Index
PAGES 267-320:
CHAPTER 7

FROM THE RESUMPTION OF HIS PASTORAL CHARGE, AT THE CLOSE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR, TILL THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH, IN 1792.

The first interview between Doctor Livingston and his flock, upon their return to New-York, after so long a sepamtion, must have been attended with mingled emotions of joy and sorrow.

On the one hand, the successful termination of the war, with the glorious results in prospect the re-possession of their former habitations, a sight again of those venerable temples in which they had so often raised the voice of supplication and praise, and a sight of each other, as preserved through all the vicissitudes and perils of seven eventful years, were circumstances which could not but awaken in every breast the most pleasurable feelings. But, on the other hand, the many sad events which had taken place in a number of families, and some of which, perhaps, had not been extensively known or heard of before, traces of the outrages committed by the enemy, visible in many parts of the city, the ruinous state of several places of worship, which had been most wantonly abused, and among which were the Middle and North Churches the one having been first a prison and then a riding school, the other a prison, and neither exhibiting under the sacrilegious treatment it had received, much of the appearance of a house of God, as the interior had been entirely destroyed; these circumstances, together with that of the loss BOTH had sustained in the death of the late loved and excellent Laidlie, and were now forcibly reminded of, must have made the occasion one, not less of mutual condolence than of mutual congratulation.

[This much esteemed and devoted servant of Christ, died at Red Hook, in the year 1780, of a pulmonary disease.

The two Dutch ministers, though still living, did not come back to the city to reside. Mr. Ritzema, remained at Kinderhook, and Mr. De Ronde settled at Schaticoke, a place Northeast of Albany. They were both too far advanced in life to resume the responsibilities of the pastoral connexion in such a city, and the Consistory of the Church, with their accustomed liberality, granted to each an annuity of 200 during life.]

The old Church in Garden-street, being found uninjured, was, in the month of November, immediately after the Doctor's return, re-opened for public worship; and the people, grateful as may be supposed, that they had one building left in which they could assemble, once more came together, and united with their pastor in a tribute of thanksgiving to the Most High, for his innumerable mercies.

[Thanksgiving is specified, not to imply that the day of their re-meeting in the sanctuary had been specially set apart for the performance of that duty, but simply, as what, under the circumstances of the occasion, it was very natural and proper it should be, a prominent part of their service. It was a Lord's day upon which the Church was re-occupied for the first time. The 11th of the following month was observed, by the recommendation of Congress, throughout the United States, as a day of Thanksgiving: and here it may not be amiss to remark, that our fathers were not backward to recognize the hand of God, in the dispensations of his providence, and to go up to his courts to render the homage due to his name. They did not grudge to lay aside their secular employments for a day, and spend that day in commemorating, by a public act of devotion, his great goodness. And it is to be feared, that the perpetuity of our invaluable political and religious privileges, is much endangered by the gross neglect, in this respect, of modern times. It is truly alarming, to see the manner in which, of late, as a people, we acknowledge the mercies of Heaven, upon days recommended by our civil rulers to be religiously kept.]

The congregation, at this time, or rather the residue of it, needed extraordinary attention; and the labour of visiting, catechising, and preaching, and of various other important duties, necessary to at proper adjustment of its concerns, and indispensable to its future welfare, in consequence of the long suspension of pastoral cares, and the commencement of a new form of political government, was more than usually devolves upon the minister of the Gospel; more, indeed, than a single one in such a station could well perform, without incessant assiduity. And the Doctor stood alone as the pastor. Of the four ministers in connexion with the Church when the war begun, he was the only one whom Providence permitted to take the oversight of it when the war ceased: but he nevertheless cheerfully undertook the difficult service to which his Master had called him, and that service he discharged with unwearied diligence and zeal.

While he was thus devoted to his congregation, he also co-operated with the friends of science and religion, to forward the accomplishment of an object which was then in contemplation the erection of a State University.

In a letter to the Rev. Dr. Romeyn, dated March 18, 1784, there is the following paragraph: "That evening when I parted with you, the Governors of the College met, and a bill for erecting a University in the state of New-York was read to us. Many observations upon the bill, in the form it then bore, were made, and some alterations were strongly urged. The alterations insisted upon were not essential, with respect to the basis of the University, but only the form in which the matter was managed. There is no opposition from any quarter which occasions the least doubt but the business will be conducted with that spirit of catholicism and harmony, which will ensure a literary foundation of importance to the Church and State. As soon as the bill has obtained its proper alterations, and gone through its different stages, I will endeavour to obtain a copy for you, and send it over to you."

He felt, too, no little solicitude for the general welfare of the Church to which he belonged, as is apparent from another part of the same letter. Having mildly animadverted upon the strong manner in which a respected clerical brother had expressed himself in favour of Queen's College, he adds "For my part, I wish only for information, and if I know my own heart, I am perfectly impartial and without the least prejudice in favour of one place or seat of learning above another. My only inquiry is, which place can be rendered most secure for maintaining our blessed truths unadulterated, and which provided there are several methods which in that respect are equally secure is most easy, practicable, and advantageous? I am too much a friend to the College at Brunswick to take up any argument against it, but if another door should be opened, which will answer every purpose sooner and better, I would desire to be such a friend to truth and providence as not to refuse an accepttance."

[To explain this extract, it may be proper to observe, that the hope of ever seeing Queen's College in a flourishing state, seems to have been now a forlorn one. The funds of the institution had become much reduced, and the number of students was only fifteen. The Trustees had shortly before given a call to the presidency, to the Rev. Dr. T. Romeyn, but the acceptance of it was very doubtful; and under these discouraging prospects of the Seminary, the expectation appears to have been cherished, that King's,(now Columbia) College, in the city of New-York, would be so divested of its Episcopal character, and so new modelled, as to afford speedily all the advantages desired for the education of the youth of the Dutch Church.

The Rev. Dr. Hardenbergh, one of the warmest friends of Queen's College, acknowledges in a letter written about this time to Dr. L., that "being totally unacquainted with the intentions of civil government, as to the important matters of education," he was utterly at a loss what to say upon the subject of educating youth for the supply of the Church.]

Further on, he says, "The repeated mention you have made about the necessity of forming a Classical meeting of the Southern district, notwithstanding the smallness of the body, has induced me to try if I can bring such a measure about. I have not yet seen Mr. Schoonmaker of Gravesend, and whether Father Van Sinderen can attend, I do not know; but I shall endeavour to form the poor suffering congregations again into a body, and get our ecclesiastical judicatories once more established."

This letter shows that, in the midst of numerous and weighty parochial duties, he was employed about matters of great importance, either to the community, or to the interests of the Dutch Church at large.

It was stated in the last chapter, that the Convention which had assembled in May, 1775, to act upon the letter from the Classis of Amsterdam, relative to a professor, owing to the alarm then prevalent, dissolved itself without attending to the business.

In October, 1784, another Convention assembled, and this was the first, it is believed, that met after the conclusion of peace. This body proceeded at once to the election of a Professor of Theology, and unanimously bestowed the honourable office upon the person, whom the Theological Faculty of Utrecht and the Classis had concurred in recommending, as fully qualified to perform it with honour to himself, and advantage to the Church.

An appointment made under circumstances so clearly expressive of the Divine will in the case, Doctor Livingston could not decline: he accordingly declared his acceptance of the same, and a time was fixed for his inauguration.

[To show the progress of ecclesiastical organization in the Dutch Church, it ought to be noticed here, that this Convention resolved to distinguish their several assemblies by the names usually given to such judicatories. For particular reasons, at the adoption of the Articles of Union, they were simply denominated "the Particular and General Assembly:" henceforth, every Particular Assembly was to be called a Classis, and the General Assembly, a Particular Synod, There were, at the commencement of the war, and probably also at its close, between 7O and 80 congregations in the state of New-York, and about 40 in New-Jersey: of the former, three Classes were constituted; of the latter, two, which were to meet ordinarily twice every year. The Particular Synod was to be a delegated body, consisting of two ministers, and two elders, from each Classis; and to meet once a year: and it would seem that it was now further resolved to have a third judicatory, composed of all the ministers of the Church, with each an elder, and one elder from every vacant congregation; which should be called the General Synod, and meet once every third year. The statement is made upon the authority of a paper of Dr. L.'s, which has been referred to before, containing a few detached observations relative to the Dutch Church. The observations appear to have been penned about the year 1792.]

On the 19th of May, 1785, in compliance with the request of the General Synod, the name which the Convention had now assumed, he delivered his inaugural oration in Latin, before them, in the Old Dutch Church in Garden Street. This discourse, the subject of which was, "The truth of the Christian Religion," was afterwards pubhshed. Some apposite remarks, in his prologue, upon the happy termination of the revolutionary contest, and the importance of religion to the nation being made, he passed on to a general view of all religion, true and false, and showed the foundation of that which is true. He treated next of natural and revealed religion; and, having briefly noticed the insufficiency of natural religion for the salvation of sinners, as also the necessity of a revelation, he exhibited a few of the principal arguments which prove that the Books of the Old and New Testament contain a divine revelation, and then urged, to the close of the discourse, a number of other arguments to confirm his proposition, which it is scarce necessary to add, he satisfactorily established.

The Doctor had a good talent for letter-writing, and his extensive acquaintance with ministers and other persons, distinguished for learning and piety, both at home and abroad, furnished him almost daily, with occasions for its employment. His epistolary correspondence was, at no time subsequently to his settlement in New-York, a small affair; but now, particularly, he had many European friends, with whom, in this way, and that, as often, perhaps, as an opportunity was presented, he reciprocated affectionate attentions. The chief of these friends were in Holland, of course, as he had himself long resided in that country, and formed, while there, an intimacy with several eminent characters. He had, however, one foreign correspondent, in another part of Europe, whose name is worthy of honourable distinction in these Memoirs the celebrated Dr. John Erskine, of Edinburgh. This gentleman, in two instances at least, accompanied his letters with a present of several valuable books, as a token of personal esteem, and of pious solicitude in behalf of the Dutch Church.

[The letters of this venerable and truly excellent divine, to Dr. L. though short, evince a liberality of Christian feeling, and a desire to promote the spread and preservation of the truth in the Dutch Church, which justly entitle them to a particular notice. They were written at an advanced age, and, seemingly, with a trembling hand. One, dated March 26th, 1784, commences thus:

"Dear Sir,

"Permit me to send you, as a mark of respect for yourself, and the worthy family from which you are descended, and of my hest wishes for the Belgic Churches, on both sides the Atlantic, few Dutch books." Some of these books, the Doctor is requested to keep, and the rest, to present to any ministers or private Christians that might need them.

In another, dated December, 14th, 1784, he says "Regard to one, descended from Mr. Livingston, a successful and eminent minister in Scotland; one, too, of whom I had so pleasant accounts from my dear friend Mr. Rondal, one of the worthiest ministers of this city, disposed me to send you * * * *: not so much, that I thought they could be of great use to yourself, as probably you might be provided with the best of them, as that I supposed there might be Dutch ministers or private Christians, in country parishes, not so well provided with books, to whom you could present them. 1 now send you 8 more folios, 3 octavos, and one duodecimo, with the same view.* * * Scriptural criticism is, I am afraid, too little studied in the American states. * * * I mean not, by this, to approve the method in Holland, of introducing so much criticism into sermons. But, surely, it argues more reverence for Scripture, than transforming sermons into philosophical essays, or eloquent declamations, no way connected with a text. I should be glad to learn from you, the state of religion and theologic literature in the middle states, especially in the Dutch and German Churches. I am much concerned for the storm which seems to be threatening Holland.

"I am, dear Sir, your affectionate Brother and Servant,
"JOHN ERSKINE"]

****************

About this time, the North Church being repaired, and it being desirable that there should be regularly full service in both Churches, the Consistory determined to give the Doctor a colleague, as soon as they could obtain a minister of suitable gifts and popularity. In pursuance of this determination, a call was presented in July, 1785, to the Rev. Simeon Van Aarsdaalen, of Reddingstown, in the State of New-Jersey, to be one of the ministers of the Church.

The prefatory part of this instrument is somewhat of an historical nature, and expresses officially, the sentiments then entertained of the Doctor's ministrations. It is in these words:

"Since it hath pleased God to restore his dispersed people in peace, from their grievous exile, and establish them again in their former habitations, the Minister, Elders, and Deacons of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, of the City of New-York, desire with thankful hearts to acknowledge his unmerited goodness, and express their fervent gratitude, by their zeal in promoting his worship, and restoring the ordinances of his house to their former importance and usefulness."

"With great expense and labour, one of the ruined Churches (commonly called the North Church) has been repaired, and the public service of the sanctuary for some time performed alternately in the North and in the Old Church."

"The death of the celebrated Doctor Laidlie, whose labours were eminently blessed, and whose name will long be remembered with every sentiment of veneration and esteem, has deprived the Dutch Churches in America of an able defender of the truth, and this congregation of an indefatigable and exemplary teacher. By his death, the whole pastoral care, and all the duties of the ministry, are devolved upon Doctor Livingston, who, notwithstanding his great exertions and most acceptable labours, cannot possibly alone supply the wants of a congregation, whose members are too numerous to convene in one place of worship, and whose youth require catechetical instruction, beyond the strength and attention of one minister. It has, therefore, been the fervent wish and endeavour of the Consistory, as well as the constant request of the congregation, since their return to this City, to find a capable and acceptable teacher, to assist Doctor Livingston in the work of the ministry, and with him to perform divine service in the English language. And since they have become acquainted with your person and character, your talents and ministerial gifts, their choice has uniformly been placed upon you. Wherefore the Consistory, legally assembled in their consistorial capacity, upon the twenty-fourth day of May last, and assisted with the advice of the former Elders, did unanimously resolve to call you, for this important office. And as the preservation and prosperity of the Dutch Church of the City of New-York, from many considerations, cannot fail of being an object of great concern to all who wish well to the Dutch Reformed interest in our land, so, notwithstanding the attachment which you, with every faithful minister in similar connexions may feel to the flock already committed to your charge, yet the prospect of more extensive usefulness, will, we trust, be a sufficient argument to incline your heart to accept of our invitation, and induce you to consider the unanimous call of so many of his people, as an indication of the will of the Lord respecting your future labours." Then follows the call which, it would appear from the fact of its being found among the Doctor's papers, was declined and returned.

In the month of October of this year, the first attempt was made to establish a correspondence between the Dutch Reformed, the Presbyterian, and the Associate Reformed Churches. The Synod of the Dutch Church had the honour of proposing the matter, and appointed a committee to confer upon it with the committees that might be appointed by the respective judicatories of the other Churches. Doctor Livingston was one of the Dutch Committee, and read at the conference when it took place, a written declaration of his own and his brethren's views or rather, of the instructions they had received in relation to the important business. This declaration, in the preparing of which he had, without doubt, the most influence, though it expressed a strong and inviolable attachment to his own Church, bore no semblance of bigotry, and breathed throughout a spirit of Christian love and of fervent zeal for "the preservation of sound doctrine," the "promotion of piety, and" the "prevention of future discord."

[The object of the conference was represented to be, not "to effect any nominal or real union between the respective Churches;" but, simply, "to open a correspondence that might tend to the general advantage of the Church of Christ, the preservation of sound doctrine, promotion of piety, and prevention of future discord."

Having observed that "the standards of" their "confession, as well as" their "attachment to them, must, by" them, "be forever preserved inviolate and unalterable," and given an account of the Formularies, to which every candidate must subscribe before he can be admitted as a minister in the Church, the Committee, in their Declaration, which was read by the Doctor, as above stated, proposed a few questions to the other Committees. The first related to their standards, and to the manner in which they bound themselves to abide by their confessions, so as "to exclude all reservations and exceptions whatever." The second was in these words "Whether the corresponding Synods will, in order to lay the foundation of a full and unreserved confidence between our respective Churches, give some solemn and authoritative pledge or promise, the one to the other, that both, for the present, and as far as watchfulness, care, and fidelity, on the part of man can prevail, forever hereafter, a firm, explicit, and unconditional attachment to the known formula of our respective Churches, respecting doctrine and worship, shall be insisted on, and, at all hazards, without the fear of man, be practised in each and every one of our Churches." The third and fourth respected the cognizance of deviations from purity of doctrines, and the maintenance of discipline. Two articles were then added, in reference to the accommodation of disputes, and the mode of keeping up some visible correspondence.

The writer is unable to say what were the answers returned to these questions, or what, precisely, was the plan of correspondence, which was then agreed upon: but the abstract he has presented of the Declaration of the Dutch Committee, shows how tenacious our fathers were of the genuine doctrines of the Gospel, and how anxiously they sought to bar the introduction of error into the Church; as if premonished of the way which the adversary would use at a future time, but too successfully, to disseminate error.]

The final result of this conference conference was the adoption, by the aforenamed judicatories, of a plan of mutual and friendly intercourse.

A plan was projected the ensuing winter, by some friends of literature in the Northern part of the State, for founding a College in Schenectady, for the prosperity of which the Doctor evinced a benevolent concern, and probably made some exertions, at the meetings of the regents of the university, being a member of that board.

In a letter to his worthy friend and brother, the Rev. Dr. T. Romeyn, Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church in that town one, it is believed, of the original framers of the plan, and its indefatigable patron he says, "If I can be serviceable to you in any thing relating thereto, I shall be glad to receive your directions;" and, in another dated the 25th of February, "I shall be happy to hear from you, and wish to know what prospects remain of our sanguine expectations respecting your intended College. I have understood some little misunderstanding has taken place in consequence of different claims to the same lands, which were intended to be appropriated for a fund. I hope it may be amicably settled, and that your influence may prevail to engage both sides to unite in the same object. It would, doubtless, prove a great advantage to the town to have a College placed there, and its importance to literature and religion, in that quarter of our State, need not to be mentioned."

[The College was incorporated in 1794, by the name of Union College, a name given it in consequence of the union of different denominations of Christians in its establishment. "The prosperous state of an Academy there," said the Regents, "the early and repeated application of a number of citizens for the erection of a College, and the liberal contributions made for that purpose, together with the conveniency to the Northern and Western parts of the state, induced the Regents to incorporate this College; and they believe it will greatly promote the diffusion of literature, especially as it will accommodate a large share of the community, who have either not ability to bear the expense, or inclination to send their children to a populous city."

It is now one of the most celebrated and flourishing institutions of the kind in the country.]

The Legislature of the State, in April, 1784, passed an Act, entitled, "An Act to enable all the religious denominations in this State to appoint Trustees, who shall be a body corporate, for the purpose of taking care of the temporalities of their respective congregations, and for other purposes therein mentioned." As this Act interfered with the established practice of the Dutch Church, and was, in a manner, an unnecessary interference, that practice being, if not in form, yet, virtually, a compliance with the Act, the Doctor endeavoured, with some zeal, to procure the addition of a clause or another Act, suited to the case; and, in this business. it must be confessed, he rendered an important service to the Church.

It is well known that the Consistory, for the time being, of every Church, is intrusted with the care, not only of the spiritual affairs of the society, but also of its temporalities: and it is equally well known, that the members of a Consistory are not viewed as placed permanently in active service that, every year, according to the Constitution of the Church, [Articles 27th and 28th of Explanatory Articles.] one half of the number serving in any congregation must retire to make room for others, if that be practicable, or, if it be not, must be then re-elected; and such has ever been the practice of the Church: but the act referred to, directed the appointment of Trustees, in every congregation, a third part of the number to be chosen annually, to have the exclusive superintendence of its temporal concerns. The Doctor's object appears to have been to get a bill passed, that would make every Consistory, for the time being, a legal board of Trustees; and, if frequency of change in the members of such a board was a point of any moment, that was certainly as well provided for in the rules and practice of the Church, as in the law of the Legislature.

Under date of March, 1786, he thus writes to Dr. Romeyn, upon the subject: "The business of our incorporations, I found was not properly understood by some, and very warmly opposed by others. The ideas adopted by the authors of the incorporation act, were to keep the temporalities of all Churches perfectly distinct from spirituals. For this reason, without adverting to the customs or discipline of any religious denomination, the body corporate in one and all of them was to be formed in a new mode, and this mode be adopted by every congregation. In this plan, there are many of our great folks so established, that I despaired of any opening for redress in our case. I applied, however, constantly to some leading members in both houses, and at last obtained their consent to a bill, which I now enclose to Dr. Westerlo, who is requested to send it forward to you. But, even as to this bill, it is suggested to me, that it will be insisted upon, and probably a clause for that purpose added to the bill, that our Elders and Deacons shall be chosen at large by the people, and not by the Consistories, as at present, being, as they say, more republican. Should this last be urged, I would rather drop the whole application, as that remedy would be worse than the present disease, and would infallibly bring confusion into our Churches. The truth is, I do not feel anxious to bring the business forward this session. However, I have drawn a memorial, and sent it with this conveyance to brother Westerlo, for him and you to sign; and if you both judge it is best still to push the matter, I will do as you shall direct."

These efforts of the Doctor to obtain some redress, proved at length successful, and a law was passed, enacting, among other things, "that the Minister or Ministers, and Elders and Deacons, and if, during any time, there be no Minister, then the Elders and Deacons, during such time, of every Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, or congregation, now or hereafter to be established in this State, and elected according to the rules and usages of such Churches within this State, shall be the Trustees for every such Church or congregation." [The above clause of the law is extracted from the 2d section, chapter 79th, of the Revised and Session Laws of the State- published in 1802. 2d edition]

In consequence of unintermitted attention to his various and arduous duties, the health of the Doctor, in the course of the past winter, became considerably impaired; and, hoping that he might derive benefit from a change of air and more exercise, he removed, the present spring or early in the next summer, to the pleasant village of Flatbush, on Long Island.

For near three years, he had now been sole pastor of a large and respectable congregation which, before the war, was served by four ministers; and during the greater part of this time, or ever since his appointment as professor, he had lectured five days every week to a class of theological students.

Few constitutions are so robust, that they would not feel the effect of continued and faithful employment, for such a space, in any profession; and the Doctor would probably have sooner sought this partial and temporary retirement from his charge to recruit his strength, had he not viewed it as his duty to spend and be spent, while a most signal blessing from above attended his labours. In the lapse of the period which has been mentioned, he received, upon a confession of their faith, more than four hundred persons into the communion of the Church: the period was, in fact, one joyful revival season, and his own soul participated the celestial influence which descended so copiously, and accompanied his ministrations. The large accessions made to the Church, from time to time, comforted and encouraged him and his work, with these convincing tokens of the presence of the Divine Spirit in the midst of the people, before his eyes, if debilitating to his body, was nevertheless a delightful one. There are some yet living, perhaps, who then belonged to the congregation, and can remember the precious harvest, and with what cheerfuless, assiduity, and zeal, he toiled to gather it.

But a little relaxation was now rendered necessary; and to enjoy it, he removed a short distance out of the city: assistance also was indispensably requisite; and this the Consistory of the Church again exerted themselves to provide. A call was sent about the first of August to his excellent friend, the Rev. Dr. Romeyn, of Schenectady, to preach in the Dutch language, concerning which he thus writes to that gentleman:

"Rev. and Dear Brother, "It is with very great pleasure, and not without my most fervent prayers for success, that I transmit to you the enclosed call from our Church at New-York. * * * * You have long known the high esteem, the affection, and attachment which our congregation has borne towards you. I intimated this frequently to you in our confidential conversation, and your disinclination to live in the city, and refusals to lend an approving ear to my wishes, have prevented us from calling you before. * * We conceived your principal objection was to performing service in two languages. The Consistory, therefore, have called you only to preach in Dutch. Your service will, therefore, be easy. The number of Dutch families is not great; but, lest you might fear that your usefulness should thereby be limited, the whole large congregation is before you for parochial duties in English; and your established character, and old friendships, open a door for extensive service and usefulness among us, above any other whatever, * * * * You know the unfeigned affection I have long had for you, and, therefore, you may with propriety consider me as an interested advocate in the present business: and, indeed, I acknowledge it: I feel myself greatly interested. I have long desired to have you for a colleague; and, notwithstanding the discouragements you have given me, I now have hope that the time is come when I shall call you by that confidential name. I wish to have you for many reasons but I cheerfully leave you with the Lord. Bring the matter to him and, after weighing the whole, I hope you will see it to be your duty to give us a favourable answer." In a postscript to the affectionate letter from which these extracts are made, he says "My health, as I wrote you some time since, has been much on the decline. I found it necessary to move out of the city, and have come over to Long Island, at Flatbush. This change of air, and necessary exercise, have been much blessed to me. I am better than I was; but am still distressed with pains in my breast. I cannot preach so often as I have hitherto done in the large churches in the city. The gentlemen who study theology have followed me to Flatbush. It is here cheaper for them than in the city; they have more leisure, and better opportunities for study, and I have more time also to instruct them * *. I feel bound, in conscience, to attend to the duties of the professorate, especially when I see my health also requires it * *. I wish to see you, and converse with you. I shall be happy, very happy to have you near me as a colleague given of the Lord. If your mind is clear upon the subject of our call, I think you need not postpone the acceptance: the sooner you come, the greater will be the proof of your affection."

In another, dated Flatbush, 29th of August, 1786, he observes "The answer you sent to the Consistory, after receiving the call, was yesterday read in full Consistory. It gave us great satisfaction to find that you referred the whole business to the sovereign will of God, and with a determination to seek counsel at the Throne of Grace, had resolved to follow what appeared to be duty. We cheerfully join with you in our prayers, and, as it is his glory and the prosperity of his Church, which is our great object, we desire to look up to him alone, and trust he will, incline your heart, with full conviction of his will, to accept of our call. It is a great grief to us, that our wants should interfere with others, and our gain involve the loss of others; but we are confident that, notwithstanding the strong ties and fervent entreaties of those with whom you now are, yet if you was thoroughly acquainted with our situation, and saw the happy train of consequences, which are connected with your becoming our minister, and which have respect to the well-being of our Churches at large, you would not hesitate one moment to consider our invitation as the call of God."

"It is not only the prosperity of our large congregation, that depends greatly upon your becoming our minister, but even the more extensive views of supplying the many vacancies in our Churches. I cannot do justice to the expectation and wants of the Churches, unless I can be supported and succeeded by one, to whom the burthen of ecclesiastical and parochial cares can be transferred. In you I place, as you know, the fullest confidence, and with me, the whole congregation."

"To the Lord, my waiting eyes are raised, and I trust he will, at length, grant what has long been fhe desire of my heart."

About the same time, the Consistory called also the Rev. Dr. William Linn, of the Presbyterian Church, to preach in the English language, who accepted their call, and was soon after installed collegiate pastor, with Doctor Livingston, of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of New-York.

His sentiments respecting this eloquent and accomplished divine, he very frankly expressed to his friend Dr. R. "We yesterday," he informs him in one letter, "sent a call to Mr. Linn. Whether we shall succeed is uncertain. He is an excellent preacher appears to be a good and great man." In another, dated January 29, 1787, after urging still further the acceptance of the call, he says "Rest assured, my brother, of my fullest confidence, and sincerest love and friendship; and I am peculiarly happy to add, that you will find in our new colleague, Mr. Linn, that rectitude and approved abilities, mixed with the most affectionate inclination to make all who are connected with him happy, which cannot fail of rendering him an acquisition in general, and peculiarly acceptable to us."

The writer has been induced to present so much of the correspondence in reference to these calls, by a desire to remove a suspicion which he is aware has been and still is harboured, though perhaps to no very great extent that the Doctor was envious of the popularity of his new colleague, and unfriendly to the coming of Dr. R. More could not have been said, in a few words, in favour of the first gentleman, and it certainly appears to have been said with great cordiality: with respect to the second, it is difficult to conceive of stronger language than that employed, as expressive of not simply a wish but an earnest desire that the call might be accepted. The call was declined: and in a letter dated August 29, 1787, he wrote again upon the subject as follows: "I believe I have omitted to do what I am sure it was my inclination and intention to have done, that is, to have wrote you a letter in answer to your last, which conveyed your final resolution respecting the overtures made to you by our congregation. Acquiescence in the will of Heaven made it my duty to be fully resigned in the dispensation of Providence; but I found myself greatly disappointed, as it has been for a long while my fixed wish and desire to have you with me as a fellow-labourer. I trust the Lord has over-ruled, and will accept of our sincere endeavours, according to the measure of our present light, to promote the interests of Zion."

[The Consistory soon after called the Rev. (now Dr.) Gerardus A. Kuypers, to preach in the Dutch language. The call was returned. Another call, however, was made upon the same gentleman, early in the year 1789, which was accepted.

This estimable and venerable servant of Christ, has been now more than forty years a pastor of the Church of New-York a period of service already exceeding that of any of his predecessors. For about twenty years, he has been the prudent, respected, and useful senior pastor; may he long be spared as a blessing to the Church! Since 1808, he has officiated, it is believed, altogether in the English language.]

Between the Doctor and these two distinguished divines, a warm friendship, as will be seen in the progress of the narrative, subsisted for many years.

The Doctor's residence on Long-Island appears to have been only during the summer months: in winter he occupied his house in the city, and performed his full share of pastoral duty. The leisure gained in consequence of the settlement and assistance of Dr. Linn, was devoted to the young men under his care, preparing for the ministry: For these, the necessities of the Church being so very pressing, he was desirous to advance in their studies, that they might be examined for licensure at the next meeting of the Synod, which was shortly to take place.

[The examination of candidates for licensure or ordination, belonged, according to the articles of union, to the General Assemblies, or to what were now called, Particular Synods. As the Doctor, however, in one of his letters, after speaking of business that could come with propriety only before the Convention or the General Synod, at their triennial meeting, which was to be held the following October, remarks - "There are several young gentlemen who will appear before the Synod to be examined" it is supposed that this first class was examined by that body, probably with a view, in part, that the Church at large, thus assembled, might see what proficiency they had made, under the professor's instruction.

For a long time, such examinations have been conducted by the several classes in the presence of Deputati Synodi.]

The Church had now assumed a form, and possessed that magnitude and character which in his estimation entitled her to receive all due respect, as a body fully capable of self-government, and no longer subject to a foreign jurisdiction; but the Church in Holland, although it had advised and approved of the erection of independent judicatories here, did not readily recognise, it seems, the present system of organization, or exhibited some little unwillingness to yield altogether the right of dictation and control; at least, it was suspected that such a feeling existed, and he thus expresses himself in the letter, just referred to, upon the circumstance that led to the surmise. "The letter accompanying the acts of Synod, I have not opened, but have only taken notice of the address in which I find they implicitly deny our being a Synod, by giving us the same title we had before our present organization; and this is one thing I wish to know your sentiments upon; whether it would not be proper for us by some article in our minutes, or by some clause in our letter, to express our sensibility upon their silence respecting our present judicatories; for, if we correspond, it ought to be continued upon the footing of mutual respect, or it may, in its consequences, soon be productive of some disagreeable events. Perhaps we have been too remiss in not taking notice of this before, or it is possible that silence may be the most prudent and eligible. I have not yet made up my own mind upon the subject, but will cheerfully refer myself to your judgment: I wish you would think upon it." There can be no doubt that the Synod took a proper notice of this apparently designed and reprehensible slight, as the future correspondence of the mother Church was, to the best of the writer's knowledge, perfectly respectful; but whether they did, or did not, it is plain that the Doctor himself was scrupulously jealous of the independence and dignity of the Church in the matter; and as in this, so in every other which tended in the smallest degree to the injury of either, directly or indirectly, he evinced through life, a like sensibility.

When the Synod met, a committee was appointed, of which it would appear he was chairman, to make and publish a selection of Psalms, for the use of the Church in its public worship; and in a letter to the same individual, dated March, 1788, he says, in reference to this business "For my part, I have digested only from the first psalm to the fiftieth inclusive. I mean, if it please, God to spare health, to go through the whole, and I wish we might be so prepared in the work, that we could compare our several digests, and make a report to the Synod at the next sitting in May." He then adds, "I suppose it will be proper, when we get the new Psalms printed, to have the Catechism, Articles of Faith, and Liturgy, printed and bound up with some of the books, and leave it to the purchasers to get the Psalm-book either with or without those additions, as the difference in the price will be considerable. But a fair opportunity will now be offered to publish with our articles and liturgy, the form of our discipline and government. The Churches in America are all assuming a new complexion. From being the appendages of national Churches in Europe, they now become national Churches themselves in this new Empire. All the denominations of any importance in America, have considered themselves in this new light, and have made regulations accordingly: and it deserves our attention to see what ought to be done with respect to ourselves in this particular, and how far we may proceed (consistent with the relation we yet claim to our mother Church in Holland. We are not represented, and we cannot have a representation in the Churches in Holland, as such, we have already formed ourselves into an independent Synod, and we have sufficient proof that some of our brethren in Amsterdam would rather we had not done this, but their views are contracted, and cannot be our rule. It is necessary we should revise some articles in our fundamental agreement respecting our church government of 1771, and see whether some of those articles do not militate against our independent state."

Under date of March, 1789, to the same, he says, "I have received answers from all the gentlemen of the committee, and am authorized and requested by them to proceed with the printing. The expectation and wishes of our Churches are raised, and I am continually asked when our Psalms will be published. * * * I now only wait for a letter from you * * *. As to the translations, and what respects our Church discipline and government, these, I suppose, may be brought in such readiness as to enable us to make some report in the Synod of May, and take such further steps, as to lay the whole before the Synod of October. But the Synod has empowered the Committee, respecting the Psalms, to proceed to the printing as soon as they shall agree upon the selection from the respective authors."

Upon this subject, he again writes to the same: "It was of consequence to us to obtain a copyright of our Psalm Book. As our Synod is not a body corporate, I took it out in the name of our Dutch Church of New-York; and, to ascertain the property for the Synod, I have got an instrument sealed with the seal of the Consistory, in which a declaration is made that this right is held in trust for the Synod, and shall always be subject to the direction of the same."

This step was taken at the suggestion of Dr. Linn, and some other friends; and so rapid was the sale of the book, that a second edition was soon called for. Such a work was, indeed, much needed: and with all its faults for defective it was, in several respects, it gave great satisfaction at the time; and, wherever the use of it obtained, had a beneficial influence.

Among the papers of the Doctor, copies have been met with, of two letters, the one to Dr. Hardenbergh, of New-Brunswick, having respect to the College in that place, the other to a private friend, Mrs. Judge Livingston, the mother of the late chancellor, relating to points upon which, as it would appear, his advice had been asked: and parts of the same, it may not be amiss to present here, on account of the important opinions contained in them, and the evidence they furnish of the deep interest he took in all the concerns of the Church, whether they were of a general or a local nature. The first is dated March 4th, 1790:

"Reverend and dear Brother,

"The subject we often have conversed upon, has never been brought to any decided point; whether we differ in sentiment or are fully agreed, when every preliminary respecting the execution of the plan, is taken into consideration, we do not yet know. I am sincerely glad that you have brought it forward, in your very acceptable letter of the 23d ult. and I will give you my thoughts in answer, with candour and confidential freedom; for, if I know any thing of my own heart, I have no particular advantage or interest in view, but wish to examine the question, as I am sure you do, only as it relates to the prosperity of the Church, and is calculated to promote the general welfare of our Zion. Your being at the head of the College, and my being placed in the professorate, may, to others, appear as an evidence of our being partial to whatever is calculated to promote the one or the other of these branches; and it is possible, a secret influence may, undiscerned even by ourselves, warp our judgments. But I think I view the subject in the same light I formerly did, and am ready to unite in its prosecution with the same impartiality, as if I had no official connexion whatever in the issue.

[In his letter to Dr. Westerlo, which was written some time before he was elected the professor, and is given in the last chapter, sentiments were advanced nearly, or substantially the same as those expressed in the above, touching the use which should be made of Queen's College.]

The five reasons you give in support of your sentiments are weighty. Each of them is true and important, and all of them together carry great conviction with them. I thank you for the judicious arrangement of the arguments, and confess they throw such light upon the subject, as leaves little room for opposition, if any persons should be found willing and desirous to oppose. For myself, I assure you, my dear Sir, that I am so far from having any inclination to obstruct the prosecution of the plan, that I feel sincerely willing to do all in my power for its advancement, and as soon as we can digest the proper means, 1 shall be happy to aid in its accomplishment."

"The ambiguity of words and names often occasions a difference in judgment, and very frequently promotes jealousies, and even opposition, where, in fact, the principal views are the same."

"My ideas upon this subject have always been, that the situation of our Churches required a literary institution; not so much for increasing its respectability by the accomplished character of its lay members, (although that is a consideration which, in your first and second arguments, you have mentioned with great propriety,) but principally to prepare our youths for the ministry. Theology is the branch which is most connected with the Church. It is also a branch in which, without arrogance we may say, our Dutch Churches are acknowledged, even in America, to equal, if not exceed other denominations: and, if proper steps could be taken to lift up an education in Theology, in a conspicuous and respectable point of view, we might not only hope to supply our own immediate wants, but also be the means of supporting the great truths of our holy religion, and become useful to other denominations. So far, then, as a College might be instrumental to promote this great end, I always have wished a College might be instituted: but if by a College is understood a Literary Institution, which expands in all the branches usually taught in Universities, I imagine it would swallow up all the resources which we might be able to obtain, and in that view, after all our efforts, we should still fall short of the principal object. * * I believe the religious liberty which is now established since the revolution in our land, and the Liberality of sentiment which characterizes our country, do in a great measure lessen the weight of the arguments, which before the war might have been urged for the necessity of a College upon the broadest basis; but still I know that an attachment to particular denominations, and a partiality in favour of their own, so universally actuates all men, that if we had an institution, which would answer the usual purposes of educating young persons destined for public life, it would be an acquisition to us, and therefore I would wish to promote such an institution, provided we could agree to set proper bounds to the expenses necessary for obtaining teachers and apparatus; and remember that theology was our favourite object and principal aim, and all the rest was only the porch that led to the temple of religious truth."

"There is a luxury in Literature, and a fascination in the public approbation, which will easily lead the patrons of a College from their original object, and tempt them to spend all their strength upon the more popular branches of education, unless they wisely form their plan, and previously limit themselves by proper restrictions. I think, with respect to ourselves, it is very practicable to ascertain the general system of a College in a line which shall procure to us the attention of the public, and sufficiently answer all the common purposes of Colleges in America, and yet secure the principal object, by leaving us in a capacity of establishing the theological branch upon a respectable and permanent basis. I am not fully convinced which ought to be attempted first, or whether they ought both to go together. What you mention in your two last arguments appears to be weighty, and I have at present no objection against attempting the business in that train. Let provision be made for the College first. I am perfectly contented to fall in with any plan, which appears calculated to answer the principal object which, as ministers of the Lord Jesus, we have in view. As to the exertions of the Dutch Church in New-York, much may be said in apology for a people which has been ruined by the war, and are now still straining every nerve to rebuild their demolished temples. Their wealth is greatly diminished, and it is not in their power to patronise public objects with the same liberality which, before the war, would have been practicable for them. But I am confident, if we digest a plan in a wise and proper manner, and convince them of its safe and successful operation, they will not withhold their proportional assistance."

[The person to whom this letter was addressed, was a clergyman of high standing and great influence in the Dutch Church, and his name deserves a place in the roll of the most useful and most honoured of her departed worthies.

The following brief account of him is taken from the Christian's Magazine. "Dr. Hardenburgh was an American. Although he had not been favoured with the same advantages in the early part of his education, which some of his contemporaries enjoyed, yet, with a powerful mind, and habits of persevering application, he made such progress in knowledge, that he was justly esteemed a great divine. He was ordained by the Coetus, and was the most distinguished and able supporter of that party. His piety was ardent; his labours indefatigable; and his ministry greatly blessed. He was the first president of Queen's College, and died in that office at Brunswick, in 1792, universally lamented."]

The second of these letters is dated March 23d, 1790.

"Dear Madam,

*********I thank you for writing, and most sincerely sympathize with you, and your whole neighbourhood, in the want of the public ordinances of divine worship. The vacant congregations are so numerous, that, as fast as we send out new candidates, they are immediately called, and I know not of any resource sufficient, immediately to supply the places which are destitute. It is expected there will be three or four students who will come forward next fall, but these will be very inadequate to the demands of the churches. I know of no remedy for the present, but that the respective classes must pay more attention to the vacancies within their district, and by a punctual rotation of duty, supply such places with frequent service."

"The Methodists, who you mention as indefatigable in promoting their opinions, appear to be indeed very zealous. I am but little acquainted with them: I know none of their preachers, and can only judge of their doctrines from a few of their books which I have seen. I hope, in charity, that men who so industriously strive to warn sinners of the evil of their ways, have the glory of God in view; and I most sincerely wish they may be the means of alarming many stupid and wicked characters, with which our country abounds. Great allowances ought undoubtedly to be made for persons who are not within the means of proper information, and who are strongly prejudiced against certain words and phrases, which, however scriptural and true, appear to them to convey an improper idea. Under such impressions they may be strongly attached to a system which comprehends many errors, without seeing the consequences which flow from their creed; but, whatever difference there may be in their phraseology, I cannot conceive that any who have experienced the saving influences of the Blessed Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth, and received the Lord Jesus, as he is offered in his word, can heartily oppose the doctrines of grace as professed by our Reformed Church, or be at real enmity against those truths, which not only singly vindicate the sovereignty and glory of God, but are so connected and mutually support each other, that if one is taken away, the whole chain is broken, and the plan of redemption, which is worthy of God, and illustriously displays all the divine perfections, becomes obscured, if not essentially changed. * * * It is said the knowing and learned among them, of which there is no doubt a considerable number, avowedly adopt the whole system of the Arminian doctrines: if so, their opposition to the confession of faith of the Reformed Church is easily accounted for."

"There was, sometime ago, a considerable rumour throughout the city, respecting the religious exercises of many in the Methodist Church. Whether there was any foundation for the favourable report you heard concerning it, I do not know. I wish it may be true; my soul would rejoice if hundreds of sinners were savingly converted by whatever instruments the Lord might choose. Instead of gainsaying the work, I would most willingly unite my thanksgiving to the great Redeemer. But it certainly is premature to pretend to ascertain with precision, the numbers which are converted upon no other evidence than the impressions received, or affections expressed, in one hour. It argues an ignorance of the human heart, or the pride of party ostentation, to come forward with such accounts so soon and so positively."

Two of his particular clerical friends, and most able coadjutors in ecclesiastical matters, about this time rested from their labours; and he was deeply affected with the loss which the Church and himself had sustained in their death. Divine Providence, in the removal, within a short space, of such men, eminent for their wisdom, piety, and zeal, seemed to him to wear a very frowning aspect, and to indicate that God had a controversy with the Church.

He thus feelingly expresses liimself upon the subject, in a letter to Dr. Romeyn, of Nov. 1791: "When I returned home, I was greatly afflicted to find a letter, which announced the death of our dear brother Meyer. Another of our pillars is gone.

[The other person whose death is alluded to, it is presumed, was the Rev. Dr. Eilardus Westerlo, of Albany [MVD: Livingston and Westerlo were both married to daughters of Philip Livingston.]. He died the preceding year. This excellent servant of Christ "was a native of Holland. He had just finished his studies in the university of Groningen, when a call from the Dutch Church in Albany was put into his hands, which he accepted, and came to America, in 1760. He was a man of strong mind, of eminent piety, and of great erudition, especially in theology, his favourite study, and in Oriental Literature. He was highly popular and useful as a preacher; and lived in great honour and esteem with his brethren in the ministry, and with the Churches in general, until his removal by death." And to this small tribute to his memory, which is extracted from the Christian's Magazine, it may be added that he was an active, prudent, and leading member of the several Judicatories of the Church, in which he laboured with zeal to promote every good work. At the restoration of peace, and in all that train of business which succeeded, and upon the proper execution of which so much depended, he acted a conspicuous and important part.

Dr. Hermanns Meyer was also from Holland, and came over to America, in 1762. He was esteemed one of the most amiable of men, and a learned, pious, and faithful ambassador of Christ. He settled first at Kingston. From the Church in this place, however, such was the unrelenting temper excited by the unhappy dispute of the day "he was soon excluded, on the ground of his connexion with the Coetus party. He afterwards took charge of a congregation at Pompton, in New-Jersey, and the General Synod appointed him their professor of oriental languages. Few men stood higher in the opinion of the Church at large, or was more generally beloved than Dr. Meyer and his death, so soon following that of the lamented Westerlo, was an event calculated to awaken among all who were concerned for the welfare of our Zion, sorrowful feelings and painful anticipations.]

He was a good and great man. We deservedly loved him, and placed great confidence in him. What a dark cloud appears to hover over our Churches! Truly, my dear friend, we have reason to mourn, and inquire why the Lord is contending with us. The ways of Providence are in the great deep, and who can foresee the issue. But few of us are now left to whom our younger brethren look for direction and assistance. Surely the remnant must become more and more precious to each other, and it behooves us to make every necessary arrangement for the establishment and prosperity of our ecclesiastical matters, with as much haste as is consistent with prudence."

The Doctor was now busily engaged as one of a committee which had been appointed to prepare a work that should present, in a simple and condensed form, the Doctrines, Worship, and Government of the Church. The task was one of great responsibility; and the labour of compiling and arranging the matter appertaining to the several subjects, was divided chiefly, as it would appear, between himself and Dr. Romeyn. A few extracts from his correspondence with this gentleman, in reference to the business, will give some idea of what was his share of it, and of the pains he took that the Church might be furnished with a suitable manual to regulate her future concerns.

In a letter dated May 12th, 1790, he says "I am happy to see from your letter, that you are engaged in that work, which I have so often requested and wished you would finish. The division you make is a very natural and proper one; I have only to observe that, under the third head, which is to comprise extracts from the post acta, solutions of questions, and subsequent acts and regulations of our Synod, you will need more attention to know what to leave out, than what to insert. The variety of cases which have occurred, and which will for ever arise in the Church, upon which some solution or determination must be made, are little less than infinite, and, from some particular circumstances attending them, are seldom found to be exactly alike. Nothing more can, therefore, be done in any church government, than to lay down some general principles, and leave it to the Synods to apply these with prudence and care in the decision of particular cases. It will be safe in us not to descend too far to particulars in our publication, but only exhibit to the world the outlines of our views of Church discipline, and our leading principles and conduct."

In another of July, 1790: * * * * "Your progress in our church papers gives me pleasure; but, that you find a part of your work is to be done over again, is very chagrining. I hope you may be able to finish agreeably to the plan you have proposed, and I make no doubt but it will be acceptable to the Synod. Upon looking over the acts of our first Vergadering, which contain the outlines of our present Church government, I find it will not read well in English, to translate the whole, verbo tenus, from the Dutch. Do you not suppose it would answer every purpose of publication, which is to convey the standards of our discipline, if the contents of our grand Artikulen were faithfully given in a good, easy English style, without restricting ourselves to a full translation of every word, which, as it was not designed for the press, so in many passages, is not sufficiently accurate for that purpose?" In another of March, 1791, "I have not been able, until within a few days past, to take up the subject of our own constitution and discipline. Upon considering the design of the publication, I am fully of your opinion, that there is no necessity of adhering strictly to a translation, totidem verbis, of the Synod of Dort: nor even of giving every article, as many of them are local, and only applicable to the Netherlands. It is not a history of the Dutch Church as it is in Europe, which we are Compile, but a true and regular detail of the constitution of the Reformed Dutch Church in America, As our charters and our discipline refer us to the Synod of Dort, we must show that we build upon that basis, with such deviations as time and circumstances have rendered unavoidable. We have two sources from whence we draw our present constitution, one, the Synod of Dort; and the other, the resolutions and fundamental articles agreed upon by our Churches, and ratified by the Classis of Amsterdam, in the name of the Synod of North Holland. From these and some subsequent acts of our own Synod, our discipline is formed. If we mention these sources in the head or title, and then proceed to exhibit one regular system, without any circumlocutions or repetitions, it will appear more simple and connected, and will be better understood, than a large translation, and explanatory notes, could possibly make it. To this end, suppose a title like this was made. "The Constitution and Form of Government of the Reformed Dutch Church in America, as established in the Synod Nat: of Dort, 1618 19; and agreed upon in the Assembly held at New-York, 177172, by and with the approbation of the Classis of Amsterdam,and finally ratified in Synod, held at New-York, October, 1791." This, or something shorter, which may comprehend these ideas, will justify us in making such extracts from each of these sources, as shall, altogether, bring forward one complete system. This will show to the world what our present constitution is, and sufficiently prove our connection and adherence to the Synod of Dort. I wish to know your ideas upon the subject. Please to drop me a line."

Under date of August 1st, 1791, he says, "I have not yet been able to pay much attention to the business respecting our church government, but I will endeavour to draw out soon, the whole sketch, agreeably to our mutual views, and will send it up for your inspection."

Again he says, under date of August 20th: "I am so slow in my progress with the Acts of Dordrecht, that I know not whether I shall be able to accomplish your expectations."

The sketch, however, was prepared and submitted to the Synod; but not being in a finished state, was again put into the hands of the committee, for revisal: And in November, he wrote again "I will try, as the Lord shall give me strength, to attend to our constitution, and prepare a fair and accurate copy, for the approbation and final decision of Synod. The notes and observations you mention, must be attended to also; but they must be short and guardedly worded. I wish you would draw out a sketch of such which you especially judge to be most important, and send it to me." In a letter dated March, 1792, there is the following paragraph: "Upon looking over the papers, as they now stand corrected by the Synod, I find the first, third, and fourth parts, may be easily brought into form, without alterations or additions of much consequence; but what to do with the second part, which respects our Ecclesiastical Assemblies, I do not yet know: as it now stands, it appears deficient. To make it intelligible, and answer the purpose of a standard for the information of all our members, I believe some additions will be found necessary. I have not yet digested particulars, but will send you a sketch of them as soon as I can get them ready,"

The following March, he wrote again: "I have discovered that to make the whole ready for the press, will unavoidably demand more time than can be found previous to the Synod in May; I, therefore, now put in a plea for an abatement to any promises on my part, or injunctions on the part of the Synod for that purpose."

"An idea has occurred to me respecting this business, which I wish to communicate and receive your advice upon. I find the Synods in Holland, &c. as they successively brought forward their Church orders, always retained what the former and more ancient Churches had done. This they made their text, and added only what might be considered essentially applicable to themselves. This is remarkably the case in the acts of the Synod of Dort, 1618-19. Although several new circumstances had occurred, wliich rendered some alterations necessary, yet in their solemn revision of the Church orders, they retain almost word for word, the rules of the Synod held at the Hague, 1586, and whatever they judged to be local and temporary, they added afterwards in their post acta. If we apply this to ourselves, and wish to retain the same attachment to the ancient Reformed Churches, our line for procedure will be easily marked out. * * * * Suppose we should, then, by a careful inspection from one article to another, collect a short but precise system of explanations, which as the express work of our own Synod, may be added as an organizing act; and then the original articles, together with our organization, will serve to exhibit a clear, and at the same time, a respectable Church order. * * * If we should adopt this mode, then the exact and prudent translation, &c. of the original articles will be only the smallest part of the work. Our post acta will require the greatest deliberation. In this view you will acquiesce in my expectation that the work cannot be ready in May next, nor do I see any necessity of hurrying ourselves in such a manner as to produce an unfinished or undigested work. If such an idea should be adopted, as I have now mentioned, there would be no necessity for adding explanatory notes, and blotting our page with things which, perhaps, the people would not understand; but the whole that is local would appear in one intelligible act of organization: But I submit the idea to you, and wish you would please to drop a line as soon as you can."

The work was arranged in conformity to the plan here suggested, presenting the practice of the Church, or the manner in which the Rules of Church Government of the National Synod of Dordrecht, are applied and executed in this country, in a set of explanatory articles which were solemnly ratified in the General Synod held at New-York, the 10th day of October, 1792; and it was afterwards published under the title of

THE CONSTITUTION OP THE REFORMED DUTCH CHURCH, IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

The adoption of this constitution is a most memorable event, as it established that consolidation of the union, without which, it was much to be feared, the union would be but of temporary duration, and placed the Church in a position to maintain her character, to make herself known and respected among other denominations, and to prosecute with life and energy, any enterprise, the successful accomphshment of which might be deemed essential to her future prosperity. And of the Constitution, it may be averred, without fear of contradiction, that it has proved the Palladium (if the term be allowable) of the Church, or rather the great safeguard next to the Bible, under the divine blessing, of her government, peace, and purity. It is a good caution. Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set; [Prov. xxii. 28] and the writer trusts that he will not be charged with a want of modesty, or give any offence, for taking the liberty here to express his hope, that a work which imbodies the results of our fathers' wisdom and experience, and which has hitherto been attended with such an happy influence in the Church, may be preserved inviolate.

It would be ungenerous, and by no means accord with the impartiality of true history, to ascribe the whole of this performance to Dr. Livingston; but to all, nevertheless, who are acquainted with its contents, the fact must be too evident to be disputed, after perusing his correspondence, that not a small part of the toil and responsibility connected with it, devolved upon him. It is believed, too, that he was the first person to propose that a constitution of the Church be drawn up, which, as the reader may recollect, he did in his letter to Dr. R. of March, 1788 [See page 298]; and for this, if for no other reason, he may with propriety be represented as the Father of it, and the representation, it is conceived, involves no injustice or disrespect to the memory of his able and efficient associate.

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