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142 WIS DOM OF THE AMERICAN BOARD.
tionists are now laboring to force upon our acceptance, ever that the slaveholding is in itself a ground of exclusion from the Christian sacraments. # #: :k Not only is there a wrong principle involved in the demands which these Abolitionists now make on the Free Church of Scotland, it is hurtful in effect. Should we concede to their demands, then, speaking in the terms of our opinion, we incur the discredit, and in proportion to that discredit we damage our usefulness as a Church, of having given in—and at the bidding of another party—to a factitious and new principle, which not only wants, but which contravenes, the authority of Scripture and of apostolic example, and, indeed, has only been heard of in Christendom within these few years, as if gotten up for an occasion, instead of being drawn from the repositories of that truth which is immutable and eternal— even the principle that no slaveholder should be admitted to a participation in the Christian sacraments.” The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions has been often tried with ultraisms, party questions, and zealous extravaganzas, at its annual meetings, as well as in its councils and its operations at other times, both at home and abroad; and hitherto that learned and dignified body have been wise, and unawed, and incorruptible, and for the most part entirely unanimous in their practical and their theoretical positions and responses on the subject, to the approbation, and even the admiration, of the best judges, and the most intelligent observers of their administration, both in America and in Europe—I might say also in Asia and in Africa. Dr. Chalmers was distinguished for applauding their wisdom, as the results to which they came, and the “deliverances” they gave, at Rochester, in 1843, and at Brooklyn, in 1845, especially pleased him. He says, “We admire the practical wisdom of the American Board in the deliverance to which they have come on the subject of slavery.” His views, indeed, are those of all sober, well-in
DUTY OF ALL CHRISTIANS. 143
formed, and impartial theologians, who read in the original and wisely interpret, not wickedly or stupidly pervert, such passages compared, to mention no others, as i. Cor. 7:21, 20–22; Eph. 6: 5–9 ; i. Tim. 6: 1–5. The kingdom that as not of this world is in the world, however, and its object is not primarily to mingle with existing organizations of society, or to militate against them, or to drive forward any temporal reforms, much less to meddle with partisan and political opinions and issues. It is legitimately no part of its way to declare war against Caesar, even though a pagan or a persecutor. It affects all social improvements gradually, and potentially, and surely, in the best possible way— THAT Is, INDIRECTLY ; by Christianizing individuals, by educating them for heaven, and by giving them on all subjects a correct and a purifying public sentiment. Christianity comes from heaven to earth, not to make earth its home, or to lose itself by sympathy or identification with the ways or the wisdom of this world, but to prepare persons, an exceeding great multitude, for a better world, them and their offspring with them, by making their characters right, and wise, and happy in the sight of God; giving thanks to the Father, who hath made them meet, fitted them to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Thus Christianity, so to speak, never forgets its special mission, and never lends itself to any other. “The happiness which it confers in the present life are blessings, which it scatters by the way in its march to immortality.” And those who follow in its train may well afford to be misunderstood, and even calumniated, for its sake; though here, it is true, to be distinguished for wisdom and rectitude, is certainly to suffer, in some way, with the honors of a living martyrdom. With fame, in just proportion, envy grows; And he who makes a character, makes foes.
Where impulse rules, or party sways the mind,
He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul; he that keepeth understanding shall find good.—Prov. 19: 8.
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward —Heb. 11:26.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself-Matt. 22:39.
Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.—James, 1 : 16, 17.
Christians, who are united in the belief of the truth, have a right to blame those who think differently from them upon religious subjects.--Dr. Emmons.
The project of improving the Gospel of God has often been attempted, and in no instance with success ; the design of it, indeed, to say nothing of its modesty, or its piety, or its wisdom, is singularly inconsiderate or uninformed in respect to the Architect of the eternal system, and his only negative relation to all possible mistake or imperfection, in whatever he does, and most especially as the author and avenger of the system of redemption.—Anon.
Cum ventum ad verum est: sensus moresque repugnant
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