“After refreshments, the pastor was called upon to read the Scriptures, and to offer prayer. He read the fifteenth chapter of Revelation. Never can I forget the impression which one of the verses in that chapter made upon me, in connection with some of the thoughts awakened by our conversation about the sovereignty of God as displayed in his dark and awful dispensations towards races, nations, and men: ’And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.’ ’Those who are in any way associated with the administration of God’s great judgments towards their fellow-men,’ said he, ’have need of special purity; and their honor should be like the untarnished gold.’
“This pastor told me, during the repast, that one day, returning suddenly from his study in the church just after breakfast, to the house of one of the gentlemen present, with whom he lived, and who was one of the wealthiest men in the South, and passing through the parlor to get a book, he found the room darkened, and the lady of the house kneeling in prayer with her servants. He of course withdrew at once, but he learned afterward from one of the ‘slaves,’ that it was the lady’s daily custom. He often thought of that incident when reading Northern religious newspapers and noticing their lamentations over ’slave-holding professors.’”
* * * * *
So much for my Southern visit.
Mrs. North said that in our next conversation she would suggest that we consider the relation of Christianity to Slavery. I told her that I had some night thoughts on that subject, which I would with pleasure submit, at another time.
As the rain continued, Mr. North and I resorted to the wood-pile in the shed for exercise, till dinner-time, Mrs. North following us to the door, and charging us not to converse upon this subject till she should be present.
DISCUSSION IN PHILEMON’S CHURCH AT THE RETURN OF ONESIMUS.
“My equal will he be again
Down in that cold, oblivious gloom,
Where all the prostrate ranks of men
Crowd without fellowship,—the tomb.”
“I will now relate to you,” said I, as we resumed our conversation, “the thoughts which came to me one night as I lay awake meditating on this subject. I wrote them down the next day.