Imágenes de páginas

ers of such reforms, who, kind souls, think their cause from foundation to top-stone is all love.

7. The immutable law of relation between light and love is this-light is in order to love. Light is the seed, love is the fruit. The end and the sole end of light is love the means and the sole means to love is light. This order can in no case be reversed. Love can never originally produce light, neither can light ever be set up in any intelligent mind as an ultimate end, in relation to which love holds the subordinate rank of a means. The only end to which love sustains the relation of a means, is the grand ultimate end of being-GOOD. The value of light consists in this alone, that it is the condition or cause sine qua non of love.

8. Good is the ultimate end of reform, love is the sole means to good, and light is the sole means to love. Therefore every true reform will embody both light and love. It must have light because that is essential to love, it must have love for that is essential to good, which is its only end.


9. Reform implies a reformer. The qualifications requisite in the reform are equally requisite in the reformer. He too must have light and love. With either alone he may be a disorganizer but he cannot be a reformer. The purest reform on earth cannot redeem from deserved abhorrence the loveless heart or the lightless head of a spurious reformer.

Our task is now an easy one. It will consist (after a full description and portraiture of Come-outism and the Comeouter) in subjecting both to the ordeal of two test questionsHave they light? and have they love?

What then is come-outism? The name merely is no certain index of the thing. We shall find that there are a number of Come-outisms quite distinct from each other, just as there are a variety of bodies all calling themselves Christians, yet holding not only different but in some cases contradictory principles. In the case now under discussion the name, like the garland of truisms referred to, has been self-assumed, and wisely no doubt, for it contributes no little to sustain the arrogated positions of uncompromising principle and stern integrity, by which this scheme imposes upon the credulity of benevolent minds. Fair names and shining costume go far toward gaining in advance, an enviable reputation.

Come-outism is a term of modern coinage which has not found its way into the latest dictionary, though it traces its origin to a source no less venerable than the sacred scriptures. The command "Come out of her my people," is at

once the basis of the term and the warrant of the doctrine which it designates. We shall not challenge the coin. It is strong bold saxon, and well expresses a bold high Christian duty. The true doctrine of Come-outism cannot be called in question, and we have never heard of its being called in question. But what is the true doctrine? As we are indebted to the Bible for the name, we must also learn from it what the thing is. We shall find it there set forth in clear unambiguous terms, and we shall see in the sequel whether the modern doctrine of come-outism corresponds with the doctrine as laid down in the Bible.

We must premise that there are several distinct kinds of Come-outism, and as it is quite necessary in our discussion to discriminate between these we will mention them severally.

1. There is the scripture doctrine of Come-outism, if we may so call it, which when rightly understood is, like everything else which the word of God inculcates, "holy, and just, and good." Its principle is this-the Church that is hopelessly corrupt, and which therefore is delivered over by God to fierce plagues and terrible retributions, must be abandoned by the good, because, since there can be no benevolent reason for remaining in such a Church, to remain in it would argue a bad motive, and consequently a participation in its guilt. But more of this hereafter.

2. There is another case, differing materially from the above, in which Come-outism, in a modified form, may be called for. A Church, for example, takes decided ground against the reformatory movements of the age, or, it may be, against certain doctrines or measures. In consequence of this a portion of the membership deeming it their duty to be actively engaged in promoting reforms, or judging it for their edifica- ' tion to enjoy the inculcation of the proscribed doctrines, withdraw and unite with some other Church, or perhaps form a new Church. By this action however they do not intimate that the Church which they leave is hopelessly depraved; on the contrary they hope to see it ultimately coming up to the work. This procedure is not usually if ever called Come-outism, but it is not unfrequently quoted as a sanction of the doctrines and measures of the worst forms of Come-outism, with which in fact it has nothing in common but the simple circumstance of withdrawment. The course here described is sometimes doubtless demanded. There have been repeated instances of it both in Churches and benevolent societies, within the last ten years. In some of these cases perhaps the

[ocr errors]

action has been premature, and might have been obviated by a little exercise of forbearance, and even this comparatively mild measure should not be resorted to where any expedient, not involving the evil of rupture or secession, will avail. Where however this measure is really called for its propriety cannot be doubted. It is to be considered highly reformatory in its influence over the old body, and as tending powerfully to progress. No organizations, whether religious, social or civil, should be held sacredly exempt from the modifications demanded by the onward movement of the times; but if in any particular organization the majority should think otherwise, and consequently should resist all attempts at alteration, it may be the duty of the minority quietly to withdraw and organize anew. If this may be called Come-outism, we have no controversy with it, though we should not choose to call it by that name.

3. We mention another case demanding similar measures. It is the case of a Church depraved in its doctrines, or its ritual service, or both, as the Romish, or the Greek, or the Armenian Church. When doctrines essentially heretical are held, or image worship obtains, or any other glaring corruption has crept in, although the Church may not be considered irreclaimably apostate, and although a large portion of its membership may be deemed Christians at heart, yet we regard it as plainly the duty of converts in such Churches to come out of them, and we contend that they should be required so to do by their Christian teachers.

4. We next mention a specific form of Come-outism-that of the Adventists. Their doctrine of Come-outism, which was rife some two or three years since, was, that all the Churches that rejected Adventism; were the Babylon of the Apocalypse, and that the divine command-"Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins," was directly applicable in this case. Never was a doctrine more confidently asserted, or enforced with more awful threatenings. The burden of a prophet and the commission of an apostle were blended with the authoritativeness of the Son of God Himself in the annunciations and denunciations of the advent preacher.

5. Another specific form of Come-outism is that of the Unionists. Their doctrine of Come-outism is based upon the essentially anti-gospel character of sectarianism, and consequently of sectarian Churches.. They teach that after due efforts to reform such Churches, those opposed to sectarianism should come out from them and organize Union Churches.

6. There is another species of Come-outism which rests upon hostility to all ecclesiastical organizations even that of the local Church.

7. We now come to the particular form of Come-outism which we propose to discuss, namely Anti-slavery Come-outism. Of this we shall give a more particular description.

1. It begins with fabricating a religion of its own. Its Christianity is to all intents and purposes devotion to the slave. In imitation of Bible Christianity it has two commandments. The first is-thou shalt love the slave with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength. The second is like unto it, namely thou shalt hate the slaveholder with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength. On these two commandments hang all the religion of the Come-outers.

2. The next cardinal point is that slavery is the summum malum. Other sins, if there be any, are like stars discernable only with the telescope, compared with the enormous, glaring, firey comet of slavery. It is the omnibus of all sin, crime, vice, villainy and diabolism. There is nothing foul on earth or fiendish in hell but exists in colossal dimensions in slavery. It is the realization in another form of the tyrants wish in regard to the Roman people-it gives to the whole viperous brood of sins one neck, and Come-outism is brandishing its sword in huge teriffic circles preparatory to severing it and redeeming the world at a blow.

3. Another axiom of Come-outism is that slavery is a universal sin, existing everywhere, defiling all communities and depraying all families, tainting all Churches and vitiating all anti-slavery societies, excepting those that go the full length of disunion and come-outism! This wonderful sect never think of going south of Mason's and Dixon's line to find slavery. South-Carolina and Alabama slave-holding is a mere trifle compared with that in Ohio and Massachusetts, and if you would see the arch-fiend itself, "fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell," you must look for it in some community or Church which all the world besides have supposed to be pre-eminently anti-slavery.

4. Another principle of Come-outism is that the character of the slave-holder is to be determined solely by the character of the relation itself, that is, of slavery. Hereby hangs a string of ergos. Slavery is "the sum of all villainies," therefore the slave-holder is the sum of all villains. Further all slave-holders are of the same hue of guilt, and the best slave

holder that can be found or fancied "is a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a pirate and a murderer.'


5. The next principle is that the legal slave owner is not the real slave-holder. The true holders of the southern slaves are the citizens of the free states, especially those who are members and ministers of the Churches. This is a corollary from the proposition that the Churches in the free states are the bulwark of slavery. The main share therefore of the guilt of slavery rests upon Church members at the north; consequently all that can be truly said of the veriest slave owner or seller may be justly said of the Christians throughout the free states. Nay,more,they are indefinitely worse than the mere legal holders of slave property, for these are but the creatures of their power and live by their permission. They are the sustainers both of slavery and the slave owners. They are therefore par excellence the villains, the man thieves, the landpirates of our country. Well, this is an amiable system!

6. The Churches are the seats and centers of the foulest corruption to be found in the land, and the ministers are altogether the corruptest portion of that corruption; they are "a brotherhood of thieves." Therefore to overthrow the Churches and to trample down the ministry is to be the first achievement of this crusade. Down with the Churches, away with the clergy-are the watchwords of the party.

7. We come now to the prominent doctrine in this system. It is this-No connection whatever with pro-slavery Churches-universal, unqualified and instant come-outism! This doctrine has multifarious applications, some of which we will stop to point out, as it is here especially that we must join issue with the system.

The great denominations and indeed all the ecclesiastical bodies in the land are put down pro-slavery.

Every local Church connected with these bodies is, by virtue of that connection, pro-slavery.

Every minister of the gospel ecclesiastically related to any one of the religious denominations is ex-relatione pro-slavery. He may personally be never so much devoted to the interests of the slave, and so regarded in and out of his denomination, and it may be well known that he is employing his ecclesiastical connection as a vantage ground on which the more effectually to oppose slavery and the position of the denomination; yet maugre all, he must be pronounced pro-slavery, and branded as a slave-holder of the worst grade.

Any Church not immediately connected with the pro

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »