The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin Chapter I: The Influence of the American Church on Slavery.
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
There is no country in the world where the religious
influence has a greater ascendancy than in America. There is no country where
the clergy are more powerful. This is the more remarkable, because in America
religion is entirely divorced from the State, and the clergy have none of
those artificial means for supporting their influence which result from rank
and wealth. Taken as a body of men, the American clergy are generally poor.
The salaries given to them afford only a bare support, and yield them no means
of acquiring property. Their style of living can be barely decent and respectable,
and no more. The fact that, under these circumstances, the American clergy
are probably the most powerful body of men in the country, is of itself a
strong presumptive argument in their favour. It certainly argues in them,
as a class, both intellectual and moral superiority.
It is a well-known fact that the influence of the clergy is looked upon
by our statesmen as a most serious element in making up their political combinations;
and that that influence is so great, that no statesman would ever undertake
to carry a measure against which all the clergy of the country should unite.
Such a degree of power, though it be only a power of opinion, argument, and
example, is not without its dangers to the purity of any body of men. To be
courted by political partisans is always a dangerous thing for the integrity
and spirituality of men who profess to be governed by principles which are
not of this world. The possession, too, of so great a power as we
have described, involves a most weighty responsibility; since, if the clergy
do possess the power to rectify any great national immorality, the fact of
its not being done seems in some sort to bring the sin of the omission to
We have spoken, thus far, of the clergy alone; but in America, where the
clergyman is, in most denominations, elected by the church, and supported
by its voluntary contributions, the influence of the church and that of the
clergy are, to a very great extent, identical. The clergyman is the very ideal
and expression of the church. They choose him, and retain him, because he
expresses more perfectly than any other man they can obtain their ideas of
truth and right. The clergyman is supported, in all cases, by his church,
or else he cannot retain his position in it. The fact of his remaining there
is generally proof of identity of opinion, since, if he differed very materially
from them, they have the power to withdraw from him, and choose another.
The influence of a clergyman, thus retained by the free consent of the
understanding and heart of his church, is in some respects greater even than
that of a papal priest. The priest can control only by a blind spiritual authority,
to which, very often, the reason demurs, while it yields an outward assent;
but the successful free minister takes captive the affections of the heart
by his affections, overrules the reasoning powers by superior strength of
reason, and thus, availing himself of affection, reason, conscience, and the
entire man, possesses a power, from the very freedom of the organisation,
greater than can ever result from blind spiritual despotism. If a minister
cannot succeed in doing this to some good extent in a church, he is called
unsuccessful; and he who realises this description most perfectly has the
highest and most perfect kind of power, and expresses the idea of a successful
In speaking, therefore, of this subject, we shall speak of the church and
the clergy as identical, using the word church in the American sense of the
word, for that class of men, of all denominations, who are organised
in bodies distinct from nominal Christians, as professing to
be actually controlled by the precepts of Christ.
What, then, is the influence of the church on this great question of slavery?
Certain things are evident on the very face of the matter.
1. It has not put an end to it.
2. It has not prevented the increase of it.
3. It has not occasioned the repeal of the laws which forbid education
to the slave.
4. It has not attempted to have laws passed forbidding
the separation of families and legalising the marriage of slaves.
5. Is has not stopped the internal slave-trade.
6. It has not prevented the extension of this system, with all its
wrongs, over new territories.
With regard to these assertions it is presumed there can be no difference
What, then, have they done?
In reply to this, it can be stated--
1. That almost every one of the leading denominations
have, at some time, in their collective capacity, expressed a decided disapprobation
of the system, and recommended that something should be done with a view to
2. One denomination of Christians has pursued such a course as entirely,
and in fact, to free every one of its members from any participation in slave-holding.
We refer to the Quakers. The course by which this result has been effected
will be shown by a pamphlet soon to be issued by the poet J. G. Whittier,
one of their own body.
3. Individual members, in all denominations, animated by the spirit
of Christianity, have in various ways entered their protest against it.
It will be well now to consider more definitely and minutely the sentiments
which some leading ecclesiastical bodies in the church have expressed on this
It is fair that the writer should state the sources from which the quotations
are drawn. Those relating to the action of Southern judicatories are principally
from a pamphlet compiled by the Hon. James G. Birney, and entitled "The
Church the Bulwark of Slavery." The writer addressed a letter to Mr.
Birney, in which she inquired the sources from which he compiled. His reply
was, in substance, as follows:--That the pamphlet was compiled from original
documents, or files of newspapers, which had recorded these transactions at
the time of their occurrence. It was compiled and published in England, in
1842, with a view of leading the people there to understand the position of
the American church and clergy. Mr. Birney says that, although the statements
have long been before the world, he has never known one of them to be disputed;
that, knowing the extraordinary nature of the sentiments, he took the utmost
pains to authenticate them.
We will first present those of the Southern States.
1. The Presbyterian Church.
HARMONY PRESBYTERY OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
Whereas, sundry persons in Scotland and England, and others in the north,
east, and west of our country, have denounced slavery as obnoxious to the
laws of God, some of whom have presented before the General Assembly of our
church, and the Congress of the nation, memorials and petitions, with the
avowed object of bringing into disgrace slaveholders, and abolishing the relation
of master and slave: And whereas, from the said proceedings, and the statements,
reasonings, and circumstances connected therewith, it is most manifest that
those persons "know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm;"
and with this ignorance discover a spirit of self-righteousness and exclusive
sanctity, &c., therefore--
1. Resolved, That as the kingdom of our Lord is not
of this world, His church, as such, has no right to abolish, alter, or affect
any institution or ordinance of men, political or civil, &c.
2. Resolved, That slavery has existed from the days of those good
old slave-holders and patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who are now in
the kingdom of heaven), to the time when the apostle Paul sent a runaway home
to his master Philemon, and wrote a Christian and fraternal letter to this
slaveholder, which we find still stands in the canon of the Scriptures: and
that slavery has existed ever since the days of the apostle, and does now
3. Resolved, That as the relative duties of master and slave are
taught in the Scriptures, in the same manner as those of parent and child,
and husband and wife, the existence of slavery itself is not opposed to the
will of God; and whosoever has a conscience too tender to recognise this relation
as lawful is "righteous over much," is "wise above what
is written," and has submitted his neck to the yoke of men, sacrificed
his Christian liberty of conscience, and leaves the infallible word of God
for the fancies and doctrines of men.
THE CHARLESTON UNION PRESBYTERY.
It is a principle which meets the views of this body, that slavery, as
it exists among us, is a political institution, with which ecclesiastical
judicatories have not the smallest right to interfere; and in relation to
which, any such interference, especially at the present momentous crisis,
would be morally wrong and fraught with the most dangerous and pernicious
consequences. The sentiments which we maintain, in common with Christians
at the South of every denomination, are sentiments which so fully approve
themselves to our consciences, are so identified with our solemn convictions
of duty, that we should maintain them under any circumstances.
Resolved, that in the opinion of this Presbytery, the holding of slaves,
so far from being a SIN in the sight of God, is nowhere
condemned in his holy word; that it is in accordance with the example, or
consistent with the precepts of patriarchs, apostles, and prophets, and that
it is compatible with the most fraternal regard to the best good of those
servants whom God may have committed to our charge.
The New School Presbyterian Church in Petersburgh, Virginia, November,
16, 1838, passed the following:
Whereas, the General Assembly did, in the year 1818, pass a law which contains
provisions for slaves irreconcilable with our civil institutions, and solemnly
declaring slavery to be sin against God--a law at once offensive
and insulting to the whole Southern community.
1. Resolved, that, as slaveholders, we cannot consent
longer to remain in connexion with any church where there exists a statute
conferring the right upon slaves to arraign their masters before the judicatory
of the church, and that, too, for the act of selling them without their consent
first had and obtained.
2. Resolved, that as the Great Head of the Church has recognised
the relation of master and slave, we conscientiously believe that slavery
is not a sin against God, as declared by the General Assembly.
This sufficiently indicates the opinion of the Southern Presbyterian Church.
The next extracts will refer to the opinions of Baptist Churches. In 1835,
the Charleston Baptist Association addressed a memorial to the Legislature
of South Carolina, which contains the following:
The undersigned would further represent that the said Association does
not consider that the Holy Scriptures have made the fact of slavery a question
of morals at all. The Divine Author of our holy religion, in particular, found
slavery a part of the existing institutions of society, with which, if not
sinful, it was not his design to intermeddle, but to leave them entirely to
the control of men. Adopting this, therefore, as one of the allowed arrangements
of society, he made it the province of his religion only to prescribe the
reciprocal duties of the relation. The question, it is believed, is purely
one of political economy. It amounts in effect to this, "Whether the
operatives of a country shall be bought and sold, and themselves become property,
as in this State; or whether they shall be hirelings, and their labour only
become property, as in some other States. In other words, whether an employer
may buy the whole time of labourers at once, of those who have a right to
dispose of it, with a permanent relation of protection and care over them,
or whether he shall be restricted to buy it in certain portions only, subject
to their control, and with no such permanent relation of care and protection.
The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves has been distinctly
recognised by the Creator of all things, who is surely at liberty to vest
the right of property over any object in whomsoever he pleases. That the lawful
possessor should retain this right at will, is no more against the laws of
society and good morals, than that he should retain the personal endowments
with which his Creator has blessed him, or the money and lands inherited from
his ancestors, or acquired by his industry; and neither society nor individuals
have any more authority to demand a relinquishment, without an equivalent,
in the one case, than in the other.
As it is a question purely of political economy, and one which in this
country is reserved to the cognisance of the State governments severally,
it is further believed that the State of South Carolina alone has the right
to regulate the existence and condition of slavery within her territorial
limits; and we should resist to the utmost every invasion of this right, come
from what quarter and under whatever pretence it may.
The Methodist Church is, in some respects, peculiarly situated upon this
subject, because its constitution and book of discipline contain
the most vehement denunciations against slavery of which language is capable,
and the most stringent requisitions that all members shall be disciplined
for the holding of slaves; and these denunciations and requisitions have been
re-affirmed by its General Conference.
It seemed to be necessary, therefore, for the Southern Conference to take
some notice of this fact, which they did, with great coolness and distinctness,
THE GEORGIA ANNUAL CONFERENCE.
Resolved unanimously, that whereas there is a clause in the discipline
of our church which states that we are as much as ever convinced of the great
evil of slavery; and whereas, the said clause has been perverted by some,
and used in such a manner as to produce the impression that the Methodist
Episcopal Church believed slavery to be a moral evil--
Therefore Resolved, that it is the sense of the Georgia Annual Conference
that slavery, as it exists in the United States, is not a moral evil.
Resolved, that we view slavery as a civil and domestic institution, and
one with which, as ministers of Christ, we have nothing to do, further than
to ameliorate the condition of the slave, by endeavouring to impart to him
and his master the benign influences of the religion of Christ, and aiding
both on their way to heaven.
On motion it was resolved unanimously, that the Georgia Annual Conference
regard with feelings of profound respect and approbation the dignified course
pursued by our several superintendents, or bishops, in suppressing the attempts
that have been made by various individuals to get up and protract an excitement
in the churches and country on the subject of abolitionism.
Resolved, further, that they shall have our cordial and zealous support
in sustaining them in the ground they have taken.
SOUTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE.
The Rev. W. Martin introduced resolutions similar to those of the Georgia
The Rev. W. Capers, D.D., after expressing his conviction that "the
sentiment of the resolutions was universally held, not only by the ministers
of that conference, but of the whole South;" and after stating that
the only true doctrine was, "it belongs to Cæsar, and not to the
church," offered the following as a substitute:
Whereas, we hold that the subject of slavery in these United States is
not one proper for the action of the church, but is exclusively appropriate
to the civil authorities.
Therefore Resolved, That this conference will not intermeddle with it,
further than to express our regret that it has ever been introduced, in any
form, into any one of the judicatures of the church.
Brother Martin accepted the substitute.
Brother Betts asked whether the substitute was intended as implying that
slavery, as it exists among us, was not a moral evil. He understood it as
equivalent to such a declaration.
Brother Capers explained that his intention was to convey that sentiment
fully and unequivocally; and that he had chosen the form of the substitute
for the purpose not only of reproving some wrong-doings at the North, but
with reference also to the General Conference. If slavery were a moral evil
(that is, sinful), the church would be bound to take cognisance of it; but
our affirmation is, that it is not a matter for her jurisdiction, but is exclusively
appropriate to the civil government, and of course not sinful.
The substitute was then unanimously adopted.
In 1836, an Episcopal clergyman in North Carolina, of the name of Freeman,
preached in the presence of his bishop (Rev. Levi S. Ives, D.D., a native
of a free State), two sermons on the rights and duties of slaveholders. In
these he essayed to justify from the Bible the slavery both of white men and
negroes, and insisted that "without a new revelation
from heaven, no man was authorised to pronounce slavery WRONG." The
sermons were printed in a pamphlet, prefaced with a
letter to Mr. Freeman from the Bishop of North Carolina, declaring that he
had "listened with most unfeigned pleasure" to his discourses,
and advised their publication as being "urgently called for at the present
"The Protestant Episcopal Society for the advancement of Christianity
(!) in South Carolina" thought it expedient to republish Mr. Freeman's
pamphlet as a religious tract!
Afterwards, when the addition of the new State of Texas made it important
to organise the Episcopal Church there, this Mr. Freeman was made Bishop of
The question may now arise--it must arise to every intelligent thinker
in Christendom--Can it be possible that American slavery, as defined by its
laws and the decisions of its Courts, including all
the horrible abuses that the laws recognise and sanction, is considered to
be a right and proper institution? Do these Christians merely recognise the
relation of slavery in the abstract, as one that, under proper legislation,
might be made a good one, or do they justify it as it actually
exists in America?
It is a fact that there is a large party at the South who justify not only
slavery in the abstract, but slavery just as it exists in America, in whole
and in part, and even its worst abuses.
There are four legalised parts or results of the system, which are of especial
1. The prohibition of the testimony
of coloured people in cases of trial.
2. The forbidding of education.
3. The internal slave-trade.
4. The consequent separation of families.
We shall bring evidence to show that every one of these practices has been
either defended on principle, or recognised without condemnation, by decisions
of judicatories of churches, or by writings of influential clergymen, without
any expression of dissent being made to their opinions by the bodies to which
In the first place, the exclusion of coloured testimony in the church.
In 1840, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church passed the
following resolution:--"THAT IT IS INEXPEDIENT AND UNJUSTIFIABLE FOR ANY PREACHER
TO PERMIT COLOURED PERSONS
TO GIVE TESTIMONY AGAINST WHITE PERSONS IN ANY STATE WHERE THEY ARE DENIED
THAT PRIVILEGE BY LAW."
This was before the Methodist Church had separated on the question of slavery,
as they subsequently did, into Northern and Southern Conferences. Both Northern
and Southern members voted for this resolution.
After this was passed, the conscience of many Northern ministers was aroused,
and they called for a reconsideration. The Southern members imperiously demanded
that it should remain as a compromise and test of union. The spirit of the
discussion may be inferred from one extract.
Mr. Peck, of New York, who moved the reconsideration of the resolution,
thus expressed himself:--
That resolution (said he) was introduced under peculiar circumstances,
during considerable excitement, and he went for it as a peace-offering to
the South, without sufficiently reflecting upon the precise import of its
phraseology; but, after a little deliberation, he was sorry; and he had been
sorry but once, and that was all the time; he was convinced that, if that
resolution remain upon the journal, it would be disastrous to the whole Northern
Rev. Dr. A. J. Few, of Georgia, the mover of the original resolution, then
rose. The following are extracts from his speech. The italics are my own:--
Look at it! What do you declare to us, in taking this course? Why, simply,
as much as to say, "We cannot sustain you in the condition which you
cannot avoid!" We cannot sustain you in the necessary
conditions of slaveholding; one of its necessary conditions
being the rejection of negro testimony! If it is not sinful to hold
slaves, under all circumstances, it is not sinful to hold
them in the only condition, and under the only circumstances, which they can
be held. The rejection of negro testimony is one of the necessary circumstances
under which slaveholding can exist--indeed, it is utterly impossible
for it to exist without it; therefore it is not sinful to hold
slaves in the condition and under the circumstances which
they are held at the South, inasmuch as they can be held under no other circumstances.
* * * If you believe that slaveholding is necessarily sinful, come out
with the abolitionists, and honestly say so. If you believe that slave-holding
is necessarily sinful, you believe we are necessarily sinners; and, if so,
come out and honestly declare it, and let us leave you. * * *
We want to know distinctly, precisely and honestly, the position
which you take. We cannot be tampered with by you any longer. We have had
enough of it. We are tired of your sickly sympathies. * * * If you are not
opposed to the principles which it involves, unite with us, like honest men,
and go home, and boldly meet the consequences. We say
again, you are responsible for this state of things; for it is you
who have driven us to the alarming point where we find ourselves.
* * * You have made that resolution absolutely necessary
to the quiet of the South! But you now revoke that
resolution! And you pass the Rubicon! Let me not be misunderstood. I say,
you pass the Rubicon! If you revoke, you revoke the principle
which that resolution involves, and you array the whole South against you,
and we must separate! * * * If you accord to the principles
which it involves, arising from the necessity of the case, stick by it, "though
the heavens perish!" But if you persist on reconsideration, I ask in
what light will your course be regarded in the South? What will be the conclusion,
there, in reference to it? Why, that you cannot sustain us as long as we hold
slaves! It will declare, in the face of the sun, "We cannot sustain
you, gentlemen, while you retain your slaves!" Your opposition to the
resolution is based upon your opposition to slavery; you cannot, therefore,
maintain your consistency unless you come out with the abolitionists, and
condemn us at once and for ever, or else refuse to reconsider.
The resolution was, therefore, left in force, with another resolution appended
to it, expressing the undiminished regard of the General
Conference for the coloured population.
It is quite evident that it was undiminished, for
the best of reasons. That the coloured population were not properly impressed
with this last act of condescension, appears from the fact that "the
official members of the Sharp-street and Ashby Coloured Methodist Church in
Baltimore" protested and petitioned against the motion. The following
is a passage from their address:--
The adoption of such a resolution, by our highest ecclesiastical judicatory--a
judicatory composed of the most experienced and wisest brethren in the church,
the choice selection of twenty-eight Annual Conferences--has inflicted,
we fear, an irreparable injury upon 80,000 souls for whom Christ died--souls,
who, by this act of your body, have been stripped of the dignity of Christians,
degraded in the scale of humanity, and treated as criminals, for no other
reason than the colour of their skin! Your resolution has, in our humble opinion,
virtually declared that a mere physical peculiarity, the handiwork of our
all-wise and benevolent Creator, is primá facie evidence of incompetency
to tell the truth, or is an unerring indication
of unworthiness to bear testimony against a fellow-being whose skin is denominated
white: * * * Brethren, out of the abundance of the heart we have spoken. Our
grievance is before you! If you have any regard for the salvation
of the 80,000 immortal souls committed to your care; if you would not thrust
beyond the pale of the church twenty-five hundred souls in this city, who
have felt determined never to leave the church that has nourished and brought
them up; if you regard us as children of one common Father, and can, upon
reflection, sympathise with us as members of the body of Christ--if you
would not incur the fearful, the tremendous responsibility of offending not
only one, but many thousands of his "little ones," we conjure
you to wipe from your journal the odious resolution which is ruining our people.
"A Coloured Baltimorean," writing to the editor of Zion's Watchman, says:--
The address was presented to one of the secretaries, a delegate of the
Baltimore Conference, and subsequently given by him to the bishops. How many
of the members of the Conference saw it, I know not. One thing is certain,
it was not read to the Conference.
With regard to the second head--of defending the laws which prevent
the slave from being taught to read and write--we have the following
In the year 1835, the Chillicothe Presbytery, Ohio, addressed a Christian
remonstrance to the presbytery of Mississippi on the subject of slavery, in
which they specifically enumerated the respects in which they considered it
to be unchristian. The eighth resolution was as follows:--
That any member of our church, who shall advocate or speak in favour of
such laws as have been or may yet be enacted, for the purpose of keeping the
slaves in ignorance, and preventing them from learning to read the Word of
God, is guilty of a great sin, and ought to be dealt with as for other scandalous
This remonstrance was answered by Rev. James Smylie, stated clerk of the
Mississippi Presbytery, and afterwards of the Amity Presbytery of Louisiana,
in a pamphlet of eighty-seven pages, in which he defended slavery generally
and particularly, in the same manner in which all other abuses have always
been defended--by the word of God. The tenth section of this pamphlet
is devoted to the defence of this law. He devotes seven pages of fine print
to this object. He says (p. 63):--
There are laws existing in both States, Mississippi and Louisiana, accompanied
with heavy penal sanctions, prohibiting the teaching of the slaves to read,
and meeting the approbation of the religious part of the reflecting community.
* * * * *
He adds, still further:
The laws preventing the slaves from learning to read are a fruitful source
of much ignorance and immorality among the slaves. The printing, publishing,
and circulating of abolition and emancipatory principles in those States,
was the causea.
He then goes on to say that the ignorance and vice which are the consequence
of those laws do not properly belong to those who made the laws, but to those
whose emancipating doctrines rendered them necessary. Speaking of these consequences
of ignorance and vice, he says:--
Upon whom must they be saddled? If you will allow me to answer the question,
I will answer by saying, Upon such great and good men as John Wesley, Jonathan
Edwards, Bishop Porteus, Paley, Horsley, Scott, Clark, Wilberforce, Sharpe,
Clarkson, Fox, Johnson, Burke, and other great and good men, who, without
examining the Word of God, have concluded that it is a true maxim that slavery
is in itself sinful.
He then illustrates the necessity of these laws by the following simile.
He supposes that the doctrine had been promulgated that the authority of parents
was an unjust usurpation, and that it was getting a general hold of society;
that societies were being formed for the emancipation of children from the
control of their parents; that all books were beginning to be pervaded by
this sentiment; and that, under all these influences, children were becoming
restless and fractious. He supposes that, under these circumstances, parents
meet and refer the subject to legislators. He thus describes the dilemma of
These meet, and they take the subject seriously and solemnly into consideration.
On the one hand, they perceive that, if their children had access to these
doctrines, they were ruined for ever. To let them have access to them was
unavoidable, if they taught them to read. To prevent their being taught to
read was cruel, and would prevent them from obtaining as much knowledge of
the laws of Heaven as otherwise they might enjoy. In this sad dilemma, sitting
and consulting in a legislative capacity, they must, of two evils, choose
the least. With indignant feelings towards those who, under the influence
of "seducing spirits," had sent, and were sending among them,
"doctrines of devils," but with aching hearts towards their children,
they resolved that their children should not be taught to read, until the
storm should be overblown; hoping that Satan's being let loose will be but
for a little season. And during this season they will have to teach them orally,
and thereby guard against their being contaminated by these wicked doctrines.
So much for that law.
Now, as for the internal slave-trade. The very essence of that trade is
the buying and selling of human beings for the mere purposes
A master who has slaves transmitted to him, or a master who buys slaves
with the purpose of retaining them on his plantation or in his family, can
be supposed to have some object in it besides the mere
purpose of gain. He may be supposed, in certain cases, to have some regard
to the happiness or well-being of the slave. The trader buys
and sells for the mere purpose of gain.
Concerning this abuse the Chillicothe Presbytery, in the document to which
we have alluded, passed the following resolution:--
Resolved, That the buying, selling, or holding of a slave, for the sake
of gain, is a heinous sin and scandal, requiring the cognisance of the judicatories
of the church.
In the reply from which we have already quoted, Mr. Smylie says (p. 13):--
If the buying, selling, and holding of a slave for the sake of gain, is,
as you say, a heinous sin and scandal, then verily three-fourths of all Episcopalians,
Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, in the eleven States of the Union,
are of the devil.
* * * * * * * *
To question whether slaveholders or slave-buyers are of the devil, seems
to me like calling in question whether God is or is not a true witness; that
is, provided it is God's testimony, and not merely the testimony of the Chillicothe
Presbytery, that it is a "heinous sin and scandal" to buy, sell,
and hold slaves.
Again (p. 21):--
If language can convey a clear and definite meaning at all, I know not
how it can more plainly or unequivocally present to the mind any thought or
idea, than the twenty-fifth chapter of Leviticus clearly and unequivocally
establishes the fact that slavery was sanctioned by God himself, and that
buying, selling, holding, and bequeathing slaves, as property, are regulations
which are established by himself.
* * * * * *
What language can more explicitly show, not that God winked at slavery
merely, but that, to say the least, he gave a written permit to the Hebrews,
then the best people in the world, to buy, hold, and bequeath, men and women,
to perpetual servitude? What, now, becomes of the position of the Chillicothe
Presbytery? * * * Is it, indeed, a fact that God once gave a written permission
to his own dear people ["ye shall buy"] to do that which is in
itself sinful? Nay, to do that which the Chillicothe Presbytery says "is
a heinous sin and scandal?"
* * * * * *
God resolves that his own children may, or rather "shall,"
"buy, possess, and hold," bond-men and bond-women, in bondage,
for ever. But the Chillicothe Presbytery resolves that "buying, selling,
or holding slaves, for the sake of gain, is a heinous sin and scandal."
We do not mean to say that Mr. Smylie had the internal slave-trade directly
in his mind in writing these sentences; but we do say that no slave-trader
would ask for a more explicit justification of his trade than this.
Lastly, in regard to that dissolution of the marriage relation, which is
the necessary consequence of this kind of trade, the following
decisions have been made by judicatories of the church.
The Savannah River (Baptist) Association, in 1835, in reply to the question--
Whether, in a case of involuntary separation of such a character as to
preclude all prospect of future intercourse, the parties ought to be allowed
to marry again?
That such a separation, among persons situated as our slaves are, is civilly
a separation by death, and they believe that, in the sight of God, it would
be so viewed. To forbid second marriages, in such cases, would be to expose
the parties, not only to stronger hardships and strong temptation, but to
church censure, for acting in obedience to their masters, who cannot be expected
to acquiesce in a regulation at variance with justice to the slaves, and to
the spirit of that command which regulates marriage among Christians. The
slaves are not free agents, and a dissolution by death is not more entirely
without their consent, and beyond their control, than by such separation.
At the Shiloh Baptist Association, which met at Gourdvine, a few years
since, the following query, says the "Religious Herald," was presented
from Hedgman church, viz.:
Is a servant, whose husband or wife has been sold by his or her master,
into a distant country, to be permitted to marry again?
The query was referred to a committee, who made the following report; which,
after discussion, was adopted:
That, in view of the circumstances in which servants in this country are
placed, the committee are unanimous in the opinion that it is better to permit
servants thus circumstanced to take another husband or wife.
The Reverend Charles C. Jones, who was an earnest and indefatigable labourer
for the good of the slave, and one who, it would be supposed, would be likely
to feel strongly on this subject, if any one would, simply remarks, in estimating
the moral condition of the negroes, that, as husband and wife are subject
to all the vicissitudes of property, and may be separated by division of estate,
debts, sales, or removals, &c., &c., the marriage relation naturally
loses much of its sacredness; and says:
It is a contract of convenience, profit or pleasure, that may be entered
into and dissolved at the will of the parties, and that without heinous sin,
or injury to the property interests of any one.
In this sentence he is expressing, as we suppose, the common
idea of slaves and masters of the nature of this
institution, and not his own. We infer this from the fact that he endeavours
in his catechism to impress on the slave the sacredness and perpetuity of
the relation. But, when the most pious and devoted men that the South has,
and those professing to spend their lives for the service of the slave, thus
calmly, and without any reprobation, contemplate this state of things as a
state with which Christianity does not call on them to interfere, what can
be expected of the world in general?
It is to be remarked, with regard to the sentiments of Mr. Smylie's pamphlet,
that they are endorsed in the Appendix by a document in the name of two Presbyteries,
which document, though with less minuteness of investigation, takes the same
ground with Mr. Smylie. This Rev. James Smylie was one who, in company with
the Rev. John L. Montgomery, was appointed by the synod of Mississippi, in
1839, to write or compile a catechism for the instruction of the negroes.
Mr. Jones says, in his "History of the Religious Instruction of the
Negroes" (page 83): "The Rev. James Smylie and the Rev. C. Blair
are engaged in this good work (of enlightening the negroes) systematically
and constantly in Mississippi." The former clergyman is characterised
as "an aged and indefatigable father." "His success in enlightening
the negroes has been very great. A large proportion of the negroes in his
old church can recite both Williston's and the Westminster Catechism very
accurately." The writer really wishes that it were in her power to make
copious extracts from Mr. Smylie's pamphlet. A great deal could be learned
from it as to what style of mind, and habits of thought, and modes of viewing
religious subjects, are likely to grow up under such an institution. The man
is undoubtedly and heartily sincere in his opinions, and appears to maintain
them with a most abounding and triumphant joyfulness, as the very latest improvement
in theological knowledge. We are tempted to present a part of his
Introduction, simply for the light it gives us on the style of thinking
which is to be found in our south-western writers:
In presenting the following review to the public, the author was not entirely
or mainly influenced by a desire or hope to correct the views of the Chillicothe
Presbytery. He hoped the publication would be of essential service to others
as well as to the presbytery.
From his intercourse with religious societies of all denominations, in
Mississippi and Louisiana, he was aware that the abolition maxim, namely,
that slavery is in itself sinful, had gained on and entwined itself among
the religious and conscientious scruples of many in the community, so far
as not only to render them unhappy, but to draw off the attention
from the great and important duty of a householder to his household. The eye
of the mind, resting on slavery itself as a corrupt fountain, from which,
of necessity, nothing but corrupt streams could flow, was incessantly employed
in search of some plan by which, with safety, the fountain could, in some
future time, be entirely dried up; never reflecting, or dreaming, that slavery,
in itself considered, was an innoxious relation, and that the whole error
rested in the neglect of the relative duties of the relation.
If there be a consciousness of guilt resting on the mind, it is all the
same, as to the effect, whether the conscience is or is not right. Although
the word of God alone ought to be the guide of conscience, yet it is not always
the case. Hence, conscientious scruples sometimes exist for neglecting to
do that which the word of God condemns.
The Bornean who neglects to kill his father, and to eat him with his dates,
when he has become old, is sorely tortured by the wringings of a guilty conscience,
when his filial tenderness and sympathy have gained the ascendancy over his
apprehended duty of killing his parent. In like manner, many a slaveholder,
whose conscience is guided, not by the word of God, but by the doctrines of
men, is often suffering the lashes of a guilty conscience, even when he renders
to his slave "that which is just and equal," according to the
Scriptures, simply because he does not emancipate his slave, irrespective
of the benefit or injury done by such an act.
"How beautiful upon the mountains," in the apprehension of
the reviewer, "would be the feet of him that would bring" to the
Bornean "the glad tidings" that his conduct, in sparing the life
of his tender and affectionate parent, was no sin! * * * Equally beautiful
and delightful, does the reviewer trust, will it be, to an honest, scrupulous,
and conscientious slaveholder, to learn, from the word of God, the glad tidings,
that slavery itself is not sinful. Released now from an incubus that paralysed
his energies in discharge of duty towards his slaves, he goes forth cheerfully
to energetic action. It is not now as formerly, when he viewed slavery as
in itself sinful. He can now pray, with the hope of being heard, that God
will bless his exertions to train up his slaves "in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord;" whereas, before, he was retarded by this consideration--"If
I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Instead of
hanging down his head, moping and brooding over his condition as formerly,
without action, he raises his head, and moves on cheerfully in the plain path
He is no more tempted to look askance at the word of God, and saying, "Hast
thou found me, O mine enemy," come to "filch from me" my
slaves, which, "while not enriching" them, "leaves me poor
indeed?" Instead of viewing the word of God, as formerly, come with
whips and scorpions to chastise him into paradise, he feels that its "ways
are ways of pleasantness, and its paths peace." Distinguishing now between
the real word of God and what are only the doctrines and commandments of men,
the mystery is solved, which was before insolvable, namely, "The statutes
of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart."
If you should undertake to answer such a man by saying that his argument
proves too much, that neither Christ nor his apostles bore any explicit testimony
against the gladiatorial shows and the sports of the arena, and therefore
it would be right to get them up in America, the probability
seems to be that he would heartily assent to it, and think, on the whole,
that it might be a good speculation. As a further specimen of the free and
easy facetiousness which seems to be a trait in this production, see, on page
58, where the Latin motto "Facilis descensus Averni, sed revocare,"&
c., receives the following quite free and truly Western translation,
which, he good-naturedly says is given for the benefit of those who do not
understand Latin: "It is easy to go to the devil, but the devil to get
Some uncharitable people might, perhaps, say that the preachers of such
doctrines are as likely as anybody to have an experimental knowledge on this
point. The idea of this jovial old father instructing a class of black "Sams"
and young "Topsys" in the mysteries of the Assembly's Catechism
is truly picturesque!
That Mr. Smylie's opinions on the subject of slavery have been amply supported
and carried out by leading clergymen in every denomination, we might give
volumes of quotations to show.
A second head, however, is yet to be considered, with regard to the influence
of the Southern church and clergy.
It is well known that the Southern political community have taken their
stand upon the position that the institution of slavery shall not be open
to discussion. In many of the slave States stringent laws exist, subjecting
to fine and imprisonment, and even death, any who speak or publish anything
upon the subject, except in its favour. They have not only done this with
regard to citizens of slave States, but they have shown the strongest disposition
to do it with regard to citizens of free States; and when these discussions
could not be repelled by regular law, they have encouraged the use of illegal
measures. In the published letters and speeches of Horace Mann, the following
examples are given (p. 467). In 1831 the Legislature of Georgia offered five
thousand dollars to any one who would arrest and bring to trial and conviction,
in Georgia, a citizen of Massachusetts, named William Lloyd Garrison. This
law was approved by W. Lumpkin, Governor, Dec. 26, 1831. At a meeting of slave-holders
held at Sterling, in the same State, September 4, 1835, it was formally recommended
to the governor to offer, by proclamation, five thousand dollars reward for
the apprehension of any one of ten persons, citizens, with one exception,
of New York and Massachusetts, whose names were given. The Milledgeville
(Ga.) Federal Union of
February 1st, 1836, contained an offer of ten thousand dollars for the arrest
and kidnapping of the Rev. A. A. Phelps, of New York. The Committee of Vigilance
of the parish of East Feliciana offered, in the Louisville
Journal of Oct. 15, 1835, fifty thousand dollars to any person who would
deliver into their hands Arthur Tappan of New York. At a public meeting at
Mount Meigs, Alabama, Aug. 13, 1836, the Hon. Bedford Ginress in the chair,
a reward of fifty thousand dollars was offered for the apprehension of the
same Arthur Tappan, or of Le Roy Sunderland, a Methodist clergyman of New
York. Of course, as none of these persons could be seized except in violation
of the laws of the State where they were citizens, this was offering a public
reward for an act of felony. Throughout all the Southern States associations
were formed, called Committees of Vigilance, for the taking of measures for
suppressing abolition opinions, and for the punishment by Lynch law of suspected
persons. At Charleston, South Carolina, a mob of this description forced open
the post-office, and made a general inspection, at their pleasure, of its
contents; and whatever publication they found there which they considered
to be of a dangerous and anti-slavery tendency, they made a public bonfire
of, in the street. A large public meeting was held, a few days afterwards,
to complete the preparation for excluding anti-slavery principles from publication,
and for ferreting out persons suspected of abolitionism, that they might be
subjected to Lynch law. Similar popular meetings were held through the Southern
and Western States. At one of these, held in Clinton, Mississippi, in the
year 1835, the following resolutions were passed:--
Resolved, That slavery through the South and West is not felt as an evil
moral or political, but it is recognised in reference to the actual, and not
to any Utopian condition of our slaves, as a blessing both to master and slave.
Resolved, That it is our decided opinion that any individual who dares
to circulate, with a view to effectuate the designs of the abolitionists,
any of the incendiary tracts or newspapers now in a course of transmission
to this country, is justly worthy, in the sight of God and man, of immediate
death; and we doubt not that such would be the punishment of any such offender
in any part of the State of Mississippi where he may be found.
Resolved, That the clergy of the State of Mississippi be hereby recommended
at once to take a stand upon this subject; and that their further silence
in relation thereto, at this crisis, will, in our opinion, be subject to serious
The treatment to which persons were exposed, when taken up by any of these
Vigilance Committees, as suspected of anti-slavery sentiments, may be gathered
from the following account. The writer has a distinct recollection
of the circumstances at the present time, as the victim of this injustice
was a member of the seminary then under the care of her father.
Amos Dresser, now a missionary in Jamaica, was a theological student at
Lane Seminary, near Cincinnati. In the vacation (August 1835) he undertook
to sell Bibles in the State of Tennessee, with a view to raise means further
to continue his studies. Whilst there, he fell under suspicion of being an
abolitionist, was arrested by the Vigilance Committee whilst attending a religious
meeting in the neighbourhood of Nashville, the capital of the State, and,
after an afternoon and evening's inquisition, condemned to receive twenty
lashes on his naked body. The sentence was executed on him between eleven
and twelve o'clock on Saturday night, in the presence of most of the committee,
and of an infuriated and blaspheming mob. The Vigilance Committee (an unlawful
association) consisted of sixty persons. Of these, twenty-seven were members
of churches; one, a religious teacher; another, the elder who, but a few days
before, in the Presbyterian church, handed Mr. Dresser the bread and wine
at the communion of the Lord's Supper.
It will readily be seen that the principle involved in such proceedings
as these involves more than the question of slavery. The question was, in
fact, this--Whether it is so important to hold African slaves that it
is proper to deprive free Americans of the liberty of conscience, and liberty
of speech, and liberty of the press, in order to do it? It is easy to see
that very serious changes would be made in the government of a country by
the admission of this principle; because it is quite plain that, if all these
principles of our free government may be given up for one thing, they may
for another; and that its ultimate tendency is to destroy entirely that freedom
of opinion and thought which is considered to be the distinguishing excellence
of American institutions.
The question now is, Did the church join with the world in thinking the
institution of slavery so important and desirable as to lead them to look
with approbation upon Lynch law and the sacrifice of the rights of free inquiry?
We answer the reader by submitting the following facts and quotations.
At the large meeting which we have described above, in Charleston, South
Carolina, the Charleston Courier informs us "that
the clergy of all denominations attended in a body, lending their sanction
to the proceedings, and adding by their presence to the impressive character
of the scene." There can be no doubt that the presence of the clergy
of all denominations, in a body, at a meeting held for such a purpose, was
an impressive scene, truly!
At this meeting it was resolved--
That the thanks of this meeting are due to the reverend gentlemen of the
clergy in this city, who have so promptly and so effectually responded to
public sentiment, by suspending their schools in which the free coloured population
were taught; and that this meeting deem it a patriotic action, worthy of all
praise, and proper to be imitated by other teachers of similar schools throughout
The question here arises, whether their Lord, at the day of judgment, will
comment on their actions in a similar strain.
The alarm of the Virginia slave-holders was not less; nor were the clergy
in the city of Richmond, the capital, less prompt than the clergy in Charleston
to respond to "public sentiment." Accordingly on the 29th of July,
they assembled together and resolved, unanimously--
That we earnestly deprecate the unwarrantable and highly improper interference
of the people of any other State with the domestic relations of master and
That the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, in not interfering
with the question of slavery, but uniformly recognising the relations of master
and servant, and giving full and affectionate instruction to both, is worthy
of the imitation of all ministers of the gospel.
That we will not patronise nor receive any pamphlet or newspaper of the
anti-slavery societies, and that we will discountenance the circulation of
all such papers in the community.
The Rev. J. C. Postell, a Methodist minister of South Carolina, concludes
a very violent letter to the Editor of "Zion's Watchman," a Methodist
anti-slavery paper published in New York, in the following manner. The reader
will see that this taunt is an allusion to the offer of fifty thousand dollars
for his body at the South, which we have given before:
But, if you desire to educate the slaves, I will tell you how to raise
the money without editing "Zion's Watchman." You and old Arthur
Tappan come out to the South this winter, and they will raise one hundred
thousand dollars for you. New Orleans, itself, will be pledged for it. Desiring
no further acquaintance with you, and never expecting to see you but once
in time or eternity, that is at the judgment, I subscribe myself the friend
of the Bible, and the opposer of abolitionists.
Orangeburgh, July 21, 1836. J. C. POSTELL.
The Rev. Thomas S. Witherspoon, a member of the Presbyterian Church, writing
to the editor of the Emancipator, says:
I draw my warrant from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to
hold the slave in bondage. The principle of holding the heathen in bondage
is recognised by God. * * * When the tardy process of the law is too long
in redressing our grievances, we of the South have adopted the summary remedy
of Judge Lynch; and really I think it one of the most wholesome
and salutary remedies for the malady of Northern fanaticism that can be applied,
and no doubt my worthy friend, the Editor of the Emancipator
and Human Rights, would feel the better of its enforcement, provided
he had a Southern administrator. I go to the Bible for my warrant in all moral
matters. * * * Let your emissaries dare venture to cross the Potomac, and
I cannot promise you that their fate will be less than Haman's. Then beware
how you goad an insulted but magnanimous people to deeds of desperation.
The Rev. Robert N. Anderson, also a member of the Presbyterian Church,
says, in a letter to the Sessions of the Presbyterian Congregations within
the bounds of the West Hanover Presbytery:
At the approaching stated meeting of our Presbytery, I design to offer
a preamble and string of resolutions on the subject of the use of wine in
the Lord's Supper; and also a preamble and string of resolutions on the subject
of the treasonable and abominably-wicked interference of the Northern and
Eastern fanatics with our political and civil rights, our property and our
domestic concerns. You are aware that our clergy, whether with or without
reason, are more suspected by the public than the clergy of other denominations.
Now, dear Christian brethren, I humbly express it as my earnest wish, that
you quit yourselves like men. If there be any stray goat of a minister among
you, tainted with the blood-hound principles of abolitionism, let him be ferreted
out, silenced, excommunicated, and left to the public to dispose of him in
Your affectionate brother in the Lord, ROBERT N. ANDERSON.
The Rev. William S. Plummer, D.D., of Richmond, a member of the Old School
Presbyterian Church, is another instance of the same sort. He was absent from
Richmond at the time the clergy in that city purged themselves, in a body,
from the charge of being favourably disposed to abolition. On his return,
he lost no time in communicating to the "Chairman of the Committee of
Correspondence" his agreement with his clerical brethren. The passages
quoted occur in his letter to the chairman:
I have carefully watched this matter from its earliest existence, and everything
I have seen or heard of its character, both from its patrons and its enemies,
has confirmed me, beyond repentance, in the belief that, let the character
of abolitionists be what it may in the sight of the Judge of all the earth,
this is the most meddlesome, impudent, reckless, fierce, and wicked excitement
I ever saw.
If abolitionists will set the country in a blaze, it is but fair that they
should receive the first warning at the fire.
* * * * * *
Lastly. Abolitionists are like infidels, wholly unaddicted to martyrdom
for opinion's sake. Let them understand that they will be caught [Lynched]
if they come among us, and they will take good heed to keep
out of our way. There is not one man among them who has any more idea of shedding
his blood in this cause than he has of making war on the Grand Turk.
The Rev. Dr. Hill, of Virginia, said, in the New School Assembly:
The abolitionists have made the servitude of the slave harder. If I could
tell you some of the dirty tricks which these abolitionists have played, you
would not wonder. Some of them have been Lynched, and it served them right.
These things sufficiently show the estimate which the Southern clergy and
church have formed and expressed as to the relative value of slavery and the
right of free inquiry. It shows, also, that they consider slavery as so important
that they can tolerate and encourage acts of lawless violence, and risk all
the dangers of encouraging mob-law, for its sake. These passages and considerations
sufficiently show the stand which the Southern church takes upon this subject.
For many of these opinions, shocking as they may appear, some apology may
be found in that blinding power of custom, and all those deadly educational
influences which always attend the system of slavery, and which must necessarily
produce a certain obtuseness of the moral sense in the mind of any man who
is educated from childhood under them.
There is also, in the habits of mind formed under a system which is supported
by continual resort to force and violence, a necessary deadening of sensibility
to the evils of force and violence, as applied to other subjects. The whole
style of civilization which is formed under such an institution has been not
unaptly denominated by a popular writer "the bowie-knife style;"
and we must not be surprised at its producing a peculiarly martial cast of
religious character and ideas very much at variance with the spirit of the
gospel. A religious man, born and educated at the South, has all these difficulties
to contend with in elevating himself to the true spirit of the gospel.
It was said by one that, after the Reformation, the best of men being educated
under a system of despotism and force, and accustomed from childhood to have
force, and not argument, made the test of opinion, came to look upon all controversies
very much in a Smithfield light, the question being not as to the propriety
of burning heretics, but as to which party ought to be burned.
The system of slavery is a simple retrogression of society to the worst
abuses of the middle ages. We must not, therefore, be surprised
to find the opinions and practices of the middle ages, as to civil and religious
However much we may reprobate and deplore those unworthy views of God and
religion which are implied in such declarations as are here recorded--however
blasphemous and absurd they may appear--still, it is apparent that their
authors uttered them with sincerity; and this is the most melancholy feature
of the case. They are as sincere as Paul when he breathed out threatenings
and slaughter, and when he thought within himself that he ought
to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus. They are as sincere
as the Brahmin or Hindoo, conscientiously supporting a religion of cruelty
and blood. They are as sincere as many enlightened, scholarlike, and Christian
men in modern Europe, who, born and bred under systems of civil and religious
despotism, and having them entwined with all their dearest associations of
home and country, and having all their habits of thought and feeling biassed
by them, do most conscientiously defend them.
There is something in conscientious conviction, even in case of the worst
kind of opinions, which is not without a certain degree of respectability.
That the religion expressed by the declarations which we have quoted is as
truly Antichrist as the religion of the Church of Rome, it is presumed no
sensible person out of the sphere of American influences will deny. That there
may be very sincere Christians under this system of religion, with all its
false principles and all its disadvantageous influences, liberality must concede.
The Church of Rome has had its Fenelon, its Thomas à Kempis; and the
Southern Church, which has adopted these principles, has had men who have
risen above the level of their system. At the time of the Reformation, and
now the Church of Rome had in its bosom thousands of praying, devoted, humble,
Christians, which, like flowers in the clefts of rocks, could be counted by
no eye save God's alone. And so, amid the rifts and glaciers of this horrible
spiritual and temporal despotism, we hope are blooming flowers of Paradise,
patient, prayerful, and self-denying Christians; and it is the deepest grief,
in attacking the dreadful system under which they have been born and brought
up, that violence must be done to their cherished feelings and associations.
In another and better world, perhaps they may appreciate the motives of those
who do this.
But now another consideration comes to the mind. These Southern Christians
have been united in ecclesiastical relations with Christians of the Northern
and free States, meeting with them, by their representatives,
yearly, in their various ecclesiastical assemblies. One might hope, in case
of such a union, that those debasing views of Christianity, and that deadness
of public sentiment, which were the inevitable result of an education under
the slave system, might have been qualified by intercourse with Christians
in free States, who, having grown up under free institutions, would naturally
be supposed to feel the utmost abhorrence of such sentiments. One would have
supposed that the church and clergy of the free States would naturally have
used the most strenuous endeavours, by all the means in their power, to convince
their brethren of errors so dishonourable to Christianity, and tending to
such dreadful practical results. One would have supposed also, that, failing
to convince their brethren, they would have felt it due to Christianity to
clear themselves from all complicity with these sentiments, by the most solemn,
earnest, and reiterated protests.
Let us now inquire what has, in fact, been the course of the Northern Church
on this subject.
Previous to making this inquiry, let us review the declarations that have
been made in the Southern Church, and see what principles have been established
1. That slavery is an innocent and lawful relation,
as much as that of parent and child, husband and wife, or any other lawful
relation of society. (Harmony Pres., S. C.)
2. That it is consistent with the most fraternal regard for the good
of the slave. (Charleston Union Pres., S. C.)
3. That masters ought not to be disciplined for selling slaves without
their consent. (New School Pres. Church, Petersburg, Va.)
4. That the right to buy, sell, and hold men for purposes of gain,
was given by express permission of God. (James Smylie and his Presbyteries.)
5. That the laws which forbid the education of the slave are right,
and meet the approbation of the reflecting part of the Christian community.
6. That the fact of slavery is not a question of morals at all, but
is purely one of political economy. (Charleston Baptist Association.)
7. The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves has
been distinctly recognised by the Creator of all things. (Ibid.)
8. That slavery, as it exists in these United States, is not a moral
evil. (Georgia Conference, Methodist.)
9. That, without a new revelation from heaven, no man is entitled
to pronounce slavery wrong.
10. That the separation of slaves by sale should be regarded
as separation by death, and the parties allowed to marry again. (Shiloh Baptist
Ass., and Savannah River Ass.)
11. That the testimony of coloured members of the churches shall
not be taken against a white person. (Methodist Church.)
In addition, it has been plainly avowed, by the expressed principles and
practice of Christians of various denominations, that they regard it right
and proper to put down all inquiry upon this subject by Lynch law.
One would have imagined that these principles were sufficiently extraordinary,
as coming from the professors of the religion of Christ, to have excited a
good deal of attention in their Northern brethren. It also must be seen that,
as principles, they are principles of very extensive application, underlying
the whole foundations of religion and morality. If not true, they were certainly
heresies of no ordinary magnitude, involving no ordinary results. Let us now
return to our inquiry as to the course of the Northern Church in relation