The Doctrine of Caiaphas by Rev. David Murdoch D.D.

- by Bruce E. McKinney



I received one letter more upon this delicate arrangement, dated May 19, and signed Wm. P. Konkle. It was put into my hand as I was leaving the wharf at Catskill, and read by me on my way hither. I allude to that here, chiefly that I may discuss from this history the name of that departed brother, who continued my consistent and determined opponent up till the last effort made by his friends. His name appears feebly drawn upon the petition to Presbytery, a very short time before he died. But for his death, he would have filled a very large space on these pages. But he has left aged parents, venerable and worthy citizens, who were received by myself into this church; on whom, aged though they were, it was my honor to pour the water of holy baptism; and though at the funeral of their worthy son, another willingly took my place as Pastor of the family – though the superintendents of those rites when malice and ill-will are usually laid aside, did stand in the door of that household, then clothed in sackcloth, leaving the man whom they commanded to “esteem for his work’s sake,” to find a spot outside on the steps, while every minister in town had a place provided for him in-doors by Dr. Beadle and Mr. Gillett – though all of this, and more, is now laid upon my head, yet God forbid that I should pour aught but balm upon fresh wounds. May he who gave his Son, his only son, to die for us all, cheer the solitude of that dwelling, where this day they mourn in bitterness a son, an only son, who was to his parents all that their hearts could wish. Others may carry malevolence to the mouth of the grave, but I lay not the unseemly doings of that burial day to these bereaved parents.

The other letters are given in full, or nearly so, for reasons obvious to you who have lived here, and wondered at the strife. The letters exhibit, First – an insight into church politics, not dreamt of by simple-minded people. Second – they show that that name was merely made the occasion for continuing what had existed time out of mind. There are old inhabitants who can recall the contentions of Simeon R. Jones, followed by the disturbances in the time of Hezekiah Woodruff. Then the godly Mr. Ford passed through the fire. The four years of quiet during Mr. Farnsworth’s time were followed by the stormy season of Mr. Frost; so that when my predecessor, Mr. Fowler, came, it was by a vote of two out of every three at the congregational meeting he was called. It is still remembered by this community how heroically he breasted the floods that swelled against him, and that calm did not arrive till the church divided – forty members slicing off and forming a new interest. The rejection of Mr. Priest, and the sensitiveness of persons, as described in these letters of Mr. Robinson, were but the same leaven working that had fermented for fifty years; so that I was in no way the cause, but for time made the occasion, as I have been all along, and as any other man would have been. Third – it is necessary to bring out these letters at this time to let the NO be heard loud and clear from the beginning till now.