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proceedings. But we fear lest the great accumulation of business should keep back from Parliament some who, from their character and talents, would be among its brightest ornaments, but who could not sustain the mental and physical exhaustion of its accumulated duties. Our legislators will have no enviable post; and much will they need the prayers of their countrymen, that they may be divinely guided and strengthened for their arduous labours. We should hope, that the inconveniences already sustained will lead to a revision of the whole system of conducting the public business in the House of Commons; so as, by due classification and division of labour, to have it better and more easily effected than under the present regulations. The only wonder, as matters are now conducted, is, not that much time is wasted, and that many bills pass which abound in errors and inconsistencies, but that so much is achieved and with so little of serious mistake.
Among the measures of the session there is not one that we look back upon with more pleasure than that great act of national justice and humanity, the Abolition of West India Slavery. We considered, indeed, the compensation of twenty millions of money as inordinate; and the system of a long-continued modified slavery, under the name of Apprenticeship, as evil both in principle and practice; but the proposed duration of the apprenticeship has been materially abridged, and the pecuniary grant has had the happy result of leading the colonists to look with less displeasure at the abolition of slavery; or at least, now that it is decided upon, to profess a willingness to co-operate with the British legislature in carrying into effect the measures for its extinction. Had a plan for emancipation been long delayed, the "vested rights" of slavery might soon have been bought up cheaply enough; for the slaves were beginning to comprehend, that, in the sight both of God and of all impartial men, they had a right to their liberty; and they were prepared to enforce that right: so that slave labour would, before long, not have been worth many months' or days' purchase. The planters therefore are well off, to
have obtained an enormous compensation for what never, upon any just principles, was theirs, and could not have been theirs long; while humanity has reason to rejoice that so fearful and bloody an issue has been prevented, even by a costly pecuniary sacrifice.
There is, however, a great work yet to do. The slaves are debased by the evils of slavery, and require the most careful efforts of an enlightened and Christian philanthropy, to render their intended freedom as great a blessing as it ought to be to themselves and others. The whole of the children, and as many as possible of the adult population, should be taught and encouraged to read and write; a general system of education should be devised, and conducted upon scriptural principles; infant schools in particular should be every where introduced; and there should be an ample supply of clergymen, missionaries, and catechists, for their instruction. It will be long before the baneful effects of slavery will wear out, either as respects the White, or the Black and Coloured population. The prejudices of caste, as is the case in the United States, will succeed to the atrocities of slavery. Too many of the Whites will not allow the Blacks to be men like themselves; and they spurn the thought of their having equal rights and privileges. Some perhaps will long continue to lament that so blessed an institution as that of slavery has been subverted; arguing, with the writers of the Record newspaper, that "God does not any where censure the prescriptive claim to property in others;" nay, that, " on the contrary, slavery appears to be perfectly consistent with the general plan of His government of the world, and is all of a piece with His general institutions of authority and subordination for the well-being of man in a state of society."
We are happy to say, that by the new Act for the regulation of the East India Company's Charter, slavery is to cease in our vast Eastern empire in April 1837. The slavery in that country is a grievous evil, as is slavery in all its forms, though, compared with West Indian, slavery is there a mild institution.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
H. C.; STABILICUS; A CONSTANT READER; R. W.; N. N.; H. F. L.; SIMPLEX, R. U.; ELPIS; G. C. S.; A READER; W. F.; are under consideration. A Friend has called our attention to a very wrathful attack, in the last Number of the Methodist Magazine, upon what are called the Evangelical Clergy, and particularly upon the Conductors of the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, who are accused of bitter hostility and malevolence towards the Methodist body. Our only answer shall be our review of the Bishop of Bristol's tract in our last Number, published the very same day as the attack upon us. Let the writer read that article, and then decide whether our pages are fraught with injustice and want of candour towards either the Methodists or the Dissenters; though we cannot but add, with extreme grief, that the recent conduct of too many members of both those bodies has not been honourable to their character, as Christian men, in their
attacks upon the Church of England, and particularly upon what are called “the Evangelical Clergy." The parties to whom we allude are suffering their political reveries, and their dazzling hopes of the downfal of all national church establishments, to blind them to the calamities which, if they were to succeed in their plans, they would inevitably perpetuate to future generations. We lament their blindness, and pity their spirit; but we fully believe that good will here, as elsewhere, come out of evil; and that not the least important result will be, both to bind together in closer bonds of attachment the true friends of the Church of England, and to cause a secession from the ranks of Dissent of not a few of its most pious and exemplary ornaments, who are already expressing their extreme concern at the conduct of some hot-headed partizans, whose revolutionary politics have overlaid at least for a time-their better principles. We would say from the bottom of our hearts-if without irreverence we may adopt the words of Him who has left us an example how to pray-" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." A Correspondent wishes us to reply to the Algerine dogmas of the Editor of the Record newspaper, who says that the horrible abomination of slavery is a reasonable, justifiable, and scriptural institution; that a man has no inherent right to liberty, no natural property in his own limbs; that another man may scripturally claim him as his chattel, his mule, his ass, his beast of burden, always of course treating him with kindness; and that, however shamefully oppressed, degraded, or misused, he is still "in possession of the measure of rights which properly belongs to him ;" and that his tyrant is only God's instrument, whom we are to regard just as we should the operations of inanimate nature, such as an earthquake or a thunderbolt, slavery being one of God's appointed ordinances. Does our correspondent think that we would deign to reason with a slave or a tyrant who could write thus? The fit punishment were, to be reduced to the condition he advocates; and when the manacle and the lash were vigorously applied, to be told that he ought not to complain; that he had no natural right to liberty; that slavery was God's ordinance, and a just and Christian institution; with all the rest of the hard-hearted jargon which disgraces a publication calling itself religious. We will reason with men who have not put off" bowels of mercies; but no human remedy has been discovered for ossification of the heart. No wonder the same writer advocates the barbarous and disgraceful system of impressment, as being "neither unjust, unconstitutional, nor illegal.' And yet with such ungodly and un-English doctrines do some of the friends of religion and humanity suffer themselves to be insulted, under the garb of Christian and spiritual reflections. Cordially do we concur in the following remarks of the venerable Bishop of Salisbury: "Many attacks have been made on the authority of Scripture; but nothing would more effectually subvert its authority than to prove that its injunctions are inconsistent with the common principles of benevolence, and inimical to the general rights of mankind. It would degrade the sanctity of Scripture; it would reverse all our ideas of God's paternal attributes, and all arguments for the Divine origin of the Christian religion drawn from its precepts of universal charity and benevolence." "That any custom so repugnant to the natural rights of mankind as the Slave Trade, or Slavery the source and support of the slave trade, should be thought to be consonant to the principles of natural and revealed religion, is a paradox which it is difficult to reconcile with the reverence due to the records of our holy religion."
The Editor of the Record may say, that he does not make Christianity "inconsistent with the common principles of benevolence," because, though he justifies slavery, he reprobates its necessary and inevitable concomitant, cruelty; but this flimsy subterfuge is of no avail to disguise the inherent and inseparable injustice and wickedness of the whole system. As to "the general rights of mankind," for which the benevolent Prelate so justly, humanely, and scripturally pleads, the Editor of the Record avowedly ridicules and repudiates them as the figment of an antichristian and infidel philosophy; pretending to identify common sense and common humanity with the atrocities of the first French Revolution, and arguing, that, because all men have sinned before God, and none have any "rights," as respects their justly offended Creator, therefore, between man and man-all equally culprits-Slavery, the utter deprivation of all rights, is a just and Christian institution. Woe to the nation, woe to civilization and liberty, to happiness, to religion, should those who make or administer the laws of England ever come to be among the number of those who thus argue. It is not the pretension to more spiritually-minded views than those of ordinary Christians, that could prevent such anti-social principles, if carried out fully into action, rendering the world one vast Aceldama, a field of blood.
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE. BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
ON THE RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO CIVIL GOVERN. MENT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
(Continued from page 582.)
THE doctrine, that Christianity has no connexion with the civil relations of a state, is novel, dangerous, and unscriptural. If it be true, no longer are judges, senators, or legislators bound by the sanctions of religion, nor are they the worse public servants for neglecting them. Law must no longer recognise any Christian object: it ought not to permit the solemn obligation of an oath; it must not even suppose any man endued with a conscience; and, above all, to legislate for the observance of the day of sacred rest would be a gross absurdity and a monstrous infringement upon the rights of the people. In short, no school, no institution of any kind, must be so constructed as if there were a God, or that men have souls; for the very slightest allusion that glanced that way would, as to its principle, be as great an encroachment upon the sacred rights of Atheism as an Established Church is alleged to be upon the liberties of modern Dissent.
But it is popularly argued, that the United States of America have gone to this extent; that Jews, Turks, Infidels, Heretics, and true Believers, are all placed upon precisely the same footing; and that, as regards the civil arrangements of the United States, Christianity is practically abolished.
Now we do not, as we have already said, undertake to vindicate the American Union in its proceedings with regard to Christianity, because we think that it has greatly crippled its influence and impaired its strength by not adopting a regular national church establishment, without which even the larger towns will be but imperfectly supplied with Christian ordinances, and many of the more remote spots must be left in utter ignorance and heathenism. But though we think that modern America has not gone far enough, it is quite untrue to say that she has done nothing; and as her example is currently appealed to by those who reprobate all recognition of Christianity in civil proceedings, it is important to shew that the very instance which they adduce to sanction their principle in fact contravenes it. Indeed, if the principle which some persons advocate were well founded, it was an infringement upon public liberty, a daring attack upon the rights of individual conscience, to say, in the Articles of the Constitution of the United States, "by the unanimous consent of the States present, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth;" because this makes the citizens to acknowledge Christ for their Lord, instead of adopting the plan, afterwards invented by
the infidels of the French Revolution, of leaving out God and his Christ altogether.
But America is not guilty of the national sin thus popularly imputed to her, as we shall continue to shew by an adduction of facts and authorities from the sources before mentioned. But, in truth, without proceeding to specific illustrations, nothing is more undeniable than that the public authorities, both in the States and in the National Governments, have always felt it to be required of them to respect the peculiar institutions of Christianity; and whenever they have ventured to act otherwise they have never failed to be reminded of their error by the displeasure and rebuke of the nation. From the first settlement of the country up to the present time, particular days have been set apart, by public authority, to acknowledge the favour, to implore the blessing, or to deprecate the wrath, of God. In the Conventions and Legislative Assemblies, daily Christian worship has been customarily observed. All business proceedings in the legislative halls and courts of justice have been suspended by universal consent on Sunday. Christian ministers have customarily been employed to perform stated religious services in the army and navy. In administering oaths, the Bible, the standard of Christian truth, is used, to give additional weight and solemnity to the transaction; and a respectful observance of Sunday, which is peculiarly a Christian institution, is required by the laws of nearly all, perhaps of all-certainly of twenty-three of the respective States.
Under these circumstances, what becomes of the argument, either of Infidels or of "Dissenters upon principle," grounded upon the conduct of the United States of America? for if any one of the observances above-mentioned is nationally sanctioned, the whole principle, as a principle, is admitted, though it may not be carried out into adequate operation, or take the form of an exclusive national establishment. It is as much in principle an infringement of these newly invented rights of conscience to say that secular business shall not be transacted on Sunday, as to institute a whole bench of bishops. So, also, to employ a chaplain in Congress, or to have religious services in the army and navy-both of which must be some expense to the public-is as direct an inroad upon the voluntary principle as Church rates or Easter offerings; but with this superadded grievance, that whereas the latter are for purposes which the great majority of the nation, expressing their opinions through their representatives, approve, the former are bounded by no defined limit laid down by the nation, but are subject to individual or local caprice; so that the orthodox may be taxed to support the avowedly heterodox, and every variety of heresy be sanctioned by legal support. In every society the minority must yield to the majority, and pay taxes though they did not vote for them, unless where, for conscience sake, an individual feels it his duty calmly to suffer rather than voluntarily to yield. The dis sentient in England is placed in no worse situation than the dissentient in America; and so far he is in a better, that he pays for what is known and fixed, and not for what is uncertain and changing. Do what we may, we cannot avoid the principle. The Independent Dissenter, if in power tomorrow, must act more or less upon it: he acts upon it in his own communion. Nay, even Atheism, if it made laws at all, must make such as those who are not Atheists would not approve. The real substantial question, therefore, is one of degree; and that degree appears to us to have been far more wisely and scripturally determined in Great Britain than in the United States of America. If differences of opinion exempted one man from the taxation imposed upon another for the common benefit, there would soon be an end to all civil and social relations.
We cannot, however, well see in what manner our American friends acknowledge the right of a state, and its duty also, to establish Christianity,
and yet will not allow it to be recognised under any actual form; so that the recognition either becomes an abstraction, or it assumes every shape which any individual may please to call Christianity. The American clergyman before alluded to, speaking the sentiments of his brethren, says: Who believes, that, without an order of men to administer the sacraments, to illustrate the doctrines and enforce the duties of Christianity, without public worship, and without the general and respectful observance of Sunday, there would be the least vestige of religion among us at the end of half a century? As well might we expect the preservation of public order and civil obedience in the community if our laws were permitted to remain in the statute-book without a Judiciary to explain their import, or an Executive to enforce their observance." We fully concur in these remarks; but how can there be "an order of men to administer the sacraments," and all the other things which the writer mentions, with out an admission of the very principle of national church establishments? Would a Jew, an infidel, or even a Quaker, admit what Dr. Adams contends for? If not, either the leading maxim of those who oppose national religious establishments is wrong, or the United States of America, in doing what Dr. Adams says they do, and ought to do, is as much a violator of public liberty as Great Britain herself.
Let us further hear what Dr. Adams says upon the importance of Christianity to the civil affairs of the United States of America.
"No nation on earth is more dependent than our own, for its welfare, on the preservation and general belief and influence of Christianity among
Perhaps there has never been a nation composed of men whose spirit is more high, whose aspirations after distinction are more keen, and whose passions are more strong than those which reign in the breasts of the American people. These are encouraged and strengthened by our systems of education; by the unlimited field of enterprise which is open to all; and more especially by the great inheritance of civil and religious freedom, which has descended to us from our ancestors. It is too manifest, therefore, to require illustration, that in a great nation thus high spirited, enterprising, and free, public order must be maintained by some principle of very peculiar energy and strength. Now there are two ways, and two ways only, by which men can be governed in society: the one, by physical force; the other, by religious and moral principles pervading the community, guiding the conscience, enlightening the reason, softening the prejudices, and calming the passions of the multitude. Physical force is the chief instrument by which mankind have heretofore been governed; but this always has been, and I trust will always continue to be, inapplicable in our case. My trust, however, in this respect, springs entirely from a confidence that the Christian religion will continue, as heretofore, to exert upon us its tranquillizing, purifying, elevating, and controlling efficacy. No power less efficacious than Christianity can permanently maintain the public tranquillity of the country, and the authority of law. We must be a Christian nation, if we wish to continue a free nation. make our election,-to be swayed by the gentle reign of moral and Christian principle; or ultimately, if not soon, by the iron rod of arbitrary rule.
Nor will it be sufficient for any of us to say, that we have not been active participators in undermining and destroying our religion: we cannot escape crime if it shall be destroyed by our neglect or indifference. The guilt of nations which have never been evangelized, for not rendering to Jehovah the glory due to his name, must be very much palliated by their ignorance; which is, in some respects, and in a considerable degree, invincible but how can we escape, if we neglect, or abuse, or fail to