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which we make so much in "the pride of life. What difference can we imagine there is now between Krebs and Brainerd, Erskine Mason and James W. Alexander, and all those who have been welcomed by the Lord of glory to His presence out of these two separated Branches of the Church on earth? How are we to account for that physiological fact which has so often come under our professional notice, that as nature dissolves itself into its simplest elements, the moral affections come forth with utmost tenderness and power. Some twenty years ago, when our partisan prejudices were in their first heat and strength, I had a neighbor, eminent for his scholarship and for his legal reputation and office, who was so thoroughly impregnated with theological partialities that he could regard me only with cold distrust and suspicion. For years our intercourse was confined to the most frigid forms of civility. He was seized by painful and fatal illness, during which, at his request, I frequently visited him. Not a word ever passed between us pertaining to different schools and systems. We talked of "the common salvation." All that was rigid and exclusive disappeared. Every thing that was sweet and tender and gentle came forth. How often did he take my hand and kiss it over and over again in fondest affection. The intellectual gave place to the moral the simple affections of the heart asserted their supremacy. Why should we defer till the process of dissolution that union which is sure to be at last through the medium of Christian love? "All my theology," said that sweet saint, Dr. Archibald Alexander, when waiting and listening for the footsteps of his Master, "is reduced to this brief compass- the faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."
My dear Mr. Moderator, pardon my prolixity, and accept the most cordial, fraternal, and Christian salutations for yourself, and the Assembly over which you preside, from those whom we have the honor to represent. God bless you and them in all things! God bless all branches of the Presbyterian Church! God bless all true Christian ministers and men; "all who, in every place, call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours!" In this day of gladness, because of the reunion of the tribes of Israel, let us chant together the jubilant words which the Spirit of God has made ready for our use, " Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact to
gether. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good."
A week had elapsed since the opening of the Assemblies, and on Thursday, the seventh day, the Joint Committee was ready to report. As this was the document upon which both Assemblies agreed in their final action upon Reunion, it is here inserted entire, that it may be conveniently compared with preceding reports on the same subject. It was signed individually by every member of both committees.
REPORT PRESENTED TO THE TWO ASSEMBLIES OF 1869.
The Committee of Conference appointed by the two General Assemblies, have attended to the duties assigned to them; and after a very free interchange of views, with prayer to Almighty God for his guidance, are unanimous in recommending to the Assemblies for their consideration, and, if they see fit, their adoption, the accompanying three papers, to wit:
1. Plan of Reunion of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America;
2. Concurrent Declarations of the General Assemblies of 1869; and,
3. Recommendation of a day of Prayer.
I.PLAN OF REUNION OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Believing that the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom would be promoted by the healing of our divisions, and that the two bodies bearing the same names, having the same Constitution, and each recognizing the other as a sound and orthodox body according to the principles of the Confession common to both, cannot be justified by any but the most imperative reasons in maintaining separate and, in some respects, rival organizations; we are now clearly of the opinion that the reunion of those bodies ought, as soon as the necessary steps can be taken, to be accomplished, upon the basis hereinafter set forth.
1. The Presbyterian Churches in the United States of America, namely, that whose General Assembly convened in the Brick Church in the city of New York, on the 20th day of May, 1869, and that whose General Assembly met in the Church of the Covenant in the said city on the same day, shall be reunited as one Church, under the name and style of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, possessing all the legal and corporate rights and powers pertaining to the Church previous to the division in 1838, and all the legal and corporate rights and powers which the separate churches now possess.
2. The reunion shall be effected on the doctrinal and ecclesiastical basis of our common Standards; the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments shall be acknowledged to be the inspired word of God, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice; the Confession of Faith shall continue to be sincerely received and adopted as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and the government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in the United States shall be approved as containing the principles and rules of our polity.
3. Each of the said Assemblies shall submit the foregoing basis to its presbyteries, which shall be required to meet on or before the 15th day of October, 1869, to express their approval or disapproval of the same, by a categorical answer to the following question:
Do you approve of the reunion of the two bodies now claiming the name and rights of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, on the following basis, namely: "The reunion shall be effected on the doctrinal and ccclesiastical basis of our common Standards; the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments shall be acknowledged to be the inspired word of God, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice; the Confession of Faith shall continue to be sincerely received and adopted as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and the Government and Discipline of the Presbyterian Church in the United States shall be approved as containing the principles and rules of our polity" "?
Each Presbytery shall, before the first day of November, 1869, forward to
the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly with which it is connected, a statement of its vote on the said Basis of Reunion.
4. The said General Assemblies now sitting shall, after finishing their business, adjourn, to meet in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on the second Wednesday of November, 1869, at eleven o'clock, A. M.
If the two General Assemblies shall then find and declare that the abovenamed Basis of Reunion has been approved by two thirds of the Presbyteries connected with each branch of the church, then the same shall be of binding force, and the two Assemblies shall take action accordingly.
5. The said General Assemblies shall then and there make provision for the meeting of the General Assembly of the united church on the third Thursday of May, 1870. The Moderators of the two present Assemblies shall jointly preside at the said Assembly of 1870, until another Moderator is chosen. The Moderator of the Assembly now sitting at the Brick Church aforesaid shall, if present, put all votes and decide questions of order; and the Moderator of the other Assembly shall, if present, preach the opening sermon; and the Stated Clerks of the present Assemblies shall act as Stated Clerks of the Assembly of the united church, until a Stated Clerk or Clerks shall have been chosen thereby; and no Commissioner shall have a right to vote or deliberate in said Assembly until his name shall have been enrolled by the said Clerks, and his commission examined and filed among the papers of the Assembly.
6. Each Presbytery of the separate churches shall be entitled to the same representation in the Assembly of the united church in 1870, as it is entitled to in the Assembly with which it is now connected.
II. CONCURRENT DECLARATIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLIES OF 1869.
As there are matters pertaining to the interests of the Church, when it shall have become reunited, which will manifestly require adjustment on the coming together of two bodies which have so long acted separately, and concerning some of which matters it is highly desirable that there should be a previous good understanding, the two Assemblies agree to adopt the following declarations, not as articles of compact or covenant, but as in their judgment proper and equitable arrangements, to wit:
1. All the ministers and churches embraced in the two bodies should be admitted to the same standing in the united body, which they may have held in their respective connections, up to the consummation of the union. 2. Imperfectly organized churches are counselled and expected to become thoroughly Presbyterian, as early within the period of five years as may be permitted by the highest interests to be consulted; and no other such churches shall be hereafter received.
3. The boundaries of the several Presbyteries and Synods should be adjusted by the General Assembly of the united church.
4. The official records of the two branches of the church for the period of separation should be preserved and held as making up the one history of the church; and no rule or precedent which does not stand approved by both the bodies, should be of any authority until re-established in the united body, except in so far as such rule or precedent may affect the rights of property founded thereon.
5. The corporate rights now held by the two General Assemblies, and by their Boards and Committees, should, as far as practicable, be consolidated, and applied for their several objects, as defined by law.
6. There should be one set of Committees or Boards for Home and Foreign Missions, and the other religious enterprises of the church; which the churches should be encouraged to sustain, though free to cast their contributions into other channels if they desire to do so.
7. As soon as practicable after the union shall have been effected, the General Assembly should reconstruct and consolidate the several Permanent Committees and Boards which now belong to the two Assemblies, so as to represent, as far as possible with impartiality, the views and wishes of the two bodies constituting the united church.
8. 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.
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 and approbation on the part of the General Assembly.
10. It should be regarded as the duty of all our judicatories, ministers, and people in the united church, to study the things which make for peace, and to guard against all needless and offensive references to the causes that have divided us; and in order to avoid the revival of past issues by the continuance of any usage in either branch of the church, that has grown out of former conflicts, it is earnestly recommended to the lower judicatories of the church that they conform their practice in relation to all such usages, as far as is consistent with their convictions of duty, to the general custom of the church prior to the controversies that resulted in the separation.
RECOMMENDATION OF A DAY OF PRAYER.
That the counsels of Infinite Wisdom may guide our decisions, and the blessing of the Great Head of the Church rest upon the result of our efforts