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God is above our ways, it therefore seemed good to us with one accord to encourage our brother to the work, whereunte we trust the Holy Ghost is calling him; and we do hereby recommend him to the churches scattered abroad, to be forwarded in bis calling, according to the manifestation of the spirit given to him to profit with. al. Signed in behalf of the Presbytery.
B. W. STONE, cl'k."
Early in the spring of 1805, the substance of two letters written to a friend, on the atonement, by Barton W. Stone, made its appearance. In this pamplet the author denies that there was such a covenant made with Adam as is generally called the Covenant of Works. He asserts that there is no Trinity of persons in the Godhead, but only of characters or relations--and consequently that Christ, as a person distinguished from the Father, is not true and proper God. He further denies that there is any vindicțive wrath in God which must be endured or appeased before a sinner can be pardoned, He rejects the doctrine, that Christ is surety, eitber for the elect, or for all mankind, or that he endured the curse of the law, or the wrath of God, to display God's justice, and obtain for sinners the remission of the curse'. -He asserts that we are not justified by the imputed righteousness of Christ; but, that by faith in the gospel our hearts are changed, we are made just or righteous, and declared so hy God, because we are so indeed. And he holds that justification, sanctification, conversión, regeneration, salvation, propitiation, reconciliation, and atonement, all mean the same thing He states that
ancient sacrifices only bad their effect on the worshipper, producing faith and repentance; and that the blood or death of Christ does the same thing; having its whole efficacy on the believer.
As no common creed was now acknowledged in the New Light church, it would be upjust to charge all their preachers and members with holding these doctrines, Yet it cannot be denied, that a majority of their preach, ers had adopted them previous to the publication of the pamphlet, and were active in defending them some considerable time after. Nor have any, except two, ever fairly and publicly renounced them. The epithet then, we think, is fairly applied, when we call the class, or community, a Socinian Association.
It has already been intimated, that the circumstances under which the brethren separated from Synod, were remarkably favourable for extending their influence in forming a party. Nor did any of them neglect to improve these advantages. Yet such were the materials of which the party was composed, and such were the visionary principles by which they were actuated, that, as a party, it could not in the nature of things be lasting. Hence we find, that it was scarcely known, till it was found falling to pieces. In the spring of 1805, three Shakers, from New Lebanon, state of N. York, arrived in Kentucky, and found the fields white for their harvest.
Their first visit, it is said, was paid to Matthew Huston, of Madison county, who had been converted to the New Light church by the Letters on the Atonement. He, and a considerable number of his people, readily embraced their doctrine, though they did not avow it till some months after. They next visited Richard M'Nemar, on Little Miami, state of Ohio. They were still more successful here. Richard, with the most of his church, including some of the most distinguished licepciates of the Presbytery of Springfield, hailed them as the messengers of Christ's second appearance. J. Dunlavy, who lived also in Ohio, with a considerable number of his flock, followed in a few months. The whole object of the warfare was now changed. Far from having any force to spare to the demolishing of old and orthodox systems of faith and church order, the New Light church bad not strength to defend itself. It was, in fact, a prey to
every invader, Though they had, again and again, renounced every thing like authority—yet they found it necessary still to have meetings of preachers and private members promiscuously assembled, which they called conferences: But these were found to be of no use, for either internal or external purposes; because, after conference was over, each one acted just as he pleased, however contrary to the conclusions of conference.
CONCLUSION: It was those people, and the errors which were propagated by them, which occasioned father Rice's first Epistle to the citizens of Kentucky. Two other pamphlets, of very considerable merit, have since that time been published by Rev. Thomas Cleland, of Mercer county, in answer to an equal number of publications by Barton W. Stone. These publications, and other means, have had their effects in recovering from the
delusion a considerable number of worthy and useful members of the Presbyterian Church, and in confining the heresies and disorders chiefly to those who have never been in any close connexion with any regular church. What may be the gross number of Societies or of people in Kentucky who still adhere to the New Lights, cannot be ascertained with any degree of accu
B. W. Stone still continues to be acknowledged as their father and leader. But from his having fre quently changed his place of residence, and from his changing the scene of his operations almost every summer, we would infer, that a permanent flourishing Socie
any one place is not known in the connexion. P. S. The New Lights are said to be numerous in some of the new settlements in the adjoining states. Of the five members of the Synod who were deposed on account of the New Light doctrines, two very soon became Shaking Quakers,-and other two were upon sufficient evidence of repentance restored to their ministerial standing, and continue active and useful ministers of the gospel of our Lord.
THE ASSOCIATE REFORMED CHURCH OF
In 1784, or 1785, Rev. A. Rankin, from Rockbridge, Virginia, settled in Lexington, being the first Presbyte
rian minister who settled north of the Kentucky river. He undertook the charge of two congregations, one at Lexington, and another at Pisgah, some 6 or 8 miles distant. In some of his first sacramental occasions, it is said, that there were upwards of five hundred commupicants.
In Oct. 1789, Mr. Rankin was arraigned before the Preshytery of which he was a member, on a general charge of slandering his brethren in the ministry. After a delay of something better than two years, the charge was considered by Fresbytery as substantiated, and Mr. Rankin was required to submit to what censure might be considered necessary. Mr. Rankin, instead of submitting, declined all further connection with Presbytery; and received on the spot what was called the right hand of fellowship from a considerable number of the bystanders. He proceeded immediately to organize separate societies for which cause, as well as for contumacy, the Presbytery, at a subsequent meeting, solemnly deposed him from the ministerial office.
Whatever was the truth in the case, the great majority of the people, who adhered to Mr. Rankin, sincerely believed that he was the slandered man, and that the other members of Presbytery were the slanderers and that Mr. Rankin had suffered, and still was suffering, for his sincere, and ardent, and conscientious attachment to the exclusive use of Rouse's version of the Psalms of David, in opposition to Watt's Imitation. Hence they considered him and themselves, as faithful testimony-bearing men, for what they called