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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1850, by
CROCKER & BREWSTER, in the Clerk's Ofice of the District Court of Massachusetts.
ANDOVER: 10PX D. ILANG,
STEREOTYPER AND PRINTL
CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION.
§ 1. Introduction.
I HAVE not selected a passage of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, to stand on my title page, without some hesitation. It is not because I am anxious about myself in the matter, that I have hesitated; for let my motto be whatever it might, unless it were some favorite passage of the so-called anti-slavery party, it would probably be read by one portion of the community, in their present state of excitement, with strong forebodings of a pro-slavery effort. Let it be so, then, if it needs must be. I am willing, for myself, to shoulder the burden, and to stand under it if I can. But I rather shrink from putting the great apostle in the fore-front of such a battle, and exposing him to the contumely which any one else must meet with, who perils a declaration of the same purport as his, on his own responsibility. The reader who does not understand Greek, may find a translation of Paul's words, in the first clause of 1 Cor. 7: 21. There it stands, as translated, in the following words : ART THOU CALLED, BEING A SERVANT, CARE NOT FOR IT. Had I adopted some motto devised by myself, expressed it in other words of just the same import as those of the apostle, and then placed this instead of the words of Paul at the head of my little pamphlet, I should unquestionably find that a cataract of obloquy and indignation would speedily be pouring upon me. Still I could have dared to commit such a deed, had I not deemed it more to my purpose to quote what Paul says, than to quote myself.
That the great apostle himself may be brought into some disrepute, among a certain class of readers, by my exposure of his sentiments on the present occasion, is what I fear; and this is the only ground of the hesitation to which I have adverted. If I know my own heart, I would sooner expose myself to contumely, than occasion its coming upon him. Still, he has a better shield to protect himself than I have; and his words are likely to stand, unchanged and unrepealed, when the lips and the pens of revilers will be beyond the reach of harming him or his doctrine.
It is not my present object to go minutely here into the interpretation of the words I have quoted, and of the surrounding contest. This belongs to another part of my little work. I have produced the words of Paul at the beginning of my inquiries and remarks, that such of my readers as still preserve a regard for the apostle's words and sentiments, may reflect on the advice which he gives to those who are under the yoke of slavery and who have to bear its pressure, and ask themselves, whether those who do not bear the yoke, and are in no danger of having it put upon them, may not seriously inquire, whether the uń coi unhéro (care not for it) is not, on every ground, more applicable to them than to the sufferers. I know that there are many who will sneer at any one's suggesting, that a little more of the laissez faire would become them as believers in the Christian Scriptures. Yet such a suggestion seems to be needed; for even religious newspapers, not a few, appear utterly to ignore the apostle's words, and exhibit not a trace of ever having had cognition of them. Instead of “not caring,” they occupy whole columns, yea whole broadsides, and now and then an Extra besides, with the most impassioned appeals and addresses, and with never ceasing contumely and vituperation, poured out in floods on all who, in this so-called Land of Liberty, use the liberty to differ from them in opinion. On all such, the rebuke of the apostle seems to be somewhat cutting. I cannot help it. I should be glad if that rebuke could be spared; for I do not court, and do not love, the business of applying it. I come to it with about as much reluctance, as Jeremiah (20:7-10) felt to bring the message with which he was charged to the Jews. Probably I shall share the same fate that befel him.
Be this as it may, I have counted the cost, and am not satisfied that it should deter me from doing what I deem to be a sacred duty. It lies within my proper sphere of duty to hold up before the world the declarations and doctrines of God's eternal word; for I have