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PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10457, 29 October 1897
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION.
BY A MAJORITY OF " j, THIRTY-SIX. At last night’s- meeting of -the Presbyterian Synod the discussion on the union question was resumed. There .was a full'attendance-of the Synod,, and : the portion of First Church set apart for the public contained a large and apparently interested audience.
Roy. D, Bobbie, . in supporting the ®ption for the adoption of the union proposals, said that no good was worth obtaining if there were no difficulties to overcome, and the chief dimcalty this time was that they had a minority to overcome. Strange totay, the great barrier -to union all along had been the determination ofthe minority,.btjt for which .union wou’d have taken place again. and again. The geographical argument had a little in it, but was not calculated.to given great deal.bf trouble. So fir as the expense was concerned, he would jpoitit out that at the present time they had two asseni- - (flies- With two sets of-expenses, and he was y , sur ® that' the saving that would be etteoted-.on the clerk’s salary and" the printing of’ one of ,the sets of the...proceedings of Synod would be sufficient,-to defray the extra expense' of conveying, the members, to’Wellington. The obstacle of expense was a bogey, and had nothing .S There was practically no .(difference between Jhe. basis-.of union that was set down and -the'constitution of the church at tho present time.'’Ci' :;' ' The Clerk : Nonsense. The Key. Mr Boeeib said it. was not nonsense. They had settled for ever the questidn ln arr J, a S e , with deceased wife’s sister, and they would never go back upon that. The might, prevent them, going for-, -they, could never take away that which had .been gained/ Union, would have the effect of/ banishing from the church some very undesirable elements. There had been attempts in the past to pack , the church with men of the right color. That had been done again apd .again, and would- be continued and go on again .so long as there was difference m the Houso. Union would rid them of caucuses, and cabals, and those meetings that go perilously, near to denying the etown-head of Christ and. the. presence' of the Spirit in the church. .The making of efforts, to get compacted parties strengthened into one side before the whole,question was brought before them went perilously near to denying the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the presence of the Spirit in the church. Union would get rid of that, and make it' Impossible for such a thing ever to occur again-, ' The Rev., W. Bannerman deprecated the use of howling and insulting language. It almost seemed from the manner in which the unionists sought to carry this matter .that loud speaking and insulting language were the, surest best methods, of .leading to -conviction - and of showing what was the proper course ( for Christian men to follow in the matter before the House. The mover of. the original motion and the last speaker were mistaken when they attributed failure of union to tho minority ; the real cause was the course that they themselves had. followed. They had attempted to build a house without a foundation, and what must/the consequence be ? (Applause.) Referring to the charges of, inconsistency for changing their minds on tho matter of union that had, been levelled at the Presbytery of Dunrian, he asked if it was a greater offence for a presbytery than for a professor ; to change its mind. In 1885 Or Watt signed a protest declaring that it was not competent for the .Synod, by 'a majority, to .terminate the independent existence and government of the church. (Ap: plause.) Surely if a professor of theology could change his rri id a presbytery waa at liberty to change its mind. Not only had a professor of theology changed his mind, but the very rev. tho Moderator had sigued a protest’ in 1885 declaring that the Synod was. incompetent to terminate the existence, by a majority, of the church ; and they must bear in mind that that protest was signed on that very question of union—(applause)-and now they had him (the Moderator) standing up and declaring that a majority of the 1 Synod had power to do anything in connection with the church whatever, even to the destruction of the whole creed.— (Laughter and. applause.)' The Moderator : I confess that I sighed that declaration, or protest under »he influence of somebody,pise than myself.—(Loud laughter.) The Rev, W. Bannerman: The signing of that protest was the closing act on the part of the Moderator , to a lengthened opposition to union,-. • If the Moderator of the Synod-, as well as a professor of theology, could change his mind, surely, a presbytery could do so. Another, professor ban changed hia mind very rapidly and very distinctly. Two years ago a professor stood on the floor of the Synod and declared that God’s truth forbade marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, and so rapid was the change in tbat .professor’s opinion that ho gave his vote to allow others and perhaps himself also to contract that very marriage.— (Laughter and applause.) Dr Dunlop (excitedly): I claim to be protected by the Synod, and will not allow Mr Bannerman to make these statements.— (Applause, and cries of “Order.”) I challenge Mr Bannerman—(cries of ■ “ Order ”)—to his proof that I changed my mind. , Where is it, sir?—(Applause.) The Rev. W. Bannerman: Then Dr Dunlop voted contrary to his expressed mind in the Synod without changing his mind. He believed that one effect of union would be to gradually introduce a kind of episcopacy, and perhaps they would have a full-blown episcopacy before long.—(Hear, hear, and “Shame.”) What, he asked, was tho object of the directory of public worship being left out from the basis of union except to introduce a large amount of ritualism ?—(Cries of “Oh !”) As to the question of marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, he said, that the Synod had grossly offended against God’s truth by passing an ultra vires resolution which bad no more power in the church than the paper that it was written on, and he asserted that if any minister celebrated such a marriage and was libelled, the Court before which he was libelled could only judge tbat libel by the Confession of Faith, which was the only standard, to guide the church in determining its doctrine and discipline. Reverting to the Moderator’s-declaration- in his opening address,, the speaker said he would quote from the authority on which the Moderator had rested to support the.poaition ho had taken up in that address —namely, the ‘ Lyceum Guide.’ -
The Moderator: I claim to be heard. I have been thoroughly misrepresented. In Mr Bannerman’s presence and in the presence of the Synod I declared? either this morning or yesterday, in answer to Mr Begg, that I had my address to the Synod mapped out and modelled before I ever saw a single word in that opinion of Sir Robert Stout, and I declared also that what -inspired it. was the attitude of the opposition party. I declare.that it is unfair to siy that 'it was based on thai opinion of Sir Robert Stout. I claim the protection of the Svnodi
The Rev. W. Bannebjian quite believed the statement made-by the Moderator,-but at the same timfe the latter had appealed to Sir Robert Stout as an authority for the .opinion expressed in what the speaker characterised. as a very partisan and ill-advised address.—(Applause.) Referring to the statement that there was no danger of the lands of tlje Synod'being alienated, he pointed out- that it* was-not so long ago since the Minister of Lands had expressed the desire to hand over the church lands to the land boards for administration, giving part of the revenue to the' county councils, the remainder evidently to be administered by the Land Board for the benefit of the church. By going to rarliamcnt they were running the greatest possib’e risk of losing their property.; Union on the present basis was not to be subject to the will and word of God, but to the clauses of this Act. Nothing had done more harm to the spiritual well-being of‘ the'church in Otago than .this dispeace that, had been .occasioned by the irritating questions raised . by those who were the leaders-in this, matter of union. .Hebelieved that the quashing once' again of this union proposal would be the best and quickest way of leading to a better 'state of things amongst them.—(Applause.) The Rev. I. Jolly made a strong and eloquent speech on the side, of. union! and supported his contentions by quotations from the writings of. Professor Binnie. ' There-were a number of statements that had bsen made on the other side that were not worth" answering. One of these was that used by,.Mr Sutherland; that the;advocates of union 'said that .they had received a call ffdih God,! but when.it came to a question of following God’s calling and 'losing
their property? they, fefased. to follow the Elvish leading. 'That waa a statement that'was ;not- worth replying, to. Mr Sutherland might repeat'it;,hut ho .(Mr-Jolly) would not take notice of it.v Mr ,Bcgg had made a great deal out of the large'sum that he said the united assembly would cost in travelling expenses; but, as a matter of fact, it would not be so very much more expensive than 'the present'cost of the ;General Assembly, which last year only cost a few shillings over £390. That 'was the total expersa..
At this stage (9.25 p.m.) Mr A. M. FinlaySON suggested that one speech more should be heard from the side of the opponents of union and then Mr Gibb be called on 1 for bid-reply, after which tho vote' bo taken. - After a heated discussion, which lasted for ten minutes, it was resolved, on the motion of the Rev. Mr HeWiTSON, that the Rev. P. B. Fraser, who had the floor of the House when the Rev. Mr Finlayson made his suggestion, and the Rev. Mr Gibb be allowed twenty minutes each, and to then take the vote.
The Rev. P. 8.-Phaser likened the Presbyterian- Church of Otago and Southland to a tree which, planted by-the early settlers fifty years ago, had extended its-roots throughout the whole of Otago; and there were many besides the Sy nod who were interested.in it: He had no' objection to any-man changing his mind every day in the week, but: if that man held property in trust for a particular purpose he should be careful about using that property to promulgate a hewjereed which might-be Very splendid, but' was not that for which the property was '.donated. -The'speaker was proceeding to deal with the question of marriage with / the deceased wife’s sister when he was informed by the Moderator-that he must stop, his time, having expired, and he thereupon sat down Under protest: - - The Rev. J. Gibb then replied. It would be impossible ini twenty minutes’ time to reply to the statements that had been made on the other, side, and therefore he would hot attempt it,. -He made an earnest and eloquent appeal to members to vote on the question with a due consciousness of the responsibility which attached to their decision. He entreated them to brush aside all irr'elevancies and to disregard .thbse who condemned sentiment, and with truegenerous sympathies, mastered by feelings of brotherhood, give their vote for the accomplishment of a united Presbyterian Church. The question was then put, a vote being taken as between Mr Gibb’s motion—“ That the Bynod receive the report of the Committee on Union, and proceed to consider* seriatim the articles in the basis df uniofa”—and Mr Sutherland’s motion—“ln View of all the facta and circumstances now disclosed in connection with tho movement for a union of incorporation between this church and the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, the Synod declare its conviction that it is not expedient to prosecute the present enterprise any further, and therefore pass from the proposal.” < The result of the 1 vote waa that there voted for Mr Gibb’s motion 83 and for Mr Sutherland’s 47, Mr Gibb’s motion being carried by a majority of 36. The voting was as follows:
For Mr Gibb’s motion. Ministers: Watt, Greig, Kirkland, Finlayson, Waddell, Borrie, Cameron, . Gibb, M‘Kerrow. Dunlop, Dutton,, Jolly, Campbell, Paulin, fiewitson, Tennent, Griffiths, Allan, J. Chisholm, Currie, Dalrymple, Fairmaid, Kilpatrick, J, A. Will, J. S. Reid J. A. Somerville, Gray, Stobo, Ewen, Baird, Nsave, White, Macdonald, Gibson Smith, M'Laren, Brown, Clarke, Stan'dring, Milne, Todd, Grant, Johnston, Asher, Adam Begg, Miller, Kyd, Elders: Waddell, Martin, Leslie, Dow, Muir, Hutton, W. Somerville, Couston, Marshall, Scott, Henderson, 6. Reid, Wise, D. A. M’Nicoll, Leishman, John Tait, Clark, Bremner, John Johnson. T. Tait, A. M’Nicol, M'Corkindnle, T. Adam, Hain, M'Caw, Ramsay, Lindsay, T. M. Macdonald, Hutchison, Dow,' A. Christie, Jackson, Cargill, ,R. Chisholm, Dickie, M’Kinna, Knowles. For MrSutherland’smotiou.—Ministers; Sutherland, Christie, Bannerman, Spence, P. B. Fraser, Alexander, Bissett, Steven, Hay, Niehol, Wright, Thomson, Telford, M’Cosh Smith, Gellie, Davidson, Smellie, Carter. Elders; John Reid, George Muir, Thomson, C. Moore, Harvie, Smaill, Taylor, William' Paterson, M’Lay, William Begg, T. M'William, M'Fetridge, James Shaw, Blackie, Dawson, Goodall, Boss, A. Fraser, Steele, Robertson, Rose. J. T. Johnston, A. C. Begg, Bruce, Coplaud, Ayson, W. Stewart, M‘Kay, Puller. . The Rev. Gibb moved—“ That the Synod proceed next morning to discuss the various articles of the basis of union.” The Rev. A. M. Finlayson seconded the motion, saying that there be no peace or inclination to go on with anything else until this,question was settled.—(Hear, hear.) ■ The motion was carried unanimously, and The Synod rose at 10.30 p.m.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH UNION., Issue 10457, 29 October 1897
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