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tory evidence of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they [the missionaries] all appear to have proceeded.”
The fourth topic is the proper application of church discipline in respect to slavery. On this subject the dictate of common sense is that the master who exercises his legal power over his servants to do them wrong, is to be censured, not indeed for having the power to do wrong with legal impunity, but for the specific wrong-doing.
Resolution.--"The master who buys and sells human beings, as merchandise, for gain; who does not recognize, in respect to his servants, the divine sanctity of their relation as husbands and wives, and as parents and children; who permits them to live and die in ignorance of God and of God's Word; who does not render to his servants that which is just and equal; or who refuses to recognize, heartily and practically, their dignity and worth as reasonable and immortal beings, for whom Christ has died; does not give satisfactory evidence of being born of God, or having the spirit of Christ.”
Report.-“Should any church member who has servants under him, be chargeable with cruelty, inJUSTICE or UNKINDNESS towards them, should he neglect what is essential to their present comfort or their eternal welfare; or should he in any manner transgress the particular instructions which the apostles give concerning the conduct of a master, he would be admonished by the church, and unless he should repent, he would be excommunicated.”
Again: “In respect to the kind and amount of instruction given by the missionaries, in relation to
slavery and the duties of masters and slaves, the missionaries seem substantially to agree. Mr. Byington says, We give such instructions to masters and servants as are contained in the epistles.' 'In private we converse about all the evils and dangers of slavery.' Of a similar tenor are the remarks of Mr. Wright. The instructions, public and private, direct and indirect, have been such as are found in the Bible.'»
On this point, then, either the report is entirely unworthy of credit, as a representation of facts, or any master in a church under the care of our missionaries, who should be convicted of any of the specifications set down in the resolution, "would be admonished by the church; and unless he should repent, he would be excommunicated.” And in the name of justice-nay, in the name of Christ, whose honor is so deeply implicated in this matter-I demand that the contrary shall not be asserted or assumed as the basis of argument against the missionaries or the Board, without clear proof.
If any man, then, shall venture to affirm that there are masters in our Cherokee and Choctaw churches, who buy and sell human beings, as merchandise, for gain--who do not recognize the divine sanctity of the relations of husbands and wives, parents and children, among their servants—who permit their servants to live and die in ignorance of God and of God's Word—who do not render to their servants that which is just and equal—or who refuse to recognize their dignity and worth as reasonable and immortal beings for whom Christ has died—I demand of that man that he shall identify the church
and the offender; that he shall, in the presence of that church convict that offender, not of sustaining the relation of a master, but of some of these specific wrong-doings; and that, having done this, he shall bring back a well-authenticated statement to show that the church, with the specifications distinctly proved, refused to censure the offender. If he will not, or cannot, do this, let him confess himself a calumniator of God's people.
At the risk of being tedious, I must ask two questions, in view of the comparison which I have thus instituted between the resolutions presented by myself and the report adopted by the Board.
First, How was it possible for Mr. Phelps, with all his perspicacity, to say, as he says in the manifesto from which I made a quotation last week :
“ The anti-slavery sentiments expressed by such men as Messrs. Bacon, Hawes, Beecher, Stowe, Dwight, &c., are not to be taken as defining at all the actual position of the Board. They. are the sentiments of individuals. They did not prevail in the Board. On the contrary, the Board distinctly rejected the resolutions of Dr. Bacon, which were a summary expression of them. The Board, therefore, is no more to have the credit of them than it is to have the credit of the sentiments expressed by Dr. Ide and other abolitionists, and embodied in our amendments. It is no more to have the credit of them than the curse of what was ut. tered by the slaveholder, Elipha White, and his worthy compeer, Dr. Wisner. It is to have neither the credit, nor the curse of either, but must stand and be judged solely on what it did and what it refused to do—on the report adopted, and the amendments rejected.”
The Board did not distinctly reject” the resolutions proposed by me.
In regard to those resolutions, the Board took -no distinct vote, except the vote by
which they were referred to a committee. The question of adopting or rejecting them was never put. The only amendment "rejected,” was Mr. Phelps' second amendment. So far as any “anti-slavery sentiments expressed by such men as Messrs. Bacon, Hawes, Beecher, Stowe, Dwight, &c.,” were summarily expressed in my resolutions, they are all expressed, as I have shown, not indeed more summarily, but more fully, and with even more of a technically anti-slavery tone, in the report adopted by the Board. I am far from imputing to Mr. Phelps any intentional misrepresentation. I only suppose, that in the singleness of his devotion to the cause of his society, he did not examine, so carefully as he should have examined, the facts that lay in the printed documents before him.
Secondly, Is it not plain that those who would have been "satisfied” with the adoption of the resolutions proposed by me, ought to be satisfied, if they are reasonable men, with the report as it stands? Is it not plain that, in lending their voices to a clamor against the Board, as if those resolutions contained something which the report, as adopted, does not contain, they will put themselves into a position in which they must appear very much like tools in the hands of other men? Those men who would have been thus "satisfied,” will find a much better guide in their own instinctive common sense, and their love of substantial and practicable usefulness, than in the transcendental formula of the Anti-Slavery Society, or the movements of its Executive Committee.
WHAT HAS CHURCH GOVERNMENT TO DO WITH SLAVERY?
WHAT IS SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES ?
Immediately after the publication of the first of these articles, I received a friendly letter from Mr. Phelps, representing that I omit all notice of what he deems an important qualification of his position. An extract from his letter, and a brief explanation of my views in regard to it, may serve as an introduction to what I propose to say on another part of the general subject :
My position, then, allow me to say, is just this, that the mere fact of slaveholding, in the same way and in the same sense, as the mere fact of drunkenness, falsehood, or gaming, is (1) to constitute the ground and occasion for instruction, public or private, or both, against it; (2) that such instruction resisted, and the thing persevered in, are to be the ground and occasion for admonition, or the commencement in some way of religious discipline; and (3) that instruction and admonition both resisted, and the thing still persevered in, are to constitute the ground and occasion for excommunication. This I hold to be the general rule, admitting possibly of exceptions, but of none save such as could be admitted in regard to the other cases named, and on the same proof or grounds as in respect to them. And this I hold not on the alone ground of the sinfulness of slaveholding in all cases (though I believe that), but on the broader, and what might be the common, ground of all parties, that it is justly, in this day, an occasion of reproach and an appearance of evil from which every follower of Christ is bound, at all hazards, to abstain-in other words, that if not sinful in itself, it is, to quote the Presb. Book of Discipline, something in the principles or practice of a man, fitted to tempt others to sin, and mar their spiritual edification'--not, in a word, walking orderly.