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pattonFLFrances Landey Patton [22 February 1843 – 25 November 1932] was certainly coming up in the world! This native of the Bermuda Island had pastored three churches, beginning in 1865, prior to his being installed in 1873 as professor of didactic and polemic theology at the Presbyterian Seminary of the Northwest [later renamed McCormick Theological Seminary]. Then in 1881, installed as professor of systematic theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary. Then, in 1888, he was installed as president of The College of New Jersey, and it was during his tenure that the school was renamed Princeton University, in 1896. He served as president of the school until 1902, when he was succeeded by Woodrow Wilson. Patton then became president of the Princeton Theological Seminary, and served in that capacity from 1902 until his retirement in 1913.

Patton was a thorough proponent of the historic Princeton position, which admitted no novelty in the sacred theology. He opposed modernism and the higher criticism. When in 1906 J. Gresham Machen began as an instructor at the Seminary, Dr. Patton proved to be a great influence on Machen. Later, in 1926, when Machen was nominated to take the chair of apologetics and ethics, Patton wrote in support of Machen’s bid for that position.

The following brief quote comes from Dr. Patton’s address on the occasion of his inauguration, on this day, October 27, 1881, as professor of systematic theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary. With these closing words, Patton presents a clear and summary analysis of the choice confronting the world in the modern era:—

patton_1881_inaugurationThe question of the hour is not whether God is the logical correlative of our consciousness of moral obligation; nor whether happiness or holiness is the end of life; nor whether conscience is intuitive or developed out of a “strong sense of avoidance.” It is not expressed in the utilitarianism of Mill, or the altruism of Spencer. It does not reveal itself in the paradoxes of Sidgwick, or the transcendentalism of Bradley.

It is the question whether there can be any guarantee for the purity of home, or the stability of the social organism under a philosophy that makes man an automaton. And if, as Mr. Frederick Harrison says, the present age is “ the great assize of all religion,” it looks as if the time had come for the trial of the issue. We have had enough of demurrers and continuances, enough of answers and replications, enough of rejoinders and surrejoinders. The time has come when men must face the question of the possibility of morals. They must decide between a metaphysic that leads to an absolute vacuum in knowledge, absolute irresponsibility in morals, absolute mechanism in life, and a metaphysic that will secure the separateness, the sovereignty, the morality, the immortality of the soul.

With the soul assured, the way to God is plain. And if God is a revelation of God may be. With the possibility of a revelation conceded, the proofs are sufficient, And with a proved revelation before us it is easy to understand that in God we live and move and have our being; that the truth of history has been,the unfolding of His purpose; that the order of nature is the movement of His mind; that the work of the philosopher is to rethink his thought; that Christianity is the solution of all problems ; that the blood of Christ removes the blot of sin; that the Church is the flower of humanity; that the incarnation of the Logos is God’s great achievement; that Jesus is the brightness of His Father’s glory, and the express image of His person; that in Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and that by Him all things consist.

Quote Source: Van Dyke, Henry J. and Francis L. Patton, Addresses at the Inauguration of the Rev. Francis L. Patton, D.D., LL.D. at Princeton, N.J., October 27, 1881. 1. The Charge, by Dr. Van Dyke, pp. 5-20; 2. Inaugural Address, by Rev. Francis L. Patton, pp. 21-46.

Words to Live By:
“If God is, then a revelation of God may be.” [The quote above lacks the comma, which I think helps make better sense of the sentence.] If there is a sovereign, personal God, then He may reveal Himself in such a way that we can understand something of who He is and what He demands of us as His creatures. The choice confronting modern man is simple. Either believe in an impersonal universe in which there can be no purpose, a universe in which everything is irrational, OR know that there is a God who is, a God who has purposed, at His own expense, to remove that which divides us from fellowship with Him, a God who has said to all who call upon Him in faith, “I will be your God and you will be My people.”




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A Savior Has Come Among US. His Mercy Is for those who fear him.

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

(Luke 1:26-56, ESV)

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Here We Stand

declarationOfCommitmentThere were four organizations that were formative of the Presbyterian Church in America. They were:
1. The Presbyterian Journal, which began in May of 1942. Founded by a group of conservative Presbyterians, including L. Nelson Bell, the Journal was founded to work against the liberalism infecting the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (aka, Southern Presbyterian Church).
2. The Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, founded by the Rev. William Hill, Jr., conducted revivals in PCUS churches.
3. Concerned Presbyterians, a laymen’s group
4. Presbyterian Churchmen United (PCU), an organization of conservative pastors in the PCUS.

Originally published on October 4, 1969 by the Presbyterian Churchmen United (PCU), the Declaration of Commitment was a clarion call issued to the ministers and people of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS)—a call for recommitment to the Word of God and to the Reformed Faith, signed by over 500 ministers and published in over 30 major newspapers.


To the membership of the Presbyterian Church, US, in light of the questions and concerns being expressed in the Church as to the nature of our faith and order, we, the undersigned ministers declare our conviction:

—That the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ turns men from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. By coming to faith in Him alone is there genuine reconciliation between man and God and man and man.

—That the Holy Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, and that these Scriptures commit the Church to a mission whose primary end is the salvation and nurture of souls.

—That Christian faith must bear fruit if it is to remain virile. These fruits vary from believer to believer. But common to them all are evidences of love, concern and neighborliness, toward all races of men without partiality and without prejudice, especially to the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged. The man of faith views all men as neighbors and himself as debtor, for Christ’s sake.

—That, for the implementation of the above principles, in obedience to our ordination vows, we must strive to preserve a confessional Church, thoroughly Reformed and Presbyterian. Thus, our support of or opposition to any proposed union will be determined by these considerations.

—That, being fully committed by our ordination vows to the system of doctrine set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, we must oppose all efforts to change in substance or otherwise debase our historic doctrinal commitment.

—That we are in the same context by vow committed to historic Presbyterian polity with its representative system and its parity among teaching and ruling elders. Thus, we are forced to oppose any efforts to take our Church into the massive organization envisioned by COCU [i.e., Consultation on Church Union.]

—That, should the basic theology or polity of the Church be altered or diluted, we shall be prepared to take such actions as may be necessary to fulfill the obligation imposed by our ordination vows, to maintain our Presbyterian faith.

Words to Live By:
In this clarion call, over 500 pastors called for the Church to remain true to the Reformed Faith, to remain a confessional and Presbyterian church, in doctrine and in polity. They staked out a position with this document, standing against a proposed ecumenical merger which would have taken their denomination into liberal and unbelieving waters. And they made it clear that they would not be party to such a merger but would honor their ordination vows.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” – (2 Thess. 2:15)

“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” – (2 Timothy 1:13)

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) – Hebrews 10:23)

Image source: News clipping from the Paul G. Settle Manuscript Collection, Box 256, file 27, at the PCA Historical Center. Date [circa 1969] and source of the clipping not known.

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beattiefrancisrobertOne of the Last Great Southern Presbyterians was a Canadian!

Francis Robert Beattie was born near Guelph, Ontario, Canada on 31 March 1848.  His father was Robert Beattie and his mother, Janette McKinley Beattie.  Francis attended the University of Toronto, graduating there with the BA degree in 1875 and the MA in 1876.  He next attended Knox College in Toronto, in 1878.   That same year he was licensed and ordained, on 11 November 1878 by Peterboro Presbytery (Presbyterian Church of Canada), being then installed as the pastor of the Balto and Cold Springs churches in Canada.  He served this group from 1878 to 1882.  During this pastorate, he married Jean G. Galbraith of Toronto in 1879.  She later died in 1897.  Rev. Beattie resigned his first pulpit to become the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Brantford, Canada.  Rev. Beattie also remarried, though that date of the marriage is not provided in the record.  His second wife was Lillie R. Satterwhite, and she survived her husband, passing into glory on 20 August 1940).

Rev. Beattie only served the Brantford church from 1882-1883, apparently leaving that pulpit to take up doctoral work.  He attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois and successfully completed his dissertation in 1884.  There is no mention in the record as to how he was employed during the period from 1885 through 1887, but in 1888 he transferred his credentials to the Presbyterian Church in US, taking a post as professor of Apologetics at the Columbia Theological Seminary.  He held this position from 1888 until 1893.  In 1893, he became one of the founding professors, along with T.D. Witherspoon and others, at the newly formed Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (KY), serving as Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics from 1893 until his death in 1906.  During these final years of his life he also worked as an associate editor of The Christian Observer.  He died in Louisville, Kentucky on  September 3, 1906 and is buried in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, in Section D, Lot 26, along with his wife and one Thomas Satterwhite Beattie.  Thomas may have been a son born to that marriage, though this is unclear at this time.  Thomas died on May 27, 1904.

Honors afforded Rev. Beattie during his lifetime include the Doctor of Divinity degree, awarded by the Presbyterian College of South Carolina in 1887 and the LL.D. degree, awarded by Central University of Kentucky.  Dr. Beattie served on the PCUS Assembly’s Editing Committee for the 250th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly and wrote the introduction to the volume produced in celebration of that occasion.

A Bibliography for the Rev. Francis R. Beattie—
An examination of the utilitarian theory of morals (Brantford : J. & J. Sutherland, 1885), 222pp.

The methods of theism, an essay (Brantford, Ont. : Watt & Shenston, 1887), 138pp.; 23cm.

The higher criticism, or, Modern critical theories as to the origin and contents of the literature and religion found in the Holy Scriptures, being a paper read before the Brantford Ministerial Alliance (Toronto : W. Briggs, 1888), 56pp.

Linscott, T.S., E.C.B. Hallam, Francis R. Beattie and R.W. Woodsworth, The path of wealth, or, Light from my forge : a discussion of God’s money laws, the relation between giving and getting, cash and Christianity

(Brantford, Ont. : St. John, N.B. : Bradley, Garretson, 1888), 431pp.; illus.; ports.;

Christian Apologetics, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 4.3 (July 1890) 337-369.

“General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 7.4 (October 1893) 607-611.

“The Toronto Council of the Alliance of the Reformed Churches Holding the Presbyterian System, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 7.1 (January 1893) 108-120.

Radical criticism. An exposition and examination of the radical critical theory concerning the literature and religious system of the Old Testament Scriptures (New York, F.H. Revell, 1894), 323pp.; 21cm.  With an introduction by W. W. Moore.

“Primeval Man, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 9.3 (July 1895) 351-371.

The second advent of Christ (Louisville, Ky. : Converse & Co., 1895), 30pp.; 20cm.

The Presbyterian Standards : An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms (Richmond, Va. : Presbyterian Committee of Publication,1896), 431pp.; 22cm.

Otts, J.M.P. and Francis R. Beattie, Christ and the Cherubim, or, The Ark of the Covenant a type of Christ our Saviour (Richmond, Va. : Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1896), 63pp.; 19cm.

“Introduction,” to Memorial Volume of the Westminster Assembly, 1647-1897 (Richmond, VA : The Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1897), pp. vii-xxxviii.

Excerpt from Rev. Beattie’s introduction to the above volume, pp. xxvi-xxvii:
In Geneva, in Holland, and in Scotland, the Reformation was perhaps made more thorough than in any other land, and it was from these centers that certain influences were brought to bear upon the Reform movement in England for many years prior to the Westminster Assembly. As is well known, there was in Elizabeth’s day a strong party in England who wished for a more complete reform in religion than the Episcopacy of that time represented. This party, in her day, and afterwards, in the time of James I and Charles I, was in constant communication with the thorough-going Reformers in Scotland and on the continent. This indicates the connection of the Westminster Assembly in England with the true Reform life of Scotland and the continent. This is also clearly shown from the ordinance of Parliament calling the Assembly, wherein it is stated that the Assembly shall seek to bring the church in England into “nearer agreement with the Church of Scotland and the other Reformed Churches abroad.” Thus it came to pass that this memorable Assembly, whose splendid story is so grandly told in the addresses which make up this volume, gathered up into itself the varied yet kindred streams that flowed from the pure springs which rose among the hills of Scotland, the mountains of Switzerland, and the plains of Holland; and then, in turn, this Assembly, with its venerable symbols, has, in the providence of God, ever since been the unfailing reservoir from which has flowed numberless pure and life-giving streams into lands far and near, to make glad the city of God even to the ends of the earth. That we have one stream from that reservoir still pure, ever purified, flowing through our beloved Zion, should evoke our grateful praise and provoke our earnest zeal to open up other channels, that this stream may refresh the waste places of the earth.

“Genesis of the Westminster Assembly, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 13.2 (April 1899) 189-205.

“Some Salient Features of Presbyterian Doctrine, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 13.4 (October 1899) 653-684.

Calvinism and Modern Thought (Philadelphia : Westminster, 1901), 48pp.; 18cm.

“The Inauguration of Dr. Briggs, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 5.2 (April 1891) 270-283.

“The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 16.1 (July 1902) 30-44.

Apologetics; or, The rational vindication of Christianity (Richmond, Va. : The Presbyterian committee of publication, 1903), v.; 24cm.

Apologetics, or, The rational vindication of Christianity, in three volumes. Volume I. Fundamental apologetics (Richmond, Va. : Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1903), 605pp.; 24cm.

“The Place and Use of the Bible in the Public Schools of the United States, The Presbyterian Quarterly, 17.4 (April 1904) 512-537.

Beattie, Francis R., John McNaugher and William H. Black, Report of a special committee on the Bible in the public schools of the United States of America (Philadelphia : The Alliance, 1888-1914), 16pp.; 23cm.  One copy located at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

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