MINUTES OF THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY.
BRUSH CREEK MEETING HOUSE, May 27, 1861.
PRESBYTERY met, agreeably to adjournment, and was constituted with prayer. Members present—Ministers, Rev. DAVID STEELE, Rev. JAS. J. PEOPLES; with Ruling Elders, Mr. JOSEPH AIKEN, of Miami, and Mr. JAS. WILLIAMS, of Brush Creek. The present Moderator and Clerk, were continued. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved. Messrs. McKINLY and COUSER, on invitation, took seats as consultative members. Inquiry being made as to the observance of the days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, the answers were satisfactory. Mr. PEOPLES reported that he had been unable to fulfill his appointment in Hill Prairie, and owing to existing circumstances, that appointment was discontinued. Mr. STEELE reported that he had moderated a call at Brush Creek, and laid it on the table. It was considered and sustained as a regular gospel call. A period of six months was granted the candidate, at his own request, to consider whether he should accept the call.
The Moderator appointed the Rev. JAS. J. PEOPLES and Mr. JAMES WILLIAMS a committee on the Signs of the Times; and Mr. JOSEPH AIKEN a committee on Military Associations. Adjourned to meet at this place to-morrow at 2 P.M.
SAME PLACE, May 28.—Presbytery met according to adjournment and was constituted with prayer. Members all present. The committee on the Signs of the Times reported. The report having been considered by paragraph, was, on motion, adopted, and is as follows:
CAUSES OF FASTING.
Our Master enjoins upon his disciples or those professedly in covenant with God, that each cast out the mote that is in his own eye, that he may see clearly to cast the beam out of his brother’s eye.
1. The Lord our God has a controversy with ourselves, as manifested by recent dissension and defection. Some have turned aside after their own crooked ways. They went out from us, because they were not of us.
2. The defection above noted has resulted from a violation of our covenanted presbyterial order. A session has suffered, without judicial cognizance, one of its members to give testimonials and dismission from our fellowship. Thus we have practically disregarded the established order of covenanted fathers; who certified members as “entitled to fellowship in the Reformed Presbyterian Church ONLY, wherever providence might cast their lot.”
3. The defection above mentioned has arisen from infection received from other bodies. They certify and dismiss members to any fellowship. They extend an invitation to the Lord’s table, to all persons “in good standing in sister churches!” And an individual in one of those bodies who still professes a regard for the Westminster standards, has recently avowed the sentiment in public “that visible discipleship” is the only term of communion in the visible church; and has been sustained by his presbytery!—A sentiment tending directly to infidelity.
4. Some of the sins to which we called attention, and on account of which we separated from former ecclesiastical connections, in the year 1840, are practiced among them. They maintain organic and other fellowship with other churches which have long since departed from reformation principles and practice. We refer here to the Reformed Presbyterian Synods of Scotland and Ireland.
5. The nations of Christendom are still at war with the Lamb, and administer their governments in opposition to his authority, and in a manner prejudicial to the interests of his church: and for the complicated iniquities and bloody cruelties of these United States, God is threatening them with dismemberment, and to give them blood to drink. The nation has been called to fasting by its chief magistrate, but as yet there has been no confession of the sins procuring these judgments, nor any disposition to break off its sins by righteousness and its iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.
CAUSES OF THANKSGIVING.
l. We have cause of thanksgiving for the measure of unanimity and peace we enjoy. We are of the same mind in all the distinguishing doctrines of our covenanted Testimony.
2. The accessions to our fellowship more than countervail our loss by defection. In imitation of our Fathers in better days some have come from distant places, at cost and fatigue, to enjoy communion in the celebration of our New Testament passover.
3. Our testimony against the immoralities of the United States constitution, begins to be acknowledged by persons in other communities. Distinguished individuals, through the medium of magazines of large circulation, have proclaimed to the world that—”as a people, we are christian, but as a nation we are atheistic.”
4. While our ears are saluted daily with the alarm of war, we hitherto enjoy peace in all our borders.
5. The tendency of current events, is to convince reflecting minds, that the theory of self-government, which conflicts with the Divine government, when carried out necessarily issues in anarchy.
JAMES J. PEOPLES,
The Committee on Military Associations reported. The report was considered by paragraph, amended, and adopted, and is as follows:
Taking a view of the parties in the field, and the principles respectively avowed by them, our people cannot take part with either: The people of the Southern States avow, that the objects of their military enterprise are to maintain slavery where it now exists, to secure stronger guaranties for its farther extension, and to obtain a national recognition of property in men. In reference to the objects of the Southern party,—”How can we do this great wickedness, and sin against, [God] the Lord.”
And while the people of the North muster their hosts to the battle, under a banner which leaves out the inscription of Mediatory authority, and security for human rights; we cannot say “a confederacy” with them.
To those under our presbyterial inspection, we would affectionately tender the counsel given by the Lord to our fathers of old: “Say ye not a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”
Presbytery appointed its next meeting on the last Monday of May, 1862 in Logan county; Ohio. JAMES F. FULTON was directed to supply Blue Creek, Brush Creek, Adams county, Ohio; Walnut Ridge, Indiana, and Macon county, Illinois, at his convenience. The third Thursday of November, 1861, was appointed a day of Thanksgiving, and the last Thursday of February, 1862, a day of fasting. Adjourned with prayer.
Rev. DAVID STEELE, Mod.
JAS. F. FULTON, Clerk