Rev. Dr. Welch
supposed it was intended to adopt the report without debate.
He would, however, ask the privilege of speaking a few words on the question before the meeting.
With all his heart he subscribed to the sentiment expressed in the preamble and resolutions; but under the present trying, solemn circumstances of the country, they were too tame, far too weak in their expression.
There was truth that could not be gainsayed, and that history would present beyond the reach of controversy.
It was true that a great nation had been arrested in a career of peace and prosperity.
It was true that their nation had been ruthlessly pulled down from its proud eminence, and humbled before the world.
The banner of their glorious Union, which led their forefathers on to victory, was riddled with shot, and the destruction of their Republic threatened.
He descended himself from a race of sailors and soldiers, and although his profession differed from theirs — he being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
— he inherited their patriotic devotion to the flag of their country.
His paternal grandfather was with Paul Jones
in his adventures in the frigate Alliance
He thought the resolutions did not come up to the expression which they should, as a Church, publish to the world in the present state of the country, and he could not submit to the adoption of the short beautiful rhetoric in terms of appeal, which had been read as representing fully the views of the Denomination.
They had appealed to the honor and magnanimity of the South
The South did not know the meaning of the term.
(Applause.) They never knew it. The barbarism of Slavery had crushed it out. (Applause.) He was ready then to look on the struggle from Mount Zion
, to view it from the point where the Saviour had led captivity captive.
When he contemplated the question in that light, there was another class of feelings which took possession of him, which he would wrong them and himself to suppress.
He had been in favor of excluding the vexed question of slavery from the associations and conventions with which he was connected, on the ground that the institution belonged to the kingdom of Caesar
, and not to the kingdom of Christ
But the time had come when the religious aspect of slavery could not be ignored by them as a people.
The clergy at the North
had been misrepresented at the South
, and even God's Holy Word was said to contain the Divine sanction of slavery.
Ministers were made to be the chief and especial patrons of the sin. He would not give the sanction of his voice to uphold slavery, nor would he entertain Christian fellowship for its supporters till he should meet them among the redeemed.
He thought that the report would be much improved by being stronger in language and purposes, and would thus be adapted to the crisis which they had been convened as Baptists to consider.
said he had listened with increasing interest to every word of the report, as it fell from the feeble but silvery voice of his esteemed brother, (Dr. Williams
,) and his heart, his head, and his whole soul and nature, were moved, and responded Amen to the report.
The brother who had preceded him had said it was too tame, but he would say that it was just tame enough for him. (Applause.) It was couched in decorous, significant, respectful but forcible language, and was eminently appropriate to proceed from a Christian body.
There was nothing in it calculated to exasperate, while it was firm and patriotic in sentiment, and he did not believe that it could be improved.
The great truth had been proclaimed thousands of years since, that a soft answer turneth away wrath, and the force and meaning of the sentence remained unchanged since it was written.
(Applause.) The public wanted no inflammatory material at the present time.
The rights of the country and the trying circumstances surrounding it, were expressed in the resolution, in the spirit which should animate the heart of the Christian
Their Divine Master had set an example, when He wept over Jerusalem
He knew what the people whom He had served would do to Him. Did He address them in words calculated to exasperate them, or embitter their hearts?
No; from his peaceful lips went forth the plaintive words, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thee, even as a hen doth gather her chickens, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate.”
That was the spirit which should actuate the followers of Christ
He hoped the report would be adopted without a dissenting voice.
Rev. Mr. Malcom
moved an amendment in favor of taking out the clause recommending one hour on each Friday to be spent by the members in private prayer for the country.
He for one would not spend an hour in prayer.
The time had come for them to act and pray while in action.
That course would be too much like that of the Pharisees, who commanded their people to carry heavy burdens, which they would not so much as move with their own fingers.
It was simply like a red tape proceeding, and he hoped it would be omitted.
Rev. Dr. Hague
supported the amendment, remarking that the time had arrived when they should stand by their guns.
He considered the document too long, and thought it would not be sufficiently effective on those who were battling for the country.
was wavering as to whom she should recognize, and the Baptists of England
, through Spurgeon
and other preachers, should be apprised in the report of the position of their brethren.
Rev. Dr. Gillette
suggested that the words “social meetings” should be inserted, instead of private prayer meetings, which was accepted by the Committee
, when the amendment was withdrawn.