« PreviousContinue »
force, Buxton, Granville, Grattan, Camden, Clarkson, Sharp, Sheridan, Sidney, Martin, and Macaulay.
Virginia, the Carolinas, and other Southern States, which are provided with republican (!) forms of government, and which have abolished freedom, should learn, from the history of the monarchal governments of the Old World, if not from the example of the more liberal and enlightened portions of the New, how to abolish slavery. The lesson is before them in a variety of exceedingly interesting forms, and, sooner or later, they must learn it, either voluntarily or by compulsion, Virginia, in particular, is a spoilt child, having been the pet of the General Government for the last sixty-eight years; and like most other spoilt children, she has become forward, peevish, perverse, sulky and irreverent—not caring to know her duties, and failing to perform even those which she does know. Her superiors perceive that the abolition of slavery would be a blessing to her ; she is, however, either too ignorant to understand the truth, or else, as is the more probable, her false pride and obstinacy restrain her from acknowledging it. What is to be done? Shall ignorance, or prejudice, or obduracy, or willful meanness, triumph over knowledge, and liberality, and guilelessness, and laudable enterprise? No, never! Assured that Virginia and all the other slaveholding States are doing wrong every day, it is our duty to make them do right, if we have the power; and we believe we have the power now resident within their own borders. What are the opinions, generally, of the non-slaveholding whites ? Let them speak.
In quest of arguments against slavery, we have pera sed the works of several eminent Christian writers of different denominations, and we now proceed to lay before the reader the result of a portion of our labor. As it is the special object of this chapter to operate on, to correct and cleanse the consciences of slaveholding professors of religion, we shall adduce testimony only from the five churches to which they, in their satanic piety, mostly belong - the Presbyterian, the Episcopal, the Baptist, the Methodist, and the Roman Catholic—all of which, thank Heaven, are destined, at no distant day, to become thoroughly abolitionized. With few exceptions, all the other Christian sects are, as they should be, avowedly and inflexibly opposed to the inhuman institution of slavery. The Congregational, the Quaker, the Lutheran, the Dutch and German Reformed, the Unitarian, and the Universalist, especially, are all honorable, able, and eloquent defenders
of the natural rights of man.
Albert Barnes, of Philadelphia, one of the most learned Presbyterian preachers and commentators of the day, says:
“ There is a deep and growing conviction in the minds of the mass of mankind, that slavery violates the great laws of our nature; that it is contrary to the dictates of humanity ; that it is essentially unjust, oppressive, and cruel ; that it invades the rights of liberty with which the Author of our being has endowed all human beings; and that, in all the forms in which it has ever existed, it has been impossible to guard it froin what its friends and advocates would call 'abuses of the system. It is a violation of the first sentiments expressed in our Declaration of Independence, and on which our fathers founded the vindication of their own conduct in an appeal to arms. It is at war with all that a man claims for himself and for his own children ; and it is opposed to all the struggles of mankind, in all ages, for freedom. The claims of humanity plead against it. The struggles for freedom everywhere in our world condemn it. The instinctive feeling in every man's own bosom in regard to himself is a condemnation of it. The noblest deeds of valor, and of patriotism in our own land, and in all lands where men have struggled for freedom, are a condemnation of the system. All that is noble in man is opposed to it; all that is base, oppressive, and crue!, pleads for it.
" The spirit of the New Testament is against slavery, and the principles of the New Testament, if fairly applied, would abolish it. In the New Testament no man is commanded to purchase and own a slave ; no man is commended as adding anything to the evidences of his Christian character, or as performing the appropriate duty of a Christian, for owning one. No where in the New Testament is the institution referred to as a good one, or as a desirable one. It is commonly—indeed, it is almost uni
versally-conceded that the proper application of the principles of the New Testament would abolish slavery everywhere, or that. the state of things which will exist when the Gospel shall be fairly applied to all the relations of life, slavery will not be found among those relations.
“Let slavery be removed from the church, and let the voice of the church, with one accord, be lifted up in favor of freedom ; let the church be wholly detached from the institution, and let there be adopted by all its ministers and members an interpretation of the Bible—as I believe there may be and ought to bethat shall be in accordance with the deep-seated principles of our nature in favor of freedom, and with our own aspirations for liberty, and with the sentiments of the world in its onward progress in regard to human rights, and not only would a very material objection against the Bible be taken away—and one which would be fatal if it were well founded—but the establishment of a very strong argument in favor of the Bible, as a revelation from God, would be the direct result of such a position.”
Thomas Scott, the celebrated English Presbyterian Commentator, says :
“ To number the persons of men with beasts, sheep, and horses, as the stock of a farm, or with bales of goods, as the cargo of a ship, is, no doubt, a most detestable and anti-Christian practice."
From a resolution denunciatory of slavery, unanimously adopted by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in 1818, we make the following extract :
“We consider the voluntary enslaving of one part of the human race by another as a gross violation of the most precious and sacred rights of human nature, as utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and as totally irreconcilable with the spirit and principles of the Gospel of Christ, which enjoins that all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.' * * * We rejoice that the church to which we belong commenced, as early
as any other in this country, the good work of endeavoring to put an end to slavery, and that in the same work many of its members have ever since been, and now are, among the most active, vigorous, and efficient laborers. * * * We earnestly exhort them to continue, and, if possible, to increase, their exertions to effect a total abolition of slavery.”
That our negroes will be worse off, if emancipated, is, we feel, but a specious pretext for lulling our own pangs of conscience, and answering the argument of the philanthropist. None of us believe that God has so created a whole race that it is better for them to remain in perpetual bondage.”
BISHOP HORSLEY says :
“Slavery is injustice, which no consideration of policy can extenuate."
BISHOP BUTLER says:
“ Despicable as the negroes may appear in our eyes, they are the creatures of God, and of the race of mankind, for whom Christ died, and it is inexcusable to keep them in ignorance of the end for which they were made, and of the means whereby they may become partakers of the general redemption."
BISHOP PORTEUS says :
“ The Bible classes men-stealers or slave-traders among the murderers of fathers and mothers, and the most profane criminals on earth."
John Jay, Esq., of the City of New-York-a most exemplary Episcopalian-in a pamphlet entitled, " Thoughts on