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vened in the spirit of concord, and were yearning, though long alienated, to become again one. Because it was Reunion, rather than Union that was contemplated, the occasion was all the more conspicuous in the of the world. And yet, for this very reason, the work itself was, all the more difficult. Old grievances were to be conciliated, and old strifes were to be buried and forgotten. And the reflections and criminations of the separation were to give place to mutual greetings, as of those who are of right, "one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Such events are advents of grace and blessing. There is a charm in the healing—a great grace in the reuniting of dissevered parts- as when the rod of gold is cut in pieces in order to form the links of a golden chain, which shall be far more beautiful and useful than the rod itself.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America had now attained its fourscore years. It had reached this age "by reason of strength," and so far from the "strength" being "labor and sorrow," the labor and sorrow had become the strength. The movement now happily culminating and traced through a history of strife and tears, stands without a parallel in the annals of the Christian Church. That bodies formerly one household, but long time sundered by great questions of doctrine and polity, with all the animosities and jealousies spring. ing out of such a disruption, should become one again, after a generation of separate, and often of rival action -this was the marvel! But just because the division had lasted through a generation, it was all the more
a time for Reunion, when most of the men, left on the field, had not been personally involved in the act of separation. It was also because there was vitality in the parts that there was the element of healing: Or rather, because the Spirit of the Lord had breathed the scattered limbs, that they came together again, bone to his bone, in all the plain.
The event, considered in all its bearings, is so signal and so significant as to seem to be a great first chapter in that Johannean development for which the Church looks and waits—the age of Christian concord and love, in all the body of Christ. It is notable that the generation which had been passed in division, and to some extent also in dissension, had wrought silent and steady results towards conciliation. Each body, claiming, on whatever ground, to be "The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America," - what wonder if each was, all the while, the rather intent on making good its claim in the eye of the world? Besides, the lessons of the strife had been put to account, to the end of correcting what was amiss. So that, at this period, the respective parts were found, by all confession, in great degree, homoge neous, as they were not at the division -thus always tending towards each other, rather than apart. The Congregational element, introduced by "The Plan of Union" of 1801, had, in large measure, occasioned the outbreak of 1837; and the question was whether the disruption would work in that direction, as to doctrine and polity, or in the line of reaction towards the old paths. It was just the steadfast adherence to the Pres byterian faith and order in the mass, that came, at
length, to demand a Reunion of the respective parts, when the reconsideration and adjustment, on either side, had so diminished the differences. Every lover of the Church felt that there was a great sacrifice of Church power by such separate operation, which could be justified no longer when essential divergence was at an end.
Different views, it is true, were all along taken of the situation. And some on both sides, who had been opposed to the disruption, were now as conscientiously opposed to the Reunion. But it was just the question whether the grand inner forces of a true Presbyterianism were not steadily working towards a homogeneity which would warrant a reuniting of the sundered but affiliated parts, and whether the time had not even now come for the Reunion. True, it could be claimed that the signal thrift and success of the two branches, in their separation, were such as to justify the separate organizations, and that a healthful competition had been even an element of success fully warranting a longer continuance apart; but such a view is quite too secular, and overlooks the higher demands for the oneness of the Church of Christ by all legitimate means.
But peril to Scriptural doctrine was the stronger point made by not a few, and that on either side.
Though at the disruption the formal question was a constitutional one, a question of Church polity rather than of creed, and though, as to doctrine, the separating portion had then formally protested their orthodoxy, and some of the highest authorities in the exscinding body were so agreed, and maintained that the divergence was not such as to infer separation, yet,
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