John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829) originally published his Essays on the Church of God between 1808 and 1810 in the “Christian’s Magazine.” Republished in their entirety by the Presbyterian Board of Publications in 1843, they were also included within the two editions of Mason’s collected works (1832, 1849) and were studied closely by many nineteenth century Presbyterians.
In these Essays, Mason addresses questions of perennially practical importance to the church. On what terms or criteria should a session receive an adult individual into the membership of the church? Are the infants of professing parents members of the visible church? What is the church’s obligation to the children of professing parents? What are those children’s rights and duties? Is the Christian ministry of divine warrant or of human origin? What are the spiritual and intellectual qualifications for the Christian ministry? Answering these and other questions with clarity, penetration, and wisdom, Mason, preeminently concerned to establish his case from Scripture, provides the attentive reader with a biblical, confessional, and practical exposition of the doctrine of the church. May the Lord be pleased to bless this work to the profit and edification of His church today.
Table of Contents
- Introduction by Dr. Guy Prentiss Waters of Reformed Theological Seminary (formerly of Belhaven University)
- Of the Term Church
- On the First Organization of the Church
- On the Mode of Perpetuating the Visible Church
- Initiating Seal
- Infant Members
- Officers, Ministry, Uses
- Ministry, Qualifications I
- Ministry, Qualifications II
John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829; BD, Columbia University; DD, University of Pennsylvania) served as pastor of two Associate Reformed Church (ARC) congregations in New York City from 1793 to 1821 before transferring his credentials to the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA) and assuming the presidency of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a post which he held until failing health forced his resignation in 1824.