« السابقةمتابعة »
too great complexity in the affairs of the Board, and render the pressure of business too severe and burdensome. And this consideration is strengthened by the belief which they indulge, that a New Society for conducting foreign missions might be formed, composed not only of members belonging to our churches, but also of members belonging to the reformed Dutch Church, to the Associate Reformed Church, and other churches. which have adopted the same creed. Such a society is highly desirable; and were it organized on an extensive plan, so as to call forth the combined energies and charity of all these sister churches, it would be productive of beneficial consequences, both at home and abroad, to ourselves as well as to the heathen.
Resolved, That the Rev. John B. Romeyn, D. D. Archibald Alexander, D. D. Edward Griffin, D. D. William Neill, D. D. and James Richards, D. D. and Messrs. Divie Bethune and Zechariah Lewis, be a committee to correspond with the Dutch and Associate Reformed Churches, and other churches holding the same creed; and endeavour to ascertain whether the members of those churches will unite with those of the Prebyterian Church in the United States, in the formation of a Society for Foreign Missions; and if possible report to the next General Assembly a plan of a society to be established for this purpose.
The Board of Missions, chosen and appointed by this Assembly for the ensuing year, are: viz.
Of Philadelphia and its vicinity, Rev. Drs. Green, Alexander, Wilson, Janeway and Miller; Rev. Messrs. Potts and Skinner, and Messrs. Boudinot, Hazard, Connelly, Haslet, Smith, Ralston, and Bayard.
Of New York, Rev. Dr. Romeyn, Messrs. Lenox, Rogers, Bethune, Caldwell and Lewis.
Of the Synod of Geneva, Rev. David Higgins.
of Albany, Rev. Jonas Coe.
of N. Y. & N. J. Rev. Jas. Richards. D. D.
Flinn, D. D.
of Philadelphia, Rev. Robert Cathcart. of Pittsburgh, Rev. Elisha Macurdy. of Virginia, Rev. John H. Rice.
of The Synod of Kentucky, Rev. James Blythe, D. D.
of Ohio, Rev. Robert G. Wilson.
of N. Carolina, Rev. James Hall, D. D. of S. Carolina, & Georgia, Rev. Andrew
Drs. Miller and Janeway and Mr. Finley, were appointed a committee to prepare and have published subscription papers for the re-printing of the printed extracts of the Minutes of the General Assembly.
The above committee brought into the Assembly a number of said papers, and submitted them to the consideration of the Assembly. Whereupon it was resolved, that the several Presbyteries under the care of the Assembly, take order for the circulation of the aforesaid subscription papers; and that after subscribers have been procured, they be forwarded to Mr. Benjamin B. Hopkins.
The committee appointed to enquire, whether some plan cannot be devised for the wider circulation of the Confession of Faith and of the Constitution of the Pres byterian Church, reported; and their report, being read and amended, was adopted, and is as follows: viz.
1st. That it be strictly enjoined on all the Presbyteries, under the care of the General Assembly, to endeavour by such means as upon careful examination, shall to them appear best, to promote the diffusion and wider circulation of the Confession of Faith and book of discipline of the Presbyterian Church.
2nd. That it be recommended to the congregations in our connection to take measures to supply their own
poor with the Confession of faith, catechisms, and book of discipline of our church.
3d. That the Trustees of the General Assembly be authorized and directed to enquire into the expediency of stereotyping the Confession of faith, catechisms, and form of church government, and to report to the next General Assembly.
The committee to which was referred an enquiry proposed to the Assembly by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, relative to the notes found in the book containing the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, reported; and their report being amended was adopted, and is as follows: viz.
That the book referred to was first published with nothing but the simple text, without any Scripture proofs, or any notes of any description whatsoever. This is evident, not only from the minutes of the General Assembly, but from the numerous copies of this first edition of the standards of our church, which are now in existence. It is also equally evident from examining the records of the General Assembly, that not a single note in the book has been added to, or made a part of, the Constitution of the Church since it was first formed and published, in the manner above recited. Several alterations and additions have been made, by referring them when contemplated to the Presbyteries for their decision thereon, in the manner pointed out in the Constitution itself. But among all the points thus referred, there is not found a single note which now appears in the book containing the constitution of our church. Hence it follows beyond a doubt, that these notes are no part of the constitution. If then it be enquired, how these notes obtained the place which they now occupy, and what is the character as to authority which they possess? the answer is this-When a second edition of the standards of our church was needed, it was thought by the General Assembly, that it would be of great use in itself, highly agreeable to the members
of our church generally, as well as conformable to the example of the church of Scotland, from which we derived our origin, if the Scripture proofs were added, in support of the several parts and clauses of the confession of faith, catechisms and form of government. A committee was accordingly appointed by the Assembly, to select the scripture proofs, and to prepare them for being printed with the second edition of the book. The work of this committee was the following year referred to another, and ultimately the committee charged with preparing the scripture proofs reported along with these proofs, the notes which now appear in the book, and which were approved by the General Assembly, and directed to be printed with the proofs in the form in which they now appear. These notes then are explanations of some of the principles of the Presbyterian Church, given by the General Assembly, and which of course the General Assembly may modify, or altogether exclude at their pleasure; whereas the articles of the Constitution must govern the Assembly themselves, and cannot be altered or abrogated, but in the manner pointed out in the Constitution itself.
On the whole, in the book containing the Standards of our Church, the text alone contains the constitution of our Church; the notes are an exposition of principles given by the highest judicature of that church, of the same force while they continue with the other acts of that judicature, but subject to alterations, amendments, or a total erasure, as they shall judge proper.
Resolved, that as it belongs to the General Assembly to give direction in regard to the notes which accompany the constitution of which they are the supreme judicatory, this Assembly express it as their opinion, that, in printing future editions of the Constitution of this Church, the parenthesis in the note, on this part of the form of government which defines a Synod, and which is expressed in these words, "since a Synod is only a larger Presbytery," be omitted, as well as the note connected with the scripture proofs in answer to the question in the larger catechism, What is forbidden in the eighth command
ment in which the nature of the crime of manstealing and slavery is dilated upon.
In regard to this last omission, the Assembly think proper to declare, that in directing it they are influenced by far other motives, than any desire to favour slavery, or to retard the extinction of that mournful evil, as speedily as may consist with the happiness of all concerned.
Resolved, that the foregoing resolution, with the report of the committee, sanctioned by the Assembly, on the same subject, be printed, and connected with the last edition of the confession of faith, catechisms, form of government, &c. of this Church.
Resolved, that it be renewedly enjoined on all the Synods and Presbyteries, in connection with this Assembly, to take special care, that their annual reports to the Assembly be made out according to the forms prescribed in the printed extracts.
Resolved, that it be, and it is hereby recommended to the Presbyteries, to forward instructions to the next General Assembly, relative to the mode of conveying to them, their several quotas of the extracts from the minutes; and that, for the present year, one copy be sent to each minister by mail, as far as the agent can find out their address.
The committee appointed to prepare a minute, stating the attention which the Presbyteries appear to have paid to the resolutions of the Assembly, in relation to the selection of young men for the ministry, and providing funds for their education, reported; and their report being read was adopted, and is as follows: viz.
That from the several votes of the house on the sub
ject, the Presbyteries of Cayuga, Onondaga, Geneva,