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comport with their amended polity, proceeded to repudiate their principles by arresting appeals at the Synod. Thus they either denied the right of the one whole church, throughout the bounds of the General Assembly, to sit in judgmentover each smaller part of it, and so doing discarded their system; or they radically changed the idea of a whole Presbyterian church, making each Synod such. Within a few years the loose method in which these amendments were made, and the resuscitated Presbyterianism of that body, have led them to set aside these changes and return to the Book as it was.

Such have been the results of attempting to combine two radically diverse systems. It was an unwise policy, as dangerous to Presbyterianism as it was embarrassing to Congregationalism. New cloth was put to an old garment, and the rent is made worse. Incapable of amalgamating, the two should have learned from the first to stand each on its own ground and character, in the true union of sympathy in a common Christian faith and work. Had that policy prevailed for the last half century, there would have been to-day more Congregationalism out of New England than in it, and more than there now is of genuine reliable Presbyterianism in the Northwest.

It is a pathetic question for that portion of Northwestern Presbyterianism which is in sympathy with the system, what it shall do with itself. Its longing for reunion with the one only genuinely Presbyterian body is rising continually. It feels itself away from its home-but how to get thither? The doctrinal barriers, though as high now as in 1837, would not stop it. But here lies the difficulty, how to carry with them to the Canaan of an Old School connection the spoils of New England, with which their churches are filled. The churches will not go_there. Very widely the same affliction prevails which the Rochester Presbytery has of a long time felt-unwilling to go to New-Schoolism, because that is not Presbyterianism; and unable to go to Old-Schoolism, because their churches are too far New Englandized to accompany them. And so they wander yet in the wilderness. There is a way, but one of too much self-denial to be yet adopted. Let the churches throughout the West follow their real affinities-each tribe to its own tents. An alien element in any connection is no gain, but an incumbrance. We go for an exchange of prisoners, and a recurrence in principles to the status ante bellum.

We have dwelt thus on this topic, because we believe that the service for which the Convention deserves thanks from all

quarters is its action on the Plan of Union. Obsolete as it generally became, it still lay heavy in its influences on the churches of both denominations in the West. In pronouncing a deliberate conviction of its partial and perverted working, and in counseling a firm and enlightened adherence to Congregationalism, the Convention did much toward clearing the way for frank and generous relations between bodies which could not coalesce, and whose systems could have no fusion but a confusion. And if any apology seem needful for our freedom in thus dealing with the relations of this matter, it lies in this, that only plain speech is suited to plain facts.

It only remains to notice two other important topics, more briefly than they deserve.

It could not fail to be an office of great delicacy, which the American Home Missionary Society held, of distributing aid from a common treasury to churches of each order on the field of their contact. No strange thing has happened to that Society that it has met with perplexities and jealous constructions. ' Rules of procedure could not be so equal, nor their application so impartial, as always to meet with acceptance in such a posture of affairs. Complaints of this nature, together with the recent action of the New School Assembly, and the fear, entertained by some, but shown in the event to have been groundless, that some counter scheme of church-extension involving the Home Missionary Society would be urged on the Convention, had turned many hearts with deep interest toward its deliberations.

Instead of being alienated from that Society, or in any measure cooled in their regard, it was made evident in the Convention that never did Congregationalists throughout the country cherish it with so entire confidence and so lively benevolence. Christian magnanimity has not many instances to show like the Home Missionary enterprise. Where else has been witnessed such generous and constant benevolence, so forgetful of cherished preferences, as the New England churches have long shown in this work? In a partnership every way unequal, giving most and sharing least, they have counted it enough if Christ were preached and Christian work were done. Their support has been liberal, cordial, unsuspicious. It was for others, contributing less and profiting most, to find fault with the action of this Society, and add to the embarrassment of its position.

And Slavery too must have tribute of the Convention. What action would be asked ? what granted ? A wide range of sentiment and desire was represented in the body. And the VOL. XI.


question was complicated by its special relations to the Home Missionary Society. It was in this aspect chiefly the Convention was to deal with it. Some dreaded any action, and the more as the body possessed no directive power over that Society. Others deprecated inaction, as endangering the adherence of the churches. The result gives us reason to believe that the solicitude, on all sides, touching this question, allied itself to prayer, which won a result that was not of men, temperate, uncompromising, pure and peaceful. And the discus- . sion, in its very different phases as it advanced, and in its issue, is a study for all Christian assemblies.

The course of the Home Missionary Society in sustaining Missionaries in slaveholding states has been extensively brought into question. And the effort has been made to construe the Albany Resolution into a condemnation of the Society, as implying that its Missionaries had not dealt faithfully with slavery wherever they had come in contact with it. It involves no such censure. No judgment of facts was attempted, or was possible, by the Convention. It proceeded simply on the ground that a question of principle had been raised, and defined the principle on which labor ought to be conducted by Missionary Societies in slaveholding states.

But now, as to the question of fact, we submit that those who are so free in their assertions against the American Home Missionary Society, and are moving the churches to drop it as an untrustworthy agent, should now at length set in order their specifications of wrong. Watching with much interest and some apprehension, we have yet to hear one definite allegation beyond these two: That the American Home Missionary Society aids in sustaining certain ministers of unimpeached character in churches containing slaveholders : and that, so far as appears, no diminution of slavery has resulted under their labors. We have expected further facts, that should bring these premises into some acquaintance with the conclusion. But what are they, and where ? Are these Missionaries proved defective? Is one of them personally implicated in slavery? Does one of them justify it? Do they fail to preach the Gospel purely and in its application to the sin of slavery, in such measure of frequency and plainness as their Christian discretion directs ? None of these things appears; and we submit that nothing less than such a showing of facts will justify the condemnation of the Society. It ought not to withhold aid from any Missionary in any such church while his faithfulness and discretion are unimpeached. What is it to the purpose to show that slavery is increasing in the South? Or that the general character of the preaching there is not fitted to check it? Bring it home to these Missionaries, or by no Christian or rational rule can they be condemned. As to the statement that no progress has been made in those particular churches toward a clearance from slavery, it might, or might not, prove true; but if true, the logic is quite too saltatory which should thence conclude that the Gospel had not been faithfully preached to them. Who could abide that test? What faithful minister does not deplore the impenitence of whole classes of sinners, protracted under his preaching for a greater length of time ihan any Home Missionary, probably, has labored with any one of those churches ? And no society is authorized or competent to prescribe to a Missionary precisely how he shall proceed against slavery, or any other prevalent sin. Its duty is to set down a man of grace and gifts in the midst of the sin, and bid him, as he shall answer it to a greater than any society, deal truly with it as he best may. No formularies for treating it can be given. Discretion is as gracious as zeal, and wisdom is profitable to direct amid the varying and complicated circumstances, which are sure to beset every such master-work of sin and mischief as slavery is. Prove these men untrue or unwise, then, and by some juster process than presumption from the continuance of the wrong, otherwise the language of the Convention when looking in another direction, applies well to this: " Whereas insinuations and charges have been made against the American Home Missionary Society, frequently too vague in their character and too general and sweeping in their aim, to admit of refutation ; and whereas said Society has thereby suffered in the estimation of many Christians; therefore, it is our duty to frown upon all such accusations, unless their authors or abettors will make specific allegations, and hold themselves responsible for the same."

The churches have already told us how consonant to their judgment and their wish was the Plan for raising a fund of $50,000 for aiding in the erection of church-edifices at the West. How noble is this benefaction ! And its force and worth lie not merely in the much-needed help so rendered, but in cementing the heartfelt fraternity of our churches there and here. These many sanctuaries which will soon rise by this aid at the West, will be so many visible pledges of unity. It is fitting that we set up these stones as a memorial of our passage through the waters that divided us, and as a sign between us and them and between our children and theirs.

With humble and fervent gratitude, not glorying, we look back on the spirit and doings of this Convention. Hitherto

hath God helped us. The issues of its action lie yet in the future, and we shall profit much or little from its counsels as God shall give us grace and wisdom in scenes yet to open. We have defined our position as a Christian denomination-defined it charitably and clearly ; and that position gives us great ad. vantage over any we have held in the past, for efficient and blameless procedure hereafter. We ask but what we concede to every other Christian denomination, to stand on our princi. ples, and give them by the side of any other a fair experiment of their worth. The Lord choose between us and prosper the best agents of His will.

There has appeared in some quarters a disposition to interpret this Convention and much of its action, as a counter-stroke of denominational rivalry, incited by the church-extension movement of the last New School General Assembly. We are not much concerned to follow up these representations, or busy ourselves with refutation. Candor will not accept them, and time, we believe, will best refute them. The analogy between the two is only apparent. But it may be well if these sinister constructions have the effect to forewarn our brethren in the West, where the friction is imminent, and forearm them for developments that may call for much wisdom of love as well as firmness of principle.



New England Theology. From the Church Review for Octo

ber, 1852. 8vo. pp. 12.

Tue Congregational Pastors of New England have been favored, within a few months past, with a tract for the times, which has been distributed to them, gratuitously through the Post-offices, and which purported to be “ from the Church Review for October, 1852.” Some of the beneficaries of this charity, as we happen to know, were heedless enough to throw the little pamphlet aside as if it were not worth the time that would be consumed in reading it. Others gave it a reading, and wondered who it could be that had judged so slender a performance worthy of a distinct publication. Others, finding the

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