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by Rev. David T. Myers
Edwin D. Morgan was a typical American citizen in many ways, but also one who had extraordinary gifts in the church and state. Born February 8, 1811 on his father’s farm in Washington, Massachusetts, he would begin his work experience as a clerk in his uncle’s store in Hartford, Connecticut. After that ordinary job, his rise in the business and political world was unprecedented. At the age of twenty-one, he was elected to the city council in Hartford. Moving to New York City in 1836, he engaged in the mercantile business and rapidly accumulated wealth. In 1850, he was elected to the New York Senate and became president pro tempore. Eight years later, he was elected governor of the state by a plurality of 17,000 votes. Serving out his eight years in that highest office in the state, he became a United States senator in the midst of the Civil War. It was up, up, up in political office opportunities, but it was his spiritual side which attracted the most attention.
He was a spiritual leader in the membership of Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Serving as president of the Board of Trustees, and in semi-retirement, he devoted himself to religious and charitable work. He backed up that work by the giving of thousands of dollars to Presbyterian ministries. The Presbyterian Hospital, and later on Union Theological Seminary, were recipients of his grants of money. In his will alone, some $795, 000 was designated for religious charities.
Words to Live By: Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:19 – 21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (ESV)
When he passed away on February 14, 1883, his departure from this earth was filled with peace. With his pastor standing beside his deathbed, he said, “I am ready to go now, if it is God’s will, for it is better to be with him. I know that I have not been a good man, but I have tried to do God’s bidding. I leave myself in His hands, for there I am safe.” After spending a few minutes in prayer, the dying man rose up partly from the bed and said, “How sweet, how precious, how comfortable. Christ my Savior,” and with these closing words, passed from earth to glory.
So frequently throughout Scripture that we tend to overlook it by its very frequency, our Lord God does time and time again instruct us–charge us–command us–to remember His works. It is one of His appointed means by which we can keep our hearts tender and fresh in the love of our Lord and Savior. John Flavel’s excellent treatise, THE MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE is a wonderful exposition of this same truth. Here in the article below, William Stanford Reid adds his own insight on the importance of history for the Christian.
by William Stanford Reid
NEEDED: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Reformation Today (Montreal, Canada), 2.4 (February 1953): 11, 17.]
History is God’s possession. This is the repeated assertion of the Scriptures. Whether dealing with individuals such as Pharaoh, Cyrus and Judas, or with nations such as the Jews or with kingdoms such as Babylon, Egypt or Rome, this is always the point of view. Every item, every event of history is worked out according to the purpose and plan of God, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Moreover, this plan and purpose finds its culmination in redemption, accomplished by Christ and to be made complete at history’s final day.
The implications of this point of view for the history of the Church since apostolic days are numerous. The most important is, however, that Christ, who is “head over all things to the Church” is guiding and ruling His people. He is bringing His elect into the Church and punishing those professing Christians who prove unfaithful. In this way the history of the Church has for the Church a twofold objective. It is a warning of what befalls those who are not obedient. This is mentioned repeatedly in the New Testament. (2 Tim. 3:8; Heb. 3:17-19; Rev. 2,3). At the same time the history of the Church is a means of instruction, whereby it is warned, encouraged and strengthened. (Rom. 4, 9-11; Heb. 11; 1 Cor. 10:11).
For this reason the Christian has a very real obligation to the Church’s history. He, and the Church as a whole, must take it seriously, regarding it as part of God’s means of guiding and directing the Church by the Spirit into all truth. (John 14:26; 16:13). For this reason history is not to be discarded, nor disregarded. It is the revelation of how God deals with His people, which is also the fundamental message of the Bible. The only difference is that the Church does not have since Apostolic days, an inspired record, nor an inspired interpretation. Therefore, it is the Church’s obligation, not only to understand its own history, but also to evaluate and interpret it in the light of God’s Word.
There are, however, dangers at this point. If one adopts a proper point of view, they may not be great, but there is always a tendency towards traditionalism and conservativism. Because this, that or the other doctrine has been believed, or because this, that or the other practice has been followed, such must still be the case. This can only lead to aridity and pharasaism which will bring the Church to the grave.
The greatest danger, however, amongst present day Christians, is in the other direction. They tend to disregard the Church’s history. They adopt the attitude that it is unimportant “Let’s not have Calvin or Wesley or Machen,” they say, “But let us get back to the Scriptures. Only then shall we know the truth.” In this way they are adopting the position, that before this age no one has ever really wrestled with problems of the faith, and what is even more important, no one has ever found a solution. They imply that their problems, their needs and their ideas are absolutely new. Therefore history cannot help.
To an historian such a point of view is utterly ridiculous, for in history “there is nothing new under the sun.” The new problems are the old. What Augustine, Calvin, Kuyper and others had to face, we also have to deal with today. We cannot escape from the world in which we live, a world made up of past history.
This anti-historical attitude, however, is very dangerous. Its proponents feel that in a year or two they can achieve the results which the Church has achieved only over 2,000 years. Consequently they often fall into old errors and heresies which could have been easily avoided if they had known some history. Moreover, they would be much humbler than they usually are, for they would see how utterly fallible are all Christians.
Today the Church suffers from a rejection of history. This is one of the evangelical’s greatest weaknesses. Therefore, let us study the Church’s history, the history of God’s people, in order that we may the better know Him who is the Church’s only Lord and King.
If you were among the visitors seeking a seat in the House of Representatives gallery that Sabbath day on February 12, 1865, you would have had to arrive early to accomplish your goal, for the gallery was packed with black and white individuals. It was a historical occasion in many aspects. First, the adoption of the 13th Amendment by the Congress banning the institution of slavery was within sight. Second, the decision of the Republican majority to commemorate the event by a public religious service was surprising, even in the middle of the nineteenth century of the republic. Next, President Abraham Lincoln’s choice of a speaker was the Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, a former slave and then pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Blacks had been barred from entrance to the halls of Congress in recent days before this event. Now this six foot abolitionist, even by political and, failing that, physical means, was being invited to lead the worship service in the House of Representatives.
And it was a worship service. The memorable meeting began with the singing of the hymn, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.” That was followed up with a Scripture reading. The choir from the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church sang “Arise My Soul Arise, Shake off Thy Guilty Fears.” Then Rev. Garnet began to preach, following the text of Matthew 23:4 which describes the Pharisees of our Lord’s day “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” The title of his hour-long message was “Let the Monster Perish.” He would spare no words in the powerful address.
Listen to one paragraph:
“Great God! I would as soon attempt to enslave Gabriel or Michael as to enslave a man made in the image of God, and for whom Christ died. Slavery is snatching man from the high place to which he was lifted by the hand of God, and dragging him down to the level of the brute creation, where he is made to be the companion of the horse and the fellow of the ox. It tears the crown of glory from his head and as far as possible obliterates the image of God that is in him.”
And another short exhortation in the closing words:
“Let slavery die. It has had a long and fair trial. God himself has pleaded against it. The enlightened nations of the earth have condemned it. Its death warrant is signed by God and man. Do not commute its sentence. Give it no respite, but let it be ignominiously executed.”
The entire message can be found on Google for readers to read, but those who heard it that day went away, certainly having their curiosity satisfied. And whether we agree with his verbiage or not, what a memorable way to celebrate the passage of legislation than a worship service in the Congress. Would to God that we would have political representatives who would desire to hear God’s Word and not worry about whether it was a violation of the separation of church and state!
Words to Live By: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (NASB)
Some have heard of the small American denomination known as the Reformed Presbyterian Church and how they took a early stand against the practice of slavery. But few have read any of the story of what was involved, what it cost to take that stand, and the blessings that followed from their Scriptural obedience. It would make an interesting study, to ask how it was that this Church saw such near-unanimous obedience in standing true to the Scriptures and against the prevailing culture. I would argue that what we read here is the proper exercise of that doctrine known as the Spirituality of the Church, in which the Church exercises its God-given authority and effectively disciplines sin where it finds it.
Our post today comes from the September 1875 issue of Our Banner, a publication of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.
A Long Standing Testimony
Extracts of Minutes of the Committee of the Reformed Presbytery, on the Subject of Slavery.—Minutes of February 11, 1801.
“A petition came in requesting a reconsideration of the business respecting slaveholders, so far as this species of traffic might be supposed to affect Christian communion—and that such steps might be taken in the premises, as should place that whole affair on such a moral basis as the principles of our common profession, seem imperiously to demand.” “It was agreed prior to the further consideration of this subject that all slave-holders in the communion of this church, should be warned to attend the next meeting of the Committee, and that there the merits of the petition aforementioned, shall be particularly attended to.”
Minutes of February 18, 1801.—“The consideration of the state of the enslaved Africans was introduced this day into the Committee. The purport of the discussion was to ascertain whether those who concurred, more or less, in the enslavement of these miserable subjects, should be considered as entitled to communion in this church. It was unanimously agreed that enslaving these, our African brethren, is an evil of enormous magnitude, and that none who continue in such a gross departure, from humanity and the dictates of our benevolent religion, can have any just title to communion in this church.”
To carry this resolution into effect, the following note was sent to every member of the congregation, not then present, involved in the evil, viz: “Sir, you are hereby informed, that none can have communion in this church who hold slaves. You must therefore immediately have it registered, that your slaves are freed, before the sacrament. If any difficulty arises to you in the manner of doing it, then you are desired to apply to the Committee of Presbytery, who will give directions in any circumstances of a doubtful nature in which you may be involved, in carrying this injunction into execution.”
At this time the Rev. Wm. Martin was deposed from the office of the ministry, having been found guilty of several heinous sins and scandals, among which the third in order belongs to the present subject, and illustrates the faithful application of discipline to remove slavery from the church.
“3d, That he sold some time since, a negro man then in his possession, thereby doing everything in his power, to prevent himself from ever having it in his power to liberate a poor wretched fellow mortal in any other period in his life, putting this price of blood among his substance, while he left his fellow-mortal to languish out the last moment of his life, under the galling chains of slavery without one scanty ray of hope of ever obtaining deliverance any other way but by the hand of death, and all this after the determination of the court and church to which he belonged had marked African enslavement with the strongest degree of abhorrence.” The last words quoted undoubtedly point to Presbyterial action on the subject of slavery or at least to the action of a committee of Presbytery prior to the deed of selling the slave. This action was thereafter taken by the Scotch Presbytery itself or by its committee, as that was the court to which Mr. Martin belonged until he gave in his submission in 1801 to the committee of Reformed Presbyterians in the United States of America. Mr. Martin’s want of proper feeling in reference to his sin, appears from the plea he made for himself. “Ye a’ see I’m opposed to slavery for I ha’e sold mine.”
As the communion season was near at hand, and they were not familiar with the legal formalities in the deed of emancipation it was found necessary to settle the matter in preparation for the sacrament by binding the parties under heavy penalties to carry out the liberation of their slaves “as soon as it could possibly be ascertained” how it could be legally done. ” It was accordingly agreed that said bonds be in the meantime delivered into the hands of Rev. Thomas Donnelly, who is held responsible for the same; and that the said Rev. Thomas Donnelly, John M. Ninch, and Robert Hemphill be appointed a committee to inquire into the peculiar circumstances of each of the slaves to be liberated, as also into the true legal forms of emancipation; that the intentions of the Reformed Presbytery in purging out the accursed thing from among them, may be carried into the most speedy effect.” This last language implies that the American Presbytery had also given orders on this matter. Indeed, it is well understood that the committee of Presbytery came to the South specially empowered by Presbytery to abolish slavery in the church. It was further ordered that Mr. Donnelly should make an early report to Presbytery in reference to this matter. It will thus be seen, that Covenanters always viewed with the utmost abhorrence the crime of slavery; and while they provided for the natural freedom of the enslaved, they enquired about their circumstances, it is presumable, in a spiritual as well as a temporal point of view. The records do not show that Mr. Donnelly ever reported the matter to Presbytery and therefore to bring it to a close, we must depend on tradition. It is said that of all those that gave bonds, only four persons failed to carry out their obligations. One of these, James Kell, was afterwards taken in the act of adultery with his own slave—a second died a vile drunkard—and a third was reduced to abject poverty, and was caught stealing the nails to make his wife’s coffin. Thus the brand of Cain was put on the sin of slavery and that in connection with the discipline of our church. The blessing of God followed those that turned from their sin, and some of their children and grand children became ministers and elders in the church.
Some of the slaves then freed also became members of the church. Three children of Will and his wife, the former set free by James Hunter, and the latter by John McDill, are now members of Church Hill congregation in Illinois.
The ministers of the church all habitually denounced the judgments of God on the nation for the sin of slavery. If there was any difference in the degree of abhorrence felt against the inhuman and revolting traffic, it was on the part of the ministers and people of the South. They had seen the monster sin, not to pity and embrace; but to hate and abhor. The underground railroad found its most daring conductors and station agents among Carolina Covenanters. Having abolished slavery among themselves, they were not ashamed to be called abolitionists ; and they were not afraid to incur the wrath of citizens and civil officers by helping the fugitives. It was part of their religion.
Mr. Donnelly retained his fervid hatred of the system to the end. His hearers say, that as he had always consistently opposed the iniquitous institution, his severe denunciations and arguments were overlooked, with some such remark as, ” Oh, it is only old Donnelly, let it go ;” while if a Northern man had said the same thing it would have secured him a coat of tar and feathers. Nor was he at all a respecter of persons in reproving this sin. After his son became a Presbyterian and a slaveholder, they must needs discuss the irrepressible subject. The son claimed that there were Christian slaveholders. The father replied, ” It may be so, but a slaveholder among Christians is like a black swan in the flock.” Slavery was certainly the principal cause of the exodus of Covenanters from the South. Rev. James Faris used to say that he would have made the South his home, had it not been for the danger to his family through the temptations held out by the peculiar institution.
Thomas Goulding, George Howe, Aaron Leland, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, James Henry Thornwell, William S. Plumer, Joseph R Wilson, John L. Giarardeau, Charles Colcock Jones, Francis R. Beattie — if you live outside the southern states of this great land, you may not have any recognition of these men and their important place in God’s kingdom. But if you reside within the southern states, these are the worthies of the cross associated with Columbia Theological Seminary, and the southern visible church.
» Dr. John L. Girardeau [1825-1898] »
It was on April 1, 1824, that the Presbytery of Southern Carolina began the first steps to organize a theological seminary to serve the entire Southeastern part of the country. Up to this date, there were only four Presbyterian seminaries in operation, namely, Andover in Massachusetts, New Brunswick in New Jersey, Princeton, also in New Jersey, and Auburn in New York. The new seminary, known later as Columbia, began in Lexington, Georgia with one professor (Thomas Goulding) and five students. Later, the theological school was moved to Columbia, South Carolina, with two teachers (Goulding, and Thomas Howe) and six students. Two of the six became foreign missionaries. Between that year of 1830 and 1910, the membership of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern) rose from 10,000 members to 70,000 members. And the seven hundred and fifty candidates of the gospel ministry who went through those hallowed halls would minister to that remarkable3 growth of the visible church.
Then in the second decade of the twentieth century, there was a geographic shift in the population of the southeastern United States, such that Atlanta, Georgia became the unofficial capital of that area. In response, Columbia Theological Seminary began a $250,000 endowment campaign on February 10, 1925 as part of a strategic plan to relocate the Seminary, from the city which gave it its name, to Decatur, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. That move was accomplished in the year of 1930. Today, Columbia Seminary is one of ten seminaries of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
^Above: This building—designed by Robert Mills—was the chapel of Columbia Theological Seminary when the seminary was located in Columbia, South Carolina. Mills had designed the building as the carriage house for the Ainsley Hall mansion. The chapel building was relocated to the property of Winthrop College in 1936. [photograph by Barry Waugh, 18 July 2006]
Statistical trivia: Among the founding fathers of the PCA, the overwhelming majority of these pastors were educated at Columbia Theological Seminary:
5 — Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1929, 1939, 1942, 1953
2 — Biblical Seminary, 1961, 1963
83 – Columbia Theological Seminary, 1934-1970
2 — Dallas Theological Seminary, 1937, 1941
3 — Erskine Theological Seminary, 1953, 1966
2 — Faith Theological Seminary, 1948, 1955
3 — Fuller Theological Seminary, 1953, 56, 59
2 — Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1953, 1970
1 — Grace Theological Seminary, 1970
2 — Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1942, 1955
1 — New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1965
1 — Northwestern Evangelical Seminary, 1938
1 — Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary, 1951
2 — Princeton Theological Seminary, 1928, 1954
1 — Reformed Episcopal Seminary, 1952
35 – Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS 1969-1973 [RTS opened its doors in the fall of 1966]
1 — Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, 1957
1 — Toronto Bible College 1948
14 – Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA, 1919-1968
15 – Westminster Theological Seminary, 1929-1972
1 — WTNC, 1934
1 — Wheaton College, 1939 [James R. Graham, D.D.]
Words to Live By: Statistics say that the average American family will move every seven years of his life and work. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, and you reader might say that you have lived in the same location all of your life! But whether you move or stay in one location, Christ describes us as the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As salt, we are to flavor our circumstances in life as well as restrain the corruption which is all around us in varying degrees. As light, we are to shine forth the rays of the gospel, especially to reveal the sinfulness of our culture, for the world is in spiritual darkness. As Christians remember their calling, there will bloom wherever they are planted, whether they move frequently or remain in one location all of their lives.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 85 & 86.
Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins, in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
Some sins in themselves. –That is, some sins from their very nature are more offensive to God than others, such as profane swearing, neglect of prayer, unbelief, &c. Such sins as these, are offensive to God in a very high degree, because they are committed directly against his infinite Majesty, and show a contempt of his name and authority.
More heinous. –More wicked, more hateful, or more displeasing to God.
By reason of several aggravations. –From their being committed in circumstances which make such sins more grievous and faulty, than they would otherwise be. Thus, sins committed by eminent persons, against much light and knowledge, or on the sabbath-day, are more hateful in the sight of God, than the same sins would be, when committed by ignorant persons, and on the ordinary days of the week.
In this answer are taught three things:
- That some sins are more heinous, in God’s sight, than others. –Ezek. viii. 3. Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do.
- That some sins, in themselves, are more heinous than others. –1 John v. 16. There is a sin unto death; I do not say that he shall pray for it.
- That some sins are rendered more heinous than others, by reason of several aggravations. –John xix. 11. He that delivered me unto thee, hath the greater sin. James iv. 17. To him that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin.
Q. 84. What doth every sin deserve?
A. Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come.
God’s wrath and curse. –That act of the Divine will, by which every sinner, who continues in his sins, is made subject to pain, to shame, and death here, and devoted to everlasting misery hereafter.
In this answer, we have two points of information:
- That every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse. –Gal. iii. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.
- That every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, not only in this life, but also in that which is to come. –Matt. xxv. 41. Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
On June 19th, 1901, Dr. Philip Edward Arcularius married Miss Marie Fermine Du Buisson. The Rev. Isaac Peck, uncle of the bride, officiated, assisted by the Rev. Frederick B. Carter, rector, with the wedding taking place at St. Luke’s Church, Montclair, New Jersey.
Nearly a year later the couple joyfully welcomed their first child into the family. Philip du Buisson Arcularius was born on May 11, 1902. Philip’s father was a successful New York City physician with a long family heritage and good social standing and his mother came from a wealthy mercantile family, equal in social standing. Marie’s grandfather was named George Washington du Buisson, so named by his father who was both a friend of General George Washington and the Marquis of Lafayette. No doubt Philip enjoyed a comfortable childhood, but he knew some of life’s trials as well, as his mother died when he was little more than sixteen. Then just two years later, he graduated from East Orange High School and entered Yale University in 1921, graduating in 1925 with a degree in business.
We don’t know the details of his Christian faith, but at least by the time of his graduation from Yale he had decided to pursue a calling to the ministry. He attended Auburn Seminary for his first year, 1929-30, but decided to transfer from there, due to the socialism espoused by Dr. John C. Bennett and the liberalism of the Auburn faculty. He chose Princeton Theological Seminary, arriving on campus in the fall of 1930, just a year after the reorganization of Princeton and the departure of Machen, Wilson, Allis, and Van Til, who had left over that summer to start Westminster Seminary. Geerhardus Vos was still among the Princeton faculty, but already the school and its curriculum were changing.
Philip graduated from Princeton in 1932 and then stayed for a graduate year. Ordained in October of 1933 by the PCUSA Presbytery of Morris and Orange, Rev. Arcularius soon became the Stated Supply pastor for two churches in Lackawanna Presbytery, in Old Forge and Duryea, Pennsylvania.
In a brief personal testimony delivered in 1974, Rev. Arcularius stated that,
The Lackawanna Presbytery, in northeastern Pennsylvania, then a conservative body, changed rapidly in the next two years. I felt led by the Lord to take my stand on the floor of Presbytery, on a number of controversial issues, on which my conscience would not let me remain silent. I soon found that, as the pastor of the two aid-receiving churches, I was not supposed to speak out so forthrightly, but only to take my money and keep quiet! When I withdrew from the Presbytery, in April, 1936, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader had a headline, clear across the top of page 2, “Arcularius Quits Presbytery in Free Speech Fight.” My stand, of course, was for the basic, historic doctrines of the Christian faith, as set forth in the Westminster Confession, since superceded in the old Church by “the Confession of 1967.”
Rev. Arcularius continued,
Under the leadership of the late Rev. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, I became one of 33 Presbyterian ministers who stood with him, to form the Presbyterian Church of America, in 1936. One year later, I participated in the founding of the Bible Presbyterian Church. In that testimony to the Christian faith, I have been most happy to remain. Twice I was elected Moderator of the Presbytery of New Jersey; and also served as the Vice-Moderator of the Bible Presbyterian Synod. I have been a member of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions since May 31, 1937, on its Executive Committee since 1956.
In 1953, Rev. Arcularius began a ministry known as Friends of Israel Testimony to Christ, based in Lakewood, New Jersey. He remained with this ministry until his death on February 8, 1985.
Words to Live By: A life of privilege often leads to moral compromise. Raised in wealth, it is difficult to do without it, and corners are cut to maintain the lifestyle. But it doesn’t always turn out that way. Many people of wealth and privilege have recognized the greater worth of the kingdom of God. In some cases they have literally given up everything to follow Jesus. In other cases, they have used their wealth effectively and sacrificially for the sake of the Gospel. God has blessed most of us in this nation with relatively great wealth. Everything that we have is from His hand. How are we using that which He has provided? How are we living up to our God-given name, as followers of Christ?
Image source: Photo of Philip duBuisson Arcularius found as part of an article by Rev. Arcularius, which appeared in The Independent Board Bulletin, 8.4 (April 1942): 3.
Our candidates for this date are few, and information is sparse. Today’s entry comes largely from Alfred Nevin’s Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church, with some additional details provided by the Biographical Catalogue of the Princeton Theological Seminary.
George Smith Boardman was born at Albany, New York on December 28, 1796. He graduated at Union College in 1816, and entered Princeton Seminary that same year, later graduating there in 1819. His time at Princeton Seminary would have been during those years when Dr. Archibald Alexander and Dr. Samuel Miller were the only professors serving at the young Seminary; Dr. Alexander being the first professor in 1812 and Dr. Miller joining him a year later in 1813. Charles Hodge did not join the faculty until 1822.
After receiving license to preach the gospel, George Boardman spent about two years preaching from place to place in Ohio and Kentucky, which was then the “Far West.” He was ordained by the Presbytery of St. Lawrence on July 26, 1821 and was installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church at Watertown, New York, where he served for sixteen years. In 1837 he accepted a call to the Bethel Presbyterian church of Rochester, New York, where he remained six years, excepting a period of six months in 1842, when he labored at Columbus, Ohio in connection with a revival, and then supplied for a while the Third (or Pine Street) Church in Philadelphia.
Pictured above right, Third Presbyterian church, Philadelphia, PA.
In 1843 he took charge of the Second Presbyterian Church at Rome, New York, which he left in 1847, to enter upon a short pastorate at Cherry Valley, New York. At the latter place he remained until 1850, when he accepted a call to the Church at Cazenovia, New York. This pastorate extended to 1865, a period of nearly fifteen years. At the end of this time impaired health required his release. After his health was restored he eagerly engaged in preaching, either as an occasional or stated supply. For longer or shorter periods he filled the pulpits of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, as well as the Presbyterian churches in Ogdensburg and Little Falls, all in New York. He died in Cazenovia, New York, on February 7, 1877.
In 1858, during the time that he was serving as the pastor of the Presbyterian church at Cazenovia, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on Rev. Boardman by Madison University in New York (now Colgate University).
Words to Live By:
Just the facts, ma’am. Looking over what is known of Rev. Boardman’s life, we don’t have available the usual details that would add life and vibrancy to the story. Just the bare details. Most of us seemingly just plug away at our calling in life, with little hoopla or ceremony. Occasionally we might enjoy an honor or two in life. But for the most part, we simply do our part and trust the Lord that our lives will matter, for His glory and for the good of others. And God has given us this confidence, that our lives do matter: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV).
In the turmoil of those early days of World War 2, Presbyterian missionaries Roy and Bertha Byram, who were at that time serving in present day Manchuria, were, along with Bruce Hunt imprisoned for their faith.
“Prison Songs” is the title of a small collection of songs written by Mrs. Bertha S. Byram and Mr. Bruce F. Hunt while in solitary confinement during the days between October 22, 1941, and February 6, 1942, when they and Berth’a husband Dr. Roy M. Byram were imprisoned in Antung and Harbin Manchuria with more than thirty of their Korean Christian friends on charges arising out of their opposition to Japanese State Shinto and a law for the government control of the church.” Later returned to the States in a prisoner exchange, the Byram’s wrote of their imprisonment:
“Now your missionaries did not have to suffer like Paul at Lystra. In prison our feet were not put into the stocks although we were handcuffed some of the time to others. We were not even beaten, nor did we endure any form of physical torture. We were expelled, however, as was Paul from Antioch in Pisidia. As a matter of fact your missionaries feel very humble indeed because we were not able even to approximate the tribulations that our Korean friends willingly endured. God simply allowed us a look from behind clanging, bolted doors. That was all. We saw what it was like to be looking out from within the bars; what it was like to be accused before magistrates; what it was like to suffer trouble as an evil doer even unto bonds; what it was like to endure hardship as though we were good soldiers of Jesus Christ. And we found out how it felt to lie helpless in prison without the assurance that a free American citizen usually enjoys as a missionary in a foreign land, for after war was declared, as far as we knew no power on earth could deliver us for the duration. So passports and American citizenship did not enter much into the seriousness of our thinking in those days. We realized that we had been on business for the King of kings and that it was up to Him alone if deliverance came.
Words to Live By:
What joy and comfort for the Christian, to know that whatever may befall our physical bodies, that we are safe in our Savior’s arms, our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that nothing in this life can truly harm us. And so the Christian speaks and acts from the vantage point of a glorious courage, a courage moored steadfast on the death and resurrection of God’s own Son.
“When conversing on politics, I find that my mind is too apt to become warm when opposition is made to my opinions. Pride is at the bottom ; and it behoves me to guard more effectually against pride and undue earnestness in political conversation. The Lord succour me with his grace!
”Whenever by occurrences I am prevented from having my hour on Saturday evening for devotion, reflection, and self-examination, I find that my frame on the Sabbath is less comfortable. Last night I did not get my hour, and this morning I felt quite uncomfortable; but having mourned over my coldness, and sought Divine grace, I felt more comfortable. I spent between one and two hours this evening in examination with respect to my growth in grace; and I trust that I have reason to think that I do make some advances in it, though, alas! but too little. I applied for assistance to a chapter in Doddridge’s Rise and Progress of Religion. In the present heat of politics I find it necessary to guard my temper and lips, lest I sin; and I pray God for assistance! I feel that I am a man of like passions with others. The Lord direct my steps, and give me grace! In this day of alarm I would rest in God’s grace, and commit myself and family to his protection and disposal. The Lord give me faith!”
LIFE OF DR. J. J. JANEWAY, p. 153