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of its prudential committee, consisting of not more than ten members, and living in Boston or its adjacent suburbs. The Board itself, with great numbers of its supporters, whose spirit it aims at once to reflect and guide, meet once a year, and once only. It then fills vacancies, chooses its prudential committee and other executive officers, and gives such directions to them, as it may judge requisite. Here, in fact, is a committing of the whole business to the supervision of a small but competent body of men, who are annually made immediately respon sible to the appointing Board, and, through them, to the great constituent body of contributors for whom this Board acts.
With us this responsibility is not to an unorganized body of contributors, but to the organized church, acting in her organic capacity, through her supreme judicatory, and thus enabled to make herself immediately and officially felt in guiding or correcting the policy of any of her Boards of evangelism. If the business of the several Boards, then, must be done under the supervision of men living at or convenient to their places of business, let them be composed of the most competent men living there, and let these be responsible, not mediately through a large and scattered Board that never meets, but immediately to the General Assembly. This is the surest way to unity, efficiency, intelligence, and fidelity of management; the most complete responsibility to the church; and the adop tion of the best means for inspiring and organizing the benev olence of the whole body. This change in the composition of our Boards, therefore, seems to us judicious and salutary. The Assembly has ordered an investigation, with instructions to report to the next Assembly, as to the best means for proper local assistant agencies, so that efficient influence may be propagated from the centre to the circumference of the church.
In this department, as the Old School had a chartered Board with the requisite property and agencies for conducting missions among the heathen, while the other branch had operated wholly through the American Board, it was only necessary that the re-united church should adopt as their own the organization already in being for this purpose. In accordance with
the principles already explained, they reduced the number of the Board to fifteen, to be divided into classes of five each, whose terms of office severally expire every third year, five of the number to constitute a quorum. For reasons which we need not state, we deviate from our usual course and give the list of the members of this Board appointed by the Assembly. We think it will commend itself to the church :
First Class, 1870-1873.- James Lenox, Esq., Robert L. Stuart, Esq., Hon. Wm. E. Dodge, Rev. Wm. Adams, D. D., Rev. J. O. Murray, D. D.
Second Class, 1870-1872.-Rev. Geo. L. Prentiss, D. D., Rev. Chas. K. Imbrie, D. D., David Oliphant, Esq., Walter S. Griffith, Esq., Rev. Robert R. Booth, D. D. Third Class, 1870-1871.-Robert Carter, Esq., Robert Jaffray, Esq., Rev. Wm. M. Paxton, D. D., Rev. John D. Wells, D. D., Ezra L. Kingsley, Esq.
Only two points connected specially with this subject awakened much discussion. Of these, the first related to the transfer of the foreign missionary connections of the late New School branch from the American Board. In regard to this it is obvious, 1. That this portion of the church will not at once universally cease their contributions to the American Board. Old habits, tender attachments, and sacred associations will prevent the immediate completion of this transfer. Portions and members of some Old School churches continued to contribute to the American Board till a very recent period. 2. Our brethren of the other branch have in good faith concluded to co-operate with us in putting missions upon an ecclesiastical and Presbyterian platform, in supporting and working through the Presbyterian Board, and in bringing their ministry and churches to promote the cause through this channel as rapidly and generally as is practicable. 3. It is only right that as they withdraw their contributions from the American Board to the Presbyterian Board, the latter should assume the support and control of some of the missions heretofore sustained by the contributions so withdrawn. 4. In this transition state it must inevitably happen that some temporary anomalies will occur, which must be charitably borne with until, in due course of things, the working of the Presbyterial system will bring all parties involved into harmony with it. After hearing the report of the committee appointed by the New School Assembly to confer with the American Board,
action was adopted in substantial conformity to the foregoing views, and the same committee was continued further to mature negotiations now in progress, and to report to the next Assembly.
Evangelizing the Indians, Policy of the Government, Political Deliverances by the Assembly.
One of the resolutions recommended to the Assembly for adoption, by its standing committee on the subject, was the following:
"That the Assembly views with deep concern the unevangelized condition of the aboriginal population of our land, and deprecates the increasing tendency among many of our citizens to treat them as a race to be exterminated, rather than as the proper objects of Christian effort, to be thereby civilized and gathered into the fold of Christ; and the Assembly hereby authorizes the Board of Missions to put forth its utmost efforts to accomplish this humane and benignant purpose."
This commanded the general if not unanimous acquiescence of the Assembly, and was finally carried. Dr. Howard Crosby offered the following amendment to it, which was rejected :—
"That we heartily indorse the peaceful and Christian policy of the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior, and the other officers of the government toward the Indian tribes within our borders, and trust that the humane and thoughtful of the land will join us in sustaining the hands of our President and government in this important action."
Dr. Crosby, Hon. Wm. E. Dodge, and others supported this on the ground that the government, especially those most responsible for its present humane policy, are entitled to the support and co-operation of the Christian people of the country. Dr. Beatty, Dr. Musgrave, and others, while avowing themselves republicans who voted for General Grant, and agreeing with every word of the amendment, were nevertheless strenuously opposed to its adoption by the Assembly. They regarded it as a beginning and precedent for political deliverances by the united church, which might work great mischief in the future. Some proposed a compromise, by leaving out the words "President," "Secretary of the Interior," etc., and commending "the peaceful policy of the the government," or like softened phrase. Dr. Crosby, how
ever, said this would be "taking the blade out of the knife." The following speech of Dr. Musgrave made a clear and simple issue of the whole matter.
"I have listened to this amendment with great concern. You all know what bitter fruit resulted from what were called the political deliverances of, the General Assembly in past times. I hope, sir, that we shall not renew this thing and make any deliverance whatever on political subjects. It is not our province. We establish a mischievous precedent; we excite the ill-will and the jealousy of a large portion of the community. And no matter how we deliver ourselves on any political subject, we shall be met by opposition.
"Now, sir, the resolution that was proposed by the committee, it seems to me, covers the whole ground. It is well, in my judgment, that this Assembly should take no action with reference to General Grant, and his Secretary, or any particular line of policy which any political party may pursue. Now I may speak with freedom on this subject, because I am what politicians call a Republican. But, sir, I don't want my church to indorse Republicanism. I voted for General Grant heartily, but I don't want this church to say any thing in favor of General Grant's policy. Let us have done with politics. We cannot handle it without damage to the cross of Christ. And what good will come of it? We can act in our capacity as citizens.
"We can have a convention whenever we like or a public meeting, and as citizens express our approbation or disapprobation of any political measure. But let the church of the Lord Jesus Christ stand aloof from all party politics. As I should deprecate any deliverance in the Assembly on the subject of politics, I shall vote heartily against this amendment, and for that resolution of the committee which tends to advance the interests of the church we have at heart."
Dr. Crosby's amendment was accordingly lost by a large majority. A subsequent motion to strike out the clause against "extermination of the Indians," as being also political was advocated on the ground of consistency. It, however, utterly failed. Dr. McCosh said :
"I think the language in the report has been well weighed. It covers every point. I certainly wish to do away with the impression that those who may have voted for laying the amendments on the table, do by that mean to indicate that they approve in any manner of the exterminating policy.
"I think the clause that is put in this motion by your committee fills every object you have in view.
"It simply recognizes the need of evangelizing measures, and I confess I could not vote for that motion unless it contained all it does contain. It sets itself up against that feeling which is abroad in the scientific world, and which is propagated by a large portion of the public press, that the inferior races ought to be exterminated, and give way to the superior. That is not the law save as regards animals; not the law with regard to man, as established by our Divine Redeemer. His law is that weakness should conquer strength; that the suffering Redeemer should rise up to protect the weaker against the strong. It is the
special function of the church to carry out this law. This Assembly is doing this great work when it passes this motion, by thus throwing a protection over that race, and assisting in the great work of evangelizing them."
The article of the report was carried, as it originally stood. We believe the Assembly in this whole matter was divinely guided, and is in a far safer position than it would have been, had the contrary action been taken.
The relation of the church and of religion to politics is still greatly confused in multitudes of minds. And yet we apprehend that the difference is far less as to the principle involved than its applications. Is the church to shrink from the maintenance or affirmation of any principle or truth of morality or religion, because any political party opposes or advocates it, or because such truth has in any way became entangled with politics? What Christian will say so, or give place to such a doctrine for an hour? Is she to be muzzled in speaking for truth, honesty, humanity, faith, repentance, regeneration, the Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Eternal Judgment, or against Popery, Socinianism, Scepticism, for any such reason? Never, never. But then when the question arises as to the concrete methods adopted by any political party for carrying out or furthering these principles, we get into a region of expediency about which the best of men may differ, and do honestly differ. We get into a region in which these men may and ought, outside of the church, to adopt such measures as seem to them best adapted to carry into effect their convictions. We get into a region befogged, and befouled by all the passions which debase party politics. If we attempt to erect them into church deliverances, we introduce these passions into the church. As private Christians or citizens, let Christians uphold whatever administrations, officers, and measures they may judge right. But let them not undertake to make them deliverances of the Church of God, or to sustain them by such deliverances. If the advocates of the President may seek this sanction, so also may his opponents, until the church is engaged in an endless wrangle on matters essentially secular, and heart-burnings, alienations, strifes, divisions, and secessions are the baleful consequence.
The debates on this very subject in the Assembly itself, in