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James Dodson


ROCHESTER, N. York, June 14th, 1877, 10 o’clock, A.M.

The Reformed Presbytery met according to adjournment at the call of the Moderator, who opened the court with prayer.

The congregation in Rochester being engaged in preparation for the celebration of the Lord’s supper, the court adjourned without proceeding with any judicial business, and closed with prayer to meet in the same place to-morrow, at 10 o’clock A.M. Same place, June 15th, 10 o’clock, A.M.

Court met agreeably to adjournment, and was constituted by prayer. The members present were, John M’Auley, James F. Fulton, and David Steele, ministers; and Messrs. James Anderson, Robert Alexander, and James Campbell, ruling elders.

D. Steele was chosen moderator, and J. M’Auley clerk. Mr. Fulton was asked the reasons of his absence from former meetings of the Presbytery. He assigned reasons which were sustained.

The Minutes of last meeting were read and approved. The days of Thanksgiving and Fasting had been observed by all our congregations.

On motion, the following preamble and resolution were adopted: Whereas we have no comfortable evidence of repentance by our former brethren as an organization, since our Call to that duty was addressed to them at the last meeting of this court, therefore

Resolved, That we continue our testimony against their defection, their refusing to hear the call to repentance, and also against their manifest and increasing defection.

The case of Robert Clyde Junior, was reported from the Philadelphia session, and referred to a committee consisting of Fulton, M’Auley, and Campbell, who were directed to report during the present sessions of this court.

Mr. M’Auley reported that he had fulfilled his appointments at North Union, Butler County, Pa., and Rochester, New York.

The Commission appointed at last meeting reported. The report was approved and the Commission discharged. The committee on publishing the Testimony reported, That they had issued three hundred copies of that document; that they had received subscriptions to defray the cost of publication in part; and to make up the deficiency, the court recommended, That the proceeds of surplus copies when sold, be paid to the chairman of the committee for his services. The same committee reported also, that the money received from Adams County, Ohio, had been disposed of according to the direction of Presbytery. Court then took a recess till 1 ½ o’clock, P.M.

Time of recess having expired, the Moderator called the members to order, and all were present. M’Auley, Campbell, and Anderson were appointed to report on the Signs of the Times. A paper was presented from some people in Des Moines County, Iowa, asking supplies and an organization. Their prayer was granted. The congregation of North Union desired the moderation of a call, and Mr. Fulton was directed to attend to that matter on his return home. Steele, M’Auley, and Campbell—Anderson alternate—were appointed a Commission to attend to any business which may come regularly before them until next meeting of Presbytery.

Adjourned to meet in the same place on next Tuesday, at 9 o’clock A.M.

Same place, June 19th, 9 o’clock, A.M.

Presbytery met and opened with prayer. All the members present except Campbell, who soon appeared. The committee on the case of Robert Clyde, Jr., reported. Report accepted and adopted. It is as follows: Your committee to whom was referred the case of student Clyde, respectfully report. Whereas it appears from the facts stated in open court, that shortly after the last meeting of this Presbytery, at which this young man at his own request was taken under our care as a student of theology, he violated his solemn covenant engagements by forsaking the fellowship of this church; we, therefore, recommend the adoption of the following resolution: That this court approve the action of the session of Philadelphia in suspending him; declare the relation between him and this court dissolved; and that any farther action in his case by this court is deemed unnecessary.[1]

The committee on the Signs of the Times reported. Accepted and adopted, and is as follows:—


The word of God is the rule of our faith and practice, both as individuals and as members of society. And as the purposes of God are in part revealed in his word, they are carried out in execution by his providence; the word and the providence of God always harmonize, and are calculated to interpret each other. His word, however, and not his providence is our directory. Our Lord says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;” and it is enjoined upon us that we “magnify those works which we behold.” This is one of the ways by which the “wise shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord;” and by similar means they are brought to know his displeasure. In this way God calls his people to fasting or thanksgiving; that is, while his word is always the rule, his providence furnishes motives for the performance of these duties. But “God hath set some in the church,” whose special duty is to act as “watchmen to the house of Israel.” The officers of the church are to “have understanding of the times, and know what Israel ought to do.” As part of the good order of the house of God, the Reformed Presbyterian church has been long in the practice of taking at least an annual survey of divine providence, as a means of glorifying him, and of promoting her own sanctification. In accordance with divine warrant and established usage, the Presbytery note the following:


1. Sinful and lamentable ignorance among ourselves, not only of the Holy Scriptures, with careless practice, but also of the doctrines deduced from them by our fathers, and transmitted to us in our Subordinate Standards. Even that symbol of our profession, “intended for such as are of weaker capacity,” is often little more than a vain repetition. Modern Sabbath-school “Lessons” in surrounding communities have well nigh supplanted the Shorter Catechism.

2. In most professedly christian families the duty of catechizing [has] gone into desuetude, and with it family worship; evincing that neither parents nor children are personally familiar with God. For this heathenish condition of professors, ministers and elders are chiefly responsible.

3. Instead of divine truth and spiritual worship, pernicious errors are extensively propagated, and human inventions almost everywhere impiously substituted for the ordinances of divine appointment.

4. The profanation of the Lord’s day is visibly on the increase among all classes, by railroad companies, legislative bodies, parties of pleasure on land and water—the morality of the Sabbath being questioned or denied by many nominal christians.

5. Disobedience to parents, in the family, in the church and in the state, is so prevalent in this land as to be noticed by foreigners who come among us. The faces of elders, whether in, years or in office are not honoured; no, not even as among the heathen, of whom we read in their histories. Two principal causes may be assigned for this social disorder—the almost universal disobedience to God of individuals and of the whole nation, and the irreligious origin and character of popular education.

6. Among the daily records of crime are announced murders, suicides, infanticides, and other forms of cruelty; and owing to bribery and perjury, these crimes are neither speedily nor adequately punished.

7. A deluge of obscene literature, painting, sculpture, photographic, and lithographic designs, are circulated through the post-office and other mediums, finding their way into christian families.

8. Dishonesty is so prevalent over the land, that mutual confidence in so far impaired as to greatly diminish production and commerce; and this derangement is doubtless a manifestation of divine displeasure.

9. The want of mutual confidence is much aggravated by want of truthfulness, violation of the ninth commandment. We would again emphasize and bewail the influence of unfaithfulness by church rulers, who habitually commit this sin, and endorse it in others as duty, by furnishing good testimonials to known covenant-breakers.

10. From the unity of the divine law, all the breaches of the other precepts flow from disregarding the tenth and last, according to the apostle: “I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet,” Rom. 7:7.


1. We yet enjoy all the ordinary means of grace; the lives of the ministry are continued, and peace prevails in our fellowship.

2. We have been permitted to display the Original Testimony in a new edition, with all its primitive inscriptions, and a supplemental adaptation to the church and the world in our own time. Ps. 78:5-7.

3. Our Lord has made this faithful banner the means of arresting the attention of some, who have thereby been directed in their earnest inquiries utter the old paths, sincerely desiring to walk therein.

4. While the alarm of war is heard in other nations, we still enjoy national peace.

5. The blessing of God has caused the earth to yield her increase for the subsistence of man and beast.

John M’Auley, Chairman.

The fourth Thursday of next November was appointed for Thanksgiving, and the fourth Thursday of February, 1878, for Fasting. The committee’s report on covenanting was adopted as follows: We recommend that the committee be continued; that the ministerial members keep the matter before the people by preaching on the subject, and also through the pages of the Magazine; and likewise, that all our people be requested diligently to direct their attention to the subject, with a view to preparation for the solemn duty of covenant renovation; and that they be earnest at the throne of grace, remembering that God has said, “For these things will I be inquired of by the house of Israel to do them for them.”

D. Steele was appointed to preach in Rochester on the 4th Sabbath inst. Mr. M’Auley was directed to supply North Union congregation when desired. The Presbytery then adjourned to meet at the call of the Moderator. The Minutes were read and approved. Closed with prayer.




[1] Like Linning and Boyd of a former generation, or Demas in the apostolic age; this young man has forsaken the fellowship of those who had contributed to his education; and he departed without making restitution. “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”