Page images

ops, if they find him reasoning occasion can there be for the absurdly and foolishly. It is not, balance. For myself I have littherefore, to be expected of us tle faith in or respect for ecclerepublicans, that we should yield siastical councils;t I have long long to arguments, though advanced thought them unauthorized in by doctors af divinity, if the pre- Scripture, and for the most part mises and conclusions wage an worse than useless, excepting as open and irrcconcilable war. mere referees or arbiters, mutuWith all our respect for wihe ally chosen by parties at variance, highest honors of the universi- for settling their disputes. If they ties,” (and we certainly feel as be not thus chosen by both parties, and much respect for them as we I know not what prospect there can,) this would be requiring too can be of any salutary effect. inuch. But let us proceed to Ex parte councils may succeed examine the result of the coun each other ad infinitum without cil; perhaps this document may the least hope of effecting an ac give us juster views of the talents commodation." Statement, pp. of its authors, than any diploma 38, 39. The second council was, could do.

beyond all question, ex parte; as Mr. A. calls bis council a mu

no offer whatever was made to tual council;, and the council the church to unite in convening seem to take 'upon themselves it, and as the church never como airs, as though they sustained sented to it, nor appeared before that character, when they speak it. If the church had erred in of the parties at whose instance calling an ex parte council, the they were convened.' We had decisions of which were nugatoalways supposed, that a mutual ry, there was the greater reason las council, convened to settle diffi- that Mr. A. should not commit culties arising entirely froin dis- the same irregularity. He, ac. agreement of opinion, must ofcording to his own principles, * course be agreed upon by the should have distinctly offered parties at variance. And we are them a second council in the se. happy to find, that the Rev. Dr. lection of which they would Osgood is of the same opinion. have had an equal voice with In his letter to Mr. A., he says, himself. But what do this coun"I sincerely sympathize with you cil, so truly ex parte, decide? under your difficulties, but as The reader will find, by turning those difficulties appear to have back to the extracts 'which we been enhanced by an ex parte have made from the result, that council already,* it seems doubt the council decide, ful whether they can be remov 1. That they find no satisfac• ed by another of the same gener. tory evidence that a consociation al nature. If it be urged, that ever existed in Tolland county. the influence of the second may 2. If a consociation did exist, counterbalance that of the first; they find no evidence that the yet if in reason and equity there be no weight in either, what

* If all councils were like the one The doctor had probably been in the result of which we are consider. formed, that ihe consociation was an. ing, we si:ould be of the same opinion * parte council,

with the doctor.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

first church in Coventry, or its sachusetts, convene in Connecpastor, ever belonged to it. ticut and sit in judgment on the

3. That as Mr. A. and the so- decision of twenty men from the ciety declined acting with the latter state. What is the ques. church in calling the first coun- tion? It concerns a point of eccil, and protested against its ju- clesiastical law of so much diffirisdiction, they consider it only culty at least, as that no man in in the light of an ex parte coun- Connecticut would have thought cil.

himself competent to decide it, 4. That as the not having a without

without knowing something mutual council must be imput- about it; a point of Connecticut ed to the church, the result of law, unlike any thing to be found the first council cannot affect the in the Massachusetts statute ministerial standing of Mr. A., book. There were also several much less dissolve the pastoral questions of fact, which required relation between him and his an attentive examination in orpeople.

der to come near the truth. 5. That concerning the doctri- What do these impartial judges? nel points, which are the only ar At a couple of short sessions, ticles of charge alleged against they settle all these intricate Mr. A., they will not decide. questions—they hear evidence

6. That they believe Mr. A. all on one side; rather they simsincere in a declaration of his "ply hear the statement of Mr. faith with respect to those doc- A. and his party, and then des frines, and that the declaration cide, that twenty men of Connecought to be satisfactory.

cut knew nothing about the bus7. That on the ground of ex. iness on which they had propediency they dissolve the rela- nounced judgment that they Lion between the pastor and the acted without authority—that all society.

which they had done was a nul8. That they recommend Mr. lity. If this be liberality and A. to all Christian societies impartiality, and if the old pracamong whom he may be called tice of not answering a matter to minister.

before it is beard, be bigotry, As to the points in general, then we say, Let the bigotry of what is the testimony examined Connecticut endure for ever. by this impartial council? Let As the first and second us hear the story from their own points we aský Do the council mouth: “This council have, as mean to infer, that, because they they trust, attended with serious. find no evidence, there is no ness and impartiality to the evidence. If they do, their statements and pleas of the par- premises and their conclusion ties At WHOSE INSTANCE THEY secm to have as little relationARE CONVENED." Statement, ship, as the parts of any argu. p. 43 · Indeed! Has this liberal ment with which we ever had age discarded that old-fashioned the pleasure to be acquainted. rule, Hear both sides? This is If they do not, the positions a spectacle worth the gazing of themselves might as well be any all New England. Ten men

where else, as in this result. ten IMPARTIAL men, from Mas. They have no bearing at all up

on the subject. Doubtless, this . these two negative positions the council found no evidence, that foundation of all their authority, a consociation ever existed in and all their proceedings. Be Tolland County! Who


cause they do not find evidence, supposed that they would find where it was utterly incredible such evidence? It would have that it should be found, and been almost miraculous if they where they could not expect it, had. Mv A. would not be very they proceed to censure a very much on the alert to find evi- respectable ecclesiastical body, dence to prove what he had al composed men of who had found ways denied

The imposing evidence, and had acted accordgravity with which these posi- ing to it. tions are uttered seems to ape But we will concede, for arguthe formality of a legal decis- ment's sake, that there was no ion. But as well might the consociation, and that the first Archbishop of Canterbury sit in council was ex parte, and will his archiepiscopal palace at endeavor to apply our dialectical Lambeth, and gravely pro- faculties, for a moment, to the nounce, “I find no evidence of strange logic contained in the the existence of any such place remaining parts of the result. as Tolland county; and if there "The first council was ex be such a place, I find no evi- parte. Why? Because Mr. A. dence that there is any consoci. and the society declined acting ation, so called, within the same; with the church in calling it

, and and if there be such a consocia- protested against its jurisdiction, I find no evidence that the tion.' We do not see, by the Rev. A. A., or any other person bye, that Mr. A.'s declining to within my knowledge, doth now act with the church, in calling or ever did, constitute a member the consociation, is any proof thereof.” All this might be that the church refused a mutu• very true; and would be quite as al council or that the not having dignified, pertinent, and conclu. a mutual council, is to be imputsive, as the two first points set. ed to them. Yet this is the on. tled by the council. 'Suppose a ly proof adduced by the second man were to be tried for slander council, and, need we add, it is before a civil court, and were the only proof which they could found guilty. He feels dissatisfi. adduce. “But let us proceed in ed, and calls a number of lawyers the argument. What is the infer. from a neighboring state,or judg. ence from the decision, that the es if you please, to hear his case. first council was ex parte? "The His impartial tribunal sit, hear result cannot affect the ministehis statements, and decide, that rial standing of Mr. A., much the court had exceeded its juris- less dissolve the pastoral rela: · diction, that it had no cogniz. tion between him and his people.' ance of the case, and that its Now let us apply the argument judgment was null and void. to the other case. To how much respect does the the society called a council

. reader suppose this latter decis. The church were not even invition would be entitled? Yet the ed to unite in calling this coun. second council in Coventry make cil, utterly disclaimed its juris

Mr. A. and

diction, and protested against it's had lately published a result anirregularity. This was, then, in pulling the proceedings of a regthe strictest sense, an ex parte ular ecclesiastical tribunal of council. If so, what power have Connecticut, and recommending they? Let themselves decide: as an authorized minister of the 'Their result cannot affect the min- Gospel a man who had been registerial standing of Mr. A. much ularly deposed from office, natuless dissolve the pastoral relation rally excited much inquiry; and between him and his people.' as, in order to form a right judge

But what have these new dia- ment of the case, it seemed nelecticians done? Declared the cessary that all: the facts and doings of a legitimate council, circumstances which had any just double their own number, bearing upon it, should be col null and void; declared that the lected and detailed with scrupu. pastoral relation between Mr. A. Jous accuracy; a very respectable and his people is dissolved, and member of the General Associathat the ministerial standing of tion moved, that a committee be Mr. A. is good; and recommend. appointed to inquire into the a od him to the churches of Christ bove described proceedings, and as a minister. If there are any to report thereon. A committee who cannot, after all this, dis. was accordingly appointed, concern the wisdom, the consistency, sisting of the following gentlethe modesty, and the discretion' men; the Rev. Nathan Perkins, of such a council, the blame is D.D. the Rev. Abel Flint, and not to be charged to Mr. A., who the Rev. Calvin Chapin. At the certainly did as well for his cause meeting of the General Associaas he could.

tion in last June, this committee We had contemplated remarks made a very elaborate report, on the 5th and 6th points decid- embracing all the requisite facts, ed by the council; but we must the results of both councils, and omit them with the observation, such reasonings, as the committhat these two points are the tee thought calculated to illusmost quarrelsome twin brothers, trate the

subject. The principal that we remember ever to have facts have been already stated in seen; and, unless they are bound this review. The whole of the over to keep the peace, there is reasoning we should be very every reason to fear that one will happy to transcribe did our limits be the death of the other.

permit. The committee propose The attention of our readers a great number of questions, with will next be directed to the Pro. which Mr. A. and his friends ceedings of the General Associa- must be hard pressed. We select tion of Connecticut, at their last two or three as a sample. “Will session. We must give notice it be believed, that the churches however, in the first place, that of Connecticut are less able, or : the General Association held its less willing, than strangers, to annual meeting the same month distinguish between order and in which Mr. A.'s second council irregularity in things pertaining met. As the extraordinary fact, to their own institutions?” “This that a council, composed entirely council declared null and void of persons from Massachusetts, the solemn decision of a Conso

ciation. Was this because a highly commendable testimony to the Consociation is not the most im- truth as it is in Jesus. partial council that can be col firm belief of this General Associa

Resolved, 5. That, according to the iected, and better acquainted with tion, a denial of the Deity of Jesus the difficulties and best in- Christ is beresy. terests of the churches within Resolved, 6. That the exclusion their own limits, than any come from Christian communion, and from pany of strangers can be?" "This the ministerial office, for heresy, is council passed the form of dis- science in matters of faith, nor a vio

neither an attempt to bind the con. missing Mr. A. from the society, lation of Christian charity; bul an act, and not from the church. Was which that charity imperiously dethis because the Holy Ghost has mands; and an article of discipline, established the pastoral connex.

which the principles of agreement ion_not between a minister of among the Consocialed churches re. the Gospel and his church_but quire them to perform.

"Resolved, 7. That the General As. between him and those that do not sociation view, with much surprise before men,profess to believe and and regret, the coming and the acts covenant to obey the Gospel?” of the council at Coventry, on the 5th Proceeding8; p. 24.

day of June, 1811. After the report was. read; sisatisfactory evidence, that a Consocia:

* Resolved, 8. That the mere want of 4the Rev. Timothy Dwight, D.D. tion ever existed in Tolland County” fur. the Rev. Lyman Beecher, and nished no justifying reason to the the Rev. Rufus Anderson, were council of June 5th, for acting at all appointed a committee to exam. in the affairs of Mr. Abbot and his ine the preceding report, to draw congregation; both because the coun. up, for the consideration of this cil had no sufficient means in their Association, such votes as may because the mere want of evidence

power of 'determining this fact, and be proper to be passed by the cannot be a foundation for acting in Association on the authority of any case, especially in a case of such the statement contained in it, and importance. to make report to this body."

"Resolved, 9. That it is inconsistent

with all principles of ecclesiastical The next day this committee

order for ministers and churches, be. reported a series of resolutions, longing to another body, and another which were adopted by the As- state, to act, as an ecclesiastical coun, sociation, as follows:

cil, in the affairs of any consociated

church in this state, without a preResolved, 1. That the Consociation vious request, or, at least, consent, of of Tolland County was regularly form the Consociation with which said ed, when they dismissed and deposed church is connected, formally declar. the late Rev. Abiel Abbot.

ed. Resolved, 2. That the first church Resolved, 10. That a profession of in Coventry is a member of Tolland faith, made in the words of Scripture, Consociation, and has been such from is no definite exhibition of the real the formation of that body.

faith of the professor: since all per. Resolved, 3. That the late Rev. sons, who acknowledge the divine Abiel Abbot was, of right, consider. origin of the Scriptures, would, al. ed and treated as belonging and though some of them are in their amenable to Tolland Consociation. faith directly opposed to others, make

Resolved, 4. That in the late pro. the same profession in the same ceedings at Coventry, the elders and words. churches of Tolland County have, in Resolded, 11, That the decision of the opinion of the General Associa: the council, "that the relation be. tion, borne a judicious, faithful, and tween Mr. Abbot and the ecclesiasti

« PreviousContinue »