Reformed (Dutch) Church
Reformed (Dutch) Church IN AMERICA, one of the oldest and most influential bodies of Christians in this country.
I. Name. — The former title of this denomination indicated its historical relations, "the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in North America." It is "Reformed," as distinct from Lutheranism; "Protestant," as protesting against Rome; "Dutch," as expressing its origin in Holland. In 1867, by an almost unanimous vote of its General Synod, with the concurrence of the great majority of the classes, the name of the Church was restored to its simple and original form — the Reformed Church. The history and reasons of this change are fully presented in an elaborate report, which is appended to the minutes of the General Synod of 1867. The word "Dutch" was originally introduced to distinguish the Church from the "English" Church, by which the Episcopalian denomination was generally known, in the State of New York, after the Dutch colonial government had surrendered to the British in 1664. The Hollanders who settled New York and Albany, and intermediate places, came over as members of the "Reformed Church of the Netherlands" and representatives of "the Reformed Religion." It was not until thirty years after the cession of the province to the British that the word "Dutch" was incorporated in the style and title of a single Church when William III of England gave a charter to the Netherland Reformed Congregation in the city of New York as the "Reformed Protestant Dutch Church." In resuming its original name the Church has lost none of its historical associations, and has only dropped what had long been regarded by many as a hindrance to her advancement.
II. Reformed Church in Holland. — The Reformed Church of the Netherlands was a legitimate outgrowth from the great Reformation of the 16th century. The conflict for civil and religious liberty in the Low Countries was preceded by the labors of those "Reformers before the Reformation," Wessel Gansevoort and Rudolph Agricola. Both of these illustrious scholars and teachers were natives of Groningen. They were students of the Bible, who, fifty years before Martin Luther, came to a clear knowledge of the great doctrines of the faith with which he shook the world. But it was not until many years after he had taken his position that he saw the writings of Gansevoort, and then he felt constrained to make the fact public, lest his enemies should use their agreement of views to his own disadvantage. Gansevoort was an eminent teacher at Heidelberg, Louvain, Paris, Rome, and at last, as head of a celebrated school, in his native Groningen, where he died in 1489. Agricola was professor in the University of Heidelberg, and was noted for his classical and scientific attainments, and especially for his skill in the use of the Greek New Test. The labors of these great and good men mightily prepared the Way for the civil and religious conflict which followed under Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain. Evangelical truth struck its roots deep down into the hearts of the people. Confessors and martyrs for Christ were never wanting for the persecutions of the government and the Inquisition. The poor people called their churches "the Churches of the Netherlands under the Cross." They worshipped privately for many years, in scattered little assemblies, until they crystallized into a regular ecclesiastical organization. The ban of the empire and the curse of the Romish Church could not keep down the rising spirit of the heroic believers in Christ alid liberty. Every new act of tyranny fanned the sacred flame. Popular field-preachers, like Herman Strijker and Jan Arentsen, gathered thousands of people beneath the open sky to listen to their powerful eloquence. The whole country was stirred to its depths. The hymns of Beza and Clement Marot, translated from the French, rang out the pious enthusiasm of the multitudes. Babes were brought for baptism, and alms were collected for the poor. At length three pastors were set apart to the ministry of the Church in Amsterdam, deacons and deaconesses were appointed to distribute alms to the needy saints, and churches were organized. In 1563 the Synod of Antwerp was held, which adopted the Belgic Confession, and laid the foundations of that noble Church to which subsequent synods only gave more permanent shape. Her scholars and theologians, her schools and universities, her pure faith and holy living, her active zeal and martyr spirit, gave the Reformed Church of Holland the leading position among the sister churches of the Continent. Her catholic feeling and religious liberty made her a refuge for the persecuted of other lands. The Waldenses and the Huguenots, the Scotch Covenanters and the English Puritans, found a welcome at her altars; and John Robinson and the voyagers of the Mayflower learned in Holland some of the best lessons which they brought with them to Plymouth Rock.
III. History of the Reformed Church in America. —
1. — Origin. — The Reformed Church in America was founded by emigrants from Holland, who formed the colony of the New Netherlands, under the authority of the States General and under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company. Hendrick Hudson arrived in New York harbor Sept. 11, 1609, in the Half Moon, and proceeded as far as Fort Orange (now Albany). Trading-posts were established there and on Manhattan Island (New York) in 1614. The emigrants came for trade, but they did not neglect religion and the public worship of God. They had no ordained minister and no organized Church for several years; but two "krank- besoeckers," or "zieken-troosters" — literally "comforters of the sick," pious persons who were often commissioned as aids to the ministers of the Gospel in the mother-country — came over with governor Minuit in 1626. These were Jansen Krol and Jan Huyck. "They met the people on Sundays in an upper room above a horse-mill, and read the Scriptures and the creeds to them. This was the beginning of public worship in New Amsterdam." There is evidence, however, that "a considerable Church was organized in that city as early as 1619," and that "a list of members in full communion of the Church of New York is still extant, dated 1622" (Life of Dr. John II Livingston, p. 79, note).
The first minister of the Gospel who came to this country from Holland was the Rev. Jonas Michaelius, a graduate of the University of Leyden, and afterwards a missionary in San Salvador and Guinea. He preached in New Amsterdam from 1628 to 1633, and then returned to Holland. SEE MICHAELIUS. In the spring of the same year his successor, the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, arrived, bringing with him the first schoolmaster, Adam Roelandsen, who organized the parochial school of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church. This school is still in existence, without a break in its, succession of nearly two hundred and fifty years. It is sustained by the Collegiate Church, and has always been "an instrument of much good to the Church and to the community." A history of it has been published in a small volume by its present principal, Mr. Dunshee. This intimate connection of the Church and the school wmas characteristic of the early Reformed churches, and it antedates the claim of priority made for the New England Puritans by several years. The upper room in Francis Molemaker's horse-mill was relinquished as a place of worship upon the arrival of dominie Bogardus in 1633, and a plain, frail wooden church- building and a parsonage were erected near what is now Old Slip, on the East River. In 1642, at the suggestion of the famous navigator David Petersen de Vries, funds were raised for the erection of a stone edifice within the fort (now the Battery), where the people worshipped until the church was finished in Garden Street in 1693. A church was planted in the colony of Rensellaerswvck (Albany) under the patronage of Kilian van Rensellaer, a pearl-merchant from Amsterdam, who founded a colony upon the large tract of land of which he was the first patron. In 1642 he secured the services of the Rev. Johannes Megapolensis, whose call states that "By the state of navigation in the East and West Indies a door is opened through the special providence of God, also in the New Netherlands, for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of men, as good fruits have been already witnessed there through God's mercy." He was also the first Protestant missionary to the Indians in this country, preceding the labors of John Eliot near Boston by three or four years. SEE MEGAPOLENSIS. His successors Dellius and Lydius did the same good work.
2. First Period. — "The Dutch rule in Manhattan lasted fifty years from the establishment of the first tradingstation. The Church had been organized about thirty years. The city of New Amsterdam, at the date of the surrender, contained only 1500 inhabitants; and there were but five Reformed churches in the whole province — New York, Albany, Flatbush and Flatlands, Esopus (or Kingston), and Breuckelen (Brooklyn). There were six ministers the two Megapolenses, Drisius, Schaats, Polhemus, and Blom." They were men of thorough education, and, as far as we can learn, diligenit in the ministry. There were also a church at Bergen, which was the first of any denomination in New Jersey organized in 1660, and one at New Amstel, Del., which subsequently dropped out of the connection. The Hollanders numbered, at the timre of the surrender, about 10,000 souls. This first period of the Church was necessarily one of very small beginnings. The churches were planted in the wilderness. They encountered all the difficulties of new colonies — surrounded by savage tribes, separated by long distances from each other, and dependent entirely upon Holland for their clergy and school-teachers. Civil affairs were sometimes unhappily mixed up with religious interests, and the growth was slow indeed.
3. The second period covers nearly three quarters of a century (1664 to 1737), during which about fifty churches were added to the denomination. Of these fourteen were in New Jersey, about twenty on the banks of the Hudson River, about half as many in the valleys of Schoharie, Orange, and Ulster, and a half-dozen on Long Island and Staten Island. Forty-two ministers began their labors, some of them only remaining a short time, among these churches; and at the close of the period there were sixty churches, and seventeen ministers of Hollandish extraction in America. When the English rule began in New York, emigration from Holland almost ceased. Frequent collisions occurred with the British governors of the province. Governor Andros sent a minister of the Church of England, SEE VAN RANSLAER, NICHOLAS to Albany to take possession of the Dutch church there; and governor Fletcher, failing to impose the use of the English language by law upon the Hollanders, procured the passage of a bill by the Assembly settling a maintenance for ministers, which was so worded that, while it might apply to dissenters, it practically subserved the Church of England, and made it substantially the Established Church in the counties of New York, Kings, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester. Church-rates were exacted by the government for the support of these Episcopalian ministers. The line of separation between the Dutch and English gradually became more distinct. Many of the Hollanders, to escape English oppression, removed to New Jersey, and settled principally in Middlesex, Somerset, Monmouth, and Bergen counties, where they laid the foundations of churches that have long been great and powerful. Some French Huguenots, who fled from religious persecutions in the Old World, also settled in New York, Westchester, and Ulster counties, and on Staten Island. For their benefit, the Collegiate Church of New York called Samuel Drisius, who could preach in French as well as in Dutch and English; and Daille, Bonrepos, and Perret ministered to the pious exiles. They fraternized heartily with the Dutch churches, and ultimately were absorbed in the one organization. Their descendants in the same localities still form a strong constituent element of the Reformed Church in America.
In 1709 a large body of Germans from the Palatinate, fleeing from religious persecution, settled upon Livingston Manor, in Schoharie County, N. Y., and in the valley of the Mohawk. Among them were many Swiss, who sought the same shelter in the New World. Unable to obtain help from the Church in their fatherland, and living beside their Dutch neighbors, they naturally sought and received assistance from them. The Classis of Amsterdam, at the request of the Church of the Palatinate, agreed to aid the Germans upon condition that they would adhere to the Heidelberg Catechism, the Palatinate Confession of Faith, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the Rules of Church Government of Dort. Ministers were sent over. A coetus or American Classis was formed by the direction and under the jurisdiction of the Synod of Holland, which charged the Classis of Amsterdam with the supervision of the affairs of the German Church in America, which then extended among the German settlements in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, New Jersey, and New York. This relation subsisted forty-six years, until 1793, when the coetus asserted its independence of the Church in Holland. SEE GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH IN AMERICA. In Schoharie and Columbia counties, and in the valley of the Mohawk, the German and Hollandish elements have, to a great degree, united in the Reformed churches. 4. The third period in this history dates from the first effort of the Dutch churches to secure an independent organization — 1737 to 1792. Their entire dependence upon the Church in Holland for ministers, their growth in numbers and their distance from the mother country, the necessities of a new country, and the lack of facilities for educating their clergy, the delays, expense, and anxieties occasioned by the necessity of sending young men to Holland for training and ordination, and other good reasons growing out of their position and the ecclesiastical restrictions of the Classis of Amsterdam, led to the organization of a coetus, or ecclesiastical association, in New York in 1737. A plan was carefully framed, submitted to the churches, and sent to Holland for approval by the classis. This plan embraced a yearly meeting of clerical and lay delegates for the transaction of ecclesiastical business only, to promote the welfare of the churches, and in entire subordination to the Classis of Amsterdam. But nine years passed away before that body gave its sanction. The first meeting of the coetus was held in September, 1747, and the first German coetus in the same month.
The powers of this body were too limited to make it really effective. It had no authority to ordain any man to the ministry without special permission, nor to decide finally upon any question. But these restrictions only roused the spirit of independence in the younger ministry, and generated the powerful opposition of the adherents of the policy of the mother Church. In 1753 measures were taken for forming an American Classis, which was organized in 1755. This event caused the withdrawal of the conservatives, who were thereafter known as the "Conferentie," the Dutch word for the Latin coetus. From this time until 1771 the conflict between these parties rent the Church asunder. Ministers, churches, and people entered into the strife with the most bitter animosities. The coetus were noted for their practical zeal, their pious andi progressive earnestness, and their high sense of the rights and duties of the Church in this country. The conferentie possessed more learning, and some of its members occupied the highest places in the Church. In numbers they were nearly equal. In spirit, while both were often extremely culpable, the Conferentie are generally credited with being the most intemperate. Yet they should be regarded as impelled by their zeal for a thoroughly educated ministry, and for the order and worship of the Church. But the quarrel grew apace. Preachers were sometimes disturbed in their pulpits; public worship was often interrupted, or actually stopped, by violence. Church doors were locked against one or the other party by their opponents. Tumults were excited on the Lord's day at the doors of the sanctuaries. Personal, domestic, and public divisions were made between those who had always before been friends. Religion suffered sadly, and the Church seemed almost on the brink of ruin, when at length the hour of deliverance and the deliverer came.
In 1766 John H, Livingston, then a young man, arrived in Holland to study for the ministry at the Unieversity of Utrecht. His heart was filled with anxiety for the churches at home, whose dissensions he had witnessed and deplored. With great wisdom he embraced every opportunity to spread information and take counsel with leading men in Holland respecting the state of things in America. He prepared a plan of union, secured the assent of the ecclesiastical authorities, and returned to New York as pastor of the Church in that city, in 1770, with his olive-branch. In October, 1771, a convention was held in New York, at which there were present twenty-two ministers and twenty-five elders, from thirty-four churches. The plan of union was presented by Dr. Livingston, discussed in a friendly manner, with a sincere desire for peace, ratified by that body, and transmitted to Holland for final approval by the Classis of Amsterdam. In 1772 their favorable answer was received, dated Jan. 14 in that year. (A translation is printed in full in Corwin's Manual of the Reformed Church, p. 11, 12.) This practically ended the long strife. A general synod was organized, with five classes. The power of licensing and ordaining ministers was granted to the new and independent body, and the way was thus peacefully prepared for the formal and final organization. The articles of union were only intended as a temporary scaffolding for the erection of a more permanent ecclesiastical structure. In 1788 the doctrinal symbols of the Church, and the articles of Church government used in Holland, were translated by a committee of the synod. In 1792 the whole work was reviewed by the synod, adapted to the wants of the Church in this land, and adopted as the constitution of the Reformed Dutch Church. At this time there were one hundred and thirty churches and fifty ministers. During the whole period of strife ninety new churches were organized, and eighty-eight ministers began their labors among them. Before the first attempts at independent organization, for forty years prior to 1730, the average growth in ministers and churches was only seven of each per decade. During the next sixty years, the average per decade arose to seventeen. These facts tell the story of the differing policies of the coetus and conferentie.
The separate organization which was thus secured has remained to this day, a monument of providential interposition, and of the wisdom and piety of its chief human agent, Dr. Livingston, who is justly revered as the father of the Reformed Church in America. The constitution adopted in 1792 continued in force for the space of forty years. In 1832 it was revised, and again in 1874.
5. Causes of Slow Growth. — It has often been a matter of surprise to persons unacquainted with these and other facts that this oldest Presbyterian Church organization in this country has been of such slow growth. The reasons are self-evident. The Dutch rule in New Amsterdam lasted only about thirty years; and when it ceased, the population of the city was but 1500. The English Episcopal Church rose almost to the power of a state establishment. "The Presbyterians of Ireland and Scotland, for a hundred and twenty-five years, were practically excluded by the continued use of the Dutch language from the Church assemblies of the Reformed, and they established their own churches nearly half a century before an English word was heard in a Dutch church." The introduction of English preaching by the Rev. Dr. Laidlie, who was called by the Church of New York for this purpose, was the result of a long strife, and the commencement of a longer struggle against the use of this restrictive tongue. The damage to the Church from this cause alone was almost incalculable, keeping multitudes away from its sanctuaries, and driving many of the younger families into the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches. The first English sermon was preached in the church in New York in 1764 by Dr. Laidlie. The dependence of the American churches upon the mother Church in Holland for more than a hundred and fifty years also produced its natural results in dwarfing their growth and diminishing their strength. They were mere attachments to a foreign body, without ecclesiastical organization on the spot, save by a consistory, with no powers of legislation, licensure, or ordination, with no college or theological seminary to supply a new ministry, distracted by internal troubles, and bound hand and foot by Old-World alliances, prejudices, and powers. The only wonder is that the Reformed Church maintained its separate existence, and that it achieved its independence at last. After the articles of union were adopted in 1772, the Revolutionary War added greatly to the embarrassments of the Church. Many ministers were obliged to leave their flocks for years. Church edifices were sometimes used for British cavalry stables and riding- schools, and military prisons; and the fairest portions of the goodly heritage were occupied by the opposing armies. After peace was declared, the Church grew slowly but surely, and laid the foundations of her educational and benevolent institutions upon a broad and enduring basis. The tenacity of the Dutch character is abundantly illustrated in the extreme difficulty with which this Church has been induced to break off its old traditional relationships and attachments to its foreign origin. It never has yielded one of them until it was compelled to do so by long conflicts.
IV. Theological Standards. — The doctrinal symbols of the Reformed Church in America, which are still the same with those of the Reformed Church in Holland, are, (1) the Belgic Confession; (2) the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Compendium of the Christian Religion, which is an abridgment of the Heidelberg Catechism, designed for the young and to prepare for the Lord's supper; (3) the Canons of the Synod of Dordrecht. The use of the Westminster Shorter Catechism in Sunday-schools has been also sanctioned by the General Synod. The Hellenbroek Catechism was formerly much employed by pastors and in Sabbath-schools, but it is now out of use.
These standards harmonize with each other, and in all essential points with the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, with the Westminster Confession of Faith, and with the confessions of the Reformed churches of Germany, France. and Switzerland. The theology of the Reformed Church is "Calvinistic," in the moderate sense of that historical term, and it is Calvinistic simply because she believes it to be scriptural. The liberality with which she holds her standards is sufficiently attested by the very large number both of ministers and communicant members whom she has received from other evangelical bodies. The Heidelberg Catechism is held in the sense in which it is interpreted by the Synod of Dort.
V. Church Government. — The government of the Church, in common with that of all Reformed churches is strictly Presbyterian. Her constitution recognises "the offices of the Church of Christ to be:
"1. Ministers of the Word. "2. Teachers of theology. "3. Elders. "4. Deacons."
1. Ministers of the Word. — "No person shall be allowed to exercise the office of a minister without being regularly inducted thereto, according to the Word of God and the order established by the Church" (Constitution, art. ii, § 1). Great care is required in the education of students and in the examinations of candidates for the holy office by the classes, which have the power of licensure, ordination, and installation. The candidates for both licensure and ordination are required to sign certain "formulas," pledging themselves to a hearty belief and persuasion of the theological standards of the Church, and "diligently to teach and faithfully to defend the same without either directly or indirectly contradicting the same by our public preaching or writings." If difficulties, or doubts, or change of views occur respecting doctrine, they engage that they "will neither publicly nor privately propose, teach, or defend the same, either by preaching or writing, until they have first revealed such sentiments to the consistory, classis, or synod, that the same may be there examined; being always ready cheerfully to submit to the judgment of the consistory, classis, or synod, under the penalty of being, in case of refusal, ipso facto suspended from office." Other provisions, however, guard the rights of conscience and of individual judgment against any harsh or unjust treatment.
Ministers are regarded as bound to the service of the sanctuary for life, and are not at liberty to:secularize themselves "except for great and important reasons, concerning which the classis shall inquire and determine." Superannuated and disabled ministers may be "declared emeriti, and be excused from all further service in the Church during such infirmity." In the case of pastors thus incapacitated and retired, congregations are required to provide a reasonable support, with the approval of the classis.
The parity of the ministry is effectually secured by the following article of the constitution: "All ministers of the Gospel are equal in rank and authority. All are bishops or overseers in the Church, and all are equal stewards of the mysteries of God. No superiority shall therefore be ever claimed or acknowledged by one minister over another, nor shall there be any lords over God's heritage in the Reformed churches" (art. ii, § 16).
Licentiates and ministers of churches with which the Reformed Church holds correspondence are received upon the usual certificates of dismission from those bodies; unless there be grounds of presumption against their doctrines and morals; and then inquiries are to be proposed to satisfy the classis as to the propriety of proceeding freely in each case. Foreign ministers must present their credentials before the classis prior to invitation by any consistory to preach in its church; and no classis can receive any such minister without strict observance of the rules of the Church provided for these cases. Ministers coming from non-corresponding bodies must always be examined respecting their theological views before they can be received.
2. Teachers of theology, or professors in the theological seminary, are to be appointed only by the General Synod-the office is for life, or during good behavior" and to that synod a professor of theology shall always be amenable for his doctrine, mode of teaching, and moral conduct." He is also required to sign a constitutional formula expressing fidelity to the Church and her theological standards, etc. And, to complete the independence and personal responsibility of the professor to the General Synod, it is:provided (art. 3:§ 4), that "no professor, while in office, shall have the pastoral charge of any congregation, or be a member of any ecclesiastical assembly or judicatory; but, as a minister of the Gospel, may preach and, administer, or assist ii administering, the sacraments in any congregation, with the consent of the minister or consistory." Six months' notice of intention to resign his office must be sent to the president of the General Synod before it can be accepted by that body. Most of these provisions respecting teachers of theology are peculiar to the Reformed Church. Their practical effect has been excellent.
3, 4. Elders and deacons. See "Consistory," below.
VI. Judicatories. — These are:
1. The Consistory. 2. The Classis. 3. The Particular Synod. 4. The General Synod.
1. The Consistory is the primary ecclesiastical body, corresponding to the session of the Presbyterian Church. It is composed of the minister, elders, and deacons of a Church. To the elders, with the minister, are committed the chief spiritual functions of the Church, especially in admitting persons to the communion, in maintaining discipline, and in choosing delegates to the classis. To the deacons is confided the care of the poor. "When joined together in one board, the elders and deacons have al equal voice in whatever relates to the temporalities of the Church, to the calling of a minister, or the choice of their own successors, in all which they are considered the general and joint representatives of the people" (art. 6:§ 2). In New York and New Jersey the minister, elders, and deacons constituting the consistory are the legal trustees of the corporate rights and property and temporal interests of the churches which they represent. It is believed that this plan possesses superior advantages to that which prevails in the Presbyterian churches, which have a separate board of trustees, chosen from the congregation, and are often composed of men who are not professors of religion.
In another important respect the consistory of the Reformed Church differs from the session of the Presbyterian Church. In the latter the elders are chosen for life, and thus make a permanent body of officers. In the Reformed Church elders and deacons are elected by the male communicants for two years. The term of one half of the consistory expires each year; they are eligible for immediate re-election if it is deemed desirable to retain their services, and this often occurs. This principle of rotation in office has its obvious and great advantages, harmonizing with our republican system of government in Church and State, bringing gradually into active service all the best available talent ot each congregation, and permitting such changes as may be demanded for the welfare of the Church and congregation without giving needless offence to any who may pass out of office.
The Great Consistory is an advisory body, intermediate between the consistory and the classis, and is composed of all who have previously been elders and deacons in the same Church. This arrangement works admirably in cases upon which the acting consistory may need counsel; as, for instance, in the settlement of a pastor, the erection of Church buildings and parsonages, etc. This is an institution peculiar to the Reformed Church alone in this country, and has stood the test of the whole history of its organization. In this way also the Presbyterian principle of "once an elder always an elder" is practically preserved, the official character of both elders and deacons being recognised in this body, although they may not be in active service in the consistory. Besides this, it often happens that persons who have not been acting as elders in any given Church for many years are appointed and sit as delegates in the Particular and General synods.
2. The Classis is the body next above the consistory, and corresponds to the Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in its general organization and functions. It is composed of not less than three ministers, and one elder from each Church represented, within certain limits which are prescribed by the Particular Synod. Stated meetings are held twice a year. To the classis belongs the right to license, ordain, install, dismiss, suspend, and depose ministers, to exercise a general supervision over the spiritual interests and concerns of the several churches, and to try and decide cases of appeal from judicial decisions of consistories, subject also to appeal to the Particular Synod. For promoting the doctrinal purity, the spiritual interests, and the general welfare of the churches each consistory is required annually, at the spring session of classis, to present a full report, in writing, with statistical information respecting its religious condition. At the same meeting the following constitutional questions are asked of every pastor and elder:
1. Are the doctrines of the Gospel preached in your congregation in their purity, agreeably to the Word of God, the Confession of Faith, and the Catechisms of our Church?
2. Is the Heidelberg Catechism regularly explained, agreeably to the Constitution of the Reformed Church?
3. Are the catechising of the childlren and the instruction of the youth faitihfully attended to?
4. Is family visitation faithfully performed?
5. Is the 5th section, 2d article, 2d chapter of the Constitution of our Church (which relates to oversight and discipline of Church members) carefully obeyed?
6. Is the temporal contract between ministers and people fulfilled in your congregation?
The replies are required to be noted in detail in the minutes of the classis, and sent up to the Particular Synod for inspection. It is now also required to report whether the contributions enjoined by the General Synod for specific benevolent objects have been taken in each church.
3. The Particular Synod dates back to the year 1794. Previous to that time the only ecclesiastical bodies were the consistory, classis, and synod, or, as they were denominated. the Particular and General bodies. These met annually. The first synodal assembly was only provisional; it possessed and exercised the right to examine students of theology for licensure until the year 1800. This function was afterwards devolved upon the classes alone. The Particular Synod is a court of appeal in judicial cases which are carried up from the classes. It has power to form new classes, to transfer congregations from one classis to another, and has a general supervisory power over its classes. It also confirms the nominations of the classes for delegates to the General Synod. It meets annually, and is composed of four ministers and four elders from each classis. The four Particular svnods now existing are those of New York, organized in 1800, composed of nine classes; Albany, organized in 1800. composed of ten classes; Chicago, organized in 1856, composed of five classes; New Brunswick, organized in 1869, composed of nine classes. At the session of the General Synod held in 1869 the Particular synods were reorganized upon the basis of a plan which is intended to increase their previously limited powers, and to bring them into more systematic and direct contact with the spiritual interests and benevolent agencies of the Church. See Minutes of Gen. Synod, 1869, p. 626, 633.
4. The General Synod. — The long conflict between the coetus and conferentie which ended in 1771 resulted in an assembly of representatives of both parties, who style themselves "A Reverend Meeting of Ministers and Elders." They organized what were called a "General" and five "Particular" bodies, which were subsequently called by the names familiar in Holland, "synod" and "classis." The General Body was merely a provincial and provisional assembly — a sort of ecclesiastical bridge over which the Church passed from her dependence upon the mother Church in Holland to her condition of real independence and separate American organization. At first it was a conventional assembly, consisting of all the ministers in the Church, with an elder from each separate Church. It met triennially. In 1800 it was made a delegated body, consisting of eight ministers and eight elders from each of the two Particular synods of New York and Albany, which were constituted in that year, only two ministers and two elders being admitted from each classis. In 1809 the delegation was increased to three ministers and three elders, who are nominated by each classis and confirmed by their respective Particular synods. By the present Constitution, each classis having more than fifteen churches is entitled to one additional delegate for each additional five churches. In 1812 the sessions were made annual. This body meets on the first Wednesday in June, and it continues in session about ten days. It exercises a general supervision over the entire Church. It is the court of last resort in appeals of judicial cases from the lower bodies. It has power to form and change the Particular synods. It elects professors of theology and has supreme control of the theological seminaries. The benevolent boards of the Church are its creations. It maintains friendly correspondence with various ecclesiastical assemblies of other denominations. It has no power to alter or amend the Constitution of the Church, but can only recommend such changes, which must be submitted, through it, to the classes, and can be adopted only by the votes of a majority of these bodies. The General Synod was incorporated in 1818 by an act of the Legislature of the State of New York.
The fiscal concerns of the whole Church are managed under this charter by the Board of Direction of Corporations, which is elected annually by the General Synod, and consists of a president, three directors, and a treasurer.
The personal and real estate and all the synods' property are confided to the custody of this board, which is thus made the chief fiscal agent of the Church. Its affairs are reported annually to the synod. For more than sixty years it has managed its large trust with the most exemplary diligence, fidelity, and success, and with scarcely the loss of a dollar from all its in.estments. The board reported in 1878 that the assets in the hands of the treasurer, June 1, amounted to $451,411.69; this was in addition to the large real estate owned by the synod at New Brunswick, N. J., in the buildings and grounds of the theological seminary. and in those of Hope College, at Holland, Mich.
VII. Usages. —
1. Mode of Worship. — All the Reformed churches of the Continent adopted liturgies for the observance of public worship, including the offices for the administration of sacraments, the ordination of ministers, elders, and deacons, and for the infliction of discipline in excommunication, etc. The Scottish Reformer John Knox prepared a liturgy for the Church of Scotland which was used for some time, but which was ultimately swept away by the same anti-ritualistic storm in which Puritans and Presbyterians were driven to the opposite extreme of bold simplicity in public worship. The liturgy of the Reformed Church of Holland — with the omission only of a prayer in the marriage service and an article on the consolation of the sick — is accurately given in the English translation, which is now in use in the Reformed Church of America. It is "precisely what it was in 1619, and substantially as when first adopted in 1568 by the Synod of Wesel." Like all the Reformed liturgies, it is based on that of John Calvin. But its shape was given chiefly by John Alasco, the popular pastor of the Reformed Church in London, which numbered, under his ministry, over three thousand members, who were refugees from persecution in their native land. This Church still exists. Alasco also prepared a new liturgy, using his old one and that of Strasburg, a translation of which, from the French, was published by Pollanus, Calvin's successor, who founded a Church at Glastonbury, England. It was written in Latin, and then, in 1551. translated into Dutch by John Uytenhove, an elder of the Church in London. The liturgy of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands was prepared by Peter Dathenus, an eminent minister, who, when driven from Holland by persecution, settled with some of his fellow-exiles in the Palatinate at Frankenthal, near Heidelberg. He first translated the Heidelberg Catechism into the Holland language, and also the psalms of Beza and Marot from their French originals. He dedicated the volume containing these symbols (psalms, catechism, and liturgy) "to all the churches and ministers of Jesus Christ sitting and mourning under the tyranny of antichrist." Subsequently, the "Form for Adult Baptism," and the "Consolation of the Sick and Dying," and the "Compendium of the Christian Religion," a condensation of the Heidelberg Catechism — which was in place of another brief catechism for persons who intended to unite with the Church, were issued. In 1574 the Synod of Dordrecht directed the liturgy to be used in all the churches. For a full account see Eutaxia, or the Presbyterian Liturgies, ch. xi; and Prof. Demarest's History and Ecclesiastical Characteristics of the Ref. Ch. ch. 8.
The liturgy is officially declared to be a part of the Constitution of the Reformed Church (Minutes of Gen. Synod, 4:425, 426). The offices for the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, for ordination of ministers, elders, and deacons, and those for excommunication and for readmitting the excommunicated are also declared by the Constitution to be essential, and must be used. The forms of prayer, marriage-service, etc., are not essential, but simply remain as formulas and speimens, — which may or may not be used, at the option of the minister. The prayers were used for a time, but always in connection with extempore prayer. Since the latter part of the 17th century they have been dropped in public worship in Holland. When English preaching had been established in the Church of New York, three years after Dr. Laidlie's advent, a translation of this liturgy into English — which is more accurate and faithful than elegant in style — was procured and introduced by the collegiate consistory. The same year also (1767) singing in the English language was commenced in that Church. The volume used was an amended edition of Brady and Tate's version, in which the old music was retained and the rhyme adapted to it. SEE PSALMONY.
Several attempts have been made to revise the liturgy, all of which have failed of final adoption by the classes, to whom, under the constitution, they were referred for final decision.
2. Other Customs (essential and non-essential). — In 1814 the General Synod adopted a report of a committee on this subject which is still the law of the Church. The essential customs and usages which are deemed necessary to be continued in the Church are expressed in the explanatory articles of the constitution; such as singing the psalms and hymns approved of and recommended by the General Synod; preaching from the Heidelberg Catechism; observing the forms in the administration of baptism and the Lord's supper, etc., as contained in the liturgy, etc. "Other customs and usages prevail in the Church which are deemed non-essential, and in many instances are either wholly dispensed with or partially retained in our congregations, according to the taste or circumstances of pastors or people; such as the arrangements observed in the performance of public worship-the number of times of singing psalms and hymns; reading sermons and preaching them from memory or extemporaneously; sprinkling in baptism one or three times; sitting or standing in receiving the Lord's supper; preaching on Ascension-day, Good-Friday, and other days which have long been observed both in Holland and America" (Minutes, 1814, p. 31,32). In the Constitution adopted in 1832, however, "for the purpose of uniformity in the order of worship," a directory is set forth which "is to be observed in all the churches." In Holland all the clergy wear the official pulpit dress or gown during their performance of public worship. In this country the custom prevails chiefly in the cities of Philadelphia. New York, Albany, Newark, New Brunswick, etc., and in some of the country and village churches.
VIII. Institutions. —
1. Colleges. — Zeal for the training and perpetuation of an educated ministry — which produced the unhappy division of the Church in the last century — soon led to various plans for the establishment of proper schools for that purpose in this country. Few ministers came from Holland; and the time, cost, and dangers, the difficulties and disappointments, incurred in sending youth to be educated in the universities of the mother country were too great to furnish a supply from this source. The number of churches rapidly outgrew the pastors. In 1754, in order to defeat the movements of the coetus for independence, a plan was adopted, by a provision which was inserted in the charter of King's (now Columbia) College, in New York, giving the consistory of the Church of New York the right to appoint a professor of theology in that institution. But, fearing that such an arrangement would produce an episcopalian defection, the Rev. Theodore Frelinghuysen, of Albany, projected an academy or seminary, in which the Dutch language only should be used, and which should combine the advantages of both the German gymnasia and the university system. In 1759 he sailed for Europe to urge his project; but he never returned, having been lost at sea upon his homeward voyage. The conference opposed his plan, in a letter to the Classis of Amsterdam, and it perished with him.
Ten years later — in 1770 — and chiefly by the powerful influence of Rev. Dr. Jacob R. Hardenbergh, its first president — a charter was obtained from governor William Franklin of New Jersey, then a British province, for a college, the object of which is stated to be "the education of the youth in the learned languages, liberal and useful arts and sciences, and especially in divinity, preparing them for the nimiistry and other good offices." It was called — in honor of the queen of George III — "Queen's College," and retained this name until, in 1825, it was changed — in memory of one of its principal benefactors, Col. Henry Rutgers — to "Rutgers College." It is located at New Brunswick, N.J. This institution was suspended during the Revolutionary War, and again in 1795, when it was revived, chiefly by the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Ira Condict, its vice-president. Dr. John H. Livingston was appointed president in 1810. But in 1816 its doors were closed again until, in 1825, it resumed its work, which has continued without interruption since that time. The centennial year was celebrated, with appropriate services, at the commencement held in June, 1870. A large endowment has been secured. The course of instruction has been greatly enlarged and the standard of scholarship eleyated. The faculty is full, and the number of students in 187879 was 173. In 1864 a scientific school was organized in connection with the college, and designated by the Legislature of New Jersey "the State College for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts," as provided for by an act of the Congress of the United States in 1862. It was opened in 1866. The course of study embraces mining, metallurgy, agricultural chemistry, civil engineering, and mathematics, with other branches of scientific education. The college possesses an astronomical observatory, a museum of natural history, an agricultural farm of one hundred acres, and ample facilities for the illustration of scientific studies. The grammar-school, which is as old as the college, occupies a large and appropriate building opposite the college grounds. The college faculty embraces a president, vice-president, eleven professors, and an assistant professor. The buildings include the main college edifice; Van Nest Hall, in which are the rooms of the literary societies and lecture-rooms; Geological Hall, which contains an armory, the museum of geology, mineralogy, and natural history, and the chemical laboratory; the Kirkpatrick Chapel, a large and handsome Gothic building erected in 1873, in which also is the library of the college; the Schenck Observatory; and the president's house. There are no dormitories belonging to the college. The library is of great value, although not adequate to the wants of the institution. The museum is extensive and contains many rare curiosities and specimens. Valuable prizes are given at each commencement to successful competitors in oratory, composition, classics, mathematics, mineralogy, spelling, English grammar, modern history, mental and moral philosophy, and for the best essay on Christian missions.
The Vedder Lectureship was founded by Mr. Nicholas F. Vedder, of Utica, who gave a fund of $10,000, in 1873, on this among other conditions, that the General Synod should "every year elect some member of the Reformed Church in America to deliver to the students of the seminary and of Rutgers College at least five lectures on the present aspects of modern infidelity, including its cause and cure." The following courses of lectures have been delivered upon this foundation: 1874, by Isaac S. Hartley, D.D., of Utica, on Prayer and Modern Criticism; 1875, by Tayler Lewis, LL.D., of Union College, on — Nature and the Scriptures; 1876, by Talbot W. Chambers, D.D., of New York, on The Psalter, a Witness to the Divine Origin of the Bible; 1877, by William R. Gordon, D.D., of Schraalenberg, N. J., on The Science of Revealed Truth Impregnable, as shown by the Argumentative Failures of Infidelity and Theoretical Geology. All of these lectures have been published under the general title of The Vedder Lectures. "Hope College," located at the city of Holland, Mich., was chartered in 1866, and grew out of a flourishing academy which was started as a civil and parochial school in the infancy of the colony of Hollanders, founded by the Rev. Dr. Albertus C. Van Raalte, on Black River and lale, in that state, in the year 1846-47. This institution embraces a preparatory school, collegiate, scientific, and theological departments, under the ecclesiastical supervision of the General Synod, and in the immediate charge of its cotuncil and faculty. It possesses ample college grounds, good buildings, an endowment of funds which are augmenting yearly, a tract of land called "the James Suydam farm of Hope College," after a great benefactor, and many appliances for a liberal training. The course of instruction is thorough, and will be expanded with the demands of the times. The faculty consists of a president and five professors, with subordinate teachers. The whole number of pupils in June, 1878, was 98, of whom 65 were in the preparatory department, and 33 in the academic course.
2. Theological Senminaries. — A professor of theology, Dr. John H. Livingston, was chosen in 1784, and at the same time Dr. Hermanus Meyer was appointed professor of languages, and two years later, also, as lector in theology. In 1792 Drs. Solomon Froeligh and Dirck Romeyn were appointed additional professors of didactic theology. Other appointments were subsequently made — Rev. Drs. John Bassett, Jeremiah Romeyn, and John M. Van Harlingen. All of these professors and lectors originally taught their students at their own places of residence. The seminary proper, under Dr. Livingston, was located in 1796 at Flatbush. L.I., and in 1804 was transferred to New York, where it remained until its final location, in 1810, at New Brunswick, N.J.
These facts substantiate the claim that the Reformed Dutch Church in America was the first of all her Protestant sisters to reduce theological education to a system, the first to demand that it be in charge of a professional instructor, and the first to appoint a theological professor. But for the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, her theological seminary would have been started in the year of American independence, 1776. Dr. Livingston occupied the professorial chair from 1784 to 1825; and previous to the removal to New Brunswick he and his colleagues sent forth 91 students into the ministry. After various ineffectual efforts to secure a proper endowment, the professorship was merged in Queen's College by a covenant between the synod and the trustees of that institution. In the year 1825, the seminary had three resident theological professors, and was fiully organized. Additional articles of agreement were now entered into with the trustees, by which a theological college was organized, and the name changed from Queen's to Rutgers. Three years later, a Board of Education was established to care for beneficiaries. In 1865 another theological professorship was added. and the covenant between the synod and the trustees of Rutgers College formally annulled. The following year, Hope College was organized in Holland, Mich., and in a twelvemonth more a theological department in the same place. In the year 1856, Mrs. Anna Hertzog, of Philadelphia, donated $30,000 for the erection of a suitable edifice for the use of the seminary, upon the condition that it should bear the honored name of her deceased husband, "the Peter Hertzog Theological Hall." The building was speedily erected — three stories in height, 120 feet long — and contains a small chapel, double rooms for sleeping and study purposes, to accommodate about sixty students; lecture-rooms for the professors, rector's residence, and refectory. It stands in the midst of seven acres of land, which were also donated for the purpose by Messrs. James Neilson, David Bishop, and Charles P. Dayton, and Francis and Wessell Wessells. The site is commanding. Three professors' houses have been built upon it, and another one, directly opposite, has been bought and presented to the General Synod by Messrs. James Suydam and Gardner A. Sage, of New York, at a cost of $18,000. Mrs. Hertzog also left by will $10,000 to be invested, the interest of which is to keep the hall in repair. By the munificence of its friends the building has been thoroughly refitted and furnished in the best manner to make it a pleasant Christian home for the students. In 1873 the James Suydam Hall was opened for use. This large, substantial, and costly building, containing a chapel, lecturerooms, museum, and gymnasium, was the gift of the late James Suydam of New York, who laid its cornerstone but did not live to see it completed. Mr. Suydam also endowed the professorship of didactic and polemic theology which bears his name, in the sum of $60,000; and these, with various gifts and legacies to the theological seminary and other specific Church purposes, amount to more than $250,000. This was in addition to other bequests to the American Bible and Tract societies; and the seminary and the Bible-Society were also made his equal residuary legatees. A bronze statue of Mr. Suydam, somewhat larger than life size, the gift of friends, was unveiled on the day of dedication of the hall. The Gardner A. Sage library building is the gift of the generous founder whose name it bears, and who superintended its erection and has provided for its maintenance and support. It is perfectly fire-proof, and combines every modern arrangement for heating, ventilation, light, and security from dust and other annoyances. It has room for about 100,000 volumes. The library at present numbers over 30,000 volumes, to which additions have been constantlv made by donations, and principally from a fund of $53,763, of which a balance of about $15,000 remains unexpended. The selection of books is confided to a competent committee of the General Synod, in co- operation with the theological professors. The library has a very complete Biblical critical apparatus, including facsimiles of the Sinaitic, Vatican, and other MSS.; the Acta Sanctorum (Bollandist), 60 vols.; Migne's Patrology, 320 vols., embracing all the fathers, Greek and Latin; and many of the best and rarest editions of standard works imported from Europe.
The permanent endowment of the seminary, which is still in progress, now amounts to over $200,000, besides the real property held for its uses. There are four professors, and thirty-two students now in its classes, while the hall is filled with other young men of the college and preparatory school who are on their way to the ministry. The course of instruction is thorough, and embraces the usual departments of theological study in similar institutions, with the addition of those subjects which are specially related to the Reformed Church, such as the Confession of Faith, Canons of Dort, Heidelberg Catechism, the ecclesiastical polity, and the constitutional law of the denomination. The whole number of graduates from its establishment in 1810 to 1879 is 609. The government of the seminary is vested in the faculty and in a Board of Superintendents, which is chosen by the General Synod and meets annually. A standing committee of the synod has the charge of its temporal affairs.
The "Theological Seminary in Hope College" had for its first professor Rev. Cornelius E. Crispell, D.D.,who was elected by the General Synod in 1867 to the chair of didactic and polemic theology, and the other professors in Hope College were invited to act as lectors. In 1869 two additional professors were elected. There is a Board of Superintendents, which consists of the Council of Hope College, with duties and prerogatives like those of the seminary at New Brunswick. The endowment of this institution has been begun. In 1878, on account of financial embarrassments, the theological department was suspended and the students went to other institutions. A few young men have gone out from its walls to preach the Gospel, two of them as foreign missionaries.
3. Parochial Schools. — A few of these are aided by the Board of Education. They are almost exclusively confined to the German and Holland Churches.
4. Foreign Missions. — From her earliest days, her ministers gave special care to the evangelization of the heathen Indians. During the existence of the United Foreign Missionary Society, she statedly contributed to its funds; and when that organization was dissolved, and its stations transferred to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, she continued her efforts in connection with it. In 1832 the General Synod appointed its own Board of Foreign Missions, proposing to organize missions of their own Church to be conducted through the medium of its prudential committee. In 1836 the first band of missionaries went out to seek a settlement in Northern India, but subsequently located in the island of Borneo. After working a long while harmoniously in this relation, prompted by a desire to accomplish the utmost that might be gained by an independent denominational effort, it was thought most desirable to sever the connection existing between their society and that of the American Board. This was accordingly done in 1858. The number of members is twenty-four — one half being laymen, and one third elected annually by the General Synod. A number of missionaries at several times, under the auspices of the board, have been sent out to China, India, and Japan. Chief among the servants of the Church in the foreign field were the Rev. John Scudder, M.D., of the Madras Mission; the Rev. David Abeel, D.D., the first American missionary to China; and the Rev. Dr. Cornelius V. A. Van Dyck, the translator of the Arabic Bible, who, although in the employ of the American Board of Conmmissioners for Foreign Missions, yet retains his relation to the Reformed Church, from which he went out as a missionary physician. The Mission to the Dyaks in Borneo was given up in 1849, some of the missionaries having been transferred to Amoy in China, and the others returned to America.
The China Mission was organized at Amoy in 1844, at the original suggestion of the Rev. David Abeel D.D., who visited that city in 1842, just after it had been declared one of the five open ports. The first missionaries were Rev. Messrs. William J. Pohlman and Elihu Doty. Its prosperity has been wonderful. The Mission now (1879) consists of seven churches and seventeen stations, comprising, according to the last report, a membership of 598 communicants. Over these in Amoy and adjacent cities there are now four missionaries and four assistants, with three native pastors settled over and sustained by two churches in the city of Amoy and the Church of Kang-than and Opi. The Mission employs twelve native catechists or preachers and has eight students under theological instruction. A building for the theological students has been erected at Kolongsu, called "the Thomas De Witt Theological Hall." Contributions for religious and benevolent purposes from the native Christians in 1889 were $2866.70 in gold.
The Arcot Mission in India was organized in 1854, being composed of the sons of the celebrated missionary the Rev. John Scudder, M.D., of Madras, with their families. The Classis of Arcot was formed in 1854, with the clerical missionaries and three native elders. According to the report of 1877, the classis is composed of twenty churches, with a membership of 1755 communicants. With them are connected 86 stations and out-stations, the whole number of regular attendants upon the means of grace being 4398. Contributions for religious and benevolent purposes in 1889
amounted to $756 in gold. There are 8 missionaries and 6 assistants in this important field of labor, with 2 native pastors and 21 catechists, 26 Bible- readers, 28 teachers, and 19 colpor teurs. There are 4 seminaries for males and females, a preparandi school for training native catechists and pastors, and 97 day-schools with 2503 scholars. The missionaries and native helpers make frequent tours into the surrounding country. The statistics of this work for 1889 were, 18,006 sermons preached to 395,979 hearers, and 14,000 books and tracts dis tributed. The press is used freely to print the Scriptures, catechisms, and practical, religious, and educational works. The hospital and medical dispensary at Arcot has received the highest official praise from lord Napier, the governor-general, and an increased allowance from the government. The number of patients treated in 1889 was 6358, an average of 17 per day. A medical class of young natives is connected with it. The Gospel is daily preached to all comers, and portions of the Scriptures, tracts, and good books are offered to all who can read. A simple and brief story of Christ's love to fallen man is carried away by every patient on the printed ticket given: to him on his first application, and which he must show at each subsequent visit.
The Japan Mission originated at a monthly concert for prayer for missions held in Feb., 1859, in the South Reformed Church, New York, when one elder offered to give $800 per year to support a missionary in Japan, another made a similar promise, and the Church pledged itself for a third like sum. On May 7, 1859, the Board of Foreign Missions sent out three missionaries — Rev. Samuel R. Brown, M.D. (who had been a missionary in China for several years), Rev. Guido F. Verbeck, and D. Simmons, M.D., with their wives, and Miss Caroline E. Adriance — who reached Kanagawa Nov. 1 of that year. Rev. James H. Ballagh was sent out in 1862, and Rev. Henry Stout in 1868. Dr. Simmons and wife resigned in 1860, and Miss Adriance went to Amoy, where she became an assistant missionary, and died in 1863. She always bore her own expenses as a volunteer missionary. The missionaries engaged chiefly at Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Tokio in teaching the government schools, translating the Word of God, circulating the Scriptures, tracts, and books in Chinese, and instructing inquirers in the way of salvation. Mr. Ballagh began a Japanese religious service in 1866, the average attendance being about twenty persons. The first two native converts, Wakasa, a nobleman, and Ayabe, his younger brother, were baptized by the Rev. G. F. Verbeck, May 20,1866, the day of Pentecost, at his residence in Yokohama. Wakasa's attention was first drawn to Christianity by a copy of the New Test. in English, which some Japanese picked up out of the water in the bay of Nagasaki, and which was probably lost overboard from an American or English ship. He did not rest unltil, five or six years after, he procured a Chinese translation of it, which he eagerly read. Thus this "bread cast upon the waters" was found "after many days" in the soul of the first Japanese convert to Christianity. In March, 1872, the first native Christian Church was organized by the Rev. James H. Ballagh at Yokohama with eleven members. In 1877 it had 145 communicants. The edifice in which it worships cost about $6000, of which the first thousand was given by the native Christians of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. It seats about 450 persons. In 1889 there were 2 stations and 19 out-stations, and preaching- places with communicants enrolled to the number of 1969 belonging to this mission. The entire native contributions amounted to $8324.70. The mission has been very successful in the last three years.
The present missionary force of this Church in Japan consists of 9 missionaries and 11 assistant missionaries, with 18 native ordained ministers and 2 catechists or preachers. There is one academy at Yokohama, the Isaac Ferris Seminary, for, girls, of whom there were 135 at latest date. A theological class or school of 32 young men is also established, under the instructions of the Rev. James L. Amerman. Another school for girls is at Nagasaki. The Rev. Dr. G. F. Verbeck has been for many years connected with the Imperial University at Yeddo, under the auspices of the government, and he has also been engaged with Drs. Brown, Hepburn, and others. in the work of translation of English works into Japanese and of Japanese works into English. Of the large number of Japanese youth who came to this country for education, a score or more were students in Rutgers College and its grammar-school. Several of them have united with Christian churches in the United States, and some have gone back to Japan to preach the Gospel and to serve Christ in other stations. The outlook of this mission work in Japan is full of promise. Dr. Brown has long been engaged with Dr. Hepburn and others in translating the Bible into Japanese.
In addition to these Oriental Missions, the board has also co-operated with other missionary boards in the plan of Indian agencies under the government of the United States. The tribes assigned to it are the Pimas, Maricopas, and Papagoes; the Mohaves on the Colorado River Reserve;
and the Apaches on the White Mountain Reserve, numbering in all about 9000 souls.
The Woman's Board of Foreign Missions, an efficient auxiliary to the Synod's Board, was organized in February, 1875. It has between fifty and sixty auxiliaries; is devoted to the increase and maintenance of woman's work for women in heathen lands; and contributes liberally to the general work. Its principal field is Nagasaki, Japan, where it has undertaken to establish a female seminary; and it has also begun to labor for China. It, has published in an elegant volume, with maps and many illustrations on wood, a very complete Manual of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Dutch Church in America (8vo, 326 pp.).
The ordinary appropriations of the Board of Foreign Missions for the year ending June 1, 1879, were $55,600.
5. Home Missions. — The Board of Domestic Missions consists of twenty- four members, half of whom are lavmen, and one third are elected annually by the General Synod. It was reorganized in 1849, with a corresponding secretary exclusively devoted to its service. Previous to this, for a number of years, the duties of that office were performed voluntarily by settled pastors. All the Reformed churches were on missionary ground until the independent organization of the denomination was secured in 1771. Soon after this event, ministers and elders were occasionally sent out upon tours of exploration among destitute populations to preach the Gospel, and to establish mission stations and churches. As the result of these labors, a few new churches were organized — one in Virginia, six in Kentucky, six in Lower Canada, and elsewhere in the regions of the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers, and Central New York. It was then determined to concentrate efforts nearer home, and the distant churches — some of which yet live in other denominations — were left alone. In 1822 the "Missionary Society of the Reformed Dutch Church" was organized in the city of New York. A Northern Board, located at Albany, was appointed by the Synod in 1828 to act under the society located at New York, and a new impetus was given to the work. In 1831 a new Board of Missions was constituted for the whole Church, all the mission work being confided to its care of which the present board is the, lineal successor. It was incorporated in 1867, and now holds its own funds. The Church Building Fund and the Sabbath-school interests of the denomination, excepting publications, are confided to its care. More than half of the churches of the denomination owe their existence to the fostering care of this board. In the West, nearly the whole of the English churches of the Particular Synod of Chicago have grown up under its benign influence. The Holland churches have been mostly self-sustaining. During the year ending June, 1878, this board aided 102 churches, of which fifty-eight were at the East, forty-two in the West, and two in the South. The number of families in the Mission churches was 6787 and 8896 Church members, of whom 1040 were received during the year. There were 134 Sabbath-schools, with 11,339 scholars. The income from all sources for the missionary operationis was $35,130.32. Since 1832 more than three hundred churches have been organized — about half of these in the single decade of 1850-60 — and many of these under the auspices of this board. Thousands of Hollanders, most of whom are in this denomination, have settled in Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and adjoining states during the last thirty years. These have formed an important element in the missionary growth and extension of the Church in the North-west. Of its nearly 79,000 members, about 11,000 are Hollanders. 6. The Board of Education, which was organized as a voluntary society in the city of New York in 1828, was adopted by the General Synod in 1832. It consists of twenty-four members, who are elected for three years each, one third of whom are elected annually. It has the immediate care of all the beneficiaries and educational interests of the Reformed Church, including such beneficiaries as receive aid from the Van Benschoten and Knox funds, which are held by the trustees of Rutgers College. Every beneficiary must be a member in good and regular standing in the Reformed Church, and must also have been a member of some Protestant Church for one year previous to making his application for aid. He must be recommended to the board by the pastor and consistory of the Church, and by the classis to which said Church belongs, after sustaining a satisfactory examination as to his need of assistance, and physical, mental, and spiritual qualifications for study and for the holy ministry. Every precaution is taken against the introduction or continuation of improper candidates. Repayment of all money received from the board is required from those who do not complete their course of ministerial preparation, unless they are, in the judgment of the board, providentially hindered. The board will accept from all beneficiaries after their licensure two years' service under the care of the Board of Domestic Missions, as a full satisfaction for all aid rendered to them by the Board of Education. This is a wise provision, which has secured many excellent young laborers in the home missionary field. All the students are considered as tnder the pastoral care of the corresponding secretary. In 1865 the powers of the board were enlarged to enable it to co-operate with the various classes in the establishment of academies and classical schools within their bounds. The board became incorporated in 1870, to enable it to hold legal possession of its funds and to secure others that may be devised to it by will. In addition to the Knox Fund ($2000), the Van Benschoten Fund ($20,313.57), the Smock Fund ($500), the Mandeville Fund ($2000), and the Voorhees Fund ($26,000), which are held by the trustees of Rutgers College, and the interest of which is paid out to beneficiaries of this board, it holds twentyfive scholarships, ranging from $1700 to $10,000, malking in all a capital of over $120,000, besides the annual Church collections and private donations, amounting in 1877-78 to $11,299.74 — all for the education of young men for the ministry. It also holds certain trust funds for Hope College, and receives moneys for parochial schools which are under its care. The total income for the year ending June 1, 1878, was $33,508, and the total number of youlang men under its care for the same period was eighty-three.
About one third of the present ministry of the Church have been aided by this board in their studies for the sacred office. Its beneficiaries are not confined to any particular literary institution, but must study theology in one of the seminaries of the Reformed Church.
7. The Board of Publication was organized in 1855 by authority of the General Synod. It consists of twelve ministers and twelve laymen, one third of whom are elected annually by the Synod. To it are "intrusted, with such directions as may from time to time be given by the General Synod, the superintendence of all the publications of the Reformed Church, and the circulation of such works pertaining to the history, government, doctrines, and religious literature of said Church and of other evangelical denominations as shall be properly approved." It has a corresponding secretary and general agent, and a depository located in the city of New York. Its printing and binding are done by contract. It publishes a semi- monthly newspaper called the Sower and Gospel Field, which is the accredited organ of all the boards of the Church. The catalogue of its books and tracts, for denominational and general uses, is large, and constantly receiving new additions. Sales are made at a moderate profit. Gratuitous distributions and liberal discounts are made to weak churches, poor Sunday-schools, and for missionary purposes. During the civil war in the United States, it sent forth large gratuitous supplies into the armies of the Union; and since the cessation of hostilities it has done a good and large work of benevolent circulation in the South, particularly among the freedmen. In India it has published the Heidelberg Catechism in Tamil during the year ending June, 1870; and a supply of its elementary books for Sabbath-school and general instriction has been asked for and sent to Japan for use in the government schools utnder the care of the missionaries of the Reformed Church. The total assets of the board, June 1, 1878, were reported to the Synod as $12,343.64. Receipts for the year, $9,102.39.
8. The Widows' Fund, or Relief Fund, for disabled ministers and the widows and orphaned children of deceased ministers, was organized in 1837. Its benefits are limited to subscribing ministers who may pay $20 in full. or $10 or $5 annually, and who shall receive, pro rata, the annuities which may be due upon personal disability, or, at, their own decease, by their families. Congregations are urged to secure an interest in the fund for their pastors by making the requisite contriblution yearly. The funds, which are intrusted to the Board of Direction of Corporation, are invested in bonds and mortgages and in government bonds. One half of the annual payments by ministers, and donations, when specially directed by the donor, are considered income; the other half of the annual payments by ministers, all other donations, and church collections, are considered as principal, and the interest thereof only is used as income. The maximum amount to be paid to parties interested in the fund are: to a minister disabled by sickness or age, $200 per year; to a minister's widow, $200; to children of clergymen. both of whose parents are deceased, $75 per year each until they are sixteen years of age. Other provisions regulate minor payments. The amount of each annuity is of course dependent upon the number of annuitants, and mayn vary yearly. The maximum may be increased when the state of the fund shall warrant it. The amount of this fund June 1, 1878, was $49,307.99; and the sum paid to annuitants during the previous year was $2,259.99.
9. The Disabled Ministers' Fund, which reaches a class who cannot avail themselves of the Widows', or Relief, Fund, was organized in 1855, under the title of the Sustentation Fund. It is also in trust of the Board of Direction of Corporation. Its moneys are to be kept invested, and to be "used for the support of disabled ministers and the families of deceased ministers. when such may be in need." Applications for a aid are made through and recommended by the classes to which the applicants belong. Contributions which are donated specifically for principal are so used; all other contributions go to the yearly disbursements, and any surplus that remains is carried to principal and placed at interest upon first-class securities. Aged and infirm ministers are thus assisted, and also the needy families of deceased clergymen. The amount of this fund reported June 1, 1878, was $19,614.85, of which $14,222 was appropriated to its beneficiaries.
10. The Church-building Fund is held in trust and dispensed by the Board of Domestic Missions at its discretion. Aid is given from it only to churches which shall have no debt after receiving assistance from this fund. A first bond and mortgage is taken from such church, and the Domestic Board may remit the interest thereon; but the church must then make a yearly contribution for the fund; and every church aided is to pay back the aid received as soon as practicable. The receipts for the year ending June 1, 1878, were $9,659.80.
IX. Correspondence. — The General Synod holds official correspondence, by interchange of delegates (or by letter), with the following ecclesiastical bodies: the Synod of the Canada Presbyterian Church; the General Synod (triennial) of the (German) Reformed Church in the United States; the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States; the General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church; the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of North America; the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (South); the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States; and the General Council of the Reformed Episcopal Church. With the Reformed Church in South Africa, and the Waldenses of Piedmont, occasional correspondence is held by letter, and also with the Free Church of Scotland and other ecclesiastical bodies in Europe. The spirit of this correspondence is well described by one of the Church's most venerated ministers, in these words, respecting her catholic sentiments and action:
"Our Church has been distinguished bv a steady and united adherence to her standards and order, andl at the same timne by a kind and friendly relation to other evangelical denominations. She has enjoyed peace within her own bosom, while agitating questions have troubled, and even rent, other churches. She has borne a full proportionate share in contributions to Christian benevolent institutions, such as the American Bible Society, the American Tract Society, and others. She is desirous and anxious, in a sense of privilegae and responsibility, to employ greater efforts for increasing the degree and extent of her influence in doing all she can for the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Her pacific character, her freedom from the ultraisms of the day, her evangelical principles, the peculiar features of her government and order, and the attitude in which she has been found by the side of other evangelical denominations, all tend to commend her to the favorable regard of all the friends of evangelical truth who desire the 'peace and prosperity' of the Church of Christ."
X. Statistics. —
1. Numbers and Funds. — In June, 1878, the Reformed Church embraced 4 particular synods, 33 classes, 505 churches, 542 ministers. 6 candidates for the ministry, 43,490 families, 78,666 communicants, of whom were received during the previous year 3940 in confession and 1966 by certificates; baptisms of infants, 3874; of adults, 1044; catechumens, 24,445; Sabbath-school scholars, 80,109; contributions for religious and benevolent purposes, $203,103; for congregational purposes, $788.222. In July, 1889, there were returned 546 churches, 566 ministers. 88,812 communicants.
2. Periodicals. — The Christian Intelligencer, weekly, owned and edited by private individuals; the Sower and Gospel Field, semi-monthly paper, organ of the Church boards; and The Mission Monthly, published by the Board of Foreign Missions.
XI. Denominational Literature. — The following are some of the most important publications:
1. Theological and Exegetical. — John H. Livingston, D.D., late Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology, Lectures on Theology; an Analysis by Rev. Ava Neal (1 vol. 12mo, out of print); James S. Cannon, D.D., Professor of Church History and Government and Pastoral Theology, Lectures on Pastoral Theoloqy (1 vol. 8vo, 616 pp.), an exhaustive work; Alexander McClelland, D.D., Professor of Biblical Criticism and Sacred Languages, Canon and Interpretation of Scripture (1 vol. 12mo, 336 pp.); John T. Demarest, D.D., Commentaries on the 1st and 2d Epistles of Peter (2 vols. 8vo); John T. Demarest, D.D., and William R. Gordon, D.D., Christocracy (1 vol. 12mo); other works by W. R. Gordon, D.D.: Child's
Guide in Reading the Scriptures, 132 pp.; Supreme Godhood of Christ, 188 pp.; Particular Providence Illustrated by the Life of Joseph, 492 pp.; A Three-fold Test of Modern Spiritualism, 408 pp.; The Church of God and her Sacramennts, 208 pp.; A. R.Van Nest, D.D., Life and Letters of George W. Bethune, D.D. (1869, 1 vol. crown 8vo); Geo. W. Bethune, D.D., Lectures on the Heidelberg Catechism (2 vols. crown 8vo); other works by the same author: Sermons (1 vol.); Orations and Addresses (1 vol.); Poems (1 vol.); History of a Penitent, being an exposition of Psalm 130 (1 vol.); Early Lost, Early Saved (1 vol.); Fruit of the Spirit (1 vol.); Rev. John Van der Kemp, Sermons on the Heidelberg Catechism (2 vols. 8vo, out of print); The Vedder Lectures, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877. Among the American contributors to Schaff's edition of Lange's Biblical Commentary are Prof. Tayler Lewis, LL.D. (Genesis, Job, Ecclesiastes), M. B. Riddle, D.D. (Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians), T. W. Chambers, D.D. (Amos, Zechariah), John Forsyth, D.D., LL.D. (Joel), and C. D. Hartranft, D.D. (Numbers). A critical edition or version of the Heidelberg Catechism is now in process of preparation by a Committee of Synod, of which a tentative copy, with a historical introduction, was published in Minutes of General Synod, 1878, p. 185-222. See also list of works issued by the Board of Publication, including three vols. of Tracts and many miscellaneous books illustrating the history, polity, theology, and usages of the Reformed Church. Besides these are a number for general circulation, and not denominational. The New Brunswick Review, edited by the late Prof. John Proudfit, D.D., reached only a few numbers; the Evangelical Quarterly Review, edited by Rev. Joseph F. Berg, D.D., late professor of didactic and polemic theology, extended over about two complete volumes. Both of these reviews are valuable contributions to the literature of the Church.
2. Historical and Biographical. Brodhead, History of New York (2 vols.); Colonial History of New York (3 vols.); Documentary History of New York (4 vols.); David D. Demarest, D.D., Professor of Church Government and Pastoral Theology, History and Characteristics of the Reformned Protestant Dutch Church (1 vol. 12mo, 221 pp.); Benjamin C. Taylor, D.D., Annals of the Classis and Township of Bergen (1 vol. 12mo, 479 pp.); Sprague, Annals of the Refourmed Dutch Church, vol. 9 with historical introduction; Rev. E. T. Corwin, Manual of the Reformed Church in America (1 vol. 8vo; 2d ed. revised and enlarged, 1879), an invaluable work; Alex. Gulinn, D.D., Memoirs of Rev. John H. Livingston,
D.D. (1 vol. 12mo); Magazine of the Refornmed Dutch Church (1827, 4 vols.), containing a valuable series of articles by the late Rev. John B. Romeyn, D.D., on the history of the Reformed Church in Holland and in this country; Rev. John A. Todd, D.D., Memoirs of Rev. Peter Labagh, D.D. (1 vol. 12mo); E. P. Rogers, D.D., Historical Discourses on the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in Albany (1858, 1 vol. 8vo, 120 pp.); Thomas De Witt, D.D., Refornmed Dutch Chuzrch in New York (1857, 1 vol. 8vo, 100 pp.); One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Reformed Church in New Brunswick, N. J., memorial volume, Richard H. Steele, D.D., pastor (1867, 1 vol. 8vo, 222 pp.); Francis M. Kip, D.D., One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Reformed Church in Fishkill, N. Y. (1866, 64 pp.); Minutes of the General Synod, 1771-1870; Constitution and Digest of Acts of General Synod (revised, 1874); articles published in the Christian Intelligencer by Thomas De Witt, D.D., mostly from original documents procured by loan from the Classis of Amsterdam, Holland, and others from John R. Brodhead, Esq., — the historian of New York; W. Carlos Martyn, The Dutch Reformation (Amer. Tract Society, N.Y., 1870, 1 vol. 12mo); Eutaxia. or the Presbyterian Liturgies, by a Presbyterian Clergyman (New York, M. W. Dodd, 1855, 259 pp. ); Rey. George R. Williamson, Life of David Abeel, D.D.; Rev. J. B. Waterbury, Life of Rev. John Scudder, I.D.; Works of Dr. Scudder and Dr. Abeel; Von Alpen, History of the He delberg Catechism, translated by Prof. J. F. Berg, D.D. (Phila. 1854, 1 vol. 8vo). Dr. Berg also published sev:eral volumes on prophecy, the Second Advent, Church and State, etc.; Centennial Discourses, a series of twenty-two sermons delivered in the year 1876 by order of the General Synod, intended to set forth the relations of the Reformed Church to liberty and to faith and education, and other topics appropriate to the Centennial year of the republic (8vo, 601 pp.). Quarter- Millennial Anniversary of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of the City of New York, 1628-1878 (1879, 8vo, 104 pp.). (W.J.R.T.)