« ZurückWeiter »
one sentiment seemed to prevail. Lying as it did at the basis of the constitution, being embodied in the Address of the Union, and rendered prominent in every speech, it was permanently engrafted in the hearts of all present who loved the truth:
That the word of God should be translated in every language among men, in just such terms as will most unmistakably convey the mind of the Spirit.
It was clearly seen and felt, that no doctrines of worldly expedi. ency, no fears of denominational injury, no apprehensions of reproach or opposition, ought to be permitted to interfere with the endeavor faithfully to discharge this solemn duty. A sentiment so indisputable, involving consequences of incalculable importance to the whole human race, trok hold upon the heart of the believer, and awakened his zeal for the glory of the God of the Bible. The immediate result was a contribution, which stands almost unrivaled in the history of such organizations. Fifty-one life-memberships, and forty-seven directorships, were constituted on the occasion. Nearly all the money has been paid into the treasury, and of the remainder no portion is doubtful. Å New Era. From that period a new era commenced.
No friend of the American Bible Union has since supposed that the enterprise was doubtful. The dawn of a brighter day was hailed by hearts overflowing with thankfulness to the Father of Lights, from whom cometh every good and perfect gist. The full assurance of hope infused a corresponding energy into every department of the new organization. In a very little while additional sources of strength and encouragement were developed in the correspondence of the Union. Letters, breathing zeal and pledging effort, flowed in from every direction. Some of these were selected and published, in connection with the report of proceedings at the founding of the institution. But the great number received compelled a limited selection, and precluded the publication of many powerful arguments and thrilling appeals presented in them, on the necessity of a revision of the English Scriptures.
Re-action.--A marked re-action in public opinion began to take place. This has since rapidly progressed, and is now distinctly denoted by several indubitable indications.
The Press.—The public press, which in this part of the country was arrayed in decided opposition, now begins to speak in mellowed tones of our enterprise, occasionally acknowledging that the object is good, and that the hand of the Lord may be in the movement, and generally refraining from those expressions of asperity and bitterness which formerly characterized the hostility of some of our religious journals.
Views of Individuals.--Many individuals who heretofore were understood to advocate “ the Bible as it is," that is, the common version without correction of its errors, now speak decidedly in favor of correction, and assure us, that their only lingering doubts regard the mode of accoinplishing the object. Indeed,
so prevalent are our sentiments becoming, that those who still cherish the disposition to oppose, are obliged to change the character of their objections, and
to base them upon doubts of the necessity of our peculiar form of organization.
Change of Views Acknowledged.--More direct and positive evidences of the growing change, are furnished by many who have identified themselves with the Union. They frankly acknowledge that, as they have been led to a better understanding of the question at issue, their views have undergone a complete alteration, and they most cordially favor and support that which before they strenuously opposed. Our correspondence teems with such acknowledgments. Our agents are encouraged by them wherever they go.
Substantial Tokens.- Ministers and churches, associations and ministerial conferences, listen with respect and attention to those who advocate the cause of the American Bible Union, and, in many instances, give the most substantial tokens of their favor and approbation. One of our agents, Bro. A. Maclay, has, since the middle of July, obtained one hundred and twenty-five life-members, and fourteen life-directors, at a distance from the city of New York. This single fact annihilates the report, for a time industriously circu. lated, that all interest in the objects of the Union was confined to this city.
Receipts and Subscriptions.-Although the Union has not yet closed the fourth month of its existence, our subscription list already amounts to $13,301 92, of which $5,595 50 has been paid, and nearly all the remainder is payable during the ensuing winter: 233 responsible persons have subscribed life-memberships, and 65 lifedirectorships.
The Real Change.--It would be a mistake to suppose, that the re-action to which we have referred, embraces in most cases a radi. cal change of principle. Real christians must, in their hearts, favor the cause of truth. But false issues may be started, and facts mystified, so that men may imagine themselves to be advocating the cause of truth, when they are actually arrayed on the side of error. Such we apprehend to have been the case in the present instance. The public press had so obscured the real question at issue, that few understood it. But as light has been diffused through our publications, the understanding of many has become clear, and their consciences have immediately decided in favor of what is right. This process, we believe, will continue as light spreads more widely and brightly, until all who love God and desire to do His holy will, shall be found sustaining the principles and the purposes of the American Bible Union.
Assurance of Prosperity and Success. The strongest assurance of our present prosperity and ultimate success, is derived from the conviction that these principles and purposes PLEASE God. Nothing can be more in unison with the character of Jehovah and His great designs for the reclamation of a lost world, than the humble endeavors of His people to circulate His truth, as free from error and indistinctiveness as can be attained by human scholarship and christ? tian principle. He is a Being of immaculate purity, dwelling in light unapproachable and full of glory. Those who are born of His Spirit are declared to be children of the light. To them is entrusted the Lamp of Life. It is their highest privilege and their bounden SERIES IV.--VOL. I.
duty to let its rays shine without obstruction. Whatever obscores its light, must be displeasing to Him in whom is no darkness at all; but whatever conduces to exhibit it in its native clearness, and brightness, and purity, will most assuredly have His approbation and blessing.
"A Sure Foundation. The liberal and comprehensive views that characterize our Constitution and Address, afford a sure foundation for perpetual usefulness and prosperity. A more restricted policy could never accomplish the large objects which we have in view. All persons are welcomed to co-operate with us who desire to procure and circulate the most faithful versions of the Sacred Scriptures, and our field of operations is THE WORLD. The English language is intimately connected with others; and the principle of univocal translations pertains to the world.
New York Weekly Chronicle.--We may not close this report without alluding to a circumstance that is likely to have a permanent effect upon the prosperity of the Union--the establishment of a religious paper at the seat of operations, which, it is understood, will be free to publish our communications, and, when occasion re. quires, to sustain the advocacy of our principles. In consequence of the want of such facilities, the expenses during the short four months of our existence, have been uncommonly great. It was absolutely necessary to make our principles known, and to explain and vindicate them. Being cut off from all the usual facilities of the press, we were obliged to have recourse to the issue of pamphlets and circulars to an extent which, we trust, will never again be necessary. It is gratifying to know that the circulation of the publi. cations alluded to, has been blessed to the enlightenment of many minds, and has been a chief agency in producing that extraordinary change in public opinion, to which we have alluded as being in rapid progression. But the advantages of a weekly paper in the support of such an institution, are immeasurably superior. Many facts and incidents, that have a bearing on our interests, can therein be published, which, though highly beneficial in their immediate effects, would not justify the permanent record of a pamphlet. Errors and mistakes of the press can be corrected, and timely arguments adduced to meet occasion; interesting letters can be published as they are received; and individuals can be allowed to express their sentiments in weekly communications, whosc favorable opinions might otherwise never be known to the public. These and various other items incident to a weekly newspaper, collectively constitute that continual dropping, which cannot fail to wear away the stones of prejudice. Numerous and urgent were the solicitations from friends abroad, and especially from our agents, that some organ should be established, through which the condition and circumstances of the Union might every week be known; but we take pleas. ure in stating that the New York Weekly Chronicle has originated entirely from private enterprise, and that it is in no way whatever connected either in its pecuniary support, or the responsibility of its management, with the American Bible Union.
THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.
MAJ. Noah, learned Israelite, is thus interrogated : “ The second coming of Christ is believed by a large portion of Christians. Would the Jews believe in his spiritual and temporal messiahship, if he should again appear on earth ?" The Major, in his paper, the New York Sunday Times, thus answers :
" He would, we think, be less welcome to the Christians than to the Jews. He could not, we think, recognize the reformed religion which is carried out in his name. He who preached against pride, ostentation, and arrogance; who was the friend of the poor, and rebuked the rich and worldly-minded; who preached "peace on earth and good will to men;" who ordained obedience to the laws and submission to rulers; who would not brook the desecration of the christian pulpit, occupied by some men who endeavor to stir up rebellion and division among the people; who falsely quote the scriptures to carry out their fanaticism on slavery; who openly defy the laws, and wickedly recommend opposition to them; who are sowing division and misery throughout the land. He would say, 'I had trouble with the Scribes and Pharisees, who were my own people they did not recognize my mission; but here are my followers as they represent themselves to be—who ought in my name to carry out my principles, but who do not—who consider that there are many of my orders, directions and doctrines which they cannot carry out, alledgiug that they do not conform to the spirit of the age! He would find his own people as he left them two thousand years ago-with one faith and one God; but the church which he established he would find divided into numerous sects, one arrayed against the other, preaching all kinds of doctrines, and understanding better what he meant to establish than he did himself. The question is not, 'How would the Jews receive him?' but "How would he be received by those professing to be Christians? This is not the age for such a visitation."
No law passed by Congress for many years, if at any time since the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, has caused so much excitement as the Fugitive Slave Law. Large and respectable meetings, ecclesiastic and political, have denounced it as unconstitutional and immoral, and have been advising, or at least countenancing, resistance and insubordination to its requirements. This, indeed, might have been, more or less, expected from those who are not well informed, either on the Constitution of the United States or on that of Christ's Kingdom. But that any one well-instructed in the christian religion could recommend violence, or insubordination to a law, passed by a Congress that merely represents and re. flects the will of the sovereign people, is, to me, rather an unexpected development.
Waiving, in the first place, the character, the spirit and bearings of this or any other statute, constitutionally enacted by our repre. sentatives, what an example to the civilized world of our law-abiding
spirit? What an exemplification of our respect for the christian religion and its divine founder, do we furnish to the world, in the violent spirit of resistance and insubordination manifested on this occasion? If the law be unconstitutional, have we not a Supreme Court judicial, before which its constitutionality can be at once decided? And if approved by that court as constitutional, have we not, in the event of its unpopularity-its general unacceptability to the American people—the power to elect new representatives, and have it repealed? And certainly it will be repealed, if the good sense of the great majority so direct.
But I speak to the christian public, and not to the sovereign people in their mere citizen character; and I solemnly and affectionately ask them, “Have you, my christian friends, so learned Christ? Is this a fair expose of your reverence for his authority and that of the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Christian Apostles ?"
Is it not written by his authority: “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained by God. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves condemnation." “Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou, then, not be afraid of the power ? De that which is good, and thou shalt bave praise of the same; for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid," of the power, “ for he beareth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath,” or vengeance,“ upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience cake. For this cause you pay tribute,” or taxes, " also; for they" (the governors and lawgivers) "are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very service. Render, therefore, to all their dues—tribute, custom, fear, and honor." So speaks Paul to the Christians under Pagan Rome. If this was christian wisdom, prudence, justice, and humanity, in those days, and under a Roman emperor and his suit of provincial governors, is it not so now amongst christianized American citizens, under the men of their own choice?
Is Paul not adequate authority? Then hear Peter, the great apostle to the Jews : “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king, as supreme, or unte governors, as those sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the King. Servants, be subject to your masters; not only to the good and gentle, but even to the