Prize contest essay published in 1831 by the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Digitized by the Antislavery Literature Project.
OF ALL DENOMINATIONS,
INCONSISTENCY OF ADMITTING
COMMUNION AND CHURCH MEMBERSHIP.
He that stealeth a mean, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exodus XXi. 16.
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.
Psalms cls. 12.
S.C. Atkinson, Printer.
12 Hudsons Alley.
This is a prooftext of Evan Lewiss An Address to Christians of All Denominations, on the Inconsistency of Admitting Slave-Holders to Communion and Church Membership, published by the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society in 1831 in Philadelphia. The text is currently being annotated and will be published in a revised electronic edition. Original spelling, punctuation and page citations have been retained; minor typographic errors have been corrected.
This electronic edition has been prepared for the Antislavery Literature Project, Arizona State University, a public education project working in cooperation with the English Server, Iowa State University. Digitalization has been supported by a grant from the Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University.
Proofing and editorial annotation by Joe Lockard. Digitalization and annotation research by April Brannon. All rights reserved by the Antislavery Literature Project. Permission for non-commercial educational use is granted.
THE merit of originating the following treatise is dueto Ebenezer Dole, a benevolent citizen of Hallowell,Maine, who, from a thorough conviction of the iniquity of slavery, and its utter inconsistency with the precepts of the gospel, was induced to remit fifty dollars to thePennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery, &c. to be awarded to the writer of the best essayon the following subject: "The Duty of Ministers andChurches, of all denominations, to avoid the stain ofSlavery,and to make the holding of slaves a barrier tocommunion and church membership."Three membersof the Pennsylvania Society were named by the donorto examine the essays offered, and decide upon theirmerits.Notice of the offered premium was given in thepapers of this city, and copied into others at a distance; and six month; were allowed, from the date of the notice, for the production of essays.The committee of three,after examining those received, awarded the premium to Evan Lewis, the author of the following treatise, which is published by order of the Society.It is submitted tothe candid and impartial examination of ministers andprofessors of religion, of every denomination, with an ardent desire that they may seriously consider the great responsibility that rests upon them, as Christians, to exert their influence in the cause of suffering humanity,that the dark and portentous cloud which hangs over ourcountry may be dispelled by the peaceable, but powerful, agency of christian principles.
ADDRESS TO CHRISTIANS.
The state of slavery in the United States is so totallyat variance with the genius of our free institutions, and so repugnant to the spirit and design of the christian religion, that nothing but habit and a long familiarity withthe corrupt system, could reconcile republicans to itsexistence.Its toleration, in this country, presents sobroad a contrast between profession and practice, thatwise and good men behold the example with grief andastonishment.
When about to enter on the examination of the ques tion of slavery, for the purpose of exhibiting its incon sistency with the precepts of the christian religion, the following questions are naturally suggested: What is the condition implied by the word slavery, in this con nexion? What is the nature and character of that sys tem which we are about to examine?
"Negro Slavery. What term was ever more familiar to the public ear, and yet what term is so little understood? It has been the theme of many eloquent public speeches, of many parliamentary debates, and of much controversy, at different periods, in pamphlets and periodical prints. Yet, were a mind new to the subject to inquire, what is specifically and practically that state of man, about which so much has been said and written; what is that slavery which exists in the United States and the West Indies, I
know not in which of the many arguments before the public, an adequate answer would be found.*
There is, perhaps, no word in the English languagewhich has been used more indefinitely, or applied morevariously, than that of slavery.It has peen applied tocivil disabilities, and to mental degradation.The republican considers all those who are the subjects ofdespoticgovernments, in a state of slavery.The Christian moralist applies the same appellation to the controlling influence of the passions, to the subjects of pernicioushabits and sinful propensities; while the historian adopt the same term to designate the kind of' servitude that existed among the nations of antiquity, which differed as widely from the slavery to which our attention is nowdirected, as the civil condition of the people of the UnitedStates does from that of the subjects of the Russianempire.
To define it accurately, or to give an adequate idea of the precise condition implied by the word in the presentessay, will not be so easy as might hesupposed. Yet. some attempt to portray, in its genuine colours, and distinctive features, the state of' negro slavery in this country, seems necessary to a right estimate of the merit of the question to he discussed.
"Negro slavery, as existing in the United States and British West Indies, appears to be a creature sui generis,unknown to the ancients; and, though drawn from theleast cultivated quarter of the globe, unknown even there,except in a passing state."**It is a system that finds nocounterpart in the annals of the most barbarous nationon earth.In many of its features it is more arbitrary, more oppressive, more cruel and degrading, than the servitude found among the ancients.Slavery in the UnitedStates and the West Indies, is the same in its generalfeatures and character; and the observations that applyto the one, will be, in most cases, equally applicable tothe other.
"The leading idea in the negro system of jurisprudence, (in the West Indies,) is that which was firstin the
*Stephen **African Observer
minds of those most interested in its formation; namely, that negroes were property.They were not regarded asrational or sentient beings, capable of rights; but aschattels, the civil character of which was absorbed inthe dominion of the owner."*
Slavery was introduced and established in the colonies in a manner very different from that which is com monly supposed. It was not there originally derived trout, nor is it vet expressly sanctioned or defined by any positive laws; it stands, for the most part, on the au thority of custom alone."
"This custom, though it sprang from the imaginations of the most illiterate, as well as the most worthless of mankind, had two qualities of the sublime: it was terribleand it was simple.Its single, but comprehensive idea was, 'that the slave is the absolutepropertyofthe master;'from which the Buccaneers, though no expert logicians, had clearly deduced the consequence, that they mighttreat their negroes, in all respects, as they pleased; for,a man,they naturally argued,may do what he will withhis own."**
The same idea prevails in regard to the negro slave of the United States. He is treated in all respects as chattels, theproperty,of the master subject to seizure andsale for the payment of his debts liable to be separatedfrom all that he holds dear in life, and sold to a stranger, and transported to a distant region, without his consent.Husbands and wives may be torn asunder; parents andchildren may be separated, at the will and caprice of the owner. The strongest ties of nature, and the most endearing associations of home and of kindred may be severed; and for these abuses of power the slave has nolegal redress. He is doomed to hopeless and interminable servitude, and transmits this humiliating condition to his posterity for ever.
The servile condition among the ancients was essentially different in its character from the state of negro slavery.The two conditions have scarcely any thing
*Reeves on the Colonial Slave Laws.
common, but the name.The Helots of Sparta could notbe sold beyond the bounds of their little state.Theywere the farmers of the soil at fixed rates which the proprietor could not raise without dishonour. Hence theyhad the power of acquiring wealth."*They were theservants of the state rather than of individuals. "AtAthens, where the lenient treatment of slaves was proverbial, the door of freedom was widely open; and those who were unlucky enough to meet a cruel master, might fly to the temple of Theseus, from whence they were not taken without an investigation of their complaints.If the ill treatment was found to be real, they were eitherenfranchised or transferred to merciful hands."**The slaves of the island of Crete exchanged situations withtheir masters, once a year, at the feast of Mercury; andcruelty and injustice were prohibited by law.The Egyptian slave might flee to the temple of Hercules, and find safety from the cruelty and persecution of his master. Among the Romans, the authority of the master over theservant was regulated by the same laws as that of the father over his son, with this difference in favour of the servant, that if he were once manumitted, he ever afterwards remained free; while the father might sell his son, a second and a third time into slavery.
The servile class among the ancients were often superior in intellectual attainments to their masters.Theywere not restrained, by law or usage, from the acquisition of knowledge; neither were they excluded from the privilege of giving testimony, even against their masters. When cruelly treated, they had a right to prefer their grievances to the civil authorities, and the magistrateswere bound to hear and redress their wrongs.
But the negro slave of the United States is deprived ofall these advantages.He has no rights of his own; theyare all merged in the dominion of his master. He is not a competent witness against a white person; has no tribunalto which he can legally resort for justice; no asylum towhich he may flee from cruelty and persecution, and findsafety.He is, in most cases, no better than an outlaw
* African Observer **Stephen.
in the midst of a civilized and christian community; deprived by legislative enactments of the advantages of intellectual culture; debased and brutalised by a system the most odious and revolting to humanity that the world ever beheld; and stigmatised as unworthy of the commonrights of man, because of the degradation which this system must necessarily produce.These, then, are someof the features which distinguish the servile condition known among heathen nations, from the absolute andhopeless slavery of the African race, in this christiancountry this land of liberty and equal rights this asylum for the oppressed of all nations.It is against a system of wrongs the most wanton-of oppression the most galling and degrading to human nature, that the christianminister and christian societies are called upon to beartheir testimony to the world.What theme can be more suited to the functions of a christian minister, than such a combination of wrongs and injuries, of cruelty and injustice?What moral pestilence more deserving theinterposing influence of christian ministers to check its ravages?Let them, like the mitred Israelite, placethemselves between the living and the dead, and stay theplague.It has been said, in palliation of negro slavery, that the law of Moses recognized and sanctioned the practice of holding slaves.Such an argument would be more consistent in the mouth of a Jew than a Christian.Are weto turn from the precepts and authority of our Lord andMaster, to the rituals of the Mosaic law which he came to fulfil and to abolish? Shall we leave the dispensationof the gospel, and go back for authority to that dispensation which was permitted only till the time of reformation?
But granting, for the sake of argument, the civil provisions of the law of Moses to be obligatory upon us, theadvocates of negro slavery would gain nothing by the admission.For we have already shown that the latter hasno parallel in ancient history.If the comparatively mildsystem of servitude which existed among the Hebrewsand the neighbouring nations, was sanctioned by the Jew-
ish law-giver, does it follow that the more cruel and debasing bondage in which the negro race are heldin the United States, would also have been tolerated? Themany humane provisions contained in the law, in favourof the bond servant, prove the contrary provisions which,if admitted into our code, would be found incompatiblewith the present system. That of Deuteronomy, xxiii. 15and 16, would alone be sufficient to put an end to slaveryin this country, and proves the mildness of servitudeamong the Hebrews."Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee; he shall dwell with thee, even among you in thatplace which he shall choose, in one of thy gates whereit liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him." Again:The penalty for man-stealing, by the 21st chapter ofExodus, verse 16th, is death. "And he that stealetha man, and selleth him, orifhe be found in his hand, heshall surely be put to death." The crime is ranked inimmediate connexion with the capital offence ofsmitingorcursing father or mother, and the same punishment is awarded to each.The 26th and 27th verses of the same;chapter ordains, that"if a man smite the eye of his servant, or his handmaid, so that it perish; orifhe smiteout his servant's tooth, he shall go free for the eye, or thetooth's sake."Besides, an effectual limit is put to thatspeciesofservitude practised among the Hebrews, in the25th chapter of Leviticus, verse 51, which provides thatthe servant shall go out free in the year of Jubilee, "bothhe, and his children with him." This provision is general, and applies toallservants, without distinction or nation, country or religion. But the Hebrew servant wasto be free at the end of six years, the utmost limitof his servitude, which the law provides. "And if thybrother, an Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be soldunto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventhyear thou shalt let him go free from thee. And whenthou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not lethim go away empty.Thou shalt furnish him liberallyout of thy flock, and out of thy flour, and out of thywinepress," &c.(SeeDeut. xv. 12 to 14.)
If the Mosaic law is to be resorted to in justification of slavery, let us take the whole of it as it was given by the inspired law-giver; and let not the hapless servant be deprived of its lenient provisions in his favour.If we areto be Jews and not Christians, let us at least be consistent Jews, and conform literally to all the instructions ofour law-giver.
Do we look for any palliation, much less authority, for the practice of slavery in the precepts of the gospel? We shall search in vain. The religion of Jesus Christ teachesus to do good for evil to forgive even our enemies todo in all cases to others as we would wish that they shoulddo unto us to love the Lord our God with all our heartand our neighbour asourselves.
Thegospel dispensation was announced to the Jews infulfilment of the declaration of the prophet Isaiah:The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because theLord hath anointed me to preach glad tidings unto the meek: he hath sent meto bind up the broken hearted,toproclaim liberty to thecaptives, and the openingofthe prison to them that are bound." Isaiah 1xi. 1. Luke iv. 18.And the spirit and precepts of the Christian religion arein harmony and accordance with this first public testimony of our Lord. If we fulfil the injunction of our religion, to do to others as we would wish them to do untous if we love our neighbour as ourselves, can we consign him and his posterity to hopeless and interminableslavery?Nay, are we not walking in the footsteps of the Scribes and Pharisees, who bound heavy burdens upon men's shoulders, and would not move them with one of their fingers? And if we thus actively and knowinglyviolate the precepts of the gospel, and the commands ofJesus Christ, can we be Christians?Can we with anycolour of justice call ourselves the disciples of Him whocame to preach deliverance to the captive, and the opening of the prison doors to them that were bound?
But the case of Onesimus has been "alleged to give animplied sanction to negro slavery," because Onesimuswas a slave, and he was sent back to his master, a christianconvert, without any injunction to alter his condition.
To this it has been replied, that christianity, in this, asin many other cases, has provided, without express precepts, a sure and inoffensive corrective of all oppressiveinstitutions, by the gradual influence of its liberal and benignant maxims; which did, in point of fact, dissolve the bonds of slavery in most parts of the christian world.Hence, it is assumed on the one hand, and admitted onthe other, that the state of Onesimus was substantially thesame with that of negro slavery; an assumption withoutany evidence, and grossly contrary to the fact. And until it is shown by something stronger than the coincidenceof a vague general appellation, that the case of Onesimusand that of negro slavery are in moral considerationsthe same, it is false reasoning to infer the lawfulness ofthe one, from the supposed toleration of the other.
If, then, the negro slavery of the United States and theWest Indies has no parallel in the practice of the nationsof antiquity if the servitude which existed among theancients, was gradually abolished in Europe by the operation of the mild but effectual influence ofChristianityand if the modern system of negro slavery finds no support in the scriptures, either of the Old or New Testament; and is directly at variance with the spirit and design of the gospel of Christ, how can christian societies, and christian ministers absolve themselves from the dutyimposed upon them by their profusion or calling, of endeavouring, by every means in their power, to lessen theevils of slavery, and finally to effect its total abolition?That such a duty is obligatory upon them, scarcely admits of a doubt.For what are the legitimate objects ofchristian societies? The most obvious and important designs of such associations appear to be, to promote thecause of truth and righteousness in the world to extend the Redeemer's kingdom among men to turn peoplefrom darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto God. Can truth be promoted by the toleration of slavery?Canrighteousnessexist in connexion with wrongs,injustice andoppression? Can the Redeemer's kingdom be extendedin the hearts of those who bind heavy burdens upon their fellow men, which neither we nor our
fathers were willing to bear?Can those menbeturned from darkness to light who will not permit the slave to be taught to read the volume of inspiration, while the lashof the task-master is still sounding in their ears?Cantheybe rescued from the power of satan, who permit thedearest ties in nature to be broken by members of religious societies?Are men's hearts turned unto the Godof love, who made of one blood all the families of. theearth, when those who assume the name of Christiansturn a deaf car to the cries of the oppressed, and regard not with feelings of compassion the agonizing tearsof the mother, when torn from the offspring of her love?Can these things be tolerated by the professors of thatreligion which breathes peace on earth and good will toall men which, in its nature and design, is gentle andcase to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits?
The enormity and magnitude of the evils of slavery in the United States its demoralizing tendency upon the community, where it prevails to any considerable extent and the tremendous and appalling consequences to this favoured nation which must result from its continuance, would furnish ample materials to fill a volume.Thelimits of this essay will not permit me to discuss these points at large. But when we reflect that there are nowlittle short of two millions of this degraded cast withinour borders, and that their number is rapidly increasing;in some of the States in a ratio much higher than that ofthe white inhabitants, that there are born in the UnitedStates, annually, about seventy thousand human beingsin the condition of slaves for life; the subject demandsthe solemn consideration of every christian philanthropist, to mitigate its horrors, and to devise the most effectual means for its extinction.
What means would be better adapted to the end whatcourse more consistent with the doctrines and precepts, the spirit and tendency of the christian religion, than for religious societies and christian ministers to join heartand hand for the accomplishment of this important object? The powerful and extensive influence which religious associations exercise over the mindsofthe people would
give efficiency and force to their exertions in the righteous cause.Every man who reflects coolly on the subject would feel that their testimony against slavery wasjust, and founded in the eternal principles of rectitude andtruth, which the ever varying circumstances of this worldcannot alter. Hence the voice of conscience, on the onehand, would second the labours of religious instruction,on the other, and the iniquity of slavery would be seen and felt by all classes of professors. More good wouldthus be effected by associating religion with abolition,(and what association can be conceived more natural,)than can be accomplished by benevolent individuals alone,or by abolition societies, or associations of statesmen andpoliticians. These are limited and partial in their operation. They are confined in their influence to small portions of the community, and cannot sogenerally, and effectually influence public opinion, as the united efforts ofreligious Societies.For religion comes home to the feelings, and to the domestic circle of almost every man ofinfluence in our country. It is the business of every man's life to prepare for that state of retribution whichawaits us when done with time. And all are more or lesssubject to the influence of those important duties, andhigh responsibilities which religion presents for their consideration.Let then the clergy from the pulpit bear afaithful and fearless testimony against the practice of holding their fellow creatures in bondage let them describe in the solemn and impressive language of inspiration, theunlawfulness of the gain of oppression the sinfulness of grinding the face of the poor, and causing the objects ofredeeming love to languish in interminable bondage. Letreligious Societies exclude from membership all who willnot emancipate their slaves let them make it a sine qua non, their admission to communion and church fellowship. Let them interpose the powerful agency of religion to the further progress of this moral pestilence let themplant their standard upon this ocean of bitter waters, andsay,hitherto shaft thou come, but no further, and hereshall thy polluted waves be stayed let them preserve their own pure camp from the leprosy of slavery, and show
to the world an example of christian philanthropy, whichwill be felt and approved by the pious, the benevolent,and the wise in every section of our country-let themdo all these things, and the nurse of slavery will ere long be removed from our borders.
It is not necessary to define the manner of excluding slave holders from the advantages of membership in religious Societies.Each Society has its own code of discipline, or form of church government.If the principleshould be adopted that the holding of slaves should be abarrier to communion or church fellowship; the mode ofacting would be regulated by the same rules as in other cases of admission or exclusion from membership. Theexample of the Society of Friends proves the importance of the measure to the cause in general, and its salutary effects upon the community.It is about seventy yearssince the Society in this country made it a part of theirdiscipline that none of their members should hold slaves.
Among the first advocates of the measure in Pennsylvania, were Benjamin Lay and Ralph Sandiford. Thesemen may be considered the pioneers in the great and glorious work of emancipation. They bore a fearless testimony against the slavery of the African race, at a timewhen public opinion was opposed to abolition; and we have reason to believe that they were instrumental inopening the eyes of ninny to the iniquity of slavery.After them followed Benezet and Woolman in the samecause men whose universal philanthropy, and christianbenevolence shone conspicuous in every important action of their lives.For many years the testimonies ofsuch men as Lay and Sandiford were received by some oftheir brethren as the ebullitions of fanaticism, or the vagaries of a heated imagination. But the voice of truth and philanthropy was heard by many with calmness and impartiality. A consciousness of the unlawfulness of holding mankind in bondage was extended among the members other advocates of the cause of emancipation wereraised up, and justice at length triumphed inthe utter extinction of slavery in the Society. BenjaminLay lived to see the accomplishment of the desire ofhisheart the
adoptionofarule of discipline of the yearly meeting ofPennsylvania for disowning all those who would not free their slaves.When informed of this conclusion, by afriend who called to see him for the purpose of giving himthe information, "The venerable and constant friend andadvocate of that oppressed race of men, attentively listened to the heart-cheering intelligence, and after a few moments reflection on what he had heard, he rose from hischair, and in an attitude of devotional reverence, pouredforth this pious ejaculation;Thanksgiving andpraiseherendered unto the Lord God. After a short pause he added Icannow die in peace."*He lived but a fewweeks after this event.
From that period to the present time, the Society of Friends have been proverbial for their opposition to sla very. They have revived the subject from year to year in their annual assemblies. The younger members have been trained under the influence of a settled aversion to the system. The testimony against slavery has become identified with their religion, influencing their habits, and giving a direction to their actions. The consequence is, that the whole weight of their influence as a religious associa tion, has been exerted to loose the fetters of the captive. To this influence, in a great measure, Pennsylvania owes the honor of having been the first State in the Union to pass a law for the abolition of slavery. The first act of legislation, expressly designed for the extinction of slavery was passed by the general Assembly of Pennsylvania March 1, 1780. The example has been followed succes sively by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey. In five other States, slavery is prohibited by the Constitution.
A cursory view of the effects produced by the decided stand taken by the Society of Friends, against the iniquitious practice of holding mankind in bondage, will be sufficient to show the vast and incalculable influence which would be brought into action, were the more numerous bodiesof christians in our country to unite their efforts in the same cause.The Methodists have done much in this
*Life of Benjamin Lay, by Roberts Vaux.
good work. Though they have not fully incorporated abolition with their religion though they have not in all cases, made the holding of slaves a barrier to communionand church fellowship; yet their preachers have not ceased to proclaim the important truth, that all men ought of right to be free. They have often boldly and conscientiously discharged their duty as christian ministers, byportraying in glowing colours the sinfulness of slavery. They have opened their mouths for the dumb, and pleadthe cause of the poor and the oppressed.They have broken the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.Wherever the influence of this Society has extended, the cause of the degraded African, has found ableand efficient advocates.Through their means many thousands have been restored totheir rights; and a directiongiven to public opinion, in many places, unfavourable to slavery.It is devoutly to be wished, that they would advance yet one step further, and cleanse their camp fromthe unclean thing that still remains-that they wouldmake no compromise with slavery, but wash their handsof the pollution.
Great credit is also due to the Presbyterians in theWestern States.Some of them have laboured with a noble and disinterested perseverence in the cause of emancipation.Their resolution appears to be formed, neverto cease their efforts, until their Society is purged from the stain of slavery. If this consummation should be achieved,which we ardently hope, and confidently believe will eventually crown the labours of those christian philanthropists who have engaged in the work, the cause of abolition will acquire a moral force and preponderence in the communitywhich will be felt in every section of the country.
The Baptists, too, in some parts of the Western States have taken up the question of slavery as a religious duty. I regret that my information is so limited in regard to thelabours of these two last named Societies. It appears thatthey design to accomplish the total exclusion of slaveholders from communion and church membership in their respective Societies.How far they have progressed in their endeavours to cleanse their camp from so foul a pollution,
I am unable at present to say. But every friend to humanity can join in cordial approbation of their efforts in the righteous cause, and in the hope that they may persevere until they see, as did the pious Lay, their labourscrowned with success see of the travail of their souls,and be satisfied.
Every individual in the community should be encouraged to the performance of his duty to the cause of emancipation however small may be his means of usefulnessfor by individual faithfulness, great results have often beenproduced; and apparently insignificant causes have sometimes effected important reformations.Thomas Clarksonwas engaged to devote his life to the cause of abolition,by being called upon to write a prize essayonthe subjectof slavery.When he first turned his attention to the question to be discussed, he knew not where to begin.He was totally ignorant of the subject upon which he was about to write. He was destitute of the mean of acquiring the knowledge necessary to enable him to dismiss the question of slavery.He knew not to whom to apply for information, or where to procure the necessary authorities In this hopeless condition, he saw in a window, as he passedalong the streets of London, Anthony Benezets account of Guinea.He bought the book, and foundit to containa clue to all the authorities herequired. He engaged in the contest for the prize, and obtained it; and from thissmall beginning became the principal instrument forthe accomplishment of the abolition of the British slave trade Again.The labours of those who conscientiously engaged in the cause of abolition as religious duty, gave a tone to public opinion in the northern and middle states, which resulted in the enactment of laws for the total extinction of slavery in those states.To the same causemay be attributed the ordinance of 1787, by which slavery has been forever excluded from the Mates and Territories North and West of the river Ohio. Their rapidand unexampled advance in wealth and population, fullyestablishes the wisdom of the measure.
These, and similar examples show the importance of individual faithfulness in the performance of every duty. It
is by such means that all great and important reformationsof abuses have been effected: for society can only actefficiently by means of individuals.Let each man labourin his own particular sphere, and the influence of his example will extend to those with whom he is connected in civil or religious society. And thus organised associations may be brought to act efficiently in a collective capacity.
Let then every Christian minister, and every religious association, and each individual member of a religious society endeavour to eradicate the stain of slavery from ourland, by the effectual operation of the lenient principles of Christianity. Let the voice of justice and humanity be heard from every pulpit, and resound from the walls ofevery church let the fiat of universal emancipation beissued from every Conference, Synod, and General Assembly throughout the country, let the pious associationsof the present age, for distributing the Scriptures, andcommunicating a knowledge of the Christian Religion todistant regions, proclaim freedom to the captive, and theworkere long, be accomplished.Slavery will sooncease to be a curse upon our country, and a disgrace toour nation. Then will the blessing of him that was ready to perish, come upon us, and the soul of the emancipatedslave will be made to sing for joy.