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theirs, may perhaps look north, and think himself sustained in bis resistance to anti-slavery purposes, by the great body of christians there, who, in fact, do in the main agree with the abolitionist in those principles and purposes which the slave-holder most vehemently bates. We would that anti-slavery men would cause this separation to be no longer necessary, by ceasing to devise causeless oppositions and attacks, by refraining from bitter imputations, by ceasing to maintain as their organs public revilers, in so far as they are such, and “if there be any other thing contrary to sound doctrine.” But this consummation is now so little to be hoped, that it can scarcely be devoutly wished. Little, in this respect, remains to the peace-maker, or him who would be such, but to wait and see how God shall turn in due time to his own glory the misdirections of colonization, the frailties of abolition, and the deep wickedness and wrath of a slave-holding people.


The prosperity of religion, and the highest welfare of our country, require, that our political duties should be clearly understood and faithfully executed. The political agitations which pervade every portion of the community, indicate a morbid state of the body politic, and invite our attention to the disease and to the remedy. This subject is peculiarly interesting to christians. They have shared largely in these excitements, and are responsible, in a great measure, for their influence upon the cause of Christ. It is not strange, that enthusiastic as we are in favor of liberty and independence, our feelings should have led us into errors and excesses, which our sober and deliberate judgment will condemn. Let our sentiments and our conduct in every case be subjected to the test of christian principle, and we may safely abide the result.

That we may come to a correct conclusion on this subject, it is important that we should entertain clear and definite ideas of the distinction between civil liberty and the liberty of the gospel. The former consists in the enjoyment of all that freedom from restraint which is consistent with the welfare of society. The latter is an emancipation of the soul, a deliverance from the bondage of sin and Satan. Civil and political privileges should be estimated and sought after only as they contribute to this deliverance, and to the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom. They are by no means indispensable to the enjoyment of christian liberty. This may be conferred in the highest degree while the body is bound with fetters and confined in a dungeon. Nay, these grierous privations and sufferings may be necessary to effect our entire emancipation from spiritual bondage. " Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” The apostle Paul could exclaim, “We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.” He evidently set a low estimate upon that liberty which the world values most. “ Art thou called being a servant, care not for it, but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather." His anxiety was not to be freed from suffering, but from sin; and he labored incessantly, with this single purpose, to deliver himself and his fellow-men from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

The bible affords no encouragement to a spirit of rebellion. On the contrary, submission and obedience to the civil power were enjoined by the apostle, even under the tyrannical reign of Nero. “Let every soul be subject to the bigher powers. The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake; for so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” There is a sanctity attached to civil government of every form and species, as an ordinance of God, and an instrument in his system of moral government, which entitles civil rulers not only to obedience but to a respectful reverence. Hence the command, “Thou shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” The apostle Peter dwells on the enormity of this sin. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government, presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities."

Christians are required to yield obedience and respect to civil authority, for the Lord's sake, that by well-doing they may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. They should not, by attempting to remedy a political grievance, bring upon themselves the charge of evil-doers, and give occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. Better that they should suffer for “ well-doing," " for this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” Under all circumstances, and at every peril, they should adhere to christian principle, and do honor to the profession of godliness. Their political conduct, as well as their general demeanor, should be regulated by the precepts of the gospel; and no dispensation can be pleaded in one case, any more than in the other. What a change would be effected in the civil

condition of the world, if all who profess to be followers of Christ should adopt the following precepts as the rule of their conduct, and acknowledge their obligation in political morality. “I say unto you,

that ye

resist not evil." “Pray for them which despitefully use and persecute you.” “Follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” “For meat destroy not the work of God.”

“ Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the gentiles, nor to the church of God.” “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." " Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory."

The depravity of the natural heart, as exhibited in the bible and in the history of our race, furnishes abundant evidence of the necessity of maintaining the supremacy of law with the sanctions of religion, and of tempering all our political acts with the spirit of the gospel. Man is by nature a rebel against God, and an enemy to his species. "The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Wbat a deplorable picture is drawn by the pen of inspiration, of God's own covenant people ! “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward! Why should you be stricken any more? Ye will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the crown of the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.” The world has been filled with hatred and strife, injustice and oppression, rebellion and carnage, from the fall of man to the present period. Mankind are impatient and restive, even under wholesome restraint. The natural propensities of the heart are continually struggling for uorestrained indulgence; and nothing can preserve any people from a state of anarchy and licentiousness, but the power of religion, or the strong arm of government.

The world has been enthusiastic and visionary on the subject of liberty. Whenever a people just emerging from barbarism have felt the weight of their chains, they have sought to be delivered from them. Liberty has been their darling theme, and the oppression which they suffered was the only evil which their unenlightened minds would foresee or comprehend. Under the influence of these feelings, they have risen upon their oppressors, kindled the flames of civil war, and continued perhaps, for an age the work of rapine and murder, and then sunk down again into their former state of vassalage. Their wrongs have excited our sympathies; we have looked with an indulgent eye at their crimes, and rejoiced in every victory which they have achieved. There bas

been much in their condition and their sufferings to palliate their conduct, and to call forth our compassionate feelings; for “oppression will make a wise man mad.” Yet it should be remembered, that there is a standard of unerring rectitude, to which all our acts and opinions, whether political, individual, or national, should be conformed, and by which they will be judged. The sentiment has been boldly advanced by some of our ablest statesmen, that “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God :" and it has met with hardly a murmur of disapprobation throughout our enlightened and christian land. Liberty has been regarded as an ultimate good of inestimable value, which all men who are deprived of it may pursue on its own account, under all circumstances, and at any bazard. It is a subject in relation to which mankind have been influenced more by feeling than by reason or revelation. They never count the cost, the blood and treasure, the sin and misery, of a rebellion, nor the insecurity of every possession, while they are afloat upon the tempestuous sea of liberty.”

How discordant are these views and feelings with the spirit and precepts of the gospel ! In what part of the sacred volume can any thing be found which affords them the least countenance. The doctrines it inculcates breathe a very different spirit. Love, obedience, submission, forgiveness, patience, forbearance, long-suffering, are among the virtues which are enjoined upon every follower of Christ, and it is declared by our Savior himself, that all who take the sword shall perish with the sword. These remarks do not tend to justify or palliate the crimes of tyranny, oppression, and injustice. “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Both rulers and subjects will be held responsible for the faithful discharge of their respective duties, and will be punished according to the nature and magnitude of their offenses.

It is unnecessary for us to offer any qualification of the sentiments here advanced, by stating particular exceptions to the command, “ Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man.” It is sufficient for our purpose that we do not use broader language than that of the sacred scriptures. We would merely say, however, what all our readers may have anticipated, that supremacy must always be yielded to the law of God; and the ordinances of man which are opposed to it have no validity, and have no claim to our obedience.

Forcible opposition to government, and violent revolutions, are not necessary to aid the work of moral or political reform. They usually have a contrary tendency, by the encouragement of vice, of a spirit of insubordination and general licentiousness. To be free, a nation must first become virtuous. They will then be prepared to effect peaceably any political changes which may be expedient in their government, and will possess a substantial security

for the uninterrupted enjoyment of freedom. From the earliest periods of history, mankind have been searching for some other conservative principle, some arcana of liberty, something in the form of government, or in the faculties of mind, some counterpoise of the passions, which might afford perpetual security to free institutions. But the search has been as fruitless as that for the philosopher's stone. The wisdom of this world is unable to repair the ruins of the fall. It cannot bring order out of confusion, and give peace to the conflicting elements of depraved passion. The course of our nature is downward. “Facilis descensus averno." All history bears testimony to this truth, and that there is no remedy for the evil but a change of our nature. What the world calls virtue is nothing but a tinsel morality, a fashionable costume, prescribed by public opinion, and not by the law of God. The virtue which qualifies a people for self-government, and which constitutes the life-blood of republics, is obedience to God. This virtue is essential to national prosperity, and the condition on which national blessings are bestowed. God says to all the nations of the earth, as to his ancient covenant people, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse. A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God.” Whether we would deliver our fellow-men from civil or spiritual bondage, we must send them the gospel. The missionaries of the cross are the heralds of freedom to a benighted and enslaved world. Without the gospel, a nation cannot be free; and with it, they will not long be in bondage. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?"

In the civil history of our own country, there is more which should serve as a beacon to excite the vigilance and caution of other nations, than as a light to direct their course. Our frailties and vices are more prominent, and more apt to be copied, than our virtues. We have too little religion to sanctify and secure our civil privileges. Liberty with us, as in other republics, has degenerated into licentiousness. It has been used as an occasion to the flesh," and bas furnished incentives to our most sordid affections. Unmindful of its original design and appropriate use, we have valued it as the means of selfish gratifications, and have rendered that homage to the goddess of liberty, which is only due to the Lord our maker.

A variety of causes have contributed to divide our citizens into hostile political parties. It is not our purpose to investigate the origin, the principles, or the comparative merits of these parties.

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