REFORMED (DUTCH) CHURCH.
I. In the NetherIands: (§ 1). Events Prior to the Synod of Emden. The establishment of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands was gradually brought about despite every effort of the Roman Catholic Church to prevent it. Though for a time it seemed that sacramentarians and Anabaptists were destined to gain control, before long Reformed tenets made headway, and the triumph of Calvinism was assured. This was the condition of affairs as early as 1567, when the duke of Alva was sent to the Netherlands for the extirpation of heresy. The stern measures adopted by him rendered even secret assemblies of the Protestants full of peril, and the exodus of adherents of the new doctrines rapidly increased. England and France afforded harbors to the refugees, but their chief centers were the important cities of Emden, Wesel, Cologne, Aachen, Frankenthal, and Frankfort. The need of organization was strongly felt, and in 1571 the foundation was laid for a definite ecclesiastical system by the synod held at Emden, which marks the beginning of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands. But before this, by the creation of consistories there had been expressed the conviction that the members of each local body formed an organic whole, and provincial synods were established to bring the churches in different localities into closer union. This was perceived to be inadequate, and there developed a desire for more definite organization and for a formal statement of the unity in doctrine already prevailing. On Nov. 3, 1568, about forty preachers and elders met at Wesel, apparently under the presidency of Petrus Dathenus, to draw up a tentative church order. This informal assembly, to receive official recognition, must necessarily be followed by a synod of duly qualified delegates of the various congregations, empowered to draft rules and regulations binding on the entire Dutch Reformed body. In the actual realization of this synod-that held at Emden-the leader was Marnix van St. Aldegonde (q.v.). Deeply impressed with the need of a general synod, he had devoted the period of his captivity in Germany (beginning with 1567) to the realization of his ideal. With this end in view, he seems to have written the open letter which, in 1570, was widely distributed, in the name of the congregations at Heidelberg and Frankenthal. The chief ideas advanced by Marnix in this letter were discussed at the Synod of Emden and became the bases of specific resolutions. In this letter Marnix invited the congregations to whom he wrote to delegate men to a conference to be held at Frankfort in Sept., 1570, which led up to the Synod of Emden, though a provisional synod was first held at Bedbur on July 4-5, 1571, attended by delegates from Germany and Brabant as well as from Jülich. Here the definitive synod was resolved upon, and Gerard van Kuilenburg and Willem van Zuylen van Nijevelt were empowered to confer with the congregation at Emden, and after first securing the approval of the congregations at Wesel and Cleves, they also won the sanction of the Emden Reformed. The result was that the two delegates named, together with four others, were entrusted with the preparations for the general synod.
(§ 2). The Synod of Emden. The committee thus formed chose Emden as the place and Oct. 1, 1571, as the date on which to convene. The only opposition to the synod came, curiously enough, from Holland. The grounds for these objections are unknown, but they appear to have been regarded as trivial. The Walloon and Flemish congregations at Cologne, on the other hand, appealed to the prince of Orange to induce the Dutch Reformed to send delegates to the synod; and the synod was attended by a number of Reformed pastors from Holland. Thus the first general synod of the Dutch Reformed Church was held at Emden on Oct 4-13, 1571. The president was Gaspar van der Heyden, preacher at Frankenthal; the vice-president, Jean Taffin, pastor of the Walloon congregation at Heidelberg; and the secretary, Joannes Polyander, pastor of the Walloon congregation at Emden. The attendance was twenty-nine, five of whom were elders. This synod laid the foundations of the Dutch Reformed Church. The delegates were fully aware that they had been called to prepare binding regulations, and that they were the authorized representatives of their church. Besides adopting three of the Wesel articles (the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first of the Emden articles), the synod utilized the French church order of 1559, the two often corresponding word for word. On the other hand, the Emden acts can not be considered a mere amplification of the French church order. The acts of this synod are distinctly Calvinistic, and the organization which they propose is presbyterial and synodal. The sole bond of union between churches is consensus in doctrine; fellowship is desired with the churches of other lands, provided they are Reformed in doctrine. The standards adopted were the Belgic Confession and the French; the Geneva Catechism was to be used in French congregations, and the Heidelberg Catechism in the Dutch, though churches employing any other corresponding catechism might retain it. The administration was to be conducted by consistories, classes, synods, and national synods. Of these, only the consistories were to be permanent, the members of the other bodies being chosen for each assembly. Each church or congregation was to have a consistory, consisting of preachers, elders, and deacons, and the consistory was to meet at least weekly. Every three or six months a classis "of several neighboring churches" was to meet; and synods were to be held annually of the congregations in Germany and East Frisia, of the English congregations, and of the Dutch congregations. About every two years a national synod "of all the Belgic churches together" was to be held. Each congregation, while independent, formed part of an organic whole, being subject successively to the classis, the synod, and the general synod, in each of which it was represented by delegates chosen either directly or indirectly. The synod arranged for classes in the various countries and prepared a number of regulations governing the internal administration of the Reformed congregations, as on the calling of pastors, the choice of elders and deacons, and the length of their terms, baptism, the Lord's Supper, marriage, discipline, and the like.
(§ 3). Results of Expulsion of the Spanish. The next synod was to meet in the spring of 1572 in case the congregations in England should be willing and able to send deputies, otherwise it was to be postponed to the spring of the year following; and the Palatinate classis was authorized to convene it. It was, however, never held, for, though the congregations in England approved, at least in general, the decisions of the Synod of Emden, and though they desired to form classes and send delegates, they could not obtain the requisite consent of the English government. Nevertheless, deputies from England were present at the national synods of Dort (1578) and Middelburg (1581), and a conference was held at London on Aug. 28, 1599. The acts of the Emden Synod were adopted, so far as practicable, by the congregations in the Palatinate, Emden, Jülich, and Berg, and by the classes of Cologne and Wesel. Gradually, however, these congregations lost their Dutch character, and their bond with the Dutch Reformed Church was dissolved. Within six months after this synod, determined resistance to Spain had begun, and the expulsion of the Spanish from city after city was followed by a corresponding increase in the number of Dutch Reformed churches. On July 15, 1572, the States General convened at Dort, and Marnix, as the representative of the prince of Orange, demanded equal rights for Roman Catholics and Reformed, provided the former abstained from all acts of disloyalty. In the following year, however, public worship was denied the Roman Catholics, the prince of Orange went over to the Reformed faith and Alva retired from the Netherlands. This unexpected change of conditions was most happy for the Reformed, especially as its organization was ready to hand. In Aug., 1572, the first synod of North Holland convened and passed a number of resolutions concerning the admission of ex-priests to the Reformed ministry, infant baptism, marriage, and funeral sermons. Of the next synod, at Hoorn, nothing is known. The third synod, held at Alkmaar in Mar., 1573, determined that subscription to the Belgic Confession should be required, and that the Heidelberg Catechism should be taught and preached. It likewise began the partition of North Holland into classes. In June, 1574, a provincial synod was held at Dort with Gaspar van der Heyden, pastor at Middelburg, as presiding officer. This synod, which was practically national, was convened by the three provinces which had expelled the Spaniards, South Holland, North Holland, and Zealand. The rulings of the Synod of Emden were, in general, approved, though it was determined that henceforth subscription should be made only to the Belgic Confession, and that the Heidelberg Catechism alone should be used and taught. No national synod was held until 1578. Meanwhile, the peace of Ghent, in 1576, had been distinctly favorable to the extension of Reformed tenets in the south of Holland, and even outside the Netherlands, in Brabant, Gelderland, Utrecht, Overyssel, and Frisia, the Reformed held open or secret services, often with the connivance or approval of the authorities. New congregations arose everywhere, and the first national synod on Dutch soil was held at Dort, June 2-18, 1578. Petrus Dathenus (q.v.) was the presiding officer, Dutch and Walloon churches were represented, and delegates were present from the classes of Holland, Zealand, East and West Flanders, the Palatinate, Cleves, England, and apparently from Gelderland. The classis of Cologne, on the other hand, refused to send deputies, holding the synod to be a private gathering. The conclusions previously reached at Emden and Dort were made the basis of a church organization harmonizing in all essentials with that of Emden. Professors of theology were required to subscribe to the Belgic Confession; the Walloon congregations, like those of Wesel and Emden, were permitted to use the Geneva Catechism, but the Dutch congregations were restricted to the Heidelberg Catechism, though the Corte ondersoeck des gheloofs was also permitted. Finally, a division of all Netherlandish provinces into distinct synods was proposed.
(§ 4). Struggles Between Reformed and Roman Catholics. The peace of Ghent, though intended to promote peace between Roman Catholics and Reformed, had contented neither; and the proposed religious peace set forth by the prince of Orange on July 22, 1578, in the name of the States General, granting liberty of conscience and a limited degree of religious freedom, had no better result. In consequence there arose a separation between southern Netherlands, where the ancient faith steadily regained ground, and northern, where Reformed tenets were spreading constantly. In Mar., 1578, John of Nassau, a decided Calvinist and brother of the prince of Orange, became stattholder of Gelderland, where the Reformed at once were predominant. Though the majority of the population were still faithful to their ancient Church, the Reformed tenets were gradually firmly planted, especially by the Arnheim preacher Johannes Fontanus (q.v.), and in Aug., 1579, the first synod was held at Arnheim, where the results of the national Synod at Dort in 1578 were supported. Roman Catholic worship was forbidden in Gelderland in 1582. Overyssel had accepted the religious peace, and by 1579 had the three classes of Zwolle, Kampen, and Deventer, the first synod of the province being held at Deventer in Feb., 1580. The peace of Ghent was accepted by Frisia in Mar., 1577, Reformed refugees poured back, and in 1580 Roman Catholic worship was forbidden, while the property of the ancient church was turned over to support Reformed preachers and teachers, and in May, 1580, the first Frisian synod convened at Sneek. In southern Netherlands, on the other hand, the Reformed cause made no progress, and on Jan. 6, 1579, the Union of Atrecht (a secret alliance between Atrecht, Henegouwen, and Douay) was formed to defend the Roman Catholic Church and the authority of the king. This was opposed by the Union of Utrecht, formed on Jan. 23, 1579, between Gelderland, Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and Groningen. It was the work of Jan of Nassau, who led the prince of Orange to abandon his policy of reconciling the Roman Catholics and the Reformed. While ostensibly permitting each province to make its own regulations concerning religion, the practical results were, as might have been expected, prejudicial to the Roman Catholic, cause. On July 26, 1581, the States General renounced allegiance to the king of Spain. It took considerable time, however, for the religious situation to become settled in all provinces. Thus, in Utrecht political and ecclesiastical conditions combined to prevent organization, nor was it until 1618 that affairs decisively changed. After the great Synod of Dort (1618-19), however, the church order there established became authoritative for all the churches of the province. In Groningen no Reformed organization could be effected until the city had been retaken from the Spaniards by Prince Maurice in 1594; but on Feb. 27, 1595, a church order was promulgated which remained in force until 1816. The first Synod of Groningen was held July 14-17, 1595. The taking of Groningen had also wrested Drenthe from the Spaniards, and, as stattholder, Count William Louis of Nassau organized the Reformed Church there, so that on Aug. 12, 1598, the first classis convened at Rolde.
(§ 5). Final Organization. Meanwhile, there had been no cessation of national synods. At the one held at Middelburg in 1581, a Corpus disciplin was drawn up, based on the articles of the Dort Synod of 1578. At the national synod held at The Hague in 1586 a church order was drawn up which, though little different from the one formulated at Middelburg, made concessions to the desire of the civil authorities to share in ecclesiastical administration. Holland, Zealand, Gelderland, and Overyssel accepted the church order. The church orders of the other Netherlandish provinces were in harmony, except for minor details, with that formulated by the Synod of The Hague. This latter synod had done all in its power to unite all the Reformed churches of the Netherlands into an organic whole; and its church order, essentially the same as that of Emden, remained the basis for the organization and administration of the Dutch Reformed Church. Thus was the Reformed Church founded in the Netherlands. Its doctrinal standards were the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism; it possessed an admirable system of organization; it was divided into classes and synods which met regularly and carefully guarded its interests; its consistories contributed more and more to orderly conditions of the congregations; and while at first there was a dearth of preachers, this was remedied by the universities of Leyden (1575), Franeker (1585), and Groningen (1614). It enjoyed the protection and the financial support of the State, even though entire harmony in administration and doctrine did not prevail. Its Calvinistic character was assailed by the Remonstrants (q.v.), but by their condemnation and expulsion by the national Synod of Dort in 1618-19 its true nature was vindicated, and the unity begun at Emden and completed at The Hague was powerfully strengthened. For statistics and present status see HOLLAND (S. D. VAN VEEN.)
II. In America: 1. The Background: The Reformed Church in America, known until 1867 as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, is a body of Christians in the United States composed originally of settlers from the Netherlands, but now greatly intermixed with elements from other sources. In the Netherlands the Reformation met with a hearty welcome. Entering first from Germany, it subsequently received its great impulse from Switzerland and France, whence its distinct type of Reformed doctrine, and its more democratic Presbyterian polity. In the Netherlands, as elsewhere, there had been a great preparation made by Reformers before the Reformation. Reference can be made only to Geert Groote (q.v.) and his Brotherhood of the Common Life (see COMMON LIFE, BRETHREN OF THE). They studied the Bible and preached and prayed in the vernacular. The Bible was translated into Dutch as early as 1477 (copies of this old version are in the Lenox Library and the library of the Collegiate Church, New York). The monks, John Esch and Henry Voes, for their Evangelical preaching were burned at Brussels as early as 1523, and were, perhaps, the first martyrs of the Reformation. The Reformed Church of the Netherlands began its more formal existence in 1566, when the so-called "League of Beggars" was formed. Field preaching and the singing of evangelical hymns rapidly spread the Reformed doctrine. During the next two decades were held the conventions or synods which formulated a liturgy and rules of church government (see I., above).
2. First Period, 1628-64: The Dutch first came to America for purposes of trade. The West India Company was chartered in 1621, and settled many thousands of Dutch and Walloons in New York and New Jersey. After religious services had been conducted for five years, 1623-28, by Krol, a comforter of the sick (Van Rensselaer-Bowier MSS., page 302), the First Church of New Amsterdam was organized by Domine Jonas Michaelius in 1628, who was its pastor for not less than four years. This is now the strong and wealthy organization known as the Collegiate Church of New York City, with its half-score of churches or chapels and fourteen ministers. The West India Company formally established the Church of Holland in New Netherland and maintained the ministers, schoolmasters, and comforters of the sick. Calls upon ministers were not valid unless endorsed by the company. In 1624 the Synod of North Holland decreed that any classis, within whose bounds either of the two great commercial companies had their chambers or offices, might take charge of all ecclesiastical interests in such colonies as were under the care of that office (Ecclesiastical Records of New York, i. 38). Thus the classis of Amsterdam came to have charge of the churches in New Netherland. During the government of the West India Company, or until the English conquest in 1664, fourteen churches had been established, chiefly along the Hudson and on Long Island, but including one in Delaware, and one at St. Thomas, in the West Indies (Corwin, Manual, p. 1073, ed. of 1902); and sixteen ministers had been commissioned for these fields. There were seven Dutch ministers in service at the time of the surrender of the Dutch colonies to the British in 1664 (Corwin, Manual, p. 1045).
3. Second Period, 1664-1708: (§ 1). Results of English Conquest. During this period occurred the struggle of the church to maintain her ecclesiastical independence under English rule. At the conquest there were about 10,000 Hollanders in the colony, but Dutch immigration then practically ceased. The relation of the Dutch churches to the Classis of Amsterdam was somewhat modified by the change of political sovereignty and the destruction of their relation to the West India Company. It was a question whether these churches could survive under such circumstances. Although helped to a trifling extent at first, they were soon thrown for support on their own resources. The Dutch had, indeed, secured at the surrender liberty to worship according to their own customs and usages. But, while still under the ecclesiastical care of the Classis of Amsterdam, they were now subjects of the British empire, yet they did not legally come under the class of English dissenters. During the first decade under English rule, the English population being yet very small, there was not much opportunity for friction with the English governors. But after the revolt of the Dutch in 1673, and their re-surrender to the English by treaty of the Netherlands government in 1674, although it was stipulated that the former freedom of worship and discipline was to be maintained (Eccl. Records of New York, i. 662-663, 669-672), preliminary but unsuccessful efforts began to be made to impose the Church of England upon the Dutch colony. For in 1675 Governor Andros attempted to force the Rev. Nicholas Van Rensselaer (son of the first Dutch patroon of that name, one who had been, indeed licensed to preach by the Classis of Amsterdam, buthad been ordained as a minister of the Church of England, and who was therefore a Dutch Episcopalian) upon the Dutch church of Albany, and also to allow him to intrude his services upon the Dutch church of New York. But he was stoutly resisted in these attempts and not allowed to officiate until he had subscribed to the regulations of the Church of Holland (Eccl. Records of New York, i. 649, 650, 678-690; Corwin, Manual, pp. 51, 844, 850). In 1679 the four Dutch ministers then in the country, at the request of this same Governor Andros, organized themselves into a classis, and ordained Petrus Tesschenmaker, a licentiate of the University of Utrecht, to the ministry, to supply the pressing need, and this act was subsequently approved by the Classis of Amsterdam (Eccl. Records of New York, ii. 724-735, 737, 739); but when directed by Governor Nicholson, in 1709, to ordain Van Vleck as chaplain to certain Dutch troops, the ministers of that period refused to obey (Eccl. Records of New York, iii. 1760).
(§ 2). Attempts to Impose Anglican Church. With renewed persecutions in France, many Huguenots began to flock to America about 1680, who naturally fell into the fold of the Dutch Church. During the reign of Charles II., 1660-85, and of James II., 1685-88, full liberty of conscience was ostensibly granted to all denominations in America, but this was done with the sinister object of gaining entrance for Romanism. The outcome was the severe legislation of the colony of New York in 1700, altogether prohibiting Romanism under severe penalties, so that that system was virtually extinct in New York until the American Revolution. In 1682, Domine Selyns, who had left the country at the surrender in 1664, returned, and exerted a great influence in delivering the Dutch Church from governmental interference. The unfortunate complications brought about by the Leisler episode, 1689-91, put the Dutch ministers for a time in a false position, as if they opposed the accession of William and Mary. This was not by any means the case, but they only desired that changes in New York should be made in a legal manner. But with the return of the Protestant succession, the normal policy of the English government was restored, and determined and persistent efforts were made to impose the Church of England upon New York, although the population was overwhelmingly Dutch. The public commissions of the governors were liberal in spirit for those times, respecting religion, but they had secret instructions looking toward an English Church establishment. Hence, after two years' efforts, the passage of the so-called Ministry Act of 1693 was secured. The intention of the government in seeking this act, was to establish the Church of England over the whole colony; but when finally enacted it was found to cover only four counties out of ten, namely, New York, Westchester, Queens, and Richmond. Also the Church of England was not even alluded to in the act, but only that Protestant ministers should be supported by a system of taxation in these four counties. Neither would the assembly yield to the governor's wish for an amendment to give him the right to induct all ministers. And when the governor falsely assumed that this act established the Church of England, the assembly declared by resolution the contrary; that a dissenter could be called and supported under the provisions of the act; that it was entirely unsectarian. But the Dutch Church of New York City saw her danger and resolved to protect herself by a charter. This was finally secured in 1696, but not without overcoming great difficulties. Besides securing thereby their growing property and the other usual legal rights, it gave them complete ecclesiastical independence. They could call and induct their own ministers in their own way, and manage all their own church affairs without any interference from the civil authorities. And following this example and having this precedent, many of the other Dutch churches also obtained similar charters, although these were repeatedly denied to the churches of all other denominations, except the Church of England, down to the Revolution. Trinity Church obtained its charter in 1697, in which it is often declared that the Church of England is "now established by our laws," referring to the act of 1693; but as is evident, there is nothing in that act to sustain the assertion (cf. a comparison of these two earliest church charters, printed side by side in Eccl. Records of New York, ii.1136-65; Corwin, Manual, pp. 78-85). The English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, organized in 1701, sent over a number of English clergymen to provide for the services of the Church of England in the colonies and to teach the Indians. These missionaries expected to be supported by the provisions of this act, but lawsuits followed instead, and no income was derived from the act for nine years. Meantime the oppressions of Governor Cornbury drove a large number of Dutch families into New Jersey, 1702-10, where they settled on the banks of the Raritan and its tributaries, and this territory was for a century and a half considered the "garden of the Dutch Church." During this period, and notwithstanding the struggle for their rights, the Dutch churches increased from fourteen to thirty-one, and twenty-five ministers in all officiated.
4. Third Period, 1708-1747: This may be termed the period of spiritual awakening and efforts for American ecclesiastical organization. During this period many Palatines arrived and settled chiefly on the upper Hudson and along the Mohawk. In course of time about twenty German churches were organized, which came also generally under the supervision of the Classis of Amsterdam. It was a time of comparative peace-of the "Great Awakening," as it was called. Whitefield aroused the people throughout the land, while Bertholf and Frelinghuysen were the evangelists of the Dutch Church, especially in New Jersey. The necessity of more ministers was deeply felt, but few were willing to leave the Fatherland to come to America. The expense and danger of sending American youth to Holland for education and ordination were very great. Joseph Morgan, a Presbyterian, served several of the Dutch churches, 1709-31, in Monmouth County, N. J., while John Van Driessen went to Yale College for ordination in 1727. In 1729 the Classis of Amsterdam permitted the ministers in New York City, in their name, to ordain John Philip Boehme for service among the Germans in Pennsylvania; while Haeghoort and Erickson were permitted to ordain John Schuyler for service in Schoharie County, New York. Several ordinations which were deemed irregular also occurred, to satisfy the great demand for ministers. The Frelinghuysens therefore proposed that some sort of ecclesiastical assembly should be established in America, and also urged the necessity of institutions in which to prepare young men for the ministry. In 1737, accordingly, the first formal move was made to organize an assembly, which they styled a coetus. There were three times as many churches as pastors. Three-fourths of a century had passed since the English conquest, and the ties which bound them to the Fatherland were becoming weakened. In 1738 the plan of a coetus was sent to Holland for approval. Differences of opinion prevailed on each side of the ocean, and a long delay ensued. Meantime the Classis of Amsterdam was honorably engaged in correspondence, seeking to bind together the Dutch, the Germans of Pennsylvania, and the Presbyterians, 1743, in one ecclesiastical assembly, but the effort was not successful. At length, when the appeal of the German churches was answered by the Synods of North and South Holland in the sending over of Rev. Michael Schlatter, 1746, with several ministers to organize the Pennsylvania Germans into a coetus, the Classis of Amsterdam could no longer resist the appeal of the Dutch of New York and New Jersey, and a coetus of each body was organized in 1747. About forty ministers began their labors during this period, and about forty-four new churches were organized.
5. Fourth Period, 1747-1792: This was the period of organization and ecclesiastical independence. The desired results, however, were only attained after considerable debate and strife, and all the plans were modified in their development by the entire change wrought in civil affairs by the Revolution. During the seven years of the undivided coetus, 1747-54, efforts were made to supply the churches with ministers. Only three, however, were ordained by the coetus, while six passed by that body, and went to Holland for ordination. Eight ministers were sent from Europe. Nine new churches were organized. It was, therefore, soon discovered that the coetus, as constituted, was an inefficient body. It could not license or ordain without special permission in each case, and the classis now appeared to be jealous of its own prerogative. Neither could the coetus finally determine cases of discipline. Appeals could be carried to Holland. This caused endless delays and vexations. Hence in 1753 the coetus proposed to transform itself into a classis and assume all the authority of the same. This was accomplished in the following year. But with this transaction a secession of some of the more conservative members took place, who styled themselves a Conferentie, but claimed to be the true and original coetus. They also had possession of the records. The principal points of discussion were the right and propriety of independent American ecclesiastical bodies and American institutions of learning. The personal ambition of one of the members of the Conferentie led that body finally to become willing to unite with King's (Columbia) College, to secure educational advantages therefrom; but the American classis feared the influence of an Episcopal college, and moreover could not approve the means by which that institution had obtained its charter in 1754, and especially of the manner in which a professorship of divinity for the Dutch in that institution had been secured in 1755 (Eccl. Records of New York, vol. v.; many documents and letters between pages 3338 and 3526, cf. summaries of same in Table of Contents, vol. v., pages xiv.-xxvii.). Ten years later, in 1764, the Conferentie formally organized into an "Assembly Surbordinate to the Classis of Amsterdam." The American classis, after several ineffectual attempts, secured a charter from the governor of New Jersey, 1766, for Queen's College, to be located in that state. An amended charter was secured in 1770. This, with several amendments, is the present charter of Rutgers College, New Brunswick, N. J. In 1771 the two parties united on certain articles of union, which granted substantially, but in somewhat obscure terms, all that the American classis of 1754 had contended for, including the organization of a general body (equivalent to a particular synod in most respects), and five special bodies (equivalent to classes in most respects). The power of licensing and ordaining was now given to this general body. A happy and speedy consummation seemed within reach, as brethren on each side gave up many cherished convictions for the sake of peace. A theological professor would have been quickly appointed, when the breaking-out of the Revolution delayed everything for a decade. The Dutch churches suffered especially during the war, which was largely on their territory; but with peace and civil liberty came to all denominations ecclesiastical autonomy, with all that it involved-independent organizations, a new sense of responsibility, literary and theological institutions, with benevolent boards for the increase of Christ's kingdom at home and its dissemination to the ends of the earth. In 1784 the names of synods and classes, denied before, were assumed by the bodies constituted in 1771 without further ceremony, and the Classis of Amsterdam was simply informed of the fact. In 1788, at a general convention, it was declared that the constitution of a church must contain its standards of doctrine, its modes of worship, and its forms of government. A committee was appointed to translate into English the standards of doctrine, the liturgy, and the rules of church order of the Church of Holland, omitting all that belonged in government to a state church; and to add explanatory articles to adapt the former rules to American circumstances. This was accomplished in 1792, and the volume containing all this was issued in 1793. Thus was the organization of the church completed. During this period, 1754 to 1792, there were added to the church ninety-one ministers and sixty-six churches.
6. Fifth Period, the Independent American Church, 1792-1910: (§ 1). The Constitution. As to the constitution, the standards of doctrine have remained unchanged. As to the liturgy: additional offices have from time to time been added, but these, with much else in the liturgy, are considered only as specimens, and are optional as to use. Only the sacramental and ordination forms are obligatory. Abridgments of the sacramental forms were adopted in 1905, and the use of either the longer or shorter forms is permitted. Revised ordination forms were adopted in 1906. As to the rules of church government, the original articles of 1619 and the explanatory articles of 1792 were fused together in 1833, with such additions as the experience of forty years suggested. In 1867, after a prolonged discussion, the name or title of the Church was amended from "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in North America" to "The Reformed Church in America." In 1874, the rules of church government, popularly known as the constitution, were again revised, and various amendments to them have been adopted since.
(§ 2). Ecclesiastical Bodies; New Growth. The rules of 1792 provided for a general synod. This body held its first session in June, 1794. Triennial sessions were held until 1812, when they were made annual. At first, all the ministers and an elder from each church formed its constituency; but in 1812 it became a representative body. In 1819 it was incorporated under the laws of New York, and is the legal trustee for all endowments for theological professorships and the real estate pertaining to its theological seminaries; also for the moneys of the "Widows' Fund"; of the "Disabled Ministers' Fund"; of some of the scholarships, and of some of the missionary moneys of the Church. These funds and other properties are managed by a board of direction, whose members are appointed by the general synod. The income of the synod was limited in 1819 to $10,000; in 1869 an act was passed allowing $15,000 more; and in 1889, by a general act, all corporations organized for benevolent purposes are permitted to hold property to the amount of $2,000,000. The provisional general body of 1771, which assumed the name of Synod in 1784, became a particular synod in 1793, under the new constitution. This body was divided into the two particular synods of New York and Albany in 1800, to which were added the particular synod of Chicago in 1856, and the particular synod of New Brunswick in 1869. The classes have increased from 5 in 1792 to 36 in 1910; the churches from about 100 in 1792 to 700 in 1910. The number of ministers did not equal the number of churches until 1845, when there were 375 of each. In 1846 began a new Dutch immigration which settled in the Middle West, but is now penetrating even to the Pacific coast and to Texas. Most of these newcomers came into the fold of the old Dutch Church, and there are now about 250 churches from this source, and as many ministers. In 1910 the Reformed Church in America reports about 700 churches, 740 ministers, 65,000 families, and 117,000 communicants, with about the same number of children in the Sunday-schools. Nearly half a million dollars are reported as given to benevolent objects, and more than a million and a half for congregational purposes. Churches exist in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, the two Dakotas, Minnesota, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Washington. The denomination has been especially successful on the foreign mission field, in India, China, Japan, and Arabia, having sent out about 225 missionaries, male and female. In 1902, the wonderfully successful Classis of Arcot, India, with 25 regularly organized churches, many of them having native pastors, was formally transferred in the interests of church union to the synod of South India, of the South Indian United Church. The missions in China and Japan are working in hearty union with the missions of other denominations.
(§ 3). Educational Institutions. The history of Rutgers College at New Brunswick, N. J., has often been written. First chartered in 1766, it received an amended charter in 1770. In 1825 its name was changed from Queen's to Rutgers College, in connection with which is a scientific school leading to the degree of bachelor of science. On the 4th of April of the same year, New Jersey made it "The State College for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts." By an act of Mar. 2, 1888, the United States associated with such state college a department known as "The Agricultural Experiment Station." A theological seminary also exists at New Brunswick dating back to 1784. Its history was elaborately written at its centennial in l884. It is well equipped in all departments. Its Sage Library contains about 50,000 volumes. Hope College and the Western Theological Seminary are located at Holland, Mich.
7. The True Reformed Dutch Church: This institution was formed by the secession of Rev. Solomon Froeligh with four suspended ministers in 1822, giving as their reasons, "errors in doctrine and looseness of discipline." It was in fact the culmination of an old feud that had started two or three generations before. In 1830 they attained to the number of 30 congregations and 10 ministers. By 1860 the congregations had decreased to 16, and in 1890 the feeble remnant joined "The Christian Reformed Church" (see REFORMED CHURCH, CHRISTIAN).
E. T. CORWIN.
III. In South Africa.-l. Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Colony: This is the oldest and largest of the Protestant denominations in South Africa. It was founded practically when the Dutch East India Company formed its first permanent settlement at Capetown under Commander J. A. Van Riebeek, Apr. 6, 1652, though the first regular minister was Rev. Johan van Arckel, who arrived in 1665 [in 1685 another was placed at what is now Stellenbosch]. In 1688, 200 Huguenot refugees sent by the Netherland authorities considerably strengthened the settlement and church [a grant of land being made at Drachenstein and the locality becoming known as "French Mountain"]. The French fellow believers after one or two generations thoroughly assimilated with the Dutch. A few new congregations were formed in the vicinity of Capetown. The pastors of these struggling churches were paid and practically controlled by the company, although they were under the ecclesiastical supervision of the Classis of Amsterdam, which ordained and sent the ministers. The creed was of course the same as that of the mother church. At first the Psalms were sung exclusively, but since the beginning of the nineteenth century the Dutch "Evangelical hymns" are used. From 1795 until 1802 and again since 1806 the English took the place of the Dutch East India Company and controlled the church. About 1822 several Scotch ministers came to help the Holland churches, which at that time were fourteen in number. The first synod met in 1824, but this body was entirely dependent upon the government until 1842, when more liberty was obtained. In 1849 the official organ of the Dutch Reformed Church, De Kerkbode, was started. In 1859 the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch opened its doors, its purpose being to prevent the entrance of rationalistic ministers from the Dutch universities, who for a season threatened the orthodoxy of the church. At present it has a faculty of four professors. Through the labors of Rev. Andrew Murray the Cape Colony church extended beyond the Orange and Vaal rivers among the kinsmen who had moved northward with the "great trek" of 1836. But in 1862 objections made against the representation of the Free State and Transvaal congregations in synod led to a legal decision which compelled these latter to assume a separate existence (see below). At present the Cape Colony church numbers about 150 congregations, some of them in Rhodesia and Mashonaland, with 116,000 members and 270,000 adherents. These churches are grouped in thirteen "rings" or presbyteries. The highest church-court, the synod, is composed of the pastors and one elder from each congregation, and meets triennially in Capetown.
Mission work is carried on among the natives of Cape Colony and the South African protectorates; over fifty "mission churches" have been organized, most of which have been grouped into "rings" and also form a synod. The actions of these bodies are controlled by the Home Mission Committee of the Cape church. In Wellington and Worcester are training-schools for missionaries and other Christian workers. The Capetown School of the Dutch Reformed Church was opened in 1878 for the education of teachers. An institution for the mute and blind, also denominational, is located in Worcester. Several other philanthropic societies are supported and a number of Bible societies are actively at work. Nearly every congregation has a Christian Endeavor Society. The church is imbibing much of the spirit of the British churches, although trying to remain Calvinistic.
2. The Dutch Reformed Church in the Orange Free State: This organization became independent in 1862. It now numbers forty-two churches, forming five "rings." The synod meets triennially in Bloemfontein. There are nearly 100,000 adherents, and 45,000 communicants. It carries on a fine home mission work in ten mission churches and supports flourishing stations in Nyassaland and northeastern Rhodesia.
3. United Dutch Reformed Church in Transvaal: This denomination is likewise an offshoot of the Cape Colony church, and originated under similar circumstances as the Orange Free State sister body. Originally called The Dutch Reformed Church, it took its present name "Nether Dutch Hervormd or Reformed Church," from a union consummated in 1885 with a number of congregations of the Dutch "Hervormde" Church of Transvaal (see below). It is composed of five "rings," and its synod meets triennially in Pretoria. It numbers 42 congregations, 85,000 adherents, and 38,000 members. Connected with it are 8 mission churches among the natives. The official organ is De Vereeniging.
4. Dutch Reformed Church of Natal: This is the smallest of the Dutch Reformed churches in South Africa. It has but one higher church court, the General Church Assembly, composed of the ministers and two delegates from each consistory. Its history is very much the same as that of its sister churches in Transvaal and the Orange River Colony. It numbers 4,258 adherents and 2,052 members, forming 5 congregations.
The Dutch Reformed Churches mentioned above formed in 1906 a federal council, which is bringing them nearer again to their original united condition. This council is composed of the four officers of the Cape Colony synod and ten other members, and the general synodical committees of the other bodies. In 1909 it decided to unite the four churches of Cape Colony, Free State, Transvaal, and Natal in one general synod composed of all ministers in active service and one elder from each congregation. The number of the clergymen of these four churches is nearly 300; ordained missionaries, 100; 240 congregations, and about 220,000 members. The internal government is regulated by Wetten en Bepalingen, in eleven chapters.
5. The Reformed Church in South Africa: This denomination originated on Feb. 10, 1859, in Rustenburg in Transvaal. It is composed of the most conservative of the Dutch Boers, frequently called "doppers," a corruption of the Dutch word domper, "a man intellectually behind the times." These conservatives lived in the outlying districts of the Cape Colony, and many of them formed the "great trek." Rev. D. Postma was sent to them by the Christian Reformed Church of the Netherlands in 1858. Under his guidance they left the Dutch Reformed Church, mainly because of their opposition to the use of the evangelical hymns, and also because of the liberal spirit of some of the Dutch Reformed pastors at the time. Postma organized congregations in Transvaal, the Orange State, and the Cape Colony.
The statistics for 1909 are as follows: in the Transvaal 24 churches with 11 ministers, 7,400 communicants, 8,233 baptized members, 15,633 adherents. In the Orange Free State 12 churches, with 7 ministers, 2,934 communicants, 3,051 baptized members, 5,985 adherents. In Cape Colony 17 churches with 13 ministers, 4,853 communicants, 5,204 baptized members, 10,057 adherents. Most churches having a pastor have two services on Sabbath; during one of these services a Lord's Day of the Heidelberg Catechism is explained. Vacant charges usually meet on one Sunday of each month, and every quarter they have services led by ministers. Every Sunday, except during the quarterly communion services, those who live too far away from the church hold meetings in private homes, led by the elders of the several districts. The church is supported by voluntary contributions of the members. The official organ of the Church is Het Kerkblad, a monthly. The spirit of the denomination is strictly Calvinistic, in harmony with the three doctrinal standards of all Reformed Churches of Holland origin. The leaders of this church are largely influenced by the writings of Drs. Kuyper and Bavinck of the Netherland Reformed churches. The theological school of the denomination was opened in 1869 in Burghersdorp, Cape Colony, and since 1905 is located in Potchefstroom. Its facu1ty consists of four professors. This church more and more realizes the need of mission work, and is carrying it on in a few places within and without its domain. The Church Order of Dordrecht forms the basis of the church government.
6. "Hervormde" Church of the Transvaal: This church is composed of Reformed Dutch people who followed Rev. D. Van der Hoff, who at first, in 1856, had joined the Dutch Reformed Church of the Cape Colony, but later on seceded because he considered that church too rigidly Calvinistic. The Hervormde Church is very much akin to the State Church in the Netherlands, being quite rationalistic in its doctrines and loose in its discipline. It numbers 21 churches, with about 10,000 members. Its general assembly is composed of the ministers, one-half of the eldership of each congregation, and two deacons of each consistory, and meets biennially.