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´╗┐Title: History and Ecclesiastical Relations of the Churches of the Presbyterial Order at Amoy, China
Author: Talmage, J. V. N. (John Van Nest), 1819-1892
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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New York:


_To the Ministers, Elders, and Members of the Reformed Dutch

It is proper that I give some reasons for the publication
of this paper. The importance of the subject of the ecclesiastical
organization of the churches gathered in heathen lands, I conceive to
be a sufficient reason. Those who may differ in regard to the views
set forth in this paper, will not dispute the importance of the subject.
Instead of the questions involved having been settled by any of the
Presbyterian Denominations of this country (the Dutch Church
included among them), by experiments in India or any other
heathen land, very few of the churches gathered from the
heathen, by these various Denominations, have yet arrived at
a stage of development sufficient for practical application of
the experiment. (See foot-note, page 160.) There are, however,
a few mission churches, where the subject is now becoming
one of vast practical importance. The Church at Amoy stands out
prominent among these. With the continuance of the divine blessing
there will soon be many such. Hence the importance of the discussion,
and its importance _now_.

Many experiments have been made in reference to the
best way of conducting the work of missions. The Church
has improved by them, and has been compelled to _unlearn_
many things. We are continually returning towards the simple plan laid
down in God's Word. As the Church by experiment and by discussion has
thus been led to retrace some of her steps in the preliminary work of
missions, should she not be ready to take advantage of experiment and
discussion, in reference to the ecclesiastical organization of the mission
churches, and stand ready to retrace some of her steps in this second stage
of the work of missions, if need be, in order to conform more fully to
the doctrines of our Presbyterial church polity? I would use the
phrase _Scriptural church polity_, but I suppose it is the
universal belief of our Church, that Presbyterial polity is scriptural.
At any rate, it is the duty of the Church to examine the subject
carefully. She has nothing to fear from such examination.
She should fear to neglect it.

In addition to the importance of the subject in itself
considered, I have other reasons for discussing it at the
present time. There are mistaken impressions abroad in the
Church, concerning the views and course of your missionaries
at Amoy, which must be injurious to the cause of missions
in our Church. It would seem to be a plain duty to correct
these impressions. I will quote an extract from a letter, I
recently received, from an honored missionary of a sister

"I have heard much, and seen some notices in the papers
of the battle you fought on the floor of Synod, and would
like to hear your side of the subject from your own mouth,
as the question has also been a practical one with us. * *
* * * We have our own Presbytery, and manage our own business,
and insist on not having too much of what they call the new science
of Missionary management; a science which, I believe, has been
cultivated far too assiduously. It was this, more than anything else,
which kept me from going out under the A.B.C.F.M., and to Amoy.
* * * * * I hear, however, from some, that what you and the brethren
there had formed, was some sort of loose Congregational association.
If so, I must judge against you, for I believe in the _jure divino_
of Presbytery (or Classis if you choose so to call it), and I think you and
they should have been allowed to form a Presbytery there,
and manage all your own affairs, and that your Boards at
home should be content to consider themselves a committee
to raise and send on the funds. But it is hard for the D.
D's and big folk at home to come to that. They think they must manage
everything, or all will go wrong; while how little it is that they can
be brought to know or realize of the real nature of the work abroad; and
then it is the old battle of patronage over again. Those who give the
money must _govern_, and those who receive it must give up
their liberty, and be no longer Christ's freemen."

This is only a specimen, one of many, of the mistaken
impressions abroad in the Church concerning the views and
doings of your Missionaries. May we not, _must_ we not, correct
them? The letter also illustrates the evils resulting from allowing
mistaken impressions to remain in the Church uncorrected. There has long
been an impression in our Church that the A.B.C.F.M. interfered with the
ecclesiastical affairs of our missions. We have been informed that several
of our young men, before our Church separated from that Board, were
deterred thereby from devoting themselves to the foreign Missionary work.
The writer of the above letter, probably having more of the Missionary
spirit, was not willing, on that account, to give up the work, but was
led to offer himself to the Board of a sister Church. The
Mission at Amoy, and our Church, have thus been deprived
of the benefit of his labors by means of an erroneous impression.
When we learned the fact of such an impression existing in this country,
we endeavored to correct it. In our letter of 1856, to General Synod, we
called particular attention to the subject. Here is a part of one sentence:
"It seems to us a duty, and we take this opportunity to bear
testimony, that neither Dr. Anderson, nor the Prudential
Committee have ever, in any communication which we have received from them,
in any way, either by dictation, or by the expression of opinions,
interfered in the least with our ecclesiastical relations." We failed to
get that letter published, and I find the erroneous impression still
prevalent, working its mischief in the churches.

But to return to the subject of the mistaken impressions
concerning the views of your Missionaries at Amoy. These impressions would
have been partly corrected in the Church, if the report of the proceedings
of Synod, in "The Christian Intelligencer," had been more correct on this
subject. That paper states, that, on Friday evening, "Rev. Mr.
Talmage then took the floor, and addressed the Synod for
nearly two hours," but does not give a single word or idea
uttered by him. It is careful to report the only _unkind words_
against the Missionaries uttered during that whole discussion,
which, with this single exception, was conducted in a spirit
of the utmost Christian kindness; but does not give a word
of the remarks made on the Friday evening previous, on that
very subject, in justification of their course.

It seems to be a duty, though painful, to speak particularly
on this subject. Look at the following language: "I know that we are told
that the _hybrid organization_ [i.e. the Classis, _a court of the
Church of Christ_, at Amoy] which now exists is every way sufficient and
satisfactory; that it is the fruit of Christian love, and that to disturb
it would be rending the body of Christ. Here one might ask, how it came
to exist at all, seeing that this Synod spoke so plainly, and
unambiguously, in 1857; and _I, for one, cordially concur in
the remark of the elder, Schieffelin, that the brethren there 'deserve
censure_.' We do not censure them, nor do we propose to do so; _but that
they deserve it is undeniable_. But the point is, how can our disapproval
of _the mongrel Classis_ mar the peace of the Amoy brethren?" This
language was used by the President of Synod, after asking whether the Synod
was ready for the question, "the question being about to be
put," when an attempt to answer it seemed altogether out
of place. In all the circumstances it seemed almost like the
charge of a judge to a jury. I do not say that there is any
improper spirit manifested, or opprobrious expressions employed
in this language, or that the President did wrong in waiting until the
discussion was over before he uttered it, or that the missionaries are not
deserving of such severe censure--of all these things let the Church
judge--but I do say that the spreading of such language and such charges
broadcast, before the Church and before the world, demands that
the missionaries be heard in self-defense, or, which is all they
ask, that they be allowed to state the facts and views which
guided them in their action.

Doubtless it was an oversight that such a one-sided report on
this subject appeared in The Christian Intelligencer. At least
it was not at all designed that injustice be done to the Missionaries,
but, unless they be allowed to speak for themselves, is not injustice done
them? It seemed to me that a very mistaken impression concerning the views
expressed by me, near the close of the session of Synod, was also conveyed
by the Report. This I attempted to correct by a note to the
editor, but even the right of correcting my own sentiments
and language was refused, my note garbled, and, as I thought,
my views again misrepresented. More than this, the _implied_
charge is published to the world that I am seeking to excite
"dissension among the churches," and "opposition to the
constituted authority of Synod."[1] It would therefore be
great dereliction of duty to return to my field of labor, allowing
my own views, and the views of my co-laborers, to be thus mistaken in the
Church, and such serious charges against our course unanswered. I am not
aware that any censorship of the press has been authorized by General
Synod. Surely if others are allowed to be heard for us we should be allowed
the right to be heard for ourselves. We were unable by writing from Amoy to
get our views before the Church. I must, therefore, while in this land,
endeavor to make them known.

[Footnote 1: If this language seem too strong or uncalled for, see Appendix
B, at the end.]

I have been advised by some to delay the publication of
this paper a few months, until we learn the effect of the decision
of the last Synod on the Mission at Amoy, and see what course the Church
there may feel compelled to adopt. I do not see the force of such advice.
Whatever may be the course of the Church there, the intrinsic merits of
the question will be unchanged thereby. Besides this, I cannot afford
such delay. I have been looking forward to as speedy return
as possible to that field of labor. Would it be right to
leave the whole subject to the eve of my departure, and thus
shut myself off from the possibility of defending or further
explaining my views, if such defense or explanation be called

I have been asked, Why not bring this subject before the
Church through the columns of the _Christian Intelligencer_?
This question, after what has been said above, need not now
be answered. Doubtless the editor is responsible for what
appears in his columns. The only resource left the Mission
seems to be the one I have chosen.

I regret the necessity of discussing the subject, since the
action of the last Synod, but we could not discuss it previously
without running counter to the same advice which would now restrain us.
I do not at all suppose, however, that by the course I am taking I shall
become guilty of disobedience "to the authority of Synod." Neither should
it be the occasion of creating "dissensions in the churches."
The discussion of any important subject in a proper spirit is
neither opposed to the doctrines of the Sacred Scriptures, nor
to the doctrines of the Dutch Church, and I am willing to
leave it to those who may read the following pages to decide
whether there be in them any manifestation of an improper
spirit. We, and those who differ from us, are all seeking the
same end, i.e. the glory of God through the advancement of
his cause. All that I ask for myself and co-laborers is an
_impartial hearing_.

Perhaps, in order to guard against any mistaken impression,
I ought to add that the relations between the Missionaries
and the Board of Foreign Missions of our Church, have always been of the
most pleasant character. Whatever have been their differences of opinion
on this most important subject, or on any other subject, they have not
caused, so far as I am aware, the least interruption of that warm Christian
friendship which has always existed, or been the occasion of
one unkind utterance in all their mutual correspondence.
Why not so? Cannot Christians reason with each other, even
on subjects of the highest moment, in such a spirit as not
only to avoid animosities, but even to increase personal friendship?
If this paper should prove the occasion of discussion in
our Church, let me express the hope that such discussion will
be carried on in such a spirit.


Bound Brook, N.J., October, 1863.








The first Protestant Missionaries at Amoy arrived there in the year
1842. They were Dr. Abeel of the American Reformed Dutch Church, and
Bishop Boone of the American Episcopal Church. After these there arrived
Missionaries of the London Missionary Society, of the American
Presbyterian Church, of the English Presbyterian Church, and others of
the American Reformed Dutch Church.

Bishop Boone soon left Amoy, and no others of his Church have since then
been stationed there. The American Presbyterian Mission was removed to
other parts of China. At the present time there are three Missions at
Amoy, viz.: the Missions of the American Reformed Dutch Church, of the
London Missionary Society, and of the English Presbyterian Church.

The Missionaries of the London Missionary Society are Independents or
Congregationalists, and have organized their churches after the
Congregational order. Thus their churches form a distinct Denomination,
and nothing further need be said of them in this paper.

The first Missionary of the English Presbyterian Church at Amoy was Dr.
Jas. Young. He arrived in May, 1850. At that time there were two
Missionaries connected with our (R.D.C.) Mission, viz.: Rev. E. Doty, on
the ground, and Rev. J.V.N. Talmage, absent on a visit to the United
States. There were then under our care six native church members. Five
of them had been baptized by our Missionaries at Amoy. The other had
been baptized in Siam, by a Congregationalist or Presbyterian Minister
of the A.B.C.F.M.

Dr. Young, being a physician, and not an ordained Minister, instead of
commencing an independent work, inasmuch as our doctrines and order of
church government did not essentially differ from those of his own
Church, very naturally became more especially associated with us in our
work. A school under the care of our Mission, of which Mr. Doty did not
feel able to continue the charge, was passed over to his care. He also
rendered medical assistance to the Missionaries, and to the Chinese,
both in Amoy, and by occasional tours in the country. In his labors he
was usually assisted by native Christians under our care.

The first ordained Missionary of the English Presbyterian Church, at
Amoy, was Rev. William C. Burns. He joined Dr. Young in July, 1851.
While he rendered considerable assistance to the brethren of the London
Missionary Society, being ready to preach the gospel at every
opportunity, providentially he became especially associated with us, and
with the native Christians under our care. A remarkable outpouring of
the Spirit of God had accompanied the labors of Rev. Mr. Burns, in his
native land. So the remarkable outpouring of that same Spirit in Amoy,
and vicinity, occurred sometime after his arrival, and much of this good
work was manifestly connected with his labors. The permanent work in the
country around Amoy commenced through his instrumentality, in connection
with native members of the church under our care. We desired him to
take the charge of that work, and gather a church at Peh-chui-ia, under
the care of the English Presbyterian Church. But, at his urgent request,
we took the pastoral oversight of the work in that region, administering
the sacraments to the native converts.

Rev. James Johnstone, of the same Mission, arrived in December, 1853. He
undertook the care of the church being gathered at Peh-chui-ia,
assuming, in behalf of the English Presbyterian Church, all the expenses
thereof, we continuing the pastoral oversight until such time as his
knowledge of the language should be sufficient to enable him to relieve

In consequence of the ill-health of Dr. Young, he and Mr. Burns left
Amoy, in August, 1854. Mr. Johnstone, in consequence of ill-health, left
in May, 1855, before he was able to relieve us fully from the pastoral
care of the church at Peh-chui-ia.

Rev. Carstairs Douglas, of the same Mission, arrived at Amoy in July,
1855, and immediately entered on the work of Mr. Johnstone, we
continuing the pastoral oversight of the church at Peh-chui-ia, until
his knowledge of the language enabled him to assume it.

Before the brethren of the English Presbyterian Church were able to
assume pastoral responsibility, the work spread from Peh-chui-ia to
Chioh-be. It was thought best that we take the charge of that station.

After the departure of Dr. Young, all the Missionaries of the English
Presbyterian Church, for several years, were unmarried men. Therefore,
they resolved to devote themselves more especially to work in the
country, leaving to our especial care the church in the city of Amoy,
and the one out-station at Chioh-be. Amoy was still necessarily their
place of residence. All their work at Amoy was in connection with the
church under our care. In the country we assisted them as we had
opportunity, and as occasion demanded. They did the same for us. In
fact, we and they have worked together as one Church, and almost as one
Mission, with the exception of keeping pecuniary matters distinct.

More recently the English Presbyterian Mission was reinforced by one
member with a family, and it seemed a proper time for them to commence
more direct work at Amoy. A very populous suburb (E-mng-kang) was
selected as a suitable and promising station. They assumed the immediate
care, and all the expense of it, employing, as at all the other
stations, indiscriminately, members of their own or of our churches as

We are not afraid that our Church will ever blame us for working thus
harmoniously, and unitedly, with our English Presbyterian brethren, and
we feel confident that none of her Missionaries would consent to work on
any other principles. If there be any who, under similar circumstances,
would refuse thus to work, this would be sufficient evidence that they
had mistaken their calling. If any blame is to be attached to the course
the Missionaries have pursued, it is not that they have worked thus in
harmony and unison with the English Presbyterian brethren, but that they
have failed to keep the churches under their care ecclesiastically
distinct. Some do feel inclined to censure us for this. It must be,
however, because of some great misapprehension on their part. The Synod
has distinctly uttered a contrary sentiment, i.e. that the course of the
Missionaries is not censurable. We do not believe that our Church, when
she understands the true state of the case, will ever censure us on this
account. It would not be according to the spirit of her Master. He
prayed that His people might be one, but he never prayed for their
separation from each other. When separation is necessary, it is a
necessary _evil_. But more of this hereafter. Our Church might well have
censured us, if we had adopted lower principles as her representatives
in building up the Church of Christ in China.

The first organization of a church at Amoy under our care, by the
ordination of a Consistory, took place in 1856. The Missionaries of our
Board then on the ground were Doty and Talmage. Mr. Douglas was the only
Missionary of the English Presbyterian Church. (Mr. Joralmon, of our
Church, arrived between the time of the election and the ordination of
office-bearers.) When the time came for the organization of the Church,
we felt a solemn responsibility resting on us. We supposed it to be our
duty to organize the Church in China with reference simply to its own
welfare, and efficiency in the work of evangelizing the heathen around.
Believing (after due deliberation) that the order of our own Church in
America would best secure this end, of course we adopted it. We did not
suppose that we were sent out to build up the _American_ Dutch Church in
China, but a Church after the same order, a purely Chinese Church. How
much the growth and efficiency of our Church in this country has been
promoted by retaining (rather inserting) the term "_Dutch_" in her name,
I will not now attempt to discuss. I suppose the principal argument in
favor thereof is found in the fact that our Church, in the first
instance, was a colony from Holland. The Church in China is not a colony
from Holland, or America. We must not, therefore, entail on her the
double evil of both the terms "_American_" and "_Dutch_" or the single
evil of either of these terms. Your Missionaries will never consent to
be instrumental in causing such an evil.

We had already adopted the order and customs of our Church at home, so
far as they could be adopted in an unorganized Church. The English
Presbyterian brethren had adopted the same. They found that there were
no differences of any importance between us and them; the churches being
gathered under our care and under theirs--growing out of each other and
being essentially one--neither we nor they could see any sufficient
reason for organizing two distinct denominations. Especially had _we_ no
reason for such a course, inasmuch as they were willing even to conform
to our peculiarities. We most cordially invited Mr. Douglas to unite
with us in the organization of the Church, and he as cordially accepted
of the invitation.

In reference to this subject Mr. Douglas wrote to their Corresponding
Secretary as follows: "I need hardly say that this transaction does not
consist in members of one church joining another, nor in two churches
uniting, but it is an attempt to build up on the soil of China, with the
lively stones prepared by the great Master-builder, an ecclesiastical
body holding the grand doctrines enunciated at Westminster and Dort, and
the principles of Presbyterian polity embraced at the Reformation by the
purest churches on the continent and in Britain; it will also be a
beautiful point in the history of this infant Church that the
under-builders employed in shaping and arranging the stones, were
messengers of two different (though not differing,) churches in the two
great nations on either side of the Atlantic."

The course of Mr. Douglas met with the decided approval of their
Secretary, and, as he had reason then to believe, and has since fully
learned, with the approval of their Church.

We also sent a communication to our Church, addressing it to General
Synod. We directed it to the care of one of our prominent ministers, for
a long time Secretary of the Board, with the request that it be laid
before the Church, using language as follows: "You will, doubtless,
receive this paper some months before the time for the next meeting of
that Body [General Synod]. We would suggest therefore, that the paper be
published, that the members of the next General Synod may have the
matter before them, and be the better prepared to make such disposition
of it as the subject may demand. We feel that the subject is one of very
grave importance," &c.

Our communication was laid before the Board of Foreign Missions. They
designated it a _Memorial_, and decided that they had no right to
publish it. Of course we had no means of publishing it ourselves. It was
laid before Synod among other papers of the Board. The action of Synod
on the subject was as follows (Minutes of Synod, 1857, pp. 225-227):

"Among the papers submitted to the Synod is an elaborate document from
the brethren at Amoy, giving the history of their work there, of its
gradual progress, of their intimate connection with Missionaries from
other bodies, of the formation of the Church now existing there, and
expressing their views as to the propriety and feasibility of forming a
Classis at that station. In reply to so much of this paper as respects
the establishment of individual churches, we must say that while we
appreciate the peculiar circumstances of our brethren, and sympathize
with their perplexities, yet it has always been considered a matter of
course that ministers, receiving their commission through our Church,
and sent forth under the auspices of our Board, would, when they formed
converts from the heathen into an ecclesiastical body, mould the
organization into a form approaching as nearly as possible that of the
Reformed Dutch Churches in our own land. Seeing that the converted
heathen, when associated together, must have some form of government,
and seeing that our form is, in our view, entirely consistent with, if
not required by, the Scriptures, we expect it will in all cases be
adopted by our Missionaries, subject, of course, to such modifications
as the peculiar circumstances may for the time render necessary. The
converts at Amoy, as at Arcot and elsewhere, are to be regarded as 'an
integral part' of our Church, and as such are entitled to all the rights
and privileges which we possess.

"And so in regard to the formation of a Classis. The Church at home will
undoubtedly expect the brethren to associate themselves into a regular
ecclesiastical organization, just as soon as enough materials are
obtained to warrant such measure with the hope that it will be
permanent. We do not desire churches to be prematurely formed in order
to get materials for a Classis, nor any other exercise of violent haste.
But we equally deprecate unnecessary delay, believing that a regular
organization will be alike useful to our brethren themselves, and to
those who, under them, are training for the first office-bearers in the
Christian Church on heathen ground. As to the difficulties suggested in
the memorial, respecting the different Particular Synods to which the
brethren belong, and the delays of carrying out a system of appellate
jurisdiction covering America and China, it is enough to say:--(1) That
the Presbyterian Church (O.S.) finds no insuperable difficulties in
carrying into operation her system which comprehends Presbyteries and
Synods in India as well as here; and (2) That whatever hindrances may at
any time arise, this body will, in humble reliance upon the divine aid
and blessing, undertake to meet and remove them as far as possible. The
Church at home assumes the entire responsibility of this matter, and
only asks the brethren abroad to carry out the policy, held steadily in
view from the first moment when our Missions began.

"The following resolutions are recommended:

"_Resolved_, 1. That the Synod view with great pleasure the formation of
churches among the converts from heathenism, organized according to the
established usages of our branch of Zion.

"2. That the brethren at Amoy be directed to apply to the Particular
Synod of Albany to organize them into a Classis so soon as they shall
have formed churches enough to render the permanency of such an
organization reasonably certain."

It should be noticed that, in the foregoing Report, which was adopted by
Synod, the most important question--the vital question--of our
communication, i.e. the _unity_ of the churches under the care of the
English Presbyterian Missionaries and of us, is entirely ignored; and
consequently, without the fact being stated, we were directed to divide
those churches, and form a part of them into a distinct Denomination.

If the English Presbyterian Church had disapproved of the course of
their Missionaries in uniting with us in organizing the native churches
with our peculiarities, we think even that would have been strange. It
would have appeared to us as though they were sacrificing some of the
essentials of Presbyterianism for the sake of non-essentials, for, in
our organization, they found all that they hold essential in doctrine,
order, and customs. Suppose the position of the two Missions had been
reversed, they had been first on the ground, and when we arrived we
found the Church being planted and beginning to grow up after their
order. If we had found in the Church thus growing up _all_ that we hold
essential and important, even though it had some little peculiarities
which were theirs and not ours, ought not our Church to have permitted
us to work with them, as they have been permitted to work with us? If
such be not the true Christian spirit, than we frankly confess that we
know not, and despair of ever learning from the Word of God, what the
Christian spirit is on such a subject. But whether such disapproval on
the part of the English Presbyterian Church would have been strange or
not, it would not have been so strange as was the decision of our
Church, that the churches organized by the English Presbyterian brethren
and by us--all one in fact, growing out of each other, and all adopting
our order, should not be organically one. Hence, when we learned from
our Board the decision of Synod, we felt (correctly or incorrectly) that
there must be some misapprehension. Surely our Church cannot have
correct views of our position, and our course of proceeding. Hence, we
returned answer to the Board as follows:--(Letter dated December 23,

After speaking of our hearty approval of the course of our Church in
separating from the A.B.C.F.M., though as individuals we took our leave
of that Board with feelings of sadness, we remarked:

"It seems proper to us also, on the present occasion, to allude to a
subject deeply affecting the interests of the little Church which God
has graciously gathered by our instrumentality from among this people.
This Church is now small, but we trust that, with a continuance of the
Divine blessing, the 'little one' will soon 'become a thousand,' and the
'small one a strong nation.' 'The Lord will hasten it in his time.' We
love this Church, and cannot but watch over her interests with jealous
care. Besides this, the Great Shepherd has made us under-shepherds, and
commanded us to watch over the interests of this flock. We gave a brief
history of our work, and an account of the present condition and
peculiar circumstances of the churches here under our care, and stated
at considerable length our views in reference to the future
ecclesiastical relations of these churches, in a paper prepared for the
information of our Church at home, and addressed to General Synod. The
facts thus communicated ought to be known by the Church. It seems to us
very unfortunate that that paper was not published according to our
suggestion. It stated facts of grave importance. If we could have had a
representative in General Synod, the previous publication of our paper
might have been unnecessary. But, without such a representative, it was
hardly possible that the subject, by a single reading of so long a
document, could be brought before the minds of all the members of Synod
with sufficient clearness.... Therefore it is not strange that some of
the important points in the paper should have been entirely overlooked,
and also that certain grave misconceptions should have got abroad in the
Church concerning the views expressed by us.

"So far as we can judge from the report of the proceedings of Synod, as
given in The Christian Intelligencer, one of the most important
considerations--perhaps altogether the most important mentioned--why the
Church, gathered by us here, should not be an _integral part_ of the
Church in America, was entirely overlooked. That consideration relates
to the _unity of Christ's Church_. Our Saviour prays: 'Holy Father, keep
through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be
one as we are one.' 'That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me,
and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe
that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given
them, that they may be one, even as we are one.' Will our Church require of
us, will she _desire_ that those here who are altogether _one_--one in
doctrine, one in their views of Church order, and one in mutual love--be
violently separated into two Denominations? We cannot believe it.
Suppose the case of two Churches originally distinct. By coming into
close contact, and becoming better acquainted with each other, they find
that they hold to the same doctrinal standards, and they explain them in
the same manner; they have the same form of Church government, and their
officers are chosen, and set apart in the same way; they have the same
order of worship, and of administering the sacraments; all their
customs, civil, social, and religious, are precisely alike, and they
love each other dearly; should not such churches unite and form but one
Denomination? Yet, such a supposition does not, and cannot, even after
you allow all the likeness and unity between the two churches it is
possible to conceive of, represent the circumstances of the churches
gathered by us, and by our Scotch brethren of the English Presbyterian
Church. Our [theirs and ours] Churches originally were one, and still
are one; and the question is not whether those churches shall be united,
but, shall they be separated? Possibly (not probably) the question will
be asked, why were these churches allowed originally to become one? We
answer, _God made them so_, and that without any plan or forethought on
our part, and now we thank him for his blessing that he has made them
one, and that he has blessed them because they are one.

"That misconceptions have got abroad in our Church concerning our
views, we have abundant evidence from various private letters. They were
written with the most kindly feelings towards us, but evidently under
the impression that we find difficulty in organizing our churches
according to the order of the Dutch Church. We have never found any
difficulty of this kind. It is true that when we were called to the
solemn duty of _commencing_ a church organization in an empire
containing one-third of the inhabitants of the globe, we gave the
subject of church polity a more careful investigation than we had ever
before given it. The result of this investigation was a cordial (and, as
we think, intelligent) approval of the order and forms of our own
Church. We have commenced our organization according to the order of the
Dutch Church, and we expect to proceed, as fast as the providence and
grace of God lead the way, after the same order; and we use the forms of
our own Church. Our Presbyterian brethren unite with us in these things.

"But it is not strange that such misconceptions should be spread in the
Church. They are the necessary result of publishing certain remarks made
in Synod concerning our paper, without publishing the paper itself.

"In the Report of the Synod, Synod's Board, Board of Foreign Missions,
it is said: 'It would have been well if the memorial had been placed, in
a printed form, in the hands of the ministry. This they [the
Missionaries] suggested, but the Board felt it was purely a Synodical
matter--that they could not act in the case.' With all due respect, and
with the kindest feelings, we desire to make three remarks on this
subject. _First._ We do not understand the principle on which the Board
felt called upon to decide whether our letter should be published or
not. It was not addressed to the Board, nor sent to the care of the
Board. The opinion of members of the Board as _individuals_ might have
been asked, but we suppose that the Board in their official capacity
had nothing to do with the paper. _Secondly._ Inasmuch as the paper
emanated from us, if 'it would have been well' to have had it published,
our suggestion was a sufficient warrant for its publication. The
responsibility would have been ours. It had not yet become a Synodical
matter. Afterwards it would have been a legitimate question for the
Synod to decide whether they would entertain a paper coming before them
in such a manner. This question might well have been left to General
Synod. _Thirdly._ A short time previous to the writing of that paper,
unless our memory is greatly at fault, a communication was received from
the Arcot Mission (or Classis of Arcot), addressed to General Synod,
which was thus published, according to the request of the Arcot
brethren, and without the authority of Synod.

"Our position is a somewhat painful one. We desire to give offense to no
one, and we do not wish to appear before the Church as disputants. We
have no controversy with any. We have neither the time nor inclination
for controversy. We are 'doing a great work' and cannot 'come down.'
Yet, our duty to these Churches here, and to the Church at home, and to
our Master, demands of us imperatively, that we state fully and frankly
our views. We have the utmost confidence in our Church. We have proved
this by endeavoring to get our views fully known. And we feel grateful
for the spirit of kindness towards us manifested in the action of Synod,
and also in the letters received from fathers and brethren in the
ministry, notwithstanding their misconception of our views. But, we have
also learned, how easily our views may be mistaken. In our paper,
addressed to General Synod, when discussing the difficulties in the way
of the Synod's jurisdiction over churches so far removed in time,
distance, and circumstances, we remarked:--'Will written correspondence
supply the place of representation? It would place our Classis under
great disadvantages. There must usually be a delay of one or two years
on every subject on which there is need of a decision by either Synod.
If anything is not understood, or is misunderstood, in our
communications, there will be no one to explain for us. Difficulties of
this kind, from want of knowledge of the civil and social circumstances
of this people may frequently occur. Could we have representatives from
among us, they could usually be easily explained; but without this
representation, they can only be explained by a long correspondence,
which may cause years of delay.' The whole of this misunderstanding,
which has arisen out of our first communication, and the length of time
and the amount of correspondence which may yet be necessary, before we
can see 'eye to eye,' give a striking illustration of the force of these

So far as the preamble and resolutions of the Synod of 1857 embody the
doctrines, and what we supposed to be the policy of our Church, we
heartily agreed with them. Of course we were pained to see that they
implied, that, in organizing a Church at Amoy, we had not proceeded
according to the order of our Church, or had found great difficulty in
doing so. This was altogether a mistake, and was already producing evil
results. We think there is another mistake in the preamble. It seems
small, but because of this fact, and of its plausibility, it has done
more, perhaps, than anything else in leading our Church into the false
position which she seems now to occupy. Therefore, we should examine it
with some care. It is the assumption, as a matter of course, that, "the
converts at Amoy" are "an _integral part_ of our Church," in this
country. What made them so? Is it because they were converted through
the instrumentality of the preaching of our Missionaries? This is a new
doctrine, that a convert as a matter of course belongs to the Church of
the preacher through whose instrumentality he has been led unto Christ.
Perhaps it was the doctrine of some of the Corinthians, when they said,
"I am of Paul, and I of Apollos," &c., but it was not the doctrine of
the Apostle who reproved them. Besides this, how shall we know which of
them were converted through our instrumentality? The English
Presbyterian brethren and ourselves have preached indiscriminately. Is
it because they were baptized by our Missionaries? But many of them were
baptized by the English Presbyterian brethren. They have baptized in our
churches, and we in theirs. If they be an _integral part_ of the Dutch
Church in America, they are also an integral part of the Presbyterian
Church in England. We, it is true, baptized a majority, say two-thirds.
Are they, then, two-thirds of an integral part in America, and one-third
of an integral part in England? No. The whole is a fallacy. Each
individual Church there is an integral part of the whole of them. All
together, they form an _integer_. They might by the act of our Church,
and _a correlative act on their own part_, become an integral part of
the Church in America? In a similar way they might become an integral
part of the Church in England. They are now an _integer_ of themselves.
To make one portion of them an integral part of the Church in this
country, and another portion an integral part of the Church in England,
is to be guilty of causing _a violent rupture_.

We felt that the consequences were so momentous, that, before we should
allow ourselves to be instrumental in thus (as we supposed) rending the
"Body of Christ" at Amoy, we should make another effort to get the facts
before the Church. As yet, we could not, if we would, carry out the
resolution of Synod, and organize a Classis in connection with the
Particular Synod of Albany, for, it was not till several years after,
only very recently, that we had materials "enough to render the
permanency of such an organization reasonably certain." Therefore we
wrote, as above, under date of December 23, 1857, and frequently wrote
on the subject, as occasion offered.

Although our views were not made public (the Board judging that they had
no right, or that it would not be for the good of the Church, and the
interests of the Mission, to publish them), still we continued to
prosecute our labors, in connection with the English Presbyterian
brethren, receiving and giving mutual assistance. We were encouraged
thus to continue our work: 1. Because of letters we received from home,
some of them written by individuals who were able advocates of the
decision of the Synod of 1857. They told us that it could not be
otherwise than that a separation must come between us and the brethren
of the English Presbyterian Church, but they would not have us
inaugurate that separation. 2. (and more important) Because a marvelous
blessing from on high was attending our labors. 3. (and most important)
Because we knew this harmonious and mutual assistance to be entirely in
accordance with the spirit of the Gospel.

In process of time a Church was organized at Chioh-be by the appointment
of elders and deacons, then at Peh-chui-ia, then at Mapeng, and then the
Church at Amoy was divided into two distinct organizations. Thus we had
five organized churches, all of our order--the elders and deacons chosen
and set apart according to our Forms, and all our Forms in use so far as
there was yet occasion for them. Two of these churches were under the
especial care of the English Presbyterians, and pecuniarily the work
was sustained by funds collected in England and Scotland. The other
three were under our especial care. The pecuniary expenses, beyond what
the native churches could themselves raise, were borne by our Church at

One of the essential principles of our Church polity is, that individual
Churches are not independent of each other. They are members one of
another. They are to be subject to each other. They are individual parts
of a whole. Each part should be subject to the whole. Hence the
necessity of higher judicatories. Thus we felt that these five churches
had a right to an ecclesiastical organization, by which they might enjoy
this essential principle of Presbyterianism. [I trust we shall hear no
more of the charge that the Missionaries at Amoy are Congregationalists.]
But we were afraid to give this organization to the native churches, lest
we should give offense at home. We knew that we were misunderstood, and as
yet could see no way to make the Church acquainted with our position and
our views. If the Master should plainly call us to go forward, of course
we must obey, and leave the results with Him.

These churches, having grown out of each other, were essentially one,
and were as closely united together as it was possible for them to be,
without a formal organization. The first formal meeting of all these
churches was held at Chioh-be (a church under _our_ care), in 1861. No
ecclesiastical power was assumed. The next similar meeting was held in
April, 1862, in the churches at Amoy. This was still more formal. It was
composed of all the Missionaries of our own and of the English
Presbyterian Church, and of one representative Elder from each of the
five organized churches. This body may be called an incipient Classis.
The only ecclesiastical power exercised, however, was connected with
church discipline. Heretofore each individual Church, in connection with
the Missionaries, had exercised the power of discipline, even to
excommunication. Now certain cases of excommunication were referred by
individual Consistories to, and acted on by, this body. Is it necessary
to defend such acts? We felt that if each individual church could
exercise such power, and the principles of our Presbyterianism be
scriptural, then could a body, composed of the representatives of these
churches, together with the Missionaries, with safety exercise such
power. It was approaching as nearly as possible to the practice of our
Church at home. We expected soon to be called to the performance of
ecclesiastical acts more momentous. Already had two of the churches
chosen two of the native members, who were now engaged in careful study,
that in due time they might be set apart to the office of the Ministry
of the Word, and ordained pastors of the churches respectively choosing
them. But for reasons given above we would not go forward faster than we
were plainly led by the hand of Providence. Therefore, while the
Missionaries, in presence of this assembly, examined these
pastors-elect, in reference to their qualifications for the office of
Pastor, the body, as such, took no part in the examination.

This incipient Classis met next in the autumn of the same year at
Peh-chui-ia, a church under the care of the English Presbyterian
brethren. At this meeting it became a real Classis, not fully developed
as a Classis in a mature Church, but possessing the constituent elements
and performing the functions of a Classis. Not only were there cases of
discipline to act on, but a distinct application was made by one of the
churches, that a pastor be ordained, and placed over them. The body
decided, not only that they had the right, but that the plain call of
the Great Head of the Church made it their duty to go forward in this
matter. Preliminary steps were taken, other meetings of Classis were
appointed and held, candidates were examined, calls presented and
approved, until early in the present year the First and Second Churches
at Amoy had each a native pastor ordained and installed over them. By
the authority of this Classis, in the early part of this year, a third
church was organized at Amoy according to our order. It is in the suburb
called E-mng-kang, and is under the especial care of the English
Presbyterian brethren, as mentioned in a previous part of this paper. So
now there are six organized churches, all of the same order, and some
others almost ready to be organized. If the Missionaries at Amoy have
been guilty of any great mistake, it has been in this matter of forming
such a Classis, and proceeding to the ordination and installation of
native pastors, and the organization of new churches. Therefore, this
subject demands a careful examination.

When we commenced the work among the heathen, it was found that the
Constitution of our Church had made no provision for such work beyond
the simple ordaining of men as Missionaries. We might preach the gospel,
but no provision was made for receiving into church fellowship,
administering the sacraments, electing and ordaining office-bearers,
and all the incipient steps of the organization of the Church from among
the heathen. The Constitution was made for the government of a Church
already organized and matured, and in America; therefore, it is not
strange that such things were not provided for. Our duty seemed very
plain. We must fall back on the great principles of church government
taught in the Word of God. We believed these principles to be set forth
in the Constitution, and other standards of our Church.

When, through the instrumentality of the preached Word, men gave
satisfactory evidence that they had experienced "the renewing of the
Holy Ghost," without the advice of Consistories, by virtue of our office
of Ministers of the Word, we administered to them the sacrament of
baptism, thus admitting them into the church. Now the Lord's Supper must
be administered to these believers, baptism to their infant children,
and to new converts, and the discipline of God's house maintained. By
virtue of that same office, and by virtue of the authority given by the
Master to his Church, we felt that we had the right, aye, that it was
our bounden duty, to perform such acts. We could not yet for a long time
set apart a proper Consistory, but we must not therefore be "lords over
God's heritage." In receiving new members, and in all acts of
discipline, we must advise with the church already gathered.

The church grew, and in due time a Consistory was called for; must the
work stop, because the Constitution had made no provision? No. The
little church had the right to choose men, and having chosen suitable
men, it was our duty to ordain them. The authority we thus exercised was
not usurped, but was implied in the commission we received from our
Master through the Church. The same may be said of the authority of the
brethren at Amoy, when, in connection with the representative elders of
the various churches, they proceeded to the ordination of native
pastors, and the organization of new churches. It was not necessary for
the performance of every act to get a new commission from the Church.
When the Church sent us out, the one commission contained all the
authority necessary for the complete organization of the church. It is
an absurdity to deny, on _constitutional grounds_, the right of the
Missionaries to perform these last acts unless you deny their right to
perform all their other acts except the simple preaching of the Gospel.
Their acts were all _extra_, not _contra_ constitutional. If their
authority thus to act be justified in reference to the former acts, and
denied in reference to the latter, the justification and denial must be
on other grounds than the Constitution of our Church.

Will any one assert that the Classis thus formed at Amoy is not a
Classis _de facto_? or that the native pastors ordained and installed by
that body are not _scripturally_ set apart to their offices, and that
its other acts are null and void? If so, then, as yet, there are no
organized churches--no Consistories--at Amoy, and there have been no
scriptural baptisms, for all ecclesiastical acts performed there, have
been performed on the same principles, and by the same authority. No one
will have the hardihood to assert such a doctrine. It will be admitted
that there is a Classis _de facto_ at Amoy. Then it is competent to
perform all the functions of a Classis. But it will not be contended
that that Classis is a part of the Dutch Church in America. Yet it is
essentially like a Classis in America, just so far as the present state
of development of the Church at Amoy, and its Chinese character, render
likeness possible. It is _Chinese_, not _American_. The organization of
such a Church is what we always supposed required of us. We never
imagined that we were sent to organize the _American_ Dutch Church in
China. If your Missionaries are allowed to proceed, and are not required
to repel the English Presbyterian brethren from their united labors with
us, there will be but one Church at Amoy of the Presbyterian order. With
the continued blessing of God on such harmonious labor, it will be _the
Church_ of that region. It will be dear to both the Presbyterian Church
in England, and to our Church in this land, and peculiarly dear to our
Church in this country, because of its Dutch characteristics. Your
Missionaries will still be your agents, responsible to the Church at
home, as they have always been. The near relation to the Church in this
land, which they have always held, they desire to retain. The late
action of Synod contemplates the _formation of two denominations at Amoy
of the Presbyterian order, giving our peculiarities to one-half instead
of to the whole, thus producing rivalries, injuring the efficiency of
the native churches, and making the relation of the Missionaries to the
Church at home more distant, thus weakening your hold on them_, and all,
as we think, without any remunerating advantages. But before we proceed
to the discussion of this subject, a few other preliminaries demand some

The English Presbyterians, as they are accustomed to speak of all the
Classes of our Church in America, call this Classis at Amoy "_a
Presbytery_." Hence the question has been put to us with all sincerity
and gravity, "Is it a _Classis_, or is it a _Presbytery_?" Some seem to
be afraid that the Church we are forming will be half Dutch and half
Presbyterian, and that it will soon be swallowed up by the
Presbyterians! Are there any ministers, or elders, or intelligent
members of the Dutch Church, who have yet to learn that a Classis is a
Presbytery, and that the Dutch Church is a Presbyterian Church? Surely
not. Why, then, such questions and suggestions? Can they be designed to
prejudice the Church at home against the ecclesiastical body which has
grown up at Amoy? We will not impute such a motive, and, therefore, I
merely say that we are surprised at all such remarks. It is proper for
the English Presbyterian brethren to speak of the _Presbytery_ at Amoy.
They never speak of it as an _English_ Presbytery. They do not regard it
as a part of the Church in England, but as a purely Chinese Church. They
have liberality enough to assist in building up such a Church, even
though it has some things peculiar to us, for it has all the essentials
of their own order. Will it not seem to them that our Church is
deficient in liberality, when they learn the decision of the last Synod?

In connection with this subject, it is proper to speak more particularly
of the liberality of the English Presbyterian Church. When it is
remembered that that Church is really a branch of the Free Church of
Scotland, it will not be supposed that their liberality is the result of
indifference to anything which they regard essential or important.
Seldom has our world witnessed such sacrifice for the sake of principle
as was exhibited by that Church, when she came out from the
Establishment. Their liberality is a beautiful illustration of the
Christian spirit. The course of their Missionaries at the first
organization of a church at Amoy, and the approval thereof, have been
already alluded to. In consequence of the recent formation of a Classis,
the subject naturally came up again this year. It was laid before their
Synod, which met a few weeks previous to ours. In the report of their
Foreign Committee, which corresponds to our Board of Foreign Missions,
the following language is used in reference to the Church at Amoy:

"As all the elements of Presbyterian organization thus existed [each
church having native elders], a further step was taken last April
[1862], when a Presbytery was constituted at Amoy by mutual consent,
consisting of all the American brethren and our own, as well as
representative elders from the several congregations. Its name is
neither the Greek 'Presbytery' employed in this country, nor is it the
Latin 'Classis,' which has long been used in Holland; but it is 'Tai
Tiong-lo-hoey,' or Great Meeting of Elders, genuine Chinese, and a
hopeful earnest of the facility with which our representative and
consultative system of polity will find its way among a sensible and
self-governing people. Of course it is not intended that this Presbytery
should in any way come between the Missionaries themselves and the
Committee or Board by which the respective Missions are administered at
home; but for the management of local matters, for disposing of
questions which may arise in the several congregations, and in regard to
which a session may require counsel or control; and for the very
important purpose of exemplifying in the most legitimate way
ecclesiastical unity, it is essential that Missionaries and native
office-bearers should come together in some such capacity. The
proceedings are conducted in Chinese, which is the only language
understood by all the members of Court, and it is in Chinese that the
minutes are kept. Three meetings have already been held. At the last,
held in January, important business was transacted affecting the 1st and
2d Congregations of Amoy, both of which are under the immediate
superintendence of the American Mission. Each congregation is desirous
of the settlement of a stated pastor, and each has agreed to call a
minister, the one congregation promising a stipend of $14 a month, and
the other $13. The calls were sustained, and the Presbytery agreed to
meet on February 21st, to proceed with the 'trials' of the brethren thus
elected. As these proved satisfactory, Sabbath, the 29th of last month,
was appointed as the day for their ordination.

"Dr. Peltz, the esteemed Corresponding Secretary of the Board of Foreign
Missions of the R.P.D.C. of N.A., has apprised the Committee, that it is
possible that a Presbytery of this composite character may not secure
the approval of their Synod. In separating from the A.B.C.F.M., and in
setting up a separate and ecclesiastically organized mission, that
Synod was anxious to introduce into its different Mission fields a
system of Church government which it believed to be scriptural, and
adapted to all lands. Consequently, in these Mission fields it sought to
form Classes or Presbyteries which should be connected with Provincial
and General Synods in the same way as are the Classes on the American
continent. And Dr. Peltz is apprehensive lest the General Synod in
America should regard as a deviation from this plan the amalgamation in
one Presbytery of their own agents with those of another Church.

"We are hopeful, however, that on further consideration, our brethren in
America may allow their Missionaries in China to continue the present
arrangement, at least until such time as it is found that actual
difficulties arise in the way of carrying it out. 'Behold how good and
how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity;' and there
are few brethren towards whom we feel closer affinity than the members
of that Church, which was represented of old by Gomarus and Witsius, by
Voet and Marck, and Bernard de Moore, and whose Synod of Dort preceded
in time, and pioneered in doctrine, our own Westminster Assembly. Like
them, we love that Presbyterianism and that Calvinism which we hold in
common, and we wish to carry them wherever we go; but we fear that it
would not be doing justice to either, and that it might compromise that
name which is above every other, if, on the shores of China, we were to
unfurl a separate standard. We would, therefore, not only respectfully
recommend to the Synod to allow its Missionaries to unite,
Presbyterially as well as practically, with the brethren of the R.D.C.;
but we would express the earnest hope that the Synod of the sister
Church in America may find itself at liberty to extend to its
Missionaries a similar freedom."

These sentiments were _unanimously_ adopted by the Synod of the English
Presbyterian Church.

It seems perfectly reasonable that two Churches of Christ so nearly
alike, in attempting to plant the Church of Christ in the same place in
a heathen land, should strive, if possible, to form their converts into
one organization. The existence of different Denominations in the same
place in any Christian land, at the best, is only a necessary evil. God
may bring some good out of this evil, but this is not a sufficient
reason why we should create such divisions, for their own sake. Hence,
the liberality of the English Presbyterian Church is so manifestly in
accordance with the Christian spirit, that it might have attracted no
especial notice from us. But the proceedings of our own Synod, by
contrast, as it seems to us, have forced it out in bold relief. _They_
were willing to support their Missionaries in laboring with ours, and
building up a Chinese Church, not differing essentially from theirs, but
with some characteristics peculiar to ours. _We_, though the Church thus
organized has not only all the essentials but all the peculiarities of
our own Church, still refuse such Christian co-operation, preferring to
rend asunder the Church already formed, and organize a part of it a
distinct Denomination, connected with the Church in America. I cannot
yet believe that such is the sentiment of our Church. There must be some
great misapprehension. But such is really the decision of the last
Synod. Here is the language of the Committee which was adopted by the
General Synod:

"Your Committee do not see any propriety in re-enacting the law of 1857
already quoted, because it has never been repealed, and remains
therefore in full force and virtue. Nor, if the reasoning in this report
be correct, would they have the law repealed, believing as they do,
that the maintenance of the principle contained in it is essential to
the success of our Missionary operations in foreign parts, and to the
wholesome liberality of the Church at home.

"The Committee are not prepared, however, to recommend that any violent
or coercive resolutions should be adopted for the purpose of
constraining our brethren in Amoy to a course of procedure which would
rudely sever the brotherly ties that unite them with the Missionaries of
the English Presbyterian Church. But a Christian discretion will enable
them, on the receipt of the decision of the present Synod in this
matter, now under consideration, to take such initial steps as are
necessary to the speedy formation of a classis. Much must be left to
their discretion, prudence, and judgment. But of the wish and
expectation of this Synod to have their action conform, as soon as may
be, to the resolutions of 1857, your Committee think the brethren at
Amoy should be distinctly informed. They therefore offer the following:

"1. _Resolved_, that the General Synod, having adopted and tested its
plan of conducting Foreign Missions, can see no reason for abolishing
it, but, on the contrary, believe it to be adapted to the promotion of
the best interests of the Foreign Missionary Churches, and of the
denomination supporting them.

"2. That the Board of Foreign Missions be, and hereby is, instructed to
send to our Missionaries a copy or copies of this report, as containing
the well-considered deliverance of the Synod respecting their present
relations and future duty.

"3. That the Secretary of the Foreign Board be, and hereby is, directed
to send to the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of London, Convener of the
Presbyterian Committee, a copy of this Report, with a copy of the action
of 1857, and that he inform him by letter of the wishes and expectations
of the Synod respecting the ecclesiastical relations which this body
desires its churches in Amoy to sustain to it."

The above is only an extract from the close of the Report of the
Committee, and contains the result at which they arrived. In reference
to it we would make three remarks. (1). It (Res. 3) seems rather a
cavalier answer to the fraternal wish of the Synod of the English
Presbyterian Church, as expressed in their action. (2.) The action of
Synod is made to rest (Res. 1) on the fact that Synod had "tested" this
"plan of conducting Foreign Missions." If this be so, and the plan had
been found by experiment unobjectionable, the argument is not without
force. But how and where has this test been applied, and found so
satisfactory? Our Church has three Missions among the heathen: one in
India, one in China, and one in Japan. Has it been tested in Japan? No.
They have not yet a single _native_ Church. Has it been tested in China?
If so, the Missionaries were not aware of it. The test applied there has
been of an opposite character, and has been wonderfully successful. The
test has only been applied in India, and has only _begun_ to be applied
even there. There, as yet, there is but one native pastor. Their Classis
is more American than Indian. We must wait until they have a native
Classis, before the test can be pronounced at all satisfactory. True,
that Mission has been very successful since they formed what is called a
Classis in connection with the Synod in America. But has it been more
successful than the Mission at Amoy? Compare the amount of labor and the
money expended on the two Missions, and then look at the results, and
thus decide about the tests. It is in no spirit of vainglory that we
call for such a comparison. Studiously have we avoided it, and the
responsibility must rest on those who compel us to it. (3.) No
consideration is had for the feelings, wishes, or opinions of the native
Churches. Some consideration is shown for the feelings of the English
Presbyterian Missionaries. This is as it ought to be. Yet it is a matter
of _comparatively_ little importance. _The inalienable rights of the
native churches, their relation to each other, their absolute
unity--things of the utmost consequence_--are not at all regarded, are
entirely ignored!

It would have occupied too much space to have quoted the whole of the
Report of the Committee. The preceding part of it occupies nearly six
pages of the Minutes of Synod. Yet we may not pass that part over in
silence, for, while with much of its contents we have no dispute, it
contains some grave mistakes of fact, and, as we think, some very grave
errors of doctrine. It grieves me to say thus much, and also to feel
compelled to add the following strictures. But, in order to discuss this
subject, duty required the careful examination of the whole of the
Report, and, finding in it such errors, the clear statement of them. It
might be easy, perhaps, to account for the fact, that mistakes, in a
report, unprinted, and of such length, should escape the notice of
Synod, but an attempt to apologize for that body might give occasion to
infer more disrespect than simply to point out the mistakes.

After some introductory remarks, chiefly concerning the difficulty of
their task, the Committee "begin with the assertion of principles."
These they make three in number. The sum of the first principle is that
_a Church, by divine arrangement, has government_. The essential idea of
their second principle, so far as we can understand it, is, that _the
Dutch Church has a clearly defined government_. The Missionaries at
Amoy, as well as the ministers in this country, admit both these
principles fully. But they do not affect the question in dispute. Not so
with the third principle of the Committee. Lest I might be supposed to
misrepresent, I will quote their own language: "No government can,
voluntarily, relinquish its powers, and abnegate its authority without
thereby inviting disorder, disquietude, and, in the end, its
destruction." Is this, indeed, as the Committee assert, one of the
"admitted principles" of our Church? one of the "convictions in the mind
of our Church, hardly separable in idea from its very existence?" one of
the "old truths maintained through blood and flame?" If the doctrine be
true, the Church in Holland had no right to relinquish its authority
over the Church in America. If this doctrine be a "principle" of our
Church, never, _never_ could your Missionaries consent to be
instrumental in bringing the Church in China, which now has liberty in
Christ Jesus, into such _perpetual_ bondage. Once bring the Chinese
churches under the authority of the Church in America, and it matters
not how great may be their growth, and how many centuries may pass away,
the Church in America can never relinquish her authority over them! But
this is not an "admitted principle" of our Church. The Dutch Church is
_protestant_, not _papal_. Instead of the principle being one of the
"_old truths_ maintained through blood and flame" by her, it is an _old
error of the Papacy_, for rejecting which she poured out her blood so
freely, and would do the same to-day. Yet in the Report of the Committee
this error of Romanism, guilty of the blood of thousands upon thousands
of the saints of the Most High, is made to lie at the basis of the
action of the last Synod!

The Committee next proceed to the statement of "certain historic facts."
As with the "admitted principles," so with the "historic facts." With
some of them we have no dispute. But when they come to describe the
present condition and relations of the churches at Amoy, their language,
to say the least, is very unfortunate. "These six Churches," say they,
"have grown up together under such an interchange and community of labor
on the part of our own Missionaries, and on the part of those belonging
to the English Presbyterian Church, that all are said to have a two-fold
ecclesiastical relation--one with England--one with America, and still a
third, and economical and domestic relation among themselves, which is
covered and controlled by what is styled 'The Great Presbyterial or
Classical Council of Amoy.'"

We do not know by whom these native Churches "are said" to have a
two-fold or three-fold _ecclesiastical_ relation. It is not so said by
the Missionaries. They contend that the native churches are neither
English, nor American, but _Chinese_ churches. They are ecclesiastically
related to each other, and ought to remain so. But the effort is now
made to sever this ecclesiastical relation to each other, and bring half
of them into ecclesiastical relationship with the Church in America,
making them the Protestant Reformed Dutch Church of _North America, in
China_! At present the native churches have an intimate, but not an
_ecclesiastical_, relation to both the Church in England and America.

From the above mistaken statement the Committee have drawn out three
"_particulars_" which they seem to think especially worthy of note.

"1st. That while this Chinese Presbyterial or Classical Council is
itself an autonomy--having the right to ordain ministers, exercise
discipline, and do whatever else a 'self-regulating Classis' or
Presbytery can or may do, still the whole in England is claimed to be
the Presbytery of Amoy, and to this Synod it is reported as the Classis
of Amoy."

How dreadful! English Presbyterians call the body at Amoy a
_Presbytery_, and American Dutchmen call it a _Classis_! If this
language is also meant to imply that the Classis at Amoy is usurping
authority, it is answered in other parts of this paper.

The next "particular" of the Committee is:

"2d. The Missionaries, while they are members of this Grand Presbyterial
or Classical Council, exercising full ministerial functions in it, are,
at the same time, members either of Classes in America, or of
Presbyteries in Great Britain."

The meaning of this second "particular" is, that the Missionaries have a
two-fold ecclesiastical relation. Is there anything contrary to
Scripture doctrine, or to Presbyterian principles, or to common sense,
that ecclesiastical relations should correspond to fact?--that the
Missionaries should have some sort of an ecclesiastical relation, both
to the Church at home and to the Church in China? They have a peculiar
relationship to both these Churches. Why forget or ignore the fact that
they are _Evangelists_ and _not Pastors_? Why object to an
ecclesiastical relationship exactly corresponding to, and required by,
their office and position? The two parts of this relationship do not
contradict each other. They are altogether correlative. The Missionaries
are still agents of the Church which sent them out. Their ecclesiastical
relation to it should be direct, that they may be controlled by it,
independent of any intermediate body. The Church at home cannot afford
to cut off her Missionaries from this immediate relationship so long as
they remain her agents. This does not conflict with, but requires some
sort of a corresponding relationship to the Churches planted and growing
up through their instrumentality. Their relationship to those Churches
must have reference especially to local matters, for the proper
organization, and control, and development of the native churches, not
at all to be controlled by them. When they cease to be agents of the
Church at home, and become the proper _pastors_ of the native churches,
then will be the proper time to put themselves under the control of the
native churches, instead of the Church at home. We must not confound
_evangelization_ with _colonization_. Does any one imagine that Paul and
Barnabas, and Timothy and Titus, or any of them (for they were not all
apostles), had connection with the Church which sent them out, _only_
through the churches and ecclesiastical bodies organized by them? or
that they were in any sense under the control of those bodies?

The next and last "particular" of the Committee is "3d. That while the
Churches, three at least, are organized under and according to the
Constitution of our Church, it is, nevertheless, claimed that the
members of said Churches are not more members of the Reformed Dutch
Church here, than they are members of the Presbyterian Church of

The words of this third "particular" are almost (not quite) accurate.
Yet they appear to us like special pleading. They would have been
strictly correct if they had run as follows: "These Churches are _all_
(why say, '_three at least_'?) organized according to (not
'_under_'--see pages 28-30) the Constitution of our Church. Therefore it
is claimed that they form a Church of our order in China, but that the
members thereof are neither members of the Reformed Dutch Church here,
nor members of the Presbyterian Church in England." Such are the facts.
It would have been better if the Committee had so stated them. The
effort is now made to divide these churches, and make three of them a
part of the Dutch Church in America.

There is one more paragraph in the report of the Committee which demands
notice. It is:

"Your Committee can easily understand how reluctantly our Missionaries
may have been, or may still be, to disturb, or alter, or modify the
relations of the Churches at Amoy. But they conceive it to be their duty
to say that feeling should never be allowed to take the place of
conscience, nor to discharge its functions; and so long as our
Missionaries claim to be subordinate to the authority of General Synod,
they should allow this body to assume the responsibility of its chosen
and deliberate policy."

It seems to us the Committee are not much more fortunate on the subject
of casuistry, than on Church "government" and "historic facts." The
Missionaries do "claim to be subordinate to the authority of General
Synod," but they also claim to be subordinate to the _Supreme
authority_. Now suppose--we shall not be charged with insubordination
for the mere supposition--suppose the Synod, through some
misapprehension, should direct us to pursue a course, which, after the
most mature reflection, we felt to be injurious to the cause of Christ,
and consequently contrary to His will--will the fact of the Synod
"assuming the responsibility" clear our skirts? Who is the Lord of
conscience? General Synod? It seems to us, while the Committee conceive
it to be their duty to deliver to the Missionaries at Amoy a lecture on
the importance of giving heed to conscience, in the very same sentence
they direct us to hold conscience in abeyance. But where did the
Committee learn that their Missionaries were influenced by _feelings_
and not by _conscience_, and that too in reference to the laying of the
foundation of the Church of Christ in such an empire as that of China;
that they felt called upon in this solemn manner to deliver such a
lecture? Would such a reflection have been cast on any other body of
ministers in our Church? or is it supposed that men who give themselves
to the work of preaching the gospel in heathen lands are less under the
influence of conscience than those who remain at home? _They conceived
it to be their duty!_ Was it?

So much for the Report of the Committee of Synod. The decision of Synod
has been given, as stated above. The important question now is, what
will be the result of this decision on the Church at Amoy? This
question, however, cannot yet be answered with certainty, for we cannot
yet even guess what course the Missionaries there, when they learn the
decision of Synod, will feel it their duty to pursue. There may be more,
but I can now only think of three ways open before them. (1.) _To ask
the Board to recall them._ They firmly believe that their course of
proceeding, in organizing the Church at Amoy, is not only in accordance
with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, but also with the principles
of our Church. To be the instruments, then, of dividing the Church,
which God has gathered by their hands, may be to sin against their
consciences. They may therefore ask the Board to appoint other agents to
carry out the decision of Synod. This would not be insubordination, but
perfect subordination both to the authority of Synod and also to that
authority which all Protestant Christians acknowledge to be _supreme_.
This, I suppose, would be the most natural course for the brethren to
take, except for one consideration; that is, their love for the Churches
gathered by them, or under their care, and their responsibility in
reference to the spiritual welfare of those disciples of the Lord. It
would be the severest trial they have ever been called on to endure to
be recalled from their work. Therefore (2.) _They may delay their
action_, making one more effort to get their views published, hoping
that the Church will yet change her decision, and not require of them to
engage in a proceeding which they think will be so injurious to the
cause of Christ; but, on the contrary, will approve of the course
heretofore adopted by them as altogether scriptural, and the true
doctrine of our Church. Or (3.) They may _possibly_, after mature
reflection, think the _least evil_ will be _to carry out the decision of
Synod_, although that decision be altogether contrary to their own
judgment. Then they will take three of the six churches, which now are
all of our order, and organize these three a separate Denomination and
an integral part of the Church in America. This is the course which at
home will be generally expected of them.

Now let us suppose that they will adopt this third course, and then let
us look calmly at its results--at the supposed or real advantages
thereof, and the supposed or real evils thereof.

We first look at the _Advantages_.

1. The most important is, or is supposed to be, that there will thus be
higher courts of jurisdiction to which appeals may be made, and by which
orthodoxy and good order may be the better secured to the Church at
Amoy. Such advantages, if they can be thus secured, we would by no means
underrate. There sometimes are cases of appeal for which we need the
highest court practicable--the collective wisdom of the Church so far as
it can be obtained; and the preservation of orthodoxy and good order is
of the first importance. Now let us see whether the plan proposed will
secure these advantages. Let us suppose that one of the brethren feels
himself aggrieved by the decision of the Classis of Amoy, and he appeals
to the Particular Synod of Albany, and thence to the General Synod. He
will not be denied the right to such appeal. But, in order that the
appeal may be properly prosecuted and disposed of, the appellant and the
representative of Classis should be present in these higher courts. Can
this be secured? Is the waste of time, of a year or more, nothing? and
where shall the thousands of dollars of necessary expense come from? Now
suppose this appellant to be a Chinese brother. He also has rights. But
how, on this plan, can he possibly obtain them? Suppose (which of itself
is an absurdity) that the money be raised for him, and he is permitted
to stand on the floor of Synod. He cannot speak, read, or write a word
of English. Not a member of Synod can speak, read, or write a word of
his language, except it be the brother prosecuting him. I ask, is it
possible for him thus to obtain justice? But, waiving all these
disadvantages, the only points on which there is the least probability
that an appeal of a Chinese brother would come up before the higher
courts, are points on which these higher courts would not be qualified
to decide. They would doubtless grow out of the peculiar customs and
laws of the Chinese--points on which the Missionary, after he has been
on the ground a dozen years, often feels unwilling to decide, and takes
the opinion of the native elders in preference to his own. Is it right
to impose a yoke like this on that little Church which God is gathering
by your instrumentality in that far-off land of China? But it is said,
that these cases of appeal (because of impracticability) will very
rarely or never happen. Be it so; then this supposed advantage will
seldom or never occur, and if it should occur, it would prove a
disadvantage. The highest practical court of appeal for the native
churches can be secured only on the plan for which the Missionaries
contend. Why must we deprive the native Christians of the benefit of the
collective wisdom of all the churches of like doctrine and order among

As regards orthodoxy and good order, it is incumbent on the Church at
home to use her utmost endeavors to secure these. Doubtless this was the
great design of Synod, both in the action of 1857 and in the action of
1863. But will the plan of Synod give us any greater security for these
things? How can they be secured? We answer, under God, _only_ through
your Missionaries. The greater your hold on your Missionaries, the
better security for the churches under their care. The plan of Synod
would place your Missionaries _ecclesiastically_ almost beyond your
control. They must be dismissed from the various Classes in this
country, and, together with the native churches under their care, form
themselves into a Chinese Classis. Either they will have a controlling
influence over the native portion of this Classis or they will not. If
they have, then your only way to discipline them will be to discipline
their Classis. It would be a new doctrine in our Church, to make the
Board of Foreign Missions an _ecclesiastical_ medium between the Synod
and one of its Classes, or to enforce discipline over the ministry by
the _money rod_. The Classis, _as such_, must be disciplined by the
direct act of Synod. Or, suppose the Missionaries do not have such
controlling influence over the native members of Classis, for the native
members will outnumber, and, unless the action of Synod (as we greatly
fear) seriously retard the work at Amoy, will very soon greatly
outnumber the Missionaries. What then? Your Missionaries are under the
ecclesiastical control of the native converts. Their doctrines and
morals are to be decided on by a court composed mainly of recent
converts from heathenism. The only way to bring them before the higher
courts in this country, is through this native court, as we have already
seen, almost an impossibility. Is it not plain that the Church at home
will not thus have a moiety of the control over her Missionaries she now
has? Is this the way to keep the Church at Amoy sound and pure? It
seems to be supposed by some that the Missionaries desire to be
separated from the control of the Church at home. This is altogether a
mistake, and another result of withholding their views from the public.
They have no such desire. The contrary is altogether the fact. They do
not desire to be placed under the control of the native Chinese
churches. They did not derive their authority from those churches, they
are not sustained by them, and they are in no sense their agents, but
they derive their authority through, are sustained by, and are
altogether the agents of the Church in this country; therefore the
Church at home has and should retain control over them. They are
amenable to the Church at home, through their several Classes. These are
the only courts qualified to take cognizance of their doctrines and
morals. They desire to remain in this relation. We think they have a
right to demand this, until such time as they become agents of the
Church in China, instead of the Church in America.

Suppose by some means suspicion should arise at home concerning the
orthodoxy or morality of one or more of your Missionaries. On the plan
proposed, what can the Church do with them? May the Board of Missions,
on mere report or suspicion, recall them without giving them a proper
trial? Can the Board try them? No. It is not an ecclesiastical court.
Will the Church be satisfied with the decision of a court, a majority of
whose members have recently been converted from heathenism through the
instrumentality of these very Missionaries? But continue the plan of the
Missionaries and all will be simple. If any of the Missionaries give
occasion for suspicion, let them be tried by their proper Classes in
this country. This is all that the Church at home can do
_ecclesiastically_ towards keeping the Church pure in China. Whether
the proposed _nominal_ union be consummated or not, the only hold you
will have on the Chinese churches will be through your Missionaries. If
they will not receive the instructions, and listen to the advice of your
Missionaries and of the Synod through them, you would not expect them to
obey the injunctions of Synod. Your only other resort will be to
withhold from them help. Can you not do the same now?

But in all this discussion, I fear, we lose sight too much of our
dependence on the Head of the Church to keep His Church pure. Sure I am
that the Church in China cannot be kept pure by legislation on this, the
opposite side of the globe. But we expect Christ to reign over, and the
Holy Spirit to be given to the churches, and the proper ecclesiastical
bodies formed of them in China as well as in this land. Why not? Such
are the promises of God. The way to secure these things is by prayer,
and the preaching of the pure gospel, not by legislation. Let the Church
be careful in her selection of Missionaries. Send only such as she has
confidence in--men of God, sound in the faith, apt to teach--and then
trust them, or recall them. Don't attempt to control them contrary to
their judgment. Strange if this, which is so much insisted on as the
policy of our Church, be right, that she cannot get a single man, of all
she sends out to China, to think so. Can it be that the Missionary work
is so subversive of right reason, or of correct judgment, or of
conscientiousness, that all become perverted by engaging in it?

2. Another supposed advantage is the effect it will have in enlisting
the sympathies of the Church in behalf of the Mission at Amoy. It is
said, tell the Church that we have a flourishing Classis at Amoy, a part
of ourselves, connected with General Synod, just like all the other
Classes of our Church, the effect will be wonderful in enlisting
sympathy, money, and men in behalf of that Mission; otherwise the
opposite evil must be apprehended. If these things be so, they are
indeed of grave importance. The Mission in China cannot live without the
sympathy of the Church at home. But are these things so? It seems to us
that the supposition takes for granted that our Church in its Missionary
work is influenced by a desire for self-glory, or self-gratification;
or, at least, that she is not a Church of liberal views--that she is not
at all to be compared, in this respect, with the English Presbyterian
Church, or the Free Church of Scotland. Allusion has already been made
to the liberality of the English Presbyterian Church. I may now also
remark that a large amount of the funds for carrying on the work at Amoy
is raised in Scotland from members of the Free Church. They never had
any idea that the churches gathered in China were to be a part of their
own Church. They do not even ask that they be a part of their sister
Church in England. They only ask that they shall be sound in the faith
and hold to the essentials of Presbyterianism, even though they have
some characteristics peculiar to the Dutch and other Reformed Churches.
These Presbyterian brethren in England and Scotland are not only ready
to support their own Missionaries in their work of building up the
churches under their especial care, but they stand ready to assist the
Missionaries of our Church in building up the churches under our
especial care. Of their frequent offers to assist us, when they feared
we should be in want of funds, our Board can bear testimony. We are not
yet willing to believe that our people are a people of narrow views in a
matter like this. It is contrary to our history in time past. It is
contrary to the facts of the present day. It is contrary to all my
observation among our churches. Our people do not first ask whether it
be building _ourselves_ up, before they sympathize with a benevolent
object. We believe the contrary is the exact truth. It requires a
liberal policy to call forth liberal views and action. As regards the
enlisting of men, look at the facts. Every man who has gone out from
among you, to engage in this Missionary work, begs of you not to adopt a
narrow policy. So in regard to obtaining of funds. Usually, the men who
are most liberal in giving are most liberal in feeling. This must be so
in the very nature of things. The way to alienate the sympathies of the
Church from the Mission at Amoy is to divide the Church there by a
sectarian policy; and the way to enlist her sympathies is to continue
the former plan, and let the work go forward with the Divine blessing as
in days past. The people will be more encouraged, and praise God more
heartily, when you tell them of six organized churches like our own, and
many others growing up all around, than they will if you tell them of
only three churches, and only a few out-stations, under our care. They
will not object to hear that the English Presbyterian brethren are
laboring with us, and organizing churches so nearly like our own.
However powerful the motive addressed to the desire to build up our own
Church, there are motives infinitely more powerful. Such are the motives
to be depended on in endeavoring to elevate the standard of liberality
among our people.

Let brethren in the Ministry try the experiment, and tell their people
of the wonders of God's grace:--that he has led his servants from our
own Church in this land, and from the Presbyterian Church in Great
Britain, in their work of evangelizing the heathen, and laying the
foundation of the Church of Christ, to lay aside all national
animosities, and rise above all denominational prejudices and
jealousies--that he has given to the Presbyterian Church in England,
and the sister Church in Scotland, a spirit of catholicity and
liberality as exhibited in the previous part of this paper--and that, as
a consequence, he is causing his Church to grow up in the region of Amoy
in beautiful proportions, all the congregations under their care and
ours also manifesting the same spirit of catholicity and liberality,
submitting to each other according to the Divine command, working
together with the utmost harmony, and, as a consequence, with wonderful
effectiveness. Can you account for such things except by the energy of
the Spirit of God? Surely it is not the spirit of the world, neither is
it the spirit of the devil. Try the experiment, then, and see whether
the wonders of God's grace will alienate the hearts of his people. Your
Missionaries have no doubt--we can hardly understand how any who examine
the subject can doubt--we are sure that no one can personally behold the
work and yet doubt, that the wonderful blessing of God, which has
accompanied the work at Amoy, has been both the cause and the result of
this harmonious labor on the part of your Missionaries, and those from
the sister Churches in England and Scotland. Therefore, we feel assured
that the simple recital of the grace of God thus manifested, must
influence the hearts of his people most powerfully, and therefore it is
that we beseech the Church not to interfere with, and hinder the work of
God. May we not refer, without being charged with disrespect, to the
Synod of Jerusalem as a proper example for our General Synod? Peter
says, "Why tempt ye God to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples,
which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?" And then the
decree, which the Synod sent to the Churches, runs thus: "It seemed good
to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than
these _necessary_ things." The ecclesiastical "power which the Lord
hath given" to his Church is "to _edification_, and not to

If the Missionaries be allowed to proceed in building up a Church, like
our own, simply with reference to the evangelization of China, doubtless
brethren in the ministry, and other influential men, could take occasion
therefrom to prejudice the Churches against our work. They could do
this, if they were so disposed, without any such occasion. But will they
do it? We cannot believe that they will. They love the cause of Christ
too well, and desire to see the world converted to God too ardently, to
permit them to throw any obstacles in the way of our work, even though
that work be not carried forward in the manner which they consider
altogether the best. If we are right, these brethren will soon see that
we are right, and however powerful the motive to be addressed to the
desire of extending our own Church, they will find infinitely more
powerful motives to be addressed to a more noble desire of the Christian
heart. If our people have not yet learned, they should be taught to
engage in the work of evangelizing the world, not for the sake of our
Church in America, but for the sake of Christ and His Church, and when
the Church thus built up is like our own, they should be fully
satisfied. We believe they will be satisfied with this.

3. The only other supposed advantage I can now think of, is the
advantage of carrying out the _policy_ of our Church. This, in itself
considered, might be regarded worthy of but little attention.
Cannot--ought not--the Church change her policy if wrong, or if a better
can be adopted? Surely her laws are not like those of the Medes and
Persians. But the argument has been used with so much earnestness and
perseverance, both in the Reports of the Committees and in the
discussions in Synod, that it demands some investigation. Instead of
the course pursued by the Missionaries being, as it is contended,
contrary to, it is the true policy of our Church--the policy in
existence long before the decision of 1857. If the course now required
of them be the present policy of our Church, it is a _mistaken_ policy,
contrary to the very genius of our institutions, and ought to be
corrected. It is so contrary to our time-honored Constitution that
either it or the Constitution must be sacrificed. In order to save the
policy it was found necessary during the past year to amend the
Constitution by a clause so sweeping, that if the circumstances of a
Missionary Classis require it, "_all the ordinary requirements of the
Constitution_" may be dispensed with by the General Synod. Can it be
that a policy which requires _such constitutional changes_ can be the
old and proper policy of our Church? But if the policy be continued we
are not yet done with changes. The very _name_ of our Church must be
changed. It now is "The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church _in North
America_." We must expunge the words "_in North America_," or must add
India, China, and Japan, and every other country where the Church may
undertake Missionary work. We know it has been said of this policy, "it
is our _settled, irreversible_ policy." Is every thing then to be
regarded as _unsettled_ and _changeable_ but this policy of the Church?
We answer, No. The Church may change her name, if she please, as she has
changed her Constitution. Or she may change her policy. But there are
certain fundamental principles of Church government which she may not
change. Hence, even yet, the principles for which the Missionaries
contend must remain the true policy of our Church, for they lie at the
very foundation of Presbyterial order. A full discussion of this subject
will come up most naturally when we discuss the _evils_ of the course
now required of us. I will now allude to only one fact. The Board of
Foreign Missions was formed on this principle. If the Classes at Arcot
and Amoy are to be considered _integral_ parts of the Church in this
country, related to General Synod like the Classes in this country, then
the Missionaries at those stations properly should come under the Board
of Domestic Missions. Suppose, according to the new plan, the
Missionaries form themselves into the kind of Classis now required of
them; what will be the relation of the Classis of Amoy to the Board of
Foreign Missions? Is the Classis, in evangelizing the heathen around, to
operate through the Board, or the Board through the Classis? The Classis
at Amoy decide on a certain course of ecclesiastical procedure, or
evangelistic labor, and the Board decides on another course; how is such
a matter to be settled? Will it be said, there is no danger of such
difficulty? The Classis and Board will both be composed of men with
infirmities. Ask the Board whether there have not already been incipient
difficulties, in the supposed clashing of the powers of the Board and
the powers of the Classis of Arcot. But the Classis of Arcot as yet is
little more than an _American Missionary Classis_. What will be the
difficulties when it becomes an _Indian_ Classis? But we are told, "keep
the Mission and Classis distinct." Is the Mission, then, to attend to
all the evangelistic work, and the Classis to do nothing? Or are there
to be two distinct evangelistic policies carried on at Amoy, the one by
the Mission, and the other by the Classis? Or is the Classis first to
come over to the Synod, and so get to the Board in order to carry on the
work around? Instead of this new plan being the settled policy of our
Church, we believe it to be a solecism. When a Church is established
among the heathen after our order, then is the true policy of our Church
carried out. Let the present relations of the Missionaries to the Board
and to their several Classes remain, and there will be no occasion for
the clashing of the powers of the Board with those of any
ecclesiastical body.

So much for the _advantages_. They are really disadvantages, leading to
_serious evils_, which of themselves should be sufficient to deter the
Church from inaugurating the policy proposed, or, if it be already
inaugurated, to lead her to retrace her steps, and adopt a better and a
consistent policy.

Now let us consider the real or supposed _Evils_ (in addition to the
above) of carrying out the decision of Synod.

1. It will not be for the credit of our Church. She now has a name, with
other Churches, for putting forth efforts to evangelize the world. Shall
she mar this good name and acquire one for sectarianism, by putting
forth efforts to extend _herself_, not her doctrines and order;--they
are not sectarian, and her Missionaries esteem them as highly as do
their brethren at home--but _herself_, even at the cost of dividing
churches which the grace of God has made one?

The decision of the last Synod may not be the result of sectarianism
among the people of our Church. We do not think it is. But it will be
difficult to convince our Presbyterian brethren and others, that it is
not so. By way of illustration I will suppose a case. A. is engaged in a
very excellent work. B. comes to him, and the following dialogue ensues:

B. "Friend A., I am glad to see you engaged in so excellent a work. I
also have concluded to engage in it. I should be glad to work with you.
You know the proverbs, 'Union is strength,' and 'Two are better than

A. "Yes, yes, friend B, I know these proverbs and believe them as
thoroughly as you do. But I have a few peculiarities about my way of
working. They are not many, and they are not essential, but I think
they are useful, and wish to work according to them. Therefore, I prefer
working alone."

B. "Yes, friend A., we all have our peculiarities, and, if they be not
carried too far, they may all be made useful. I have been making
inquiries about yours, and I am glad to find they are not nearly so
many, or so different from mine, as you seem to suppose, and as I once
supposed. The fact is, I rather like some of them, and, though I may not
esteem them all so highly as you do, still I am willing to conform to
them; for I am fully persuaded that, in work of this kind, two working
together can do vastly more than two working separately, and the work
will be much better done. Besides this, the social intercourse will be

A. "I appreciate, friend B., your politeness, and am well aware that all
you say about the greater efficiency and excellence of united work, and
the delights of social intercourse is perfectly true. But--but--well, I
prefer to work alone."

2. It will be destroying a _real_ unity for the sake of creating one,
which, at the best, can be only _nominal_, and hence will really be a
violation of Presbyterial order. It seems strange to us that it should
be constantly asserted that we are striving to create a formal union
between two bodies which are essentially distinct. There is nothing of
the kind. There are six organized churches at Amoy. They are all Dutch
(i.e. Reformed), and they are all Presbyterian, for the Dutch Churches
are all Presbyterian. But they are Chinese, not American, nor English,
nor Scotch. If these churches are not _one_, then it is impossible for
two or more individual churches to be one. If schism in a Church be a
sin, then the separation of this Church will be a sin, for it will be
an actual schism. You can make nothing more nor less of it. If you say
that schism is only an evil, then the separation of this Church will, at
least, be an evil.

Perhaps it will be thought that _schism_ is too hard a term whereby to
designate the separation of the Church at Amoy. Never mind the word,
then, but let us look at the facts. The proper Classis of Amoy, composed
of all the churches of like order, and of the Missionaries, has
proceeded, according to the order of our Church, to ordain and install
native pastors, and to perform a few other necessary ecclesiastical
acts. These pastors are now called on to separate from, and break up
that body, through which they received their office! The opinions and
wishes of these native pastors, as well of the native Classis, and the
native churches, are all ignored! Are such things right? Are these the
doctrines or policy of the Dutch Church? We are told that we need say
nothing to the native churches on the subject. Is this right? Is the
Dutch Church a hierarchy? Does the General Synod claim authority to
order the division in such a manner of a Classis of the Church of Christ
without the consent of that Classis? "_What God hath joined together let
not man put asunder._"

In consequence of fallen humanity, there are evils which we call
necessary evils. Such is the case of different Denominations of
Christians in the same region of territory. They differ in sentiment on
important (or supposed to be important) subjects, and because of this
difference in sentiment, they can work together in greater harmony, and
with greater efficiency, by being formed into distinct organizations.
Such, however, is not the case of the six churches at Amoy, and others
growing up under their care and the care of your own and the English
Presbyterian Missionaries. Even when Churches agree in doctrine and
order, it is sometimes better, and sometimes necessary, in consequence
of geographical separation or national distinctions, to form distinct
organizations. It is better, or necessary, that the Churches in Holland,
and America, and South Africa, be ecclesiastically distinct. We do not
call this an evil, for all the advantages of ecclesiastical courts and
control are better thus secured. But suppose a case. There are, say,
thirty Dutch churches in the city of New York. Now, suppose there were
no others of the same order throughout this whole land: instead of
allowing these churches to remain one organic whole--forming Classes and
Synods, as the growth and convenience may allow and direct--it is
proposed to take one-half of these churches, form them into a distinct
organization, thus depriving them of ecclesiastical relations to the
other half, and attach them to an ecclesiastical body in China--a nation
of different customs and different language. How should we designate
such an act? The first part would be schism, and the last part would be
folly. The only difference between such a procedure and that required of
us is, that the churches at Amoy have been gathered partly by our
instrumentality, and are dependent partly on us for instruction. If our
Presbyterial order be scriptural, all these churches at Amoy, growing
out of each other, are bound to associate together, ecclesiastically. It
is their duty to submit to each other. They would also be bound to
submit to the Church of the same order in England and America, and every
other country throughout the world, if it were possible and convenient.
But such relation is not convenient, or possible. Therefore, we must
choose that which is possible and most convenient. It is possible, and
it is convenient, that they associate together. It is not possible that
they all be subject to the Church in England, and, at the same time, to
the Church in America. It is not convenient that they all be subject to
either of these Churches. We do not think it is convenient that one-half
of them be subject to either of these Churches. Besides the sin, or
evil, of schism, they never can be properly represented in the higher
ecclesiastical bodies of either of these Churches. They never can have
an Elder present (I speak now of their connection with the Church in
America, for this is the subject before us). They never can have a full
representation of ministers. Only very seldom can they have even one
minister present. He usually will only be one who is ill, and
consequently not a proper representative. The native element, _i.e., the
chief element_ of the Church can never be represented at all. The
representation, at the best, will only be a representation of your
Missionaries, not at all of the Chinese Church. Therefore, we assert
that such a union would not be _real_, not even _apparent_, only
_nominal_. In striving after it, we are pursuing a chimera, destroying a
substance for the sake of a shadow.

But it is offered as an objection to our views, that the Presbyterian
Church (O.S.) has Presbyteries and Synods in India and China. Yes, they
have three Presbyteries and a Synod in India, and have had for twenty
years. But even yet there is not so much of a native element in their
whole Synod as there is already in the little Church in the region of
Amoy. As an ecclesiastical body, it is not _Indian_ in its
characteristics--it is _American_. So with all their Presbyteries in
Siam and China, with the exception, perhaps, of the Presbytery at
Ningpo. They are _American_ Presbyteries, not native in their

[Footnote 2: The following statistics are from the Minutes of General
Assembly, 1863.

_Synod of Northern India_--Was organized in 1841. Is composed of three
Presbyteries. Now has 19 ministers (only one of these is a _native
pastor_); 9 churches; 246 communicants. (How many of these are natives
not reported.)

_Presbytery of Canton_--Has 4 ministers; no native pastor; 1 church; 12
communicants. (How many of these are natives not reported.) _Presbytery
of Ningpo_--Has 8 ministers; no native pastor; 2 churches; 111 native

_Presbytery of Siam_--Has 6 ministers; no native pastor; 1 church; 8
communicants. (How many of these are native members not reported.)

_Presbytery of West Africa_--Has 9 ministers; no native pastor; 6
churches; 191 communicants (probably all natives.)

Are these ecclesiastical bodies respectively Indian, Chinese, and
African in their character? or are they all _essentially American_? Yet
these are the bodies to which the Committee of General Synod of 1857
referred when they said, "As to the difficulties suggested" [by the
Missionaries at Amoy] "respecting the delays of carrying out a system of
appellate jurisdiction covering America and China, it is enough to say,
that the Presbyterian Church (O.S.) finds no insuperable difficulties in
carrying into operation her system, which comprehends Presbyteries and
Synods in India as well as here." Why should there be many _insuperable_
difficulties so long as these bodies remain _American Missionary
bodies_, instead of being _native ecclesiastical bodies_? Practically
they do not need representation in the Church at home more than our
Missions need representatives in the Board of Missions. In the aggregate
of all the above-mentioned ecclesiastical missionary bodies, there is
_but one native pastor_, and this, as might be expected, so far as we
are aware, furnished the only case in which difficulty has occurred.
Doubtless in the instance referred to, the native pastor was in error,
and, as he found some _insuperable difficulty_ in getting his case
before the General Assembly, a similar effort is not likely soon to be

So is the Classis of Arcot appealed to. Such appeals put us in a
somewhat painful position. As with the Presbyterian bodies just
mentioned, so with the Classis of Arcot. We have no rivalry with the
brethren there, and do not wish to say a word that looks like stricture
on their policy. We do not utter a word of this kind, except in
self-defense. We rejoice in all their successes. But the time will come,
if the blessing of God continues to follow their labors, when they will
be compelled to adopt our principles. The Missionaries at Arcot are not
properly _pastors_ of the native churches. They exercise the pastoral
office only temporarily, until native pastors are raised up. Their
relation to the Synods in this country is not like that of the other
Classes of our Church. They never have had and never will have a proper
representation in these higher courts. They have never had a native
elder present. They never have even a partial representation of
ministers, except under the afflictive dispensations of Providence. For
several years past they would have been without any representation at
all, but for the fact of one of their number being in this country whose
ill health forbids his return to that field of labor. It is by being
unfitted to be a member of the Classis that he becomes able to be a
representative of the Classis in the Synod! At the present time, because
of the still American character of their body, they may feel no serious
inconvenience. If our position had been like theirs, occupying the
ground at Amoy alone, possibly we should have done as they have. We
should have understood well enough that the connection of the native
Church with the Church at home could only be _nominal_. But if our
Church desired this, so long as it did not injure the native Church, we
probably should have made no objections.

But we are told that it is not desired that this connection with the
Church in America should be perpetual. It will last only until the
Church at Amoy has sufficient development to stand alone. Then, of
course, our Church will consent to the separation. (A very different
doctrine, by the way, from the "_assertion_" of the committee of Synod
that the Church can not "voluntarily relinquish its powers.") After
that, the churches at Amoy which have been under our care, and those
which have been under the care of the English Presbyterians, may again
unite in one Denomination, if they see fit. This sounds pretty well. But
look at it. First separate the churches long enough to engender
rivalries and allow prejudices to grow up, and then attempt to unite
them, and what will be the result? Unless they have a more liberal
spirit than is usual in the churches in this land, instead of making one
denomination out of two, we shall have three. But who shall be the
judge when the proper time has arrived to liberate the Church in China,
if the opinions of those on the ground, and of the native churches, are
all to be ignored?

3. It will injure the efficiency of the Church at Amoy. Besides the
objection--which the heathen will thus, as readily as the irreligious in
this country, be able to urge against Christianity--furnished by the
increase of Denominations, it will deprive the churches of the benefit
of the united wisdom and strength of the whole of them for
self-cultivation and for Christian enterprise, and will introduce a
spirit of jealous rivalry among them. We know it is said that there need
be no such result, and that the native churches may remain just as
united in spirit after the organization of two Denominations as before.
Such a sentiment takes for granted, either that ecclesiastical
organization has in fact no efficiency (such is not the doctrine of our
Church), or that the Chinese churches have arrived at a far higher state
of sanctification than the churches have attained to in this land. Do
not different Denominations exhibit jealous rivalry in this land? Why,
your Missionaries are already frequently charged with being too liberal
towards their English Presbyterian brethren in giving to them members
and churches which, it is said, properly belong to us. Is Chinese human
nature different from American?

In consequence of such division, the native Churches will not be so able
to support the Gospel among themselves. Look at the condition of our
western towns in this respect. Why strive to entail like evils on our
Missionary churches? Their strength will be weakened for evangelistic
effort. Their Missionary efforts is one of the most striking and
praiseworthy characteristics of the Amoy churches. How will they be
shorn of their strength by division and necessary rivalry! Besides
this, if the connection with the Church at home be anything more than
nominal, our churches should, in part at least, work through the Church
at home. No? Then why form the connection?

4. Instead of the Dutch Church being _the_ Presbyterian Church at Amoy,
it will only be a small Church, bearing about the same proportion to the
other Christian Churches there, that it does to the other Churches in
this land. Why is not the Dutch Church the principal Presbyterian body
in this land? Unless we are mistaken in regard to its excellency of
order, it has all the adaptedness, and it was here first. Do you wish a
similar result in China?

       *       *       *       *       *

That it may be seen whether the Missionaries of Amoy have asked of our
Church to "surrender the Constitution, the policy, the interests of our
Church," "nay, even their own welfare, and that of the Mission they are
so tenderly attached to"--whether what they ask for "is flatly in the
face of our Constitution and order"--whether the "Synod has no right to
form, or to authorize any such self-regulating, ecclesiastical body, or
to consent that any Ministers of our Church should hold seats in such a
body"--whether, "if we do it, we transcend the most liberal construction
which has ever been known to be given to the powers of the General
Synod"--whether, by granting the request of the Missionaries, "we
violate our own order, our fundamental principles, the polity to which
we are bound by our profession, by our subscription, by every tie which
can bind religious and honorable, men"--I will append the resolution
which was offered by me in the General Synod as a substitute for those
offered by the Committee. If it called for declamation like the above,
well. These are the words:

_Resolved_, That the Synod learn, with gratitude to God, of the great
progress of the work of the Lord at Amoy, and in the region around, so
that already we hear of six organized churches with their Consistories,
and others growing up, not yet organized; two native Pastors, who were
to have been ordained on the 29th of March last, and the whole under the
care of a Classis composed of the Missionaries of our Church and the
English Presbyterian Church, and representative Elders of the several
churches. It calls for our hearty gratitude to the Great Head of the
Church, that the Missionaries of different Churches, and different
countries, have been enabled, through Divine grace, to work together in
such harmony. It is also gratifying to us that these Churches and this
Classis have been organized according to the polity of our Church.
Inasmuch as the Synod of the English Presbyterian Church has approved of
the course of their Missionaries in uniting with ours in the
organization of the Church at Amoy, after our order, therefore, this
Synod would direct its Board of Foreign Missions to allow their
Missionaries to continue their present relations with the Missionaries
of the English Presbyterian Church, and the churches under their several
care, so long as the present harmony shall continue, and no departure
shall be made from the doctrines and essential polity of our Church, or
until this Synod shall otherwise direct.

Some, after reading the foregoing discussion, will be ready to say to
us: "Your views are in the main correct. It would have been better if
Synod had decided otherwise, but the decision has been made, and we must
put up with it." We answer, Not so. We must obey Synod, but may not the
Church change or improve her decisions? Here is one of the good things
we hope to see come out of this mistake of the Church. Jesus rules, and
he is ordering all things for the welfare of his Church and the
advancement of his cause. Sometimes, the better to accomplish this end,
he permits the Church to make mistakes. When we failed in former days to
get our views made public, it gave us no anxiety, for we believed the
doctrine that Jesus reigns. So we now feel, nothwithstanding this
mistake. The Master will overrule it for good. We do not certainly know
how, but we can imagine one way. By means of this mistake the matter may
be brought before our Church, and before other Churches, more clearly
than it would otherwise have been for many years to come, and in
consequence of this we expect, in due time, that our Church, instead of
coming up merely to the standard of liberality for which we have been
contending, will rise far above anything we have asked for or even
imagined, and other Churches will also raise their standard higher.
Hereafter we expect to contend for still higher principles. This is the
doctrine: Let all the branches of the great Presbyterian family in the
same region in any heathen country, which are sound in the faith,
organize themselves, _if convenient_, into one organic whole, allowing
liberty to the different parts in things non-essential. Let those who
adopt Dutch customs, as at Amoy, continue, if they see fit, their
peculiarities, and those who adopt other Presbyterian customs, as at
Ningpo and other places, continue their peculiarities, and yet all unite
as one Church. This subject does not simply relate to the interests of
the Church at Amoy. It relates to the interests of all the Missionary
work of all the Churches of the Presbyterian order in all parts of the
world. Oh that our Church might take the lead in this catholicity of
spirit--instead of falling back in the opposite direction--that no one
may take her crown! But if she do not, then we trust that some other of
the sacramental hosts will take the lead and receive too the honor, for
it is for the glory of the great Captain of our salvation, and for the
interests of His kingdom. We need the united strength of all these
branches of Zion for the great work, which the Master has set before us,
in calling on us to evangelize the world. In expecting to obtain this
union, will it be said, that we are looking for a chimera? It ought to
be so, ought it not? Then it is no chimera. It may take time for the
churches to come up to this standard, but within a few years past we
have seen tendencies to union among different branches of the
Presbyterian family in Australia, in Canada, in our own country, and in
England and Scotland. In many places these tendencies are stronger now
than they have ever before been since the days of the Reformation. True,
human nature is still compassed with infirmities even in the Church of
Christ. But the day of the world's regeneration is approaching, and as
it approaches nearer to us, doubtless the different branches of the
Presbyterian family will approach still nearer to each other. God hasten
the time, and keep us also from doing anything to retard, but everything
to help it forward, and to his name be the praise forever. Amen.

Appendix A.

Further to illustrate the unity of the Churches under the care of the
two Missions, I will transcribe from the _Reports_ of the Amoy Mission,
for the years 1861 and 1862.

_From the Report for 1861_. Dated Feb. 24. 1862.

Our work is so interwoven with that of the Missionaries of the English
Presbyterian Church, that we cannot give a full report of the state of
our Churches and out-stations without including in it a partial report
of some of their stations. We have, therefore, thought it best, both on
this account, and because the Churches gathered by us and by them are
really one, to give statistics of both Missions with brief remarks.
These, besides simplifying the matter, will enable the Church at home to
become better acquainted with the real progress of the cause of Christ
in this region.

_Missionaries and Assistant Missionaries of the Reformed Dutch Church at
Amoy, at the close if the year_ 1861. [Here follow their names, and
remarks concerning them.]

_Missionaries and Assistant Missionaries of the English Presbyterian
Church at the close of the year_ 1861. [Here follow their names, and
remarks concerning them.]

_Tabular View of the Churches and Mission Stations under the care of the
Reformed Dutch Church, and English Presbyterian Church, in Amoy and

                     |Native     |       |        |No. of       |Rec'd
Churches and         |helpers    |       |        |Church       |during
Mission              |sustained  |       |        |Members,     |the
Stations.            |by Mission.|Elders.|Deacons.|Jan. 1, 1861.|year.
First Church at Amoy |     3     |   4   |   4    |    102      | 24
Second  "        "   |     2     |   4   |   4    |     78      | 13
Church at Chioh-be   |     2     |   4   |   4    |     47      |  5
  "      Peh-chui-ia |     3     |   2   |  ..    |     25      |  3
  "      Ma-peng     |     2     |   2   |   3    |     33      |  6
Station at An-hai    |     3     |  ..   |  ..    |      7      | 23
  "        Khang-khau|     1     |The Church members at this Station
                     |           |are reckoned to the Church at Ma-peng.
  "        Kang-thau |     1     |The Church members at this Station
                     |           |are reckoned to the First Church at
                     |           |Amoy.
  "        E-mng-kang|     1     |The Church members at this Station
                     |           |are reckoned to the First Church at
                     |           |Amoy.
  "       Chiang-chiu|     2     |

                     |     |               |No. of        |
Churches and         |     |               |Church        |Under
Mission              |     |               |Members,      |suspension
Stations.            |Dead.|Excommunicated.|Dec. 31, 1861.|Dec., 1861.
First Church at Amoy |  2  |      2        |      122     |     4
Second  "        "   |  1  |      1        |       89     |     1
Church at Chioh-be   |  1  |     ..        |       51     |     3
  "      Peh-chui-ia |  1  |     ..        |       27     |     1
  "      Ma-peng     |  1  |      1        |       37     |     3
Station at An-hai    |  1  |     ..        |       29     |    ...
  "        Khang-khau|The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the Church at Ma-peng.
  "        Kang-thau |The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the First Church at Amoy.
  "        E-mng-kang|The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the First Church at Amoy.
  "       Chiang-chiu|

                     |Infants  |Colporteurs|
Churches and         |baptized |sustained  |
Mission              |during   |by Native  |Benevolent
Stations.            |the year.|Church.    |Contributions
First Church at Amoy |   13    |    1  }   |
Second  "        "   |   11    |    1  }   |  $471.33
Church at Chioh-be   |    5    |    1      |   200.29
  "      Peh-chui-ia |    3    |   ...     |   ......
  "      Ma-peng     |    3    |   ...     |   ......
Station at An-hai    |    4    |   ...     |   ......
  "        Khang-khau|The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the Church at Ma-peng.
  "        Kang-thau |The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the First Church at Amoy.
  "        E-mng-kang|The Church members at this Station are reckoned
                     |to the First Church at Amoy.
  "       Chiang-chiu|

[Then come remarks about _native helpers_, not included in the above;
_Schools_ sustained by each of the Missions, and by the native Churches;
_Theological Class_; Students sustained by each Mission.]

_Remarks on the above Tabular View_.

The two Churches at Amoy, and the one at Chioh-be are under the care of
the Missionaries of the Reformed Dutch Church. *  *  *  *  *  *

The Churches at Peh-chui-ia and Ma-peng, are under the care of the
Missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church. *  *  *  *  *  *

The Congregation at An-hai is under the care of the English
Presbyterian Missionaries. It has not yet been organized into a Church.
It is so far removed from Amoy that it cannot conveniently be placed
under the supervision of either of the Consistories. * * * * * *

Khang-khau is a station under the care of the English Presbyterian
Mission. * * * * * *

Kang-thau is under the care of the Reformed Dutch Mission.

E-mng-kang is a suburb of Amoy. The Congregation worshiping there
belongs, mostly, to the First Church at Amoy. The Station is under the
care of the English Presbyterian Mission. * * * * * *

Chiang-chiu is a large city, some twelve miles or more beyond Chioh-be,
and about thirty-five miles from Amoy. In times past, several efforts
have been made to establish a Station at Chiang-chiu, but always without
success, until during the past year. At the close of the year there had
not yet been any baptisms at that Station. Since the beginning of this
year, there have been several. The Church members are reckoned to the
Church at Chioh-be, and are under the oversight of the Chioh-be
Consistory. Both Missions work as one at Chiang-chiu. Each Mission is to
furnish half the expense. To simplify the work, it was thought best that
one Mission be responsible for the control of the Station, and direct
the work. At present this is the Mission of the Reformed Dutch Church.
If the work be prospered, it is proposed to form two Stations, one under
the care of each Mission.

[The remaining part of the Report, having no bearing on the subject
before us, need not be quoted.]

_From the Report for 1862._

[It will be sufficient merely to transcribe the _Tabular View_, and add
one or two explanatory remarks.]

_Churches and Mission Stations under the care of the Reformed Dutch and
English Presbyterian Missions at Amoy, December 31, 1862._

                     |       |        |No. of   |Died  |
                     |       |        |Members, |during|Excommunicated
                     |       |        |Dec. 31, |the   |during
                     |Elders.|Deacons.|1861.    |year. |the year.
First Church at Amoy |   4   |   4    |   122   |  6   |     2
Second  "        "   |   4   |   4    |    89   | ...  |    ...
Church at Chioh-be   |   4   |   4    |    51   |  1   |    ...
  "    "  Peh-chui-ia|   2   |   2    |    27   | ...  |    ...
  "    "  Ma-peng    |   1   |   3    |    37   |  2   |    ...
Station at An-hai    |  ..   |  ..    |    29   |  2   |    ...
  "     "  Khang-thau|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |First Church, Amoy.
  "     "  Kang-khau |The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |Church at Ma-peng.
  "     "  E-mng-kang|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |First Church, Amoy.
  "     " Chiang-chiu|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |Church at Chioh-be.
  "     " Go-chhng   |
  "     " Te-soa     |
  "     " Khi-be     |

                     |No. of    |Under       |Infant     |Helpers
                     |Members,  |suspension  |baptisms   |supported by
                     |Dec. 31,  |Dec. 31,    |during     |Native
                     |1862.     |1862.       |the year.  |Church.
First Church at Amoy |   139    |     4      |    17     |     1
Second  "        "   |   100    |     3      |     2     |     1
Church at Chioh-be   |    70    |     2      |     9     |     1
  "    "  Peh-chui-ia|    30    |    ...     |    ...    |    ...
  "    "  Ma-peng    |    38    |    ...     |    ...    |    ...
Station at An-hai    |    30    |    ...     |    ...    |    ...
  "     "  Khang-thau|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |First Church, Amoy.
  "     "  Kang-khau |The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |Church at Ma-peng.
  "     "  E-mng-kang|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |First Church, Amoy.
  "     " Chiang-chiu|The members at this Station are reckoned to the
                     |Church at Chioh-be.
  "     " Go-chhng   |
  "     " Te-soa     |
  "     " Khi-be     |

[Of the three new Stations, Go-chhng and Te-soa, are under the care of
the Reformed Dutch Mission, Khi-be under the care of the English
Presbyterian Mission. The other Churches and Stations as in previous

The Board of Foreign Missions, being simply the organ of Synod, felt
bound in their Report to eliminate, as far as possible, all the
Presbyterian elements from the above Reports of the Mission. By so
doing, we think that they, _undesignedly_ of course, keep our Church in
ignorance, not only of the absolute unity of the Churches in the region
of Amoy, but also of the real progress of the cause of Christ and of the
Church of our order there. Among the members set down to our churches
are those who belong to stations under the care of the English
Presbyterian Mission, as is shown by the Tabular Views. The Church at
home, not aware of this fact, gives to their Mission credit which does
not belong to them; and then, when, in the progress of the work, new
churches are organized at these stations, and these members are set off
to them, because they belong there, the Dutch Mission is charged with
deficiency of denominational feeling, in giving to the English
Presbyterians that which, "by all rules of Christian courtesy and
harmonious Missionary action," belongs to the Dutch Church. Is it well
that we should be disputing among ourselves concerning who shall have
that credit which all belongs to Christ? I know it has been asked, with
disapprobation, by very high authority (not, indeed, by the Board)
concerning the unity of the Churches at Amoy--"_how it came to exist at
all_." In answer to such questions, let us consider one case, that of
the Station, now Church, at E-mng-kang. It is near enough to the First
Church, at Amoy, to be under its supervision. Doubtless, we might have
said to our Presbyterian brethren, In gathering a church, we are willing
to labor with you in preaching the Gospel, for no one will censure us
for that, and we admit that, by all principles of our Church order, it
would be altogether proper that the converts gathered in at E-mng-kang
should be received and watched over by the First Church, at Amoy; but,
by allowing this, there will be danger of unity between the Christians
at E-mng-kang and Amoy ("that they all may be one"), which will be a
violation of the important and radical distinction existing between
them, because "some are supported by our funds, some by the funds of the
English Presbyterians;" and then, when it becomes necessary to divide
these Churches, for where there is such a radical distinction, "a
division will necessarily come at some period, and the longer it is
delayed, the more trying and sorrowful it will be," it will be found
that the Church at Amoy can never "relinquish its powers and abnegate
its authority" over the Church at E-mng-kang--therefore, rather than
incur such risks of unity, we had better violate our principles of
Church order at the commencement, and not allow the native Elders any
responsibility in receiving and watching over the Church members. We
might have acted on such principles, but shall we be _censured_ for not
doing it?

Let it be distinctly understood, that I do not publish the above
Reports with such remarks with any design of throwing blame on the Board
of Foreign Missions. The members of it, and the Missionaries, have had
no feelings towards each other but such as are altogether pleasant.
Perhaps the Board, in view of all the circumstances, has simply
performed its duty. I add this Appendix only to illustrate the unity of
the churches at Amoy, and show that the Missionaries have acted
according to the doctrines of God's Word and the fundamental principles
of our Church order.

Appendix B.

In the _Christian Intelligencer_ of June 18, 1863, in the Report of the
Proceedings of General Synod of Thursday, June 11, the last day of the
session, appeared the following paragraphs:


     "Rev. Dr. Porter arose and said that he was about to utter what to
     himself was the gladdest and happiest word he had been permitted to
     speak during the Synodical sessions, delightful as they all had
     been. He was informed by his beloved brother Talmage, that by
     permission of Synod, he would like to express briefly his content,
     in the main, with the action which the Synod had taken respecting
     the Amoy Mission. It is of the Lord. He has melted all hearts
     together as one, for his own work and honor. We see eye to eye, and
     Zion may lift up her voice in thanksgiving.

     "Rev. J.V.N. Talmage said he wished to express his gratitude to the
     fathers and brethren for all their kindness to himself and the
     Missionaries at Amoy. If the Synod has not arrived at the very best
     decision, he hoped it is the best under the circumstances. He felt
     no desire to disobey the Synod, nor will the Missionaries at Amoy.
     If we cannot organize a Classis at once, we will do the best we
     can. He had been defeated, and he had no qualms of conscience in
     submitting to the decision that had been reached."

I was willing to allow the previous, and, as I considered, very partial,
report of the proceedings of Synod to pass unnoticed, but felt that I
had no right to allow errors, such as are contained in the above two
paragraphs, to remain uncorrected. Therefore I addressed to the editor
the following note:

     "_To the Christian Intelligencer._

     "Mr. Editor:

     "In looking over the report of General Synod, as given in the last
     number of the _Intelligencer_, I find a very grave mistake in
     reference to the position taken by me near the close of the
     session. A similar mistake appears in the report made to the _New
     York Observer_.[3]

     [Footnote 3: I addressed to the editors of the _Observer_ a card,
     correcting the mistake which had appeared in their paper, and they
     published it.]

     "When, in the order of business on Thursday morning, there seemed a
     suitable opportunity for me to address the Synod, I was sitting
     near Dr. Porter, and remarked to him that I wished to make such
     address. He said that he desired to speak first. He arose and
     addressed the Synod, in substance, as is reported. I was altogether
     surprised, for I had given him no authority to speak for me;
     neither had I expressed to him or any other man the sentiments he
     attributed to me. I felt that his speech was altogether
     unfortunate, for it seemed almost to demand of me a restatement of
     my views. But I felt, also, that it would be improper, then, to
     occupy the time of Synod with any further discussion, and contented
     myself with merely taking exception to Dr. Porter's statement,
     saying that I could not use the language he had just used.

     "I also stated that although the Synod had not arrived at the best
     decision, yet _perhaps_ it was the best under all the
     circumstances. As these circumstances seem to be entirely
     misunderstood by some, I may now explain them. I had remarked in
     the previous debate, and still firmly believe, that the decision of
     Synod, if it be fully carried out, would only be disastrous in its
     results, as far as the churches at Amoy were concerned. But there
     was another disaster to be apprehended. If the Synod had allowed
     the work of God to proceed at
     Amoy, as it had always been carried forward, and with such
     marvelous blessings from on high, for so many years past, it was
     feared that some of the members of Synod would use their influence
     in the Church against that Mission, to such an extent as possibly
     to cut off the resources of the mission. Such were the
     circumstances to which I alluded, and I was well understood, at
     least by some of the members of Synod. It seemed necessary to
     choose between two evils. My own opinion was, and is, that the
     Synod had chosen the greater evil, still I was willing to yield
     'the benefit of the doubt,' and therefore remarked that _perhaps_
     (I used the word 'perhaps') the decision was the best under the

     "I did express for myself, and as I believed, in accordance with
     the views of the Missionaries at Amoy, that we did not wish, and
     never had wished to disobey the injunctions of Synod. Besides this,
     we were under obligations to do what was best for the churches
     under our care. If we were not allowed to do that which is
     absolutely best, we should do the best we could.

     "I also expressed my gratitude that the Synod had manifested so
     much patience and Christian courtesy towards myself and the
     Mission, for with one or two exceptions, not an unkind word had
     been uttered.

     "The closing sentence of my remarks being somewhat playful, might
     have been omitted from the report, but if thought worthy of
     publication, it should have been given correctly. I know that I can
     give it now with accuracy, almost _verbatim_. 'I have fought hard,
     and have been beaten; I could wish I had been able to fight better,
     but I did my best, and consequently have no qualms of conscience on
     the subject.' Does that mean that we had no qualms of conscience
     about 'submitting to the decision that had been reached?' No. It
     means that I was not responsible for the evils of that decision.

     "It will, I think, serve the cause of truth, Mr. Editor, if you
     will be so kind as to publish this card in your next issue. If I
     was so unfortunate in the use of language as not to express
     sentiments similar to the above, I desire now to express them.

     "Allow me also to ask whether you will open the columns of your
     paper for a full statement of the views of the Amoy Mission on the
     subject of the ecclesiastical relations of the churches under their
     care? I find that there is still altogether a mistaken impression
     among our churches on this subject. Our people who sustain the
     Mission have a right to know the condition of that Mission. From
     the report in the last Intelligencer, they will get no light on
     that subject, but will get the impression that some great mistake
     has been committed by the Missionaries at Amoy. _Allowing_ this to
     be the case, the Missionaries have a right to be heard before the
     churches. Let the churches understand the matter, and decide
     concerning the mistake. The Missionaries have been desirous for
     years to get their views made public, but have not yet succeeded.

"Very truly, yours, &c,
June 19, 1863.

Instead of finding my note inserted in the next number of the
_Intelligencer_ I found the following:


     "We have received from the Rev. J.V.N. Talmage, a communication
     respecting our report of his remarks at the close of the session of
     the General Synod, accompanied with a request that he be permitted
     to appeal through these columns to the Churches in support of his
     position. The communication is long, and perhaps we can give the
     substance of it briefly.

     "1st. He wishes to correct the statement of Rev. Dr. Porter. And
     this he shall do in his own words, viz.:

     "'I felt that his speech was altogether unfortunate, for it seemed
     almost to demand of me the restatement of my views. But I felt,
     also, that it would be improper then to occupy the time of Synod
     with any further discussion, and contented myself with merely
     taking exception to Dr. Porter's statements, saying that I could
     not use the language he had just used. I also stated that, although
     the Synod had not arrived at the best decision, yet perhaps it was
     the best, under all the circumstances.'

     "So far Mr. Talmage, in disclaiming agreement with the statement
     made by Dr. Porter.

     "We can, on this point, only express regret that there should have
     been either seeming or real difference. But as Brother Talmage
     confesses that our report correctly represents him as having said,

     "'Although the Synod had not arrived at the best decision, yet
     perhaps it was the best, under all the circumstances,'

     "We therefore suppose that the report of verbal differences--if the
     spirit of the remarks be anything--between him and the gentleman to
     whom he refers, cannot be accounted as very serious.

     "2d. As it respects the opening of these columns to a fresh
     discussion of the matter relating to the Amoy Churches before
     Synod, we have simply to say that we dare not give consent, for the
     following reasons: The Synod is the legislative body for the
     Church. The documents and statements respecting the Amoy Churches
     were full and thorough in the information imparted. Four sessions
     and more of the Synod were occupied with a careful preparatory
     hearing and final adjudication of the matter, and it is not the
     duty of the _Christian Intelligencer_ to allow itself to be used as
     the agent of dissension among the Churches, and of opposition to
     the constituted authority of the Synod."

Whether my views were _misrepresented_, and whether I was charged with
seeking a different object from that for which I had asked--I had not
asked that the columns of the paper be opened for a fresh "_discussion_
of the matter" which had been "_before Synod_," but "for a _full
statement_ of the views of the Amoy Mission," because of "_mistaken
impressions_" in "_our Churches_"--the Church will be able to decide as
accurately as myself. But I wish to say this much. Your Missionaries do
not consider that by becoming Missionaries they lose their rights as
_men_, and _Ministers of the Dutch Church_. They have the right to
expect that, when away from home, their reputation will be protected.
When mistaken statements concerning their views get abroad in the
Church, there should be, and we believe there is, a responsible party
whose duty it is to correct such statements. At any rate, a paper which
professes to be the organ of the Dutch Church, has no right to refuse to
the Missionaries themselves the privilege of correcting mistaken
statements of _their own views_ and _their own language_, that appear in
its columns. The Editor doubtless is responsible for what appears in his
paper. He may refuse to publish improper articles, but he may not garble
and misrepresent them without incurring reproof. The expense of
publishing in pamphlet form corrections of mistakes which appear in the
columns of a newspaper, is too heavy a tax to impose on any of the
Ministry of the Church, especially on your Missionaries; and, even then,
the corrections can be read by only a small portion of those who read
the misstatements.

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