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The o ^ ^ WESTERN Pf?ESBYTEf?/Afik
THE<j-*> ? L PRESBYTER! AN C the <5c/Jww Presbyter/an i-. vO v. VOL. LXXXVI. RICHMOND, NEW ORLEANS, ATLANTA, APRIL 4, 1917. ' No. 12 Cbttoriai J^otes anti Comment UNION of th e Northern and Southern Churches is a subject that is occupying a good deal of attention in the Northern pa pers, and doubtless will occupy much time in the approaching meetings of the Presbyteries and General Assembly of our sister Church. An excellent presentation of the matter is given by the Philadelphia Presbyterian. If all the rest of that Church felt as the editor of that paper does there be no friction anywhere be tween these Churches. Here is what he says: "A writer in one of our contemporaries quotes our account of the visit of the editor of the Presbyterian of the South, and his views as we quoted them on the matter of reunion. In his article he gives the impression that we oppose such union. The Presbyterian ever has wished for a reunion with the Presbyterian Church, U. S., known as the Southern Presbyterian Church. We would receive them with open arms, and they know it. Our objection is to any forced attempt at reunion. The Northern Church has proposed union at other times, and we feel that it would be wiser, more appropriate, and more hopeful if the proposition came from them. We hold that organization is not of the essence of the Church, and that our Lord 's intercessory prayer was not for organic union, but for union of life, faith and truth. We have this now with the Southern Church. They re ceive our ministers and members without ques tion, and we receive theirs in like manner. Our workers and speakers appear before them, and theirs before us. When they come North to live, they come right in with us in membership and office and labor. When we move South, why can we not go in heartily with them in like manner. If all will do this, it will further organic union more than anything else. Why do we need to support Northern churches in the South ? This writer says there are in Flori da 63 ministers and 111 churches of the South ern Church, and 34 churches and 36 ministers of the Northern Church. Why cannot these churches and ministers 'get together' either in comity or consolidation T If they cannot do so, why criticise the larger bodies if they fail to do this? So far as we know, every religious paper in the Southern Church opposes the pro posed union. With this fact in view, why should the Presbyterian undertake the task of convincing them! If others desire this task, we have no objection. The attitude of those now pressing for organic union, in spite of the Southern expression against it, seems to put them in the position of a young man who, after a season of courtship in which the young lady discouraged his attentions, would approach this young lady, saying, 'Our uncles and aunts want us to marry; our brothers and sisters | want us to marry; our neighbors want us to marry. I am willing to marry. Let us get married.' What could he expect but a prompt refusal f Let the Southern and Northern Churches live, love and labor together, and if organic union is desirable, it will surely come. However, the Presbyterian is heart and soul ready for reunion when the Southern brethren are ready. But we neither believe in excessive coaxing or force." + + + CONVENTIONS are the order of the day. One who questions their advisability un der any condition is likely to be misunderstood. But is there not danger in them sometimes when they are extra-denominational, whether they be interdenominational or non-denomina tional? This is especially true when they are for young people. Here is a statement which a speaker is reported to have made in "Boys' and Girls' Conference." He requested that the "Conference for boys and girls in the First Presbyterian church be not hampered by adults attempting to crowd in." This looks very much as though he wanted to have a free hand to direct the boys and girls himself, without being under the control of the Church. The constituted authorities of the Church ought to direct the young people and control their con ferences. Whenever this authority is thrown off by the young people there is great danger of their going astray. When some one else tries to lead them away from the influence and au thority of the Church and they follow such lead, it is very certain that they will go astray. The desire to throw off authority is one of the serious dangers of the day. + + + GOOD news comes from the Foreign Mis sions Committee. They report a "re cord-breaking year in Foreign Missions." They say reports from the field show 5,235 additions to the churches in heathen lands. This is an increase of nearly 30 per cent over the best previous year of our history. This is a gain of nearly 13 per cent on the total membership of last year, or about double the gain in the churches at home. + + + THE Presbyterian Banner of Pittsburg, Pa., announces a change in its editor in chief. Dr. James H. Snowden retires and Dr. Joseph T. Gibson takes his place. The Banner has flung its furls to the breezes for more than a hundred years of faithful service to the cause of true religion as it is held by, the Presbyte rian Church, and it is hoped that it may have yet many more years of the same valued ser vice. For nineteen years Dr. Snowden has directed its policy and maintained its high standard as one of the best of the Presbyterian papers of this country. It is with deep regret that we see him leave the editorial chair. We welcome Dr. Gibson back into the editorial fraternity to which he belonged in former years, and wish for him the hearty support of the members of his church, and all the joy that comes from a great opportunity faithfully used for the advancement of the cause of our Saviour. REVOLUTION in government has taken place recently in two of the largest na tions in the world, China and Russia. In each * case it has been democracy rising against au tocracy. In each case the revolution has taken place very quietly and with very little internal disturbance. In former days such changes would have been accompanied almost certainly by fearful bloodshed. Does this not seem to indicate that the world is realizing that there are better ways to settle disputes than with the sword? It also shows that people are be coming more enlightened and that they are no longer willing to have their liberties con trolled by one who claims this authority only by right of birth. As men begin to realize the value of civil liberty, they will soon see also the value of religious liberty. As they throw off the civil yoke, so will they soon throw oft" the yoke imposed upon them by any form of re ligion, which deprives them of liberty of con science. The day is not far distant, if God's people will only spread the truth, when men will stand up for both civil and religious lib erty all over the world. * + + CONSOLIDATION of the Boards of the Northern Church is a proposition that is awaking a good deal of interest in that Church. One proposition is to combine into one the Boards of Home Missions, Church Erection, Freedraen and the missionary part of the Board of Publication and Sabbath School Extension. With the omission of the last named board, this is just what was done in the Southern Church several years ago, and which has proved very satisfactory. It is claimed by the advocates of this plan that there would be a very large saving in men necessary to carry on the work, and that there would be a saving of at least $75,000 in the expenses of the boards; and they claim that the work would be better done. + + + WAR! Is it to come upon us? This is the question that is being asked today oftener than any other. For years the people of this country have felt that we were free from any such danger, especially war with any of the great European nations. But won derful changes have taken place in recent years. We may say in recent days. And to day no man can tell what a day may bring forth. Of one thing we may be sure. If we as a . nation will commit our ways unto the Lord, and trust Him, He will bring to pass that which shall be for our good and for His honor and glory. + + + WAR has been one of God's methods of punishing sinful nations through all the history of the world. It behooves us to exam ine ourselves and to repent of our sins and turn unto God that He may have mercy upon ur and deliver us.