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rather, they are here in the gospel, and are now doing what they then did. If you can show that they permitted Christians to murder and hunt down men, and rend them from their homes and families, and stupify and imbrute their intellects, and destroy their souls, then you may plead that a gospel permission is a general permission, and that the permission of slavery is a license for every abominable barbarity. It will be time enough then for me to reply to this objection. You admit that the New Testament authorizes government. Suppose, now, one should thus reason. government in the apostles' days was a military despotism. If then the Bible justifies government, it justifies a citizen of the United States in be. coming, if he can, a military despot; nay more, it sanctions the whole system of Roman conquest and tyranny; and I should be justified in planting my armed heel upon the necks of all the sovereigns of Europe, and trampling upon all the nations of the earth, and wading to a throne through seas of blood, and then wielding the sceptre for purposes of lust, and rapine, and ferocity." What would you say to such an argument ? Yet it is exactly your objection to the New Testament per. mission of slavery. The very condition of a devout man, placed by birth under the responsibili. ties of a master, causes him to admire that wisdom of God which in the Bible shines with such lustre for all times and places. To him, as to you, the atrocities you mention are most revolting. But he feels, dear brother, what you do not, I mean the difficulties of his very solemn position; and after seeking most earnestly to know his duty, he per. ceives that the gospel prescribes for him in this situation, (as for all men in every emergency,) that course which, faithfully pursued, would insure at once the peace of society, and the best temporal and spiritual interests of the individual.

66 The


Last objection. If the Bible permits slavery, it cannot be said to correct its abuses, for “where shall we find the precept ?”

" Where have we ever known the New Testament to be called upon to decide the question, what constitutes the proper use, and what the abuse of the institution of slavery ?"

Answer.--No master, with the Bible before him, will ever be able to plead at the bar of God any obscurity on this point. The express precepts are full, nor do I think your paraphrase gives by any means their import. The New Testament solemnly calls upon a master whose power was irresponsi. ble, to remember,” in all his conduct to his servant,“ that he had a Master in heaven,” who would judge him. For slaves, who in the eye of the law had no rights, the New Testament claimed, “ that which was just and equal,”—not merely “suitable physical comforts," -- but whatever was equitable, and due to one intelligent, social, immortal being, standing in such a relation to another.

In a word, the command to masters is a special application of the rule, “ Whatsoever ye would that others do

And the very ap: plication of it by the apostles, proves that they did not regard it as requiring the emancipation of the slave; but (to use the words of Neander) as “im. parting to masters such a knowledge of their du. ties to their slaves, and such dispositions towards them, and as teaching them so to recognise as brethren those who were among their slaves, as to make the relation quite a different thing." Very affectionately, my dear brother,

also to them.”

unto you,

Yours, &c.,






So far from being offended at your plainness of speech, I see in it only that smiting of the righteous which is a kindness, and receive it as a proof of the esteem with which you have always honored

And you, in return, will suffer my boldness, when I ask you whether truth ever requires, or is advanced by, exaggeration, and whether the sweeping charge I am combating be not a manifest ex. aggeration, that must be abandoned, and which in


do abandon ? I am not unmindful of the distinctions of charity you make in your third letter, and I know that charity covereth the multitude of sins. But no charity can devise a dis. tinction by which a man may live knowingly in the commission of a sin of appalling magnitude, and be free from its guilt; no affection-not even selflove-can invent a refinement by which one may inflict on others as great a wrong as can be con

effect you


ceived, and do it for their ben rit; all which I understand you several times to suppose. I will not, however, dwell on this matter.

you still adhere to your assertion, that slavery, in itself, and always, and everywhere, was, and is, a sin of appalling magnitude, then there is nothing left for us but to pray for each other, and to love each other, and to recollect always the diffidence and forbearance becoming those who now

6 know but in part.” I write, and have written, with my health, as well as the patience of our readers, ad. monishing me to stop. But the subject is too im. portant; and, moreover, a committee is soon to meet in your city, upon whose decision will de. pend the co-operation of Northern and Southern Baptists in any Christian enterprise. Of course Southern ministers are the proper missionaries to the colored population. If, then, the monstrous proposition be sustained, that they are all unfit to be employed in the Home Mission Society, and the proscriptive spirit of a few Northern enthusiasts thus annul a constitution under which our fathers have acted so long and happily, you readily fore. see the consequences. Never again shall we assemble in any society. The spirit of fanaticism will exult in the accomplishment of its baleful plans. And one of the largest and noblest bodies of Christians ever constituted for the glory of God, will at once be broken into fragments—not hostile, I hope, but forever irreconcilable. That the great enemy of Christ will exhaust all his devices to secure such a result, no one can doubt. He has suffered too much from our assaults, not to long for such ample revenge. But who can love the Redeemer, or the heathen, without deprecating this disaster, and wishing to avert it ? Nor do I see how disruption can be avoided, and peace and harmony permanently established, unless upon the basis that our associations are agents strictly lim. ited in their trusts and operations, and never to be perverted by any of the principals into engines of inquisition and annoyance.

İn this correspondence it only now remains that I notice one or two arguments advanced by you ; gladly assenting when I can, and when I venture to dissent, doing so with reluctance.

(1.) And first, as to expediency, it is unnecessary to examine how far any body might have a single grain of a scruple about all you advocate. But how can your theories shelter the apostles, if they were guilty of the conduct you attribute to them ? Whether the word “expediency” be good English in the evil sense now generally attached to it, I need not inquire. It is very good American; and as such we will use it, meaning thereby a truckling and trimming so as to make the principles of right and wrong comply with circumstances. And now, thus defined, was there ever expediency more abominable than that practised by the apostles, if your supposition be correct? If they knew slavery to be a sin of appalling magnitude, it was their duty to condemn it. They were bound to dismiss all unworthy comparison between two evils, and, rejecting all evil, to do the will of God, and leave consequences to him. The abolitionists feel themselves under sacred obligation to denounce slavery, and rather tear society to pieces than rest while the horrid sin is committed on the earth.

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