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The Cambridge Platform holds the folo | ings are usually held at intervals of sevelowing language : “ This ordination we ral weeks. The object of these meetings account nothing else but the solemn put- is personal improvement, and assistance ting a man into his place and office, by mutual counsel and advice. whereto he had a right before by election, The power of licensing ministers, is being like the installation of a magistrate now generally entrusted to the asso tions in the commonwealth ordination; there- of pastors. For many years after the fore it is not to go before, but to folloy, settlement of the country, there was no election. The essence and substance of regular way of introducing candidates the outward calling of an ordinary officer into the ministry. “ When they had in the church does not consist in his ordi- finished their collegiate studies," says nation, but in his voluntary and free elec. Trumbull, “ if they imagined themselves tion by the church, and his accepting of qualified, and could find some friendly that election. Ordination does not con. gentleman in the ministry to introduce stitute an officer, nor give him the essen- them, they began to preach without an tials of his office. In such churches, examination, or recommendation from any where there are elders, imposition of hands body of ministers or churches.
If they in ordination is to be performed by the studied a time with any particular miniselders. In such churches, where ihere ter or 'ministers, after they had received are no elders, imposition of hands may be the honors of college, that minister, or performed by some of the brethren, or those ministers, introduced them into the derly chosen by the church thereto." pulpit at pleasure, without the general
At the present day lay ordination, un consent and approbation of their brethder ordinary circumstances, would be re-ren.” To remedy the evils necessarily garded, by the great majority of Congre- resulting from such laxity, the present gationalists, as highly improper, and pro- system was adopted, and no one is now bably, by some, as invalid.
regarded as duly authorized to preach Deacons are chosen by votes of the until he has undergone an examination by church. The practice in their ordination some association, and is recommended by has not been entirely uniform.* One in it to the churches as properly qualified. stance is mentioned where they were or. The organization of the churches as it dained without the imposition of hands. exists in Connecticut, under the Saybrook But, in general, the practice seems to have Platform, has been already spoken of. A been that the pastor and elder both laid on similar system, in most respects, has been hands ; the pastor then prayed, and gave adopted by the Congregationalists in other the charge, and the elder prayed. At states. present, ordination by imposition of hands In Massachusetts, a general association is the custom in the majority of churches. was formed in 1803, which now includes The ministers of the neighboring congre- twenty-two distinct associations, and neargations are not invited to assist in the ly all the Trinitarian clergy of the de. ceremony, as the office of deacon is purely domination in the state. local, and does not extend beyond the par. In Vermont, a general convention of ticular church for which he is chosen. the Congregational ministers and churches,
The common practice in the dismission is held yearly, to which every association, of a pastor is to call a mutual council. presbytery, county conference, or consoShould either the pastor or the congrega- ciation, sends two delegates. This body tion refuse to join in a mutual council the held its first session in 1796. other party might then call a council ex In New Hampshire, a pastoral convenparte.
tion was formed in 1747, including “ those In all the states, where Congregational Congregational and Presbyterian minis. ists are found, there exists some union or ters of that state, who own or acknowassociation of ministers, embracing all ledge the Westminster Assembly's Shorwithin certain local limits. These meet- ter Catechism as containing essentially
their views of Christian doctrine." This • Thatcher's History of Plymouth. organization continued until 1809, when a
general association was formed, which / 160,000.* There have been founded in held its first meeting the same year. New England eight colleges, and four
The ecclesiastical system of Maine is theological seminaries. All these institudifferent from that of the other New tions are in a flourishing condition. England states in this, that it has no gene- So far as the political and social blessral association, or convention, of ministers. ings of a people flow from their religious Each county, or other convenient district, institutions, no greater praise can be dehas its own conference, which is express. manded for the religious principles and ly forbid the exercise of any authority or polity of the Pilgrims, than that they be control over the churches, In 1823, a judged of by their fruits. The harmony general conference was formed, to which between their ecclesiastical and political delegates are sent from each county con- forms of government is apparent; nor is ference; but “ no ecclesiastical power or it too much to say, that the republicanism authority shall ever be assumed by it, or of the church was the father of the reby the delegates to it.”
publicanism of the state. The English In Rhode Island, an evangelical asso- prelates were not far wrong, when they ciation of ministers was formed in 1808. censured the Puritans as cherishing prin. The next year the name was changed to ciples which, in their development, would that of the “Evangelical Consociation," overthrow both hierarchal, and regal desby which it is now known. It has merely potism. “ In New England the war of an advisory jurisdiction over the churches. the Revolution commenced.”t. In New
In Michigan, a general association was England was devised, and carried into formed in 1842. By its articles of union, effect, that systern of school education, no judicial authority can be exercised which has made her people more generally over the ministers, or churches belonging intelligent than the people of any other to it. Its prospects are thought to be portion of our continent. In New Eng. highly encouraging.
land, at the present day, is to be found In New York, many churches, origi- less immorality, vice, and unbelief, than nally founded by Congregationlists, and exists in any other country of equal exafter the Congregational model, have, tent upon the globe. When we recollect, from a desire of harmony, and a more perfect union with their brother Chris.
• The Cambridge Platform is regarded as the tians, of the same doctrinal faith, adopted ground-plan of Congregationlism in this counwholly or in part the Presbyterian disci. try. The system of church polity was drawn pline. In 1834, those churches who had up by the synod which met at Cambridge, retained the Congregational discipline the whole number of churches was thirty-nine
Massachusetts, in the year 1648. At this time formed a general association, in which in Massachusetts, four in Connecticut and both churches and ministers are repre. three in New Hampshire. This was twentysented : lay delegates representing the seven years after the landing at Plymouth, and former. The number of churches and seventeen after the settlement of Boston. ministers connected with this body, is an
Congregationalism was confined almost ex
clusively to the New England States until so nually increasing.
late as the year 1800. Since that time this The number of Congregationlists in denomination has extended considerably into each state of the Union, the writer has many of the other States of the Union. not been able to ascertain.
At this time there are in the Middle and In 1841, the number of churches re
Western States, 325 churches; in the six New
England States, 1,270 churches; total in the ported to the general association of Con- United States, in round numbers, one thousand necticut, was 246, and the number of pas. six hundred. In England, the writer says, it tors 211. In Vermont, there are about has been estimated that the Congregational 200 ministers; in New Hampshire, about churches are 1853; in Wales, 463 ; in Scot
land, 103; in Ireland, 24 ; in British Provin. 150; in Rhode Island, 16; in New York,
ces, 78; all which, added to those in this 150.
country, make the total of Congregational By the census of 1840, the number of churches in Great Britain and America, someCongregational ministers is rated at 1150 ; thing over four thousand.-C. Observatory. of congregations, 1300, and of members, + Daniel Webster.
that for near two hundred years after its of which has just been published. It is settlement, there was scarcely a single a full, impartial, and able work. A hischurch of any other denomination within tory of Congregationalism by the same its limits, “ to Congregationalists and to author will, when completed, be a very Congregational principles it must chiefly be valuable addition to our stock of histori. ascribed, that New England is what it is." cal knowledge. Much information will
Those who desire more particular in- also be found in Dr. Bacon's “ Church formation of the principles of the Con- Manual,” Mr. Mitchell's “Guide,” Dr. gregationalists, are referred to “Punchard Hawes' “Tribute to the Pilgrims,” and on Congregationalism,” the second edition | Prof. Upham's “ Ratio Disciplinæ.”
THE DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH.
BY W. C. BROWNLEE, D. D.,
In presenting this brief detail, I shall, testant religion. From this era the Dutch I. Give a sketch of the history of our
became a great and powerful nation. Comchurch;
merce, literature and religion flourished to II. State its doctrines ;
an extraordinary degree. And to our days,
Holland has been pre-eminently distinIII. Its
government; IV. Its form of worship;
guished for her devotion to religion and
literature. Hence her primary schools, V. Its statistics.
her academies, her universities, and paroI. The Dutch Reformed Church is the chial churches, and hence the number of oldest church in the United States, which her learned men, and her pious and deadopts the Presbyterian form of church voted ministers in the national church. In government. Its history begins with the the midst of her extensive commercial history of New York and New Jersey. It enterprises she did not lose sight of the is a branch of the national Church of Hol- Christian duties she owed to those with land ; and is formed exactly on its primi- whom she traded. Her ships, which tive, simple, and scriptural model, in every visited all lands, were instrumental, in the point.
hands of her pious sons, of carrying the The struggle in Holland for religion and glorious gospel to many countries. The liberty was severe and protracted. But, East Indies and the adjacent islands, the by wisdom and piety in the cabinet, and West Indian Islands, and our own contiby a succession of gallant achievements nent, bear lasting proofs of this in the exin the field, against the arms of the isting monuments of the fruits of the labors bigoted and ferocious Spaniard, the Dutch of her missionaries and pious immigrants. by divine aid secured their national inde- The Dutch West India Company were pendence and the enjoyment of the Pro- the first who carried the ministers of the