Four Mile Presbyterian Church
6078 Tuscarawas Road
Ohioville Borough, Beaver County, Pennsylvania 15009


Part I

Conclusion

Moses said to the children of Israel, "Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness." A review of the way would recall to their minds God's goodness and kindness and mercy to them, and their rebellion, and their ingratitude to Him. It is well for individuals often to review the way by which God has led them, and it is well for the church and for congregations. A review of the way will help to avoid what is bad, and profit by what is good, in the past. A question is sometimes asked, and it is pertinent in the present connection. What is a successful congregation? And to this different answers might be given, all of which might contain less or more of truth: One that exerts a good influence on the community; one that gathers in sinners from the world; one that increases in the number of its members; one that sustains permanently the ordinances of grace; one that maintains and defends the truth of the gospel; and one that perpetuates its existence. Taking this view then, one may be more successful than another - all have not the same degree of success - and one might have been more successful than it has been.

When we come to pass judgement on the doings of others, and especially on the doings of the dead and departed, we feel that we occupy a solemn position - that we tread on sacred ground. We should desire to judge with leniency in respect to others, as to the past, as we would desire that others would do so, in respect to us, in the future. But we would also desire to be just. Now, in many respects, we cannot say otherwise respect to the past of this congregation. It has been a centre of influence on the surrounding community, in favor of the truth of the gospel. What would this community have been without the influence that has gone forth from this place? Here many have been gathered into the fold of Christ - many a weary and heavy-laden sinner has found rest to his soul; and in the great day it will no doubt appear that this man and that man was born here. Its existence has been perpetuated to the present day, and still it lives. Here the truth, as it is in Jesus, has been maintained and defended. But is it not possible to go to the extreme even in this - to attach more importance to some things that are not at all essential to religion, than they demand? While it is our right and duty to stand by the truth and defend it all hazard, we have no right to abuse and even unchurch those who may differ from us in their religious views. Thirty or forty years ago, a minister was hardly accounted faithful unless he would abuse in his preaching other denominations. Then a minister in the Associate Church would likely have subjected himself to censure, or lost his place as pastor in a congregation, if he would have invited a minister of another denomination - a Presbyterian, for example - to preach in his pulpit.

As this was the course pursued in other places in those times, so it was the course pursued here; and I have no hesitation in saying that the extreme to which this was carried, and the harshness and severity before referred to, in dealing with members, have greatly hindered the success of the congregation. By these means, I am satisfied that this congregation has lost ground and opportunity in this community that it can never regain. There are many persons in the bounds of this congregation, who naturally belonged to it, who were raised in it, and who were once members of it, now belonging to other congregations, who, no doubt, would still have been members of the congregation if they had received a more liberal and enlarged instruction in divine truth in the case of some, and if there had been less harshness and severity in the exercise of discipline in the case of others. This congregation has suffered, is suffering now, and will suffer for time to come, from what was done long ago. The seed then sown is bearing its evil fruit. It is for those who now compose the congregation, and who desire its prosperity, to learn a lesson from the past. Though the congregation has not been as successful as it might have been, and as, no doubt, it would have been as successful as it might have been, and as, no doubt, it would have been, under a more enlarged instruction and liberal policy, yet there is still a respectable congregation - respectable in numbers and in means and ability. It can hardly be said to have been a self-sustaining congregation. Only for a few years in its history has it had a pastor for whole time. Now, is this for want of means? Are there not enough people here, and are they not in possession of sufficient wealth to sustain, and to sustain well, for the whole of the time, the ordinances of grace? Have you ever really tried your strength? Is not all that is needed a little more earnest work and a little more liberality? God has a claim on you; the church has a claim on you, and generations to come have a claim on you. Will you arise, exercise your strength, and show that you are equal to the demand? "The fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever?" One generation passeth away and another cometh. It is believed that only one of those who united with this congregation at its organization sixty-four years ago, is still alive, viz: Andrew Ingles, who now lives in the state of Missouri. As he is now nearly eighty-seven years of age, he would then have been a young man of about twenty-three. Where are all those who assisted in its organization, and who united with it for sometime after? They are gone the way of all the earth. They have given in their account to God for privileges enjoyed, or misimproved. They have gone to their rest and their reward. "They rest from their labors and their works do follow them." They were faithful to the work entrusted to their hands. They did their work, and according to their views of truth and duty, they did it well. There were men adapted to the times in which they lived - pioneers of a new country - sturdy in nature and physical strength, and this physical sturdiness impressed itself on their minds, their thoughts, and all their doings. We have their experience, we have the influence of an increased and increasing intelligence; the power of secular and religious literature, and the stimulus of activity on every hand in all departments of life. Will we, according to our increased advantages and opportunities, do as well the work given us to do, as our fathers did their work? "Where much is given, much will be required."

We are following after them. Soon the places that know us now, will know us no more. Others will possess and occupy these lands around about us, will stand in this pulpit, will sit in these seats, will sing praises to our God on this Zion Hill. What will be the condition of this nation, and of the church in this nation, when our next national centennial year shall arrive? Of this no one can form any correct conception! What changes have taken place! What developments have been accomplished! What progress has been achieved during the past century! And with the facilities now in our possession, both for national and religious progress, the world will be hastening on to its millennial glory. And when the next centennial shall arrive, where will we all be, all we who are here today, of this congregation and community, parents and children? We will all be dead. Not one will be left.

Sometimes we ask persons whether they are going to the Centennial? Some answer jocosely, no, they believe they will wait till the next centennial year. But where will we spend our next centennial year? It will be in the future world - the land of spirits. Yes, and the time will come when God's church on earth - his spiritual building will be completed, and when "all kindreds and people and tongues shall stand before the Lord in judgment," "when the earth and the sea shall give up the dead that are in them." Then the Books shall be opened, and every man shall be judged according to things that are found written therein.

And when that day shall come, may it be the happy lot of all who are here today, and of all who have been, and are members of this congregation to hear that welcome to the Judge, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

The following is the Roll of Elders and Members of the Congregation at the present time:

ELDERS

Anderson, Samuel

Hammond, David

McCormick, N. T.

Gailey, William

McGaffick, Jesse

Scott, David W.

MEMBERS

Anderson, Elizabeth

Gailey, Daniel D.

Hunter, Eliza A.

Barclay, George

Gailey, Silas

Hunter, Alexander

Barclay, Eliza J.

Gailey, Malissa

Hunter, Ida

Barclay, Nannie

Gibson, Mary

Hutchman, Nannie

Barclay, John

Gibson, Penelia

Johnston, John G.

Barclay, Maria

Gillespie, Sam'l F.

Johnson, Susan

Brown, William

Gillespie, Sarah J.

Johnson, Nancy

Brown, Nancy J.

Gillespie, Jennie

Kaler, Andrew

Caldwell, Rebecca D.

Hammond, Marg.

Kaler, Martha A.

Caldwell, Samuel

Hammond, Anne J.

Lister, William

Caldwell, Mary M.

Hamilton, Martha A.

Lister, Mary

Caldwell, James A.

Herron, Jane

Marland, Eliza

Cook, Cynthia

Herron, Rebecca

Marland, Sadie

Dever, Isaac

Herron, Jane

Mason, Maggie

Donovan, Mary

Herron, Elazan

Morgan, Vir. E.

Donovan, Kate

Herron, Nancy

McGaffick, Elizabeth

Donovan, Thomas

Herron, Eliza

McGaffick, Benjamin

Fowler, Emma

Herron, Margaret

McCormick, S. M.

Fowler, Mary

Herron, Searinda

McCormick, E. M.

Gailey, Mary

Herron, Rebecca J.

McFarland, Mary E.

Gailey, Nancy J.

Hunter, Jane

Moore, Silas

Moore, Mary

Scott, C. V.

Thompson, Eliz. J.

Moore, Mary A.

Scott, Jane

Thompson, E. M. G.

Moore, Sarah A.

Scott, Maria

Watt, Margaret

Moore, Tillie J.

Scott, William

Watterson, Andrew

Neville, Matilda

Scott, John

Watterson, Maggie

Potter, Matilda

Scott, Jane M.

Watterson, Robert

Reed, David A.

Taylor, Mary

Watterson, Elizabeth

Reed, Mary

Taylor, Lizzie

Wilkison, Mary

Reed, James C.

Thompson, James P.

Wylie, Sarah

Reed, Emma

Thompson, Martha

Wylie, Joseph P.

Reed, Sarah

Thompson, Andrew

Wylie, Nancy



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