Sketches of North Carolina Chapter XXXI -
Extracts from Minutes of the Synod of the Carolinas from 1502 to 1512
Bethany Church, Oct. 9th,
SYNOD was opened by Rev.
Leonard Prather, with a sermon from Amos iv., 12th, and Rev. WVilliam C.
Davis was chosen moderator. The Presbytery of Orange reported they had
received the Rev. Leonard Prather from the Methodist Church, and that
they had suspended the Rev. M. Thompson: Presbytery of Concord, that
they had dismissed Rev. John Andrews to the Presbytery of West
Lexington. Mr. John Matthews, missionary to the Natches, and Mr. Thomas
Hall, missionary in the Carolinas and Georgia, read reports of their
missionary labors, and for their diligence received the thanks of Synod.
The Synod (after an interval of some years) appointed a Commission of
Synod to attend to the missionary business, and appointed Hugh Shaw,
licentiate of Orange, a missionary to the Natches; and as Mr. Matthews
expressed a desire to return, a commission was ordered for him. The
Presbytery of Orange was directed also to ordain him for the mission,
should he go.
The case from Sinking
Spring, Greenville Presbytery, came up again, and after long
investigation, was put over till next session it was an intricate but
entirely local matter. "'This Synod enjoin it on each Presbytery of
which it is composed, to establish within its respective bounds, one or
more grammar schools, except where such schools are already established;
and that each member of the several Presbyteries make it their business
to select and encourage youths of promising piety and talents, and such
as may be expected to turn their attention to the ministry of the
"Overturned: Whether it
be proper for this Synod to confer on any one who may be well
recommended, a written and formal permission to act in the character of
an exhorter? Synod judged it would be improper, as our book of
discipline does not authorize Synod to grant such permission."
The Presbytery of
Abingdon petitioned Synod to give their consent to an application to the
next General Assembly, to annex said Presbytery to the Synod of
Virginia. "Resolved, that the prayer of said overture be granted;" in
consideration of the difficulties in attending Synod. "As Dr. McCorkle,
from a growing indisposition of body, is incapable of transcribing our
records with conveniency, ordered that the Rev. John Brown be appointed,
and he hereby is appointed, the stated clerk of this Synod."
Buffalo Church, Oct. 6th,
Synod was opened by Rev.
James Hall with a sermon from John vi., 27, and Mr. John Robinson was
chosen moderator. The Presbytery of Orange have added by ordination
Daniel Brown, Andrew Flinn, Malcolm McNair, Ezekiel B. Currie, and John
Matthews ; and the Presbytery of Hopewell, Edward Pharr.
The commission of Synod
reported that they had commissioned eight missionaries within the bounds
of Synod, one of whom, Wm. C. Davis, was to visit the Catawba Indians.
Reports were heard from part of these missionaries. "Ordered that the
Rev. Wm. C. Davis act as a stated missionary to the Catawba Indians
until our next stated session of Synod; that he superintend the school
in that nation, now taught by ,Air. Foster, and that he obtain the
assistance of Rev. James Wallis as far as may be convenient. Ordered,
that the several Presbyteries under our care be directed to pay
particular attention to the subscription business for the support of the
missionaries, especially as we now have promising prospect of teaching
the Catawba Indians to read and pay some attention to the gospel.
"A petition from the
Presbytery of Hopewell was handed in and read, praying the direction of
Synod in the case of John Forbes, who made application to that
Presbytery to be received as a candidate for the gospel ministry. Time
Synod advise the Presbytery of Hopewell to direct their conduct towards
Mr. ,Forbes agreeably to the directions of the book of discipline; and
recommend to time Presbytery of Orange to act In the same manner towards
Mr. Bloodworth and Mr. Maroney, in behalf of whom they made similar
Bullock's Creek church, Oct. 4th., 1804.
Synod was opened by Rev. Samuel Caldwell by
a sermon from Proverbs xiv., 12, and Rev. Humphrey Hunter was chosen
First Presbytery of South Carolina report Duncan Brown and John Couser,
added by ordination ; the Second Presbytery, James Gilleland, jr.; the
First Presbytery of South Carolina reported the death of David E.
Dunlap; and the Second Presbytery of South Carolina, the dismission of
Francis Cuminins to Hopewell Presbytery.
By request of members the Presbytery of
Greenville was dissolved; and the Rev. George Newton and Samuel Davies
were directed to apply to the Presbytery of Concord for admission;
Hezekiah Balch and John Cossan, to the Presbytery of Union; and Stephen
Bovelle to the Presbytery of West Lexington, in Kentucky, or any other
Presbytery in whose bounds his lot might fall.
A commission of Synod was appointed for this
year, to attend to whatever missionary business is left unfinished by
Synod. Rev. Daniel Brown and Malcolm McNair were appointed missionaries
to the Natches for six months or more; and Mr. M1.irphy, licentiate, was
appointed for the lower part of South Carolina.
Overtired—Is it consistent with the
government of the Presbyterian church to admit other denominations, as
churches, to commune with us, and to receive their preachers without
distinction as ministers of the Gospel?" "Answered in the negative;
except through the General Assembly."
Overtured—Is a minister's regular acceptance
of a call from a congregation absolutely necessary to constitute him the
regular pastor of that congregation?" "Answered in the affirmative."
Overtured—How is a fellow Presbyter who
preaches these disorganizing doctrines, viz.: that forms of religion
ought for the most part to be dispensed with; that tokens are
unnecessary; and that it makes no difference whether a man is regularly
licensed by any judicatory, and invites such to preach in his pulpit—to
be dealt with by his brethren in the ministry?" "Answer—Synod direct our
members to our form of government and discipline of our church. The
Synod also express their disapprobation of those things alluded to in
the overture; and declare their strict adherence to the Confession of
Faith and Discipline of our Church; and earnestly recommend to all their
members, the propriety, and absolute necessity, of supporting, so far as
their influence may extend, the Confession of Faith and Discipline of
church, Oct. 3d, 1805.
Synod was opened by Rev. John M. W Wilson
with a sermon from Deut. xxxii., 29, and Rev. James Wallis was chosen
moderator. The first Presbytery of South Carolina reported Murdock
Murphy as ordained; the second Presbytery of South Carolina reported
Benjamin R. Montgomery, and that they had dismissed Robert Wilson,
William Williamson, and James Gilleland, snr., to settle in the State of
Ohio; the Presbytery of Concord reported the death of Lewis F. Wilson.
The commission appointed last year laid
before Synod the minutes and the reports of missionaries. From this it
appeared that the school among the Catawbas had been continued at
considerable expense; at first the Indians were much interested in the
instructions and exhortations of the teacher, but after a while grew
weary; that there had been but little preaching among them. The prospect
not flattering. Mr. Smylie made a favorable report of his mission to the
Mississippi territory, and presented a letter from a congregation
addressed to Synod, asking for further aid.
A commission of Synod was appointed to
attend to the missionary concerns of the Synod, to hold their first
meeting in New Providence, the first Tuesday of November next.
Rev. Samuel C. Caldwell was directed to
write to the Presbyteries of Orange and Union on the subject. of their
not being represented in Synod for some time; the Presbytery of Orange
since 1802, and the Presbytery of Union since 1799.
Synod being informed that certain persons
within their bounds had petitioned the Assembly to receive them into
connection by the name of the Presbytery of Charleston, without being in
connection with the Synod of the Carolinas, proceeded to draw up a
remonstrance to the Assembly against their being received in such
circumstances, as unconstitutional, and reflecting on the Synod.
Olney, October 2, 1806.
Synod was opened by Rev. Humphrey Hunter,
with a sermon from 2 Tim. iii., 16; and Rev. James Stephenson chosen
moderator. The First Presbytery of South Carolina reported George Reid;
Orange, James Smylie, as a missionary to the Natches.
The Overture handed in last session
respecting a stated clerk, was taken up, and after consideration, "the
Synod determined to adopt the measure proposed ; on which the Rev. John
B. Davies was chosen to act as stated clerk for Synod. He was directed
to transcribe the minutes of our preceding session in a proper book, for
which service the Synod determined to allow him the sum of three dollars
for each annual session, and the sum of ten dollars yearly from the
present term for performing the services specified in the above
mentioned overture." (in consequence of this order Mr. Davies
transcribed the minutes of the preceding sessions in a large folio, and
continued to be the clerk of Synod while it existed. The records, in his
handwriting from 1788 to 1813, the time the Synod of the Carolinas
existed, cover 422 folio pages, were correctly kept, and written in an
uncommonly plain hand.)
Overtured,—That Synod petition the Assembly
for a division to form two Synods, one to be known by the name of North
Carolina and the other South Carolina.
The commission of Synod reported that they
had done nothing a part of them had received a report of a missionary
that should have been presented to the preceding Synod.
The Synod appointed three missionaries, Dr.
James Hall, Wm. H. Barr, a licentiate of Orange, and Mr. Thomas J. Hall,
to itinerate within their bounds.
A letter was addressed to the Presbyteries
urging a fuller attendance on Synod, accompanied by a resolution to call
absentees to a strict account; and that a letter of citation be
addressed to them. Instances were given of great punctuality, such as
being present at twenty meetings of Synod out of twenty-one (Dr. James
Hall is the person referred to, who commenced attending the Synod of New
York and Philadelphia).
Overtured,—That this Synod give their
opinion respecting the propriety of ministers of the gospel accepting
and holding civil offices, which divert their attention from their
ministerial duty, and bring reproach on the sacred ministry; and as this
Synod do highly disapprove of such conduct, Resolved, That those
Presbyteries where such instances are to be found, adopt the most
effectual measures to induce such ministers to lay aside such offices,
and devote themselves wholly to their ministerial duties. And if the
Presbyteries should meet with any difficulties in dealing with such
members, they are required to apply to the General Assembly for
instructions in such case."
"Resolved, That Synod publish 1000 copies of
the following pamphlets, viz. the Rev. John Andrews's pamphlet, entitled
A Brief Essay on Natural and Moral Inability, and two pamphlets written
by the Rev. John P. Campbell in reply to Mr. Stone."
Rocky River, Oct. 1st, 1807.
Synod was opened by Rev. James W. Stephenson
with a sermon from Micah ii., 3, last clause; and Moses Waddel was
chosen moderator. Added to Presbytery of Concord, Thomas J. Hall and
Andrew S. Morrison; second Presbytery of South Carolina, Daniel Gray;
Presbytery of Union, Isaac Anderson, Charles Coffin, Matthew Donnell,
and Joseph D. Lapsley.
A memorial from the Second Presbytery of
South Carolina was read, complaining that. the First Presbytery of South
Carolina does not discipline a member of theirs, Wm. C. Davis, for
preaching erroneous doctrine, though known by Presbytery to hold and
preach such doctrine. "To give a complete list of the doctrines we have
in view, even as far as they are known to us, we think would be quite
unnecessary in this communication. It may, however, be proper to
mention, that Mr. Davis affirms and industriously propagates, that what
has been termed the passive obedience of Christ is all that the law of
God can, or does require, in order to the justification of the believer
; and that his active obedience is not imputed. He also affirms and
teaches that faith precedes regeneration, and is not a holy exercise,
nor has anything holy in its nature. * * * * Now, although neither we
nor the Presbytery to which he belongs can prevent Mr. Davis from
believing Whatever he may think proper, yet we deem it somewhat more
than indecorous that any member in our communion should be allowed
intentionally to teach doctrines manifestly contrary to that system we
are supposed to believe and preach."
Synod after consideration directed the First
Presbytery of South Carolina to attend to this matter "as duty and
discipline may direct."
The Presbytery of Union applied for leave to
apply to the General Assembly to be connected with the Synod of
Virginia: Synod, satisfied that the Presbytery were unanimous in the
application, granted the request.
Dr. Hall made report of
his missionary services ; also Mr. Thos. Hall, and Mr. William H. Barr.
Their reports were entered on record, exhibiting great industry and much
labor. A committee of missions was appointed for the ensuing year, of
whom Dr. Hall was to be moderator, to hold their first meeting at Steele
Creek church on the third Wednesday of November.
"Ordered, that the Synod send up to the
General Assembly the following question:—Whether elders from vacant
congregations have the same constitutional right to a seat in Synod
which they have in Presbytery?"
The missionaries this year refer to a state
of things in their route, which had called the attention of the
missionaries in former years, and is perhaps best expressed in the
report of Dr. Hall for this year:—"Approaching the low country (in South
Carolina), the professors of religion became less, and the bigoted
attachment to party doctrines appeared to be stronger. These doctrines,
which they call their principles, are so frequently brought into the
pulpit, that sometimes a private member of one of those denominations,
when he goes to hear a preacher of the other, expecting what will come
forward, has his scriptural notes prepared, and reads them against the
doctrines delivered : on which issue is joined, and the doctrines are
debated in the presence of the congregation. From these, and other
circumstances, it appears that few attend on the preaching of the gospel
except the bigoted adherents to their respective parties."
Sugaw Creek church, Oct. 6th, 1808.
Synod was opened by Rev. Benjamin R.
Montgomery, with, a sermon on Heb. ii., 3, first clause; and the Rev.
John M. Wilson was chosen moderator. Presbytery of Orange report W. L.
Turner from Virginia, and James K. Burch ; and that they had suspended
Leonard Prather from the office of minister of the gospel. The Second
Presbytery of South Carolina reported, "lost by death, Rev. John
Simpson, and Dr. Thomas Williamson, a licentiate."
The commission of Synod reported, that they
had met and appointed Dr. Hall, Rev. E. B. Currie, and Mr. Wm. H. Barr,
missionaries in their bounds during part of the past year. The
missionaries were called on; Mr. Currie had not received a commission.
The others read long and interesting reports, of one of which the Synod
made the following minute, viz.—"The Rev. Dr. Hall read a report, in
which he gave a particular account of the state of that part of the
country where he travelled, and stated that lie thought it would be more
advisable to cherish our own vacancies, than to attempt to establish new
societies in these bounds and particularly recommended vigorous
exertions on the part of Synod, to encourage the education of young men
for the gospel ministry, lie further stated, that he travelled, during
his mission, 1132 miles, and preached forty times, and received $64,68."
Mr. Barr united with Dr. Hall, respecting the change of missionary
action from the itinerant, to the supplying our vacancies with more
regular preaching. The Synod passed a vote of thanks to both these
laborious men. In urging the cause of education, Dr. Hall
says—"Otherwise, our churches, if any should remain, must be supplied
with ignorant and illiterate preachers, or they must receive foreigners,
which past experience has for the most part shown not to be very
eligible; as we may expect little besides the dregs of European
churches. Should none of these be the case, our people must sink into
ignorance and barbarism, and stand exposed to every erroneous wind of
doctrine." Mr. Barr appears to have been a most devoted missionary.
A. commission of Synod was appointed, "to
regulate the whole of the missionary business, to meet the first
Wednesday of November, at Unity Church, Indian Lands, of which Dr. Hall
was appointed moderator."
The First Presbytery of South Carolina being
called on to report their doings respecting Rev. W. C. Davis, on the
complaint handed in to last Synod, reported that after hearing Mr.
Davis's explanations they had not done anything; and put the following
question, viz. " Whether the holding and propagating any, and wheat
doctrines, apparently repugnant. to the letter of the confession of
faith, will justify a Presbytery in calling a number to public trial?"
The Synod, not satisfied with this report, appointed a committee
consisting of Rev. James Hall and General Andrew Pickens, of Second
Presbytery, South Carolina, to propose a minute to direct the Presbytery
in its future proceedings. This committee brought in a minute winch was
amended and adopted, of which the following is all that is important,
viz. "Resolved, that the Second Presbytery of South Carolina be directed
to meet immediately on this ground, and if they have any charges to
state against Mr. Davis, that they be immediately exhibited according to
the discipline of our church, before the First Presbytery of South
Carolina, together with the names of the witnesses, should they deem it
necessary to call witnesses in the case. And that the foregoing purposes
may be answered, the First Presbytery= of South Carolina is directed to
constitute immediately to receive such charge as the Second Presbytery
may think dutiful to lay before them : and to furnish Mr. Davis with a
copy of the charge, together with the names of the witnesses. That the
Synod direct the moderator of tic First Presbytery of South Carolina to
call an occasional meeting on the third Wednesday of November next, to
confer with lr. Davis on the doctrines specified in the memorial of the
Second Presbytery of South Carolina, and such other doctrines as may be
thought by them advisable. And that they take a record of all the
questions put to Mr. Davis, particularly relative to these matters,
together with his answers, that all concerned may have the fullest
information and satisfaction that the nature of the case allows."
Overture.—"Should the qualifications of
parents offering their children for baptism be the same as would entitle
them to the 'Lord's Supper? Answered in the affirmative."
"The committee appointed to draught a minute
on the subject of intercourse and communion with the Methodist church,
introduced one which was amended and adopted, and is as follows, viz.:
Whereas, the Methodist church embraces doctrines that we are far from
considering orthodox, and as they are in the habit of insinuating that
Presbyterian ministers are mercenary in their calling,—of speaking
disrespectfully of our church, and endeavoring to withdraw members from
our communion; therefore, to avoid all feuds, animosities and
contentions with that people, the Synod recommend that all unnecessary
intercourse with them be avoided,—that our brethren in the ministry be
careful to teach all the doctrines of our holy religion as contained in
our Confession of Faith and Catechism; and at particular times, when
prudence and duty may direct, to explain and establish those doctrines,
which we believe the church alluded to has misunderstood, if not
Synod do highly disapprove of holding communion with the Methodist
church, as a church; but in certain cases occasional communion may be
permitted. And we recommend that in those cases in which communion may
be requested, that our ministers deal with such applicants, as with
those who may make application for the first time, within our church. We
also recommend that members of our own church, who, without time
approbation of the session, invite Methodist preachers to preach in our
congregations, and who assiduously endeavor to gain proselytes to the
Methodist church, be dealt with by their respective sessions as
we finally recommend that the several Presbyteries under our care be
particularly careful to furnish their vacancies with the means of
information upon the peculiar doctrines of our holy religion, by
disseminating amongst them catechisms, and other orthodox books, and by
frequently granting them such supplies as may be in their power."
"The following dissent was tabled, viz.: We,
whose names are underwritten, beg leave to dissent from the decision of
Synod on the above case, for the following reason; that the Methodist
Church is alone implicated, when it is known that the ministers of other
denominations have made impositions on congregations belonging to our
church; and request that this our dissent be entered on the minutes of
J. D. KILPATRICK.
Tent, Oct. 5th, 1809.
Synod was opened by Rev. John M. Wilson,
with a sermon from Acts xx., 24; and the Rev. Robert B. Walker was
chosen moderator. The Presbytery of Orange reported John McIntyre, and
that the suspension had been removed from Leonard Prather; the first
Presbytery, South Carolina, reported the death of Joseph Alexander, D.D.
At the close of the last session, provision
was made for the calling an extraordinary meeting; the moderator of the
last session informed Synod that lie had directed the moderators of the
several Presbyteries to issue citations to their respective members, to
attend at Steele Creek on the first Tuesday of March, 1809 but high
waters prevented a meeting.
The commission of Synod reported that they
had commissioned Dr. Hall and Rev. Andrew Flinn, to act as missionaries
in the vacancies in the bounds of Synod; Mr. FLinn did not act, but Dr.
Hull had performed service. His report was read to Synod. He was absent
four months and thirteen days, preached sixty-nine times, held three
communions amid several evening societies, and travelled 1545 miles. The
following are extracts from his report:
Previously to his departure from home, he
had extracted four hundred and twenty questions from our Confession of
Faith, which embraced the most important doctrines contained in that
system, and disseminated them through eight of our vacancies, for the
perusal of the people until lie should return to finish his mission, at
which time they were to be called upon for public examination." The
success attending this effort, he reports as having been very
encouraging. The following extract refers to the exercises which had
prevailed estensively beyond the Catawba among the congregations he
the satisfaction of Synod and others to whom this report may conic, your
missionary begs indulgence in being somewhat particular in the case of
Knobb Creek congregation. He visited them with much pleasure, and spent
some considerable time among them, both in November and April. Some of
the most intelligent and apparently pious of them, told him that since
they have come to look back and reason on their past extravagant views,
feelings, and exercises, they are filled with horror as to themselves,
and gratitude to Cod, that they were not given over to the most wild and
delusive fanaticism; that when they hear or read of the horrid and
extravagant conduct of the Shakers in the Western States, they are
filled with horror at their former situation, as it now appears to them
that if those people had then come among them, they seemed prepared to
run with them into all their extravagance and enthusiasm. The following
account your missionary had from one of their members, who formerly did,
and still does sustain an eminently pious character. When I fell into
those extraordinary exercises I found such pleasure in them that I would
not think of parting with them; yet when they were off, I found the
power of religion so declining in my heart, that I was conscious that in
that state I never need expect to enter the kingdom of heaven; and they
have cost me many sleepless hours in prayer and wrestling- with my own
wretched heart, before I could give them up.' Let none, however, from
this statement, take occasion to think unfavourably or even lightly, of
those deep and heart-affecting exercises, both distressful and joyous,
to which no doubt we have all been witnesses, and many of which, if we
judge by their fruits, we have reason to believe, were produced by the
powerful operations of the Holy Spirit, by which, from an overwhelming
sense of olivine things, those effects Were produced on the body; as the
exercises of the above society respected not only their spiritual but
also their temporal affairs, managing their farms, assisting each other
in daily labor, and especially the marriage of young people one with
of that congregation whom your missionary and other members of Synod had
for many years known to be a man of established religious character, had
removed to Tennessee, being then under suspension with many others, by
Presbytery, for adhering to those extravagances, and who returned on
business when your missionary was in that neighborhood. He told him that
he had steadfastly adhered to his former system; was filled with the
deepest prejudices against Presbytery; was highly disgusted with his
fellow members when he heard that they had submitted to the requisitions
of Presbytery, as it appeared to him like giving up the cause of God,
until the then last preceding August; without any human means, or
anything but what he must ascribe to the sovereign mercy and grace of
God, his eyes were opened to see the absurdity of his conduct,
especially that of spurning at the government of the church, and of
private members attempting to administer the sealing ordinances of the
missionary was a witness to his ample and solemn acknowledgment of his
error, and to an admonition which he received before the session of
Knobb Creek, in conformity to the judgment of Presbytery; which
admonition he received not only with suitable humility, but expressions
of gratitude and thankfulness in being fully restored to the communion
of the church. The above example appeared to be the prevailing
disposition of the society, except a few individuals, who seemed to
retain a smack of their former principles; but without the least
appearance in their conduct. Those were so inconsiderable, that they had
no influence in the society,"
In conclusion, lie pressed the subject of an
educated ministry, pleading the necessities of the church as reasons for
great activity in raising up a proper ministry.
In order the better to understand this
report, it may be observed that, in the year 1801, the Presbytery of
Orange appointed Rev. Messrs. S. C. Caldwell, John M. Wilson, Humphrey
Hunter, and elders, Messrs. John McKnitt Alexander, Thomas Harris, Jacob
Alexander, Isaac Alexander, Hugh Parks, and Robert Stephenson, a
committee to visit Long Creek, and take up the irregularities of Long
Creek and Knobb Creek, on the subject of religion.
They performed the duty assigned; and upon
inquiry found that some of the laymen laid claim to special divine
guidance, and had administered the ordinances of the Supper and of
Baptism, being moved, as they said, by a divine impulse. For these and
other irregularities many were suspended from the privileges of the
The case of
Rev. Wm. C. Davis before the First Presbytery of South Carolina came up.
Upon inspecting the records of the Presbytery it appeared that the
Second Presbytery had tabled charges against Mr. Davis, but did not
appear to prosecute at the time fixed to meet Mr. Davis. That the First
Presbytery heard Mr. Davis, and pronounced sentence. The charges were,—"
1st, He affirms and industriously propagates that what has been termed
the passive obedience of Christ is all that the law of God can, or does
require in order to justification of the believer, and that his active
obedience is not imputed."
"2d. He also affirms and teaches that saving
faith precedes regeneration, and has nothing holy in its nature, as to
its first act.
That the Divine Being is bound by his own law, or, in other words, by
the moral law.
"4th. That Adam was never bound to keep the moral law, as the Federal
Head or Representative of his posterity; or, in other words, that the
moral law made no part of the conditions of the covenant of works."
Mr. Davis admitted the charges, and
explained them: That Christ's active righteousness gave efficiency to
the atonement, but was not imputed :—that the first act of faith was
before regeneration, and of consequence not holy, though acts of faith
afterwards might be holy:—that the moral law was the standard of
perfection and holiness, and so applied to God without derogation:—that,
though the moral law had an immediate consequential connection with the
condition of the covenant, either as to the keeping or breaking said
covenant, yet it is not the guilt of transgressing the moral law that is
imputed to Adam's posterity, but only the guilt of eating the forbidden
Presbytery condemned the tenets as contrary to the Confession, and
unsound; but, on the score of liberty of opinion and latitude of
expression, did not condemn Mr. Davis for holding them as worthy of any
church censure, though they considered him guilty and in some degree
censurable, for his imprudence in expressing himself.
The Synod was dissatisfied with this course,
as by no means coming up to their directions of last year, or the
exigencies of the case; took up the matter, and were proceeding to
investigation and trial for decision, having by vote determined they had
a right so to do, when Mr. Davis protested, and appealed to the
Assembly. The Synod finally remitted the case to the Assembly; and also
an overture respecting the book Mr. Davis had published, denominated the
Gospel Plan, in which his sentiments were expressed at large.
On request, the Synod constituted a
Presbytery out of the territory of three others, to be known by the name
of Harmnony, to consist of the following members:—Rev. George McWhorter,
Andrew Flinn, and John Couser, of the First Presbytery of South
Carolina; John R. Thompson, of Hopewell Presbytery; to meet for the
first time in the city of Charleston, on the first Wednesday of March,
1810, and that Rev. Andrew Flinn, or the senior member present, preside
and open the Presbytery.
Synod appointed a committee, consisting of
Rev. James Me1cc, Samuel C. Caldwell, John Robinson, and John M. Wilson,
to meet at Poplar Tent, the second Wednesday in November, to prepare a
pastoral letter for the churches, warning them against the errors
propagated by Mr. Davis; and that they commit the letter, when prepared,
to Dr. Waddel, to superintend the printing and circulation, in proper
proportion, among the Presbyteries.
Fair Forest, Oct. 4th, 1810.
Synod was opened by Rev. Robert B. Walker,
with a sermon from 2d Corinth. iv., 7; and Rev. Samuel Stanford was
chosen moderator. Second Presbytery of South Carolina reported Wm. H.
Barr; the Presbytery of Orange, that they had dismissed John Gillespie
to the Presbytery of Pransylvania, and James K. Burch to Presbytery of
Philadelphia; and had received Wm. McPheeters from Presbytery of
Lexington, Va., and had licensed Benjamin R. Rice.
The resolutions and decision of the General
Assembly, in the case of Wm. C. Davis, referred to them at the last
Session of Synod, were read. After various propositions, and much
consultation, it was resolved that the First Presbytery of South
Carolina be dissolved, and the members be annexed as follows:—Rev. W. C
Davis, pastor of Bullock's Crock; Robert B. Walker of Bethesda; John B.
Davies of Fishing Creek and Richardson; Thomas Necley of Purity and
Edmonds ; with George Reid. without a charge; and the vacancies of
Waxhaw, Unity, Bethel, Hopewell, Beersheba, Yorkville, Shiloh, and
Salem, be, and hereby are, joined to the Presbytery of Concord; and that
Rev. Robert McCullock and John Foster, without charges; SamueI H. Yongue
of Lebanon and Mount Olivet, with the vacancies of Concord. Horeb, Sion,
Aimwell, Catholic, Beaver Creek, and Hanging Creek, be, and hereby are,
joined to the Presbytery of Harmony." The name of the Second Presbytery
of South Carolina was changed to Presbytery of South Carolina.
Overtured, Are lotteries even for religious
purposes, such as building churches, &c., consistent with the morality
of the gospel?" referred to the Assembly.
Dr. Hall read his report of missionary
service at great length. His first tour commenced October., 25, 1809,
and ended December 14th. After his return from the General Assembly, to
which he was a delegate, lie commenced his tour again on the 16th of
June, 1810. Of this tour, the following extracts are the most important,
and of abiding interest. (He carne in contact with two characters who
must be noticed.) his tour was among the Scotch between the Cape Fear
and Pedec Rivers.
Extracts from the Report.
"Mr. Lindsay, whose name has been mentioned
above, and Mr. McDiarmid, still continue to preach and administer
sealing ordinances, although they have been both deposed, many years
since, from the ministry of the gospel, by the Presbytery of Orange.
They command influence over thousands of their countrymen from Scotland;
although common fame says they persevere in habits of intemperance in
the use of ardent spirits. Mr. Lindsay's adherents acknowledge as to
him, and Mr. McDiarmid's say he only takes a refreshment. This is said
to be the frequent practice of both; that they and their parishioners,
after worship, even on Sabbath evenings, repair to a house where spirits
are sold, and spend the evening in drinking, and sometimes deal out such
hard blows to each other, that not long since some of them were adjudged
by court to pay $40 each, on one of these occasions.
"Your missionary visited both the above
preachers at their own houses, and conversed largely with them in
presence of some of their people. Mr. L. complained much to him of the
conduct of the Presbytery in his case. He was asked why he did not
appeal to Synod. He said there he was in an error. He was informed that,
although the time limited for appealing was long since elapsed, yet,
perhaps, he might still have a hearing. To this he replied, that he
understood we were all of one sort. And being asked what sort was that,
he replied, it was friends to the new religion; and that for not falling
in with that, he had been deposed from the ministry. In short, he seemed
to have no relish for conversation on any of those subjects, and
endeavored, by every possible means, to turn the current of conversation
into some different channel.
"Mr. McD. was much more pliant, and
professed a strong desire to be united to the Presbytery. This also
appeared to be the desire of many of his people. Your missionary had
three different conversations with him, the last of which was at his own
house, in presence of two elders, and a respectable Scotch merchant from
Fayetteville. He seemed all submission, and requested your missionary,
as did also the above gentleman, to write to Presbytery on the subject,
which he did, and delivered the letter to Mr. McD. The company were then
called to dinner; but before we arose, Mr. McD. exhibited evident marks
of intoxication. To proceed on fair ground, your missionary inquired
privately at all the above gentlemen, who were all of the same opinion.
The letter lay in an accessible place, from which your missionary took
it up and asked Mr. McD.'s pardon for recalling it. He was asked the
reason by Mr. McD., and lie was pointedly told it was because he had
meddled too freely with ardent spirits. He fell into a violent passion
and ran out of the house. The gentleman from Fayetteville followed and
pacified him so as to return. Your missionary and the elders then bade
him good bye, and withdrew without further ceremony."
(The next day, Sabbath, he read the letter
to the people explained the circumstances and exhorted them to examine
their case; and appealed to the elders who were now there for the truth
of his statements. On leaving the place some said, "we have heard the
truth to-day;" others said—"few would have dared to say that.")
"Mr M'Intyre, whose people live in a blended
state with those of Mr. L., is gaining considerable ground on the
latter. This need not be thought strange, considering the striking
contrast between the characters of the men. Many families have lately
come over to Mr. M'Intyre; and frequently young people of families who
adhere to Mr. L. are taken with convictions under Mr. ,M'I's preaching.
In this case some are afraid to go home, for fear of the lash ; and your
missionary has seen young people in a state of banishment from their
father's house on account of their attachment to religion. In short, the
state of both the aged and young who are under the influence of those
two men baffles description nor would such particular history of their
and their people's case have been given, were it not to attract the
attention of Synod to that unhappy and deluded people. And their
unhappiness does not arise only from the examples set before them; but
their teachers are said to be industrious in propagating falsehoods
among them, to prejudice them against our Clergy;—asserting that we have
cast off the Westminster Confession of Faith, and have made one of our
own; that we are all become Methodists, and have departed from the
principles of Presbyterianism, and that there is not now a Presbyterian
minister in the United States except themselves, &c. &c. In a particular
manner they attempt to prepossess the minds of their adherents against
the young Scotch ministers in those parts, representing them as
ignorant, illiterate blockheads, &c., although the fruits of their
labors manifest that they are able and successful ministers of the New
Testament. And it appears to have been a wise and happy dispensation of
Providence for that part of the State, that such a set of young men were
raised up and qualified to preach the gospel immediately before the
commencement of the revival; especially as they were able to preach in
both the English and Gaelic languages. Wherever they have been placed
the revival has predominated under their ministry. And notwithstanding
the many thousands of miles your missionary has travelled during the
last ten years, he has not been in any place where religion has
flourished more, nor the power of it kept up with more energy than under
"There have been what may be called miracles
of grace among Mr. L.'s adherents. An elder of Mr. L.'s, about 50 years
old, had been an early subject of the revival, and became a zealous
professor of religion; but on that account was so persecuted by his
neighbors, his wife, and especially Mr. L., his situation became so
insupportable to him that lie went about forty miles from where he lived
and bought a plantation, on which he improved and raised two crops
before his family, which lie occasionally visited, would remove with
His wife was
strongly attached to Mr. L., and consequently bitterly prejudiced
against the young Scotch clergy, and all others who were friendly to the
revival, until last summer, it pleased God, when your missionary was in
these parts, to show her in what a lost state she was on account of sin.
This was unknown to him until his last winter's tour to that place, at
which time he visited her at her own house. She appeared then to be
under deep and rational conviction of sin; and although she was an
intelligent woman, and well instructed in the doctrines of the Christian
religion, yet it appeared to him he never conversed with a person more
anxious to obtain religious instruction than she was at that time. Not
long afterwards she professed to obtain the comforts of religion ; and
your missionary can better conceive than express his sensations of mind
in meeting with her and her husband in his visit to that place last
July. She nearly in an ecstasy, and he bursting into tears of gratitude
and joy on account of what Cod had done for his aged companion. During
public worship, where your missionary frequently saw her, she was almost
constantly under bodily agitation lifting up her hands, and it is
believed her heart, in devotional exercises. As that •gave umbrage to
some aged professors, and especially to Mr. L.'s people, your missionary
spoke privately to her on the subject, and she declared to him that she
could not prevent it, and at that instant became agitated through her
whole frame, as soon as the subject was mentioned to her. And to
whomsoever these lines may come, the writer begs leave to be indulged in
making these remarks,—that however some may be thus affected by bodily
agitations, by all undue indulgence, and perhaps some may be so
presumptuous as to feign them, yet from the above, and many other
similar examples, he is well assured that in many cases the subjects of
them may as easily suppress their vital breath and support natural life,
as under certain states of mind to suppress such bodily emotions ;
although at the same time, if it were the divine will that the same
state of mind could be exercised, and their outward appearances
prevented, it Would be more agreeable to him, especially during public
That Dr. I fall be requested to publish in the `Star' his missionary
report, or such parts of it as he may deem suitable for publication."
The Presbytery of Orange overtured Synod for
an order to ordain Mr. Joseph Caldwell, of the University; and the
Synod, in consideration of the prospect of increased usefulness,
authorized the ordination.
Fourth Creek church, Oct.8th, 1811.
Synod was opened by
Samuel Stanford with a sermon from 2 Chron. xviii., IS; and Rev. James
111'Flhenny was chosen moderator. The Presbytery of Orange report, Wm.
B. Merony and Joseph Caldwell. " The Presbytery of Concord laid before
the Synod their proceedings in the case of the Rev. William C. Davis,
and requested their advice whether or not the way of Presbytery be fully
open to proceed to deposition in said case. Whereupon, after fully
attending to the proceedings of the Presbytery of Concord, Synod did,
and hereby do, express the opinion that the way is entirely open to
proceed to the last step of discipline in the case of the said Wm. C.
Committee of Missions reported that they had employed Dr. Hall for four
months, two east of Yadkin, in North Carolina, and two west of Ocony
River, Georgia. Mr. Hall read his report, which was highly acceptable.
"Presbytery of Orange report that on the 3d
day of April, 1811, they suspended Rev. Wm. C. Davis from the exercises
of his functions as a minister of the gospel; and on the 4th day of
October deposed him from the office of the ministry of the everlasting
gospel also that they have dismissed the Rev. Samuel Morrison to join
the Presbytery of West Tennessee; and that they have on the 21st (lay of
January, 1811, lost, by death, the Rev. Dr. Samuel E. MI'Corkle; late
pastor of the church of Thyatira."
"Overturned, that this Synod do resign the
missionary business to which they have hitherto attended into the hands
of the General Assembly, to be conducted by them for time to come; and
that it will be the duty of our Presbyteries, from time to time, to
inform the assembly where missionary labors appear to be wanted, and
what missionaries they may have in their power to furnish. But in the
meantime that Synod conduct this business as they have hitherto done
till our next session. Ordered, that this overture be sent up to the
The Commission of Missions was appointed as usual.
Upon examining the records of the Presbytery
of Harmony it appeared that Rev. Ezra Fisk had been ordained sine
titulo; to this the Synod objected; "and do therefore recommend that
the several Presbyteries under our care be cautious not to violate the
discipline of our church in this respect." Resolved also, "that inasmuch
as the said Presbytery have declared, that it is altogether inexpedient
to consult the Synod in this case, as has been usual in similar cases,
and that the right of ordination, in all cases, is originally inherent
in Presbytery, and has never been formally surrendered to the higher
judications of the church.—Synod cannot but disclaim such a principle,
as having never been granted by our discipline."
"The Synod enjoined on the several members
of this Synod to use every prudent and dutiful measure in their power to
procure and disseminate Confessions of Faith and Catechisms amongst the
congregations under our care, and to report their attention and success
at our next meeting."
An overture was sent to the Assembly calling
attention to the fact, whether the book of discipline was sufficiently
explicit about restoring penitent offenders, and also respecting the
baptism of Adults.
Providence, Oct. 5th, 1812.
Synod was opened by Rev. George Reid with a
sermon from John v., 34 ; and Rev. James Hall, D.D., was chosen
Presbytery of Harmony reported that they had received Robert M'Culloch,
Samuel Yongue, John Foster, and Murdock Murphy, had ordained and
installed Colin 1'Iver, and ordaiued Aaron W. Leland sine titulo.
The names of Henry Kolluck, D.D., and John Boggs, also appear for the
first time among the members of Harmony Presbytery.
The Commission of Synod reported that Dr.
Hall had been commissioned for three months to Georgia; and they could
have employed three more missionaries had the funds been sufficient. Dr.
Hall read his report, which was highly acceptable; during four months
and sixteen days he had travelled 1485 miles, and preached 58 sermons.
On inquiry, it appeared that very general
attention had been paid to the order of Synod last year respecting the
circulation of the Confession of Faith and Catechisms. The order was
appearing that the General Assembly had accepted the management of the
missionary business in the bounds of Synod: ordered, "that it he
enjoined on the members under the care of Synod to use every means in
their power to aid the General Assembly in supporting the missionary and
Resolved, that time following members of the Presbytery of Orange be set
of to form a Presbytery to be known as the Presbytery of Fayetteville,
viz. Rev. Samuel Stanford, Robert Tate, William L. Turner, Malcolm
McNair, Murdock McMillan, John McIntyre, William B. Merony, Allan
McDougald, and William Peacock; to meet in Fayetteville on the first
Tuesday of April next; and Rev. Samuel Stanford, or in his absence the
senior minister, to preach and preside till a moderator be chosen.
The Presbytery of Harmony having proceeded
to ordain another person sine titulo, notwithstanding the order
of last Synod, the matter was taken up, and a member, Mr. Couser,
announcing that he had received a letter from the moderator of the last
assembly, stating that the assembly were dissatisfied with the
proceedings of this Synod, and forbore to announce their
dissatisfaction, only in the hope that Synod and Presbytery would
compromise the matter; the Rev. James Wallis, John M. Wilson, and Joseph
Caldwell, were appointed a committee to bring in a report.
The committee reported at great length ; the
substance of which is as follows, viz. That ordination sine titulo
was contrary to the usages of the church of Scotland, "without
permission expressly granted by a superior judicatory;" that some twenty
years ago the Presbytery of Orange refused so to ordain till they
obtained leave of Synod; and in 1810 (when Mr. Wilson was member of
assembly) the committee of overtures of the assembly, before whom Mr.
Wilson appeared, expressed themselves in favor of the rule—"that
ordination sine titulo ought not to take place without
application to Synod, or to the General Assembly, and express authority
obtained from them;" that when the subject had been sent clown to the
Presbyteries, after a long deliberation (several years), only eighteen
Presbyters reported, of whom seven were for investing the assembly with
original power, and eleven against it: and, that this Synod
consulting—"the history of the church, the book of discipline and
satisfactory impressions of our own minds," came to the conclusion "that
Presbyteries were not entitled to the power which the Presbytery of
Harmony had exercised."
The committee referred to the minutes of the
assembly for 1795, for the following record, viz.: "the following
request was overturned, that the Synods of Virginia and the Carolinas
have liberty to direct their Presbyteries to ordain such candidates as
they may judge necessary to appoint, on missions to preach the gospel;
whereupon, resolved, that the above request be granted, the Synods being
careful to restrict the permission to the ordination of such candidates
only as are engaged to be sent on missions."
Without discussing the expediency or
disadvantage of ordaining sine titulo, the committee said that on
consulting the oldest and most experienced of Synod, they find that it
has been the unvarying impression that the practice the Synod have been
endeavoring to maintain, is the constitution which has been received by
the church. The committee referred to the book of discipline for support
of their construction, and concluded by recommending that the minute of
last Synod be not repealed. In this the Synod "cordially" concurred.
Overtured, that request be made to the next
assembly for division of this Synod; the reasons offered were the number
of members, and the distance they were compelled to travel to Synod.
"That the Presbyteries of Orange, Concord, and Fayetteville, be
constituted a Synod to be known by the name of Synod of NORTH CAROLINA;
to meet at Alamance Church on the first Thursday of October next (1813);
that the Rev. Dr. James Hall, the present moderator, or, in case of his
absence, the senior member present, open Synod with a sermon, and
preside until a new moderator be chosen."
"That the Presbyteries of South Carolina,
Hopewell, and Harmony, be constituted a Synod to be known by the name of
the Synod of SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA: to meet on the first Thursday
in November, in the year 1813, at Upper Long Cane Church, and
afterwards, on their own adjournments. That the Rev. Dr. Henry Kolluck,
or in case of his absence, the senior minister present, preach the
opening sermon ; and preside until a moderator be chosen."
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