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churches, each pastor who presides over
III. ITS CHURCH GOVERNMENT. a church, is strictly, according to the word of God, a Christian bishop. For, by the Our form of government is that which testimony of Paul, (Acts xx. 5, 17, and has been adopted by all the churches of 28,) every presbyter or teaching elder, is the Reformation in Holland, France, a bishop.
Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, with the We reser the reader for further parti. exception of England, —which is governed culars in reference to the Reformed by diocesan bishops, and of the famous Churches and our church, as one of Puritans of Old and New England, whose them, to our Confession of Faith, cate form is that of independency. We refer chism, and canons, in the book of our to our form in our Book of the Church. church. This, we repeat, is the canoni- Our primary court is that of the consistory, cal book also of the German Reformed the same as that called a session in the Church, the French Church, and the Swiss Presbyterian Church. This consists of Church. These are usually bound up the three distinct offices: ministers or with our psalms and hymns, and are in bishops, elders, and deacons. The deaevery body's hands who chooses to ex- cons in our church have no right to preach. amine them.
We adhere strictly to the scriptural insti. In regard to our “ liturgy,” we have to tution of that office, as detailed in Acts vi. state that it contains, as every one sees. They have the care of the poor; and take prayers carefully adapted to persons in charge of the alms and the proper distri. various circumstances, public and private. bution of them. Our church discounBut these are designed, now, simply as tenances the office of trustees, especially models, not as regular forms. When the of a board of trustees, whose members early reformers, by the grace of God, led are not even required to be members of “the church” out of the long captivity of the church in full communion. The most modern Babylon, they found their people general, I may say the universal, practice extremely ignorant. Hence they needed of ecclesiastical arrangement with us, is helps. They were children, and crippled this : the pastors and elders meet as a in their walk. They needed crutches to spiritual court, to transact spiritual conlean on in their early helplessness. But cerns, such as the admission of members, now, we consider our ministers, elders, exercising discipline, &c. The deacons deacons, and members of our church, as meet statedly, to make provision for the no longer little and lisping children, and poor and make distributions. And the cripples needing crutches. These crutches consistory, composed of the pastor, elders, we throw away, and we walk without and deacons, meets for the transaction of them! This we do because the spirit of all temporal business relating to their own God is really given to all who ask of him church. On important occasions, such as help in prayer. But we have no desire that of calling a minister, the grand con. to interfere with those of our reformed sistory is called together. This is combrethren who deem themselves, as yet, posed of all those individuals who have incapable of doing without these helps for been at any time elders and deacons in the weak ones of the flock.
the church. The only part of our liturgy which is The next court in our church is the enjoined to be read, is this: the Form of classis, corresponding precisely to the Baptism, in order to preserve the uni- presbytery in our sister churches. This formity of vows: together with the short is composed of a minister and an elder prayer, before the vows taken by the from each distinct church, under the care parents; and also the formula of the of the classis. holy communion of the Lord's Sapper. The next court is the particular synod. This the minister reads, while all the Of these we have two, namely, the Synod members, carefully and devoutly follow of New York and the Synod of Albany, him, with the form open before them, in or the Southern and Northern Synods. their scats. This is the amount, and the These consist of two ministers and two proper use of our liturgy.
elders from each classis within its bounds. The highest court, from which there is and two books of hymns. It is a rule of no appeal, is the general synod. This our church that each pastor shall lecture also is a representative body. It is com- on a section of our Heidelberg Catechism, posed of three ministers and three elders in the afternoon of the sabbath, so as to from each classis throughout the entire go through the whole in a definite time. church. At its first organization, this These lectures exhibit an entire system of court met triennially; now it meets an. pure and holy doctrine to the people, in a nually, for the despatch of all business regular course. And to this admirable belonging to the church.
system do we humbly and prayerfully In one peculiar feature do we differ from ascribe the uniformity and strictness of our Presbyterian brethren in the United adherence to pure doctrine in our churches. States and Scotland. In the different The design is to secure doctrinal preaching, branches of these most eminently distin- and that of the entire system, to our peoguished churches, their elders are chosen ple, in a regular course, from year to year. for life. With us they are chosen to serve for two years in succession. And if they
V. THE STATISTICS. do their duty they are again eligible, after having been out of their office one year. The annual report for 1843 presents If they have not fulfilled their office to this summary of the church : There are edification, they may be left off the ticket; twenty classes ; two particular synods, and no offence is given or taken. This, that of New York, and that of Albany, we believe, has most essentially contri. under one general synod, the highest court buted to preserve the peace, and promote of appeal, which meets annually. There the edification of the church, and to stir are two hundred and sixty-seven churches, up good men to increased faithfulness to and two hundred and fifty-nine ministers, God and the church.
and twenty-three theological students, at present.
The number of families, as reported, is IV. THE FORM OF WORSHIP.
21,569; the ascertained number of indi. This is nearly the same as that of all viduals in the congregations, 96,302 : total those who adopt the Presbyterian form of in communion, 29,322. The increase of worship. With us, the ancient and time members on confession of their faith, from honored custom and mode is this : the mi- June, 1842, to June, 1843, 3202, by cer. nister and people, who are members, upon tificate, 1021 : total increase in the year, entering the church bow down, and in se.
4223. Baptized in the year: infants, cret worship the King of Zion. In the 2211, adults, 682. Number of catechu. morning, the pastor begins the solemnity mens, 5664; number in biblical instrucof the day by reading the ten command. tion, 3988; the number of sabbath schools, ments; and in the other services of the day, 269; the number of pupils in these, 15,534. by reading a chapter of the holy scriptures.
Our college and theological seminary The assembly then sing ; then there is the are located at New Brunswick, N. j. solemn benediction ; then a brief address, These institutions have been richly encalled the exordium remotum, containing dowed by the liberality of our church. an outline of the subject to be discussed ;*
The two institutions are so far connected, then prayer; then singing ; then the ser. that the theological professors render cer. mon; then a prayer; then a collection of tain important services in the college. The alms for the poor; then singing, and the venerable Dr. Milledoler lately retired from benediction.
these institutions, after having rendered Our psalmody is that which has been for a series of years most valuable services, carefully prepared by a committee of our as professor of didactic and polemic theo . General Synod. It consists of the psalms logy, and as president of the college, which of Watts, greatly improved and enlarged, last laborious office he performed gratui.
tously, with the utmost fidelity and great • This has, by a ate regulation, been left success, for nearly sixteen years. Since discretionary, and by many it is dispensed with. I that, the Hon. A. Bruyn Hasbrouck, a
gentleman of distinguished taste and scho-donor, the proceeds are applied to carry larship, has been elected president. The youth through the college course, as well college is now in very successful operation, as the theological course. under his care, and that of an able and learned faculty. In the theological school, there are three
For farther particulars, I refer the professorships, occupied by distinguished reader to the following: The Outline of men, who instruct the youth for the mi- the History of the Dutch Reformed Church, nistry in every branch of a complete by the late Dr. Romeyn, in the pages of theological course. At the close of the the Christian's Magazine, vol. i.; to the theological year, there is a public theolo- extended Outline of the History of the gical commencement, at which the
Dutch Reformed Church, in the pages of
gra. duating class pronounce, from memory,
the Magazine of the Dutch Church, vol. suitable discourses. This will have a very
ii.; Dr. Gunn's Life of Dr. Livingston ; happy tendency to encourage our youth to The History of New York, by Judge Smith; study, more than heretofore, true pulpit Dr. Janeway's Abstract of the History of eloquence, and tend to bring back the good Rutgers's College ; The Minutes of the old custom of pronouncing, instead of read. Particular and General Synods of the ing, discourses.*
Dutch Reformed Church; The Appendix To the seminary are attached twelve to Dr. Bradford's Sermon of 1813, con. scholarships, for the aid of eminently gifted taining the Address of the Committee of youth, whose hard
lot has been to struggle the General Synod of 1807 ; The Ency. with adversity. The Van Benschooten clopædia of Christian Knowledge, article Fund of $20,000 produces a considerable Dutch Reformed Church ; Watson's Olden annual revenue. By the will of the pious
Times; Olden Times in New York ;
Benedict's History of all Religions; The • By “ pronouncing discourses,” we do not American Quarterly Register, for May, mean “extemporaneous preaching." We mean 1833, and February, 1834; and, finally, the writing fully out of discourses, and deliver Dr. Dewitt's History of the Dutch Re. ing them from memory and judgment. To formed Church, which he is now (1843) preach “ extempore," and without laborious preparation, is one of the worst habits, into preparing by the request of our General which any preacher or minister can fall. Synod.
THE DISCIPLES OF
BY PROF. R. RICHARDSON, OF VIRGINIA.
THEIR RISE, PROGRESS, FAITH, AND unsectarian appellation of “ Disciples of PRACTICE.
Christ,” or by that of “ Christians,” the The religious society, whose members title first given to the followers of our Lord prefer to be known by the primitive and at Antioch, A. D. 41, but who are vari.