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that board had done, and are now doing, and may hereafter do, in executing their responsible duties. Our object was to present our own views, and to let others adopt or reject our principles, as they might deem them correct or otherwise. As we are called on a second time to answer this objection to our principles, we shall give the resolution of the Assembly's board, and then state our own views; so that it may appear in what respect we differ, if indeed there is a difference of opinion on this subject. The resolution is as follows, viz:

"That no written obligation shall be required of any beneficiary to refund the monies which may be granted him by this board, because we act upon the principle, that the church, as a moral parent, ought to provide for the education of such of her sons as may be indigent, and at the same time may probably become her faithful servants in the ministry of reconciliation; but we nevertheless desire every beneficiary to remember, that his duty to the church and to his younger brethren, who seek the same holy office, and to his Saviour, requires that so soon as he is able he should refund the benefaction conferred on him with interest. Every beneficiary shall be furnished with an attested copy of this resolution."

In our remarks, page 615 Biblical Repertory, in answer to the question, whether we consider young men educated by the church under no obligation to return the money expended on their preparation for the ministry? we say,

"That every such man, and every other man who enters the ministry, is bound to do all he can for the cause of Christ. If the education cause be the loudest and most imperious in its calls, let him devote his resources and his efforts in that direction. If there be most need, in the time and place where his lot is cast, to advance the cause of missions, let this command his money and his time."

In accordance with this declaration, we add, that if the resolution of the Assembly's board regards their beneficiary as under an obligation to refund to them the money expended in his education, in preference to every other claim of religion and humanity; if he is bound in duty to give to the cause of education the first money he can save from supporting himself and family, although other objects much more urgent and important may present themselves; if he is not at liberty to exercise his own judgment in deciding what he shall do with the money in his possession, then we say we are opposed to the resolution, and are ready to give our reasons for our dissent. If the board consider their benefaction precisely like a debt contracted in the ordinary

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transactions of life, then the beneficiary has no discretion; he must pay his debt before he is at liberty to give to any benevolent object. Thus, if a man has borrowed a sum of money, and promised to return it as soon as he is able, he has no right as an honest man to give to any benevolent object until that debt is paid. The money in his possession is not his own, and he has no right to be charitable with another man's property.

If the board consider what they have advanced as a debt, in the common acceptation of the term, they may involve their beneficiaries in numerous perplexities, and greatly diminish their usefulness. For example, the cause of education may not be so urgent as that of missions. Those prepared for labour may not be able to go forth into promising fields for want of means, and more money may be on hand for education than is needed. (This is a possible case). Yet in these circumstances, the beneficiary cannot give to missions; he must pay his debt. Calls to relieve the distressed and afflicted may be made on him, but he can give nothing. He must say Corban: all I have is devoted to the treasury of the Lord for the education of indigent pious youth for the gospel ministry. How can a man in these circumstances be useful as a pastor? Can he encourage his people by his example to acts of benevolence and christian effort? These difficulties, and others of a similar kind, press on the beneficiaries of the American Education Society with full force. The money expended in their education was borrowed. It is a loan; a debt both in a moral and legal sense. The beneficiary has promised, and bound himself by legal bonds, to pay at a fixed period a certain sum of money to a legal corporation, for a specific object; and when money not needed for the necessaries of life comes into his hand, he can with a good conscience no more withhold or divert it to any other object than if he had bought a horse and given his promissory note to make payment at a certain time.

The directors, it is true, have a discretionary power to cancel a part or the whole of the debt, and the writer of the letter seems to think it will greatly relieve the feelings and conscience of the individual, that the directors assume the responsibility of standing between him and his God, and of deciding whether he ought to pay or not.-Bib. Rep. p. 590.

For our part, we should be unwilling to transfer to any man, or any body of men, the right of judging what is or what is

not our duty; we can acknowledge no earthly power as competent to give a dispensation respecting matters which our own conscience ought to decide. In cases of doubt respecting our duty, we might indeed ask the advice of prudent and pious men, and their counsel might assist, but not control us in forming a decision. This provision, which is calculated to throw the responsibility of deciding what he ought to do from the individual on others, we think has an injurious tendency. It teaches us to regard the opinion of men, and not the law of God, as the rule of duty.

Having made these limitations, we are now prepared to say, that if it be the design of the resolution of the Assembly's board, to press upon the mind and conscience of those they educate, their obligation to devote themselves and all they have to the service of the Lord, in whatever way they can best promote his cause in the world, we have no objections to it, nor is it inconsistent with the doctrine we have avowed. When a young man deliberately and sincerely forms a determination to devote himself and all that he has to the service of the Lord, we see nothing in the act which is ensnaring to the conscience or contrary to the word of God. Jacob made a vow of this kind when he was in very trying and destitute circumstances, but he did not say to what particular department of the Lord's service he would devote the tenth of his possessions. Indeed, unless he was instructed by a spirit of prophecy, he could not know in what part of divine service his property might be needed at the distant day contemplated. An indefinite resolution to devote himself to the Lord, would not bind a beneficiary of the Assembly's board to refund the money-expended in his education, if that board some twenty or thirty years hence (which is possible) should become corrupt and patronise the most pernicious heresies.

We have, moreover, no objection to the resolution of the Assembly's board, if the design be to impress on the heart of those assisted that they are under peculiar obligations to aid the education cause; that it is their duty to use economy, to exercise self-denial, to make every exertion consistent with the great work to which they have devoted their life, to obtain the means of aiding their younger brethren who are seeking the same holy office, provided this call be more urgent than any other.

We should be willing that the Assembly's board, or any

other education society, should enjoin it on their beneficiaries to remember through life the difficulties under which they laboured during their preparatory studies, and (having received seasonable assistance) to render, when practicable, similar assistance to others.

This is the kind of obligation under which we conceive the church is authorized to place the sons she has educated for her service; their obligation to aid in educating their young brethren is not in its nature different from that under which every other christian is to contribute to this object. When money is needed for the education of indigent and pious youth for the ministry of the gospel, it is the duty of every christian, according as the Lord has prospered him, to contribute to this object. And ministers of the gospel, in whatever way they may have obtained their education, are not exempt from this duty. But if you go on the principle of debt and credit in this manner, then those ministers who were educated at their own or their parent's expense might say that they had long ago paid their proportion, and owed nothing to this cause.

We do indeed believe that those who are educated in whole or in part by the church, are more likely to feel their obligation to aid in educating others. They know from experience the embarrassments and trials of a poor young man struggling to prepare himself for the gospel ministry: and he must be destitute indeed of common human sympathy, who does not feel for others in the same circumstances in which he once was. We may say it is the duty of every man to pity and relieve the stranger in distress; but we cannot make the same appeal to every one that was made to the Israelite: "Thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

From these remarks every reader may judge for himself how far our views differ from the resolution of the Assembly's board. And if they do differ, we have not charged ourselves with the task of reconciling them. We are happy, however, to notice that the Assembly's board recognises the principle that "the church as a moral parent ought to provide for the education of such of her sons as are indigent, and at the same time will probably become her faithful servants in the ministry of reconciliation." And after this declaration we cannot suppose that they consider their "benefaction" pre


cisely as a debt or loan, which must in justice be repaid in kind as soon as the beneficiary is able; leaving him no right to judge whether the claims of education are more imperious than any other and every other.

But between the resolution of the Board of Education and the principles of the American Education Society, there is this remarkable difference. The board do not hold their beneficiaries as bondsmen perfectly dependent on their pleasure, liable to have their secular concerns inspected and examined, so that it may be known whether or not they are able to pay their debt. If a corporation will not leave it to a man's conscience to say when he is able to pay the money he has borrowed; if they must have a legal bond, and assume the right of judging of his worldly circumstances, they certainly ought to examine how he lives; whether he is economical; and whether he has not more than is necessary for his immediate support. All creditors have this power, and we cannot see how those who charge themselves with the responsibility of judging when their debtor ought to pay, can perform their duties unless they exercise this power. If they cannot trust to the conscience of a minister of the gospel to pay his debt when he is able, they ought not to trust to his word when he says he is unable: they ought to examine for themselves. We are perfectly sure that the present directors of the American Education Society will never think of adopting measures so odious. Yet when we are looking at the extent of their power, every thing that they may lawfully do, and every thing necessary to the faithful execution of their trust, may fairly be brought into view.

We are reminded, page 38, of our misapprehension in stating the principal reasons which led the directors to adopt the system of loans instead of a system of entire charity. It is possible we may have been in an error on this point. And since we are assured it is an error, we admit the correction, and have only to say that it was unintentional. Still we are at a loss to see how loans can have a happy effect on the character of those patronised. Look at the operation of the loaning system during the period of preparatory studies. If the beneficiary be constitutionally imprudent, regardless (as some good men are) of remote consequences in pecuniary concerns, the fact that the money in his possession is borrowed, and that he is bound to pay it at some future day, will have no effect in restraining him from extravagance.

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