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

- by Bruce E. McKinney



My ministry may be divided into epochs of three years. At the close of these terms, there was invariably a gathering of strength, which threatened to overwhelm me, but in every one of them I seemed to conquer, and in the last more than conquer. Then I fell into the hands of the Presbytery, who have proved themselves to be too many for me and for the people.

My rapid narrative will show how all this has been accomplished, and if I be obliged to tell disagreeable truths of individuals, I shall not go out of my way to do so. It is not my wish to wound a single person’s feelings unnecessarily.

During the first two years and a half there was nothing of a disturbing character calculated to alarm me. I had large congregations, and as mine was the only evening service then held in our village, my audience was equal to the morning. We had additions to the church regularly, and a debt of $1,400 was extinguished; so that from that time to the present no pecuniary burden rests upon us.

Notwithstanding this prosperity, I was treated by my opponents more as a candidate every Sunday than as a Pastor. A secret movement was made to prevent my installation, but not a member of the Presbytery could be found to favor it. Sometimes my orthodoxy was questioned, my secular lecturing disapproved, my manners, my speech, my appearance, and even my mode of administering the sacred cup mocked at, and funnily imitated, so that a laugh might be raised against me. A list of oddities now before me would be curious to some readers, but are too trifling to be seriously produced here. Letters were written back to Catskill, and elsewhere, marked “private,” and asking, in “confidence,” for information concerning my character.

These things failed but one question, “Can we prosper where there is so much talk?” This led Mr. Robinson, humorously, once to say in public, at Presbytery, that our church was like a well-spring, always roily, because a man sat all the time at the side of it with a pole, watching for its settling, so that he might give it another turn round, and then look up and ask, “Do you wish me to drink such water as that?”

In this way a belief was produced in the minds of a few that my cause was going down, and daily was this reiterated, till at length resulted in a caucus meeting, held in A. F. Potter’s sash factory, December, 1853. A letter was there read, intended for me, and was presented on the third Wednesday of January, 1854, after lecture. The letter had no name attached to it; consequently, I gave no attention to it. Caucus succeeded caucus, till, finally, it was determined among the malcontents to have a meeting of the church-members; on the ground, it was affirmed, that all the “spiritual part” were against me, while in the congregation were “twelve infidels,” men of influence, who would support me at all hazards. So it was said.