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(title page) Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America. With an Appendix.
Steam Power Press Chronicle & Sentinel.
Call number 4479 Conf. (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
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A. D. 1862.
In view of the presence of the conflicting armies in the near vicinity of the city of Memphis, and the consequent danger and difficulty of assembling at that place; in accordance with the recommendation of the Moderator, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, met, according to Proclamation made by the Stated and Permanent Clerks, in the Presbyterian Church in the city of Montgomery, on Thursday the 1st day of May, 1862, at 11 o'clock, A. M.
The Moderator of the last Assembly being absent, it was, on motion of Rev. Henry Safford--
Resolved, That Rev. J. L. Kirkpatrick, D. D., from the Presbytery of Concord, be appointed to preach the Opening Sermon, and preside until a Moderator be chosen.
Dr. Kirkpatrick accordingly preached from the text, Romans, viii:17:--"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."
After the Sermon he proceeded to constitute the Sessions with prayer.
The Permanent Clerk from the Committee on Commissions reported that the following Commissioners had appeared and been regularly enrolled, viz:
|East Alabama,||G. R. Foster,||N. S. Graham,|
|South Alabama,||Henry R. Raymond,||A. B. Cooper,|
|Tuscaloosa,||John W. Pratt,||E. A. Archibald.|
|Cherokee,||T. C. Crawford,||James Green,|
|Flint River,||S. H. Higgins, D. D. (2)||Robert A. Ware, (2)|
|Florida,||Donald Fraser,||John C. McGehee,|
|Georgia,||R. Q. Mallard,|
|Hopewell,||Henry Safford,||T. T. Windsor.|
|Chickasaw,||J. A. Kimmons,||A. J. Suggs.|
|Central Mississippi,||E. T. Baird, D. D.|
|New Orleans,||John Leyburn, D. D.|
|Tombeckbee,||James N. Carothers,||Thomas L. Carothers.|
|Holston,||J. D. Tadlock, (2)||Samuel B. McAdams. (2)|
|Concord,||J. L. Kirkpatrick, D. D.,||Robt., I. McDowell,|
|W. W. Pharr,||A. G. Neel.|
|Fayetteville,||Daniel Johnson,||A. D. McLean.|
|George A. Russell,|
|Orange,||A. G. Hughes,|
|C. K. Caldwell.|
|Bethel,||J. M. Anderson,|
|Charleston,||A. A. Porter,|
|J. L. Girardeau,|
|Harmony,||Gilbert Morgan,||J. R. Aiken.|
|Charlton H. Wilson,|
|South Carolina,||J. O. Lindsay,||James Gillam.|
|T. L. McBryde, D. D.|
|Western Texas,||R. F. Bunting, (3)|
|East Hanover,||Wm. A. Campbell, (2)|
|Lexington,||John F. Baker, (2)|
|Montgomery,||James M. Rice, (2)||Eli Phlegar. (2)|
|West Hanover,||James H. Fitzgerald. (2)|
On motion of Rev. Dr. McBryde, the Assembly proceeded to the election of
officers, when Rev. J. L. Kirkpatrick, D. D. was unanimously elected Moderator, and the Rev. T. L. McBryde, D. D. was unanimously elected Temporary Clerk.
The Assembly then took a recess until 4 o'clock this afternoon.
After recess it was, on motion of Rev. Dr. Leyburn--
Resolved, That a Treasurer be chosen by the Assembly to act during its present sessions. Whereupon the Rev. James N. Carothers was appointed.
On motion of Rev. Dr. Baird, it was made the first order of the day for to-morrow morning to receive the Reports of the various Executive Committees, and the Report of the Directors of Union Theological Seminary.
A communication was received from the Rev. Dr. Thornwell, Chairman of the Committee on Revision of the Form of Government and Book of Discipline, stating that he had been unable to convene said Committee, owing to the disturbed state of the country, and the pressure of Seminary duties. Whereupon, on motion of Rev. J. M. Anderson, the above named reasons for failing to call this Committee together were sustained, the Committee continued, and requested to report to the next General Assembly.
On motion of Rev. Dr. Baird the name of Rev. Thomas E. Peck was added to the Committee on Revision.
On motion of Rev. James N. Carothers it was--
Resolved, That the hours of meeting be fixed at 9 o'clock, A. M. and 4 o'clock, P. M., and the hours of adjournment at 1 o'clock, P. M. and 6 P. M.
On motion of Rev. Dr. Baird, it was ordered that the first half hour of the morning sessions be spent in devotional exercises, with special reference to the distracted state of the Church and country, under the direction of the Moderator.
On motion of Rev. R. Q. Mallard, the Assembly adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock. Closed with prayer by Rev. Gilbert Morgan.
The Assembly met and spent the first half hour in devotional exercises, according to appointment.
The minutes of yesterday were read, amended and approved.
The Moderator announced the appointment of the following Standing Committees:
1. On Bills and Overtures.--Ministers--John Leyburn, D. D., A. A. Porter, Henry Safford, A. G. Hughes; Ruling Elders--N. S. Graham, Thomas L. Carothers, John C. McGehee.
2. Judicial Committee.--Ministers--E. T. Baird, D. D., J. M. Anderson, C. K. Caldwell, J. A. Kimmons; Ruling Elders--A. G. Neel, T. T. Windsor, E. A. Archibald.
3. On Theological Seminaries.--Ministers--W. W. Pharr, Gilbert Morgan, R. Q. Mallard, John W. Pratt; Ruling Elders--J. R. Aiken, A. D. McLean, A. J. Suggs.
4. On Domestic Missions.--Ministers--John W. Pratt, A. G. Hughes, Donald Fraser, J. O. Lindsay; Ruling Elders--Robert I. McDowell, A. B. Cooper, T. L. Carothers.
5. On Foreign Missions.--Ministers--Charlton H. Wilson, James N. Carothers, Henry R. Raymond, T. C. Crawford; Ruling Elders--A. B. Cooper, J. Green, T. T. Windsor.
6. On Education.--Ministers--J. M. Anderson, J. A. Kimmons, R. Q. Mallard, George A. Russel; Ruling Elders--A. D. McLean, E. A. Archibald, J. Green.
7. On Publication.--Ministers--C. K. Caldwell, Henry Safford, J. A. Kimmons, G. R. Foster; Ruling Elders--J. Gillam, J. C. McGehee, A. J. Suggs.
8. On the Narrative.--Ministers--J. L. Girardeau, D. Johnson, J. A. Kimmons; Ruling Elders--E. A. Archibald, J. R. Aiken.
9. On Foreign Correspondence.--Ministers--J. O. Lindsay, E. T. Baird, D. D., A. G. Hughes; Ruling Elders--N. S. Graham, A. G. Neel.
10. On Leave of Absence.--Ministers--Henry R. Raymond, D. Johnson; Ruling Elder--J. C. McGehee.
11. On Systematic Benevolence.--Ministers--A. A. Porter, Henry Safford, G. A. Russell, D. Fraser; Riding Elders--A. B. Cooper, A. J. Suggs.
12. On Devotional Exercises.--Ministers--G. R. Foster, J. N. Carothers; Ruling Elder--T. T. Windsor.
13. On Finance.--A. B. Cooper, James Gillam, Robert I. McDowell.
14. Records of the Synod of Georgia.--Ministers--D. Johnson, J. M. Anderson; Ruling Elder--A. J. Suggs.
15. Records of the Synod of North Carolina.--Ministers--Gilbert Morgan, J. A. Kimmons; Ruling Elder--E. A. Archibald.
16. Records of the Synod of South Carolina.--Ministers--J. N. Carothers, G. A. Russel; Ruling Elder--J. Green.
The pulpits of the Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Protestant, and Baptist Churches, were, through Rev. G. R. Foster, offered to the Assembly for their use on next Sabbath, and the acceptance of the same referred to the Committee on Devotional Exercises.
On motion of Rev. James Carothers, the Rev. Dr. E. T. Baird was appointed to perform the duties of Stated Clerk during the absence of Dr. Waddel.
The Report of the Executive Committee of Foreign Missions was read to the Assembly by the Rev. Dr. J. Leighton Wilson, the Secretary of Foreign Missions, who also laid before the Assembly the Report of the Treasurer of said Committee, and other papers relating to the operations thereof, all of which were referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Missions.
The Report of the Executive Committee of Domestic Missions, with accompanying papers, was presented to the Assembly by the Secretary, Rev. Dr. J. Leyburn, and referred to the Standing Committee on Domestic Missions.
So much of Dr. Thornwell's communication, referred to in the Minutes of yesterday, as relates to the Theological Seminary at Columbia, S. C. was, on motion of Dr. Baird, referred to the Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries.
Overture (numbered 6 in the printed minutes of the last Assembly,) was, on motion of Rev. J. O. Lindsay, referred to the Committee on Bills and Overtures.
The Presbyteries were called upon by the Moderator to ascertain whether the Assessment for the Contingent Fund, as ordered by the last General Assembly, had been sent up by their respective Commissioners, and the Stated Clerk was directed to urge upon the delinquent Presbyteries to forward to him their several proportions of said Assessment as soon as possible.
The subject of appointing a time and selecting a place for the meeting of the next General Assembly was, on motion of Dr. Baird, now taken up, whereupon it was
Resolved, That another Assembly constituted like this shall meet in the Presbyterian Church in the city of Columbia, S. C., on the 1st Thursday in May, 1863, at 11 o'clock, A. M.
On motion of Robert I. McDowell the Assembly adjourned to meet at 4 o'clock this afternoon. Closed with prayer by Rev. Donald Fraser.
The Assembly met and was opened with prayer by Rev. W. W. Pharr.
J. D. Tadlock, S. H. Higgins, D. D., Wm. A. Campbell, John F. Baker, James M. Rice, and James H. Fitzgerald, Ministers, and Eli Phlegar, Samuel B. McAdams, and Robert A. Ware, Ruling Elders, appeared, and were enrolled as additional Commissioners.
Rev. G. Morgan, from the Committee on the Records of the Synod of North Carolina, reported their approval as far as written; Report adopted.
Dr. Leyburn, from the Committee on Bills and Overtures, submitted Overture No. 1, which, with the answer recommended by the committee was, on motion of Dr. Baird, placed on the docket.
Dr. Leyburn submitted Overture No. 2, as follows:
NEW-ORLEANS, April 14, 1862.
The Presbytery of New-Orleans respectfully overtures the General Assembly, in order to secure uniformity of procedure, and relieve Presbyteries from embarrassment, to pass an act, if in their judgment it should be deemed necessary, authorising the Presbyteries to receive such ministers as may come from the old school General Assembly North, without the usual letters of dismission, upon affording satisfactory evidence of their good standing, and making the usual statement of their doctrinal views.
HENRY M. SMITH, S. C.
The following answer recommended by the Committee was adopted:
The Presbyteries in connection with this Assembly are authorised to receive Ministers coming from the Presbyterian Church in the United States, on their giving satisfactory evidence of their good standing, and after the usual examination upon experimental religion, didactic and polemic theology, and church government, without requiring a certificate of dismission.
On motion of Rev. J. M. Anderson, it was made the order of the day for to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock, to hear the report of the Standing Committees on Foreign Missions.
On motion of Dr. Baird, it was
Resolved, That a Committee of five be appointed by the Moderator to prepare a Pastoral Letter, to be addressed by this Assembly to the Ministers and members of our Churches, and the youth of our congregations, now in the armies of the Confederacy, fighting the battles of our national independence.
The Moderator appointed upon this Committee E. T. Baird, D. D., S. H. Higgins, D. D., Rev. James H. Fitzgerald, N. S. Graham, and R. I. McDowell.
On motion of Rev. J. W. Pratt the Assembly adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock. Closed with prayer by Rev. James N. Carothers.
The Assembly met and was opened with the usual devotional exercises continued for half an hour.
Rev. R. F. Bunting, from the Presbytery of Western Texas, appeared without a commission, but having made it satisfactory explanation of this fact, was enrolled as an additional Commissioner.
The Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries made its report through the
Chairman, Rev. W. W. Pharr, which, after brief discussion, was recommitted for amendment.
Rev. G. R. Foster, from the Standing Committee on Devotional Exercises, made a report which was approved.
Rev. Henry R. Raymond, from the Standing Committee on Foreign Missions presented the Report of the Committee which, after an address to the Assembly by Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, D. D. was adopted, and is as follows.
The Standing Committee on Foreign Missions would submit the following report:
You have placed in our hands the records and report of the Executive Committee, and the Treasurer's book and accounts.
1st. We have examined the records of the Executive Committee, and find them accurately and neatly kept. They afford satisfactory indications that the committee have been diligent, faithful and earnest in efforts to discharge their duty. We find there also what we conceive to be good evidence that they have neither wasted the funds placed in their hands for distribution, nor yet stinted the laborers in the field.
2d. We have also looked over the books and accounts of the Treasurer. Vouchers for the different items of expenditure are not before this Committee, but they are referred to in connection with each item, and no doubt were examined by the auditing sub-committee of the Executive Committee.
3d. The Report of the Executive Committee read before the Assembly on yesterday, was listened to by us, in common, no doubt, with all the members of the Assembly, with very great satisfaction. It was gratifying to know that though a ruthless enemy has shut up our seaports, cutting us off from most of the luxuries, and many of the comforts of life, they have not yet been able to cut us off from the pleasure of sending the truth of God to our red brethren of the west. It was gratifying too to learn that God has made the people willing, and given them liberal hands to sustain this work, and enable the Church to enter the open door. Especially were we pleased to hear of the instance of individual librality, in the offer made to the Committee to support one Missionary in a foreign land, and we would commend this example to the imitation of those whom God has blessed with the means of doing so. No less pleasant was it to learn that among the Indians, as among our own people, some are turning to the Lord, even in these times of excitement, trial, and great temptation.
The Committee would propose the following:
Resolved, 1. That the Records of the Executive Committee, with the books and accounts of the Treasurer, up to the present time be approved.
2d, That the Assembly have heard the Report of the Executive Committee with great satisfaction, and commend them to the guidance of God's Holy Spirit, and His rich blessing in the continued prosecution of their work.
3d, That the work entrusted to this Committee be commended to the people of God throughout our bounds, as one eminently deserving the tribute of prayer and thanksgiving, and that continued and liberal offerings should be poured into the treasury of the Lord for the furtherance of this object.
4th, That this Assembly renew the recommendation for a concert of prayer to be held on the first Sabbath of each month in all our Churches, for the Lord's blessing upon the cause of Missions, and that contributions be made at those meetings whenever expedient.
The Standing Committee on Foreign Missions nominated, in connection with the presentation of the foregoing report, the following persons for members and officers of the Executive Committee:
For Secretary--Rev. J. Leighton Wilson, D. D.; for Treasurer--Rev. Prof. James Woodrow. For Members--Rev. J. H. Thornwell, D. D., Rev. G. Howe, D. D., Rev. J. P. Mullaly, Rev. A. A. Porter, Rev. John B. Adger, D. D., Mr. Henry Muller, Mr. F. W. McMaster, Mr. Campbell R. Bryce, Prof. Chas. S. Venables.
It was made the order of the day for Monday next at 10 o'clock, A. M., to go
into the election for officers and members of this Executive Committee and of the other Executive Committees, nominations for which were accordingly required, by motion, to be made to-day.
Rev. J. M. Anderson, from the Standing Committee on Education, presented the report of said Committee, which, on motion of Dr. Leyburn was placed on the docket in the hope that the Assembly might yet be able before its adjournment, to receive the Report of the Executive Committee of Education.
In connection with this Report the Standing Committee on Education nominated the following persons for members and officers of the Executive Committee:
For Secretary--Rev. John H. Gray, D. D.; for Treasurer--I. B. Kirtland. For Members--Rev. J. O. Stedman, D. D., Rev. R. C. Grundy, D. D., Rev. P. H. Thompson. Rev. R. R. Evans, Hon. J. T. Swayne, Mr. E. H. Porter, Mr. W. S. McRae, Mr. A. J. White, Mr. W. B. Donoho.
It was ordered that the standing rule governing nominations of officers and members of the Executive Committees be suspended, so far as to allow nominations to be made by the Standing Committees on Domestic Missions and Publication, out of connection with their respective reports.
Accordingly the Standing Committee on Domestic Missions, through the Chairman, Rev. J. W. Pratt, presented the following nominations:
For Secretary--Rev. John Leyburn, D. D.; for Treasurer--S. B. Newman. For Members --Rev. B. M. Palmer, D. D., Rev. R. McInnis, Rev. I. J. Henderson Rev. H. M. Smith, Messrs. Wm. C. Black, J. A. Maybin, A. D. Donovan, F. Stringer, John D. Henderson.
The Standing Committee on Publication presented the following nominations:
For Secretary--Rev. Wm. Brown, D. D.; for Treasurer--James Miller. For Members --Rev. T. V. Moore, D. D., M. D. Hoge, D. D., Theodoric Pryor, D. D., Messrs. A. M. Dupuy, W. F. Taylor, C. H. Wiley, W. M. Elliott, A. G. McIlwaine, Roger Martin.
A communication was received from Rev. James A. Lyon, D. D., Chairman of the Committee appointed by the last General Assembly, to prepare a Pastoral Letter on the "religious instruction of the colored people," asking to be excused for their failure to report to this Assembly; whereupon, on motion of Rev. R. Q. Mallard, the reasons given for not reporting according to the order of the last Assembly were declared to be satisfactory, and the Committee was continued with directions to report to the next Assembly.
Rev. A. A. Porter, from the Standing Committee on Systematic Benevolence, presented the following Report of the Committee which was adopted:
The Standing Committee on Systematic Benevolence respectfully report to the Assembly that reports from only four of the Presbyteries, as required by the order of the Assembly, have been sent up to the present meeting, viz: from the Presbyteries of South Carolina, Fayetteville, South Alabama, and West Hanover. Under these circumstances the Committee find themselves wanting in the materials out of which to frame their own report, so as to meet the direct object of their appointment. It may be well, however, briefly to call the attention of the Assembly and of the Presbyteries to the order of the Assembly, on this subject, to the purpose for which it was adopted, and to the means designed to be employed to accomplish it.
The fact that so few reports on this subject have been made to the present Assembly is, no doubt, owing chiefly to the present condition of our country. But there is reason to fear that the duties required of the Presbyteries in regard to the
matter have, to some extent, passed out of their minds, and need to be again brought to their notice, and urged upon their attention.
The Assembly of 1854 adopted a paper testifying to the Christian obligation of regular systematic contributions to the various objects of christian benevolence, and to the importance of instituting in every church some well ordered plan by which these objects should be brought before the people, and an opportunity given to them to make such contributions. Every Presbytery was directed annually at its sessions immediately preceding the meeting of the Assembly to make inquiry as to the performance of these duties in its general character, and to report to the Assembly the results of that inquiry. These reports were to be referred to the Standing Committee on Systematic Benevolence, by whom a general view of the facts for exhibition was to be presented to the Assembly, and through that body to the Church at large, with the recommendation of such further action as might seem to be required.
It thus appears that a method was adopted designed to keep this great important duty of a christian people before the minds and hearts of the churches, and to secure, in some measure, the prompt and regular performance of it throughout our bounds. First of all the obligation of alms-giving was set forth as secretly binding on all individual christians, in that not by an impulsive, irregular and uncertain charity, but on some regular, methodical, systematized and well digested plan. Without prescribing any particular scheme as the best for all our congregations, it was made the duty of the pastors and church sessions to take due care that some plan for the purpose should be adopted and put in operation. The Presbyteries having the immediate supervision of pastors and churches were enjoined to inquire as to their diligent attention to this duty, and report annually to the Assembly as to the manner in which they and the Churches under their care have fulfilled these obligations.
Imperfectly and partially as these requirements have been complied with, they have, no doubt, already accomplished a vast amount of good. The duty of a christian to honor the Lord with his substance, to serve God with his money, to contribute a goodly portion of his earthly possessions, to promote the kingdom of his Divine Master, and to do good to his fellow men, has become clear to many of our people, more, generally and promptly recognised, more cheerfully and strongly felt. They have begun to be delivered from their narrow and little and low ideas of what they were accustomed to call charity, and to apprehend the duty of alms-giving as also a precious privilege, and a lofty, holy act of worship, whereby the believing soul recognises Him who is Lord and possessor of itself and of all it has, and offers to Him a tribute and all homage from the heart.
And the Committee believe that it is only necessary to instruct the people properly on this subject--to get clearly before them the principles so ably developed in the discussions and reports had in previous Assemblies concerning it, and to carry out fully on the part of Church Sessions and Presbyteries the requirements referred to, to secure the most abundant and delightful results. But to this end great patience and perseverance, and earliest diligence are needed. Line must be upon line and precept upon precept. Delay and difficulty, and toil and disappointment must not discourage us. We must have faith--faith in God that He will bless our efforts --faith in the power of truth, that faithfully testifies it will prevail, and faith in our christian people, that they will recognise their duty when it is clearly set before them. We need to have courage to tell men the truth, and declare unto them the whole counsel of God, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. And for all this we greatly need the abundant grace of the Spirit, with light and power in our souls.
The reports which have been referred to the Committee furnish gratifying evidence of the attention of the Presbyteries from which they come to this matter, and of the success which has followed their efforts. And there can be no doubt but that similar diligence on the part of other Presbyteries would be accompanied with like happy results. The Committee would, therefore, in conclusion, recommend to the Assembly that the standing order on this subject should be again urged upon the notice of the Presbyteries, and that they be earnestly exhorted to fulfil the duties it requires.
A communication from W. F. C. Gregory was presented by the Moderator, stating that a charter for the Assembly's Board of Trustees had been refused by the State of Virginia, in the form of bill prepared and sanctioned by the last General Assembly.
Mr. A. B. Cooper moved that the subject of obtaining a Charter be referred to the Judicial Committee; when, on motion of Dr. McBryde, this motion was laid upon the table for the purpose of allowing him to offer the following substitute:
Inasmuch as it is ascertained that difficulties lie in the way of obtaining Charters for the Board of Trustees in the several States, as contemplated by the last General Assembly, and only one report has been received by the Committees appointed to procure said charters, therefore be it
Resolved, That said Committees be requested to investigate the matter thoroughly and report to the next Assembly.
This substitute was, on motion of Dr. Baird, referred to a special committee.
The Moderator appointed upon this Committee, Dr. Leyburn, Dr. Baird, Dr. McBryde, W. W. Pharr, A. B. Cooper, E. Phlegar, R. A. Ware, N. S. Graham.
On motion of Rev. G. R. Foster, the Assembly adjourned to meet on Monday morning at 9 o'clock. Closed with prayer by Rev. John F. Baker.
The Assembly met and spent the first half hour in prayer, reading the Scriptures and singing.
Rev. James N. Carothers, from the Committee on the Records of the Synod of South Carolina, reported the following Minute which was adopted:
The Committee to whom was referred the Records of the Synod of South Carolina report, recommending their approval to page 124, with the following exception: That on page 119, there are certain resolutions not of the Synod as such, but of "a convocation of christian gentlemen," which ought not, therefore, to be found as a portion of the doings of the Ecclesiastical Judicatory.
On motion of Rev. W. A. Campbell, the Stated Clerk of the Synod of South Carolina was allowed to append a note to the Minutes of that body as explanatory of the matter objected to.
The order of the day, viz: the election of the officers and members of the several Executive Committees of the General Assembly, was called for by the Moderator whereupon the nominees on Foreign Missions, as previously named, (see page 8,) were unanimously chosen to act for the Assembly during the ensuing year.
The order of the day was suspended, to enable the Standing Committee on Domestic Missions to present its report.
Rev. J. W. Pratt, from said Committee, read this Report to the Assembly. Its resolutions were amended and adopted, and pending the consideration of the Preamble, it was, on motion, recommitted to the Standing Committee, to which was added Rev. C. H. Wilson.
The order of the day was then resumed, and the nominees previously made by the respective Standing Committees on Domestic Missions, Education and Publication (see page 9,) were unanimously chosen for the officers and members of the Executive Committees of said branches of the Assembly's service for the ensuing year.
Rev. J. O. Lindsay, from the Standing Committee on Foreign Correspondence presented the Report of the Committee which was adopted, as follows:
The General Assembly need scarcely re-assert its earnest desire to cultivate friendly relations with Churches professing the same doctrines, and practising the same polity. The unity of God's people is not only a reality, but it is of the highest importance that this unity should be manifested to the world. Where this is not practicable this Assembly is ready to do all that is consistent with truth to promote peace, and hopes that the charity which is the "bond of perfectness" will ever characterize its intercourse with other ecclesiastical bodies.
There has not been time to receive a response from the Churches to which fraternal correspondence was tendered by the last Assembly, which no doubt accounts for the fact that no delegate is present at this Assembly.
Some of these Churches meet in their highest Judicatories during the present month and the remainder at a later period in the year. It is proposed to appoint new delegates to the first class for next year, and to continue in the other class the appointments made by the last Assembly.
The following are the delegates proposed to the United Synod of the Presbyterian Church: J. A. Lyon, D. D., Wm. J. Hoge, D. D., alternate; to the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterians, Prof. R. S. Gladney, Principal, J. O. Stedman, D. D., Alternate; to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, of the South, Rev. David Wills, Principal, and D. McNeil Turner, D. D., Alternate; to the German Reformed Synod of the South, R. H. Morrison, D. D., Principal, Rev. D. A. Penick, Alternate; to the Convention of Independent Presbyterians, Rev. Wm. Banks, Principal, and Rev. A. A. James, Alternate.
On motion of Dr. Baird it was ordered that the following Minute of the last General Assembly be referred to the Committee on Bills and Overtures for revisal:
"On motion of Judge Swayne, the following resolution was adopted, viz: Resolved That the second section of the eighth chapter of the Form of Government be, and the same is hereby amended, by adding the following words: 'They shall not indulge in the discussion of questions of State, or party politics, or contraverted questions pertaining to civil government and policy.'"
Rev. C. K. Caldwell, from the Standing Committee on Publication, presented the Report of the Committee, which was adopted, as follows:
The Standing Committee on Publication report that no official documents from the
Executive Committee have been received,*
*The official Report of the Executive Committee of Publication, having been unavoidably delayed, was received after the adjournment of the Assembly, and will be found in the Appendix.--(Perm. Clerk.)
and therefore, are unable to make any definite statements relative to the operations of this branch of our work. The Committee, however, are convinced by evidence from private sources, that zealous and partially successful efforts have been made to procure funds and materials wherewith to put the Publication enterprise into vigorous operation.
1. Resolved, That this Assembly reiterates its deep conviction of the importance, practicability, and necessity of the scheme of Publication intimated by the last Assembly--a hand-maid of the ministry, and an essential instrument of disseminating religious truth among the masses.
2. That the great demand for religious tracts, for circulation in our army, make it incumbent on the Executive Committee to use immediately all necessary available means in meeting this demand.
3. That the Committee be authorised to change temporarily the locality of their operations, in case the invasion of the foe may render this change necessary.
It was ordered that the Reports of the several Executive Committees be published in the Appendix.
Dr. Baird, from the Committee to prepare a Pastoral Letter to the Ministers and members of our churches, and the youth of our congregations in the army of the Confederacy, reported a letter which was unanimously adopted by the Assembly,
and, on motion of Dr. Leyburn, was ordered to be forwarded to the Executive Committee of Publication, with directions that it be published as a circular for distribution among the classes to whom it is addressed, and that it be also published in the Appendix to the Minutes.
Rev. J. M. Anderson from the Committee on Education presented the Committee's Report, which was adopted, and is as follows:
Your Committee beg leave to report that in consequence of the want of any report or papers from the Executive Committee on Education, and the absence of the Secretary from the Sessions of this body, we are unable to report anything in reference to the progress of the Committee in their important work. After the full deliverance of the last General Assembly on the subject it would seem to be scarcely necessary that this Assembly should stop to give its testimony in favor of an educated Ministry, and the consequent duty of the Church to endeavor by her prayers and contributions to secure this end. Zion should never forget that according to the gracious dispensations of her divine King the gospel is not only to be preached to the poor, but also by the poor. And it is worthy of remark and devout thanksgiving that our blessed Saviour has been pleased to signify his approval of this department of our work, by making many of our beneficiaries eminently useful Ministers of His glorious gospel. Encouraged by the past, and looking hopefully to the future, we are persuaded our Church will endeavor to meet the tremendous responsibilities which are being devolved upon her, by the most earnest efforts to secure and maintain a pious and learned Ministry to stand in her lot in her day, and to fulfil the lofty mission which seems designed for her by her glorious Head, largely increased liberality to the cause of Education will be demanded of her. May we not hope that the day is not distant when this will be fully realised? When thousands who have no sons to give to the work of the Gospel Ministry, will feel it to be a duty and glorious privilege to educate at their individual expense, gifted and pious young men whom God may be pleased to call to this work?
Your Committee would recommend the following resolutions:
Resolved, 1. That this General Assembly, instead of the first Wednesday in December, as designated by the last Assembly, appoint the last Thursday of February next, to be observed as a day of special prayer for the youth assembled in our various Schools, Colleges and Seminaries, and for all the baptised children of the Church--that God would be pleased to pour out His Spirit upon them and sanctify them to the blessed work of making His way known upon the earth--His saving health amongst all nations. And further that it be recommended to all the Churches under the care of this Assembly to take up a collection on that day, in aid of the cause of Education.
Resolved, 2. That it be recommended to the Churches under the care of this Assembly to offer special prayer on the last Sabbath of every month for all our baptised young men now in the army--that God would preserve them from all evil and make them faithful to the Captain of their salvation.
Rev. D. Johnson, from the Committee on the Records of the Synod of Georgia, reported that said Record be approved as far as written. Adopted.
Rev. H. R. Raymond offered the following Resolution, which was adopted.
Resolved, That the Executive Committees of Education and Foreign Missions be authorised (as has been done in the cases of the Executive Committees of Domestic Missions and Publication,) to make such temporary changes in their location as the disturbed state of our country may seem to demand; also, all needful arrangements for the security and transmission of the funds entrusted to them.
Rev. J. L. Girardeau reported the Narrative, which was adopted and ordered to be printed in the Appendix to the Minutes, and to be read from the pulpits of all our Churches--(see Appendix.)
The Assembly adjourned to meet this afternoon at 4 o'clock. Closed with prayer by Rev. Dr. Chapman.
The Assembly met and was opened with prayer by Rev. G. A. Russell.
Dr. Leyburn, from the Committee on Bills and Overtures, submitted the following Overture (No. 4,) from the Presbytery of Memphis, and the proposed answer to it:
Overture from the Presbytery of Memphis to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America:
"On motion Presbytery resolved to overture the General Assembly to declare as the meaning of Art. 2d, Chapter 15, of Form of Government, that in the election of a Pastor no person shall be entitled to vote who is not a member in regular standing of the Church in which the election takes place."
The Committee recommend that this Overture be referred to the Committee on Revision. Adopted.
Dr. Leyburn also submitted Overture No. 5, as follows:
The following is an extract from the Minutes of the Presbytery of Tuscaloosa, in session at Eutaw, April 4, 1862:
"The following resolution was adopted, viz: Resolved, That we Overture the General Assembly to memorialise the Congress, or the President of the Confederate States to require our military officers to have the Sabbath respected and observed as a day of rest and religious exercises.
C. A. STILLMAN, Stated Clerk."
The Committee recommend that the following letter be adopted by the General Assembly, signed by the Moderator, in behalf of this body, and forwarded to the President of the Confederate States.
MONTGOMERY, May, 1862.
To the President of the Confederate States of America:
Sir:--The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America venture to address your excellency in reference to the desecration of the Sabbath in our armies. In common with very many of our fellow-citizens, we have been deeply pained at the prevailing disregard of an institution which lies at the foundation, not only of christianity, but of morality as well. The God who ordained the Sabbath is that God to whom we are accustomed to appeal for the justice of our cause--upon whom we are calling for that help which alone can avail to bring our country successfully and triumphantly through the present great struggle. How can we hope for God's blessing, or consistently ask it, when we are deliberately and habitually setting aside, and treating with contempt that which He has enjoined upon us to remember and keep holy. Surely never could circumstances more imperiously call upon us, as a people, to put away every thing which might be displeasing to that Great Being on whose favor we are so utterly dependent; and do not our soldiers and officers eminently require the salutary influence of the Sabbath amid the manifold temptations of the camp, and the fierce perils of the battle-field?
The Assembly have learned with regret that it is not uncommon for the military arrangements of the Sabbath to be of such a nature as seriously to interfere with the observance of public worship.
The General Assembly would, therefore, respectfully request your excellency to use your influence and authority as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, to do away with dress parades, inspections, reviewals, or unnecessary movements of troops on the Sabbath, and also to see that the officers shall not interfere with the observance of religious services, but on the contrary, afford all proper facilities for the same.
The uniform interest manifested by your Excellency in all that pertains to christianity, leads us to hope that a matter of such moment will secure the attention it merits. Let us remember that "righteousness exalteth a nation," and that God has declared that they that honor Him will be honored, whilst they that despise Him shall be lightly esteemed.
With earnest prayer to God that he will grant you, dear sir, wisdom and grace for your exalted and responsible station in these dark and troublous times, and with great respect, We are, &c.
Overture No. 6 was also submitted by the Chairman of the Committee with its answer, as follows:
Overture of the Presbytery of East Alabama to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, in session at Montgomery, May 1, 1862:
Presbytery requests that our Form of Government, Chap. 10, Sec. 4, and Chap. 11, Sec. 1, be so changed that each of those Churches, two or more of which are associated together in one Pastorate shall be entitled to a representative in Synod and Presbytery.
By order of the Presbytery of East Alabama, Oct. 19, 1862.
G. R. FOSTER, S. C.
The Committee recommend that this Overture be referred to Committee on Revision. Adopted.
Dr. Leyburn also submitted the following:
Overture No. 6 of the last General Assembly referred to this Assembly having been referred to this Committee, the Committee recommend the following action:
Resolved, That Overture No. 6 of the General Assembly of 1861, found on p. 39 of the printed Minutes, be referred to the Committee on Revision. Adopted.
The following Minute was also reported from the Committee on Bills and Overtures, and adopted:
The resolution of Judge Swayne, on p. 9 of the printed Minutes of the last Assembly, having been referred to the Committee on Bills and Overtures, the Committee recommend the following action:
Resolved, That as there is reason to believe that that Minute does not correctly record the decision of the Assembly, the Stated and Permanent Clerks be directed to correspond with Judge Swayne, and such other parties as may be able to give the necessary information, and report the result to the next Assembly.
The Special Committee appointed to consider the substitute offered by Dr. McBryde to the motion of Mr. A. B. Cooper, touching the subject of Charters, reported the following resolution which was adopted:
Resolved, That a Committee of five be appointed, whose duty it shall be to secure all necessary information as to the forms of Charters, and the conditions of securing them in the several States where they may be required, and report the same to the next General Assembly; and also that the Committee appointed by the last Assembly be requested to report the result of their efforts to this Committee.
The Moderator appointed upon this Committee:--Rev. E. T. Baird, D. D., Rev. John Leyburn, D. D., Rev. R. S. Gladney, Judge A. H. Handy, and Wm. P. Webb.
The Standing Committee on Domestic Missions made a final report through Rev. J. W. Pratt, its Chairman, which was adopted, and the whole report of this Committee is as follows:
The Standing Committee of Domestic Missions respectfully present the following Report:
We have received from the Executive Committee their Records, and the Reports of the Treasurer and Secretary.
The By-Laws adopted for the Government of the Committee are eminently judicious, and we recommend their approval. The Report of the Treasurer having been already audited, needs no remarks from us.
The Report of the Secretary shows that this Committee, although they have
been laboring for the short period of only three months, had begun to render important service to the Church. There can be no doubt that but for the impediments thrown in the way by the invasion of our country and other embarrassments occasioned by the war, this Committee would have been able to accomplish such results in the field of Missionary enterprise as would have demonstrated to the Church the wisdom of the Assembly in establishing this Agency for the prosecution of the work of Missions in the waste places of our land.
The late disasters which have befallen our national arms have placed the officers and members of this Committee in a peculiar and painful position. The city of New-Orleans, where the Committee reside, is in the hands of the enemy. The Secretary is separated from the other members of this Committee. At first sight it might appear expedient to discontinue, for the present, an agency whose operations are so hampered, but upon the maturest reflection your Committee are unanimous in the opinion that the work should go on. If we cannot do all, let us do all that we can. If God has, in His Providence, shut up some of the doors of entrance for the Gospel, we firmly believe that He will open others, and that in His good time our Church will be honored in the performance of a glorious work for Him amidst all the necessities, afflictions, distresses and tumults of the present evil days.
"The work of God is not bound," though Paul be in chains.
It is with such views of our position and duty that the Committee have been led to inquire what is the work which the Executive Committee of Domestic Missions can do; and in addition to the field of labor to which it is designated, your Committee have thought that the Secretary of Domestic Missions might act as an instrument of communication between those who are fitted to occupy the position of Chaplains in the army, and the authorities of the Government who appoint the Chaplains. Thousands of our youth are now connected with the army, and there is no field for Home Missions more important than this. Of course the method by which the Secretary could secure a provision for the spiritual wants of our people in the army cannot be dictated to him in the form of specific instructions, still your Committee recommend that the Executive Committee be instructed to consider the destitutions of our army as constituting a portion of the charge committed to their solicitude and care.
In conclusion your Committee recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the Secretary of Domestic Missions be, and he is hereby authorised to select any place of temporary residence in the Confederate States where, in his judgment he can best accomplish the work which he is commissioned to perform; and whenever the Secretary shall determine his temporary location, the three nearest Ministers shall be associated with him as a committee, ad interim, with which they shall associate three laymen as integral members thereof, and, for the time being, the whole of the powers of the Executive Committee shall devolve on the Committee, ad interim. This Committee, moreover, shall be authorised to appoint a Treasurer, pro tem. In case the Secretary shall find it necessary to change his location again, he shall be clothed with like power.
Resolved, That the Secretary be, and he is hereby instructed to do all that he
Rev. James N. Carothers, temporary Treasurer of the Assembly, submitted a Report which was received and approved.
The subject of the assessment of the Presbyteries for contingent expenses of the General Assembly was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.
Rev. W. W. Pharr, from the Committee on Theological Seminaries, presented the following Report, which was adopted, as follows:
The Committee appointed on Theological Seminaries, to whom was also referred a letter from Dr. Thornwell, would report: While the Seminary at Columbia is
not formally under our guardian care, for the want of time to consummate arrangements to bring about this result--we rejoice at the continued and increasing evidence that the smiles of Zion's King are resting upon this School of the Prophets. The hearts of the Professors have been cheered, and their hands have been strengthened by the encouraging numbers that have been connected with the Institution during the last session. It is a matter of devout thankfulness to the great Head of the Church that he has awakened desires in the bosoms of a large class of promising young men, soon to be Licentiates, to select our army as containing the objects of their first love, and the scenes of their first ministerial labor. From Union Theological Seminary no report has come into the hands of the Committee. This arises not from any neglect of duty or want of attention, on the part of the Managers of this institution, but from the fact that the time for the annual meeting of the Directors has not yet arrived.
In the absence of any official documents on which to base a Report, the Committee think that the Assembly may, with propriety, express a unanimous opinion in favor of liberally sustaining our Theological Seminaries during these days tribulation; also in favor of our candidates for the Ministry, under ordinary circumstances prosecuting their studies, with unmolested diligence, through these troublous times--until by the skillful use of spiritual weapons they are prepared for wide fields of usefulness as pastors in our vacant churches--as missionaries in our destitute fields, or as chaplains in our army. We distinctly recognise the right the State to claim the services of any, or all her citizens, in this the time of her need. We also acknowledge it as it high privilege, as well as a plain duty, for our people to pledge to each other, and the government of their choice, their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor, in united efforts to drive back the invaders of our soil, and the enemies of our institutions. Yet when and where this necessity does not exist, we think that our candidates can better serve their generation, and do more for their country, by diligently preparing to preach the Gospel.
All of which is respectfully submitted by order of the Committee.
The Report of the Committee on Bills and Overtures, on Overture No. 1, was, on motion, taken up from the docket and the answer to it adopted. The Overture and answer are as follows, and the Memorial below referred to was ordered to be placed on file:
Resolved, That this Presbytery send up to the General Assembly the following Overture, viz:
That the General Assembly would take proper measures to ascertain and keep itself informed whether or not the Bible Society of the Confederate States publishes, or will publish the word of God pure and entire, and in case it does, and affords sufficient assurance that it will continue so to do, that the Assembly adopt that Society as its organ for publishing and circulating the Holy Scriptures, and enjoin upon the Ministers and Churches under its care to support it by regular annual contributions, and require such contributions to be reported by the Presbyteries. and exhibited in the Minutes of the Assembly.
Resolved, That this Presbytery send also a memorial to the General Assembly in favor of the above Overture.
The Committee recommend the following action on this Overture:
Resolved, That this General Assembly has heard with much gratification of the organization of the Bible Society of the Confederate States, and cordially recommend it to the favor and patronage of our Churches and people.
Rev. H. R. Raymond, from the Committee on Leave of Absence, reported that no leave had been granted, and none asked.
A. B. Cooper, from the Standing Committee on Finance, presented the following Report, which was adopted:
The Finance Committee report, that in order to meet the necessary expenses of the Assembly, and to raise a contingent fund, it will be necessary to continue the
assessments made by the last General Assembly upon each of the Presbyteries. They are also of the opinion that it would be well to have a uniform rule touching the distribution and sale of the Minutes of the Assembly, and for this purpose they recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:
Resolved, That the several Presbyteries be assessed in the same amounts as by the last General Assembly.
Resolved, That the Stated Clerk shall demand and receive, the sum of fifty cents for each copy of the Minutes from every person who wishes a copy of the same.
Resolved, That the money paid into the hands of the Treasurer of this Assembly with the proceeds arising from the sale of the Minutes, shall constitute a contingent fund out of which the Stated Clerk is hereby instructed to pay the expenses of this Assembly, and any debts of the last Assembly which may be justly due.
On motion of Rev. A. G. Hughes, the Stated Clerk was directed to have only one thousand copies of the Minutes published.
On motion of Rev. J. M. Anderson, it was
Resolved, That the thanks of the Assembly be tendered to the people of Montgomery for their cordial and abundant hospitality, and that the Pastor of this Church be requested to convey these thanks to those for whom they are intended.
On motion of Rev. W. W. Pharr, it was
Resolved, That the thanks of the Assembly be presented to those Churches of this city whose pulpits have been opened to the members of this body for preaching.
It was then, on motion,
Resolved, That this Assembly be dissolved, and that another General Assembly chosen in the same manner, be required to meet at the Presbyterian Church in the city of Columbia, S. C. (or wherever else the Moderator or this Assembly may authorise the Stated and Permanent Clerks to convene it,) on the first Thursday in May, 1863, at 11 o'clock, A. M.
Closed with singing, prayer and the apostolic benediction.
JOSEPH R. WILSON.
E. T. BAIRD,
ACTING STATED CLERK.
It is but a few months since the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States was organized, and our Zion was equipped for her great and distinctive work. We desire at this, our second meeting to render devout thanksgiving to our Divine Lord and Head for the abundant favor which He has manifested to our Church in entering upon that new and solemn path of our duty to which His Providence has so clearly pointed her. Having, as she conceived, a Divine call to set up her banners as an independent organization, she has not been destitute of the Divine blessing in obeying it, and, we trust, will be yet more and more richly endowed for prosecuting as well the enterprises peculiarly entrusted to her, as the general labors which are assigned to every Church of the Redeemer.
We have to regret that in consequence of the distracted condition of the country, comparatively few reports of our Presbyteries touching the state of religion in their bounds have come up to us, and that, therefore, our opportunity of forming an estimate of the condition of our Churches is somewhat limited. All the Presbyteries which have reported dwell upon the absorbing topic of the war in which we are now engaged, and the influence exerted by it upon the religious interests and efforts of the Church. In tracing the religious history of the past few months, marked by events so extraordinary, many facts of profound interest claim consideration; but in a paper like this it is possible only to glance at some of the most interesting and important. We notice
All of the Presbyterial Narratives, without exception, mention the fact that their congregations have evinced the most cordial sympathy with the people of the Confederate States in their efforts to maintain their cherished rights and institutions against the despotic power which is attempting to crush them. Deeply convinced that this struggle is not alone for civil rights, and property, and home, but also for religion, for the Church, for the Gospel, and for existence itself, the Churches in our connection have freely contributed to its prosecution of their substance, their prayers and, above all, of their members and the beloved youth of their congregations.
They have parted, without a murmur, with those who constitute the hope of the Church, and have bidden them go forth to the support of this great and sacred cause, with their benedictions, and with their supplications for their protection and success. The Assembly desires to record, with its solemn approval, this fact of the unanimity of our people in supporting a contest to which religion, as well as patriotism now summons the citizens of this country, and to implore for them the blessing of God in the course which they are now pursuing.
In this connection we would notice the fact that some of our Ministers have entered the army as chaplains, or in the joint capacity of chaplains and soldiers, and are discharging a most important and useful office in this relation. One of these-- a member of the Presbytery of South Alabama--is now a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, and another, Rev. Dabney Carr Harrison--a member of the Presbytery of East Hanover--a chaplain and an officer, fell mortally wounded while leading his men in one of the bloodiest battles fought in this war. His name will be enbalmed in the hearts of his countrymen, and will be held in veneration by the Church of which he was an ornament.
We were prepared to expect from the existing state of things that the Narratives would evince the fact that the minds of christians are, to some extent, diverted by this absorbing subject from their purely spiritual relations and duties. And while this expectation has in part been fulfilled, we rejoice to learn that the evil has not been permitted to assume the disastrous proportions suggested by our fears. This leads us, in the next place, to advert to
1. The fact that the attendance on the means of grace, particularly by the young, is in a great measure diminished, while showing that the material to be affected by the direct influences of the sanctuary is lessened, should not be regarded as discouraging, as it proves that what may be deleterious to the interests of particular congregations is beneficial to the country and to the church at large. It could not be desired that in the circumstances in which we are placed a different state of things should prevail. What at first sight, therefore, appears to militate against the prosperity of the churches, we cannot but regard as evincing the christian patriotism of our people, and as furnishing a powerful incentive to the exercise of intercessory prayer in behalf of kindred and friends exposed to the perils of camp life and the dangers of battle. We are constrained, however, to call the attention of the Churches to the fact mentioned by some of the Presbyteries that the absorbing interest of the struggle in which we are contending for everything dear to men, is having some influence in lessening in the minds of God's people a sense of their spiritual obligations; and we would implore our brethren not even in the present extremity to break their sympathy with that subject which should lie nearest their hearts--the interests of Christ's kingdom and the salvation of souls.
2. We observe, with unfeigned sorrow, the fact reported by some of our Presbyteries that not a few congregations have been entirely disbanded, and their members driven from their sanctuaries and their homes, as refugees seeking an asylum among strangers. The Assembly would assure these afflicted brethren of their cordial sympathy with them under these trials, and would commend them most affectionately to the care of the Shepherd and Bishop of Souls. We invoke in behalf of these sufferers the sympathies and the prayers of the entire Church.
3. It is with great pleasure and with gratitude to God, we learn that in almost all our churches religious services, notwithstanding the troubled state of the times, have been regularly maintained, and that there has been a greater disposition than formerly on the part of those who have remained at home, to honor the ordinances of the Gospel, and to attend upon the ministrations of the sanctuary.
4. We are rejoiced to know that Prayer-meetings have been very much multiplied in the bounds of our congregations, and that a spirit of fervent and importunate prayer has been poured out upon our people. The Head of the Church evidently appears to use the present afflicted condition of His people as a means for inciting them to the discharge of this all-important, but ordinarily too much neglected duty. We would express our earnest desire that these meetings for prayer may be continued without abatement, as we cannot but feel that upon the supplications of Christ's
people rest the surest hope of the interposition of a merciful Providence in behalf of an afflicted church and country.
5. We have been cheered by the fact mentioned by many of the Presbyteries that the trials to which the people of God are now subjected have been manifestly sanctified to their growth in grace. We perceive with joy and gratitude, in this striking fact, a proof of the vitality of the religion of our Churches, and the absence of that tendency to defection from Christ and apostacy from the Gospel which is to be dreaded as the sorest curse which could, in the judgment of God, befal us. We derive, too, from this fact, the soul-cheering conviction that though our sins are great, it is not the intention of our Master to forsake us. The storm rages, the night is dark, but Jesus walks upon the tempestuous floods. We hear His voice, and trust that in His own good time He will speak the word which winds and seas obey, and which stills the angry strife of nations. We exhort the churches to consider that the administration of Providence is committed to the hands of the Lord Jesus, and to hope and pray that He would employ these painful dispensations still more conspicuously for developing the graces and stimulating the zeal of His people.
6. Though comparatively few of our churches are reported as having enjoyed seasons of unusual revival, we have cause for gratitude to God that He has vouch-safed to some of them the refreshing grace of His Spirit in a remarkable degree. The Presbytery of South Alabama mentions the fact that one of its largest Churches-- the Government street Church in Mobile--has enjoyed such a blessing during the whole of the past winter, and that many souls have been gathered there into the fold of Christ. The Presbytery of Fayetteville states that a like blessing has been experienced by several of its churches. The Presbytery of Georgia states that a special work of grace in one of its congregations was under God attributable directly to the afflictive influence of the war; and the Presbytery of Lexington, lying in the very track of the enemy's armies, reports that there have been many conversions of its young men while in the army, and that some of them have, on returning home for a season, united themselves to the church. These facts, at a time like the present, demand special thanksgiving, and afford strong encouragement to all our Ministers and churches to labor and pray in the conviction that the Lord Christ is yet dispensing His gifts to the church, and that "the still, small voice" of the Spirit of God is not hushed by the clamors of strife and the thunders of war.
7. We would not omit the mention of the fact that amidst the commotions of this sanguinary struggle, harmony and peace have prevailed throughout our Zion, and that there has been an almost entire absence of litigious and schismatic tendencies from the churches. We observe with pleasure, too, that a common exigency has been the means of drawing together, in closer bonds of union, the people of Christ of different denominations. Union Prayer meetings are held throughout the length and breadth of the Confederacy. The latent affinities of Christ's people of different folds are thus brought out, and while they see eye to eye, they realise the answer to the Saviour's prayer for an union of all believers akin to that which binds Him to His Father.
1. We were not unprepared to learn that the heavy drain upon our congregations for the support of the war has, to some extent, diminished the amount raised by collections for benevolent objects. Some of the Presbyteries report this as the actual result of the present state of things. We cannot, however, but regard the means so expended as contributed, under the extraordinary circumstances of our present case, to the conservation of the interests of Christ's Kingdom, and the future welfare of His Church in this land. We do not, therefore, feel that we are called upon to lament this fact as evidencing delinquency on the part of the churches in the discharge of christian obligations. Others of the Presbyteries report that notwithstanding the unusual pressure upon their churches, the collections for spiritual purposes have not been lessened, and in some cases have even been increased. For this we are thankful, and we would remind our people in this time of hardship in our financial affairs, of the example of the Macedonian churches, which out of their deep poverty and distress abounded in the grace of beneficence and the fruits
of charity. Nearly all the Presbyteries which have been heard from report that the usual collections for benevolent purposes are regularly made. This is as it should be. Let the system be preserved unbroken and opportunities be regularly presented to the people of God for the contribution of their substance to the treasury of the Lord. Let us continue to do our duty, even amidst difficulties, and trust in God for the supply of our temporal needs.
2. Our hearts have been cheered by the report of the success which has attended our Foreign Missionary operations. Our church has been baptised in her infancy with the spirit of Missions, and will, we trust, fulfil the high vocation wherewith the Master calls her to a work which lies so near His heart. The liberality manifested by our Church in this great cause, notwithstanding the stringency of the times, and the fact that so many doors of access to the heathen world are now closed against her, is strong proof of such a vocation, and suggests the hope that the circumstances which now repress this divinely implanted spirit will be providentially removed, so that she may be enabled, untrammelled, to address herself to the relief of the necessities of a dying world.
3. We rejoice to hear that most of our Presbyteries are more and more rousing up their energies to take hold of the great work of Domestic Missions, but we regret that owing to the assault of the enemy upon the city of New-Orleans, and the consequent removal of its seat of operations, the Assembly's Committee are embarrassed in the prosecution of their plans. We hope, however, that it will not be long before this difficulty will, in the good providence of God be taken out of the way.
4. Nearly all the Presbyteries make special mention of the fact that religious instruction is faithfully imparted to the colored people. We cannot but rejoice at this intelligence. The great and startling fact that about four millions of souls are immediately dependent on the Church, in these Confederate States, for all that they can know of Christ and His salvation, and that if that church neglects them, none other can impart this essential knowledge, and they must be doomed to go down to the pit at our own doors:--this, surely, is enough to incite us to a diligent and faithful cultivation of this field. We have the motives to the discharge of a great Missionary work springing from the bosom of every family, and the cabins of every plantation. The Assembly would solemnly exhort all its Ministers, office bearers, and church members to gird themselves afresh for the accomplishment of a work which none but they can do.
5. Although our churches have been depleted so largely of their young men and their male teachers by the demands of the war, we are gratified to learn that Sabbath Schools and Bible classes are almost universally maintained, and we would record it to the praise of the pious women of our Churches, not a few, that they have hastened to repair the defect in the number of teachers, and are nobly exerting themselves to keep alive these institutions for the impartation of christian knowledge to the young.
In conclusion, the Assembly renders hearty thanks to the glorious Redeemer for all the tokens of His favor which alleviate the affliction of our churches in this day of calamity; and would affectionately commend the people under its care to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among all them that are sanctified--exhorting them to continue in the steadfast discharge of their patriotic and christian duties, in the hope that as this country enwraps in its bosom the Church of Christ--not abandoned in judgment, to apostasy from its Head--the prayers of that Church will be answered in mercy, and that God will, in His own way, and in His own time, so reveal His delivering arm as forever to engrave the lessons of His goodness and grace upon the heart of a people redeemed from bondage and rescued from ruin.
The Executive Committee of Domestic Missions are not able to report any considerable
progress in the work entrusted to their management. As their fiscal
year closed the 31st of March, operations included in this Report embrace but
three months. On the 31st December the Committee held its first meeting and was
organised by the election of its officers, and early in January the Secretary appointed
by the General Assembly reached New-Orleans and entered upon his duties. A
circular was immediately issued, addressed to all the pastors in our connection, soliciting
their co-operation and that of their churches; but up to the present time
this appeal has not been responded to as generally and heartily as could have been
desired. This apparent backwardness in helping forward the Church's chosen
agency is, no doubt, owing, in a large measure, to the troubles of the times, and the
unsettled condition of the country. The minds of the people are occupied with
the distressing and sanguinary contest in which we are called to contend for our
liberties, our property, the sanctity of our homes, and all that we hold dear. Large
numbers of those who have been accustomed to contribute most liberally are enlisted
in the army, and doing battle for their country, whilst the resources of our
entire population, with but few exceptions, are seriously curtailed. The difficulty,
real or supposed, of transmitting funds to so great a distance at this time--the uncertainty
in some minds as to the result of the enemy's threatened attack on New-O
The number of Missionaries in commission at the organization of the Committee was thirty-seven. Of these nine have not applied for re-commissions, and four new commissions have been issued, leaving the number at present in service thirty-two. The total number in service, during any part of the three months, was forty. This statement will, at once, show that but a small proportion of the Missionaries within the bounds of our Church have become connected with this Committee. The number in the States of the Confederacy, when acting under the old Board having been, as nearly as can be ascertained, one hundred and fifty.
Several applications have been received from destitute fields for Missionaries, and the Committee have been in correspondence with the Theological Seminaries at Columbia and Prince Edward, and are led to expect that the graduating classes of these Institutions will furnish the means of supplying these wants, and probably, other destitutions as well.
The forty Missionaries who have been in commission have been distributed as follows: Texas, 10; Louisiana, 10; Mississippi, 9; Arkansas, 7; Alabama, 8, and Tennessee, 1. With the exception of the last mentioned, these fields, it will be seen are confined to the bounds of the late South-western Advisory Committee. The Missionary in Tennessee had been connected with the old Board's Louisville Committee, until cut off by the political changes of the country.
The Treasurer's Report, herewith submitted, includes the five months since the dissolution of the South-western Advisory Committee, up to March 31st. The receipts have been $6,099.18, which, with $2,885.47 handed over by that Committee, makes a total of $8,984.65. The disbursements have been $4,745.52, leaving a balance in the Treasury, March 31st, of $4,239.13. This balance will be absorbed in a few months by appropriations falling due to the Missionaries, and, indeed, unless the receipts of the Treasury during the summer should exceed what may ordinarily be expected, it is not improbable that there may be a deficiency to meet current demands. In the limited condition of the Treasury, and the uncertainty of the times, the Committee have felt compelled to proceed with great caution. Many
of the commissions issued have been but for six months, and in some cases the appropriations have been reduced. The reduction of the Missionaries' salaries, at such a time, however, is a measure the Committee are reluctant to resort to. The compensation of these faithful and self-denying brethren is inadequate at best, and now, when the ordinary receipts from the congregations are diminished, and the prices of living are so much enhanced, they more than ever need the assistance of the Church at large. Many of them report to us that the salaries promised them have either been curtailed, or remain, in great part, unpaid, so that they are seriously straitened for the means of subsistence. They are living in the most frugal manner, scarcely able to provide for themselves and their families the plainest clothing, and the simplest food. Even what are usually regarded the necessaries of life have become, to a considerable extent, rare luxuries to them. The patient suffering of these brethren, in these trying circumstances, is worthy of all commendation, and loudly appeals to the Church to come to their aid. However unmurmuringly they may endure the hardships of their lot, it is not right that they should be subjected to unnecessary privation. They are faithfully doing the most difficult and self-denying work for the Church, and the Church should see to it that they do not suffer want.
The reports of the Missionaries almost uniformly speak of the deleterious effects of the war in thinning their flocks, weakening their effective force, and absorbing the minds of the people. Piety is too often languishing, and the cause of Christ is, in a measure, worsted in its progress. In some cases, happily, the prevailing troubles have had the contrary effect--humbling the people of God, and making them, more than ever, feel the value of that refuge and strength which can avail in every emergency. Some of the Missionaries report, much to the gratification of the Committee, encouraging labors amongst that most needy, and too much neglected class, our colored population.
Notwithstanding the embarrassments of the times, and the heavy demands upon our afflicted country, your Committee feel assured that the funds for this and every other department of the Church's benevolent operations, would be fully adequate to every reasonable demand, were all our congregations to carry into effect the plan of systematic contributions. The realization of the idea of every church-member giving according as God hath prospered him, is vital to the successful prosecution of the work of expansion and aggression. Could our new-born Church but carry out this Scriptural principles of benevolence, it would at once, in her infancy, crown her with honor, and would illumine her future with the most cheering prospects. The Committee cannot but hope that our pastors and church-sessions, may be led speedily to see and to do their duty in this particular, and that the General Assembly and all the inferior judicatories may adopt such measures as may be best adapted to hasten on the desired consummation.
In this connection the Committee would also call attention to the importance of the observance in all the Churches of a monthly concert of prayer in behalf of Domestic Missions. Surely this cause demands the united prayers of God's people, and if, with their supplications, contributions were united the most happy results might be anticipated.
It has already been intimated that the receipts into the Treasury from the various sections of the Church have been very unequal. The following are the amounts contributed from the several Synods:
From the Synod of Mississippi, $3,768.65; Synod of Virginia, $847.91; Synod of Georgia, $470.66; Synod of Memphis, $311.66; Synod of Arkansas, $266; Synod of Texas, $83.30; Synod of Alabama, $65; Synod of Nashville, $10; Synod of South Carolina, $5. From the Synod of North Carolina nothing has been received It will thus be seen that during the three months since the Committee's organization, $3,768.65, or nearly two-thirds of the whole receipts, have come from the Synod of Mississippi. It is clear that if this Committee is to fulfil the idea for which it was designed, as the agency for the whole Church, there must be a more general and uniform co-operation. It is hardly fair, however, to take this incipient period of the organization as a criterion of a more established and more auspicious future, and the present statements are made not in the way of rebuke,
but rather as a stimulus to hasten on and rally the churches promptly to take hold of the great work.
The magnitude and importance of the interests entrusted to this Committee can scarcely be exaggerated. They embrace, to a great extent, the aggressive work of the Church in this land, as well as the sustentation of feeble churches already organised. The field is vast--the destitution lamentable. Our Confederacy covers about 840,000 square miles, with a population of some 8,000,000 of whites, and 4,000,000 of blacks. Among these are large numbers who never hear the Gospel from the lips of a Presbyterian minister, nor indeed from Ministers of any denomination. Church members of our own connection whose lot has been cast in new and destitute neighborhoods are blessed with no stated means of grace for themselves and their families. Our scattered sheep are wandering in the wilderness, without any one to care for them. And when peace shall once more have been restored to our suffering country, it is to be presumed that a fresh tide of population will set in. Then, too, the impediments which have heretofore restrained efforts in behalf of the colored race, whose lot is cast among us, will be removed so that in all probability there will be facilities of access to that part of our population never before enjoyed. This wide and needy field among the blacks brings claims of paramount importance to the sympathies and toils of the Southern Church, and it is to be hoped that from it a rich harvest is to be gathered in coming years. Providence has opened to us a vast missionary work at our own doors; and one altogether peculiar, and at the same time peculiar in encouragements. To the Church of the South the welfare of this race is committed as a sacred trust, and it behoves her to see that she is faithful to the obligations it imposes.
The close of our national conflict, and the establishment of our independence will also call for increased zeal and activity upon the part of the Church in order to counteract that demoralization which always follows in the train of war. Those hundreds of thousands of our young men, now in our armies, are the hope of our country. Many of them will die in the hospital, or on the bloody field, but the greater part of them will return to their homes, and to them the nation and the Church, alike, must look for the coming time.
To a nation just entering on its young life, the moral character not only of those who sit in its high places, but of its population at large, is of the very first importance. Upon this must depend her future--whether it shall be for glory or for shame. Unfortunately for our young republic, her young men are now in a most unfriendly school for morals. Removed from their homes, and from the religious restraints to which they have been accustomed, and encompassed with sin in its Protean forms, it would be well nigh a miracle if they should escape the fell influence of corruption. Already it is probable that intemperance has slain more of our brave soldiers than has the sword of the enemy. Profanity and Sabbath breaking have prevailed to an appalling extent. The probable influence of this most important portion of our population, when after months or years of such training, they shall have returned to their homes, cannot but awaken the most serious apprehensions. Sad, indeed, would it be, if in addition to the injuries suffered in all the material interests of our country, we should also be overrun by a moral desolation. The only safeguard against a calamity so appalling is to spread far and wide the influences of the Gospel. The Church must steadfastly set herself to arrest and roll back the threatening tide of evil, by holding forth more extensively and energetically than ever before, the word of life. She must prove herself the leaven to leaven the whole lump--she must be the salt to purify the mass. And in view of the bright future for our young republic, which breaks out through the dark clouds which environ the present, the Church should gird herself for an onward march, that she may lend her beneficent aid in elevating and sanctifying our whole population--that this Confederacy may prove at once, the stronghold of liberty and of piety, that we may have thrt righteousness which exalteth a nation-- that we may be that happy people whose God is the Lord.
To this Committee, the General Assembly also entrusted the work of Church
Extension. A circular was issued calling the attention of the Churches to the subject. The receipts for this object to March 31st, were $172.20. Applications for aid have been received, but as the amount on hand was too small to meet them, no appropriation has as yet been made.
In presenting this their first Report to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States, the Committee of Publication have to regret that it should exhibit so little progress in the great work entrusted to their hands. As early as it was practicable to do so the Committee were convened, and made such arrangements as were in their power for entering upon their appropriate duties. No funds were in the Treasury and no paper in possession with which to commence the business of publishing such productions as might be deemed most immediately necessary. An appeal was at once made to our Churches, and in a little while the Committee were furnished with a sum sufficient to print catechisms and tracts more specially suited for the soldiers of our army. It was their purpose also to publish the Sabbath School paper ordered by the General Assembly.
Just here at the threshold all attempts to proceed were met by an almost insurmountable obstacle. The scarcity of paper had become so great that none could be procured for our purpose in Virginia, at any price, contracts with the Confederate and State Governments, and with political journals of wide circulation having entirely exhausted all the supplies which could be furnished from this State. Without entering into tedious details, it is enough to say that not until within a few days past could any certain expectation be entertained of securing it elsewhere, though at double the cost paid a year ago. As soon as obtained the work will be prosecuted as far as practicable.
With regard to the Sabbath School paper some explanation may be proper. Such publications having been heretofore copiously illustrated by engravings, efforts were made to procure them in Richmond. But owing to the fact that most of the best engravers here were fully engaged by the Confederate Government, and many called to the army, these efforts were, unavailing. Arrangements were subsequently made with the Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville which promised satisfactory results, but they were entirely frustrated by the political misfortune befalling that city. But having now obtained from a private source a small supply of suitable paper, the first number of this periodical will be issued early this month, under the title of "The Children's Friend." It is judged better upon the whole, to establish it, though for a time, at least, without the advantages of illustrations, than to abandon, or postpone it longer. The need for something of this kind is greatly increased by the fact that our Sabbath Schools are now cut off from their usual supply of books. The number of copies subscribed for is, at the present time, only 2,274, a list far too small for the strength, the intelligence, and the piety of our Church. The Presbyterian Board in Philadelphia reached a circulation in 1861, of 60,000 copies. Counting our Church at about one-third of the whole before the separation, and making allowance for our more sparse population, "The Children's Friend" may be reasonably expected, under a more favorable condition of public affairs to obtain a circulation of 15,000 copies. And surely an enterprise with bearings so direct and weighty upon the precious youth of our Church and land must engage the hearty support of our people.
The Committee beg leave to call the attention of the General Assembly to the fact, that in some important points usually connected with an enterprise of this kind, no line of policy has been marked out for our guidance.
1. Shall the enterprise of colportage be placed under the care of the Committee, or shall it be left in the hands of the Presbyteries and Synods?
2. What scheme is to be adopted for securing an annual income? Some plan must, of course, be laid down as a basis upon which to conduct the work, and meet the expenses of a publishing agency. Shall the regular income be derived from the annual contributions of our Churches? If so, how shall resources be provided for the work of colportage, whether prosecuted by Presbyteries, or by this Committee?
Or shall our income accrue from a permanent endowment? This has been the course commonly pursued by other branches of the Church engaged in a similar work, and seems, therefore, to have the sanction of experience. Supposing it would, most probably be the one adopted by our own Church, the Committee have ventured to invite benefactions for this purpose. This has been done more especially with a view to establish in Richmond a Depository for supplying the Sabbath Schools and youth of our country. This could be effected as soon as the state of the country becomes settled, and we have access to the book markets of the world.
It is the work of many years for a publishing house to accumulate a sufficient catalogue of its own issues, even when provided with ample capital. With us it must, of necessity, be a much slower operation, as the gathering of funds for such a purpose must be the work of time. Our only effective mode, therefore, of serving our Southern Church at once, would be to select suitable books from every available source. If a publication should be judged one of decided merit, it will be adopted and placed upon our catalogue. This will be a passport to all who have confidence in the Committee of the General Assembly. Publishers will, in all probability, readily issue an edition bearing our name and for our special use. This course commends itself to our judgment in many respects. We should not be straitened, as the Presbyterian Board was for years, by confining our sales to our own issues. We should have an unlimited range of selection, and we should be able to act efficiently within a comparatively short time. But as the wants of our Sabbath Schools, and of the youth of our Church generally are foremost in magnitude, our first efforts, it is judged, should be directed that way. Two donations of $500 each, and another of $50, have been contributed for this object, and it is hoped that it will meet with a favorable and prompt co-operation, so that the Committee may be furnished with the means of establishing this Depository for our Sabbath Schools at the earliest opening of commerce.
It is proper to state that the reasons why no more general efforts have been made in behalf of a fund for permanent endowment are, first, because no such policy has, as yet been prescribed; and second, a more cogent hindrance arose from the troubled condition of our country, and the impossibility of raising money in most parts of it at present.
Owing mostly to the fact that three members of the Committee residing in Richmond have been called into the army, it has, for some time past, failed to secure the attendance of a quorum. We venture to recommend to the Assembly that for the present year, at least, the number be reduced to seven, or that if the number of eleven be retained, the quorum be fixed at five.
They would also suggest the propriety of giving the Committee power to supply vacancies ad interim, and of appointing a Treasurer, in case of resignation or death. The resignation of Archibald Bolling, Esq., has led the office, for some time past, vacant.
The whole sum received into the Treasury to the 25th April is five thousand one hundred and thirty-two (5,132) dollars.
The several items are as follows:--Donations for Publication, $3,169.75; for Permanent Fund, $1,065,00; to establish Sabbath School paper, 254.00; Amount from subscriptions to same, 643.25--being a total of $5,132.00.
The amount of contributions to the Board of Publication from all the Confederate States in 1860, was about $11,538. It must be manifest that this sum is very
inadequate to meet the demands of our new enterprise. Nor can it be doubted that the zeal of the people of God will, under His blessing carry it forward in due time to the attainment of the great end for which the scheme of publication was created.
The Executive Committee of Foreign Missions respectfully report that immediately after the adjournment of the General Assembly in December last, they organised themselves as a Committee and entered upon the work assigned them by the Assembly. A room was secured in Columbia for the Secretary and Treasurer and also as a place of meeting for the Committee, and thus a local and permanent character has been given to this branch of the Church's benevolence. It will be borne in mind that the Report now offered to the Assembly extends over only a little more than a third of a year, and no work it sets forth, therefore, can be regarded as little else than the initiation of an enterprise which, it is hoped, will soon occupy a large place in the heart of the Church, and, with the blessing of God, make its influence felt in the most distant parts of the earth.
The entire receipts of the Treasurer from the 1st December to the close of April, including a balance on hand of the first named period of $4,507.25, have been $14,946.33 showing an average of $2,087.81 per month. The appropriations made by the Committee for the half of the present year, including an arrearage on the last year's account of $856.40, and including also $1,000 for the salaries of Southern Missionaries in foreign parts, in case intelligence is received from them in the meantime to justify such appropriations, are $8,725 00.
The whole of the amount has not yet been paid by the Treasurer, but it is supposed that drafts to very nearly this amount have already been issued, and will be presented for payment in the course of a few weeks.
There remains in the hands of the Treasurer at the present time the sum of $7,248.48, which will be needed by the first of July to meet the expenses of the next half year.
The contributions from the Churches are not quite as large as they have usually been in the corresponding months of previous years, but in view of the unsettled state of the country, and the exhausting nature of the war in which we are involved, it is an occasion of profound gratitude to Almighty God, that our people have not been unmindful of the demands of this great cause, and that no important interest connected with it has suffered from the want of pecuniary aid. At the same time, it is gratifying to state that notwithstanding the unsettled state of the country and the multifarious demands made upon the benevolence of our people, a number of churches, as also of individual members of the churches, have contributed with more than ordinary liberality. One individual has not only given largely to the support of the Missionaries among the Indians, but has recently made an offer to the Committee to become responsible for the entire support of the first Missionary they may send to India or China, including the necessary cost of outfit and passage, which alone, he understands, would not be less than $700. Surely if
God is awakening such feelings in the hearts of our people, He has a great work for them to do in instructing and saving the heathen nations of the earth.
Immediately after the Committee entered upon the work assigned them by the Assembly, they addressed a circular to the churches informing them of the fact, and inviting their co-operation in this great work.
At the same time, and in accordance with a resolution of the Assembly, three thousand copies of the Secretary's Report of his visit to the Indian Missions were printed, and have since been circulated among the churches. The Committee have thus far used the weekly religious journals as the medium of communicating Missionary intelligence to the churches, and it is their opinion that so long as the editors of these papers are willing for their columns to be used in this way, there will be no necessity for any other organ of communication with the churches.
The Committee regret to have it to state that they are still without any information from Southern Missionaries in foreign lands. Any letters these Missionaries may have forwarded by the former channels of communication with the South, have, no doubt, been intercepted. Letters and funds have been forwarded to them through the Bank of Liverpool, by way of Tampico and the West Indies, but his route is so circuitous, both in coming and going, that it may be several months yet before any intelligence is received from them. In the meantime it may be safely taken for granted that these christian brethren are faithfully engaged in the great work to which they have consecrated their lives, and they have in their far off and isolated positions, special claims upon the sympathies and prayers of Southern christians.
The Committee immediately after entering upon their work, and upon application previously made, appointed Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, D. D., Rev. Messrs. Cyrus Byington, Ebenezer Hotchkin, C. C. Copeland, Oliver P. Stark, Alexander Reid, Pliny Fisk, native preachers, and Thomas Benton, native licentiate, members of the Choctaw Mission: Rev. Hamilton Balentine, and Rev. Allen Wright, native Choctaw preachers, members of the Chickasaw Mission: Rev. Jno. Lilley, of the Seminole, Rev. R. M. Loughridge, of the Creek, and Rev. S. Foreman, native Cherokee, of the Cherokee Mission. There are a number of other native preachers and licentiates, who were formerly engaged in the Missionary work, but who are now in the Confederate service, and for whom no Missionary appointments could be made for the present. All those above named have been engaged in the Missionary work from periods varying from five to forty years. Most of them are now known to our churches, and all of them, the Committee have reason to believe are true and good men, and are entitled to the full confidence of the Churches. All of these brethren have been reappointed to the stations they have heretofore occupied, except that Mr. Copeland, for reasons mentioned in the report of the Provisional Committee, has been transferred to the station at Wheelock, and Mr. Loughridge is for the present laboring among the Cherokees, waiting for more quiet times to return to the Creek country. Several important stations remain unoccupied, and the interests of religion are suffering in those places in consequence, but the Committee in view of the unsettled state of the country, and especially in view of the fact that the war-cloud has been threatening for months past to burst over the Indian country itself, have not felt justified in sending out any new Missionaries for the present. The Missionaries now on the ground will do all that they can to supply these deficiencies, and it is hoped that the day is not far distant when God Himself shall open a way by which the work may be prosecuted without let or hindrance, from any source.
The Missionaries and their families have been favored with health, and they have
been permitted to carry on their work in peace and quietness, except so far as the people around them have been affected by the war now raging throughout the whole land. The Indian country at the present time is greatly drained of its male population, it being estimated that one-sixth of the whole population have either already entered the military service, or are preparing to do so. If enlistments were carried out in all the Confederate States at the same rate they would furnish an army of more than a million of men. The audiences to which our Missionaries preach are made up mainly of women and children, and such men as are too aged or infirm to take the field. Mr. Reid mentions that at one of his places of preaching only two men were left, one of whom was blind, and the other too much burdened with the infirmities of age to leave home. The attendance on the part of those remaining at home has been unusually good at most of the stations. The want of clothing which is becoming a serious inconvenience in many parts of the country, has diminished the attendance at a few of the stations for some months past, and if the war continues this may become a more serious hindrance hereafter. At a number of the stations among the Choctaws there have been gratifying tokens of the Spirit's presence and power. Mr. Hotchkin expected to receive to the membership of his Church, at an approaching communion, five persons who had given evidence of a change. Mr. Copeland had received five persons to his Church, and mentions that a number of others were expected to be received at the next communion He writes: "Our meetings at Wheelock are increasing in interest. More are in attendance, and the attention given to the word preached is much better than when I first came here. The Sabbath School is well attended, and the weekly prayer meeting is not neglected. On the whole we have reason to be encouraged. True many of the people are carried away by the spirit of the times, but God is giving us some tokens of His presence." Mr. Stark reports the membership at Goodland Church at two hundred. He writes: "The number added during the year has been seven--six on examination and one by letter. There has been, and still is a good degree of seriousness, and some are indulging a hope that have not yet been received to the communion of the Church. We have on Wednesday afternoon a prayer meeting, the special object of which is to supplicate God's blessing upon our soldiers, and upon our country." Mr. Wright reports that he had received to the communion of one of his churches among the Chickasaws, eleven persons on profession of their faith and had baptized as many more children. Dr. Kingsbury reports no accessions to his church but reports other fruits of piety among his people that deserve to be recorded. His church members, though comparatively few in numbers, and poor, have nevertheless contributed during the year to various objects of benevolence the sum of $165, of which $15 were from the colored members. No very recent letters have been received from any of the missionaries among the Seminoles, the Creeks, or the Cherokees. One from Mr. Balentine, of the Chickasaw Mission, of the 18th March speaks of his being actively engaged in his work, but contains no statistical results of his labors. No direct intelligence has been received from Mr. Lilley, of the Seminole Mission, later than the 21st of October. At that time he had just closed a religious meeting of more than ordinary interest, having been assisted by Mr. Loughridge. The mail communication with this station has always been unfrequent and uncertain; and at the present time it is apprehended that it is cut off altogether. No anxiety is felt, however, about the safety of Mr. Lilley, or his family. He is in one day's travel of the Chickasaw Mission, where he could have all the facilities of supplying the wants of his family, that any other Missionaries have. The latest intelligence from Mr. Loughridge is of the 8th of February. At that time he was on the point of removing his family to Lee's Creek, in the South-western corner of the Cherokee country, or not more than fifteen or twenty miles from Van Buren, in Arkansas, where he expected to labor until affairs became more settled in the Creek country. By the same letter the Committee learned that Mr. Foreman had commenced his labors nearer the centre of the Cherokee country, but no further intelligence has been received on the subject.
As yet no attempt has been made to re-establish any of the boarding Schools, and in the present state of the country it is deemed neither practicable nor desirable
to do so. Most of the Choctaw companies that have gone to the war are officered by young men who have been educated at Spencer Academy, and it is believed that the orderly deportment of the Choctaw soldiers is to be ascribed mainly to the influence of these christian officers. This is another important testimony to the value of this institution, and it is hoped that the day is not far distant when it will be resumed, to yield still richer fruit. Three day schools have been carried on since the commencement of the year; one at Goodwater, and the other at Wheelock, and a third at Living Land, all of which, though carried on somewhat irregularly, have been productive of good. Others of the same character, it is expected, will be established soon, but beyond this the Committee have no plans of education that can be carried out in the present state of the country.
On this subject there is some diversity of views among the Missionaries, and at the present stage of public affairs it is impossible for any one to predict with certainty what are to be its results either upon them or ourselves. The great body of the Indians are sorely perplexed by the strange and anomalous relation into which they have so suddenly been brought to the people of the North, and especially is it difficult for them to understand how it is that those who have labored earnestly for nearly half a century to promote the cause of education, religion and civilization among them, have now drawn the sword to destroy them in common with the people of the South. This is a severe test of their piety, and many of them, it is probable, would have been led into downright apostacy by it if God in His providence had not retained among them the older and more experienced Missionaries to sympathise with them and fortify their minds against this temptation. It is well known that all the Indians in the Southwest, with the exception of a portion of the Creeks and a few straggling bands of Cherokees and Seminoles, espoused the cause of the South with much heartiness from the very commencement of our troubles, and not a few of them have given proof of their sincerity on more than one battle field. The first call for volunteers aroused much of the war spirit among them[.] War-songs, scalp-dances, painted-faces, and feathered heads--sights and scenes that were scarcely known to the present generation--were revived in many parts of the country, and, for a time, it looked as if the people were about to relapse into their former savage condition. But these things had but a short and transient existence, and in the course of a few months no traces of them whatever could be found. Many have entered the army, no doubt, from mere excitement and the love of warfare, but the great body of them, and especially the members of the Church, it is believed have been actuated purely by motives of duty and patriotism. Mr. Stark visited the Choctaw regiments at their encampment in the Cherokee country the latter part of January, and gives a good account of their general deportment, especially of that of the members of the Church. He supposes there were 1,600 Choctaws in the encampment, and about one-sixth of these were professing Christians, some of whom were the best and most prominent men of the nation. He writes: "Prayer and praise went up every evening from around many of the camp fires." And he adds that the captain of the company with whom be lodged allowed no drinking, swearing, gambling or Sabbath breaking among his men; and indeed he had seen and heard of very little of these vices among any of the soldiers.
But one of the most serious questions connected with the subject under consideration relates to the excessive enlistments that have been carried on among the Indians. Mr. Copeland estimates that not less than 3,000 Choctaws have already entered into the Confederate army, or are preparing to do so, and he supposes that not more than 1,000 able bodied men will be left for home protection and the cultivation of the soil. Estimates made by Missionaries residing in other parts of the country show that the enlistments among the other tribes are very nearly as great. The necessary consequence of all this is that the soil will be neglected, or be very partially cultivated, and there must, of course, be great suffering, if not actual starvation, the coming autumn or winter. This seemed to the Committee an evil of such great magnitude that they felt it their duty to call the attention of the Government to the subject, with the suggestion that some restriction should be put to this excessive enlistment, or that provision be made by the Government to meet the
wants that must necessarily arise from the neglect of the soil. No reply has as yet been received to this communication, but it is hoped that a matter of such grave and obvious importance will not be overlooked.
With this brief statement of the facts connected with the condition and progress of the important and responsible work committed to their care, the Committee now tender into the hands of the Assembly the records of their proceedings, the accounts of the Treasurer, and all other papers pertaining to it, with feelings of profound gratitude to Almighty God for the many tokens of favor bestowed upon it while in their care, and with the expression of a humble hope that He will speedily remove all hindrances which now prevent its fuller development, and that He will ere long cause the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed through the agency of our beloved Church among all the heathen nations of the earth.
In behalf of the Executive Committee of Foreign Missions.
J. LEIGHTON WILSON, Secretary.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America, sendeth greeting to the Ministers and Members of our churches and to the Young Men of our congregations in the Armies of the Confederate States--wishing them grace, mercy and peace through our Lord Jesus Christ:
DEAR BRETHREN: Assembled as the Supreme Judicatory of your church during these troublous times which the Providence of God has sent upon us, our minds have been turned with irresistable solicitude towards our friends and brethren who have forsaken the endearments and comforts of home, and the privileges and blessings of the sanctuary, for the tented ground and the battle field. We have been called on to witness the desolations of the land, and to mourn over the wastes of Zion, created by the havoc of war; and from all our churches we hear the report that the ranks of the armies of our national independence are crowded with the noblest of our brethren and with the choicest of our youth, who have rushed to the rescue of the Republic driven by the impulses of patriotism, and in obedience to the calls of God and our country. In the midst of all your trials, privations and sufferings, you have our deepest sympathy and a constant place in our supplications. From every family altar throughout our wide denomination, in every social prayer meeting, and at every assembly for public worship, our ministers and christian people pour out their souls unto God, interceding with Him that His gracious blessing may rest on you, and that all of you may become partakers of His grace. During the sessions of this Assembly, we have set apart the first half hour of each day as a season of special prayer for you. Be assured you are not forgotten. Your fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, your ministers and brethren in Christ, cannot cease to remember you. We have called you brethren, and brethren ye are. Some of you are brethren in the ministry of God's dear Son--many of you are brethren in the fellowship of the Gospel--multitudes of you are brethren in the consecrated hopes of the baptismal seal; and all of you are brethren in the common infirmities, the common trials, the common sympathies, and the common hopes of our race, sprung from the same original head, and candidates for the same tomb. Would to God ye were all brethren in Christ--possessing an interest in the great salvation which that gracious Saviour hath so freely provided. But, alas, we fear, we know this is not the case. Wherefore, in the discharge of the great trusts committed to us as the overseers of the flock of Christ, and as those who must watch for souls, we feel it incumbent on us to address you this pastoral epistle, whereby we may assure you of our sympathy, and may speak a word of encouragement, exhortation and warning, thus stirring up your pure minds by way of remembrance.
You are surrounded with many temptations. The very fact that you are absent from home--bereft of the genial influences of the family and the restraints of female society, is a source of manifold evils and temptations. But besides, the nature of the duties devolving on you, and the companionships you are compelled to keep, is such as to cause a weakening of religious restraint and an abrasion of the moral sensibilities, which may result in leading you far astray from God and His church, to the destruction of your souls, unless by the help of the Spirit you are able through watchfulness to overcome.
Those of you who are Ministers of the Gospel of Christ have great responsibilities resting on you. You occupy positions which may make you eminently useful if you prove steadfast and faithful, but which will render you the instruments of great evil if you come short of duty, or stumble into sin. Whether you are officers, soldiers, or chaplains, remember in every case that you are ambassadors for God,
and that the eyes of the impenitent and the scoffer are on you. Your actions and words are strictly scrutinized--and multitudes will form their estimate of the truth of our Holy Religion by the judgment they reach as to the sincerity of your professions, and the constancy of your lives. And here we rejoice to tell of the good report which comes to us from every part of the army pertaining to many of our brethren who have gone to share the privations and dangers of the camp and battle field. Some, indeed, have fallen in the midst of the conflict, showing in death the power of the grace of Christ. Many other honored brethren there are whose precious lives God has yet spared, we doubt not to become blessings to the army. But, alas, we have been overwhelmed with sorrow to hear that all have not proved thus steadfast. Brethren, let us, in all faithfulness, exhort you to watch. Be much in prayer. Avoid every semblance of evil. With christian courage and zeal admonish the young, the wayward and the tempted, and strive to do good. We honor you for your self-denial and patriotic zeal--we would love to see you become the honored instruments in God's hands in leading sinners to the Saviour. Brethren, be ye faithful unto death, and ye shall receive a crown of life.
Those among you who confess the name of Christ and profess to be his followers, sustain responsibilities of proportionate magnitude. God has placed you in unusual circumstances of trial, and surrounded you with new opportunities of usefulness. The great duty which Jesus Christ enjoins on all his disciples is, to "let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." You now probably occupy a position, where you are more closely observed than ever before. "A city which is set on a hill cannot be hid." Not only would we urge on you that careful circumspection over your conduct which the Saviour enjoins--but would exhort you to seek opportunities of usefulness. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Give no countenance by word, look, or gesture, to wickedness or immorality. Show that reverence for God and holy things which the christian feels, by the uprightness of your lives and the purity of your conversation--and as God shall give you opportunity, speak the word of reproof, encourage the feeble and wavering, and aim to win souls. Thus you may at once establish yourselves in the faith, becoming courageous soldiers for Christ, and add stars to that crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, hath in reserve for all them who love His appearing.
But our hearts turn with especial solicitude toward the noble youth of our congregations who have gone from our midst to this bloody contest for national life and independence. For you we have labored and toiled. Our prayers have ascended to the mercy seat on your behalf; and during the years that are passed we have anxiously waited to see you come out on the side of Christ. In you are wrapped up all the hopes of our church and country. With the solution of the question, what you are to become, will be determined the problem of our national glory or shame, and that of the success and usefulness of the church in our beloved land. We tremble for you as we see you drawn away by the duties of patriotism from the constant use of the means of grace and the divine influences of the sanctuary. We sympathise with you as you endure fatigue and sickness in camp--as you engage in the life struggle on the sanguinary field, and as you consecrate everything dear on earth on the altar of patriotic duty. And, oh, when we contemplate your many temptations, how do our hearts yearn over you. As your pastors we can no longer be heard by you. But we would fain address you these words of affectionate admonition, in the name of the Great Master whom we serve, and on behalf of our brethren whom we represent. Listen to us, we beseech you, while we warn you against the prevailing vices of the camp, and present before you the gospel of eternal life.
The awful and prevailing sin of our people is profanity. The name of God is taken in vain in the wicked curse, and the lewd joke--yea, fearful as the statement is, our own ears bear testimony to the fact that the Great Name of the majestic Jehovah has become a by-word, a jest and a mockery, by the dissolute and profane on our public thoroughfares. This is our crying, national sin, which, with many others, has brought down on our land the wrath of offended heaven. This international strife and all the dreadful havoc which this war is making are, doubtless, sent on us as judgments from God on account of our sins. How can we expect the
blessing of God if we thus dishonor Him--treat His name with irreverence, and speak of His authority and judgments with levity and derision? Soon all of you must stand up in deadly conflict with our enemies, and many of you will doubtless receive your final summons. The issues of the battle as well as of life and death are with God. If you are to be successful, and stand safe from the fear of evil, it will only be because God becomes your shield and buckler. How unseemly, then, that He should be insulted, and His holy name taken in vain! But we are pained to know that this is one of the most common sins in the army. We fear that officers and privates alike transgress in this particular: yea, that those very officers who are required by the army regulations to suppress profanity, not only fail in this important duty, but set the evil example before the men of their commands, which is only too frequently imitated. We desire, beloved friends, to warn you to shun evil example--to abstain from every minced oath, as well as gross profanity, and in all things to reverence God. While we would respect and love you for banishing the fear of man, we would beseech you ever to cherish the fear of God, which the wise man, taught of inspiration, tells us is the beginning of wisdom.
The desecration of the holy Sabbath is another crying sin of our land, which we fear abounds in our army. We are aware that this is a matter which is not wholly under your control. But we would guard you against the prevailing tendency to trample down the barriers of religion which surround that sacred day and its consecrated objects, and would entreat you to remember it in its true spirit so far as you possibly can in your present circumstances. You are denied, for the most part, the regular services of Sabbath worship which you enjoyed at home, but still you have the Holy Bible, or New Testament--you have a throne of grace--sometimes you attend religious worship, and God is everywhere present. As you stand in the constant presence of death, make the Sabbath day, as far as possible, an occasion of preparation for it. And be encouraged by the fact that God's people are every where engaged in solemn and earnest supplication for you. Thus the Sabbath will prove a blessing and you will avert from your heads the wrath of God that comes on the land, because of the dishonor we, as a people, have placed on the day which He calls His own. Therefore, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."
In like manner we would warn you against the prevailing vice of intemperance. Besides the moral defilement which it always causes, wherever it prevails, the evil of this particular vice has manifested itself in a most striking manner during the progress of this war. We are rejoiced at the vigorous measures which the Government is using to eradicate this evil from the army. We would fondly hope that all of you will yield a cheerful acquiescence in these wholesome requirements, not only from that sense of manly duty which animates the true soldier, but through a regard for your present respectability and happiness, and your everlasting welfare. Intemperance is that fell destroyer which carries to the grave more victims than war, pestilence and famine, all combined; it makes the wife a widow, and children fatherless--it spreads misery and woe in its pathway, and death and hell follow in its train. Some of you have families, others have left plighted vows of love, all of you indulge in hopes of future happiness in the family relation, should God spare your lives. But this fiend of intemperance, which makes its insidious advances in the absence of the restraints of home, and while you are surrounded by reckless companions, can and assuredly will blast all these bright dreams of happiness-- will dash the cup of bliss from the lips of beauty and the hands of tenderest love, and will leave you and them in the midst of wreck and ruin to eke out the bitter remnants of life. But this is not all. God, in whom you believe and by whom you must be judged, has solemnly declared that no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Doubtless you think there is no danger of your coming to the drunkard's grave and the fearful doom with which God has cursed it. Nor is there if you only resist all temptation. No one of the millions who have died from intemperance ever suspected when he drank the first glass that such would be his end; nor would it have been had he not tasted the first glass. Therefore resist this vice in all its insidious forms, and tolerate not the thought of returning to those you love with your youthful comeliness marred by the bloating effects of alcohol, or if you are to perish in the strife, brook not the thought of going to the drunkard's grave and the drunkard's doom.
Another vice which has heretofore been confined in our country to the saloons of dissipation, we are sad to believe, has become very common among the young men of the army. We refer to gambling. Besides the moral turptitude and sin of gambling, the taking from your fellows that which is theirs without a just return, this vice creates a morbid thirst after speedy gains and a spirit of reckless extravagance, which usually go together, injuring the moral character, rendering a man reckless, dissatisfied and unhappy, and generally ends in his temporal ruin. A practice which produces such results is necessarily evil. "By their fruits ye shall know them," is the Saviour's rule--and here is a tree whose fruit is bitter. Beware of this vice, however enticing may be its enchantments. Shun every approach to it. Rather send your gains from your professional services back to your homes for the aid of your parents in these times of straitness, or otherwise for investment for your own future emolument, than thus throw them away in a manner injurious to your moral integrity, destructive of your happiness and ruinous to your souls.
All these points which we have considered are very important, and unless God shall give you grace to overcome these temptations, and many others which we might mention, those bright hopes which we have pictured for you must prove themselves illusive. To resist temptation, to overcome sin, and to escape from the allurements of vice, requires more than human fortitude; and the external observance of the commands of religion and morality is not enough to make us fit for the grave and to prepare us for everlasting happiness. But the blessed Bible is full of precious promises to those who seek the favor and salvation of God. Beloved friends and brethren, seek that salvation now; for "why will ye die?" "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Then there is salvation in store for you if you will only come to Jesus. You are invited to come to Him without money and without price, on the simple condition of repentance and faith. Do you ask what is repentance? The evangelical prophet shall answer: "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord that He may have mercy on him, and to our God that He may abundantly pardon." Then, repentance of sin is a forsaking of it in thought and action, a turning away from it with hatred, and a returning unto the Lord. Do you ask what is faith? It is needless to enter into theological discussions of this subject. The practical exercise of faith is what concerns you--is what deeply interests us all. When the publican stood in the temple and smote upon his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner," he gave utterance to the faith that was in his soul. When Peter began to sink in the waters, he cried out, "Lord save me," and thus gave expression to his faith. Then, dear friends, do you not feel yourselves to be sinners? Do you not know yourselves to be lost, ruined, undone, without an interest in Christ--neither fit for life, nor ready for death? Then go to Jesus and ask Him to save you. And whenever you are able by God's grace to forsake sin with a godly sorrow, and can pray from the heart to Jesus Christ, "Be merciful to me a sinne," you have exercised that repentance and faith which is unto salvation. Oh, how needful is this salvation in your present circumstances. None of you can tell what a day may bring forth. You are standing on the verge of eternity, with its surging waves ready to surround and overwhelm you. Are you ready? You answer, no. Then we come to you as the ambassadors of God, and assure you that yet there is room--Jesus is ready and waiting to be gracious; and, saith the Scriptures, "Behold, now is the accepted time--behold now is the day of salvation."
How precious are these hopes to those of you who are lying on beds of suffering, pining away from disease, or lacerated with wounds. Doubtless you have the skilful care of the physician, and the daily and nightly watchings of tender hands to nurse and soothe you. But truly you need a more radical medicine and a more enduring balm than earthly skill can supply. For after all the body must die, and the cold ground must become its habitation. But the soul may be saved and live forever. For there is balm in Gilead, and a Physician there. Wherefore let us tenderly plead with you to seek this Great Physician who can heal both soul and body, yea, and who is become both resurrection and life to His people.
But, brethren and friends, beloved, we must bid you farewell. Many of you shall
no more see the faces of your ministers and brethren in Christ in the flesh. The clash of war and the shook of battle cannot happen without results from which our hearts recoil with anguish. But God is a great Saviour and a glorious deliverer-- and He is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble. We would joyfully feel safe under the shadow of His wing, and we would gladly see you all nestling beneath that covert which He spreads out. Then, come weal, come woe, as to earth's temporal kingdoms, all shall be well with us. Wherefore live close to Christ--stand steadfast in your place of appointed duty--acquit yourselves like men, and God shall bless you. But, brethren, by the great grace of Christ we shall meet again. It may not be here, in the midst of the afflictions and trials of life-- it may not be until we are summoned away from this world of sin and strife. But Jesus has gone to prepare mansions for us, and no one of His children shall be absent from Him in glory. If we are his people--if we turn to Him with our whole hearts, we shall meet in His presence where there is fulness of joy, and at His right hand where there are pleasures forevermore. May God bless and keep you until that day!
By order of the Assembly,
J. L. KIRKPATRICK, MODERATOR.
Attest:--E. T. BAIRD, ACTING STATED CLERK,
J. R. WILSON, PERMANENT CLERK.
It has been customary, in publishing the Minutes of the General Assembly, to arrange them in volumes, one of these volumes being composed of the proceedings of several successive Assemblies, continued until the pages reach a number proper for binding in one convenient book: say 600 or 700. This practise is obviously wise; but, in making up the present edition of the Minutes, whilst I did not neglect to number the VOLUME correctly on the title page and back, I inexcusably forgot to see that the PAGES were numbered as the successors of those of last year's Minutes. Persons who purpose binding the Minutes will therefore take notice, that page 6 of this part of Vol. I ought to be page 80 instead; and so on to the end. The next part will be paged so as to commence its folios at the number that would be proper had this part been free from the error thus pointed out.
Owing to the small number of the business items contained in these brief Minutes, it has been deemed a useless formality to add an Index.
It may be well, while making these explanations, to direct attention to the fact, that, almost unavoidably, some annoying errors have been suffered to creep into these Minutes. For example, in the Report of the Standing Committee on Systematic Benevolence, commencing on page 11, (or 85 as above) the unmeaning words "in its general character," in the 9th line from the top of page 12, ought to read "in its several churches"; in the 12th line, "for exhibition" should be read "exhibited," whilst in the 17th line the word "secretly" is printed for "sacredly." On page 13 (87) the reference to page 8 (12 lines from bottom) ought to be to page 10, and that to page 9, (3 lines from bottom) ought to be to page 11.
J. R. W.