« הקודםהמשך »
times, which signally favour your efforts; and on the wide spread and growing impression upon the public mind, that your success is connected with the best interests, not only of the people of colour, but of our country and mankind. If it be important that legal equality should accompany liberty, that Africa should receive the gospel, and that the evils of the slave trade should be overruled for her final enjoyment of the blessings of civilization and knowledge, liberty and religion, then it is important that your design should be encouraged. We wish you, therefore, to know, that within our bounds the public sentiment appears clearly and decidedly in your favour, and that the more vigorously and perseveringly you combine and extend your exertions on the plan you have adopted, the more you are likely to be crowned with the approbation of the people as well as with the bigher rewards of doing good. As ministers and disciples of him who proclaims light to them that sit in darkness, peace to a jarring world, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, we anticipate the glorious day when men shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest in all lands; when every one shall sit under his own vine and under his own fig-tree, having none to molest or to make him afraid; when the rod of the oppressor and the tears of the oppressed shall be known no more, but all men shall do unto others as they would be done unto in similar circumstances. This glorious change in the state of the world we expect will be brought about by the instrumentality of men, under the blessing of God. While, then, the heralds of salvation go forth in the name and strength of their divine master to preach the gospel to every creature, we ardently wish that your exertions and the best influence of all philanthropists may be united to meliorate the condition of human society, and especially of its most degraded classes, till liberty, religion, and happiness shall be the enjoyment of the whole family of man. A true copy from the records of the Synod of Tennessee.
CHARLES COFFIN, Stated Clerk. Nashville Church, Oct. 3d, 1817.
ON SLAVERY. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, having taken into consideration the subject of Slavery, think proper to make known their sentiments upon it to the churches and people under their care.
We consider the voluntary enslaving of one part of the human race by another, as a gross violation of the most precious and sacred rights of human nature; as utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves; and as totally irreconcilable with the spirit and principles of the Gospel of Christ, which enjoin that, “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them.” Slavery creates a paradox in the moral system-it exhibits rational, accountable, and im
mortal beings, in such circumstances as scarcely to leave them the power of moral action. It exhibits them as dependent on the will of others, whether they shall receive religious instruction ; whether they shall know and worship the true God; whether they shall enjoy the ordinances of the Gospel; whether they shall perform the du. ties and cherish the endearments of husbands and wives, parents and children, neighbours and friends; whether they shall preserve their chastity and purity, or regard the dictates of justice and human ity.-Such are soine of the consequences of slavery-consequences not imaginary--but which connect themselves with its very existence. The evils to which the slave is always exposed often take place in fact, and in the very worst degree and form: and where all of them do not take place, as we rejoice to say that in many instances, through the influence of the principles of humanity and religion on the minds of masters, they do not--still the slave is deprived of his natural right, degraded as a human being, and exposed to the danger of passing into the hands of a new master who may inflict upon him all the hardships and injuries which inhumanity and avarice may suggest.
From this view of the consequences resulting from the practice into which christian people have most inconsistently fallen, of enslaving a portion of their brethren of mankindfor "God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth”it is manifestly the duty of all christians who enjoy the light of the present day, when the inconsistency of slavery, both with the dictates of humanity and religion, has been demonstrated and is
generally seen and acknowledged, to use their honest, earnest, and unwearied endeavours to correct the errors of former times, and as speedily as possible to efface this blot on our holy religion, and to obtain the complete abolition of slavery throughout christendom, and, if possible, throughout the world.
We rejoice that the church to wbich we belong commenced as early as any other in this country the good work of endeavouring to put an end to slavery;* and that in the same work many of its members have ever since been, and now are amongst the most active,
* In the minutes of the Sypod of New-York and Philadelphia, for the year 1787, before the General Assembly was constituted, we find the following, viz:
“The Synod of New York and Philadelphia do highly approve of the general prin. ciples in favour of universal liberty that prevail in America; and of the interest which many of the states have taken in promoting the abolition of slavery; yet, inasmuch as men introduced from a servile state to a participation of all tbe privileges of civil society, without a proper education and without previons habits of industry. may be, in many respects, dangerous to the community: therefore, they earnestly recommend it to all the members belonging to their communion, to give those who are at present held in servitude, such good education as may prepare them for the better enjoyment of free. dom. And they moreover recommend that masters, whenever they find servants dis. posed to make proper improvement of the privilege, would give them some share of property to begin with; or grant them sufficient time and sufficient means of procuring, by industry, their own liberty, at a moderate rate ; that they may thereby be brought into society with those babits of industry that may render them useful citizens :- And finally, they recommend it to all the people under their care, to use the most prudent measures consistent with the interest and the state of civil society in the parts where they live, to procure eventually the final abolition of slavery in America.
vigorous, and efficient labourers. We do, indeed, tenderly sympa. thize with those portions of our church and our country, where the evil of slavery has been entailed upon them; where a great and the most virtuous part of the community abhor slavery, and wish its extermination as sincerely as any others—but where the number of slaves, their ignorance, and their vicious habits generally render an immediate and universal emancipation inconsistent alike with the safety and happiness of the master and the slave. With those who are thus circumstanced, we repeat that we tenderlý sympathize.--At the same time we earnestly exhort them to continue, and, if possible, to increase their exertions to effect a total abolition of slavery. We exhort them to suffer no greater delay to take place in this most interesting concern than a regard to the public welfare truly and indispensably demands.
As our country has inflicted a most grievous injury on the unhappy Africans, by bringing them into slavery, we cannot, indeed, urge that we should add a second injury to the first, by emancipating them in such a manner as that they will be likely to destroy themselves or others. But we do think that our country ought to be governed in this matter by no other consideration than an honest and impartial regard to the happiness of the injured party, uninfluenced by the expense or inconvenience which such a regard may involve. We therefore warn all who belong to our denomination of christians against unduly extending this plea of necessity; against making it a cover for the love and practice of slavery, ora pretence for not using efforts, that are lawful and practicable, to extinguish the evil.
And we at the same time exhort others to forbear harsh censures and uncharitable reflections on their brethren who unhappily live among slaves whom they cannot immediately set free: but who, at the same time, are really using all their influence, and all their en: deavours to bring them into a state of freedom, as soon as a door for it can be safely opened.
Having thus expressed our views of slavery, and of the duty indispensably incumbent on all christians to labour for its complete extinction, we proceed to recommend—(and we do it with all the earnestness and solemnity, which this momentous subject demands)—a particular attention to the following points.
1. We recommend to all our people to patronise and encourage the Society lately formed for colonizing in Africa, the land of their ancestors, the people of colour in our country. We hope that much good may result from the plans and efforts of this Society. And while we exceedingly rejoice to have witnessed its origin and organization among the holders of slaves, as giving an unequivocal pledge of their desire to deliver themselves and their country from the calamity of slavery, we hope that those portions of the American Union whose inbabitants are, by a gracious Providence, more favourably circumstanced, will cordially, and liberally, and earnestly co-operate with their brethren in bringing about the great end contemplated.
2. We recommend to all the members of our religious denominations, not only to permit, but to facilitate and encourage the instruction of their slaves in the principles and duties of the christian religion-by granting them liberty to attend on the preaching of the gospel, wben they have the opportunity ; by favouring the instruction of them in Sabbath Schools, wherever those Schools can be formed; and by giving them all other proper advantages for acquiring the knowledge of their duty both to God and man. We are perfectly satisfied, that, as it is incumbent on all christians to cominunicate religious instruction to those who are under their authority, so that the doing of this in the case before us would not operate, as some bave apprehended that it might, as an excitement to insubordination and insurrection, but would, on the contrary, operate as the most powerful means for the prevention of those evils."
3. We enjoin it on all church Sessions and Presbyteries under the care of this Assembly, to discountenance, and, as far as possible, to prevent all cruelty of whatever kind in the treatment of slaves ; especially the cruelty of separating husband and wife, parents and children, and that which consists in selling slaves to those who will either themselves deprive these unhappy people of the blessings of the gospel, or who will transport them to places where the gospel is not proclaimed, or where it is forbidden to slaves to attend upon its institutions. The manifest violation or disregard of the injunction here given, in its true spirit and intention, ought to be considered as just ground for the discipline and censures of the church. And if it shall ever happen that a christian professor, in our communion, shall sell a slave who is also in communion and good standing with our church, contrary to his or her will and inclination, it ought immediately to claim the particular attention of the proper church judicature ; and unless there be such peculiar circumstances attending the case as can but seldom happen, it ought to be followed, without delay, by a suspension of the offender from all the privileges of the church, till he repent, and make all the reparation in his power to the injured party.
Passed by the unanimous vote of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and signed by their order by
J.J. JANEWAY, Moderator. Philadelphia, June 2, 1818.
* The following intelligence has been recently received, and may be relied on as authentic " The legislature of Antigua, having held a conference with the missionaries (of the United Brethren, commonly called Moravians) to induce them to extend their missions there, and finding it out of their power, voted them one thousand pounds to build a church and house, and three hundred pounds per annum for the support of missionaries at one station; granting and offering as much crown land as should be wanted for that or other stations; and in the despatch to Lord Bathurst from the government of Antigua, it is stated, that the legislature lamented that their limited finances prevented their doing more; as they were persuaded, that to the labours of those missionaries among the negroes they were mainly indebted for a state of profound tranquillity, while other islands had been exposed to revolt and insurrection. The brethren have about twelve thousand negroes in their cougregation on that island.”
Saturday, July 4, 1818.
REVIVAL AMONG THE DELAWARE INDIANS. Our readers will doubtless peruse with no ordinary satisfaction the following account of the prosperous state of the Mission of the United Brethren in Upper Canada. It is peculiarly satisfactory to observe this flattering condition of christianity among our red brethren of the woods, at the very time when the American Bible Society is about sending to them a translation into their native language of portions of the Sacred Oracles, by which they may be built up in their most holy faith.
We expect to be able to give in our next Number a more particular account of the worthy Missionary to whom the National Society is indebted for that translation. He has laboured long and faithfully in that part of his Master's vineyard ; and the Lord now is giving him “souls for his hire," who, we trust, will be his crown of rejoicing in the great day of accounts.
COMMUNICATED FOR THE CHRISTIAN HERALD. Extracts of a circular from the Rev. C. F. Schaaf of Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, dated Bethlehem, 6th June, 1818-addressed to the congregations of the United Brethren in this country.
We have received letters from Brother Dencke at New Fairfield, in Upper Canada, of the 20 March and 1st April, in both of which he calls upon all our congregations, to unite with him in praising the Lord for the wonders of his mercy to the Indian congregation among whom he resides, which are displayed more and more gloriously; and also in faithful supplications for them, that he would keep them in his grace, and continue to establish them therein. Concerning the blessings enjoyed in the passion-week, and at easter, when the church was daily crowded with attentive hearers, Brother Dencke thus expresses himself: “These were indeed bappy days; times of new awakenings, and of new consolations, the like to which I have never before witnessed during my eighteen years service among the Indians. All seem desirous to press into the kingdom of heaven. Nearly all that were formerly excluded on account of their deviations, have been absolved and readmitted to the church privileges; and the candidates for baptism have been all baptised. Pray, dear brethren, that more heathen may come to us, embrace the gospel, and desire baptism ; for at present we have no more heathen residing within our settlement!” Brother Dencke mentions also, that at the suggestion of their friend, Mr. John Dolson, a Bible Society had been formed for the county of Kent, in which they live, under the name of the "Kent Auxiliary Bible Society." Brother Dencke, by request, had written an address to the inbabitants of the country, which had been circulated; and many had thereupon become members of the Society, to which also some of our Indian brethren had joined themselves. This undertaking for