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Re: What's the best book on American Presbyterian History?

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  • Edgar A. Ibarra Jr.
    Bishop s Doom, Both of your historical posts are fascinating and great. Where did you gather all this info from? Also where does David Steele fit into all of
    Message 1 of 28 , Apr 21, 2004
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      Bishop's Doom,

      Both of your historical posts are fascinating and great. Where did
      you gather all this info from? Also where does David Steele fit into
      all of this history? I know he comes in after the Revolutionary War
      here in the U.S., but do any of the presbyteries mentioned in your
      posts have bearing upon his ministry?

      Thanks again for such a good historical recap!

      -Edgar

      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, thebishopsdoom
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Ebenezer
      Erskine"
      > <ebenezer_erskine@y...> wrote:
      > > the bishopsdoom:
      > > your notes are great, though yankee-oriented.
      > "Yankee oriented"? I think you mean because the early history I
      > emphasize the PA / NY side of things. That is only due to the
      nature
      > of the question you asked, which was about the ARP, which was
      merged
      > there.
      > > What about Samuel Davies & Francis MacKemie in the great
      > > Commonwealth of Virginia BEFORE the American Revolution? they
      were
      > > presbyterians, but now you've made me want to research what THEIR
      > > precise affiliation was as well.
      > The other presbyterians were neither seceder nor covenanter. Some
      of
      > them came over before, some after the Revolution Settlement
      > (referring to the English revolution against the House of Stuart
      and
      > the inbringing of the House of Orange, not the American
      Revolution).
      > These were scattered individual presbyterian ministers, but without
      a
      > formal presbytery. I think the Irish Francis Mackemie was one of
      the
      > first to begin organizing a presbytery, but I could be remembering
      > wrong as I do not have notes before me.
      > Eventually, the formation of presbyteries led to the establishment
      of
      > the synods of NY and Pennsylvania. These eventually became the
      > mainline presbyterian church over here. Since many had cut off ties
      > with Scotland via distance, they oft had no official view about
      what
      > was going on there with respect to the Revolution Settlement and
      > changes in the constitution of the church. Some of them also
      regarded
      > their thus cutting their ties from Scotland loosed them from any
      > obligations as ministers to the covenants, and each was at liberty
      to
      > regard themselves as bound or released from the obligations
      thereof,
      > as he saw fit, though it will be noted that a controversy in
      > Pennsylvania erupted because of this. As such, there were both
      > covenanters and seceders at times meeting with some of these
      > churches. Catholic Presbyterian in SC was one such famous example.
      > There were also some who had been under persecution in Scotland who
      > helped to establish the famous Tennant church.
      > Allow me to quote a little from Glasgow's preface to a 19th century
      > edition of the proceedings of the renewal of the covenants by some
      of
      > the presbyterians in Pennsylvania in the 1740s:
      >
      > "Some of the Covenanters, however, joined in the organization of
      the
      > Presbyterian Church in this country, although it was somewhat
      > irregularly constituted, and had no fixed standards. It adhered to
      > the Westminster Confession of Faith so far as its great principles
      > are concerned, and passed the "Adopting Act" by the Synod in 1729,
      > yet it left each one to decide for himself what were the essential
      > doctrines therein set forth. The Presbyterian Church did not regard
      > the Solemn League and Covenant as of binding force, and refused to
      > renew the Covenants. Latitudinarian views and loose practices soon
      > sprang up. Laxness in admitting members and examining candidates
      for
      > the ministry, led many to seriously consider their relation and
      > responsibility to this organization.
      > In 1741, the New Brunswick Party withdrew from the Synod of
      > Pennsylvania. Among these were a number of ministers from the New
      > Castle and Donegal Presbyteries. A notable minister of the latter
      > Presbytery was the REV. ALEXANDER CRAIGHEAD, of Middle Octorara,
      Pa.
      > In 1742, Mr. Craighead withdrew, after giving his reasons, from
      this
      > party, holding them as unfaithful to their standards and accepted
      > principles. A protracted pamphlet war ensued. Accusations and
      > vindications, and these re-affirmed, were the order of the day. In
      > 1742, Mr. Craighead published a pamphlet in which he set forth his
      > views on civil government, and the Christian's duty towards a
      > Covenant-breaking nation. He held that the Church, as well as this
      > part of the British nation, should renew the Covenants. He insisted
      > that this neglect was the cause of the decline in religion and the
      > commotions in society. Rev. Samuel Blair replied to Craighead, and
      > Rev. Gilbert Tennent lamented his censoriousness. Thomas Cookston,
      > Esq., one of his Majesty's justices of Lancaster Co., Pa., appeared
      > before the Synod, in the name of the Governor, and laid Craighead's
      > pamphlet on civil government before them. The Synod disavowed any
      > responsibility for such sentiments, and agreed 'that it was full of
      > treason, sedition and distraction,' and declared 'that they detest
      > any principles or practices that would encourage dissatisfaction
      with
      > the civil government [British] that they were under.'
      > ...Mr. Craighead, with a part of his congregation, 'joined the
      cause
      > of the strict Cameronians' in the vicinity, and wrote to the
      Reformed
      > Presbytery of Scotland for ministerial assistance."
      >
      > There is somewhat of a confusion at this point to exactly what went
      > on from henceforth as far as Craighead. I have heard he petitioned
      > both the covenanters and then the seceders, for assistance and for
      > recognition as part of the same church body. I heard that he heard
      > back, and that he did not hear back. I don't know what went on, but
      > he later withdrew (and this will eventually take us to Samuel
      Davies,
      > but bear with me for a moment).
      >
      > "In November, 1743, one hundred years after the signing of the
      Solemn
      > League and Covenant, Mr. Craighead gathered together all the
      > Covenanters in Eastern Pennsylvania, at Middle Octorara, Lancaster
      > County, and, after the dispensation of the Lord's Supper, led them
      in
      > the renewing of the Covenants. Here they declared, with uplifted
      > swords, their independence of an ecclesiastical body that strangely
      > upheld Erastian prelacy; and also declared their separation from
      the
      > Crown which had so impiously violated Covenant engagements on both
      > sides of the Atlantic. The proceedings of this interesting occasion
      > are given in the following pages by those who participated in the
      > transactions. The proceedings were first printed in Philadelphia,
      in
      > 1744, and re-printed in 1748, evidently by Benjamin Franklin, who
      > editorially, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, refers to the matter.
      > For seven years Mr. Craighead labored among the Covenanter
      societies;
      > but, failing to receive assistance from Scotland, he removed, in
      > 1749, to Virginia, thence to Mecklenberg County, North Carolina.
      > There he became identified with the Presbytery in connection with
      the
      > Presbyterian Church."
      >
      > Craighead was licensed by the presbytery of Donegal, October 8th,
      > 1734, and was sent to Middle Octorara. He was installed pastor at
      > Middle Octorara Church, November 18th, 1735. During part of his
      time
      > there, he accompanied George Whitefield on a preaching tour if I
      > recall correctly. The presbytery of Donegal, prior to his joining
      the
      > covenanters, met in 1740 to put Craighead on trial, with charges
      that
      > he was introducing new terms of communion, of requiring parents to
      > subscribe to the Solemn League and Covenant when presenting
      children
      > for baptism, with carrying the Gospel to the people of New London
      in
      > opposition to the wishes of his session, and with excluding from
      > communion those who opposed his methods.
      > "This fiery trial lasted two days and resulted in his being
      suspended
      > from the ministry, yet leaving the door wide open for lifting the
      > suspension at any time he should signify his repentance. This trial
      > had two far reaching results. The first was the crippling of this
      > congregation to the extent they could not afford a regular Pastor
      for
      > almost forty years, during which time they were ministered to by
      > supply pastors when available. In the second place, Reverend
      > Craighead soon joined the steady tide of emigrants moving toward
      > Virginia and the Carolinas. After a few years in Virginia at Windy
      > Cove on Cow Pasture River, we find him in 1756 in Mecklenburg
      County,
      > North Carolina, as the first Pastor of the newly organized Sugaw
      > Creek Presbyterian Church near Charlotte."
      > What is strange to a point is that he wrote a work in 1748 on the
      > coevnant renewal in Octorara, but by 1749, it appears he was back
      in
      > the mainline church, in Virginia.
      > "Mr. Craighead is said to have removed to Windy Cove, on Cowpasture
      > River in Augusta County [now Bath County], Virginia, in 1749. A
      large
      > button wood tree, close to the river bank, marks the site where
      stood
      > his humble cabin. About half a mile above stood his log church. He
      > and his people went to the House of God fully equipped to meet any
      > sudden attach of Indians. He joined New Castle Presbytery before
      the
      > Fall of 1754. On Braddock's defeat his congregation fled from the
      > frontier and a portion settled in North Carolina. Mr. Craighead met
      > with Hanover Presbytery, September 2, 1757(?), and in January was
      > sent to Rocky River, in North Carolina, and to other vacancies. He
      > was called in April to Rocky River, and Mr. Richardson, on his way
      to
      > labor among the Cherokees, was directed to install him. He died in
      > March, 1766."
      > "While living in Augusta (now Bath) County, Virginia, near a
      > settlement called Windy Cove, both Samuel Davies and Alexander
      > Craighead were appointed to the new Presbytery of Hanover which
      held
      > its first meeting December 3, 1755. It was established as a result
      of
      > a petition to the New Side Synod of New York on October 3, 1755."
      > I've also heard that he moved to N. Carolina in 1755. Not sure how
      to
      > deal with the possible date discrepancies, but possibly he removed
      in
      > 1755 to N. Carolina, met with the Hanover Presbytery, and was
      > appointed by them to a particular vacancy in N. Carolina as he was
      > already there. Otherwise, there is just a date discrepancy and he
      did
      > not move to N. C. until 1757.
      > This all respected the mainline church, and is not a part of the
      > history of the ARP, except insofar as Craighead was once among the
      > RPs, and the fact that some of the ARP up north had eventually
      joined
      > the mainline PCUSA. That was why the information was not in my
      > previous post.
      >
      > > I'll explore your clue about the AP guy who "went south"
      > I assume you mean the ARP guy? I could be wrong but I don't recall
      > mentioning about an AP guy going down south. I don't know that I
      have
      > much on that part of AP history. (Oh, and a correction, I mentioned
      a
      > Hugh Martin - temporary insanity, the name was William Martin who
      was
      > the RP minister in SC.) The former RP guy who was part of the ARP
      > merger went to S. Carolina as I recall. Looking thru my notes I
      find
      > little, but here's what I did find offhand. This was from a
      > genealogical forum, discussing the covenanters in S.C. and what
      > happened to them:
      > =======================================
      > We will now go back to the close of the Revolutionary War, Martin's
      > church being burned down [by the British - Martin himself was
      > imprisoned by British troops - BD], he preaches a supply to the
      > congregation of Catholic [the name of the local church was Catholic
      > Presbyterian - BD], through the years [17]'82, [17]'83 & [17]'84,
      at
      > the same time visiting and preaching to different societies of his
      > own people, as heretofore stated, in the year [17]'87, Matthew Lynn
      > of the A. [Associate] R. [Reformed] Church, came out as a
      missionary.
      > The next year Rev. Jas. Boyce of the A. R. church likewise came and
      > commenced preaching at the schoolhouse near E. [Edward] McDaniel's;
      > afterwards at the stand where the Hopewell Church now is. A large
      > majority of the Covenanters at this time went into the A. R.
      Church -
      > leaving a few still scattered over the bounds of the different
      > congregations. From the year 1785 until 1812, there was a
      > considerable immigration corning every year from Ireland, filling
      up
      > the congregations.
      > At the time that Mr. Alley came, in 1813, the congregations were
      > pretty numerous. The restrictions on the subject of slavery took
      some
      > covenanters out of the church. Mr. Alley, however, received into
      the
      > church, Mrs. Isabella Hemphill and her sister, Mrs. Jane Cloud and
      > her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Hicklin. These ladles had been members of
      > Mr. Martin's church. He had baptized their children, and each of
      them
      > had a son called for him. They were received in the Richmond
      Church;
      > notwithstanding their families were large slaveholders.
      > Mr. McGarrah, after he was restored, preached for a few years at
      the
      > Beaver Dam church, but not after the arrival of Mr. Riley in 1813.
      > Mr. King preached at the Brick Church and probably at other small
      > societies scattered over the country. After the arrival of Mr.
      Alley
      > at the Brick church, Mr. John McNinch was tried in the session, and
      > the congregation became dissatisfied with Mr. Donnelly, which was
      > intrinsically the cause of the churches Smith and McNinch, being
      > built.
      > John Orr immigrated to the United States after 1790. He was a
      > classical scholar and had taught in Ireland before corning out
      here.
      > It is said the Rev. Sam'l B. Wylie and Rev. John Black of
      Pittsburgh
      > commenced their literary course with him in Ireland. After coming
      > here he continued to teach. A good many young men started the
      > classics with him, among them, Jas. A. Hemphill and Alex Curry,
      both
      > afterwards physicians. Rev. John Kell, after being prepared by John
      > Orr, went to Scotland and graduated there. Judge John Hemphill, of
      > Texas, was among his scholars. Mr. Orr had a numerous family of
      sons
      > and daughters. He removed from the State to Ohio in 1832. It was
      said
      > that although over eighty years of age, he walked every step to
      Ohio,
      > refusing to ride.
      > Rev. Hugh McMillan commenced preaching in the year 1822, at the
      Brick
      > Church were he had a large school for a number of years also one
      > third of his time he preached at the Turkey Creek Church in York,
      > about the same date Rev. Campbell Madden commenced preaching at the
      > Richmond Church and at a stand at Jonnie Orr's, he also taught a
      > school, he had studied medicine before he came out here -- he spent
      a
      > winter at Lexington, Kentucky where he received a diploma, he
      > commenced the practice of medicine but did not live long: had
      married
      > a Miss Cathcart, left children, a son and two daughters now living
      in
      > Winnsboro.
      > Rev. Hugh McMillan and Robert Mondford were gradates of the S.C.
      > College. McMillan commenced preaching in 1822 at the Brick church
      > where he had for a number of years a large classical school. He
      > preached one third of his time at the Turkey Creek church in York
      > County. About the same date Rev. Campbell Madden commenced
      preaching
      > at the Richmond church and at the stand at John Orr's. He also
      taught
      > a school near Gladen's Grove. He had studied medicine before he
      came
      > out here. He spent a winter at Lexington Ky, where he received a
      > diploma. He commenced the practice of medicine, but did not live
      > long. He married Miss Cathcart, and left children, a son and two
      > daughters, now living in Winnsboro.
      > Rev. Hugh McMillan must have left the country as early as 1831,
      > removing to the North West. The Covenanters commenced emigrating
      soon
      > after the death of Mr. Riley and continued to do so from year to
      year
      > until the congregation became weak. Revs. Fisher and Scott supplied
      > the Church in [18]'32, that is during the winter of that year.
      Revs.
      > Black and McMaster in the winter of [18]'33; these were
      Licentiates.
      > Rev. Gavin McMillan was here in the spring of [18]'32, and held
      > communion assisted by Fisher and Scott. John Kell in the spring of
      > 1833 held communions, assisted by Black and McMaster.
      > [Ed. Note: The microfilm copy was very poor for the next
      paragraph.]
      > The few Covenanters that remained went Into the A. R. Church.
      > ______________ some who never _____ ____ church. Hugh Henry is the
      > only one I now recollect who remained a covenanter until his death,
      > which took place in 1867. His family _______ in the A. R. Church.
      He
      > has now a grandson in his second year in the Theological Seminary
      at
      > West. Mrs. Madden, her son and two daughters have within a few ____
      > connected themselves with the _____ Church.
      > =============================================
      > It should be noted that the "only one... who remained a covenanter"
      > refers to the only one remaining in S.C. As I mentioned, the
      majority
      > of covenanters emigrated from S.C., first to Tennessee (some in
      this
      > club may find it an interesting note of history that some of them
      in
      > Tennessee formed one of Robert Lusk's first congregations], and on
      > towards the frontier, mainly Illinois if I recall correctly, but
      also
      > to Kansas, Indiana, and other places. Some stayed a little more
      east
      > I understand and went to Ohio, forget if I had mentioned that.
      > Again, hope this is of some (if meagre) help.
      > -thebishopsdoom
    • thebishopsdoom
      ... Erskine ... Actually, that made me think today while I was at work: http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/foote/foote.html Sketches of North Carolina. It has a fair
      Message 2 of 28 , Apr 21, 2004
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        > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Ebenezer
        Erskine"
        > <ebenezer_erskine@y...> wrote:
        > > the bishopsdoom:
        > > your notes are great, though yankee-oriented.
        Actually, that made me think today while I was at work:

        http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/foote/foote.html

        Sketches of North Carolina. It has a fair amount of info on
        presbyterianism in early North Carolina that may be of interest to
        you. It also traces the Irish and Scottish presby background of some
        of the settlers. I don't always agree with his analysis of
        everything, but the history is basically accurate. If you check out
        the Irish history, however, I would suggest you supplement the
        information with:

        http://www.loughbrickland.org/Articles/slc.shtml

        Read the sections entitled: "History," "Ireland," and towards the
        end, under "Present Position," read the second section,
        labelled "Ireland." Some of this may be in the other work I
        mentioned, not sure that it all is, tho. Been some time since I went
        over it.
        -thebishopsdoom
      • thebishopsdoom
        ... ?Where did ... If I told you I d have to shoot you. Actually, I have gotten it all over the place. Some of the RP stuff I also know from the RPCNA. ... War
        Message 3 of 28 , Apr 21, 2004
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          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Edgar A. Ibarra
          Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@y...> wrote:
          > Bishop's Doom,
          ?Where did
          > you gather all this info from?
          If I told you I'd have to shoot you.
          Actually, I have gotten it all over the place. Some of the RP stuff I
          also know from the RPCNA.

          > Also where does David Steele fit into
          > all of this history? I know he comes in after the Revolutionary
          War
          > here in the U.S., but do any of the presbyteries mentioned in your
          > posts have bearing upon his ministry?
          David Steele came over with his family from the RP in Ireland to the
          RPCNA. He was a pastor, and almost became a theological professor at
          RPTS (Willson wanted it, but Steele didn't accept the nomination as
          he didn't feel he was sufficiently prepared for the task as I
          recall). He, along with Robert Lusk (one of the first RPTS grads,
          though of course not at the current location as RPTS has been located
          in more than one place over the years), and a number of ruling elders
          and members were the ones I mentioned who split from the Old Light
          Synod in 1840. The North Union congregation that I mentioned was
          their last remaining congregation. I do have some info on other
          congregations they once had as well, but only a little. I have very
          few notes here, and some of the info is probably incomplete, though I
          don't know that any is inaccurate. It's not easy finding much info on
          them.
          ------------------------------
          At one time or another, before the split in the 1880s, there was a
          Steelite congregation in Philadelphia, PA another in Brush Creek, IL,
          one in Hill Prairie, IL, one at Walnut Ridge, IN, one in Miami, OH,
          one in Rochester, NY, as well as the more well known North Union
          congregation in western Pennsylvania. (At least one church in the
          British Isles - in London, England - associated with the presbytery,
          as well.) Early on there's mention of two other groups in Ohio -
          Massie's Creek and Xenia, as well as one in Mercer County,
          Pennsylvania. Calls for preaching supply are known to have come from
          Greenfield, OH, Branch County, MI, Maroa Station, IL, Monmouth, IL,
          and Des Moines, IA as well. There were probably also other familiea
          and individuals scattered about hither and thither. So what happened
          to everyone?

          There are some explanations that explain at least in part some of the
          disappearances. I presume some congregations were small, and in some
          cases, second generation may not have kept up with the things held by
          the first generation, and in some cases, people joined the RP when
          old enough that all the kids were already out of the house, and their
          children may not have joined the RP like the parents did, so that the
          numbers were swelled with older persons who then died out. Some
          smaller groups that were near enough may have merged as well, or
          families may have moved to places where there were more of them
          concentrated, thus leaving fewer congregations. On the other hand,
          David Steele officiated the marriages of somewhere in the vicinity of
          50 couples, and adding to this the number of persons already married
          joining the presbytery, as well as the unmarried, and those married
          by other ministers in the presbytery, it seems that at one point they
          must have had, at least for a small group, a decent membership.

          There was of course a schism recorded in the 1884 minutes. Charles
          Clyde and James Campbell left, and declared J.J. Peoples (who had
          gotten in trouble for a few things ranging from extreme views and
          language on political dissent to doing things contrary to presbytery)
          restored to the ministry and with him declared a presbytery. They
          took most of the church funds with them, but whether they took the
          most of the people with them is another question. General
          correspondences between those in Pennsylvania and anyone outside of
          Pennsylvania fade away seemingly pretty quickly after that. Some
          evidence of contact with a man in Iowa - not sure if he stayed there
          or if he moved to Pennsylvania eventually since another by the same
          name shows up in Pennsylvania with general meetings sometimes meeting
          in his home. Apart from that are occasional obituary notices of
          persons outside of PA. The generation that outlived Rev. Thomas
          Blair's death seem to have had no idea what ever happened to anyone
          outside of Pennsylvania or even if there was anyone left out there.
          Most or all of them are dead now, or have joined other churches. They
          ended up accepting pulpit supply from the RPCNA since Blair's death
          in the 1960s.

          I have a tiny bit of information on Charles Clyde. He was in
          Philadelphia until 1885, when he moved to Ohio and "served at a
          number of small churches, seldom staying more than a year at any one
          parsonage." Seems he was in Canada for a while, too. I have him
          showing up officiating a burial for a James Craig who was a member
          of "the covenanter church" near Clarinda, IA (I think this was the
          Harlan Township RPCNA, but whteher so or no, the church was RPCNA). I
          guess he was the only covenanter minister in the area so they used
          his services. He did not to my knowledge join the RPCNA. He was
          apparently not the pastor there. The Harlan Township church near
          Clarinda was without pastor from 1889 or so until 1896, the year
          James Craig died was 1894, so the pastorate was vacant at the time.
          Charles Clyde died at age 46 of pneumonia after which his family
          moved "back" to Pennsylvania from Ohio; his son graduated from Geneva
          college and became a teacher as well as, interestingly enough,
          apparently making a name for himself as a mountaineer - actually had
          some mountain peaks named after him. Charles Clyde kept up as editor
          of the covenanter magazine after the schism, but for how long I don't
          know. Steele mentions in Circular #1 that Clyde and Peoples were not
          necessarily busom buddies after the split with Steele. If Clyde also
          ended up dying at age 46, then these two points themselves would help
          explain the breakup of the other presbytery. But what of all the
          people?

          Wel, I explained before what I think probably happened - next
          generation returning to the RPCNA, or people just dying out. I have
          but few actual references:

          I have an obituary reference to one person in Ohio at the end of the
          1800s or early 1900s (I forget offhand) who with their husband had
          belonged to the Reformed Presbytery (David Steele married them). It
          notes a few children, all of whom attended Geneva college. It doesn't
          say anything about the children being covenanters, only mentioning
          that this lady and her husband "belonged to what they termed 'the
          original covenanters'" and I presume (especially by the words "what
          they termed 'the original covenanters'") that they remained in a
          state of separation from the RPCNA synod to the end, albeit their
          children perhaps rejoined the RPCNA as adults.

          Secondly, I've got one claim of a chemical engineering prof in Ohio
          in the 1940s introducing himself to someone as a "steelite." He's
          mentioned in the history of RPTS as donating a substantial
          contribution to their library, and he was apparently on friendly
          terms withthem, but it doesn't make clear in that work at least, his
          ecclesiastical associations, so he may or may not have been one of
          the last remaining ones out in the midwest.

          Other than that - pretty well nothing. The 1888 minutes mentions,
          after dissolution of presbytery with the death of David Steele, "the
          following persons met, according to previous agreement, to form a
          General Meeting of the societies that had been under the care of said
          Presbytery; namely, Messrs. George Alexander, of Allegheny City,
          Robert Alexander, of Philadelphia, and James Anderson, of North
          Union." Absent is any mention of any societies outside of PA.
          -------------------------------------
          -thebishopsdoom
        • Jasper
          thebishopsdoom wrote: I have a tiny bit of information on Charles Clyde. He was in Philadelphia until 1885, when he moved to Ohio
          Message 4 of 28 , Apr 22, 2004
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            thebishopsdoom <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
            I have a tiny bit of information on Charles Clyde. He was in Philadelphia until 1885, when he moved to Ohio and "served at a number of small churches, seldom staying more than a year at any one parsonage." Seems he was in Canada for a while, too. I have him showing up officiating a burial for a James Craig who was a member of "the covenanter church" near Clarinda, IA (I think this was the Harlan Township RPCNA, but whteher so or no, the church was RPCNA). I guess he was the only covenanter minister in the area so they used his services.
             
            Hello thebishopsdoom,
             
            Please bear with me a moment as the above paragraph prompts a question.  I have the understanding, or perhaps mis-understanding, from previous discussions (perhaps in this very forum?) that covenantors today disallow funerals as church functions.  If this is so, do you understand the Mr. Clyde's "officiating a burial" to have been a funeral or to have been some other activity?  It seems to read that Mr. Clyde was a covenantor minister who officiated the burial on behalf of a covenantor church.  Perhaps you can help improve my understanding.
             
            If I mis-understand the current covenantor position regarding funerals, please feel free to correct me.  Thank you.
             
            Jasper
             
             


             ....like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior (1 Peter 1:15)


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          • gmw
            ... question. I have the understanding, or perhaps mis-understanding, from previous discussions (perhaps in this very forum?) that covenantors today disallow
            Message 5 of 28 , Apr 22, 2004
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              --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
              <jasperh98@y...> wrote:

              > Please bear with me a moment as the above paragraph prompts a
              question. I have the understanding, or perhaps mis-understanding,
              from previous discussions (perhaps in this very forum?) that
              covenantors today disallow funerals as church functions:

              Hey Jasper,

              How's it goin? I recall that discussion, and although you probably
              read this before, here's the relevant section of the Westminster
              Directory for Public Worship:

              "Concerning Burial of the Dead.

              "WHEN any person departeth this life, let the dead body, upon the day
              of burial, be decently attended from the house to the place appointed
              for publick burial, and there immediately interred, without any ceremony.

              "And because the custom of kneeling down, and praying by or towards
              the dead corpse, and other such usages, in the place where it lies
              before it be carried to burial, are superstitious; and for that
              praying, reading, and singing, both in going to and at the grave, have
              been grossly abused, are no way beneficial to the dead, and have
              proved many ways hurtful to the living; therefore let all such things
              be laid aside.

              "Howbeit, we judge it very convenient, that the Christian friends,
              which accompany the dead body to the place appointed for publick
              burial, do apply themselves to meditations and conferences suitable to
              the occasion and that the minister, as upon other occasions, so at
              this time, if he be present, may put them in remembrance of their duty.

              "That this shall not extend to deny any civil respects or deferences
              at the burial, suitable to the rank and condition of the party
              deceased, while he was living."

              Please note that it is "very convenient" for the minister to be
              present, to pray (NOT FOR THE DEAD LIKE THE PAPISTS, but for the
              surviving), to provide meditations and conferences -- which may end up
              being a sermon or "sermonette" (NOT ON HOW GREAT THE DEAD PERSON IS
              LIKE MOST FUNERALS TODAY, but on how we who remain alive may make good
              use of a bad time, how we should consider our own deaths, etc. All of
              this, of course, does not deny that the deceased may have indeed been
              a great person, which may justify some other civil recognition, i.e. a
              king ought to be buried with more pomp then the town drunk.

              What is being avoided is the Popish rites and superstitious
              ceremonies, as well as the pouring of praise and pomp upon every
              single dead person -- whether they be foul wife-beating drunkards, or
              beloved life-long ministers of the Gospel. Ministers are always to
              pray, to comfort, to exhort, to preach, to teach -- and he may do this
              at a funeral ("in and out of season").

              The older First Book of Discipline warns against preachers giving
              sermons to folks who otherwise refuse to attend sermons -- as if there
              were some superstitious reason that funeral sermons have special
              efficacy, against getting bogged down with doing nothing but funeral
              sermons, and against the temptation of presiding over only rich
              people's funerals:

              "We are not ignorant that some require a sermon at the burial, or else
              some places of scriptures to be read, to put the living in mind that
              they are mortal, and that likewise they must die. But let those men
              understand that the sermons which are daily made, serve for that use;
              which if men despise, the preaching of the funeral sermons shall
              rather nourish superstition and a false opinion (as before is said),
              than that they shall bring such persons to any godly consideration of
              their own estate. Attour [Moreover], either shall the ministers for
              the most part be occupied in preaching funeral sermons, or else they
              shall have respect to persons, preaching at the burial of the rich and
              honourable, but keeping silence when the poor or despised departs; and
              this with safe conscience cannot the ministers do. For, seeing that
              before God there is no respect of persons, and that their ministry
              appertains to all alike, whatsoever they do to the rich, in respect of
              their ministry, the same they are bound to do to the poorest under
              their charge."

              I think there is room for the minister to do his duties (prayer,
              comforting, exhorting, preaching, etc.), but there must be care to
              avoid the superstitious evils of the day.

              This is just the understanding of this foolish snot, and I'm sure I'll
              be corrected if I'm misunderstanding something.

              gmw.
            • thebishopsdoom
              ... I ll ... I m not going to claim to be an expert at this but, I think the issue they had to deal with is the superstitious use of certain things at
              Message 6 of 28 , Apr 22, 2004
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                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
                > This is just the understanding of this foolish snot, and I'm sure
                I'll
                > be corrected if I'm misunderstanding something.

                I'm not going to claim to be an expert at this but, I think the issue
                they had to deal with is the superstitious use of certain things at
                funerals. They regarded burial a civil affair, and one for civil
                rites, but the use of worship rites connected to the burial were too
                abused, as tho people were supposed to have death rites, or that they
                benefited the dead, or that the dead were somehow addressed, as well
                as the resulting sermons often preached.
                I am not sure at what date the RPCNA had begun doing "funerals" as
                opposed to burials with get togethers and civil acts of remembrance
                but not what might give occasion to be construed as a worship service
                in honour of the dead or some like thing, so I don't know whether
                what Clyde was officiating a funeral per se, though it may have been.
                It seems my notes referred to it as a "funeral" tho as opposed to
                simply "burial," though that could have been the result of the
                source, which in that case was a genealogical resource.
                -doom
              • Jasper
                gmw wrote: I recall that discussion, and although you probably read this before, here s the relevant section of the Westminster
                Message 7 of 28 , Apr 22, 2004
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                  gmw <raging.calvinist@...> wrote:

                  I recall that discussion, and although you probably
                  read this before, here's the relevant section of the Westminster Directory for Public Worship:

                  "Concerning Burial of the Dead..."


                  Ministers are always to pray, to comfort, to exhort, to preach, to teach -- and he may do this at a funeral ("in and out of season").

                   
                   
                  Thanks Jerry.
                  Seems different than what I recall from the previous discussion.  I thought the point was made that funerals are not to be held as church functions because funerals are not expressly warranted by the scriptures, or sumpin like that.  I do recall the point on association with superstition.  But perhaps my feeble brain is running on fumes...
                   
                  Thank you for helping to clarify.
                   
                  Jasper
                   


                   ....like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior (1 Peter 1:15)


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                • gmw
                  ... church functions because funerals are not expressly warranted by the ... association with superstition. But perhaps my feeble brain is running on
                  Message 8 of 28 , Apr 22, 2004
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                    --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                    <jasperh98@y...> wrote:

                    > Seems different than what I recall from the previous discussion. I
                    > thought the point was made that funerals are not to be held as
                    church > functions because funerals are not expressly warranted by the
                    > scriptures, or sumpin like that. I do recall the point on
                    association > with superstition. But perhaps my feeble brain is
                    running on fumes...

                    It is true, that burials are not "church functions" per se, as they
                    are common to man. Burial is not an act of worship, and this is the
                    tightrope then that is walked -- the minister carrying on his
                    ministerial duty in the circumstance of the burial of someone --
                    whether it be comforting the mourning, a word of exhortation to duty,
                    or what have you. Granted, this kind of Presbyterian burial would not
                    look like what we're used to seeing at a funeral. But it's not like
                    we're saying a minister may not be present at the burial, or that if
                    he is there he must remain silent.

                    gmw.
                  • gmw
                    Some tightrope, huh? I meant to add that on the one hand carrying out ministerial duties in this circumstance of death and burial, and on the other hand, not
                    Message 9 of 28 , Apr 23, 2004
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                      Some tightrope, huh?  I meant to add that on the one hand carrying out ministerial duties in this circumstance of death and burial, and on the other hand, not worshipping in honor of the dead, or incorporating the burial into worship, or other such superstitious acts -- kneeling, praying to or for the dead, etc.
                       
                      It is said that Thoman Manton preached at Christopher Love's funeral, though threatened with death if he did so.  Plenty of Reformed and Puritan ministers have preached "funeral sermons" especially at the burials of people of high stature.  David Steele relays a story of the minister leading in Psalm singing at a funeral he attended, conducted by a United Presybterian minister -- though he implicitely objects to the "worship service" aspect of it.  The point I'm making is this... "funerals" are not an act of religious worship, or rather, should not be, and therefore much caution must be taken to NOT make it an act of worship.  But this does not automatically forbid a minister from being present, or from taking opportunity to address the gathering of mourners, or to otherwise comfort and exhort.  Although I'm sure that if we would see such a burial, stripped of all such bells and whistles as we are used to seeing, we would wonder if a "funeral" actually took place.
                       
                      I found this:  http://www.truecovenanter.com/reformedpresbyterian/steps_of_defection_1913.html  it's a list of RPCNA defections that the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Butler County PA testified against.  Among them,

                      7. Services for the Dead.

                      These services all belong to heathenism; but so popular and universal have they become, that scarcely any think of {30} laying away their dead without some palaver over them. Thus the Protestant churches are hastening Romeward.

                      From the time of Constantine the Great and onward many of the idolatrous Pagan customs were engrafted on the Christian church, to make the new religion less offensive to the heathen and more agreeable to their sensuous desires and gross conceptions. And thus arose gradually the gorgeous fabric of Romish idolatry and superstition. Now we see the origin of funeral services—Pagan idolatry and superstition—and the object of bringing them into the Christian church—to gain the heathen for members—the result—idolatry and superstition clothed with a so-called Christian dress.

                      At the time of the Reformation from Popery the Reformed churches of the continent pointedly contemned funeral services, and by various enactments endeavored to guard against all superstition and other abuses and funerals. The Church of Scotland was most forward in showing the evil of these services and making laws against them. And for about two hundred years, not only Covenanters, but also the sounder denominations observed the prohibitions set down by the church of Scotland in the Directory for Public Worship. But, just as these abominations came in little by little into the Christian church at first; so, as the churches of the Reformation departed step [by step] from the glorious attainments made at such cost, idolatry and superstition gradually returned, and funeral services among the rest. Professed Covenanters are now as diligent in performing these heathen rites as any of the other denominations. But with God’s word before them, and the plain statement of our faithful progenitors, that "they have proved many ways hurtful to the living; therefore let all such things be laid aside;" they who practice these abominations sin against light and knowledge.

                      So, again, we must be careful not to practice paganism disguised as Christianity, and careful not to have superstitious regard for the dearly departed, etc.  But in my understanding this is not equivilant with rudely dumping a body in a hole and walking away as fast as you can.

                      gmw.

                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: gmw
                      Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 11:19 PM
                      Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: What's the best book on American Presbyterian Histo

                      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Jasper
                      <jasperh98@y...> wrote:

                      > Seems different than what I recall from the previous discussion.  I
                      > thought the point was made that funerals are not to be held as
                      church > functions because funerals are not expressly warranted by the
                      > scriptures, or sumpin like that.  I do recall the point on
                      association > with superstition.  But perhaps my feeble brain is
                      running on fumes...

                      It is true, that burials are not "church functions" per se, as they
                      are common to man.  Burial is not an act of worship, and this is the
                      tightrope then that is walked -- the minister carrying on his
                      ministerial duty in the circumstance of the burial of someone --
                      whether it be comforting the mourning, a word of exhortation to duty,
                      or what have you.  Granted, this kind of Presbyterian burial would not
                      look like what we're used to seeing at a funeral.  But it's not like
                      we're saying a minister may not be present at the burial, or that if
                      he is there he must remain silent.

                      gmw.
                       

                      ---
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                    • Colin
                      ... It doesn t appear that your Thread title question has been answered despite the plethora of replies you ve received. Some good helpful history books on
                      Message 10 of 28 , Apr 23, 2004
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                        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Ebenezer Erskine"
                        <ebenezer_erskine@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > But then the problem will be deciding WHICH thing to take the time
                        > to read from the plethora resulting from a search.
                        >
                        > It would appear I need to take a course on "The History of
                        > American Pesbyterian & Reformed Associations & Diss-associations"
                        >
                        > There must be a hundred dissertations on the subject written by
                        > aspiring Ph.D candidates. Maybe even some made it into print?
                        >
                        > Y'all wouldn't happen to know of any in particular that do justice
                        > to the good 'ol P&R Old Schoolers, would ya?
                        >

                        It doesn't appear that your Thread title question has been answered
                        despite the plethora of replies you've received.

                        Some good helpful history books on American Presbyterianism are:

                        "Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United
                        States of America" by Charles Hodge.

                        "Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church"
                        by Dr. Gary North.

                        "How the Gold Has Become Dim" by Dr. Morton Smith

                        "Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology" by Dr. Morton Smith

                        Colin
                      • gmw
                        While not as broad as the works mentioned, The Scottich Covenanters, by J.G. Vos, is a decent (though not exhaustive) work on the history of the Reformed
                        Message 11 of 28 , Apr 23, 2004
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                          While not as broad as the works mentioned, The Scottich Covenanters,
                          by J.G. Vos, is a decent (though not exhaustive) work on the history
                          of the Reformed Presbyterians.

                          http://www.heritagebooks.org/browse.asp?searchMode=publisher&searchString=Blue+Banner+Productions

                          gmw.

                          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Colin "
                          <cbx292000@y...> wrote:
                          > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Ebenezer Erskine"
                          > <ebenezer_erskine@y...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > But then the problem will be deciding WHICH thing to take the time
                          > > to read from the plethora resulting from a search.
                          > >
                          > > It would appear I need to take a course on "The History of
                          > > American Pesbyterian & Reformed Associations & Diss-associations"
                          > >
                          > > There must be a hundred dissertations on the subject written by
                          > > aspiring Ph.D candidates. Maybe even some made it into print?
                          > >
                          > > Y'all wouldn't happen to know of any in particular that do justice
                          > > to the good 'ol P&R Old Schoolers, would ya?
                          > >
                          >
                          > It doesn't appear that your Thread title question has been answered
                          > despite the plethora of replies you've received.
                          >
                          > Some good helpful history books on American Presbyterianism are:
                          >
                          > "Constitutional History of the Presbyterian Church in the United
                          > States of America" by Charles Hodge.
                          >
                          > "Crossed Fingers: How the Liberals Captured the Presbyterian Church"
                          > by Dr. Gary North.
                          >
                          > "How the Gold Has Become Dim" by Dr. Morton Smith
                          >
                          > "Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology" by Dr. Morton Smith
                          >
                          > Colin
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