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We hope that in our remarks upon this topic, we have neither exhibited nor felt any thing of the spirit of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, (2 Sam. xvi: 9;)—if it be otherwise, however, let Shimei remember who cast stones; and let our filial love for the venerable head at which they were aimed, be plead in extenua、 tion. We have only to add, before passing to Doctor J.'s third reason, that when he tells us how "earnestly he has labored for the suppression" of free discussion, upon slavery, we are forcibly reminded of a certain high personage, a near relation of the Whore of Babylon, John, Bishop of Basileopolis, as he styles himself, who sent forth a little bull-a sort of bull-calf, we presume, to bellow against "The N. York Catholic Society for the Promotion of Religious Knowledge;"—a religious debating society formed among lay-catholics in that city. "The Church," says he, "in the most positive manner, prohibits all laymen from entering into dispute on points of religion," &c.
"3. I object to entering upon the abolition controversy here, because its advocates are an organized political party. * * * * The relation of master and slave is a civil relation; it is regulated by the civil law, and always has been; ecclesiastical bodies never had, in all the world's history, any control over it. ** * * Let our church courts throw themselves into the vortex of party politics, then farewell to peace and harmony-farewell to respectability and public confidence. If individual ministers feel themselves called to soil their cloth in this strife-let them bear the responsibility, and sink alone under the ban of public reprobation, but let not the Synod of Cincinnati commit the suicidal deed. It is surely unnecessary for me to dwell in proof of the fact, that Anti-Slavery is a public, organized political party." (pp. 9-11.)
Had we undertaken to criticise the style of the President's discourse, the phrase "that Anti-Slavery is a public, organized political party," and others of like construction, might demand attention. But we are engaged in a more important duty. What is the substance of this third objection? Slaveholding is a sin, and must therefore be opposed, by the church, with the sword of the spirit. It is a political evil; and should therefore be remedied by political action. But because, as citizens, we
employ political means to remove political evils, we must not, as christians, use religious measures to purify the church from her pollutions! The cry that "the relation of master and slave is a civil relation, regulated by civil law," and the inference that ecclesiastical bodies can have no control over it, scarcely deserves notice. The civil law does not require any man to be a slaveholder; though it permits slaveholding, in some portions of our country. Precisely in the same way is the sale of ardent spirits a business permitted and regulated by the civil law. Must the church be silent, therefore, as to the immorality of the traffic under certain circumstances? Is it not her duty to testify against even "the throne of iniquity," when "it frameth mischief by a law?" (Ps. xciv: 20.) May she not forbid her members to "give the bottle to their neighbor, and make him drunken also?" Gambling hells, and brothels are "regulated by the civil law" in some countries. Must the church in such countries, decline to rebuke the sins of gaming and whoredom? The exercise of proper church discipline upon irreclaimable slaveholders would doubtless hasten the termination of slavery as a political evil. Shall we, for that very reason, refuse the due application of discipline? Such is the argument under consideration: but, whatever others may say, a Protestant, and especially a Presbyterian, should hang his head for shame, at the thought of attempting to maintain such a position. Was not the everglorious Reformation intimately connected with political action? "It may be affirmed," (says Smyth, in his recent work on Ecclesiastical Republicanism," p. 112,) "that the spirit of the Reformation led to the establishment of the republican form of government, in countries where it had never before existed." "The Protestant Reformation," (says Bancroft, Hist. U. S. vol. ii: 456, &c.,) "considered in its largest influence on politics, was the common people awakening to freedom of mind." "Protestantism," (says Carlyle, Heroes and Hero worship, 334,) was a revolt against spiritual sovereignties, popes, and much else. Presbyterianism carried out the revolt against earthly sovereignties and despotism. Protestantism has been called the grand root, from which our whole subsequent European history branches out, for the spiritual will always body itself forth in the temporal history
of man: the spiritual is the beginning of the temporal." According to the argument we are opposing, Luther should have abandoned the Reformation from the period of the Ratisbon, Torgau, and Magdeburgh alliances; for, "from that hour the cause of Luther was no longer of a nature purely religious; and the contest with the Wittemberg monk ranked among the political events of Europe.”—(D'Aubigne.) What! must the church withhold all avowal of her anti-slavery principles, because they may have a political bearing? How would Zuingle and Calvin have regarded such a doctrine? "Zuingle restored to the people their rights." (Eccl. Repub. 113.) "Calvin was not only a theologian of the first order; he was also a politician of astonishing sagacity, and Montesquieu had reason to say, that Geneva ought to celebrate, with gratitude, the day when Calvin came within her walls. Morals then became pure; the laws of the State underwent a thorough change, and the organization of the church was based upon the soundest principles.”—(Ibid.) Who sounded "the first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women?" John Knox, the noble founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Had the Solemn League and Covenant no bearing upon politics? a paper which "bound all its subscribers to preserve the reformed religion of Scotland, in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; and also to seek the reformation of religion in England and Ireland, according to the word of God, and the example of the best reformed churches; to abolish popery and prelacy; to defend the King's person, and preserve the rights of Parliament and the liberties of the kingdom." (Aiton's Life of Henderson, 509-510.) Were the sainted Henderson, the draughtsman of that Covenant, now living, Doctor J. might hear a reply to this paltry objection, that would make his ears tingle. "A tumult in the High Church of Edinburgh, spread into a universal battle and struggle over all these realms; there came out, after fifty year's struggling, what we call the glorious revolution, a habeas corpus act, free Parliaments, and much else!"—(Carlyle, Heroes, &c., 235.) Was not the Westminster Assembly called together by a political party represented by the majority in the British Parliament;-a party then engaged even in a civil war? Did the reverend fathers of that
Assembly hesitate to obey the summons, because the result of their deliberations would be associated with politics? When our own revolutionary contest commenced, did the Synod of New York and Philadelphia express no opinions which might favor the whig party of America? "The Synod of New York was the very first to declare themselves in favor of the struggle, a year before the Declaration of Independence, and to encourage and guide their people, then in arms. **** They were the first to recognize the Declaration of Independence, when made; and they materially aided in the passage of that noble act." (Eccl. Repub. 143-144-see also, Hodge's Hist. Pres. Ch. vol. ii. 481, &c.) Away then with the idle pretence that the church must not bear her part in breaking every yoke, and especially in freeing herself from the sin of slaveholding, because a party of American citizens think it their duty to oppose slavery at the ballot-box. If, as is alleged, the Liberty party is "a weak and contemptible one," the less reason have we for regarding it as an obstacle to ecclesiastical action. Whether or not this is its real character, .time will determine.
"4. This controversy places the peace-party, as we may call ourselves in the premises, in a false position. It lays us open to the illogical and unjust, yet plausible inference, that we are advocates of slavery. * * * * We oppose the movements of the abolitionists, chiefly by yielding; therefore, we are deemed and held guilty of pro-slavery. Whereas, we are in truth opposed to slavery, and are doing as much in our respective positions to abate its evils, as our brethren are. We differ from them as to the manner of doing away these evils, whilst we suppose we are much more efficient in the matter of meliorating the condition of the colored race."-(pp. 11-12.)
"Being guilty of pro-slavery," reminds us of "Anti-Slavery being a political party:"-but we cannot dwell upon the elegancies of composition displayed in this production. That our author, and those who are for "doing nothing with all their might” against slavery, are "the peace party," in a certain sense, we readily admit. They are nearly allied to an ancient Jewish party, who "healed the hurt of the Lord's people slightly, saying Peace, Peace, when there was no peace;" (Jer. vi. 14.) For, alas! “the
way of peace they know not." (Isa. lix. 8.) These brethren forget the Scripture they so often quoted in reference to another subject, "first pure, then peaceable." As to the real doctrines of the pamphlet before us, and the question whether they are adapted to work the release of the poor slave, or the perpetuation of his bondage, any remarks which may be necessary, will be more appropriately presented when we shall have examined the author's propositions and arguments. To these we now direct the attention of our readers. It is proper to say, however, that intending, before we close, to present and endeavor to sustain certain propositions of our own, we shall occasionally pass, without notice, such passages of Scripture, quoted by Doctor J., as may be more fitly examined in connection with these propositions.
The attentive reader of Doctor J.'s labored and extended argument, cannot fail to observe that he has not only neglected to define what he means by the terms, slave and slavery; but that he has either lost sight of, or carefully concealed, their true signification; and in so doing, he has failed to perceive the gist of the whole matter in controversy. Charity, which hopeth all things, inclines us to suppose that, in the plenitude of his Hebrew and Greek, he has forgotten his English! Roaming through the patriarchal, Jewish and primitive christian churches, in search of the prototypes of our southern bondmen; bewildering himself and his readers with a multitude of ancient abadim, shephahoth, amahoth, douloi, paides, oiketes, and paidiskai, he really imagines, and would fain persuade others, that these uncouth named creatures are the veritable slave-gangs of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. We shall endeavor to supply his deficiency, and thus keep before the minds of all, the real question at issue. That question, now in process of investigation among the American churches, is this, and no other: Are the professed christians in our respective connections who hold their fellow-men as slaves, thereby guilty of a sin, which demands the cognizance of the church; and, after due admonition, the application of discipline? What do we mean by the English work "slaves," as used in this question? What is a slave, in the American sense of that term? "The term slave," says