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strong enough further to put off the day of emancipation. The reality of this truth shines out in every page of the letters of Dr. Fuller. He bas, with a courage and ability worthy of a better cause, thrown himself into the breach, and made himself the casuist to quiet the uneasy consciences of his brethren of the South. He has done the only thing which he could do, without confessing his own unworthi

He has denied slavery to be a sin, or a wrong. He has maintained that it is favored of God, and not displeasing in the eyes of Jesus Christ. The Church is, then, right in holding its ægis before the institution, and protecting it against the advancing spirit of the age. The marriage of the Church with slavery is, then, clear, justifiable, irrevocable; and the conclusion of Dr. Fuller is, “Whom God hath joined, let man not put asunder.”

Such is the point in the controversy at which we have now arrived. The Christian Church of the Slaveholding States almost with one voice declares to us that there is no moral wrong in slavery. In this it has now assumed a position very far beyond any thing which was ventured earlier than the year 1818. Before then, it was customary in most of the sects to admit the wrong, and to urge the adoption of measures for its ultimate removal. Now it is no longer a wrong ; hence there is no barrier, so far as the Church is concerned, to its perpetuation. We find, among other instances in the pamphlet, understood to be from the pen of Mr. Birney, the title of which stands first in our list, the following official attestations to this truth.

THE GEORGIA ANNUAL CONFERENCE. " Resolved unanimously that:

“« Whereas there is a clause in the discipline of our church, which states that we are as much as ever convinced of the great evil of slavery; and whereas the said clause has been perverted by some, and used in such a manner as to produce the impression that the Methodist Episcopal Church believed slavery to be a moral evil,

" Therefore, resolved,

" That it is the sense of the Georgia Annual Conference, that slavery, as it exists in the United States, is not a moral evil.'

“ Resolved,

“• That we view slavery as a civil and domestic institution, and one with which, as ministers of Christ, we have nothing to do, further than to ameliorate the condition of the slave, by en

1847.]

Resolutions of Southern Churches.

229

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deavouring to impart to him and his master the benign influences of the religion of Christ, and aiding both on their way to heaven.'

“ On the motion, it was resolved unanimously, – “That the Georgia Annual Conference regard with feelings of profound respect and approbation the dignified course pursued by our several superintendents or bishops in suppressing the attempts that have been made by various individuals to get up and protract an excitement in the churches and country on the subject of abolitionism.'

“ Resolved, further, “That they shall have our cordial and zealous support in sus. taining them in the ground they have taken.'

SOUTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE. “ The Rev. W. Martin introduced resolutions similar to those of the Georgia Conference.

“ The Rev. W. Capers, D. D., after expressing his conviction that the sentiment of the resolutions was universally held, not only by the ministers of that Conference, but of the whole South'; and after stating that the only true doctrine was, 'it belongs to Cæsar, and not to the Church,' offered the following as a substitute :

6. Whereas we hold that the subject of slavery in these United States is not one proper for the action of the Church, but is exclusively appropriate to the civil authorities,'

“ Therefore, resolved,

" That this Conference will not intermeddle with it, farther than to express our regret that it has ever been introduced, in any form, into any one of the judicatures of the Church.

6. Brother Martin accepted the substitute.

« • Brother Betts asked, whether the substitute was intended as implying that slavery, as it exists among us, was not a moral evil ? He understood it as equivalent to such a declaration.

"• Brother Capers explained, that his intention was to convey that sentiment fully and unequivocally; and that he had chosen the form of the substitute for the purpose, not only of reproving some wrong-doings at the North, but with reference also to the General Conference. If slavery were a moral evil (that is, sinful), the Church would be bound to take cognizance of it; but our affirmation is, that it is not a matter for her jurisdiction, but is exclusively appropriate to the civil government, and of course not sinful.

. The substitute was then unanimously adopted.'” – pp. 1416.

“ The Rev. J. H. Thornwell, at a public meeting held in South Carolina, supported the following resolutions :

". That slavery as it exists in the South is no evil, and is consistent with the principles of revealed religion; and that all opposition to it arises from a misguided and fiendish fanaticism, which we are bound to resist in the very threshold.

"• That all interference with this subject by fanatics is a violation of our civil and social rights, - is unchristian and in. human, leading necessarily to anarchy and bloodshed; and that the instigators are murderers and assassins.

“• That any interference with this subject, on the part of Congress, must lead to a dissolution of the Union.'” – p. 17.

THE BAPTIST CHURCH.

“ In 1835. The Charleston Baptist Association addressed a memorial to the legislature of South Carolina, which contains the following:

" • The undersigned would further represent, that the said association does not consider that the Holy Scriptures have made the fact of slavery a question of morals at all. The Divine Author of our holy religion, in particular, found slavery a part of the existing institutions of society ; with which, if not sinful, it was not his design to intermeddle, but to leave them entirely to the control of men. Adopting this, therefore, as one of the allowed arrangements of society, he made it the province of his religion only to prescribe the reciprocal duties of the relation. The question, it is believed, is purely one of political economy. It amounts, in effect, to this, — Whether the operatives of a country shall be bought and sold, and themselves become property, as in this State ; or whether they shall be hirelings, and their labor only become property, as in some other States. In other words, whether an employer may buy the whole time of laborers at once, of those who have a right to dispose of it, with a permanent relation of protection and care over them; or whether he shall be restricted to buy it in certain portions only, subject to their control, and with no such permanent relation of care and protection. The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves has been distinctly recognized by the Creator of all things, who is surely at liberty to vest the right of property over any object in whomsoever he pleases. That the lawful possessor should retain this right at will is no more against the laws of society and good morals, than that he should retain the personal endowments with which his Creator has blessed him, or the money and lands inherited from his ancestors or acquired by his industry. And neither society, nor individuals, have any more authority to demand a relinquishment, without an equivalent, in the one case, than in the other.'” – p. 26.

1947.]

Opinions of the Southern Church.

231

HARMONY PRESBYTERY OF SOUTH CAROLINA : “• Whereas sundry persons in Scotland and England, and others in the north, east, and west of our country, have denounced slavery as obnoxious to the laws of God, some of whom have presented before the General Assembly of our Church, and the Congress of the nation, memorials and petitions, with the avowed object of bringing into disgrace slaveholders, and abolishing the relation of master and slave: — And whereas, from the said proceedings, and the statements, reasonings, and circumstances connected therewith, it is most manifest that those persons “know not what they say nor whereof they affirm,” and with this ignorance discover a spirit of self-righteousness and exclusive sanctity,' etc.

“ Therefore, 1. Resolved,

“That, as the kingdom of our Lord is not of this world, his Church as such has no

right to abolish, alter, or affect any institution or ordinance of men, political or civil,' etc.

" 2. Resolved : • That slavery has existed from the days of those good old slaveholders and patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who are now in the kingdom of heaven), to the time when the apostle Paul sent a runaway home to his master, Phile. mon, and wrote a Christian and fraternal letter to this slave. holder, which we find still stands in the canon of the Scriptures,

and that slavery has existed ever since the days of the Apos. tle, and does now exist.'

“3. Resolved: — That, as the relative duties of master and slave are taught in the Scriptures, in the same manner as those of parent and child, and husband and wife, the existence of slavery itself is not opposed to the will of God; and whosoever has a conscience too tender to recognize this relation as lawful is “ righteous over much," is “ wise above what is written," and has submitted his neck to the yoke of men, sacrificed his Christian liberty of conscience, and leaves the infallible word of God for the fancies and doctrines of men.'

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“ CHARLESTON UNION PRESBYTERY : " It is a principle which meets the views of this body, that slavery, as it exists among us, is a political institution, with which ecclesiastical judicatories have not the smallest right to interfere ; and in relation to which any such interference, especially at the present momentous crisis, would be morally wrong, and fraught with the most dangerous and pernicious consequences. The sentiments which we maintain, in common with Christians at the South of every denomination, are sentiments which so fully approve themselves to our consciences, are so identified with our

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solemn convictions of duty, that we should maintain them under any circumstances.'

* Resolved,

“That, in the opinion of this Presbytery, the holding of slaves, so far from being a sin in the sight of God, is nowhere condemned in his holy word, that it is in accordance with the example, or consistent with the precepts, of patriarchs, apostles, and prophets, -and that it is compatible with the most fraternal regard to the best good of those servants whom God

have committed to our charge; and that, therefore, they who assume the contrary position, and lay it down as a fundamental principle in morals and religion, that all slaveholding is wrong, proceed upon false principles.'” - pp. 34, 35.

Such, then, is the position of the Church in one half of the United States. It maintains the rightfulness of slavery. And if this can be fully proved, then, indeed, does it redeem itself from all blame in giving to the system a firm and steady support, such as no civil institutions can supply. But there is another class of persons in the Church who are considered by many as having hitherto yielded quite as great a share of support to slavery as any, by their refusal to take note of it at all; and this class the assumption of extreme ground by their brethren of the South is not calculated to relieve. They are of the number who looked coldly upon the noble efforts of the lamented Channing, and who frowned upon the early attempts to rouse the people of America from their lethargy as the offspring of incendiary fanaticism. In this course they have been unquestionably conscientious. The cry had been sedulously raised by individuals holding high positions in the community, though in no way connected with the Church, that the people of the free portion of America had nothing whatever to do with the question, and that the mere agitation of it would be productive of nothing but social disorganization ; and by it the clergy, with rare exceptions, were persuaded into an honest belief that silence was a duty. The moral aspects of slavery, its pestiferous tendency over public opinion, not merely in the region to which it was itself confined, but far and wide over the Union, and its inevitable advance with accumulating force upon the future, were considerations not deemed sufficient to overcome the objections to active interference. A disposition to open the matter for discussion was esteemed worthy of no encouragement, and scarcely of toleration. This was a state of

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