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of the pamphlets, the titles of which have been recited, and the Report in the third, are attributed to the pen of the Rev. Gardiner Spring; the second work is ascribed to the Rev. James M. Matthews; and the Report, as well as the Sermon in the fourth, is undoubtedly the production of the Rev. Alexander M'Clelland.
In 1809 a number of young men organized what was then called, The Assistant New York Missionary Socie. ty; and adopted, as a part of their constitution, a thoroughly Calvinistic creed. In 1816 this society became independent of the New York Missionary Society, and changed its style to that of the Young Men's Missionary Society of New York, without altering the article which contained their creed. Mr. Spring became a member of this Society, by receiving the creed with the liberty of putting his own constructions upon it: and by this very door entered all the future contentions which have occurred. This might have been expected; for by temporizing in this way, for the sake of present peace, religious associations frequently bring in a disease to their vitals, which is ultimately destined to procure their dissolution. In the same way this very Mr. Spring became a member of the Presbytery of New York, while he held in his hand, and read to the judicatory, before his ordination, his own construction of some parts of their standards, to which he could not otherwise honestly assent. For all this, he is not so much to be blamed as the reli. gious bodies which received him, under such circumstances. He ought not, indeed, to have united himself to any society whose creed he could not heartily adopt in in the literal sense of the words; but if they would permit him, it was no more than equitable that he should become their scourge.
Harmony prevailed in the Young Men's Missionary Society, until in November, 1816, when a young man by the name of Cox was proposed as a missionary to be employed by the Directors. The Committee of missions would not recommend him to the Board of Directors as a suitable labourer, until they were satisfied of his orthodoxy, of which they entertained doubts. Mr.
Spring was chairman of the Committee, and the in. structor and patron of Mr. Cox: he proposed, there. fore, that he should be examined in the place of his pupil, because they were one in doctrine. The Committee were reluctant to practise on the doctrine of substitution in such a case, without some evident necessity; but as Mr. Cox was urged upon them they consented, and Mr. Spring was examined "as if he had been the candidate,” for “ near three hours." Mr. Spring, for Mr. Cox, was found to be unsound in the faith, in the judgment of the majority of the examiners; and since they deemed it important and right to send out only such missionaries as would exhibit what the Society judges to be correct views of the doctrines of grace, the Committee “ resolved, that it is inexpedient to recommend Mr. Cox to the Directors as a missionary.” It was next attempted in the Board of Directors to appoint Mr. Cox, notwithstanding the unfavourable report of the Committee of missions; but in this body Messrs. Spring, Whelpely, Bulkley, Mills, Nevins, and A. Deforest only could be found to patronize the Hopkinsian peculiarities of the candidate, while Messrs. Keese, Matthews, M.Leod, M'Clelland, Vroom, Gamage, Nitchie, Cowperthwaite, Tuthill, Lent, Wil. bur, and L. V. Deforest were determined never to commission one of his doctrinal opinions, so long as they could procure missionaries of their own crced. The minority became seriously disaffected. Their last resort was to the annual meeting of the members of the Society, in which they attempted, but unsuccessfully, to displace several of the Calvinistic Directors, and introduce others favourable to their own, self-styled liberal notions. They wanted directors that would send forth missionaries, in other words, who did not cordially ema' brace the religious confession of the Society. Having failed in their object, the next step was to obtain a vote of the Society, which should impliedly censure the past proceedings of the board, and direct them in future not to hesitate about appointing such a man as Mr. Cox. A motion to this effect occasioned several adjourned
meetings of the Society, in which some of the tenets which distinguish Hopkinsians from Calvinists were discussed with great zeal, and in such a manner as to excite a lively interest in the city of New York. The conduct of the directors was finally approved, by a vote of one hundred and eighty. two members, in opposition to ninety-one. Two hundred and fourteen members were absent, of whom twenty-five subsequently united with the minority in seceding from the Society, and in or. ganizing “ The New York Evangelical Missionary Society of Young Men.” Their subscription monies which were due, "amounting to $198 50 cts., were remitted to them, to be appropriated as they should see fit.”
This new association, (evangelical, we suppose in their own esteem, pre-eminently;) notwithstanding all their zeal for liberality, enacted in the fifth article of their own constitution, that “the directors shall employ no man as a missionary who does not profess sincerely to receive the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, as containing the system of doctrines taught in the Holy Scriptures.” Now this catechism declares, that all mankind,
descending from Adam by ordinary generation, sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression. But the Rev. Nathanael Em. mons, D. D. the most celebrated and acute Hopkinsian Doctor now living, says,* “though we have been guilty of many and great offences; yet we are all conscious, that we never sinned with our first parent, in his first transgression.” “ The doctrine of imputation, therefore, gives us no ground to suppose, that all mankind sinned in and fell with Adam, in his first transgression, or that the guilt of his first sin was, either by him, or by the Deity, transferred to his posterity.” “It was unjust, in the nature of things, that the Supreme Being should transfer the guilt of Adam's sin to his posterity.” Should Dr. Énmons, then, or a youth of his senti. ments, be offered as a missionary to this Evangelical Society, they could not employ him, because he could * Sermons on some of the first Principles, &c. p. 302, 306, 303.
not sincerely adopt their creed. There might be some Emmomites in the Society, and then they might with equal propriety raise the clamorous cry of illiberality and persecution against the majority; just as Mr. Spring and his associates complain of their Calvinistic brethren. They might form an Evangelical Society in the superlative degree. Then too some honorary director like Mr. Zechariah Lewis, might utter his little speech,
“At length, a young gentleman, of more than ordinary talents, and of unquestionable piety, who had just been licensed to preach the gospel by the Reverend Presbytery of New York, was proposed as a suitable person to be employed as a missionary. A majority of the Society, however, rejected the proposal --not for any supposed deficiency of talents or of piety, of education, or of discretion—but solely on the alleged ground of error in doctrine. It was this decision-a decision, which was considered as casting a reproach on the Presbytery that had examined and licensed the candidate, and as branding a large and respectable portion of the Society itself with unsoundness in the faith-it was, Sir, this decision, which severed the tie of Christian fellowship, which drove more than one hundred of its members from the bosom of the institution, and compelled them, either to establish a new Society, or to abandon the missionary cause. The former alternative was unhesitatingly embraced, and the Institution brought into existence, whose first Anniversary we are now assembled to celebrate. The alternative you adopted, you will allow me to remark, could not fail to meet the approbation of your fellow-men-it has, also, been sanctioned by the smiles of the Omnipotent Jehovah.” p. 35.
Some Emmonite then too might arise, and in the language of Mr. Spring say, “By this ruthful blow was this fair temple cloven to its base. If solicitude, and entreaty, and tears could have availed, it would have stood firm and risen high. But the blow that severed it, laid the deep and broad foundation for an edifice, whose triumphal arch (the arch described in Mr. Whelpely's Triangle, we imagine) and lofty dome it is hoped will be seen from far:"-"it has been a struggle for all that is dear in religious liberty. It has been a conflict for gospel truth. It has been the birth
pang of the daughter of Zion for the souls of the heathen. But the agony is over. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.'” Brief View, p. 16. Persecuted! By whom? In what respect? By the majority, who acted according to their own constitution; and suffered them to depart in peace, and govern themselves by such laws of association as were acceptable to themselves! Un, happy men! Who can avoid pitying you? Your high sounding complaints of agonies and persecutions are very much like the ludicrous sublime of the man, who, in climbing over a fence rent one of his garments, and in describing the incident said, “that his breeches ripped, as if heaven and earth were coming together."
It has been the constant effort of a few persons in the city of New York, to make the New England people think, that every defence of orthodoxy, made there, is an attack upon them; and therefore it was not difficult to sound the alarm on this occasion from Horseneck to Maine. The“ History” before us clearly evinces, that the doctrines of the majority were the doctrines of New Eng. land, in her earliest, purest days; and if she has departed in any measure from the faith once delivered to the saints, it is a matter of regret, that ought to make the good people of New York take heed, with double deli, gence, how they hear.
From the last reports of the two Missionary Societies of Young Men now subsisting in New York, we learn, that the parent institution consists of more members, and is stronger in resources, than before the secession; and that each Association has probably accomplished more in the missionary cause, than would have been effected had no division taken place. Thus God overrules evil for good, and we rejoice in it; for while we abhor the Hopkinsian errors, we are nevertheless per• suaded that many teachers who hold them, preach a great deal of evangelical truth, and that God will sanctify men through that truth, while in mercy he prevents the error from producing all those miserable consequences to which it tends. We say the same con