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tinctly contemplates a judicial pro- it had solemnly assumed, and in ceeding, there can be no doubt that this capacity it had acted till the what is said under the section of cause was submitted; nor was appeals was intended to be appli- there ever an intimation that the cable here. It was exactly follow- Assembly had ceased to act, in ed by the Synod of Philadelphia, this case, as a court of judicature, in disposing of a complaint re- engaged in trying a cause. But lating to the case of Mr. Barnes. thus it did in fact cease to act; We find the constitutional order and to this hour, therefore, there in articles IX. and X. of the has been no judicial decision, consection that relates to appeals, stitutionally made, on the case subwhich articles are as follows— mitted to the last Assembly, by “IX. After all the parties shall the parties in the Presbytery of bave been fully heard, and all the Philadelphia. information gained by the mem- It may be remarked, and it is bers of the superior judicatory certainly true, that a proposition from those of the inferior which to submit this whole cause to a shall be deemed requisite, the ori- committee had been made, even ginal parties, and all the members before the papers relating to it of the inferior judicatory shall had been read. It is also true, that withdraw; when the clerk shall the motion to submit the entire call the roll, that every member subject was renewed, as soon as may have an opportunity to ex- the court had heard the parties. press his opinion on the case;* after But it is not true that the reprewhich the final vote shall be taken. sentatives of the Presbytery of X. The decision may be either to Philadelphia ever consented to confirm or reverse, in whole or in give up their right to a regular part, the decision of the inferior judicial trial and decision. Had judicatory; or to remit the cause they done so, they would have befor the purpose of amending the trayed their trust. They had been record, should it appear to be in- explicitly instructed “to use their correct or defective; or for a new best endeavours to obtain a full trial.”
discussion of the points submitted, From this course of procedure, and an explicit decision of the Asthere was, as we have said, a com- sembly in regard to the same.” In plete departure; and one entirely waiving their right to plead, it was new, and of a different character, obvious to reflect that those memwas substituted for it. The subject bers of the Assembly whose opin. submitted to the court was referred ions agreed with their own-and to a committee; and when the com- they knew there were present mittee reported, there was no“call- many such members, of high chaing of the roll, that every mem- racter for knowledge and ability ber might have an opportunity to would do full justice to the express his opinion on the case,' cause, when they should be called before the final vote was taken; to speak in the order of the roll. and this vote was taken precisely The proposition to submit the as is done in deciding on ordinary cause without argument was first subjects, when the Assembly is not agreed to by the complainants, on sitting in its judicial capacity. the express condition, however, This capacity, as we have seen, that the representatives of the
Presbytery would do the same. Let it be observed that the language When the latter were asked if they here is unequivocally IMPERATIVE. "The clerk shall call the roll, that every member would accede to such an agreemay have an opportunity to exprese his ment, there was some hesitation. opinion on the case."
The present writer, who was one VOL. X.-Ch. Adv.
of them, requested a little time to already before judges in a court; reflect, and to consult with his col. and we augured no good from its leagues. This was refused, and a appointment. We saw that the prompt answer was demanded.
report of this committee would No more time was allowed or unavoidably have a great influence taken, than was barely necessary on the ultimate decision; and to ask each of the individuals re- hence our chief objection that a presenting the Presbytery, and who New England delegate should have was present (one was, at the mo- a vote in the committee, when he ment, out of the house) whether was precluded from one on the he would consent to waive his final award by the court. Yet we right to plead. The answer was could not say then, nor can we say affirmative and unanimous. Whe- now, that the Assembly, even when ther this was the best course that sitting as a court, is not constitumight have been taken, may be, tionally competent to commit any . and has been questioned; and we subject, for the purpose of digestwish not to exempt from merited ing and giving order to it, when it is blame, any party, or any individual, complicated; and the case in questo whom blame ought to attach. tion was doubtless one not a little One of the brethren who represent- complicated. We also thought it ed the Presbytery, has since told possible that the maker of the mous, that he understood, that oppor- tion might have in his mind sometunity for argument was to be al- thing which did not occur to us, that lowed the parties, after the contem- might be advantageous in presentplated committee should have ing the points of most importance, made their report. All, it is be- for the ultimate and distinct deterlieved, were impressed with the mination of the court: and we owe idea that pleading would consume it to this brother to mention, that much time, would probably pro- when the committee for which he duce much irritation in a large had moved, and of which he was and deeply interested audience, the chairman, had been canvassing and ultimately have little if any the business committed to them effect on the decision of the court for a considerable time, he called -in which, as already intimated, us out of the house, with a view, there were many able men, pre- as he said, to assure us that when pared, as was believed, to give he moved for this committee he their opinions, as well as their had hoped and expected that not a votes, in favour of orthodoxy and little good would result from it; order. In haste, then, whether but intimated, as we understood right or wrong, the representa- him, that he was likely to be much tives of the Presbytery submitted disappointed. He did not say, nor the cause at once-to THE COURT, did we ask him, either then or (we repeat and appeal to the re- since, in what manner he had cord) and to no other arbitrament hoped the committee would be whatever.
useful. The only reply that we In the speech which was deliver- made, was, that we never expected ed by the respected member who that the committing of this submade the motion for a committee, ject would result in any thing bethere were, we are constrained to neficial. Here the conversation say, some things that surprised us ended, and we returned to the Asmore and pleased us less, than sembly. Let it be distinctly noted perhaps anything else that we then, that if consent of parties to ever heard from his lips. We change the constitutional mode saw that the appointment of such of terminating this controversy, a committee as he moved for was might be supposed to authorize a novel measure, when a cause was such a change, this consent was
never had. One of the parties, had been an interval of nearly at least, never did understand that three days (one was the Sabbath) they were even asked to depart since this concern had been in the from that constitutional mode of hands of the committee. Much inbringing this case to a final deci- teresting business had occupied sion, which had been commenced the attention of the house in the and proceeded in, till the cause interval; and when the committee was submitted without argument. reported, attention was absorbed It is believed that the representa- by the report itself; and it seems tives of the Presbytery had not not to have occurred, perhaps to power, under their instructions, to any one, that on this case the Asdo any such thing; and that if they sembly was still sitting “as a court had done it, the Presbytery would of Jesus Christ.” The great error have had a right to refuse to abide was, that the court did not proby their act, as being one that was ceed with the trial as it began, done, not only without authority, and without a committee; but it but contrary to instructions. And certainly was an additional error, surely, if there was an understand- of no small magnitude, to adopt ing that a thing so entirely novel the report of the committee withas settling an important controver- out allowing every member of the sy in a mode not pointed out in house, on the call of the roll, lo the constitution, did now take state his views, give his reasons in place, there would have been a detail, propose amendments, or alvery particular minute made of the terations, or a substitute, and then transaction—at least, the explicit to take the vote containing the consent of parties would have been award of the court, as the condistinctly recorded. Nothing of cluding act. the kind appears, and nothing of The report of the committee the kind did take place in fact. passed the house with fewer negaThe parties consented to submit tive votes than we perhaps ever the cause to the court without are heard on an important question, gument, and to nothing more. where there was a real difference of
We think we never before saw opinion. There was, we know, the the General Assembly in such a appearance of great unanimity; but state of mental confusion, as seem- the truth was, all parties were dised apparent for a few minutes after satisfied; and so equally so, that the report of this committee was that there seemed to be a kind of made. One or two attempts to tacit agreement to let the matter speak were arrested, by intimations go-as being about equally bathat any discussion of the report lanced, in the way of disappointwould open the whole cause anew ment, to the sides that were in -that it must be taken or rejected conflict. A leading member of as it stood: and taken it was, not only the committee said to us with emwithout calling the roll, to give ev- phasis, a short time after the vote ery member an opportunity to de- was taken, “not a single member liver his opinion deliberately and in of the Assembly is satisfied with detail, but without such an opinion our report.” And, we ask, is this being given by any one member of the best way of settling, or rather, the house. If it be asked, why did of leaving entirely unsettled, an not the old school members rise, important ecclesiastical controverand stand on their right to the call sy? Is this right in itself—all conof the roll?—we say, although we stitutional considerations out of cannot affirm it as a fact, that we the question? We think not. The really believe that in the hurry of manner in which the Assembly has the moment, they did not recollect treated this concern, has, among that they had the right. There other evils, opened a door to re
proach our Supreme Judicatory- waive a regular trial, with being engaged and we cannot deny that the re
in any conspiracy against the purity of the
Presbyterian church. Yet the fact was, proach is just-as not only hesi- Dr. Miller did earnestly deprecate the tating, but absolutely refusing, evils which would follow a regular trial through fear, to carry into effect and decision ; and on that ground perits own constitutional order, when suaded the parties to forego their consticalled to the trial in as plain a
tutional rights, and to submit their case
without a trial; in the expectation that case as can be supposed. The the Assembly would endeavour to find Rev. Mr. Bacon, a delegate to some ground on which the parties might the Assembly from Connecticut, be at peace. I was disappointed at this, has addressed to us, through a
and yet I rejoiced in it. As a curious
observer, I was disappointed, because I religious newspaper, a long letter, had expected to see the practical operathe professed object of which is, tion of your system of judicatories and apto justify himself
for consenting to poals, in a case in which, if it has any suact as a member of the committee, periority over our system of friendly arbiin the case of Mr. Barnes. This fest. As a Christian brother, I rejoiced, letter is to us personally, as re- because I verily thought that the proposal spectful as we could ask or wish; was a wise one, and that peace could be but it has mortified us severely, by better secured thus, than by a judicial dewhat it contains in the following General Assembly disposed to learn what
cision after a regular trial. I came to the quotation from it, in reference to
are the actual advantages of that towering our church order and proceedings. system of ecclesiastial courts which conYet, on the whole, we rejoice that stitutes the glory of Presbyterianism, and he has spoken so plainly. And if of that power to terminato all controver
sies which is supposed to reside in the su. any Presbyterian-we mean one
preme judicature. Of course, I could not who is so in truth and not merely but be, at once astonished and gratified, in name-can read it without emo- to see that unconscious homage which was tions in which shame is not an in- rendered to Congregational principles, gredient, we shall resign all claim pure from every infection and tincture of
when Presbyterians of the highest form, to understand the nature of Pres- Independency, untouched with any suspi. byterian feelings. The quotation cion of leaning towards New England, is as follows:
strenuously deprecated the regular action
of the Presbyterian system in a case which, “I supposed that the committee on which of all cases, was obviously best fitted to I was named, was appointed, not to try demonstrate its excellence. I was astonthe case on Presbyterian principles, but ished. I had indeed expected that the rather to act as a council for the settle. voice which was to answer the complainment of the controversy, as we dispose of ants and the Presbytery of Philadelphia, difficulties in our churches. I confess my- would answer out of the whirlwind; but self unskilled in the peculiarities of Pres. I had supposed that consistency in those byterian discipline; but if I understand brethren would constrain them to acknowyour book, your way is, to try such a case ledge that voice, even speaking from the by hearing, not only the documents, but whirlwind, as the voice of the only legitithe parties, and to decide it, not by propos- mate arbiter. I could not but ask within ing terms of reconciliation, but by giving myself, what is this lauded system of a direct, distinct, and conclusive answer, power and jurisdiction worth—these judito every question involved in the refer- catures, court rising above court in regu. ence, complaint, or appeal. This I supposedlar gradation, what are they worth, if you would have been the Presbyterian method are afraid to try your system in the hour of proceeding in the case of Mr. Barnes. of need yet when I heard those brethren But this course was not adopted. There arguing in favour of referring the matter was a reluctance, in a part of the Assembly, to a select committee which should endeaagainst a regular trial and decision of the vour to mediate between the parties, and case. I was not very well acquainted to propose some terms of peace and mutu. with members or parties; but this I know, oblivion, in other words, lo act as a Conthe men who feared the result of a trial, gregational ecelesiastical council would act, were some of them men of great respect. in attempting the adjustment of any similar ability. Not even the venerable editor of controversy, I was convinced that they were the Christian Advocate, will charge the in the right. And when the Assembly and venerable professor on whose repeated the parties at last acceded to that proposal, motion the Assembly at last consented to I supposed that the general conviction
was, that it was best to go to work, of that become Congregationalists withoccasion, in something like the Congrega- out a struggle. tional way, rather than in the Presbyte
2. We think it entirely consist. “ Taking this view of the object for enl with having said we rejoice which the committee was appointed, and that the statement of Mr. Bacon entering, as I did, very heartily into the has been published just as it design, I never suspected that my not be. ing a Presbyterian disqualified me from stands, to say that there is in it, serving; I supposed that being a Congre- according to our judgment, the gationalist, and therefore not wholly unac- manifestation of a spirit which quainted with such methods of proceeding, ought not to have been indulged. I was only the better fitted to assist in the labours of such a committee; and accord
For the same reason that we are ingly I took hold of the work with a dis. glad, on the whole, that the morposition to assist in the humble measure of tifying condition of our church my ability."
should be publickly known, we From what is now before the are glad that the existence of feelreader we think it is evident, 1. ings on his part, which we think That a Congregational interest wrong in themselves, should be did in fact govern the last Gene- known in the same manner-The ral Assembly; so that in the case knowledge of both these evils of Mr. Barnes, the decision may do good in the same way. If made, was not in accordance with there is not the language of trithe constitution of the Presbyte- umph-of the triumph of Conrian church, but in conformity gregationalism over Presbyteriwith the principles of the Congre- anism, in this communicationgationalists. We are truly glad we mistake egregiously. Nay, that the very statement made by if some of this language is not diMr. Bacon, in all its length, and rectly calculated to give provocabreadth, and plainness, has come tion, we certainly do not underbefore the publick. For although, stand it. He speaks in a manner as we have said, it mortifies us se- that strikes us as contemptuous of verely, yet, as it is substantially the institutions of our church-as true, we think it of high impor. giving "answers out of the whirltance that the truth should be wind,” and of having “courts known; and that it should have rising above courts,” and then asks been told from the quarter whence repeatedly,“ what are they worth? we have received it. Had we made what are they worth?” We anthe same statement, before this swer, that while we agree with him document was published, we are entirely, that there was in the last persuaded that not only would General Assembly a refusal, which the truth of our representation we think shameful, to try what our have been denied, but we should institutions were worth in the case have been denounced as slander- of Mr. Barnes, and to which reers, both of our New England fusal he contributed, as he confessbrethren and of the last General es, all that was in his power; yet Assembly. We therefore view the we are well satisfied, nevertheless, communication of Mr. Bacon as that if our ecclesiastical order had containing a potion for our church, been permitted to have its regular bitter indeed in the taking, but course, and had been administered which we hope will be salutary in in the genuine spirit of our standthe operation. It will be for Pres- ards, doctrinal and disciplinary, byterians to consider, whether this we should have seen something eastern influence is to continue; that was worth a hundred fold and if not, what means ought to more than the mawkish, evasive, be taken to arrest or control it. and trimming report of the comIt is manifest that something must mittee, of which he was a member. be done, unless we are prepared to We must also remark, that this