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A Covenanter's Reply to a Jury Summons.


A Covenanter's Reply to a Jury Summons.

James Dodson

Manuscript of the reply to a jury summons.

Manuscript of the reply to a jury summons.

[The following reply, which the editor possesses in manuscript, gives a brief series of reasons why Covenanters do not serve as jurors under corrupt constitutions of civil government. The author, Mr. Robert Alexander, was the clerk of session for the Reformed Presbyterian congregation, in Philadelphia, which was pastored by David Steele. It is reproduced as a testimony on behalf of the good old paths. "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old."]

Having been summoned to act as a juror on the 8th of the present month, I humbly assign the following reasons why I can not serve in such capacity with a safe conscience:—

1. Civil government being the ordinance of God, his holy Word ought to be the rule of its constitution and administration.

2. I find that God, and Christ, and the Bible, are all excluded from the national Constitution.

3. I believe that the juror’s office, like every other civil office, is created by that Constitution; and that I as a juror, would be chargeable with denying Christ before men; and He says He will deny all such before his Father. Matt. 10:33.

4. I do not believe that in a country favored with the Holy Scriptures, Jews, Mahometans, Heathens, &c. should be fellow-citizens with Christians, and Christians be compelled to identify with such persons. "It would be tyranny to constrain them to such measures."

5. Reformed Presbyterians have dissented from the government from its origin, and for such reasons as above indicated. They approve many of the laws as equitable between man and man, but in civil relations they cannot disown God, his Son and his Law, as I in the position of a juror would be obliged to do.

6. The Quaker’s conscience is respected in military affairs, and I think the same exemption should be accorded to me in civil affairs; especially when I cheerfully contribute my proportion of the common taxation, for the protection of my personal liberty and security of my property.

7. Finally, I find that the Constitution guarantees "liberty of conscience;" and I only claim the just application of this provision of the fundamental law.

Phila. Feb. 5th 1875.

Robert Alexander.