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yet justify it most decidedly in practice. And in this manner the church gives slavery her sanction and yet thinks to save her conscience. In proof of the fact I appeal to the action of the last Presbyterian General Assembly, of the last Methodist General Conference, and to the recent communications of the Baptists with the English brethren. The church then as a body justifies slavery.
Now this justification by the church in fact sustains the system. In several of the states, the vote of the church. thrown into the scale of emancipation would renovate the laws and abolish slavery. In all, the decided influence of the church would rouse and correct the public conscience, and in the language of a southern member of Congress, "make slavery so disreputable that no respectable man can hold slaves." The fact is that the human conscience is naturally galled and troubled sorely with slavery. The whole system makes sad war against both the common sense and the moral sense of mankind, and could not live without the holy sanction of the church. Yes-slavery in a Christian land never can live without the sanction of the church. There is too much conscience, and conscience rebels against slavery too obstinately to allow the latter to live an hour after the church shall have condemned it with her whole heart and voice and example.
Does not the church then need reform? And whose business is it to effect this reform? Whose, but her own? This, then, is a great religious enterprise. Yet more apparent is this as we contemplate our next position.
7. That this sanction which the American church gives to slavery does greatly if not utterly paralyze her moral power. How can she plead the cause of righteousness with the wages of unrighteousness in her hands,-or the cause of the poor with two and a half millions of her own poor under her feet, or the cause of the heathen while she is making heathen of her laborers, nay, of her own sons and daughters? How can she push forward the principles of civil liberty with the practical lie of slavery on her very front,or spread the light of knowledge and education while she tolerates and virtually makes laws to prohibit some millions of her own people from reading even the Bible? "O consistency thou art a jewel ;" and a jewel not only most lovely in beauty but most indispensible to the character and efficiency of the
church. Let that man preach repentance to his neighbors who defrauds them as his business every day, and what avails it? And what can the preaching and influence of the church avail, while she tolerates in her very bosom this sin of hydra form and giant power? What sort of conscience ean she have, while it is cultivated under such a regimen, and what sort of influence in rebuking sin and recommending holiness? How much of the blessing of Christ can she have while she thus prostitutes his name, and renounces his spirit? Oh! my heart sickens under the conviction that the church is dead and must rot in her moral grave, until she shall wake to the life and power of righteousness in regard to this great sin. This effort to resuscitate the church I must regard therefore as a great religious enterprise, vital to her moral energy and action.
8. I take my last position on this point. American slavery is a mighty barrier against the success of the gospel. The American church has promised much and sustains vast responsibilities. The name, American-her commerce opening every land to her access-her wealth, princely and competent to the work, her resources of men and mind fully adequate all concur to fix the eyes ef men and of angels on her as the instrument under God for the conversion of the world. And will she do it? Is she girding herself to the work? Ah! can she do it, with the pollutions of slavery on her hands with the price of blood in her offerings-with the paralysis of slavery upon her conscience and with its lie against all righteousness and benevolence in her example? Impossible. However much Christians beyond the waters may do, and those in our land who have come out from the midst of slavery and washed their hands of its participation, the barrier yet remains. The drawing back of the American church, which ought to be first and foremost, throws a heavy chill over the spirit of practical benevolence. The church thus casts herself as a vast stumbling block across the high way of the Lord, and her prophets cry "cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people." And this is a great religious enterprise. Who can deny it? Who can fail to see and feel it?
II. Having thus rather stated, than fully illustrated certain facts as proof of my first position, I pass to another view
of the subject, and take the ground that the friends of the cause of abolition ought to prosecute it as a religious enterprise.
I am aware that to no small extent this has been done. This enterprise originated in Christian benevolence. Its corner stone was laid with faith and prayer. Many, yea most of its advocates have warmed and sustained their hearts with the spirit and the faith of Christ, as they have toiled on amidst suspicion and rebuke, against insensibility and opposition. Yet there has been some party feeling and some asperity. Possibly it may have been, for the moment, forgotten that this cause is the cause of God—is really a great religious enterprise, and ought to be prosecuted as such and as nothing else. Be this as it may, my brethren will bear with me in a word of exhortation touching this point, in giving which I would not be understood to assume that they are especially guilty of departing from the course recommended.
I take the ground that the friends of this cause ought to prosecute it as a religious enterprise
1. Because it is such in its nature, and ought to be treated according to what it is. Its nature has been sufficiently shown. If we would bring forward this cause with strength, it must be in its own true character. It must stand on its real merits. The nation must see it as it is. And they ought to see it as it is. We as honest men are bound to show them. And we have no occasion for concealment. No; let the southern people and the world know that this is a religious enterprise; that our religious principles demand it of us; that for the love we bear to Christ and to the souls of the oppressed, we cannot hold our peace. Yet further. Here lies the strength of our cause. It is a controversy against sin, and never can succeed except by the power of truth and holiness. Then let us clothe it with this power, and hold it forth before the world as it is.
2. Allow me to suggest that in prosecuting the cause in this way, we shall more surely and more easily keep our hearts in that humble, tender frame which is always requisite in the reprovers of sin. It is obvious that reproof ís rarely effectual unless given with great meekness and tenderness of spirit. The reprover must not feel himself to be without sin and above all condemnation. Rather let
him regard himself as deeply guilty, if not of the sin which he reproves, yet of many others perhaps not less odious before God. This conviction may save him from censoriousness and pride in exposing the sins of others.
Again, we are creatures of sympathy, especially in regard to that ill feeling of resistance. Resisted ourselves with harshness, we are exceedingly prone to catch the same spirit. We see human nature developed thus in the numberless quarrels and disputes that occur in the every day business of life. So that abolitionists must be more than men, if, before this omnipresent temptation, they never fall. The grand preservation against falling is, doubtless, to feel that you are doing the work of Christ, and must by all means do it in his spirit. You are not fighting a political warfare, nor contending for victory. You seek only to do away a great sin so that the Gospel of Jesus may have free course, and God be glorified in saving a multitude from ignorance, vice and hell. Imbue your mind with this object, go forth with much prayer and faith, and you may be kept in safety.
Another circumstance in this case enhances the difficulty of giving reproof. The sin itself is so heinous in many points of view, as to wake up feelings of perfect indignation. This we are in danger of transferring unconsciously from the sin itself to the person of the guilty. Now do not suspect me of holding the strange doctrine that sin is a sort of abstraction which can be condemned and punished while the sinner goes free-but I say these two things: that we may have indignation against a sin and pity for the sinner, for Christ has and second, that we may condemn a sin unsparingly, without condemning whole classes of men indiscriminately. The least appearance of injustice, on our part, is magnified and blazoned against us as if there were no other means of defending slavery. Against these dangers the spirit of Christ is the best antidote. Let us feel that our object is to abolish sin by convincing and reclaiming the offender, and that we ought to pity him and, by all means, never exaggerate his offence. This is laboring in the right spirit, and it affords great hope of success.
3. We shall thus secure the co-operation of most, if not all, the real piety in the land. I will not disguise the fact that some have been, for a season, repelled from sympathy
and union with the abolitionists by the asperity, real or imaginary, which they have been supposed to exhibit. Now any occasion of this nature is deeply to be deplored. It ought not to be-it need not be. Only let the benevolence of the Gospel sway our hearts, and love and compassion would soften our reproofs and denunciations of even this enormous sin. Let it be made purely a religious enterprise, and no real Christian, walking in the spirit of his Master, could be repelled. No; such would rally at once when the standard of the cross was lifted up. Let them see that this is the work of Christ, the cause of his kingdom, and you appeal to all they hold most near and dear. They will see this to be their own work. They will recognize it as the very thing for which they have long prayed, and long desired without knowing how to do it, or even find it. The great cause of abolition will stand forth before them in a new light, and they will hail it as their own. Let me allude to a fact. Thousands have been made abolitionists by the mobs. How? Partly through sympathy for the persecuted which led them first to examine and then embrace; but mainly because they saw all their civil and social rights in jeopardy. The appeal was made to their spirit of liberty, and they could not resist it. The cause of abolition stood forth before them as the cause of human rights-the cause of freedom against slavery, and of law against anarchy; and their election was soon made. Now let the cause of abolition stand out before a Christian in its own true light, as a religious enterprise, and you make a similar appeal to him. As he loves Christ and the cause of Christ, he cannot resist it. He comes with all his heart. His piety draws him. He neither would, nor can refuse. Happy the day when the strength of American piety shall be enlisted in this great work. It can be done and it will be. Then, and not before, the great question will be carried-the great and good cause will triumph.
4. No power but that of God and of his truth can ever accomplish the work. So I believe most firmly. Political economy is too weak to contend against the giant passions which sustain slavery. So is the principle of fear. The spirit and power of faction can never avail-abolitionists will". never try it. The providences and judgment of heaven may wash the stains of this sin from our soil with bloodbut against this we pray most fervently. God grant it may