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their history in all former ages, and it is melancholy to reflect, that although the light of science burst upon the nations with a radiance perhaps never equalled, that although the rights of man and the liberty of conscience became well understood, yet it brought no mitigation to the suffering and helpless African. Although a burning and a shining light might here and there arise, pleading, as an angel of mercy, the cause of weeping humanity, it was but to become extinct amidst a moral gloom which its own light had rendered more visible. Mammonism, that moral madness of the soul, had become the epidemic of the day, and humani. ty, with all her soothing eloquence, and religion, with all her benevolence, with all her hopes, with all her fears, were impotent to move the human heart.
That we, as a component part of the British nation, partook of this odious traffic to the extent of our means, both as sellers and buyers, will not be doubted, and the only point that admits of question is, whether any part of the guilt rested on our heads, inasmuch as the ruling power of the commonwealth was in the mother country, and we were at that time in a state of colonial vassalage? But whatever plea of justification might be urged in our favor, on account of our not being permitted to participate in acts of sovereignty whilst in our nonage, it must forever vanish when we reflect that, on arriving at the age of maturity, and taking full possession of our patrimony, we confirmed to the utmost extent, and fully acknowledged as our own, these iniquitous transgressions of our guardian. Not only did we continue to hold in bondage those who had already been transported to our shores, but, as if it were the purpose of Heaven to leave us without the shadow of excuse, the traffic for a time was carried on with the utmost avidity. Nor was it the work of this or that State over which others could properly exercise no control, but it was the work of all. From New Hampshire on the north to Georgia on the south, all appear to have participated in the unholy deed, some as kidnappers, some as slavers or carriers, some as sellers, some buyers.
Here then is evidence, clear as the noon-day sun, that the north and the south stand deeply implicated in guilt, but it may be questioned whether the free States in the interior stand reeking with the blood of their fellow beings. It is true, indeed, that if the inhabitants of those States had come from regions where such traffic was unknown, and where the rights of man were not trodden under foot, an exemption from the contraction of this guilt might be plead with plausibility, but how the mere change of our local habitations could purge us from moral impurities, it would be difficult to divine. This guilt attaches not to our moun. tains, 10 our valleys, to our rivers, nor to any other feature of external nature around us, but lies deep within, and must there remain until deep repentance, accompanied by the exercise of justice and kindness, shall give evidence that it has been removed.
(To be continued.)
ART. III. Inceptum occultare proditores. MR. EDITOR:
In glancing over the pages of the new periodical which has recently appeared among us, entitled “The Associate Presbyterian Magazine," my eye accidentally fell upon the following words :-“ Unavailing efforts for peace.”* Such a title, in such a publication, I had not looked for; the thing appeared incredible; and I was almost on the point of suspecting some visual illusion. The glasses were removed, and yet the same words met the naked eye; the handkerchief was freely applied to those faithful friends of the eyes, when they were replaced, and lo, the same words still appeared! The editor of the Magazine engaged in unavailing efforts for peace !
Having satisfied myself that I had read correctly, I was compelled to refer the mistake to the editor, when the title prefixed to this paper immediately suggested itself as a suitable correction ; or if that be thought too strong, the reader may substitute—" An attempt to conceal iniquity.” For such is believed to be the true character of the article entitled, by a strange misnomer, " Unavailing efforts for peace.” This is my deliberate, and I hope, unbiassed judgment. And I hope to prove, by an appeal to facts, ihat I have not erred in judgment. For I would not, knowingly, inflict injury upon any man living, much less upon any who profess to love our Lord Jesus Christ; and if the following pages contain errors, I call upon the friends of truth to correct them. But if they shall be found to contain nothing but what is according to truth and righteousness; if the facts be true ; if the principles and the reasoning be according " to the law and the testimony," the purity and prosperity of the Associate Church, the spiritual interests of her members and their children, imperiously demand that they should be acted upon by the Synod.
This article sets forth that a majority of the late Synod :
1. “ Manifested opposition" to the peace and edification of the church.
2. That “it is admitted ON ALL HANDS" that our " difficulties arise not from error in doctrine, or immorality of conduct in any"-but from a spirit of contention” and “ unceasing persecution.”
3. That “there was no peace in the words, none in the actions," of a majority of Synod.
4. That “they resolved to exercise power in rending and destroying more and more."
5. That they manifested their impiety by rejecting a proposition to set apart a day " for the exercises of prayer and fasting."
6. That “the elder from Allegheny was insulted and embarrassed by the sneers and levity of some members" while delivering a "feeling address.”
7. That “ war, even to extermination was in their hearts !"
And what do you think, reader, is the evidence adduced to prove these heavy charges ? Simply the rejection of six resolutions which they say were " prepared by the Rev. J. Rodgers, with the concurrence of other western ministers." And what were these talismanic resolutions, that were, as by magic, to restore peace to a suffering community, and the rejection of which manifested war in the heart, even to extermination ? All that is important in these resolutions is contained in the 2d, 5th and 6th, as the reader may easily discover by referring to them in the Maga
See Associate Presbyterian Magazine for September, 1838, p. 80. | It is due to Mr. Rodgers to say, that the writer has been informed that these resolutions were NOT prepared by him: he can, however, speak for himself. It is a matter of no consequence who prepared the resolutions ; it is with their pernicious principles that we contend.
zine. The 2d provides that “Messrs. Stalker and Stark, and Drs. A. and P. Bullions, be considered in good standing in their respective Presbyteries; that all proceedings pending in their case be stayed, and all censures removed.” The 5th provides that “ all parties concerned in these unhappy difficulties above referred to, be admonished, in future to avoid agitating the subjects which have brought on these difficulties." The 6th provides that “ the bond for covenanting be read, and the obligations recognized by the members of this Synod.
It is proposed to make a few remarks, first, upon these resolutions, and secondly, endeavor to show that the revilinç accusations of the Magazine, founded upon their rejection by the Synod, are utterly groundless.
And respecting the resolutions, let it be observed that they propose to stay all proceedings, remove all censures, stop the mouths of every member of Synod against the moral delinquencies of the four brethren therein named, however aggravating and flagrant their conduct may be. In a word, they propose to abrogate the discipline of the Associate Church in the case of these brethren. What a reproach, what ignominy, can atone for the crime of a majority of the Synod in refusing to abolish rules of discipline which they had solemnly covenanted to God and with their brethren, to maintain "in all places and through life !"
But in order to understand the true character of these resolutions, it will be necessary to notice the peculiar relation in which the four brethren stood to the Synod at the time they were o offered.
Ths first named, Mr. STALKER, a member of the Presbytery of Cambridge, had “ denied the right constitution of that Presbytery'—had accused them “of a want or brotherly love, of acting solely trom a spirit of suspicion and cruel jealousy,” and had declared his determination to support Dr. A. Bullions in his disobedience to Presbytery," &c. And when arraigned before Presbytery to answer for this conduct, he declined their authority, for which he was deposed. For a full statement of the case, see the Presbytery's published Narrative.
The second, Dr. A. Bullions, had been deposed by the same Presby. tcry, on a great number of charges, such as slander, deception, and giv. ing currency to anonymous slanderous letters, o e of which contained a forged post-mark, was addressed to himself, in his own hand writing, and contained a foot notc, which was also in his hand; and had finally declined their authority. For particulars in this case, see also the above named Narrative.
The third, the Rev. A. Stark, had been charged by the Presbytery of Albany, in 1836, with “writing and publishing pamphlets of a mendaci. ous, calumnious and ribaldish character”—with " defaming and slandering church courts"--and the character of individuals"-with “ lying" and “injurious misrepresentations"_" with publishing pamphlets breathing an infidel spirit, of an infidel tendency, and containing profanations of God's holy word”—and with “ employing scurrilous and ribaldish language." And after he had been cited three times, he declined their authority, without an appeal to Synod, in the following words :—“My absence need not hinder the Rev. Presbytery from doing just as they please with their libel, because I do not think that in present circumstances I can in any way countenance their proceedings, and I hereby give notice that I protest against their interfering with me in any way, and that I shall hold as null and void, and of no account, whatever decisions they may make.” The Presbytery then referred the libel simpliciter to Sy. pod, reserving the right, however, to deal with Mr. Stark for his de. clinature and for language used in it.* The Synod of 1836, accepted, tried, and found the libel proved. Mr. S. declined their authority: he was suspended. (See Rel. Mon. vol. 13, p. 40.) Through the ex parte statements of his friends, and in the absence of those who knew all the facts, the Synod of 1837 agreed to review the deed of suspension, and admitted him to a seat without reviewing. He returns, claims his seat in the Presbytery of Albany, (while he distinctly refuses to retract his former declinature,) which of course was refused. And in 1838, he declines the authority of the Synod, and abandons the communion of the church, because the Synod sustained the Presbytery of Albany in excluding a man from a seat who persisted in declining their authority! And in this, he has been joined by others, who are now actively engaged in the charitable and christian work of caluinniating their foriner brethren! This is the true state of the case. Let the editor of the Magazine and his coadjutors mystify and misrepresent, and lurk behind technicalia ties, and present false issues, as they please, this is the true state of the case ; and the facts here exhibited have become matters of histori. cal record.
The fourth named brother, the Rev. Dr. P. Bullions, had been charged with "insubordination”—“misrepresenting and slandering his Presbytery" _"misrepresenting facts in a paper given to Mr. Stark and published in one of his pamphlets.” This paper contains statements false and slanderous respecting Mr. Webster, and was read in Synod in 1837, when Mr. W. was not present to vindicate himself.
Now the above enumerated charges, which lie against the four brethren, are either true or false. If false, why have they uniformly refused to abide a trial in violation of their ordination vows? Mr. Stark told the Synod, that he did not wish to be tried by any ecclesiastical court ! Would honorable men rest under such imputations? Would they not demand a trial ? But it is of no consequence what men would or would not do; the Synod had no alternative left them. They must either demand a trial or abandon their profession. They chose the former. But if these charges are true, and their refusal to be tried furnishes us with a warrant to assuine their truth, then their reproaches and slanders are trivial in comparison with the calamity to the church, that must have attended their continuance among us. I can say in reference to their separation, in the language attributed to the Rev. A. Gordon, “ I am truly thankful for it."
But the sixth resolution proposes a new species of covenanting, heretofore unknown in the Secession Church. It has always been customary in the secession to introduce solemn public covenanting work, with a humble, full and public confession of sins, and then to swear and subscribe the bond. But here we have a proposition first to conceal iniquity, then read the bond, and call upon members to recognize its obligation. In what manner this obligation was to be recognized, whether by swearing, subscribing, or a simple nod of the head, the resolution saith not. It must have been a most heart-rending calamity to these pious brethren, not to be permitted to covenant in this summary manner with
Without impeaching the Presbytery or Synod, the reference by the Presbytery, and acceptance and trial by the Synod of this libel, has ever been regarded by the writer as a serious error, which more than any thing else, enabled Mr. Stark to raise a party against the discipline of the church. Accordingly, we find that Mr. Stark, or the editor of the Magazine, now taunts them with this false lenity. The course pointed out by the Book of Discipline should have been fol. lowed.
dear brethren who manifested war in the heart, war, even to extermination!
Again : The adoption of these resolutions would have been to confound all distinction between the guilty and the innocent-to “condemn the righteous and justify the wicked.” All parties concerned” were to “be admonished to avoid agitating the subjects which brought on these difficulties." That is, those persons who had had things laid to their charge which they knew not, were to be admonished not even to declare their innocence. They were quietly to acknowledge themselves guilty of any crime which the malicious might choose to fix upon them, however conscious they might be of innocence, and however strong might be the evidence against their calumniators! And not only so; they were to "stay all proceedings” and “ remove all censures," against fraud, de. ceit, lying, slander, open and concealed, the circulation of anonymous letters with forged post-marks, addressed to the person who put them in circulation in his own hand-writing, and of pamphlets of an infidel tendency! Any church court which could for a moment so far lose sight of its high and responsible duties, as to adopt such a resolution, would indeed be unworthy the confidence of children.
This has been a favorite resort with our delinquent brethren. When called to account, by the constituted authorities of the church, for their aberrations from the path of duty, they have acknowledged “acts of indiscretion"_" unchristian feelings and motives”—"a spirit of contention and persecution.”. (For, say they, “it is admitted on all hands, that there is at least as much that is worthy of blame on the one side as on the other.") But then the principles of church policy, which we have indeed swore to maintain, are “ despotic”-contrary to “civil and religious liberty"-lead those who adopt them to “imbibe a persecuting spirit" —and" extinguish all generous sentiments" towards our sins. When we made a solemn profession of these principles of church policy, we never intended that they should be applied to us. We only intended them as a rod to be held over the heads of such as might refuse to yield us that respect and deference, which we judge due to our superior merits ; or who might have the temerity to expose our schemes of personal aggrandizement !
But then we are willing to confess "indiscretion," if you will only do the same. Though we have slandered our brethren, they ought to acknowledge themselves as equally guilty with us! Though we have professed obedience to church courts, they are fallible; they have erred, and may err again ; therefore we insist that they shall confess themselves guilty, and then we will acknowledge our guilt for having declared them guilty! Mirabile dictu! It was actually proposed in the Presby. tery of Cambridge, by his brother-in-law, to vote Dr. A. Bullions clear of a certain charge, and then rebuke him! Rebuke him for being innocent!
To illustrate the inconsistency of these views so much insisted on by our brethren, let us suppose a familiar example. An individual is arraigned before one of our civil tribunals on a charge of slander. He comes into court, acknowledges his indiscretion; but then courts of jus. tice are fallible ; they have erred and may err again ; I propose to stay all proceedings, remove all penalties; and that all the parties concerned, court and jury, and all the members of the bar, and all others, be “admonished to avoid in future agitating the subjects that brought on these difficulties ;” and if you refuse to adopt this rule, I will publish you to