nature, so that the whole appellate jurisdiction of the church is limited to its final decision as a Provincial Assembly; having supreme control in its own appropriate sphere, though subordinate to the General Assembly, as to the review and constitutional oversight of its acts.

The synod reviews the records of presbyteries, approving or censuring their proceedings, erecting new presbyteries, uniting or dividing those which were before erected, and taking a general care of the churches within its bounds, and proposing such measures to the General Assembly, as may be for advantage to the whole church. The General Assembly is the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church.

It is not necessary to Presbyterian government, nor is any court higher than the presbytery; but it has the advantage of representing all the congregations of this denomination in one body. It is constituted of an equal delegation of bishops and elders, in the proportion of one minister and one elder from each presbytery; and these are styled, commissioners to the General Assembly.

Since the session of 1840, the Assembly exercises no judicial power, as it had formerly done, the synod now being the highest court of appeal.

In other respects the General Assembly possesses powers analogous to those of the inferior courts, in reviewing the records of synods, and approving or censuring them. It also gives advice on subjects brought up to it in an orderly and consistent manner; and constitutes

; a bond of union among all the churches. To the General Assembly also, belongs the power of deciding in all controversies respecting doctrine and discipline; of reproving, warning, and bearing testimony against error in doctrine, or immorality in practice in any church, presbytery, or synod ; of erecting new synods when it may be judged necessary; of superintending the concerns of the whole church; of corresponding with foreign churches, on such terins as may

be agreed upon by the Assembly and the corresponding body; of suppressing schismatical contentions and disputations; and, in general, of recommending and attempting reformation of manners, and the promotion of charity, truth, and holiness, through all the churches under their care: provided, that all these powers and relations of the Assembly shall be construed as exclusive of all the proper appellate jurisdictions of the church, in cases of a judicial nature. No modification of the constitution, or of constitutional rules can be introduced by the General Assembly, till such modifications shall have been transmitted to the presbyteries, and written answers approving of the same shall have been returned by at least a majority of them. The sessions of the General Assembly are held regularly once in three years. The synods meet annually, and the presbyteries once in six months.

There are provisions also, in the form of government, for convening any one of these judicatories for a special meeting, if any special exigencies shall demand such a step.

The public worship of God in the Presbyterian Church is not conducted by a prescribed liturgy. This church thinks it obvious that no forms of prayer, no prescribed liturgies were used in apostolic times, and she dares not introduce human inventions into the mode of her worship. It cannot be supposed that Paul kneeled down on the shore, when he parted with his friends at Tyre, and read a prayer from a book; or that Paul and Silas used a prescribed form when they prayed at midnight in the prison at Philippi. The Lord's Prayer forms no objection to these views, because it is not given in the same words by any two of the Evangelists. Besides, it contains no clause asking for blessings in the name of Christ, which our Saviour himself solemnly enjoined upon his church, before he withdrew his personal presence. In the subsequent inspired history we find no allusion to this form of prayer, nor any reference to either saying or reading of prayers, both of which modes of expression are natural for those who employ precomposed forms. Socrates and Sozomen, respectable ecclesiastical writers of the fifth century, both declare, that in their day, “no two persons were found to use the same words in public worship.” And Augustine, who was nearly their contemporary, declares in relation to this subject, “There is freedom to use different words, provided the same things are mentioned in prayer."

In forming her “ Directory for the Public Worship of God," the Presbyterian Church regards the holy scriptures as the only safe guide; therefore she does no more than to recommend a judicious arrangement of the several parts of the public service, throwing upon the pastor the responsibility of preparing himself for a proper and edifying performance of those acts of worship, which shall be suited to the ever-changing wants of the congregation.

The sacraments of the church are regarded as being two only: baptism and the Lord's Supper. The former is ordinarily performed by Presbyterians by applying the water to the subject, though they do not deny the validity of immersion. Baptism is administered to adult believers and their infant offspring; but none are admitted to participate in the Lord's Supper who have not given evidence of personal piety, and of understanding the significance of the ordinance.

No rite is looked upon as possessing any intrinsic influence. Presbyterians do not believe that an influence of a mysterious kind passes

from the hands of the presbytery into the spiritual nature of one set apart by them to the sacred office. On the contrary they regard the call to the ministry as proceeding from God. The candidate professes to have been moved by the Holy Spirit to desire the sacred office. He declares that he does, as far as he knows his own heart, seek the office of the holy ministry from love to God, and a sincere desire to promote his glory in the gospel of his Son. When the presbytery is satisfied that these professions have been made sincerely, and understandingly, they impose hands upon the candidate as a solemn recognition of one, whom they believe God has by his providence and grace “ put into the ministry.”

They deny also that any mysterious grace accompanies the water in baptism, or that the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper possess any new qualities after a blessing has been invoked by the officiating clergyman. They look for no other influence from religious rites than that, which results from a wise adaptation for enforcing truth, by striking symbols, and creating hallowed associations. They deprecate the doctrine of the transmission of a power to human hands to create ministers at will, or to convey certainly any grace to sinners, as tending to inflate the ministry with pride, to impart to them an influence which God never intended, and to sink the people into a degrading superstition.

From the same apprehension of the evils of superstition, and from the want of a warrant in the word of God, they reject Godfathers and Godmothers, and the sign of the cross in baptism, and holy days, and kneeling in the Lord's Supper and bowing at the name of Jesus, and the rite of confirmation, and the efficacy of consecrated grounds in the burial of the dead.

The doctrines of the Presbyterian Church are Calvinistic. They are so called, not because Calvin invented them. They were the doctrines of all the leading Reformers; of the Waldenses, for five or six hundred years before the Reformation; of Augustin and the primitive Church, and especially are they distinctly exhibited in the word of God. This system of doctrine is clearly set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

Without pretending to expound fully the great principles, more amply unfolded in the standards of the church, we may say, briefly, that the Presbyterian Church maintains that, since the fall of Adam, and in consequence of his lapse, all men are naturally destitute of holiness, alienated entirely from God, and justly subject to his eternal displeasure. The plan of man's recovery from this state is, from first to last, a system of unmerited grace. The mediation of Jesus Christ, including his instructions, his example, his sacrifice on the cross, his resurrection, ascension, and intercession, are the means of bringing men back to God. Yet these means would be without efficacy, if there were not revealed to man a gratuitous justification through the merit of our Saviour's sacrifice, and if the Holy Spirit did not by his own invisible agency cause sinners to accept a free pardon and salvation. Hence the provisions of mercy are gratuitous, not only de

. pending on the sovereign grace of God, but the disposition to accept these provisions is produced by a sovereign interposition of the divine Spirit. It is evident, from scripture, and from daily observation, that all are not saved; and, consequently, that it was not the original purpose of Him who never changes his plans of operation, to bring all to repentance and faith in the Redeemer. o Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. All the dispensations of his grace, as well as of his providence, and among the rest the effectual calling and salvation of every believer, entered into his plan from all eternity.” “ Yet so as that thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

It is undeniable that these views may be perverted and misrepresented, and rendered odious by drawing inferences from them which Presbyterians do not allow. For such perversions those of no creed are responsible. If we might refer to a single argument in which the distinguishing peculiarities of the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church are most triumphantly maintained, it should be that masterly homily of the Apostle Paul, or rather of the Holy Spirit, dictated to the apostle as his amanuensis, comprised in his Epistle to the Romans.

Whatever odium has been cast upon the Presbyterian Church for holding Calvinistic doctrines, it ought to be remembered that the honour of bearing it does not belong to them. It belongs to all the Reformers, to the symbols of the Synod of Dort, ihe Heidelberg Confession and Catechism, and the Thirty-nine Articles of the Established Church of England, and of the Episcopal Church in this country. If the English Church has fallen into such a spiritual state that the Earl of Chatham was justified in saying, “We have a Popish liturgy, 2 Calvinistic creed, and an Arminian clergy;" and if the churches on the continent of Europe have sunk to a lower condition, because a vigorous dissent has not infused a little spiritual life into the establish. ments: surely the Presbyterians of Scotland and America are not worthy of very severe censure for keeping alive, at the same time, the doctrines of Calvinism and the spirit of piety.

The genius and character of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States of America, has been modified by a union of churches possessing some varieties of feature, while agreeing in the great leading principles of Presbyterian government and Calvinistic doctrine. In 1689, the Presbyterian and Congregational denominations in Great Britain consummated a union of the two denominations, adopting what they call the Heads of Agreement, embracing a few cardinal principles which were to govern them in their fraternal intercourse. This Presbyterian and Congregational union, sent over one of their number, the Rev. Francis McKemie, as a missionary to the new settlements in America. This devoted missionary, who had previously laboured here with apostolic zeal, and who has been properly styled the father of Presbyterianism in America, in connexion with six others, .viz., Messrs. McNish, Andrews, Hampton, Taylor, Wilson, and Davis, in 1704 or 1705, formed the first presbytery in this country, the Presbytery of Philadelphia. This presbytery was formed upon the principles that governed the London association, and was composed partly of Presbyterian, and partly of Congregational churches. The Presbyterianism was that of the Church of Ireland, and was more flexible in its character than that of the Scottish Kirk. It more easily coalesced with the Congregationalism of the English Puritans. The Rev. Mr. Andrews, the first pastor of the first Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, was a Congregational Presbyterian. That church was under the care of the presbytery sixty-four years before they elected ruling elders. Presbyterianism gradually extended itself till, in 1716, the Synod of Philadelphia was formed out of the Presbyteries of Philadelphia, New Castle, Snow Hill, and Long Island. The Church of Scotland, instead of imbibing these principles which resulted in the Union of 1689, and in the establishment of a modified Presbyterianism in America, solemnly bore their testimony against religious toleration. In 1724, those ministers from Scotland who, in the language of Dr. Miller, “ were desirous to carry into effect the system to which they had been accustomed, in all its extent and strictness,” began to insist that the entire system of the Scottish Church be received in this country. The collisions thus occasioned at length subsided in the Adopting Act of 1729, the liberal principles of which were embodied in the following language : “Although the synod do not claim or pretend to any authority of imposing our faith on other men's consciences, but do profess our just dissatisfaction

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