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which is pre-human. The evil that starts here cannot be detached from that providence which rules everywhere. It makes a dark scene of the unfolding plan. It projects itself into the human course almost at the starting-point, and runs its tragic race through all the generations of mankind.
We cannot, with some, resolve this evil into only " the shady side of good,” or a “vanishing negative,” the mere “dust of progress.” It is an appalling positive, and thus far, it is the dominant phase of history. The problem of suffering is easily solved by the presence of sin. But whence and why came this sin ? From the moral freedom of the creature and that infinite permissive wisdom and benevolence which the true idea of theism involves, a wisdom and benevolence which the works of creation everywhere proclaim, and of which the written revelation is still more full and expressive.
The influence of the evil angels or spirits upon the destiny of man is most evident and positive. It has changed the whole course of history. To accomplish his purposes, the prince of these powers of the air darkens the understanding, perverts the judgment, debases the will, and sows the seeds of discontent and strife. He is not mortal, like men, nor eternal, like God: possessing superhuman power, he is not omnipotent; moving with spirit-speed, he is not omniscient. His power is limited by a threefold barrier; the fiviteness of his own nature, the connection of canse and effect, and God's perfect control. Beyond any one of these he cannot take a single step.
Twesten portrays with a graphic pen, the characteristics of this peculiar personage:
" He possesses an' understanding which misapprehends exactly that which is most worthy to be known, without which nothing can be understood in its true relations; a mind darkened, however deep it may penetrate, and however wide it may reach. Torn away from the centre of life, and never finding it in him. self, he is necessarily unblessed. Continually driven to the exterior world, from a sense of inward emptiness, yet with it, as with himself, in eternal contradiction; forever fleeing from God, yet never able to escape him; constantly labor. ing to frustrate his designs, yet always conscious of being obliged, in the end, to promote them. Instead of hope, a perpetual wavering between doubt and despair; instead of love, a powerless hatred against God, against his fellow. beings, and against himself.”
Here are the three great factors of the providential course -God, man, and the angels--with their characteristics and relations. One is purely wise and good; another is a mixture of good and evil; and a portion of the third is purely evil. The divine is always the dominant; the satanic ever the resistant. The human is partly with the one and partly with the other, with a providential movement, slow but sure, back from the starting point of evil, through the coming conqueror, toward the triumph of the true, the beautiful, and the good.
Art. VI.- The General Assembly.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America, convened in the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, on Thursday, May 19th, at 11 A. M.
Being the first General Assembly of the re-united church its proceedings were regarded with extraordinary interest, not only on account of the magnitude, the new composition, and circumstances of the body, but on account of the many grave and delicate questions of readjustment and reconstruction to be decided by it.
According to the plan of re-union, as adopted, both Moderators of the bodies now united presided jointly, until the election of a new Moderator was effected—the Rev. Dr. Fowler preaching the sermon, and the Rev. Dr. Jacobus performing all other duties of the office. Dr. Fowler preached from Eph. iv. 4: “ There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling."
Among the many pertinent suggestions of this discourse, in regard to the best means of promoting the unity, purity, growth, and efficiency of the united church, we note one, which we trust will not be forgotten. He said :
" The great doctrines of grace are committed to our stewardship. It devolves on us to keep and dispense them. Our Baptist brethren, who profess them, are occupied with the mode and subjects of baptism, and our Congregational brethren
with their church policy. If Calvinism is cared for, it must be by us, and care for it we will. With all our hearts we embrace it. If not the whole of Christianity, nor the whole of the substance of Christianity, it is indispensable to Christianity. If not the entire soul of the Gospel system of truth, it is its spine, and upholds it. And never was Calvinism more needed than now. The theol. ogy of the day is effeminate and flimsy. We must give it backbone."
We hope this will prove the doctrinal key-note of the Presbyterian Church of the future.
Upon the nomination of Dr. Adams, enforced by a felicitous speech, Rev. J. Trumbull Backus, D. D., of the Presbytery of Albany, was appointed Moderator by acclamation, and, in his difficult and delicate position, presided to the entire satisfaction of all parties. With the like unanimity Rev. E. F. Hatfield, D. D., of New York, was elected stated clerk; and the Rev. Cyrus Dickson, D. D., of Baltimore, permanent clerk. Dr. V. D. Reed, Judge McCoy, and Mr. Ezra S. Kingsley were appointed temporary clerks. A resolution complimentary to the former clerks of each Assembly, not re-elected, was unanimously passed. It was impossible, without doubling the force, to make places for them in the united Assembly. While abundantly satisfied with the gentlemen elected, we should have been glad if some way could have been devised by which the church could have still availed itself of the services of its former able and accomplished clerks.
Reports of the various committees appointed in Pittsburgh on re-construction, the boards, and other matters requiring adjustment in the re-united church were heard, docketed, and disposed of in their order. These consumed nearly the whole time of this unusually protracted session of the body. We can only refer to them in their order when we treat of the final disposal of them by the Assembly. Indeed, we can at most barely touch on a few of the most salient or controverted points.
Christianity and Common Schools. The subjoined resolutions, accompanied by an able report from Dr. Prentiss, chairman of the committee on the subject, were enthusiastically adopted by the Assembly. They confirm the judgment we expressed in our last number, as to the drift of the Protestant and Evangelical mind of the country on this great subject.
"1. Resolved, That the General Assembly regard the free public school as an essential part of our republican system, as conducive in the highest degree to the moral unity, common spirit, and kindly sympathies of American citizenship, and as closely connected with all the best interests of Christian society in the United States.
"2. Resolved, That in the judgment of the General Assembly the divorce of popular education from all religious elements, while involving a radical departure from the spirit and principles in which our public school had its origin, would be eminently unwise, unjust, and a moral calamity to the nation.
"3. Resolved, That the General Assembly are also entirely opposed to the appropriation of any portion of the public school funds for the support of sectarian institutions, and would regard the establishment of such a policy as fraught with the greatest mischief, not only to the cause of popular education, but hardly less to the interests of American freedom, unity, and progress.
“4. Resolved, That whereas the Bible is not only the Magna Charta of the spirit'ual rights and liberties of mankind, but is also pre-eminently our National Book, the best model of our mother tongue, and the fountain of our highest thonght and of our ruling ideas, both in private and public life, the General Assembly would regard its expulsion from the schools of the people as a deplorable and suicidal act; nor can they perceive that any real advantage could thereby be gained to the cause of popular education.
"5. Resolved, That the General Assembly, conscious of being actuated in this matter by no other motive than the greatest good of the whole country, hereby profess their readiness to co-operate with all Christian people, of whatever name, and with all good citizens, in so modifying and perfecting our noble public school system, as to obviate as far as practicable the conscientious scruples and difficulties of any of its friends, and thus to render it a fountain of still greater light and benediction to us and our children after us to the latest generation.”
We wish we also had room for Dr. Prentiss' eloquent report on the subject. Laying of the corner-stone of Reunion Hall in the College
of New Jersey. The following document was presented to the Asseinbly :
" PHILADELPHIA, May 20, 1870. " To the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of America :
"The trustees of the College of New Jersey are about to erect a suite of rooms to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of students, and intend to call the building Reunion Hall,' in honor of the re-union of the two branches of the Presbyterian Church, and it will be deemed a very great favor by the trustees and faculty if the General Assembly will make an arrangement to lay the cornerstone of the hall at a time it may appoint. It may be interesting to the members of the Assembly to know that we have at present a larger pumber of ministers'
VOL. XLII.NO. III. 28
sons and of young men studying for the ministry than we have ever had in our old college, and it is believed that the interests of religiou will be subserved by thus countenancing us on this occasion.
“ JAJES McCosy,
President of the College, "HENRY W. GREEN, G. W. MUSGRAVE, Joux C. BACKUS, CYRUS DICKSON."
Judge Wm. Strong: Mr. Moderator: I move yon, sir, that a delegation of twenty members of this Assembly, to be appointed by the Moderator, be sent to attend the laying of this corner-stone on the 28th inst., one week from to-morrow.
I need hardly say, sir, that a more interesting ceremony can hardly be devised. As Presbyterians we are deeply interested in the College of New Jersey.
It is our institution more than any other collegiate institution of the country. It well befits us, therefore, I think, sir, to attend the ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of a new building to be dominated Re-union Hall. My motion, therefore, is for a delegation of twenty menibers of this Assembly, to be appointed by the Moderator, to attend the laying of that corner-stone, and that the day be fixed for the 28th inst., to-morrow week.
Dr. BREED: I would make an amendment. In addition to the delegation of twenty, I move that any others be sent who may choose to accompany them.
The motion as amended was passed.
On Saturday, May 28th, from two hundred and fifty to three hundred of members and others connected with the Assembly, came up from Philadelphia to Princeton, to participate in this solemn and significant ceremony. The corner-stone was laid with due solemnity by Dr. Backus, the Moderator. Happy addresses were then made by him, Drs. Adams and Jacobus, by Judge Strong, and Hon. Wm. E. Dodge; and at the collation by Drs. Prentiss, Nelson, R. Patterson, Prof. Stoever, Hon. S. F. B. Morse, Hon. J. McKnight, and others. The interest of the occasion was enhanced by the unusual religious attention which has prevailed of late among the students. We trust that the Re-union of which it is a monument will prove lasting and happy, on foundations of truth and piety, more lasting than the rock of which the edifice is built; and