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according to their convictions, and demand that their decisions shall be conditions precedent to the settlement.
But, sir, I cannot stop here. I think it due to you, to this Assembly, to that Assembly, and to myself, to say the imputation laid there is not true in the form in which it is laid. (Applause.) Mr. Moderator, there are some at least in this Assembly who firmly believe that during the heat of passions excited under civil war, the Assembly with which I was formerly connected did pass acts and make deliverances inconsistent with the headship of Christ and the constitution of the Presbyterian Church. Our votes, our protests, are on record on that subject, and I am not here to take back one word in regard to them; but, sir, that this Assemblr, that the Christian men and women with whom God has cast my lot, have taken the crown from the head of Jesus Christ, and chained his bride to Cæsar's chariot wheels; that these two Assemblies, by their re-union, have totally cast aside all their former testimonies for the doctrines of grace; that this reunited Assembly stands necessarily upon an allowed latitude in the interpretation of the standards of the church, such as must ultimately result in bringing in all forms of doctrinal error-this I strenuously deny. (Applause.) And I say frankly, affectionately, and sadly to you—and, if it shall reach their ears, to our Southern brethren--if they wait for us to stultify ourselves by admitting such things as these before we enter into negotiations, we shall all have to wait for the settlement of these difficulties until we get to the General Assembly of the first-born in heaven." (Applause.)
We quite agree, too, with Dr. Beatty, Dr. Van Dyck, and others, who hold that this labor of love will not be lost, and that, as "kind words never die,” so, in due time, the kindly attitude of our church will be most appreciated where now it is least reciprocated.
We cannot dismiss the subject without expressing our amazement, as well as grief, at the charges brought and the humiliating demands made hy our Southern brethren, as conditions, sine qua non, of cɔnference through committees. The deliverances or declarations of any Assembly not ratified by the Presbyteries are no part of the constitution of the church. They are simply the recorded opinions of that Assembly. The idea of undertaking to erase from the records of past Assemblies all that is offensive to us or to others with whom we may hare friendly relations is impracticable and absurd. Have our Southern brethren, claiming to be “the sole surviving heirs of the failing testimonies” of our church, expunged or abrogated the testimony of 1818 on the subject of slavery, which affirms that it “ creates a paradox in the moral system,” and that "the voluntary enslaving of one portion of the human race by another is a gross violation of the most precious
and sacred rights of human nature, utterly inconsistent with the law of God?
Moreover, was not every pretext for such a plea removed by the express and emphatic assertion of our Assembly that no "rule or precedent,” snch as the special action to which our brethren object is now of force? With what desperate and infatuated ingenuity do they try to neutralize this, and to embarrass the removal of what they esteem barriers to renewed fellowship? But who are they that stigmatize us as having « taken the crown from the head of Jesus Christ and chained his bride to Cæsar's chariot wheels," and, under the lead and by the pen of Dr. Palmer, charge us with a “sad betrayal of the cause and kingdom of our common Lord and Head," and summon us to place the crown once more upon the head of Jesus, as the alone King of Zion?” Is not their leader the same Dr. Palmer whose great sermon in advocacy of secession for the conservation and expansion of slavery, more than any one immediate exciting cause, “ fired the Southern heart” for that fatal plunge which precipitated the country into a war that exterminated slavery, drowning it in seas of blood ? What of the Synod of South Carolina bestowing its benediction upon the legislature of that State in its initiation of secession? What of the repeated declarations of sympathy with the Confederate Government and armies by this same Southern Assembly that now hurls its denunciations at us as having “disowned the crown and kingdom of our Lord," and disdains to "hold official correspondence with the Northern church unless the Saviour is reinstated in the full acknowledg. ment of his kingship?”* Do they think it enough to say of all this,
"No ingenuity of sophistry can transmute into political dogmas the scant allusions to the historical reality of a great struggle then pending, or the thank. ful recognition, in the middle of a paragraph, of the unanimity with which an invaded people rose to the defence of their hearthstones and the graves of their dead; or the pastoral counsels addressed to the members and youth of our own churches, passing through the temptations and perils of the camp and the field; or the ball-hour spent in prayer for a land bleeding under the iron heel of war; or
* See Pastoral Letter of the Southern Church, in defence of their response to our deputation, written by Dr. B. M. Palmer.
even the incidental declaration in a narratire to stand by an institution of the country, a traditional inheritance from our fathers. Even though, from the ambiguity of human language, these chance references may not have been always discreetly expressed, the most that a just criticism could pronounce is that they are inconsistent with the judicially pronounced principle upon which the Southern Assembly entered upon its troubled career. And when exaggerated to their largest proportions by all the prejudices of bitter partisanship, they dwindle into motes and specks by the side of those elaborate and colossal deliverances, repeated each year through formal committees, and exalted into solemn testi. monials co-ordinate with the doctrines of religion and of faith, which disfigure the legislation of both the Northern Assemblies through successive years." *
How dare they affirm that the war votes of our Assemblies were made “co-ordinate with the doctrines of religion and faith?”
But still more astounding is the charge that the union of the two Presbyterian bodies “involves a total surrender of all the great testimonies of the church for the fundamental doctrines of grace,” and “must come at length to embrace nearly all shades of doctrinal belief !” We bave nothing to say in regard to the doctrinal basis of the united church which we did not say a year ago, and have no room now to repeat. This we dcem a sufficient refutation of all such charges as the foregoing. We now only add to these the argumentum ad hominem: whoever else might venture such a charge, the Southern church cannot, without tabling the like charge against itself, for it has done the same thing. Some years ago it coalesced with the New School Synod South upon the doctrina! basis of the standards pure and simple, receiving all ministers and churches of that Synod to the precise standing they had anterior to the union. “Therefore, thou art inexcusable, Oinan! whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." —Rom. ii. 1. This is so palpable that it was emphatically objected to this part of the report in the Sonthern Assembly, in the debate preceding its adoption. The venerable Dr. F. A. Ross, of Huntsville, Alabama, in whose church the Assembly is to meet next year, said, and as conversant with the facts from intimate personal knowledge :
"The second point I would notice is, that an objection to the consideration of the question of correspondence is that the Old School North and the New School North have united. But the Old School South and the New School South have done the same thing. Dr. Barnes is the front of New Schoolism;
still I believe he would have agreed to the basis of union determined upon in Lynchburg in 1863. That arrangement has not changed the preaching of any one. Every member of the United Synod has the right to preach just as he preached before ; every member of the Old School has the right to preach just as he did before. Where is the difference between the union of the two branches in the North and those in the South ? In both cases there was some preliminary discussion as to terms, but finally in both cases they united on the basis of the standards pure and simple. Why, then, should we object to corresponding with them on the ground that they have effected just such a union as we had done before?
“I am sorry to use the words Old School and New School in this body. We are not the Old School Assembly; we are neither Old School nor New School, but the Presbyterian Church in the United States. It has been said that the members of the United Synod were Old School men. I mentioned one, a leader among them. He was further from the views of many here than even Albert Barnes."
Dr. Rice said :
“We must do no act that will for a moment rumle the calmness and peace resting upon us. It is for this reason, sir, that I object to that report of the committee which speaks of the union of the Old and New Schools of the North as one reason why we cannot hold intercourse with them because we are the only heirs of the truths which have fallen to the ground. You know very well, Mr. Moderator, that I am an Old School man; that I was one of the very last to consent to the union of our church in the Synod which was consummated in 1864. Now, having agreed to that union, and these New School brethren hav. ing come among us we are called upon to maintain the doctrines of God's house, and we are bound to stand by those brethren and regard them as integral portions of our church. And therefore it is not right for us to say we object to holding intercourse with the Northern Assembly because they received the New School. It is true that there is a wide difference between the two positions; but we have accepted these brethren as a part of ourselves, and I trust that you will do nothing that will make it appear that we are not one, for we are one."
How can all this be gainsaid? And what had Dr. Palmer to say in reply? We extract from the Christian Inquirer and Free Commonwealth, of June, from which we have copied all our extracts from this debate :
"Dr. Palmer then stated that he was very much impressed with Dr. Hopkins' remark, that Dr. Lyon had assumed that all this opposition to a correspondence with the Northern church, proceeds merely from hatred. This idea he combated, and then proceeded to notice Dr. Ross's remarks about union of the churches in the North and those in the South. He stated that much more care had been taken to secure orthodoxy in the Southern church. There had been no diplomacy in their coming together. There is no jar or discord between them. It never had occurred to him that there was a shade of difference doctrinally between them."
And is this all the justification he can make out for the difference he puts between the Southern and Northern churches, assuming for the former the function of guardian and conservator of orthodoxy, and the prerogative of denouncing the latter as surrendering her testimonies to the faith once delivered to the saints? Allowing the utmost force to the considerations above adduced by him, they only touch the accidents and unessential circumstances of the case. They do not affect the essence of the doctrinal and ecclesiastical platforrn of the two bodies. These are identical—the simple standards. But we deny that“ more care has been taken to secure orthodoxy in the Southern church.” So far from this, plans of union were rejected twice by the Northern church, because they contained the slightest qualification of the standards; and it was thus proved that no union was possible except on the pure and simple standards. Not only so, but we boldly affirm, from knowledge independent of the testimony of Dr. Ross and Dr. Rice, that no latitude of doctrine can be found in the Northern, which has not been tolerated freely and without question in the Southern church. What shall we say then to the amazing assurance which vents itself in such “colossal ” fulminations? Probably it is useless to say much at present. It is either above or below being reasoned with. It must be left to speak for itselt. Probably the following extracts from Dr. Palmer's speech explain the animus of the leaders, who were able, by their force of intellect and eloquence, to magnetize the Assembly with their own feelings :
“He paid an eloquent tribute to the Southern Presbyterian Church-the only home he had left. 'I am a disfranchised man,' he said. "The boy who waits on my table at iwelve dollars a month dictates to me at the polls who shall be my master. I have no vote. I am an exile in the land of my birth. My only consolation is that I have a home in the church of God. I want peace, and do not, therefore, want to be involved in any of these complications. We have not approached them with any disturbing proposition. Why should they come and disturb us, and seek to divide brethren who are united ? .. Moderator, I do not propose to sacrifice substance for shadow at any time. If you enter into