A careful examination of the Mecklenburg Declaration and the Mecklenburg Resolves with the Declaration of Independence and Articles shows marked similarities in words and ideas between the two documents. However, the Mecklenburg Declaration, written by men familiar with the ideas of the Covenanting struggle in Scotland, acknowledged the Sovereignty and Providence of God, and stated "we do hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people -- are and of right ought to be a sovereign and self-governing association, under the control of no power other than that of our God and the general government of the congress."
Under the Mecklenburg Declaration, the individual citizen would have been independent, self-governed, and under a limited government, acknowledging the Sovereignty and Providence of God.
On the other hand the Declaration of Independence states "that all men are . . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are . . . Liberty . . . that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." By "counseling submission" to the power derived from the "consent of the governed" it falls short of the objective of limited government. It "attempted to express the ideas of the Whigs," and the "public philosophy" (humanism comprised of seventeenth century Rationalism and the eighteen century Enlightenment), shared by Thomas Jefferson and most of the Founding Fathers. This left the individual citizen dependent upon the a Sovereign Man/State and coerced into obedience to human laws.
In 1825 [the controversy over the Mecklenburg Declaration began in 1819], Thomas Jefferson said again that he only attempted to express [in the Declaration of Independence], the ideas of the Whigs, who all thought alike on the subject. The essential thing was "not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent. . . . Neither aiming at originality of principles or sentiments, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind. . . . All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or the elementary books of public rights, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc." -- Thomas Jefferson, from The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 1869 edition, VII, 304, quoted by Carl Becker in The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas [New York, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1922])
To be sure, the wide support of Whig thought may have had something to do with America's religious heritage, for a number of Real Whig themes resembled cherished Puritan themes, at least in form. First, Puritans and Whigs shared a pessimistic view of human nature. Puritans believed that natural depravity predisposed individuals to sin; Whigs held that political power brought out the worst in leaders. Both emphasized that freedom meant liberation from something. For Puritans it was freedom from sin; for Whigs it was freedom from political oppression. Both also linked freedom and virtue. Puritans held that sinful behavior led to spiritual and other forms of tyranny; Whigs felt that tyrannical behavior grew from corruption and, in turn, nourished it. Finally, Puritans and Whigs both regarded history in similar terms. It was the struggle of evil against good, dark against light, whether for the Puritan (Antichrist versus Christ), or the Whig (tyranny versus freedom). This similarity in form between Whig political ideas and the traditional theology of some Americans made it easier for many to blur the distinction between a political struggle for rights and a spiritual conflict for the kingdom. -- Mark A. Noll (editor), Nathan O. Hatch (editor), George M. Marsden (editor), David F. Wells (editor), and John D. Woodbridge (editor), Eerdmans' Handbook to Christianity in America [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983], pp. 134-135)
As James W. Skillen states, the founders of the American Republic were generally Protestant though "others such as Thomas Jefferson were notably unorthodox . . . Jefferson, for example, did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ . . ."
Beyond the traditional religious convictions of the Founding Fathers, "there was an additional spirit that brought most of them together in the cause of building the Republic. That spirit arose from the renaissance of humanism beginning before the time of the Protestant Reformation -- a spirit which gave birth to seventeenth century rationalism and to the eighteen-century Enlightenment. It was a religious spirit, without doubt, and the religion it inspired was a human-centered moral philosophy more than a God-centered life of dependence upon God through his revelation. Most of the Founding Fathers gave evidence of the struggle between these two spirits in their lives."
The "quest for political order" of even the pietistic Christians of the time, "was directed by the conviction that a common moral philosophy rooted simply in human reason could supply the foundation for public community. The religion of the Founding Fathers was a synthesis of these two faiths. . . .
"The duality can perhaps best be illustrated by pointing to Thomas Jefferson. Although Jefferson's personal piety was not the rule among early Americans, and though many evangelical believers rejected his unorthodox opinions, nevertheless his public philosophy (his religion), became the majority conviction that shaped the structure of public life in America. God functioned in Jefferson's moral philosophy not as the historical God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not as the Father of Jesus Christ, Head of the church, and Lord of the world, but as the benevolent Creator who preserves people in this life and judges them according to their moral worth and good deeds. . . .
"Furthermore, in Jefferson's view, people are able to be upright, moral servants of society because all have been granted a common moral sense, a conscience, that guides them to know what is good, even if their religious opinions differ in other respects. For Jefferson, a common moral conscience among all people meant that only the truths common to all religions were important. . . .
"Probably the most important consequence of this religion of public morality was its victorious power over orthodox, evangelical Christianity in the public arena. It lead to the establishing of a civil religion in the United States as both America and the public faith matured. . . ." -- James W. Skillen, "The Religion of the Founding Fathers," sidebar in Mark A. Noll (editor), Nathan O. Hatch (editor), George M. Marsden (editor), David F. Wells (editor), and John D. Woodbridge (editor), Eerdmans' Handbook to Christianity in America [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983], pp. 135-137
In contrast, the Covenanting principles teach that religion is not morality. Religion is first covenanting, in keeping with the first table of the Ten Commandments. Morality then follows as a consequence of covenanting.
It is evident, as shown below, that Thomas Jefferson, in all probability, could not have been unfamiliar with the Mecklenburg Declaration and Alexander Craighead, RENEWAL OF THE COVENANTS, NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE . . . AS THEY WERE CARRIED ON AT MIDDLE OCTORARA IN PENNSYLVANIA, NOVEMBER 11, 1743, at the time he wrote the Declaration of Independence.
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence
"The argument that the Mecklenburg Declaration is a flawed version of the Mecklenburg Resolves was first made in 1853 by Charles Phillips, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In an influential article in the North Carolina University Magazine, Dr. Phillips concluded that John McKnitt Alexander had admitted to having reconstructed the text of the Mecklenburg Declaration from memory in 1800. In 1906, William Henry Hoyt published a scholarly work that many historians have regarded as the conclusive refutation of the Mecklenburg Declaration. (The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: A Study of Evidence Showing That the Alleged Early Declaration of Independence by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on May 20th 1775, is Spurious)
"Hoyt's argument is briefly as follows: After the original documents relating to the Mecklenburg Resolves were destroyed by fire in 1800, John McKnitt Alexander attempted to recreate them from memory. Alexander made some rough notes, which still survive, and internal evidence indicates that these notes were written after the 1800 fire. Like some of his contemporaries, Alexander mistakenly remembered the radical Mecklenburg Resolves as being an actual declaration of independence. This misconception led Alexander, or perhaps another unknown writer, to borrow language from Jefferson's well-known Declaration of Independence when the Mecklenburg Declaration was written from Alexander's rough notes. The eleven-day discrepancy between the two sets of resolutions -- May 20 and May 31 -- may result from some confusion of Old Style and New Style dates."
"He was licensed by the Presbytery of Donegal, October 8th, 1734, and was sent to Middle Octorara [Pennsylvania] . . . being the first to whom this duty was assigned. He was installed pastor at Middle Octorara Church, November 18th, 1735. A zealous promoter of the 'revival,' he accompanied Whitefield while in Chester County; and they made the woods ring, as they rode, with songs of praise." -- Early American Presbyterians website, January 15, 1999.
"In 1748 Rev. Craighead wrote RENEWAL OF THE COVENANTS, NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE . . . AS THEY WERE CARRIED ON AT MIDDLE OCTORARA IN PENNSYLVANIA, NOVEMBER 11, 1743 thus identifying himself with the Covenanting struggle in Scotland.
In this work Rev. Craighead states "to the Calvinistic system of principles, and the Presbyterian form of government, this nation [the United States], is largely indebted for its civil independence and republican polity. John Calvin and John Knox are the real founders of American liberties. Their teachings, plainly deducible from the Word of God, were disseminated by the persecuted remnant of the Church of Scotland, and were generally incorporated in the structure of American independence." -- Alexander Craighead, Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League; A Confession of Sins; An Engagement to Duties; and a Testimony; as they were Carried on at Middle Octorara in Pennsylvania, November 11, 1743. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #27.
W.M. Glasgow states, "Being thoroughly imbued, however, with the principles of Scotch Covenanting, Mr. Craighead taught them to his people around Charlotte. They in turn formulated them into the First Declaration of Independence [Mecklenburg Declaration], emitted at Charlotte, NC, May, 1775." -- W.M. Glasgow in the Introduction to Alexander Craighead, Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League; A Confession of Sins; An Engagement to Duties; and a Testimony; as they were Carried on at Middle Octorara in Pennsylvania, November 11, 1743. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #27.
"The New Side Presbytery of New Castle, in 1747, sent the Reverend Samuel Davies as an evangelist to Hanover in Virginia, where the great spiritual hunger and ready response to his message challenged him to settle. Through the efforts of the New Side adherents led by Davies, representing the Presbytery of New Castle, there were settled in the Virginia Colony by 1755 the following ministers: the Reverend Messrs. John Todd of Providence in Louisa County; John Brown of New Providence and Timber Ridge and Alexander Craighead at Windy Cove in Augusta County; Robert Henry in the Caldwell settlement on Cub Creek in Charlotte county and at Briery in Prince Edward County; and John Wright in Cumberland County." -- Howard McKnight Wilson, Th.D., Howard McKnight Wilson, Th.D., The Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom. A Story of the Church and her People, 1732-1952, (Fishersville, VA: The Tinkling Spring and Hermitage Presbyterian Churches, 1954, pp. 151,152.)
"Mr. Craighead is said to have removed to Windy Cove, on Cowpasture River in Augusta County [now Bath County], Virginia, in 1749. A large button wood tree, close to the river bank, marks the site where stood his humble cabin. About half a mile above stood his log church. He and his people went to the House of God fully equipped to meet any sudden attach of Indians. He joined New Castle Presbytery before the Fall of 1754. On Braddock's defeat his congregation fled from the frontier and a portion settled in North Carolina. Mr. Craighead met with Hanover Presbytery, September 2, 1757(?), and in January was sent to Rocky River, in North Carolina, and to other vacancies. He was called in April to Rocky River, and Mr. Richardson, on his way to labor among the Cherokees, was directed to install him. He died in March, 1766." -- Early American Presbyterians website, January 15, 1999.
"While living in Augusta (now Bath), County, Virginia, near a settlement called Windy Cove, both Samuel Davis and Alexander Craighead were appointed to the new Presbytery of Hanover which held its first meeting December 3, 1755. It was established as a result of a petition to the New Side Synod of New York on October 3, 1775." -- Howard McKnight Wilson, Th.D., The Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom. A Story of the Church and her People, 1732-1952, (Fishersville, VA: The Tinkling Spring and Hermitage Presbyterian Churches, 1954, p. 154)
The Rev. Samuel Davies had a big influence on Patrick Henry. Windy Cove was about 90 miles from Hanover, Virginia where Dr. Davies ministered and where Patrick Henry grew up. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were contemporaries and knew each other. (See also, Samuel Brown, Windy Cove Church, Its History, A Memorial Sermon, Preached on the 28th of February, 1875. Published by the congregation, Singer's Glen, Virginia: Ruebush, Kieffer and Co., Printers, 1876, 16 pp.
In 1755 Rev. Craighead moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
"Another group of pioneers (Ulster Scots), settled nearer the present site of Charlotte and organized the Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church in 1755, with Rev. Craighead serving as pastor of both the Rocky River church and the Sugaw Creek church from the time each was organized until [his death in], 1766. Details of his long, eventful, and sometimes turbulent life are recorded in numerous places, notably THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH AT ROCKY RIVER, by Thomas Hugh Spence, Jr. (1954) and A HISTORY OF SUGAW CREEK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, by Neill Roderick McCeachy (1954)." ("Churches," Charlotte/Mecklenburg Story website, January 11, 1999.)
The family of Alexander Craighead was prominent in generations to come, as can be seen in Wheeler's REMINISCENCES and the documents available from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Story website. ("Churches," Charlotte/Mecklenburg Story website, January 11, 1999.)
"Alexander Craighead's successor at Rocky River Presbyterian Church was Hezekiah James Balch, who later was one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Joseph Alexander became the second pastor of Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church [his son, John McKnitt Alexander, was chairman of the May 1775 Convention that wrote the Mecklenburg Declaration], to be followed in 1780 by Thomas Craighead, son of Alexander Craighead, supply minister for two years. In 1791 Samuel Craighead Caldwell, grandson of Alexander Craighead, became pastor of Sugaw Creek Church and served two terms spanning 35 years, and in 1837 John Madison McKnitt Caldwell, a great-grandson of Alexander Craighead, served as pastor." -- "Churches," Charlotte/Mecklenburg Story website, January 11, 1999.
"Over twenty of the members of the Convention at Charlotte, who on May 20, 1775, pronounced the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, were connected with the seven Presbyterian churches of the county; two of which were Rocky River and Sugar Creek. From these two the other five took 'life and being.' Such were the men, who, when informed of the troubles 'to the eastward,' rallied to the cry: 'The cause of Boston is the cause of all!' With Craighead they held that the rights of the people were as divine as the rights of Kings, for their fathers, and they themselves, had often listened in rapt attention to his thrilling eloquence. . .
"Abram Alexander, a ruling Elder of Sugar Creek Church, was chairman of this convention. It was addressed by Rev. Hezekiah James Balch, pastor of Rocky River and Poplar Tent, who was also one of the committee of three to draft the 'more formal declaration,' and nine other ruling Elders, of these seven churches, were active participants in the proceedings. Although Rev. Craighead died before the convention of May 20, 1775, at Charlotte, yet the whole American Nation should revere his memory as the fearless champion of those principles of civil and religious freedom, which they now enjoy and which first found expression from his old comrades in the immortal Declaration, the date of which, in the language of another, 'has been as clearly established as the given name of any citizen then living in the country'." -- John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians [Columbus, Ohio: The author, 1884], p. 277
The committee appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence included Thomas Jefferson, John Adams (a Calvinist, and an acquaintance and correspondent of Jefferson), and Benjamin Franklin, among others.
When Rev. Alexander Craighead was pastor of Middle Octorara Church along the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, he traveled with George Whitefield in Chester County, Pennsylvania. -- Early American Presbyterians website, January 15, 1999. Benjamin Franklin was a friend of George Whitefield. (Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1979])
Benjamin Franklin published two works by Alexander Craighead. First he published RENEWAL OF THE COVENANTS, NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE; A CONFESSION OF SINS; AN ENGAGEMENT TO DUTIES; AND A TESTIMONY; AS THEY WERE CARRIED ON AT MIDDLE OCTORARA IN PENNSYLVANIA, NOVEMBER 11. This fact is mentioned by W.M. Glasgow in his introduction to the publication. Glasgow states, "The proceedings were first printed in Philadelphia, in 1744, and re-printed in 1748, evidently by Benjamin Franklin, who editorially, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, refers to the matter." Benjamin Franklin also published THE REASONS OF MR. ALEXANDER CRAIGHEAD'S RECEDING FROM THE PRESENT JUDICATORIES OF THIS CHURCH. . . 1743 by Alexander Craighead.
Therefore, Whitefield, Franklin, Jefferson, and John Adams most probably had personal knowledge of Alexander Craighead, his work, RENEWAL OF THE COVENANTS, NATIONAL AND SOLEMN LEAGUE . . . . his ministry, and his Covenanting position. The book received further publicity when Governor Morris of Pennsylvania "in his message to the Assembly, denounced certain people for their aspirations and machinations to obtain 'independency'." -- John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians [Columbus, Ohio: The author, 1884], p. 276
Thomas Jefferson, living in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the forefront of the resolutioning effort to denounce political ties with Great Britain, is sure to have known about the Mecklenburg Declaration and Resolves adopted in Charlotte, North Carolina, his neighboring state.
Patrick Henry could have known about Alexander Craighead's book because, as stated above, his pastor, Rev. Samuel Davies, was a contemporary of Rev. Craighead when Craighead was in Bath County, about 90 miles from the home of Henry. Craighead would have been teaching Scottish Covenanting principles as he did in Middle Octorara, Pennsylvania, and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Henry also could have known about the Mecklenburg Declaration thorough his association with his pastor and Craighead's teaching.
"A nephew [of Alexander Craighead], Colonel George Craighead, born May 10, 1735, lived near Wilmington Delaware. . . . was the intimate friend of George Washington, 'dining at the same table and calling each other by the familiar name of George'." -- John H. Wheeler, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians [Columbus, Ohio: The author, 1884], p. 279
In future generations descendants of Alexander Craighead intermarried with the descendant of John McKnitt Alexander, Chairman of the May 1775 Convention. For example, John Brevard Alexander (1834-1911), was descended from Rev. Alexander Craighead and Mecklenburg patriot John McKnitt Alexander. He wrote HISTORY OF MECKLENBURG COUNTY and REMINISCENCES OF THE PAST SIXTY YEARS. ("John Brevard Alexander," Charlotte/Mecklenburg Story website, January 11, 1999. See: Appendix C: "A Sermon by the Rev. Dr. A.W. Miller, delivered at Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 14, 1876.")
Appendix A: Major Changes of the Savoy Declaration
Appendix A: The Mecklenburg Declaration
Appendix B: The Declaration of Independence and Articles
Appendix B: Major Changes of the PCUSA (1788-1958)
Appendix C: Major Changes of the UPCUSA and PCUS (1958-1983)
Appendix C: A Sermon by the Rev. Dr. A.W. Miller, delivered at Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 14, 1876.
"If to the people of Mecklenburg County, Providence assigned the foremost position in the ranks of patriots, a century ago, let them never cease to hallow the memory of that illustrious hero, the Rev. Alexander Craighead, who prepared them for it, at so great toil and pains, and for years and years diligently sowed the seed that produced the glorious harvest. No ordinary work was given him to do, and no ordinary training and discipline fitted him for it.
"Deeply imbibing the spirit of the Scottish Covenant, contending earnestly for the descending obligations of those covenants upon all whose ancestors were parties to the same, and insisting upon making the adoption of the Solemn League and Covenant a term of communion for members of the church in the colonial as well as the mother country, testifying continually to the Headship of Christ over the State, and the responsibility of all kings and rulers to Him, a failure of whose allegiance to Him would forfeit the allegiance of the people to them; proclaiming everywhere these good old doctrines, with a fidelity, and a courage, and a zeal, and a constancy, that ought to have secured sympathy and commanded admiration. Instead of this, he experienced the usual fate of those who are in advance of the age. He was opposed, resisted, denounced as an extremist and ultra reformer, calumniated as an agitator, and even censured by the General Synod of the Presbyterian Church! It was not until he came to North Carolina, that he found a congenial element which he could mold and train successfully in devotion to principles bearing fruit in splendid achievements, which now, at this anniversary season, in another city, and commanding the homage of the representatives of the world -- so successfully trained, that Charlotte occupied the front rank more than a year in advance of Philadelphia -- the latter . . . counseling submission, the former [on May 20, 1775], declaring independence, and so Mecklenburg became the leader of the land." -- Wheeler, John Hill, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians [Columbus, OH, The author, 1884], p. 278
The roots of liberty and limited government are in the Protestant Reformation. We believe the key to the maintenance of liberty and limited government is to be found in the Scottish covenanting struggle. -- James A. Dodson
Barrow, Greg, and Larry Birger, Jr., Reformation Principles Re-Exhibited: An Historical Witness and Brotherly Entreaty. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #1-30.
*Baxter, Richard (1615-1691), William Lamont (editor), A Holy Commonwealth, ISBN: 0521405807.
"A HOLY COMMONWEALTH is Richard Baxter's invisible masterpiece." -- William Lamont
"Written in 1659 by the Puritan minister (1615-1691), who publicly repudiated the work in 1670, this modern edition of a controversial text represents a candid confession as to why a conservative Puritan fought for Parliament in the Civil War and gave his support to the Cromwells." -- Publisher
Contains 380 theses on government with commentary when available. These 380 aphorisms are valuable casuistry in support of Christian magistracy.
Baxter's repudiation of the work is also included. It is interesting to note that he never repudiated the first part of the book, which lays the foundation for Christian Magistracy. It was only the second part that was repudiated by, as Lamont says, his public persona which was Arminian.
Apparently, in Richard Baxter we have an example of the Armenian being unable to stand publicly for Covenanted Reformation, yet his private persona wrote A HOLY COMMONWEALTH, and his unpublished papers show that he continued to recommend the work to associates after his public repudiation.
A Holy Commonwealth: or, Political Aphorisms, Opening the True Principles of Government: For the Healing of the Mistakes, and Resolving the Doubts, That Most Endanger England at This Time (1659)
Becker, Carl, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas, ISBN: 133277959X 9781332779598.
Quoting "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson," 1869 edition, VII, 304.
Black, George Fraser, Scotland's Mark on America, ISBN: 1406913782.
"Ranke, the German historian, declared that 'Calvin was the founder of the American Government;' and Gulian C. Verplanck of New York (1786-1870), in a public address, traced the origin of our Declaration of Independence to the National Covenant of Scotland. Chief Justice Tilghman (1756-1827), stated that the framers of the Constitution of the United States were through the agency of Dr. Witherspoon much indebted to the standards of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in molding that instrument." -- Publisher
Scotland's Mark on America
Blythe, LeGette, Alexandriana.
A work of fiction about Covenanters.
Brown, Samuel, Windy Cove Church, Its History, A Memorial Sermon, Preached on the 28th of February, 1875.
Brown's history is included in A HISTORY OF WINDY COVE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, MILLBORO SPRINGS, VIRGINIA, 1749-1976, including the three former histories, the first two verbatim and the third edited with pictures added (Verona, VA: McClure Printing Co., Inc., 1976).
Brown, Samuel, A.J. Ponton (editor, compiler), and Windy Cove Presbyterian Church, A History of Windy Cove Presbyterian Church, Millboro Springs, Virginia, 1749-1929: Including an historical sermon preached by Dr. Samuel Brown, February 28, 1875, 1929.
"Includes list of communicants in 1833, biographical sketches of pastors, list of chapels under Windy Cove's auspices, and other information."
Windy Cove Church was organized in 1749.
Brown, William L. Revolutionary Spirit: A View of the Scotch-Irish influence in America, ISBN: 1891708481 9781891708480.
*Calvin, John (1509-1564), The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1544). Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Also found in CALVIN'S SELECTED WORKS, TRACTS AND LETTERS. Available in Library of Presbyterian Heritage Publications and Protestant Heritage Press CD-ROM Library. Available in THE CHURCH EFFEMINATE AND OTHER ESSAYS.
"It [THE NECESSITY OF REFORMING THE CHURCH (1544) -- compiler], has still been correctly acknowledged as one of the most important documents of the Reformation.
"C.H. Spurgeon once said, 'the longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin's system is the nearest to perfection.' (cited in Christian History, Vol. 5, No. 4). . . . Like Calvin, some few believers today see 'the present condition of the Church . . . to be very miserable, and almost desperate.' Our context is different in one key respect however. The church needing reformation in Calvin's day was the tradition-encrusted church of Rome. Shortly after the Reformation, for those leaving Rome behind, two streams became apparent. One was the stream of classical Protestant orthodoxy, represented today by a handful of Gideons in their desktop publishing wine vats. The other was the left wing of the Reformation -- the anabaptist movement. In the early years, the anabaptists were suffering outsiders. But today the anabaptist church is the Establishment -- an establishment governed by a chaos of traditions instead of biblical worship. Everywhere we look we see Christians approaching God with observances in worship which Calvin calls 'the random offspring of their own brain.' Though this work is not an elaborate systematic presentation of the foundations of Christianity, such as CALVIN'S INSTITUTES, it has still been correctly acknowledged as one of the most important documents of the Reformation. Calvin here pleads the cause dearest to his heart before an assembly perhaps the most august that Europe could have furnished in that day. It has been said that the animated style used by Calvin in this work would not lose by comparison with any thing in the celebrated 'Dedication' prefixed to his INSTITUTES. To this day, THE NECESSITY OF REFORMING THE CHURCH remains a powerful weapon, both defensive and offensive, to fight the contemporary battle for Protestantism -- the everlasting gospel of truth. Here, in our modern setting, we find the answers to many of the vexing questions which continue to agitate the Church." -- Publisher
The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), by John Calvin
Carmichael, G. Wade, Jack's Resolve: A True Patriot's Tale, ISBN: 1883103126 9781883103125.
"Historic novel about the courier of the first recorded Declaration of Independence in the American Colonies in 1775. Follow the trials and challenges of Captain James Jack, of the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina militia in his attempt to deliver the Mecklenburg documents to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The story, drawn from historic archives and Jack family documents, chronicles the intrigue, danger and betrayal found in the American colonies in the months preceding the national Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the American Revolutionary War." -- Publisher
"G. Wade Carmichael is the Executive Director of the Charlotte Museum of History and has written several articles on historic events and topics. As a graduate of Indiana University, at the Herron School of Art, he majored in Fine Art Painting with particular attention to historic painting techniques and materials. Wade currently resides in North Carolina where he conducts tours of Revolutionary War sites, as well as being a public speaker on various historic topics." -- Publisher
Craighead, Alexander (1707-1766), The Reasons of Mr. Alexander Craighead's Receding From the Present Judicatories of This Church, Together With its Constitution; To Which Is Annexed a Preface to the Reader, to Discover the Basis or Foundation on which the Reasons are Built (Philadelphia, PA: B. Franklin, 1743). Presbyterian Historical Society Microcard Evans no. 40299.
"Craighead adhered to the Reformed Presbyterians from 1742 to 1749, but was never actually received as an RP minister. John Cuthbertson, who was sent out by the Reformed Presbytery in Scotland in 1751, was the first RP minister to serve in the New World. It fell to him, together with Matthew Linn and Alexander Dobbin, to organize the Reformed Presbytery, on March 10, 1774, at Paxtang, Pennsylvania. The printer was Benjamin Franklin!" -- Gordon J. Keddie "Bring the Book: A Bibliography of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, 1743 -- 1992" in REFORMED PRESBYTERIANS IN THE NEW WORLD, a special issue of Semper Reformanda, Vol. 1, No. 3, Fall 1992, ISSN# 1065-3783.
The Reasons of Mr. Alexander Craighead's Receding From the Present Judicatories of This Church . . . 1743, Alexander Craighead
*Craighead, Alexander (1707-1766), Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League; A Confession of Sins; An Engagement to Duties; and a Testimony; as They Were Carried on at Middle Octorara in Pennsylvania, November 11, 1743. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #27. A microform copy is held at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Presbyterian Historical Society.
"A fascinating Covenanter document proclaiming that 'to the Calvinistic system of principles, and the Presbyterian form of government, this nation (the United States), is largely indebted for its civil independence and republican polity. John Calvin and John Knox are the real founders of American liberties. Their teachings, plainly deducible from the Word of God, were disseminated by the persecuted remnant of the Church of Scotland, and were generally incorporated in the structure of American independence.' Furthermore, Glasgow, in his introduction, points out that Craighead's covenanting work formed a basis for the national Declaration of Independence, which followed shorter thereafter. 'For seven years Mr. Craighead labored among the Covenanter societies; but failing to receive assistance from Scotland, he removed, in 1749, to Virginia, thence to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. There he became identified with the Presbytery in connection with the Presbyterian Church. Being thoroughly imbued, however, with the principles of the Scotch Covenanters, Mr. Craighead taught them to his people around Charlotte. They in turn formulated them into the First Declaration of Independence, emitted at Charlotte, NC, May, 1775. According to a reliable author (Wheeler's Reminiscences, p. 278). Thomas Jefferson says in his autobiography that when he was engaged in preparing the National Declaration of Independence, that he and his colleagues searched everywhere for formulas, and that the printed proceedings of Octorara, as well as the Mecklenburg Declaration, were before him, and that he freely used ideas therein contained. It is difficult to determine, therefore, the real author of American Independence. Undoubtedly the principles of the Covenanters at Octarara in 1743, the sentiments of the Presbyterians at Charlotte in 1775, and the Declaration submitted by Jefferson in 1776, contain one and the same great principles. 'Honor to whom honor is due.' However, Glasgow also reports, 'hence the Declaration of American Independence was justifiable. But when the newly-born nation ignored the God of battles, rejected the authority of the Prince of the kings of the earth, and refused to administer the government in accordance with the requirements of the Divine Law, then the same loyal Covenanters, faithful to their principles and consistent with their history through all the struggles of the centuries, dissented from the Constitution of the United States, and are justifiable in the continuance of this position of political dissent so long as the government retains its character of political atheism. We may rightfully declare our independence of wicked men and rebellious nations, but we cannot declare our independence of God, and set up a government regardless of His authority, without incurring His wrath and suffering from His desolating judgements. 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.' This rare book contains much that is exceedingly valuable and the section titled 'The Declaration, Protestation, and Testimony of a Suffering Remnant of the Anti-Popish, Anti-Lutheran, Anti-Prelatic, Anti-Erastian, Anti-Latitudinarian, Anti-Sectarian, True Presbyterian Church of Christ, in America,' is well worth the price of the book itself. With Glasgow, we set this book forth 'trusting that his work will be of historical value to all Covenanters, and interesting to all other readers,' with the hope of 'enkindling a flame of love for the glorious principles of the Word of God, and arousing an interest in the great work of National Reformation'." -- Publisher
"The first RP church in America was established at Paxtang, Pa., in 1721, and the second at Middle Octorara, Pa., in 1732, both by immigrants from Scotland and Ireland. A third edition was published in 1895 in Beaver Falls, PA." -- Gordon J. Keddie
Renewal of the Covenants at Middle Octorara, Pennsylvania
The Scottish Covenanting Struggle, Alexander Craighead, and the Mecklenburg Declaration
Craighead, Ernest Schwartz (b. 1888), Craighead Ministers: In Ulster and Colonial America, Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, 1633-1799, 3 volumes (Pittsburgh, PA: E.S. Craighead, 1954).
"Named Person: Craighead family (Alexander Craighead, 1707-1766), Craighead, Alexander, 1707-1766.
"Note(s): Typescript and mimeograph./ Chronology, chronology supplement and genealogy of Rev. Alexander Craighead, his eight children and their descendants."
*Craighead, James Geddes (1832-1895), The Craighead Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Rev. Thomas and Margaret Craighead, 1658-1876, ISBN: 0916497704.
Relates "the life and times of hundreds of Craigheads and their friends. . . ." -- Reader's Comment
*Craighead, James Geddes (1832-1895), Scotch and Irish Seeds in American Soil: The Early History of the Scotch and Irish Churches, and Their Relations to the Presbyterian Church of America, ISBN: 9780548177631 0548177635 0790546221 (microfiche).
"These extraordinary resolves were sent by a messenger to the Congress in Philadelphia, and were printed in the Cape Fear Mercury, Adam Boyd, editor, and were widely distributed throughout the province. A copy of them was transmitted by Sir James Wright, then Governor of Georgia, to England, in a letter of June 20, 1775. And the paper containing these resolutions may still be seen in the British State-Paper Office. . . .
"Bancroft [the historian George Bancroft], stated 'The first voice publicly raised in America to dissolve all connection with Great Britain came from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians'." -- James Geddes Craighead, pp. 329,330
Early history includes the history of the Covenanted Reformation. See: Chapter IX: "Emigration of Scotch and Scotch-Irish to America and Chapter X: "Foreign Ministers in America" which lists pastors, their time of arrival, and their place of ministry.
*Dallimore, Arnold, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival, 2 volumes, ISBN: 0851510264 9780851510262 085151300X 9780851513003. A Christian classic.
"One of the great monumental literary achievements of the 20th century." -- Sherwood E. Wirt
"Justice has at last been done to the greatest preacher that England has ever produced." -- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Contains accounts of the conversion experiences of Whitefield, the Wesleys, and many others. Includes bibliographic footnotes.
Draper, Lyman Copeland (1815-1891), Mecklenburg Declaration Miscellanies, 1993.
"Compiled [i.e., copied], by Abigail Brown, Jenny Mumma." Photocopies from State Historical Society of Wisconsin microfilm of newspaper and magazine articles collected by Lyman C. Draper concerning the Mecklenburg Declaration.
Elder, J. Calvin, J. Oliver Beatty, and The Reformed Presbyterian Church (New Alexandria, PA), History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of New Alexandria, Pa.: From its Organization September 16, 1816 to September 16, 1916.
"Notes: Includes Covenant of 1871, Sanquhar Declaration of Independence, Hannastown Declaration of Independence, Mecklenberg Declaration of Independence." -- Publisher
Graham, George Washington (1847-1923), The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775, and Lives of its Signers, ISBN: 1331676665 9781331676669.
"This monography upon the Mecklenberg Declaration of Independence was read before the Scottish-Irish Society of American at its metting in Lexington, Virginia, on June 21, 1895."
Contains new evidence that will remove all doubts about the authenticity of the Mecklenberg Declaration.
Graham, George Washington, and Alexander Graham, Why North Carolinians Believe in the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20th, 1775, 1895.
Henderson, Archibald (1877-1963), The Conquest of the Old Southwest; The Romantic Story of the Early Pioneers Into Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, 1740-1790, ISBN: 9780871521583 087152158X.
Henderson, Archibald (1877-1963), Cradle of Liberty; Historical Essays Concerning the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, May 20, 1775.
Henderson, Archibald (1877-1963), The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Herman, Arthur, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of how Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created our World and Everything in it. ISBN: 0609606352 9780609606353.
The reader should be warned, this book is not what it appears to be. In fact, a look at Herman's bio suggests that it is insidious.
It is sobering to see it make the case that Scottish thinkers, descendants of the very men who gave the world the Scottish Covenanted Reformation in the 17th century, went on to contributed to the decline of Western thought by exporting the Scottish Enlightenment.
It is striking in two respects. First, it traces the "brain drain" from Scotland in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries, which contributed to enlightenment and progress in the West. Yet, while we have been taught that the "prosperity" and advances of modern Western society are a result of "enlightenment thought," the huge problems looming over modern society seem less than promising.
"Secondly, Protestant theologians regard the Covenanted Reformation of Scotland of the 17th century as the highest attainment of Christianity in history. It is striking that the book does not treat the fact that the relationship between Church and State abruptly changed in Scotland, and in the West, in 1661, and has been in decline since then. 'In early 1661 the Scottish Parliament passed the Act Rescissory, which established the king as supreme judge in all matters civil and ecclesiastical, and which made owning the covenants National and Solemn League unlawful. This act undid all the work of the Covenanted Reformation of Scotland from 1638 to 1650, and made it high treason to acknowledge Jesus Christ as head of the church.' So, while it is entertaining, the book is an account of the influence of Scottish secular humanistic thought on Western society after the Covenanted Reformation of Scotland. See: An Introduction to the Covenanted Reformation and Act, Declaration, and Testimony, 1876, Part II." -- compiler
"It is only natural, Herman suggests, that a country that once ranked among Europe's poorest, if most literate, would prize the ideal of progress, measured 'by how far we have come from where we once were.' Forged in the Scottish Enlightenment, that ideal would inform the political theories of Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and David Hume, and other Scottish thinkers who viewed 'man as a product of history,' and whose collective enterprise involved 'nothing less than a massive reordering of human knowledge' (yielding, among other things, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, first published in Edinburgh in 1768, and the Declaration of Independence, published in Philadelphia just a few years later [The Scottish Covenanting Struggle, Alexander Craighead, and the Mecklenburg Declaration -- compiler]). On a more immediately practical front, but no less bound to that notion of progress, Scotland also fielded inventors, warriors, administrators, and diplomats such as Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, Simon MacTavish, and Charles James Napier, who created empires and great fortunes, extending Scotland's reach into every corner of the world.
"Herman examines the lives and work of these and many more eminent Scots, capably defending his thesis and arguing, with both skill and good cheer, that the Scots 'have by and large made the world a better place rather than a worse place.' -- Reader's Comment
"Personally, I found this all a bit more intriguing then convincing. The leap from Knox (1505-1572) to Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) required a detour from church history into the foggy bottom of British politics before emerging with a secular history of the Enlightenment. While I enjoyed getting a Scottish view of the 'English' civil war and detailed account of parliamentary debate over the Treaty of Union (1707), the story is simply too brief. All this takes place in the first 60 pages, one third of it devoted entirely to the Treaty of Union. To make a case for Hutcheson and Lord Kames inventing the 'Enlightenment,' a bit more would be required regarding English and French developments. . . ." -- Reader's Comment
"Arthur Herman, author [clearly an establishment writer -- compiler] of THE IDEA OF DECLINE IN WESTERN HISTORY and JOSEPH McCARTHY: REEXAMINING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF AMERICA'S MOST HATED SENATOR, received his doctorate in history at Johns Hopkins University. He is the coordinator of the Western Heritage Program at the Smithsonian Institution, an associate professor of history at George Mason University, and a consulting historical editor for Time-Life Books. He lives in Washington, D.C." -- Publisher
C. Gregg Singer (1910-1999), FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY: THE DECLINE OF THE WESTERN MIND FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE PRESENT The "Apologetics" Lecture Series Using FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY (1979) as the text, and delivered in Decatur, Georgia, beginning November, 1979. (17 MP3 files) The Decline of Modern Philosophy Decline in Theology, #1 Decline Through the 1840's: Philosophical Revolution in Political Thought and so forth, and so on.
Hoyt, William Henry, The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence: A Study of Evidence Showing That the Alleged Early Declaration of Independence by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on May 20th 1775, is Spurious, ISBN: 1177378744 9781177378741.
Keddie, Gordon J., Bring the Book: A Bibliography of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, 1743-1992 in REFORMED PRESBYTERIANS IN THE NEW WORLD, a special issue of Semper Reformadnda, Vol. 1, No. 3, Fall 1992, ISSN 1065-3783.
Keddie, Gordon J., The Literature of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.
King, Victor C., Lives and Times of the 27 Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of May 20, 1775; Pioneers Extraordinary.
Maier, Pauline, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, ISBN: 0679779086 9780679779087.
"This is a well-written, well-researched, entertaining account of the creation of the United States' Declaration of Independence as well as an analysis of how the declaration has been enshrined as something of a sacred document (a place it did not always hold). Pauline Maier, a history professor at MIT, will no doubt surprise many readers with detective work demonstrating that Jefferson's Declaration of Independence was actually preceded by many local declarations, which have been generally overlooked by historians but which were published throughout the colonies and were well known in their day. American Scripture holds many surprises as it details Jefferson's drafting of the document, the editing process, and the varying regard with which the Declaration of Independence has been held in the past two centuries." -- Publisher
McDowell, Grace Bradford, 1889 (compiler), assisted by LeGette Blythe, and Victor King, Lest We Forget our Heritage; The Signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
McGeachy, Neill Roderick, A History of the Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, Mecklenburg Presbytery, Charlotte, North Carolina
One of two churches, Sugaw Creek (later Sugar Creek), and Rocky River, pastored by Alexander Craighead in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
McNitt, Virgil V. (b. 1881), Chain of Error, and the Mecklenburg Declarations of Independence: A New Study of Manuscripts: Their use, Abuse, and Neglect, 1960.
"The most exhaustive study of the subject yet attempted." -- Archibald Henderson
This work convinces the reader of the truth of the Mecklenburg Declaration. Apparently when the controversy began in the early 1800's supporters of Jefferson fought back with spurious counter claims of plagiarism.
Noll, Mark A. (editor), Nathan O. Hatch (editor), George M. Marsden (editor), David F. Wells (editor), and John D. Woodbridge (editor), Eerdman's Handbook to Christianity in America, ISBN: 0802835821 9780802835826.
Includes bibliography and index.
*North, Gary, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution, an e-book.
"In addition to primary sources, North relies on the work of the most well respected members of the historical community -- Bailyn, Wood, Mcdonald, Gaustad, Boller, Koch, Adair, and Rakove to name a few.
"The thesis of the book is that the key U.S. Founders -- the ones who pushed through the ideas upon which America declared independence and then constructed the Constitution -- were secret theological unitarians, whose heterodox religious creed inspired them to found American government upon the notion of religious neutrality, and consequently break the tradition of covenanting with the Triune Christian God. His book focuses on Article VI Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution (no religious tests) as the device for achieving secular government.
"From what I have researched, North is correct in his essential claim. Other scholars have noted something similar. For instance, in this post I noted Thomas Pangle and Cushing Stout, whose work North cites, concluding that there is a connection between the U.S. Constitution's benign approach to religion and the key Founders' enlightened and benign personal religious creed. Indeed, one could argue, as does Dr. Gregg Frazer, that the Founders' unitarianism or theistic rationalism was the political theology of the American Founding.
"Ideas have consequences and it was these heterodox unitarian ideas, not orthodox Christianity, that drove the U.S. Founding's approach to religion and government. However, such heterodoxy or heresy wasn't a popular creed, but rather was disproportionately believed in by the elite Whigs. Whatever the religion of a majority of the U.S. population (either nominal Protestant Christianity, which itself can tend towards Deism, or orthodox Protestant Christianity), orthodox Churches held a great deal of institutional power. With such power, they had to essentially consent to the elite Whig's new plan on government. And they did. But not all of them, for instance, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (Covenanters) to whom North dedicates his book. From the very beginning they smelled a rat in Philadelphia.
"So the notion that there was a secret coup, a bait and switch as Michael Zuckert put it, to sell a Christian audience non-authentically Christian ideas is not new. James Renwick Willson was one of those covenanters who in 1832 made arguments very similar to North's. And he was burned in effigy for this sermon which called all of the Presidents from Washington to Jackson infidels and not more than unitarians. I think Willson got at the truth, but did so by shattering a sacred cow -- a social myth. The kernel of truth that David Barton et al. have is that many folks in the 19th century did believe in the Christian America social myth as a cultural prejudice. And many of their bogus, unconfirmed quotations source back to 19th century places that pushed this social myth.
"Now the non-respectable has become the respectable and secular scholars more or less agree with the claims of James Renwick Willson and Gary North that America didn't have an authentically orthodox Christian founding. . . ." -- Jonathan Rowe, June 8, 2008 (http://www.positiveliberty.com/2008/06/gary-norths-ebook.html)
Download a copy at:
Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution
Conspiracy in Philadelphia, an article by Gary North
Ponton, A.J., Samuel Brown, and Windy Cove Presbyterian Church, A History of Windy Cove Presbyterian Church, Millboro Springs, Virginia, 1749-1929: including an historical sermon preached by Dr. Samuel Brown, February 28, 1875, 1929.
"Includes list of communicants in 1833, biographical sketches of pastors, list of chapels under Windy Cove's auspices, and other information."
Windy Cove Church was organized in 1749.
*Price, Greg L., Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast; and, the Basis for Civil Resistance. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #26.
"This is the best modern testimony for the biblical principles of civil magistracy -- which were so prominent during the height of the Second Reformation -- that we have seen. Price documents the teachings of many of the major Reformers (and some of the church fathers), and in an easy reading manner simplifies what can at times become a very complex subject. This particular Reformation message, proclaiming Christ's Kingship over the nations (and the practical outworking of the same), has been buried from the view of the general public for some time now, but is once again being brought to light in this very helpful introductory book. A sobering appendix has been added (written by a friend of the Covenanted Reformation), which shows why it is unlawful for a Christian to swear any oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. This appendix also compares the points of difference between classic (or historic), Reformed teaching and modern Reformed teaching regarding magistracy and religion. Special attention is given to the OPC, the PCA and the RPCNA and the changes that these groups have made to Second Reformation confessional standards (concerning matters related to the civil magistrate). Statements by B.B. Warfield are also contrasted to the older Reformed views. You won't find a better easy-to-read and easy to understand introduction to this important topic -- a topic which impacts directly on every Christian's testimony for the crown rights of King Jesus!" -- Publisher
"It is this author's contention that the modern churches have let go of this important piece of the faith [Christ's Kingship over the nations -- compiler], once for all delivered to the saints. Thereby they have delivered the church, not to kings as nursing fathers, but to the cruel civil domination of the enemies of the true religion, their sheep being taught that they must submit passively to every pretended civil authority as the ordinance of God. By this defection, these leaders of the flock have also undermined the magistracy, allowing and even encouraging wicked men to remove this blessed ordinance from its foundation in God its creator, and from its subjection to Christ His King, thereby directly opposing God's benevolent ends in instituting civil government: 'Thus have [they] made the commandment of God of none effect by [their] tradition. . . . teaching for doctrines the commandments of men' (Matthew 15:6,9). Furthermore, by their false teaching regarding civil government, they have made themselves guilty of the very sin of which we are often accused: opposing the ordinance of God. If this wasn't enough, however, consider that their sin is worse than that of the garden variety rebel, inasmuch as their opposition to God's institution is not so much practical as it is principal; and because of their position as teachers and guides of the flock of God. 'Be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. . . . For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.' (James 3:1; II Cor. 13:8 [2 Corinthians 13:8]) -- Greg Price (Biblical Civil Government Verses the Beast, p. 64)
Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast; and, the Basis for Civil Resistance, Greg Price
Ray, Lila McGeachy, and John P. Burgess (thesis advisor), Alexander Craighead: With Drawn Sword. Dissertation: M.A. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 2001.
Ray, Worth S., The Mecklenburg Signers and Their Neighbors.
*Reformed Presbytery of North America "Steelite," David Steele (1803-1887), John Thorburn (1730?-1788), John Courtass (d. 1795), et al., Act, Declaration, and Testimony, for the Whole of the Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in, Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive. As, Also, Against all the Steps of Defection From Said Reformation, Whether in Former or Later Times, Since the Overthrow of that Glorious Work, Down to This Present day (1876), (Philadelphia, PA: Printed by Rue and Jones, 1876), a new edition of the Ploughlandhead Testimony of 1761, the subordinate standard of the original "Steelite" Reformed Presbytery that was constitutes in 1840. Available (the 1850 edition only) on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available (the 1850 edition only) on Reformation Bookshelf CD #1.
"And now, when time has proved that more recent Testimonies, Terms, and Covenants, have failed to preserve either unity or uniformity among those who framed them; it cannot be unseasonable to re-exhibit the original ACT, DECLARATION, AND TESTIMONY, which has been justly characterized as 'the most profoundly reasoned document ever emitted by the Reformed Presbyterian Church'." -- The Reformation Advocate Magazine, Vol. I, No. 8, December, 1875, page 267
"Upholds the original work of the Westminster Assembly and testifies to the abiding worth and truth formulated in the Westminster family of documents. Upholds and defends the Crown Rights of King Jesus in Church and State, denouncing those who would remove the crown from Christ's head by denying His right to rule (by His law), in both the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. Testifies to the received doctrine, government, worship, and discipline of the Church of Scotland in her purest (reforming) periods. Applies God's Word to the Church's corporate attainments 'with a judicial approbation of the earnest contendings and attainments of the faithful, and a strong and pointed judicial condemnation of error and the promoters thereof.' (The Contending Witness magazine, Dec. 17/93, p. 558). Shows the church's great historical victories (such as the National and Solemn League and Covenant, leading to the Westminster Assembly), and exposes her enemies actions (e.g. the Prelacy of Laud; the Independency, sectarianism, covenant breaking and ungodly toleration set forth by the likes of Cromwell [and the Independents that conspired with him]; the Erastianism and civil sectarianism of William of Orange, etc.). It is not likely that you will find a more consistent working out of the principles of Calvinism anywhere. Deals with the most important matters relating to the individual, the family, the church and the state. Sets forth a faithful historical testimony of God's dealings with men during some of the most important days of church history. A basic text that should be mastered by all Christians." -- Publisher
Act, Declaration, and Testimony (1876)
Act, Declaration and Testimony, 1761 (edition of 1876)
"Compared with the 1777 edition, Philadelphia. We hereby certify that this is a true edition of the ORIGINAL JUDICIAL TESTIMONY, emitted by the Reformed Presbytery at Ploughlandhead, Scotland, 1761; together with the Supplements adopted by the Reformed Presbytery at this date, June 2d, 1876. [Signed -- compiler] David Steele, James Campbell, Robert Clyde, Robert Alexander, Committee.
*Reformed Presbytery of North America "Steelite" (David Steele [1803-1887], James Campbell, Thomas Sproull, James Fulton), A Short Vindication of our Covenanted Reformation, 2nd Edition, Revised, and Enlarged by a Committee of the Reformed Presbytery ("Circular" and "Review" prefixed), 1879, 50 pages. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Also available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #2 (also #1, #25, and #30).
"Until the church comes to terms with what is written in this book it will remain weak and divided. Covenant breakers will not prosper, as this rare item demonstrates from both Scripture and history. The power packed ordinance of covenanting (the National and Solemn League and Covenant in particular), was foundational to the Second Reformation and the work of the Westminster Assembly. 'By the National Covenant our fathers laid Popery prostrate. By the Solemn League and Covenant they were successful in resisting prelatic encroachments and civil tyranny. By it they were enabled to achieve the Second Reformation . . . They were setting up landmarks by which the location and limits of the city of God will be known at the dawn of the millennial day . . . How can they be said to go forth by the footsteps of the flock, who have declined from the attainments, renounced the covenants and contradicted the testimony of 'the cloud of witnesses. . . . All the schisms (separations) that disfigure the body mystical of Christ . . . are the legitimate consequences of the abandonment of reformation attainments, the violation of covenant engagements.' If you are interested in knowing how to recognize a faithful church (or state), when and why to separate from unfaithful institutions, who has held up the standard of Covenanted Reformation attainments and who has backslidden (and why), what it means to subscribe to the Westminster Confession (1646), (and why most that say they do so today do not have any idea of what that means), and much more concerning individual, family, church and civil, individual, family, church and civil duties, this is one of the best books you will ever lay your hands on. It chronicles 'some instances of worldly conformity and mark(s) some steps of defection from our 'covenanted unity and uniformity,' noting how 'it is necessary to take a retrospect of our history for many years; for we did not all at once reach our present condition of sinful ignorance and manifold apostasy.' Presbyterian and the Reformed churches lay under the heavy hand of God's judgement in our day, because of the very defections noted throughout this fine work. 'We heard (hear) from various quarters the cry, "maintain the truth, stand up for the principles of the Second Reformation"; and yet many of those who are the most loud in uttering this cry, appear desirous to bury in oblivion those imperishable national and ecclesiastical deeds, by which the church and kingdom of Scotland became 'married to the Lord.' Are we married to the Lord, or have we thrown off the covenants of our forefathers; are we the chaste bride of Christ, or a harlot who is found in the bedchambers of every devilish suitor (whether ecclesiastical or civil), who tempts us with the favors of this world? Let us cry out, as with 'the noble Marquis of Argyle, upon the scaffold,' when he said, 'God hath tied us by covenants to religion and reformation. These that were then unborn are yet engaged, and it passeth the power of all the magistrates under heaven to absolve them from the oath of God. They deceive themselves, and it may be, would deceive others, who think otherwise.' Not for the weak of heart." -- Publisher
A Short Vindication of our Covenanted Reformation, Reformed Presbytery
*Robbins, John W. (1949-2008, editor), Christ and Civilization, ISBN: 1891777246 9781891777240.
"A new 48-page booklet. Includes a complete listing (in an additional 16 pages), of the books currently available from The Trinity Foundation."
Christ and Civilization
*Robbins, John W. (1949-2008, editor), The Church Effeminate and Other Essays (Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation, 2002), ISBN: 0940931540 9780940931541.
Contents: Robbins: The Church; Witherow: The Apostolic Church; Ryle: The True Church; Lloyd-Jones: The Primacy of Preaching; Adams: Preaching to the Heart; Ryle: The Fallibility of Ministers; Crampton: Exclusive Psalmody; The Geneva Service Book of 1556: Scripture and the Ordering of Worship; Miller: The Christian Education of the Children and Youth in the Presbyterian Church; Calvin: The Teachers of the Church; Clark: The Presbyterian Doctrine of Ordination; Warfield: Paul on Women Speaking in Church; Clark: The Ordination of Women; Robbins: The Church Effeminate; Luther: On the Councils and the Church; Hodge: The Relation of Church and State; Calvin: The Roman Church-State; Dostoyevsky: The Grand Inquisitor; Burroughs: Episcopacy; Witherspoon: Secrets of Church Polity; McFetridge: Calvinism and the Church; Chan: The New Babylonian Captivity of the Church; Robbins: The Reconstructionist Road to Rome; a Lasco: The Abolition of Vestments; Hanko: Ought the Church to Pray for Revival? Hodge: The Great Revival of Religion, 1740-1745; Luther: The Power of the Word; Clark: What Is Evangelism? Clark: Art and the Gospel; Calvin: The Necessity of Reforming the Church; Ryle: Idolatry; Ryle: Pharisees and Sadducees; Machen: The Good Fight of Faith; Ryle: Apostolic Fears; Machen: The Separateness of the Church; Robbins: The Sin of Signing Ecumenical Declarations; M'Crie: Fundamentalism and Ecumenism; Calvin: The Unity of the Church; Robbins: The Church Irrational; Index; Scripture Index.
The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), by John Calvin
Calvin's Commentary on Hosea
*Roberts, William Louis (1798-1864), The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism, ISBN: 0524065543 9780524065549. A Christian classic. Considered to be among the ten greatest books in the English language. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available from ATLA 1991-2638.
A magnificent catechism that sets forth the Crown Rights of The King of Glory and Lord of Lords. It also presents incontrovertible evidence that the United States Constitution is not a Christian document, and that it is, in fact, a slavery document.
"A manual of instruction, drawing from such notable authors as William Symington and J.R. Willson, presenting arguments and facts confirming and illustrating the 'Distinctive Principles' of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Chapters deal with: 'Christ's Mediatorial Dominion in General;' Christ's Exclusive Headship Over the Church;' 'The Supreme and Ultimate Authority of the Word of God in the Church;' Civil Government, the Moral Ordinance of God;' Christ's Headship Over the Nations;' 'The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ;' The Word, or Revealed Will of God, the Supreme Law in the State;' 'The Duty of Nations, in Their National Capacity, to Acknowledge and Support the True Religion:' 'The Spiritual Independence of the Church of Christ:' 'The Right and Duty of Dissent From an Immoral Constitution of Civil Government;' 'The Duty of Covenanting, and the Permanent Obligations of Religious Covenants;' 'The Application of These Principles to the Governments, Where Reformed Presbyterians Reside, in the Form of a Practical Testimony;' and finally 'Application of the Testimony to the British Empire. . . '." -- Publisher
Reformed Presbyterian Catechism, William L. Roberts D.D.
On the Mediatorial Dominion of The Lord Jesus Christ, excerpted from THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CATECHISM.
The Exclusive Headship of The Lord Jesus Christ Over the Church of God, excerpted from THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CATECHISM.
Civil Government the Moral Ordinance of God, excerpted from THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CATECHISM.
On Christ's Headship Over the Nations, excerpted from THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CATECHISM.
The Subjection of the Nations to God and to Christ, excerpted from THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CATECHISM.
See also: The Scottish Covenanting Struggle, Alexander Craighead, and the Mecklenburg Declaration, SECRET PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; CONSPIRACY IN PHILADELPHIA: THE ORIGINS OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, and A THEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
Rushdoony, R.J. (1916-2001), The Atheism of the Early Church, ISBN: 1879998181 9781879998186. Available through Exodus Books.
"Early Christians were called 'heretics' and 'atheists' when they denied the gods of Rome, in particular the divinity of the emperor and the statism he embodied in his personality cult. These Christians knew that Jesus Christ, not the state, was their Lord and that this faith required a different kind of relationship to the state than it demanded. Because Jesus Christ was their acknowledged Sovereign, they consciously denied such esteem to all other claimants. Today the church must take a similar stand before the modern state." -- Publisher
*Rushdoony, R.J. (1916-2001), The Nature of the American System. Available through Exodus Books.
"Originally published in 1965, these essays were a continuation of the author's previous work, THIS INDEPENDENT REPUBLIC, and examine the interpretations and concepts which have attempted to remake and rewrite America's past and present. 'The writing of history then, because man is neither autonomous, objective or ultimately creative, is always in terms of a framework, a philosophical and ultimately religious framework in the mind of the historian.' To the orthodox Christian, the shabby incarnations of the reigning historiographies are both absurd and offensive. They are idols, and he is forbidden to bow down to them and must indeed wage war against them." -- Publisher
*Rushdoony, Rousas J. (1916-2001), The One and the Many: Studies in the Philosophy of Order and Ultimacy Available through Exodus Books.
"The author deals with an age-old problem: the question of the one and the many and their relationship. As you might guess, the way one answers (or avoids), this question will affect views of justice, government, taxes, welfare, war, property, and freedom in general." -- GCB
The Question of the One and the Many
*Rushdoony, R.J. (1916-2001), This Independent Republic: Studies in the Nature and Meaning of American History. Available through Exodus Books.
"First published in 1964 and out of print for many years, this series of essays gives important insight into American history by one who could trace American development in terms of the Christian ideas which gave it direction.
"These essays will greatly alter your understanding of, and appreciation for, American history. Topics discussed include: The legal issues behind the War of Independence; Sovereignty as a theological tenet foreign to colonial political thought and the Constitution; The desire for land as a consequence of the belief in 'inheriting the land' as a future blessing, not an immediate economic asset; Federalism's localism as an inheritance of feudalism; The local control of property as a guarantee of liberty; Why federal elections were long considered of less importance than local politics; How early American ideas attributed to democratic thought were based on religious ideals of communion and community; and The absurdity of a mathematical concept of equality being applied to people. With index." -- Publisher
Salley, A.S. (Alexander Samuel, 1871-1961), The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
Salley, A.S. (Alexander Samuel, 1871-1961), The True Mecklenburg "Declaration of Independence," 1905.
Salley Jr., A.S., "The Mecklenburg Declaration: The Present Status of the Question," American Historical Review, 13 (1908): 16-43. The resolves are printed in the South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, June 13, 1775.
*Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), The Apologetics lecture series using FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY: THE DECLINE OF THE WESTERN MIND FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE PRESENT (1979) as the text, and delivered in Decatur, Georgia, beginning November, 1979, 17 MP3 files.
"So many times people in the pew and the pulpit say, well how did all this get started? How did psychology descend to its present level? . . . How did political science produce our political thought, produce the dictatorships which are engulfing the modern world? Why are we in the economic mess in which we are today? Why is sociology such a jumble of immorality? Why is education as it is today? Why is art so meaningless? . . . Why is modern music an affront to the modern ears as well as to the mind and ear of God? . . . Why are all these things!? . . .
"I would suggest to you that if you will follow this course with thought and care, you will finally come to see the answer to the questions which haunt us today in Western society." -- C. Gregg Singer, from this cited lecture series
*Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), From Rationalism to Irrationality: The Decline of the Western Mind From the Renaissance to the Present (Philadelphia, PA: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979), ISBN: 0875524281 9780875524283 and a reprint of the P&R Publishing edition of 1979 (Wipf and Stock, 2006), 479 pp.
"Now, frankly students, this course is presented from obviously the Reformed Theology. I hold unabashedly, unashamedly to the whole of Reformed Theology as we find it specifically in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Longer and Shorter Catechisms.
"At the same time I hold to a position in regard to Apologetics generally known as Presuppositionalism, and particularly that view held by Cornelius Van Til.
"This book is an attempt to enlarge and to broaden the scope of Van Til's own Apologetical system, and also his Epistemology. By that I mean, and I worked this book with him, so anything that I say is not to be construed as a criticism of Cornelius Van Til. I might add he wrote me a letter. He is delighted with this book. But what I did was to take his principles, both of Apologetics and of Epistemology, and apply them to all realms of modern thought.
"Dr. Van Til, for good and sufficient reason, sought to limit to the main stream of what we might call pure Philosophy, that is from Saint Thomas, well even before then, back to the Greeks, but particularly in the more modern period, from Saint Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham (Occam), down through Descartes, the Rationalists, the Empiricists, down to Kant and Hegel, and of course Modern Philosophy and Modern Theology. Very seldom has he gone into what we might call the arena of Political Philosophy, or the arena of Social Thought, or the arena of Psychology and Psychiatry, the realm of Educational Philosophy, and into Art, Music, and so on, to the Fine Arts.
"This book is an attempt to apply his system, and show what happens when the Western mind has forsaken his principles, or the principles which he has espoused, and turned into its own way. And thus the book is called FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY [Notice Singer seems to have gracefully embraced the best of Van Til in this work that, on a grand scale, disproves Van Til's inconsistent statements relating to epistemology. See the Robbins article below. -- compiler]. The thesis being that the irrationalism inherent in Saint Thomas and the post-Thomists, and more particularly, and more openly, in the Philosophy of the Renaissance, and Descartes, and Spinosa, and Leibniz has, as it's gained momentum in the modern world, brought Western Culture to its knees. We are living, as I would think, in the death throws of the Western Cultures, the Western Civilization." -- Dr. C. Gregg Singer, in the introductory address to his course in Apologetics soon after FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY came off the press in 1979
Apologetics: #01: Classical and Medieval Thought #1
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 56 min.
"Locke endeavored to set forth a political philosophy which would anchor his democratic political thought on what he felt were the firm foundations of his empiricism. However, his insistence that nature has bestowed upon mankind certain basic and inalienable rights was an assumption quite contrary to his empiricism. His denial of conscience as an innate possession or quality makes it impossible for men to know that they possess the rights of life, liberty, and property. The very concept of a human right is moral in nature and has its basis of authority in the human conscience. It is thus impossible for men to know through the senses that they have these cherished human rights. Granted that it was far from Locke's intention to undermine or destroy the traditional English concept of personal rights, his empiricism removed from his political thought the necessary foundations on which a government could be built for the protection of these rights. His empiricism supported neither the idea that men have such rights nor that they are inalienable. (p. 61)
"Underlying the secular and naturalistic assumptions of the thought of the Enlightenment was a related and equally serious problem. In their political and economic thought the leaders of this era were passionately devoted to the pursuit of freedom, and yet they seemed to be completely unaware of this incompatibility between their quest for freedom on the one hand and their reliance upon natural law on the other. How can an impersonal and deterministic concept of law produce and sustain a meaningful concept of freedom? Blindly convinced that there was no problem involved in the contradiction, the leaders of the Enlightenment pushed boldly ahead in the quest for political and economic liberty. However, their failure to recognize the issues involved in this quest led not only to the disaster of the French Revolution but to the growth of the totalitarian political and economic philosophies which first appeared in Hegel and Marx during the nineteenth century and reached their culmination in the totalitarianism of the twentieth century." (p. 73) -- quoted at the blog, Imago Veritatis: Post-modern Reformed Paleo-orthodoxy
Singer used this as the textbook for his course in Apologetics. Epistemology is a recurring theme throughout the textbook and the course. The series of 24 addresses on Apologetics is available free online. See: "Apologetics" under:
Works of C. Gregg Singer
Cornelius Van Til, John W. Robbins
*Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), A Theological Interpretation of American History, 1994 edition, 354 pages (Greenville, SC: A Press, 1994, 1981, 1975, 1974, 1964), ISBN: 0875524265 9780875524269. A Christian classic.
This book portrays "the influence of theology and the changing doctrines in the life of the church on the pattern of American political, constitutional, social and economic development.
"The author shows that the decline of constitutional government in this country is the result of the departure from historical Christian faith and the resulting rise of alien political philosophies. Particularly does he emphasize the intimate relationship between theological liberalism on the one hand and political, social, and economic liberalism on the other. This theological liberalism has been a major agent in the decline of the Constitution in the political life of the people and in the appearance of a highly centralized government." -- Publisher
"There is between the democratic philosophy and theological liberalism a basic affinity which has placed them in the same camp in many major political struggles.
"This condition exists because theological liberalism shares the basic postulates of the democratic philosophy. . . .
"Theological liberalism at heart has been a continuing protest against Calvinism, particularly against its insistence on the Sovereignty of God and the Total Depravity of the race. These two Biblical doctrines have often proved to be a stumbling block to theologians within the church as well as to the unbelieving world.
"The result of theological liberalism has been the movement away from constitutionalism and away from liberty, and a movement toward collectivistic society and totalitarian regime." -- C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History, p. 290
John Knox, the Scottish Covenanters, and the Westminster Assembly (tape 3 of 5), in a series of addresses, History Notes on Presbyterianism, Reformation, and Theology by Dr. C. Gregg Singer on SermonAudio.com
Dr. C. Gregg Singer at SermonAudio.com (161 messages)
The Topical Listing "A Theological Interpretation of American History"
"The Erastian Revolution, anno 1689, was "utterly inconsistent with the covenanted constitution of the Reformed Church of Scotland, anno 1648."
In fact, the relationship between Church and State has been in decline since 1661. "In early 1661 . . . the Scottish Parliament passed the Act Rescissory, which established the king as supreme judge in all matters civil and ecclesiastical, and which made owning the covenants [National and Solemn League], unlawful. These acts undid all the works of Reformation from 1638 to 1650 and made it high treason to acknowledge Jesus Christ as head of the church. . . ." See: Act, Declaration, and Testimony, 1876, Part II.
Another turning point occurred in 1758 with the reunion of the Old Side and the New Side of American Presbyterian Church. "This signaled the end of the influence of Calvinism in American Politics." For a detailed discussion see:
From Old School to New School in CROSSED FINGERS: HOW THE LIBERALS CAPTURED THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, by Gary North
An example of the positive influence of theological doctrine on American political development is the Presbyterian General Assembly meeting in 1774, in which the Assembly instructed local congregations to press for the dissolution of ties with Great Britain. The result was a flood of resolutions, the most important of which was the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence which became a pattern for our national Declaration of Independence. See: James Geddes Craighead (1832-1895), SCOTCH AND IRISH SEEDS IN AMERICAN SOIL: THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE SCOTCH AND IRISH CHURCHES, AND THEIR RELATIONS TO THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF AMERICA, ISBN: 0790546221 (microfiche).
In 1787 there were two conventions in Philadelphia: the Constitution Convention and a convention of the Presbyterian Church. "In 1787-88, American Presbyterians revised the Westminster Confession of Faith in order to make it conform to the political pluralism that also lay behind the U.S. Constitution,(26) which was being ratified at the same time that the presbyteries were voting for the revision of the Confession. The Presbyterians removed that clause in Chapter XXIII:3 which had authorized the civil magistrate to call a synod for advice.(27) This was one of the last traces of the theocratic Calvinism of the Scottish Covenanters -- or Calvin's theocratic Calvinism, for that matter. (The final trace was the Confession's assertion that the failure to take an oath to a lawful authority is a sin [XXII:3]. That provision was abandoned in the 1903 revision, and Machen's Orthodox Presbyterian Church did not restore it in 1936). From that time on, Presbyterians became defenders of a secularized republican order. They believed that God's civil covenant could be made on a common-ground confessional basis, without a mandatory covenantal civil oath, operating under a providential natural law order that did not mandate Trinitarian confession. Obedience to this natural order, they believed, would bring national prosperity.(28) This was the liberal worldview of English Whig politics, and no group in America was more dedicated to defending it than the Presbyterians."(29) -- Gary North, Crossed Fingers, p. 106
In 1788 the U.S. Constitution and the revised Westminster Confession were ratified. For a detailed discussion see:
From Old School to New School in CROSSED FINGERS: HOW THE LIBERALS CAPTURED THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, by Gary North
See: A THEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION OF AMERICAN HISTORY, Chapter 6, "Theological Liberalism After 1920 and its Political Consequence." See: the A Partial Timeline of U.S. History Showing how Liberalization in the Church and Liberalization in the State has Been Paralleled by Advances in the Feminist Movement, and the Overall Decline of American Society.
After 1920 "Forces of liberalism were able to gain a commanding position in the liberal arts colleges and seminaries run by most of the major denominations. . . .
"The denial of the inspiration and infallibility of the Scripture proved to be tantamount to a rejection of their doctrinal authority; one by one, the great evangelical doctrines of the past were rewritten in such a way as to be scarcely recognizable. . ." -- C. Gregg Singer, A Theological Interpretation of American History, p. 187
"The basic issue is the reduction of the total scope of government, on both the federal and state level, to those spheres which are clearly conferred upon it by the Scriptures, and the surrender of those extra-Biblical powers which liberal political philosophies and practice have given to it during the last one hundred years or so. . . .
"When Jesus Christ returns, this span of history will cease. Perhaps at this point the cleavage between the biblical position and the views of Hegel, Marx, Spengler, Toynbee, and other contemporaries, becomes most obvious. The modern mind simply cannot accept the idea that humanity does not control its own destiny. It refuses to believe that the ultimate manifestation of the glory of Jesus Christ is beyond all human manipulation, whether they be statesmen or educators. It denies that the sovereign Ruler of the universe will bring all sinful humanity to judgment in a final accounting for its long history of willful rebellion against His righteousness, goodness, and mercy." -- Gregg C. Singer
The roots of liberty and limited government are in the Protestant Reformation. We believe the key to the maintenance of liberty and limited government is to be found in the Scottish covenanting struggle. -- James A. Dodson
Smyth, Thomas (1808-1873), The Exodus of the Church of Scotland: and The Claims of the Free Church of Scotland to the Sympathy and Assistance of American Christians, 1843, ISBN: 1275612342 9781275612341.
Smyth, Thomas (1808-1873), Presbyterianism, the Revolution: the Declaration, and the Constitution. May be available in COMPLETE WORKS OF REV. THOMAS SMYTH, D.D.
Smyth, Thomas (1808-1873), The True Origin and Source of the Mecklenburg and National Declaration of Independence. May be available in COMPLETE WORKS OF REV. THOMAS SMYTH, D.D.
Smyth, Thomas (1808-1873), John William Flinn, and Jean Adger Flinn, Complete Works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D.D. 10 volumes.
Complete Works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D.D., vol. 1 of 10.
*Spence, Thomas Hugh, Jr., The Presbyterian Congregation on Rocky River, ISBN: 1334726019 9781334726019.
One of Alexander Craighead's churches in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Stevens, Thomas Wood (1880-1942), The Pageant of Charlotte and Old Mecklenburg. Written for the Sesquicentennial of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, May 20, 1775.
Cover title: HISTORIC MECKLENBURG AND OLD CHARLOTTE, 1775-1925.
Syfert, Scott, The First American Declaration of Independence? The Disputed History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775, ISBN: 9780786475599 0786475595.
"The author Syfert is a corporate attorney and one of the co-founders of the May 20th Society. It is one of two organizations working admirably to preserve the history of 'MecDeck,' and advancing the study of the North Carolina backcountry's role in the American Revolution. Syfert believes that the Mecklenburg delegates did indeed declare independence on May 20, 1775, although he readily acknowledges that the existing evidence does not easily lead to a conclusion one way or another. The inconclusive documentation, his legal training, and his desire to engage with a popular audience inform the structure of his book. Unlike a prosecutor tasked with proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, Syfert adopts the posture of a defense lawyer seeking to cast suspicion on the declaration's doubters, a group that includes academic historians. The author presents evidence from both sides of the argument. We, the readers, are the jury, and it is up to us to decide who is right.
"Where Syfert is more successful and on very engaging ground is in pursuing his book's second goal. Parts 3 through 5 explore the contested history of the Mecklenburg Declaration from the late eighteenth century into the modern era. What the author shows in these chapters is that questions over the document's authenticity became a proxy for the ways in which a local community and state far from Philadelphia, Boston, or Williamsburg laid claim to the legacy of the American Revolution. This is the book's most valuable contribution. Like the early nineteenth-century debate between Virginians and the nation over whether or not George Washington's mortal remains should slumber at Mount Vernon or in the United States Capitol building, citizens of Charlotte and North Carolinians more broadly envisioned the declaration as their great contribution to the revolutionary movement. In fact, Virginians touting their central role in the revolution led to the 1819 publication of a copy of the alleged declaration in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette. McNitt's son had transcribed it from his father's suspect notes." -- James Ambuske
James Ambuske. Review of Syfert, Scott, The First American Declaration of Independence?: The Disputed History of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 20, 1775. H-War, H-Net Reviews. May, 2016.
Worldcat.org search "su:Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence"
Over 180 citations.
*Thornwell, James H. (1812-1862), Collected Writings of James Henley Thornwell, 4 volumes, 1875, ISBN: 0524059632 9780524059630. Available on the Puritan Hard Drive.
Vol. I. LECTURES ON THE DOCTRINE OF GOD AND ON DIVINE GOVERNMENT (672 pages)"J.W. Alexander once wrote the following of one of Thornwell's sermons, 'His sermon was a model of what is rare, viz.: burning hot argument, logic in ignition, and glowing more and more to the end.'
Vol. II. THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE; SERMONS; DISCOURSES ON TRUTH (632 pages)
Vol. III. THEOLOGICAL AND CONTROVERSIAL; RATIONALIST CONTROVERSY: REASON, REVELATION AND MIRACLES; PAPAL CONTROVERSY; BAPTISM, JUSTIFICATION, INFALLIBILITY, THE APOCRYPHA (824 pages)
Vol. IV. WRITINGS ON THE CHURCH: CHURCH OFFICERS; CHURCH OPERATIONS; CHURCH DISCIPLINES; THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ETC., SERMONS AND APPENDICES (640 pages).
Wheeler, John Hill, Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians, ISBN: 1105290883 9781105290886.
Willson (1780-1853), James Renwick, Public Covenanting
Wilson, Howard McKnight, Th.D., Howard McKnight Wilson, Th.D., The Tinkling Spring: Headwater of Freedom. A Story of the Church and her People, 1732-1952.
Windy Cove Presbyterian Church (Millboro Springs, Va.). History Committee, A History of Windy Cove Presbyterian Church, Millboro Springs, Virginia, 1749-1976: Including the Three Former Histories, the first two verbatim and the third edited with pictures added, 1976.
Yates, Robert, John Lansing, and Luther Martin, Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention, 1787, ISBN: 1410203638 9781410203632. Alternate title: SECRET PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE CONVENTION ASSEMBLED AT PHILADELPHIA, IN THE YEAR 1787, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FORMING THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
"One of the most important collections of documents pertaining to the formation of the Constitution of the United States. Notes on the convention taken by Robert Yates, Chief Justice of New York, and copied by John Lansing, Jun. Esquire, late chancellor of that state, members of that convention. Including 'The Genuine Information,' laid before the Legislature of Maryland, by Luther Martin, Esquire, then attorney-general of that state, and member of the same convention. James Madison thought that Yates and Martin 'appear to have reported in angry terms what they observed with jaundiced eyes.' It must be added that in many particulars Yates' notes were fuller than Madison's own. Luther Martin's GENUINE INFORMATION is a general summary of the course of the Debates, with a running criticism on the provisions of the Constitution. Also contains an appendix with documents by Edmund Randolf, and others." -- Publisher
"The delegates, of the free states (in the national convention), in their extreme anxiety to conciliate the ascendancy of the Southern slaveholders, did listen to a compromise between right and wrong -- between FREEDOM and SLAVERY, of the ultimate fruits of which they had no conception, but which already, even now, is urging the Union to its inevitable ruin and depopulation, by a civil, servile, foreign, and Indian war, all combined in one; a war, the essential issue of which will be between freedom and slavery, and in which the unhallowed standard of slavery will be the desecrated banner of the North American Union -- that banner first unfurled to the breeze inscribed with the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence." -- John Quincy Adams, commenting on proceeding in the Constitutional Convention and prophetic of the War Between the States
Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention, Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Origins of the U.S. Constitution
See also: The sovereignty of god, The doctrine of man (human nature, total depravity), Church and state, Justice, the theology of judgment, god's final judgment, the great white throne judgment, the day of the lord, The sovereign grace of god: his everlasting mercy and lovingkindness, God's deliverance of nations, Liberalism, Logic, The works of c. gregg singer, A theological interpretation of american history, The decline of american society, irrationality, the decline of western thought, Male role and responsibility, gender equality, suffrage, reproductive rights, and the decline of american society, Covenant theology and the ordinance of covenanting, The covenant of redemption, The covenant faithfulness of god, Sexual relationship, Spiritual adultery (spiritual whoredom/harlotry), Oaths, ensnaring vows, promises, and covenants, bonds with the ungodly, The covenanted reformation of scotland background and history, The national covenant, The solemn league and covenant, The covenanted reformation of scotland author/title listing, Biography of covenanters, Acts of faithful assemblies, Covenanting in america, The scottish covenanting struggle, alexander craighead, and the mecklenburg declaration, Confession of national sin and covenant renewal, Corporate faithfulness and sanctification, Selection of covenant heads for positions of leadership, and so forth, and so on.
The Blue Banner (color image)
Books Thought to be Among the ten Greatest in the English Language
Calvin's Commentary on Hosea
Calvin's Commentary on Zechariah and Malachi
Corporate Faithfulness and Sanctification, Chapter 9, The Web Edition of Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal
The Covenanted Reformation of Scotland Author/Title Listing
The Craighead Family: A Genealogical Memoir of the Descendants of Rev. Thomas and Margaret Craighead, 1658-1876
The Dutch Declaration of Independence, 1581
"The Dutch Declaration of Independence (1581); This Calvinistic document served as a model for the U.S. Declaration of Independence. [Decide for yourselves. -- compiler]. In his Autobiography, Jefferson indicated that the 'Dutch Revolution' gave evidence and confidence to the Second Continental Congress that the American Revolution could likewise commence and succeed. Recent scholarship has suggested that Jefferson may have consciously drawn on this document. John Adams said that the Dutch charters had 'been particularly studied, admired, and imitated in every State' in America, and he stated that 'the analogy between the means by which the two republics [Holland and U.S.A.], arrived at independency . . . will infallibly draw them together'."
Early American Presbyterians
The Heavens do Rule, in The Original Covenanter, Vol. II, June, 1880, No. 14. Available in Steele, David (1803-1887, editor), Reformed Presbytery of North America, The Contending Witness, The Reformation Advocate, and The Original Covenanter magazines. Also available (THE BEST OF THE ORIGINAL COVENANTER AND CONTENDING WITNESS MAGAZINE), on the Puritan Hard Drive. Available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #18.
"Among the most civilized and enlightened people on the earth, we believe, are those of Britain and the United States of North America; yet it is at once evident and to be lamented, that with their advantages for instruction in the science of civil government, they have yet to learn the costly lesson that 'the heavens do rule'. . . ." -- excerpted from "The Heavens do Rule"
Heresies Defined and the Necessity of Heresies Explained, by George Gillespie, Scottish Commissioner to the Assembly of Divines at Westminster
A History of Davidson Academy
"This first Davidson Academy, located six miles northeast of Nashville on the Kentucky Road, was fortunate in its incorporators and trustees. They were the Reverend Thomas B. Craighead (1775 graduate of Princeton University), Hugh Williamson, Daniel Smith, William Polk, Anthony Bledsoe, James Robertson, Lardner Clark, Ephraim M'Claine (or McLean), and Robert Hayes. In the records they were all referred to by the complimentary title of Esquire.
"It may be truly said that the earliest history of Davidson Academy is the history of Thomas B. Craighead, president of the academy from 1785 to 1806 (Windrow 17,23,24,26). A Presbyterian minister, he may be called the founder of Presbyterianism in Nashville, Tennessee. Both James Robertson and Andrew Jackson were his close personal friends and served on his Board of Trustees. Not by accident was the Reverend Thomas B. Craighead an innovator and a leader. His father, Alexander Craighead, was illustrious, and he himself was a product of Nassau Hall, Princeton. Davidson Academy was fortunate indeed in its first teacher and mentor, a finished scholar and great theologian. Having succeeded at Davidson Academy, Thomas B. Craighead served as president of Cumberland College from 1806 to 1809.
Locke, John (1632-1704)
"John Locke (29 August 1632 -- 28 October 1704), widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work had a great impact upon the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the American Declaration of Independence.
"Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as Hume, Rousseau, and Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of consciousness. He postulated that the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary to pre-existing Cartesian philosophy, he maintained that we are born without innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense perception."
Pedigree of: Alexander Craighead, 1705/6-1766
Presbyterianism in the United States
Signs of Spiritual Abuse in the Institutionalized Church
Singer, C. Gregg
"So many times people in the pew and the pulpit say, well how did all this get started? How did psychology descend to its present level? . . . How did political science produce our political thought, produce the dictatorships which are engulfing the modern world? Why are we in the economic mess in which we are today? Why is sociology such a jumble of immorality? Why is education as it is today? Why is art so meaningless? . . . Why is modern music an affront to the modern ears as well as to the mind and ear of God? . . . Why are all these things? . . .
"I would suggest to you that if you will follow this course with thought and care, you will finally come to see the answer to the questions which haunt us today in Western society." -- Singer, C. Gregg (1910-1999), in the "Apologetics" series of 24 lectures using FROM RATIONALISM TO IRRATIONALITY: THE DECLINE OF THE WESTERN MIND FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE PRESENT (1979) as the text, and delivered in Decatur, Georgia, beginning November, 1979.
Apologetics: #01: Classical and Medieval Thought #1
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 56 min.
The Departure From the Biblical View in Constitutional Government
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Decline of American Culture
The History of Calvinism
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, The Christian View of History
Apologetics #24: The Recovery of Christian Theism
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 58 min.
Great Moments in Presbyterian History #8: What the Bible has to say About the Nature of Government
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Great Movements in Presbyterian History
Apologetics #06: Irrationalism and Theistic Rationalism #2
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 58 min.
Apologetics #07: Irrationalism and Theistic Rationalism
Dr. C. Gregg Singer, Apologetics, 86 min
Trinitarianism Verses Polytheism: Unresolved Questions of Article VI, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution
Timeline of the liberalization of the Presbyterian Church in Crossed Fingers by Gary North
Unfaithful Reformed Ministries
Unity and Uniformity in the Visible Church: Unity in the Truth
Was The Declaration of Independence Inspired by the Dutch?
Worldcat.org search "su:Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence"
Over 180 citations.
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