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Asher Bliss to Frederick Douglass, March 26, 1855


For Frederick Douglass' Paper.

CONGDON, Warren Co., Pa.,
March 20th, 1855.

I have devoted a few moments' time to an
article under the head of "New Association"
in your issue of March 9th. I think your
suggestion, that every reader should take the
subject into his closet, and lay it before God,
is timely, and to the point. There is no oth-
er place to go, with any hope of success, but
to the fountain of life and being. If any
man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who
giveth to all liberally, &c. Is not the fact
that men have been guided by human wis-
dom, instead of divine, the reason that the
cause of abolition has thus far proved a fail-
ure, if, indeed, it has so? Have not men, in
the pride of their hearts, overlooked or for-
gotten their dependence on God for wisdom,
and strength, and success? If so, it is rea-
onable to expect that He will stain the pride
of their glory? Let all such turn and re-
pent of their folly and wickedness, and with
humility, reverence, and hope, commence
anew, with this motto on their banner:–
"Have faith in God."

All wisdom, and knowledge, and power,
and love centre on him. All hearts, even
those of kings, presidents, governors, and
judges are in his hands. He can turn them
whithersoever He will, even in the twinkl-
ing of an eye. Every great reform that ever
took place has been under his superintend-
ence; and I venture to assert, that no re-
form ever will be brought about, unless it is
suggested and guided by His spirit. Yet we
are not to expect He will work by miracles
in our day. We are not to expect that He
will sever Himself from human agency. He
will be enquired of by all His believing chil-
dren to do these things for them. He has
an open ear for all that are oppressed. It is
His prerogative and His glory to listen to
the groans of the prisoner. "Shall not God
avenge his own elect that cry day and night
unto Him?" The Savior says, "I tell you,
He will avenge them speedily." If deliver-
ance has not come to the oppressed, must we
not inevitably infer that there has been a
lack of prayer on this point? Do we not
forget that God has a fatherly regard for
the poor slave, because he is long suffering
toward their oppressors? He never seems
to be in a hurry. How many long years
did he suffer the sons of Jacob to grind in
the brick yards of Egypt! He was not an
indifferent spectator. He had a purpose and
a time fixed in His own mind. When the
time came, He said, "I have surely seen the
affliction of my people, which are in Egypt,
and have heard their cry by reason of their
taskmasters, for I know their sorrows; and
I am come down to deliver them out of the
hand of the Egyptians." The time will come
(and I think at no distant day) when God
will bare his arm for the oppressed sons of
Africa. My only hope of this is in the char-
acter of God as a righteous ruler, and in His
revealed will. Let, then, every colored man,
and woman, bond and free, stretch out the
hand of faith, standing on the divine prom-
ise, and send up one united cry long and
loud, with strong crying and tears, for help
from the eternal throne. Their cry will not
be in vain.


But prayer is not the whole of duty. I re-
collect to have heard Senator Chase in a
Convention at Buffalo, several years ago,
utter the following sentiment: "I have faith
in three things. 1. In God. 2. In the truth.
3. In the people." The sentiment is worthy
of the man, the Senator, the Christian. Let
us remember evermore that God in the ac-
complishment of His holy and just designs,
to rescue the afflicted sons of Africa from
the oppressions of the wicked, will work by
means. If the work is to be a moral re-
formation, without blood, it must be effected
by the power of truth. Who will dare say
that nothing has yet been accomplished in
this respect? It is a great mistake for any
man to say or think for a moment that the
Abolition movement in the United States is
a failure.

The universe was not created in a day.
The creating energy of the Almighty had
been put forth in successive acts through a
period of six days, before the lord of crea-
tion, bearing the image of God, appeared to
crown and grace the whole. The pioneer
who enters a dense forest has a great work
of unwelcome toil, which draws forth his
sweat and groans, before he gathers to his
bosom the golden sheeves. Is the expended
labor to go for nothing, and he be accounted a
failure until the grain is actually fit for the

In preparing the way for the abolition of
slavery, an immense labor must be
formed. Apathy, ignorance, prejudice big-
otry, error, and selfishness in a thousand
forms, are to be encountered, hewn down, and
cast into the fire before the soil is prepared
to receive the truth. But has nothing been
done to prepare the way? Have the friends
of the slave toiled in vain for twenty-five
years? Has not in[illegible] been done by the thou-
sands of lecturers going to and fro through
the land? Nothing by the pulpit? Noth-
ing by the press? Nothing by ecclesiastical
bodies? Nothing by our valiant heroes in
Congress? Nothing by mothers who have poured
the story of the black man's wrongs into
thousands of infant ears? Yes—some thing
has been done. Truth has been scattered
broadcast over all the North. The fowls of
the air have gathered up a fort—some have
fallen in stony places, and some among
thorns, (such has been the fate of truth in
all ages;) but, thanks to God! much has
fallen into good ground, and has taken root,
and will yield a glorious harvest. Let no
one be discouraged, or out of patience, or
grow weary in well-doing. They shall reap
in due season, if they faint not. Let the
truth be told plainly, boldly, constantly, un-
der a strong conviction that the truth is
mighty and will prevail.


Bless, then, God is on the throne, judging
rightly, still His desire has gone forth that
the whole earth shall be filled with His glory,
and truth is His appointed means, let us
be hopeful, concerning the people, that in
due time, they will be right. A great revela-
tion has taken place in the empire of mind
already; but a greater is yet to come.

While, then, you have a tongue in your
head, a pen in your hand, a press at your
elbow, ten thousand open ears, and ten
thousand inquiring minds searching for the
truth, be not faithless, but believing. The
thing to be done is to enlighten men's
minds, change their hearts, and make this
nation in reality, what it is in name––a
Christian nation. The thing can be done––
must be done––will be done. When Amer-
icans drink more largely at the fountain
of divine truth––when they become more
assimilated in character to the Lord Jesus
Christ––when they love God supremely, and
their neighbor as themselves––the slave pen,
the chains, whips, thumb screws, and im-
plements of torture, and the blood hounds
to chase the panting fugitive will be deem-
ed unnecessary, and laid aside.

The true abolition spirit is the spirit of
the Gospel. True religion consists in love
to God and man. The sooner our country
is filled with this religion, the sooner will
the slave be set free from his master. Let
all, therefore, cherish it in their own hearts,
preach it to others, press its claims on all
men, white or black, remembering that God
has made of one blood all the nations of
men that dwell on the face of the whole
earth. Let the brotherhood of the entire
race be. held forth as a prominent idea to
all men. If any hate his brother, whom
he hath seen, how can he love God, whom
he hath not seen? Whatsoever ye would
that men should do unto you, do ye even
so unto them––for this is the law and the
prophets. If you think these thoughts
worthy a place in your paper, you are at
liberty to use them.

Yours, for Truth and Liberty,



Bliss, Asher


March 26, 1855


Asher Bliss to Frederick Douglass. PLSr: Frederick DouglassP, 20 April 1855. Encourages abolitionists to take heart and to persevere, for their cause is the righteous will of God.


This document was calendared in the published volume and has not been published in full before.


Frederick Douglass' Paper (Rochester, N.Y.) 1851-18??



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