The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

The Government of the Kingdom of Christ.— Part III.
by Rev. James Moir Porteous.
(Published in 1888.)

Chapter XI.
America and Presbytery.

"The breaking waves dashed high on a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky their giant branches tossed,
And the heavy night hung dark the hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark on the wild New England shore.
What sought they thus afar? bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas? the spoils of war? They sought a faith's pure shrine.
Ay! call it holy ground, the soil where first they trod:
They have left unstained what there they found, freedom to worship God."


A PASSAGE to America was opened in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Soon after, Romish missions introduced Christianity in its corrupt form. A large number in the next century ostensibly assumed the name of Christians. All were enrolled under that name who were forced to venerate their stupid instructors, and who were taught by gestures and words to exhibit useless rites and forms. But unless civilised, and ceasing to roam, the Indians were found incapable of receiving and retaining the principles of Christianity. The Jesuits, who in the seventeenth century laboured amongst them, were more eager for public honour, wealth, and power, than the advancement of Christianity.

In 1620 some families removed from Holland to New England, and laid the foundation of a new commonwealth. These Independents commenced the work of missions to the Indians with more success. The Pilgrim Fathers arriving in the Mayflower — sought and found 'freedom to worship God.' From the peculiar hardships to which the first settlers were exposed, they could not do much to advance religion in the community. They were afterwards joined by Mayhew, Shepherd, Elliot, and others. Elliot translated the Scriptures, and much was accomplished for the salvation of the Indian tribes. Not only the British dominions, the Portuguese possessions were also pervaded by the light of the gospel, at least for a season.

The first presbytery in America was organised in the year 1705 at Philadelphia. It was formed on the plan of the Presbyterian and Congregational Union, that had sent out the Rev. Mr. M'Kemie. It consisted of seven ministers. In little more than a century the little one had become a thousand. During the civil war at the time of Charles I., and at the restoration of Charles II., multitudes of the most godly of England's population were driven by persecution to the American shores. The prelatists meant it for evil, but God meant it for good in the thorough pervasion of the United States with Christianity in one of its purest and most energetic and substantial forms. New York State was settled by the Dutch, who also brought with them Presbyterian Christianity. The same blessing was carried to Pennsylvania and the northern district of Virginia by German emigrants. Very many of the Huguenots of France had also arrived at the close of the seventeenth century. These were the material sources by which the greatest of Presbyterial edifices has been built up. Scotland and Ireland have also sent forth a continuous and living stream. From the beginning of the eighteenth century on to the declaration of American independence, there flowed into New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the central portion of Virginia, North and South Carolina, &c., vast multitudes of people. These carried with them the various types of Christianity that prevailed in the old world, so that America is only a development under peculiar conditions of the Reformation Churches of Europe. About the year 1800, the central and western portion of the State of New York was a wilderness. Forty years thereafter it contained a million of people, and these all of European descent. Six millions of a like population are found in the Western States. The widely extended communities of Baptists and Methodists are to a very large degree composed of persons whose ancestors were Presbyterian. The same thing is also true in considerable measure as respects the Episcopal community. Presbyterian ministers and missionaries could not be found in sufficient numbers to overtake the vast current of humanity that poured over the western continent. Gladly they welcomed the Word of Life by whomsoever carried to their log settlements. Preferring the Presbyterian form of government, they were by necessity compelled to adopt the plan within their reach. Consequently, while no Christian can but rejoice at the zeal and strength manifested by these denominations, it ought never to be forgotten that much of their present extent and success is attributable to the presbyterial ancestry, who bequeathed to their children an intense love for purity of religion in every respect.

Although wanting in what may be called 'the light infantry' of the Methodist and other bodies, Presbytery has not been wanting in zealous and successful labour in the United States. It has been characteristically a missionary Church, doubling itself every twenty-four years. At first a standing missionary committee was appointed. That committee collected information, appointed missionaries and their field of labour, provided for their maintenance, and reported annually to the assembly. Dr. M. Hudson Hickok, O.S., gave the following eloquent statement at Edinburgh in 1867 of their field of labour: — 'The United States contains more than three million of square miles. Leaving out that broad belt lying east of the Rocky Mountains called "the great American Desert," though its recently developed mineral resources will probably fast fill it with people, there remains an area of more than two million square miles adapted to highest agricultural improvement. When as densely settled as some of the older States, say Massachusetts, the country will contain three hundred millions. Being better soil, nearly equal to France or Belgium, the same density as Belgium would give more than six hundred millions.

'This vast country is rapidly filling with people. Ships from Britain are glutted with emigrants. From the Rhine, the Elbe, the Baltic, they come in every kind of craft that will float over the Atlantic. The population has steadily doubled within the last twenty-five years, and at this ratio will contain in the year 1900 near one hundred million of souls, and before the end of next century more than fifteen hundred millions, considerably more than the entire population of the world.

'The streams which people the Great West, where mighty states, away beyond the sunset, annually start into life with the vigorous destiny of empires, do not all have their head springs on this side of the Atlantic. The American people migrate, many of them many times. A gentleman from the western border of Missouri, three hundred miles west of the Mississippi, told in New York, that he did not live in the west, but where they started to go west. There is more emigration from Missouri than from New York. A large proportion of the people are living under the rude unsettled manners of border life, a condition immensely demoralising. Presbyterianism is mounting this utmost wave of emigration, sharing its rough hardships, and silently laying the foundations of social and religious life, which will last for all time.'

In 1816 the mission committee was enlarged and constituted into 'the board of missions.' The number of missionaries sent out have ranged from two to three hundred, and the income has been from 20,000 dols. to 30,000 dols. Besides that board of the Old School Presbyterians, the American Home Mission Society received the full support of one half of the Presbyterian Church. That society has sent forth from four to seven hundred missionaries, and its income has ranged from 60,000 dols. to 80,000 dols.

At first the ministers of the Presbyterian Churches were sent out from the parent Churches, a large proportion coming from Scotland and Ulster. From 1705 to 1716, almost the whole of the pastors and missionaries were from Great Britain and Ireland. It was soon found necessary to train up a native ministry. The Rev. William Tennant, an Episcopal presbyter from the North of Ireland, made the first attempt in Pennsylvania about 1717. This 'log college' was soon imitated, and additions thereby obtained to the ministry. In 1738 an act of synod was passed, 'That all presbyteries require that every candidate before being taken on trial should be furnished with a diploma from some European or New England college; or, in case he had not enjoyed the advantages of a college education, he should be examined by a committee of synod, who should give him a certificate of competent scholarship when they find him to merit it.' Thus the importance of a high standard of education for the ministry was fully estimated. A further step was taken in this direction in 1744. It was then agreed that — (1.) There should be a school kept open, where all persons who pleased may send their children, and have them taught gratis in the languages, philosophy, and divinity; and (2.) in order to carry out this design, that every congregation under the care of the Synod be applied to for yearly contributions; and further, that (3.) whatever sums of money could be spared from what was necessary to support a master and tutor should be devoted to the purchase of books. This was the origin of the Newark College in the State of Delaware.

The synod of New York was formed in 1745. An academy in Pennsylvania became a university, and finally Princeton College in New Jersey. The synod of Pennsylvania was united with that of New York in 1758. From that time the efforts of both were directed to sustain the Princeton institution. Being open to others as well as students for the ministry, its alumni number 2500 or more — 500 at least of these are ministers. Upwards of forty such institutions have since sprung up, more or less connected with the Presbyterian Church. Teachers, officers, and patrons are either wholly or chiefly Presbyterians.

Princeton was incorporated as a college in 1748, having received a charter from George II., the board of trustees conducting all its affairs. There are seven professors, who are superintended by a president, and assisted by four tutors, the curriculum extending over four years. The teaching of theology is under a special board of assembly.

Theological education was for a long period left to some experienced pastor, who prepared some one or more students for presbyterial examination. In 1760 a regular professor of theology was added to the Princeton institution. The Board of Education, and the American Education Society have done much to increase the supply of ministers.


(1.) Old and New Schools.

For a hundred years after its organisation the Presbyterian Church in America was undisturbed by doctrinal controversy. Purity of doctrine has been generally preserved, as well as purity of morals. Mental vigour has notwithstanding been promoted by several stirrings of the waters. Discussion and parties are unavoidable where freedom is fully possessed. There is disease and death where all is ever calm and motionless. Religious revival gave rise to controversy and separation. The instruments in the great religious awakening of last century were chiefly Whitfield, Edwards, the Tennants, and the Blairs. The Synod of Philadelphia divided into two independent bodies in 1741, and remained so till 1758. In regard to doctrine, government, and the necessity of a learned ministry, all were agreed. The division arise out of the great excitement of the religious awakening in progress. It appears that personal antipathy had been allowed to spring up. At length in 1758, feelings and differences on this one point were by consent buried in oblivion, and on all other points the two were one.

Another cause of separation arose out of a union. The Congregational or Independent form of Church government was prevalent in New England. When the stream of emigration flowed from thence into the central and western parts of the State of New York, and onward to the North-western States generally, these views of Church government were carried and practised. In their new homes the people mingled with Presbyterians, and the ministers, feeling the necessity, professed their preference for the presbyterial system. Hence the union of these parties in congregations, the connection of churches one with another, and the possession of common ecclesiastical judicatories. The General Association of Connecticut in 1801 agreed upon 'the plan of union between Presbyterians and Congregationalists in the new settlements. When churches, presbyteries, and synods were formed — (1.) The plan was not then found productive of harmonious action, and time was not sufficiently allowed for the training of the community. Then (2.) doctrinal peculiarities of the New England School caused the formation of two parties, although its extent did not warrant the exercise of discipline. The New England party were termed the 'New School,' and consequently the other fell heir to the appellation of 'Old School.' New School opinions were regarded by the Old School section of the Church as virtually denying several fundamental doctrines, as original election, sin, and efficacious grace. Discipline was attempted to be exercised but failed. The failure roused great apprehension and dissatisfaction. A third cause arose from (3.) diversity of opinion as to the best mode of conducting the mission operations of the Church. The Old School held that these were best promoted by boards, over which the Church had ecclesiastical control. Voluntary societies, embracing all Christian denominations, were preferred by the New School. There was, however, a fourth cause — (4.) the great troubler was slavery. The New School was radical in its opposition to slavery. Its bold testimony gave very great offence in the Southern States. This Gordian knot could only be effectually cut by the sword, and God has caused the Church to pass through a sea of blood, until the last vestige of slavery is in American States for ever swept away. In 1838 there was little sign of such a deliverance, and feeling was strong.

Even in 1837 separation was considered desirable. The Assembly then — (1.) abolished the union plan of 1801; and (2.) declared that no Congregational church should be represented in a Presbyterian court, and that no presbytery or synod composed partly of Congregationalists and Presbyterians would henceforth be regarded as a constituent part of the Presbyterian Church. Four synods, 28 presbyteries, 599 churches, 509 ministers, and 60,000 members were thus cut off. 'The plan of union of 1801 was a monstrous violation of the constitution. It so far respected reason and truth, that no pretension was made that the arrangements were either regular, constitutional, or permanent. It virtually abolished the office of ruling elder. That plan was utterly null and void from the hour of its inception up to the declaration of that nullity by the assembly of 1837. Other questions of doctrine and practice were involved, as well as of Church order — this last was never considered by me the paramount question. But the controversy was settled mainly on the point of Church order. Four synods on that account were then declared to be illegally constituted' (Dr. J. H. Thornwell).

The New School, thus defeated in General Synod, assembled in convention at Auburn in the State of New York, and unanimously resolved that the plan of union was still in force. Then in 1838, attending and claiming their place in the assembly, — a claim neither refused nor granted, they rose and nominated a moderator and clerk; and then, claiming to be the true assembly, they withdrew. This separation gave rise to civil action. A suit was brought before the supreme court of Pennsylvania, to decide which assembly was the true one. That decision would settle which had the right to appoint professors and administer funds that were under the care of the General Assembly in the United States of America. The first decision given was in favour of the New School. An appeal was then carried to 'the court in bank,' where all the judges are present. By it the judgment of the court below was reversed, and the Old School was left in possession of the succession and management of the seminaries.

The General Assembly in 1843 decided 'that any three ministers of a presbytery, being regularly convened, are a quorum, competent to the transaction of all business.' The rule being applicable to ministers without settled charges, and exclusive of ruling elders in any of the courts of the Church, was protested against as unconstitutional and unscriptural by Dr. Breckinridge and others of the minority.

Since the abolition of slavery there has been a fresh and growing tendency toward union between the Old and New Schools. In 1866 committees were appointed, and a basis of union was reported in 1867. Some Americans regarded the result as doubtful. Dr. Ezra Eastman Adam, of the New School, Philadelphia, thought it questionable, if at all desirable, each body being so very large. The two united might be unwieldy. Although earnestly advocated, it appeared as if the compact between two parties so diversely constituted were contrary to presbyterial constitution. Some churches would be without ruling elders, and some even denying the authority of Church courts. In 1801 the question had not been regarded in all its bearings, or it would not so soon have produced the rupture. And yet, Time, the great healer, might do much to train and amalgamate. 'Looseness in administration, and absence of external creeds seem incompatible with fulness and precision of standards and discipline.' This is clearly expressed by Dr. Baird. Speculation was pushed too far, with a needless departure from Bible phraseology — the difference lay in philosophy more than in religion — man was present rather than God; but they had grown to an unwieldy bulk. Two great elements were co-extensive; these were too dissimilar to admit of harmonious action. 'In their separate condition they will accomplish more than if united' ('Religion in the United States,' by the Rev. L. Baird, Glasgow, 1844, p. 598). Dr. Adam thus put the matter — 'There is a better union than that of mere denominations. The spokes of a wheel are very near each other at the centre of motion, but more remote at the circumference. As Christians approach Christ, the source and centre of life and action, they approach one another, and it is sometimes best that they be more removed where they touch the world — their influence is more broad. The ocean is a grand unity, and yet how it adapts itself to its condition, yielding to the jutting promontory, sweeping up into bays, and rising into creeks. How it roars around the Orkneys, as with true Presbyterian thunder; foams and grows fervid in the Caribbean, as if it were an emblem of a hot Methodist camp-meeting; and plays gently along the Pacific shore, with all the order and repose of an establishment. Why cannot all Presbyterians unite in some grand plan of Christian work, and save some continent from darkness and from death ' (Speech in 1867).

In the town of Homer, State of New York, a new association on strict Independent principles has been formed, composed largely of Churches withdrawing from the plan of union — a sort of working agreement with the Presbyterians, by means of which congregations were formed in thinly-peopled districts of a nondescript character. This arrangement has been found to work so favourably for Presbyterianism that Congregationalists are now breaking from it in self-defence. The Congregationalist thinks this plan unfortunate. 'It is estimated that it has Presbyterianised not less than two thousand Congregational Churches, or more than two-thirds as many as are now embraced in the statistics of the Congregational body in the United States. Had it not been for this mistake of the Fathers, central and western New York would now have contained a very large and efficient body of Congregational Churches, while Presbyterianism would hardly have been known. Some of the largest and best churches of the latter denomination, on that ground were, indeed, originally Congregational.'

In 1861 the long-continued agitation of the slavery question culminated. State after State seceded from the Federal Union and inaugurated the Confederate Government. That government was based on slavery as its corner-stone. (See Dr. Gillett's 'Hist. Of the Presb. Church in America,' 1864, pp. 264, 265.) In 1862 the General Assembly of the New School declared that the entire insurrectionary movement could be traced to but one primordial root, that was the love of African slavery, and a determination to render it perpetual. This declaration was forwarded to the President, and was reaffirmed in the two succeeding assemblies. The result of the conflict that ensued is well-known. Thus the Presbyterian Church had exerted some influence in releasing suffering humanity from degrading bondage. Now released from that grand source of discord, the energies of both of the great Presbyterian Churches in America is directed to the elevation of these coloured freemen. Rapid has been their progress. Two hundred thousand have since the Act of Emancipation learned to read and write. There are a hundred schools in Florida alone supported by their own contributions. One hundred young men of colour are studying at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania — not fewer than sixty of these to be ministers of the gospel. The desire of instruction is very strong, and their efforts are proportionate.

The assembly of the New School was held triennially instead of annually, and appeals from the people were not carried higher than the presbytery, but appeals from ministers to the synod. No appeals thus came before the assembly, making the business lighter, and leaving time for full consideration of far-reaching questions. Their theological seminaries were — (1.) The Union in New York city; (2.) Auburn, New York; (3.) Lane, near Cincinnati, O.; (4.) Blackburn, Carlinville, Ill; and (5.) Lind, Chicago, Ill.

The Old School theological seminaries were — (1.) Princeton; New Jersey; (2.) Western, Alleghany, Penn.; (3.) Union, Prince Edward, Va.; (4.) Danville, Kentucky; (5.) North Western, Chicago, Ill.; (6.) Columbia, S. C.

This American Presbyterianism, as noted, has received tributaries from various sources. Descendants meet there in communion from Swiss Calvinists, French Huguenots, Dutch and German, Scotch, English, and Irish Christians. Presbyterianism never had so extensive a hold upon New England as elsewhere. Yet it had a distinct and permanent existence. Its first Presbyterian organisation dates back to 1718. Then four ministers who arrived associated at first informally. In 1745, a Presbytery of six was formed in Londonderry. The French Church in Boston was, however, the first church formed on the Presbyterian plan. It lasted from 1687 until the French language had died out, and after losing many who, for the English service, went over to other denominations. From all these elements has arisen a Church of well-nigh five thousand congregations. But this is not the sum total of the societies that are governed by presbyters. In addition to these Old and New School branches, there are Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, and Scotch Secession Churches, that are as thoroughly Presbyterian, in the States.


occupied at first the States of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. These States were claimed by the Dutch as their right by virtue of discovery. A trading port was opened in 1614, and styled New Amsterdam, now the city of New York.

In 1624, several Dutch families, with the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, formed the first Presbyterian Church here. As it was planted by the Dutch West Indian Company, the colony received ministers through the directors and the classes in Amsterdam, to whom they were ecclesiastically subject. This subjection to the synod of North Holland was a source of trouble. Hence, in 1738, a 'coetus,' or association of ministers, was formed to determine any difficulties. The consent of the synod of Holland was at length obtained in 1747. Meanwhile the colony had changed hands, the English having taken possession in 1664. But the inhabitants being guaranteed their religious privileges, almost the whole population were connected with the Church for some thirty years. Prelacy was then introduced by the artifice and perseverance of Colonel Samuel Fletcher, the Governor. From that time all the inhabitants were taxed for the support of religion for the benefit of that fraction of Episcopalians. This patronage and forced support exerted much influence. When the separation of the Dutch Reformed Church was effected from the synod of Holland, so as to train and have native ministers and proper discipline, many were induced to go over to the Episcopal Church. In the year 1771, the Dutch Church was divided into five classes, three in New Jersey and two in New York. A delegation of two ministers and two elders from each constituted their synod. This organisation was effected by Dr. John Livingstone; but Dr. Laidlie, from Scotland, was the first pastor who preached in English. This was in 1764. Previous to that the young people were ignorant of the Dutch language and consequently had to attend the Episcopal service to be at all benefited. This suicidal policy being reversed, the last Dutch sermon was preached in 1804. The Church has a college at New Brunswick, New Jersey, with a theological seminary, called Nutgers College, having a staff of three professors and forty students. The standards of the Church are the same as those of the synod of Holland — the Belgic and Heidelberg Catechism, and canons of the Synod of Dort.


of the States is of the Calvinistic type, and is thoroughly Presbyterian. Societies of these emigrants were unitedly organised by the Rev. Mr. Schlatter in 1746. The synod was constituted in 1819. This, as usual, is divided into classes, formed of lay and clerical representatives. The training of their future ministers was also in this Church entrusted to the elder pastors, but in 1824 a theological institution was opened in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, of which Dr. Mayer was professor until its removal to New York, and finally to Mercersburg, New York, in 1829. Marshall College was opened in 1837, of which Dr. Nevin was professor. These Germans are spread over Ohio, Indiana Illinois, Virginia, and North Carolina. The whole valley of the Mississippi resounds with their cries, 'Come and help us ere we die.'


was formed by emigrants from Holland in 1626. While the Dutch occupied the country they worshipped in private houses. The Rev. Jacob Fabricus was their first pastor, in 1669, after they had for five years possessed a place of worship. The Swedes on the Delaware gradually merged into the Episcopal community, but the Germans in their migrations retained the faith of their fathers. In 1680 they pervaded Pennsylvania, then Maryland, Virginia, New York, and the Western States. Emigration on a great scale from Germany to the States began in 1710, and is carried on to the present time. Tens of thousands from all parts of the Continent arrive and proceed further west. Having no pastor, at their first meetings a schoolmaster would lead the exercises, reading from Arnot's 'True Christianity,' &c., Swedish ministers dispensing sealing ordinances. The Rev. Messrs. Bolzius and Glronau formed the organisation of the Church, and since then no work has been more hopeful than that amongst these masses of German emigrants. In 1841 nearly eighteen thousand adults and children were baptised, seventy-six new churches were built, and eighty-eight new congregations formed. There is a short liturgy, which ministers may use or not at their option. A few festivals, as Christmas and Good Friday, are observed; and the rite of confirmation is administered to baptised persons who have gone through a course of catechetical instruction. The Lutheran Church in America rejects the authority of the fathers in religion, renounces the dogma of consubstantiation, and also private confession and abjurgation of evil spirits in baptism. There is thus hope that it may become more and more reformed. The Lutheran Church has a presbyterial understratum. Their synods resemble presbyteries in organisation and power, but with fewer formalities. Their decisions also are couched more in the form of recommendations than of commands. The general synod is wholly advisory. Ministers hold conferences for the promotion of mutual assistance and fellowship, and with congregations protracted meetings are held for their spiritual good. The only subscription required of officers in this Church is to the Bible and the Augsburg Confession.


arose from adherents coming from Scotland and the North of Ireland.

The REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN had their first Presbytery organised in Pennsylvania in 1774. This community, as in Scotland, is termed 'the Covenanters,' as clinging more closely than others to the principles of the second Scottish Reformation, and not accepting of the terms allowed at the Revolution settlement. They profess to maintain inviolate the Church Establishment principle, and particularly the Headship of Christ over the nations as well as over the Church. Consequently, as in the mother country they have refused to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. In this, however, a great change has come over many. Their theological classes are in Pennsylvania, and their missionaries in India. This Church has produced Dr. M'Leod and other great and good men. The general synod of the American Reformed Presbyterian Church has resolved that the union proposed between it and the United Presbyterian Church is not desirable, and has rejected the terms agreed upon by the committees appointed to confer upon the subject. The vote on the acceptance of the report stood — 27 noes to 10 yeas.

The ASSOCIATE REFORMED sprang out of an unsuccessful attempt to unite the Associate Secession and Reformed Presbyterian Churches in 1782. Dr. John Mason was formerly connected with this Church. These two, the Associate Secession and the Associate Reformed, united in 1853 under the title of THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.

The SOUTHERN, OR, THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES, was formed of the Old and New School sections in the Southern States during the war.

The SOUTHERN REFORMED ASSOCIATE CHURCH still maintains an independent organisation, with 68 ministers. Union churches are also formed out of Presbyterians and others worshipping in one building. The Moravians, also, as the Lutherans, have some affinity to Presbytery.


OF THE RE-UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF THE UNITED STATES was held in the First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, on the 19th May 1870. The Old and New Schools thus united on the basis of their common standards, after a separation of thirty-two years, in the very place where the separation of 1838 occurred. The assembly was composed of 600 members, half of whom were ruling elders. Enclosed in garlands, overhead, were inscribed the dates 1837 — 1870, and the words, 'Now are they many members, yet one body.' The moderators of the last separate assemblies, the Rev. Drs. Jacobus and Fowler, conducted the service, one preaching from Eph. iv. 4, reviewing the effects of the Union Convention of 1867, and congratulating deputies from Scotland and Ireland. Dr. Trumbull Backus, of the Old School, was unanimously appointed moderator, and Dr. Hatfield, of the New School, clerk. A deputation was named to visit the estranged 'Southern Presbyterian Church,' and an exchange deputation to the Baptist Missionary Union. Of this re-union a memorial volume is to be issued. Synods have been reduced from 51 to 34. In the debates on reconstruction the speeches were limited to five minutes, unless by vote of the assembly. The vote is quickly taken by the moderator demanding an 'eye' or 'no.' If he cannot decide their relative strength, he requests the parties to stand in turn. The roll is called in exceptional cases. The sederunts are brief — from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M., and 3.30 to 5.30 P.M., with occasional meetings in the evening.

The resolution to unite, previously carried in both assemblies, was 'on the doctrinal and ecclesiastical basis of our common standards;' that is, the standards pure and simple. This was rendered comparatively easy by the previous change effected on the Westminster Confession by the elimination of everything that had reference to the magistrates' power circa sacra. (See Hodge on the 'Confession,' edited by Dr. Goold.) In the Old School assembly, some had 'doubted the sincerity of the New School, and considered them as a body just as heterodox as ever they were. This remark caused a great deal of excitement, and elicited numerous replies. It was asserted that the New School body had undergone a great change for the better; that many ministers who were out-and-out Arminians were now as sound Calvinists as any in the Old School; that they knew there were exceptions in the New School body, but that as a Church they were sound Calvinists. The advocates of re-union, one and all asserted their Calvinism in the clearest terms. Dr. Musgrave the great champion of re-union, stated in the most explicit terms that he would be determinedly opposed to re-union did he not believe that the Churches, the Old and New School, were essentially the same. After discussing the subject for about six hours, the vote was taken, when it appeared that 259 were in favour of receiving and adopting the report, and 8 were opposed to it. In the, New School assembly there was not a dissenting voice.'

This union was accomplished with the almost unanimous voice of the presbyteries. Of the Old School, 128 presbyteries gave a favourable answer to the basis of union sent down; 3 unfavourable; 13 had given no reply; there being in all 144. Of the New School, their 113 presbyteries answered affirmatively; in only 3 was the reply given without unanimity. The reports were given in to special meetings of the assemblies in November 1869.

The Second General Assembly of the united, or rather reunited Church, met on the 18th May 1871, in the great capital of the West, Chicago (recently burned down), in the First Presbyterian Church of that city. Of the whole number of ministers and elders returned, 456 were present — absent 73. Had it been full, the house would have consisted of 529 members. They have wisely adopted a more limited scale of representation than in Scotland.


have a few special peculiarities.

Thus:— 1. Its Assembly meeting annually. Each Synod conterminous with its State. Elders elected for life.

2. A similar meeting made up of a minister and elder for each Presbytery; but of two of each if there are more than twenty members in the Presbytery.

3. Formerly Dutch Reformed. One Annual Synod formed of three ministers and three elders from each Classis.

4. A secession from the Reformed Church in 1857, maintaining fellowship with Christian Reformed Church of Holland.

5. Formerly German Reformed meeting triennially. Its Provincial Synods meeting annually. Elders serve for two years, but may be chosen again without ordination; and those out of service may be called into the Consistory for consultation. Its Annual Synod consists of all ordained ministers, along with an elder from each congregation.









1. Pres. Church in U.S.A.







2. Pres. Church in U.S.







3. Refor. Church in Amer.







4. Christian Refor. Church




5. Refor. Church in U.S.







6. U.P. church of N. Amer.







7. Synd of Assoc. Ch.

8. Synod of the Reformed Church of the South






9. Ref. Pres. Ch. in N. A.






10. Synod of the Ref. Pres. Ch. in N.A.







11. Calvinistic Method. or Welsh Pres. Ch., U.S.







12. Reformed Presbyterian Pres. of Philadelphia

13. Cumberland Presbyterian Ch. in Amer.















Germans, as others, sought a refuge from persecution in America 200 years ago. In 1750 they numbered 100,000, when their ministers were mostly itinerants. The stream increased largely since 1848, and now they number 6,000,000 of energetic and thrifty people. Among them there are different degrees of religion and irreligion, while very many are persons of marked intelligence and culture, so that they form a power in the States.

A song-loving people, the pious emigrant sang:

"Jesus is life's way. Lead us or we stray,
Then behind we shall not linger,
But shall trustful watch Thy finger,
Lead us by the hand to the Fatherland."

American German Churches are thus summarised:—

















West Evan. Union








In addition (1) the United Brethren and (2) the Evangelical Association — akin to the Methodist Church — are of German-American origin. There are two German Theological Institutions.






Per cent.







� 11,000,000













Roman Catholic






















United Bretheren

























� 75,000,000


perfect religious equality prevails, and all the religious Churches of Europe are represented. Another computation states that there are — 86,132 Protestant churches, 70,864 ministers, with 8,976,260 members, and 30,000,000 adherents. Roman Catholic churches, 5,975, and 6,832,954 adherents. Forty-five separate religious bodies were returned, of whom 3,686,114 were Methodists; 2,424,878 Baptists ; 937,010 Presbyterians;960,868 Lutherans; 591,821 Disciples; 381,697 Congregationalists; 347,781 Episcopalians; 157,835 United Brethren; 236,024 Reformed Church; 157,835 Mormons, and 67,643 Friends.








Princeton, New Jersey




3 years of 8 months

} P.C. in U.S. of A.

Auburn, N.Y.





W. Allegheny, Pa.





Cincinnati, Ohio





Union, New York City





Daneville, Kentucky





N.W. Illenois





Carlinville, Illenois





San Francisco




Newark, New Jersey





Theol. Lincoln, Pa.





Charlotte, N. Carolina





Hampden, Sydney, Va.





} P.C. in the U.S.

Columbia, S. Carolina





N. Brunswick, N. Jersey





Ref. C. in A.

Lancaster, Pa.





} Ref. C. in U.S.

Tiffin, Ohio





Collegeville, Pa.





Grand Rapids, Michigan




Chris. Ref. C. in U.S.

Xenia, Ohio




} United P.C. of N.A.

Newbury, New York



Allegheny, Pa.




Due West, S. Carolina




Assoc. Ref. S. of S.A.

Philadelphia, Pa




S. of Ref. P.C. in N.A.

Allegheny, Pa.




4 years

R.P.C. in U.S. of N.A.

Lebanon, Tenesee




2 years

}Cumberland P.C.

Zehuaca, Mexico





No country in ancient or modern times has ever matched the increase of population enjoyed by the United States during the present century. The five and a third millions in 1800 became the 50,150,000 in 1880, and at least 55 millions in 1884 — more than tenfold increase in 84 years. But Romanism has done far more than that. Beginning with a hundred thousand adherents in 1800, its increase, to use the most reasonable estimates of its own statisticians, has been faster. In some decades three times faster than this unparalleled increase of the nation at large. You find the same amazing increase in its accumulations, far greater than the increase of the national wealth. Probably 200 millions would not cover the property of these ecclesiastics property wherein the people who paid for it have no title or authority whatsoever. The Hierarchy builds magnificent cathedrals with artistic music and pompous ritual, in foci of population and of political ascendancy. She stands among us in feverish eagerness for conquest — in asserted, often confident and exultant expectation of one day controlling the majority of our population, and so ruling the land ere long. Yet they have only about six and a half millions of Romanists to show for a Papal immigration of as many, during the past generation, to say nothing of their natural increase, or the descendants of that million and a half who were here thirty-three years ago. Had they thereby held their own, they would have counted instead twenty millions to-day.

Evangelical Christianity has largely increased upon Romanism. It has increased within the past ten years alone, certainly more than six times as fast as the Romish population; and the proportion is rising every year. Romanism is comparatively at a stand still in everything except financial accumulation and political strategy. We feel that our country, and any country, is imperilled by every advance of Romanism. Our Washington was not blind when he solemnly warned us against it. That hierarchy, so long as they stand absolutely obedient to a foreign ruler, who curses by every anathema the basic principles of our national life, is the sworn enemy of our institutions, political rights, religious freedom, and besides all else of our open Bible. Their work is not to elevate the people, but to induce the people to elevate them. — Dr. Pomeroy, Ohio, at Third Presbyterial Council.

THE VOLUNTARY QUESTION in America has been pushed to the extreme of a determination to extirpate all revealed religion and morality from the action of the State. This has given rise to an association which declares: — 'We labour to secure such amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as will suitably express our national recognition of Almighty God as the author of national existence, and the source of all power and authority in civil government; of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the nations, and of the Bible as the fountain of law, and the supreme rule for the conduct of the nations.'