Chapter V e

The Aftermath of the Schism of 1741

The day after the rupture in the Synod, that is, on June 2d, 1741, the Presbytery of New Brunswick held a pro re nata meeting in Philadelphia, at which the following ministers were present: Messrs. Gilbert Tennent, William Tennent, Jun., Eleazar Wales, and John Rowland, together with the following correspondents: Messrs. William Tennent, Sen., Samuel Blair, Charles Tennent, David Alexander, Alexander Hucheson, Alexander Creaghead, and Richard Treat. Mr. Gilbert Tennent was chosen moderator, and Mr. John Rowland, clerk. The following minute was then adopted:

“Whereas, the aforementioned New Brunswick Presbytery and correspondents have all along hitherto been in a state of union with the other ministers in these parts of the world of the Presbyterian persuasion, as joint members with them of one united synod; and, whereas the greater part of the other members of said synod with us in synod met, did yesterday, without any just ground, protest against our continuing members with them any longer, and so cast us out of their communion, the Presbytery and correspondents thus turned off and protested against, first came together to consider how they ought to conduct themselves in their present circumstances, for the fulfilling the work committed to them by the Lord Jesus Christ, as ministers and ruling elders in his house, and they do agree to declare that the aforesaid protestation of their brethren against them, is most unjust and sinful; and do moreover agree, that it is their bounden duty to form themselves into distinct presbyteries for carrying on the government of Christ’s church, and do accordingly agree and appoint that Mr. William Tennent, Sen., and Richard Treat, be joined to the standing Presbytery of New Brunswick ; and that Messrs. Samuel Blair, Alexander Creag­head, David Alexander, and Charles Tennent, be a distinct presbytery, distinguished by the name of the Presbytery of Londonderry. Mr. George Gillespie, though not present now, having declared to us his willingness and desire of joining with us, is likewise appointed a member of the said Presbytery. Mr. Hucheson having manifested his inclination to join with the Presbytery, but desiring further time for consideration, his desire was granted; and it was likewise ordered, that on his application he should be received as a member thereof. Appointed that the said Presbytery of Londonderry meet upon the 30th of this June, at Whiteclay Creek, and that Mr. Blair open the Presbytery with a sermon. It is further agreed and appointed that the said Presbyteries of New Brunswick and Lon­donderry do meet at Philadelphia on the second Wednesday of August next, in the capacity of a synod. Mr. Gilbert Tennent was appointed to open Synod with a sermon.”

When the Presbytery met in the afternoon, they received applications for supplies from eighteen or twenty different places, many of which were already provided with settled pastors, and almost all of them were under the care of the existing Presbyteries of Phila­delphia, New Castle, and Donegal. It was, however, determined to send preachers to them all, as far as it could be done. The schism was thus effectually carried down among the congregations, and rendered permanent.

The next day the Presbytery entered upon their minutes the following record:

“Inasmuch as the ministers who have protested against our being of their communion, do at least insinuate false reflections against us, endeavouring to make people suspect that we are receding from Presbyterian principles, for the satisfaction of such Christian people as may be stumbled at such aspersions, we think it fit, unanimously to declare, that we do adhere as closely and fully to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechisms, and Directory, as ever the Synod of Philadelphia did, in any of their public acts or agreements about them.

“Mr. Blair was appointed to draw up an account of the differences in our Synod for some years past, which have at last issued in this separation, against the time of our next meeting, that it may be prepared for the public, if need be. Mr. Gilbert Tennent was appointed to write an answer to the protest made by our brethren, wherein things are most unjustly represented.”

Thus was commenced a schism which it required seventeen years of uninterrupted effort to heal. Though the separation began in 1741, in the manner above narrated, it was not fully consummated until 1745. It is therefore necessary to detail the progress of events in connexion with this subject, until that time.

The Synod met in 1742, and chose Mr. Dickinson moderator, and Mr. Alison clerk. There were present twenty-four clerical members, including seven from the Presbytery of New York. On motion made by the moderator, it was resolved, “That the Synod should hold a conference with the New Brunswick brethren that they rejected last year, in order to accommodate the difference, and make up the unhappy breach.” It was thereupon agreed, that Messrs. Dickinson, Pemberton, Pierson, Cross, Andrews, Thompson, Cathcart, David Evans, and Alison, meet with those brethren, and try all methods consistent with gospel truth, to prepare the way for healing the said breach.” The next morning, the Synod resolved itself “into an interloquitur of ministers and elders to manage the conference with the rejected brethren, who were allowed, if they see cause, to bring with them the ministers that they ordained, that were never allowed to be members of this Synod, and all their respective elders. After a great deal of time spent to no purpose, the interloquitur found that all attempts for a coalition were vain and fruitless, and therefore it is agreed to adjourn until three o’clock, P. M. Concluded with prayer.”

In the afternoon ” the Synod entered upon the affair complained of by the ejected members, and the question put for managing the said affair was, Who should be the judges of the case ? The ejected members would submit the business to the consideration of none as judges, but such as had not signed the protest last year; and the protesting brethren answered to the point, that they, with the members that had adhered to them after ejecting said members, were the Synod, and acted as such in the rejection ; and in so doing they only cast out such members as they judged had rendered themselves unworthy of membership, by openly maintaining and practising things subversive of their constitution, and therefore would not be called to an account by absent members, or by any judicature on earth, but were willing to give the reasons of their conduct to their absent brethren to consider or review it.” The Synod had, the next morning, another interloquitur meeting, without coming to any conclusion ; and there the matter rested for that year.

The following protest was given in by several members: “To the Reverend Synod now sitting in Philadelphia: we the sub­scribers, in our own, and in the name of all that shall see meet to join with us, look upon ourselves as obliged in the most public manner to declare our opinion with respect to the division made in our Synod last year by a protest delivered in by several of our members.

First. We declare against the excluding the Presbytery of New Brunswick and their adherents from the communion of the Synod by a protest, without giving them a previous trial, as an illegal and unprecedented proceeding ; contrary to the rules of the gospel, and subversive of our excellent constitution.

“Secondly. We declare and protest against the conduct of our brethren, the last year’s protesters, in refusing to have the legality of their said protest tried by the present Synod.

“Thirdly. We therefore declare and protest, that those mem­bers of the New Brunswick Presbytery and their adherents, that were excluded by the last year’s protest, are to be owned and esteemed as members of this Synod, till they are excluded by a regular and impartial process against them, according to the methods prescribed in the Scriptures, and practised by the churches of the Presbyterian persuasion.

“Fourthly. We protest against all passages in any pamphlets which have been lately published in these parts, which seem to reflect upon the work of divine power and grace, which has been carrying on, in so wonderful a manner, in many of our congrega­tions; and declare to all the world, that we look upon it to be the indispensable duty of all our ministers to encourage that glorious work, with their most diligent and faithful endeavours. And in like manner we protest and declare against all divisive and irregular methods and practices by which the peace and good order of our churches have been broken in upon.

“This is what our duty to God, and our regard to the peace and prosperity of his church, oblige us to protest and declare; and we desire it may be recorded in the minutes of the Synod in perpetuam rei memoriam. Signed, Jonathan Dickinson, John Pierson, Ebenezer Pemberton, Simon Horton, Daniel Elmer, Azariah Horton, ministers; and Nathaniel Hazard, David Whitehead, Silas Leonard, Timothy Whitehead, elders.”

To this protest, Mr. Alison gave the following answer. “I, the subscriber, do hereby desire that it may be inserted on the Synod’s minute book, that I judge it an open infringement of the rights of society, and particularly of our rights as Presbyterians, for absent members to pretend to a right to call the body to account, and judge of the legality of the proceedings in acts, resolutions, and conclusions, made in their absence; though I firmly believe it is the duty of such a body to submit such resolutions and conclusions to a review by the next Synod. And though I look on it as giving up some of our rights, yet it is my earnest desire, and what I insist on, that the merits of the cause for which the last year’s Synod rejected the New Brunswick brethren and their adherents, be fairly tried by this present Synod, in order to manifest the justice of the said proceedings. Francis Alison.”

Had a conciliatory spirit prevailed in either of the contending parties, a reconciliation might probably have been effected, under the mediation of these New York brethren. They were in a pro­per position to act as mediators. They had not been involved in the dispute. They enjoyed the confidence of both parties. While they complained of the irregular mode of exclusion, they recog­nized the right to exclude, and protested against the disorderly course which the New Brunswick brethren had pursued. It may well be doubted, however, whether the method which these gentle­men adopted on this occasion, was judicious. It seems they demanded that the legality of the protest should be tried, and that this question should be decided by themselves and the few members present, who had neither protested, nor been protested against. Whatever view be taken of the protest, this course seems fairly liable to the objection so warmly urged by Dr. Alison. If the protesters had assumed the attitude of accusers, the New Brunswick brethren been regarded as accused, and the four remaining members of the Synod the judges, by whose decision the rejected members were excluded, it would certainly be incompetent for absent members to reopen the case, and give a new trial. The only proper method would have been, for the Synod, as then constituted, to remove the sentence, as in any other case of ecclesiastical censure. No one pretended, however, that the course just stated was the one actually pursued. The New Brunswick brethren were not arraigned and tried; much less were they excluded by the four non-protesting members. Of those four Mr. Andrews was the only one who decidedly took part against them. The others, viz.: Messrs. Gillespie, Hucheson, and McHenry, all disapproved of the protest, and of the rupture.

The view which Mr. Alison took of the matter was this. He regarded the protest as a solemn demand upon the New Brunswick brethren for satisfaction, which they refused to give. Whereupon the Synod, by a formal vote, cast them out. Had this been the real history of the case, the proper course would have been to move the reconsideration of that vote. This would have brought up the whole merits of the case; which Mr. Alison did not object to, and could not, therefore, have opposed. The history of the session of the 1st June, 1741, shows, however, that this view of the case is no more consistent with the facts than the one before mentioned. There was no motion to exclude, and of course no vote upon such a motion. The counting of the roll, which Mr. Alison seems to have regarded as taking the vote, was not done to decide any mo­tion, nor was it done, to all appearance, while the moderator was in the chair.

The only proper view of the matter, seems to have been that taken by the New York brethren,.viz.: that the rupture was altogether violent and irregular. There was no trial, and no vote.

The protest threw the Synod into utter confusion, and the weaker party, as soon as it ascertained itself to be the weaker, left the house. If this is a correct account of the matter, as the withdrawing was not a voluntary secession, nor the exclusion a regular synodical act, it might have been treated as a nullity. The right of the New Brunswick brethren to their seats remained unimpaired; and when they appeared at the next meeting of the Synod, the regular course was, to move that their names be added to the roll. This again would have brought up the merits of the question, and led to a formal decision one way or the other. Whatever view, therefore, be taken of the proceedings leading to the schism, the demand that the legality of the protest should be tried, and its signers excluded from voting, does not appear to have been a proper method to heal the breach.

The Synod met in 1743, and was opened with a sermon by President Dickinson. There were present twenty‑three clerical mem­bers, including five from the Presbytery of New York. Mr. David Cowell was chosen moderator, and Mr. Alison clerk. On the sixth day of the sessions, an overture was presented to the Synod from the Presbytery of New York to the following effect. After lamenting the existing division in the church as dishonourable to God, scandalous to religion, injurious to the best interests of the body, and favourable to the spread of dangerous errors and delu­sions, they proposed, 1. That as the exclusion of the New Brunswick brethren, by a protest, without a distinct vote of the Synod founded on a hearing of their case was irregular, the protest be withdrawn, and those members be allowed to take their seats. 2. As it is of the greatest importance that the education of candi­dates for the ministry be properly managed, they proposed that all future candidates should submit to the rule of Synod relating to examinations, or else graduate as bachelors of arts in one of the New England colleges. 3. With regard to itinerant preaching, they proposed that every pulpit should be considered open to all the regular ministers of the church, and that it should be considered unbrotherly for one minister to refuse his pulpit to another, unless for a reason which shall be approved by the Presbytery, Synod, or the commission ; and that no divisions of the congrega­tions, separate meetings, or attempts to alienate the hearts of the people from their pastors, should hereafter be allowed, and that every contravention of this article be looked upon as just ground of censure either by the Presbytery or Synod. 4. That if any minister thinks he has any ground of complaint against any of his brethren, either for doctrine, manner of preaching, or conduct, he shall first present his complaints, in a private way, and if this method fail, he shall make regular charges, and bring the matter before the Presbytery, Synod, or commission. 5. That all past differences be buried in oblivion. 6. Considering the absolute necessity of union, they pray that this, or some other plan of union should be at once adopted; but if this could not be done, they propose that a new Synod be formed, and the several members have liberty to join either at pleasure, and that these Synods should send two correspondents each year, the one to the other.

As the principal grounds of complaint against the ejected mem­bers were disregarding the rule of Synod relating to the examina­tion of candidates, intruding into the congregations of settled ministers and causing divisions among their people and the condemnation of their brethren without trial, there is little doubt, that had these proposals been made before the schism they would have been gladly acceded to; as it was, however, strange to say, they were unanimously rejected. It may serve to account for the decided rejection of propositions apparently so reasonable, if it is remembered that the schism did not put a stop to the evils by which it was occasioned. Mr. Tennent’s denunciations of his brethren were at this time more bitter than ever, and divisions in congrega­tions were now fostered without any restraint. It is, therefore, probable that the Synod thought there was little probability that these proposals, emanating from the New York, and not from the New Brunswick brethren, would be adhered to. They insisted, therefore, that there should be a distinct acknowledgment made by these last mentioned brethren, that the course they had hitherto pursued was wrong. It must be confessed that it was very unlikely that Mr. Tennent and his friends would have acceded to the terms proposed in the above overture. So far from opening their pulpits to all their brethren, there were some of them, and those very good men too, with whom some of their number would not even commune. And as to the separate meetings which had already been set up in many congregations, Mr. Tennent says, he and his friends must have “bowels of adamant” to refuse to take them under their care. There were, therefore, practical difficulties in the way of a union, which the New York brethren, living most of them in East Jersey, remote from the scene of conflict, could not so well appreciate.

The reasons assigned by the Synod for rejecting the overture above mentioned, are contained in a paper recorded in the minutes for the following year. On the first article of the overture they remark, that they still think that the exclusion of the New Bruns­wick brethren by the protestation, is sufficiently justified by the reasons specified therein, which reasons are further strengthened by the conduct of the said brethren ever since ; and therefore they say it is altogether inconsistent with duty and a good conscience to withdraw the protest, or to recede from it; and further, that the only possible expedient in order to a reunion is for the New Brunswick brethren to let the Synod know, under their own hands, how far they can or will comply, to give the Synod satisfaction for the offences complained of, by acknowledging their past miscon­duct, and by giving satisfactory security against the fears of the like offences for the future.

On the second article they say, that if the New Brunswick brethren would once give satisfaction for their disregarding the rule about the examination of candidates, it is not unlikely that that matter would be adjusted.

On article third they remark that, in their judgment, to open their pulpits to every itinerant preacher, would be the very way to promote divisions ; that it would be better to leave the matter to the discretionary agreement of the ministers concerned; and that no preacher should travel abroad for preaching’ sake without an order from his own Presbytery, and the concurrence of the Presbytery within the bounds of which he was to preach. As to separate meetings, it was not enough that they should not be encouraged for the future; all proper means should be taken to heal the divisions already occasioned.

To the fourth article they make no objection, except that complaints against ministers ought not, in the first instance, to be brought before the Synod, but the Presbytery.

The fifth article they also approved of, on the supposition that a satisfactory union was affected. As to the formation of a new Synod, they say, that as it would be to perpetuate schism, they could not sanction it by a synodical act ; but if, contrary to their judgment and inclination, the New York brethren should determine to form such a body, they hoped “by the grace of God to cultivate a truly Christian and charitable disposition towards them.”

When the Synod rejected the New York overture, a paper “was given in by Mr. Jonathan Dickinson, in his own name, and in the names of Messrs. Ebenezer Pemberton, John Pierson, and Aaron Burr, having previously declared that they complained of no unfriendly or unbrotherly treatment from the Synod in relation to themselves, but that their conduct in this affair may be liable, to misrepresentations; which said paper is as follows: As I look on myself to be a member of the Synod of Philadelphia, and have a continued right to sit and act in the same as such, so I look upon the New Brunswick Presbytery, and those brethren that adhere to them, and are therefore shut out of Synod on that account, to be as truly members of this Synod as myself, or any others whatsoever, and have a just claim to sit and act with us. I cannot, therefore, at present see my way clear to sit and act as though we were the Synod of Philadelphia, while the New Brunswick Presbytery, and the other members with them, are kept out of the Synod as they now are.”

In place of the overture from New York, the following plan of accommodation was sent to the New Brunswick gentlemen, through the hands of Mr. Aaron Burr: “Forasmuch as we are informed that the New Brunswick brethren are willing and desirous of recon­ciliation and union with this Synod, and to know on what terms this may be obtained; that the said brethren may be fully persuaded that we have no delight in division for its own sake, but on the con­trary, are sincerely desirous of peace and union on reasonable terms, so that on our cordial agreement there be a foundation laid, that, through God’s blessing, may prevent the havoc and destruction of the church threatened by our common enemies. Therefore we propose,

“1. That as they desire to be received and treated as members of our Synod, they will submit to the determinations and conclusions of our judicatories, even in those cases wherein they are negatives in giving their votes, and so allow a determination to be by a majority, or else no longer plead a right of membership. And that they renounce their principles delivered in their Apology, especially that whereby they declare that Presbyteries and Synods have no power to make any agreements, or come to any determinations by votes, which shall bind any members who do not give their consent to those conclusions or determinations ; for without this recantation they can never be members of this Synod, seeing they put in a claim for arbitrary power to destroy and overturn all our agreements, and to despise and disregard our censures, as they have already professedly done in licensing and ordaining so many men for the work of the ministry.

“2. If they profess they will use all endeavours to secure a learned ministry, we desire that they will testify this by desisting from licensing or ordaining men for the work of the ministry who have not complied with the Synod’s agreement, or the alternative proposed in the last year’s conference with these brethren ; and that they give up all those persons that they have heretofore licensed or ordained in opposition to our public agreement, to be ex­amined and tried by the Synod, whether they have suitable ministerial qualifications, or that they will not maintain ministerial communion with any of them for the future, who refuse to be examined by the Synod, or who upon examination are found deficient, until they give suitable satisfaction.

“3. That for the future they will desist from either acting or preaching, or sending their missionaries into the bounds of our Presbyteries or fixed pastoral charges, as heretofore. That they will not encourage new separate societies in congregations as hitherto, nor supply with preaching the societies they have made or occasioned among the people under our care, but declare that all such practices are of pernicious tendency and inconsistent with the presbyterian plan.

“4. That they will not publicly nor privately endeavour to diminish the character of any minister as graceless, or unconverted, or unworthy of his office, until he be tried by a proper judicature and censured; and that they claim no right to judge of men’s spiritual estate towards God, so as to determine whether they be gracious or graceless, if sound in the faith, and of a gospel life and conversation; and that they condemn all such practices.

“5. That they renounce all such tenets or doctrines that have been advanced in Mr. Tennent’s Nottingham sermon, which are contrary to our Presbyterian plan, subversive of gospel order, and a floodgate to let in divisions and disorders into the churches; such as an allowance to church members, to guess at the spiritual estate of their pastors, and upon this guess, without further trial, to leave them as graceless and unconverted; the asserting an inward call to the ministry, in opposition and contradiction to the outward call or ordaining to the gospel ministry. All who maintain them, (i. e. the above doctrines,) can be no members of a Presbyterian society or church, because they take all government out of the hands of a Synod or Presbytery, and give it to any person that hath ignorance or impudence enough to bring God’s house into confusion.

“6. That they acknowledge that too many of them have been guilty in all these points, and, notwithstanding, whatever zeal and intention to promote a work of grace they might have been influenced by, yet now they are convinced that such practices have had a dreadful tendency to promote and spread the divisions and confusions which perplex and disturb this church.

“7. We propose that if they have any ground of complaint against any of our members, with respect to their doctrines, conversation, or diligence in the ministry, they shall be welcome to table the charge against them in a proper judicatory, whether they comply with these terms or not; and that if they satisfy us in these points, and accept their seats in our Synod, all other grounds of complaint shall be removed, either by public trial, or such other method as they and we in conjunction shall determine. And we declare that if all or any of those brethren accept these terms, or any other, that they and we can devise or agree to, that will lay a foundation to secure these important rights of society, a learned and pious ministry, and to prevent errors and divisions in a way agreeable to God’s word, and the Presbyterian constitution, we are heartily willing to receive them. And we desire that they may give us their answer to these heads as soon as they can conveniently.”

To this paper the following answer was returned: “Upon a paper sent to us from the ministers that protested against us, proposing certain terms of union; this conjunct meeting of the Pres­byteries of New Brunswick and New Castle, does judge that there can be no regular methods of proceeding toward the compassing a stable union between them and us, until their illegal protest be withdrawn, that so they and we may both stand on an equal footing in the regular trial of the differences between us; that their paper contains sundry misrepresentations and unreasonable demands ; and that we have several charges against them to be satisfied in before we could come into a settled union with them.”

In 1744, no member of the New York Presbytery appeared in Synod, and no new effort was made to heal the schism. In 1745, Messrs. Dickinson, Pemberton, and Pierson, were present and enrolled as members. On the second day of the sessions, those gentlemen, “in the name of the Presbytery of New York, and by a commission from them, desired the Synod to appoint a committee to try whether an overture could be prepared, removing any grounds of dissatisfaction or difference between them and the Synod.” Whereupon it was “ordered that Messrs. Andrews, Cross, Alison, Thompson, Boyd, Gillespie, McDowell, Samuel Evans, and the moderator, (Cathcart,”) be that committee. As this committee did not succeed in preparing an overture, the whole Synod was resolved into a committee of conference. After much consultation, Messrs. Thompson, Alison, Steel, and McDowell, were appointed to draw up a plan of union, and report it at the next meeting. The following day this committee accordingly reported their plan. Before it was read, the New York gentlemen were asked, “whom of the New Brunswick brethren they alleged to be members, whether all who are now of that party, or only such of them as enjoyed mem­bership before ? And they declared they account only such of them as have been members and had their seats, to be now members, and no others. The overture drawn up by the committee was twice read, and this vote put: Whether it was a proper plan of accommodation to propose? and it was voted proper to propose it, and it is as follows

” 1. The glory of God and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, by the persuading souls to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ on gospel terms, and by preserving peace, truth, and good order in the churches, ought to be the grand design of all Christians, and of the ministers of the gospel in particular. But, to our great concern and sorrow, the disorderly intrusions into the pastoral charges of ministers, and surmises that were raised to blacken their characters as carnal and unconverted; the bold violation of our synodical acts and regulations, and the new method of itinerant preaching, where there is a stated gospel ministry, have, in a great measure, marred this noble design, by rending the churches of Christ, and filling the minds of the people with uncharitable thoughts of one another. To check these evils, prevailing by means of some claiming to themselves a privilege, under pretence of extraordinaries, to trample under foot all rights of mankind, to destroy all pastoral relation, and to lay aside, at least for a season, that form of government and discipline that was practised and used in our churches; a number of the Synod of Philadelphia protested against those illegal disorderly practices in 1741; and being wearied out with fruitless attempts to redress these delusive unscriptural methods of proceeding, determined to withdraw from synodical communion, unless those who were guilty of such practices gave proper satisfaction according to gospel rules. The majority of the Synod then present made this protest their act, and declared that those brethren should either give such satisfaction, or withdraw from membership; on which they chose to withdraw.

“This method of procedure was complained of next year as contrary to the method of proceeding in our churches, by some members that were absent when this separation was made; upon which it was proposed that the whole affair should be reviewed by the Synod then met, and if any thing was found illegal it should be redressed. But these brethren could find clearness to do nothing until those disorderly brethren who withdrew, should again be allowed to take their seats as members, which the majority of the Synod could not comply with. Upon which they entered a declaration against the method of proceeding the year before. At our next Synod they proposed methods for healing the breach between those brethren that withdrew and the Synod; which occasioned the Synod to send them proposals of peace, which they rejected, and still continued their divisive practices of counteracting the Synod’s regulations, and crumbling of congregations to pieces, erecting altar against altar, to the great scandal of religion and the ruin of vital piety. Those brethren from the Presbytery of New York, who were dissatisfied at the method by which that party stand excluded, having on this occasion laboured to have their own scruples removed, and at the same time to have peace and unity restored among all that were ever members of the Synod, all the Synod now met heartily concur with them in this noble under­taking, if it can be obtained in such a method as may and will maintain sound doctrine, and preserve the peace and good order of the church.

“In order to accomplish this, these brethren proposed it as an expedient to remove their scruples and heal all our divisions, that every person that is or has been a member, shall now voluntarily subscribe the essential agreements on which our Synod formerly was established, and which are the general approved agreements of our churches. And as we think that a subscription of these articles will be a renouncing disorder and divisive practice, and will, when obtained, lay a foundation for maintaining peace, truth, and good order, which was what was desired in the protest, by which the New Brunswick brethren stand excluded ; we therefore, in compliance with request of these brethren, and in order to re­move all scruples, propose that all that are now or ever have been members of this Synod, shall subscribe the following fundamental articles and agreements, as their acts, and all who will do so shall be members of this Synod.

“1. That in all prudential acts for the regular management of the affairs of the church of God among us, every member shall either actively concur, or passively submit to and not counteract, such things as are determined by the majority as being founded upon God’s word ; or if any do declare that they have not free­dom of conscience to comply, they shall withdraw, and no more be acknowledged as members of this Synod, unless they afterwards find clearness, and so return and comply.

“2. That if any member suppose he has reason of complaint against any of his brethren for unsound doctrine, irregularities of life, or unfaithfulness in his pastoral office, he shall proceed in a Christian way according to the rules of God’s word, and our known methods of discipline, and shall not in public or private, spread his surmises, offences, or scandals, without proceeding as aforesaid, or else be accounted guilty of unchristian conduct, and liable to censure. Accordingly we look upon such practices to be contrary to the gospel, and of pernicious tendency to the church of Christ.

“3. That no member of this Synod shall preach in the congre­gation of another brother, without judicial appointment, or being invited by his brother to preach for him, and whoever acts contrary shall be deemed guilty of unbrotherly treatment and divisive practice, and be censured accordingly. And the same way no Presbytery shall invade the charge and rights of other Presbyteries; and all erections within the bounds of regulated congregations that have been or shall be set up by such itinerant preaching and divi­sive practices, shall be deemed contrary to the peace and good order of this church, and consequently shall not be maintained or supported by any member belonging to us.

“4. We agree that none who have not heretofore enjoyed mem­bership in this Synod, shall be admitted hereto without submitting to the manner of admission determined by our former acts, and such as may and shall be provided in that case, and complying with these general articles now agreed upon. And all such as upon proper trial shall be duly qualified with respect to learning, sound­ness in the faith, and a gospel conversation, shall, upon agreeing to these articles, and submitting to our method of church government, be cordially admitted to synodical communion.

“5. We agree that each member of this Synod shall keep a day of public and solemn fasting, and thereupon confess and bewail the prevailing evils of infidelity, profaneness, the untenderness and barrenness of professors, and the decay of religion in general, and particularly the debates, divisive practices, uncharitable censures, and unbrotherly treatment that have torn and divided the church of Christ in these parts, to the dishonour of God, the hurt of practical piety, the offence and scandal of the weak, and the harden­ing of the wicked, and the opening the mouths of the profane; and deprecate the divine displeasure, and implore the blessing of God upon this and all other proper means for the advancement of pure and undefiled religion, and the maintaining and propagating the great truths of the gospel, and the peace, unity, and increase of this infant church.”

The New York brethren immediately refused to accede to this plan of union. This result must excite surprise, when it is remembered how nearly identical the terms here offered are with those which those brethren had previously proposed. The plan happily avoided the necessity of concession on either side, by placing both parties on the same ground, and commencing de novo, with a renewed subscription of their original principles of agreement. It is difficult to see to which of the above articles exception could have been taken. Certainly not to the first, for that was adopted almost verbatim as one of the fundamental principles of the new Synod. Not to the second, for that was borrowed from the previous proposals made by the New York Presbytery. Not to the former part of the third, for the right of a minister to his own pulpit could hardly be seriously questioned. It is probable that the difficulty was with the latter part of the third article, which required that the new congregations formed by separatists from the older ones should be given up. This was a real difficulty, and embarrassed the negotiations for a union at a much later period. These congregations had now been formed for some years ; and the people were doubtless unwilling to return to their old pastors. Under these circumstances the men by whose influence they had been induced to separate, could hardly be expected to give them up. Some years after this, when Mr. Tennent was earnestly desirous of a reunion, he found his greatest difficulty with these people, and wrote his Irenicum principally to answer their objections and allay their feelings. Some of them never would come in, but when, after a schism of seventeen years, the two Synods were united, left the church and joined the Scotch Seceders.

Whatever may have been the grounds of objection, the New York brethren immediately rejected the plan above mentioned, and proposed that “it be mutually agreed that they be allowed, with the consent of this body, to erect another Synod, under the name of the Synod of New York.” To this proposal the following answer was returned: “The unhappy divisions which have subsisted among us for some years, cannot but deeply affect all that wish the welfare of Zion; and it particularly affects us that some of our brethren of New York do not at present see their way clear to continue in synodical communion with us. And though we judge that they have no just ground to withdraw from us, yet seeing they propose to erect themselves into a Synod at New York, and now desire to do this in the most friendly manner possible, we declare, if they or any of them do so, we shall endeavour to maintain charitable and Christian affections towards them, and show the same upon all occasions, by such correspondence and fellowship as we shall think duty, and consistent with a good conscience.” The schism was thus consummated, and the Synod of New York met as a separate and independent body, at Elizabethtown, September 19, 1745.

The above narrative will disclose the real causes of the schism. It was not diversity of opinion as to doctrine or discipline, but loss of confidence and alienation of feeling arising from the different views entertained of the revival which then prevailed. The same causes, which at this period divided the churches of New England, rent asunder the Presbyterian Church. Opposition to the revival was the standing charge against the one party, and was the uniform apology for the denunciations, intrusions, separations, and disobedience to the Synod, which formed the grounds of complaint against the other. Was this opposition to the revival an opposition to evangelical religion, or merely to extravagance and disorder ? On the part of some few individuals, it is to be feared it was the former; characteristically and generally it was the latter. This appears, in the first place, from the fact that the opposition did not commence until the extravagances and disorders made their appearance. This change of sentiment is made a matter of reproach by Mr. Tennent. “What is the reason,” he asks, ” that our protesting brethren were so full in favour of the work of God last year, in their speeches and acknowledgments, and that they make no honourable mention of it in their protest this year ? Has a little space of time altered the nature of things?” The same men also who were most active in their opposition to the revival, under the form which it assumed in Pennsylvania, approved and rejoiced in all they saw its effects in Virginia.

In the second place, all the objections urged in any of the writings which had any claim to represent the opinions of the party, were directed against what was really objectionable. In 1740, there was a paper presented to the Presbytery of New Castle, containing complaints against Mr. Whitefield, in the form of queries, and hence called the Querists. It consisted principally of various extracts from Mr. Whitefield’s writings, which were deemed objectionable. Its authors, for example, find fault with him for saying that man at his creation was “adorned with all the perfections of the Deity ;” that the believer ” washes away the guilt of sin by the tears of a sincere repentance, joined with faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.” They charged him with denying the covenant of grace, and running into antinomianism in his letter against the book called the Whole Duty of Man. They objected to his saying that men were baptized “into the nature of the Father, the nature of the Son, and the nature of the Holy Spirit;” that the believer depends on “the righteousness of Christ imputed to, and inherent in him.” They were offended with his claiming immediate inspira­tion in such passages as the following : “There will certainly be a fulfilling of those things which God, by his Spirit, has spoken in my soul,” and, “There are many promises to be fulfilled in me.” They did not know how to understand his saying, “Now know I that I have received the Holy Ghost at the imposition of hands. For I feel it as much as Elisha did, when Elijah dropped his mantle. Nay others see it also.” They objected also to his saying of the Quakers, “I think their notions about walking and being led by the Spirit right and good.”

Mr. Thompson specifies the things of which he and his friends complained in the advocates of the revival: 1. Their bold and uncharitable condemnation of their brethren as graceless. 2. Their unwearied industry to possess the people with prejudices against their pastors. 3. Their irregular intrusions into other men’s charges. 4. Their teaching that every true Christian is sure of his own conversion, and that no adult can be converted without undergoing legal, ungracious, preparatory convictions. As to the effects of their preaching he objected, 1. To the crying out during worship, to the falling down, and convulsions which were encouraged by them. 2. To the despairing terrors which flow from unbelief. 3. To the delusions of some of their followers; as that they had seen Christ, or a great light, during their devotions. 4. To the censorious spirit with which they seem to be immediately affected. “It is,” he adds, “a downright calumny and slander to allege that we prejudice the people against the work of God, because we some­times declare our judgment against such particulars as these, which we verily are persuaded are not the work of God either in ministers or people.” He admits that “a great many have been stirred up to more serious thoughts about their soul’s concerns than ever before, which is a thing truly to be rejoiced in; and many, it is said, are much reformed in several particulars of moral practice, which also is just matter of satisfaction. “

The testimony of Mr. Tennent, as to the nature and extent of the opposition of his brethren to the revival, will, doubtless, be regarded by many as of more weight than their own declarations. He then testifies distinctly, that the opposition was not to experi­mental religion, but to the extravagances and disorders which at that period so much prevailed. “I cannot but believe,” he says, “that reverend brethren upon both sides of the question, had sin­cere and good designs in the different parts which they bore in the late controversy. While some were earnestly contending for the credit of the late extraordinary religious appearances, with design that they might spread far and wide; others were strenuously con­tending for the order and government of Christ’s kingdom, lest they should suffer and be quite unhinged in the uncommon situa­tion and ferment that obtained among the churches. But though the things controverted, considered calmly and in a true distinct light, were small, yet the heat of debate about them run very high. This, together with evil surmisings, severe censurings, and rash judgings of each other, encouraged and inflamed by misrepresent­ations, carried to and from by the unwearied industry of tale‑bearers and tattlers, who are generally busy on such occasions, increased mutual prejudices and suspicions to a melancholy crisis, and occa­sioned the unhappy rupture of the church’s union, which has sub­sisted among us for some years.”

In the body of the work just cited, he still more explicitly denies that the essentials of religion were involved in the controversy. “What is it,” he asks, “that is disputed? Is it the necessity of conversion to God, in order to salvation? No; that is freely acknowledged on both sides of the question. Is it the nature of conversion proposed in the Scriptures and in our excellent Confes­sion of Faith agreeable thereto ? No ; for that is likewise acknowledged by both the contending parties. Is it the marks and signs of conversion mentioned in the Scriptures? No; for these are also confessed by persons of both sides. Is it the reality of those instances of conversion contained in the Bible? No; the divine authority of the sacred Scriptures is equally asserted by both parties in controversy. Is it whether some have been converted in the successive ages of the Christian Church from the apostles’ times to the present day; and whether some have not been converted in this age, and in this part of the world, and whether good has not been done, and some effectually changed, to all appearance, during the late revival of religion? No; for these are also acknowledged. What then is it that is controverted? Why our opinion respecting the religious experiences of some in the late times, and concerning the number of such. It has been disputed whether those experiences were of a saving kind, and whether the number is so great as is concluded by some. And is our opinion concerning what we cannot certainly know a great matter, think ye? Or, are we infallible in our judgment about these things which are hidden from the view of mortals? If not, why is all this heat and flame about uncertainties ?”

Again: “I must in justice add to what has been offered, that the reverend brethren, who cast us out of synodical communion, do deny the charge of endeavouring to prejudice the people against the power and grace of God in the conversion of sinners, wherever there is any hopeful appearance of it. Mr. John Thompson, in their name, observes on this head as follows: ‘It is true, there are some things in our brethren’s conduct which we cannot but condemn, and have condemned and spoken against both in private and public; and some things also which are the frequent effects of their preaching on many of their hearers, which we cannot esteem of as highly as both they and their admirers do.’ Among which he mentions crying out aloud in the midst of the congregation in the time of public worship, and others falling down half dead, or working like persons in convulsion fits. And in another paragraph, he speaks in the following candid, charitable strain, to the honour of the late revival of religion, and to the honour of the ministers he opposed.” Mr. Tennent then quotes from Mr. Thompson the passage cited above, and several others to the same effect, and adds: ” Seeing the Rev. Mr. John Thompson appeared as the apologist of the present Synod of Philadelphia, it may reasonably be presumed that he speaks the mind at least of the majority of that body; and therefore it is evident from the aforesaid passages, that they were far from opposing, (with design, the late revival of religion; that on the contrary, they expressly acknowledged it, rejoiced in it, and prayed for its increase ; yea, in several instances, as humbly as publicly acknowledged their own imperfections in relation to the present debate. Do not the aforesaid passages breathe the candid, humble spirit of true Christianity? Why, therefore, is the string of acknowledgments so much harped upon

Pray, have we done in this as much as our brethren? or are we, forsooth, absolutely perfect and infallible, even in a time of temptation and debate ?” In several other passages he vindicates the Synod from the charge of opposing the revival of religion, properly so called, and shows that their opposition was confined to the extravagances and disorders above specified. It is, indeed, hard to believe that this is the same Mr. Tennent, who, a few years before, denounced these same brethren as the enemies of all religion, as men willing to resort to any falsehood or calumny to cloak their ” horrible wickedness in opposing God’s work.” Mr. Thompson was frequently specified by name as an example of the class of unconverted pharisee preachers, and his opposition to the work of God ascribed to the worst motives. What makes this case the more remarkable and the more instructive, is, that the work which Mr. Tennent, in 1749, could see “breathed the candid and humble spirit of true Christianity,” was published by Mr. Thompson in 1741, that is, during the very heat of the debate. It contained then, all the evidence of a Christian spirit that it did seven years afterwards. Yet Mr. Tennent at that time could see nothing good either in it or its author. This, though a striking, is not a solitary illustration of the fact that, during times of religious excitement, the evil as well as the good feelings even of true Christians, are often brought into vigorous exercise. It appears then, as well from the testimony of the men themselves, as from that of their opponents, that the opposition to the revival of which so much complaint was made, was an opposition to the extravagance and disorder which marked its course, and not an opposition to evangelical religion.

With regard to the importance of learning in the ministers of the gospel, there was no real difference of opinion between the two parties. As the Synod’s object in the act about the examination of ministers, was to secure an adequately learned ministry, and as Mr. Tennent opposed that act, he brought himself under the sus­picion of slighting the importance of learning. This suspicion was increased by the manner in which he sometimes allowed himself to speak of letter-learned Pharisees, “who came out, no doubt, after they had been the usual time at the feet of Gamaliel, and accord­ing to the acts, canons, and traditions of the Jewish church;” by the avowal of his determination to oppose the design of the Synod to establish a public seminary ; and the hasty manner in which his Presbytery sometimes passed over the trials of their candidates.

Mr. Tennent’s opposition, however, to the Synod’s act, requiring a college diploma of candidates for the ministry, did not arise from a disregard of learning, but from want of confidence in the existing colleges. The same motive influenced him in his opposition to the plan of the Synod respecting a seminary. It was not to learn­ing, but to a school under the control of the Synod that he objected. In his sermons against the Moravians, published in 1742, he insisted upon the necessity of learning in the ministers of the gospel, with all his characteristic ardour. “In order to preserve ourselves and our posterity,” he says, “from the infection of error, I think it is needful to use, in our proper sphere, all suitable means to obtain a godly, learned, and regular ministry. When ignorant novices are admit­ted into the ministerial order, they are apt to be puffed up, to the church’s great prejudice, as well as their own; and to spread error, when they know it not. To say that these qualifications may be ordinarily attained without human learning, is notoriously enthusiastical and foolish. In short, either human learning is necessary, or there must be inspiration to supply the want thereof.” The efforts which he and his friends made to establish the college of New Jersey, show that he fully appreciated the importance of this subject.

There was also an essential agreement between the two parties on points of doctrine. This is proved by the explicit testimony of Mr. Tennent. “Upon the one hand,” he says, “the nature and necessity of conversion to God, as represented in the Scriptures, and in our Confession of Faith, according to them, were acknowledged, and only the opinion of some concerning the reality or number of some late instances of conversion, (or respecting both together,) disputed and contradicted; so upon the other hand, the nature and necessity of order and government in the church of Christ, as they are represented in the holy Scriptures, and our Directory, according to them, were also acknowledged, and only some prudential rules and acts, not expressed in the sacred Scriptures, or our Directory, for worship and government, disputed and opposed. The substance of the points in dispute was freely acknow­ledged by reverend brethren on both sides of the question, viz. the nature and necessity of conversion, as held forth in the Scriptures, and in our Confession of Faith ; and the nature and necessity of church discipline, (in all essentials,) as represented in the holy Scriptures, and in our Directory, so that the controversy, in my apprehension, turns entirely upon circumstantials.”

A more important evidence is to be found in the “Declaration of the conjunct Presbyteries of New Brunswick and New Castle,” issued immediately after the schism. Those Presbyteries say “We think it proper, for the satisfaction of all concerning us, and as a due testimony to the truth of God, to declare and testify to the world our principles and sentiments in religion, according to which we design, through divine grace, ever to conduct ourselves, both as Christians, and as ministers, and as ruling elders.

”And first, as to the doctrines of religion, we believe with our heart, and profess and maintain with our lips, the doctrines summed up and contained in the Confession of Faith, and Larger and Shorter Catechisms, composed by the reverend assembly of divines at Westminster, as the truths of God revealed and contained in the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; and do receive, acknowledge, and declare the said Confession of Faith and Cate­chisms to be the confession of our faith; yet so as that no part of the twenty‑third chapter of said Confession shall be so construed as to allow civil magistrates, as such, to have any ecclesiastical authority in Synods, or church judicatories, much less the power of a negative voice over them in their ecclesiastical transactions; nor is any part of it to be understood as opposite to the memorable revolution and the settlement of the crown of the three kingdoms in the illustrious house of Hanover.” Exceptio probat regulam. The exception here made to certain parts of the twenty‑third chap­ter, proves the adoption of all the rest. This is as strict an adop­tion of the Confession of Faith as was ever made by any Synod in our church. Besides this decisive declaration, reference might be made to the fact, that during all the protracted negotiations for a union, there was not a word said about doctrinal differences. Each Synod spoke of the other as holding the same system of doctrines. Though there was this substantial agreement, there were several points, which, while the excitement lasted, were matters of keen dispute. It has already been mentioned that Mr. Tennent had a doctrinal controversy with David Cowell, a New England gentleman, pastor of the church in Trenton. The subject of dispute, it will be remembered, was, whether the glory of God or the happi­ness of the agent, was the ultimate ground of moral obligation. Mr. Tennent, in the paper presented to the Synod in 1740, charged his brethren with holding false doctrine on this subject. With respect to this charge, it may be remarked, 1. That we never hear of it again. It was never renewed, and never became a matter of discussion between the two parties. 2. That the charge, as far as it bore on the members of the Synod at all, bore particularly upon the committee of which President Dickinson was chairman, and of which other gentlemen were members, who are known to have re­pudiated the doctrine imputed to them. 3. That the Synod, by an unanimous vote, condemned the doctrine that self-love is the ultimate foundation of moral obligation. The Synod, therefore, are clear in this matter. Mr. Cowell is the only member to whom even suspicion can attach in relation to it.

A subject much disputed at this time, was the nature of conviction. Mr. Thompson published a sermon under the title, “The Doctrine of Conviction set in a clear light.” Of this sermon Mr. Tennent, in 1743, expressed himself in very severe terms. Speaking of his brethren, he says, “They likewise opposed God’s work, by their false and dangerous Moravian doctrine about conviction. Witness Mr. Thompson’s detestable and inconsistent performance, entitled, The Doctrine of Conviction set in a clear light; which divers leaders of that schismatical party have expressed their approbation of. Hardly any thing can be invented that has a more direct tendency to destroy the common operations of God’s Holy Spirit, and to keep men from Jesus Christ, than what Mr. Thompson has expressed in that performance.” Mr. Samuel Finley wrote an answer to the sermon, in which he condemns it in terms scarcely less severe. Mr. Thompson’s sermon is a long and excellent discourse on 1 Cor. iii. 12, 13 : “Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, &c.” in which the author examined several doctrines then prevalent. The first of these he thus states : “Before there be so much as a beginning of any saving work of grace, or of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the sinner, there must be an awakening con­viction of sin and misery raised in the soul in a way of common operation ; which convictions are previously necessary to prepare the heart for saving grace, but are void of saving grace themselves.” Before refuting this doctrine he premises several gene­ral observations, which are in substance as follows: 1. That when the Holy Spirit begins a supernatural work in the heart, he does not implant first one grace and then another; but that true grace is one entire radical principle, the seed and root of all particular graces; just as natural life manifests itself in various exercises. 2. Consequently when any one grace is evident in its exercises, all other graces of the Spirit are to be found in the same person, though they may not be so conspicuous. 3. That these different graces are not so distinct as we are apt to imagine, as though they were separate entities, which may exist independently of each other; whereas they differ only in their object and in the manner of their exercise, yet are the same principle of grace putting forth its various actings, according to the variety of occasions and ob­jects. 4. That although we properly form different apprehensions of these several graces, yet as they, are radically one, it will be found that no one can be alone in its exercise any more than in its existence.

Having prepared the way by these remarks, he takes up the subject of “preparatory ungracious convictions,” with regard to which he concedes, 1. That there are common convictions arising from natural conscience, or a common work of the Spirit, which often fall short of conversion. 2. That such convictions may be followed by true conversion; but when this happens the conversion is not the proper effect of those convictions. 3. That we should distinguish between those convictions which are common and those which are the effect of saving grace. The latter possess the soul with a sense of the vileness, baseness, and hateful nature of sin, as offensive to God; but the former only alarm, the soul with the danger of the wrath and curse of God. Gracious conviction is always attended with grief for sin, on account of its own sinfulness; and the person’s vileness on account of it, who loathes him­self, and reckons himself among the basest and most disgraceful creatures upon God’s earth; whereas in common convictions, the hatred conceived against sin is only on account of its pernicious consequences. Saving convictions, again, are always accompanied with love to God, to holiness, and to the saints. Sin becomes a burden to those thus convinced, under which they groan. In com­mon convictions there is no love to holiness for its own sake, but only for its reward. Again, saving conviction, though it may take its rise from some notorious sin, does not stop there, but traces up all actual sin to the fountain head, the indwelling wickedness of the heart and corruption of nature; whereas common convictions are ordinarily confined to actual transgressions. The former continue an ingredient in the believer’s exercises through life; the latter, for the most part, are at an end as soon as the person concerned gets hope or comfort from any source. And finally, we should distinguish between convictions, whether saving or common, and the terror which may accompany or follow them. The former consists in our persuasion of our sinful and miserable state; the latter in the uneasy impression arising from the apprehension of danger. The one is proportionate to the light which is let in upon our real character and condition ; the other to the apparent avoid­ableness or unavoidableness of the danger to which we feel ourselves exposed. Hence though the conviction may be strong, the terror may be slight. These fears and terrors are at best but the language of unbelief, and consequently are in their nature a very great sin. To believe that we are in a perishing state by nature, and that we certainly shall perish if we continue in that state, that is unless we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, cordially accept of him as he is offered in the gospel, and to be suit­ably affected by these things according to their nature, do certainly belong to those convictions which make up a part of our conver­sion; but to disbelieve or to doubt whether mercy is in our offer, or that we may be saved on gospel terms, is unbelief, and is contrary to that revelation which sets death and life, the blessing and the curse, before us at the same time.”

After this exposition of his views, he shows from scriptural examples, that “these preparatory, ungracious convictions have no foundation as to their necessity, in order to conversion ;” and con­cludes that, “the convictions which are necessary to conversion, are in truth a part of the work itself; or, to speak more distinctly, are nothing else but that very principle of grace implanted in and by conversion, putting forth itself in the exercise of conviction or persuasion of the person’s natural, sinful, and miserable state, according to the word, the heart and conscience bearing witness thereunto.”

This is a fair exhibition of Mr. Thompson’s views of this subject, which were approved, it seems, by the other leaders of his party. This exhibition is here given, that it may be seen for what kind of doctrine the good men of that day denounced each other. Mr. Tennent appeals to this “detestable performance,” and to “the false and dangerous Moravian doctrine” which it contained, in proof that the author and those who agreed with him, not only opposed the work of God, but were themselves graceless. Yet these good men did not really differ in doctrine. Mr. Thompson admitted that there were convictions resulting from the common operations of the Holy Spirit, which sometimes were and some­times were not followed by true conversion. He only maintained that they were not necessary, and that those which are essential are themselves the results of saving grace. Against this Mr. Tennent had not a word to say. As he was a believer in instantaneous conversions, he could not believe in the absolute necessity of these preparatory convictions; nor could he well maintain that any exercises, not in themselves holy, were indispensable as a preparation for holiness. The only difference between the parties was, that the one laid more stress upon this “preliminary law work” than the other did. Both admitted that it often occurred; and both admitted that it was not indispensable.

Another subject of dispute was, the call to the gospel ministry. Mr. Tennent in his Nottingham sermon had said, that “Natural men have no call of God to the ministerial work, under the gospel dispensation. Is it not a principal part of the ordinary call, of God to the ministerial work, to aim at the glory of God, and in subordination thereto, the good of souls, as the chief marks in their undertaking that work ? And can any natural man on earth do this ? No! No! every skin of them has an evil eye ; for no cause can produce effects above its own power. Man may put them into the ministry, through unfaithfulness or mistake; or credit or money may draw them, and the devil may drive them, knowing by long experience what special service they may be to his kingdom in that office; but God sends not such hypocritical varlets.” This and similar declarations were understood to teach, that though a man be regularly, after due trial and examination, ordained to the sacred office; yet if he is unconverted, he has not the call of God, but only that of man, to the ministry. Thus the matter is stated by Mr. Thompson, in the sermon above quoted. With regard to this point, he concedes, 1. That true grace in the person called, is absolutely necessary to the faithful and acceptable discharge of the duties of the ministry. 2. That there is a distinction between the outward call of the word, and the inward call of the Spirit, to grace and salvation. But the call of God to the ministry is an authoritative act by which he authorizes and commands the person called to enter upon the sacred office. 3. God is truly and properly said to do what is done in virtue of any order or institution of his, and, therefore, 4. That when a person is orderly set apart to this work, by those having authority from Christ for that purpose, he is properly said to be called of God to that work, whatever his qualifications may be. “I entreat my readers,” he adds, “that they may not misunderstand me, as if I would plead for an unsanc­tified ministry. God forbid that such a profane, impious thought should ever be harboured in my breast, much more that I should be wicked enough to maintain it by arguments. Undoubtedly it is the indispensable duty of every one who aspires to this sacred office, to pray and labour for true sanctifying grace and all other necessary qualifications, to fit him for the work, and to propose single ends and views to himself in undertaking it. And it is no less the duty of those, whose part it is to call and ordain men to that work, to take care to inquire into the saving grace, as well as the other qualifications in the persons to be ordained; and the neglect of either is a heinous sin, and of a dreadful tendency, as no doubt a graceless ministry is an awful plague and scourge to any people.” What he contended for was, 1. That the qualifications for the sacred office, and the call to enter upon it, should not be confounded; for “if the inward gracious qualifications constitute the call of God, then all who have the qualifications are called to the ministry.” 2. That the claim of those who were regularly ordained to be regarded as true ministers should not be denied.

To all this Mr. Tennent replied, that his Nottingham sermon was founded on the assumption, that there “is a two-fold call to the ministry, inward and outward. The first consisting principally in, or rather was evidenced by, the pious dispositions and aims of the person ; and the other in his regular external separation to the ministerial work.” He adds, “When I said pharisee or unconverted ministers are no shepherds, (no faithful ones,) in Christ’s account, it is plainly intimated that I owned them to be ministers, true and lawful ones, in the sight of the church, but not faithful ones in the account of Christ.” In another place he says: “Whether those inward pious dispositions be termed the inward call of God to the gospel ministry; or only qualifications necessary or prerequisite in the persons whom God calls; it seems to be the same in substance.” He denies that he confounded the outward and inward call, or ever “thought that any person by reason of his good dispositions and aims, had commission or authority to exercise the ministerial office.” He successfully vindicates the propriety of calling these pious desires the evidence of an inward call, by an appeal to the usage of the church. “This,” he says, “is the opinion of the whole church of Scotland, as appears from her Directory, which they and we have adopted as the standard of our proceedings and sentiments respecting the affairs of church government.” He then quotes from the ordination service a dis­tinct recognition of the inward call. He appeals also to the Church of England, which asks every candidate for orders : “Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministration?” There was, therefore, no real difference of opinion on this subject between Mr. Tennent and his opponents. He erred in the violent and sweeping language of his sermon, which seemed to imply that an unconverted minister is no minister at all ; and they erred in restricting the word “call” to an authoritative act giving a right to exercise the office of the ministry.

A third subject of discussion was the doctrine of assurance. Mr. Tennent complained that his brethren had done great harm by teaching, “that persons might have grace and not know it.” He, at times, went to the opposite extreme. Mr. Thompson says, “I myself have heard Mr. Gilbert Tennent, with great vehemency, assert to a great congregation that every truly gracious person, or true convert, is as sensible of the grace of God in himself, or the love of God to him, as a man would be of a wound or stab, or of the blowing of the wind, or to that effect; and he maintained the same doctrine, alleging some Scripture for his support, when in private I challenged him for it, on the same evening.” The same complaint is made against the Brunswick brethren in the Protest and elsewhere. This is one of the doctrines examined in Mr. Thompson’s sermon quoted above; with regard to which he teaches, 1. That assurance is attainable in this life. 2. That it is the fault of Christians that it is not more generally attained. 3. That it may be lost. He denies, however, that every believer is assured of his gracious state from the moment that he enters upon it. In answer to the common objection, that a man must be conscious of the exercises of his own mind, he says: “It is one thing to be conscious of such and such a thought in my heart, and another thing to be sure that such a thought is an exercise of grace.” That Mr. Tennent and his friends, notwithstanding casual unguarded statements, really held the common doctrine on this sub­ject, is plain from his remarks on the Protest. He there says Assurance is attainable and loseable ; some gracious souls attain it in this life, and some do not.” This his opponents owned ” to be right orthodox, and the substance of what they had been contending for.”

Such were the doctrinal matters in dispute between the two parties. Well might Mr. Tennent say, they were in their own nature small, though greatly aggravated by the distemper of the times. There is not one of these points, with regard to which they did not come to a substantial agreement, as soon as an opportunity was offered for a dispassionate comparison of views.

If the parties were thus agreed with respect to doctrines, were they not widely separated in relation to their views of church government? There is a very prevalent, but very erroneous impres­sion in reference to this point. The schism is often represented as the result of a long-continued struggle between the Presbyterian and congregational element in the Synod; between the Scotch and Irish members on the one hand, and the New England members on the other. The preceding narrative shows that there is not the least foundation for this representation. It shows that the opposition to the authority of the Synod, in relation to the two acts which were the matter in dispute, was confined, with one doubtful exception, to the Scotch and Irish members. The ejected members, with the same exception, belonged to the same class. The protesting or Brunswick party, as it was called, was, therefore, as completely a Scotch and Irish party as it well could be. The narrative further shows that the New England portion of the Synod took part with the majority on all the ecclesiastical matters in debate, until the anti-presbyterial ejectment of the New Brunswick brethren ; and that those of them who subsequently withdrew, left the Synod not on account of the matters in dispute between the contending parties, but because of the violent and unconstitutional manner in which that dispute was ended. And finally, it shows that, so far from the New England brethren being driven off, their secession was regarded with great regret. The Synod said it was a thing they could not hinder, though contrary both to their “judgment and inclination.”

If, then, the members who were violently cast out were Congregationalists, it was not through New England influence. It was Irish congregationalism, if congregationalism at all, which caused the schism. Still, the most interesting question is, Were these ejected brethren really anti‑Presbyterian in their principles? It has been seen that this was one of the prominent charges against them; and it must be confessed that the charge had a very plau­sible foundation. Those brethren themselves found it very difficult to reconcile some parts of their Apology with the principles they professed. To all appearance they allowed to presbyteries and synods nothing beyond advisory powers, even in judicial cases. This character of the Apology is no doubt, however, as has already been remarked, to be referred to that habit of exaggerated statement so characteristic of Mr. Tennent, and which involved him in so many inconsistencies. This is evident from the fact that it is in contradiction with other declarations of its authors, and with their uniform practice. These are more trustworthy sources of evidence of the opinions of these gentlemen than any controversial paper written in the midst of an ardent struggle, and to justify an extreme proceeding. Certain it is, the New Brunswick brethren considered the charge of anti-Presbyterianism as unfounded and injurious. They asserted their faithful adherence to the Westminster Directory. They affirmed that they were as strict Presbyterians as their opponents. They gave such an explanation of their Apology as to remove all objections to it; and their uniform practice, first as a Presbytery, and afterwards as a Synod, was, in fact, as thoroughly conformed to Presbyterian rules, as that of the old Synod during any period of its history. If all these points are clearly established, it must be admitted that the parties were as thoroughly agreed in their principles of church government, as in their doctrinal opinions, and the schism will he assigned to its true cause, viz. the disorder and alienation consequent on the excitement produced by the revival.

A very few extracts from the writings of the leading men, on either side, will suffice to prove the correctness of the representation just given, and to show the agreement of the two parties. In a passage just quoted from Mr. Tennent, we heard him say, when speaking of the Directory, that, they and we, his opponents and his friends, had adopted it, “as the standard of our proceedings and sentiments respecting the affairs of church government.” Was such a declaration ever made by the Independents in Great Britain, or by the Congregationalists in New England ? Was it ever made by any honest man who was not a sincere Presbyterian ?

A more authoritative profession is to he found in the Declaration of the united Presbyteries of New Brunswick and New Castle, already referred to. In order to vindicate themselves from the charge of anti-Presbyterianism, those presbyteries give a somewhat extended summary of the universally recognized principles of Presbyterianism, and conclude thus : “In a word, we heartily agree with the plan of government laid down by the Westminster Assembly in the Directory for church government, as that which is appointed by Jesus Christ, and contained in his word ; and so we disown and reject as unscriptural, all other forms and models of church government whatsoever.” They further declare, that they “heartily approve of the directions of the Westminster Assembly in their Directory for public worship, as agreeable to the word of God; only we would not be understood to mean as if every particular direction and advice was of necessary obligation upon us. For instance, that we must always begin public worship with prayer; much less that we can now pray for the same afflicted, queen of Bohemia, therein mentioned, and such-like circumstantial things, which no understanding man can judge to be necessary, or of constant obligation.

“We likewise agree to the directions of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in their Directory for family worship, excepting we see not why persons of quality should, on that account, be exempted from performing the worship of God themselves, in their own families, more than others; and the meeting of divers families therein disapproved of, is not to be understood of such private societies as may meet statedly, at proper times, for reading and prayer, and mutual edifying conference.

“This is a summary account of our faith and principles, and agreeable to the same we desire and deign, through divine grace, ever to conduct ourselves, that we may be faithful as servants in all God’s house.” Stronger professions of Presbyterianism were never made, or desired by the opposite party.

The reader will now not be surprised to hear Mr. Tennent assert that the parties did not differ in their ecclesiastical principles. “What order and government were opposed,” he asks, “in the late time of contention among us ? Was it the necessity of order and government in the church of Christ in general ? No. Was it the nature of the government which the Scripture expresses ? No. Was it the plan of government which is expressed in our Directory agreeable to the Scriptures ? No. What was then the core of the controversy? Why some circumstantials in government; in other words, some rules or acts of discipline formed by the majority, and reckoned prudential and expedient by them, but on the contrary, prejudicial and sinful by the minor party.”

The agreement between the two parties will be more obvious, if we state distinctly the points on which they ultimately came to a full understanding. They both denied to the church all legislative power in matters of religion; that is, all right to make laws to bind the conscience. This power, it may be remembered, was unanimously disclaimed by the Synod in 1729, in the adopting act. It is formally disclaimed in our present constitution, and it has ever been disclaimed by all parties in the church. Mr. Thompson, in his Government of the Church of Christ, written in answer to the Apology of the New Brunswick brethren, says: “The Lord Jesus Christ hath invested his church with authority to make orders, acts, or diatactic rules for the regulating of circumstances of ecclesiastical matters, which are not, nor possibly could be all condescended upon in Scripture, for preventing disorders and con­fusion, only these rules must conform to and bear a subordination to the general rules of the word. This authority of the church is only declarative, subordinate, and executive ; but not legislative, supreme, or dictating. The meaning whereof is this. The Lord Jesus Christ is head and king of his church; his church is his kingdom; his word contains a complete system of doctrines and laws for his church to believe and obey ; but he hath also appointed officers and rulers in his kingdom, who are authorized both to teach and to rule according to these laws; and accordingly they have authority to explain these doctrines, and agree about the meaning of Scripture as to doctrinals ; and, by consequence, to compose creeds or confessions of faith. They have also authority to interpret or explain the rules and precepts of the word, and to apply these laws or rules to particular cases.” Again: ” These rules, acts, or orders of the church cannot, with any propriety of speech, be termed religious laws, because they contain no new matter but what is supposed to be contained in the divine law, or general rule of the word applied to such and such cases.” Again: ” We pretend to no authority to make laws or rules, the matter and penalty of which, are not comprehended in the word, though not expressed therein. As, for instance, when the Westminster Assembly gave directions to inquire into the character and qualifications of candidates for the ministry, they judged that the rules in the epistles to Timothy and Titus did require them to form and observe those very directions, which they then and there laid down for that very purpose, viz.: to require certificates, and to inquire into their skill in the several parts of learning, &c.” Again: “We aver that the power and authority, by which such acts or rules are made, is only a ministerial, subordinate, declarative power or authority, to explain and apply the rules or laws already made by Christ, and contained in his word…which is no legislative power at all. The constitution of the Presbyterian Church, contained in our Westminster Directory, is made up of such rules.” “We are obliged,” he says, “to remind our readers that we claim no legislative power, but only a ministerial and executive power, viz.: a power or authority as officers in Christ’s church to govern it, according to the laws which he hath already given, and consequently to explain and apply those laws to their particular cases, whether by making rules, or judging facts.” And to the same effect: “We own and plead that every true church hath authority to make rules about prudentials and expedients ; but we deny that this power is a power of legislation, and say that it is only a declararative and executive power.”

From these extracts it is plain what was disclaimed, and what was affirmed to belong to church judicatories. All power to make new laws on religious matters was disclaimed, but the authority to make rules to carry into effect the general principles contained in the word of God, was asserted. To both these points the other party fully assented. Mr. Blair, one of the signers of the Apology, wrote a vindication of his brethren from the charge of anti­-presbyterianism, contained in Mr. Thompson’s work. From this vindication it appears, that the power to which the Brunswick gentlemen intended to object, was precisely that which Mr. Thompson disclaimed; and that the power which he asserted to belong to church judicatories, they readily conceded to them. “I proceed,” says Mr. Blair, “to show the weakness of his charge, by giving a just view of those passages of the Apology, which he grounds it upon ; and to this purpose it will be necessary to see and consider what that strain of authority in church judicatories is, which the brethren who presented that Apology do reject and reason against.” This he describes as “a proper legislative or law‑making authority; not only an authority to execute the laws of Christ, but properly to make laws of their own, in addition to the laws of Christ ; which might also sometimes happen to be contrary to his laws, as it was with some of the constitutions of the Jews.” This is exactly the authority which Mr. Thompson disclaimed. On the other hand, he concedes every thing when he says : “We heartily agree with our Confession of Faith, that ‘it belongs unto Synods and councils to set down rules for the better ordering the public worship of God and the government of the church; to receive complaints in case of mal-administration, and authoritatively determine the same ; which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in his word.'” It is perfectly evident this was all that was ever demanded on the other side, or by any class of Presbyterians. And “all this,” says Mr. Blair, “we freely allow; and there is nothing in the Apology, so far as I can discern, that can be produced, according to the fair rules of interpretation, contrary thereto. For, observe again, the point denied is this, viz.: That church judicatories have a lawful power of oppressing the consciences of their members, by imposing any thing upon them upon pain of censure and non-communion, which they judge sinful, and cannot in conscience comply with; when the majority, in the meantime, are not in conscience bound by the authority of God declaring or ordaining that very thing in his word. Such a power as this, is, I think, properly a legislative power in religious matters.” It is plain then that Mr. Blair and Mr. Thompson thus far perfectly agreed. They both disclaimed what they called a legislative power in religious matter, that is, a power to make laws to bind the conscience; and they both asserted the power to decide authoritatively in judicial cases, and to set down rules for the government of the church.

The parties agreed also as to the limits of this latter power. They both held that the decisions and rules of church judicatories were binding on dissentient members, provided those determinations were not regarded as sinful. And further, they agreed, that when the conscience of any member forbad compliance with such determinations, his duty was peaceably to withdraw, and not trample on the rules of the body. Mr. Thompson says on this subject, “No member of a judicatory is abridged or deprived of his privilege hereby. For first, he hath the privilege as a member to debate and reason; again, he is at liberty to give his vote or keep it; and thirdly, he is at liberty to submit and conform to the determination of the judicatory by vote, or not. Where then, I beseech, is the abridgment? And as for penalty, there is no new penalty inflicted, but what is the unavoidable consequence of differing judgments among the members of a judicatory, viz.: Submission to the judgment of the majority, or separation; which, with its following inconveniences is mutual, and affects both parties in proportion.” “The minority of a church judicatory do virtually promise to be determined by the suffrage of the majority, every time they consent to let the matter in debate go to a vote; and, therefore, afterwards to refuse subjection to such determination is to forfeit their promise. They exercise liberty of conscience and private judgment in voting; and they have still liberty of conscience and private judgment of discretion to determine themselves as to their obedience; i. e. if they apprehend, or come to be persuaded that what is concluded is sinful, they are at liberty to refuse obedience, and that without the least hazard of any penalty or censure, besides what is the unavoidable consequence of the difference of judgment in such cases, and of the authority which they themselves have approved by putting themselves under the government of it.” The authors of the Protest take the same ground: “We utterly renounce,” say they, “all claim of power to make any scriptureless canons; and claim a bare ministerial authority, to set down rules and directions for the ordering of public worship of God, and the government of his church agreeable to the thirty‑first article, part third, of our Confession of Faith…If we can not agree without voting, the majority have a casting vote in all our determinations, as is usual in all judicatories civil and ecclesiastical, so that the minority or dissenting voters, in rules of common concern, must either comply, or forbear to counteract, or separate.”

Mr. Tennent teaches the same doctrine. “No doubt a smaller number,” says he, ” ought freely to submit to the conclusions of the majority, in matters of government, which they, the majority, judge essential to the well-being of the church. For without this there could be no government at all. Without this the minor party would have power to impose upon the major, in things which they reckon of the last consequence to the good of the society; which is absurd. It is true the major party may be mistaken as well as the minor, and consequently abuse their power, for which there is no help in the present imperfect state of things, but humble remonstrance by reason and argument. Yet considered as a society, the majority have a right to judge for themselves, (upon the plan of private judgment,) what they reckon essential to their constitution, or to the well‑being of the church under their care, and consequently to exclude from their society such as do not comply therewith. Moreover in matters which are reckoned circumstantial by the majority, the minor party ought, for peace’ sake, to comply, if they be not conscience-bound in the matter; but if so, they cannot; and whether forbearance should not be exercised towards them in this case, as well as in other parallel cases, I leave to others to determine.” “There are two general cases,” says Mr. Blair, “wherein we freely grant church judicatories must require and insist upon submission and obedience from all their members, whether they assent or dissent, whether they be negatives or approbatives, or non‑liquets in the making of the acts or rules, on pain of such censure as may appear from Scripture to be due to their disobedience, according to the various instances of it, or cases wherein it may be: First, when the judicature does judge, that that very particular which they determine, appoint, or forbid, is itself particularly declared, appointed, or forbidden by God in Holy Scripture, whether the point be determined in Scripture in so many express words, or by plain consequence, it is the same thing. The other general case, wherein obedience and submission are necessary to be given to church judicatories and required by them is, when in matters of human prudence and expediency they can submit without conscience of sin in so doing. When the majority of a judicature judge a particular thing or rule to be a good prudential expedient in present circumstances, or to answer the design of some general direction or injunction of God’s word, though the minority or lesser number judge it not so, yet they are in duty and conscience bound to submit and obey, unless they judge the thing or rule to be contrary to God’s word, and so, that it is sinful for them to obey.” Further than this no Presbyterian ever went. Finally, when these brethren came to unite with others in the formation of a new Synod, it was laid down as a fundamental principle: “That in matters of discipline and those things which relate to the peace and good order of our churches, they shall be determined according to the major vote of ministers and elders, with which vote every member shall actively concur or passively acquiesce. But if any member cannot in conscience agree to the determination of the majority, and the Synod think themselves obliged to insist upon it as essentially necessary to the well-being of our churches, in such case, such dissenting member promises peaceably to withdraw from the body, without endeavouring to raise any dispute or contention upon the debated point, or any unjust alienation from them. In all the protracted negotiations between the two Synods, this article was acquiesced in by both parties, and was adopted in 1758, when the union actually took place.

Notwithstanding, therefore, the ardent debates and mutual criminations on this subject, it appears the two parties were of one mind. They were agreed in disclaiming all legislative power in religious matters. They were agreed in the right of Synods to set down rules for the government of the church. They were agreed in the binding authority of these rules even over dissentients, except when such dissentients believed them to be sinful. They were agreed that when a member could not obey a given rule with a good conscience, it was his duty peaceably to withdraw. Finally, they were agreed that when a Synod saw that the minority were opposed to any measure, not in judgment only, but in conscience, they ought not to insist upon it, and thus necessitate a schism, unless they believed the measure to be essential to the well‑being of the churches. These principles are all so plain and so reasonable, that we need not wonder they commanded the unanimous consent of both parties, or that they have remained the unquestioned principles of our church from that day to this. If in the exasperation of another conflict, when no truth is clearly seen, and no duty properly appreciated, they have again been called in question by heated partisans, they will resume the sway which belongs to truth and reason when the excitement has died away. It appears from this history that the great schism was not the result of conflicting views, either as to doctrine or church government. It was the result of alienation of feeling produced by the controversies relating to the revival. In these controversies the New Brunswick brethren were certainly the aggressors. In their unrestrained zeal, they denounced brethren, whose Christian character they had no right to question. They disregarded the usual rules of ministerial intercourse, and avowed the principle that in extraordinary times and circumstances such rules ought to be suspended. Acting upon this principle, they divided the great majority of the congregations within the sphere of their operations, and by appealing to the people, succeeded in overwhelming their brethren with popular obloquy. Excited by a sense of injury, and alarmed by the disorders consequent on these new methods, the opposite party had recourse to violent measures for redress, which removed none of the evils under which they suffered, and involved them in a controversy with a large class of their brethren, with whom they had hitherto acted in concert. These facts our fathers have left on record for the instruction of their children; to teach them that in times of excitement the rules of order, instead of being suspended, are of more importance than ever to the well ­being of the church; that no pretence of zeal can authorize the violation of the rules of charity and justice; and on the other hand, that it is better to suffer wrong than to have recourse to illegal methods of redress; that violence is no proper remedy for disorder, and that adherence to the constitution is not only the most Christian, but also the most effectual means of resistance against the disturbers of the peace and order of the church.