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of man, sacrificed his Christian liberty of conscience, and leaves the infallible word of God for the fancies and doctrines of men.
"4. That the relation of master and slave is purely a civil relation, and in this state no person or persons can impair, abridge, or alter that institution, save the legislature or the people of South Carolina only."
We have not a right to conclude, however, from the unanimity with which these and multitudes of similar resolutions have been passed throughout the South, that they express the real opinions of the southern churches, or that the good leaven of abolitionism has not done already a mighty work upon southern conscience. Christianity is so plainly hostile to slavery, in its doctrines and precepts, that the mass of slaveholders are prone to suspect the southern churches of giving countenance to the abolitionists, and hence have addressed to them powerful motives to commit themselves in favor of slavery. It has been in a great degree, doubtless, under the influence of threats that members of churches, and especially ministers, have become slaveholders. In the last General Methodist Conference the Rev. Dr. Capers, of South Carolina, in mentioning the reasons why, after a certain date, the Methodists became less odious to the people of the southern states, said, "at length people began to consider that many of them were slaveholders— why should they be insurrectionists?" Southern christianity is itself enslaved, and its voice is not the voice of a free agent. To give a sample of the influence under which southern christians, so called, have always acted and which has at length assumed a most peremptory tone, we quote the proceedings of "a public meeting of the inhabitants of Clinton, Mississippi," held prior to the last sessions of the General Assembly and General Conference:
"Slavery through the South and West, is not felt as an evil, moral or politica', but it is recognized in reference to the actual, and not to any Utopian condition of our slaves, as a BLESSING BOTH TO MASTER AND SLAVE.
"Resolved, That it is our decided opinion, that any individual who dares to circulate, with a view to effectuate the designs of the abolitionists, any of the incendiary tracts or newspapers now in a course of transmission to this country, is justly worthy, in the sight of God and man, of IMMEDIATE DEATH; and we doubt not, that such would be the punishment of any such offender in any part of the state of Mississippi, where he may be found!
"Resolved, That we recommend to the citizens of Mississippi to ENCOURAGE THE CAUSE OF THE AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY, so long as in good faith it concentrates its energies alone to the removal of the free people of color out of the United States.
"Resolved, That the CLERGY of the state of Mississippi be hereby recommended at once to take a stand upon this subject, and that their further silence in relation thereto, at this crisis, will, in our opinion, be subject to serious censure."
The South has given too many proofs of her readiness to
put such threats in execution to permit them to pass unheeded by those who already loved the sin of slavery more than they feared their consciences or their God.
But that we may more clearly see the malign influences we have to encounter, let us turn to a denomination of christians not directly connected with the South—a denomination which claims to stand foremost in benevolent enterprises for the benefit of the human race, and foremost in the liberty of the Gospel, the Congregationalists of Connecticut. The very mountains of that noble land frown upon tyranny. And those best acquainted with its well-schooled population are inclined to think them the most difficult subjects for quack management, either political or ecclesiastical. Yet, much as we are ashamed to do it, we must declare our conviction that the General Association of Connecticut, in its efforts to bar out the doctrines of our society from its precincts, has shown an adroitness of ecclesiastical tactics which may well recommend it to the holy see of the indivisible, infallible church. That body, containing within it many of the leading lights of New-England theology-men who have committed themselves, and drawn no small glory therefrom, to the scheme of African Colonization, and whose immortality seems wrapped up with the immortality of prejudice and oppression-saw with alarm the change which the doctrines of immediate emancipation were working in public, and especially in New-England opinion. The reasons of this judgment are to be found in the contrast between the Association's course on the subject of slavery, and that which honorable and ingenuous minds must have pursued.
First, the following preamble and resolutions were passed : "Whereas the system of slavery, as defined and sustained by the laws of these United States, is contrary to the principles of the Gospel :
"And whereas the ministers and members of our churches are frequently emigrating to the slaveholding states, and whereas they are there strongly tempted to engage in the traffic in slaves, and to become upholders of the system of slavery; Therefore,
"Resolved, That in the judgment of this Association, the buying and selling of human beings for selfish ends, by the ministers and members of our churches removing to the South, is a great sin, and utterly inconsistent with their Christian profession."
Till awed into the true "patriarchal" cant by the terrors of Lynch Law, a presbytery full of actual slaveholders might have passed just such resolutions, without a thought of ceasing from the robbery of the poor. They could easily purchase the reputation of sanctity by their professions
against selfishness, while they persuaded themselves that their own slaveholding was altogether benevolent. The General Association of Connecticut are too well acquainted with the proceedings of "the ministers and members of their own churches, emigrating to the slaveholding states," not to know that they generally become slaveholders by persuading themselves to buy slaves for a benevolent purpose. The resolution of the Association strongly implies that they may righteously do so; hence, while it was adapted to make the impression upon the people, that the Association was as much opposed to slavery as the Anti-Slavery Society, and therefore needed no lecturing from that society, it served also to put a plea in the mouths of northern slaveholders. It was ingeniously adapted to get popularity on both sides. Well aware that the conduct of northern ministers and church members who go to the South and become slaveholders, would have to stand the artillery of an Anti-Slavery public sentiment, the Association thought it good policy itself to seize the guns, and load them with bullets of cork. The reason of this severe accusation we think will appear, by attending to the fact that it was just about to adopt a resolution designed to exclude Anti-Slavery lecturers from the facilities commonly afforded by the churches to every important discussion of a moral topic. We say, designed to exclude: no one must look, however, for a formal display of arbitrary power, but rather for a cautious and guarded. putting forth of well-husbanded ecclesiastical influence. That every reader may see the discreet mixing together of all the sources of popular odium, and the well-qualified generalities by which their real purpose was concealed, we give the whole series of resolutions which followed immediately after those above quoted :
"1. Resolved, That while this General Association appreciate and would maintain, at all hazards, the unrestricted liberty of speech and the press, and while they fully recognize their own and every man's duty to prove all things, and their own and every man's responsibility to God, in relation to the reception of the truth, they do not admit an obligation upon the community to hear or read all that associations or individuals may volunteer to speak or print, or an obligation on the pastors of the churches to admit into their pulpits all the preachers or speakers who may desire to address the people, or in any other way, directly or indirectly, to facilitate the promulgation in the community of sentiments which are in their view of an erroneous or questionable character.
"2. Resolved, That the operations of itinerant agents and lecturers, attempting to enlighten the churches in respect to particular points of Christian doctrine and of Christian morals, and to control the religious sentiment of the community on topics which fall most appropriately within the sphere of pastoral instruction, and of pastoral discretion as to time and manner, without the advice and consent
of the pastors and regular ecclesiastical bodies, is an unauthorized interference with the rights, duties, and discretion of the stated ministry, dangerous to the influence of the pastoral office, and fatal to the peace and good order of the churches.
"3. Resolved, That the existence in the churches of an order of itinerating evangelists, devoted especially to the business of excitement, and to the promotion of revivals, cannot be reconciled with the respect and influence which are indispensable to the usefulness and stability of the stated ministry, to the harmony of ecclesiastical action in the churches, and to the steady and accumulating influence of the gospel and its institutions, and to purity in doctrine and discretion in action.
"4. Resolved, That regarding the present as a critical period in relation to the peace, purity, and liberty of our churches, and the efficiency of the pastoral office, we do recommend to our ministers and churches to discountenance such innovations as have been referred to in these resolutions, and we consider ourselves bound to sustain each other and the churches, in standing against all these invasions on our ecclesiastical order."
It is important to expend a little time and patience to unravel the sophistry and mischief of these famous resolutions; as they develope, to those who have eyes to see, the mode in which some great and wise men of our day hope to put down all opinions which happen to conflict with their own. It was highly politic to introduce a hush-law with a flourish about liberty of speech and the press. After that, we have a denial of the obligation of the community to hear every thing. Who ever claimed such an obligation? Nobody. Yet the authors of the first resolution put forth this generality as a soft pillow for those churches and ministers who have refused to hear what they were in conscience bound to hear. Because a minister is not under obligation to open his pulpit for the convenience of a play-actor or a preacher of paganism, it is left to be inferred that he may righteously shut from it every applicant, whatever his cause, and AntiSlavery lecturers among the rest. It was thought not best to come down to particulars, but to establish what would operate as a general rule of exclusion.
On reaching the second of the above resolutions, the Association was prepared to launch its heaviest shaft at the abolition lecturers. Here the ecclesiastical influence was put forth in the most prudent and forcible way. An appeal was made to the respect of the people for their established ecclesiastical bodies. An alarm was sounded-not that such men as the Rev. Drs. A. and B., and the Rev. Mr. C., would lose their influence if abolition lecturers were permitted" to enlighten the churches" "without the advice and consent of the pastors and regular ecclesiastical bodies;" but that the "pastoral office" was endangered! Happy abstraction! Judicious exaltation of the cloth in place of
the men! How immeasurably would the dignity and force of the resolution have suffered, by inserting, instead of stated ministry, the names A., B., C., D., &c., of the stated ministers! But what was meant by this general phylactery of the "pastoral office"? The operations of agents, without the advice of pastors or the regular ecclesiastical bodies, would be "unauthorized" by them of course; but is theirs the sole authority for addressing men as men, in any given territory? Did the Association mean to say that it is wrong for an agent to attempt "to enlighten the churches" within the geographical boundaries of one of its pastorates or ecclesiastical bodies, without first obtaining leave? This would certainly be a step towards the infallibility of the Congregational church-an infallibility which the movers of these resolutions, as rational men, well knew the abolition lecturers would be in no haste to acknowledge. It is difficult to understand what the authors of it meant or expected to effect by this qualified, guarded, and solemn warning against "itinerant agents," but to prevent them from getting inside the Congregational meeting houses, leaving it to the authorities of the grog-shops to take care of them outside. On the third resolution we have nothing to say, except to mark its connection with the preceding. It was important to throw in a large category of obnoxious subjects, and mix them well together, so that the odium which anywhere or with any persons attached to one, might attach to all. The fourth resolution is a solemn recommendation to the churches to oppose, shoulder to shoulder, all those invasions upon "eeclesiastical order" which had been so luminously described in the preceding "resolutions." If the Association had not meant to involve in this magniloquent anathema Anti-Slavery lecturers, they would certainly have excepted them. Hence, we derive the important information, that, in case an agent of this society goes into any town in Connecticut, and, without getting the consent of the pastor or some regular ecclesiastical body, (whether he applies for it or not,) has the presumption to make an attempt in a private house, school-house, or barn, to throw some light upon the people, and among the rest upon the church, in regard to slavery, he is guilty of an invasion of the ecclesiastical order of the Congregational church! We have taken some pains to interpret the hieroglyphics of this matter, that the