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Proceedings of the State Conference of the colored men of Florida, held at Gainesville, February 5, 1884.

1884FL-State-Gainesville_Proceedings (12).pdf

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12

township, if necessary, in this land of my birth, and assist my needy brethren in securing their claims to the soil upon which they live.

RELIGION.

Religion is the basis of Christian civilization. It is the means by which the moral lessons of life are constantly set forth, delineated and instilled into the hearts of the people. When properly disseminated it stamps its impress upon the course of human conduct in every sphere of action, whether it be around the fireside, or in the affairs of State. In the breast of the legislator, the executive and the judge, it is the impulse that fosters integrity, honesty and justice, and crushes asunder dishonesty, corruption and fraud. It has been and is still one of the safeguards of this republic. To the triumph of Christianity in its influence upon the public opinion of this country, we owe to a great extent the boon of human liberty that we enjoy today.

We have no public grievance in this behalf. No man is compelled to accept the religious creed of any particular denomination. The theological doctrine of free agency is recognized by the fundamental law of our country, and every man is protected in the worship of God according to the dictates of his own conscience. The reports from the annual conferences and religious associations of our people in this State show that their moral status is on the upward march; the results of the improvement in the intelligence of our colored ministry.

The foundations of the temperance cause is based upon the teachings of the Bible. That book bears record of the solemn injunction: “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” And further says: “ The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe man with rags;" and “no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.” Since the Bible marks out the course of labor for the Christian ministry the cause of temperance plainly comes within its scope, and should receive its vigorous support from every pulpit in this State, white and colored.

The man whose thinking faculties are deranged, and whose reason is dethroned by strong drink, is unfit to be argued with concerning the rewards of the righteous and the punishments

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