It was ordered that the report of the committee, to whom was this morning referred the paper yesterday adopted for such verbal alterations as may be needful, be made the order of the day at 12 M.

A half-hour was spent in devotional exercises.

The report of the committee on the proposed Congregational House was accepted and adopted.

Rev. Dr. Thompson read a communication received by mail from “ the Pastors and Delegates of the Independent churches of the county of Lincoln, assembled at their half-yearly meeting in the town of Boston,” to this Council, signed by Joseph Shaw and others.

It was accepted, and referred to the Moderator and Assistant Moderators for appropriate response.

The committee to whom was referred the Declaration of Faith reported the following amendments, viz. :

In Paragraph 1, substitute “ declare ” for “ reiterate”; “substantially as embod ied,” instead of " as substantially embodied ”; strike out “ after “primitive churches.” In the sentence commencing “ We bless the God of our Fathers,” make it read “ We bless God for," etc., and strike out all after“ doctrines."

In Paragraph 2, after “ the state,” insert “and.”

In Paragraph 6, change “ But” to “ thus” for the first word; and read “should agree,” instead of “may agree.”

In Paragraph 7, before " are justified,” substitute “ believers in him ” for “ we;" after “before God," strike out “and;" after “remission of sins, and,” strike out " that it is ;” after “Comforter,” strike out “alone that we," then substitute “are for hope to be;" and strike out “to be” before “perfected.”

In Paragraph 8, substitute “the” for “an,” before “ organized.”
In Paragraph 9, strike out "originally.”

These amendments were adopted, and the declaration thus made to stand as follows:

Standing by the rock where the Pilgrims set foot upon these shores, upon the spot where they worshipped God, and among the graves of the early generations, we, Elders and Messengers of the Congregational churches of the United States in National Council assembled — like them acknowledging no rule of faith but the word of God do now declare our adherence to the faith and order of the apostolic and primitive churches held by our fathers, and substantially as embodied in the confessions and platforms which our Synods of 1648 and 1680 set forth or reaffirmed. We declare that the experience of the nearly two and a half centuries which have elapsed since the memorable day when our sires founded here a Christian Commonwealth, with all the development of new forms of error since their times, has only deepened our confidence in the faith and polity of those fathers. We bless God for the inheritance of these doctrines. We invoke the help of the Divine Redeemer, that, through the presence of the promised Comforter, he will enable us to transmit them in purity to our children.

In the times that are before us as a nation, times at once of duty and of danger, we rest all our hope in the gospel of the Son of God. It was the grand peculiarity of our Puritan Fathers, that they held this gospel, not merely as the ground of their personal salvation, but as declaring the worth of man by the incarnation and sacrifice of the Son of God; and therefore applied its principles to elevate society, to regulate education, to civilize humanity, to purify law, to reform the Church and the State, and to assert and defend liberty; in short, to mould and redeem, by its all

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transforming energy, everything that belongs to man in his individual and social relations.

It was the faith of our fathers that gave us this free land in which we dwell. It is by this faith only that we can transmit to our children a free and happy, because a Christian, commonwealth.

We hold it to be a distinctive excellence of our Congregational system, that it exalts that which is more above that which is less, important, and, by the simplicity of its organization, facilitates, in communities where the population is limited, the union of all true believers in one Christian church; and that the division of such communities into several weak and jealous societies, holding the same coinmon faith, is a sin against the unity of the body of Christ, and at once the shame and scandal of Christendom.

We rejoice that, through the influence of our free system of apostolic order, we can hold fellowship with all who acknowledge Christ, and act efficiently in the work of restoring unity to the divided Church, and of bringing back harmony and peace among all “who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.”

Thus recognizing the unity of the Church of Christ in all the world, and knowing that we are but one branch of Christ's people, while adhering to our peculiar faith and order, we extend to all believers the hand of Christian fellowship upon the basis of those great fundamental truths in which all Christians should agree. With them we confess our faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word, who is exalted to be our Redeemer and King ; and in the Holy Comforter, who is present in the Church to regenerate and sanctify the soul.

With the whole Church, we confess the common sinfulness and ruin of our race, and acknowledge that it is only through the work accomplished by the life and expiatory death of Christ that believers in him are justified before God, receive the remission of sins, and through the presence and grace of the Holy Comforter are delivered from the power of sin, and perfected in holiness.

We believe also in the organized and visible Church, in the ministry of the Word, in the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, in the resurrection of the body, and in the final judgment, the issues of which are eternal life and everlasting punishment.

We receive these truths on the testimony of God, given through prophets and apostles, and in the life, the miracles, the death, the resurrection, of his Son, our Divine Redeemer a testimony preserved for the Church in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, which were composed by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Affirming now our belief that those who thus hold “one faith, one Lord, one baptism,” together constitute the one catholic Church, the several households of which, though called by different names, are the one body of Christ, and that these members of his body are sacredly bound to keep “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace," we declare that we will cooperate with all who hold these truths. With them we will carry the gospel into every part of this land, and with them we will go into all the world, and “preach the gospel to every creature.” May He to whom “ all power is given in heaven and earth” fulfil the promise which is all our hope: “ Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." Amen.

It was then solemly reaffirmed and finally adopted by a rising vote, in connection with prayer, by Rev. Dr. Palmer, of New York, and the singing of “ My faith looks up to thee,” and the Doxology.

Adjourned to 3 P. M.


The Business Committee reported sundry resolutions, which were referred back to their wisdom for ultimate disposition.

Also the following, viz.: Resolved, That this Council recommend that from the amount raised for church building, in central localities at the South, a sum not exceeding $50,000 be appropriated by the American Congregational Union for the establishment of a Congregational Church in the city of Washington, D. C., provided that an amount equal to the sum appropriated by the American Congregational Union aforesaid be raised from other sources.

Accepted, and referred to the Committee on Church Building.
Also the following order:

Ordered, That a committee be appointed to report to this Council a brief paper on the subject of wo ship, - not the order of worship, but worship, both public and private.

Accepted, and referred to a special committee.

Dr. Bacon moved that the Business Committee be instructed to report no further new business. Dr. Dutton moved to amend by instructing the Business Committee to report only such business as in their judgment is proper to be presented.

Amendment carried, and the motion as amended was adopted.
The Business Committee reported the following resolutions :

Whereas, We the members of the National Council recognize in our deliberations a degree of unanimity and cordiality which was hardly to be expected in view of the wide separation of our churches in space and the diversity of experiences and influences under which they have been trained in the providence of God: therefore

Resolved, (1) That we do hereby cordially and unanimously assert our assent to the general course of action in this Council.

(2) That we devoutly thank God for the evidence developed in this assembly that we are harmonious in our views of the teachings of God's word, and the leadings of his providence in our time.

(3) That before the close of this Council we will unite in the observance of the Lord's Supper ( at such time and in such manner as the Committee on Devotional Exercises may deem best ), whereby we trust all our minds may be turned to Him who is the source of all our hopes and convictions as Christians, and all our hearts united in the love of our Saviour, the great Head of the Church.

Accepted, and referred to the Committee on Devotional Exercises.
The following resolution was introduced by Hon. A. C. Barstow :

Whereas, This Council has recommended that the sum of one hundred thousand dollars be raised for the purpose of erecting in the city of Boston a suitable building for an American Congregational House: therefore

Resolved, That said Association be requested to seek such change in its charter, or make such change in the third article of its constitution, as shall better secure the property held thereby to those who represent our faith in coming generations.

It was adopted.
The following Resolution was introduced, viz. :

Resolved, That this Council desires to record its sense of the importance of the worship of God's house, independently of the sermon, usually and justly holding with us so conspicuous a place, while there is reason to apprehend sufficient attention is not always given to reading, prayer, and praise, with a view to make them in the highest practical measure attractive, awakening, and edifying.

That our mode of public worship, especially of prayer, so plain and simple, but happily affording scope for the utmost variety of thought and beautiful adaptation to the ever-changing experience of life, should be conducted, not with reference to instruction, or assertion of doctrine, or notification to men of passing events, which is a degradation, but with a view pre-eminently to the producing of devout emotion, and a commingling of all hearts in one spirit of confession, supplication, and praise.

That we recommend to ministers to give much more attention to this part of divine service, and to teachers in our theological seminaries to endeavor to impart a better preparation for this part of a minister's service.

Accepted, and reference ordered to a special Committee.
It was Voted, That the session of this afternoon be continued until 6 1-2, P. M.

The following were appointed as the special committee on raising the sum of $750,000 recommended to be raised by the Council, viz. :

New York — Dea. Samuel Holmes, Rev. J. C. Holbrook, D.D., Rev. L. Smith Hobart. Maine — C. A. Lord, Rev. U. Balkam, Rev. S. H. Keeler, D.D. New Hampshire - Rev. Alvan Tobey, Rev. Henry E. Parker, Thomas Melvin. Vermont

– Rev. S. O. Brastow, Rev. Geo. P. Tyler, Hon. Ira Goodhue. Massachusetts Rev. A. E. P. Perkins, Allen W. Dodge, Marshall S. Scudder. Connecticut — Rev. Davis S. Brainard, Rev. H. P. Armes, D. D., G. W. Shelton. Rhode Island - Hon. A. C. Barstow. New Jersey - Lowell Mason, jr. Pennsylvania - Rev. Edward Hawes. Delaware Dea. A. H. Bryant. Maryland - Nathaniel Noyes. Ohio - Rev. Thomas Wickes, D.D., Rev. J. C. Hart. Tennessee - Rev. Thomas E. Bliss. Indiana Dea. A. G. Willard. Illinois Rev. R. C. Dunn, Rev. W. Carter. Michigan - Rev. H. A. Read, Rev. Hiram Elmer. Wisconsin - Rev. E. G. Miner, Rev. I. N. Cundall. Iowa - Rev. J. Guernsey, Seth Kinnard. Minnesota Rev. Charles Seccombe. Missouri - Rev. J. M. Sturtevant, Jr. Kansas - W. H. Watson, Esq. Nebraska Territory - Rev. R. Gaylord. Colorado - Rev. W. Crawford. California Jacob Bacon. Oregon Rev. Geo. H. Atkinson.

The following were appointed the special committee on a day of fasting and prayer: viz., Rev. L. Swain, D. D., Rhode Island; Rev. George A. Oviatt, Connecticut; Rev. E. Maltby, Massachusetts.

The following were appointed the Committee on Worship: Rev. A. P. Marvin, Massachusetts; Rev. J. L. Jenkins, Connecticut; Rev. 0. T. Lanphear, Connecticut; Rev. J. Leavitt, D. D., New York; Rev. N. H. Eggleston, Massachusetts.

The committee to whom was referred the preliminary paper on Systematizing Benevolent Contributions reported by their chairman, Rev. Dr. Stearns, of Mass.

The report was recommitted.
The Council took a recess for five minutes.

The committee to consider the preliminary papers on Church Polity made report as follows:


The committee to whom was referred the statement of Congregational polity' respectfully report.

Your committee found it necessary, in the opening of their consideration of the subject referred to them, to fix definitely in their own minds the precise limits of the functions of a Council like this in issuing a statement of Church polity. These limits are defined,

1. By what we have a right to do.
2. By what we have time to do.
3. By what it is expedient for us to do.

In respect to the first question the answer is plain. We have a right to issue as complete and comprehensive a statement as we are able to secure, for the consideration of the churches whose representatives we are, so long as, in the language of Richard Mather, we claim no more authority for such statement “than there is force in the reason of it."

In respect to the question how far it is possible for a body of five hundred men, in the time at our command, to issue a perfected statement concerning a subject so extensive, and embracing such variety and number of details, your committee were soon convinced that only an approximation could possibly be made to that precision and comprehensiveness and conciseness which must characterize such a document, if it shall be worthy of this National Council or generally acceptable to the churches we represent. Your committee, therefore, became convinced early in their deliberations, that all that this Council could possibly do, under the most favorable circumstances, would be to give a general approval to the documents reported to it, and that it would be compelled at last to commit them with such emendations and additions as it might direct, and such as might be brought out by open discussions, or private suggestions by members of the Council to a committee, for final revision and publication.

And in these necessities of our position we found an answer to our third question, as to how much it would be expedient for us to do even if we should have at command all the time we could desire. On this point your committee have been led to the conclusion, that inasmuch as the action of this Council is to go forth over large portions of our country, in which the idea of Church authority and ecclesiastical legislation prevails, to the nearly entire exclusion of the conception of our free Congregational forms, it would prevent much misconception and misrepresentation, if such a document, after receiving the general approval of this Council, should go forth to the world with the full indorsement only of the gentlemen whose names shall be appended thereto.

In this manner we might hope to find a middle course between the two extremes of too great authority on the one hand, and of the entire absence of authority on the other. We might hope, in other words, to avoid all appearance of legislation for the churches, while at the same time we might commend to the churches a statement of polity which should carry with it primâ facie evidence of its correctness; first, from having received the general approval of this National Council; and secondly, from the minute and absolute approval of a large committee carefully selected by this body, who shall have received the benefit of an extended discussion of the papers now under examination, for months to come, by the whole body of our ministers and churches.

Having settled in their own minds these general principles, your committee applied themselves to the close and careful study of the two papers presented to them.

They found the longer of these papers to be an able, comprehensive, and, in their view, a generally correct statement of the principles of the Congregational polity, and well worthy to be the basis of the platform which we now desire to take the place of the ancient Cambridge Platform. They found a close similarity to that long-revered work of our fathers, large portions being little else than a substantial reproduction of that document.

They found the shorter of these papers to be concise and yet comprehensive, and in these respects well calculated for ordinary use in our churches, and for insertion in our Church manuals.

A careful examination on the part of the committee of the detailed statements contained in these documents, and of written suggestions sent in to us by mem

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