Billeder på siden

we will give them a wide berth and a hearty auxiliary welcome. If we are unable, or too shiftless, to reach that population, we should mightily rejoice if they could or would. If they or any body else can make people better, here or elsewhere, right heartily will we accept them. And so, on the other hand, if we can reach the southern freedmen or the "mean whites" of the South, and convert and educate them, making them good, industrious Christian southern citizens, why should not our southern Christian brethren rejoice? Their state and their own Church would be bettered by the process and result. If indeed our missionary goes with a destructive, sectarian purpose, with a scheme to overthrow and not to build up, with a desire to demolish the Church that exists, rather than to construct anew, from the raw material of a sinful world, a Church that does not exist, then, and for such a project, we admit that he deserves not to be received with a welcome and a God-speed. And we do most earnestly and firmly deprecate any such unchristian destructivism, if it exists, in our own Church. If there be in the South any uncovered ground, or any neglected material, we have a perfect right to possess and to win it to Christ, and no man has a right to forbid us. If there be a people in the South who prefer a northern ministry it has a right to its own preference. Our brethren of the South, therefore, will put themselves sadly in the wrong if they attempt to engross a territory, and say that any other Church has not the same right to establish pastorates and to inaugurate synods and conferences there that they themselves possess. The General Conference of 1844 assumed to draw by compact an ecclesiastical dividing line; and with what result? If our northern reading of history be correct, the Church, South, was the first to cross the line, and with physical violence infringe the contract. Like the Congregational and Presbyterian bodies, or the Old and New School Presbyterian, the two Methodist Churches must fraternally concede to each other the right of occupying such territory as they respectively please. Though we think, as affirmed in our last Quarterly, that an immediate union of the two Churches is impossible, still the two General Conferences may, by joint committee of ministers or of ministers and eminent laymen, or by episcopal conferences, make such amicable arrangements, as that the two Churches may co-operate rather than antagonize, and so waste a vast amount of surplus force in their evangelizing labors. And in such way we trust that the collisions will be so adjusted, and the harmony will so strengthen, as to inaugurate in the most practicable form some sort of general reunion.

Upon the fourth of the above topics we make the following note.

Our present belief is, that such are the temper and relations of the South to the negro, that it is his race which presents a great obligatory mission field in the South, which the North must speedily fill. The future treatment of the negro is indeed the test of our possible future recognition of and fraternization with the Southern Church. Upon this point we are not to be put off, hoodwinked, or excluded; especially under any pretense that "the South alone understands the negro." There is a negro which the South, at least the irreligious South, does very well know. The negro shut out from education in order to be brutified in mind; deprived of the right of judicial oath, in order that the chastity of woman and the safety of man may be exposed to unpunished outrage; excluded from the sacred rights of marriage in order to be reduced to a chance concubinage; bought and sold, as an article of commerce, on the auction block, to the highest bidder; chastised by the driver's whip while performing his task, and chased by the hired bloodhounds when he would escape from it: this is the negro which some part at least of the irreligious South has hitherto known but too well. But a negro who is to possess rights which others are bound to respect, to be endowed with the privileges of education and mental development, with a sacred marriage, with enfranchisement, and with manhood, is a negro which our southern brethren are yet fully to learn. Civilized Christendom demands that the South shall learn that lesson; otherwise the nation and the Northern Churches are in duty bound to inculcate it. We cheerfully trust that our Southern Methodist Church will be the first in the South to appreciate and to teach that "young idea how to shoot." And we believe that all the humanity that has ever hitherto mitigated the southern slavery system, has come from Christianity and the Church. Our best information enables us to believe that the best friend of the negro in the South has been the Methodist Church, South. In the darkest hours of southern proslaveryism, Dr. M'Tyeire published for the South a book, issued from the Southern Concern, upon the subject of slavery, in which he manfully denied the right of property in man, affirmed the manhood of the negro, and maintained his claims to Christian mildness of treatment within the limits of his servile condition as a man. This was all the Southern Church could then do under the pressure of the State, and we have a faith she did it well. But now that the pressure of the State is withdrawn, we shall cheerfully believe, until forced to know the contrary, that she will rise to the dignity of this new position. She will, we would hope, exclude the interference of the North, not by fierce looks, and abortive efforts at lynch law, and icy shoulders,

but by so well performing her work as to render northern aid superfluous otherwise her inhumanity flings the negro on the philanthropy and Christianity of the North. The South needs the negro, and needs his highest MANHOOD. Every community, in order to its highest prosperity, needs that all her men be developed to their highest manhood, and her women to their highest womanhood. A degraded class, in some degree, degrades every other class, and degrades the whole. The ignorance, the idleness, the poverty of a pariah caste impoverish the state. And if the South would prosper, she must make the most of all the living humanity she possesses. Education, religion, development, industry, equality of rights, diffused through all her ranks, will, beneath her genial skies, spread a new civilization, a new wealth and prosperity upon her fertile soil, beyond the grandest hopes of any former era. A NEW SOUTH will arise, nobler, richer, prouder, than has ever entered her former vision. If, with her singular elements of wealth, she shall, by her policy of freedom, surpass in prosperity our free North, that free North will fraternally rejoice; for the richer the South, the richer the North. The prosperity of one is that much the prosperity of all. And in that southern prosperity none will rejoice more heartily than the old antislavery man, for the true antislavery man was never a "sectional" man. The true antislavery man has hated, not the South, but slavery; and that slavery was in the South was but an accident of history. He would have hated slavery in the North; he did hate the proslavery spirit in the North, and the infernal black laws of the North, as much as or more than he hated slavery in the South. And when slavery and the oppressive spirit are abolished, North and South are alike to him. New England and the Gulf States, Maine and Mississippi, are alike dear; and their prosperity are equally a joy, under the broad banner of freedom and the union.

Since writing the above we have read with no little regret the Pastoral Address of the Southern Bishops, and with equal regret some of the responses it has called forth from our own Church press. The bishops' indictment of northern Methodism was doubtless drawn up for the double purpose of foreclosing all discussion of immediate reunion, and of compacting their own Church into a separate unity by force of an external antagonism. It is therefore a brave attack for the purpose of self-defense. Some of the points may be subjects of future free discussion in our editorial pages. But as proof that our strictures upon the southern side are made in no unfriendly spirit, we will for the present suggest some defects that, in our humble view, we of the North may wisely correct. We need, it may be,

1. Less retention by our earnest antislavery men of a belligerent feeling after the object of hostility has ceased existence. For what did we fight the long antislavery battle? To injure our southern fellow-countrymen? No; but to deliver both North and South from the crushing despotism of the slave-power. That deliverance is accomplished. Must we now protract the fight against the very South thus emancipated from the common despot? They may not yet appreciate our benefaction; but the logic of events and the right spirit upon our part may in time teach our Southern fellow-Christians and brother Methodists who are their truest friends. At least let the full experiment be tried.

2. A due appreciation of the wounded spirit of a proud but self-supposed "subjugated" people. A sensitive, high-spirited, gallant race have been struck down, after the most heroic combat, by superior force. They lie, broken-hearted and bleeding, amid the ruin of their projects, the bankruptcy of their institutions, and the desolation of their homes. They look up into the face of their conqueror and recognize a sneer at the very idea of "magnanimity." Can we wonder if we find, amid their sighs of sorrow, some sharp tones of "bitterness?" Is it not to be expected that they will now and then put themselves into a position of fierce and desperate self-defense? Should we accept a conquered position with a less repugnant temper? And ought we not to deal with such facts in a spirit of firm, patient, indulgent "magnanimity ?"

3. Avoidance of inquisitorial tests of loyalty. Dr. M'Ferrin, for instance, returns to Nashville, takes the oath of allegiance, and everywhere renouncing the claim of the right to secede, declares his purpose of being hereafter a true and loyal citizen of an indivisible nation. But, Dr. M'Ferrin, do you acknowledge that it was with wicked purpose that you rebelled, and do you rejoice in the overthrow of the Confederacy? Surely no generous mind would put such questions. And his declining to answer them would to us prove, not that he is dishonest and disloyal, but both honest and loyal; too honest to make a false profession, and too true to break the profession of loyalty he makes. Surely the oath and profession of a man of high moral standing that he accepts the indivisible nation ought, in spite of exceptional errors past, to be sufficient. To require confessions of conscious villainy is to confine our favors to villains alone.

4. A "magnanimity" in victory. Who should be forbearing; who should make the advances of courtesy and fraternity; who should venture the tentative right hand of fellowship; who should endure occasional petulances with an indulgent equanimity, if not the con

querors ?* Our deep impression, derived from a study of our Southern Methodist periodicals, mistaken though it may be, is that for such a "magnanimity" they (with some exceptions) were looking; and that but for the errors on our part which we have specified, generous utterances would have awakened a wide response.

5. No substitution of the spirit of ambitious ecclesiasticism for the spirit of the religion of Jesus. Assuming too nearly that our Church South had no religion, was not Christian, and was no Church, forgetting how much our own superior purity was the result of geographical latitude, some of us have approximated too nearly to a purpose of demolishing and expunging the Church South, and taking absolute occupancy of the blank spot remaining. Heroically contemptuous of vulgar arithmetic, some Northern brethren do not stop to cypher how much of men and money and labor such a second" subjugation" would cost us. And when we remember that all our objections against the Church South arose from a now defunct and non-existent cause, would it not be far cheaper as well as wiser, if not more Christian, to wait with an economical "masterly inactivity" for time and brotherly kindness, and careful fair-dealing, and generous aids to convert the solid Southern Church to quite as good a Methodism as we could ever hope to substitute in her place?

In our repeated advocacy for several years past in our Quarterly of a reunion of the various bodies of Northern Methodism, we have never purposed to go into a discussion of the PAST. Were such a discussion necessary, we should indeed go into it with all the impartiality of history. We would not spend one flourish of our pen to prove either side right or wrong. The present and the immediate future are all we can manage. And so to these Southern Bishops we would say, Venerable brethren, let us not fight over a dead past. Leave 1844 to history and to God. In the grave of slavery we can afford to bury our belligerent antislaveryism and you your belligerent antiabolitionism. We purpose not reunion, but the restoration of Methodistic and Churchly recognition and fraternity. Into your recognized seat among the branches of the great family of catholic Methodism, from which a stern past has so long exiled you, we would invite your return. There are some open questions of the present which if we discuss it shall be no fault of ours if the discussion is not most fraternal in spirit and result.

Finally, any other course than this on the part of Northern Meth

*And here we wish to record an amende honorable. In our last Quarterly (p. 480) we spoke of Bishops Pierce and Andrew in an unnecessarily personal style. We desire those words to be considered as unsaid.

« ForrigeFortsæt »