Barry Waugh

Benjamin Rush, Temperance Movement, and Today

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States behind number two, tobacco, and number one, poor diet combined with physical inactivity. How should Christians respond to this situation? Temperance has been and will continue to be a topic of debate, but the ministry of the church is to teach people to be filled with the Spirit through redemption by Christ.

Physician and founding-father Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) published An Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors on the Human Body, 1790. The pamphlet brought before the public several problems associated with drinking distilled spirits. As a doctor, Rush presented conclusions made from his observations of the damage spirits can cause the liver, stomach, digestion, physical appearance, and muscle tissue. His experience dealing with alcoholism in the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia included not only treatment of its physical but also neurological aspects, and he pointed out the associated problems it caused for personal finances, family, and society. Much of what he said over two-hundred years ago could be dittoed today, however, Rush was not an alcohol abolitionist but instead proposed temperance in the sense of moderation. Doctor Rush’s Inquiry appealed to readers to consider the negative side of what they drank and his diagram “A Moral and Physical Thermometer” at the end of Inquiry (see at the end of this article) was intended to encourage individuals to modify their practices by showing them graphically the dangers of intemperance. He was concerned too that the increased availability of ardent spirits for social get-togethers often led to inebriation, and in the long term, dependency. Physician Rush believed that if someone wanted to drink beverages with alcohol, fermented juices such as apple cider and punches with minimal levels of alcohol were better than spirits, beer, and wine, but the best refreshment was made of vinegar, water, and molasses. Vinegar’s ability to kill some micro-organisms was observed with microscopes in the seventeenth century and it may have been seen as a disinfecting substitute for alcohol.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the abuse of alcoholic beverages was a horrendous problem that displayed itself with inebriated individuals wandering streets, filling jails, and being treated by doctors. It was not uncommon for church services to be interrupted by inebriates wandering into sanctuaries. On the one hand, they were in the best place they could be to hear about Christ, but on the other hand, it was hard to do things decently and in order with lyrics filling the air such as “Let us drink and be merry, dance and joke and rejoice, with claret and sherry.” Adding to the problem was employers encouraged workers to drink. Believe it or not during industrial expansion in the nineteenth century, bosses offered free shots of whiskey to cajole workers to stay at their jobs till the end of the day. Machinery and drink do not mix, and such a practice undoubtedly caused injuries and death.
The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) in its report on the state of religion in 1807 commented that it deplored “in many parts, debasing intemperance in the use of ardent spirits” (p. 383). In 1811 the General Assembly thanked Benjamin Rush for his donation of 1000 copies of Inquiry that were “divided among the members of the Assembly in order to be distributed in their congregations” (467). Note that Rush had kept his pamphlet in print for twenty-one years as intemperance continued to be a problem. The next year the Assembly adopted the report of a committee appointed the previous year which encouraged ministers “to deliver public discourses…on the sin and mischiefs of intemperate drinking” and warned congregants of “those habits and indulgences which may tend to produce it.” Further, church sessions needed to be vigilant to give private warning or public censures because intemperance is “so disgraceful to the Christian name,” the distribution of temperance tracts was encouraged and encouragement was given to efforts for reducing in communities “the number of taverns and other places vending liquors” (510-11). In 1818, an action prompted by overture from the Presbytery of New Brunswick was adopted which recommended that ministers and their flocks influence “forming associations for the suppression of vice and the encouragement of good morals” and that “ministers, elders, and deacons…refrain from offering ardent spirits to those who may visit them at their respective houses, except in extraordinary cases” (684). Finally, the same Assembly recommended…
…to the officers and members of our Church to abstain even from the common use of ardent spirits. Such a voluntary privation as this, with its motives publicly avowed will not be without its effect in cautioning our fellow Christians and fellow citizens against the encroachment of intoxication; and we have the more confidence in recommending this course as it has already been tried with success in several sections of our Church (690).
Those who have been reading Presbyterians of the Past for some time will remember that some ministers in biographies were disciplined for intemperance.
The Civil War brought increased problems with alcoholism. The masses of soldiers gathered on battlefields and in forts with hours of idleness awaiting the next engagement often drank to fill the time as they played games of chance. The problem of inebriated soldiers was addressed in sermons by chaplains along with tracts written by pastors and distributed through religious publishers. Alcohol dependency was a significant problem after the Civil War ended and some temperance groups were organized specifically to help veterans.
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Leighton Wilson’s Find & Evolution

Wilson’s more than five-hundred pages making up Western Africa describes the region in detail by providing history, accounts of colonization (both by nations and for relocating freed slaves), a catalog of natural resources, descriptions of the indigenous peoples, observations of the fauna and flora, and of course, an account of his ministry bringing the light of the Gospel to the Africans. It may be surprising that Wilson would be interested in sciences such as botany and zoology, however science was the up-and-coming discipline in the antebellum nineteenth century, so educated individuals including ministers, found scientific books and discoveries interesting.

John Leighton Wilson (1809-1886) was born, raised, and schooled in Sumter County, South Carolina, then completed his formal education at Union College, Schenectady, before studying for the ministry in the first graduating class of Columbia Theological Seminary. He was ordained by Harmony Presbytery to be a missionary to Africa with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). He worked first at Cape Palmas then the Gaboon region for a total of nineteen years before returning to the United States. He was Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions for the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Old School, 1853-1860, and then he held the corresponding position for the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), 1861-1885. He was a respected missionary, minister, scholar, author, and linguist. His most significant work for readers of English is likely Western Africa: Its History, Condition, & Prospects, 1856; New York: Harper Brothers, 1856, London 1856.
Wilson’s more than five-hundred pages making up Western Africa describes the region in detail by providing history, accounts of colonization (both by nations and for relocating freed slaves), a catalog of natural resources, descriptions of the indigenous peoples, observations of the fauna and flora, and of course, an account of his ministry bringing the light of the Gospel to the Africans. It may be surprising that Wilson would be interested in sciences such as botany and zoology, however science was the up-and-coming discipline in the antebellum nineteenth century, so educated individuals including ministers, found scientific books and discoveries interesting. Wilson’s observations published in Western Africa were beneficial not only for orienting new missionaries about their fields of service but also because they provide information for other readers curious about the Dark Continent. David Livingstone’s first book about Africa would not be published until a year after Wilson’s.
One item of scientific importance Wilson talks about in Western Africa, 366-67, concerns his discovery of some skulls. He says—
“But the most formidable of all animals in the woods of Africa is the famous, but recently discovered, Troglodytes Gorilla, called, in the language of the Gaboon, Njena. The writer was the first to call the attention of naturalists to this animal. Toward the close of 1846 he accidentally came across the skull of one, which he knew at once, from its peculiar shape and outline, to belong to an undescribed species. After some searching a second skull was procured, but of smaller size. No other portion of the skeleton could be procured for some time afterward. The natives, however, seemed to be perfectly familiar with the habits and character of the animal, gave minute accounts of its size, its ferocity, and the kind of woods which it frequented; they also gave confident assurances that in due time a perfect skeleton should be produced. In the meantime, impressions were taken in this country where the two heads were procured, and all the information that could be obtained from the natives was published, and served to awaken the liveliest interest among naturalists. Since then perfect skeletons have been taken to England and France, and brought to this country, so that scientific men have sufficient knowledge of the subject to assign this animal its proper place in natural history. It belongs to the orang-outang, or chimpanzee family, but is larger and much more powerful than any other known species. The writer has seen one of these animals after it was killed. It is almost impossible to give a correct idea, either of the hideousness of its looks, or the amazing muscular power which it possesses. Its intensely black face not only reveals features greatly exaggerated, but the whole countenance is but one expression of savage ferocity. Large eyeballs, a crest of long hair, which falls over the forehead when it is angry, a mouth of immense capacity, revealing a set of terrible teeth, and large protruding ears, altogether make it one of the most frightful animals in the world. It is not surprising that the natives are afraid to encounter them even when armed. The skeleton of one, presented by the writer to the Natural History Society of Boston, is supposed to be five feet and a half high, and with its flesh, thick skin, and the long, shaggy hair with which it is covered, it must have been nearly four feet across the shoulders. The natives say it is ferocious, and invariably gives battle whenever it meets a single person. I have seen a man the calf of whose leg was nearly torn off in an encounter with one of these monsters, and he would probably have been torn to pieces in a very short time if his companions had not come to his rescue. It is said they will wrest a musket from the hands of a man and crush the barrel between their jaws, and there is nothing, judging from the muscles of the jaws, or the size of their teeth, that renders such a thing improbable” (pp. 177-78)
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Matthew Henry, Presbyterian Minister and Bible Commentator

Matthew Henry is known primarily because of his commentary on the Bible. The massive work shows his dedication to the systematic exposition of Scripture which he learned from the Puritans as taught to him by his father. It was his practice to systematically preach through Scripture which then provided exegetical information for his commentary series. Henry’s comments show his faithfulness to preach the whole counsel of God. 

Matthew was born prematurely October 18, 1662, at Broad Oak, Flintshire, to Katharine and Philip Henry (1631-1696). His mother was the only child of Daniel Matthews; his father was the minister of the Worthenbury Church. The infant was baptized the day after he was born. It may seem unusual to baptize a child so shortly after birth but because of the high infant mortality rate parents often had their babies baptized as soon as possible. Given that Matthew was premature and weak, the mother and father sensed increased urgency.
In May, just five months before Matthew was born, recently restored King Charles II enacted an Act of Uniformity to make the Church of England and its prayer book supreme in the land. Charles’s edict let all know that he was in charge of not only the kingdom but also its church. The Act of Uniformity required all ministers to affirm all of the Book of Common Prayer for ordination by the Church of England.  They also had to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant. The act was a particular problem for Philip Henry because he was a loyal Presbyterian, a dissenter, ministering in a Church of England pulpit. In the first half of the seventeenth century, Presbyterians had hoped that England would become a nation with churches ruled by elders and not prelates, but the events of the Civil War years and Interregnum had not gone well for them. Pastor Henry’s refusal to comply with Charles’s act led to his dismissal from the Worthenbury Church October 27, 1661. Some historians say that Philip Henry was one of the dissenting ministers included in the more than two thousand removed from churches in the Great Ejection August 24, 1662.

Matthew’s birth place, Broad Oak, was the ancestral home of his mother’s family and it was where he would live and return for visits during his later life. One biographer says the boy could read the Bible at the age of three and that he showed signs of great intelligence. When Matthew was about ten years old he survived a severe fever which his family had feared would lead to his death. After receiving preparatory education in a nonconformist academy, Matthew entered Gray’s Inn in 1685 to study for the bar, but as an adolescent he had professed faith in Christ in his father’s church and his interest soon turned from law to ministry. Henry had come to faith in Christ through a sermon preached by his father on Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” He continued law studies for a time as he began the study of theology. Matthew’s early ministry was through occasionally supplying pulpits but as word of his expository ability spread, he was invited in the summer of 1686 to preach to a group of dissenters gathered in the home of a confectioner named Henthorne who lived in Chester. He continued preaching sermons in Chester and eventually received an invitation to be the congregation’s minister.

Before Matthew Henry could be ordained, he had a problem to resolve. His father was thoroughly convinced of presbyterian polity, but Matthew was not so sure. He struggled regarding whether he would adopt episcopal polity over prebyterian and become a bishop instead of an elder. One factor influencing his thinking was, according to Henry, Presbyterians recognized Church of England ordination but vice-versa was not the case. That is, he could always change to a Presbyterian church as a Church of England minister, which meant if he decided later to minister in a Presbyterian congregation, he could do so. There were other factors influencing his decision as Henry concluded his internal debate of the subject.
The doubt is not whether episcopal ordination be lawful, especially considering that the bishop may be looked upon therein as a presbyter in conjunction with his co-presbyters, (and the validity of such ordination is sufficiently vindicated by the presbyterians in their Jus Divinum [see notes]), but whether it be advisable or no? (Williams, 75)
Ordination by presbyters seems to me more regular and conformable to Scripture, and more becoming one that disowns a prelatical power. (ibid. 76)
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Charles S. Vedder, Presbyterian Huguenot Minister

After more than forty years of ministry at Huguenot that included many challenges including times when the congregation could not pay him, he spent his last few years of life as pastor emeritus. One factor contributing to his retirement was total blindness. His final sermon was delivered February 22, 1914. During his life he served outside the church as well as within. Among his other works were serving as a commissioner for the Charleston Public Schools, president of the Charleston Bible Society, president of the City Board of Missions, president of the Training School for Nurses, and the eighth president of the New England Society for 34 years. 

Charles Stuart was born to Albert A. and Susan (Fulton) Vedder in Schenectady, New York, October 7, 1826. His education was provided by Schenectady Lyceum Academy which prepared him to graduate valedictorian of Union College’s class of 1851. Ready for his life’s work, Vedder was employed in the publishing industry by Harpers’ Magazine and other New York periodicals while he anticipated bigger and better things. However, having set his course, his direction would change. Vedder grew up in a Christian home reading the Bible and had been profoundly affected by The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (1379-1471). His ancestry was Dutch-German and à Kempis was influenced by the Dutch priest, Geert Groote (1340-1384), whose devotio moderna was a response to what he saw as speculative theology among the Dutch. Groote’s teaching emphasized personal spirituality and taught practical communal religion as applied in the Brethren of the Common Life. But Vedder did not seek the priesthood, rather he became a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry. One thing is certain, he could not have become a priest given his marriage to Helen Amelia (Scovel) of Albany, June 7, 1854.
Where would the former publisher go for seminary? Since he was about twenty years old he had suffered reoccurring bouts of ill health because of compulsive work habits combined with the difficult climate of long, wet, and cold winters in New York. A more agreeable climate might prove prudent for theological education with the bonus of improved health. Other men that were Presbyterian ministers such as George Howe, Aaron W. Leland, and Zelotes Holmes moved South for warmer winters, so Vedder joined the number by attending Columbia Theological Seminary in South Carolina. He graduated Columbia with twenty others in 1861 just as the Civil War was beginning.
Vedder was soon licensed and ordained by the Presbytery of Charleston for work in First Church, Summerville, beginning 1861. The Summerville congregation could trace its ancestry to a small group of settlers from the Congregational Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts, which sailed in 1695 to Carolina (North and South, divided 1712) to establish a settlement about twenty-two miles northwest of Charleston. The next year they built the Old White Meeting House. At the Synod of South Carolina meeting in 1859 the Presbytery of Charleston reported, “They have organized [June 9, 1859] a Church at Summerville, and constituted the pastoral relation between it and the Rev. A. P. Smith” with one ruling elder, “Arthur Fogartie” (10, 96). After but a year, pastor Andrew Pickens Smith left Summerville to serve the Glebe Street Church in Charleston, 1862, and after a series of brief calls ended his days in First Church, Dallas, Texas, 1873-1895. There are several events and transitions on the timeline between the Old White Meeting House era and organization of the Summerville Presbyterian Church, but the Summerville Presbyterians exemplify the close relationship between Congregationalists and Presbyterians in the Low Country. Both presbyterian and congregational polities held to the Calvinism of the Westminster Confession in opposition to the established religion of the Church of England in the colonial era.
When the Civil War ended in 1865, Vedder continued at Summerville another year before changing call to the Huguenot Church in Charleston where he would be pastor the remainder of his lengthy life. Huguenots fled France and emigrated to other nations in anticipation of Louis XIV’s October 18, 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes that had given them some freedoms to practice their Calvinism and worship as Protestants. Just as Congregational churches in South Carolina enjoyed good relationships with the Presbyterians because of their common commitment to the Westminster Confession, so also the Huguenots were friends in ministry with Presbyterians due to their common commitment to Calvinism, rule by elders, and the mercy work of deacons.
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Committee Report on Church Music

One thing both traditional and contemporary churches could agree on is the participation of church members in congregational singing. If unity cannot be found here, then the issues that divide are presuppositional and theological. The Church, whether Presbyterian or not, is divided about music, but it is certain that all of us will be singing the same words and tunes before the Throne, but could we not make an effort to unify on congregants singing in worship? 

As was noted in the post, “Contemporary Christian Church Music,” which provided a transcription of an article by T. E. Peck and Stuart Robinson—worship of the Lord in song has been a controversial subject particularly since the gradual transition from exclusive psalmody in the eighteenth century to inclusion of hymns by composers such as Isaac Watts. The words of Ephesians 5:19, “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” have been interpreted differently by those using Psalms alone and those who include hymns with Psalms.
The transcription that follows is from the minutes of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Old School, General Assembly of 1849, and it addresses this controversy. A committee had been appointed to make recommendations regarding church music, and it appears, though I am not certain, there were no ruling elders seated. The Committee on  Church Music had been appointed the previous year by Moderator Alexander T. McGill but its membership changed as some appointees were excused and others were given their seats. When the report was submitted, it was signed by the following members:: John M. Krebs, (Rutgers Street Church, New York) James W. Alexander (Duane Street Church, New York), Daniel V. McLean (Freehold, New Jersey), William S. Plumer (Franklin Street Church, Baltimore), Gardiner Spring (Brick Church, New York), George Potts (University Place Church, New York), Willis Lord (Penn Square Church, Philadelphia), Charles C. Beatty (Second Church, Steubenville, Ohio), and William Jeffery (Bethany Church, Herriottsville, Pennsylvania).
What specifically was the committee to address regarding church music?
In 1843 the Old School Presbyterian Board of Publication issued Psalms and Hymns Adapted to Social, Private and Public Worship in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which was printed in Philadelphia. It included the complete Psalter of Isaac Watts followed by 680 hymns. In a modern hymnal the music is provided with the words but in earlier hymnals, as with this one, only the words are given. Each hymn is headed with a few words describing its topic and a notation regarding the meter to which it is sung. The hymns are not titled. This seems unusual today given hymnals have the words and music for each one and a title, but the 1843 hymnal shows the transition from Psalm singing alone to Psalms and hymns. Psalms for singing simply had the number of the Psalm, the meter, and then the words. The brief preface to the 798-page collection expressed the hope that—
The collection itself comprehends what were supposed [assumed] to be the best hymns in the one now in use, with a large addition from other sources, and in sufficient variety, it is presumed, to meet all the wants of worshippers.
Unfortunately, the hymnal did not “meet all the wants of worshippers,” which resulted in the appointment of the Committee on Church Music. The instrument by which the church music issue came to the floor of the Assembly was an overture from the Synod of Philadelphia which the Committee on Bills and Overtures reviewed and then made its recommendation.
[To] report to the next General Assembly upon the general subject of congregational singing, suggesting such scriptural measures as may seem calculated to improve it, and such remedies of existing evils as the case may seem to require. The recommendation was adopted.
The primary concern for the Committee on Church Music was improving congregational singing during worship on the Lord’s Day. As an aside, it is interesting that the 1843 hymnal designates one section “For the Lord’s Day” and not “For the Sabbath,” as might be expected. The secondary concern for the Committee was “preparation of a book of tunes adapted to our present psalmody.” Presumably, the thinking was, if tunes were more singable for the average non-musically trained congregant to sing, then more people would sing.
Congregational participation in singing is clearly not a new problem. Robinson-Peck and the report of the Committee on Church Music that follows this introduction mention factors contributing to lack of participation such as overemphasizing the choir, viewing worship music as entertainment, and the use of hired professional non-congregation members to bolster (supplant?) the congregation. On several occasions, while traveling I have worshipped in other Presbyterian churches and noticed that people simply do not sing. It is not a matter of a few here and there not singing, but instead a few here and there are singing. This is true of churches whether they are considered traditional or contemporary (these terms are used reluctantly for convenience), but it seems the more music is emphasized in a service, ironically, the less the participation of the congregation. Though the number appears to be waning, there are churches that have singing congregants. I have the privilege of membership with a congregation that sings well with a skilled director and talented accompanists under the oversight of elders who are concerned for regulated worship. Worship is not a traditional vs. contemporary issue; worship is a theological issue in that its purpose is glorifying God as we enjoy Him within the limits of liturgy given in Scripture.
I said in my introduction to the Robinson-Peck post that the Old School took a moderate position regarding the issue of church music. What I mean by moderate is the Old School did not limit its worship music to Psalms, but instead combined hymns of contemporary composition with those of the past. The addition of hymns is not only appropriate but necessary. But this raises some questions. Which hymns are to be added? What is the standard to be used (of course, Scripture, but how)? Is there an essential core of hymns that must never be removed? Are there tunes that are unacceptable, and if so, what makes them unacceptable for worship (sexual beat, originally used with worldly or atheistic lyrics)? Can adding new hymns work against the goal of united congregational singing; can removing old hymns likewise reduce congregational singing? Are the older members of congregations to be left out as too much emphasis is placed on new words and tunes (the age demographic of the United States is increasing )? Those who sing the Psalms exclusively have an advantage because the words of their worship in music are fixed, but they too may face the challenge of congregants wanting the words of Psalms updated with more up-to-date tunes. Church history, unfortunately, is often the study of division whether it was the Christological issues of the ancient church, division with the Reformation, the Old and New Schools, and many others. The issue of church music divides us as well. However, one thing both traditional and contemporary churches could agree on is the participation of church members in congregational singing. If unity cannot be found here, then the issues that divide are presuppositional and theological. The Church, whether Presbyterian or not, is divided about music, but it is certain that all of us will be singing the same words and tunes before the Throne, but could we not make an effort to unify on congregants singing in worship.
With regard to the report that follows, I found some of the comments objectionable not necessarily because of what was said but because of the way it was said. The General Assembly is the highest earthly court of the Presbyterian Church and its decency and honor should be beyond the expected in all matters. Intemperance, personal attacks, sarcasm, smart-aleck jabs, and patronizing comments have no place in the Church in general but especially in gatherings of presbyters.
Barry Waugh
Report of The Committee on Church Music
The Committee on the subject of Sacred Music, appointed by the General Assembly last year (see Minutes, A. D. 1848, pp. 18 and 55) respectfully report, that six members of the Committee, viz. the Chairman, and Messrs. Plumer, Potts, Lord, McKinley, and McNair, met, agreeably to appointment at Philadelphia on the 20th day of February last, and proceeded to the consideration of the duty which had been confided to them. After making some progress therein, the Committee, having sat through three days, adjourned, referring the further prosecution and completion of the work to the members residing in the city of New York, and authorizing them to present the result of their labors to the next Assembly.
At the commencement of their sessions, the Committee were occupied with a question concerning the extent of their powers. The overture from the Synod of Philadelphia, (see overture, number 3, Minutes, 1848, p. 18,) contemplated the appointment of “a committee to take into consideration the subject of Church Music, with special reference to the preparation of a book of tunes adapted to our present psalmody.” The Assembly’s resolution, appointing the Committee, conferred upon it no other power, expressly, than “to report to the next General Assembly, upon the general subject of congregational singing, suggesting such scriptural measures as may seem calculated to improve it, and such remedies of existing evils as the case may seem to require.” While the overture appears to embrace two points, viz. a report upon the subject, and some provision for a book of tunes, the act of the Assembly authorizes a mere report, with suggestions on certain specified points, and makes no express reference to the preparation of a book of tunes.
On the first point submitted to their consideration, the Committee offer the following remarks:
There are different opinions, in various parts of the Church, in regard to the present state of congregational singing. What the taste and usages of the churches, in one section, may highly approve, other churches, possibly, would disapprove. Conformity, in all points of opinion and practice, is, perhaps—nay, most probably—unattainable. And, in cases wherein the differences arise, not in view of unmistakable decisions of the Bible, or of our Standards, but simply from considerations of taste, convenience, longer or shorter usage, and varying application, and, indeed, varying interpretation, of the notices of this subject which are contained in the sacred oracles, much must necessarily be left to the mutual forbearance and conceded Christian liberty of God’s people. These diversities may be either rendered more tolerable, or altogether removed, by increasing intercourse and communion, by frank and friendly comparison of views, and by the influence of that more extended public discussion, which the subject is evidently destined to receive. Without entering that discussion here, or indicating any opinion, beyond that which we have just expressed; the Committee deem it to be incumbent on them to notice some other points, on which, as it seems to them, there is occasion for present animadversion.
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B. B. Warfield, Thomas Witherow, and Presbyterian Polity

Among the various puzzling questions that concern the organization of the local churches, Dr. Witherow threads his safe way with his usual judiciousness and sound exegetical tact. The nature of the eldership as an undifferentiated ruling-teaching office, the nature of the diaconate as essentially an office of service rather than of “ministry” in its higher sense, the nature of the local presbytery and its functions, the ground and mode of association of the Churches (one of the best chapters), are all judiciously investigated. The only criticism of any moment which we could bring against the findings of this whole half of the volume, would be that the nature of the work of the apostles and the relation to them of their travelling companions do not seem to be exactly realized. Paul was not only a divinely appointed and divinely inspired missionary, he was a travelling missionary-society, and his companions were his helpers in this work. 

In 1889, Thomas Witherow, a Presbyterian minister in Ireland, published, The Form of the Christian Temple: Being a Treatise on the Constitution of the New Testament Church, to promote and defend Presbyterianism as the divinely ordained polity (jure divino) taught in the New Testament. Witherow’s preface expressed his purpose.
The main design of the following treatise is to bring distinctly under the eye of the inquirer those passages of the Holy Scriptures, which are supposed to bear directly or indirectly on the subject of Church Polity; to find out the principles or facts which these passages underlie; and to combine such facts and principles, with the view of ascertaining whether they do, or do not, contain the outlines of a form of Church government.
In the review of Witherow’s book by B. B. Warfield that follows this introduction there are a few things to notice. Warfield readily defended Bishop of Durham Joseph B. Lightfoot (1828-1889) who evaluated the early Greek epistles of Ignatius to be authentic while Witherow questioned them. Warfield maintained great interest in patristics and New Testament studies after leaving Western Seminary even though his work at Princeton was in polemic theology. He said Lightfoot was “the greatest Patristic scholar of the England of our generation,” and in his later years, said Warfield, Lightfoot defended the apostolicity of presbyterianism (TP&RR, 1891, 2:8, 692). Warfield wrote very little about church polity, so his comments in this review are helpful. In the case of graduated levels of church courts (sessions, presbyteries, synods, and assemblies) he thought it was inappropriate to appeal to the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:2-35).
Let us confess that the New Testament gives us no example of other than congregational presbyteries; and rest our higher courts on the legitimate application in their formation of the same principle of association which was divinely enacted in the congregational government.
Warfield agreed with Witherow’s comment on page 187.
Association, whether of Churches or of rulers, is a Scriptural principle. The association of elders in the government of a local Church—that is, the congregational presbytery, is a divine institution; the association of the rulers of different congregations for managing matters in common—that is, the district presbytery, is simply a matter of agreement and consent, but is the outcome of a principle that has received divine sanction again and again.
With authority from the lower to the higher judicatory, congregation to presbytery, and then to the assembly. Does this make Witherow and Warfield grassroots Presbyterians?
Barry Waugh

The Form of the Christian Temple: Being a Treatise on the Constitution of the New Testament Church. By Thomas Witherow, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in Magee College, Londonderry. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; New York: Scribner & Welford, 1889. Pp. xii., 468. 8vo.
We welcome this valuable treatise the more heartily that we fear there is a tendency among us to undervalue the study of Church polity. It may serve to remind us, in the wise words of its author (p. vii.), “that Church polity is an important portion of Christianity.” “Its main principles,” he justly continues, “are divinely revealed; its design is to conserve and to perpetuate truth, as well as to secure decency and order in worship, in instruction, and in administration; while it is often on the side of Church government, and generally under cover of indistinct and uncertain notions regarding it, that minute changes have crept into the Church which have in the course of centuries blossomed out into serious error.” Led by so just a conception of its importance, he has made a careful study of the constitution of the New Testament Church, the conclusion of which may be expressed in these words (although they are not put forward as such): “Presbyterianism has the true bishop, the true episcopal ordination, the true Apostolic Succession, the true commission, and the true ministry” (p. 386).
The volume is divided into two very different parts. The first half is a stringently inductive examination of the New Testament passages bearing on the organization of the Church, with the intention and effect of discovering exactly what the form of the New Testament Church was. Here the controversial element is relegated to the background, although a hint of it may obtrude itself in an occasional bit of dry humor (pp. 119, 167, 168, 196) or in an occasional intrusion into the inductive process of minor items of a more modern flavor. How easy it is to introduce into our speech, regarding the institutions of the first century, traits and forms of statement drawn from our present habits or training, Dr. Witherow illustrates by a quotation from the Tracts for the Times (p. 111, note). How hard it is wholly to avoid it, he illustrates by an occasional slip of his own. Examples are the repeated assertion (e.g., p. 18) that Paul was not appointed apostle until after the death of James of Zebedee; the statement that lay prophets were allowed only “occasionally” to address the Church (p. 34); the assumption that Timothy’s work in Ephesus was “exceptional” (pp. 38, 40). These are, however, rare motes on the surface of a generally successful stream of pure induction.
In the second half of the book the controversial element comes prominently forward, although everywhere kept within due bounds by Dr. Witherow’s unfailing exegetical insight and sober historical sense. Here we have not so much a historical study of the origin of the human additions to the temple, as a polemic examination of the asserted divine sanction for the chief ecclesiastical growths of later times—the priesthood, penance, prelacy, apostolical succession, and the papacy. In the multitude of details which are here brought forward, it is not to be expected that all the opinions expressed will meet universal acceptance—especially when they concern points of confessed difficulty.
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B. B. Warfield, 1851–1921

When Dr. Warfield left teaching at Western seminary it was to return to Princeton Theological Seminary as a professor beginning in the fall semester of 1887. He succeeded Archibald Alexander Hodge as the Charles Hodge Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology. His inaugural address titled, “The Idea of Systematic Theology Considered as a Science,” was delivered the following May. As he taught theology, he did so using Hodge’s Systematic Theology continuing the tradition at Princeton. Annie lived a homebound life limiting her primarily to the Princeton campus where Benjamin was never too far from home. The Warfields lived in the same campus house occupied by the Charles and Archibald Alexander Hodge families during their years at the seminary. 

As a boy, the interests of B. B. Warfield were aimed at a different vocational target than theology and ministry. Following his birth on November 5, 1851 to William and Mary Cabell Breckinridge Warfield, Benjamin grew up on the family farm named “Grasmere” near Lexington, Kentucky, where his father was a cattle breeder. In 1889, William would publish The Theory and Practice of Cattle Breeding after having experimented in and written about the subject for years in periodicals. William Warfield was a leader in the cattle industry and he had a particular interest in the shorthorn variety. Thus, like many sons who are influenced by their fathers, Benjamin learned from his father’s work as he developed his own interests. Young Benjamin was educated privately by Lewis G. Barbour and James K. Patterson. Barbour wrote some articles for the Southern Presbyterian Review on science and his tutoring Benjamin would have also encouraged the boy in a scientific direction. Ethelbert D. Warfield, Benjamin’s brother, has commented that,
His early tastes were strongly scientific. He collected birds’ eggs, butterflies and moths, and geological specimens; studied the fauna and flora of his neighborhood; read Darwin’s newly published books with enthusiasm; and counted Audubon’s works on American birds and mammals his chief treasure. He was so certain that he was to follow a scientific career that he strenuously objected to studying Greek (vi).
Following the years of private tutorial instruction, Benjamin entered the sophomore class of the Princeton University where he graduated in 1871 with highest honors at only nineteen years of age. He then traveled in Europe beginning in February 1872. After spending some time in Edinburgh and then Heidelberg, he wrote home in mid-summer announcing his intent to enter the ministry. This change in interests and vocational direction came as a surprise to his family. He returned to Kentucky sometime in 1873 and was for a short time the livestock editor of the Farmer’s Home Journal.
Benjamin began preparing for the ministry when he entered Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 1873. He was licensed to preach the gospel by Ebenezer Presbytery on May 8, 1875. Following licensure, he briefly tested his ministerial abilities that summer by supplying the Concord Presbyterian Church in Kentucky. Following the completion of his divinity degree in 1876, he supplied the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church of Dayton, Ohio. At the time of his pulpit supply he married Annie Pearce Kinkead, also from Kentucky, on August 3, 1876. Soon after the wedding, the couple set sail on an extended honeymoon trip to Europe which included studies at Leipzig for the newly-wed husband. While enjoying a walk through the Harz Mountains in northern Germany a severe thunderstorm arose frightening Annie greatly and she never recovered from the trauma. Warfield cared for her for the rest of her life. In 1877, according to Ethelbert Warfield, Benjamin was offered the opportunity to teach Old Testament at Western Seminary, but he turned the offer down because he had turned his study emphasis to the New Testament despite his early aversion to Greek (vii). In November 1877, he began his supply ministry at the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore, where he continued until the following March.In September of 1878, Benjamin began his career as a theological educator when he became an instructor in New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. Western Seminary had been formed by the merger of existing seminaries that included Danville Seminary, which R. J. Breckinridge, Benjamin’s grandfather, had been involved with in its earlier years. The following year he was made professor of the same subject and he continued in that position until 1887. In his inaugural address for Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Literature, April 20, 1880, he set the theme for many of his writing efforts in the succeeding years by defending historic Christianity. The purpose of his lecture was to answer the question, “Is the Church Doctrine of the Plenary Inspiration of the New Testament Endangered by the Assured Results of Modern Biblical Criticism.” Professor Warfield affirmed the inspiration, authority, and reliability of God’s Word in opposition to the critics of his era. He quickly established his academic reputation for thoroughness and defense of the Bible. Many heard of his academic acumen and he was rewarded by eastern academia when his alma mater, Princeton University, honored him with the Doctor of Divinity in 1880.
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Incarnation, Archibald Alexander

Though wisdom is gloriously illustrated in the incarnation, love and mercy are not less conspicuous. Indeed, we must consider love as the first mover in this stupendous plan of salvation. Wisdom and power are exerted to open a way in which divine mercy may have a vent. Mercy cannot be exercised at the expense of justice. It is necessary, therefore, that the plan contain a provision for the complete satisfaction of justice. That which would have been pronounced impossible by any creature, however exalted, has been accomplished by the wisdom of God. “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33).

Because of this season when the birth of Jesus is remembered in a variety of ways, a sermon by a Presbyterian of the past about the incarnation of the Son of God is posted. The sermon is from Luke 2:13, 14 as found on pages 76-90 of Alexander’s book, Practical Sermons to be Read in Families and Social Meetings, 1850. It has been edited for archaisms, punctuation, a few lengthy paragraphs have been divided to ease reading, and in some cases the sentences have been slightly recomposed for clarity. All of the editing actions mentioned were done to smooth the flow of the antebellum text for modern readers without disturbing Dr. Alexander’s intention and style. In one case a sentence has an asterisk * added at its end to refer readers to a historical note at the end of the sermon.
A few things to note in the sermon include Dr. Alexander’s thorough use of Scripture not only in specific quotations of the Bible, but also in his use of phrases that echo Bible passages. Some of his main points are the importance of the ministry of angels; the necessity of the incarnation for accomplishing the atonement to satisfy both God’s justice and mercy; the ministry of the Holy Spirit; and the reverence and amazement with which he viewed the coming of the Messiah. He has used the analogy of Scripture—the interpretive principle that the Bible explains itself—not only for his exegetical work, but also for his expositional presentation, that is, he communicates and applies what he learned from his study and preparation. Scripture must always interpret Scripture.
Dr. Alexander (1772-1851) was the founding professor of what is currently Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. He was appointed by the Presbyterian Church to open the seminary in 1812 after having served in pastoral ministry for several years. He was known for his preaching ministry and was well loved by his congregants; the citizens of the United States whether Christians or not; the villagers of Princeton; and by his divinity students. The first building constructed on the seminary campus was dedicated Alexander Hall. Two sons of Archibald and his wife Janetta Waddel Alexander (1782-1852), are J. A. Alexander and  J. W. Alexander, who both have biographies on this site.
It is hoped that in the midst of reindeer, lights, gifts, and hopes for booming holiday sales, the reality of the incarnation of the Son of God for the necessary sacrifice to redeem his people from their sins might be illumined through the wisdom and words of Rev. Archibald Alexander, D.D. I think it is a particularly fine sermon and despite its age, the simplicity and clarity of its message is relevant to twenty-first-century readers and the limited editing by me simply provides a more modern reading.
This sermon was originally posted in 2015.

The Incarnation
by Archibald Alexander, D.D.
And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace,
good will to men.  Luke 2:13, 14.
There are two memorable occasions, in time past, on which the angels are represented as joining in chorus to praise God in relation to our world. The first was when the cornerstone of the fabric of the universe was laid and its foundations were fastened. Then “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). The other was at the birth of the Savior, which is referred to in our text. And we are informed by the sure word of prophecy, that at the overthrow of the spiritual Babylon, and at the marriage of the Lamb, there will be another grand chorus when a voice coming out of the throne shall say, “Praise our God, all ye his servants, and all ye that fear him, both small and great” (Rev. 19:5). “And I heard,” says John, “as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready’” (Rev. 19:6).
It is exceedingly gratifying to be introduced to some acquaintance with the celestial inhabitants, and to find that they are possessed of feelings very much like our own, except that they are exempt from all sin and imperfection. It cannot but be very interesting to know that the angels have a kind and tender feeling towards the children of God, that they are employed as guardians to watch over them, and as helpers to deliver them from evils which would otherwise overwhelm them. It is wisely ordered that in their common ministry to the heirs of salvation, the angels act without being seen and render the most important services to the people of God, without their knowledge. For the visible presence of these holy beings would so over-awe us that we should, through fear, be unfitted for the common duties of life. For a long period, the visits of angels had scarcely been known in the Church, but when the Son of God was about to be manifested, the angel of the Lord appeared, first, to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, when he was wide awake ministering in the temple, and afterwards to Mary, and to Joseph, her espoused husband. But on the memorable night of the birth of Christ, it pleased God to send his angel, probably Gabriel, to announce the joyful event to a company of shepherds who were remaining in the fields near Bethlehem with their flocks, by night. “Suddenly, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid” (Luke 2:9). It is not in human nature to look on the face of an angel and not be afraid. Conscious guilt abashes us in the presence of beings so holy and so far superior to us. But these benevolent messengers of God when they appear, do commonly, in the kindest and gentlest manner, allay the fears of those to whom they are sent. In this case, the angel said to the frightened shepherds,
Fear not, for behold I bring unto you glad tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:10).
Though but one angel appeared at first to the shepherds, yet he was not alone. This was not an event to be made known by a solitary messenger; it was an event which commanded the attention and interested the feelings of all the inhabitants of heaven. They were filled with gladness at the prospect of such a mighty Deliverer appearing among men. Now, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and good will to men” (Luke 2:13-14).
The first thing in this divine anthem which demands our attention is the disposition manifested by these celestial beings, the angels. The sentiments of their song are precisely such as we should expect from holy angels, and though the words sung by them in concert were few, yet they contain a complete expression of a disposition perfectly holy. They first ascribe all glory to God. This, undoubtedly, is the very essence of a heavenly attitude. Whatever tends to the glory of God will be delightful to the feelings of holy angels. To achieve this end, they are ready for every service which may be required of them, whether it be of an exalted nature or a humble ministry to sinful men, they are equally prompt in their obedience because the love of God is the predominant and absorbing passion of their minds. But where there exists supreme love to God, there will be found benevolence to his creatures. The angels rejoice in the birth of the Savior because this will restore peace to the earth. The existence of war among the offspring of the same parents, and partakers of the same nature, is itself an awful evidence that ours is a fallen race. The number of men destroyed in war cannot be calculated, and much of the time and wealth of nations is expended in preparing for and carrying on this most inhuman employment.* But the angels considered the birth of the Savior as connected with permanent and ultimate peace. Let the kingdom of Christ be once fully established in the world and wars will cease everywhere, for whence come wars and conflicts, come they not of men’s lusts? The Spirit of the Gospel is peace—the tendency of the Gospel is to lead men to convert their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. The heathen had in their pantheon of gods those who delighted in war, but our King is the Prince of Peace, and the holy angels rejoice in the prospect of peace on earth. And they cherish a hearty good will to men because the Gospel breathes such a temper that they rejoiced at its introduction, and now daily rejoice at the conversion of every soul rescued from the guilt and defilement of sin and from the dominion of Satan. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).
We see here what the temper of heaven is, and what we pray for, when we say, “thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The spirit manifested by this great multitude of angels, and which pervades and actuates the whole innumerable company of angels, is the very spirit which should be predominant among men. They should all rejoice in the glory of God and should breathe peace and good will to men. What a blessed change will it be, when all men, or the most of men, shall be actuated by this spirit! Perhaps we cannot spend our time better than by contemplating the connection between the birth of the Savior, the glory of God, and the happiness of men.
God is glorified by every thing which makes his glorious attributes more fully known. Because he is absolutely and infinitely perfect, nothing can be added to his essential perfection, but by means of his creatures his attributes may be exhibited, and as far as this is done, God is said to be glorified. And reason and Scripture unite in teaching that this is the object at which God aims in all his works and dispensations. There can be no higher or nobler object. And rational creatures should make this the supreme object of pursuit also, and should glorify God in every way possible with all their powers. How do the heavens declare the glory of God? Evidently they declare his glory by showing forth his power, wisdom, and goodness.
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Michael D. Kalopothakes, Tenacious Missionary to Greece

Even though it might be thought that the influence of one’s ethnicity, national allegiance, or locally accepted views regarding the church and its theology are issues only in foreign lands, Rev. Kalopothakes’s observations about Greece in his day should give American readers pause to reflect upon their own thinking and how it may be negatively influenced by such factors.

Michael Demetrius Kalopothakes was born in Aeropolis, Laconia, Greece, December 17, 1825. At the time of his birth the Greeks were involved in a fight for independence from the Ottomans who had ruled them since the middle of the fifteenth century. The Greeks’ desire for freedom was encouraged by the successful revolutions in America and France, but uprisings in Greece in the latter years of the eighteenth century failed. However, on March 25, 1821, the revolution that would succeed began. The conflict continued for several years until peace was achieved making Greece an independent state in 1830. Turkey did not recognize Greece’s independence until the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832.
Michael Kalopothakes owed his early education to two Presbyterians in the United States of America,—Old School, missionaries, the Reverends George W. Leyburn and Samuel R. Houston who were both from Virginia and members of Lexington Presbytery. The team served in Greece between 1837 and 1842. After completing studies with his Presbyterian mentors, Michael continued his education for two years in a preparatory school graduating at the age of eighteen. For the next five years he was the headmaster of a school in Gytheion, then he studied in the University of Athens completing his education in medicine in 1853. Briefly, he was a surgeon in the Greek Army.
At this point it would be helpful for readers to know a bit about the Greek Orthodox Church, which is one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. When reports appear on the evening news in America about events associated with the Orthodox Churches it appears that their practices are very much like those of Roman Catholicism. Many similarities have their source in the common past that Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Catholicism enjoyed until the doctrinal division into two churches in 1054. Points leading to the schism included Rome’s adoption of the doctrine of papal infallibility and its modifications to the creeds with respect to the Trinity in general and the Holy Spirit in particular. Both Rome and the Orthodox hold to an episcopal form of government (local and regional bishops or priests) and they have seven sacraments.
The reason Kalopothakes decided to enter the Presbyterian ministry is not clear, but the early spiritual influences from his minister-teachers likely seeded his grasp of the Gospel and decision to become a pastor. The Orthodox Church was and is—the—church of Greece, so if he wanted a Protestant theological education he had to find it outside of his homeland. He made the long journey to New York to attend Union Theological Seminary where he completed the three-year curriculum in 1856. He was ordained a missionary-evangelist on April 26, 1857 by Hanover Presbytery, New School, Virginia. His studying for the ministry at Union in New York rather than Union in Virginia was because the New School in Virginia sometimes sent its candidates to the New York seminary because of its New School views. Also, while living in New York, Physician Kalopothakes took advantage of other academic opportunities by pursuing additional medical studies.
Returning to his Greek Orthodox homeland, Rev. Kalopothakes modeled his plan for reforming the church after the method Martin Luther used over three-hundred years earlier by making abundant use of the power of print. He hoped his weekly periodical—Star of the East—would raise issues for reforming the Greek Orthodox Church much as Luther’s—Ninety-Five Theses—and reforming tracts were intended to do in the sixteenth century. Kalopothakes ended up purchasing his own press to print—Star—because none of the printers in Athens were interested in the controversial newspaper that challenged the theology of the Greek Orthodox Church.
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William H. Fentress, an Extraordinary Man

When William graduated Princeton in 1876, he had already been licensed by the Presbytery of Baltimore, April 11. It is to be noticed here that he completed studies on schedule in three years. According to his obituary by David J. Beale in The Baltimore Presbyterian, Fentress was “licensed to preach, after a full and complete examination on all the branches required, not withstanding all his disadvantages; this excites our wonder and admiration.” That is, with the challenges overcome studying without vision, William did not seek special concessions from the seminary nor had he appealed to his presbytery as an extraordinary case.

Seminary education in the nineteenth century was challenging especially as developed and standardized by the first seminary of the Presbyterian Church established in Princeton, New Jersey, 1812. The curriculum included the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew, English Bible, textual analysis of the Bible and its interpretation, Bible history, didactic theology, church government, pastoral care, homiletics (preaching), and church history. Added to the Greek and Hebrew languages was prerequisite Latin which was especially important at Princeton. The theology curriculum used the Latin works of Francis Turretin and Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology included lengthy Latin quotations. Added to English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, a  motivated student might include German to defend the doctrine of Scripture against German higher-critical academics. It was quite a program of study and may make current seminary students feel deprived or possibly intimidated. When young Fentress entered Princeton Seminary he did so with another challenge because all the reading and writing required of him would be hampered by visual blindness.
William Henry was born the son of Bennett and Agnes Fentress in Baltimore, Maryland, March 25, 1851. Agnes was from Scotland having emigrated in 1818 with her parents George and Margaret Clasey. Agnes’s parents were founding members of Light-Street Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. As a child, William’s mother prayed that he would become a minister, but her hope for his future was dimmed when at the age of six he lost his sight. However, despite his considerable handicap, William pursued formal education beginning at the age of nine in the Maryland Institute for Instruction of the Blind where he continued as a state beneficiary beginning May 7, 1860 until he completed the program June 1, 1868. He then began college studies through tutoring provided by Professor Wagner of Baltimore before continuing formally at Richmond College in Virginia graduating in 1870.
William returned to Baltimore to reside at 219 Montgomery Street which was about a twenty minute walk from his church, Central Presbyterian located at the corner of Saratoga and Liberty streets. The church had been organized under the ministry of Stuart Robinson in 1853 but at the time of William’s membership the pastor was Joseph T. Smith. He professed faith in Christ at the age of twenty one. His mother’s prayers combined with his own sense of calling caused him to continue studying in preparation for the ministry. In a letter to Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, where Helen Keller would study, he asked where “Latin Books in raised print” including dictionaries and grammars could be purchased and “the respective prices of the same.” Raised print refers to an early form of text for the blind that used the full form of each letter pressed into the sheet sufficiently for it to project from the outside surface in relief so it could be read by touch. For those who remember the antique device known as a typewriter, the letters on the paper would have looked like the letters projecting from the individual character hammers actuated by typewriter keys. Dr. Gridley’s suggestions must have proved beneficial because William was accepted for study at Princeton Seminary.
He travelled to Princeton to enter the seminary’s three-year divinity program in 1873. He learned his lessons almost wholly through the use of readers. In an alumni information form completed shortly before his death, William told how he learned his lessons.
I pursued … collegiate and theological studies almost altogether by means of readers. My classmates at Princeton Seminary were very thoughtful and kind in the number of their many attentions to me. I have also a very grateful remembrance of all the professors.
Student colleagues may have organized a rotation so that through their many eyes each reader would have a lighter load with all helping their brother in Christ.
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