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lishing a series of Letters to Presbyterians on the Present Crisis of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. In these letters he at ots to show, that “nineteen twentieths of the whole number of our ministers are sufficiently near to the Scriptures, and to each other, in respect to all the essentials of truth, to be confortably united in Cbristian fellowship and coöperation." Dr. Green undertakes to review those Letters, and to dissent from this proposition altogether. The differences according to him are radical, fundamental, and altogether irreconcilable. Before, however, we produce his reasons for this opinion, we shall quote a few passages of his exposition of the causes which have led to the prostration of the discipline of the church. These were the gradual admixture of Congregational elements in the great mass, and the organization and efforts of Missionary and Education Societies.

In the mean time, the necessities of the church, especially on the frontiers of the country, and the comparative facility of obtaining Congregational ministers from New England, contrasted with the difficulty of obtaining them in the Presbyterian church, brought in a large number of pastors, of Congregational education and partialities ; some of whom were permitted to be enrolled in presbyteries without even a formal adoption of the Standards of the church. The criminal desire of having a large church, rather than a pure and harmonjous one, seemed to obtain a general prevalence; so that an offered addition of members and territory was too readily accepted, without examining into the fitness of the proposed auxiliaries, or associates, to be admitted to the privileges and immunities which were conceded to them. * * * “ Missionary and educational associations, moreover,

had much influence, in giving the present Congregational complexion and character to the Presbyterian church.

“The result of the combined influence of the causes which we have now indicated, and of others of less magnitude to which we might advert, has been, to leave our church but little more of its Presbyterian character than its name and its forms. We now regard it as practically a Presbyterio-Congregationalist church; — from the General Assembly, down to the church session, we are Congregationalized. Strict Presbyterianism is considered and represented as bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and as indicative of the want of charitable feelings, as well as of a liberal mind.

" That we might show in the most unexceptionable manner,

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the ill effects which have always resulted from the admixture of the heterogeneous elements of Congregationalism and Presbyterianism, and the comparatively peaceful, happy, and prosperous state of our church, when it has kept strictly to its true and avowed principles, we have examined its records from its origin to the present time. This has been our scope through the whole ; although, from a belief that it would gratify at least a portion of our readers, we have interwoven a larger portion of our ecclesiastical history than was always necessary to our main purpose, and far more than we at first intended.

It is now very nearly a hundred and thirty years, since the first organization of the Presbyterian Church in our country. The thirty years which elapsed, from the union of the Synods of New York and Philadelphia till the formation of the General Assembly, were the halcyon days of our church ; and the manifest reason was, because its forms, doctrine, and discipline, during this period, were most exactly maintained and regarded : And it has been with a kind of mournful pleasure that we have observed, while attentively reading the ancient records, the blessed effects, - the unanimity, the peace, the purity, and the prosperity, - which resulted from keeping closely and conscientiously, during this period, to the prescriptions and forms of our acknowledged standards, a pleasure rendered mournful, by comparing this felicitous state with the discontents, divisions, relaxation of discipline, and loss of confidence in church judicatures, which the same records show have so often occurred from the collision of Presbyterianism and Congregationalism, during the remaining century of our ecclesiastical existence; and which at no former period have been half as great as they are at present.

“ Much has been lately said, beside what is said in the letters under review, of preserving the unity, and healing the existing divisions, of the Presbyterian church. Let it be remembered that wounds can never be truly and permanently healed, while a portion of that which was their cause mains at the bottom of them, unextracted. A grievous departure from the standards of our church, in doctrine, government, and discipline, - it is our solemn conviction, - is the main cause of all the evils that afflict us. If our government and discipline were restored, false doctrine might be banished;till this restoration takes place, nothing effectual can be done. But government and discipline will never be restored, while Congregationalism retains its present influence and predominancy among us. This is the radical evil, and till it be removed it is as vain to attempt the restoration of the Presbyterian church to peace, purity, and order, as it is to expect to


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make a tree fruitful and flourishing, by pruning and training its branches, while a worm is constantly corroding its root. ***

“The evils, it should be remembered, which have now risen to such a formidable height, came in, for a considerable time, by gradual advances ; so that it is not easy to fix the precise period when the existing danger ought to have produced alarm, and a determined effort to arrest its progress, and to expel it from the ground it had already gained. But for ten years past, at least, the danger has been such, that it seems to us that those who have not seen it, are justly chargeable with wilful blindness, or criminal inattention. Within that period, we have not a doubt, that many individuals have not only seen it, but have knowingly, and with design, endeavoured to promote it, - not, we would hope, recognising it as an evil; but thinking rather that it was a good thing, a good thing to break down those fences, which the bigotry and narrow-mindedness of a gone-by age, of comparative ignorance, had erected to stop the march of mind, impede the progress of improvement, and prevent men of liberal minds and noble enterprise from doing and saying whatever they might please, in projecting and promoting grand schemes of reformation, calculated eventually to revolutionize the world. Now, we are willing to leave it to others to decide the point of casuistry, - which of two classes is the more criminal; that which is composed of those who actively do wrong, or that formed of those who stand by and permit it, when they might and ought to prevent its being done. In our estimation, both are inexcusably blamable, notwithstanding they may plead that they mean to do God service.' The Congregationalists, and quasi Presbyterians, have been to blame for prostrating the barriers, and disregarding the constitutional prescriptions, of the Presbyterian Church ; and the real Presbyterians, who truly love the constitution and all its provisions, have been to blame, for not resisting and preventing, as once they certainly might, the inroads and devastations of the Congregational invaders. *

“So far as our observation has extended, our Congregations are much disposed to trench on the prerogatives of their Sessions ; disposed, in certain cases, to assume to themselves the powers which they have delegated to their elders; and to order. their affairs much as is done in Congregational churches ; and the Sessions are often, we believe through timidity, inefficient in sustaining the order and purity of the church. They are afraid of becoming unpopular, and are willing to adopt the common notion, that it is best to let irregularities alone, or only to say they disapprove of them, and hope they will be amended : and that to do more than this will be regarded as

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carrying things with a high hand. Presbyteries often act on much the same plan. They attend to their stated business ; but as to taking care that discipline is maintained in the churches under their care, or exercising discipline on their own members for preaching unsound doctrines, or for almost any thing short of gross immorality, it is seldoin attempted ; and when attempted, it is in great danger of being rendered abortive, by those who dislike the attempt. The difficulty of carrying through a disciplinary proceeding, discourages and enfeebles those who would readily take part in it, but for the opposition they know they will have to encounter; and the probability that, even if they are successful in the courts below, what they do will be undone by a bigher judicatory. In the mean time, the lawful prescriptions of the higher judicatories are often set at nought. It is not long since we heard it gravely maintained in a Presbytery, that a plain, and positive, and strictly constitutional act of the General Assembly, directing what was to be done in a specified case, was to be considered only in the light of a recommendation, which might be regarded or disregarded, as the parties concerned might choose. This was pure Congregationalism. As to Synods, who does not know that a sermon was not long since preached at the opening of a Synod, and afterwards published, in which one of the most important articles in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms was directly and violently impugned, and yet no notice was taken of it by the Synod, or by any other judicature. The time was, when the preacher of such a sermon would have been arraigned, within half a day after he was out of the pulpit. That the General Assembly of 1831 was completely Congregationalized, in disposing of the case of Mr. Barnes, has been shown by Mr. Bacon, in his letter to us, in a statement as true as it is taunting. And ever since that period, the supreme judicatory of our church, instead of a straight-forward proceeding, agreeably to the principles and forms of the constitution of the Presbyterian church, has tried to settle difficulties and controversies in the Congregational way of compromise; in which something like concession is awarded to both parties, and, under color of promoting peace, materials for prolonged, and perhaps incurable alienations, are furnished. In a word, the forms of the Presbyterian church are now sometimes used to take vengeance on an obnoxious individual, and at others to protect a favorite; and when neither of these objects is in view, or something may be proinoted by the suspending of all discipline, discipline is permitted to sleep. We do not say that this is invariably or generally done; but we do say that there are instances of this kind, and that the evil has reached so far as to impair confidence in church judicatories; and to fill reflecting minds with a painful uncertainty of what is to be the destiny of our church, in a short time to conne. It is a fact too notorious to be denied, that doctrines vitally affecting the whole evangelical system, and directly contradictory to those laid down in our Confession of Faith and Catechisms, are both preached and published without fear, or cause of fear, that their advocates and propagators will be visited with the discipline of the church. Now, we hold it to be a moral evil of a flagrant and reproachful kind, for a church, as well as for an individual, to violate or disregard a public profession. The Standards of our church are her solemn Confession and Profession, before the world ; and it is a species of dishonesty, offensive to God, and to all men of upright minds and honorable principles, to profess one thing and practise another, - or not to practise agreeably to what we profess. The course we are pursuing is exactly that which has been run by the Calvinistic and Lutheran churches of Switzerland and Germany. In those countries, the Formularies adopted at, or shortly after, the Protestant reformation, remain to this day unchanged, unchanged, as the ostensible creed and symbols of ecclesiastical order, of Unitarians and Neologists. We are rapidly tending to the same goal, and if, in the mercy of God, we are not arrested, we shall as surely reach it, as that like causes produce like effects.” Christian Advocate for Nov. 1833, pp. 500 – 507.

As to the tendency of the Presbyterian body to Unitarianism, we are as little disposed to deny as to lament it. Believing as we do that this is the point at which all honest inquiry must end, we do not consider the progress toward it as an evidence of great corruption in the church, but rather as an indication of growing candor and industry, - a deeper reverence for truth above the commandments of men.

As to causes of the decline of ecclesiastical power, which the Doctor pathetically bewails, we are inclined to adopt a different explanation. What he would consider the disease,

. we should regard as only a symptom. The strong undercurrent which is setting against Presbyterianism, and bearing away its landmarks, is not Congregationalism, or Missionary, or Education Societies. It is the stern republicanism of our institutions, and the free spirit of personal and independent inquiry which distinguishes this age.

Here all power resides in the people. All our institutions must therefore be democratic, we mean of course in the good sense of the term. Any thing of a contrary character,

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