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ASSOCIATE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
BY THE REV. W. I. CLELAND AND THE REV. JAMES P. MILLER, N. Y.
This association of professing Christians consists (1844) of one hundred and six ministers, settled and itinerating; and of two hundred and ten organized congregations; and, as nearly as can be ascertained from the statistical tables of the different Presbyteries, which are, however, somewhat defective, there are about 15,000 communicants. Allowing four to each communicant for children and other adherents, it will make about 75,000 persons as connected with this society.
The number of students in attendance at the Theological Seminary during the last term, was twenty-nine; but as for several years there has been a gradual increase, their number may be estimated at thiriy for the ensuing term,--of which number, one-fourth is usually added every year to the list of ministers.
This society is found chiefly in the Middle and Western States. Prior to the year 1832, there was a Presbytery in the Southern States called the Presbytery of the Carolinas, consisting of eight ministers, most of whom had large congregations. But in that year by an act of the supreme judicatory of that body, all slaveholders were excluded from the fellowship of the church; since that time all those ministers and most of the people, have either removed to the non-slaveholding States, or connected themselves with other societies. In the State of Vermont there are two small congregations, but none in any of the other New England States. There are three ministers and a few vacant congregations in Canada. The judicatories of this body now consist of a Synod and thirteen
Presbyteries. The following summary of the statistical table will present some idea of the present condition of this society. The names of the Presbyteries generally indicate their locality.
The Synod, which is composed of all the ministers and one ruling elder from each congregation, meets annually on its own adjournment. Each Presbytery meets on its own adjournment, and as often as circumstances require.
The Theological Seminary is located at Cannonsburg, Pa. It has two professorships-one of didactic theology and Hebrew, at present filled by James Martin, D. D.; the other of church history, pastoral theology and biblical literature, at present filled by Thomas Beveridge, D. D. At this institution there is but one term each year, which continues from the first Monday of November until the last of March. The students are required to attend four terms to complete their course of study. The professors give lectures on their respective subjects. The text-book which is used in didactic theology is “JOHANNIS Markii CHRISTIANE THEOLOGIÆ MEDULLA."
DOCTRINE AND DISCIPLINE.
The Associate Presbyterian Church of North America, is a branch of the Church of Scotland; and holds the doctrines of the Reforma
Those marked thus are incomplete, there being no returns from several congregations, and some of these the largest in the Presbytery: 15,000 is the estimated number of communicants.
Several Presbyteries, though marked as located in a particular state, include also the care of congregations in neighbouring states, e. g. the Presbytery of Cambridge, New York, includes the congregations in Vermont and Canada East.
tion as set forth in the standards of the Westminster Assembly. Hence the Westminster Confession of Faith is her Confession of Faith; the Larger and Shorter Catechisms are her authorized systems of catechetical instruction. The Form of Presbyterial Church Government, and the Directory for public worship and for family worship, are received and acknowledged as of obligatory authority in this church. The xxiii. chapter of the Confession of Faith, respecting the concern of the civil magistrate with the church, is received with some explanations, which are given in the Declaration and Testimony which this church has adopted and published. These explanations deny to the civil magistrate any authority in or control over the church, as respects either doctrine or discipline, by virtue of his office. The church is regarded as a free and independent society, to be governed and regulated according to the rules laid down in the Word of God, and responsible for the faithful discharge of her duty to Christ her only king and head.
The doctrine of the Confession of Faith concerning public, social, religious vowing or covenanting, as set forth in the xxii. chapter of the Confession of Faith, and as formerly practised by the churches of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Reformed Church of Holland, is both held and practised by this church,—with this difference, that the civil part of the National Covenant of Scotland, and the Solemn League and Covenant of the kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland, or any mingling of civil with religious affairs, have not been regarded by this church as belonging to the religious and ecclesiastical part of this duty.
This church, both in doctrine and practice, has always adhered to the use of a literal poetic version of the inspired Book of Psalms in the praises of God, as that only appointed of God, and consequently the only proper one.
As other bodies of professing Christians, both in Great Britain and this country, profess adherence to the standards and doctrines of the Westminster Assembly, the Associate Church also, from an early period of her existence in this country, has published a “ Declaration and Testimony,” more particularly setting forth, explaining, and defending some of the doctrines of the Westminster standards, and stating the prevailing errors against which this church considers herself called upon to testify. To this Declaration and Testimony she has prefixed a narrative, briefly setting forth some of the leading facts in her history, and the reasons of her maintaining a separate communion from other existing denominations of the present day. These books, which constitute the publicly authorized subordinate standards,