W0131 TO [DR. CALVIN MCQUESTEN] AND THE TRUSTEES & ELDERS OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION OF BROCKPORT from G. Meyers
Jan 1 1900
To: Dr. Calvin McQuesten Brockport, New York,
From: Waterville, Maine
The call of your congregation signed by you on their behalf, desiring me to become their pastor, came to hand on the 2nd Inst--On the next day I left home on a journey to Whitehall in the north eastern part of the state, & did not return until last Friday evening. I mention this as my apology for not sooner answering your call, & the courteous & cordial letter of the Trustees accompanying it & urging my acceptance. Having once occupied the responsible station of a Pastor in your Church & society, & that too at that interesting & delicate time of their infancy as a congregation; having passed through some scenes of tribulation & others of joy among them, & having resigned my charge & left them against the unanimous expression of their wishes as a society; I should do injustice to my feelings of sincere regard for them, having heart-felt solicitude for their spiritual prosperity & best interests; were I not to express the gratification which I have felt & still feel, in being honoured with this call, so generally & harmoniously expressive of the regard & confidence of the congregation toward me as a minister of the gospel & of their desire that I should again return to them as a Pastor.
I can truly & honestly say that I have not found since I left Brockport, either in or out of the church, friends of a more firm, tried & consistent character than I found there; nor a people (did circumstances & duty permit) among whom I should be more willing to live & labour & die. Still however, altho' I do not know how long it may be the will of the Lord that I should remain here, in view of the peculiar circumstances of my church & society, & the responsibilities which rest upon me here in sustaining the cause of truth against error of temperance against the demoralizing influence of the manufactured sale of intoxicating liquors, I do not feel myself at liberty, nor am I willing myself to assume the responsibilities of, of asking a dissolution of my present pastoral relation at this time.
I am obliged therefore, tho' on many accounts with much reluctance, to decline your call. I regret any delay that I may have occasioned to your looking for & calling some other minister; & my heart's desire & prayer to the great Head of the Church is that he will soon send you an able, faithful & devoted Pastor.
On my way to Whitehall, I providentially met at Albany, the Rev. Arthur Burtis, now residing at Cherry-valley Oswego county. He told me he had had some conversation with Mr. Sutphan last winter about your people; I told him that I had received your call, & had about concluded to give a negative answer. Mr. Burtis was then still at liberty, & from the little acquaintance I have with him & the knowledge I have of him, I have formed a very favourable opinion of him, both as a man of piety & talents. Mr. Sutphan however may know more about him than I do. If your Church Society should be disposed to invite Mr. B. to visit them, they had probably better do it with as little delay as possible.
On my return home I was a little amused at finding a letter from T. R. Roby of Brockport, & another from Jacob Sutphan. I should not think it necessary to notice the former of these letters in this communication (if at all) were it not, that in the latter, the apprehension is expressed that Mr. R's letter might have an unfavourable influence upon my decision in regard to your call. I can assure you, Gentlemen, & Mr. Sutphan in particular, that Mr. R.'s letter had no such influence nor do I think it would have had any, especially with Mr. Sutphan's antidote upon the back of it, even had I received it before I had made up my mind upon the subject of accepting this call. For while I would award to Mr. Roby all due respect as a man & thank him for his friendly "wishes for my prosperity & happiness," I do not think it strange he should add unless he were greatly changed, that for the doctrine views you entertained when last here & some of which you promulgated, I should regret of your return. "I don't know which particular" "doctrine & views" of mine Mr. R. alludes to, but have no doubts, he would "regret my return" to Brockport, or that of any other man who should faithfully tell him the whole truth upon every subject, if he desires peace of conscience in some of the views & practices which he formerly entertained.
I trust however that I have studied the Word of God & human nature too long to be diverted, much less frightened from any part of truth or any post of duty, by any views of Mr. R. of what may be "dangerous as to the best interests of society" or [?] had us to "bid farewell to liberty." I am happy to be able in my own experience to refute Mr. Roby's assertion that in that "Society" (i.e. yours) "A Minister is worshipped today--kicked out without ceremony tomorrow." Such was not their treatment toward me & I trust it will never be toward any minister of the gospel. With sentiments of esteem, I remain, Gentlemen yours in the gospel.