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for Reunion, it is earnestly recommended to the churches throughout both branches of the Presbyterian Church, that they observe the second Sabbath in September, 1869, as a day of fervent and united prayer to Almighty God, that he would grant unto us all "the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord," and in the new relations now contemplated, enable us to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace."
The chief points of difference between this document and the Report of 1868, it will be seen, are these:
It distinguishes several things which before had been confounded in popular apprehension. It does not propose a new Basis for Reunion. The first Report, of the first Joint Committee recommended that the "Reunion shall be effected on the doctrinal and ecclesiastical basis of our common standards." No other basis was ever thought of by any. But this basis, in the first instance, was accompanied by certain terms relating to cognate subjects, such as in the circumstances were thought to be necessary to bring about a good understanding. These terms had been confounded in many minds with the Basis itself. This appeared from the manner in which the different Presbyteries took action on the overture. In the new and last Report, to prevent all confusion, these several matters are carefully distinguished. The Basis stands by itself. It is so framed that the Presbyteries were required to render a categorical answer to the question whether it should be approved or disapproved.
But inasmuch as it was not only desirable but absolutely necessary that some good understanding should be established between Bodies so long separated, those matters which in previous reports had been constituent parts of the compact and terms of covenant are here
put into the form of "concurrent declarations," as being of equal force and value with men of Christian confidence and honor.
Previous conferences, debates, and articles had accomplished their needful service. In regard to the doctrinal article, it was no more necessary that any explanatory clause designed to represent either side, should be introduced. The old qualifications -excellent in their time and place — "as it is accepted by the two bodies," "as it is now maintained in the two bodies," "as they have hitherto been allowed in the separate churches"— are all dropped, and in their place a better expression is introduced into the preamble - satisfactory to all, “EACH RECOGNIZING THE OTHER AS A SOUND AND ORTHODOX BODY." Thus it appeared as the result of the way in which God had led us, through all conferences and debates, that entire confidence between the negotiating bodies had been reached, and so the Reunion was consummated.
The scenes which occurred, in both Assemblies, when the final vote was taken upon the Report of the Committee, were such as occur only once in a lifetime. As these belong to a subsequent chapter of the volume descriptive of the Assemblies in New York and Pittsburg, to be written by their respective Moderators, they will not be anticipated.
The writer of this chapter, a member of the Joint Committee from the beginning, in 1866, cannot lay down his pen without making record of his conviction that the whole movement has been under the guidance of the great Head of the Church. The work of healing what was broken, of uniting what was sundered, was
divine. No man, no set of men, can take to themselves the credit of its success. Oftentimes faith faltered and the issue seemed most dubious. But difficulties at the critical moment disappeared, and discomfitures and delays were overruled for good. The faces of good men, alive when the movement began, but translated before it was complete,- Brainerd, Krebs, Gurley, Brown, - smile on their surviving associates who have seen its consummation. To mention the services rendered by individual members of the Committee now living or dead, would be invidious. Each contributed his part; and some, representing different sections and interests of our extended country and of our beloved Church, exhibited a degree of wisdom and faith, firmness and charity, discernment and skill, which will never be forgotten by their associates.
May the future of our history furnish proof that the whole movement is approved of God, and tends to the augmented usefulness of the Church, the good of our native land, and the advancement of the Kingdom of our Lord throughout the world.
THE ASSEMBLIES OF 1869.
BY THE REV. M. W. JACOBUS, D.D., LL.D.
Vigorous Maturity of the Church.
- Reunion a Necessity. - The Antecedents. Classes of Opinion on Reunion. — Assembly of 1866. — Discussions. - Basis of Reunion. The Smith and Gurley Clauses. - The Tenth Article. Undecided Action of the Assemblies of 1868. - The Pittsburg Circular. - The Standards Pure and Simple. Growth of Mutual Confidence. New York. - Old Brick Church. The Church of the Covenant. Introductory Prayer Meeting. - Prevailing Spirit of Reunion. Some wearied by the Tedious Negotiations. - Some for Immediate Reunion. The Opening. The Sermons. The Organization. -Joint Committee of Conference. Elders' Prayer Meeting. The Sabbath. -Social Reunion. - Reception of Delegates in the New School Assembly. Reception of Delegates in the Old School Assembly. Report of the Joint Committee of Conference. - The Catechisms. Inside History. Mutual Confidence. The Vote. - Overturing to the Presbyteries. Delegations announcing the Vote. - Joint Communion Season. - Bohemian Delegation. - Methodist Delegation. - The Southern Church. Christian Council. - The_Evangelical Alliance. — Adjournment. — Pastoral Letter. Day of Prayer. - Proceedings at Pittsburg. - Report from the Presbyteries. — Home Missions. Delegations announcing the Vote. Dissolution of the Assembly.- The Reunion Jubilee.
Ir has been truly said that "the meetings of the Old and New School General Assemblies of 1869, almost within speaking distance, on Murray Hill, New York, will be memorable so long as the Presbyterian Church lives in this country or the world."
It was no conclave of Prelates, in Ecumenical Council, at the seat of Church power, plotting the subversion of free Institutions and of pure Evangelical Christianity. But representative bodies of Christ's ministers, having the same historic name and polity, were con