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We believe that the Presbyterian is the divinely appointed forin of church government. That is, that its great leading principles are taught in the word of God either by precept or example. But these principles inay be embodied in a very considerable variety of forms. We do not hold that there can be no vue ministers of Christ without Presbyterian ordination; or ibat it is essential to the validity of chrisiian administration, that a man be presbyterially ordained. God has not appointed any form of church government, as the exclusive channel through which he communicates his grace to the souls of
But we believe that for securing to the people the exercise of their righis; for cultivating intelligent and active piety; for preserving truth and peace and purity in the church; and for giving the Gospel its highest effect on the souls of men ;--- Presbyterianism has she advantage of every other form of church government.
We insist on a good degree of literature and science as requisite in a minister of the Gospel--- not as essential to the being of a minis. ler; but as a qualification so useful, and by ile blessing of God, so profitable to the church, that it should not be dispensed with in any ordinary case. With but few exceptionsour ministers passed through a regular course in some of the more respectable Colleges of the West, and many of them stood high in their respective classes. Yet, though we acknowledge no comparative deficiency, we do not claim that we rank high in the literary world. Few of us possess those various appliances to study, which are enjoyed in abundance by many of our more favored brethren in the East; and in but few places in the west, is society raised to that high literary tone, which is so necessary as a stimulus. B.it this is a matter of minor consideration. It is they that turn many to righteousness who shall shine as the stars forever and ever. A Lunyan will shine with equal splendor in the kingdom of our Father, with a clair, a Warburton, a Paley or a Horseley*
For the Evangelical Guardian,
Ought Slaveholding to exclude a person from the privileges of the visible church? To this question i auswer in the affirmative, To because any definite list of such practices has been made out by the Head of the Church, or by his apostles, and recorded in the scriptores?! Is it because it is any where expressly said, He that doeth such and such things shall have no place in the visible church? If there is. such a list in the New Testament, it is a very short one. Paul coma manded the Corinthians to excommunicate a mian who had his father's wife. It strikes me, that is about the only explicit command we have for making any particular practice or act a ground: of excom-. munication.
But I have been accustomed to bear certain passages: read on sam. cramental occasions as containing specifications of practice or chara acter, which unfit a person for taking a seat at the Lord's table..-for example, I Cor. V: 9.-11. VI. 9, 10. Gal. V: 19.-21. Eph. V: 5, 6... I Tim. I: 9.-11. Now are these passages rightly applied to the purpose above mentioned? Doubiless they are. For they declare that the evil practices specified are contrary to the law and the gospel of the Blessed Goit; ihat they will...if persisted in..-esclude a man. from the kingdom of Heaven; and that those who practice them, ought not to be recognized by us christian brethren. If any should allege that I. Cor. V: 1ih contains an express warrant to exclude from the sacramental ta' le, persons of the species of character there enumerated; I shall not olijeci strongly, alihough I ihink it is only a matter of inference. But will any denomination of any pretensions to purity be content with that list of excommunicable character? Are not those specifications of character to be regarded as mere samples? Do they not serve to show that all practices which are clearly contrary to the law of God, and therefore inconsistent with the gospel, are to be viewed in the same light, and treated in the same way? Are not the other passages referred 10, precisely of ihe same nature and recorded for the same purpose? Now in I. Tim. I: 11..the apos:le to: show that he could not be expected 10 enumerate every sinful piace. tice, after giving a considerable list, adds; And if there be any other, thing contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel
To show that excommunication is not to be inflicted only for a few things of outrageous character, we may refer to. Math. XVIII: 15--17, where our Savior teaches us that even personal offences, when not retracted after exposiulations, first by the party offended; next by him accompanied by one or two others, and finally by the church, are to be made a ground of excommunication. Now personal offences. generally consisting as they usually do of a single act, must fall farshort in criminality of any immoral practice, voluntarily persevered in. Let it not then be alleged that any denomina:ion is acting
wickedly, or assuming to herself the prerngatives of the Head of the church, when she makes a practice that is plainly contrary 10 the law and gospel of the Blessed God, a ground of exclusion from Sacramental privileges.
On what grounds are ganıblers, horse-racers, card-players, such as attend theatres, balls, &c., excluded froin church inexubership? Is it because those characters are mentioned by name in the Scriptures? Is it not because such things can be shown to be in their nature and consequences pernicious inorality, and are therefore not to be tolerased in professed christians?
I take tais ground, then, that the church ought to exclude from her communio. persons who are voluntarily guilty of any act or practice which is plainly contrary to any particular precep., or general principle taught in the Bible. Are the ad vocales of the toleration of slavery prepared to attack this position? I take the position also: which I trust I have established, that slaveholding is contrary both to particular declarations and general principles of Scripture. I concor clude therefore that it ought to be made a grovod of exclusion from church fellowship.
Against this conolusion--- which is certainly contained in the premi-, ses---two pleas appear to be set up. The one is that slavery is au-, thorized by the Bible --which I undersiand Mr. Graham to leach---a', position equally abhorrent to religion and liu manity. The other which is Dr. J's, is, that there are certain practices which are manifestly wrong, which yet the Bible requires to Lolerale---as evils; and, that slavery is one of them---perhaps the only one. The bare state ment of this proposition is a sufficient rcfutation of it. Doubtless whatever practice is plainly contrary to the moral principles of scripture, as well as to the moral sense of mankind, is not to be tolerated, but'suppressed, by the church.
But we shall be told that the church is not to interfere with the in stilutions of the State. Have we then in America yet to learn that the church is entirely distinct from the State! The church is 10 judge she conduct of her members by the law of Gou: not by the laws of : che land. Is slavery authorised by law in some States of this Union?, So are grog-shops, coffee-houses, lotteries, and races.
Must not a man be censured for doing any thing, which he may do according to the laws of the land? It'so, then farewell church discipline, and christian morality.
But I grant that the laws of the States in relation to slavery may ihrow difficulties in the way of the church in attempting to carry out
her discipline in this matter. In enforcing any principle of church fellowship the practical difficulties'of every case are to be taken into view.' A person acquires slaves by inheritance: can he under the laws of the State in which he resides refuse to receive them? If he refuses what will done with them? A person has acquired slaves before he propo-es to join the church: what can he do with them in the state where he resides? These questions suggest some of the difficulties connected with the subject. They show that in exercising disci. pline in any particular case, the subject must be considered in a practicable light: and no one is prepared to decide what is an indi. vidual's duty till he knows all the circumstances of the case. Bus conceding that there are dimculties, it does not follow that the pracrice of slaveboding is not sinful.
A word or two relative to the evils which are involved in slavery. Human nature is perverse and brings forib many evils when placed in the most favorable circumstances. But how much more are per. nicious results to be expected from a system of flagrant wrong and oppression! Dr. J. tells us that the case of Onesim is illustrates the pilt-ring character of runaway slaves. Now though the remark is a granitous assumption as far as it regards 0 vesinjus; yet there is truth in the general principle. But do slaves first begin to steal, when they run away. Is not pilfering much inore common a'nong slaves thän among free persons? It results from the operation of the sys. tem: and it is only one of the demoralizins affecis of slavery. It has many such effects both on the slaves and their masters. I have of len hearid amılg imition charged on abolitionists: anil decried as alomination. And I have recently seen an attempt, in a respectablo newspaper to prove that the mulatto is a hybrid, and that therefore it is sinful for wbites and blacks to iniermarry. I was violently asFailed, some months since on a steamboat by some licentious slaveholders...I found them out to be such by their own conversation --for ad vocating the right of the negro to liberty.. Almost the first arguniept was, How would you like it, if your dauzhter should marry a negro? Now who does not know that amalgamation is going on without marriage by wholesale arnong the slaveholders? There a thousand instances of amalgamation by illicit intercourse 10 one by marriage. A formal argument is not necessary to teach that such marriages are wrong
As Paul said in relation to another matiers Does not even nature that they are wrong? Eut is not licentous in. seriixture a ibousand fold worse? Yeiit is an evil involved in the bysten. Eur I forbear Cetera de genere hoc adea sunt multa &c. The language of our Savior on another subject is fairly applicable 10
the subject of slavery: yea why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right! Slavery is wrong in itself; it is pernicious in its consequen. ces; and therefore it ought to be banished from the church.
Having stated in my first No, the grounds on which slavery is 19 be held sinful: having met in my second, the arguments from the Old Testament in iis ta vor; and in the third those from the New Tes. tament; and in the present essay briefly staied the grounds on which slaveholding should be made a terni of exclusion from Christian fel lowship, I shall dismiss the subject.
Indeed I would not have written on the subject, considering tho views and practice of the Associate Reformed church as settled, had not an unexpected defence of slavery from a highly respectable quarter, appeared; and ha:d I not perceived a leaning towards slavery aniong sonie who once had beiter views.'.
Living in sin blunts the n:oral sensibilities, till men call evil good, and good evil. Living with sin has a similar effect. Our connection with slaveholders, in church and Staie, has led many 10 bide their eyes to the native enormity of slavery. Hence the aitempts to excuse, to detend, and to justily it. Hence the necesity for greater efforis to purify both church and siate tiomn the detileneiit. : The latier miust be a work of time, unless there be some special interposition of Providence. But let the church cleanse herself speedily. And let me suggest that right action on the part of the criurch will ultia mately lead to right action on the part the state. Let the church es act liarmourously in condemning slavery as an eil...a tlagrant and hideous evil. -morally and politicaily.--and in removing it troin their members, and public opinion will be correcied; and will operate on the state. but what can be expected of policians wine winis. lers of the gospel and members of the church cherish and defend the practice?
For the Evangelical Guardian,
$ The following appointments of preaching were made at the late meeting of Presbytery.
At Fairhaven, 41h Sab. Sepi. John M. Graham; 1st: Sab. Oet. S. W. McCracken; 31 Seb. Oct. Dr. Macdill; Ist Sab. Nov. W. M. Boyse