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induced upon the original plan of government, proposing to do the best that can be done under the circumstances. We are utterly unable to conceive of it in any other light. Any other view seems to us necessarily to involve the conclusion, (we speak it with reverence,) that the whole Bible is a solemn farce, -a perfectly unintelligible, unmeaning record. But the Scriptures settle this question. "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead (the law) wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of the spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." Rom. vii, 6. And this in accordance with the settled principles of God's moral government: “For thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer," as an expedient of infinite wisdom and boundless goodness, in condescension to the weakness and wants of the present disordered state, "and arise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins might be preached in his name among all nations;" from which it distinctly appears that under the Divine government, as now constituted, provision is made for the temporary toleration of a state of things that could not have existed under the original law, or law of nature.

The general spirit of Christianity, as expressed in the following Scripture language,-" It is required according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not ;" and, "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,"-and the reverse, demonstrably indicates, that the rigid and unbending claims of the original law are relaxed; and that under the reign of mercy, in our common parlance, "the will is taken for the deed;" or in other words, the best that can be done under the circumstances.

Having, as we think, from the general principles

and spirit of Christianity, fairly established it as a doctrine of Divine revelation, that the government of God is conducted on principles of leniency toward us; and that, in view of the "weakness of the flesh," it tolerates a state of things incompatible with the unbending principles of original law; and that this gracious stoop is an act in which the blending glories of His wisdom and goodness lucidly shine forth; let us see if the same wisdom and goodness are not luminously conspicuous in the teachings of the New Testament on the slavery relation.




AND, first, as to the particular and reciprocal duties of the relation, and which we think are all summed up or comprehended in the following passages :— Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him." Eph. vi, 5-9. "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever

ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." Colos. iii, 22-25; iv, 1. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.” 1 Tim. vi, 1, 2. "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Tit. ii, 9, 10. "Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." 1 Pet. ii, 18, 19.

Now all these passages are kindred in their critical and moral bearings; and we shall forbear further critical remarks than those previously made, at least so far as the duty of the servant is concerned. Our attention is especially called to their moral and practical tendency.

It will be observed that the spirit of all these injunctions is most purely moral, to the exclusion of every other sentiment, passion, or emotion; and is to

proceed from the heart, in contradistinction from any outward manifestation of good-will, while there exists a rankling enmity within: and all this as in the sight and under the immediate inspection of the God and Judge of all the earth, whose flaming penetration sifts every corner of the heart, surveying its every thought, as well as comprehending every word upon the tongue. And the obligation is reciprocal, it being as much the duty of the master as the servant to cultivate, from the heart, as in the sight of God, this mutual good-will.

Now the heart being the great spring of human action, which is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; and from which, as a poisonous fountain, flow those bitter streams of moral pollution in the shape of "evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies," and all the other wickedness which withers, scathes, and desolates the heritage of God,-is, by the power of Christianity, and the practical tendency of these regulations, changed-the fountain is purified-the tree is made good, and the fruit becomes good. The servant is affectionate and faithful in all his relative duties; and thus inspires the confidence, and conciliates. the affection of his master. And the master is to "do the same things," or behave with the same affection and fidelity to the servants, "giving them that which is just and equal."

That the justice and equality here spoken of is that which is due them as servants, or in the relation of slavery, will be remembered to have been the view presented as the opinions of the authorities quoted; which must be of great weight in the absence of any counter exposition, by any author of accredited repu

tation. In connexion with this, if civil government be an ordinance of God, as we have already seen to be the fact, even as it exists among heathen nations; and if it has established the relation as a part of their political organization, according to the teachings of the Bible, and the principles of the Divine administration, as already explained, it is utterly impossible, while the relation continues, to understand it in any other light.

But it may possibly mean something more. The very comprehensive nature of the terms used-"just and equal"-may indicate, as increasing light shall prepare and point out the way of duty, their obligation to do, as fast as circumstances providentially conspire to that end, the whole good to them that the principles and spirit of Christianity dictate. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."

Now a relation around which are thrown guards of such high moral and practical utility, and which, as we have seen, is of reciprocal obligation, must necessarily mitigate the condition of the enslaved; while, at the same time, it manifestly improves the condition of both parties. And regulations which, when practically carried out, of unbending or absolute necessity improve the physical, civil, social, and moral condition of the parties concerned, cannot in their character be bad, but the contrary. They, as before intimated, may not be the best of which human nature was originally capable, but in the altered state of our existence, in view of all the circumstances, the best that could be done. Fearless of successful contradiction, we confidently challenge exceptions to the rule.

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