And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.—Exodus 21.16.

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Memorial to Synod, 1872.

To the Moderator and other Members of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, to meet in York, Livingston Co., N.Y., in May, 1872.

DEAR FATHERS AND BRETHREN:

The undersigned, members of the congregation of Rochester, N.Y., would most affectionately and respectfully, memorialize you, in relation to the bond of covenant sworn by you in Pittsburgh in May last.

First.  That we have been unable conscientiously to unite with the congregation in swearing said bond.

Second.  That many of us petitioned Session to postpone swearing the bond for reasons therein stated; a copy of which, marked No. 1, is herewith laid before you.

Third.  That one of our elders dissented from the action of Session in proceeding with the work, reasons for which marked 2, 3, and 4, are respectfully submitted.

Fourth.  That we are still convinced that our petition should have been granted, that the reasons of dissent are valid, and that we should now as a whole congregation and as a whole church come before the Lord weeping and mourning on account of the sad breach of our covenants, National, and Solemn League and Covenant, as is manifest in this new bond.

Fifth.  That as it is, we most humbly, affectionately, and earnestly, beseech you to seriously consider this matter, and as corroborative of our position we quote from the memorial volume, page 82: “The grand leading principle of both of the Covenants to which attention has just been made, is not, we apprehend embraced in our present bond at all; or if at all, only by implication, viz: The duty of the state as such to enter into alliance with the Church of Christ, and to profess, adhere to, and defend and maintain the true religion,”—to swear a bond so deficient as thus presented to us, we deem to be wholly incompatible with the word of God, “Hold that fast which thou hast” with our fifth term of communion, and with the sixth query put to Elders and Deacons at their ordination.  We respectfully submit to you a copy of the Act, Declaration and Testimony referred to in the above query, and point you to its pages from 125 to 132 as apropos.  That the above Testimony is still necessary in our day and especially at this time; we beg you to compare its pages from 80 to 122, with the doctrine set forth in the memorial volume from page 164 to 167, and therein see the abyss into which we are drifting.

Sixth.  Thus, Dear Fathers and Brethren, we would warn you, and in the language of scripture, as the Colossians were instructed to say to Archippus, we would say, “Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord that thou fulfil it,” and conclude in the language of our venerable Mother, the Church of Scotland, in assembly on another occasion, July, 1648, “If this our faithful warning find favorable acceptance, so that the grievous things already enacted be no more prosecuted and pressed, (but, on the contrary, removed out of the way), we shall bless God, who reigns in the Kingdoms and counsels of men, but if it fall out otherwise, (as God forbid), we have liberated our souls of the guiltiness of this sinful way of Covenanting,[1] and of all the miseries that shall come on this church and nation, and shall lament before the Lord that our efforts have not as yet had the desired success.  In the mean time, we dare not cast away our confidence, but trusting in the name of the Lord and staying upon our God, shall by his grace and assistance, continue steadfast in our solemn Covenants, and faithful in all the duties of our calling.”

JAMES CAMPBELL, Elder,

THOS. PERCY, Deacon,

JANE E. CAMPBELL,

CATHERINE PERCY,

JANE E. CAMPBELL, JR.,

FREDERICK WARK,

AGNES HUNTER,

JANE WARK,

JOHN LOGAN,

MARTHA DITTY.

NANCY LOGAN.


Footnotes:

1. The quoted text to the end of this paragraph is taken from A Declaration of the General Assembly concerning the present dangers of Religion, &c. which can be found published with the Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 1648.  The Declaration is 15 and a half large pages in length, and relates to the unlawful Engagement which had been prosecuted by the Scots in violation of the Solemn League and Covenant.  In the original text of the present memorial, the word “Covenanting” is marked with a double-quote.  The text of the original Declaration here has the term “Engagement.”  The Assembly elsewhere tells us that the “Engagement” was enforced with “unlawful oaths and bands,” to which the above authors undoubtedly found the 1871 Covenant all too comparable, in its manner of obliging Christians to pursue their labour and spiritual warfare in a compromised association with one enemy against another adversary.  An additional term which varies from the original text is “efforts,” which in the original was “labours.”—JTKer.


See also: Other Resources Relating to the 1871 Covenant sworn at Pittsburgh.