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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72

Prefatory Note

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Prefatory Note.

At an April meeting of Oamaru Presbytery this season I gave notice of [unclear: tion], now superseded by this publication and otherwise, for the purpose of [unclear: ly] warning to the community with reference to the character of a new move-[unclear: ent], affecting the doctrinal constitution of the Church,—thus far in the line of [unclear: ries] of movements, originating and centring in the same quarter, which reaches [unclear: ck] to the Salmond case, A.D. 1888.

Apart from constitutional bearings of the movement on this church, the Marriage Affinity question has bearings of general interest and importance—[unclear: torical], practical, and scriptural—of which a representation is offered in the allowing pages. But it may be well that the general reader should be aware of the following facts with reference the special constitution which in this connexi[unclear: on] assailed anew.

1.—The Otago and Southland Presbyterian Church has the Confession as [unclear: trinal] basis of her constitution: even her temporal property, denominational El congregational, is by the Model trust deed held on condition of adherence to [unclear: at] standard; so that lapse from Confessional doctrine would involve, to the [unclear: sed], forfeiture of title to such property held by them. Last year's Synod, in [unclear: ri] Resolution approving the Scottish Free Church Declaratory Act, declared [unclear: hat] this was on the view, that the explanations in the said Act are consistent with the doctrinal constitution of this church. In any case, no resolution of good can change the Church's constitution; and if a majority of her courts [unclear: re] to pass from that constitution, then in point of law they and their adherents would consequently be outside of the historical Presbyterian Church of Otago and Southland.

2.—All her ministers, at their ordination (or induction, as the case may be), [unclear: ion]. as condition of their admission to her office, the following declaration and [unclear: mise] with reference to her doctrinal constitution:—

"I, . . ., do hereby declare that I do sincerely own and believe the whole [unclear: trine] contained in the Confession of Faith adopted by the several Presbyterian Churches [unclear: ring] from the Reformation Church of Scotland, to be the truths of God, and I do own the [unclear: ce] as the confession of my faith" (the italics here are mine—J.M.) . . . "I promise but through the grace of God, I shall firmly and constantly adhere to, and to the utmost [unclear: of] power shall in my station assert, maintain, and defend the said doctrine, &c."

3.—The Confessional doctrine at present in question, Chap. xxiv. 4, is set [unclear: rth] in the following terms, which have been commended for firm precision in [unclear: ment] of the generally received Christian view of the matter:—

"Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man, or [unclear: ment] of parties, so as these parties may live together as man and wife. The man may not [unclear: arry] any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of [unclear: er] husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own."

References in this publication to a Free Assembly Committee's Report (a.d. 1885) bring to view the great name of Candlish, worthily sustained by the Convener of that Committee. And it is worth noting in this connexion that, in the Free Church witness-bearing relatively to this Marriage Affinity question, a leading part has been taken by Principal Candlish's immediate predecessor Principal channingham and successor Principal Rainy (Church History professors), as well as by the Glasgow Principal Douglas (Hebrew Professor),—who apparently (at the time of his writing) reckoned Professor Lindsay's (United Presbyterian) the last book on the subject (Cunningham's only predecessor was Chalmers.)