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REPORT

OF THE CONGREGATIONAL EDUCATION

SOCIETY.1

REV. EDWARD S. TEAD, SECRETARY, BOSTON, MASS. It is a truism - perhaps we have repeated it too often — that the Congregational churches demand an educated ministry. It takes both common sense, sanctified, and a large intelligence to successfully maintain a church of our order.

Since the day when the first settlers on these shores promised, “to the end that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers,” and devoted a fourth part of all moneys raised by taxation to the establishment of the school, and founded Harvard and Yale that the churches might have “an educated and godly ministry," to the present, this high purpose has marked our branch of the Church Universal. In some instances, and for a little, they have not held to this aim under the pressure for Christian workers in our rapidly developing West and in our great cities. But that era has mostly passed and, through a costly experience, we are finding an original requirement should be maintained.

The Education Society was first formed to aid “needy young men of piety and ability in acquiring an education for the Gospel ministry. Not a few such would otherwise be much hindered, if not altogether unable to reach that result, by the necessity of earning their own support during their student days. The church, it was thought, could well afford to help itself by thus assisting its chosen youth.

Since the organization of this society in 1815, between eight and nine thousand persons have been its beneficiaries. Most of these have honored — many in an eminent degree — the trust thus reposed in them.

While the importance of the ministerial office has much changed in the popular estimation, still this work is held by many to be as. imperative as ever. This is not the time nor the place to discuss that question. I am simply to make some report of what your society is attempting at present.

During the last year we have distributed nearly $7,000 among 139 candidates for the ministry, in our various seminaries and colleges. While, by the nature of the contributions received, the directors do not feel authorized to restrict these grants to the form of a loan, yet that method is now strongly advised in every case. Neither do they feel justified in offering them only on conditions of superior scholarship, though fair attainments in this particular are required. By either method the self-respect of the applicant is preserved and he feels that he is not accepting the dole of charity. It may be of interest to know that the various beneficiaries of the society, in other days, were asked a few years ago if they could and would refund, in whole or in part, the sums they had received. A large number did willingly respond, some sending the full amount with interest on the same, and so several thousand dollars were returned to the society's treasury, enabling us to send it forth again on its helpful errand.

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But we do not lay much stress on the duty of aiding our future ministers by gifts of money. We are well aware of the eager pressure of applicants for every important and even obscure vacancy in our churches, albeit not all from those trained in our denominational schools and ideas. Ours seems a fair preserve for hungry hunters of every name and record. It might be a blessing if, for a while, we were unable to find nearly enough ministers, good and indifferent, to stand on our pulpits. From a glut to a famine in the clerical market would be a novel experience, and appreciation for the man and the office may be possible only thus. Soliciting funds to equip men who will pester the life out of church committees is not a promising occupation for anybody. We send forth none to do it. We grow optimistic and fall back on the general law of demand and supply, which will work on, as heretofore, under the wise guidance of Him in whose kingdom each one finds his place.

Our chief service has rather become that of aiding our new and struggling colleges and academies to offer their students the very best educational advantages. We are expending by far the larger part of our receipts in the payment of deficits in their current expenses, and, where a vigorous effort is being made to cancel a burdensome debt or raise an endowment, offering substantial amounts on condition that the whole is secured. To this end, we are sending our most acceptable and efficient Western Secretary – Dr. Clifton into the States and communities where these schools are located, and where he uniformly conducts successful debt-raising campaigns. He is fast winning the honorable name of “ Educational finangelist.” We are thus setting one and another of these enterprises upon their feet, in a happy independence of any society.

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We have in this way expended the last year nearly $60,000. Four colleges,“ Pomona" (Calfornia)," Fairmount" (Kansas), “Fargo" (North Dakota), and “Rollins ” (Florida), are now upon our list. Each of these, it may be presumed, feels that the directors fail to appreciate their special need, because larger appropriations are not made. Sometimes the conditions seem desperate, and much personal privation is calmly borne by those in charge of them. Small salaries unpaid excite bitter thoughts toward an organization which is mistakenly supposed to have guaranteed them a reasonable living. But the society can only give of what it receives. It is more than ever determined to avoid a debt. We are confidently hoping that this demand will gradually cease as the colleges become endowed and the newer States are provided with proper educational facilities. Now we are turning our attention more particularly to the academies which our and their notable benefactor Dr. Pear

says will henceforth chiefly receive his aid. Of these, we have at present twenty-one on our list, including several of the New West schools, which have come by transfer under our care. These are indispensable in regions where good High Schools do not exist. It is supremely important that the instruction of our young men and women be under distinctly Christian teachers and those who are in cordial alliance with our churches in their holy efforts. An unreligious, though cultured, civilization has within it the sure elements of its own overthrow. Most gratifying reports are received from many of these institutions grateful for the relation they hold to the society. Since the union of the Education Society with the New West Education Commission - a union made in the hope of economy of administration the economy has been mainly on the part of the contributing churches, which, for the enlarged work, have not begun to give what they did for the two causes separately, but appear to rejoice that they are relieved of one applicant for their donations. They are grateful that one beggar has at last died. As a consequence, the Education Society has been obliged to share its already too inadequate stores with another very lusty dependent. Aside from the small returns from the property, formerly held by the New West Commission, special receipts for our work among the Mormon settlements have almost ceased.

If our people, East and West, are thoroughly persuaded of the educational missions of Congregationalism, then let them more generally and generously recognize this their appointed agency to that end! If they still acknowledge the claims of missions anywhere in the earth, let them see to it that this society, which largely equips those who go forth, under our denominational standards, among the nations does not lack for ample means! If they pride themselves on their patriotic spirit and service, — and who may more properly than the Congregationalists, – then let them more widely and munificently endow this their own creation, which is training up our youth to become laborers in every department of noble activity in our broad land! The Christian scholar, well disciplined by faithful study in the academy and college, which our timely assistance has made possible, may go forth in varied callings to a greater success and a wider influence than is given to many a pastor, made such through donations of money from our treasury. The pulpit is no longer the only " throne of power.” It rests, as never before, on the consecrated, intelligent, broad-minded support of men and women, who distinguish between wisdom and knowlledge, and who esteem nothing valuable in learning which does not have its inspiration, development, and end in Jesus Christ.

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CONSTITUTION, BY-LAWS, AND RULES OF ORDER OF

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL.

CONSTITUTION.

[Adopted Nov. 17, 1871.) The Congregational churches of the United States, by elders and messengers assembled, do now associate themselves in National Council,

To express and foster their substantial unity in doctrine, polity, and work; and

To consult upon the common interests of all the churches, their duties in the work of evangelization, the united development of their resources, and their relations to all parts of the kingdom of Christ.

They agree in belief that the Holy Scriptures are the sufficient and only infallible rule of religious faith and practice, their interpretation thereof being in substantial accordance with the great doctrines of the Christian faith, commonly called evangelical, held in our churches from the early times, and sufficiently set forth by former General Councils.

They agree in belief that the right of government resides in local churches, or congregations of believers who are responsible directly to the Lord Jesus Christ, the one head of the Church Universal and of all particular churches; but that all churches, being in communion one with another as parts of Christ's Catholic Church, have mutual duties subsisting in the obligations of fellowship.

The churches, therefore, while establishing this National Council for the furtherance of the common interests and work of all the churches, do maintain the scriptural and inalienable right of each church to self-government and administration; and this National Council shall never exercise legislative or judicial authority, nor consent to act as a council of reference.

And, for the convenience of orderly consultation, they establish the following rules :

1. Sessions. — The churches will meet in National Council every third year. They shall also be convened in special sessions

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