March 10 : George McNish

One of the Seven Original Presbyterians

We don’t know much about the early years of George McNish.  He attended the University of Glasgow.  The fact that he was able to get in free, indicated that he was a Scotchman, but beyond that, we don’t know anything else about his background in the mother country.

What we do know is that the father of American Presbyterianism, the Rev. Francis McKemie, went back to the British Isles for needed spiritual reinforcements to take advantages of the open door for effective service in the American colonies.  George McNish was one of the ones he found, who was willing to travel to America.  Helping him in that was the Presbytery of London, who promised two years support for their labors.  The year was 1705.

In the very next year, seven Presbyterian clergymen, with one of them being George McNish, organized the first American Presbytery, the Presbytery of Philadelphia.  At the time, McNish was not representing any church, but that was to change.  In that same year of 1706, he became the pastor of Wicomico Presbyterian Church, Salisbury, Maryland.  Four  years later, the new Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1710 honored him by electing him as Moderator.  It was in relation to the spiritual gift of administration that he was known by in that early Presbyterian Church.  He would serve again as Moderator in 1716.

In 1711, he became the pastor of the Jamaica Presbyterian Church. Long Island, New York.  Descriptions of McNish use words as “forceful” and ” possessing Scottish energy and resourcefulness” regarding his pastorate on the island.   Evidently, the Anglican church desired some land on which to build a church.  He accused them of being “Episcopal pirates in Jamaica.”   McNish would pastor the church there until his death on March 10, 1722 and be known as the father of New York Presbyterianism.

Also on this date: Dr. J. Gresham Machen preached for the last time in the chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary. His sermon, on the texts of Phil. 4:7 and I Tim. 6:12, was titled “Fight the Good Fight of Faith.”

Words to Live By:Go, make disciples, and teach are the commands of the Great Commission in Matthew 28. George McNish took those commands literally in coming to our shores so long ago.  We need to honor the memory of this early missionary.

Through the Scriptures: Deuteronomy 32 – 34

Through the Standards: The Redeemer of God’s Elect is God and Man in One Person, According to the Catechisms:

WLC 37 — “How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.”

WLC 38  “Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A.  It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death, give worth and efficacy to  his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.”

WLC 39 “Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.”

WLC 40 “Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us as the works of the whole person.”

WSC 22 “How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.”

Remembering Our Fathers and Brothers:
On this day in 1999, the Rev. Vincent Crossett passed away.

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