Covenant of the Oberlin Colony (1833)

Lamenting the degeneracy of the church and the deplorable condition of our perishing world, and ardently desirous of bringing both under the entire influence of the blessed gospel of peace; and viewing with peculiar interest the influence which the valley of the Mississippi must assert over our nation and the nations of the earth; and having, as we trust, in answer to devout supplications, been guided by the counsel of the Lord: The undersigned covenant together under the name of Oberlin Colony, subject to the following regulations, which may be amended by a concurrence of two-thirds of the colonists:


First. Providence, permitting, we engage as soon as practicable to remove to the Oberlin Colony, in Russia, Lorain County, Ohio, and there to fix our residence, for the express purpose of glorifying God in doing good to men to the extent of our ability.


Second. We will hold and manage our estates personally, but pledge as perfect a community of interest as though we held a community of property.


Third. We will hold in possession no more property than we believe we can profitably manage for God as his faithful stewards.


Fourth. We will, by industry, economy, and Christian self-denial, obtain as much as we can, above our necessary personal or family expenses, and faithfully appropriate the same for the spread of the Gospel.


Fifth. That we may have time and health for the Lord's service, we will eat only plain and wholesome food, renouncing all bad habits, and especially the smoking, chewing, and snuffing of tobacco, unless it be necessary as a medicine, and deny ourselves all strong and unnecessary drinks, even tea and coffee, as far as practicable, and everything expensive, that is simply calculated to gratify the palate.


Sixth. That we may add to our time and health, money for the service of the Lord, we will renounce all the world's expensive and unwholesome fashions of dress, particularly tight dressing and ornamental attire.


Seventh. And yet more to increase our means of serving Him who bought us with his blood, we will observe plainness and durability in the construction of our houses, furniture, carriages and all that appertains to us.


Eighth. We will strive continually to show that we, as the body of Christ, are member one of another; and, will while living, provide for the widows, orphans, and families of the sick and needy as for ourselves.


Ninth. We will take special pains to educate all our children thoroughly, and train them up in body, intellect and heart, for the service of the Lord.


Tenth. We will feel that the interest of the Oberlin Institute are identified with ours, and do what we can to extend its influence to our fallen race.


Eleventh. We will make special efforts to sustain the institution of the Gospel at home and among our neighbors.


Twelfth. We will strive to maintain deep-toned and elevated personal piety, to provoke each other to love and good works', to live together in all things as brethren, and to glorify God in our bodies and spirits, which are His.


In testimony of our fixed purpose thus to do, in reliance on divine grace, we hereunto affix our names.