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the body has made steady progress both in strength and numbers. The sifting process referred to in the early period, and the retirement from it of the southern synods in 1857, greatly reduced its numbers, but they were soon replenished; and whereas, in 1843, there were but 94 Presbyteries, 1,263 ministers, and 1,496 churches, in 1869, there were 113 Presbyteries, 1,848 ministers, and 1,631 churches. It would be instructive could we trace its fortunes in its local developments, in cities and towns and in the new territories of an advancing country. In some places the progress has been cheering, in others slow and embarrassed. For example, in Cincinnati and St. Louis, neither branch of the church has gained much during the whole period, owing partly, it is believed, to mutual jealousies. In Chicago, since the year 1842, the advance has been rapid. Whereas, then, there was but one church, and that in an uncertain condition, now there are in the city, or closely connected with it, fifteen, and they are all flourishing. In Missouri, under the energetic influence of Dr. Artemas Bullard and his associates, the growth was rapid till about 1856; then, owing to the growing influence of slavery, the decline was constant till the war began and everything was thrown into confusion. Since the war, New School men have met a hearty welcome in the regenerated State, and now it shows a larger roll of ministers, churches, and members than ever before. Somewhat similar has been the case of East Tennessee, where we have now 38 churches and an encouraging opening for the future. In Kansas, not much was accomplished till 1838, when a band of eight young men from one class in Union Seminary, entered
the State, and the success was signal. In October of that year, ten young men were ordained at the same meeting of presbytery, and now we have a Synod of Kansas with three presbyteries, thirty-one ministers, and forty-one churches; and the work of exploration, organization, and church erection is going rapidly forward.
The position of the New School Church towards the Reunion requires but a word here, as that will be the subject of another chapter. Suffice it to say, that position has been throughout frank, cordial, and remarkably unanimous. The ill success of their early efforts seemed to forbid their again taking the initiative; and, on strictly denominational grounds, they had no desire to contract new relations. After many dis couragements and long struggles they had won a place among the branches of the church of Christ, in their own esteem inferior to none. Their organization for church work was completed, and seemed, from experience, to have some special advantages. They understood each other perfectly, and were happy with each other. They loved their own church, and the name NEW SCHOOL had come to have very pleasant and inspiring associations. They shrunk from breaking up old ties and forming new ones, which might, for aught they knew, lead to new complications. But they looked to the common interest of the Presbyterian cause and especially of the cause of Christ, and had no hesitation. It may be confidently affirmed that, among all the parties now brought together in the happy union of which this volume is a memorial, none worked harder or prayed more fervently, or were more willing to make
every reasonable sacrifice, to bring about the blessed consummation.
As to the BASIS on which the Reunion stands, the members of the now historical New School Church have nothing more to desire. "The standards pure and simple" have ever been their preferred standards. When they stood alone, in the days when suspicion was thrown by some upon their orthodoxy, their General Assembly, again and again, enjoined upon their churches "the faithful use of the Westminster Catechism, in the instruction of the young." If any ask for a more explicit exposition of the particular phase of Calvinistic doctrine which should be distinguished as "NEW SCHOOL THEOLOGY," they will find none so likely to be accepted as such, by the larger number, as that first drawn up by Dr. Baxter Dickinson, and afterwards formally adopted, under the title of "Errors and True Doctrine," by the convention at Auburn, in 1837, of which Dr. James Richards, of Auburn was the President, and nearly two hundred ministers and laymen, the very flower of the New School body, were the members. But, in truth, there is no such phase of theology, which either the body as a whole, or its theological seminaries would agree to distinguish by that name. They take the standards of the Presbyterian Church just as they are the Bible as "the only infallible rule of faith and practice," and the Confession of Faith "as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures." Further than that, they give, and claim from others no pledges,—they give and take reasonable liberty.
The task assigned to the writer of this chapter is now finished. It has been a pleasant task, though a
laborious and painstaking one. As he has gone from page to page of the annals, covering a period of more than thirty years, memories both sad and animating have, in turn, taken possession of his thoughts. The New School Presbyterian Church need not be ashamed of its history. Noble men and noble deeds stud the line of its fortunes. It has met frankly and earnestly every question of the day, as affecting the moral and religious interests of man and the cause of Christ, and pronounced judgments and assumed positions which it has no occasion to retract. It has grappled with difficulties before which any but resolute, courageous, and believing men would have succumbed. It has risen above them. The conviction is deepened, as we examine its records, that we have here a band of true, trusty, intelligent, well-grounded, liberal Presbyterian Christians, -men who can re-examine and test, over and over, the foundations of their faith, and stand only the more strongly and squarely upon them; eminently catholic towards all Christian denominations, eminently loyal to their own chosen standard. The contribution which they now bring to the United Presybterian Church, in strength, wisdom, activity, and resources, is one worthy of its acceptance. They will stand by it, as they have hitherto stood by their own particular branch of it, in the spirit of a true self-devotion, and a firm, courageous trust in the divine promises.
And now the long and troubled drama of New and Old School is at length finished. The seal is on the past, and the future, with its responsibilities, opens before us. And now, forgetting the things that are be hind, all the grudges, all the alienations and rivalries
of the past, and reaching forth to those things which are before, what have we, but to press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? The church expects of us, the world with all its sorrows and sins, well aware that the true church is by its vocation the salt of the earth and the light of the world, expects of us, more than all, the Master himself expects, - that thus favored in the happy healing of our long-broken unity, should now unite our force in one harmonious, resolute, persevering effort for the salvation of our race and the spread of the benign principles of our HOLY RELIGION.