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The Independent. (New York, N.Y.) 18??-1928, February 14, 1884, Image 13

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February 14, 1884.] T H E (209) 17 only The Advance which antagonizes those conclusions. But why does The Advance avoid the one issue which we presented? It talks mis­ cellaneously about the responsibility for starting this discussion (we are not ashamed of our share in it), the constitu­ tion of the A. H. M. S., the history of the Chicago resolutions, everything, in fact, but the one question at issue. We put that very plainly when we said that the only reason why the A. M. A. should not be ex­ pected to attend to the care of mission white churches in Alabama or Georgia or Lousianais because it has been so faith­ ful to the Negroes that it is supposed to have incurred such a prejudice among the whites that they will not be allied with it; and therefore another society must be called in which has not incurred this caste odium. Will The Advance tell us if this is not so, and whether it desires Congregationalists to truckle to this prejudice? That is, does The Advance want churches, anti-caste if possible, but churches anyway? We don’t. Now for one or two minor points. ‘‘This discussion was forced upon us,” says The Advance. The discussion seemed to have been settled by the Conference Committee of the two societies, until The Advance opened an attack upon the conclusion then reached. “ Some officers of the A. M. A.,” says The Advance , “have undertaken to carry out a plan which we believe would be ruinous to the Home Missionary Society’s work.” We do not understand what this means. We know it is not true. Some teachers em­ ployed by the A. M. A. have protested against the A. H. M. S. carrying on a dis­ tinctive white work in the same town where they were employed. They thought it tended to raise a caste barrier to have a white society for white churches and a black society for black churches. So do we. But how would their plan be “ ruin­ ous to the Home Missionary Society’s work” in Dakota? Dr. Dana writes from Minne­ sota in this very number of The Advance that “ we have received in this state an ad­ monition from the office of the Home Mis­ sionary Society in New York to curtail as far as possible our expenditures.” If the Atlanta, Ua., work is left to the charge of the A. M. A., will the work of the A. H. M. S. in Minnesota be ruined? The Advance reminds us that the Consti­ tution of the A. H. M. S. allows it to sup­ port schools. We know that. The months are so few since that amendment that we have not forgotten it. But that does not affect the proposition at all seriously that the A. H. M. S. is devoted to church work, supporting only ministers preaching the Gospel, and establishing and supplying churches while the A. M. A. is organized on the basi6 of providing anything, educa­ tional or religious, which a people emerging into a new Christian civilization needs. We know all about that one school in Vinita; but it is an exception. The Advance says “ the A. M. A. cannot organize churches extensively,” that it “ has planted less than a hundred in its twenty-three years of labor.” But in those same states the A. H. M. S. has planted scarce a dozen. The Advance , finally, thinks we do not represent the prevailing sentiment of the Congregational churches. We think we do. If we do not we are content with represent­ ing what it ought to be; and that is what it will come to be. We have no fear that Con­ gregationalists will bow one inch to the prejudice of caste. If the white sentiment of the South stands aloof from “ Nigger” churches and the Association which has fostered them, they will bid it stand aloof rather than yield the principle. They will conquer if they fight it out on this line sooner than if they compromise. I t is n o t quite so plaiu to us as it is to the New York correspondent of The Congregational- ist th a t the Newman party in the Madison-Ave- nue C o n g regational c h u rch are ah w rong eccle­ siastically. L e t it be rem em b ered th a t Dr. New­ m an is pastor, and perm a n e n t pastor, by his action and th a t of the society, even if no ooun- cil has approved it. The relation may not be denom inationally regular, b u t it is certainly valid. A council is n o t to institu te the pastorate, but to insure fellowship, which may be secured in other ways. Both parties will now do well to seek ad­ vice in the ordinary way. MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. O n e of the subjects that demands and should receive the careful consideration of the legislature of this state, at its present session, is that of marriage and divorce. The alarming increase of divorces in this state, during the last ten years, shows that the laws regulating this subject need to be thoroughly overhauled. The attention of the people has been called to the subject by statistical statements in the newspapers, and especially by several articles which have been published in the New York Trib­ une , as well as by two or three decisions recently made by the Court of Appeals. It is obvious that the law is not what it should be, and that an effort should be made to improve it, so as, if possible, to lessen the number of divorces and make it less easy to procure them. Marriages in this state may be lawfully contracted by the mere private consent of the parties, without any ceremony. The parties have only to come to a common un­ derstanding that they will live together as husband and wife, and then they are to all intents and purposes legally married. If the question of their marriage subsequent­ ly becomes the subject of controversy in courts, as is not infrequently the case with such marriages, then the only inquiry is whether the parties had such an under­ standing; and all facts relating to this point are pertinent to prove it or disprove it. We do not believe this to be a good law, and do believe that no marriage should be legally contracted that is not publicly celebrated and recognized by some form of ceremony, to be conducted either by a min­ ister of the Gospel or by a civil magistrate. The contract which establishes the mar riage relation is one of so much importance to the family and to the well being of civil society, that it should be emphasized at the time by publicity and made solemn and impressive by an appropriate ceremony. The question whether persons who have not reached the age of legal majority in other respects should be able to enter into and consummate the marriage contract, without the consent of their parents or guardians, is one that deserves very serious conside.-atiou. It is difficult to see why a minor of either sex should be unable to make au ordinary contract which the law will recognize and enforce, and yet have the power to make a marriage contract, with­ out the consent of his parents or guardian, whioh the law will treat as valid. The lat­ ter contract surely requires the larger dis­ cretion and the higher wisdom, and is far more important in its consequences. If a young man, not yet twenty-one years of age, is not legally competent to execute a contract for the sale of ahorse, why should he be legally competent, at the early age of fourteen years, when he is but a mere boy, to enter into the most important of all con­ tracts, without any restraint or conditions, and bind himself for life? The legislature of this state, in 1830, made seventeen years the earliest age of marriage; but the statute was soon after repealed. Judge Barrett, of this city, says: “ I do not think that per­ sons under twenty-one years of age should be permitted to marry, except with the con­ sent of their parents or guardians, or, if they have none, with the consent of a proper tribunal.” Such a law would pre­ vent evils that have their source in prema­ ture marriage. And then, as to divorces, it is a question whether what are called “ partial” divorces ought not to be abolished altogether, and equally so whether the ground of absolute divorce should not be extended beyond infi­ delity to the marriage vow. So, also, the question whether the guilty party, in the case of absolute divorce, should be forbidden to marry again during tlie life-time of the other party, and, if so forbidden, whether the law of this state should not be so changed as to make the prohibition effect­ ive, presents a matter which the legislature will do well to consider. The secrecy with which divorce proceedings may be conducted, and the resulting opportunity for gross fraud, form another branch of the subject to which the legislature should apply the hand of reform. The system of what is known as “ divorce made easy,” engineered and worked by a class of law­ yers whose business is to make it easy, should be swept away, root and branch, so that it will be exceedingly difficult to obtain a divorce decree unless the facts, upon a full investigation, call for it. We merely indicate some points in the general question of marriage and divorce which the legislature should consider. It is very certain that the law, as it now stands, does not work well in this state; and if the legislature will prepare and pass a bill so regulating the subject as to make divorces less easy and less frequent, it will do a lasting good to the community in the interests of sound morality. There is no question of politics involved in such legis­ lation, and hence no reason why the mem­ bers of both parties should not unite their best wisdom in giving to the people a good law on marriage and divorce. That there is a serious evil to be corrected is, unfortu­ nately, too apparent; and there ought to be wit enough in the legislature to find the proper remedy. (Editorial ilotco. W e commence this week the publication of Joseph Cook’s series of Boston Monday Lec­ tures. O ur readers know w h at is their charac­ ter, as we have given them verbatim now W inter after W inter. This y ear they em b race one new feature, the briwf answ er of a dozen questions of a miscellaneous sort handed in by the audi­ ence. W hile we would hardly select the word “ audacious” to characterize the consent to give these answers, yet, unless Mr. Cook judiciously avoids the questions which would give him trouble, it would require considerable nerve to give clear, unam b iguous answ ers to not a few th a t would be likely to be offered. The ques­ tions of the first week are on the line of a suffi­ cient num b e r of “ burning topics,” such as Pro­ hibition, the Brahdio Somaj, Probation After D eath, the New Theology, and Andover Semin­ ary, on which Mr. Cook’s p o sition is p ronounced. His answ ers are clear a n d intelligible, although, under the circum stances, we are not so m uch im­ pressed as is Mr. Cook by the small ratio of p u ­ pils to in s tr u c to r s in Andover Seminary. Such a test would always tell against well endowed and officered institutions. We are very glad th a t the lecturer devoted his Prelude to the life of W endell Phillips. He has given us a grand panegyric. The leoture proper, though, after so long an introduction it is of necessity very short, is b u t an opening of the subject of w h at may be asked of a New Theology. We will here simply reiterate our opinion, not seldom ex­ pressed, th a t the influence of Joseph Cook we consider, upon the whole, helpful in a hundred directions, notw ithstanding the criticism s and abuse of so many. We do not pretend th a t he is really o m n iscient; we do n o t believe that he is a deep scholar, a profound student in any one of the m u ltitudinous subjects of which he treats, scientific, theological, social and political—the specialists can trip him up in any of these de­ partm e n ts —but he has read much, traveled much, thought m u c h ; and his general influence is broadening and stim u lating over thousands who need ju s t his dogm atic way of enforcing fresh thought. As a college boy it was his ambi­ tion to be a doctor doctorum; and few could have achieved their purpose more beneficently. B ish o p C o x e ’ s suggestion of a real Christian Alliance, som ething larger than an Evangelical Alliance, m u ch pleases us. Is not the time ready for a visible com b ination of P rotestant C h ristianity for advancing the Kingdom of God? The p roposition comes from the right qu a r ter— from an Episcopalian, from the very body which we m ight have supposed would be slowest to be connected with such a union. We said Protest­ ant; but we should be sorry to have such an Al­ liance aggressive against Roman Catholicism. Its business would be to advance Christianity, partly in its contest against infidelity, b u t more in its spread of C h ristian missions through the w o rld; perhaps most in its endeavors to counteract the worldliness which paralyzes so often the energies of the Church. We would raise the question whether it would be possible to reorganize the Evangelical Alliance so th a t i t m ight take on itself the task which Bishop Coxe wishes to see done. For many years i t has done very little besides sending an occasional p rotest to Europe against some per­ secution, and getting out the subjects for the Week of Prayer. B u t w ithin a few m onths it has exhibited new energy, and seems to be de­ vising new plans. Of late years the American branch seems to have been run by about two men, w ith perhaps half a dozen others to give their consent, m eetings being held very seldom, and no public m eetings attended by anybody. I t may not be impossible to galvanize it into life, and to let it provide a generous platform on which all who will agree to recognize each other’s h o n e st differences may meet to consult for the affairs of the Kingdom, giving us some­ thing larger than the Congress which the Berk­ shire pastors propose, If this fc>e impossible, we do not know of any b e tter m an to send out the invitation which will say “ L e t the few m e e t” than Bishop Coxe h im self. W e do not care to open the m a tter of the strange revolution last year in the faculty of the Syrian P rotestant College, at Beirut, which cul­ m inated in the resignation of all the professors b u t o n e in the Medical School, and the w ith­ drawal of nearly all the p u p il s ; but a related m a tter has found its way into the Eastern news­ papers, and is now public property. There is in Beirfit a hospital under the direction of a Ger­ m an mission, w ith which Dr. Van Dyck, so uni­ versally known as Bible translator, scholar and physician, has been connected as surgeon. D u r­ ing the period—nearly a y e a r —since his resigna­ tion of his professorship at the P rotestant Col­ lege, he has continued his clinics as usual, at­ tended by the medical students, and with generally from 80 to 100 p a tients at each clinic. The Ctira- torium (m a n agers) of the H o spital was well sat­ isfied and would willingly have let it go on ; but the Board of M anagers of the Protestant Col­ lege wrote to the Curatorium of the H ospital re­ m inding it th a t Dr. Van Dyck was no longer a professor in the College, and that it would be proper th a t he be no longer continued in the Hospital. Accordingly, on J a n u a ry 4th, three of the five members being present (one of them, President Bliss, of the College) this com muni­ cation was received, and Dr. Van Dyck was then dismissed at the request of the M anagers of the Syrian P r o testant College. We copy from a Beirut paper the official com m u n ic ation made to D r. Van Dyck by the Curatorium . “ B ierut , Jan. 4th, 1S84. “ Dear S ir: The Curatorium is in receipt of an official communication from the Board of Managers of the Syrian Protestant College, announcing your resignation of your position on the medical staff of that iustitution, and the acceptance of the same by the trustees of the College. “ As this resignation involves the severance of your long and honorable connection with the Hos­ pital, the Curatorium takes this opportunity to ex­ press most warmly its appreciation of your distiu- guished services, which have been at once an honor to the iustitution, and an inestimable benefit to the poor, whom you have so assiduously served. “ The President of the Curatorium, “ B ernard P e in , Pastor. “ R ev . C. V. A. V an D yck , M.D., D.D.” In presenting the above com m u n ication to Dr. Van Dyck the officers of the Curatorium added the following very significant postscript: “ The Curatorium has taken this step not from any dissatisfaction with the services of Dr. Van Dyck but only in consequence of the intimation referred to from the Board of Managers of the Syrian P rotest­ ant College. “ B ernard P ein , “ President of the Curatorium. “ G eorge M. M ackie , Secretary.” I t is not Dr. Van Dyck who will be injured by this action. The m a tter is perfectly well under­ stood in Syria, where the nam e and reputation of Dr. Van Dyck stand above all possibility of injury, honored alike by natives and foreign resi­ dents. T h e R ev . E. L. S tod da r d , of J e rsey City, whose a ttendance at the theater soon after the death of his wife had caused considerable com­ m e n t in his c h u rch, thought proper to explain the m a tter publicly from his pulpit. In our judgm e n t he made a g reat m istake, first, in going to the theater at all, and then in trying publicly to excuse the step, and we said so very plainly in these columns. We said nothing against his attending Thom as’s concerts or a n y other sim i­ lar and proper place of “ am u sem ent” ! Mr. Stoddard’s reply is as follows : To the E ditor of T h e I n d e p e n d e n t : After seeing my explanation in the daily papers, I supposed you might see the propriety of changing some of the expressions which you were pleased to use In regard to my amusing myself to drown sor­ row. It would have been kind and just. Will you allow me to state the following facts: 1. I have been to no places of “ amusement,” as the word is usually used. 2. I have attended two of the Theodore Thomas Symphony Conoerts, aud been twice to see Henry Irviug. That is all. 3. I went to these places not to drown sorrow, but to gain such knowledge and instruction as I think such entertainments may give any man in my pro­ fession. 4. I have been to hear Thomas’s orchestra and such actors as Rossi, Salvini and Irviug all my ma­ ture life, and shall continue to go. It is p art of edu­ cation. 5. I feel that criticism of such private actions, under the circumstances, is unwarrantable cruelty. Yours respectfully, E. L. S toddard . F eb . 7th, 1884. W e copied from one of the New York daily papers last week p o rtions of a telegram purport­ ing to give the particulars of a dinner given at a li*tel in Philadelphia, at which, it was alleged profane and other im p roper language was indulged in, and intoxicating drinks freely used by those present. I t is now claimed, as we h ear from reliable sources, that there was no im p rop­ er c o n d u c t or im p roper lsnguage used at this dinner by any one present, and th a t the whole Story, as published iw out' columns aud i$ many

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