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maintenance of the integrity of the country, and the overthrow of the slave. power. To the sixth, That there is nothing, that we can see, in this action of Synod, to give rise to any notion that the Synod is unfaithful to Christ, as King of nations."
[From the published minutes we learn that in the division there voted in favour of the adoption of the above oath, 62 ; against it, 10; no vote, 4; absent, 3. The reasons of dissent given in by the minority were substantially as they appear in the above Report ; but as the reporter has not given them quite so accurately as he has given the Committee's answers, we deem it only fair to print them verbatim. They stand in the Minutes thus :
"1. Because, frame the oath as you may, there is in it an impliod homologation of an unscriptural form of civil government.
“2 Inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture, which forbids us to help the pogodly in their wars.
"3. Inconsistent with the practice of Christ's witnesses of every age, who havo faithfully adhered to their testimony.
“4. Ýirtually pledges us to the support of an immoral constitution of civil government.
“ 5. Because, though slavery may be overthrown in the war, the declared purpose of it is the defence and maintenance of the Constitution.
“6. Because we ought to be faithful in witnessing for the Redeemer, as king of nations."]
Our readers are now in a position to judge, whether or not we are right in holding that there is a close analogy and substantial agreement between the decision of our American brethren and the decision of our own Synod, which was so offensive to three ministers of the Church that they abandoned its communion. Nothing, we think, could well be more entire than the harmony between Mr Milroy in his argument and reasons of dissent, and our late brother Mr Anderson, in the addresses he has been accustomed to make, and the reasons of protest he published in May. The views they express are identical. The fact, therefore, that Mr Milroy's sentiments were rejected by an overwhelming majority is significant. It shews plainly enough on which side the Old-Light American Synod would have been found, if its members had been associated with us in our late meeting. This is so obvious that we must confess to a feeling of surprise at the indication given by the American brethren, of sympathy with the protesting minority in this country. We can only account for it by remembering the shortness of the time that elapsed between our meeting and theirs. When they come to know the real character of the action taken by the Scottish Synod, and the grounds of it they cannot fail to discover, what some of them surmise already, that it is with the Synod, and not with the handful of pro. testors, that they are truly in accord. They cannot condemn the Scottish Synod in its recent action without condemning themselves. It would very much astonish us to meet with a single individual on this side of the Atlantic who condemned the decision of our Synod, and yet approved the decision of the American one. Those who sympathise with the minority here, will undoubtedly sympathise with the minority there.
There is, indeed, only one fault we have to find with Mr Milroy'saffirmation, that Professor Willson has but "a short journey to go to occupy the position taken by the majority of the Scottish Synod in its recent action." It is this, that the learned professor has already gone farther than the Scottish Synod. The Synod, whether rightly or wrongly, abstained from expressing any approval of the conduct of those who have connected themselves with Volunteer corps, or recognised the government in any similar way. It simply refused to go so far as to cast them out of the communion of the Church for what they have done. We believe it to be the simple fact, that
there were in the majority, individuals who did not, and do not, see their way clear to the taking of any government oath or to the bearing of arms ; individuals whose opinions would therefore have inclined them to vote with the minority, in the question decided by the American Synod.
It will be observed that several of the American brethren advert to the charge of abandoning the Church's distinctive position, with which, like ourselves, they have been pertinaciously assailed. They have experienced no difficulty in repelling the charge, but we are not sure that they have been equally successful in proving that there has been no change at all. We are aware of the delicacy of the case, but think it would have been the wiser and manlier course to have frankly acknowledged a change, not indeed in the Church's principles, but in regard to the practical application of them. The arguments employed to shew that their decision involves no change at all, are reducible to three, and the reader will judge of their cogency.
allegi ance to the United States Constitution. We fear this plea will not bear to be scrutinised.
For (1.) They have omitted to enjoin the exercise of discipline on those members and office-bearers of the Church who have taken the oath. It is a significant circumstance, moreover, that in the May number of the denominational Magazine, published just before the meeting of Synod, a sensible and well-informed writer, to whom the editor deservedly assigns the post of honour, institutes an argument to shew that the ordinary soldier's oath contains nothing inconsistent with the position of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.
(2.) It seems to us that whatever objection there may be to an oath of allegiance, must apply with greater strength to the giving of armed support. To shed one's blood in the defence of a government, is surely the very strongest form in which a man can yield to it his support.
(3.) The soldier's position with respect to the civil constitution, cortesponds exactly to that of the juryman. The Moderator's request to Professor Willson, " to state the difference between a juryman and a military officer," was both reasonable and to the point. We do not find fault with the metaphor adopted by the professor. As the juryman, once in the bos, must cease to judge the law, and must simply do his part in the execution of it, good or bad ; so, undoubtedly, the soldier, once enlisted, ceases to hate a will or judgment of his own, and has simply to obey orders. But surely this fact, that the soldier consents to become "a club," does not mitigate the responsibility attaching to his position : it ought rather to make him doubly careful respecting the character of the government under which he enlists. Clearly, if the juryman is a government-officer (and we believe he is), the soldier is a government-officer too. Every government has two arms by which it exercises its power, and of these the juryman and the soldier are the representatives. Neither of them need be a citizen, neither of them need take the oath of allegiance, but both of them come under obligation, by acceptance of office and by oath, to do their part in executing the law, and thus giving effect to the constitution,—the one in the municipal, the other in the military sphero.
As regards the form of oath adopted by the Synod, we have only to say, that it would bo a very unreasonable government that would refuse so accept it, unless, indeed, the rejection were based on the impolicy of having different forms of oath for different classes of the community. We do not know the precise terms of the ordinary army-oath in the United States; but this we know, that the form our brethren have drawn up is quite as explicit as the British oath of allegiance, which, it is well known, was parposely made as general in its terms as possible. Our Synod lately instituted careful inquiry into the meaning of the British oath (the procedure which certain parties have thought fit to represent to our brethren at a distance, as the submitting of the Church's principles to the judgment of lawyers !), and the opinion they received from the best legal authorities to whom they had access was, that it means neither more nor less than what our American friends have aimed to express in the form adopted by Synod.* Those of our members who take the oath, do it in the conviction that there is in this country no need of framing a new oath; that in the present one there is no approval expressed or implied of the unscriptural elements in the British constitution, and any one who chooses to read the decision of our Synod will see that it is only those who take the oath in this sense, over whom the Synod has thrown the shield of its protection,
2. The character of the present war is strongly urged as a reason why Reformed Presbyterians should support it. Now, we admit, notwithstanding many strong arguments that can be adduced to the contrary, that the war is, on the whole, a righteous one, and that the result, if not the design, is sure to be the destruction of slavery. But we cannot, for a moment, admit that it is not a war in defence of the constitution. The President we believe to be an honest man, and he has declared times without number, and still continues to declare, in the most solemn manner, that he has not and never had, the remotest intention to break the constitution, or to interfere with the rights which it concedes to slaveholders. Accordingly, the infamous Fugitive Slave Law is unrepealed at this hour. Slavery has been assailed by President Lincoln just where the constitution permitted it to be assailed; protected, wherever the constitution engaged to protect it. On this point there can be no doubt whatever. A few days ago the mail brought us the President's proclamation, calling for a National Thanksgiving on the 6th of August. In it we find specified as the prineipal cause of thanksgiving, the “reasonable grounds” which God in his providence has given " for augmented confidence, that the Union of these states will be maintained, their constitution preserved, and their peace and prosperity permanently secured.” We can understand how intelligent and high-principled men in America, like Mr Sumner, should take part in the present struggle, in the belief that (as indeed Professor Willson admirably expresses it) " the purpose of the war is to be judged by the whole state of the case,' that any nominal support they may meanwhile be obliged to yield to slavery, as guaranteed by the constitution, is counterbalanced, and more than counterbalanced, by the effect which they foresee will flow from maintaining the constitution against the Southern confederacy, We can understand this position. It is precisely the position occupied by those conscientious Presbyterians and Independents who hold seats in our houses of parliament; they say, “the purpose of sitting in parliament is to be judged by the whole state of the case, and this determines that our doing so is the way to get the constitution reformed according to the law of God." We can understand, therefore, the position of President Lincoln's best supporters, in the Reformed Presbyterian Church and out of it; but we cannot understand how men, intelligent and high-principled as we believe our brethren to be, can persuade themselves that they can go into the war, and yet withhold their support from the United States constitution.
Let us not be misunderstood. We are far from thinking that our brethren, by countenancing their members engaging in the war, have let down their testimony, or abandoned their protest against the evils, negative
* As an outcry has been sent across the Atlantic in reference to the action of our Synod's Committee in consulting legal authorities as to the meaning of our political oaths, it may be remarked, that the most exact counterpart of it we know, was the action of our Old School brethren in America, in asking recently the written opinions of their best legal authorities respecting the true intention of the juryman's oath :-in our humble judgment a most sensible
and positive, which they have hitherto condemned in the American constitution. On the contrary, it is our persuasion, that neither their action nor our own involves "an homologation” (in the sense in which our fathers undoubtedly used the phrase) of aught that is unscriptural in the constitution of either country. It has always seemed to us that the Old-Light Synod have had rather the advantage over their brethren in the General Synod, in carefully abstaining from language that might seem to indorse with approval a constitution which recognised slavery; and this advantage they do not forfeit by their late decision. We wish it to be distinctly observed, that while we hold that by going into the war they support the constitution, we attribute to them only that kind of support which is perfectly compatible with an honest acknowledgment of its evils, and a consistent unflinching protest against them.
We are well aware that there are men on both sides of the Atlantic who profess inability to see any middle course, between keeping absolutely aloof and yielding entire approval and support. But it might easily be shewn, that the rigorous application of their principle would oblige them to condemn the conduct of our fathers in the purest times of the covenanted reformation, for, as every one knows, and as the covenants themselves shew, they were in allegiance to the imperfect civil government of their age. Moreover, it is neither candour nor common sense to suppose that myriads of Christians in Great Britain and America are taking the oath of allegiance in a sense which would involve downright perjury. To refer to a single illustrious instance, to which appeal has been made by our protesting brethren here, and which will be understood in America—the late Principal Cunningham, whose unbending integrity of character is universally acknowledged, has been quoted as defining the oath to be a “solemn acknowledgment of the constitution." Can any man bring himself to believe that Dr Cunningham, in taking that oath (as he did), pledged himself to the approval of a worse Erastianism than that from which he separated himself by an act of demission, involving a greater sacrifice than any minister of the Scottish or American Synod is likely ever to have it in his power to make? He undoubtedly “acknowledged the constitution," but he did it in the deliberate conviction that his conscientious objections to some of its provisions were in no wise compromised thereby, nor his freedom to labour for its reformation taken away or impaired. Such admissions as these respecting the sense in which the oath may be taken, may not be acceptable to hot-headed partizans, but they will, in the end, commend themselves to the intelligent and conscientious.
3. It is urged, that in taking part with the Federal government against the South, the Reformed Presbyterians of the present day are really walking in the steps of their fathers, who so cordially engaged in the wars against Great Britain. We have met with this plea before : for we cannot forget that the New-Light Synod have all along urged it in enforcement of their protest against the justice of the designation given to them by the popular voice on both sides of the Atlantic. They claim to be Old-Light, and hold that the extreme antagonism to the United States' government evinced by the other party, prior to the breaking out of the present war, was really a departure from the old position occupied by the fathers of the American Church. This is a matter, however, in which it would be presumptuous for us to intermeddle. The Scottish Synod has constantly refused to do so. We have only to say, that if the recent action of the Old-Light Synod have the effect of enabling the sister churches to realise their sub. stantial agreement, we shall unfeignedly rejoice. We have friends, dear to us in the Lord, in both Churches ; we believe they have yet a good work to accomplish in America for Christ, and we long to see them strir. ing together for the faith of the gospel.
It is just possible these observations may be construed as indicating lukewarmness towards our Transatlantic brethren in the present crisis of their nation's history. But no one will do so who knows the real sentiments of the ministers, and more intelligent members of the Scottish Church on the American war. Our sympathies are altogether on the side of the North, and we expect great good to result from the present struggle. We rejoice to see our brethren in the Old-Light Synod rising superior to a false regard for consistency, and disdaining to let their witness-bearing degenerate into a vicious habit of sitting aloof and snarling at the movements of the age. We have no sympathy with the morbid suspicion with which some brethren in the Irish Church look on their recent pro. cedure ; on the contrary, we are glad to see that the Reformed Presbyterian name is conspicuous on the high places of the field in America, and is identified, as of old, with the cause of liberty. We may regret indeed that our brethren have not been more careful to avoid the appearance of yielding, unwillingly to the force of events. We certainly prefer the mode of action adopted by the Scottish Synod, in holding forth anew the grand Bible principles for which our fathers contended, and at the same time refusing to make any matter a ground of exclusion from church fellowship, which the Church's sole Head and King has not laid down as such in his Word. But although we prefer the mode of action adopted by our Church, we rejoice that the conclusion arrived at by both Synods in their recent decisions is the same. We only regret that the acquiescence of the minority in America came too late to teach its lesson of wisdom to the minority here.*
THEODORE BEZA.-A.D. 1519-1605.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH.
WHATEVER be the energy of his will and the force of his genius, the man destined to perform a work fruitful and durable, to determine one of the great evolutions of humanity, should not only find in his contemporaries the devoted defenders of his cause, the ardent disciples who share his hopes and enthusiasm, and the generous props which accept with joy their part in the trials which fall upon him, but should also secure the co-operator whose zeal and intelligence are indispensable to spread his doctrines, and to multiply his instructions. If he does not wish to succumb before the hour (slow to sound) when he will have consolidated his work; if he wishes to suffice for the labours of the body and of the mind which he has imposed on himself; if he wishes to reduce his adversaries to silence, and to triumph over them in spite of obstacles; it is necessary that he walk supported by the companion of his labour, by the intimate friend of his thoughts. This friend, of whom he has as much need as of himself, ought to be born almost at the same time as he ; it is necessary that events and circumstances should make them meet, that an attractive affinity, in revealing them to each other, should bring together these two intelligences which complete each other, and by their alliance render possible the success of their common efforts. It is thus that Luther
* It may perhaps be expected that we should take notice of the tone of certain editorial remarks in the American Magazine, regarding our comments on the late decision of the Scottish Synod, but as we have no wish to characterise them, we forbear. We regret that our brethren should express any doubt about the real animus by which we are actuated, or entertain any misgivings respecting the perfect conscientiousness of our Synod in this matter.
.+ From the Biographical Portraits of illustrious Protestants, by Ferdinand Rossignol, "ancien diacre" of the Reformed Church of Paris, 1863. Although the style is rather rhetorical, this recently published work, which is in focr small volumes, is full of interest, as regards both the subject and its mode of treatment. It contains graphically written sketches of Calvin, Beza, Sully, Rabant, Vinet, and other illustrious French Protestants, whose fair fames are vindicate by Rossignol against Roman Catholic writers with ardent zeal, polished sarcasm, and an eloquence at times almost exuberant.