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PAGE 102:
CHAPTER III

something must be done to gratify the friends of a change, and also, if possible, to terminate the unhappy dispute, or the congregation "suffer a total dissipation," the Consistory resolved to call a minister to preach in the English language.

This was a decisive measure, a measure teeming with the most momentous consequences to the future welfare of the Church, a measure which, though it had to encounter a warm and determined hostility, was agreed upon with singular moderation and prudence. The Consistory had been accused of unfriendliness to the Dutch Church, in meditating such a measure, or in showing any disposition to favour the views of the English party; and, as they knew that there were English Churches in some cities of the United Netherlands, in connection with the national Established Church, to evince their attachment to the Church, and hoping by this means to restore peace, they resolved, not merely to call a minister to preach in the English language, but to call one from Holland through the medium of the Classis of Amsterdam. Accordingly, they prepared a blank call, and enclosed it in a letter to the Classis, requesting that the call might be properly filled up, and put into the hands of the individual whom that rev. body should deem qualified for the station. Upon the receipt of this letter, the Classic

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very promptly complied with the request it contained, and sent the call to Mr, Archibald Laidlie, then a minister of the English Church, at Vlissingen, (or Flushing), in Zealand, and a member of the Classis of Walcheren.

A more judicious and happy selection could not have been made; and it was made under the special guidance of the Great Head of the Church, as the event proved.

Mr. Laidlie was a native of Scotland, and received his education in the University of Edinburgh. In 1759, he settled at Flushing; and, during his ministry in the Church of that place, which continued a little over four years, he was highly esteemed for his enlightened and active zeal in the service of his Master for his extensive attainments in theology and general literature and for his warm attachment to all the doctrines of grace. He received and accepted the call from New-York, in Nov. 1763; and arrived at that city the latter part of the March following. A fortnight after his arrival, April15, 1764, having been duly recognized as one of the ministers of the Dutch Church, he preached his first sermon, the first ever delivered in the English language in the Dutch Church to a very crowded and devoutly attentive auditory.






        
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