A useful discussion concerning whether or not playing cards is ever an innocent pastime and the propriety of Christians engaging in card playing.

The Abuse of Lots. in A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-In this section, the Reformed Presbytery explains the purpose and lawful use of lots and lays down a prohibition against the profanation of lots in dicing, card playing and other so-called "games of chance."

Considerations on Lots.-1807-John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829).-A series of articles taken from the "Christian Magazine," in 1807, on the use and abuse of lots (i.e., dicing, card playing, games of chance, etc.).

Gaming and Gambling.-1864-George Scudder Mott (1829-1901).-The differences between gaming and gambling addressing the evils attendant upon both.

Life Insurance.-1868-John Black Williams and Anonymous.-Two short pieces joined together in the pages of The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter magazine which defend the older position of eschewing life insurance against the charges and claims of proponents of life insurance. The arguments may be applied to all forms of insurance.

Card Playing.-1892-William Addison Alexander (1857-1909).-A tract on card playing from a time when Presbyterians still thought certain pastimes were inherently sinful.

 

Christian Apparel and Attire

James Dodson

The modest attire of a Puritan family.

The modest attire of a Puritan family.

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE RIGHT USE OF APPAREL

"The greater sort of men are exceedingly careful, by all means and ways to follow the fashion, and to take up every newfangled attire, whensoever it comes abroad. A course flat contrary to Christ’s doctrine, which commandeth an honest care, only for necessary ornaments, and condemneth the contrary, and that upon special reason; because this inordinate and affected care, is commonly a great pick-purse."—William Perkins, Cases of Conscience, printed in his Workes. (1616).

 

Works on or Relating to Appareling:

 

Letter CCXLV.-date unknown-Augustine of Hippo-In this letter Augustine addresses how women should dress and declares they should go about with their heads covered, avoid the use of cosmetics and shun costly attire and any ornaments connected with heathenism.

Commentary on 1 Peter 3:1-6.-1523-Martin Luther.-Luther explains how the apostle would have women behave in all departments of life. He discusses modesty of apparel and the need for women to be submissive to their husbands.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:9-14.-1528-Martin Luther.-Luther instructs women on modest, including discussion regarding attire and headcoverings. Underlying the entire discussion is an emphasis upon the woman's social subordination to man in family, church and nation.

A Sermon on the Adorning of Women.-1555-John Calvin.-In this sermon, Calvin explains what it means for women to maintain modesty in both their inward and outward frame including a circumspect modesty in their appareling.

Letter XXXI. To His Sisters in Edinburgh.-1556-John Knox.-A letter written to several women touching on the issue of women's appareling and then move on to the issue of dedicating to idols.

On Appareling of Ministers and their Wives.-1575-The National Church of Scotland.-This contains the judgment of the General Assembly regarding the attiring of ministers and their wives in particular.

The Right, Lawful, and Holy use of Apparel.-1608-William Perkins (1558-1602).-In this extract, Perkins discusses the use and abuse of appareling together with rules for modesty and prohibitions befitting Christians.

On Appareling.-1676-James Durham (1622-1658).-Extracted from his book The Law Unsealed, this section is part of his exposition of the meaning and intent of the seventh commandment. Durham upholds headcoverings for women and admonishes a careful modesty in dress.

On Sobriety in Dress.-date unknown-Thomas Manton (1620-1677).-Some considerations on the origin and use of clothing from an eminent Puritan explaining why modesty is to be pursued.

Spiritual Armour To Defend the Head From the Superfluity of Naughtiness.-1688-Thomas Wall (fl. 1680-90).-This is a very detailed examination of hair and headcoverings by a non-Conformist Puritan controversialist who was a friend of Henry Ainsworth. Wall does not stop at hair but addresses many things respecting attire.

Excessive Adornment in Dress.-1897-Anonymous.-This article addresses the concerns of modesty in appareling and bears clear testimony against the use of costly attire, fashionable hairstyles or the ornamentation of jewelry.

Church Government

James Dodson

Presbyterian ordination.

Presbyterian ordination.

JURE DIVINO CHURCH GOVERNMENT.

"I know also that a government and discipline in the church (the thing which I now undertake to plead for) is a very displeasing thing to those that would fain enjoy liberty, either of pernicious errors or gross profaneness."—George Gillespie, Aaron's Rod Blossoming; or, the Divine Ordinance of Church Government Vindicated. (1646).

 

WORKS ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT: 

 

Reply to a Letter by Cardinal Sadolet.-1539-John Calvin.-A short reply to a Papist who accused the Reformed of leaving the church, Calvin explains why leaving an institution is not necessarily leaving a church and what it means to return to the true church.

The Necessity of Reforming the Church.-1543-John Calvin.-In this work, Calvin makes a case for the rigorous reform of the church asserting that the reformation of worship is even more important than that of doctrine.

The First Book of Discipline.-1560-The National Church of Scotland.-This was written by John Knox and others to direct the nation in its efforts to bring reformation to the entire nation. It made provision for temporary expedients and the erecting of features intended to be permanent in the Church of Scotland.

The Second Book of Discipline.-1578-The National Church of Scotland.-In this Second Book of Policy, the government of the church is a settled state is set forth with its duties and obligations as a national establishment of religion.

Discourse, Of the True and Visible Markes of the Catholic Church.-1579-Theodore Beza.-An early Reformed Protestant response to the Romish charges that there is no salvation outside of the church. Beza demonstrates that the visibility of the church is to sought in profession of the true religion rather than ecclesial institution.

The Bishops Doom.-1638-Alexander Henderson.-This is the sermon preached on the occasion of the excommunicating of several episcopal prelates, at the beginning of the Second Reformation in Scotland, declares wherein true ordination stands and announces the ascendance of a revived jure divino Presbyterianism.

A Short Relation of the State of the Kirk of Scotland since the Reformation of Religion, to the present time for information, and advertisement to our Brethren in the Kirk of England.-1638-James Melville (1556-1614).-An account of the rise and progress of the First Reformation in Scotland by one intimately involved in spreading the covenanted reformation in the later part of the 16th century. It was published on the eve of the Second Scottish Reformation.

The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland.-1641-Alexander Henderson.-This provides a description of the polity of the Church of Scotland on the eve of the convening of the Westminster Assembly. Herein is provided an account of one of the best examples of the exercise of church government amongst Reformed churches.

Good Newes From the Assembly in Scotland, now sitting in consultation, Concerning their Ecclesiastical Government in the Church.-1642-National Church of Scotland.-This is a letter issued describing some of the features of the church government in Scotland, their several functions coupled with a declaration that they have been consciously conformed to Scripture and the usages of other Reformed churches.

Reformation of Church-Government in Scotland, Cleared from some mistakes and Prejudices.-1644-Alexander Henderson and some brethren.-This is an apologetic work designed to exhibit Presbyterianism as it really was in Scotland not as it was portrayed by its detractors.

The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government.-1645-Westminster Assembly.-The second finished production of the Assembly designed for covenanted uniformity, this contains a full account of the nature and function of Presbyterian church government.

A Treatise of Miscellany Questions:-1649-George Gillespie.-A volume which gathers many of Gillespie's smaller works on various topics of church government, sacraments, confederacies and the nature and extent of the atonement.

HEAD. IV. - The Sufferings of people for frequenting Field Meetings Vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-In this chapter, the spiritual independence of the church is asserted and the notion that there are sacred places or holy buildings under the New Testament is refuted.

A Treatise of Ruling Elders and Deacons.-1690-James Guthrie.-Published posthumously, this gives an outline and exposition of the offices of ruling elder and deacon in accordance with Scripture and the usage of the Scottish church.

Sermon on "By What Means Ministers May Best Win Souls?"-ca. 1700-Robert Traill.-A sermon detailing the difficulty and carefulness that is to attend the ministry together with exhortations for those who are not in the ministry but seek to profit by it.

Prelacy an Idol and Prelates Idolaters.-1713-James Fraser [of Brae] (1639-1699).-A devastating critique of prelacy and all of its attendant evils and corruptions.

Letters on the Constitution, Government, and Discipline of the Christian Church.-1767-John Brown, of Haddington.-The text is taken from the second edition of 1799. In this work, Mr. Brown gives a succinct view of Presbyterian church government together with what might be considered a commentary upon the Westminster Assembly's Form of Presbyterian Government.

The Treasure in Earthen Vessels or, the Dispensation of the Gospel, Committed to men of like Passions with the Hearers.-1779-John Fairley.-An Ordination sermon for William Steven to the office of minister of the Gospel.

The sin and danger of countenancing the administrations of erroneous teachers pointed out : [in] a sermon preached at Chartiers, in the county of Washington, Pa.-1794-John Anderson (1748-1830).-A sermon which explains what happens when men are given over to hearing the ministrations of erroneous teachers. Anderson discusses the doctrines and practical reasons for maintaining confessional integrity by avoiding sectarian ministers or ministers not of one's own communion.

Act of the Reformed Presbytery in North America for a Public Fast with the Causes thereof.-1795-Reformed Presbytery, in America.-This act contains the lament of the scattered Covenanters in the wilderness of North America after many of their erstwhile brethren, together with their ministers, united with two bodies of Seceders to form the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church, in 1782. Mssrs. King and M'Kinney were sent to America to revive the cause of covenanted reformation as outlined in this act.

The Ecclesiastical Catechism.-1806-Alexander McLeod.-A discussion of church government in the form of a catechism by an early "American" Reformed Presbyterian father.

The Constitution, Character, and Duties, of the Gospel Ministry.-1808-Alexander McLeod.-An ordination sermon for Gilbert McMaster, wherein M'Leod gives a very full discussion to the character of the Gospel ministry and its use in the church.

The Duties of the Gospel Minister.-1809-John Cowan.-An excellent sermon, from the ordination of Andrew Symington, on the duties of Gospel ministers outlining the care they must exercise and the preparations they ought to have to fulfill that office. Included is a very interesting and pointed charge to the congregation instructing them regarding their responsibilities toward their new pastor and charging them to fulfill their duties towards him.

Strictures on Occasional Hearing.-1820-James Douglas.-A thorough investigation of the doctrine of "occasional hearing" wherein Douglas expounds and vindicates the practice of refusing to hear or wait upon ministers from corrupt communions.  This is the second edition which is corrected and expanded.  It also contains an instructive addenda on how Covenanters ought to pray for civil rulers under immoral constitutions and administrations of government.

On the Right of Females to Vote in the Election of Ministers and Elders.-1822-Thomas McCrie (1772-1835).-This is a short examination on the question of women voting in church elections. McCrie discusses some of the reasons and the history behind excluding women from suffrage in the church.

Ministerial Work and Sufficiency:-1832-Gilbert McMaster.-In this discourse, McMaster explains the need for the Gospel ministry and considers the doctrine of ordination together with its duties and responsibilities. Throughout he shows the need for reliance upon Christ for the sufficiency of its accomplishment.

LECTURE II.-1841-James Ferguson (1797-1862).-An essay setting forth the complete spiritual independence of the government of the Church of Christ from the interference of the civil magistrate or any other institution.  Jesus Christ has set a government in his Church distinct from that of the state.

Characteristics of the Witnessing Church.-1843-Robert Lusk.-In this extended essay, Lusk recounts the history of the witnessing church together with an account of its declining in numerous ways which made it necessary for the erection of a new presbytery concerned with keeping the principles of Covenanters alive.

The Deacon.-1841-James M. Willson.-A very thorough discussion of this office including its necessity, perpetuity and use.

Attachment to Zion.-1852-James W. Shaw.-A communion sermon that addresses matters of ecclesiastical fellowship and the use of terms of communion.

Occasional Hearing.-1852-Anonymous.-An article which appeared in the Covenanter Magazine, edited by J.M. Willson, which explains why confessional communicant members of the RP church should not attend the ministry of the Word by sectarian ministers outside of the church.

Occasional Communion.-1852-Anonymous.-An article which appeared in the Covenanter Magazine, edited by J.M. Willson, which defends the practice of confessional communion against the lax and latitudinarian practices creeping into the church.

The Discretionary Power of the Church.-1875-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898).-This sermon expounds upon the Regulative principle and its necessity in the life of the church especially in the exercise of ecclesiastical power.

The Duty of the Church to be One— To be Undivided—Unseparated.-1877-John McAuley.-A short article discussing the desirability and the true methods of seeking unity and peace in the church.

The Public Preaching of Women.-1879-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-Dabney brings the answer of Scripture to the rise of the feminism and faddish notion that women may be preachers of the Word of God. Along the way, he also discusses the use of headcoverings, or veils, in the public life of women.

Moral Obligation of the Tithe.-1890-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-A Southern Presbyterian discusses the question of tithing and demonstrates that the tithe is connected to Old Testament usages which have been abolished with the coming of the Gospel.

Paul on Women Speaking in Church.-1919-Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921).-What exactly did Paul mean when he prohibited women from speaking in the church? Warfield examines the Greek and the grammar to explain what he meant.

Civil Government

James Dodson

Moses, the Lawgiver.

Moses, the Lawgiver.

CHRISTIANS AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

"I lay down this maxime of Divinitie; Tyranny being a worke of Sathan, is not from God, because sinne either habituall or actuall, is not from God; the power that is, must be from God; the Magistrate as Magistrate, is good, in nature of office, and the intrinsecall end of his office, Rom. 13:4. for he is the Minister of God for thy good; and therefore a power ethicall, politick, or morall, to oppresse, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power, and is no more from God, but from sinfull nature, and the old serpent, then a license to sinne."—Samuel Rutherfurd, Lex Rex (1644).

When I consider the point more exactly, I see not how Kings, who reign by the wisdom of God Jesus Christ, (Prov. 8:14-16) have not their kingly power from Christ, who hath all power given to him in Heaven and in Earth, (Matt. 28:18) for they are Nurse-fathers of the Church as Kings, (Isa. 49:23) they are to Kiss the Son, and exalt his Throne, as Kings, (Ps. 2:11) they bring presents and kingly gifts to Christ as Kings, (Ps. 72:10, 11) and they serve Christ not only as men, but also as Kings, as Augustine saith [Epist. ad Boniface com. 50.]: therefore are they ordained, as means, by Christ the Mediator, to promote his kingly Throne. Some of our Divines [i.e., Reformed theologians] will have the kingly power to come from God as Creator, in respect God giveth Kings, who are his Vicegerents, to those who are not redeemed, and to Nations who never heard of Christ; and others hold that the kingly power floweth from Christ-Mediator, in respect he accomplishes his purposes of saving of his redeemed people, by Kings authority, and by the influence of their kingly government, procureth a feeding ministry; and by their princely tutory, the edification of his body the Church, which possibly both aim at truth.—Samuel Rutherfurd, The Due Right of Presbyteries. (1644).

 

Works on Civil Government:

 

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women.-1558-John Knox.-This is one of the best and most forward strikes against the right of women to exercise political office written by a notable Reformer. This is not for the weak minded and should make many who think of themselves as Reformed ask themselves so fundamental questions. Knox was no proponent of a sad passive obedience and, as witnessed in this writing, he thought women should wear veils but not crowns.

The Appellation,-1558-John Knox.-In this letter, Knox speaks to the lesser magistrates and encourages them to be very forward in the cause of the Reformation. The so-called doctrine of lesser magistrates teaches that they have a right to interpose themselves when high magistrates exceed the bounds of legitimate exercise of authority.

A Letter Addressed to the Commonalty of Scotland. M.D.LVIII.-1558-John Knox.-A letter to the commons which explains their duty toward the furtherance of true religion and their rights to resist unlawful and tyrannous impositions.

Romans XIII.1-5.-1601-Andrew Melville (1545-1622).-An extract from Melville's commentary on Romans, translated from the Latin by J.M. Willson, showing his agreement with the Reformed Presbyterian stance on this passage.

A Sermon Preached To the Honorable House of Commons, At their late solemn Fast, Wednesday, December 27. 1643.-1644-Alexander Henderson.-A sermon detailing the great need and method of reforming both the church and the nation together with a dire warning to magistrates that will not be reformed.

Wholesome Severity reconciled with Christian Liberty.-1644-George Gillespie.-A tract concerning the extent and application of the laws of the Bible in the civil affairs of nations with a discussion of how this comports with liberty of conscience.

Ruler's Sins the Cause of National Judgments.-1650-Patrick Gillespie.-A sermon warning about the dangers posed to a people by the wickedness of their rulers with some explanation of the covenantal solidarity of the moral person of nations.

The Mystery of Magistracy Unvailed.-1663-Anonymous.-This piece presents a clear exposition of the doctrine of the civil magistracy. It addresses the duties of both rulers and subjects. Most importantly, it explains how to know when magistrates degenerate into tyrants and what the proper response of Christians should be when magistrates become illegitmate.

The Sanquhar Declaration.-1680-Richard Cameron (1648-1680).-A short and terse casting off of any allegiance to the unlawful magistracy of Charles II. and his courtiers and dragoons with some reasons why on behalf of the Societies.

Thirty-Fourth Question: The Political Government of the Church.-1685-Francis Turretin (1623-1687).-In this section, there is a comprehensive overview of the issues, limits and duties of the civil magistrate in all matters circa sacra together with a defense of punishing obstinate heretics.

A Hind let loose; or An Historical Representation of the Testimonies of the Church of Scotland, -1687-Alexander Shields.-A thorough survey of the history of the Scottish church which contains many hints on church communion together with several chapters devoted to Covenanter controversies.

HEAD II.-The Sufferings of many for Refusing to own the Tyrant’s Authority vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-In this chapter, examines the claims of those who exercise a providential civil rule contrary to the perceptive will of God. He explains the duties of magistrates and limits of obedience due to those who fail in their pactional duties.

HEAD. V. The Principle of & Testimony for Defensive Arms Vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-This chapter contains a very spirited defense of the practice adopted by the Covenanters of bringing defensive arms to their conventicles. This consists of a very ample survey of history and Scripture for the warrant for defensive use of arms for the protection of a persecuted Gospel.

HEAD. VI. - The Sufferings of Some, upon the account of Extraordinary executing of Judgment upon Notorious Incendiaries & Murdering public Enemies by private persons in the circumstances wherein they were stated, vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-This is a chapter in a book already quite controversial addressing a topic extremely controversial-the right of executing private judgment, in certain cases, when there is a failure of public authorities. Mr. Shields brings history, Scripture and the statements of a number of reputable orthodox Reformed divines to bear on this question.

HEAD. VII. The Sufferings of many, for Refusing to pay the wicked Exactions of the Cess, Locality, Fines &c. Vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-In this chapter, Shields discusses the payment of wicked taxations, those enacted by unlawful magistrates or those enacted for ungodly purposes, and explains why Christians should not yield voluntarily to such impositions.

A Letter on the Civil Magistrate.-1781-John McMillan III.-This letter defends the Reformed Presbyterian position on civil magistracy in opposition to the various misunderstandings and misrepresentations of Seceders.

Answers to Twelve Queries, Proposed to the serious Consideration of the Reformed Presbytery, and their Followers.-1794-William Steven.-A spirited defense of John McMillan's Letter on Civil Magistracy wherein a number of often asked questions are reviewed and answered in explanation of the Covenanter position. 

A View of the Rights of God and Man.-1797-James McKinney.-This sermon seeks to expound the proper limits and duties surrounding civil liberties in order to avoid both tyranny and infidelity.

Messiah, Governor of the Nations of the Earth:-1803-Alexander McLeod.-A discourse on the Mediatorial character of Christ and the importance of this doctrine with respect to the duty of nations favored with the light of the Gospel.

The Two Sons of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis.-1803-Samuel Brown Wylie.-This small treatise constitutes one of the most readable and comprehensive expositions of the Reformed Presbyterian position with respect to the application of its principles on civil magistracy in the United States. Written in the early days of the republic, it shows that godless principles were incorporated into the U.S. Constitution.

The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah.-1820-James Renwick Willson.-An excellent presentation of the doctrine of the Mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for all nations and kingdoms. This is the Covenanter postmillennial vision.

Sermon on Civil Government.-1821-James Renwick Willson.-A sermon showing that the obligation to civil government as well as the obligations of the civil magistrate are founded and grounded in the Moral Law particularly as it is to be discovered in the Fifth Commandment.

An Essay Detecting some of the Errors concerning God's Ordinance of Civil Magistracy.-1821-James Douglas (1779-1857).-A helpful examination of the various common errors professing Christians make regarding the ordinance of civil magistracy with some correctives offered.

A Vindication of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, from Various Charges Preferred Against Her on the Subject of Civil Government.-1830-Peter Macindoe.-In the extended essay, Macindoe sets forth a series of objections and accusations which have been leveled against the Reformed Presbyterian Church on the subject of its doctrine of civil magistracy and provides clear and convincing answers, both historical and theological. 

Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over All Governments: and the Disregard of his Authority by the United States, in the Federal Constitution.-1832-James Renwick Willson.-Two essays: the first, examining the claims of Christ over the nations; and, the second, the application of these claims to the present constitution of the civil government in the United States.

The Christian Magistrate: A Discourse.-1832-Thomas Houston.-An excellent survey of the qualifications and duties of the civil magistrate.  Houston is particularly helpful to explain how a Christian magistrate is responsible to establish the true religion and his power circa sacra. His discussion of punishing heretics and idolaters required a full length defense which he issued the following year. This is a strong indictment of theological liberalism and its tendencies.

The Reviewer Reviewed, and The Covenanter and Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Vindicated, from the Perversions and Groundless Allegations of the Rev. John Paul, in a Pamphlet, Entitled, "The Covenanter Reviewed & Persecution Condemned."-1833-Thomas Houston.-A vigorous defense of his discourse on the Christian Magistrate from charges of being contrary to the received doctrine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Houston demonstrates the depth of historical support for this doctrine.  This pamphlet also has much to teach about historical testimony and the engagement to walk in the footsteps of the flock.

Argument On The Magistrate’s Power Circa-Sacra. [Published as an Overture.]-1834-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, written by Rev. William Sloane, who was a member of the Synod, defends the Reformed position the power of the magistrate circa sacra. It does so contrasting this view against that of Erastians and those who hold to religious toleration.

Bible Magistracy: or Christ's Dominion Over the Nations with an Examination of the Civil Institutions of the United States.-1842-James M. Willson.-This represents Willson's early work on the mediatorial kingdom of Christ and its implications in the relam of civil government particularly that of the United States.

Letter on “The Higher Powers.”-1845-Thomas Sproull.-This letter explains why by "higher powers" Paul did not mean the Roman powers of his day and why "higher powers" does refer to any legitimate civil government constituted according to the will of God.

A Review of the Views of Seceders on the Mediatorial Headship of Christ and George Gillespie.-1846-Anonymous.-Probably written by the editor of The Covenanter magazine (James M. Willson), this is the third article critiquing a union movement amongst Reformed churches at that time. In this installment, the author addresses sentiments expressed in their union document called the Basis respecting the Mediatorial dominion of Christ with important comments on George Gillespie's statements on Mediatorial headship of Christ.

Dominion of Christ.-1846-Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.-A short article containing a statement from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland on the duty of the magistrate with respect to Popery.

A Review of the Errors of Seceders upon the Head of Civil Magistracy.-1847-Anonymous.-This review, probably written by the editor of The Covenanter (James M. Willson), seeks to show Seceders, and those of their persuasion, that many of the best ministers of the Secession have not shared the extreme views of Adam Gib on the doctrine of magistracy. There are also some comments on why Seceders are wrong to claim George Gillespie.

Christ's Headship.-1847-John McAuley.-In this first of three articles, McAuley discusses the identity of natural moral law with the Ten Commandments and why he understands magistrates to be deputies under Christ even though he admits the office itself flows from God as Creator.

Dominion of Christ: Part 1.-1848-John McAuley.-This second article of three defends McAuley's position from charges of deriving civil magistracy from grace. In it, he also discusses and defends the idea of Christian magistracy and its relation to grace. His discussion of the two forms of the law (and the two covenants) and man's relation to each is of particular note and quite helpful to remember.

The Dominion of Christ: Part 2.-1848-John McAuley.-In this third article of his series, McAuley argues closely for Christian magistracy and shows that no magistrate can rule as the ordinance of God apart from Christ the Mediator. He also explains why this is true.

An Essay on Submission to the Powers That Be.-1850-James M. Willson.-In this essay, Willson explores the kinds of civil governments unto which Christians owe a conscientious submission in the Lord. He demonstrates that this only pertains to governments possessing certain characteristics, particularly a profession of Christianity.

An Essay on Civil Government.-1851-Josiah Dodds (1819-1896).-This is very easy to read essay setting forth the doctrine of the Mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for civil magistracy.

Civil Government: An Exposition of Romans XIII. 1-7.-1853-James M. Willson.-This volume contains a very careful and nuanced exposition of a portion of Scripture that has often been put to ill use by those who are not the friends of the rights of God or man.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Argumentative Testimony. According to the Resolution of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod.-1855-James McLeod Willson.-Two chapters for the proposed "Argumentative" portion of the RP Testimony; the first, discussing Testimony Bearing; the second, the Right of Dissent from Immoral Civil Constitutions.

The Duty of Nations to the Church.-1860-David Steele.-An article explaining that nations must serve the Mediator Christ in their national capacity by giving their support to national establishments of religion.

"Was the Bishop's Death Murder?"-1860-Anonymous.-An essay the examines the question of whether or not extraordinary judgments are justified when civil rulers fail to prevent the murder of innocents. It is a case study based upon the events surrounding the killing of archbishop James Sharp, a notorious apostate and persecutor of the Covenanters.

Our Political Protest.-1872-John Haslett Boggs (1837-1928).-A sermon that gives a number of reasons why Covenanters do not vote under the present political administration and outlining other reasons for concern in the political system which are not in themselves reasons for not voting.

The Honor to which Legitimate Civil Government is Entitled.-1873-William Milroy.-This excellent sermon on the doctrine of civil magistracy was spread over four installments in the Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter magazine. Milroy presents a tightly reasoned and biblically grounded exposition of the position of Reformed Presbyterians on the subject.

A Covenanter's Reply to a Jury Summons.-1875-Robert Alexander (ca. 1828-1898).-Here is a brief outline of several reasons why Covenanters cannot serve on juries and why their consciences should be respected by those possessing civil power.

The Loyal Archite; or the Attributes of Legitimate Civil Government.-1875-Thomas Sproull.-A sermon addressing three chief requirements for a legitimate constitution of civil government.

The New Constitution of Pennsylvania.-1875-Anonymous.-Here is a critique of the latest Constitution of Pennsylvania written from a Covenanter perspective shortly after it was adopted, in 1874. It contains many remarks applicable to other civil constitutions.

Reformed Presbyterians and the Oath of Allegiance.-1877-Josias Alexander Chancellor (1824-1895).-An Irish Covenanter explains the problem with the oath of allegiance and why Reformed Presbyterians are political dissenters.

A Case of Conscience.-1878-David Steele.-An short article on the question of Covenanters and taxation.

CIRCULAR No. 2.-1885-David Steele.-On Covenanter identity, the American "civil" war and matters of taxation.

Christ's; or, Separation from Godless Governments.-1893-Robert James George (1844-1911).-A tract explaining why political dissent is necessary for Covenanters and why it is a term of communion in the Reformed Presbyterian church.

Richard Cameron and the Sanquhar Declaration.-1896-John Herkless (1855-1920).-Some observations on Richard Cameron and his attitude towards civil magistrates who are so in name but not according to the ordinance of God.

Why Reformed Presbyterians Cannot Vote.-1908-Finley Milligan Foster (1853-1948).-A tract based upon a sermon given during the presidential election of 1908 explaining why Reformed Presbyterians should not avail themselves of the elective franchise under the present constitution of government in the united States. 

Why Covenanters Do Not Vote.-1912-Thomas Houston Acheson (1861-1925).-An American R.P. minister explains why Covenanters do not vote, during the U.S. presidential election season of 1912, and addresses several objections to political dissent.

 

Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms

James Dodson

A Presbyterian catechizing.

A Presbyterian catechizing.

CREEDS AND CATECHIZING DEFENDED.

"The Papists in the Preface to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, confess that all the ground which we [i.e., Protestants] have got of them is by catechizing; and let us look that we lose not our ground again for want of it."—Edward Leigh, A System or Body of Divinity (1654).

 

Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms and Works About Them:

 

A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine.-1632-William Twisse.-A treatise containing four catechism. The first designed to explain and distinguish the sacraments; the second treats the Lord's prayer; the third expounds the Ten Commandments; and the fourth unfolds the articles of the Apostles' Creed. This is a good example of many early Reformed catechisms written specifically for helping communicants prepare for a right reception of the Lord's supper.

A Most Familiar EXPLANATION OF THE ASSEMBLIES Shorter Catechism. Wherein their Larger Answers are broken into Lesser Parcels, thereby to let in the light, by degrees, into the minds of the Learners. To which is added, in the close, a most brief help for the necessary, but much neglected duty of self-examination, to be daily perused. And to this is subjoined; a Letter of Christian Counsel, to a destitute Flock.-1674-Joseph Alleine (1634-1668).-This is Alleine's work using the Shorter Catechism as a springboard for a more detailed catechizing. Not only are his questions on the Catechism's questions helpful, his epistle to his congregation at the end of the work provides a brief apologetic for the practice of catechizing.

AN EXPOSITION OF THE ASSEMBLY’S CATECHISM With Practical Inferences from each Question:-1688-John Flavel.-A complete exposition of the Shorter Catechism done by way of question and answer upon the 107 questions set forth by the Westminster Assembly as Lord's day exercises.

The Ecclesiastical Catechism.-1806-Alexander McLeod.-A discussion of church government in the form of a catechism by an early "American" Reformed Presbyterian father.

Creeds and Confessions Defended,-1810-John Paul (1777-1848).-A muscular defense of creeds and confessions and many other points of Presbyterian and Covenanter doctrine with it. Paul does not spare his opponent on any front. While not for the faint of heart, Mr. Paul explains why creeds should be without error and fully subscribed by all communicants.

The Utility and Importance of Creeds and Confessions.-1824-Samuel Miller.-Dr. Miller explains the purpose of creeds and their necessity to testimony bearing and avoiding communion with corrupt ecclesiastical constitutions.

A Catechism on Praise.-1849-Alexander Blaikie (1804-1885).-An Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister defends the practice of a cappella psalmody by way of catechetical exercises.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Jesus "Crowned with Glory and Honour."-1855-Thomas Martin (1805-1879).-A catechism upon the various principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church giving a clear and simple presentation of them together with a survey of its history with emphasis on the mediatorial reign of Christ.

The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed.-1898-Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921).-In this Address, Warfield places the Westminster Standards in proper historical context and explains both the beauty and genius of its theological formulations.

The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance.-1949-John Gresham Machen (1881-1937).-Published posthumously, this contains the substance of one of Machen's many weekly addresses defending historic Reformed Christianity. This contains many tremendous insights in the purpose of creeds on conserving doctrinal advance in the church.

Dancing

James Dodson

The Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music.

The Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music.

CHRISTIANS AND DANCING HOMEPAGE.

"A Dance is the Devils Procession. He that enters into a Dance, enters into his Possession. The Devil is the Guide, the middle and the end of the Dance."—Increase Mather, An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing Drawn Out of the Quiver of the Scriptures (1684).

 

Works Against Dancing:

 

An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing Drawn out of the Quiver of the Scriptures.-1684-Increase Mather? (1639-1723).-A series of arguments drawn from Scripture against the practice of promiscuous dancing showing its inconsistency with the Bible.

A Cloud of Witnesses; Darting out Light upon a Case, too Unseasonably made Seasonable to be Discoursed on.-1700-Cotton Mather (1663-1728).-A clarification of the point at issue together with quotes from orthodox and Reformed theologians and church councils on the subject of dancing.

Promiscuous Dancing. in A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-In this section, the Reformed Presbytery denounces the practice of promiscuous dancing as an unchristian entertainment which carries in its bosom an incentive to lust and immorality.

A Discourse on the Evils of Dancing.-1846-John Fryer Mesick (1813-1915).-A German Reformed minister shows that dancing is an act of conformity with this world and, therefore, contrary to the Christian faith.

Social Dancing Inconsistent with a Christian Profession and Baptismal Vows:-1849-Benjamin Morgan Palmer (1818-1902).-An examination of the practice of promiscuous dancing and its inconsistency with profession of the Christian religion.

A Time to Dance. A Sermon on Dancing.-1867-J.R. Sikes (1832-1895).-A scathing attack on the modern dance by a Lutheran minister who advances a series of arguments against Christians participating in ballroom dancing.

"A Time to Dance."-1868-William Patton (1798-1879).-This article discusses dancing in the Bible versus the dance that the world loves. Patton shows that the Bible does not countenance promiscuous dancing nor does it sanction worldly dancing.

The Dancing Question.-1879-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-Without fear of being branded a "legalist" or "puritanical," Dabney examines the modern dance and its several attendant circumstances and not only finds it wanting but declares it to be positively prohibited to serious Christians, especially Presbyterians. 

Dancing as a Christian Amusement.-1879-George Clarence Heckman (1825-1902).-An examination and argument against some of the arguments put forth in defense of dancing as a pastime consistent with the Christian religion.

Herodias and John the Baptist; or, the Dance and the Murder.-1882-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-A discourse designed to show the temptations which surround unlawful amusements. Professor Peck wishes to impress, especially upon youth, the danger of promiscuous dancing and its tendency to serve the lusts of the flesh.

Doctrines of Grace

James Dodson

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.

THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE HOMEPAGE. 

"The grace of God is the undeserved favour of God, or it is that whereby God favoureth his creature without any desert of his.  The Apostle doth intimate this much, Ephes. i.9, in that he putteth no difference between these words, grace and a good pleasure; for whereas he saith in that verse, that God hath elected us according to his free grace, it seems to be spoken in the same sense and meaning with that with which he said before in that same chapter, ver. 7, In him we have redemption according to the riches of his grace."—Robert Rollock, A Treatise of God's Effectual Calling. (1603).

 

Works on the Doctrines of Grace:

 

The Bondage of the Will.-1525-Martin Luther.-This is one of Luther's most important works. It demolishes the counter claims of Erasmus and sets forth the true state into which man has fallen out of which he cannot draw himself because his will is captive to the world, the flesh and the devil. It presents a very strong view of predestination.

Of the True, Real, and Safe Grounds of Encouragement to Believe in Jesus Christ; or, Upon What Warrants a Sinner May Adventure to Rest and Rely Upon Christ for Salvation.-1649-George Gillespie.-A short but very important essay by Gillespie on the nature and extent of the atonement. In it, he shows that the notion that the atonement was of universal scope is destructive to the Gospel and the undermines the exercise of true saving faith.

The Sum of Saving Knowledge:-1650-David Dickson and James Durham.-This is a compendium of theology set in a practical format for the instruction and use by the people of the Church of Scotland. It contains a very full account of covenant theology together with application.

The Doctrine of the Atonement.-1810-Alexander M'Leod.-This series of articles appeared in The Christian's Magazine.  M'Leod gives a very good explanation of the orthodox doctrine of the atonement together with a defense of limited atonement, or particular redemption.  This was written in the midst of the Hopkinsian controversy and presents a soundly Calvinistic view.

Historical Sketch, &c.-1817-James Renwick Willson.-An informative, if uneven, treatment of the history of the doctrine of the atonement. This portion of the book contains Willson's historical insights together with a wealth of information about numerous early American Reformed and Presbyterian bodies complete with an outline of their controversies.

Argument on the Arminian Controversy. [Published in Overture.]-1836-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, prepared by Rev. Moses Roney, a member of the Synod, presents an excellent overview of the Arminian controversy in its history and doctrine. It presents a vigorous defense of Calvinism following the order of the "five points" as discussed at Dort. His discussion on the Arminian assertion of "common grace" is particularly helpful.

Lutheranism and Calvinism.-1844-Jean-Henri Merle D'Aubigne (1794-1872).-In this essay, D'Aubigne examines the peculiar principles of both the Lutheran and Reformed Reformations. He has many helpful insights and explains why the Reformed should be respectful toward Lutheranism without losing its own excellence. 

Face-Painting

James Dodson

They threw Jezabel to the dogs.

They threw Jezabel to the dogs.

THE CHRISTIAN AND FACE PAINTING.

"Here comes to be justly reproved, the strange practice and behaviour of some in these days, who being not contented with the form and fashion which God hath sorted unto them, do devise artificial forms and favours, to set upon their bodies and faces, by painting and colouring; thereby making themselves seem that, which indeed they are not.  This practice is most abominable in the very light of nature, & much more by the light of God's words; wherein we have but one only example thereof, and that is of wicked Jezabel, 2 Kings 9:30, who is noted by this mark of a notorious harlot, that she painteth her face."—William Perkins, Cases of Conscience, printed in his Workes. (1617).

 

WORKS ON FACE PAINTING:

 

Family

James Dodson

A Christian family at mealtime.

A Christian family at mealtime.

THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY HOMEPAGE.

"Contrary to good nurture is too much liberty: which oft bringeth much woe, and utter ruine upon children: it is the greatest enemy that can be of good education, and the nurse of all vice."—William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties. (1622)

 

Works Relating to the Christian Family:

 

The Directory for Family-Worship, Approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, for Piety and Uniformity in Secret and Private Worship, and Mutual Edification.-1647-Westminster Assembly.-A series of directives issued by the Westminster Assembly on how to conduct family worship complete with a list of things to do and things to avoid.

Family Worship.-ca. 1740s-Philip Doddridge (1702-1751).-A letter to encourage the use of family worship together with the reasonableness of this practice for Christian families and warnings concerning its neglect.

Inattention to the Training Up of Children. in A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-In this section of their Testimony, the Reformed Presbytery addresses the common neglect of proper religious instruction among the youth of the church and its detrimental effect.

Family Worship.-1827-J.H. Merle d'Aubigne (1794-1872).-A discourse delivered with the purpose of encouraging the maintenance of family religion together with some excellent directions for improving the growth of true religion in the family.

The Importance of Family Religion.-1840-Samuel Grover Winchester (1805-1841).-A thorough discussion of the relation of families to the interests of promoting the true religion.

A Sad But Instructive History.-ca. 1850s-William S. Plumer (1802-1880).-In this tract, Plumer examines the case of a covenant child gone bad and derives several lessons replete with warning to all children to heed the call and close with Christ.

Life Insurance.-1868-John Black Williams and Anonymous.-Two short pieces joined together in the pages of The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter magazine which defend the older position of eschewing life insurance against the charges and claims of proponents of life insurance. The arguments may be applied to all forms of insurance.

Secular Versus Christian Education.-1879-John McAuley.-A short article on the duty of the nation to see that education is conducted with submission to the principles of true religion and, conversely, the consequences of ignoring Christian principles in national education.

Family Religion.-1885-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898).-A warm warning of the danger of neglecting family religion with many practical pieces of advice for maintain family worship as a daily routine together with a careful regard for the religious instruction of children.

Family Worship a Term of Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church.-1908-Robert James George (1844-1911).-An interesting defense of family worship being a term of communion amongst Reformed Presbyterians.

An Old-Fashioned Home.-1918-J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918).-A tract written to stress the importance of family piety and parental concern in the formation of children because it has eternal consequences for all.

Headcoverings

James Dodson

Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther's wife, with several different headcoverings.

Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther's wife, with several different headcoverings.

HEADCOVERINGS AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN.

 

Women, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord, “for the husband is the head of the wife” [cf. Eph 5:22-23]. Again to the Colossians in the third chapter [3:18]. Because of this, the wife has not been created out of the head, so that she shall not rule over her husband, but be subject and obedient to him.

For that reason the wife wears a headdress, that is, the veil on her head, as St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians in the seventh chapter, that she is not free but under obedience to her husband.—Martin Luther, Sermon on Marriage, 5th January, 1525.

"We read of old of such as were grave, that they covered themselves with a vail: And 1 Cor. 11 married women going abroad uncovered is looked upon as unnatural; What would such say if they lived in our times; we are perswaded the gravest amongst women are most averse from this evil, and the lightest are most prone and given to it ."—James Durham, The Law Unsealed: Or, A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments. (1675).

 Heading 3.—Of an husbands superioritie over a wife, to be acknowledged by a wife. 
         6. The very (h - from Chrysostom. in 1 Cor. hom. 26) attire which nature and custome of all times and places have taught women to put on, confirmeth the same: as long haire, vailes, and other coverings over the head: this and the former argument doth the Apostle himself use to this very purpose, 1 Cor. 11.7 &c.

h. Sicapilli pro velamine dati sunt, qua gratia ahud addendu est velamen? Ut non tantum natura, sed etiam, voluntate subjectam se esse confiteatur. ["And if it be given her for a covering (veil)," say you, "wherefore need she add another covering (veil)?" That not nature only, but also her own will may have part in her acknowledgment of subjection.]—Chrysostom hom. 26—William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties. (1622).

 

WORKS ON HEADCOVERINGS FOR WOMEN:

 

Homily on 1 Corinthians 11.—On the Veiling of Women-John Chrysostom (347-407).-A very careful exegesis of Paul's discussion on the veiling of women in 1 Corinthians 11. Chrysostom concludes that the veiling of women is not religious but natural because it is a sign of the subjection and inferiority of the women to her husband together with other observations.

Letter CCXLV.-Augustine of Hippo (354-430).-In this letter Augustine addresses how women should dress and declares they should go about with their heads covered, avoid the use of cosmetics and shun costly attire and any ornaments connected with heathenism.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:9-14.-1528-Martin Luther.-Luther instructs women on modest, including discussion regarding attire and headcoverings. Underlying the entire discussion is an emphasis upon the woman's social subordination to man in family, church and nation.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 Regarding Headcoverings.-1546-John Calvin.-Calvin begins with the understanding that the distinction of the sexes is divinely arranged and notes that for a woman to appear in public uncovered is to shake off the authority of her husband. In addition, he describes that submission which women ought to yield to their husbands.

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:1-16-1659-David Dickson (1583-1663).-Dickson's commentary on this passage shows that the certain usages pertaining to order and decorum in the church are divinely ordered in nature and that these natural signs are to be maintained in the assembly because the church has no custom to cast off nature.

A Discourse on Women Prophesying and Headcoverings.-1665-Joseph Mede (1586-1639).-An interesting discourse on 1 Cor. 11:5 explaining what Paul meant when he spoke of women prophesying.  In the course of the discussion, he throws some light on the function of precentors and the antiphony between the preceptor and the congregation (much like lining of the Psalms). Pointedly, he also discusses what Paul meant to teach respecting headcoverings or veils for women in the worship of the church.

Spiritual Armour To Defend the Head From the Superfluity of Naughtiness.-1688-Thomas Wall (fl. 1680-90).-This is a very detailed examination of hair and headcoverings by a non-Conformist Puritan controversialist who was a friend of Henry Ainsworth. Wall does not stop at hair but addresses many things respecting attire.

The Public Preaching of Women.-1879-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-Dabney brings the answer of Scripture to the rise of the feminism and faddish notion that women may be preachers of the Word of God. Along the way, he also discusses the use of headcoverings, or veils, in the public life of women.

The Demeanour of Women in Public Worship.-1886-Frédéric Louis Godet (1812-1900).-This is an exposition of Paul's teaching by an eminent expositor who offers many useful and helpful comments and insights into the text.

Instrumental Music in the Worship of God

James Dodson

Organs and instrumental music belong to Papists. They are the "strange gifts" of Arminian revivalism smuggled into the Reformed churches.

Organs and instrumental music belong to Papists. They are the "strange gifts" of Arminian revivalism smuggled into the Reformed churches.

ANTI-INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD HOMEPAGE.

"While many who employ [the organ] consider themselves the verychampions of Protestantism, it will be long, long indeed, before they uproot Popery by this regulator of choirs; and while nothing has ever proved more annoying to Papists than the singing of Psalms in a congregational manner, the playing of all the heretical organs in Christendom causes to them comparatively little sorrow. On the contrary, the cross surmounting a Protestant meeting house, and the swelling tones of the organ within, give to her sons the hope that “holy mother” may yet receive these errorists, who are, at least, so far rejoicing under her shadow, and becoming familiar with her “image and superscription.”"—Alexander Blaikie, The Philosophy of Sectarianism (1854).

 

WORKS AGAINST INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE WORSHIP:

 

An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons Assembled in Parliament, for the further demolishing of Monuments of Idolatry and Superstition.-1644-The Parliament.-An Act authorizing the removal of all things which violate the Scriptural, or Regulative, principle of worship from all houses of worship throughout England. This included all the liturgical garb, furniture pictures of Jesus or the Trinity together with the removal of all musical instruments.

 An Essay Upon the Sacred Use of Organs in Christian Assemblies.-1713-Anonymous.-A very instructive essay which explains the rise of the use of musical instruments and the reason their use was discontinued in the best Reformed churches.

A Catechism on Praise.-1849-Alexander Blaikie (1804-1885).-An Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister defends the practice of a cappella psalmody by way of catechetical exercises.

Protest Against the Use of Instrumental Music in the Stated Worship of God on the Lord's Day.-1851-Robert J. Breckinridge (1800-1871).-A Southern Presbyterian decries the use of organs in Presbyterian churches and vows never to speak in a church that has one. He discusses the theological reasons for holding to a strict non-instrumentalist position.

Liturgies, Instrumental Music and Architecture.-1855-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-This article was written to explain why it is that Presbyterians reject pomp and circumstance in the worship of God. It is a helpful overview of the issue of liturgies, music instruments and the often little considered matter of church architecture.

General Principles Touching the Worship of God.-1855-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-Another essay examining the Regulative principle of worship and addressing the issue of musical instruments in more detail.

Alexander Hislop's Appendix on The Instrumental Music of Judaism.-1858-Alexander Hislop (1807-1865).-An appendix which discusses the use of musical instruments in the church with an eye toward Jewish usage.

Discourse on Scripture Psalmody in Praising God; and Against Instrumental Music in Public Worship.-1859-Hugh Brown (1810-1888).-Two discourse on purity of worship. The first examines and defends the exclusive use of the inspired Psalms in the praise of the church; the second explains why the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is not warranted under the New Testament.

The Organ Question.-1868-W. Robertson.-This pamphlet is the substance of two lectures given in connection with the agitation by some in order to introduce an organ into the worship of God.  In 1873, five years after these lectures, the pro-organ party carried the day and an organ was introduced into the worship of Coupland Street United Presbyterian Church, Manchester, England. Mr. Robertson's work is a testimony against this outrage.

A Discourse on Instrumental Music in Public Worship.-1871-Robert Johnson (1810-1879).-A extremely well reasoned defense of the anti-instrumentalist position in which he engages several well known objections and examines the plausibility of the arguments of those who would introduce these instruments into the worship of God.

PSALLO.-1882-William Wishart (1821-1906).-An article from the Evangelical Repository examining the claims of proponents of musical instruments in worship taken from the meaning of the Greek word PSALLO.  Dr. Wishart explains why PSALLO does not provide Biblical support for the use of mechanical instruments of worship.

Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church.-1888-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898)-This is one of the more thorough discussions of the question of the use of musical instruments in the worship of God.

Girardeau's "Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church."-1888-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-A review wherein Dabney not only praises Girardeau's book but he adds a number of keen observations and insights into why instrumental music should be kept out of the public worship of God.

Justification and Saving Faith

James Dodson

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE AND THE NATURE OF SAVING FAITH. 

"No man is made partaker of the life of Justification, before Faith; or that untill souls exercise faith, they are without this life of Justification.  Some talk of a Justification from Eternity; & thus confound Justification with Gods love of Election; or with Gods decree & purpose to justifie.  Some speak of Justification of all, in the death of Christ; but neither is this to be admitted, if we speak of actual Justification"—John Brown, of Wamphray, The Life of Justification Opened (1695).

Works on Justification and Saving Faith:

Lord's Supper

James Dodson

A Scottish sacramental observance.

A Scottish sacramental observance.

THE REFORMED FAITH AND THE LORD'S SUPPER HOMEPAGE.

"III. The outward matter thereof, or Signes, are Bread and Wine. 
IV. The Supper is lame, without both Signes; and to rob the people of the Cup, is Sacrilege. 
V. The inward matter is Christ, with all his satisfaction and merit. 
VI. As it is Jewish superstition, to use unleavened Bread; so the Popish Penny-wafers are superstitious reliques. 
VII. Its outward form consists in Actions and Words. 
VIII. The Actions are the breaking of Bread, and powring out of Wine; the distribution of both Signes, and the receiving thereof with the hand and mouth. 
IX. The word is, the whole Institution, containing the Eucharist, the command, and the promise; but the promise chiefly."—John Wollebius, The Abridgment of Christian Divinitie, (1650).

 

WORKS ON THE LORD'S SUPPER: 

 

A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine.-1632-William Twisse.-A treatise containing four catechism. The first designed to explain and distinguish the sacraments; the second treats the Lord's prayer; the third expounds the Ten Commandments; and the fourth unfolds the articles of the Apostles' Creed. This is a good example of many early Reformed catechisms written specifically for helping communicants prepare for a right reception of the Lord's supper.

Of the use of a Table in the Lord's Supper. And of the communicants their coming to, and receiving at the Table.-1649-George Gillespie.-In this essay, Gillespie explains and defends the use of a table in the celebration of the Lord's supper. This is an authoritative exposition of this subject.

Danger of Being Over Wise:-1835-William B. Sprague (1795-1876).-This is the sermon in which Sprague first attacks the temperance movement and its fanatical adherents who sought the removal of wine from the Lord's supper.

Dr. Sprague’s Reply to Professor Stuart’s Letter addressed to him through the American Temperance Intelligencer of August, 1835.-1835-William B. Sprague (1795-1876).-In this letter, Sprague responds to Moses Stuart, a professor at Andover Seminary, who objected to his sermon on religious fanaticism which demanded the use of wine, not grape juice, be retained in the Lord's supper. Sprague attacks the fanatical impulse and its undermining of the sacrament.

The Holy Communion. An Address Before Administering the Lord’s Supper.-1844-John Brown, of Edinburgh (1784-1858).-This address was given at the celebration of the Lord's supper for the edification of the communicants. In it, Brown explains the two dimensions of fellowship, or communion, involved in the right reception of the sacrament.

Debarring and Inviting Service.-1871-Samuel Bowden (1822-1894).-This address, from Reformed Presbyterian minister, gives an example of the warnings proper to the administration of the Lord's supper complete with debarring and inviting of would be communicants.

The Bible Wine Question.-1881-Dunlop Moore (1830-1905).-The first of two articles examining the claims of Temperance advocates that there are two kinds of wine in Scripture-one unfermented and the other fermented. He notes the novelty of those who advance this view and dissects their flawed logic with the precision of a skilled surgeon. He also shows their lack of honesty in scholarship on the question. The only wine known to the Bible has the potential to intoxicate and that has implications for Christian practice, especially with respect to the Lord's supper.

Sacramental Wine.-1882-Dunlop Moore (1830-1905).-The second article on the issue of Bible wines in which the author vigorously defends the use of wine (not grape juice) in the sacrament of the Lord's supper. Having defended the intoxicating nature of Biblical wine, he is forward to press the claims of its use in the sacramental observance. Once more, he lays waste to the dishonesty and poor scholarship amongst the promoters of total abstinence.

The Lord's Supper According to the Directory for Worship of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Maintained as the True Scriptural Form for its Observance, both against Present Attempts to Change it, and also against Modifications in Use by Others.-1888-Samuel T. Lowrie (1835-1924).-An often acerbic look at the Temperance fanatics who wished to remove wine from the Lord's supper. This small volume also contains many other interesting observations and admonitions to keep to the traditional sacramental usages of Reformed Protestantism. There is also a helpful discussion of why we use leavened rather than unleavened bread in Reformed churches. It contains an appendix by Dunlop Moore on Biblical wine that condenses his arguments.

The Use of Tokens in Our Covenanter Communions.-1908-Robert James George (1844-1911).-The first of two articles written by George, this one chronicles the decline of the use of communion tokens amongst 19th century Reformed Presbyterians in America with observations concerning the result of their disuse. This was the first step toward introducing open communion.

The Use of Tokens an Appropriate, Instructive and Impressive Service.-1908-Robert James George (1844-1911).-This second article gives a number of reasons for the continued use of communion tokens with appreciation for their conduciveness to a more orderly administration of the sacrament. 

Mediatorial Reign of Christ

James Dodson

A Covenanter flag bearing the recognition of Christ's Mediatorial Reign over the nations.

A Covenanter flag bearing the recognition of Christ's Mediatorial Reign over the nations.

THE MEDIATORIAL REIGN OF CHRIST HOMEPAGE.

"Neither doe I beleeve, that the Magistrate is not subordinate to the Kingdome of Christ, as mediator, but subordinate to God as Creator onely."—Samuel Rutherfurd, The Due Right of Presbyteries. (1644).

 

Works on the Mediatorial Reign of Christ:

 

Messiah, Governor of the Nations of the Earth:-1803-Alexander McLeod.-A discourse on the Mediatorial character of Christ and the importance of this doctrine with respect to the duty of nations favored with the light of the Gospel.

The Two Sons of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis.-1803-Samuel Brown Wylie.-This small treatise constitutes one of the most readable and comprehensive expositions of the Reformed Presbyterian position with respect to the application of its principles on civil magistracy in the United States. Written in the early days of the republic, it shows that godless principles were incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. 

The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah.-1820-James Renwick Willson.-An excellent presentation of the doctrine of the Mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for all nations and kingdoms. This is the Covenanter postmillennial vision.

Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over All Governments: and the Disregard of his Authority by the United States, in the Federal Constitution.-1832-James Renwick Willson.-Two essays: the first, examining the claims of Christ over the nations; and, the second, the application of these claims to the present constitution of the civil government in the United States.

Regnum Lapis, or the Kingdom of the Stone.-1841-Archibald Johnston (1793-1818).-Written both as part of his exercises for ordination and for the Argumentative portion of the "American" Testimony, this production was suppressed by "New Lights" because of its careful and discriminating exegesis of the doctrine of Christ's mediatorial reign and its implications.

A Review of the Views of Seceders on the Mediatorial Headship of Christ and George Gillespie.-1846-Anonymous.-Probably written by the editor of The Covenanter magazine (James M. Willson), this is the third article critiquing a union movement amongst Reformed churches at that time. In this installment, the author addresses sentiments expressed in their union document called the Basis respecting the Mediatorial dominion of Christ with important comments on George Gillespie's statements on Mediatorial headship of Christ.

Dominion of Christ.-1846-Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.-A short article containing a statement from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland on the duty of the magistrate with respect to Popery.

A Review of the Errors of Seceders upon the Head of Civil Magistracy.-1847-Anonymous.-This review, probably written by the editor of The Covenanter (James M. Willson), seeks to show Seceders, and those of their persuasion, that many of the best ministers of the Secession have not shared the extreme views of Adam Gib on the doctrine of magistracy. There are also some comments on why Seceders are wrong to claim George Gillespie.

Christ's Headship.-1847-John McAuley.-In this first of three articles, McAuley discusses the identity of natural moral law with the Ten Commandments and why he understands magistrates to be deputies under Christ even though he admits the office itself flows from God as Creator.

Dominion of Christ: Part 1.-1848-John McAuley.-This second article of three defends McAuley's position from charges of deriving civil magistracy from grace. In it, he also discusses and defends the idea of Christian magistracy and its relation to grace. His discussion of the two forms of the law (and the two covenants) and man's relation to each is of particular note and quite helpful to remember.

The Dominion of Christ: Part 2.-1848-John McAuley.-In this third article of his series, McAuley argues closely for Christian magistracy and shows that no magistrate can rule as the ordinance of God apart from Christ the Mediator. He also explains why this is true.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Jesus "Crowned with Glory and Honour."-1855-Thomas Martin (1805-1879).-A catechism upon the various principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church giving a clear and simple presentation of them together with a survey of its history with emphasis on the mediatorial reign of Christ.

Christ's Mediatorial Dominion; or, What Our Standards Teach in Relation to the Headship, or Dominion of Christ the Mediator.-1863-John McAuley.-A short article by McAuley tracing the teaching of the Westminster Standards on the subject of the Mediatorial reign of Christ showing his change of mind from the Seceder position toward that of the Covenanters.

Messiah the Prince; or, the Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ.-1881-William Symington.-Here is a tour de force defense of the Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ over the nations by an eminent and able Reformed Presbyterian minister and professor. This contains an excellent overview and exposition of the Covenanter position on the subordination of the Civil Magistrate to Christ as Mediator.

Minutes of Presbytery

James Dodson

The bush burning but not consumed symbolizing the martyr character of the Presbyterian church.

The bush burning but not consumed symbolizing the martyr character of the Presbyterian church.

MINUTES OF THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY. 

 

"It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith and cases of conscience, to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word."—Westminster Assembly, The Confession of Faith, XXXI.3. (1647).


"Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing."—Phil. 3:16.


 

MINUTES AND PROCEEDINGS
OF GENERAL MEETINGS AND PRESBYTERY. 
1840-1929.

 

1840.-1840-Reformed Presbytery.-These are the first minutes published by Robert Lusk and David Steele after the split earlier in the year. These minutes are notable for providing a compendium of charges against the Old Lights and their systemic defection from the testimony of the Covenanter church.

1841.-1841-Reformed Presbytery.-In these minutes the Presbytery take up the issue of ecclesiastical relations with some discussion of the place of the Auchensaugh renovation. There are several other interesting theological questions addressed including whether or not fear of hell is a Gospel motive to believe in Christ.

1842.—April.-1842, April-Reformed Presbytery.-At this meeting, the Presbytery turns itself to the question of the wording of the terms of communion in light of the 1807 wording. It is followed the proposed revision of terms for use by the Presbytery. There is also a general overview of the decline in matters of faith and practice presented in a declaration of Causes of Fasting.

1842.—October.-1842, October-Reformed Presbytery.-This meeting begins with several interesting matters of order and discipline in the church.  Once more, they take up and discuss the question of terms of communion.

1843.-1843-Reformed Presbytery.-At this meeting the term testimony is discussed with concern for it being restored to its original meaning. The Causes of Fasting and Causes of Thanksgiving are filled with many issues that still bear consideration.  This meeting also takes up the fifth and sixth terms of communion.

1844.—May.-1844, May-Reformed Presbytery.-The presbytery discusses the idea of the witnessing church.  Besides some more mundane church business, they also review the terms of communion before they are to be approved for adoption.

1844.—October.-1844, October-Reformed Presbytery.-At this meeting, the question of if or how to retain Reformation Principle Exhibited is moved. Herein are contained the Causes of Fasting for the year with a number of reflections on those who are the chief actors in the declinings enumerated.  Also, there are Causes of Thanksgiving which have several interesting considerations on societal changes underway.

1844.—November.-1844, November-Reformed Presbytery.-This short session consists of the moderation of a unanimous call from the Miami, Ohio, congregation to Rev. Robert Lusk.  It was accepted upon certain conditions.

1845.-1845-Reformed Presbytery.-Most of these minutes is devoted to trying to ascertain the value of retaining "Reformation Principles Exhibited" in the terms of communion. Several corrections are suggested for various chapters and sections designed to make it more acceptable.

  • With the death of Rev. Robert Lusk, Presbytery was dissolved.
  • 1846.—General Correspondence.
  • 1847-53.—General Correspondence.—Missing.
  • With the accession of Rev. James J. Peoples, Presbytery was re-constituted.

1854.—June.-1854, June-Reformed Presbytery.-This session represents the re-constituting of the Reformed Presbytery with J. J. Peoples being added to the Presbytery. Also, James F. Fulton is taken under care in preparation for the ministry.

1854.—October.-1854, October-Reformed Presbytery.-This session sets forth the various Causes for Fasting and Thanksgiving. They also appoint a day to be held within the church for each.

1855.-1855-Reformed Presbytery.-Presbytery, in these minutes, is concerned with the progress of Mr. J.F. Fulton in his studies for ministry. It contains several recommendations to see him advance.

1856.-1856-Reformed Presbytery.-During this session, the Presbytery sets forth a number of Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving several of which pertain to the burning issue of slavery.

1857.—June.-1857, June-Reformed Presbytery.-The substance of these minutes concerns the preparation of Mr. J.F. Fulton for the ministry.

1857.—October.-1857, October-Reformed Presbytery.-This session takes up the preparation of Mr. Fulton, whose absence is not sustained, and the further trials set for him. It also sets forth the Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving for the year.

1858.—May.-1858, May-Reformed Presbytery.-This session contains the call for Mr. Steele to become pastor of the Hill Prairie congregation, in Illinois. It contains Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving. The former note the failure of the Second Great Awakening along with the curse of slavery.

1858.—August.-1858, August-Reformed Presbytery-This session takes up the licensing of James F. Fulton to preach and the call to pulpit supply in several congregations which were without regular ministry.

1859.-1859-Reformed Presbytery.-Besides taking several issues of pulpit appointments throughout the scattered congregations, this session sets forth Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving for the year.  In these the Presbytery laments the push for degenerative ecclesiastical union (with the newly formed United Presbyterian Church in view) and firm purpose to press the pleading for the doctrines of "historical testimony" and "occasional hearing."

1860.-1860-Reformed Presbytery.-The Presbytery is asked to consider certain civil engagements.  The Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving are given with continued concern for the spirit of ecclesiastical union without a commensurate measure of concern for witness to the truth.

1861.-1861-Reformed Presbytery.-After reporting on various ministerial employments, the Presbytery sets forth Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving.  Of interest is the condemnation of open communion and the chronicling of the increasing laxity amongst Protestant bodies.

  • 1862.—Missing.
  • 1863.—Missing—Part of a report is found with Minutes of 1864.  The accompanying wording suggests these minutes may not have been published and may be lost.

1864.-1864-Reformed Presbytery.-This Presbytery meeting was called early in preparation for Mr. Steele's trip to Britain.  The Causes of Fasting include a concern for rising rates of "mixed marriages" and a condemnation of promiscuous dancing.  The Causes of Thanksgiving register thanks for contending parties in America and Britain.  This marks the beginning of the fraternal relations with John Cunningham and those associated with him, in Britain.

1865.-1865-Reformed Presbytery.-This includes some of Mr. Steele's report concerning his mission to Britain.  The issue of some members contributing money to avoid the military draft is taken up and such voluntary participation is condemned.  The Causes of Fasting continue to chronicle the spiritual decline among the churches and the horrible national judgments (i.e., the American "Civil" war).  The Causes of Thanksgiving note the impending end of slavery.

1866.-1866-Reformed Presbytery.-This session includes much correspondence with the Old Dissenters and Dr. John Cunningham from Britain.  The Causes for Fasting include observations on the corruption of worship and the decline of vital religion. The Causes for Thanksgiving include the establishing of fraternal relations with those in Britain. There is much about faithful testimony bearing in these minutes.

1867.-1867-Reformed Presbytery.-These minutes include correspondence from John Cunningham in which, after thanking them for cordial fellowship, speaks of the growth of infidelity and its effects on the church as well as the progress of the Mediatorial reign of Christ.  The Causes of Fasting contain many instructive points (e.g., asserting that faithful Bible translations are inspired); and the Causes of Thanksgiving have several reflections on the end of the American Civil war.

1868.-1868-Reformed Presbytery.-These minutes contain correspondence from John Cunningham and the Old Wigtonshire Societies expressing their warm approbation of the Presbytery's previous warnings against incorporating acts with immoral civil governments (i.e., voting for amendments, etc.).  It contains additional clarification on the Presbytery's position on paying of taxes (a subject taken up several times in the previous five years). It also contains a Testimony against several prevailing sins with much time spent on corruptions in worship.

1869.-1869-Reformed Presbytery.-This session contains the beginning of the controversy with J.J. Peoples and the initial response of the Presbytery. In the Causes of Fasting there are many evils denounced including those irregularities of marriage and their sad consequences. The Causes of Thanksgiving note many of the improvements following the revolutions amongst the nations.

  • 1870.—Missing.
  • 1871.—Missing.
  • 1872.—Presbytery did not meet.

1873.-1873-Reformed Presbytery.-These minutes are notable for the accession of John McAuley to the Presbytery. The Causes of Fasting describe the various Romish movements in the churches and also expose the corruption covenant renewals amongst professing Reformed Presbyterian bodies.  The Causes of Thanksgiving are filled with observations on the continuance of a witness for the truth.

  • 1874.—Presbytery did not meet.

 

 

 

National Establishments of Religion

James Dodson

A scene of the Scottish people signing the national Covenant, 1638.

A scene of the Scottish people signing the national Covenant, 1638.

NATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS OF RELIGION

"Hence it ought to be observed that something remarkable is here demanded from princes, besides an ordinary profession of faith; for the Lord has bestowed on them authority and power to defend the Church and to promote the glory of God. This is indeed the duty of all; but kings, in proportion as their power is greater, ought to devote themselves to it more earnestly, and to labor in it more diligently."—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah (1550).

 

Works on National Establishments of Religion:

 

The Two Sons of Oil; or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis.-1803-Samuel Brown Wylie.-This small treatise constitutes one of the most readable and comprehensive expositions of the Reformed Presbyterian position with respect to the application of its principles on civil magistracy in the United States. Written in the early days of the republic, it shows that godless principles were incorporated into the U.S. Constitution.

Statement of the Difference Between the Profession of the Reformed Church of Scotland,-1807-Thomas McCrie (1772-1835).-A defence of national churches and national estalbishments of religion with many helpful discussions on the use and purpose of creeds and confessions in the life of the church.

The Christian Magistrate: A Discourse.-1832-Thomas Houston.-An excellent survey of the qualifications and duties of the civil magistrate.  Houston is particularly helpful to explain how a Christian magistrate is responsible to establish the true religion and his power circa sacra. His discussion of punishing heretics and idolaters required a full length defense which he issued the following year. This is a strong indictment of theological liberalism and its tendencies.

The Reviewer Reviewed, and The Covenanter and Testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church Vindicated, from the Perversions and Groundless Allegations of the Rev. John Paul, in a Pamphlet, Entitled, "The Covenanter Reviewed & Persecution Condemned."-1833-Thomas Houston.-A vigorous defense of his discourse on the Christian Magistrate from charges of being contrary to the received doctrine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Houston demonstrates the depth of historical support for this doctrine.  This pamphlet also has much to teach about historical testimony and the engagement to walk in the footsteps of the flock. 

Lectures on the Lawfulness and Advantages of National Establishments of Religion.-1839-William White, of Haddington.-Two Lectures explaining and defending the national establishment of religion together with a discussion of its advantages to the interests of true Christianity.

The Duty of Nations to the Church.-1860-David Steele.-An article explaining that nations must serve the Mediator Christ in their national capacity by giving their support to national establishments of religion.

Church and State: Three Lectures.-1893-James Kerr.-A series of lectures examining three possible positions one may hold concerning the relation between church and state. First, the state might offer all religions equality which is a prescription for national disaster; second, the state might establish a church with its worship and discipline which is to offer dishonor to the church; third, the state might embrace the true religion and a Scriptural establish which is glorious.

Negro Slavery Unjustifiable

James Dodson

"Am I Not A Man and A Brother?"

"Am I Not A Man and A Brother?"

NEGRO SLAVERY UNJUSTIFIABLE HOMEPAGE.

"A Preacher of the Gospel ought not to be patiently listened to even, who eloquently depicts the blessings of that liberty with which Christ hath made us free, while he holds his fellow-disciple, him to whom he administers the symbols of a Saviour's redeeming love, in a most dreadful and lacerating bondage."—George Bourne, The Book and Slavery Irreconcilable (1816).

 

Discourses, Lectures and Sermons:

 

Negro Slavery Unjustifiable.-1802-Alexander McLeod.-A sermon on the unlawfulness of holding men in perpetual slavery through man-stealing.

 Tokens of the Divine Displeasure, in the Late Conflagrations in New-York, & Other Judgments, Illustrated.-1836-James R. Willson.-A sermon that calls attention to the several lamentable dispensations of providence as provoked by national infidelity and negro slavery.

The Higher Law, or the Law of the Most High.-1851-William Louis Roberts.-A spirited postmillennial account of the mediatorial reign of Christ which seeks to answer the question of what we should do when man's law conflicts with God's law, discussed against the backdrop of the fugitive slave law. 

Observance of Holy Days

James Dodson

A sign of the times when Christ and the Mass were both held in disrepute. Celebrating ecclesiastical holy days, vulgarly called holidays, is contrary to our covenanted true Reformed religion. By reason of their associations, they are "Nehushtan" and must be destroyed root and branch. There is no such thing as a secular (or family) observance, it is just plain idolatry.

A sign of the times when Christ and the Mass were both held in disrepute. Celebrating ecclesiastical holy days, vulgarly called holidays, is contrary to our covenanted true Reformed religion. By reason of their associations, they are "Nehushtan" and must be destroyed root and branch. There is no such thing as a secular (or family) observance, it is just plain idolatry.

ANTI-OBSERVANCE OF HOLY DAYS OF MAN HOMEPAGE.

"The PRELATE, by his doctrine, practice, example, and neglect of discipline, declareth that he hath no such reverend estimation of the Sabbath. He doteth so upon the observation of Pasche [Easter], and Yule [Christ-mass], and festival days appointed by men, that he preferreth them to the Sabath, and hath turned to nothing our solemn fasts and blessed humiliations."—David Calderwood, The Pastor and the Prelate. (1628).

 

WORKS AGAINST HOLY DAYS OF MAN: 

 

CHAPTER III.-Against Profane Christ-mass Keeping.-1687-Increase Mather (1639-1723).-A chapter devoted to the history and superstition of Christmas keeping showing that it is far from being either an innocent or a Christian observance.

Presbyterians Do Not Celebrate Holy-days.-1835-Samuel Miller.-In this section of his chapter on Presbyterian worship, from his book "Presbyterianism, the Truly Primitive and Apostolic Constitution of the Christian Church," Miller asserts and explains why Presbyterians do not celebrate holy-days such as Christmas or Easter.

Christmas.-1851-Anonymous.-An article explaining why Reformed Presbyterians do not celebrate "Christmas" and why you should not either, if you are a Christian.

Christmas Trees.-1874-Anonymous.-An article treating the superstitious use and abuse of trees in the celebrating of "Christmas."

Faith in Christmas.-1876-Anonymous.-A scathing but brief attack on those who celebrate "Christmas" as a religious observance.

Christmas.-1879-Anonymous.-A popular survey of reasons that Christians should not celebrate the false religious holy day called "Christmas."

Christmas.-1885-John Wallace Sproull (1839-1919).-A popular article that examines some of the common arguments for keeping of Christmas and explains why Christians ought to have no part in such celebrations.