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They should regard it a sacred duty to provide for the visitation and help of the poor in their respective neighborhoods, to lend their sympathy and encouragement to such as are borne down under heavy trials, and to afford prompt and efficient aid in every right effort for the promotion of Temperance, Peace, Anti-Slavery, Education, the Equal Rights of Woman, &c.; that thus the public may be convinced that the Religion they seek to diffuse and establish is not an aggregation of mysteries, abstractions, and unmeaning forms, but a Religion for practical, everyday use, whose natural tendency is to fructify the conscience, intensify the sense of moral responsibility, purify and ennoble the aims of men, and thus to make society wiser, better, and happier. Such Associations, moreover, ought to regard it as their special function to cultivate and develope the religious sentiment among their members, and, so far as possible, in the community generally. For this purpose they would do well to establish libraries, in which the works of eminent anti-sectarian writers upon moral, ethical, and religious subjects might become accessible to all classes, especially to the young.
Such Associations would naturally communicate, by letter or otherwise, with the Yearly Meeting, each giving that body the results of its own peculiar experience, and receiving in return the experiences of others, with such suggestions as the Yearly Meeting, upon a careful comparison of the whole, may be qualified to make. The various Yearly Meetings may also strengthen one another's hands by fraternal correspondence and counsel; and thus, without ecclesiastical authority or domination on the part of any, the whole body of believers in practical Christianity throughout the country may be cemented together in Christian love, and prepared to labor in harmony for the redemption of mankind from every evil and false way, and for the establishment of universal righteousness, purity, and peace. A Church thus united would wield a moral power like that of the Apostles and immediate followers of Jesus, and the means by which it would conquer the world are those which an Apostle has described: "By Purbness, By Know
LEDGE, BY LONG-SUFFERING, BY THE HoLY SPIRIT, BY LOVE UNFEIGNED, BY THE ARMOR OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ON THE RIGHT HAND AND ON THE LEFT."
Dear Friends! are these ideas of a Church Utopian! Are we dreamers and enthusiasts? or is the day foretold by ancient prophets and bards beginning to dawn upon our darkness and to light the dull horizon with its reviving rays? Are we always to walk amid shadows wd shams! Do we not hear the voice of God speaking to us in the deep silence of our souls, and uttering itself in the events that are passing before us, bidding us awake from our slumbers, to cast away our doubts, and purify ourselves for the work of building up a pure Christianity upon the earth? Are not the fields every where white unto the harvest? and are there not all around us men and women, whose hearts God hath touched with holy fire, and who stand ready to enlist with us in this glorious cause? Let us, then, not falter, nor hesitate. What if our numbers are few, and the hosts of superstition and sin stand before us in menacing array? What are their boasts to us, when we know that the truth we promulgate is "a part of the celestial machinery of God," and that, "whoso puts that machinery in gear for mankind hath the Almighty to turn his wheel?"
"0, brother man! fold to thy heart thy brother;
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there;
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.
"Follow with reverent steps the great example
'Then shall all shackles fall; the stormy clangor
Of wild war music o'er the earth shall cease;
And in its ashes plant the tree of peace."
Signed on behalf and by direction of the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, held at Old Kennett, Chester County, by adjournments, from the 22d to the 25th of Fifth Month, 1853.
Joseph A. Dtjgdale, ) pl ,
Our friend, Joseph A. Dugdale, being present with us, the truthful and luminous Exposition of Sentiments put forth by the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, recently held at " Old Kennett," Chester County, was presented and read. The magnitude and importance of the principles embraced, and their appositeness to the present wants of society, were deeply felt; and this meeting earnestly recommends to its members their co-operation in the circulation of the document.
Signed by direction of the Yearly Meeting of Congregational Friends, held In Waterloo, 3eneca County, N. Y., from the 5th to the 7th of the Sixth month, Inclusive, 1853.
THOMAS M'CLINTOCK, )
Assembled in our Sixth Annual Convocation, and taking into serious consideration the moral, intellectual, religious, social and political condition of our country, we are constrained, un'ler an abiding sen^e of our responsibility as individuals, and our obligations as a Religious Society, to record and publish these Testimonies.
The holding of a human being as property, under whatsoever circumstances, we regard as a sin against God, and a crime against humanity. As there is not a bondman in the land who has not an inalienable right to be free, we can do no less than to demand that every chain be instantly sundered. In dealing with a sin of such magnitude—a sin by which millions of our fellow creatures are reduced to the condition of chattels, and covered with the dark pall of ignorance and degradation—we can give no place to the spirit of compromise. There is no hope for the country but in persistently and unceasingly applying to the consciences of the people the unqualified demands of justice and righteousness. To whisper halftruths at such a time as the present, is to " daub with untempered mortar," and trifle with the most fearful responsibilities that ever weighed upon the conscience of a nation.
There is much in the history of the past year, as pertaining to this great subject, that is well caculated to excite a righteous indignation, and awaken our deepest solicitude. The Supreme Judicial tribunal of the country has proclaimed the atrocious doctrine, that persons of African descent (many of whom, it is well known, are children of men who shed their blood on the battle-fields of the Revolution, and participated in the organization of the State and National Governments) are not and cannot be citizens—that, in short, they have "no rights which white men are bound to respect." This dogma is already incorporated in the platform of the party which bears sway in the councils of the nation; it shapes the legislation of Congress and the action of the Executive; while the only numerous political party which makes any pretension to anti-slavery, is declared by not a few of its champions to bo not the advocate of equality for the blacks, but "the white man's party," thus interposing no effectual resistance to the tyrannous de3
oree. The President and his official advisers and agents have prostituted all their powers in the effort to establish slavery o^ the soil of Kansas, in opposition to the well-known wishes of her people; and an ingeniously contrived scheme, intended to effect this object, has been forced through Congress by Executive intimidation and political bribery. It should be added that not a few of the men, even at the North, who share the responsibility of this gigantic wickedness, hold a high rank in Churches, calling themselves Christian! While the leading and most powerful Despotism of the Old World is preparing to emancipate her millions of degraded serfs, the boasted "Model Eepublic " cherishes the system of chattel slavery, as if it were the most precious jewel in the crown of her glory. Despotic Russia breaks the fetters of her bondmen, but Republican America, with the declaration upon her lips that all men are endowed with an inalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, dooms one-seventh of her population to the most degrading servitude, while not a few of the champions of this wickedness have the effrontery to propose that the foreign slave-trade, now branded as piracy by our laws, should be revived for the purpose of augmenting the number of their victims, and extending the system over territory as yet unpolluted by its presence.
If we turn to the popular Churches of the country, the prospect is no better; they still remain, as heretofore, "the bulwarks of slavery." Of the numerous sects which swarm in every part of the land, and which must be regarded as the exponents of its morality, there is not one that is thoroughly imbued with an anti-slavery spirit; not one whose garments are not stained with the blood of the slave. Even those whose organic law is opposed to the system, fail to live up to the principles they profess, and by their connivance or non-action strengthen the hands of the slaveholder. The American Tract Society, the organ and representative of the great "evangelical" denominations, and which professes to have for its object, the promotion of "vital godliness and sound morality," while it fails not to rebuke dancing, theatre-going and sleeping in church, as sins perilous to the soul, deliberately refuses to utter a single word in condemnation of the sin of man-stealing, and confides an absolute censorship over all its publications to a man who defends slavery from the Scriptures, and whose "South-side View " of that system shocked the moral sense of the friends of freedom throughout the civilized world. The American Bible Society not only refuses to make any effort to give the Bible to the slaves, but sanctions those interpretations of the Book which make it the bulwark of oppression.
This is indeed a gloomy picture; but we believe that, on the whole, the cause of freedom is advancing, and we do not for a moment permit ourselves to doubt that it will ultimately triumph. The truth, faithfully proclaimed, is the mightiest agent in the universe. It must eventually work the destruction of the system which exposes us to the scorn of the world and the retributions of Heaven.
The union between the free and the slave States is a compact of guilt and shame. Every day's experience of the workings of the National Government serves to demonstrate the preposterous absurdity as well as wickedness of the attempt to bind together as one nation States founded upon the principles of universal liberty and equality, and States which nourish and perpetuate the woret system of oppression that ever blackened the page of history. It is impossible for the former to stand in political alliance with the latter without corrupting the very sources of their national life and receiving into all their veins and arteries the foul blood of oppression and slavery. Not until the North has the courage and the manliness to sunder the ligament that binds her to "the body of this death" and holds her in guilty alliance with men-stealers, will she be truly free, or be able to break the chains of the slaves, or to present to the world an example worthy of imitation. Not until she banishes the slave-hunter from her soil, and solemnly proclaims her purpose to protect the fugitive bondman by the full power of her sovereignty, will she be able truly to respect herself or to command the respect of the civilized world.
While we rejoice in all that has been done through political instrumentalities to promote the cause of freedom, and will continue to rejoice in whatever of good may be achieved by such means, we are constrained to declare that our main reliance for the success of that cause is upon the Moral Agitation by which truth is persistently applied to the hearts and consciences of the people, and the wickedness of slavery fearlessly exhibited in the light of the Divine law of humanity. The American Anti-Slavery Society and its auxiliaries have our sympathy and hearty cooperation in the work to which they have been so long and so faithfully devoted, and we hope that they may not be turned aside from their purpose until viotory shall crown their efforts and liberty be proclaimed throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.
One of the bitterest fruits of slavery in our land is the cruel spirit of caste, which makes the complexion even of the free negro a badge of social inferiority, exposing him to insult in the steamboat and the rail-car, and in all places of public resort, not even excepting the church—banishing him from remunerative occupations, expelling him from the legislative hall, the magistrate's bench and the jury-box, and crushing his noblest aspirations under a weight of prejudice and proscription, which he struggles in vain to throw off. Against this un-Christian and hateful spirit we are constrained to enter our earnest and heartfelt protest, and to entreat all those whom it is our privilege to address to give it no countenance, but to testify against it both by precept and example.