jEmoR J^^STOR or



' I




NEW Y0.'< X Publication thb RjEFfv.;








ll^^rmd dfltujtlt In gim^rita.






Board of Publication of the Reforiied Church in America,

103 Fulton Street.


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1803, by


On bclialf of the Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, in the Clerk's

Office of the District Court of the United States for the

Southern District of New- York.

S. W. Gbeen, Peinter, 16 and 18 Jacob Street, New-York.


A DECADE of years lins passed since the first edition of this Manual was published. In the mean time, frequent requests have been made fcr a new and revised edition. It now appears, however, under an entirely new arrangement, with much additional material. If it were interesting before to have a book of reference, which showed the general changes of the ministry, which gave a slight view of the churches, and a very succinct account of the origin and development of the benevolent Boards ; it is believed it will not be less interesting, in this volume, to find brief characterizations of many of the worthy dead; a fuller view of the churches with their pas- torates ; and a much more detailed account, not only of the origin and prfigress of the Boards, but also of our Literary and Theological Insti- tutions. To all this a General Historical Introduction has been prefixed, and steel plates of several of our ministers have been added. Scattered tlirough the work will be found the names of about one hundred ministers of the last century, who are generally recognized as belonging to the German branch of the Eeformed Church. They were, however, under the same European judicatories as ourselves, until 1792, though biTt little intercourse existed between us. This was owing chiefly to distance, and difference cf language and origin. Brief sketches of Ursinus, Olevianus, and Guido de Bres have also been added, on account of their relation to the symbols of the Church.

In collecting the material, not only have the general histories and memo- rial sermons been consulted, but circulars were sent to all the churches and pastors, where printed matter did not already avail. These received very general and kind responses. In the delineations of character, the ini- Tials of the writers are frequently given. Not a few of the sketches, how- ever, are condensations of articles which have appeared in the Magazine of the Church, in Reviews, or in the Christian Intelligencer. The language of these articles, or of memorial sermons or church histories, has been freely used, abridged, or amplified, as was found expedient. For the knowledge of the German ministers, the writer is chiefly indebted to HarUvgh's Fathers (if the Reformed Church.

He would also take this opportunity of returning his thanks to the many brethren who have kindly assisted him in the work. He is particularly in- debted to the many articles which have from time to time appeared from the pen of Eev. Dr. Thomas De Witt ; also to Rev. Charles Scott, for the loan of the material he had collected concerning the alumni of the New-Brunswick Seminary. He would return his thanks to the Collegiate Church of New-


York, and to the several individuals who have allowed him the use of the steel plates belonging to them, and for other assistance ; and especially to the sons of Dr. John Ludlow, to the daughters of Dr. Gosman, and to Cap- tain J. M. WyckofF, of Millstone, for the new plates which they have kindly had engraved expressly for this work. The writer regrets that Dr. Sprague's interesting volume, which should be in the hands of all our ministry, did not sooner appear. He was only able to condense a few lines from it concerning Kevs. Moses Froeligh and Jeremiah Romeyn, as this work was going through the press. He had failed to obtain any sketches of these men. No doubt some errors will be noticed, but these are altogether inseparable from' a book of this character. It is believed, however, that they will be compar- atively few. The work is given to the public, hoping that it may subserve the interests of religion, by increasing our knowledge of the progress and development of the denomination, and leading to new and enlarged plans of usefulness and liberality.

P. S.— We have learned while the book was in press that the efforts for the increased endowment of the Seminary have already resulted in a gift of $40,000 from James Suydam, Esq., of New- York.

MiLLSTONB, May, 1869.



Historical Introduction, 1

Thb Ministry, [19

The Churches, 381

The Classes, 338

The Synods, 330

The Institutions :

Rutgers College, at New-Brunswick, N. J., 331

Hope College, at Holland, Mich., 848

Theological Seminary, at New-Brunswick, 350

Theological Seminary, at Holland, Mich., .... 304 The Boards:

Domestic Missions 809

Education, 375

Publication, 379

Foreign Missions, 379

The Widows' Fund, ... 393



^ Q Amherst College.

p'y Columbia College.

^^ J ..."'.'.. College of New-Jersey.

jj*^^ ' Dickinson College.

Ham C. . . . . . . . . . . . . Hamilton College.

Hob. C.

.Hobart College.

^'q " Hope College.

J p Jefferson College

Mid. C.

Middlebury College.

N-^^- I University of City of N.Y.

U.N.Y. i

Q.C. I Rutger3 CoUege, (Queen's.)

jjQ Union College.

^' Pj^ " " University of Pennsylvania.

■^f, Williams College.

W R C ... Western Reserve College.

y Q " Yale College.


. g Andover Seminary.

2' jj g '.'. Associate Reformed Seminary, (Mason's. )

Anb 8 . Auburn Seminary.

„Q Holland Seminary.

j,'g g Ne-w-Brunswick Seminary.

p g Princeton Seminary.

yj' g Union Seminary.


B.orb Bo™-

Core Come.

Q, Classis.

. Died.

aep.' '.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'." V'^^ Deposed.

L. or 1. or lie Licensed.

jjjgg Missionary.

jj-g New-Brunswick.

pj.gg^ ..!!....... Presbytery, or Presbyterian.

B. or 8.' .'.'.".'.'.' .'.'.'.'.'. Son.


.Without pastoral charge.

S* Th, initials to many of the article, refer to ministers whose names an found in the work.

Busp. w. c.





HiSTORic^r^ iN"a?Ror>xjCTio]sr.


TnE Protestants on the Continent of Europe were divided, in less tlian a quarter of a century after the Reformation began, into two great divisions, known by the names of the Lutherans and the Reformed. Each existed by the side of the other, in the various nations where the Reformation extended, and each represented a particular aspect of doctrine. The Reformed Church had its origin in Switzerland, under Zwingle, and was more fully developed by Calvin. It extended into the Palatinate, France, (where it soon reached the number of two thousand congregations,) Holland, various parts of Ger- man)^, Poland, Bohemia, and even appeared in Spain and Italy. Persecu- tions soon extirpated it in France, its adherents being either killed or driven into exile. The dissenting elements in England which had abolished the Episcopate, and the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, corresponded entire- ly to the Reformed Church of the continent. The reformed theology has been prolific in systems of varied type, and in a rich symbolical literature. In the freest and most advancing nations, it has ever had the strongest hold those nations which are leading the van in the general progress of mankind. Most of the sects of modern times have sprung into being from its impulse, or in opposition to it. The system has a practical and reforma- tory vigor, springing partly from its polity, and partly from its general spirit. The Lutheran division of the Evangelical Catholic Church has been comparatively stationary, while the Reformed division has been noted for its practical energy. Its Presbyterian and Synodal constitution, or the pure Congregationalism of certain portions, has given it much of its vitality.



Many adherents of this faith, led by various causes, emigrated to Ameri- ca. Those from Great Britain have been generally distinguished by names derived from their forms of church government; while those from the con- tinent, maintaining the general epithet of Reformed, have, on account of the different nationalities from which they sprung, and out of love to their fatherlands, retained patrial adjectives to designate their origins. But these various national distinctions have become comparatively meaningless in the general Americanization, and, to a great extent, intermixture of the Reformed Churches from the continent. The French Reformed the noble Huguenots have been absorbed by other branches which flourished around them. Scores of their family names now appear connected with the Reformed branch from Holland; while the Hollandish, the Swiss, the German, and other emigrants, from the earliest times to the present, have attached them- selves to the German or Dutch branch of the Reformed Church, or to some of the Presbyterian bodies, as location and circumstances determined. Up to the revolution, or even later, the German churches, mostly from the Pa- latinate on the Upper Rhine, placed themselves under the care of the Sy- nods of Holland, because the churches from which they sprung were " un- der the cross." Indeed, it may be truly said that all the elements of the Reformed Church from the continent, were under the ecclesiastical care of the church in Holland. French, and German, and Swiss, as well as Dutch, from all parts of the New World, turned to Amsterdam for men and money. The Westminster and the Heidelberg Catechisms are respectively the sym- bols of faith of the British and the Continental branches. These mutual- ly supplement each other, being composed, the one from a philosophical, and the other from an experimental stand-point.* In doctrine they are sub- stantially identical.


Since Holland herself was the as3dum for the oppressed of all nations, there was no necessity that her citizens should leave her shores for the en- joyment of religious freedom. The first emigrants, therefore, from Holland to America were those engaged in trade. Tliey were under the immediate patronage of the Dutch West-India Company ; and when their numbers had sufficiently increased, they organized a church at New-Amsterdam. This may have been as early as lG19,t though they are not known to have

* Dr. Livingston expressed the desire, in 1783, in a lengthy letter to Dr. Westerlo, that some genius, equal to the task, would arise to draw up a plan for uniting all the Reformed churches in America into one national church. Notwithstanding the seeming diificultics in the way, "I humbly apprehend," says he, "this will be practicable; and I yet hope to see it accom- plished." Let them begin the work by indorsing each other's sjiahols.— Livingston's Life, p. 159, ed. 1856.

+ Gunn's Memoir of Livingston, p. 44, ed. 1856.


had a pastor till 1028. (Miciiaeuus.) The West-India Company acted as their medium in procurin<; ministers, putting their requests in the hands of the clorg;)' of Amsterdam. The Hollanders were, therefore, the first who planted the Reformed Church, as it had been distinctively known on the continent, in America.

The first period of their history extends over nearly half a century, down to their surrender to the English. Their numbers were constantly aug- mented, during this time, by immigration and natural increase, until they reached 10,000. They were confined, in their location, to what is now New-York, Brooklyn, and Bergen, and had also settlements at Kingston and Albany. At the surrender, there weie nine Reformed churches, be- sides one at New-Amstel, in Delaware, which maintained a doubtful exist- ence. Five of the remaining churches were on Long Island.* Possibly another also existed at Harlem. Twelve ministers had been employed up to this time, seven of whom were in the country at the surrender. A few of other religious tenets were reluctantly tolerated. For minuter details, sec the names of the individual ministers.!

QUIET GROWTH, 1664-1737.

The Second Period extends over three quarters of a century, or from tlie surrender to the English to the first eftbrts to secure some sort of inde- pendent ecclesiastical power. Holland immigrants ceased to arrive. It was in general a period of quiet prosperity and peace, though collisions with their English governors sometimes occui-red. Governor Andros at- tempted to foist an Episcopalian minister on the Dutch Church of Albany, (Van Renslaer, Van Niewenhuysen,) and Governor Fletcher, having en- deavored to impose the English language on the Dutch colonists, as had been tried before, and failing, procured the passage of a hill for the settling of a ministry. X This substantially, though not literally, established the

* Flatlands, Flatbush, Bushwick, Gravescnd, and Brooklyn.

t Michaelius, Bo^ardus, E., Bickerus, Megapolensis, J., Grasmere, Drisias, Polhemus, J. T., Scliaats, Blom, Megapolensis, S., Selyns, and Welius.

X Some dissenters, wisliing to build a church at Jamaica, and not having the means, ap- plied to Governor Fletcher for assistance. lie, perceiving that the Assembly were in favor of granting their request and settling a maintenance for minist^ers, thought it a fit opportu- nity to do something surreptitiously for the English Church. James Graham, the Speaker of the Assembly, was accordingly directed to draw up a bill prescribing the method of in- duction, so wording it that, though it might apply to dissenters, it could, with the help ol the Governor, be made especially to subserve the Church of England. ( Col. Hint. N. Y. V. 321.) Bellomont writes, in 1098, that Fletcher took advantage of circumstances "to di- vide the people, by supposing a Dutch and English interest to be different here, and there- fore, under notion of a Church of England, to be put in opposition to the Dutch and French churches established here, he supported a few rascally English, who are a scandal to their nation and the Protestant religion, and here great opposers to the Protestant religion, and who joyned with him in theworst methods of gaine and severely used the Dutch, except some few merchants whose trade is favored, who ought to have an equal benefit of the Eng- lish Government, who are most hearty for his present majesty, and who are a sober, indus- trious people, and obedient to the Government." {Col. Hid. N. Y. iii. 325.)


Episcopal Church in the counties of New- York, Kings, Eichmond, and Westchester, (Selyns.) The Church of New-York, however, procured a charter from Fletcher, giving them the privilege of calling their own minis- ters, and none of the Dutch churches seem to have been prevented in doing this. In the counties above mentioned, however, they were obliged to pay church rates for the support of the English Church.

The Dutch were now a distinct element in a growing British province. It became a necessity for their leading men to speak the English language. A few French Huguenots came over, settling on Staten Island, at New-Ro- chelle, in the city, and at New-Paltz, who cordially fraternized and in time coalesced with the Dutch. (Daille, Bonkepos, Peuret.) The Dutch in- habitants, on account of English oppression, began also about the close of the century to emigrate into the interior. Thus Middlesex and Somerset counties, in New-Jersey, and also, partly for the same reasons, Monmouth and Bergen counties, M^ere settled, although the former had some original colonists, and the latter also had received directly many employees of the West-India Company, in reward for services. The mild and republican form of government in New-Jersey, in contrast with the more oppressive government of New-York, was very attractive to the older colonists both on the Hudson and in New-England. By colonization and natural increase, therefore, during this second period, about fifty new churches were organ- ized. Fourteen of these were in New-Jersey, about twenty on the slopes of the Hudson, and half as many in the valleys of Schoharie, Ulster, and Orange, and a half-dozen on Long and Staten Islands. Forty-two minis- ters also during this time had begun their ministrations in these churches, some of them continuing, however, only a short time. At the close of this period there were sixty churches and seventeen ministers of Ilollandish extraction in America.


But while these events were transpiring on the Hudson, another branch of the Reformed Church was locating on the Delaware and Susquehannah. As early as 1684, the Frankfort Land Company began to send German set- tlers to Pennsylvania. The Romish religion had obtained the upper hand again in the Palatinate, after the palmy days of Frederick III., and the op- pressed inhabitants sought freedom of conscience in the new world. Thus began the Reformed Church of German extraction in Pennsylvania. The full tide of emigration did not fairly begin till about 1709. In this year, four thousand Palatines embarked for New-York, but seventeen hundred died on the passage. They were invited to settle on the Livingston Manor, and many of them did so. Others settled in Schoharie and in the valley of the Mohawk.* The following year large numbers of the same class fled to North-Carolina, (where some French Protestants had already settled on

* Col. Uist. N. Y. V. 553.


the banks of the Ncusc,) and^ founded Ncw-Bcrne. They had preachers among them, but in 1713 the settlement was broken up by the Indians. The remnant fled to South-Carolina. Many Germans of Pennsylvania sub- sequently emigrated to the Carolinas. Many Swiss were also mingled with the various bands of emigrants, who were absorbed by tlie Germans and the Dutch. (GoETsciiKY, BoEUM, "WiMss, DousTius.) But tliesc Germans could obtain no help from their native country, on account of its interior position and the persecutions which the mother Church was then enduring. But living often side by side with the Dutch, and observing the care bestowed on them by the Classis of Amsterdam, they naturally craved assistance and oversight from the same. The Church of the Palatinate also kindly asked this Classis, as they were on the sea-coast and had constant intercourse with America, to lend the emigrants such help as they could. As early as 1730, a correspondence began between the German churches and the Classis, which continued more than fifty years. Weiss had gone back to Holland in 1729 and secured help. (Weiss.) There were at this time about fifteen thousand Germans in Pennsylvania. The Classis agreed to help them on condition that they would adhere to the Heidelberg Catechism, the Palatinate Confession of Faith, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the Rules of Church Government of Dort. This was agreed to.* In 1731, while the Synod of Holland was in session at Dordrecht, eight hundred exiled Palatinates passed through the place, to take ships at Rotterdam for America. The Synod visited them in a body ; religious exercises were ob- served, help was given them for their immediate necessities, with the pledge that the Church of Holland would not forget them in their new abode. But circumstances intervened, and nothing effectual was done for them for fif- teen years.

In America, the German and Hollandish divisions of the Reformed Church had comparatively little intercourse, as both were dependent, widely separated at that day, and could be of little benefit to each other. Yet they were not altogether strangers. On the Raritan, the Germans and the Dutch touched each other. As early as 1705, German Valley, and soon after Lebanon and Amwell,t were settled by the Germans. Frelinghuy- sen and Dorstius were intimate friends, and correspondence and visitations were not altogether wanting between the ministers of New-York and Phila- delphia. In Schoharie and Columbia counties, and on the Mohawk, the Germans and Dutch were intermingled, and have to a great extent coalesced.


The Third Period extends over a little more than half a century, and is a period of aspirations, of difficulties, and finally of independent organi- zation.

* From a pamphlet published by Weiss, in 1731, concerning his arrangements with the Classis, a copy of which was sent by Prof. Buddingh to Dr. T. De Witt in 1850.

+ The original German church of Amwell is now the Presbyterian church of Kingoes, where Dr. Kirkpatrick so long ministered.


The churches in America had procured their ministers hitherto, with a half-dozen exceptions, from Europe.* But the tie which bound them to Holland was continually becoming weakened. Many of the Dutch w-ere beginning to use the English tongue. For more than two generations they had been subject to English rule. A new American life was developing. The churches were sufTering for ministers. Great practical difficulties ex- isted in obtaining a supply from Holland, and when obtained, they were often not adapted to American society. A few young men had been sent across the ocean to study and receive ordination, but the delay, expense, and danger were great. (Theological Seminaky.) There was only one third as many pastors as churches. Presbyterians and Independents had the power of ordination in their own hands. Ought not the seventeen Hol- landish ministers, representing sixty churches of the Reformed faith, to have some sort of power ? be associated in some way to look after the in- terests of the starving churches, and not depend wholly on others, not well acquainted with the circumstances, three thousand miles away ?

For these American Reformed churches, while they first naturally sought help and advice from their native land and from the Classis of Am- sterdam, as most convenient, found themselves gradually brought into com- plete subordination to that Classis. The right of ordination and of ecclesi- astical decisions, at first casually vested in them, the Classis at length tena- ciously claimed. The ministers sent out by them were naturally attached to the Classis, both by a sense of interest and protection. Hence some of these sided with the Classis. But the privilege was granted at length to Messrs. Erickzon and Haeghoort to ordain John Schuyler to the ministry in 1736. (SciiilYLER.)t This privilege was suggestive. There were also noble spirits who felt that the proclamation of the Gospel to the perishing was of in- finitely more importance than ecclesiastical restrictions. And while, for the sake of peace and harmony, they proceeded cautiously and calmly ; yet on one occasion two ministers, one from the German and the other from the Dutch communion, ordained a man on their own responsibility to the ministry. (Goetsciiius.) In 1737, therefore, five ministers (namely, Du Bois, Haeghoort, Freeman, Van Santvoord, and Curtenius) met in New- York and drew up a plan for the establishment of a coetus or association, and submitted the plan to the churches. The plan adopted provided for delegates fi-om every church, lay and clerical, the transaction of only eccle- siastical business, while acknowledging subordination to the Classis of Am- sterdam ; yet for the greater advantage of the congregations, circles were to be established, to which the questions of congregations were first to be taken, and ultimately, if necessary, to the Coetus. It was also stipulated that all ministers hereafter arriving should belong to the Coetus. In April, 1738,1 nine ministers, a bare majority, met in New-York, (Frelinghuysen,

* Megapolensis, S., Bertholf, Van Driessen, J., Schuyler, Goetchius, J. H., and Morgan.

t Boehm, of the German Church, had also been ordained, by Boel and Du Bois of New- York, in 1729.

X It is worthy of note that in this same year, (1738,) Elias Van Bunscliooten and Jacob R. Hardenbergh were born, the former destined first to endow the educational department of


Erickzon, Boehtn, and Schujicr, in addition to those before mentioned,) and sent this phm for a yearly Coetus to Holland for approval. Nine years elapsed before permission was granted. In the mean time, the Chassis, anxious to secure the welfare of the Church, sought to effect a union of both the Dutch and German branches with the Presbyterian Church, but without success."*" (Dohstils.) The Classis was therefore loath to grant tlicir request, not only lest it should ultimately destroy their authority over them, but also lest these churches should be left without any adequate care and attention. It was at length, however, obliged to yield.

For in the meau time the sad condition of the scattered and wasted Ger- man Reformed churches, had become better known in Holland. AVciss in 1729 had obtained the promise of protection and oversight from the Classis, (Weiss,) and in 17-iG, Schlatter, in tender pity for these churches, half in- dependent, and at the mercy of every errorist wandering over the land, had procured the appointment for himself of General Agent, to visit, organ- ize, and consolidate them into some sort of an ecclesiastical body. (Schlat- ter.) This became the German Coetus or Synod. The sad representa- tions made of the condition of these churches compelled the Classis to grant their prayers, and hence the mission of Schlatter. But after doing this, they could not well longer delay an aflflrmative response to the re- quest of the Dutch. In May, 1747, their answer was made known to them, the letter having been brought by Domine Van Sinderin. Arrangements were made for holding their first meeting on the second Tuesday of Sep- tember. The first German Coetus was held in the same month.


But this Dutch Coetus proved to be, after all, an inefficient body. Their powers were too circumscribed. It could not ordain without special per- mission in each case, and their requests were sometimes refused ; neither could it finally decide in any matter. Its inability to promote the true in- terests of the American churches was deeply felt. Some were also bitter opponents, and refused to recognize its authority. In the mean time Coetus ordained several young men. These American-made ministers generally spoke with warmth of an independent establishment. They were also found to be quite as acceptable as others. They argued that in case of a protracted war, all intercourse would be cut ofiF with Europe, and the churches would be deprived of all service. As it was, years often passed before calls sent to Holland were filled. The friends of independence there- fore charged the mother church with inconsistency and tyranny in refusing

the Church, and the latter to be the first president of the college established by the Coetus party. * ScMaiter''s Life, p. 43.


to grant privileges, which were claimed on admitted principles to be neces- sary to her own government. Rev. John Leydt was sent as a delegate to the Coetus of Pennsylvania, to ask them to unite with the Dutch Coetus, at least as to the founding of a Seminary. But the Germans declined on account of their recent obligations to the Church in Holland, which had so carefully cherished and liberally aided them. But a moiety if not more of the Hollanders were in favor of independence, and some of the Euro- pean ministers indorsed them. A strong party was thus formed, and the proposition was boldly advocated of withdrawing from the authority of the Classis of Amsterdam, and organizing an American Classis. This was officially recommended in 1753.*


The next year a plan for this purpose was drafted, adopted, and trans- mitted to the several churches for ratification. A Classis was actually or- ganized in 1755, but its minutes are supposed to be lost. The more con- servative members of Coetus now indignantly withdrew, carrying the minutes of Coetus with them, (and in whose book they henceforth recorded their own acts,) and were joined by those who had never adhered to the Coetus, and these styled themselves the Conferentie, the Dutch word for the Latin Coetus. It must, however, be said to the credit of the Con- ferentie that, having been educated in the universities of Europe, they feared it would be impossible to prepare a suitable ministry here, espe- cially for the Dutch, surrounded as they were by the English language and laws. Yet, in 1765, they formally adopted, as their own, the original constitution of the Coetus, written a generation before.

Their letters are very bitter against the Coetus, charging its members with many ecclesiastical irregularities. Their real offense, however, was, that they were determined to have an independent American Church, and American institutions of learning. The animosity became very bitter; churches were often divided, and neighboring ministers at variance. The Conferentie were also guilty of gross ecclesiastical irregularities. (Meyer, H.)

The civil government, also, for some time had been growing uneasy in view of the increasing number and influence of the non-conforming churches. The provincial government made it a matter of official communication to the home government. Ministers were required to take the oath of fidel- ity to the king of Great Britain, abjuring all allegiance, civil or ecclesias- tical, to any other power. And although this had been the case for a long time, the American party noAV took advantage of it to help their cause.

* To defeat these radical plans, Domines Ritzema and De Ronde, the leading spirits in the opposition, procured the insertion of a clause in the charter of Kings (now Columbia) College, in 1754, giving the Consistory of the Church in New- York the right to appoint a Theological Professor in that Institution. (Theological Seminary.)


They declared lliat the required oath to Great Britain was inconsistent with their allegiance to the Classis of Amsterdam. Prudent members of both parties were sadly grieved at this state of things. The very existence of the church was threatened. The evil seemed to be, without remedy, as both parties were tenacious. Many who hated discord joined other de- nominations.

The call of Doniine Laidlie to preach in English, was considered as an- other dreadful innovation, although the younger generation in New-York and vicinit)"- could not understand Dutch preaching. Yet Dr. Livingston sub- sequently declared that this step should have been taken a century before. And then the procurement of a charter, by the Coetus party, for Queen's College, from Governor Franklin of New-Jersey, for the express purpose of preparing young men for the ministry this last act seemed to preclude all possible overtures between the opposite parties.


But in the mean time God was preparing the way for a reconciliation. The best judges felt that the basis of any reconciliation must be laid in Holland. A happy train of circumstances secured the desired result. In 17G6, John II. Livingston had gone to Holland to pursue his studies for the ministry. He was grieved with the dissensions at home. The true state of the case, the conditions of American society, and the necessity for ecclesi- astic d power were not accurately understood in Holland. He took special pains to acquaint the members of the Classis, privately, with the state of the fiicts. The Conferentie would yield to the recommendation of the Classis, and the Coetus of course would be satisfied with what should accord substantially with their own principles. He prevailed upon the Synod of North-Holland to delegate full powers to the Classis of Amster- dam to settle the whole matter. This simplified the business. He then prepared a plan of union, which the Classis approved. The members of Classis also promised, by private correspondence with the leaders of the Conferentie party, to smooth the way. Mr. Livingston was called to the church in New-York, and in 1770 returned with the plan of union. He judged it prudent to unfold at first only the outlines of the plan. It met with a favorable reception, and he was encouraged to proceed. He pro- posed to the Consistory of New-York, which had been comparativelj'^ neutral in the strife, to invitf^ all the churches to send delegates to a convention, to be held in the city for the express purpose of healing the divisions, and forming a plan of union and general peace.


In October, 1771, twenty-two ministers and twenty-five elders, repre- senting thirty-four churches, met in kindly spirit, with a real desire for peace. There Avere at this time about ninety churches, and thirty-four


ministers. A committee of twelve was appointed, of equal numbers from both parties and from the neutrals, when the plan brought from Holland, and already indorsed provisionally, was presented and adopted as a basis of union. This plan related to the internal arrangement and government of the churches, the healing of the differences, and the restoration of peace and union, as well as the conducting of a correspondence with the mother church in Holland. It made arrangements for the organization of one General and five Particular bodies ; or, in other words, a Synod and five Classes. The licensing and ordaining poioer was at length given to this as- sembly, with the understanding that the names of all ministers were to be transmitted to Holland for registration, with a yearly copy of the acts of the Synod ; and appeals could yet be carried to Holland. This was, how- ever, never done. One or more professors were to be chosen from the Netherlands, upon the advice of Classis, (Theological Seminary,) who were to have no connection with any English academies. These Articles of Unioti were to be binding only after their ratification by the Classis of Amsterdam.

This plan was transmitted to Holland, and an answer was received in October, 1772, entirely approving it.


To the Gonvenlion of United Brethren, Ministers, and Elders of the Reformed Dutch

Churches in New- York and Hew- Jersey.

Reverend and Much respected Brethren : We received your friendly letter, with the accompanying documents, dated October 18th, just previous to the close of the year, and in season to present them at the first Classical meeting in the new year, that they might take them into consideration, and communicate the result of their deliberations as speedily as practicable. We have learned from the docu- ments you have sent to us, with great joy, that the God of peace has inclined the hearts of the brethren, long divided by unhappy contention, to seek delightful peace and i-eunion iu brotherly love; so that, by the friendly invitation of the Consistory of the Church in New-York, most of them assembled in that city, and, after a ses- sion of four days, were reconciled and united to each other. We also learn that the absent brethren, mostly prevented by circumstances of a domestic nature, have given the assured hope that they will be satisfied with the plan of union. We have not in a long time been so much rejoiced by gratifying intelligence from our churches in foreign lands as by that now received from you, which is "good tidings from a far country," like water, refreshing to our souls, weary and thirsty by rea- son of our former correspondence in relation to existing difficulties. Well may we, in the congregation of God's people, offer up our joyful songs of praise to the God of peace. We desire, with our whole hearts, and in pure, disinterested love to the brethren and the church, that this peace and union may be universal, and prove perpetual. The pious zeal of the Consistory of New-York ; the willingness and readiness of the bretliren to respond to their invitation to assemble in convention ; the pious and edifying character of their deliberations during their session of four days ; and the declared assent of most of their absent brethren, conspire to warrant


the well-grounded hope that such will he the result. In order speedily to confirm and bring to conclusion this sucred work of peace, and to allow no languor or delay, we have in our Classical meeting attentively read and maturely considered the pro- posed articles, adopted by the brethren present as a basis of union. These articles essentially correspond with the plan heretofore proposed by us, and appear to be wisely adapted to the peculiar circumstances and condition of the churches of New- York and New-Jersey. The Classis, cordially desirous to see peace and harmony restored and cstablif^hed among their brethren in the common faith in America, wish it to be extensively jniblished, that they have heartily and unanimously ap- proved the plan of union, without proposing any alteration or addition ; and they express their ardent hope that the brethren not present at the convention lately held in New-York, may be animated with the same zeal for the attainment of peace and harmony, and adopt the plan of union Mithout suggesting any material altera- tion.

We trust that our full approbation will tend to promote this most desirable end in your entire unanimity. Still, the general convention of the united brethren and churches not only claims the freedom, but (according to the import of the articles now approved by us) feels itself bound further to make such stipulations and addi- tions as the interests and welfare of the churches may require. We, therefore, re- quest the brethren who have signed the articles of the plan of union (having entire confidence in their love of and devotion to the cause of peace) to employ all their efforts for the accomplishment of the proposed object, and especially to seek the re- conciliation of the church at Kingston with their minister, Rev. H. Meyer. Wc are rejoiced to hear that he yielded, with the other brethren, his full approbation to the articles of union, and hope that the reconciliation between him and the church may soon be effected, through the kind mediation of the brethren, unto mutual satisfac- tion and rejoicing. We cheer ourselves with the hope which you have expressed to us, that when our ready and full approbation of the articles of union shall be sent to those particular churches which have not signed them, it will exert such a strong influence as to lead to their acquiescence and approbation. Thus, a speedy adop- tion of the articles as conditions of peace, will, before long, bring to an end all divi- sions and dissentions, cause them to be ever forgotten, and unite the hearts of the brethren so closely that they shall continually remain a well-cemented body, abid- ing in one spirit, and with one accord striving for the faith of the Gospel. Thus shall the mother church of the Netherlands remain in close connection with her daughter dwelling in a distant country, in the unity of faith and love, and built on one common constitution. Thus, also, the churches of New-York and New-Jersey may successfully appeal to the civil authorities, with good hope of success, for the maintenance of their ecclesiastical freedom and privilege?, preserving fully the cha- racter of Reformed Dutch Churches, as originally organized. Thus may our Re- formed Church in your land, in the midst of so many denominations as surround her, exhibit the beautiful and attractive appearance of the Lamb's bridal church, "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Over your peaceful church, animated by truth and love, inseparable, united, God will command his " blessing, even life for evermore," even as " on a habitation of righte- ousness and a mountain of holiness," the fragrance of which shall spread all around, and attract many to her communion, as members of the " one body in Christ." Nothing can prove more delightful to us who have, with a disinterested spirit, strongly exhorted the brethren to a reconciliation and union, and, at the same time,


to a close correspondence with the Reformed Church of Holland, and continued at- tachment to her faith and order, than henceforth to see tlie churches of New-York and New-Jersey a true Philadelphia, where the Lord loves to dwell. For this end we entreat, in behalf of the brethren and churches, the direction of the " wisdom •which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreat- ed, full of good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." May the hearts of all flow together into one, and be bound together in love, which is the bond of perfcclness. Thus, " the fruit of righteousness shall be sown in peace of them that make peace;" yea, the God of peace shall impart the earnest of salvation to those on whom he pronounces the blessedness of the peacemaker, and furnish therein the evidence of their heavenly sonship. Commending you to God's manifold and best blessing for this and continued years, yourselves, your families, your cliurches, and ecclesiastical assemblies,

We remain, reverend and respected brethren, with true brotherly love and re- gard, your fellow-servants and bretliren in Christ,

N. Tetterode, V.D.M. Amst. et Deputatorum Classis ad res exteras, Praeses.


V.D.M. Amst. ct Dep. Classis ad res exteras, Scriba. Amsterdam: Done in Classical Session, Jan. 14, 1'772.

A few minister.s and churches, however, continued to stand aloof from this union for several years. But in the main, harmony was restored and the parties cordially cooperated. Students began to increase and churches were multiplied. The Revolution delayed the consummation of the Pro- fessorship, but hardly affected tlie steady increase of ministers and churches. During this third period this increase was especially marked. For four decades before any attempts to secure self-government had been made, the new church organizations averaged only seven a decade. But with the six decades beginning with 1730, the average is double, though this includes the period of bitter party strife and of the Revolution. And in the minis- try the increase is still more striking. For forty years before 1730, the additions averaged only seven per decade ; but for the next six decades, the average rises to seventeen. IIow suicidal was the policy of the Oon- fcrcntic, which would have left the Church dependent and un-Ameri- canized !

The duties of the Assembly or Synod, which had been formed by the articles of union in 1771, were necessarily somewhat indefinite. It was a transition period. The articles themselves betray the extreme delicacy with which every thing had to be treated. Moreover, our own Revolution, and tiie French Revolution so soon succeeding it, effectually broke off the correspondence with Holland, no official letters being received for thirty years, excepting in the brief interval, 1784-7, in which three were received. Hence it appears that the American churches did not become independent any too soon, as circumstances rendered any effectual oversight entirely impracticable for the whole of the next generation.



This circumstance, partly, together with the changed aspect of all their relations after the Revolution, compelled them now to organize tlie Cliurch more completely. With the constant growth, and opening prospects, and call for laborers, as well as their new relations to the new civil government of the country, they felt that their true status must bo known. The Arti- cles of Union, in 1V71, were only intended to subserve a temporary pur- pose, as was now asserted. Most of the denominations had already pub- lished their symbols and forms of government. A committee was accord- ingly appointed, in 1788, to translate the Symbols of the Church and the Articles of Church Government as used in the Reformed Church in Hol-