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American The American Bible Society is one of the Bible Society. noblest unsectarian institutions in the
world. Its beneficent work eternity alone can measure and reveal. Dr. S. Irenæus Prime, the genial and famous author and editor, was corresponding secretary of the Society. A few years before his death he made a careful examination of the receipts of the New York City Bible Auxiliary. He found that for the preceding fifty years the contributions to the Society from the Presbyterian churches were five times greater than the sum total from all the other churches combined, and for the preceding seven years were six times greater. Dr. ) Prime adds that "an analysis of the sources of contributions to the Bible cause in any other city or part of the country, out of New England, will show that the Presbyterian Church contributes to this great national Society in about the same proportion."
The American Bible Society, the Amer5 “ First General Presbyterian Council”, p. 70.
and S. S.
ican Tract Society, and the American Sun- American
Tract Society day School Union are our three national religious enterprises, the importance of Union. whose work, and the utterly unsectarian character of whose management and aims, commend them equally to all Christians. One of the leading executive officers of one of these Societies, himself not a Presbyterian, said that if the Presbyterian Church should withdraw its contributions and cooperation from any or all of these Societies, their great work would thereby be ended.
The above facts and figures illustrate the nobly practical nature of the catholicity of the Presbyterian Church. She issues no formal declarations concerning unity, “For love hath better deeds than words to grace it." She simply practices that catholic Christian bigheartedness which her Bible and her Standards teach.
Her catholic spirit of love finds beautiful Catholic phil. expression in the administration of her anthrop. magnificent philanthropies. In the North* Hays' " Presbyterians", p. 353.
ern Presbyterian Church alone there are more than a dozen Presbyterian Hospitals, Homes, Orphanages, and the like, for the care of the needy and the relief of the suffering They are completely equipped, and the inmates of the hospitals enjoy the benefits of the highest medical skill and the best attendance which money can command. These noble institutions represent an outlay of millions on millions of Presbyterian money, but they are Presbyterian only in their support and management, not in the objects which they seek to relieve. Their arms are stretched forth to receive and bless all, without regard to name or creed. In one of these hospitals, seventy-four in every hundred of the inmates came from the Methodists, the Catholics, and the Lutherans, while only eight were Presbyterians. The Jews, Unitarians, and Friends helped to make up the rest.?
The catholicity of the Presbyterian Church appears in her one condition of • Hays' “ Presbyterians”, p. 352.
church membership. She demands nothing One condiwhatever for admission to her fold except
church meno a confession, uncontradicted by the life, of
bership. faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The applicant is not asked to subscribe to our Standards or assent to our theology. He is not required to be a Calvinist, but only to be a Christian. He is not examined as to his orthodoxy, but only as to his “ faith in and obedience unto Christ." 8 have imperfect notions about the Trinity and the Atonement; he may question infant baptism, election, and final perseverance; but if he trusts and obeys Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord, the door of the Presbyterian Church is open to him, and all the privileges of her communion are his.
When churches prescribe conditions of membership other than the simple conditions of salvation, they are guilty of the unscriptural incongruity of making it harder to get into the Church than into Heaven. 3 “Confession of Faith", Chap. XXVIII, sec. 4.
To such ecclesiastical tyranny and exclusiveness the Presbyterian Church stands in utter contrast. Her Standards declare that as simple faith in Christ makes us members of God's family,' so “ those who have made a profession of faith in Christ are entitled to all the rights and privileges of the Church." 10 Thus with a broad and beautiful catholicity the gates of our Presbyterian Zion are flung wide as the gates of
Heaven for all the children of God. Magnifies The Presbyterian Church is catholic in the essentials.
its embrace and emphasis of those great essentials of the Christian religion which form the common faith of evangelical Christendom. The central facts of redemption, which are at once the heart and the life of the Christian system, to wit, that Jesus Christ is very God and very man, God manifest in the flesh, the one only power unto salvation from sin and endless death
9 “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.” Gal. 3: 26.
Book of Church Order", Chap. III, sec. 3.