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equal sincerity. Our prayer is that both | notes in the margin. Acknowledgments may prosper, and only provoke one are due to the Confession of Faith, Cateanother to love and good works, and that chisms, and Directory of the Presbyterian all those churches who hold Christ the Church; The Assembly's Digest ; Dr. head may unite their energies against all Hill's and Dr. Hodge's Histories of the those forms of sin that resist the progress Presbyterian Church; Dr. Miller's Tract of our common Christianity.
on Presbyterianism, and his article on the In preparing the above article, thoughts same subject in the Religious Encyclopæand language have been taken from such | dia ; Judge Rogers’ Charge to the Jury on sources of information as were accessible the trial of the Church case ; Letter of the to us. In doing this it was less trouble Committee ad interim of the General Asand more favorable to typographical beau. sembly, and the Decision of Chief Justice ty, and to rendering the whole readable, Gibson in the case of the Church of York, to avoid frequent quotation marks and Pennsylvania.
THE CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
BY REV. HERSCHEL S. PORTER, A. M.
In presenting a concise view of the ori- the origin of all the religious denominagin, the doctrines, the practice, and the pre- tions of Christendom,—such as the Cathosent extent of the Cumberland Presbyterian lics, the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Church, it will be the object, to make an Baptists, the Quakers, the Presbyterians, impartial statement of such general facts the Methodists, and many others that might as may be deemed important to the reader. be mentioned. Some of these are of greater, Minutiæ and detail could not be expected others of less antiquity. None of them in a history of this character. It is the can trace their origin farther back than wish of the writer, to divest himself of the fifth century; some of them, not more every thing like prejudice, and to present than one or two hundred years ago. the facts in such a manner as to wrong The following was the occasion of the no one, and to do entire justice to all con- origin of the Cumberland Presbyterian cerned. Ecclesiastical history, taken as Church. a whole, or in its several parts and divi. In the close of the last century, and in sions, should be regarded as Christianity the beginning of the present, the moral teaching by example. It is to be hoped, and religious condition of Kentucky and therefore, that none will look upon the Tennessee presented a melancholy aspect. subject as unprofitable and barren. As early as 1770, or thereabouts, Daniel
The light of ecclesiastical and profane Boone, the great western pioncer, at the history enables us to determine accurately, head of some daring adventurers, explored this portion of the United States, then a Immorality marked the conduct of vast forest, filled with frightful savages. church members. Both the clergy and the At the close of the war of Independence, laity were in the habit of drinking intoxia tide of emigration poured into this fron. cating liquors to excess. Whilst this state tier country. This emigration was chiefly of things existed in the church, of course from Virginia and the Carolinas. Such we could look for nothing but the most was the rapidity of it, that, in 1792, Ken- daring impiety in those who were out of tucky was admitted into the union as one its pale. The Sabbath was violated. The of the states of the confederacy; and lowest and most disgusting forms of gaming Tennessee in 1796. Of course, there were carried to the greatest excess. Procould be but few schools or churches, in fanity, that American sin, prevailed in all either of these young states, at this period. circles of life. The writings of Paine and There were but few ministers of the gospel Voltaire had reached those distant and in proportion to the population. Under then frontier parts of the New World, corsuch circumstances there could, of course, rupting many a heart, and blinding many be but little moral restraint, or religious an eye. Infidelity has long been the plague influence. In addition to this, vital piety and curse of our vast western frontier. was at a low ebb in the Presbyterian In those wilds, this poisonous Upas tree churches in this part of the United States. shoots up with a noxious growth. Would
On the restoration of Charles II. in the churches, instead of spending their England, spiritual and Bible religion suf. time in wrangling about Apostolic succesfered a great shock in that country. The sion, and their antiquity, spend their baleful influence extended to the colonies. energies in distributing, in those destitute The Wesleys and Whitefield were raised regions, such books as are among the up, in England, to reform this state of Bridgewater Treatises, or among those things. Those pious men visited this published by the Tract Society, or as the country. But their visits were confined, works of Paley and Brougham on Natural for the most part, to the atlantic coast and Theology, what amount of good might be cities.
effected! Catching some of the spirit and zeal of Where such a state of things as this these noted reformers, the Tenants, con prevails, it will require neither common nected with “ Log College,” Pa., effected men nor common measures to effect a a complete reformation, in the Preshyte- reformation. It required Luther, and Lurian churches, in the Middle and New ther's measures, to effect the Reformation. England states. This reformation, violent, It required John, and John's preaching, to and for a time causing serious divisions, lead the Jewish nation to repentance. The did not extend to the churches of the Pres-warrior accommodates his mode of war. byterian persuasion, to any great extent, fare to the enemy and the country. The in the southern states. This view of church should profit by the example. the subject, bearing in mind the quarter Nothing is more common than to hear whence the people of Tennessee and clergymen, who have never travelled ten Kentucky emigrated, in connection with miles beyond the boundary of their own other existing circumstances, will lead flock, and their thoughts not half so far, us to the conclusion that vital Godliness was at a low ebb in those new states. perimentally, of the New Birth. After preachThe history of the times, as well as the ing, on one occasion, he overheard a pious recollections of the old settlers, confirms elder, in a conversation, regretting that he this. The great doctrine of the New himself a stranger to the first principles of recondemning, by the wholesale, all reli- This religious influence not only extended gious measures which they have not been to surrounding counties, but to surroundin the habit of practising. Paul made ing states. The demand for ministerial himself all things to all men, that he aid every day increased. The cry was, might win souls to Christ. At Athens, he “come over and help us." There was no quoted from heathen poets; at Jerusalem, possibility of those few ministers supply. from the prophets.
should be preaching to others, when he was Birth was but little understood by the mass ligion. This led him to reflection. He ex. of the church members, and but seldom amined his situation ; he felt that he was an heard preached from the pulpit.*
unconverted man. Not long elapsed before he experienced a change of heart. After this, he
became a very efficient preacher. He often * Rev. James M Gready, a talented clergy- preached the necessity of the New Birth to man of the Presbyterian church, had preached members of the church. Something similar a length of time before he knew any thing, ex- to this is related of Mr. Wesley.
ing the demand. They labored with Apos. Rev. James M'Gready and other pious tolic industry and fidelity: yet the deindividuals of the Presbyterian Church, mand seemed to increase. were the instruments under God, of break- The life of the frontier minister has ing up the fatal slumbers of the church, always been one of the greatest toil. He, and thereby working a complete moral literally, takes his life in his hand and reformation in that portion of the vineyard goes forth over the wilderness to seek of God in question. They mourned in the lost sheep. He endures hunger, fasecret ; they wept in public; they prayed ; tigue, thirst, and cold. He passes mounthey preached ; they expostulated. They tains and streams without roads or bridges. came together in religious conferences. Under such circumstances were these men They entered into solemn covenants to laboring. Often were their hearts grieved observe certain hours in concert at a throne when they could not comply with the reof Grace. Like Elijah on the mount, they quest of some distant family, or destitute were not discouraged when they had neighborhood or church, to go and break prayed once, and no answer came. Again to them the bread of life. To the pious they prayed. Still they repeated their soul, it is truly an affecting sight to see prayers. More than to the seventh time people deprived of the means of grace, they prayed. The successful minister has who have a disposition to improve them. always been a man of prayer. Such were Our Saviour is said to have been moved Baxter, Whitefield, and the Tenants. with compassion, when he saw the multi
At length favorable symptoms of the tude scattered as sheep, without a sheppresence of God's grace and spirit, were herd. What was to be done under these seen in several congregations. The in- circumstances ? This was the inquiry of terest increased. It soon spread to other many an anxious heart. congregations and neighborhoods. One After much deliberation and even hesi. general concern about the subject of reli- tation, it was agreed, that, in view of the gion, pervaded every breast. That there were excesses in this revival of religion, of this occurred not in the Cumberland Pres. none would deny. So there have been byterian Church, but in the Presbyterian in almost all works of grace, in all ages Church. These exercises of tumbling, and and all countries.
falling down, were common during the last There is no human blessing which is century, in the Presbyterian Churches, in the
Middle and New England States. In Scotland, not capable of perversion. Usually, the the same has occurred. Once, in the General greater the blessing, the greater the ca. Assembly, whilst in session in Edinburgh. For pability of perversion. We must, at pre- information on this subject, see President Edsent, be content to take things as we
wards' excellent treatise on Revivals of Reli. find them. But, the abuse of a prac- Rev. Dr. Miller, of Princeton, New Jersey, en
gion ; and also a small volume published by tice in some cases, is no good reason to titled, “ Log College.” This “ Log College” neglect it.*
contains materials for one or more volumes of great interest. Rev. James Smith, has pub
lished the most extended history of the Cum• Mach has been said concerning the physi- berland Presbyterian Church, yet extant. This cal results of excessive and immoderate ex history of Mr. Smith, otherwise possessing citement in some instances, connected with some merit, gives an undue prominence to this revival. I allude to bodily contortions and these bodily exercises. In view of this, and convulsions. In some cases these were ex. other representations of a similar character, cessive. But they were never looked upon as this note has been added. The subject, in ita part of religion. They were rather regarded self, is of no importance at this day. And, as a curse. Like most excitements, they were but for what has been published to the world, regarded as somewhat contagious. The whole no notice would have been taken of it.
great ministerial destitution, it would be cal education was one part of the dispute ; right and proper to set young men apart a great and important doctrine the other. to the ministry, who did not enjoy a clas- It was in October, 1802, that the can. sical education. Some three or four, didates in question, after warm opposition whose piety and talents seemed to justify from some of the members, were licensed the step, were encouraged to prepare writ- by Transylvania Presbytery. These young ten discourses and present them to Tran. men should not be looked upon as illiterate sylvania Presbytery, in the limits of which novices. They passed a favorable exam. the revival occurred.
ination on Literature and Theology, by a Previous to being licensed, they were scrupulous and jealous Presbytery. They examined on literature and Theology, and were men of capacity and liberal acquireadopted the Confession of Faith of the ments. They had already proved their Presbyterian Church, with the exception aptness to teach in their pious labors, in of what they believed to be fatality, taught various destitute neighborhoods. They under the name of predestination and elec- boldly confront the Presbytery, and say tion. Here we see a departure from the they cannot believe one of the articles of book of discipline in two things. First, the Confession, because they think it at individuals inducted into the ministry with variance with the word of God. Such out a classical education. This has been was the character of these men who have a matter of frequent occurrence in the too often been called ignorant and illiterate. Presbyterian Church, both before and Tacitus, the Roman historian, in pouring since that period. Individual cases could contempt and scorn on the early Chrisbe mentioned, if it were necessary. Some tians, has proved to posterity one thing: of the most popular preachers of that that is, though he possessed a great mind, church have not enjoyed a classical edu. yet it was swayed by the worst prejudices. cation. So of all the churches. Many if Tacitus regarded the early Christians of our most distinguished statesmen have with no other feelings than contempt, pos. had only an English education. A know- terity, on that subject, has no other feel. ledge of the dead languages is, doubtless, ing than pity for the great historian. In of great advantage to the clergyman, pro- the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, viding it be thorough. But, the way in the Puritans were a common mark of ridi. which the languages are often studied by cule for every popular writer. . . The Theological students, is not only a waste Puritans have lived to see their enemies, of time, but a waste of time at the ex. through their own arts and policy, become pense of a knowledge of the mother highly contemptible. tongue, without which, none can profitably Of all language, satire and ridicule are preach the Gospel.
the most dangerous. It is, as though one The second departure was the adoption were to shoot arrows perpendicularly into of the Confession of Faith, excepting one the air, which would be in danger of fall. of its leading articles. Mental reserva. ing on his own head. tions in the adoption of the Confession, The individuals who were licensed by have long been practised in the Presbyte- the presbytery, just referred to, in due rian Church. It is known that the New process of time, were regularly ordained and Old School divisions of the Presbyte- to the whole work of the ministry. It was rian Church assert, that they hold 10 in October, 1802, that Kentucky Synod widely different doctrines; yet they both divided Transylvania Presbytery, and adopt the same Consession of Faith. Here created a new one, called, Cumberland then, if the Confession be understood, are Presbytery. It will be borne in mind by mental reservations on the part of one, or the reader, that the body of Christians perhaps of both of these divisions. afterwards driven to secession, and now
It has sometimes been affirmed that the known as Cumberland Presbyterians, took original grounds of dispute between the their name from this new Presbytery. Cumberland Presbyterian and the Mother Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Church, were the subject of education. River, names borrowed from England, This is not true. The subject of a classi. I and of high historical renown in that country, will readily enough suggest the been of the utmost value. It is a danger. origin of this title, Cumberland Presby- ous matter to attempt to coerce men, either tery. The names Presbyterian, Episco- politically or ecclesiastically. In the palian, and Congregationalist, have re- struggle between this country and Great ference to certain modes of church govern Britain, for independence, we have a veri. ment. Roman Catholic, Arminian, and fication of this. Whatever may be said Greek Church, to the localities of their of man's selfishness and love of this world, origin. Baptist, to a certain mode of Bap- nothing is so dear to him, at last, as opin. tism. Methodist, to a certain regularity ions. He will forego all things for naked in practice. The Lutherans, borrowed opinions; things that can neither be seen, their name from Luther.
nor felt, nor weighed. The Puritans for. The term Quaker, was originally, one sook home, country and all for their reliof contempt. A name, in itsell, is nothing. gious opinions. So did the early ChrisIt is the spirit, doctrine, and practices of a tians. No force, no connexion, can cause church which should be an object of re- the good man to abandon his principles. gard.
The Commission should have had a better At the fourth meeting of the Cumber- knowledge of human nature, than, with land Presbytery, in 1804, a small minor. hope of success, to have pursued the ity, consisting of three, transmitted a re- course they did, The Presbytery was monstrance to Kentucky Synod, complain called upon to surrender all the men whom ing of what they termed irregularities in it had licensed and ordained, for re-examlicensing and ordaining the individuals ination. above referred to, which solemn acts, it Both the Presbytery and the persons will be borne in mind, had been officially demanded, refused compliance, upon the done by the Presbyterian Church.
Two solemn conviction that it was wroug. of the three remonstrants, afterward left | This refusal was not dictated by a stubborn, the Presbyterian Church. The one be unyielding, perverse disposition of heart, came a New Light; the other was sus. but was the result of conscientious conpended and deposed for becoming a Pela victions. Some of them had flocks. These gian. This is mentioned, to show the they dearly loved. Others were preachorigin of that persecution, that at first was ing on the itinerant plan, in totally desti. gotten up against Cumberland Presbytery: tute regions. Those churches and regions and since has been kept up, from certain without their laborers would be entirely quarters against the Cumberland Presby- destitute. Their labors had been blessed. terian Church. If there be heresy in all This, the remonstrants, the Synod, and this matter, it is among the opposers, not the Commission knew. But they were the opposed. In this world, the few origi. useful, in what some termed, an irregular nate, whether it be good or evil; the mass way. The disciples stopped one from merely follow in the train, without ques. casting out devils, because he did not tioning the justice or injustice of their follow them. The Scribes and Pharisees pursuit. When a current is once set in a murmured because Christ cured diseases certain direction, it is strange what a on the Sabbath day. In both cases irreg. length of time it takes to turn its course. ularity was complained of. The regret Such is the imperfection of human of the old Austrian General was, not so nature.
much that Napoleon defeated him in every But little was said on the subject of the engagement, but that it was done in an remonstrance, until the succeeding meet- irregular way, and in opposition to the ing of the Synod, when a commission established tactics of the day. was appointed to examine the matter of It cannot be supposed, that those who variance.
opposed the proceedings of Cumberland The Commission proceeded to execute Presbytery, except such as afterwards beits task. Cumberland Presbytery, with came New Lights and Pelagians, were in all its candidates and licentiates, was cited heart, opposed to the conversion of souls, to appear before the commission. A little and the extension of the glory of Christ. moderation and charity now, would have | This would not be intimated. Such an