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THE AMERICAN EDUCATION SOCIETY.
A special meeting of this society was held in Park street church, Boston, October 19th, 20th, and 21st. The directors were induced to call the meeting by the financial embarrassments of the society, which, in the opinion of some, were owing, not so much to the commer. cial distress of the country, as to a want of confidence, extensively prevailing, both in the necessity of such an institution and in the wisdom of its management. The directors thought it not best to make a new appeal to the Christian public for funds, without first submitting the fundamental principle of gratuitous aid to young men preparing for the ministry, and all the specific regulations of the society, to the reconsid. eration of the members.
After a long and able discussion, it was unanimously decided by the meeting, that the principle on which the American Education Society is founded, is correct, viz. "That indigent young men, of piety and suitable intellectual promise, ought to receive pecuniary assistance in obtaining an education for the ministry." The question, whether any general organization ought to exist for this purpose was also discussed at length, and unanimously decided in the affirmative. A committee, afterwards appointed on the principle of gratuitous aid, and the expediency of a general organization, reported to the same effect. A committee on the present organization of the society, next reported in favor of a revision of the standing rules of the society; and after discussion, a resolution was passed to the effect, that the constitution and regulations of the society need revision, and referring the whole subject, as it had been be fore the meeting, to a special com. mittee, to consider and report at the next meeting of the society. In a brief statement of the results of this meeting, the society expresses its
conviction, that the reason for its establishment remains in undiminished force, and that the system can be so modified as to secure the end in view, and command the fullest confidence of the Christian public.
We cannot but hope that the able committee, to whom this important subject is thus referred, will embody the three following rules in their plan:
1. The aid of this society shall be extended only to members of college. This rule would oblige the student in the first and last stages of his education, in the academy and theological seminary, to look to other sources of assistance. In his theological course he should be aided to the extent of his necessities, by the permanent funds of the institution of which he is a member. In other words, our theological seminaries should be endowed with the means of furnishing to every indigent student his board, lodging, and fuel, without charge. And these privileges should be granted to every member, on his own declaration of indigence, or inability to pay for them. We have no doubt our theological seminaries, each in its own sphere of influence, would not ap peal in vain to the Christian public for this object. Benevolent men of affluence would be raised up to found scholarships, by immediate donations, and by legacies, until all our seminaries would be adequate. ly endowed. In the course of study preparatory to college, some aid might be rendered by well endow. ed academies, by churches, and by benevolent individuals. But hap pily, a young man of doubtful promise, would not be likely to obtain encouragement from any of these sources. None but young men of sound judgment, of studious habits, of quick perceptions, of Christian gravity, would awaken sufficient interest. If any persons of dull parts, or of equivocal character, were brought forward, it would only be by the aid of their
family friends. This rule would therefore guard the entrance to the ministry, through the Education Society, against unsuitable persons. This it would the more surely effect, because a much safer judgment can be formed of the capacities and main characteristics of a young man, after he has entered college, than at an earlier period of his education. On the other hand, the rule might possibly prevent some from preparing for the minis. try, who would have adorned the sacred profession. Not many such instances, however, would be likely to occur. The class of young men from which we wish to draw our ministers, will find sufficient encouragement for their enterprising minds, in the prospect of aid in college; and they will press through a course of preparatory study, by their own unaided efforts, if aid cannot be had from others.
2. The aid of this society shall be conferred on all young men of piety in our colleges, who sustain a specified rank or standing as scholars, on a declaration by them of their need of such assistance, and of their intention to be ministers of the Gospel. A certain rank in the class should be fixed upon as the lowest grade of scholarship, for which the aid of the society should be granted. Whoever fell below this point, would be obliged either to leave college, or to go on by the aid of his friends, until he could take the necessary rank. The distribution of the quarterly appropriations should be entrusted, we think, to a committee in each college, where there are students entitled to aid; and be distributed by them according to their best judgment, either in equal sums, or in proportion to the necessities of the several ap plicants, or in a compound ratio of their wants and their merits. The society would then be a mere financial agent, whose sole business it is to collect funds and pay them over
to the college committees in sums varying with the number of students in each entitled to patronage. The responsibility of bestowing the patronage would rest on the several college committees; and upon them would come both the honor of success and the disgrace of disappointment. The effect on the students would also be happy. Greater attention would be paid to a thorough preparation for entering college. And as the aid of the society would partake very much of the nature of a reward for literary and scientific attainments, it would be so far di vested of an eleemosynary character, and constitute a motive, like those of active life, for the greatest intellectual exertion.
3. The aid of this society shall be a free gift. The great body of our ministers are unable to save from their small salaries the means of refunding the expenditures of a nine years' course of study. But if they were relieved from the necessity of paying their college bills, they might generally be able to liquidate any debts that they may be obliged to contract, while preparing for college, or in a theological seminary.
THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.
A special meeting of this society was held in the Broadway Tabernacle, New York, on the 25th day of October. It was called by the executive committee, for the purpose of laying before the society the ur gent wants of the cause, and of obtaining a full expression of views respecting the various operations and plans of the committee. They wished particularly to ascertain whether they should be sustained by the churches, in making such appropriations to the missionary boards as would enable them to place at least one Christian tract in the hands of every accessible indi vidual of the present generation of
heathen; in extending liberal aid to the system of colporteur operations in Europe; and giving at least one small volume of the society's publications to every accessible family in the United States, particularly at the West, who are either unable or unwilling to pay for it? These, with many other topics of minor interest, came before the meeting, and were discussed with great abil. ity and effect. From the printed account of the proceedings, and reports of speeches, we judge that the result of the meeting cannot fail to realize the most sanguine expectations of the committee. The application of the colporteur system to this country will be viewed with universal approbation by evangelical Christians. There can be no better method of carrying the Gospel to the Catholic and other destitute population of the West. No wiser appropriation of funds can be made, than to send at once a hundred pious laymen into the west ern states, to sell and give away as they are able, the publications of the society, and to embrace every opportunity of prayer and religious. conversation with the families which they visit.
THE AMERICAN HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The conductors of this noble institution have been, and still are, pressed far beyond their means, by the growing conviction of the Christian public, that fourfold more ought
AN event which promises well for the cause of religious liberty, occurred in New Orleans within the last half year. A controversy arose between the wardens of the cathe dral church St. Louis, and the Ro
to be done to plant churches, with an educated ministry, in all the new states of our country. This conviction has yet failed to do its proper work, by opening the hearts of Christians to contribute the necessary funds, while it has directed the attention of a greater number of ministers to that field, than the society has had means to send out. We look with confidence for speedy and decisive expressions of unpre cedented liberality to this cause.
THE STATE OF THE CHURCHES.
The past year is not distinguished by any striking degree of prosperity in our churches. Some colleges, and some other institutions of learning; some cities and some villages, few compared with the whole number over the wide face of our country, have been the happy scenes of a deep and sanctifying religious interest and influence. Some new churches have been gathered; some that had gone to decay, have been resuscitated; many new houses of worship have been erected; old houses have been repaired; numer. ous destitute churches have received pastors; fewer ministers have been dismissed than in some former years; and the ministry has in general been well and cheerfully supported by the people. Union, peace, and fraternal confidence, have at no period of our history, prevailed to a greater extent among the ministers and churches of New England.
man Catholic bishop, relating to the appointment of a successor to the lately deceased Abbe Monie, curè of the cathedral. The bishop appointed a successor, and the wardens declared the appointment null and
void. And they even questioned the legality of the title of the bishop, contending that the authority to appoint to that office, rests not with the pope but the sovereignty of the country. At a subsequent election of wardens, the strength of parties was tested, and the opponents of the bishop triumphed by a majority of five hundred votes out of one thousand four hundred. Why cannot they advance another step, to the discovery that the appointment of religious teachers rests, not with any civil power, but with the churches that are to be served by them?
A project for planting Irish Catholic colonies in the western states, has been proposed by an English Catholic gentleman. His plan is set forth in a pamphlet published last summer, in London and Dublin. He proposes to form a General Emigration Society, or a sort of stock company, having in view the removal from Ireland of the surplus Catholic population, in a way to promote the pecuniary interests of the stockholders, to advance the Catholic religion in the United States, to open a new market for British manufactures, and to afford an asylum to the younger sons of the English nobility and gentry, and other gentlemen who are unable to live at home in a style becoming their rank. The society or company is to purchase, of the United States, portions of prairie land, to erect thereon suitable dwellings for the emigrants, to pay their passage to this country, and in return, the emigrants are to pledge themselves to labor for the society, not less than three years, at reduced wages, under the direction of their priests. This plan, it is supposed, will yield a large profit upon the investment, eight per cent. of which is to be paid to the stockholders, and the surplus is to be added to the capital, for the continued export of pauperism from the parent state, and for the support of
Catholic priests, the education of the poor, and the endowment of. charitable institutions in the colonies. We do not think it necessary to describe, more minutely, this Quixotic scheme; but it deserves. notice as an exponent of Catholic zeal, striving to take advantage of the "swarmings" of Irish population to plant the papal heresy in this land; and to beguile, into a support of its measures, every gullible class, by holding out to each some delusive bait suited to its taste. This zeal never tires. And the materials, out of which it is now hoping to weave new chaplets for the pope, are not to be despised. An annual emigration to our shores of hundreds of thousands of ignorant Catholics, will put both religion and liberty in serious peril among us. The Gospel is our sole defense. It is only by a prompt supply of our whole country with Christian books and teachers, that we can maintain the ascendency.
Case of the Rev. Mr. McQueen.The Presbyterian church in the United States, represented in the annual General Assembly, has been deeply agitated by the suspension from the Christian ministry of the Rev. Mr. McQueen, by the presbytery of Fayetteville, N. C., for the alledged crime of marrying a sister of his deceased wife, contrary to the last sentence of the 4th section of the 24th chapter of the Confession of Faith, which is as follows: "The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own; nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own." The abstract question of the lawfulness of such marriages was brought before the General Ăssembly at its last annual meeting, and decided agreeably to the Confession of Faith; thus affirming the propriety of the sentence pronounced in the case of Mr. McQueen.
But this decision is not well received by the whole church. The synod of New Jersey, one of the ablest ecclesiastical bodies in the country, at a meeting in Elizabethtown, N. J., on the 18th of October, decided by a vote of fifty-seven to twenty-six, to request the General Assembly to send down to the presbyteries an overture for the erasure from the Confession of Faith, of the sentence just quoted.
We have here, in the first place, the spectacle of one grand division of the Presbyterian church in this country, declaring in the face of the Christian world, that the marriages alluded to are incestuous, a notion so generally exploded in practice and intelligent conviction, that this formal affirmation of it has not the weight of a feather, against the reputation and Christian standing of any man. And in the second place, we see this church which lately ex
scinded from her communion a body of Christian ministers and churches equal to herself in numbers and piety, for no better reason, to say the least, than that they were charged with being unwilling to subscribe the Confession of Faith, except for substance of doctrine; we see this church divided on the question, whether an article of her Confession of Faith is agreeable to Scripture. Some presuming this article to be in harmony with the Bible, are committed to the desperate measure of excommunicating from the church all Christians, and deposing from the ministry all clergymen who are married to sisters of their deceased wives; while others perceiving the article to be unscriptural, have come out boldly in defense of Christian truth. Hereafter they must profess to receive the Confession of Faith only for substance of doctrine.
THE last and short session of the twenty seventh Congress is already passing away. The annual message from the President, and the accompanying reports from the heads of departments are before the public. The report from the Secretary of the Treasury, which is made directly to Congress, instead of passing through the hands of the President, has not been received at the date at which we are writing. Our limits will not allow us now to enter on any extended comments on these documents. It may be remarked generally, that in all the departments there appears to have been, under the present administration, some reformation of abuses, and a laudable reduction of unnecessary expenditures. The reports
from the War and Navy Departments in particular, are able papers, scholarlike and statesmanlike-far superior to the message of the Pres
Several subjects of much intrinsic or factitious interest to the country are likely
to be discussed, and some of them to be acted upon, during the present session. One is already disposed of. Mr. Adams, as the great champion of free thought and free utterance, began his labors for the session, by moving to repeal the famous twenty first rule of the House of Repre sentatives. The motion was defeated by a small majority; so that for this session, as for several years past, all memorials relating, in any way, to slavery, are to be denied a hearing.
The Bankrupt law is in danger of being repealed before these remarks shall have issued from the press. By the constitution of the United States, it is one of the duties of Congress to provide a uniform system of bankruptcy. No state can, under any circumstances, release a bankrupt from his obligations. Twice, since the