Think Before You Take That New Job
by Rev. David T. Myers

It was downright unhealthy to be the president of the College of New Jersey (today’s Princeton University) in the opening years of that educational institution. In the first nine years of its existence, five presidents were installed and five presidents were on the short list to heaven! That fifth president was Samuel Finley.

Born in Scotland in 1715, Samuel Finley came over to the colonies at age nineteen. He studied theology at the celebrated Log College under the Tennents, was ordained into the New Brunswick Presbytery as a revivalist preacher. He was clearly a New Side Presbyterian.

Assigned first to a brand new Presbyterian church in Mitford, Connecticut, he discovered that the governor of Connecticut really did not want him, or for that matter, the Presbyterian Church. He was escorted, or should I say, expelled from the colony. It is clear from his later ministry that this was all due to the providence of God.

For the next seventeen years, he was the pastor of Nottingham, Maryland. Receiving  accolades as the best training academy in the middle colonies, West Nottingham Academy soon became the school to attend. With a standard of great scholarship, two signers of the Declaration of Independence — Benjamin Rush and Richard Stockton — studied under Samuel Finley there.

Finally, in 1761, as a member of the original board of trustees, Samuel Finley was chosen to be president of the College of New Jersey. It was a time for numerical growth and spiritual growth for the college. In fact, a revival broke out during the second year of Finley’s presidency. It was said of Samuel Finley that he was a very accurate scholar and a very great and good man. His preaching was “calculated to inform the ignorant, alarm the careless and secure, and edify and comfort the faithful.” The students loved him and respected his scholarship.

A favorite expression before he died on July 17, 1766, is just as true now as it was then. Samuel Finley said constantly, “the Lord Jesus will take care of His cause in the world.”

Words to Live By: 
By no means are we to be lazy because the Lord will take care of his cause in the world. We are told in Scripture to take advantage of every opportunity, because we live in evil days. But there is comfort to know that the Lord is in control of His church, and His cause. Let that be our thought as we go through this week.

Five works by Rev. Samuel Finley are available in digital format and can be accessed over at the Log College Press web site—click here.

“. . . We must rid ourselves of the notion that the Deacon is somewhat of a secular personage in the Church, preferably an able man of affairs, not sufficiently spiritual to be an Elder, and yet too useful not to be used in some lower and unspiritual service. A modern Gibeonite to hew wood and draw water! Our Presbyterian Nethinim, neither priest nor Levite, far from the ministry, and not quite an Elder!”

 

Today’s post comes from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Edward Mack [1868-1951]. He was educated at Davidson College (BA; MA; LLD), the University of Cincinnati (Ph.D.), and Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Mack served churches in St. Louis, MO; Norfolk, VA; and Shreveport, LA before serving as professor of Old Testament languages at Lane Theological Seminary, 1904-1915, and then in a similar post at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA, 1915-1939. It was during those latter years at Union Seminary that he wrote his booklet on the office of the deacon, a small work which was well received and which went through six editions.

The Presbyterian Church in America based its Book of Church Order on that of the denomination they left. They saw no need to draft an entirely new Book when the principles embedded in the old Book had served the Church well for nearly one hundred years. So it is not surprising that many of the paragraphs in the PCA’s Book echo those of the PCUS Book, even to this day and despite all the many changes enacted since 1973. This is the case with our Chapter 9 on the Office of the Deacon, which almost word for word remains the same as that of the 1922 PCUS revision of their chapter on the deacon. With that background, let’s turn to chapter 5 of Dr. Mack’s booklet:—

The Deacon Himself
“To the office of Deacon, which is spiritual in nature, should be chosen men of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.” — PCUS Form of Government, Chap. IV, Section IV, Paragraph 48.

[And for comparison, here is the PCA’s paragraph:

“To the office of deacon, which is spiritual in nature, shall be chosen men of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly spirit, warm sympathies, and sound judgment.” —PCA Form of Government, Chapter 9, paragraph 3.]

Having considered the importance and duties of this office, finding that in its enlarged field it is now a renewed, but not a new, office in the Church; that it has been lifted from disparagement and partial disuse into special honor and large opportunity; that while many churches hitherto have magnified the office, henceforth all are to magnify it, and use it to attain glorious ends, this paragraph brings us to the heart of the discussion. The key to the situation is the man himself. The assurance of the success of the office is the peculiar fitness of the man for his high office. That fitness, in general, is the quality which fits all officers in the Church for their several offices, and every individual member to serve Christ in his part and place. That fundamental characteristic is spirituality; men of the Spirit for an office which takes the temporal and external service of the Church, and translates it to spiritual service.

. . . We must rid ourselves of the notion that the Deacon is somewhat of a secular personage in the Church, preferably an able man of affairs, not sufficiently spiritual to be an Elder, and yet too useful not to be used in some lower and unspiritual service. A modern Gibeonite to hew wood and draw water! Our Presbyterian Nethinim, neither priest nor Levite, far from the ministry, and not quite an Elder!

[*Nethinim = servants performing the lowest menial services about an ancient Jewish tabernacle and temple.]

The well-chosen words of this paragraph [in our Book of Church Order] and Paul’s description of the true Deacon in his letter to Timothy dispel such an unworthy view. The Deacon should be consecrated to his Lord for his special service; he must live the life of prayer, even as must the Minister and the Elder. The difference in offices is not difference in presence and power of the Spirit, but in differing gifts for different services, all of which are spiritual and holy. “We who are many are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another, and having gifts differing according to the grace given unto us, whether deaconing, let us give ourselves to our deaconing, or he that ruleth, with diligence.” Of all offices, it is the one most necessarily to be committed to spirit-filled men, for the very reason that it has to do with material things and duties, which must be transformed into means of spiritual service.

To this other qualifications are added, emphasizing uprightness, enthusiasm for the Gospel, and the warmth of a true Christian sympathy. Such qualities are the same in essence as those required in the words of institution in Acts vi : “men of good report, full of the Spirit, and of wisdom.” The Deacon’s life and character are a large part of the fulfillment of his office. A pure life, a great faith, a liberal heart, a flaming zeal are the qualities which rise to the ideal of the True Deacon. [emphasis added]

Words to Live By:
Let me take this opportunity to encourage you to regularly prayer for the deacons in your church. You may not have thought to do something like that, but the deacons have a big job to do in the church, and when they are properly about their work, what they bring to the church will enrich everyone in the congregation [no pun intended].

Time to Move for a New Church
by Rev. David T. Myers

The evidence was already in, in fact, it was well in.  All of the efforts of the conservatives in the Southern Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church U.S.) had failed to stop the tide of liberalism in that once great church.  So after the last General Assembly in 1971, something had to be done.

Gathering together in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 15, 1971, a group of conservative Presbyterians met to discuss the situation.  Realizing that some key elders were not present, they met two weeks later on July 30th at the Airport Hilton in Atlanta, Georgia. This was a meeting which was filled with talk to the heavenly Father as well as to those of like precious faith. They met all together and then in small groups.

By the morning of the next day, some statements were presented to the group.  They were as follows:  “A plan for the continuation of a Presbyterian Church loyal to Scripture and the Reformed faith: 1. To create a climate of opinion favorable to the continuation of conservative presbyteries and churches loyal to Scripture and the Reformed Faith, by promoting as strong an image as possible of such loyalty through actions taken by synods, presbyteries, and congregations. 2. To identify presbyteries and congregations willing to take such a stand.  And 3. To accept the inevitability of division in the PCUS and to move now toward a continuing body of congregations and presbyteries loyal to Scripture and the Westminster Standards.

This intent was breathed in prayer in, in the discussion towards it, and breathed out in prayer at the conclusion of it.  Men who had been through the battle to return the PCUS to the faith of the fathers wept at the very prospect of the future.  And when the vote came in favor of the three points, there were no high fives, or shouts of victory, but rather silence, as one of the men there said, a heavy silence of profound sadness.  They were not merely leaving the southern church.  The southern church had left them and their ordained convictions for a mess of liberal pottage, as Cain had done much earlier in his life.

A timetable was then worked out followed by the organization of a Steering Committee.  The plans were set in motion for a Continuing Church, which in time was named the Presbyterian Church in America.

Words to Live By:
Thank God for men and women with a firm conviction of the historic Christian faith.  Praise God for Christian leaders who refused to compromise the truth of the gospel for a mixture of theological error.  We need men and women like these in every age, for the Christian church to march on and be the appointed means to bring the gospel to every creature.  Be a part of your local church if it is holding faithfully to the faith once delivered unto the saints

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism – Question 32.

Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?

A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, and sanctification, and the several benefits which, in this life, do either accompany, or flow from them.

EXPLICATION.

They that are effectually called. –Those who have repented of their sins, and who, instead of being the servants of Satan, have become the sincere followers of Jesus Christ.

Partake of justification. –That is, they share in all that happiness which arises from the pardon of their sins, and their being received again into God’s favor, as though they were righteous.

Adoption. –Taking one, who is a stranger, into the family, and treating him as a son.

Sanctification. –Making our sinful natures pure and holy.

Benefits. –Advantages, privileges, blessings.

ANALYSIS.

In this answer, the benefits connected with effectual calling are said to be of four sorts:

  1. Justification. –Rom. viii. 30. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
  2. Adoption. –Eph. i. 5. Having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, unto himself. ­–2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
  3. Sanctification. –1 Thess. iv. 7. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
  4. The several benefits which accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification. –1 Thess. ii. 12. Walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

THE VENERABLE SECRETARY EMERITUS, REV. J. LEIGHTON WILSON, D. D., DIED AT HIS HOME, NEAR MAYESVILLE, S. C., ON THE 13th OF JULY, 1886.

His death, says one who waited by him, was emblematic of his life—calm, peaceful, beautiful.

WilsonJohnLeightonWe are indebted to the pen of another for a sketch of Dr. Wilson’s life and character. He was born in Sumter Co., S. C., March 25th, 1809. He was graduated at Union College, N. Y., in 1829, and taught school one year at Hadnel’s Point, near Charleston, S. C. In 1833, he was graduated at the Theological Seminary, Columbia, S. C., being a member of the first class of that institution, and the same year was ordained by Harmony Presbytery as a missionary to Africa.

During the summer of 1833, he studied Arabic at Andover Seminary, Mass., and in the fall he sailed from Baltimore, Md., on a voyage of exploration to Western Africa, returning the following spring. As the result of his exploration, he decided on Cape Palmas, Western Africa, as the most promising place to begin his missionary work. In May, 1834, he was united in marriage to Miss Jane Elizabeth Bayard, of Savannah, Ga. In 1834, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson sailed for Cape Palmas, where they arrived at the close of the year. They remained at the Cape seven years. During these years, a church of forty members was organized, more than a hundred and eighty youths were educated, the Grebo language was reduced to writing, a grammar and dictionary of the language was published, the Gospels of Matthew and John were translated, and, with six or eight other small volumes, published in the native language.

In 1842, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson removed to the Gaboon River, 1,200 miles south of Cape Palmas, and commenced a new mission among the Mpongwe people. Here again the language was reduced to writing for the first time. A grammar, a vocabulary, portions of the Bible, and a number of small volumes, were published in the native language.

In the spring of 1853, owing to the failure of Mr. Wilson’s health, he and his wife returned to America. In the autumn of 1853, he entered the office of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in New York, and continued to serve as Secretary until the breaking out of the Civil War, when he returned to his home in the South. At the organization of the Southern Presbyterian Church, Dr. Wilson was appointed Secretary of Foreign Missions. This office he continued to hold until 1885, when the General Assembly, in view of his declining health, relieved him of the active duties of the office, and elected him Secretary Emeritus. During seven years of his active service in the office, the Home Mission work was combined with that of Foreign Missions, Dr. Wilson sharing in the care of both.

In 1854, Dr. Wilson published a volume of five hundred pages on “Western Africa, its History, Condition and Prospects.” Dr. Livingstone pronounced this the best volume on that part of Africa ever published.

In 1852, a strong effort was made in the British Parliament to withdraw the British squadron from the coast of Africa, under the impression that the foreign slave trade could not be broken up. Dr. Wilson wrote a pamphlet, showing that the impression was erroneous, and indicating what was wanting to make the effort to suppress the slave trade successful. The pamphlet fell into the hands of Lord Palmerston, and was, by his order, published in the United Service Journal, and afterwards in the “Blue Book” of Parliament. An edition of 10,000 copies was circulated throughout the kingdom. Lord Palmerston informed Dr. Wilson that this pamphlet put an end to all opposition to the continuance of the squadron; and in less than five years, the trade itself was brought to an end.

During his residence in New York, Dr. Wilson acted as editor of the Foreign Department of the Home and Foreign Record. In our own Church, he began The Missionary, of which he continued to be editor till recently. He published more than thirty articles in the Southern Presbyterian Review and in other literary and scientific reviews. While in Africa, Dr. Wilson procured and sent to the Boston Society of Natural History the first specimen of the gorilla known in modern times.

The commanding presence of Dr. Wilson, and his affable and courteous address, will be remembered by many in the Church. His features indicated physical and intellectual strength. His varied information made him the attractive centre of the social circle. He was just in judgment, wise in counsel, practical in methods. His public life covered more than fifty years. These fifty years have recorded wonderful progress in the Foreign Mission work. They constitute a great missionary age in the history of the Church. Amongst the great workers in this branch of Christian service, Dr. Wilson has stood with the first. By the grace of God, he served his generation nobly, received the loving veneration of the people among whom he lived, and will long be remembered among us as a prince and a great man.

[excerpted from The Missionary (Richmond, VA), vol. 19, no. 8 (August 1886): duplex insert between pages 113 and 115.

Works concerning the Rev. John Leighton Wilson:
Bucher, Henry H., Jr., “John Leighton Wilson and the Mpongwe: The ‘Spirit of 1776’ in Mid-Nineteenth Century Africa,” Journal of Presbyterian History, 54.3 (Fall 1976) 291-316.

DuBose, Hampden C., Memoirs of the Rev. John Leighton Wilson, D.D., Missionary to Africa, and Secretary of Foreign Missions (Richmond, VA : Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1893), hb, 336pp.; 20 cm.

Robinson, William Childs,  “John Leighton Wilson – Pioneer Foreign Missionary,” The Presbyterian Journal, 18.36 (6 January 1960): 9, 10-11.

To view some of the published works of Rev. John Leighton Wilson, posted over at the Log College Press web site, click here.

Testify.

It was in 1751 that the Rev. Samuel Davies, then a resident of Hanover, Virginia, decided to journey to Roanoke for the purpose of preaching. Somewhere along his journey, he became acquainted with a young man by the name of Henry Pattillo. It was a providential meeting.

Henry had been born in Scotland, of Christian parents who arranged for him to apprentice with a local merchant. In time, seeking a better situation, Henry immigrated to America and settled in the Province of Virginia. Working first for a merchant, and later as a teacher, Henry was increasingly under conviction of his sins and sought the Lord.

He began to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Prayer became “his very breath” and mediation on the Scriptures brought great joy. “I used, when along, to speak out in mediation, and do esteem it an excellent medium to fix the heart on the work.” Further, “Thus I went on my way rejoicing and serving God for the space of a year and half; I was generally full of warmth, nor could I take the Bible or any religious book into my hand but I would find something suited to the present state of my soul…”

So this was the young man whom Rev. Davies met on his journey. Impressed with his character and gifts, he invited him to return and study for the ministry under his tutelage. Finally on July12th in 1758, Mr. Pattillo was ordained in Cumberland, and the following September was installed as pastor of the churches of Willis Creek, Byrd, and Buck Island. So began a ministry of some forty years.

And while we could write further of his long career, what I find notable of Rev. Pattillo is the will that he drew up when he realized, in 1800, that death was near:

“I adore the blessed Providence that more especially watched over me and wonderfully governed my steps; that at the commencement of my manhood rescued me from the ways of sin and the paths of the destroyer; that made it good for me to bear the yoke in my youth; that after many discouraging disappointments which I afterwards found were merciful interpositions of divine goodness, my way was opened to an education, and I was carried through it, though poverty and a melancholy constitution darkened my prospects, and threatened to stop me at every turn. The same divine goodness and free mercy that had thus far indulged my ardent wish and daily prayer, that I might be qualified both by heaven’s grace and human learning to preach the everlasting gospel, was graciously pleased to call me thereto, and set me apart by the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery. Having, therefore, obtained help of God, I continue to this day, having nothing to complain of my adorable Master, for goodness and mercy have followed me all my life long; but have to accuse myself that in ten thousand instances I have come short of the glory of God, and have been a very unprofitable servant, in not promoting to the utmost my own salvation and that of others. And a great aggravation of this guilt is, that wherever I have preached the gospel God has honored me with such a share of popularity and the favor of mankind, as have opened a door for much more usefulness than I have had a zeal and diligence to improve. Look, gracious God, on a creature all over guilt and imperfection, through the all-perfect righteousness, wonderous sufferings and glorious resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ, on whom I cast myself for time and eternity.

“As to my mortal part, let it return, when He that built it pleaseth, to the dust from whence it was taken, and in the next burying-place to which I may die. I commit it to him who perfumed the grave for his people’s calm repose; who acknowledges his relation to them even in the dust, and I am sure will new create it by his power divine.”

Words to Live By:
Have you ever thought that your will could and should itself be a witness, a testimony to the grace of God in your life? Perhaps it is time to re-draft that essential document. Everything in your life should serve to give glory to the Lord. So too, let everything in your final days give praise to God.

This God is our God, for ever and ever; He will be our guide, even unto death.”—Psalm 48:14, KJV.

Two publications under the name of Henry Patillo have been located online and may be viewed over at the Log College Press web site. Click here to read or download these works:

 

Several years ago, the Rev. Howard Carlson, a minister in the Bible Presbyterian Church, shared a letter written by the father of Carl McIntire, addressed to the Rev. A.B. Dodd, a missionary to China. Both men were at that time members of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. One of the real joys of an archivist’s job is getting to read other people’s mail. [that’s an old archivist’s joke, but with a strong measure of truth]. This letter offers a rare glimpse into a close friendship between two young men preparing for their respective lives of ministry, one in the distant fields of China, the other, by God’s providence, remaining at home.

—– Original Message —–

From: Howard Carlson

To: [email protected]

Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 10:55 PM

Subject: McIntire 03.doc

Rev. Carlson introduces this letter, saying that,

dodd_MM_ABBonnie, my wife, is granddaughter of Albert Dodd, Missionary to China. He was a close friend of Curtis McIntire and the below letter was addressed to Dodd by the Rev. Curtis McIntire. They were to have gone to China together, but McIntire became ill the night before the ship left. Interesting thought – if Curtis McIntire had not become ill, Carl McIntire would have been born in and lived at least his early years in China.

Then he presents a transcription of the letter from the Rev. Curtis McIntire:—

Albany, Mo July 11 1903

“My dear dear Dodd:

I have been looking for a letter from some time from you.  I wrote you several weeks ago and perhaps you never received.  I am hungry for you.  I am up in the country 14 miles north of Albany as tomorrow is my day in our country chapel.  I don’t know how many times I think of you.  I have been thinking this morning on an evening sermon “And there shall be no night there.”  It’s in the description of the new Jerusalem.  No night there.  Night is the time for sinning, for suffering, for sorrowing.  Now night is taken for sin and its darkness but on those streets of gold with Him there will be no night there for He is the light thereof.  Isn’t it grand.  How I wish I could have a talk—one of the good old talks we used to have—one where we could open our hearts and minds to each other without the reserve we have to have with the rest of the world.  I have been awfully busy this summer.  Its hard to get disinterested people out of their old ways to a real activity of love for Him and the cause.  But I have one church that is a joy to my heart. Thirty were present 1st Sunday, 60 the next, 70 [hard to read; could be 120 or 170] the next, and my next visit maybe the church will be too small. It takes all my time visiting. I’m afraid I haven’t spent enough time on my sermons. I can’t get time to write [no? rest?] a word of them. They would be lots better if I could. Now I feel like I have spent too much time with people for Him and too little time with Him for people. I wish I could be with Jesus as much as I want to and to Him what I desire, but the flesh is strong and I let things of my work be the temporary excuse. Oh I love Him and I am so untrue. Don’t you feel that way? Oh to be used wholly by Him. I remember one of the verses they sang at Winona last year which went something like this:

A band of faithful reapers we
Who gather for eternity
The golden sheaves of ripened grain
From every valley hill and plain
Our song is one the reapers sing
In honor of their Lord and King
The Master of the harvest wide
Who for a world of sinners died”

Now the chorus

To the harvest field away
For the Master calleth
There is work for all today
Ere the darkness falleth
Swiftly do the moments fly
Harvest days are going by
Going going going by.”

I suppose you are getting ready to be off for Persia. How I would like to see you! You could tell me the glories of the Conference at N.Y.

I can’t decide where I want to apply for China, Korea, India are before my mind. I wish you would tell me what you think I ought to do considering myself and the work in the places. I am attracted to the evangelistic work of Korea. But China appeals to me for its need of workers, the need which is darkness. I wouldn’t be so careful [uncertain] about making my choice but I ____ that is one of the ways God has of placing me and I am to exhaust my possibilities; then if it’s not the place He will cause the Board to overrule. Let me know what you think. I want the outside view and you can give it me.

I haven’t had a long letter from “Herb” for some time. I’m afraid he isn’t savoring [uncertain] the work as much as I did last year.  I’m sorry I couldn’t meet for Commencement. But I learned you were still in the east. I saw Miss Forley [uncertain] and asked her to remember me to [you?uncertain]. And if you see her give my choicest regards to her and her sister for me.

I hope you get this before you start. I don’t know when you are to leave. I wish we could be together at Princeton again next year. Maybe we never will meet but oh the joy that in Heaven we shall meet and we shall know each other again in that place of beauty and happiness and holiness where we shall together see Him. I can’t tell you all my heart but it’s best in those words to  you ‘Dear Dodd.’

Your own friend

C. Curtis McIntire”

Image source: Photograph of Mrs. & Mrs. A.B. Dodd, as found in The Independent Board Bulletin, 5.8 (December 1939), page 8.

Man Knows Not His Time

In The Daily Princetonian (Volume 38, no. 345, 27 January 1916), we read of the Rev. David R. Frazer, D.D., a graduate of the Princeton University, Class of 1861, who for many years was a trustee of Princeton University, that he had died very suddenly on Sunday, January 24, 1915, while visiting at the home of his son H.F. Spaulding Frazer, who was City Counsel for Newark, New Jersey, and a nationally known attorney. Following the funeral, the body of Rev. Frazer was buried in the Short Hills Cemetery.

frazerDavidRRev. David Ruddach Frazer, D.D., was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 10, 1837, the son of William R. and Eliza J. (Armitage) Frazer. He attended the Central High School of Baltimore, Maryland and attended Delaware College before completing his college education at Princeton University in 1861. He then spent three years at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he was graduated in 1864. In the same year he returned to Princeton and received a Master of Arts Degree, and in 1865 was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry. Dr. Frazer was then made pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Clifton, Staten Island, and held that position for two years, leaving it to preach at Hudson, New York. In 1872 he received a call to Buffalo, and was pastor of the Presbyterian Church of that city until 1880. He received a degree as Doctor of Divinity from Princeton in that year, and in 1887 was made a trustee of the University.

Portrait photograph facing page [15] in Centennial Celebration of the Dedication of the First Presbyterian Church, Newark, N.J., 1891.

Three published works by Rev. Frazer were located, the first of which can be found in digital format:Dr. Frazer preached in Brooklyn for the next three years and then accepted a permanent position as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, New Jersey, being installed there on February 21, 1883. The First Presbyterian Church was the oldest church in Newark, originally Congregational by affiliation, and changing over to Presbyterian in 1720. Rev. Frazer followed the pastorate of the Rev. Jonathan F. Stearns, and was succeeded, after a vacancy of nearly three years, by the Rev. William J. Dawson. During Rev. Frazer’s tenure at First Presbyterian, the church gave substantially to the cause of  missions and church extension (i.e., church planting). He also served as the president of a home for the aged and infirm. Rev. Frazer served the Newark church until 1909, preaching up until June of that year. Retiring from the active ministry in 1909, Dr. Frazer was very much interested in the Theological Seminary in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and for a time acted as president of that institution.

1889
Memorial Jonathan F. Stearns, D.D. : a sermon, delivered in the First Presbyterian Church, Newark, N.J., Dec. 1st., 1889. Newark : Amzi Pierson & Co., 1889.  47 p.; ill.; 22 cm.

1891
“The Building of the Old Church,” Centennial sermon delivered at the dedication of the First Presbyterian Church, Newark, New Jersey, on the text of Isaiah 49:16.

1892
George Washington: An Address Delivered, Feb’y 22d, 1892, Before The Washington Association of New Jersey, by Rev. David R. Frazer, D.D. Also Letters Relating to the Execution of Major Andre, Presented by Mrs. Herbert Gray Torrey, at the Same Meeting. s.l.: s.n., 1892. 16 p.; 24 cm.

Something to Ponder:

From Rev. Frazer’s training and first several pastorates, we might have assumed he was of New School sympathies. Perhaps it is inappropriate to raise that question, given that most of his ministerial career occurred after 1869, when reunion of Old School and New School occurred. But given the question, some light may be shed by the memorial sermon that Rev. Frazer delivered on behalf of his predecessor at First Presbyterian, Newark—the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Stearns. Here the speaker, Rev. Frazer, undoubtedly emulates the object of his address:

“Dr. Stearns began his pastorate here at at time when the rival rallying cries of Old and New School were too well known and were too frequently heard in the Church. As the new Pastor was, in some points in sympathy with Old School views while the Church was in New School connection, considerable interest was felt, in some quarters, as to his probable course under these conditions. But both Old School and New soon learned that Dr. Stearns was no ecclesiastical partisan; that he was a peacemaker rather than a polemic; that his work was constructive, not destructive, hence he was peculiarly fitted to be one of the most influential actors in securing the reunion of the two bodies. Long before this topic became a theme of public discussion, he sought to rid the New School of certain ‘entangling alliances’ which brought that body into disrepute with the Old. He was influential in the establishment, and for many years was a member of the Home Mission Committee, helping, by his wise counsels, to shape that policy which saved to Presbyterianism many churches which otherwise would have sought a different ecclesiastical connection. His sermon on ‘Justification by Faith,’ preached before the Synod of New York and New Jersey, at Poughkeepsie, on October 25th, 1852, did much to allay the suspicions of the Old School body as to the theological soundness of the New. He was an influential member of the New School Committee on reunion and when the inner history of that movement shall be given to the world the record will show that no one man did more of the real, telling work which secured the desired result than did Dr. Stearns.

Directed by Providence
by Rev. David T. Myers

Our Confessional Fathers in the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 5, section 1, would define “providence” with these words:

“God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.”

That full, Scripturally-based statement is seen in the short life and ministry of our Presbyterian subject today.

There is so much that we don’t know about him. William Dean was born in 1719 in Ulster, or Northern Ireland. We don’t know anything about his parents, his upbringing, or even what education he has in that old country. We don’t know when he arrived in the colonies, though some have suggested that he was trained at the Log College. The first notice of him is on the records of New Brunswick Presbytery, held on August 3, 1741, when he was examined and later licensed to the gospel ministry on October 12, 1742.

He was sent with the words of his spiritual fathers to “preach the everlasting gospel where Providence may direct.” With that spiritual charge given to the young Irish man, he was sent to two settlements of Ulster families at Neshaminy and the Forks of the Delaware. Hearing him expound the Word of God, the people called him as their pastor, which call he refused! So he supplied their spiritual needs and added to those places, the area around Cape May, New Jersey. Later, he was sent to the Forks of Brandywine and Pequea.

Still continuing his ministry of “preaching the everlasting gospel where Providence may direct,” he was sent to Greenwich, New Jersey, and in October 1744 to what is now Fairfield, New Jersey and the Forks of the Delaware.

In the next year, he was sent with a Mr. Byram down into Augusta County, Virginia, where a great awakening took place under their proclamation of the gospel, continuing for six full years!

Ordained in May 1746, the Forks of Brandywine called him as pastor, with three acres presented to him and the congregation, and a meeting house erected. Presumably around this time, he married, and eventually four children were born to that union.

By this day, July 9, 1748, however, the next place he was located was in heaven! He died at age 29! So short was his time on earth, as Providence directed.

Words to Live By:
The celebrated Samuel Davies said that William Dean was an active, zealous, and faithful minister, speaking of him as a most useful minister. Davies, called by some “the apostle of Virginia,” lamented Rev. Dean’s early death. Many of our readers might ask “Why” to the God of Providence? Yet the only answer which can be given is that it was the Lord’s sovereign will. Let it be our testimony that each Christian reader will faithfully proclaim and live the everlasting gospel where God’s providence may direct our steps to our family members, especially our covenant children, in the visible church, and to the needy culture in which God will direct us. The New Testament writer James wrote, “(we) are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead (we) ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, (we) will live and also do this or that.’” (James 4:14, 15.)

A Historian for a Historical Devotional
by Rev. David T. Myers

redWmStuartThe Presbyterian minister was convinced that when young men were called into the ministry, and then left the state of Texas for their religious training, most of them never returned to the Lone Star State.  So there was obviously one solution, namely, begin a theological seminary in Texas.  And he did, even giving the land for it, and today Austin Theological Seminary (a seminary of the PCUSA) is in existence today.

The Texas minister was William Stuart Red. Born in 1857, though some say 1860, in Washington County, Texas, he attended for a while a university in Tennessee before transferring to Austin College in Austin, Texas.  He then studied at Princeton Seminary for one year before transferring to Columbia Theological Seminary in 1884-85.  Finally, he returned back to the Lone Star State to Austin School of Theology and graduated from there in 1886.  After some further study in Germany and Scotland, he returned for licensure and ordination as a Presbyterian minister in the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1887.

He was the pastor at six Presbyterian churches in Texas.  Beyond his care for the churches, he was also interested in a central depository for Presbyterian and Reformed history.  So, along with the Rev. Samuel Terry, Rev. Red gave funds for the creation of the Historical Foundation of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches at Montreat, North Carolina.

Before he died on July 8, 1933, his project after retirement from the ministry was The History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas.  His family finished up the 500 page book after his death from papers he had written.  Our PCA Historical Center has a copy of it in St. Louis, Missouri.

Words to Live By:
He seemed to be larger than life, but then aren’t all Texans?  Yet it is important to remember that his love for the state of Texas was grounded in Christian Presbyterianism in Texas.  Paul’s haunting question in the New Testament was “How shall they hear without a preacher?”  Rev. Red wanted Presbyterian preachers to train and serve their Lord and God so that his fellow Texans could hear the unsearchable riches of God’s grace.  That is true for all of our states.  Pray for where God has placed you on this day that the everlasting good news of eternal life might impact your state.

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