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CHAPTER VII

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

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CHAPTER VII

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






        
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