is the point in controversy? Not,1 who is a Christian, or whether this or that individual has attained to a state of “sinless perfection” ; but whether human beings, in this life, may and ought to serve God with all their mind and strength, and to love their neighbor as themselves! Whether “total abstinence” from all sin is not as obligatory as it is from any one sin!. . . . We feel authorized to refer to this subject, not only as a public journalist, but also because it has a very important connection with the righteous reforms of the day. Holiness is incompatible with robbery, oppression, love of dominion, murder, pride, vainglory, worldly pomp, selfishness, and sinful lusts. But these ecclesiastical bodies are determined to make a Christian life compatible with a military profession, with killing enemies, with enslaving a portion of mankind,2 with the robbing of the poor, with worldliness and ambition, with a participation in all popular iniquities. Hence, when abolitionism declares that no man can love God who enslaves another, they deny it, and assert that man-stealing and Christianity may co-exist in the same character.3 When it is asserted that the
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2 ‘Twenty years have passed since the abolition of serfdom [in Russia], and no one has taken the trouble to strike out the phrase which, in connection with the commandment of God to honor parents, was introduced into the catechism to sustain and justify slavery. With regard to the sixth commandment, “ Thou shalt not kill,” the instructions of the catechism are from the first in favor of murder. . . . The Christian Church has recognized and sanctioned divorce, slavery, tribunals, all earthly powers, the death penalty, and war. . . . The world does as it pleases, and leaves to the Church the task of justifying its actions with explanations as to the meaning of life. The world organizes an existence in absolute opposition to the doctrine of Jesus, and the Church endeavors to demonstrate that men who live contrary to the doctrine of Jesus really live in accordance with that doctrine’ (Count Leo Tolstoi's “My religion,” New York, 1885, pp. 214, 215, 221).
3 On Aug. 30, 1841, Henry C. Wright wrote to Edmund Quincy: ‘I once met Rev. Francis Wayland, D. D., President of Brown University, in the presence of several friends, to converse on the subject of slavery. The conversation turned on the question—Can a slaveholder be a Christian? To bring it to a point, addressing myself to the Doctor, I asked him— “Can a man be a Christian and claim a right to sunder husbands and wives, parents and children—to compel men to work without wages—to forbid them to read the Bible, and buy and sell them—and who habitually does these things?” “Yes,” answered the Rev. Dr. and President, “provided he has the spirit of Christ.” “Is it possible for [a man] to be governed by the spirit of Christ and claim a right to commit these atrocious deeds, and habitually commit them?” After some turning, he answered, “ Yes, I believe he can.” “Is there, then, one crime in all the catalogue of crimes which, of itself, would be evidence to you that a man had not the spirit of Christ?” I asked. “Yes, thousands,” said the Dr. “What?” I asked. “Stealing,” said he. “ Stealing what, a sheep or a man? ” I asked. The Doctor took his hat and left the room, and appeared no more’ (Lib. 11.143).
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