« AnteriorContinuar »
asserts, (pp. 67, 68) the tetuphotai spoken of by the Apostle Paul, (1 Tim. vi. 4:) that they are "proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings, " &c.: that they are the very characters of whom the Apostle emphatically says to the true Christian, "from such withdraw thyself." Let it be remembered that these tetuphotai are not merely a few strangers, prowling about among our churches, seeking whom they may devour, but that some, aye many of our people, our elders, and even of the ministers of this Synod are themselves become zealous tetuphotai; they maintain the fundamental principles of "the Abolition movement:" yea more, that they have been laboring for years, and are now laboring to convert the whole Synod into a body of tetuphotai; and with such success that an entire Presbytery, one of the largest among us, is, (if we may coin a suitable word,) completely tetuphotized: and what is most lamentable of all, some two or three Presbyte ries in our connection have actually had the audacity to memoralize the General Assembly in favor of tetuphotism! In this unhappy, dangerous, and critical state of affairs, the Synod of Cincinnati assembles, "to order whatever pertains to the spiritual welfare of the churches under their care;"-to "take such order with respect to the Presbyteries, Sessions, and people under their care as may **** promote the edification of the church; and to propose to the General Assembly, for their adoption, such measures as may be of common advantage to the whole church."
What course, now, is proposed by the President of Miami University? (to use his own favorite circumlocution for ego.) This self-constituted champion of orthodoxy, who once volunteered to prosecute a brother in the ministry, charged with a heresy perhaps less dangerous than Abolitionism,--what remedial measures does he propose to this Synod for their adoption?— What new excision act does he concoct? What well devised and deep laid scheme to prevent the multiplication of these terrible tetuphotai? Does he advocate immediate obedience to the apostolic injunction to withdraw from, or eject, these “men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth"? Does he implore
this court of Jesus Christ to rush, like Aaron, between the living and the dead, that the plague may be stayed?—Alas! how are the mighty fallen!-He folds his arms, and declares, that, according to the Constitution, the subject does not fall within. the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts!
But has he not spoken out boldly in defence of "the scriptural relation of master and slave"? Yes-when "left in a lean minority of four"; but, were the wish of that minority "the governing purpose" of the majority, the Synod would indefinitely postpone, without discussion, any paper alluding in any way to the subject of slavery. We dislike to judge our brethren; but verily it requires all the charity we are master of, to believe them sincere in their desperate charges against anti-slavery men, measures, and principles, while they constantly assert that Presbyteries, Synods, and General Assemblies have no business with this whole matter.
On the contrary hypothesis, that slave-holding is sinful; that it has polluted the Church for centuries; and that it has so far perverted the morals, even of the ministry, that Doctors of Divinity, and Presidents of Colleges, instead of rebuking, actually defend it from the Bible;—it were idle for us to prove that ecclesiastical courts have a right to give it their attention. Besides, what a reflection upon the good sense of the Synod of Cincinnati, and many other Synods, does the Doctor's argument involve! For years past we have discussed the slavery question; and have by repeated resolutions and memorials to the General Assembly, decided that it does fall within our province to debate and act in regard to slavery, whether in the abstract or concrete. We trust the future action of our ecclesiastical bodies will demonstrate that American Oxfordism in regard to slavery, is as disreputable among us, as is English Oxfordism upon theology generally.
“2. But again, I (Dr. J.) object to this course: because the discussion will most likely degenerate into a mere debate, dispute, or hot controversy.
* * Is it reasonable to expect
that slavery, abolitionism, and colonization will be discussed here with that coolness and soul-subdued temper which their importance demands, and christian courtesy requires? Does
any man in fact expect it"? (p. 9.)-To whom was this extraordinary language addressed? To a Synod of the Presbyterian Church; a high court of the Lord Jesus Christ; an assembly of intelligent, and, we trust, pious ministers of the sanctuary, and ruling officers in the house of our God! And if this question, or any other connected with morals and religion, cannot be debated with something like a proper spirit by such men, and in such a body, where, we ask, shall we find an assembly in which "these exciting topics" may be fully, freely and calmly investigated? "As for myself," says the objector, "I have passed through some stormy scenes," (that, for instance, which occurred at a certain University Exhibition,) “and I have learned by experience, that the more boisterous the elements become, the more perfectly all my faculties are at command. Brethren must not infer from my repugnance to this discussion, that individually I fear the heavings of the billows and the violence of the blast. I hope I shall be enabled to look the wind in the eye, and always to pull the right oar." (p. 9.) Extraordinary man! Well, we hope the Synod will patiently pocket the sorry compliment implied, and console themselves with the reflection that they have at least one member who can keep his temper!
In this connection we are reminded that the worthy President has cited the experience of Miami University relative to antislavery discussions. "It was early impressed upon my mind,” says he, "that this brand had already kindled up a fire which had well nigh consumed Miami University. To such a ruinous degree did the fire burn within her bosom, that the Trustees took up the subject and passed strong resolutions condemnatory of this wild-fire, and commendatory of a more prudent course. Hence, I felt myself called upon, the more earnestly to labor for the suppression of a class of disputations that result in evil, and only evil. The consequence is, peace and kindly feelings between young men from all the States indiscriminately."-(p. 5.) Allusion is here made, indirectly, to the liberal, and truly republican policy of a venerable member of Cincinnati Synod, the worthy ex-President of Miami University. Doctor J. has been pleased to contrast that policy and its results, with his own; of course, much to his own glorification. Let us look at the facts in the
case; and remind the author of this rude, unfeeling, and unprovoked assault upon his revered predecessor, that if those who dwell in glass houses will throw stones, they have no reason to complain when "their violent dealings come down upon their own pates."
The first anti-slavery society among the students at Oxford, was organized in the fall of 1834. The aggregate number of students during the next year, 1835, was 207. Four years afterwards, during all which time, it is believed, the society existed; and certainly, freedom of speech was among the guarantied rights of the young men, the aggregate attendance of the year 1839, was 250. This was the last year but one of Dr. Bishop's presidency. To such an alarming degree had the wild-fire of abolitionism consumed the University, that in four years the number of students had increased from 207 to 250. In the fall of 1840, the present incumbent was elected. He took the chair in April 1841; and began to throw the cold water of his proslavery principles upon this destructive fire. One year afterward, in 1842, the aggregate attendance of the year was reported at 162 students: and in 1843, it was 132. At the present time, if we are correctly informed, somewhere about 100 pupils are connected with the institution. For the facts and figures above stated, we refer to the annual catalogues of the University. We would not be understood to assert that the decreased attendance is owning solely to any single cause: we simply state the facts; and leave the public to judge whether the fire or the water is most likely to destroy the State Institution. Of the "peace and kindly feeling between young men from all the States," which is said to exist now, we shall say nothing. As to the strife and unkind feeling between northern and southern students, whose existence and untoward influence are assumed to have been felt from 1834 to 1839, inclusive,-Doctor J. is not competent to give, and the graduates of those days do not need to receive, any information.
But what, after all, is the strong condemnatory resolution of the Board of Trustees, cited by Doctor J., and published in the catalogue for 1840? "Resolved, That the President of this University be respectfully requested, in the course of his instructions
to the students generally, and more particularly to the Senior class, to inculcate the duty of cultivating an enlarged attachment to our entire country, without respect to its geographical divisions, East or West, North or South; and also to present to the young men of the University the sacred obligation to preserve inviolate the supremacy of the constitutional laws of the United States, and of the States in which their lot may be cast." With what propriety such a resolution can be called strongly condemnatory of abolitionism, we leave others to determine. Certainly, the great mass of abolitionists could most cordially have voted for it.
Those who are somewhat familiar with the history of Miami University, and with the recent proceedings of its Trustees, are not a little surprised that Doctor J. should have been willing to awaken unpleasant recollections by alluding to any of their resolutions. Had he forgotten that in August, 1843, scarcely a month before the delivery of his Synodical speech, the same Board had "Resolved, That as the Miami University is a Literary Institution subservient to the cause of Christianity in general, and not that of any particular denomination of the Church of God; it is the will of this Board, hereby decidedly expressed, that in the performance of religious duties in the chapel,' (which, by the way, are conducted solely by the Doctor himself,) "the services thereof should be free from reference to the distinguishing peculiarities of any denomination of the Christian Church?" Had those resolutions escaped his memory which were offered and discussed, but for certain reasons not adopted, and only recorded on the journal for August, 1842? Did they not forbid any professor or officer of the Institution, "so far to forget the dignity of his station as to revile any respectable sectarian body, *** to perpetrate unseemly buffoonery, or ridiculous mimickry, or to resort to high wrought stage-effect for the purpose of bringing into contempt any respectable religious denomination?" We are not now asserting that there was any just cause for presenting the resolutions of 1842, nor for adopting those of 1843; but certainly "we are entitled to the conclusion" that there was as little occasion for passing that of 1839, to which Dr. J. has referred.