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single or conterminous Presbyteries, which districts shall be so adjusted, as to contain as nearly as possible, fifty ministers each, or multiples of fifty. For every such fifty ministers (or as near fifty as practicable) let two commissioners to the Assembly, one a minister, the other an elder, be allowed. Let each Presbytery be required to nominate at least one minister and one elder for commissioners to the next Assembly, and more in proportion to its numbers, at its first stated meeting after the adjournment of the previous Assembly, said nominees to be from any Presbytery or Presbyteries within the district, as may be preferred. Let the election from these nominees take place at the first stated meetings of the Presbyteries concerned, after the nomination, and before the meeting of the Assembly. This would give an Assembly of not far from 160 members. In size it could not be better. It would give equal and just representation to all parts of the church. It would give direct representation to the Presbyteries. It would prevent all sudden springing and rushing of elections by surprise or artifice. It would fairly represent the deliberate mind of the church. It seems to us to obviate most of the difficulties and to combine most of the advantages of the various other plans proposed.
2. The Board of Publication.
The concurrent resolutions declare that "The publications of the Board of Publication and of the Publication Committee should continue to be issued as at present, leaving it to the Board of Publication of the united church to revise these issues and perfect a catalogue for the united church, so as to exclude invidious references to past controversies."
How shall this purgation be effected? Who shall judge and determine what books, and what passages, contain these "invidious references"? The few books that are mainly polemical, and replete with reproaches, accusations, and innuendoes from one side against the other, might be dropped without serious trouble. Occasional books and pamphlets on either side, mainly designed to put the other in the wrong with respect to the division in 1837 may be of this character." But the difficulty respects books of another kind. They are
valuable contributions to theology, doctrinal, practical, experimental, casuistical, to the cause of our common Presbyterianism and Christianity. Yet they may contain passages here and there tinged by the controversies of the time when they were written, and which are decidedly offensive and seem "invidious" to the parties against whom they are aimed, or on whom they reflect. What shall be done with such passages? Shall they receive the imprimatur of the new Board of Publication, especially, if any earnestly object? But if not, who shall decide which passages ought to be weeded out, and who will undertake the work of revision and elimination? We do not envy the makers of that Index Expurgatorius, whoever they may be. Besides, the authors of most of these books are in their graves. Have we a right to make such alterations without the author's consent, whether he be dead or living? If not, shall their works be suppressed—and shall the church melt the stereotype plates containing so precious a portion of her literature?
It seems to us there is one and but one way out of these difficulties. That is plain and simple. Let all issues of the Board of Publication and Publication Committee respectively prior to the time of consolidation, be published afterward, as heretofore, with the imprint of the Board or Committee which originally published them. Let all subsequent issues be published with the imprint of the new Board. Then the new Board will be responsible only for what it expressly sanctions. The previous issues will simply bear the sanction of the bodies which published them. If they contain any thing objectionable to either side, they will pass for what they are worth, and will show who have been their real indorsers. The few books and tracts which, as a whole, are objurgatory and acrimonious, can be dropped entirely as respects future publication. Catalogues can be constructed accordingly, crediting to the several Boards and Committees, past and future, the works respectively issued by each.
Thus every good end will be answered, which the offensive and "invidious" work of clearing books of "invidious references to past controversies" will be avoided.
3. Theological Seminaries.
There is no doubt that one of the chief sources of the repugnance to re-union which remained to the last, if it does not still linger, in some parts of the church, is to be found in the attitude in which it places the theological seminaries of the respective branches of the church. The fact that it invests the branch lately New School with a full share in the legal control of the seminaries of the other branch, because these are all by their charters placed under Assembly supervision, while it leaves those of the other body entirely independent of the Assembly, and of all supervision by any portion of the late O. S. church, except such as they may please to elect into their Boards of direction, involves an inequality which has been more deeply felt than expressed, especially by some of the principal donors to the funds of Princeton and other Old School seminaries. This is so serious a matter, that the importance of some provision to meet it has been felt by right-minded men on all sides. It has found utterance in the following among the "concurrent declarations" adopted, with nearly complete unanimity, by both branches of the church.
"ART. 9. In order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision, those theological seminaries that are now under Assembly control may, if their Boards of direction so elect, be transferred to the watch and care of one or more of the adjacent Synods; and the other seminaries are advised to introduce, as far as may be, into their constitutions, the principle of synodical or assembly supervision; in which case they shall be entitled to an official recognition or approbation on the part of the General Assembly."
This contemplates a "uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision" of our theological seminaries as desirable, and what we ought to seek, and it indicates the way to its attainment. In this we cordially agree. We think this unification can and ought to be accomplished. The process seems to us very simple-substantially as follows:
Let the Assembly confide the supervision and control of the seminaries now under its control to their respective Boards. of direction, as now, with simply these alterations: 1. That these Boards shall nominate persons to fill their own vacancies to the Assembly for confirmation; 2. That they shall arrange the professorships, and appoint the professors, subject to rati
fication by the Assembly. Thus this body by its veto power, will retain control sufficiently to keep out all unsound and unsuitable persons from these important posts, while the active duty of finding suitable nominees will devolve on the body most conversant with their wants-a body far better qualified for the task, we hazard nothing in saying, than a large assembly, gathered for a few days from the "whole boundless continent," can be. We prefer this to mere synodical supervision, 1. Because a considerable portion of the funds of Princeton Seminary are vested legally in the Assembly, and might be imperilled if this should give up all supervision and control. 2. For the purpose of uniformity, the Assembly is more adequate than Synods. The Synods may happen to be larger or smaller, of greater or less weight and fitness for such a trust; more or less narrow and provincial, or broad and catholic, in their sympathies with the whole church. One Synod may be poor. Another may mass in itself much of the surplus wealth of the church, which ought to help nourish and endow all her seminaries, instead of being the peculium of any one. 3. It being only in case of manifest unfitness that the veto power of the church should interfere, and candidates being liable to be found in all parts of the church, the Assembly is the best body for that sort of supervision. This would suffice for unification so far as the seminaries heretofore of the Old School branch are concerned.
It seems to us that it cannot be difficult for the seminaries of the other branch to reach substantially the same platform. They, of course, can report annually to the Assemblies. Without knowing all the details of their present charters, we presume there is no insuperable obstacle to their making the simple by-law that all their elections to fill vacancies in the Board or Boards of oversight and direction, also of professors, shall be submitted to the Assembly for approval before they are finally ratified. If the charters now forbid such an arrangement, doubtless alterations could easily be obtained which would admit of it, or something equivalent.
This, of course, must rest with the managers of these seminaries themselves. They have full legal power to prevent it, if they please. We have no doubt they can substantially
accomplish it, if they please. And they will, of course, act their own pleasure. But from their known fairness of character, the prominent part they have taken in promoting reunion upon the avowed basis of perfect equality on both sides, the vast importance of the complete unification of the church in this great department of ministerial training, second in moment to no other; its bearing on the promotion of complete mutual confidence, the suppression of jealousies and fears of undue advantage given to or taken by one side as against another, we cannot but think those who have the power and responsibility will be ready to do their utmost "in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision" of these institutions. If we have not indicated the best way, they will be quick to find and adopt a "more excellent way." Sure we are, that they will not set up any mere legal technicality as a barrier to so momentous a result. We cannot doubt their will to put all the seminaries on a substantial equality in the premises. And doubtless the result will prove, that "where there is a will there is a way," and that thus all our seminaries "shall be entitled to an official recognition or approbation ou the part of the General Assembly."
Auburn Seminary is now under the supervision of several adjacent Synods, and of course falls within this class, so "entitled to official recognition or approbation." We presume that if all the other seminaries shall come upon one and the same footing, her guardians will cheerfully consider the question whether any further steps are necessary on their part "in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision."
ART. VIII.-Recent Publications on the School Question.
1. History of the Public School Society of the City of New York, with Portraits of the Presidents of the Society. By WM. OLAND BOURNE, A. M. New York: Wm. Wood & Co., 61 Walker Street.