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James Dodson



Presbytery met at the call of the Moderator, and was opened by prayer. The members were Rev. J.J. Peoples, Rev. D. Steele, with Messrs. Robert Mitchel and Samuel W. Cawser, ruling elders. The present Moderator was continued, and Mr. Joseph Aiken appointed Clerk. Mr. James Williams, elder, was invited to a seat as consultative member.

Appointments had been mostly fulfilled, and where it was otherwise, satisfactory reasons were assigned.

Mr. Fulton, student, was absent, and the reasons given on his behalf were not sustained. Besides the subject already assigned, he was further directed to have in readiness for delivery at next meeting of Presbytery a discourse from Micah 6:1-5.

A petition was presented from certain persons residing in south-western Illinois, who had heretofore been in connection with the Old Light Synod, asking to be taken under the inspection of the Reformed Presbytery, and to be organized as a congregation. Their prayer was granted, and Rev. D. Steele was appointed to carry out the objects of the petition, with such co-operation of eldership as he can obtain—the time discretionary. Rev. Mr. Peoples was appointed to supply in Illinois and Indiana, as he may find convenient.

Causes of fasting and of thanksgiving were framed and adopted, as follows:


1. The low state of religion evidenced. First, in little love manifested to the precious doctrines of God’s word. This appears in the forwardness of many professing disciples of Christ to sacrifice principle to union. Second, Those who by office ought to be especially set for the defense of the Gospel, are willing to throw into debate some of the doctrines of this Gospel, which have been long received, and even sealed by the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Third, The popularity and extensive circulation of erroneous, heretical and immoral books, pamphlets and periodicals, demonstrate the prevailing carnality of the popular mind and heart. Fourth, The activity and energy with which professing Christians prosecute schemes for wordly gain and ecclesiastical display, betray a declining regard to divine truth; “Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples.” Fifth, The facility and frequency with which the same class drop, or forget, or disregard, their sacramental and other vows, when mingling in party politics, goes far to evince the low state of religion. “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not.”

2. The divine displeasure against this nation may be read in, First, the threatening aspect of the last spring season. God’s hand was visibly lifted up in late frosts, accompanied with wind and drought, to the blasting of the hopes of the husbandman. Second, In the territory of Kansas, wicked men. having “sown the wind, are reaping the whirlwind.” Life and property and liberty are momentarily jeopardized, notwithstanding the protection impiously pledged by the broad wings of the American eagle. Third, The late secession from thc New School General Assembly, for the avowed purpose of stifling natural convictions of the atrocities of slavery, is a fearful indication that Jehovah is about to deal with the advocates of that inhuman system as with Ephraim of old,—”Let them alone!”


1. Notwithstanding blighted hopes in the spring, contrary to all human calculation; or expectation, the Lord hath visited his people in giving them bread. “The earth hath yielded her fruits in great abundance.”

2. The general health has been unusually good, and all classes of society have been enabled to prosecute their respective callings without interruption from any national calamity of war, sword or pestilence.

3. We still enjoy the dispensation of Gospel ordinances in great measure of Scriptural purity; our presbyterial organization is continued, and internal peace prevails, we trust, in consistency with truth.

4. We would recognize it as a token for good, that a considerable number have been moved, since our last presbyterial meeting, who were then in another fellowship, to seek acquaintance with us; and upon inquiring into our distinctive principles, to desire union and communion with us in the same covenanted testimony.

The third Thursday of November was appointed to be observed as a day of thanksgiving, and the last Thursday of February, 1858, as a day of fasting, by all under the care of Presbytery. Minutes read and approved.

Adjourned to meet in the same place, on the last Monday of May, 1858. Closed with prayer.

J.J. PEOPLES, Moderator.