Images de page

Report of the Presbytery of Miami. In presenting our report we have doubtless something to record of the loving kindness of the Lord to this portion of our church, but mingled with much that calls for lamentation. Ordinances are generally, throughout our bounds, attended with an encouraging degree of punctuality, and we trust those committed to our care, are, under these means, advancing in boliness. But we have to lament that want of unanimity and harmony among both ministers and people, of which others of our brethren have so long complained. We would gratefully record oor increase in ministerial aid since our last report. Mr. William Bruce, who accepted from Synod at its last meeting, a call from the Associate congregation of Bethel, was, after the usual trials being heard and sustained, solemnly ordained to the holy office of the gospel ministry on the 20th of July last, and installed pastor of said congregation on the 23d of October.

Two calls, one from the United Associate congregations of Poplar Ridge, Plainfield, Kenton and Roundhead, for Mr. James Dickson, and the other from the congregation of Racoon for the same candidate, having been received and sustained, were presented to Mr. Dickson, and that from Racoon accepted. After the usual trials being heard and sustained, Mr. Dickson was, the 9th of November last, solemnly ordained and installed Pastor of said congregatione

Notice has been duly given Presbytery by two of its members, the Messrs. Bruce, that they intend petitioning Synod to be erected into a distinct Presbytery. To the object of these brethren we do not object, but would represent that we believe the interests of our church in their bounds, require that their prayer be granted.

At a late meeting it was resolved also that Presbytery will, and they hereby accordingly do petition Synod for the erection of another distinct Presbytery, to be called the Presbytery of Indiana, and bounded by the boundary lines of the State of Indiana.

The subject of slavery still continues with us a subject of contention. Two ap. peals have been taken against decisions of Presbytery on this subject, since your last meeting. These appeals, together with the necessary accompanying documents, will be handed in in due time. The report of a committee of Massies Creek Session, to converse with the Fergusons, slaveholders, in whose case an appeal has been lying on your table since last meeting, was presented to Presbytery during the past season for the purpose of transmission to Synod, to appear with the other papers in the case of the above appeal. It is herewith forwarded accordingly.

The subject of occasional hearing was some time since brought up before Presbytery by three several memorials. These memorials, together with certain resolutions on the subject adopted by Presbytery, are herewith referred to Synod, with the urgent request that Synod will speedily take such measures as will be promotive of greater unitormity in practice throughout our church on this subject.

It having been ascertained that reports charging our brother, Rev. J. Adams, with the sin of intoxication, were in extensive circulation, Presbytery did, at its last meeting, resolve to investigate these charges, and that Mr. Adams be suspended from the exercise of the ministry and the communion of the church, until this investigation takes place. Against this decision, suspending him, Mr. Adams protested, and appealed to Synod The papers in this case will in due time be laid on your table

Appeals have been taken from a decision of Presbytery in the case of a complaint preferred against one of our number for marrying persons in our communion in the way of violating the Synod's rule respecting the publication of banns; also from a decision of Presbytery sustaining an appeal by Thomas White from a decision of the Session of Sugar Creek, adjudging him to censure for being married in the way of disregarding the above rule. An appeal has also been taken by Messrs. David Jackson and Archibald Collins, from a decision of Presbytery in a case of the former of these appellants, (D. Jackson.) These appeals with the accompanying papers, will in due time be presented.

The subject of foreign missions continues to engage the attention of Presbytery. A memorial on this subject to Synod from Presbytery, will be presented, to which the speedy attention of Synod is requested.

We have made some progress in examining the overture on the book of discipline, but still we are not prepared to report any definite amendments, owing to the small number of copies of the draft in our bounds. The report of a select committee of Presbytery on this subject, is herewith laid before you.

At a late meeting, the charge of Rev. T. S. Kendall was divided into two seperate charges. Fork Creek comprising one, and Pistol Creek and Big Spring the other pastoral charge. Mr. Kendall has been located in Fork Creek, and the other congregations are thrown on our hands as a vacancy.

Much of the supply allotted us at the last meeting of the Synod has not been received, in consequence of which our vacancies have suffered much. This is especially true in regard to the southern part of our Presbytery. The most of our congregations there have had no supply for a year past, and some have had none for eighteen months. Owing to a variety of causes, it is with the utmost difficulty we can prevail on probationers to visit that portion of our Presbytery. To prevent the sustaining of such loss in future, on the part of this portion of our Presbytery, it was resolved at a late meeting that we petition Synod, which we hereby accordingly do, in making out the scale of appointments, to make separate appointments on behalf of Tennessee, south-eastern Virginia and Alabama.

Presbytery having been informed by Mr. James A. Brown, student of theology during the course of the past season, that he could not attend the Hall the then com. ing session, and having asked him for reasons of non-attendance, and considered them as satisfactory, one of our number was appointed a committee to superintend his studies. The report of this committee, and the exercises delivered by him before Presbytery, afford gratifying evidence of commendable diligence and improvement. A liberal portion of supply is earnestly requested.

Respectfully submitted, SAMUEL WILSON, Presbytery Clerk. No. 4. The Report of the Presbytery of the Carolinas, which was, on motion, referred to a select committee, consisting of Messrs. A. Gordon and Wallace.

Report of the Presbytery of the Carolinas. Since we last reported to you our situation, no changes worthy of mention have taken place. Our congregations, settled and vacant, amidst all their discouragements, still maintain their adherence to Presbytery, and if the same fostering care was extended which they once enjoyed, would doubtless flourish. The appointments made by last Synod, filled the hearts of our people with joy, but as on former occasions, we were doomed to disappointment. Mr. Smart, who was expected to commence his labors in August, did not reach the bounds till September, having been detained a month by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Shortly after entering upon his duties, he was seized with sickness which disabled him from ministerial exercise for a considerable time. Before he recovered sufficiently to travel, the time had gone by to keep up with his appointments to the west, and the inclement season having set in, he was compelled to relinquish all hopes of overtaking them. He accordingly remained in our bounds, and as his health permitted, labored in the vacancies with great fidelity and great acceptance. Several calls would have been offered, but as his probationary year had not expired, we did not encourage them. We have, however, before us several petitions requesting our influence with Synod to have him appointed for the ensuing year in our bounds. We hope there will be a general disposition in your body to grant our request.

Neither Mr. Scroggs nor Mr. Thompson who were each appointed seven months, made their appearance. The former, very seasonably and in a christian manner, apprized us of the disappointment we would meet with occasioned by the loss of his health. We sincerely sympathize with him in his affliction, and would commend his example to others who may be under appointments which they cannot fulfil. The latter did not deign to inform us that he had no intentions of fulfilling his appointments, till he should have been in the field, and then ascribed his failure to fear for his personal safety and the counsel of some brethren, not to risk his life in the slaveholding States.

We have had frequent occasion to report delinquents to Synod, without the satis. faction of knowing that our complaints have excited the proper attention. It is not our design therefore to pursue the subject farther than simply to report the fact, and to remark that if the Synod can pass by without rebuke, such gross dereliction from duty on the part of Mr. Thompson of last year, and James McGill of the former, we wish not by our silence, to be considered as approving such lenity.

At your last meeting you altered the act on slavery, by pruning it of all appendages. You had before proffered assistance to slaveholders who might be inclined to the laudable work of emancipation, but who found it iinpracticable, without this as.. sistance. You have now, of your own accord, revoked the promised help, and yet it would seem like the Egyptians, you require the full tale of bricks while you withhold the materials. It becomes necessary, now, to give us the true interpretation of the act, that our relation to Synod may be determined. We wish to be distinctly informed " whether this act, in its present shape, absolutely prohibits us from administering sealing ordinances to those who hold negroes in servitude, or whether some

discretionary power is given us to administèr ordinances to such as may have slaves, but are not in principle and from choice, slaveholders." The Synod will understand that emancipation, without removal, is physically impossible, and that those who are in servitude by the laws of the land, must remain so until removed, the prating of many ignorant persons to the contrary notwithstanding.

All which is respectfully submitted. A. WHYTE, Moderator. Done at Rockbridge, Va., May 8, 1838.

No. 5. The Report of the Presbytery of Cambridge, which was, on motion, laid on the table.

Report of the Presbytery of Cambridge. The Associate Presbytery of Cambridge report :- That though they have many evidences of the Lord's controversy with them, they have also encouragement to hope that his chastenings will ultimately prove to be for their benefit, and that of his cause among them, and that "at evening time it shall be light." Christ has assured us that “offences' and “divisions must come;" it is the part of christians and courts to consider well “by whom they come;" and not to be deterred from duty by the random charge of a persecuting spirit, too often made against all, without discrimination, who are involved in controversy. Presbytery still see evidences of God's gracious presence with them, in blessing divine ordinances, both in their settled and vacant congregations. One congregation called Hinchenbrook, in Lower Canada, has been orgauized since the last meeting of Synod. This, with the other organized vacancies, and several preaching stations, is needing and asking supply, These places are weak and unable to furnish the means, as yet, of supporting such supply as ought to be given them. So far, a great part of the burden, both of supply of ordinances and of funds, has been borne by Presbytery. This has been no light burden, owing to the neglect of some of our congregations to give pécuniary assistance. Although Presbytery has been involved in debt since the Commission which was appointed in 1832, yet Cambridge and Ryegate have furnished no funds, and Barnet but once, notwithstanding all the pressing calls and demands made by Presbytery on them.' Presbytery therefore request of Synod, that some annual allowance be made from their funds, for the assistance of our vacancies and preaching stations, in money as well as ordinances, for some time; and also that Synod will give special direction what to do in the case of those congregations that neglect all the requests and demands of Presbytery for pecuniary aid for these and other Presbyterial uses. The supply allotted to us by Synod' have acceptably fulfilled their appointments as far as Presbytery required.

Presbytery are under the necessity of reporting much that is painful and humiliating among them, since the last meeting in Synod; and much, that, if we may judge by the past, will arouse the tongue of slander; yet we trust it will, as on a former occasion, meet with the solemn consideration of Synod as a court of Christ.

Dr. A. Bullions and Mr. Stalker lave both been deposed by Presbytery from the office of the holy ministry. And though they entered some protests which might have brought up their cases before Synod, they have fallen from these, either by directly withdrawing them, or by neglecting the steps necessary in order to bring them regularly up for trial. Whether they expect their cases to be before Synod in any form we are not informed, and therefore Presbytéry judge it necessary to give a, brief view of them in this report.

Mr. Stalker, last September, charged two members of Presbytery with false-swearing, in a case before the Associate Presbytery of Albany, in reference to his conduct in some former difficulties between Presbytery and Dr. Bullions. This he did without using private means of obtaining satisfaction. The charge was put on trial in Presbytery. Mr. Stalker offered four witnesses, all of whom, except one, confirmed the testimony of the defendants, which was now in question. The defendants offered fourteen witnesses, of whom, only five were called in Presbytery, their testimony being judged suffi cient. Presbytery unanimously decided that Mr. Stalker had not supported his charge, and that the detendants were acquitted. Afterwards, Mr. Stalker, by a written communication to Presbytery, acknowledged that what the brethren had sworn was correct. Nevertheless, he offered his protest against the decision of Presbytery, but withdrew it, confessed his sin, and submitted to a rebuke, and to suspension for one Sabbath. But, while these things were in progress, Mr. Stalker, in a trial of Dr. Bullions, read a paper, in which Presbytery found four articles of charge against him, viz :-Denying the right constitution and authority of this Presbytery ---Posilively charging Presbytery with unhallowed and malicious motives in their prosecutions-Adopting and threatening to pursue a divisive course in Presbytery—and, Disagreeing with Presbytery and Synod in their testimony against the U. Secession, blessing God that he had been a minister in that church. On trial, he refused to retract a word of what he had written, or to acknowledge his offence, or submit to a question on the Synod's testimony against the United Secession-gave in his declinature of the Presbytery's authority-contemptuously withdrew, daclaring that it was probably the last time that he and the Presbytery would meet in a judicial capacity. He was then, by a unanimous vote, deposed from the office of the holy ministry.

Dr. A. Bullions, on the trial of the charge, by Mr. Stalker, of false-swearing, objected to the Presbytery's proceeding with the case, because, as he he said, there were some members present, who, if reports were true, were unfit to sit in any court. On this grave charge, Presbytery, according to acknowledged order, required Dr. Bullions to furnish the names of those charged, and the reports and evidences referred to. He refused both, and yet wished Presbytery so far to act on the charge as to suspend their proceedings on a most important case on account of it. Dr. Bullions, after some time, denied that he had expressed himself as the minute stated it, and appealed from the minute. His protest was not admitted ; and afterwards, for other purposes, testimouy was taken in court, which abundantly maintained the correetness of the minute. After some dealing with Dr. Bullions, to induce him to give the names of the members charged, on account of whose character he wished Presbytery to suspend their proceedings, and the evidence on which the charge was based, but all in vain, he was judged censurable for slander and contumacy, and a rebuke voted as the censure. The execution of this sentence was postponed some hours; when it was proposed to be executed, Dr. Bullions protested against the execution. This protest was not admitted. Suspension was then proposed. Dr. Bullions then indicated four members as the persons charged, and said that the reports charged them with error in doctrine and immorality in practice, but still did not furnish, nor agree to furnish to Presbytery, the reports, their specifications nor evidence ;-and then added, that what he had said in the morning, on which Presbytery had made their minute, was, that if those reports were true, those members were not fit to sit in this court ; thus confirming the minute himself, in all that was culpable in his expression. Presbytery proceeded to suspend him from the exercise of his ministry and the communion of the church. Against this sentence he protested, but his protest was not admitted. The next day, Dr. Bullions gave in a paper, declaring, by solemn oath, that the minute did not convey his meaning, but yet it did not declare his meaning, retract his charge, nor furnish the evidence for investigation. Presbytery judged it unsatisfactory and profane, and consequently censurable. At two pro-re nata meetings, originating in a request by the Associate congregation of Cambridge, Dr. Bullions refused to give such evidence of repentance as Presbytery could accept. He acknowledged that his expression, charging the four brethren indicated by him, was an unfounded slander! and that he thought he was really sorry for it, and had made confession of it to God;" but he expressly refused the words unfrigned sorrow. He also refused to submit to the rebuke from consciousness of sin, but only in deference to Presbytery, or to withdraw his protests un. conditionally, although he had confessed hat the substance of his expression for which he was censured was an unfounded slander-he was therefore left under suspension. He then exercised his ministry in disobedience to Presbytery, and published a letter addressed to his congregation, but distributed to the pnblic, containing many misrepresentations of Presbytery's procedure.

In the above censurable expressions, Dr. Bullions had referred to certain documents, as the reports on which he had based his charge. It was afterwards found, and proved by abundant testimony, that he himself had been the author or publisher of them, as his own hand-writing was proved on one of them, and it was given in testimony that he had read a copy of these documents to two of his brethren in the ministry before they had been circulated, and that though they had remonstrated against his circulating it, yet it was done. These documents contained slanders against the four brethren mentioned by him as chargeable, the substance of which was, the misrepresentation of things formerly settled by Presbytery and Synod, and also charges on members of error, lying and beastly intoxication, &c.

But before the trial of his authorship of these documents, and during the trial of it, he sent into Presbytery once and again a declinature of the authority of Presbytery, and of their authority, not only in what had lately passed, but also in what they might do in future, and refused to attend the trial. Presbytery, after waiting from October 5, 1837, till April 12, 1838, dealing with him and citing him to appear, at length accumulating his offences, deposed him from the office of the holy ministry, &c.

[ocr errors]

Since Mr. Stalker and Dr. Bullions have been deposed, they have continued to ex. ercise the functions of the ministry, and the majority of the congregations of N. Argyle and Cambridge adhere to them respectively, and support them in their disobedience ; for which reason these congregations have been refused a representation in Presbytery: Mr. Stalker has also published to the world his view of Presbytery's procedure in his case. They do not, however, complain of exhibitions of this procedure, but they require them to be true, and made in proper time and manner.

These things have not only been the source of much trouble to Presbytery, but of distraction and dissensions in this section of the church : and we may well take up the complaint of the Psalmist, O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased.'. It is not improper to anticipate, from past experience, that sowe will reproach this Presbytery for want of love as the cause of these disturbances, and charge them with a spirit of persecution and contention. Even of such persons, we would simply and meekly ask where the fault lies? Mr. Stalker and the Presbytery were at peace till he produced his heavy charge. Dr. Bullions and the Presbyterý were at peace, at least, on the part of Presbytery, till he produced his weighty charge. Was it the duty of Presbytery to allow any of their members to lie under these charges without a trial! or, a member to slander his brethren and obstinately refuse to follow necessary church order, without censure ? We only desire that these positions be attended to, and questions be answered with a good conscience.

A. ANDERSON, Presbytery Clerk. Hebron, May 9, 1838.

P. 8. It should not pass unnoticed that Mr. Stalker has made a tavern advertisement of an injurious charge against a member of Presbytery, which, if it has any toundation in fact, he knew it more than five years ago.

No. 6. The Report of the Presbytery of Shenango, which was, on motion, laid on the table.

Report of the Presbytery of Shenango. The Associate Presbytery of Shenango report :--That few changes have occurred in our congregations, either settled or vacant, during the past year; we enjoy the blessing of peace and harmony, with a considerable increase of numbers. 'At a meeting of Presbytery in January last, Mr. Snodgrass was loosed from his pastoral relation with Oil Creek, hence, more supply of preaching by the appointment of Synod than formerly will be necessary during the present year. The case of Mr. Beggs is not yet issued, only one member of your commission attended with us, yet, from the importance of the case both to Mr. Baggs and the church, Presbytery agreed to enter upon the consideration thereof, and after hearing Mr. Beggs in his defence, and considering all the testimony taken in his case for some length of time, it appeared very difficult to give judgment, and therefore agreed to refer the case of M. Beggs simpliciter to Synod for final adjudication. A call from the congregations of Mercer, Springfield and Rocky-Spring, for Samuel McArthur, bas been sustained by Presbytery, and is herewith transmitted to Synod, to have il presented as soon as practicable to Mr. McArthur for acceptance. The supply allotted for us by Synod, during the last year, has been received, with the exception of James Dixon, E. Small

and James P. Smart; of these, Mr. J. P. Smart only forwarded reasons why he could not fulfil his appointment of Synod in our bounds, which rea sons we could not fully sustain. We hope the Synod will grant us, during the present year, as much supply of preaching as may consist in doing justice to all.

Is respectfully submitted,
By order of Presbytery,

A. BOYD, Clerk pro tem. No. 7. The Report of the Presbytery of Chartiers, which was, on motion, laid on the table.

Report of Presbytery of Charliers. Since the last meeting of Synod, the Presbytery have licensed Messrs. Robert Forrester, Samuel McArthur and Edward Small. A call for the Rev. James McCarrel, to Tumlinson's Run, was presented to him last November, and accepted. At the same meeting the Rev. Mr. Allison, in consequence of age and infirmity, was, at his request, released from the charge of the Associate congregation of Mount Hope, and subsequently of Cross Creek ; which congregations have since united in a call for Mr. David Thompson, w been sustained, and the Presbytery request that he may be continued in their bounds, in order that the above call may be presented. Mr. Thompson having declined going to the South in consequence of

« PrécédentContinuer »