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În reviewing the state of religion as connected with the origin and progress of the Synod of Kentucky, we have to lament over a great deal of what has probably been unhallowed controversy. Previous to the organization of the Synod, the churches and good men were much divided on the subject of Psalmody, and a great deal of personal rancour was mixed with the discussions on that subject. The New Light doctrines and the affair of the Cumberland Presbytery occupied a very large share of judicial proceedings and of public notice during several of the following years.
The churches of Kentucky have also suffered much from the fluctuating state of society, occasioned by uncertainty in rights of land, and by a disposition to emigrate whenever the sale of a farm in an old settlement will procure three or four farms in a new settlement. And in
many of these movements little evidence is given of much concern on the part of the parents for the spiritual advantage of their rising offspring.
Many evils have also been the result of having ministerial labour divided and subdivided hetween a number of churches and congregations, and the support from the whole so inadequate, that the preacher, if he has a family, is still obliged to turn his attention partially to some other occupation for a support. Upon a calm review of all the churches in Kentucky of every name, we are persuaded that it will be found that all that is connected with religion, and the personal comfort of those who minister in holy things, are in a desi rable and promising state just in proportion as ministerial labour has been concentrated. A man to be really
useful to any people as a preacher of the gospel, must Jive in the midst of these people, and must worship with them generally every Sabbath. After forty years experience of extended, divided charges, and the results generally languishing congregations, and a half starved ministry, it is certainly worth while to make the experiment of the pastor of a church living at home, in the bosom of his own family, and devoting his labours, and his prayers, and his attention of every kind, to his own immediate neighbourhood. We say a pastor of the church, living at home in the bosom of his own family, for it is vone of the least of the evils of the system of which we complain, that the greater number of the present pastors of the churches in Kentucky are under the necesity of leaving their own families at least one half of their Sabbath days. And were there no other evil attending the system, this alone would be with us a strong reason of protest against the whole arrangement.
But notwithstanding all these open and well known difficulties, and a thousand difficulties of a still more appalling nature, which are known only to the individuals
upon whom they press, the gospel of God's Son has been and is preached with success hy the members of the Kentucky Synod. And it is hoped that with the blessing of their Lord and Master they will be encouraged to continue to be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity, so that when they shall be individually called to give in their account, their rejoicing may be the testimony of their conscience, that in simplicity and godly
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, they have had their conversation with the world.
In the present state of the Kentucky Synod the following facts, when connected with a former state, are peculiarly encouraging.
There have been no controversies among the members of Synod about doctrines, nor have there been any cases of ecclesiastical censure among them for at least nine or ten years. The churches under their care are not only at peace among themselves, but generally speaking, in a state of peace and of occasional friendly intercourse with their sister churches. And God has also within that period touched the hearts of a very considerable number of the vouth of the state, so that they have been disposed cheerfully to devote themselves and their all to the service of the gospel of God's Son.
THEOLOGICAL SEMINARIES OF NEW YORK
In the fall of 1801, Rev. Dr. John M. Mason, of NewYork, in obedience to the iostruction of the Associate Reformed Synod of North America, visited Great Britian. This visit was only a part of a great plan, having for its object the furnishing these United States
for generations yet to come, with an able and an evan gelical gospel ministry. We propose, therefore, in this article to give a pretty full account of this mission, and then point to its bearing upon the state of Kentucky.
In the report which he made at his return to said Synod, at their meeting held in the city of New York, October, 1802, we find these statements:
“In obedience to the instruction of the Synod, at their last meeting, I took the earliest favourable opportunity of embarking from Great Britain, and sailed from the port of New-York on the 29th of July, 1801. Under the blessing of a benignant providence, I landed at Greenock on Wednesday, the 2d of September, after a passage of thirty-five days.
"It was a source of regret that I could not attend the meeting of the Associate Synod, which was then sitting, and adjourned the next day. On coming to Edinburgh, I found that the Synod, apprized of my arrival, and of some general purposes of my mission, had directed a committee of their body, as will appear from an extract of their minutes, No. 1, to converse with me on any business relationg to the Synod, and transact with me as they should see cause. With this committee, consisting of the Rev. Messrs. James Hall, James Peddie, Andrew Lothian, of Edinburgh, Rev. Thomas Aitchison, of Leith, and the Rev. Thomas Brown, of Dalkeith, I had the pleasure of a conference on the 17th of September. Being accredited by them as the representative of the Associate Reformed Church, and baving stated the par.
ticular objects embraced by my commission, they recommended an immediate visit to the Divinity Hall of the Associate Synod, that I might have an opportunity of conversing with the students before the expiration of the session. I accordingly repaired to Selkirk, and on the 24th of September laid before the professor, the Rev. George Lawson, the memorial No. 3. This memorial the professor communicated to the students, and, entering heartily into the views which it developes, supported them with his own influence, and afterwards wrote a paper, enforcing, in the most earnest manner, the request of the Associate Reformed Church. The jntercourse which, during several days, I had with the students, and the specimens of correct principle, literary acquirement, and pulpit talent, which they exhibited in the exercises delivered during my stay at Selkirk, made me more anxious than before to engage a number of them for the service of our churches. But as an immediate decision on so important a proposition was not to be expected, I submitted it to their deliberation, and returned to Edinburgh."
In the memorial addressed to Dr. Lawson, referred to in this extract, we find these declarations.
“As it is to be hoped that none of your students think of the Christian ministry from any other principle than experience of the grace of our Lord Jesus in its living efficacy upon their own hearts, and an honest intention of glorifying him, not seeking their own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved; 50 I beg leave, dear Sir, to assure them, in the most explicit manner, that no others are desired by any of our churches,