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Single Page Chapter III

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in men, who would endeavour, at once, to nullify all the proceedings in the case. In order to carry these designs, it was proposed that, at the next election, the members in full communion a majority of whom they believed was on their side, should choose the new Consistory, in contravention to a long immemorial practice of the Church, or, at least, assert their right to do so; and, in the event of its being denied, immediately seek redress in a court of justice. Accordingly, in the ensuing October, when the election was held, the right was claimed, in due form, by a Mr. Abel Hardenbrook, who offered to vote upon the occasion. The vote was of course rejected, and that rejection was made, without any delay, the ground of a judicial process.

The English language ought, in reality, to have been introduced into the Dutch church fifty years*


Dr. Livingston thought it should have been introduced an hundred years before. Mr. P. V.B. Livingston, a respectable relative of his [Peter Van Brugh Livingston, the brother of Dr. Livingston's wife Sarah], in a letter dated Feb. 1769, writing on the subject says "Had this been done in this city, thirty years ago, the Dutch congregation would have been much more numerous than it is now. The greatest part of the Episcopal Church consists of accessions they have made from the Dutch Church." He adds, that though the Dutch was his mother tongue the first language he had been taught, and was still spoken by him with ease he could not understand a Dutch sermon half as well as he could an English one, and that as for his children "there was not one that understood a sentence in Dutch."

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sooner than it was; and would have been introduced, if the future prosperity of the church had been properly consulted. And, though the fathers of the Church, some of whom were truly pious and excellent persons, were excusable for opposing the change, prior to the adoption of any measures to settle an English preacher, honestly believing that it would lead, if tried, to deplorable results, it may seem strange, that after a call was actually sent to Holland, they should try to break down an old established custom, and show such a determined purpose to maintain the stand they had taken; or that, apart from other motives, which ought to have had some influence upon them, the spiritual welfare of their children, who understood, as was admitted, very little of Dutch sermons, did not constrain them to acquiesce, without even a murmur, in the decision of the constituted authority of the Church. But, the conduct of the best of men is sometimes unaccountably inconsistent with the principles they profess: and great allowance must certainly be made for such folly, as prejudice, not reason, governs them; and there are ever those, whose interest prompts them to take advantage of the prejudice of others, to inflame their passions, and to provoke them to deeds which, it requires no prophetic ken to foresee, will issue in shame and regret.


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