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is affirmed be granted ? it would only prove that polygamy is not sinful, and how is this connected with the matter at issue ? But the gospel does forbid, and did at once abolish polygamy.
That those who hold slaves are unfit members for a Christian church, is a novel doctrine, a new light, which would have been scouted from our churches fifty years ago. But no polygamist has ever been admitted or tolerated as a Christian since the establishment of Christianity. The Saviour expressly gave a new law as to divorce; and the very letter of that precept, and every word in the epistles as to marriage, recognise and require only one wife. Jesus says, " Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, commilleth adultery." Now what constitutes the adultery? Not “putting away his wife,” but “marrying another :" there. fore he who marrieth another without putting away is guilty. Paul says, “For the woman which hath a husband, is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth ; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband; so then if while her husband liveth she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” " To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Is not this express enough ? Besides, it is a mistake in Dr. Channing and others to suppose that polygamy was common in the days of the Saviour and his apostles. The Roman and Grecian laws did not permit it; and such are the in. conveniences and evils of the custom, that it had nearly ceased in Judea : hence, in the whole New Testament not a single instance is even alluded to.
LETTER TO THE CHRISTIAN REFLECTOR.
No further notice was therefore required than the
DR. WAYLAND'S LETTERS.
I have read with great interest your letter on Domestic Slavery in the Christian Reflector of the present week. Although it is addressed to the editor, yet as you have specially referred to sentiments which I have elsewhere advocated, I presume you will not consider it obtrusive, if I ask the privilege of offering a few remarks in illustration of the doctrines from which you dissent. I fully believe that you, equally with myself, desire to arrive at the truth on this question. If by the kind and fraternal exhibition of our views we can throw any light upon this difficult subject, we shall, I am sure, perform an acceptable service, both to the Church of Christ, and to our beloved country.
of the sentiments in your letter I heartily coincide. I unite with you and the late lamented Dr. Channing, in the opinion that the tone of the abolitionists at the north has been frequently, I fear I must say generally, “fierce, bitter, and abusive." The abolition press has, I believe, from the beginning, too commonly indulged in exaggerated statement, in violent denunciation, and in coarse and lacerating invective. At our late Missionary Convention in Philadelphia, I heard many things from men who claim to be the exclusive friends of the slave, which pained me more than I
can express. It seemed to me that the spirit which many of them manifested was very different from the spirit of Christ. I also cheerfully bear testi. mony to the general courtesy, the Christian urban. ity, and the calmness under provocation, which, in a remarkable degree, characterized the conduct of the members from the South.
While, however, I say this, justice requires me to add that I seem to have perceived grave errors in the manner in which this subject has been treated in the slaveholding States. If, at the north, the right of free discussion has been abused, I think that frequently, at the south, this right has been denied to American citizens. I have seen legislative messages which have, in substance, asserted that the people of this country have no right to discuss the subject of slavery at all. I am sure that you will agree with me in condemning every assumption of this kind. There is no subject what. ever which I have not a perfect right to discuss, in the freest and fullest manner, in public or in pri. vate, provided I act with an honest intention to set before men what I consider to be important truth, and address myself to their understanding and conscience. I claim this right as a citizen of the United States; or rather, I claim it by a far higher title, as an intelligent creature of God. I can only surrender it with my life. I must always treat the threat of abridging it as an insult to the nature which has been given me by my Creator. If I abuse this right, I may be justly punished, and I grant that the punishment, both civil and social, should be exemplary. The right, however, as I have stated it, still remains interwoven with the
essential elements of my intellectual and moral nature.
I rejoice that the question is assuming a new aspect. I rejoice that a brother from the south has invited this discussion, and that there is now an opportunity afforded for freely exchanging our sentiments with each other. Should I abuse this right, should I utter a word that would tend needlessly to wound the feelings of my Southern brethren, there is not one of them that will be as deeply pained as myself. I have never yet visited the Southern States. There may be cases in which, from ignorance of the modes of thinking and forms of expression which prevail among my Southern fellow.citizens, I may, inadvertently, seem not sufficiently to regard their feelings. I do not anticipate that such a case will occur. But should it occur, I have only to ask that I may be considered as an honest and kind man, desiring to hold forth what he believes to be truth; and that if I may seem in this respect to err,
may be imputed, not to an intention to give pain, but merely to my igno. rance of the modes of thought peculiar to a state of society with which I am not familiar.
I would, in passing, offer another suggestion. The ground which is at present taken by the South, in regard to the whole question of slavery, seems to me to be of recent origin. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, I suppose it to have been very generally acknowledged throughout this country, that slavery was an evil, and a wrong, and that it was, tacitly at least, understood to be the duty of those States in which it existed, to remove it as soon as practicable. Pennsylvania had