Continuing from page 71…”In the coalescence, the Covenanter ministers never thought of giving up their principles, but they should have known the dangers of a compromise of principle. No sooner had the fair building of Covenanterism been erected in America upon Reformation principles, than the builders began to hew down the carved palace by affiliating with men who were opposed to the design of the structure. And this thing was not done hastily. They had been deliberately agitating the question for at least five years, and consummated it in the erection of the Associate Reformed Church, November I, 1782.
They called the new organization by both names,, although it was practically an Associate Church still. As soon as the Constitution was framed a few years later, they all came under -it as the Associate Church had done in Britain; they swore allegiance to it as the ordinance of God, although God, or Christ, or the Bible, is not recognized in it. If not in 1782, certainly in 1789, it became an Associate Church, and we are not surprised to learn that some of the Covenanter ministers hung their heads in shame and regretted the step they had taken.
The Reformed Presbytery lost its name and organization in America. No doubt Matthew Linn was the best Covenanter among them. In all the conferences, the minutes of which are published in “Miller’s Sketches,” hot debates were prevalent, and all the differences between the two bodies were discussed with marked ability. Upon one occasion the blood of the old Covenanter Matthew Linn became stirred, and he concluded an able and eloquent address upon a proposition in these words: “You may agree to what propositions you please, but we Covenanters will agree to none but with this interpretation, that all power and ability civil rulers have are from Christ the Prophet of the Covenant; and all the food and raiment mankind enjoy are from Christ the Priest of the Covenant.” And if he and his colleagues had added that no government is lawfully constituted without the acknowledgment that Christ is the King of nations, and clung to these sentiments, there would have been no disastrous union. The following is the basis of union finally agreed upon and adopted:
1. That Jesus Christ died for the elect only.
2. That there is an appropriation in the nature of faith.
3. That the Gospel is indiscriminately addressed to sinners of mankind.
4. That the righteousness of Christ is the alone proper condition of the Covenant of grace.
5. That civil power originates from God the Creator, and not from Christ the Mediator.
6. That the administration of the kingdom of Providence is committed to Jesus Christ the Mediator; and magistracy, the ordinance appointed by the moral Governor of the world to be the pillar or prop of civil order among men, as well as other things, is rendered subservient by the Mediator to the welfare of His spiritual kingdom, the Church, and beside the Church has the sanctified use of that and every common benefit, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7. That the law of nature and the moral law revealed in Scripture are substantially the same, although the latter expresses the will of God more evidently and clearly than the former; and therefore magistrates among Christians ought to be regulated by the general directory of the Word as to the execution of their offices in faithfulness and righteousness.
8. That the qualifications of justice, veracity, &c, required in the law of nature for the being of a magistrate, are also more clearly and explicitly revealed as necessary in Scripture. But a religious test any farther than an oath of fidelity can never be essentially necessary to the being of a magistrate, except when the people make it a condition of government; then it may be among that people necessary by their own voluntary deed.
9. That both parties, when united, shall adhere to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Catechisms Larger and Shorter, Directory for Worship, and Propositions concerning Church Government.
10. That they shall claim the full exercise of church discipline without dependence on foreign judicatories.
The union was consummated at the house of William Richards, in the city of Philadelphia, November 1, 1782, at which time and place the Synod of the Associate Reformed Church was constituted, with the Rev. John Mason, Moderator. The following members composed the new body as then organized:
Associates: Revs. James Proudfit, Matthew Henderson, John Mason, Robert Annan, John Smith, John Rodgers, Thomas Clark, William Logan, John Murray and David Annan. Elders—Joseph Miller, Thomas Douglas and William McKinley.
Covenanters: Revs. John Cuthbertson, Matthew Linn, Alexander Dobbin and David Telfair. Elders—James Bell, John Cochran and Dr. Robert Patterson.
The great majority of the Covenanters in the North followed their misguided pastors into the union. Rev. William Martin, in South Carolina, was the onlyCovenanter minister left in America, and no doubt he would have gone in too if he had been in good standing and had had the opportunity. The Covenanters in the South were little effected by the union. While in the ten articles of agreement there are many concessions to the principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, yet there are some radical departures. To the concessions all the Seceders did not agree, and to the departures all the Covenanters did not agree. The consequence was, three bodies were formed instead of one. While it is said “in union there is strength,” it depends largely upon the basis of that union. The moral strength of the Church depends upon purity of doctrine and not upon the mass of individuals.“
from A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America by William Melancthon Glasgow, p71-74.