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the Free Church Presbyteries should move without any delay. Accordingly before April a large number of them had sent up “overtures ” on the subject to the Assembly of this year, and the reception of these made it nearly certain that a committee would be appointed. In that month the proposal of Dr. Marcus Dods to fill the suddenly vacant chair of New Testament Exegesis in Edinburgh raised a sharper question. His eminence was undeniable; but at the Presbyterian Council in the previous year he had read a paper, amid the protests of some not very well known Americans, that the church made a great mistake when it perilled the central faith upon the accuracy or infallibility of all parts and details of Scripture. On 29th May last, two days before the confessional question came up in General Assembly, Dr. Dods, strongly protested against on this ground, was elected by a majority of more than a hundred over the votes of two other candidates combined. And the significance of the vote was, that his appointment was proposed on the very ground on which it had been at first objected to; the mover broadly asserting that no professor should be trusted who did not put Christianity first, and the documents of Christianity unmistakably second. After this vote on Tuesday, there was no doubt about the result of Thursday. The first motion, in. deed, protested against change either of creed or subscription. But Principal Brown, the venerable head of the Free Church College at Aberdeen, then rose and moved that, while the church must adhere to its great doctrines, it recognizes “ a present call to deal with " the confession, and appoints a committee to inquire as to the advisable mode of action. The Westminster divines, he said, had made two great mistakes. They put too many things into their confession, and they reversed the order in which Scripture had put them. The centre of gravity, as he had expressed it to his Presbytery, was not now where the framers of the confession had put it. He had signed that document, but it was fiftysix years ago, as a young man; and the document, like Mr. Gladstone's Bill, was “dead.” Dr. Adam, who seconded, preferred amending by means of a Declaratory Act. Dr. Bruce, of Glasgow, leaned rather to a new, shorter, and working confession, going straight for the things that pertained to the essence of the Gospel ; and a young minister, seconding him, declared for himself and his Hegelian friends that they adhered to no system of theology at present in existence. The assembly groaned a little, but Professor Thomas Smith, while speaking against any movement, covered the statement by confessing that, if he had to frame a
into the smaller tent, empty of everything but some fresh hay, we registered for our apartments, and were soon summoned to the dining-hall. Between the main tent and the campfire a fourfoot square of canvas was spread on the ground, and a good dinner covered it. This was the table d'hôte of the establishment. The dishes were varied, abundant, and well prepared, and one seldom finds better bread, butter, tea, and coffee, even where he has change of courses and finger-bowls. A pet antelope kid would reach his nose over our shoulder for the tempting biscuit, and his foot was careless of our teacup. Fortunately a beautiful Angora goat, balf grown, was not so bold. A large cottonwood stood near by, overhanging the “hotel” and grounds. Its foreshortened limbs afforded natural hooks and pegs for all the loose miscellany of a kitchen, sitting-room, and sleeping-room. A coarse box standing against it was a good washstand, and the limb-pegs held water-bucket and towels above the long-reaching neck and nose of the beautiful, impertinent antelope.
Back of us, screened by the poplar grove, flowed and rippled the Green River (well so called from its marine color), two gunshots wide. On both its banks, and here and there, and from one to ten miles off, were the stock of this ranchman, steers, sheep, and Angora goats, all counting up strongly into the thousands. In front and to the east the illimitable sage-plains ran off into the horizon, broken some with mesa and butte; and far beyond, one, two, and three hundred miles, one could discern the low, blue line of mountains, extending up north from the South Pass to the Wind River Mountains. Over the whole tumbled panorama Fremont's Peak, high lifted, keeps watch, and for hundreds of miles in all directions from our hotel you cannot escape the eye of that watchful sentinel for any long time.
The nearest human shelter, unless a wigwam, was probably ten miles off. Into such a “rural district” our host had moved for a summer rest, and in Abrahamic style, with his flocks and herds, and men-servants, that is, cowboys. In doing it he had escaped the hum and bustle of his home life, fifty miles up the river, where he had a log cabin, and not three houses more, for neighbors, within twenty-five miles ! How he must have enjoyed his quiet vacation in this flight to the country! No pavements for rattling wheels on those square miles of lawn; no tablet warnings to “ keep off the grass ”; no newsboy cry of some third edition of an awful accident; no importunate offer of a wide-awake boy to “shine" his moccasins !