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be enrolled.” He then sat down. Dr. Mallard: “Will the brother please state his name?” Dr. Wilson, the stated clerk, with a roar: “M. D. Hoge, D. D.!” The Assembly enjoyed it. On whom was the joke?
Some twenty-five or more overtures were read, and referred to the proper committees. Some of them were important, and some were not. Query: Why burden the Assembly's docket with overtures asking for in thesi deliverances ? When such an overture is answered, the answer is not law, but only opinion. Is the time of the Assembly well employed in giving merely opinions? If it be a matter of importance, a judicial case by appeal or complaint would settle the law.
This Assembly had no judicial case. The brethren seem to have been law-abiding and dwelling in peace throughout our entire bounds.
The first breeze in the Assembly was caused by a communication from the Prohibition party of North Carolina. Dr. Smoot, very correctly, moved to return it respectfully to the parties sending it, on the ground that the Assembly, as an Assembly, had nothing to do with politics. This motion was lost, however, and the communication was read, and referred to the Committee on Bills and Overtures. Later in the session, that committee reported the following answer, which was adopted: “We are forbidden to intermeddle with political parties or questions, and the constant and scriptural attitude of our beloved church on temperance and intemperance is shown in past deliverances, on record in Alexander's Digest, pp. 365, 366.” Many were opposed to giving any answer to a “political party”; and Dr. Walden, on the next day, introduced the following explanatory paper, which was unanimously adopted:
“Resolved, That in the action taken by the Assembly in adopting the report of the Committee on Bills and Overtures, in reply to a communication from the committee of the Prohibition party of North Carolina, this Assembly is not to be construed as intending to commit the church to the political theory of prohibition, either pro or con."
If the political party can get any comfort out of that, let it.
WOMAN QUESTION. An overture from West Lexington Presbytery brought the public speaking of women before the Assembly. The overture was as follows:
“Shall our pulpits be occupied by women to lecture or make addresses to mixed audiences of men and women?
“Shall the ministers of the presbytery read from their pulpits notices of such lectures and addresses to be made in other churches ?"
The committee answered the first question in the negative, and the second, "that it is improper to advertise lectures of women from the pulpit."
This brought on “much disputation.” Every man proclaimed that he was, in toto, opposed to ordaining women to speak in public; but some of them were in favor of letting them speak unordained. Notably, this was true of Dr. Pitzer, of Washington. This brought out two champions of absolute prohibition as to the public speaking of women to mixed audiences-Dr. J. W. Walden, of Athens, Georgia, and Dr. R. K. Smoot, of Austin, Texas. They were not only opposed to ordaining women to speak publicly, but were opposed to permitting unordained women to do what they would not ordain them to do. They based their arguments upon a “thus saith the Lord,” the past deliverances of the church, and the God-ordained relations of the sexes. Dr. Smoot very neatly put the scriptural argument in a nutshell when he defied any advocate of woman's preaching to put his finger on & "thus saith the Lord” requiring it. He thus made the argument positive, not negative. The advocates of woman's preaching are always attempting to show that the Bible does not forbid itstriking, however, a blow at inspiration as they do so. Dr. Smoot turns the tables, and demands that they show in the Bible authority for women preaching, ordained or unordained; for “the word of God, as contained in the Old and New Testaments, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice." If allowed, then, it must be clearly taught in the Bible, a position which not even the wildest advocates of it will dare maintain.
Dr. F. R. Beattie, who proved himself the great compromiser and harmonizer of the Assembly, moved the following substitute
for the committee's answer: "In reply to the overture from West Lexington Presbytery, the Assembly refers the presbytery to the clear deliverances of former Assemblies, which settle the principles involved in the overture, and should guide all our church sessions in their procedure.” This was adopted, but was amended so that the deliverances of past Assemblies should be reprinted with this reply, and especially that of 1832, which reads as follows:
“Meetings of pious women by themselves for conversation and prayer, whenever they can conveniently be held, we entirely approve. But let not the inspired prohibitions of the great apostle to the Gentiles, as found in his epistles to the Corinthians and to Timothy, be violated. To teach and exhort, or to lead in prayer, in public or promiscuous assemblies, is clearly forbidden to women in the holy oracles.”
This is a stronger reply than that submitted by the committee. It amounts to a prohibition of woman's public speaking. This is the historic position of our church, the scriptural position, and it is now the latest deliverance of our highest church court. It is to be hoped that those brethren—very few in number—who have been permitting women to talk in prayer-meetings and in young people's societies, to read missionary papers, etc., before mixed audiences, will take heed to this almost unanimous deliverance of the Assembly. The Assembly was in no mood to tolerate women speaking to mixed audiences under any circumstances; and its deliverance has no uncertain sound.
THE EXECUTIVE AGENCIES. The executive committees brought up gratifying reports, although the last year was one of financial distress all over the country. The Home Missions Committee has done good work in several States, notably Arkansas, Texas, and the Indian Territory. There was a slight decrease in the amount contributed to the Invalid Fund, and a strong appeal is made to the church for this fund during the coming year. The plan of a preceding Assembly, directing the endowment of the Invalid Fund, was abandoned by this Assembly. Many were afraid of church endowments. Well, we all are. To endow a church is to kill it; but that is a very different thing from endowing this Invalid Fund. We wish that this cause had a permanent endowment of a halfmillion dollars at least. It ought to appeal most strongly to our church, but the cold fact is that it does not. An endowment may be the death of a church, but it would be the life of the Invalid Fund.
The Foreign Missions Committee received from all sources the past year $143,741.79. This is $1,782.34 more than the receipts for last year. Eleven new missionaries were sent to the field : five to China, one to Japan, three to Brazil, and two to the Congo Free State. All the fields need more missionaries; and the minimum financial need, according to the committee, to sustain the present work and send the new missionaries needed, is $165,000. The total missionary roll now is 158. The church has great cause for thankfulness at the success of her foreign work. Ten years ago there were but 54 missionaries, now there are 158; ten years ago we gave but $84,675, now $143,741. The annual cost of supporting a inissionary has been reduced from $1,500 to about $1,000.
The Committee on Education for the Ministry aided some 218 candidates during the past year, paying each of them from $25 to $75. The Assembly asks for $30,000 for this cause for the ensuing year. This committee's affairs are now run very economically, and, since the reduction of the secretary's salary to about one-half of what it formerly was, there are not so many brethren in the church eager to serve the Lord by stirring up the churches on the great cause of education. Strange, but true! The Assembly revoked the action of the Dallas Assembly granting power to this committee, under certain conditions, to aid young women preparing for the foreign field.
The Committee on Colored Evangelization made an encouraging and hopeful report. It received during the year $7,013, which is $186 less than last year. The most encouraging feature was the success of the white evangelist to the colored people in his work. There are now 55 colored ministers, 3 licentiates, 28 candidates, 64 churches, 111 ruling elders, 72 deacons, 1,504 communicants, 191 added during the year, 1,501 Sabbath-school scholars. The Standing Comunittee recommended that, if the colored ministers desire to form an independent colored Presbyterian Church, they be encouraged to do so, our church still aiding them till they are able to walk alone. A colored minister addressed the Assembly, and spoke strongly in favor of an independent negro Presbyterian Church. He said that he had learned that a negro was a negro, wherever he was, whether north or south, and that as a negro he must work out his own salvation. A man must be thrown overboard in order to swim; so the negro must be thrown on his own responsibilities, if he is ever to develop; therefore, said he, cut us loose, but still give us your aid.
There was an effort made to lower the salary of the Secretary of Foreign Missions from $2,500 a year to $2,000. The discussion was chiefly based on the cost of living, forgetting that there are some things for which a man cannot be paid. The present salary is little enough for the man who has the burden of the foreign field on his shoulders, and whose heart and brain is wholly in the work. There is retrenchment which is not reform. A man might be found who could live on $500, but his administration would wreck the cause. A secretary with the record of our present one is cheap at the present salary. Business-men pay salaries according to a man's talents, and the work done, why not the church? A secretary with a salary so small that he could not be free from worldly care could not put heart and soul into his work. The Assembly wisely left this matter in the hands of the committee, but ordered an itemized statement of the salaries paid, for the information of the church.
THE COMMITTEE ON SABBATH-SCHOOLS. This Assembly found the young people's societies, Westminster Leagues, &c., astray, belonging nowhere, and, like the cow-boys on the plains, lassoed the strays and corralled them in its Committee on Sabbath-Schools. The report was fiercely, almost angrily, assailed. The committee recommended that a section of the constitution of the Westminster Leagues be stricken out. It was the section granting the leagues permission, under certain circumstances, to affiliate with societies of