Curriculum 375
almost inflamatory. It seems probable that Wayland's book, published
in 1835, had been introduced into Wake Forest by Wingate in 1854,
and that before that time Paley's text, which contained a much more
temperate statement on slavery, had been used. But Paley was an
Englishman, while Wayland was an American and a Baptist,
President of Brown University, the author of a textbook on Political
Economy and other textbooks, and one of the ablest men and scholars
America has produced. His book on Moral Science, while little more
than a digest of Paley, was written in good, easy style, and much
better adapted for college students.
The action of the Trustees in disallowing Wayland's book came
after years of angry discussion of the slavery question in which
Wayland had had a leading part. In 1844-45 was the famous
Wayland-Fuller controversy on the subject, which though conducted
with all the courtesies of polite debate served only to make the
adherents of each side the stronger partisans. With reference to it
Meredith used these ominous words: "One thing is certain-if Dr.
Wayland, and all anti-slavery men, will permit the New Testament to
do its own work in its own way-or if they will even adopt the
apostolic method, as alleged, of dealing with the universal sin of
slavery, it may be the means of saving our churches from disruption,
and our country from commotion, anarchy and
bloodshed."34
But the
passion and heat of the argument continued, and were reflected in the
columns of the Biblical Recorder from this time until the War.
Usually it took the form of the editor defending himself from the
attacks of the abolition editors of Baptist papers of the North, whose
most savage thrusts were parried by Meredith with the finesse of a
master; Meredith seldom failed to lay his opponent prostrate. After his
death in 1850, Tobey and James succeeded to his role. Every year
seemed to add to the bitterness with which "the abolition press" was
attacking the South. After the formation of the Southern Baptist
Convention the Baptist papers of the North began with a freer
―――――――
34
Biblical Recorder, January 4, 1845.
Previous Page Next Page