Images de page

be rendered) men-dealers.We have put down covetonsness first, as that is the source from which slavery flows-the love of


which is the root of all evil,-avarice.

We have no Dictionary of the English language at hand; except Walker, who defines covelousness to be “avarice" “greediness of gain," &c. “Extortioner" is derived from "extort,” which is thus defined: “to draw by force, to force away, to wrest, to wring from one, to gain by violence or oppression, or by usury. The Apostle says (1st Corinthians, v. 11, “If any man that is called a brother, be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such a one no not to eat.” Now if slave-holders are not “covetous, extortioners," we would not know where to find such characters. And the text just quoted, we think, is an ample justification of the course which the Secession church has pursued in excluding slavehoiders from church fellowship. We bless God for the faithfulness to which they have already attained on this subject—the discipline of the church being an appointed means in the hand of God to reclairn froward sinners; and we humbly pray it may be made etlectual for this end.

But to return. As it respects “adultery,” slavery is a system of adultery, and does in all cases produce this evil fruit, as in the plentitude of its power, it refuses to achnowledge the legality of the marriage covenant, entered into by its victims. Also by the same assumption of power, it prevents parents and children from discharging their reciprocal duties, and consequently, is chargeable with "disobedience to parents." Slavery is awfully chargeable with generating that wicked disposition “hateful and hating one another." Slavery has a tendency to degrade its victims to the level of the brute that perisheth. Is not that the reason why we despise our colored brethren, and refuse them that love and courtesy which God has commanded us to extend to all the human fainily? We are also constrained to believe that the Apostle James had slave-holders in view, when he drew his picture--it has such a striking resemblance to the original, (James, v. 1-5.)

What we have dwelt upon in this discussion, is the system of slavery, (separate and apart from its practical enormities) viz. the principle of holding man as property. If it is lawful to hold man as property, it will justily the greater part of the enormities of the system. In short, if man is properly, we are authorised to dispose of him in any way which would best subserve our interest, however it might agonize his tenderest affectious. He must be entirely at the disposal of the owner. We think it quite consistent with the principles of the system, that he should have the power of life and deaih, and indeed it is a mere pretence to say he has not. We are all aware of the corrupring influence of absolute dominion. Hence it plainly appears there is no remedy for the flagrant practical evils arising from slavery, but to eradicate the root, cut off the property-holding power. Now we think we have given scripture, and arguments enough to show that man is not lawful property, and cannot be held as such, without highly infracting God's laws; and whoever holds him as such, is accessary to all the enormities of the system. It is humiliating in this enlightened age to be put to the necessily of adducing a series of arguments, to demonstrate, that a man belongs to himself, that he owns his own bones and muscles, and mental faculties, when he is in actual possession of them—the possession of which, and God giving laws how he is to exert those faculties, is proof positive, thal, so far as man is concerned, he is the sole proprietor. Can there a doubt remain that it is not highly immoral to extort those faculties from the rightful owners, and appropriate then to our own use? Is it not mun-steuling?

Now we think if we have been so happy as to make ourselves understood, that we have succeeded in showing that slavery is essentially immoral in itself, or in other words, is sin. It is both “a want of conformity unto, and a transgression of the law of God.” We will now test the qualities of this system by the fruit it bears. It is generally customary to show the sufferings inflicted on the slave, in order to delineate the evils of slavery-bui we will show the moral evils that it inflicts on the upholders and abettors of this system. And for this purpose we will give the testimony of slave-holders themselves.

In a short extract from a pamphlet, published some time since by order of the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, is the following : “ The influence," say they, "of the negroes upon the moral and religious interests of the whites, is destructive in the extreme. We cannot go into especial detail. It is unnecessary. We make our appeal lo universal experience. We are chained to u putrid curcase-it sickens and destroys us. We have a mill stone hanged about the neck of our society, to sink us decp in the sea of vice. Our children are corrupting from their infancy, nor can we prevent it. Many an anxious parent, like the missionaries in foreign lands, wishes that his children could be brought up beyond the reach of the influence of the depraved heathen. Nor is this influence confined to mere childhood. If that were all, it would be tremendous. But it follows us into youth, into manhood, and into old age. In all our intercourse with them, (the slaves) we are undergoing a process of intellectual and moral deterioration; and it requires almost superhuman effort to maintain a high standing, either for intelligence or piety.”. What a deplorable picture of moral depravity, and intellectual deterioration! Their own mouths have testified against them.

These Rev. Gentlemen ("blind guides" we fear) were investigating the practical enormities of their system, in order to remedy the evils of it, without any idea of its abandonment. If they had applied this unerring lest to the case in hand, and applied the remedy provided in such cases, they would have showed themselves more like “scribes who were instructed unto the kingdom of heaven,” viz. “ a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit, every tree that bringeih not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cust into the fire." We see that our slave-holding brethren, by forging chaios for others, have become enchained themselves.

They say

we are chained to a putrid carcase, it sickens and destroys us." O wretched men that they are ; who shall deliver them from this body of death? Christ says, come unto me all ye that are weary, and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." “Let them loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free," and that will break every yoke ; let them unchuin the slave, and then they will themselves ulso be unchained. Satan has nothing but chains in his kingdom, but mankind are prone to cling to them as though they were regal ornaments. It is truly astonishing to see with what pertinacity they cling to this sinful institution. The god of this world hath blinded their eyes. Is christianity so impotent that she is to yield to the giant grasp of this foe of God and man? Has it chariots of iron, and therefore are men not able to thrust it out of the church of God? Is not the omnipotent God pledge ed for the existence and extension of Christianity? And he is King of kings and Lord of Hosts. Christianity has no need to immolate human victims on the altar of slavery, to satiate the appetite of avarice and despotism to gain admittance into the world. And what would it gain by such admittance? why forsooth, it would gain slave-holding members to its churches, and thus obtain the mighty and the noble. This would ingratiate us into the favor of slave-holders, and they themselves being persuaded of the evils of slavery, we might thus procure their aid, as they are the only people who have power to abolish it. But we have no need of any unholy alliances, for the purpose of eradicating slavery, or any other immorality; as “he whose fan is in his hand will thoroughly purge his floor." We humbly hope that there are many amongst the slave-holders, who are bewailing the evils of slavery-we feel for their unhappy situation, but we think there should be action on the subject, as faith without works is dead. The God that sustained Moses and Aaron in their enterprize, can also sustain them. They may be few in number, though if an host encamp against them, they need not be afraid; if the Lord of Hosts be on their side, one shall chase a thousand. They ought not to forget to avail themselves of that powerful auxiliary, prayer.

We think if our brethren in the slave-holding States, who were formerly members of the Secession Church, had a due estimate of the privileges of God's house, they would not for so slight a cause as the abjuration of slavery, give up their fellowship in the church. There is no judgment more to be deprecated, than the removal of the candlestick. If that fails to awaken, God will send desolating judgments, that may be felt; for he is pledged to hear the groans of the oppressed. The terms of the Secession Church, can not operate on them with more loss to their pecuniary interest, than did our Saviour's to the young man in the gospel, -"Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor," &c. Christ will not have a rival in our affections. They are noi required by the act of the Secession Church to give any of their property to the poor, they are only required to return to the poor what is evidently their owi, viz. their bones and muscles. The officers of Christ's house have no authority to make the terms of church fellowship any wider than Christ has made them. Christ does not allow his ministers, when fishing for men, to use the world for a bait. He said except ye forsake all, ye cannot be my disciples. They have no authority to give indulgences to commit sin, from any supposed benefit arising from it; though obedience to God's commands has the promise of temporal blessings, as well as spiritual, as far as it is for God's glory, and their own good. And recent occurrences fully demonstrate, that emancipation is profitable, even as it respects pecuniary interests.

There is another class of mankind that the ministers of Christ have a special niessage to, viz. the wounded, the despoiled, the distressed, the afflicted and the down-trodden. To these they are to act as did the good Samaritan, and to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, and preach deliverance to the captives. Ethiopia is also to stretch out her hands to God. Would it not be enough to petrify the heart of the slave, and to forever seal it against a religion ihat would sanction the oppressor in robbing him of every thing that endears human existence, and putting him to grind in the prison house ? Could they think God pitios them, as a father pities his children, when he approves of their brethren of mankind, in thrusting them from the society of men, and ranking them with the beasts of the field; blotting out their name from under heaven, so that they are known on the earth only as beasts of burden for their brethren, and excluded from the privilege of showing their love to their Saviour by keeping his commandments? Could they believe that they had a mansion in their father's house in the heavens, if when traveling through the pilgrimage journey of this world, they are maile to think that it is by God's authority they are thus treat: ed, as if they were an execration on the earth ?

We will now close our remarks. We feel that we have too heavily taxed the pages of the Monitor, and the patience of its readers, by the length of this essay. When commencing this article, we had no idea of making any more than a few passing remarks, as we said, on the sentiments adduced by our brother A. R., and others on his side of the question; but our anxiety for the extirpation of slavery, the scourge and disgrace of mankind, from our country, has inadvertently led us, step by step, into this protracted discussion. We hope A. R. will once more minutely view this subject through the glass of God's word. We give him full credit for his integrity of purpose, but he is certainly doing a very great unkindness to those he would wish to befriend—they certainly have no need of opiates, they have more need of a voice of thun. der to arouse them from their lethargy, lest they sleep the sleep of death. Every friend to his God, friend to his country and friend to his species, should lend his aid for the removal of so pernicious an institution. We would hail that day with peculiar delight, when slavery will be abolished, not only in our own country, which with all its faulis we sincerely love, but that it will be abolished throughout all the world. We would consider it a harbinger of that blessed day when God will take unto himself his great power and reign; when the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ."


Art. III. An examination of the decision of the Associate Synod of

1838, respecting the two parties claiming to be the Presbytery of Albany.

There is a common propensity among men to judge between contending partics, and to espouse the cause of the one or the other; and this propensity is not always restrained till the means of forming a correct judgment are afforded. In the decision of the late Synod respecting the parties claiming to be the Associate Presbytery of Albany, the means of forming a correct judgment are only exhibited partially and in a scattered form ; some of them being contained in the Minutes of preceding years, and in other publications, some only to be ascertained by comparisons of different documents, and others again only known to such as were present to hear the statements of the parties, and the reasonings of the members of Synod. It is a judicious method in church couris, when any decision of importance is made, to accompany it with the reasons which gave rise to it. This however the Synod has not fully done in the present case, and, in consequence of this, mistaken apprehensions have prevailed to some extent. Although not possessing any authority from the Synod to interpret their views, or presuming to suppose that the views to be expressed will be found exactly agreeing with ihose wbich influenced their decision, I hope I may be allowed as an in. dividual to state my opinion, and my belief of what was the opinion of others.

To understand this case correctly, it is necessary to give a history of it. In 1836, the Presbytery of Albany referred to the Synod which met at Philade.phia, a libel against the Rev. Andrew Stark, charging him with a number of flagrant offences, and assigning as reasons for the reference, that he had refused to obey their citations, and had also in a written communication, peremplorily refused to be tried by them. A question has since arisen respecting the true character of this latter paper, whether it be a total declinalure, or only a declinature in the pariicular case to be tried. Mr. Stark now alleges that he only declined the authority of the Presbytery in this particular case. He says of this paper, “ It was merely a statement of his reasons, why he thought the Presbytery ought not to try the libel they had laid against him.” (Associute Presbyterian Magazine, p. 18.). In the paper, however, both the language and the reasons are general, implying that he would not be judged by the Presbytery in any case, but would hold all their proceedings as null and void. He does not say, I prolest against their trying me in this case, but 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." Candour would readily attribute this general language to inadvertence, had the reasons of the protest been special; but they are of the same general character, and if correct would prove the Presbyetry not only disqualified for the trial of Mr. Stark in any case, but for the trial of any body else. He states in his first reason, not simply that the Presbytery were not disinterested in this case, but in general terms, that they had destroyed their character for disinterestedness, impartiality and fair dealing," That it was quite evident to him that such a court “could not act on the principles of truth and righteousness," and that "it would be perfectly idle to expect justice from it." If,” says he, “I were as innocent as my Master himself, I could expect nothing else than to be condemned by such a court, provided it might suit its policy. Therefore a trial” (not this trial, but indefinitely, any trial) “ before such a court is, in my humble opinion, a very needless formality.” The remaining reasons are of the same general character. He accuses the Presbytery of slandering him because they had been witnesses against him; and refuses altogether to be tried by them, till they would try themselves and some others whom he names. He


that his confidence in the Presbytery was destroyed, that they had lost all just claim to respect, that they had done all they could do, to destroy all distinction between truth and falsehood, and to establish a most heartless, spiritual despotism," and that he could not in any way countenance the Presbytery in a course of backsliding."

Now it may be safely left to any candid reader, without further remark, whether a declinature stated in such general terms, based on such general reasons, and accompanied by no appeal to the superior court, ought not to be regarded as a total and final declinature, both of the Presbytery and of the church. It may also be left to every such person to judge whether the man presenting it and refusing to withdraw it, could with any consistency be admitted to a seat in the court whose character he thus persisted in reviling, and whose authority he thus persisted to despise. It is difficult to reconcile his claiming a seat with either christian or honorable feelings; yet if he could be so wanting in

« PrécédentContinuer »