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come is furnished. What has been Divinely wrought must be Divinely prospered.
The disinterestedness with which the Reunion was sought should also be observed. Neither body had selfish objects in view. Neither desired to ease or magnify itself. Each was thrifty and fruitful, with no need of change to escape barrenness and decline, and each could say from the depths of its consciousness that it had no aspirations for aggrandizement. We yielded to our convictions of what was due to the cause of God and accordant with his will. We longed indeed for the association to which our affinities adapted us, but while drawn together by sympathy, we came together at a divine call, for the larger work our combination enables us to perform. We accept the Reunion as a responsibility even more than as a pleasure. Enlarging our opportunities, we look upon it as enhancing our obligations. We expect and mean to do more than ever before.
While fears for orthodoxy and apprehensions of commotion from the mingling of discordant elements and surviving antipathies, disinclined many of the Old School brethren to the Reunion, it was repugnant to a few of the New School brethren as likely to restrain the Chris tian liberty of thought and to destroy or impair the pleas antness of their ecclesiastical associations, and as calling off their Church from a course of bold and successful enterprise which it was pursuing. But a better acquaintance with each other allayed suspicions and anxiety on both sides. Truth was found to be as precious and safe with one as with the other, and toleration as reasonable, and an association of the two proved a fel
lowship of congenial spirits. It was remarkable how a membership of joint committees and of Assemblies convened in the same place removed distrust and substituted confidence and affection. The elders and private members of the church were soonest ready for the Reunion, and most unanimous and earnest for it, because, in fact, they frequently met in business and social intercourse and knew each other. Some of the aversion to the Reunion remained among the Old School brethren to the last, though generally these were but little in conference with New School brethren, and, therefore, could not understand them. Opposition to it among the New School brethren was entirely withdrawn, not altogether because they were satisfied with it, but be cause it was a foregone conclusion, and unanimity was the habit of their body, and they preferred concession to dissent.
Although the New School branch of the church had been generally well disposed towards the Reunion from the first, a change was distinctly manifest, as Dr. Jacobus has remarked, at the opening of the Assemblies in New York. While no zeal for it had widely prevailed, there was an assent to it as wisest and best in the circumstances of the case, and an acquiescence in the successive projects proposed for it, though these were by no means fully approved and relished. The failure of these projects in the other branch produced a sense of wounded pride and dignity. If not repelled or trifled with, the New School brethren felt that they had not been met with the generosity they had shown, and just self-respect constrained them to put on reserve. All this passed away on the correction of the misappre
bension in which it originated. The earliest proceedings of the Old School Assembly expressed such heartiness for the Reunion that the delay of it in its branch of the church was demonstrated to have been induced by unpropitious circumstances and not by blameworthy con siderations. The tide of feeling in both bodies was thus swollen, and defied all impediments to its flow. The acts and incidents of the session may be recorded, but the spirit of the occasion can never be described. There was the inflamed ardor for the Reunion, and then the solicitude about the speedy practicability of it, when the terms of it came again to be considered and stated, the alternation of hope and fear, the elation and depression, until the intelligence that the Joint Committee to whom the matter was referred had agreed on a "basis." The presentation of the Report and its adop tion by the Assemblies turned excitement into ecstacy. None but they who felt it can know the experience of those days, the pressure of soul, the suspense, the relief when it was known that our prudent men, under the leading of the Spirit, had devised a plan which they believed met the exigency, — the eagerness with which its public reading was listened to, -the seriousness with which it was discussed, the solemnity with which it was voted upon, and the gratification with which it was approved. The Report was care fully considered in both Assemblies, but it cannot be said to have been debated in the New School Assembly. No opposition was made to it there. There was only a difference in the assent given to it, and they who most qualified this were only precautionary. They entered a caveat against a narrow and illiberal spirit and
policy in the reunited church, and against a censorship of "all reasonable liberty in the statement of views and the interpretation of the standards not impairing the integrity of the Calvinistic system," and especially against a disturbance of the ecclesiastical status of any particular individual who had retained a good standing in the New School branch of the church, notwithstanding his peculiarities in minor articles of faith, and his philosophy of doctrines and facts. The sensitiveness on this subject grew out of the intemperateness of speech, amounting to threats, which had been indulged in here and there by Old School brethren disaffected towards the Reunion, and not from zeal for the views in question, or even concurrence in them, and still less because they were presumed to prevail in the New School body. The speeches were simply a notice in advance that the tolerance of immaterial diversities was expected and would be claimed, and that acceptable members of either branch of the church must hold an unquestioned place in the two combined.
All who desired to speak having been satisfied, the voting in the New School Assembly was preceded by silent prayer, and these were deeply impressive moments. The thronged house was motionless and still, as if transfixed and hushed in looking to God. The question was then taken by rising, and every Commissioner stood up in the affirmative! Nothing like tumultuousness succeeded, nor was there the faintest applause, and yet the joy was rapturous. Thanksgiving and praise were the universal impulse, and the venerable Dr. Thomas H. Skinner most fittingly led in this act. A hymn was then sung. With thrilling force the