Comforting doctrine

Sean Lucas
I'm working on the 175th anniversary history of the First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS, right now. Here is one little jewel that I came across. Elder C. H. Alexander, chairman of the local arrangements committee, was addressing the 1902 General Assembly which met at FPC Jackson. In welcoming the commissioners, he was reflecting on the genius of the Westminster Catechism in a humorous fashion, when he said:

"By the way, that catechism contains some very comforting doctrine. Some of you have, perhaps, heard of the old lady who was being examined for membership and was asked by the Session what she thought of the doctrine of total depravity: 'Oh!' she said, 'It is a beautiful doctrine, if one could just live up to it.'" The doctrine of man's free agency and God's sovereignty did not trouble much the young lawyer, who, in an impassioned eulogy of the Puritans and their privations, said, "Although the hand of Omnipotence was against them, yet, by the grace of God, they prospered.' One has only to look upon this gathering to see that, despite the statements and prophecies of the New England magazines of modern thought, the Presbyterians, by the grace of God, are prospering!"