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is, sanctified intellect. If it may be, the highest talents are to be brought under the influence of the gospel, and consecrated to the service of the church. Who can but feel the necessity of such a divine action on the intellect of the nation, in view of the mighty interests at stake! Our country is doubtless in a critical condition, and has been so for some time past. It is a fearful question with us, and to be decided, perhaps, by the present generation, which is to gain the ascendency,christianity or atheism, -pure religion, or some one or more of its corruptions. The problem is to be solved, whether free institutions can flourish here, with the virtue which supports them; or, whether despotism, with the vice with which it is compatible, is to take their place. Here is the battle-ground of a great moral contest, and the war grows thicker and thicker every year. Much, in all probability, is to be done and suffered by the friends of God and man, before the struggle will terminate, and, as we hope, terminate in favor of freedom and the gospel, establishing them on a basis never to be shaken. Besides
, the minds of men every where, in this revolutionary, forming, and critical condition of things in the world, need to be directed to the only source of holiness and hope. Infatuated as they are in their vain pursuits, they seem to ask for help. The bulk of the people, in almost every community, suffering under the evils of ignorance and sin, although they know not what to lay hold of as the antidote, sigh to be delivered. The world itself, wearied with its crimes and idolatries, is waiting, though unconsciously, to be converted unto Christ. In what a singular condition, for instance, is France; with papacy sitting lightly upon her, and her emancipation from a false system of religion, rather than her subjection to truth, commenced! Turkey, struggling with the burden of Islamism, desires to imitate the manners and adopt the institutions of christian Europe. India is relinquishing the gods whom she has adored ; and although she does not extensively embrace christianity, she does not decide against it. Even China, hitherto inaccessible to the rest of the world, suffers the apostles of benevolence to visit her mysterious shores ; and though she as yet believes not, she is beginning to read the messages of divine truth, designed for all mankind. In this moral crisis, who does not perceive the necessity of sanctified talent, as the means of guiding innumerable minds in the way of righteousness,—of moulding the mighty mass into order and beauty ! How
able men and women must be raised up, to labor, and pray, and write, for the salvation of the nations ! For such an object, the heaviest contributions may well be laid on genius, learning, taste, and eloquence. All that human talent, sanctified by grace, can do, will be demanded for the work. The religious press will be called on to pour out the best productions of the intellect and heart, in quantities commensurate with the wants of the world, as those wants are ascertained from year to year. Much as has been written, and well written on the subject of religion, there is even now needed a large amount of works, pithy, forcible, pungent, direct in application, and interesting in character, designed to awaken, impress, instruct, and save the souls of men. Sermons, full of thought, striking in illustration, solemn in appeal, and perspicuous in style, would meet with a welcome from multi tudes who love substantial reading, and the rich truths of God's word. Interesting biographical sketches of pious men and women, illustrating character, and the operation of moral causes, as well as detailing facts, will continue to allure the heart to Christ, and refresh and enliven many a christian pilgrim on his way to heaven. Tracts, combining alike the instruction of sermons and the incidents of story, must, as heretofore, arrest thousands of thoughtless persons, whom no other means, perhaps, are so well adapted to teach. Even the strains of the muse, on spiritual themes, and spiritual herself, will accomplish their proportion of good; and though it is an age in which men read poetry less than they do politics, yet the more refined will be found to relish its sweetness, while the worship of the sanctuary will consecrate it in soul-subduing music.
In conclusion, we may venture to remark on the subject of seekmg the conversion of the world, so frequently introduced into the work under review, and intimately connected with the memory of Mr. C., in respect to its bearing on the character of the age. And we would just say, that it constitutes a new era in the modern history of christianity. The efforts for such an object are the glory of the age; and if consistently and perseveringly put forth, will, more than any thing else, purify and elevate it. The mass of sin, and moral de basement, will be diminished under the influence of an ardent pursuit of the world's conversion. The attempt itself, as well as the effects produced, will, so far, conduce to the prevalence of holiness, and of an elevated moral principle. Great and good objects connect themselves with large views and
. They expand the soul, raise it above the world, and give it a distaste for the polluting, degrading pleasures of sin. The principal moral enterprise now before the church, has already made a deep impression, and will make a still deeper one, on all thinking,
It has already elicited talents and piety of the first order
, and these will be multiplied as the work advances towards
Art. XI. THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY.
Lectures on Slavery and its Remedy. By Amos A. PHELPs, Pastor of Pine-street
Church, Boston. Published by the New-England Anti-Slavery Society, 1834. 18mo. pp. 284.
It cannot be doubted, that much of the dispute which exists at the present time, among those who are seeking the extinction of slavery, is to be ascribed to some mutual misunderstanding in regard to the import of terms. One class of philanthropists, among whom the author of this book has recently become a standardbearer, insist on what they call the immediate, unqualified, complete abolition of slavery. Another class, whose philanthropy is equally unquestionable, think, that though an immediate and universal emancipation of two millions of slaves, may be better than the perpetuity of slavery, a progressive and gradual subversion of the fabric of society now existing in the southern States, would be much more desirable, as respects the well-being of both the slaves and their masters, and as respects all those great interests of the human race, which are confessedly involved in the result. Between these two classes,-strange to tell,—has arisen contention, such as turns the very temple of our religious anniversaries into a scene of clamor and violence.
We set up no claim to be considered peculiarly disinterested or impartial in this controversy. It is not for us to pretend to act as umpires. Our readers all know, that our sympathies are neither with the advocates and apologists of slavery, nor with the crusaders for immediate and universal emancipation. We have taken our ground with that class of christian philanthropists, who, reasoning not from the abstract equality of all men, as to political rights, but from the great law of love, believe, first, that abolition in almost any form, is better than perpetual and immitigable slavery; and secondly, that the immediate emancipation of two millions of slaves in the United States, would be far less beneficent, and therefore far less equitable towards the slaves themselves,—whose interests and rights in the matter are first to be consulted, -than some more progressive change of their relations to the other classes of society. Yet, unless we deceive ourselves, we are not committed on this subject, so as to be unwilling to learn. The subject has been much in our thoughts for years; and as we are sure, that we understand it now better than when we began to study it, so we confidently expect to learn more and more in years to come. Our discussions of this subject, as of every other, are pursued, we trust, for truth rather than for victory. And though we may be sometimes excited,—unduly excited, perhaps, by the treatment we receive from men of whom we have a right_10
Expect, if not the courteous bearing of gentlemen, that christian candor and kindness which is far better,--we still hope, that no personal feelings of ours will lead us to pervert clear testimony, will hinder us from acknowledging the force of argument.
The first thing necessary to the adjustment of the controversy, between the two parties of those who cherish a common enmity gainst slavery, is, that we have a distinct and right understanding of the terms abolition' and emancipation,' as they are used in this controversy. It is common with immediate abolitionists, in their arguments on the subject, to describe in the strongest terms, one of the horrors of that slavery which exists in the southern States; to deal out certain aphorisms about inalienable rights; and to infer, that every slave in the United States ought to be emancipated instantaneously, and that all slavery ought to be instantaneously abolished. What do they mean? is the first question. Do they make a right use of language? is another question.
To take an example, the authenticity of which will not be called in question,-the “National Anti-Slavery Convention," in their declaration of principles, argue as follows:
* Those, for whose emancipation we are striving,—constituting at the present time at least one-sixth part of our countrymen,--are recognized by the law, and treated by their fellow-beings as marketable commodities, -as goods and chattels,
, -as brute beasts ; are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress; really enjoying no constitutional nor lagal protection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons ; are ruthlessly torn asunder,—the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother,--the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband, at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants. For the crime of baving a dark complexion, they suffer the pangs of hunger, the infliction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servitude. THEY are kept in heathenish darkness, by laws expressly enacted to make their instruction a criminal offense.
No man has a right to enslave or imbrute his brother,—to hold or acsnowledge him, for one moment, as a piece of merchandise,--to keep back bis hire by fraud,-or to brutalize his mind by denying him the means of intellectual, social, and moral improvement.
The right to enjoy liberty is unalienable. To invade it, is to usurp the prerogative of Jehovah. Every man has a right to his own body, to the products of his own labor,—to the protection of law,--and to the common advantages of society. It is piracy to buy or steal a native African, and subject him to servitude. Surely the sin is as great to enslave an American as an African.
Therefore we believe and affirm,- That there is no difference, in principle
, between the African slave trade and American slavery; That every American citizen, who retains a human being in involuntary bondage as his property, is, (according to scripture,] a man-stealer ;
That the slave ought instantly to be set free, and brought under the protection of law;
That all those laws which are now in force, admitting the right of slave ry, are therefore before God utterly null and void; being an usurpatio of the Divine prerogative, a daring infringement on the law of nature a base overthrow of the very foundations of the social compact, a com plete extinction of all the relations, endearments, and obligations inankind, and a presumptuous transgression of all the holy command ments,--and that therefore they ought to be instantly abrogated.'
We quote this passage, not to argue with it, but to inquire, Wha do these people inean by immediate emancipation ? Take thi first paragraph, on which, if we mistake not, the whole argumen was supposed by the signers of that address, to depend. Tha paragraph seems to be the definition of that state of things whid ought to be immediately abolished,—the description of that sla very from which the slaves ought to be immediately delivered Suppose, then, the abolition of that state of things to have take place. Suppose the slaves to have been actually delivered from the wrongs above recited. What is the change? The slave are no longer recognized by the law, or treated by their fellow beings, as marketable commodities, as goods and chattels, as brut beasts ;' they are henceforth “PERSONs held to service.” The are no longer plundered of the fruits of their toil;' the law take care effectually that they shall have such guardianship, support and comfort, as shall be a full equivalent for their labor. They are no longer destitute of constitutional and legal protection from licentious and murderous outrages on their persons ;' the law through the ministration of courts and officers instituted for the purpose, guards them, as effectually as other subjects of the lau are guarded, against violence and abuse. They are no longer - ruthlessly torn asunder,—the babe from its mother, the wife from her husband, at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants;' it is provided by law, that every master shall be held responsible for all his treatment of his servants,—that families of slaves shall not be separated without their own consent,—and that no slave shall be transferred from one master to another, without his own voluntary subscription (if he be an adult, or the subscription of his parents, if he be an infant,) to the instrument of transfer. They no longer suffer the pangs of hunger, the infliction of stripes, and the ignominy of brutal servitude, simply for the crime of having a dark complexion :' they are well fed; their rations are forfeited only by the apostolic rule, as a punishment for indo lence ; stripes are inflicted on them only for evil-doing, at the sentence of a magistrate, or if you please, other more civilized penalties have superseded the infliction of stripes ; their servitude has ceased to be brutal. They are no longer is kept in heathenish darkness, by laws expressly enacted to make their instruction a criminal offense;"—the face of legislation has been turned the