He was a delightful companion through his gentleness, sympathy, wide range of knowledge, cheerfulness, animated and earnest speech, vigor of thought and expression, deference for the opinions and rights of others, and unselfishness. He asked nothing, demanded nothing for himself, but was alert to contribute to the enjoyment of those around him. The work of his life was of inestimable value. He was abundant in labors. Only the life to come will reveal how much he accomplished which in the highest sense was worthy of accomplishment. Those who knew him best, esteemed, loved, and trusted him the most.
Ecclesiastical Relations of Presbyterian Missionaries, especially of the Presbyterian Missionaries at Amoy, China.
By Rev. J. V. N. Talmage, D.D.
We have recently received letters making inquiries concerning the Relations of the Missionaries of the English Presbyterian Church, and of the American Reformed Church to the Tai-hoey [Presbytery, or Classis,] of Amoy; stating views on certain points connected with the general subject of the organization of ecclesiastical Judicatories on Mission ground; and asking our views on the same. We have thought it best to state our answer so as to cover the whole subject of these several suggestions and inquiries, as (though they are from different sources) they form but one subject.
Our views are not hasty. They are the result of much thought, experience and observation. But we are now compelled to throw them together in much more haste than we could wish, for which, we trust, allowance will be made.
As preliminary we remark that we have actual and practical relations both to the home churches, and to the churches gathered here, and our Ecclesiastical relations should correspond thereto.
1. Our Relation to the Home Churches. We are their agents, sent by them to do a certain work, and supported by them in the doing of that work. Therefore so long as this relation continues, in all matters affecting our qualifications for that work,—of course including “matters affecting ministerial character,”—we should remain subject to their jurisdiction. In accordance with this we retain our connection with our respective home Presbyteries or Classes.
2. Our Relation to the Church here. We are the actual pastors of the churches growing up under our care, until they are far enough advanced to have native pastors set over them. The first native pastors here were ordained by the missionaries to the office of “Minister of the Word,” the same office that we ourselves hold. In all subsequent ordinations, and other ecclesiastical matters, the native pastors have been associated with the missionaries. The Tai-hoey at Amoy, in this manner, gradually grew up with perfect parity between the native and foreign members.
With these preliminary statements we proceed to notice the suggestions made and questions propounded. “To extend to the native churches on mission ground the lines of separation which exist among Presbyterian bodies” in home lands is acknowledged to be a great evil. To avoid this evil and to “bring all the native Presbyterians,” in the same locality, “into one organization,” two plans are suggested to us.