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Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive.
polity was to be devised by the colonies, now that they were independent of the British crown.  This state of things called forth the exercise of human intellect, in more than ordinary measure, to meet the emergency.  Frames of national policy are apt to warp the judgment of good men.  Even Christian ministers are prone to substitute the maxims of human prudence for the precepts of inspiration.  Many divines conceived the idea of conforming the visible church to the model of the American republic.  The plan was projected and advocated, of bringing all evangelical denominations into one confederated unity, while the integral parts should continue independent of each other.  This plan would have defeated its own object, the unity of the visible church, and subverted that form of government established by Zion’s King.  Upon trial by some of the New England Independents and Presbyterians, the plan has proved utterly abortive.

Prior to the Revolutionary war, a Presbytery had been constituted in America, upon the footing of the covenanted reformation.  The exciting scenes and active sympathies, attendant on the Revolutionary war, added to a hereditary love of liberty, carried many covenanters away from their distinctive principles.  The Reformed Presbytery was dissolved, and three ministers who belonged to it, joining some ministers of the Associate Church, formed that society, since known by the name of the Associate Reformed Church.  The union was completed in the year 1782, after having been five years in agitation.

These ministers professed, as the basis of union, the Westminster standards; but the abstract of principles, which they adopted as the more immediate bond of coalescence, discovered, to discerning spectators, that the individuals forming the combination, were by no means unanimous in their views of the doctrines taught in those standards.  Indeed, there were certain sections of the Confession reserved for future discussion, which, in process of time, were wholly rejected.  This attack upon a document, venerable not so much for its age as its scriptural character, gave rise to zealous opposition by some in the body, and ultimately resulted in a rupture.  Two ministers dissented from the majority, left their communion, and proceeded to erect a new organization, styled “The Reformed Dissenting Presbytery.”  This was in the year 1801.  At this date, there were four denominations, in the United States, claiming to be the legitimate successors of the British reformers, viz., the Associate, Reformed, Associate Reformed, and Reformed Dissenting Presbyterians.  Three of these professedly appear under the banner of a standing judicial testimony, which they severally emitted to the public.  The Associate Reformed Church, by judicial declaration and uniform practice, is opposed to this method of testimony-bearing.

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