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[49] worship hateth oppression; that the mystery of faith can only be held by a pure conscience; and that in vain is the tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, if the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and truth, are forgotten. Let him remember that all along the clouded region of slavery the truths of the everlasting gospel are not spoken, that the ear of iniquity is lulled, that those who minister between the ‘porch and the altar’ dare not speak out the language of eternal justice: ‘Is not this the fast which I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free’ (Isa. LVIII. 16.1) ‘He that stealeth a man and selleth him; or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.’ (Exod. XXI. 16.1) Yet a little while and the voice of impartial prayer for humanity will be heard no more in the abiding place of slavery. The truths of the gospel, its voice of warning and exhortation, will be denounced as incendiary.2 The night of that infidelity,

1 This law is recognized and sanctioned by Apostle Paul, 1 Tim. i. 9, 10. The word the Apostle uses in its original import comprehends all who are concerned in bringing any of the human race into slavery, or detaining them in it. Hominum fures qui sermos vel liberos abducant, retinent, vendunt vel emunt. To steal a freeman, says Grotius, is the highest kind of theft. In other instances we only steal human property; but when we steal, or retain men in slavery, we seize those who in common with ourselves are constituted by the original grant (Gen. i. 28) lords of the earth. Vide Note to Confession of Faith by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, 1825.

2 What has been in Jamaica may be expected in our own slaveholding community: a bitter, bloody, and most atrocious persecution of the ministers of religion. The following is from a declaration agreed to by the planters of Jamaica in July, 1832:

‘We the undersigned most solemnly declare that we are resolved, at the hazard of our lives, not to suffer any Baptist or other sectarian preacher or teacher, or any person professedly belonging to those sects, to preach or teach in any house, in towns, or in districts of the country where the influence of the Colonial Union extends.’

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