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the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians of New York, on the subject of church government.
Soon after the conquest of the Dutch colony by the Duke of York, the episcopal church established itself in NewYork, and derived liberal support from grants by the crown of England. When Trinity church was chartered, the glebe lands attached to it on Manhattan island, were extensive, and rapidly increasing in value. A remarkable spirit of activity was infused into all its fiscal arrangements. So powerful were the funds of this church, that after the Revolution, the state legislature limited them to a capital, producing an annual revenue of five thousand pounds. Their estate, however, produced much more, and they devoted all that exceeded the specified amount, to the building and endowment of new churches. At the time when M'Leod's catechism appeared, serious fears were entertained by the Presbyterian church, that the Episcopalians would become so powerful as to exercise an undue influence over the political affairs of the state. All this power was exerted in the propagation of the Arminian errors. For this body, while it adopted the Thirty Nine Articles of the church of England, and the liturgy, was not, like the parent society, composed partly of Calvinists and partly of Arminians; for all were Arminians.
A Magazine was set on foot by the Presbyterian interest, under the editorial care of Dr. Mason, and though much valuable matter on other subjects, was thrown into it, the grand object was to combat the Episcopal form of church government. On this subject, the editor and several other ministers of the Presbyterian church wrote largely and ably. The Rev. Dr. Miller, a gentleman who was educated in the university of Pennsylvania, and who had become generally known to advantage, by his Review of the Eighteenth Cen. tury, published a very temperate and lucid discussion on the same subject, in a small volume of Letters. Bishop Hobart appeared as the champion of the Episcopal church. This gentleman was educated at Princeton college, at which he was distinguished. He had published a work, styled the Companion for the Altar, in which he intimated, as his
brethren had often done before in England, that the Episcopal is the only true church, and that there alone, salvation is attainable, unless it be by "uncovenanted mercy.” This controversy was managed with much warmth and zeal by the parties. The doctrine of the atonement was only brought into this discussion incidentally. But Dr. M‘Leod published in the Christian's Magazine, the title of the periodical work alluded to above, a number of essays expressly on this subject. The papers are written with very great talent, and contain an able vindication of the doctrines of the Genevan school. The essays published in the Magazine on the subject of ecclesiastical government, and written by Dr. Mason, made an attack merely upon the walls of the city; Dr. M‘Leod's discussions on the atonement, attacked the citadel, where Arminianism had fortified itself. All had a bearing upon the same point, the propagation of correct views relative to the way of salvation through Jesus Christ; for in proportion as Episcopalianism prevails in the United States in the same proportion will be the spread of the Arminian, errors unless the teachers can be brought baok to their discarded Articles.
At the time when the presbyterian clergy of all denominations, the Dutch Reformed, the General Assembly, the Associate Reformed, and the Reformed Presbyterians, united in opposing Episcopacy, they harmonized among themselves. They were indeed entirely distinct from each other in their ecclesiastical judicatories, in their exercise of discipline, and in their ecclesiastical communion, but a spirit of cordiality prevailed among them. A clerical association, in which they all united, had been formed, and had existed for many years, in which the clergy of these denominations, met weekly for the cultivation of Christian knowledge, religion, and personal friendship. This association was attended by the Rev. Drs. Rogers, Livingston, M.Knight, M'Leod, Mason, Milledollar, Abeel, Miller, and Romeyn; and the Rev. Messrs. Hamilton, Forrest and others. All these were cordial in their support of the Calvinistic creed.
Such was the state of the presbyterian churches in New York, when their repose was disturbed by Hopkinsianism poured down upon them from the North. After the formation of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian church, a' connection was established between it and the northern congregationalists. Delegates from the congregational associations were admitted to a seat in the General Assembly; and from that body delegates were sent to the General Northern Associations. Ministers and licentiates of the congregational churches were admitted to the pulpits of the presbyterian clergy in the middle, southern, and western states. In numerous instances availing themselves of this privilege, they had disturbed the repose of the churches, by the Hopkinsian doctrines which they taught.
In 1813, two young gentlemen, the Rev. Ezra Stiles Ely and Mr. Gardiner Spring, a licentiate, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter of Massachusetts, both of them educated in Yale college, arrived in New York. Mr. Spring is the son of the Rev. Dr. Spring, a Hopkinsian writer of the state of Massachusetts. The doctrines of the father had been embraced by the son, who finished his course of study at Andover. Mr. Ely had been for some time pastor of a congregation in Connecticut. He was admitted to a seat in the presbytery of New York as a member. His views had not been very distinct on the doctrine of the atonement in relation to its extent, nor as to the doctrine of natural and moral ability, before his arrival at New York. As soon as he became acquainted with the doctrines of the Calvinistic school upon these points, he embraced them. Mr. Spring received a call from a congregation in that city, and read before the presbytery a sermon as a trial discourse for ordination, in which he exhibited the Hopkinsian doctrine of natural ability. “ After he had retired, and the moderator, and the other members after him, in the order of seniority, were asked whether they would sustain the discourse;-every member of the presbytery thought the sermon unsound in doctrine, and most of them said they would not sustain it, nor proceed to the ordina
tion of Mr. Spring, if they did not believe he had written the sermon in haste, and would, on a little reflection, renounce the doctrines which it contained.-Mr. Ely being called on to give his opinion, said, that were he in Mr. Spring's case, he should desire to be recalled to the pres. bytery, that he might have an opportunity of explaining more fully his sentiments, of rectifying wrong apprehensions, and of ascertaining how far he differed from the persons, with whom he was about to be connected. He ad. vised, therefore, that Mr. Spring should be sent for, before the final question was decided, for Mr. Ely was much in mistake, if Mr. Spring would not vindicate more strongly to-morrow, whatever sentiments he had designed to advance to-day.”* This plan was not adopted. But at the suggestion of the commissioner, who prosecuted the call, it was agreed to call on Mr. Spring after his ordination, and endeavour to reclaim him from his errors, and teach him more perfectly the doctrines of salvation. This plan was adopted for the preservation of peace, and to save the people of the Brick church, who had made the call upon Mr. Spring, from a disappointment. Thus the presbytery ordained a man to the ministry, though they could not doubt that he held principles directly at war with those of that confession of faith, to which they demanded of him an assent, and a promise of adherence. It may seem strange that an honest man should make such a promise, but with the help of explanations, many men can promise support to almost any system. As it has happened in all other cases where truth and duty were compromitted for the sake of peace, the object was not gained. The introduction of Mr. Spring into the presbytery was the signal of war; the tocsin was sounded, and a perpetual scene of contest, has been ever since exhibited on this theatre. The harmony of the presbytery has fled, and seems resolved never to return.
At the instance of Dr. Samuel Miller and others Mr.
History of Ecclesiastical Proceedings relative to the third Presbyterian church in Philadelphia, &c.
Ely wrote a paper exhibiting a contrast between Hopkinsianism and the doctrines of the Genevan school. After it was written, he was advised to enlarge and publish it in the form of a book, which he did, under the title of “A Contrast between Calvinism and Hopkinsianism.” This work contains a great deal of very interesting matter. The public confessions of the reformed churches, and the opinions of distinguished divines, are collated with each other, and contrasted with those of Dr. Hopkins and his followers. We see exhibited, in one view, the harmony of the former with each other, their discrepancy with the latter, and the disagreement of the latter with one another. To the chapters of the Contrast, the author has appended dissertations, in which he defends with decision the doctrines of the Calvinistic school. Mr. Ely could not but be aware of the opset which awaited him, but he generously planted himself in the breach, and braved every danger, with a heroism, that posterity will applaud, whatever may be thought of it by his lukewarm contemporaries. The Socinians, the Hopkinsians and the Methodists, magazines and pamphleteers, attacked him furiously from every quarter, while many lukewarm brethren either left him to struggle with his fate, or joined with his enemies in the outcry raised against him, as “a mover of sedition and a turner of the world upside down." А great number, however, of the clergy, and that of the most respectable, warmly recommended the Contrast. But the approbation of a good conscience and of that Redeemer whose truth he defends are rewards, which far exceed all others, and incomparably more than counterbalance all that persecution has inflicted upon him.
The Contrast is so well written, that Dr. Joseph Lyman of Massachussetts declared in an Association of Hopkinsians, that Dr. Mason had written it; whereas he never saw a line of it until it was published. Others still ascribe it to some older man, under pretence that a youth at twentyfive could not have been the author of so able a work.
What Mr. Ely said respecting Mr. Spring's maintaining doctrines exhibited in his sermon before the presbytery was