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are yet constrained to regard obedience to this law as disobedience to the laws of Christ. If in this we err; if, indeed, we can be taught that obedience to this law is enjoined, or even permitted by the Higher Law, we shall—at least I shall-be most willing to act upon the conviction. In view of the imperfections of human reason and human judgment, I admit that, notwithstanding the interests and influences against which my convictions are formed, those convictions may, nevertheless, be wrong. If so, it now becomes a work of great moment to me, to convince me of the wrong, and to enable me to obey the requirements of this Fugitive Slave Law, without feeling or apprehending the scorpion sting of violated conscience. I hope, then, not for my sake alone, but for the sake of many others-if your own convictions in favor of such obedience are strong and clear--that you will present for our consideration the proofs and arguments which have given you those convictions. I am not unacquainted with most of the arguments, legal and moral, which have been used to sustain slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law; but those do not satisfy me. The argument should rise higher, penetrate deeper, and take a wider range, to convince the judgment or enlighten the conscience.
The Divine Philanthropy, as it seems to me, is manifested in the Christian Scriptures, in the full recognition of the principle of the universal brotherhood of man. This, to my apprehension, is the central idea of the Christian revelation--the radiating point of all Christian faith and Christian duty. Am I mistaken in this, or can the proofs, arguments, and conclusions in favor of slavery, and obe. dience to the Fugitive Slave Law, be made to harmonize with that principle?
The apostolic injunction, to be in subjection to the powers that be, is certainly a divine command, clear, simple, and concise ; but in its proper construction, it is as certainly in harmony with the teachings of the Master, as recorded in the 10th of Matthew, and elsewhere throughout his public ministry, and especially with his oft-repeated injunction, requiring of his disciples the taking up and bearing the cross--the voluntary embracement of a convict's death, under judicial sentence, for the violation of human laws. I have thought it not difficult to reconcile the antagonism to human gov. ernments and human laws, which the one lesson inculcates, with that subjection to the powers that be, which is required by the other. Can they be so reconciled to sustain slavery and obedience to the Fu ive Slave Law? If you can accomplish this, you will remove a weight of apprehension--of even dread--which presses heavily SERIES IV.- VOL. J.
As it is, I can only pray that the cross may be removed from me -that no demand may be made of me to render obedience to the Fugitive Slave Law. Should the trial come--should the cross be pressed upon me, I trust I may be enabled to adopt the concluding language of the Master's earnest prayer, and say, "O, my Father, if there be no exemption for me--if I must drink this cross-Thy will be done.”
You will, I trust, pardon the freedom of this communication, and, of course, will serve it as you may think proper. I only desire that the views and feelings common to me and many of the brethren, should be known and appreciated. I do not estimate my individual opinions as of much importance to the brethren, but yours, I am aware, are of deep import-involving much of the moral character and future destiny of this Reformation.
Yours, in Christian fraternity, OVID BUTLER.
Great and good men will and do differ in matters of great moment. I insert the following decision as worthy of consideration :
“ THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.-The unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in favor of the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, is published in extenso. It is a very able and satisfactory document, and coming from the grand focus of Abolitionism, and from a Bench of eminent learning and integrity, would, we should suppose, in addition to the overwhelming opinion of the Bench and Bar throughout the countıy, to the same effect, cause some of our young clergymen to distrust their own judgment a little, as to the constitutionality of said law, or at least to deem it possible that they might, for once in their lives, be mistaken.” New York Journal of Commerce.
The following judicial opinion on the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law, is identical with the opinion which I have formed and given, in word or writing, to many querists. We could not grammatically or historically interpret it otherwise. If, however, good and eminent men differ in interpreting the New Testament, the plainest book, so far as language is concerned, ever writ. ten, we should not think it strange. We only ask that Christian men should not cast each other off as reprobate silver, because of honest and sincere differences of opinion. In most cases, the difficulty is created by would-be demagogues, rather than by men of sound understanding, good judgment, and good intentions; by the construction of officious commentators, than by the good sense, and sound, unbiassed consideration of the individuals themselves. As
for the Fugitive Slave Law.inhibiting any acts of humanity or kindness to a colored man in distress, more than to a white man in distress, of food and lodging, I never thought it, and I am glad to have that opinion confirmed by Judge Wilkins, and all the Judges that have given an opinion on the constitutionality of the law :
“ ANOTHER JUDGE ON THE FUGITIVE LAW.-Judge Wilkins, the United States District Judge for Michigan, has charged the Grand Jury, among other things, that the Fugitive Slave Law is constitutional; that it would be, and will be executed in Michigan; and that all obstructions to an arrest, or interference with the arrested, will be punished as the law prescribes. The harboring or concealment spoken of in the act, he says, is the fraudulent act of placing the fugitive beyond the reach and knowledge of his owner. This act must be done with a fixed intention to violate the law by defeating its object, which is a fraud upon the law, as well as upon the rights which the law designed to protect.'
Although I could not see a single point on which to hang a doubt, as to the constitutionality of the law, yet as a few such men as Bro. Butler, of much legal science and well read in law, differed from me, I held my opinion, till recently, in abeyance. I am now confirmed in the opinions before expressed. We have a remark or two on Bro. Butler's communication, which I must postpone till next month.
July 4, 1851-By A. CAMPBELL: Young Gentlemen : TIME, as Ovid said of envy,carpit que carpitur
It is simultaneously consuming, and being consumed, by its own operations. Every thing that now exists, of which man takes cognizance, had a beginning, and will have an end, himself alone excepted. The sun himself, with all his glory, will grow dim; the heavens, with all their grandeur, will pass away, and nature herself will sink under the weight of years; but man alone, of all that we have ever seen, is destined to flourish in immortal youth, under a sun that will never set, and in a world that will never pass away. Were this not so, our planet, with all its tenantry, and with all its wealthmineral, vegetable, and animal-would be a maze without a plan; an agony, and nothing born.
To justify the universe and its author, man must live again. He
is, indeed, the only indestructible, immortal, and eternal being, that we have ever seen. He had a beginning, is now in progress, but will never have an end. To the eye of enlightened reason, man is the most mysterious and sublime object his eyes have ever seen. He is, in himself, a living, moving microcosm-a miniature universe-containing the seminal rudiments, the primordial elements of all that was, of all that is, and of all that will hereafter be. There will be no creation in the developments of eternity, the seeds of which will not be connate with the elements of his mysterious and sublime constitution.
In the spirituality of his nature, he communes with all that is above him, and in the modes of his present existence he sympathises with all that is below him, in which the breath of life is. Man, contemplated in his entire constitution, and in all his relations to the past, the present, and the future-to heaven and earth-ris, therefore, a spectacle of sublime and awful grandeur.
But as the eye cannot see itself, otherwise than in a mirror, so man cannot see himself, but in a spiritual and divine mirror. Such a mirror, indeed, could not be created by all the art and contrivance of man. It is, however, kindly vouchsased to us from the only source competent to its creation and adjustment to the wants of our being. In it, therefore, we must contemplate ourselves in all the dimensions and relations of our being—the most soul-subduing and ennobling study in the large circle of true science and true learning. We cannot survey the heavens but from an observatory, an apposite stand-point, and through a telescope of adequate dimensions. No more can we survey our own being--our origin, progress and destinywithout the telescope of faith, the light of heaven, and an elevated position above the mists and vapors of earth and time. But, gentlemen, as these are now to you, matters, I trust, familiar as household words, I deem it expedient to the oecasion, and to the relations in which we have hitherto stood to each other, and which are now about to be dissolved, to make one valedictory suggestion, which I desire to impress deeply and indelibly upon your minds, as one of more than ordinary importance. It is this: Just as certain as we all have our own peculiar personal identity, associations, and circum. stances, so have we each a distinct, specific, and special mission into the world, which never can be transferred to another, and on the proper execution of which our own honor, dignity and happiness, and those of some others beyond ourselves, few or many, are, by the decree of an all-wise and all-benevolent Creator, made necessarily and irrevocably to depende
As the philosophy of language and music is found in the human voice, and displayed in a definite number of vowels and consonants, with their combinations, so the philosophy of man, according to the developments of true science, as we understand it, must be sought in his own constitution, and in the relations which he necessarily sustains to his Creator and to his fellow-créatures.
But as this is a subject too great for man, our Creator has kindly given to us a special revelation on all the premises before us, from which we learn that, as in our own personality we have many mem-' bers, each of which has its own office, so, in the great family of man, every man has his own office and work.
In a great army, every soldier is contemplated either as a commissioned or a non-commissioned officer. So in the great family of Adam, every man is an educated or an uneducated officer, and has a mission either general or specific, on the proper execution of which must necessarily depend his own happiness, as well as that of his species. The single point, then, young gentlemen, to which I now direct your attention, is this: You must from this moment, as from the day of your majority, contemplate yourselves. as having received a special mission into the world. You are to consider yourselves, severally, component parts of the universe, essential to its existence or well-being as it is to yours. The whole universe looks to you as you look to it. It would not be complete without you; nor you without it. In receiving your special being and a special education, you have, in that fact, received a special mission.
But in speaking thus, perhaps I ought to say, that in this view of the universe I comprehend more than the mere masses which we Call suns, and their respective systems of attendant planets. It comprehends that, and also, all their tenantry. And not only their present, but also their past and future tenantry. It comprehends the ultimate and perfect development of every element, seed, and principle, that has hitherto existed, or that may hereafter exist. The universe, past, present, and future, is one and indivisible. There was not, there is not, and there will not be in it, one creature, or one mode of existence, superfluous or redundant. Of the tenantry of this universe, sowe are causative and active agents; others are subjective and passive agents in their being and progress. Itsauthor and proprietor is infinitely, immutably, and eternally perfect, holy, and happy, in himself, and worketh always, and in all places, according to the counsels of his own will; “ from seeming evil and from real evil, still educing good; and better still, and better thence: again, in infinite progression." SERIES IV,VOL. I