Orange Scott on Social Reform
"They make merchandize
of the souls and bodies of men ... -
how can we co-operate with them in the great work of reforming
the world? ... till the country is reformed."
Grounds of Secession, Rev.
New York: L. C. Matlack, 1851, p. 8-9
Excerpts from Discovering An
Evangelical Heritage, Donald W. Dayton, Harper & Row, 1976
"Another characteristic of the Wesleyans was specificity in
their attacks on social evil. Scott insisted that 'in opposing
sin, the power of the Gospel must be brought to bear upon particular
evils. Generalizing will not answer. We must particularize.' And
Scott believed in starting at home by attacking 'popular sins
and sins of the Church.'
"The Wesleyans did not center their
attack on the south. Scott insisted that 'all northern Christians,
who neglect to lift up the warning voice and refuse to take sides
with God's suffering poor, are scarcely less guilty. ...
"Orange Scott unfortunately met an
early death in 1847. ... He regretted he had not given himself more
fully to the oppressed and fought for a reordering of society on
their behalf. In his own words, 'I should have gone into the
work of impressing on the wealthy classes, their duty to the
millions enduring poverty and toil. I feel deeply for that class,
and would do my share in carrying forward a practical plan of
reform, according to my means. The condition of the masses is
wretched indeed, and a great change should be effected in the state
of society. It might be done if a few strong men would take hold or
it in the pulpit and elsewhere.'" (p. 77-80)
Orange Scott was a founder of the
Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1840.