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hope that by pursuing a Christian course a large proportion of the Churches, now repelled by the rancour and wholesale denunciation of Come-outers, would be gained to the anti-slavery cause. If any continued in indifference or persisted in pro-slavery measures after all means of convincing and persuading them were exhausted, such Churches ought to be excluded from Christian fellowship.
We contend that the friends of the slave are bound to pursue a course toward the churches calculated to enlist their sympathy and co-operation. If they are the bulwarks of Slavery, it is only because they wield an eminently powerful influence, shall that influence be annihilated, or rather shall it not be appropriated? What do the come-outers mean by reviling and abusing the churches? Do they wish to aggravate their indifference till it becomes hostility to the very name of Anti-Slavery? Do they wish to provoke their hostility into ten-fold violence, and stamp it with perpetuity? Or do they hope thereby to undermine and destroy their influence and make them contemptible? If they could effect this what good would they accomplish for the poor slave? Would he thank them for destroying a mighty engine of influence when they might by pursuing a different course have secured it entirely to his interest? Will he not rather reprobate them as his
We must now examine the come-out method of determining what churches are pro-slavery.
Those who admit slaveholders to their communion are proslavery. All the great churches do this as such in their ecclesiastical capacity. Slaveholders are admitted to a seat in the General Assembly, Old and New School, in the General Conference, in the Baptist Triennial Association, and in all the great ecclesiastical bodies.
All local churches and all ministers connected with these bodies are pro-slavery, whatever they may profess to be as churches.
Here begins the chain of pro-slavery relationship, and it runs on indefinitely including all churches that sustain any kind or degree of connection.
There is another chain which begins at this staple-any church is pro-slavery which admits a Whig or a Democrat, (not to say Liberty man,) to its communion. The chain commencing thus proceeds in this wise, the church that holds fellowship with such a church is pro-slavery; the church that holds fellowship with the second is likewise pro-slavery, and so on ad infinitum.
To the first case, we reply, that a church cannot be pronounced pro-slavery on the mere ground of connection with an ecclesiastical body composed in part of slaveholders, for. the following reasons:-A body so composed is not necessari ly in a state of irreclaimable corruption. There may be a good hope of effecting a separation between the slaveholding and non-slaveholding portions. The Anti-Slavery churches may deem it their duty to continue their connection in order to effect this object. If this be so, if there be a reasonable prospect of such a result, the local church could not give a better evidence of Anti-Slavery character than by remaining in the body. If, on the contrary, the case were really a hopeless one, still the church could not be pronounced pro-slavery unless it were itself persuaded of that fact. There might be room for honest difference of opinion in the case. One church might be satisfied that all effort would be fruitless, another church might still hope. Whatever might be the duty of the former, that of the latter would be to hold on, to pray and labor and remonstrate till convinced that prayer and effort were in vain.
Again, mere connection with a pro-slavery body cannot decide the character of the church so connected. This principle we have already established. The body must be known to be pro-slavery by the church, it must be known to be irreclaimably so, insomuch that further connection with it would be unavailing. It must be proved that this is well known by the church,or else it must be proved that the connection is maintained because the body is pro-slavery. If the accused church enters the plea that the relation is continued for Anti-Slavery ends, to reform and redeem the guilty body, that plea will stand in bar of all charges of pro-slavery until it can be clearly shown that the end sought is absolutely hopeless and that they know it to be so.
If then ecclesiastical connection with a pro-slavery Church cannot justify the charge of pro-slavery, of course the charge cannot be sustained in the case of a Church which simply fellowships a Church so connected, nor in the case of a third Church which fellowships that, nor in the case of a fourth Church which fellowships that. In a word the magic chain is broken, and Come-outism, with its infinite series, falls to the ground.
Consider now the other chain. A Church admitting a whig or democrat is pro-slavery-therefore all Churches standing in the series of fellowships are equally pro-slavery. This be
gins back, thus. A man does himself what he does by another. Whigs and democrats vote for slave-holders, they are therefore slave-holders themselves. To admit them into the Church is identical with receiving slave-holders. Against this reasoning we object that it has not been yet determined that the time has fully come when voting for a slave-holder must be deemed an immorality of such a nature as to exclude a person from the Church. That this time will come and come soon cannot be doubted, but who will say that it has come? What man or set of men is authorized to announce to the world that the day has dawned? To many this time no doubt has come, and they could not do the deed without forfeiting Christian character, but has it come to all? If it has not Churches cannot be bound to excommunicate or discipline those who so vote. The moral relations of voting have very recently been called up, and are yet but partially developed and imperfectly disseminated. The prevailing theory has been that voting had nothing to do with morals or religion, and that it was perfectly right to vote for any man who was capable and honest in the common acceptation of the term, whatever his moral character or principles might be. This was indeed a dreadfully corrupt theory, but who said it was so until lately? A few feeble voices have been for years raised against it, but they were not strong enough to arrest the public attention and get truth before the general mind. Now the attention especially of Christians is being called to this subject. The political duties of Christian citizens, and the morality involved in voting for a wicked man are becoming prominent topics, and as a consequence light is being diffused. What now? Shall the few who have just obtained the light begin forthwith to fulminate their anathemas against those who have not yet got their eyes fully opened? Shall the Churches that do not see it to be their duty to cut off all who act not yet in conformity with the new light, be declared foul as Babylon!
Let us next examine the case of a Church sustaining no ecclesiastical relations whatever with bodies called pro-slavery, which avows itself decidedly anti-slavery, yet which exchanges letters of dismission and recommendation with other Churches which exchange letters with other Churches which sustain ecclesiastical relations as here described. Does this intercommunion vitiate the anti-slavery character of the Church, and convict it of the guilt of slave-holding?
It would be a sufficient answer to this to say that since it
has already been shown that the Churches with whom the letters are interchanged are not pro-slavery, the Church in question is not. But we will reply in another form. Let it be granted that the Churches concerned are pro-slavery, yet be fore we can infer that exchanging letters of dismission with them involves the crime of slaveholding, we must ascertain beyond a doubt that the Churches so doing are apprized of their pro-slavery character. This pro-slavery character must have been clearly made out, and that for a sufficiently long time to be generally known, and the Church in question must have had at least ordinary opportunities to know and understand the case.
Again, let it be granted that sustaining relations as above described to pro-slavery bodies may be evidence sufficient to some persons of pro-slavery character and deep guiltyet that fact cannot determine either that it will be or ought to be satisfactory evidence to all other persons. Those who are convinced may themselves be in error, though sincere; they should therefore be modest in their judgment of those who are not convinced. Or they may have possession of facts and modifying circumstances which give quite a different aspect to the case; they should then be forbearing with those who differ from them, and instruct them patiently, before they turn upon them the withering frown of censure and proscription.
In either of these ways it may be easily shown that the exchanging of letters of dismission and recommendation with a Church alleged to be pro-slavery cannot warrant the charge of slave-holding against the Church so doing.
We are now prepared to meet the question, What is the duty of individuals belonging to churches which maintain terms of communion with other churches related ecclesiastically to the large denominations, called pro-slavery because they are composed in part of slaveholders? Comeoutism teaches that in all cases of this kind, it is the duty of the members who would keep themselves unspotted from the taint of slavery, to come out immediately, and have no more connection with such churches. This direction to individuals is based upon the pro-slavery character of the church; but we have proved that the church is not proslavery, consequently the direction is not in place. We say then, to all individuals who are perplexed by these doctrines of Come-outism, and almost persuaded to break their church connections, see that you do no such wicked and foolish thing.
If the church to which you belong is sincerely and earnestly devoted to the emancipation of the enslaved, forsake it not because some lynx-eyed reformer has come along and made the astounding discovery that it has given a letter to some church in New York or Wisconsin, which is connected with the Presbyterian, Methodist, or Baptist denominations. We say, if your church is sincerely devoted to the cause of the slave, hold fast to your profession and your place, and give to the winds this "lie of hell," as Luther would pronounce it, were he now among us-Luther, who perhaps was never more dishonored than when quoted as a prototype and godfather of modern Come-outism! If your church is not awake to this good cause, still do not tear away from it, but let your anti-slavery light shine in it, and let it be true light, light blended with love. Be patient, "in meekness instructing" your brethren. Abstain from denunciation, commend anti-slavery to the church by your own spirit, especially if you are the only one in the church entertaining such sentiments. Set before you this glorious aim-to win over a whole church to sympathise with the bleeding slave. What an achievement that! Far more arduous indeed than a blustering demonstration of come-outism, but how much more noble and God-like.
We have now in due course come to the worst and corruptest class of slaveholders, that "brotherhood of thieves" -the ministers of the free states. It is melancholy to witness the intemperance both of sentiment and language in which these deluded men and women, the come-outers, indulge. In their treatment of northern ministers, they are particularly severe and abusive, and for this they think, forsooth, they have abundant reason. They consider them altogether the most guilty, the most hypocritical, the most corrupt class of slaveholders in the United States. The tide of their abhorrence, beginning with the slave owners of the south, moves onward receiving fresh accessions and impulses as it crosses Mason's and Dixon's line and rolls by the Whig and Democratic parties, gathers still greater momentum as it sweeps by the Liberty party, becomes violent as it dashes over the churches, and at length rises to fury when it reaches the ministers of the gospel. Well, it must be admitted that an intelligently pro-slavery minister, in a free state, is a preeminently wicked person.
It behooves us then, to inquire, who are pro-slavery ministers? The come-outer reply is as follows. First-he is a