What, then, is our duty as abolitionists in the present crisis?1 First—what it is not. It is not to abandon our principles, for they are immutable and eternal. It is not to lessen our demands, for they are just and right. It is not to lose sight of, or postpone to a more favorable period, the glorious object we have ever had in view, —to wit, the total and immediate extinction of slavery,—for this would be fatuity. It is not to substitute the non-extension for the abolition of slavery, for this would be to wrestle with an effect, while leaving the cause untouched—to seek to avert the penalty of sin, while allowing the sin itself to go unrepented of. It is not to lower our standard in order to propitiate the timeserving and cowardly or to carry any measure however desirable, for this would be certain defeat. It is not to concentrate our forces upon any geographical or side issue with the Slave Power, for this would be a fatal diversion. It is not to plead for the white laborer to the forgetfulness of the black laborer, nor to concern ourselves exclusively with consecrating to freedom any particular portion of the American soil, for ours is neither a complexional nor a sectional movement. It is not to act upon the jesuitical maxim, that the end sanctifies the means, for this is the all-corrupting sin in every part of this rebellious world. It is not to seek what is most available for the hour, or temporary success upon a false basis, for this is to rely upon numbers, and not upon God—upon policy, and not upon principle. Our duty is first personal, in regard to ourselves. We are to see to it that we make no truce with slavery, either directly or by implication; that we give to it no religious or political sanction, in any form or to any extent; that our hands are clean, and our consciences without condemnation; that we “remember them that are in bonds as being bound with them.” This duty performed, our next is to call to repentance our guilty land; to impeach, criticize, admonish, entreat, rebuke every sect, every party, every person, in alliance or sympathy with the oppressors, or indifferent to the claims of the perishing bondmen; to reject all half-way measures, while hailing with gladness the smallest indications of progress; to be as
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