September 2019

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William Hugh Chisholm was born February 1, 1894 in Emerson, Michigan to Godly parents, Hugh and Mary MacLennan Chisholm, who had immigrated here to the United States from Scotland, bringing with them their Scottish Presbyterian background. Hugh Chisholm was a man of considerable initiative. He and his brother owned the main store in their town of Breckinridge, selling “Dry Goods, Groceries, Boots, Shoes, Furniture and Undertaking”! Later on Hugh Chisholm was elected to the State Legislature and the following incident gives a picture of the Reformed and Puritan morality visually portrayed in young William’s life as a Covenant Child, Soon after father Hugh had been elected to the legislature, as the custom was then, the railroad sent a pass to each member of the legislature. Dr. Chisholm’s father quickly put that pass back into the envelope together with a curt note, “I will not be bought”, and sent it back to the railroad!

Dr. Chisholm’s father had asthma. Yes, this was a great problem, but it was also used in God’s Providence to be a blessing, for it required the family to move all over the West looking for that ideal climate where father, Hugh, could work and live more comfortably. The year of his graduation from High School, when Will had hoped to enter college, his father was so ill that he had to stay home and work the farm, An apparent set back…but this was the time used richly of God to build young Will’s faith. He evidently was concerned with questions about the certainty of the Christian faith. He spent much of his free time up in the hay loft reading God’s Word and praying. During this year he had a deep spiritual experience, and after considerable searching, he knew God’s Word was true. (“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13)

The next year he started out for college—but with no money for tuition! He found a job stoking coal, having to rise very early to get the building warm by morning! This was heavy work requiring a lot of strength and discipline. Later on while young Will was still in college, his father became very ill again. Immediately relatives and friends insisted that Willie be told and brought home. And here enters a first “nobody”, a lovely lady who was very much a “somebody”, who changed the course of Will’s life. His older sister, Ellen, a mild mannered girl, sternly told them all, “Willie will not come home.” She did the farm work herself so Willie could stay in school!

Another “nobody” in the eyes of the world enters the life of Dr. Chisholm, a man named Mr. Stout. A number of students would go to his home for Bible study and prayer. They loved and respected this man for they could see he was mighty with God, a man of prayer whose prayers God heard. One day the thought passed Will’s mind, “I bet Mr. Stout is praying that I will be a medical missionary.” He felt quite indignant and his first impulse was to go and ask Mr. Stout to stop praying! Then, on second thought, he said to himself, “I can’t call myself a Christian and ask a man to stop praying for me.” Knowing the power Mr. Stout had in prayer he then said to himself almost dejectedly, “I just wonder if I won’t end up on some mission field because of this man!”

Through the fellowship of this wonderful man, Bill learned to pray. He started praying for his pastor, an unbeliever in a modernist church. Some weeks later this man received Christ as his Saviour, openly rejected the unbelief he had been preaching, and came out totally for Christ and the Word of God. Other wonderful answers to prayer were experienced at this time.

Another move was made because of his father’s health, and now we find Bill in California attending the University of California at Berkeley and then the University of California Medical School. While in medical school he became acquainted with some young men who were very active at San Francisco’s “City Mission.” There he started preaching to the “down-and-outers” and joined the Mission’s Street preaching efforts. From these experiences he developed a great love for street preaching and sharing the Gospel with all he met. This was to develop into a way of life for Bill Chisholm and in the many years to follow he was always busy “in season and out of season” to give the Gospel of God to all he would meet.

At this time World War I was raging and the government decided to draft young men out of medical school to go to war. Bill Chisholm was ordered to Camp Lewis. And it is here we come to a most important spiritual experience which God used mightily to affect the rest of his life and ministry. He was confronted with a struggle against sin and temptation, the struggles against the world and the prince of this world. While being confronted with this struggle, and searching the Word pf God for help, the great verse of the Reformation came to him in new light and power, “And now the just shall live by faith.” (Heb. 10:38). He realized right there that the battle was not his but the victory was his! His life was transformed; he experienced a new power which was never to leave him. Shortly after this the government changed its mind and ordered the medical students back to school!

A number of months had passed from the time that Bill was drafted to the time he was able to return to medical school. He had to study hard to catch up to the other students who had remained in school. At this time there was a Jewish professor who knew of Bill’s Street preaching with the City Mission and of his Christian testimony;—and he did not like it! He wanted Bill out of the Medical School. Again we see prayer so magnificent in the life of Bill Chisholm. Bill Was ordered to face an oral examination the next day before the Dean of the medical school. The examination could contain anything within the whole corpus of medical knowledge they had studied to date. How could Bill study for this? How could he review everything? Bill went to prayer and asked God to guide his study. He set upon a plan to study in depth a few areas and really be competent in them. He crammed and crammed and studied. The next day he faced the Dean with the Jewish professor at his side. The Dean walked up to a patient in the ward and began to ask Bill questions about the patient’s condition. And it “just happened” this patient had the very disease about which Bill had studied so hard the previous day! As the Dean asked questions, Bill answered with confidence and accuracy. After some time of this the Dean turned suddenly to the Jewish professor and said, “This man certainly knows all that you would expect at this stage of training, doesn’t he?” The Jewish professor answered meekly, “Well, yes, sir.” Bill was never again troubled by that man but became quite friendly with the Dean! Once again he experienced, “The just shall live by faith.”

In 1921 he graduated from Medical School and did his internship and residency in San Francisco, specializing as a surgeon. By the summer of 1923 he had been appointed as a missionary to Korea (Mr. Stout’s prayers were answered!) under the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. He was to go to the Board headquarters in New York and to take a brief course in linguistics. Bill spent a day or so studying the linguistics course but decided that this was not for him. He decided, instead, to go to Philadelphia to hear the report of the great Dr. Clarence Macartney about the General Assembly. This was the time of the Auburn Affirmation dispute. There was great division in the church over the matters of liberalism, supernaturalism, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, and the Deity of Christ. These issues were raging.

And so Bill went with an old California friend, Hall Griffiths, to the Tenth Presbyterian Church to hear Dr. Macartney’s report. Bill happened to notice in front of him a lovely young lady wearing a most attractive hat! And after the meeting he was introduced to this young lady wearing the hat, by his friend, Hall. She was none other than Bertha Cowell—the wonderful woman who would soon be his wife and be a vital part of his testimony and ministry throughout these many decades.

In September 1923, Dr. and Mrs. Chisholm sailed for Korea, and in October they arrived in the small city of Sun Chun near the Manchurian border where they were to labor for many years in medical missionary work. It was not long before Bill realized that he had come to an impasse. The senior missionary did not believe in any Gospel preaching in the hospital; instead, good works were to lead the patients to God! Again Bill went back to prayer saying, “Lord, open up a way to present the Gospel to these patients.” Shortly thereafter the senior missionary came down with an acute pain that could not be diagnosed and lie had to return to America. Thus this obstacle was removed and Bill had free course to give out the Gospel! ____ —Some ugly accusations began to arise in his ministry—questions about his professional competency. After all, could anyone so interested in evangelism be a good doctor? Bill sent some of the cases that he had worked on, along with photographs, back to the United States. His work was found to be so excellent that in 1932, really as a very young man, he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Later, he was to be admitted to the International organization as well, speaking thus to his professional competence as a first class surgeon whose work had to be reckoned with. All criticism of professional competence stopped!

What were some of his missionary methods? Well, his week went like this:

They would work hard all week in the hospital, and then when the weekend would come a group would take off for the country—Dr. Chisholm, an evangelist, and a mechanic, because the car kept breaking down! There is an interesting Story about their going over a bridge—just after the car reached the other side, the whole bridge collapsed! They had all kinds of exciting experiences! Bill would not start his medical work in these rural areas until the people first heard the Gospel message. The Gospel message was especially directed to those who had never heard of God, Jesus Christ, of the Bible. The interest and response was amazing. After the meeting he would attend to their medical needs. He would then leave the Evangelist in the area to tell more of the Gospel. Between forty and fifty groups and churches were formed in this way. At that time when the doors were so wide open to give out the Gospel, Dr. Chisholm felt compelled to work as hard as he could. The verse in John 9:4 often came to him, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.”

There was opposition. His life was not easy. The life of the family was not easy. There were basically two opposing forces: political opposition and ecclesiastical opposition. Politically, this was the time of the Japanese occupation of Korea. The Korean people were ordered to bow at the Shinto Shrine. The Christians objected to this, knowing that this was a violation of the Second Commandment. The ecclesiastical opposition came from his own church. When the whole Shinto Shrine question became so strong, Bill sent a telegram to the Mission Board asking for advice on this difficult problem. The Board replied that he should send his hospital staff up to bow to the Shinto Shrine—it was only patriotism! But Bill knew it was not patriotism; it was a religious matter, and he would not cause his Korean brethren to sin against God. He closed the hospital and resigned from the USA Presbyterian Mission Board, joining The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, and, later, World Presbyterian Missions.

Life was in danger at that time, and they constantly had to bank on the protection of God. One night he was called down to the hospital and on his return two thugs (at the instigation of political forces) tried to hit him on the head with a huge club. He ducked, was hit on the shoulder, and turned around yelling, “Thief, thief!” The thugs became rattled and began to run, and he began to chase them! The verse came to him, “The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth”! As the political situation grew more and more precarious, the U.S. Government finally ordered its citizens back home. Even in leaving Korea, we see the protective and sovereign hand of God. Bill Chisholm was a strict Sabbatarian. As they planned their departure from Korea during these very tense days when their lives were in danger, Bill would not travel on the Sabbath. And so all arrangements were changed so they would leave two days earlier and thus avoid Sabbath travel. If the original arrangements had stood, he would have been apprehended by the police and incarcerated! But be-cause of his desire to keep the Sabbath even in times like this, the police got there one day too late!

Just as they were to board their ship in Japan to return home, God led Bill in a most amazing way. At a missionary prayer meeting in Japan, Bill met a Mr. Opper, an India missionary, recognizing him as the author of an article he had read some years before in the “Sunday School Times.” Bill told this man a little about their precarious position, asking him to pray for their protection. The missionary accompanied Bill to the ship to say goodbye. As they were ready to get on Board, Bill turned to Bertha saying, “You know, we have some money that may be frozen anyway outside of the Japanese Empire. Why don’t we give it to Mr. Opper?” Bertha agreed. Some of the other missionaries became interested and increased the amount. Some months later (because of war-time mail delays) they received Mr. Opper’s side of the story: He was taking a band of younger missionaries to India. The ship upon which they were to sail had been cancelled. They were forced to stay in Japan with bills rising daily. Mr. Opper had run out of money. He prayed that God would somehow meet this need, and each time the Devil would come to him saying, “You really are out of luck now. No one can help you here!” That afternoon at shipside he was given just enough money to pay his bills, and suddenly an opening was granted to sail to India—the last ship out before the war cancelled all shipping!

Bill Chisholm was a patient man. One of the great leaders of the Conservative Presbyterian Movement was very critical of this missionary doctor in Korea who stayed in the liberal church and wrote him up unceremoniously in his religious newspaper. When the family became upset and asked Bill what he was going to do about this, he answered, “If what he says is right, it is God speaking. If what he says is wrong, it is only a man speaking and it does not matter.” What a tremendous attitude!

When Dr. Chisholm returned to the United States during the war years, one of his former professors pressured him to join his lucrative medical practice. However, as Bill prayed about this, he felt God would have him continue on as a missionary—this time as Field Secretary for The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. He traveled all over the United States presenting the Gospel and the need for conservative foreign missions.

After World War II he returned to Korea, in the Pusan area, staying there from 1948 to 1955. His ministry now seems even larger than it was in the former days in North Korea. The Lord opened up a radio ministry where he was able to speak over the whole Korean network, never paying a penny for it! This reached into Communist occupied North Korea as well as all of South Korea. He was active in the starting of a large Conservative Bible School and Seminary. Syngman Rhee, the president of Korea, was his friend and he was able to talk with him about the things of the Lord. When the Korean War started in 1950, his ministry enlarged again. He was given free access to give the Gospel to literally hundreds of thousands of North Korean POWs (sometimes he would find among them former patients on whom he had operated!). He was active in giving the Gospel to South Korean troops on the way to the front as well as the wounded who had returned from battle. Also, Bill and Bertha worked among the U.S. troops and opened their home to them. These were terribly busy days and richly rewarding in God’s service.

Dr. and Mrs. Chisholm returned to the United States in December 1955 because their youngest daughter, Mary, had contracted polio while in Korea. After returning to the States he again represented foreign missions around the country. He also helped out as an ad interim pastor to churches. He was always eager to give out the Gospel of God in any way possible. At gas stations, restaurants, barber shops, anywhere he was, he was always alert for every opportunity to give out a Gospel of John, tell the recipient about God’s offer of salvation, and urge him to read and re-read the little Gospel he had given him.

Dr. Chisholm undertook the representation of World Presbyterian Missions on the West Coast. His health was failing but he still joyfully accepted the opportunity to become Visitation Pastor at the Valley Presbyterian Church in California. He loved people and loved most the opportunity of ministering to them the things of God. Because of Bertha’s constant help, he was able to continue on in this work until 1973. For the last year and a half he was very sick. But even from his convalescent hospital bed, he radiated the love and joy of the Lord. On September 17, 1977 his earthly ministry ended and he entered into the glorious presence of his great Lord and Saviour. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. .that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:13). The Just shall live by faith!

Remarks made by Rev. Louie M. Barnes, at the funeral service for Dr. Chisholm, September 20, 1977 at Valley Presbyterian Church, Sepulveda, California.

How can we find benefit in times of affliction, frailty and illness? For one, the Lord can use such times to “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12). There is the means—affliction, but note also the purpose—to apply our hearts unto wisdom, and also the method—teaching us to number our days. When we are well and prospering, it is so easy to rely upon our own efforts and to forget God. But He would have us to redeem the time, for the days are evil. (Eph. 5:16). Our Lord would have us to remember Him daily—constantly—to live our lives resting upon Him for all that we are and have.
The following material comes from 
THE NEW YORK OBSERVER, a 19th-century Presbyterian newspaper. The PCA Historical Center has a modest collection of these newspapers, and these two articles recently caught my eye.

“Words of a Childless Widow on the Benefit of Affliction.”

[excerpted from The New York Observer, 18.38 (19 September 1840), p. 1, columns 4-5.]

My husband died, and then disease seized on my children, and they were taken one by one. In the course of a few years, I had lain those in whom my heart was bound up, in the grave. Oh! They were many, many bitter tears that I shed. The world was dark. The very voice of consolation was a pain. I could sit by the side of my friend, but could not hear him speak of my departed ones. My affliction was too deep to be shared. It seemed as if God himself had deserted me. I was alone. The places at the table and the fireside remained—but they who filled them were gone. Oh the loneliness, as it had been a tome, of my chamber. How blessed was sleep! For then the dead lived again. They were all around me. My youngest child and last, sat on my knee—she leaped up in my arms, she uttered my name with infant joyousness; and that sweet tone was as if an angel had spoken to my sad soul. But the dream vanished, and the dreary morning broke, and I waked and prayed—and I sought forgiveness even while I uttered it for my unholy prayer—prayed that God would let me lie down in the grave side by side with my children and husband.

But better thoughts came. In my grief I remembered that though my loved ones were separated from me, the same Father—the same Infinite Love, watched over them as when they were by my fireside. We were divided, but only for a season. And by degrees my grief grew calmer. But since then, my thoughts have been more in that world, where they have gone, than in this. I do not remember less, but I look forward and upward more. I learned the worth of prayer and reliance. Would that I could express to every mourner how the sting is taken away from the grief of one, who with a true and full heart puts her trust in God. I can never again go into the gay world. The pleasures of this world are no longer pleasures to me. But I have trust and hope and confidence. I know that my Redeemer liveth. I know that God ever watches over his children. And in my desolation, this faith of the heart has long enabled me to feel a different kind of pleasure indeed, but a far deeper, though more sober joy, than the pleasures of this world ever gave me even when youth, and health, and friends all conspired to give them their keenest relish.

‘You have learned in your own heart,’ I said, ‘that all trials are not evils.’

It was with eyes up-turned to heaven, and gushing over with tears, not tears of sorrow, but gratitude, and with a radiant countenance, that she answered, in a tone so mild, so rapt, as if her heart were speaking to her God,—‘It has been good for me that I have been afflicted.’


And from that same issue of The New Yorker Observer, there is this under the title of:—
“The Test of Death.”

Death should ever be to us the memento, and the test of the true value, and the great ends of life. So prone are we to be engrossed with the world, to yield ourselves to its allurements and temptations, that we are often in danger of forgetting our mortality and the judgment, and of living unworthily of ourselves and below the great ends of our being. It is true, indeed, that serious reflection now and then comes, in pensive moments, to make us ponder the future; to wake us, as with an angel touch, to a full sense of all that we are, and of all to which God is calling us. And in such moments, how often do we resolve that we will live more for our immortality. But soon the current of earth again sweeps over us; soon we are walking over the very wreck of our solemn resolutions, planning as eagerly, grasping as largely as though we were to live here forever! and we need something, some ever-living monument, like the flaming sword of Eden to our first parents, to warn us away from our danger, to impress the lesson that here we are to live but a little while. And this DEATH is ever doing,—coming upon us suddenly, like the thunder-crash in the clear sky, or in the silent, steady progress of his ever destroying work. We are just on the point of yielding to temptation; and death echoes to our ears that he is bearing us tot he judgment, where, if we yield, a fearful account may be ours. We are strongly tempted to a course, to enter upon which would practically be saying that pleasure is our chief good; and death whispers to us, that he will soon touch with his blighting finger, every pleasure whose sources are below the skies. We are planning as earnestly, grasping as eagerly, as though the world might yet be ours; and, as we look up, death is standing by our side, telling of his claim from God upon us, and that in a little while he will crumble to the dust our every plan that takes not hold on heaven. We are neglecting growth in grace; and death, in solemn accents, warns us that we shall soon be where nothing will seem worthy of a thought compared with progress in holiness. We are living for the objects of time and sense—living in continued impenitence; and death, from the opening graves of those cut down by our side, thunders to us, that we too soon must follow, and that if we seek not God’s favor we are lost; that if we repent not, we perish!

Thus does death, ever beside us, like our own shadow, warn us to live in consistency with our probation, and for the great ends of our existence. Like the truest friend—not the one who merely amuses us in an idle hour, but who sternly rebukes our errors, and seeks our highest improvement, and whispers to us of heavenly purposes and of high and holy efforts,—like such a friend, death is ever calling us away from folly and sin, to all that is holy, to all that will fit us for heaven. Standing beside us, not with sombre, but ever with serious aspect, pointing us with deep solemnity to the grave—whither he will so soon bear us—reminding us that there is the test of life, surely it is wise for us to learn the lesson he is ever striving to impress. As the banner of the dying Saladin was borne through his armies with the monition, “This is all that remains of Saladin the great,” so should death impress upon our hearts, how little of earth will soon be left to us! As the herald was commanded by Philip daily to cry before him, “Remember, Philip, that thou art mortal,” so should death ever remind usof our mortality, and lead us to live for  a brighter and a better state! Death—DEATH, this is the TEST of LIFE!

T.E., September, 1840.

Even His Name Spoke of Recognition
by Rev. David T. Myers

Born on  this 18th day of September of 1879, Clarence Edward Noble Macartney had one of those names that made you stop and think. He grew up in a Covenanter household, with his father, the Rev. John L. Macartney, being a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Northwood, Ohio. As this town was the home of Geneva College, it was no surprise that his father taught at the new college as a professor of Natural Science.  When the college moved to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, the family moved with it.

But the father was not a well man. Plagued with a respiratory problem, he and the family moved to California for the warmer weather. In fact, twice there was a move in that state, and finally on to Colorado in 1896. There were teaching professions along the way for the father.

All this moving brought a series of schools, which did not stop for the young man Clarence during his collegiate years. They included: the University of Denver, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Harvard, and Yale Divinity School. There was even a stint overseas in several countries. Finally, Clarence McCartney settled down at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied under B.B. Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, and Frederick Loetscher.

The Old School Presbyterian theology called him away from the Covenanter denomination of his father and into the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Ordained soon after seminary, he held pastorates in Patterson, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Macartney was no doubt a conservative in theology. His Old School Presbyterian training at Princeton Seminary had guaranteed that, along with his Covenanter background. And he was to preach that famous sermon, “Shall Unbelief Win?” to counter the Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick’s sermon earlier, “Shall Fundamentalism Win?”

In its early years, he was a member of the board of Westminster Theological Seminary. One of his favorite professors at Princeton was Robert Dick Wilson, who was at Westminster for one year before death took him. But McCartney was opposed to the starting of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Mission as well as the Constitutional Union’s calls for a new church, if they couldn’t reform the church from the inside. Eventually, he would resign from the board of Westminster Seminary and remain inside the Presbyterian U.S.A. church, even while Machen and others were censured out of the church. He would go to be with the Lord on February 20, 1957.

Words to live by:  It comes down to a simply question. What is the definition of an apostate church? J. Gresham Machen and others certainly believed that when nothing is done in the way of church discipline when essential doctrines of the faith have been denied, as was the case with the Auburn Affirmation, then that speaks of a visible church being apostate. Not one single signer of this affirmation was ever brought up on a charge of heresy. Who were brought up for violation of their ordination vows were conservatives like Machen, Woodbridge, Woolley, McIntire, and yes even a David K Myers, among others. Pray for the purity of the church and  your church in particular. Don’t ever be silent when the truths of God’s Word, the Bible, are being attacked. And stand for the faith once delivered unto the saints.

For further study : The Clarence Edward N. Macartney Manuscript Collection is preserved as one of the resources at the Geneva College Library.

“A trial for heresy is not in its essence a trial of a man, but a trial of a doctrine or of doctrines. It becomes the trial of a man only when he, with full knowledge of the divergence of his views from the Standards of the Church, still remains in the ministry, and thus violates his ordination vows.”

Born on May 25th, 1845 in Carrollton, Ohio, John James McCook was one of “the Fighting McCooks”, a family that had seventeen from its clan who fought for the Union. It was while  John was at Kenyon College in 1862 that he attempted to enlist, but was turned away because he was underage. So he accompanied the 52nd Ohio Infantry as a volunteer aide, and was later commissioned a Lieutenant on the XXI Corps staff, Army of the Cumberland. Promoted to Captain in 1863, he transferred to the Army of the Potomac, was wounded at Spotsylvania, and received brevet promotions for heroism to Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, at age 19 one of the youngest Civil War soldiers to attain such distinction. After the war he returned to Kenyon College, there to earn the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He next graduated from Harvard Law School, and became a New York City attorney. He rose to become senior partner at one of the nation’s most prominent firms, was a Director of banks and railroads, and a Kenyon College and Princeton Theological Seminary Trustee, serving the latter institution from 1897 until his death in 1911. In 1892 he funded a new stadium at the University of Kansas. When his friend William McKinley became President, McCook declined appointment as Attorney General or Interior Secretary. In 1897 he led a syndicate that nearly annexed Cuba by paying its debt to Spain, an action that might have averted the Spanish-American War. Active in the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), during that war he was Chairman of the Army and Navy Christian Commission. The village of McCook, Illinois, and McCook Street at the University of Kansas are named for him. His death came on September 17, 1911, while residing at his summer home, Sea Bright, in Monmouth county, New Jersey.


One of Mr. McCook’s greatest services to the Church may have been his work in conjunction with the heresy trial of the Rev. Dr. Charles Briggs.

Among the several published works in conjunction with that trial, the PCA Historical Center recently acquired a copy of The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, against The Rev. Charles A. Briggs, D.D. — Argument of John J. McCook, A Member of the Prosecuting Committee. New York: John C. Rankin Co., Printers, 34 Cortlandt St., NY, 1891. Pb, 49 p.; 23 cm.

From the Introduction to McCook’s Argument:

“Before bringing charges of heresy against a minister of the Presbyterian Church, it is necessary to determine, first of all, whether his doctrines diverge from those of the Standards within legitimate limits, and do not affect the system of doctrine in which belief is required; or whether the error of his doctrines is vital and essential. While it is true that many ministers do not subscribe to the ippissima verba of the Confession, readers of ordinary intelligence can have no difficulty in determining whether their divergence from the doctrine of the Standards is vital or not. A trial for heresy is not in its essence a trial of a man, but a trial of a doctrine or of doctrines. It becomes the trial of a man only when he, with full knowledge of the divergence of his views from the Standards of the Church, still remains in the ministry, and thus violates his ordination vows.”



Church Planter Extraordinaire
by Rev. David T. Myers

The seals and the whales in Alaska were disappearing fast for the native people up in Alaska. So the Rev. Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary, traveled to Siberia to purchase reindeer to be introduced in Alaska for food, clothing, and transportation. He would eventually bring over 1300 of them, and train the natives how to care for them.

Sheldon Jackson was born in 1834 in Minaville, New York. He graduated from Union College (1855) and Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1858. The following year he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister.

After marriage of Mary Voohees in 1858, they applied to the Presbyterian Foreign Mission board for passage in Siam or Columbia, but we turned down—get this!—for “lacking in physique.” Jackson was only five feet tall.

So Rev. Jackson and his wife began their ministry, teaching in a Choctaw Indian boarding school in what was later Oklahoma, beginning on September 16, 1858. He spent only one year there, contracting malaria, which greatly weakened his health. But he was not done serving his Lord.

Until 1877, he ministered in ten states and territories of the West. How was this possible? He simply followed the westward extension of the railroad, coming to a make shift town, visiting every house witnessing of Christ, seeing converts, organizing them into small missions and churches, and move on to the next railroad town. He organized over 100 missions and churches, including several educational institutions, in this way.

But it was in Alaska that his greatest work for Christ took place, especially among the native Alaskans. The Lord opened up this territory in a unique way. A close friend of President Benjamin Harrison, Jackson was appointed the First General Agent of Education in Alaska, and told to educate the native tribes of the territory. He followed the practice of using contracts to accomplish it, only his contracts were with religious denominations. In all, he divided up the vast area and  invited in the Baptists, Anglicans of Canada, Methodists, Moravians, Congregationalists, Quakers, Lutherans, Covenant, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, to join the Presbyterians already starting schools in the territory. It worked admirably until 1893 when Congress began to get uneasy about subsidizing religious bodies  for their work of education!

He also laid the groundwork for the territory to be recognized at a state later on in history. His critics were amazed at what he had accomplished, and among those accomplishments, of traveling over one million miles for the Lord. He passed away in 1909, but not before being elected as Moderator of the General Assembly in 1897. With all his official governmental service, he was still the evangelist, having preached over 3000 sermons on missions.

Words to live by: There is a monument on a bluff in Sioux City, Iowa, which was erected by the Presbytery of Iowa in 1913. It commemorates the prayer meeting which the Rev. Sheldon Jackson held with two other home missionaries. They looked out to the unchurched west, and went out to win those western areas for Christ. It is this writer’s conviction that the church today needs to look around, see their spiritually lost cities, towns, and neighborhoods, and go out with a renewed zeal to take the gospel message to them. Only such a conviction as that, will result in another spiritual awakening so desperately needed for our land. Will you be one of the ones who will pray for this?  And go too?

by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 43 and 44.

Q. 43. What is the preface to the ten commandments?

A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage.” Exod. xx. 2.


Preface. –Something written or spoken before, which is intended to lend forward to that which is to follow.

Egypt –the house of bondage. –This country was so called, because in it the children of Israel were made bondmen of slaves.

Q. 44. What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?

A. The preface to the ten commandments teaches us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.


Redeemer. –See Explic. Q. 20:

Q. 20. Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

A. God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation, by a Redeemer.


Mere good pleasure. –Purely from God’s will or choice, and on no other account.

From all eternity. –Before the beginning of time.

Elected. –Made choice of some, or took them from among the rest of mankind.

Covenant of grace. –That merciful arrangement, or agreement, entered into by the Father for the Godhead, and the Lord Jesus Christ on the part of man, to save a certain number of mankind from everlasting misery. It is sometimes also called the New Covenant, or the Gospel.

Estate of salvation. –A state of repentance, or hatred of sin, and a love of holiness, here, ending in everlasting happiness in heaven.

Redeemer. –One who saves, or delivers from slavery and misery, either by paying a price, or by using force.

Bound to keep all his commandments. –That is, since “God is the Lord,” we are in duty “bound,” or obliged, to obey him, as being our Creator and Sovereign ; and, since he is “our God and Redeemer,” we ought to do so, out of love and gratitude to him for his goodness and mercy.


In the preface to the ten commandments we are taught,

That we are bound to keep all God’s commandments. –Deut. xi. 1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments always.

The reasons here are assigned, why we should thus obey God’s commandments, are three in number :

  1. Because God is the Lord. –Lev. xix. 37. Ye shall observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them. I am the Lord.
  2. Because he is our God. –Lev. xx. 7. Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God.
  3. Because he is our Redeemer. –Luke i. 74, 75. That we, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, before him, all the days of our lives. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God, in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

[excerpted from The Missionary, 35.5 (May 1902): 225-226.]

This beloved missionary, whose name has long been a household word throughout our communion, entered into rest in the early morning of Sabbath, March 23, in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Thus one of our pioneers has gone from us, the story of whose life is almost that of our foreign missionary work itself.

Annie Edgar was born on this day, September 14, in 1829, at Union, Monroe County, Virginia [now West Virginia]. At the tender age of fifteen she united with the Presbyterian Church of her native place, and soon afterwards there sprang up in her heart a desire, never to be quenched, to serve her Lord in some heathen land. But she could not obtain the consent of her widowed mother, and thus her early purpose was postponed for nearly thirty years.

In 1850, when only twenty-one, she was happily married to Dr. Thomas G. Randolph, of Hopkinsville, Ky., and the following year they removed to Mobile, Ala. In the autumn of 1853 Mobile was visited by a fearful epidemic of yellow fever. Mrs. Randolph was stricken among the first, in September, and her husband only a day or two later. He soon died, while she was desperately ill. When she awoke to a consciousness of her great loss, the blow was almost more than she could bear; but God had yet a great work for His young and now widowed handmaiden, and He mercifully raised her up from the very gates of death. It is touching to know that only a little more than a year ago, when nearly half a century had passed, the long bereaved wife made careful arrangements to be laid to rest beside the dust of the husband of her youth.

When strength returned after her illness and sorrow, Mrs. Randolph first repaired to her husband’s relatives in Kentucky, and then to her mother’s home in Virginia. A year later, in the fall of 1854, she returned to Alabama to teach. For a number of years she did an admirable work in Gainesville, in antebellum days one of the most cultivated and refined communities in Alabama. After the lapse of thirty years her memory there is still as ointment poured forth. The late Dr. C. A. Stillman, one of the ablest men of our church, was then her pastor, and he ever afterwards held her in highest esteem. In 1868 she returned to Kentucky, settling in Paris, and there in the fall of 1871 the call to her life-work came to herthe call that she had heard in her girlhood, and whose echoes had never died away in her ears.

In January, 1868, Mr. and Mrs. Inslee, then our only missionaries in all the far east, had opened a boarding school for girls in the great city of Hangchow, China. Returning to America in the fall of 1870, Mr. Inslee died in New Orleans, April 8, 1871. Meanwhile, the China Mission had been reinforced by Messrs. Stuart, Houston, and Helm, three young, unmarried men. Consequently, an earnest call came from China, in the autumn of 1871, for a competent lady to come and assume charge of the girls’ boarding school. Mrs. Randolph, now at the age of 42, at once answered this call, having first conferred with Dr. Stuart Robinson. Her offer of service was accepted, and under appointment of the Executive Committee she was in Lousiville, February 15, 1872, ready to depart with the Rev. Hampden C. DuBose and his bride, who were also under appointment to the China Mission, but terrible snow storms so impeded travel over the new Pacific railway for weeks that not until April 15 were they able to set out for San Francisco, when, in company with a large company of other missionaries, they sailed on the steamship “America,” May 1st.

With her usual punctuality and system, Mrs. Randolph at once began a valued series of letters to The Missionary, a series only to be terminated twenty years afterwards, when broken health compelled her return. Her earlier letters are still exceedingly interesting, revealing the matured, noble traits of her character.

Her party arrived in Shanghai June 4, 1872, and five days later, June 9, they were in Hangchow. Mrs. Randolph at once assumed her new duties as principal of the girls’ boarding school, a position she was to fill with preeminent success and faithfulness for the next sixteen years. On entering the school she found as her native assistant that remarkable native Christian woman, Ah-tse, whose name nearly a generation ago was so familiar to readers of The Missionary. She also found among the pupils a no less remarkable girl, Ahmun, afterwards Ah-tse’s daughter-in-law, and the gifted and devoted companion and helper in the school, both to Mrs. Randolph and Mrs. Stuart. The affection that grew up and ever after existed between Mrs. Randolph and this lovely young Christian Chinese woman was touching and beautiful, and just as she was leaving Japan in 1892, Mrs. Randolph mourned her early death as if she had been her own child.

After sixteen years of devoted toil Mrs. Randolph’s health was so impaired that in 1888 it became needful to seek relief in Japan, and in the fall of that year she was regularly transferred to the Japan Mission. At first, for a few months, she conducted a class of women in Bible study; but in the summer of 1889 she opened the now well-known girls’ boarding school in the large city of Nagoya. For four years she labored here, laying the foundations of this admirable institution, which has now for more than a dozen years been a blessing beyond price to the women of Japan. But the incessant toil of four years again so impaired her health that her return to America became needful, for temporary rest, it was hoped; but it proved to be a final return.

She left Nagoya on a chill November morning in 1892, before day had dawned. Nevertheless, the love of her Japanese pupils and friends was such that a large company of them assembled at the station, and wept as her train sped away to Yokohama, where she was to take the steamer.

In 1895 she became a teacher in the Assembly’s Home and School at Fredericksburg, Va., and when that institution underwent changes in 1898, she came with the Rev. R. M. Hodge to Nashville, as a member of the faculty of the Nashville Bible Institute and Missionary Training School; she to became lady principal and teacher of the history and methods of missions. For nearly two years she filled this position, greatly endearing herself to all the missionary students who were privileged to share her companionship and daily instruction. Again returning to Fredericksburg, she counted it a privilege to do anything in her power for the cause so near her heart; and then, just as the week ended, and the Sabbath was being ushered in, she entered into the rest that remaineth to the people of God. Her last illness was brief, and during much of the time she was unconscious. She was often heard praying in Chinese, a touching proof of how her heart was still in China. During conscious moments she bore earnest testimony to the exceeding preciousness of her Saviour, reiterating, “He is precious, so precious, so precious,” and thus she sweetly fell asleep. After appropriate services in Fredericksburg, her body was taken by a beloved sister to Mobile, Ala., where again, on Tuesday, services were held in the Jackson Street Presbyterian Church by the Rev. Messrs. Planck and Sims, after which she was laid to rest in the beautiful Magnolia Cemetery. There, half a century ago, she had felt her life’s one great sorrow; and there she shall rise to life’s everlasting joy.

Her sister writes: “Her last thoughts were of missions. She was very anxious to have $50 to send to the Committee from the Ladies Missionary Society of Fredericksburg the week she was called away. When roused to be told that the sum proved to be $58, she said, ‘I am so glad, so glad.’ And thus with God’s work still first in her heart, she went up to see the King in His beauty, and to be joined again to the companion of her youth, and the beloved saints who had gone before her from the land of Sinim.”

Words to Live By:
Is God’s work first in your hear, dear reader? Let us all pray for one another, that we would not fall from our first love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but remain ever faithful and steadfast in pursuing His will.

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The Whiskey Rebellion and the Presbyterians
by Rev. David T. Myers

There is a street corner in Carlisle, Pennsylvania which has an historical sign as the spot in which President George Washington stood in military review of American troops marching to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to quash the Whiskey Rebellion, as it was known in history.

Independence had been gained from Britain by this time. The young nation had General George Washington as her first president. In her early days as a nation, a tax had been placed on the sale of whiskey, which for the Western counties of this state, was used as cash. That was too much for these hard working young American citizens, many of them having fought against England in the Revolutionary War. And many of the latter were Presbyterian in conviction.

Standing out among them was one David Bradford, the son of a Presbyterian ruling elder at Hill Presbyterian Church near Washington, Pennsylvania. He was an attorney and felt a need to resist (on a white horse, no less!) such tax collectors. Many of the latter were tarred and feathered. Something had to be done.

The only sitting president of the new nation of the United States sent (and accompanied) some 13, 000 militia to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. They didn’t need to travel that far as President Washington left them halfway through the march, placing another Revolutionary hero, Lighthorse Henry Lee in command.

But they were not even needed as “cooler” Presbyterian church elders went around to each community as peacemakers, telling the rebels that they would have to answer to the bar of God if blood was shed in this matter. Thus it was on this day, September 13, 1794, that the Presbyterians calling for rebellion, “repented” of their sins against the new government of America. David Bradford, who had fled to New Orleans, was pardoned by new U.S. president John Adams. Eventually the tax for whiskey was set aside.

Words to Live By:
One of the vows taken by the ruling elders in our Presbyterian churches speaks of “endeavoring by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life.” Certainly that vow is first to set a worthy example within the Church of which God has made them an officer, but it would also apply to the community in which that local church is found. Readers: Pray much for your church officers and encourage them in the work to which they are called.

Mr. Polity.

Polity is a fancy word for government, and in the nineteenth-century, when it came to church government, the Rev. S. J. Baird was one of the most knowledgeable men around.

Samuel John Baird was born at Newark, Ohio, on September 12, 1817. His parents were the Rev. Thomas Dickson Baird and Esther Thompson Baird. Samuel began his education at Jefferson College, but poor health interrupted his studies. In 1839 he took charge of a school near Abbeville, South Carolina and subsequently opened a Female Seminary [essentially a college for women] at Jeffersonville, Louisiana. Returning to college, he graduated from Central College, Danville, Kentucky, in 1843. Somehow he managed to concurrently graduate from the New Albany Theological Seminary, in Indiana, that same year.

After being licensed to preach in August of 1843 by the Presbytery of Transylvania, he devoted three years to the missionary work in the Presbytery of Baltimore, in Kentucky, and in the southwest. Then in 1846, he was ordained by Potomac Presbytery, and installed as pastor, first at Bladensburg, Maryland, and later at Georgetown, Kentucky. He also served churches in Clarksville, Tennessee and Batesville, Arkansas. During his time in that latter charge, Rev. Baird was also instrumental in laying the foundation for Arkansas College. From there, he served as pastor in Muscatine, Iowa, 1854-57 and Woodbury, New Jersey, 1857-65.

After resigning this last charge, Baird began work under a joint commission from the American Bible Society and the Virginia Bible Society, laboring as their agent in Virginia. His name first appeared on the rolls of the Southern Presbyterian Church in 1869, and he answered a call to serve as pastor of the church in Waynesboro, Virginia in 1870. For four years he served the Third Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, 1874-78, and his final pastorates were in West Virginia. The Rev. Samuel J. Baird died in Clifton Forge, Virginia on April 10, 1893.

Baird is perhaps best remembered as the author of The Assembly’s Digest, or Baird’s Digest as it most commonly known. This work is a compilation of the acts and deliverances of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., covering the years 1789-1855. It is a particularly valuable work for anyone wanting a resource on the actions and history of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The full title is A Collection of the Acts,Deliverances and Testimonies of the Supreme Judicatory of the Presbyterian Church from its origin in America to the present time : with notes and documents explanatory and historical: constituting a complete illustration of her polity, faith, and history (1856). Copies of this work are rare today in print form, but thankfully it is available on the Internet, here.

Words to Live By:
Another work by Dr. Baird was a catechism, titled The Church of Christ. A sampling of questions and answers from that book follow:

Q. 261. What are the rights of individuals with reference to personal religion?
A. It is the right and duty of every individual for himself, to read and study the Word of God, and ascertain the way of salvation therein set forth [1],—by faith, to lay hold of and appropriate to himself that salvation and all the promises [2],—and to come before the throne of God with boldness, in the name of Christ, and independent of all human instrumentalities and mediators, and there make his confessions and offer his prayers and praises, with assurance of acceptance and salvation. [3]
[1] John 5:39Acts 17:112 Peter 1:19-21;
[2] Rev. 22:17.
[3] Rom. 10:12-13Eph. 3:12Heb. 10:19-22Ps. 50:23John 14:61 Tim. 2:5.

Q. 264. What are the duties of private Christians toward others?
A. It is the duty of private Christians to be ready always to give to every one that asketh them, a reason of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear; to watch for and use all suitable occasions to press upon the impenitent the free grace of Christ; to employ their means in relieving the temporal wants of the destitute; and, as they have opportunity, to do good to all men.
1 Peter 3:15Rev. 22:17Heb. 13:16Gal. 6:10.

Q. 270. What are the principal religious duties of parents toward their children?
A. It is the duty of parents to dedicate their children to God [1],—to bring them early to baptism, to teach them to know God, to pray to him, to read His Word, and to attend upon the public ordinances of the sanctuary [2], to exercise government and discipline upon them in love; and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; maintaining the stated worship of God in the house [3].
[1] Gen. 17:18Mark 10:13-14.
[2] Gen. 18:192 Tim. 3:14-15.
[3] Prov. 13:2422:15Eph. 6:4Gen. 12:713:41821:3335:1-47Deut. 6:7Job 1:5.

To view other works by Rev. Samuel J. Baird, click here.

What Began as Fifteen Is Now Eighty-Two

The old Delmarva Presbytery, now dissolved, was originally organized as a Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES) on October 11, 1969. The name Delmarva is a “portmanteau”, a conflation of two or more words or sounds to create a new word. In this case,Delaware, Maryland, and Virginiare conflated to become Delmarva. The earliest use of that term appears to date back to 1913, and by the 1920s it was widely used, particularly in commerical or business applications.

At its formation, the RPCES Delmarva Presbytery consisted of fourteen churches and one mission work. Upon checking, it appears that all of these churches either came into the RPCES from the Bible Presbyterian Church, Columbus Synod (aka, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 1961-65), when it merged with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod in April of 1965, or were added to the RPCES in the short span of years 1965-1968 prior to the creation of Delmarva. By the time that the RPCES was received into the PCA in 1982—in little more than another dozen years—Delmarva Presbytery had more than doubled to a total of thirty-seven churches!

With the Joining & Receiving, a few of the RPCES Delmarva churches went into the PCA’s James River Presbytery, but most continued on into the new PCA Delmarva Presbytery. Gathering at its first Stated Meeting, the new Delmarva Presbytery convened at 9:45 A.M. on September 11, 1982 at the Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland, with a service of worship conducted by the Rev. Stephen Smallman, then pastor of the McLean Presbyterian Church. The service included hymns and a sermon preached from I Timothy 3. The Rev. Franklyn Miller, pastor of the host church, along with Rev. Smallman, led in the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

At its formation, Delmarva Presbytery was made up of the following churches, with the six oldest and one other (Munson Hill) originally having come out of the old Southern Presbyterian denomination (the churches are listed by their date of organization):

1844―Aisquith Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD
1877―Valley Presbyterian Church, Lutherville, MD [org. 1877]
1882―Abbott Memorial Reformed Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD (Armistead Gardens, Baltimore, MD [org. ?]; merged with Abbott, 8/2/1987)
1896―Chapelgate Presbyterian Church, Marriottsville, MD
1907―Forest Park Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD
1910―Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, Hyattsville, MD
1936―Faith Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DE [previously First Independent & Faith Bible Church]
1942―Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD
1942―Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Elkton, MD
1942―Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Newark, DE
1943―Inverness Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD
1944―McLean Presbyterian Church, McLean, VA
1951―Munson Hill Presbyterian Church, Falls Church, VA [joined the RPCES in 1972; dissolved in 1992]
1954―Manor Presbyterian Church, New Castle, DE
1956―Berea Presbyterian Church, Hockessin, DE
1962―Bethany Presbyterian Church, New Castle, DE [now Heritage Presbyterian Church]
1964―Covenant Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DE
1964―Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Annapolis, MD
1969―Liberty Reformed Presbyterian Church, Owings Mills, MD
1970―Timonium Presbyterian Church, Timonium, MD
1975―Pilgrim Presbyterian Church, Martinsburg, WV
1976―Reston Presbyterian Church, Reston, VA [transferred to EPC in 2000]
1977―McLean Korean Presbyterian Church, McLean, VA
1977―Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Severna Park, MD
1977―Tollgate Presbyterian Church, Owings Mills, MD [became Living Hope PC, now dissolved]
1979―Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Frederick, MD
1980―Chinese Christian Presbyterian Church, Falls Church, VA [now owns the former Munson Hill property]
1980―Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, Relay, MD
1980―Grace Church PCA, Dover, DE
1981―New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Bel Air, MD
1982―Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church, Woodbridge, VA [now dissolved]
1982―Loch Raven Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD

In the short space of another seven years, the Presbytery voted its own dissolution by division into the two presbyteries of Potomac and Heritage. Delmarva Presbytery met in its final meeting at the 30th Stated Meeting on November 14, 1989, taking the action to redraw the lines of Presbytery and delegate its churches to new presbyteries. Since Heritage was the primary beneficiary of the churches of the the old Delmarva Presbytery, she was accorded status as the official successor to Delmarva, and so retains the ranking of the PCA’s 26th presbytery, while Potomac is listed as the 48th.

Chesapeake Presbytery, the PCA’s 63d presbytery, was later formed by division of Potomac Presbytery on January 1, 2002. The churches of Potomac Presbytery number 33 in all; Heritage has 18, and Chesapeake has 31. What began as fifteen now totals eighty-two churches, all descending from the legacy that is the old Delmarva Presbytery.

A Pray for Continued Growth:
The PCA has seen good growth among its churches in the Delmarva region, but there are literally millions of souls in that region who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. Taking today’s history as our motivation, pray not just for this region, but for our nation and for the world. Pray for the advance of the Gospel, that pastors would be faithful to the Scriptures and bold in the proclamation of the Good News. Pray that the Word of God would make a real difference in the congregations, that each of our lives would stand out in attractive testimony to the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. And may God grant a great harvest of souls to be brought into His kingdom.

Note: The records of Delmarva Presbytery, both RPCES and PCA, from 1969 to 1989, are preserved at the PCA Historical Center, and comprise a total of three cubic feet of documents.

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