The Resolution of the 1881 PCUS General Assembly Regarding Dr. Plumer

“Whereas, it pleased the Great Head of the Church to remove, in October 1880, from the scene of his earthly labors, that he might be with Him where He is, and behold His glory, Rev. W. S. Plumer, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Pastoral and Casuistic Theology in Columbia Seminary, by appointment of this body:

Resolved, That this Assembly does now record its testimony to the personal worth, eminent piety, unremitting industry and zeal, and official fidelity of this distinguished servant of Christ. Our deceased brother was a rare gift of the ascended Redeemer to his militant Church, and we render to Him thanks for that grace which qualified our brother for his varied and abundant labors—for his long and useful life, and for the testimony of his lips, life and death to the truth, preciousness and power of that gospel which was his comfort, joy and trust, living and dying.”


William Plumer on Humility in Theological Studies

“It therefore becomes a matter of great practical importance how we shall treat the mysteries of the religion we profess to embrace. The errors on this subject are two. Some give up all that is mysterious as untrue, or at least doubtful. Others pretend to explain every thing so as to make it comprehensible. The former go in the open road to infidelity. The latter travel the parallel road of rationalism. If God teaches a truth either by nature or revelation, we err, just so far as we hesitate to receive it. There is hardly any better test of humility of mind than our treatment of inscrutable things in religion. Pride of intellect is very turbulent & delights in the persuasion that it is as God knowing all things. He, whose reason is never surpassed, whose reasonings are never confounded, whose philosophy is never nonplussed, is a poor self-conceited creature, who will in the end be found to possess only the folly of fools. Let every man love whatever his Creator teaches. If he cannot measure the azure vault above him, he may still perceive that it is there. If Jehovah hides himself, he is still Jehovah. If salvation is wonderful, God so revealed it from the first. Therefore, beware lest you come boasting rather than praying, lest you use great swelling words of vanity, rather than the fitting petition, ‘Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.’ Ps. 119:18.”

William Swan Plumer’s Pastoral Address to His Church in the Midst of a Cholera Outbreak in 1832

The nineteenth century saw several waves of epidemic sicknesses sweep through the cities of the United States (and Europe). Cholera was particularly deadly; according to this article, the 1832 cholera epidemic in New York City left 3,515 dead out of a population of 250,000 – the parallel number with today’s New York City population would be over 100,000 dead.

William Swan Plumer was pastoring in Petersburg, Virginia, when cholera swept through the region. In response, he wrote this exhortation to his people, and to those who did not belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. The eight remarks to Christians and the four to non-Christians are not only historically interesting, they are spiritual treasures for all who are suffering from any sickness – and for those who in God’s providence may be called to speak to God’s people in times of outbreaks of disease.  May the Lord use their truths and admonitions even today in the lives of those who read them.

The Succession of Moderators of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (the Southern Presbyterian Church), 1861-1941

This list is taken from E. C. Scott’s Ministerial Directory of the PCUS, 1861-1941.

      Succession of Moderators, Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1861-1941
Year                                  Name Presbytery Place of Assembly
1861 Rev. Benjamin M.  Palmer, D. D., LL. D. New Orleans Augusta
1862 Rev. J. L. Kirkpatrick, D. D. Concord Montgomery
1863 Rev. James A. Lyon, D. D. Tombeckbee Columbia
1864 Rev. John S. Wilson, D. D. Flint River Charlotte
1865 Rev. George Howe, D. D., LL. D. Charleston Macon
1866 Rev. Andrew Hart Kerr, D. D. Memphis Memphis
1867 Rev. Thomas Vernor Moore, D. D. East Hanover Nashville
1868 Rev. John N. Waddel, D. D., LL. D. Chickasaw Baltimore
1869 Rev. Stuart Robinson, D. D. Louisville Mobile
1870 Rev. Robert L. Dabney, D. D., LL. D. West Hanover Louisville
1871 Rev. William Swan Plumer, D. D., LL. D. Harmony Huntsville
1872 Rev. Thomas R. Welch, D. D. Arkansas Richmond
1873 Rev. Henry Martyn Smith, D. D. New Orleans Little Rock
1874 Rev. John Lafeyette Girardeau, D. D., LL. D. Charleston Columbus, MS
1875 Rev. Moses Drury Hoge, D. D., LL. D. East Hanover St. Louis
1876 Rev. Benjamin M. Smith, D. D., LL. D. West Hanover Savannah
1877 Rev. C. A. Stillman, D. D. Tuscaloosa New Orleans
1878 Rev. Thomas Ephraim Peck, D. D., LL. D. Roanoke Knoxville
1879 Rev. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, D. D. Wilmington Louisville
1880 Rev. T. A. Hoyt, D. D. Nashville Charleston, SC
1881 Rev. Robert P. Farris, D. D. St. Louis Staunton
1882 Rev. R. K. Smoot, D. D., LL. D. Central Texas Atlanta
1883 Rev. T. Pryor, D. D. East Hanover Lexington, KY
1884 Rev. T. Dwight Witherspoon, D. D., LL. D. Louisville Vicksburg
1885 Rev. H. R. Raymond, D. D. Tuscaloosa Houston
1886 Rev. J. H. Bryson, D. D. North Alabama Augusta
1887 Rev. G. B. Strickler, D. D., LL. D. Atlanta St. Louis
1888 Rev. J. J. Bullock, D. D. Maryland Baltimore
1889 Rev. H. G. Hill, D. D. Fayetteville Chattanooga
1890 Rev. James Park, D. D. Knoxville Asheville
1891 Rev. Hampden C. DuBose, D. D. Pee Dee Birmingham
1892 Rev. Samuel A. King, D. D. Central Texas Hot Springs, AR
1893 Hon. J. W. Lapsley North Alabama Macon
1894 Rev. James R. Graham, D. D. Winchester Nashville
1895 Rev. C. R. Hemphill, D. D., LL. D. Louisville Dallas
1896 Rev. R. Q. Mallard, D. D. New Orleans Memphis
1897 Rev. George. T. Goetchius, D. D. Cherokee Charlotte
1898 Rev. E. M. Green, D. D. Transylvania New Orleans
1899 Rev. John F. Cannon, D. D. St. Louis Richmond
1900 Hon. Joseph W. Martin, LL. D. Arkansas Atlanta
1901 Rev. Neander M. Woods, D. D., LL. D. Memphis Little Rock
1902 Rev. William T. Hall, D. D., LL. D. Bethel Jackson, MS
1903 Rev. Abner C. Hopkins, D. D. Winchester Lexington, VA
1904 Rev. S. M. Neel, D. D. Upper Missouri Mobile
1905 Rev. J. T. Plunket, D. D. Augusta Fort Worth
1906 Hon. Allen G. Hall, LL. D. Nashville Greenville, SC
1907 Rev. J. R. Howerton, D. D., LL. D. Asheville Birmingham
1908 Rev. W. W. Moore, D. D., LL. D. West Hanover Greensboro
1909 Rev. William E. Boogs, D. D., LL. D. Suwannee Savannah
1910 Rev. J. W. Bachman, D. D. Knoxville Lewisburg, WV
1911 Rev. Russell Cecil, D. D. East Hanover Louisville
1912 Rev. Thomas S. Clyce, D. D., LL. D. Dallas Bristol
1913 Rev. J. S. Lyons, D. D., LL. D. Louisville Atlanta
1914 Hon. William J. Martin, LL. D. Concord Kansas City
1915 Rev. W. McF. Alexander, D. D., LL. D. New Orleans Newport News
1916 Rev. C. W. Grafton, D. D. Mississippi Orlando
1917 Rev. Jno. M. Wells, D. D., Ph. D., LL. D. Wilmington Birmingham
1918 Rev. Jas. I. Vance, D. D., LL. D. Nashville Durant
1919 Rev. A. M. Fraser, D. D., LL. D. Lexington New Orleans
1920 Rev. W. L. Lingle, D. D., LL. D. Concord Charlotte
1921 Rev. A. B. Curry, D. D. Memphis St. Louis
1922 Rev. R. C. Reed, D. D., LL. D. Atlanta Charleston, WV
1923 Rev. Alexander Sprunt, D. D. Charleston Montreat, NC
1924 Rev. Thornton Whaling, D. D., LL. D. North Alabama San Antonio
1925 Rev. George Summey, D. D., LL. D. New Orleans Lexington, KY
1926 Rev. J. W. Skinner, D. D. Western Texas Pensacola, FL
1927 Rev. R. F. Campbell, D. D. Asheville El Dorado, AR
1928 Rev. Harris E. Kirk, D. D., LL. D. Potomac Atlanta
1929 Rev. W. R. Dobyns, D. D., LL. D. Birmingham Montreat, NC
1930 Rev. Thomas W. Currie, D. D. Central Texas Charlottesville, VA
1931 Hon. R. A. Dunn, LL. D. Mecklenburg Montreat, NC
1932 Rev. William Crowe, D. D. St. Louis Montreat, NC
1933 Rev. Ernest Thompson, D. D. Kanawha Montreat, NC
1934 Judge Samuel Hale Sibley, LL. D. Cherokee Montreat, NC
1935 Rev. Henry H. Sweets, D. D., LL. D. Louisville Montreat, NC
1936 Rev. P. Frank Price, D. D. Montgomery Augusta
1937 Rev. D. Clay Lilly, D. D. Winston-Salem Montreat, NC
1938 Hon. Willias M. Everett, LL. D. Atlanta Meridian, MS
1939 Rev. Edward Mack, Ph. D., D. D., LL. D. East Hanover Montreat, NC
1940 Rev. Frank C. Brown, D. D. Dallas Chattanooga
1941 Rev. Chas. E. Diehl, D. D., LL. D. Nashville Montreat, NC

Twelve Rules, for Promoting Harmony Among Church Members

1. To remember that we are all subject to failings and infirmities, of one kind of another. (Matt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:21-23)

2. To bear with and not magnify each other’s infirmities. (Gal. 6:1)

3. To pray one for another in our social meetings, and particularly in private. (James 5:16)

4. To avoid going from house to house, for the purpose of hearing news, and interfering with other people’s business. (Lev. 19:16)

5. Always to turn a deaf ear to any slanderous report, and to lay no charge brought against any person until well founded. (Prov. 25:23)

6. If a member be in fault to tell him of it in private, before it is mentioned to others. (Matt. 18:15)

7. To watch against shyness of each other, and put the best construction on any action that has the appearance of opposition or resentment. (Prov. 10:12)

8. To observe the just rule of Solomon, that is, to leave off contention before it be meddled with. (Prov. 17:14)

9. If a member has offended, to consider how glorious, how God-like it is to forgive, and how unlike a Christian it is to revenge. (Eph. 4:2)

10. To remember that it is always a grand artifice of the of the Devil, to promote distance and animosity among members of Churches, and we should, therefore, watch against everything that furthers his end. (James 3:16)

11. To consider how much more good we can do in the world at large, and in the Church in particular, when we are all united in love, than we could do when acting alone, and indulging a contrary spirit. (John 13:35).

12. Lastly, to consider the express injunction of Scripture, and the beautiful example of Christ, as to these important things. (Eph. 4:32; I Pet. 2:21; John 13:5, 35)

Apostolic Benedictions and the Trinity

“It is impossible to give a satisfactory explanation to even the forms of apostolic salutation without admitting that there is more than one person in the Godhead. The form of baptism given in the Gospel, and the form of benediction in II Cor. 13:14, determine the number of persons in the Godhead to be three; but Romans 1:7 as clearly determines that there is more than one person, from whom grace and mercy may be sought by prayer and supplication for ourselves and our friends.”

Manners and Piety

“The best manners flow from pious affections. ‘True politeness is genuine kindness, kindly expressed.’ Even in saluting people that he never saw, Paul uses endearing terms, and sends to them the best wishes respecting both their souls and bodies. Dutch Annotations: ‘By the word grace is understood the original or fountain of all God’s benefits towards us, and by the word peace, the fruits and sense thereof.’ It is much to be lamented that some good people, who really feel kindly, seem to have so strange an aversion to any proper expression of the real state of their hearts. Beyond cold civility, you get little or nothing from them. Such follow neither apostolic example, nor apostolic precept.”

The Love of God and the Hatred of Man

“It far more than compensates the saints for all the ill will and ill treatment they receive from men that they are beloved of God, Romans 1:7. God loved them with compassion and good will even when they were his enemies by wicked works. ‘It is the greatest love that God can show to men, being everlasting love, which originates with himself.’ It is because God thus loves his people that he brings them to a saving knowledge of himself. Jeremiah 31:3.”