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field, and Judge Strong, as having been contemplated by the Assemblies at Pittsburgh, as being within the constitutional prerogative of the Assembly, and as necessary to expedite reconstruction. It was earnestly opposed by Dr. Spear, Judge Haines, and others, as unconstitutional, and inexpedient because impossible to be done by the Assembly with competent knowledge of what the boundaries of the Presbyteries ought to be. These reasons prevailed with the majority. As to the constitutional question, we do not doubt, we do not believe a majority of the Assembly doubted, that, although the constitution expressly gives this authority to Synods, yet, in the absence of any express self-imposed prohibition, it also leaves it potentially in the Assembly as the original repository of the folness of the whole church's power, to be exercised, if need be, in extraordinary emergencies. But we quite concur with the large majority who, aside of constitutional scruples, regarded this course as inexpedient in the present case, not only because the Assembly was so ill-qualified to do the work, but because such large numbers questioned its constitutionality.
Basis and Ratio of Representation. Perhaps there is no subject in regard to which there is a more universal conviction that some change ought to be made, and so little agreement and certainty as to how it should be made, as that which respects the ratio of representation. All agree, with scarce an exception, that the body under the present ratio of representation is too large for convenient dispatch of business, and for the endurance of ordinary, practicable hospitality. The reconstruction committee at first recommended Synodical representation, which has the great merit of surely accomplishing the object through existing organizations of the church. But they found it unacceptable to the church, which is strongly wedded to Preshyterial representation, from immemorial habit and other grave considerations. We confess that we prefer this, not from any scruples respecting the constitutionality of Synodical representation, but because we think the Presbyteries are more suitable bodies to elect commissioners, if a method of apportionment can be
found satisfactory to them, which will reduce the Assemblies to proper dimensions. Viewing the whole case, the Reconstruction Committee at last recommended that the commis. sioners be elected by Presbyteries in the ratio of one for every twenty, or fraction of twenty, ministers, and in case of any odd number of delegates from any Presbytery, the odd member to be in alternate years, first a minister, then a ruling elder, all even pairs to consist of one minister and one elder.
The discussion of the ratio soon brought into debate the basis of representation. The Scotch, Irish, and we believe the English delegates, when inquired of, reported that in the bodies represented by them, no ministers were voting members of Presbyteries, or eligible to the General Assembly, except pastors and theological professors, unless as ruling elders, to which office ministers without charge are often elected in the congregations to which they belong. Then some proposed to make the number of churches, others of church-members, in a Presbytery, the basis of its ratio of representation in the General Assembly.
It soon became evident that no satisfactory solution of the matter could be reached without thorough discussion of these subjects, some of thein new to many of the body, and that there was no time for the due consideration of theia during the present session of the Assembly. No change in the ratio was therefore made, and the whole subject was referred to the next General Assembly. This was better than a hasty and crude decision now. It is, moreover, hoped that the union and reconstruction of old Presbyteries will reduce their number and afford some relief. We have no doubt, however, of the absolute necessity of some change in our large and rapidly growing church in the ratio of representation, in order to prevent the body from getting huge and unwieldy.
Some alterations of the constitution were proposed by the committee, and ordered by the house to be referred to the Presbyteries for ratification.
The principal of these were, that no Presbytery should consist of less than five members; and for the relief of the General Assembly in the dispatch of business, and to discourage pertinacious litigation in the church courts, that all bills,
references, and complaints terminate at the Synods, except in questions of constitutional law or the trial of a minister for heresy in doctrine. This latter it is proposed to accomplish by an alteration in the constitution in the following forn :
"In the Form of Government, Chapter XII., Section 4, add to the first sentence, at its close, the following words, “AND WHICH RELATE EXCLUSIVELY tn the construction of the Constitution, or to the trial of a Minister for heresy in doctrine."
These amendments are so wholesoine, yea, indispensable, that they can hardly fail to secure the requisite Presbyterial ratification.
Theological Seminaries. One subject on which important portions of the church have been much exercised, has been the relation of the theological seminaries to the General Assembly, and the placing of them all, so far as their charters and legal obligations would permit, upon a common basis in this respect. In order to this, the brief suggestions thrown out in our April number appear to have been carried into effect by the Assembly, as they had previously met with the approbation of all parts of the church. The Board of Directors of Princeton Seminary unanimously proposed to the Assembly to submit the control of the seminary and the filling of vacancies in its chairs to themselves, subject only to the veto of the Assembly. The Board of Trustees of Union Seminary of New York proposed to the Assembly to submit their own clection of professors to the veto of the Assembly. The way was thus prepared, under the discreet leadership of Dr. Adams, for the following ulti. mate disposal of the subject, with the utmost unaniinity and cordiality—a result in which we are sure all parties will rejoice:
"1. Accepting the offer so generously made by the Directors of the Union Theological Seminary in New York, a seminary independent hitherto of all direct ecclesiastical control, to invest the General Assembly with the right of a veto in the election of professors in that institution, this Assembly would invite all those Theological Seminaries, not now under the control of the General Assembly, to adopt at their earliest convenience, the same rule and method, to the end, that throughout the whole Presbyterian Church there may be uniform and complete confidence in those intrusted with the training of our candidates for the min. istry.
“2. That the several Boards of Directors of those seminaries which are now
under the control of the General Assembly, shall be authorized to elect, suspend, and displace the professors of the seminaries under their care, subject in all cases to the veto of the General Assembly, to whom they shall annually make a full report of their proceedings, and to whom their minutes shall be submitted when. ever the Assembly shall require them to be produced. These Boards shall further be authorized to fix the salaries of the professors, and to fill their own vacancies, subject in all cases to the veto of the General Assembly.
"3. That a committee of five be appointed by the Assembly to propose such alterations in the plans of the seminaries now under the control of the Assembly, as shall be deemed necessary to carry into effect the principles above stated, and and that said committee report to this or to the next succeeding Assembly.
"4. In case the Board of Directors of any theological seminary now under the control of the General Assembly, should prefer to retain their present relation to this body, the plan of such seminary shall remain unaltered.”
The Assembly also approved of the action of the Directors of Princeton Seminary, increasing their salaries from $2,666 to $3,000.
Since writing the foregoing, we have seen the election of the persons named below, to fill vacancies in the Board of Directors in Princeton Seminary, being nearly all persons who have long and worthily filled the office, held forth as a “strange exception” to the course pursued in regard to the election of trustees of the General Assembly and directors of the Seminary of the Northwest; because the Assembly did not drop from their places these old and honored guardians of the seminary, and put New School men in their place. We knew nothing about the vacancies or the election to fill them until we saw the account of it in the published proceedings of the Assembly. The names are the following :
Ministers: William D. Snodgrass, D. D., Joseph McElroy, D. D., G. W. Mus. grave, D. D., Robert Hammill, D. D., Joseph T. Smith, D. D., Robert Davidson, D. D., Gardiner Spring, D.D. Elders : Robert Carter, John K. Finlay, George Sbarswood, LL. D., Thomas C. M. Paton, to fill the place of Moses Allen.
For ourselves we should have considered it a "strange exception” to the plan for the unification of our theological seminaries, had they been dropped without their own voluntary resignation. Would it be in keeping with the spirit of that plan for the other side to demand that a like number of the venerated guardians of Union or Auburn seminary should resign to make room for others, perhaps more strongly attach
ed and devoted to other seminaries? We are not disposed to censure the Assembly in this matter.
In regard to Chicago Seininary the case is different. That institution still chooses to retain its former relation to the Assembly unaltered. Its intestine fends, revived unhappily into fresh violence, demand the interposition of the Assembly, and the infusion of new elements into its board of direction. Rev. Dr. Prentiss, of New York, was chosen to its vacant professorship of theology. We trust this will serve to put an end to its strifes. Dr. West was transferred to the chair of Theology, and Rev. S. H. McMullin elected Professor of Biblical and Ecclesiastical History; Rev. G. D. Archibald, D.D., of Pastoral Theology and Church Government in Danville Seminary.
It was agreed that the agencies and capital for publication, heretofore owned by both bodies, should be combined in one, under the charter and corporate title of the Presbyterian Board of Publication ; that it should be located in Philadel. phia ; that adequate buildings and other acconimodations for its publishing operations should be put upon the property owned and used by the New School for this purpose, and that the edifice of the Old School, 821 Chestnut Street, be sold, as wholly insufficient and unsuited to the business. The location of the Board of Education for the united body was also fixed in Philadelphia. The New School Board of Church Extension, having a charter from the State of New York, under which it holds a large amount of funds, and that of the Old School, having no such charter or funds, it was agreed to combine them both under the charter of the New School, and to locate them in New York. The Committee on Freedmen was continued for the present at Pittsburgh.
We should be glad to say something on the projected five million memorial fund, the function of the financial committee, the proposition to have one financial board and treasury, to superintend all the fiscal affairs of the church, gathering all the receipts, and distributing to each evangelic department a portion in due season. These and other topics which we omit entirely would each justify an article. But we have no room. We shall recur to them, and to any other