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Resolved, That we also åt the same time recognize with solicitude the hazard, that from the disturbance or dissolution of old order, and from the shock given to former habitudes and ideas, and from new practices and modes of thought and feeling generated by the war, conditions of the popular mind may arise, that, unless illumined and restrained and guided by education and Christian truth, may project us upon courses wild, revolutionary, and ruinous.
Resolved, therefore, That, in view of the above facts, we regard the present as a crisis in this nation's life, demanding the immediate appliance of the most effective means of education and evangelization in our power, and that amid the agencies, creative and organic of social and political reconstruction on the eternal foundations of Right, and Liberty, and Truth, we regard as most effective and beneficent the religious Faith and Order of our Forefathers - agencies primordial to our national life, and approved in history as the most powerful of vitalizing and conservative forces; and we therefore deem it as due to the perpetuity of our national well-being, that the churches which inherit that Faith and Order should endeavor to diffuse them throughout the extent of our country, and especially to those sections now in social and political ruin.
Resolved, That we who are now placed on this height of history, and who have been permitted to behold great and terrible things which our fathers have not seen, having emerged from the stormy deeps of a civil war, and standing on the verge of a vast and mysterious continent of the future, do this day lift the psalm of thanksgiving where our fathers lifted it, mingling, as did theirs, with the roar of the Atlantic surge, to Him that sitteth King and Lord forevermore; and we commit our beloved country to him in humble prayer, that as he has been the God of our fathers, so he will be our God and the God of our children and our children's children - even till above our national starry emblem shall be seen in heaven the sign of the second coming of the Son of man. Signed,
T. M. POST,
This report was accepted, and enthusiastically adopted by a rising vote, and was followed by prayer by the Rev. Dr. Kirk, of Massachusetts.
The Business Committee reported a recommendation that speakers be not allowed to exceed twelve minutes each, which was adopted.
An invitation was received from Doctor Timothy Gordon, a trustee of the Pilgrim Society, which was accepted by the Council, to visit Pilgrim Hall, on the contemplated excursion to Plymouth.
The Committee on Nomination reported the following to be the Committee on
“ Books and Tracts,” etc. : viz., Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, New York; Rev. L. Bacon, D. D., Connecticut; Lowell Mason, Jr., Esq., New York; Rev. Jacob Ide, D. D., Massachusetts; Timothy Dwight, Esq., Wisconsin; and they were made that committee.
Also for the committee to consider and report on the Letter from Italy: Rev. E. N. Kirk, D. D., Massachusetts; Rev. J. M. Sturtevant, D. D., Ilinois; Rev. E. Beecher, D. D., Illinois.
The following resolution, presented by Rev. R. Anderson, D. D., was accepted, and ordered to be referred to a special committee; viz.,
Resolved, That the National Congregational Council are pleased to learn that the American Congregational Association has undertaken to erect a Congregational House in the city of Boston, as a suitable memorial of the present meeting, which shall serve as a secure repository for our Congregational literature in a national library; as a place of resort for our brethren coming to this ancient home of the denomination, and of the fathers; and also as a convenient center for operations designed to promote a knowledge of our principles and polity, and the unity and fellowship of our churches throughout the land. And while this object, involving an outlay of one hundred thousand dollars, is commended first of all to the enterprising citizens of Boston and vicinity, with whom it originated, it is also cordially commended to the liberal co-operation of our churches throughout the land.
The resolution in regard to a Congregational Church in Washington was taken from the table, and referred to the Committee on Church-building.
After singing the doxology, the Council adjourned to to-morrow morning at 9 o'clock.
Sixth DAY; TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 9 A. M.
Council was opened with prayer by the Moderator, Governor W. A. Buckingham. The minutes of yesterday's sessions were read, amended, and approved.
Rev. Dr. Post, of Missouri, from the Committee on the State of the Country, presented some additional resolutions; which were recommitted to the same committee, with the addition of Rev. Mr. Bliss, of Tennessee, to the committee.
Deacon Charles Stoddard, of Massachusetts, from the Committee on Finance, made a partial report, which was referred to a special committee, constituted as follows:
Hon. C. G. Hammond, of Illinois ; Hon. A. C. Barstow, of Rhode Island ; Asahel Finch, Esq., of Wisconsin; D. S. Williams, Esq., of New York; Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, of New York ; H. P. Haven, Esq., of Connecticut; Samuel Williston, Esq., of Massachusetts; Samuel Holmes, Esq., of New York; Douglas Putnam, Esq., of Ohio; Dea. S. S. Barnard, of Michigan ; Simon Page, Esq., of Maine ; Rev. S. G. Buckingham, of Massachusetts; Philo Carpenter, Esq., of Illinois.
The Committee of Nomination nominated the following to be the special committee appointed to consider the resolution on the proposed “ Congregational House” in the city of Boston, who were so appointed, viz. :
Rev. C. Cushing, of Massachusetts; Rev. E. Davis, D. D., of Massachusetts ; Rev. Ezekiel Russell, D. D., of Massachusetts; Dea. John Smith, of Massachusetts ; Rev. S. D. Cochran, of Iowa ; Rev. S. G. Wright, of Illinois ; Hon. Walter Booth, of Connecticut.
The following resolution was introduced, viz. : Resolred, That a committee of three be appointed to present to President Johnson the resolutions yesterday adopted on the state of the country, especially those portions relating to the punishment of traitors and to universal suffrage.
The resolution was amended by striking out all after the word "country,” and adopted.
The following resolution was presented also by the committee, viz. : Resolved, That the committee appointed by this Council to consider the evil of intemperance be also requested to consider its twin vice, the improper use of tobacco, particularly by ministers and Church members. And in case the said committee shall decide to bring in a report, or testimony against the former evil, they are hereby instructed to bring in, at the same time, some suitable report or testimony against the latter.
Referred to the Committee on Temperance without instructions.
The Committee on the State of the Country reported, by Rev. Mr. Bliss, some additional resolutions, as follows:
Resolved, That we extend to the inhabitants of the late revolted States who have been snared into this rebellion through ignorance, surprise, or overbearing violence of public sentiment, or forced by the power of a merciless conscription, our sympathy and commiseration, and our readiness, after a suitable time has elapsed, to welcome them, on satisfactory evidence of loyalty, to civil fellowship and fraternity under the old flag.
Resolved, That those who have maintained steadfast loyalty amid general treason and revolt, undaunted by popular rage or despotic violence, braving, in the cause of the country, the terrors of imprisonment, torture, robbery, and starvation, and of death itself, rank amid the noblest heroes and martyrs of this war, and deserve lasting honor and gratitude.
Resolved, That the heroic devotion and self-sacrifice of the loyal women of the country during this war will ever be gratefully remembered as having been of vital efficacy to the triumph of our cause, and will excite the admiration of history as examples of moral beauty and sublimity unsurpassed in human story.
These resolutions were adopted.
The committee to whom was referred the paper on the “ Evangelization of the West and South,” reported, by Rev. Dr. Dutton, of Connecticut, as follows:
The committee, to whom was referred the Report on Evangelization in the West and South would state to the Council that we have carefully examined that Report, and have heard many communications from persons specially acquainted with the West and South which confirm and illustrate its positions and reasonings. We commend that Report as comprehensive, thorough, and able, and move that it be adopted by the Council.
We see no necessity of using the precious time of the Council by adding to the facts and arguments presented in the Report. We would only bring them to a practical issue, by deriving from them, and presenting for adoption by the Council, certain definite recommendations to the churches. We propose, therefore, the following result, viz.:
This National Council, in view of the vast and promising fields of evangelical labor opened by the rapid growth of our country toward the West, the North-west. and on the borders of the Pacific Ocean, especially in the mining regions, and opened also by the sublime and awful yet blessed providence of God in subduing rebellion, and giving their rightful liberty to four millions of bondmen, fields of labor, requiring for their proper culture, and requiring immediately, a large increase of laborers, and of funds for their support, do recommend to the churches of Christ whom they represent
First of all, that they seek a large measure of the Holy Spirit, to inspire them with the zeal and faith, the courage and self-denial, necessary to make them willing and happy to give all the men and all the money needed to meet this extraordinary and critical exigency of the kingdom of Christ in our land.
Then to the organizations which, in the grace and providence of God, these churches have ready and well fitted to this work, the Council recommend that they devise liberal things: To the American Home Missionary Society, which, according to its constitution, aids feeble churches in sustaining the administration of the gospel, and sends the gospel to the destitute in whatever circumstances found, and by itinerant as well as local preachers, and which, from its beginning many years since, has performed its work with wisdom and fidelity that deserve universal gratitude and honor, $300,000 during the year. To the American Missionary Association, which, by its past fidelity to the rights and spiritual interests of the negro race, and by its evangelical character and comprehensive plans and labors for the education and religious instruction of the Freedmen, is providentially prepared for the great work of their evangelization so suddenly thrown upon the Christian people of the land, $250,000 the present year.
And since there are some places in the country, and especially in that part of the country which has just been delivered from the curse of bondage, and has been impoverished by the war unsuccessfully waged in behalf of bondage, where churches of central influence and of the Congregational polity, that has no guilty implication with slavery to be remembered against it, might at once be prosperously established if suitable houses of religious worship and instruction were built, we recommend that a special fund of $200,000 be raised by the American Congregational Union, and expended under its direction for the building of sanctuaries in such places.
And because of the great importance of occupying such places at once with preachers and pastors of experience as well as ability, we recommend that churches at the North should exercise in some instances the self-denial of relinquishing for that
purpose their chosen and beloved ministers, if not permanently, at least for a time.
In view, also, of the ignorance of the great body of the poor whites of the South, who at present form the chief constituency there, according to the precedents of Virginia, North Carolina, and Mississippi, we recommend the plans of the American Union Commission for a universal common-school education, and for a wholesome emigration from the Northern States, with a view to the industrial improvement of society, as worthy the encouragement and support of all Christians and patriots.
But the pecuniary want of the present exigency is not the greatest, nor the most difficult to be supplied. To meet the extraordinary call which is now made from these various fields for preachers of the gospel, and which must be met at once or much will be lost for the country and for Christ, are required (it is not extravagant to say) ten times as many as are now offered by the ordinary process of education for the Christian ministry. The Council therefore recommend that while the churches and ministry do not abate anything from their zeal and effort for thorough and accomplished theological education, but rather add thereto, and while they use all proper urgency with Christian young men to prepare for the ministry by a thorough or partial course in our theological seminaries, they also commend to the proper ecclesiastical bodies the consideration of the expediency of approving, and if necessary of ordaining with such conditions as they may deem best, laymen residing within their limits whom God has endowed with gifts and grace. And the Council do earnestly invite such Christian laymen to hear the voice of the Lord, and enter into this work.
And because of the woful need of intelligent preachers among the Freedmen, the Council recommend to the Churches the speedy establishment at the South of an institution for the training, by a short course, of colored ministers.
Moreover, this Council, while they exhort to the culture and practice of that enlarged catholicity which is according to the nature and habit of Congregationalism, they do also exhort to watchful and thorough fidelity to the Church-polity and faith of the New-England Fathers, preëminent, as they believe them to be, in their accordance with Scriptural principles and primitive practice, and in their harmony with republicanism in the State; and they would urge that that polity and faith be promoted and extended by all honorable and Christian means, and by no other
These recommendations, this Council, under a solemn sense of their responsibility to God, send to the Churches whom they represent, beseeching them, and not only them, but all patriotic, philanthropic people in the congregations connected with them, by the love they bear to their country ; by their gratitude to God for its recent great and signal deliverance, by their sense of justice to four millions of their fellow-men divinely restored to their natural rights, and by their love to Christ, who has called them into his kingdom, that they might coöperate with him in seeking and saving the lost, that they enlarge their minds and hearts and labors to a thorough and glorious obedience to the commands of his word and his providence. In behalf of the Committtee,
S. W. S. DUTTON,
GEO. H. ATKINSON.
The report of the committee to whom was referred the paper on Church Building was read by Rev. S. G. Buckingham, chairman, as follows:
The plan adopted by the Albany Convention in 1852 to aid feeble churches in building houses of worship, was regarded, at the time, as not the least important result of their deliberations. But the wisdom of this plan could never have been comprehended as it now is, after it has been in operation for thirteen years, and the results are gathered up as they are in the report before us. It has furnished so many churches with sanctuaries; it has been such an efficient aid to home missions ; it has proved itself such an economical form of benevolence; it has done so much to promote revivals of religion; it has so spread the faith and Church polity of the Puritans; and so stimulated other denominations to take up and prosecute the same Christian work; that we shall never cease to bless God for the wisdom that conceived of such a plan, and the faith and enterprise and liberality that undertook to put it into operation.
But the demand which existed for such Christian work then has greatly increased since that time. Emigration is flowing westward as fast as ever, while that wall of exclusion which shut it out from the South and the South-west is broken down,