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MASSIE'S CREEK, March 7th, 1845. Notice having been given, a convention of the laity of the Reformed churches met in the church of the Rev. Hugh McMillan and was organized by calling Thomas Rough to the chair, and Andrew Galloway and Joseph Kyle as secretaries.
The convention was opened with prayer by Joseph Kyle, Esq.
A committee of Ave, Samuel Kyle, Alexander Townsley, Thomas Read, John Anderson and David Jackson, was appointed to prepare the business of this meeting. They withdrew and after a short absence reported the following preamble and resolutions,
Your committee would with diffidence submit the following preamble and resolutions for the consideration of this convention. We presume it will not be thought arrogant or out of place, for private church members to meet in a primary assembly, to ascertain in a cool, candid, brotherly and affectionate manner each other's views, what are our differences, and whether those differences (if any) can, or cannot be made matters of mutual forbearance; and also the propriety and expediency of expressing our desire (by memorial or other. wise) to our respective church judicatories, with our reasons therefor, that a union on a scriptural basis, may be consummated. Such a meeting when conducted under the law of brotherly kindness and charity, is the best calculated to excite, to foster, and to preserve that fraternal affection, without which the most perfect unity in doctrine, worship, discipline and government would be unpropitious. Your committee think it will be conceded that one half the members of the bodies represented in the convention of Reformed churches, know noi, nor can tell, in what their differences consist. It is worthy ci
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inquiry whether such points of differences which the bulk of com-mon members cannot understand or appreciate, would not better be made matters of mutual forbearance. There is all that diversity of opinion to be found amongst the clergy and laity of each of these bodies, as to the points of difference which is known to exist between the bodies as such. They have been for a series of years gradually and almost imperceptibly approximating each other, so that their difference is not so great as was at one time understood. Perfect unanimity of sentiment in every particular, has never been attained by the church in this world (even in the Apostles' days) nor is it proballe that it ever will. Some things always have been, and probably always must be, matters of christian forbearance. Unity of affection is sential to profitable church fellowship. If this be wanting it is our own fault; it is a wilful disobedience of our Lord's express command “10 love one another.” It is believed that little else is wanting to effect a union on a scriptura! basis. No compromise of any principle ia doctrine, worship, discipline or government is requisite: difference of opinion does exist, respecting the form of expression; but none as to the matter or substance to be expressed. Such being the case, all the parties should show their magnanimity. by expressing their willingness to yield their individual preferences, as to the mode or form of expression, provided the substance be there. If one half the time, labor, and substance had been expended in healing the divisions of those branches of Christ's church for the last half century, that has been exerted in magnifying their differences, in proselyting and over-reaching each other, a very different result in their extension and prosperity, might have been expected. This spirit is happily subsiding, the disposition to treat each other as henthen men and publicans is now a rare occurrence, hence we infer the present time is propitious, and we are encouraged to use every laudable effort to unite, None need be told that "in union is strength,” “Divide and conquer” is our common enemy's motto. Nothing short of imperious necessity can warrant our continued separation.
Therefore: Resolved 1. That as there is no difference in the churches represented in convention in doctrine, worship, discipline nor government that should prevent their union, and that such minor differences as may or do exist, can, and should of right, be made matters of mutual forbearance.
2. Resolved, That perfect unity of sentiment in every particuular, has never been attained by the visible. church (even in the Apostolic agel nor do the scriptures warrant us to conclude that it ever will in this imperfect state,
3. Resolved, That unity of affection is essential to profitable church fellowship, and that we will endeavor by all due means 10 promote, encourage and cherish that fraternal affection for each other, which the command of our Lord expressly enjoins.
4. Resolved, That schisms and divisions in the Christian church weaken the power of truth, and gives the common enemy a great adyantage, and from present indications there is a loud call for the Reformed claurches to unite, and stand against the concentrating pow. er, of the common enemy.
5. Resolved, That it be recommended to the different sections of the churches represented in the convention, that the laity meet in their primary assemblies, and consider of the propriety and expediency of expressing their desire (by memorial or otherwise) to thoir respective church judicalories, that the union proposed in the basis laid down by the convention at Pittsburgh may be consummated, but this convention recommend that the subject of national covenanting be made matter of mutual forbearance.
Resolved, That the proceedings of this convention be published in all the religious periodicals represented in the convention of Reformed churches.
THOMAS ROUGH, Ch'n.
From the Quarterly review of the American Protestant Association.
THE BIBLE IN COMMON SCHOOLS. Among the earliest and most able opponents of Roman Catholic aggression in this country, was the Hon. Hiram KETCHUM, of New York. At the recent anniversary meeting of the American Bible Society, Mr. Ketchum made a speech on the great subject of the day, -The Bible in the Public Schools---of which we present a brief report, from the New York Observer. The Romanists 100 soon threw off the mask; before their power equalled their ambition, they attempt ed to control the education of the people; and, in New York, at least, through the efforts of Mr. Ketchum and his associates, they have been defeated. In other places, where the same policy has been pursued by the Roman Catholics, the same result will be attained. Tumults, unprecedented in this country, have grown out of the war
fare upon the Bible; blood has been shed; but no triumph is in the future for the Papists upon this question; nor, while the Bible tinues to be the Book of the People, upon any question. At the meeting of the Bible Society to which we have alluded, the following resolution was presented...
Resolved, that the Bible, from its origin, purity, and simplicity of style, is a book peculiarly appropriate for use in common schools, and can not be excluded from them without hazard both to our civil and religious liberties.
Upon this Mr. Ketchum spoke substantially as follows:--
The great question of the day is this:---Shall the Bible be continued in use in common schonls!--- The southern mail of yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, brought intelligence of the depth of interest felt in that question by a portion of the American people. Inasmuch as the question is one of the most prominent topics of the day, Mr. Ketchum said, he might, perhaps, be indulged for a few moments, in endeavoring to state the origin and progress of that contest as exhibited here,---for this opposition to the use of the Bible in common schools will be found to be one, in character, everywhere; it springs from one common source, from one fountain head, and all its members acı in unity; and whether observed in Philadelphia, or in Baltimore, it will be found to assume the same general character. This was one of the most interesting questions of the day. He hoped they were prepared to discuss it candidly, coolly, and when they had come to a decision to abide by that decision, whatever might be the consequences.
You are doubtless well aware, said he, that the common schools of the State of New York, are inaintained, in the first place, by the in. terest upon a large fund set apart at various times for their support. It is a provision of the law, that before the interest ehall be received, and appropriated to any county in the state, an equal, and in some counties a greater amount shall be raised by a direct tax on the people, to be added to that interest; and the joint fund is to be appropriated for the maintainance of schools, open to all the children of the
this education must be elementary, must be education in literaturo and science, in those ordinary branches which are necessary to fit them for the ordinary duties of life and of citizenship.
I am thus guarded, for you all know that it is an elementary prineiple of American law, and of the American constitution, and of A. merican hearts, that the government has no right to raise money by tax for the support of the Christian religion; and it is a great elemen. tary principle of American law, and American politics, and of all A, merican concerns, that religion here is to be supported by voluntary contributions. It is our glory, our joy, that religion with us is upheld by free hearts. Men may tax themselves, and I thank God they do tax themselves for the support of religion. But the state has no right to lay a tax, and to send its officers to collect it, for the support of the Christian religion.
It follows of necessity that these schools, so maintained by a tax raised by the state, are not nurseries for instruction in religion. It is acknowledged in them, it is recognized by them, that the peculiar doctrines of any one sect must not be taught in schools supported by any moneys raised by tax on the people. Hence, schools furnished by the state, provide for the education of the children, as common elementary schools, for instruction in the common branches of educa- . tion, and no more. Religious education is left to the parents, to the spiritual teachers of the children, to their religious friends, schools, &c. But here no instruction is given in any doctrines peculiar to any denomination of Christians.
This principle, early in the progress of the school system, was prac tically violated. As long as twenty years ago, the public authorities considered the question, and saw that there were violations of this primary principle, in church schools, sustained by taxes upon the people. It might happen, that if I was taxed, my money would go for the instruction of children of Roman Catholics in their faith; it might happen, on the other hand, that the money of Roman Catholics would go to instruct their children in my faith. These violations of this salutary principle could not be admitted. I should have a right to say to Roman Catholics, “I will not permit you to take my money to educate your children in your faith;” and with equal right might they say to me, “We will not give our ruoney to educate your children in your faith.”
Hence it followed, that in order to provide a remedy for the violation of this principle by the church schools, these were given up; and large public schools were organized and placed under the care of