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children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour."

It will be seen by the intelligent reader, that there is quite a difference made between the Jewish servant and the heathen servant; or those that were made servants of the families of the strangers that dwelt among them. With regard to Jewish servants, they were not to be ruled over with rigour by an Israelite, nor were they to suffer a sojourner or stranger to rule over one of their brethren with rigour in their sight. And in the hands of either Jew or sojourner, he was to be considered and treated as a hired servant, and not as a bondsman; and could not be retained in servitude in the hands of his brother longer than seven years, (Exod. xxi, 2,) unless by the voluntary agreement of the parties. And that there might be no deception or imposition practised in the matter, all such cases were examined in the most public and solemn manner, and ratified by a simple, but most significant rite,—the boring the ear with an awl at the door-post, which signified, says Clarke, his attachment to the house and family of his master, and his readiness to hear and obey punctually all his master's orders. Exod. xxi, 56.

There seems to be a difference as to the length of time he might have to serve a stranger or sojourner, should he fall into the hands of such a one,-till the year of jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year. This liability, however, was contingent. If himself or his friends were not able to redeem him, he had to remain till the year of jubilee. If either were able, he could be redeemed at any time. There was no such provision in behalf of the other servants, bought of the heathen or of the families of strangers that dwelt

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among them. They were to be bond-servants to them and their children forever, and, as such, liable, in that capacity, to needful correction.

Another thought here in this connexion, and of some importance in establishing the property principle, is found in the fourth verse of the twenty-first chapter of Exodus; where the children of the bond mother are said to partake of her condition, though the father may be entitled to his liberty.

Now, that this general view of this grave question may not be disregarded and set aside as a thing of naught, it ought, or should be remembered, that the Almighty and allwise God personally delivered these several laws to Abraham and Moses; as the reader will find by referring to the several books, chapters, and verses, from which we have quoted. And it is, or should be, enough for man to know that God has spoken, to reverence his authority.



Having cursorily examined the Old Testament Scriptures on this subject, we will proceed in the next place to call attention to what is said about it in the New; and passing over all merely incidental allusions, we will examine those passages that bear directly on the question.

In 1 Cor. chap. vii, the apostle, when advising or enjoining persons in the various conditions of life to be content with the allotments of Providence, gives this general direction : "Let every man abide in the

same calling wherein he was called.” And then, by way of particularizing, he says, “ Art thou called being a servant? care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's free man: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.” This language is spoken of a person in a state of bondage, or slavery. Such is conceded to be its meaning, even by some of the most ultra abolitionists. Some, however, deny this interpretation; claiming that it relates to hired service or apprenticeship; for whose sake, as to its true import, we will offer some thoughts by way of criticism, and which appear to us sufficient to settle the question. The language used is such as cannot be rationally understood of hired service or apprenticeship: “If thou mayest be made free,” clearly implying the possibility that the persons addressed or spoken to may never obtain their liberty or freedom. And, as all know that hired labourers or apprentices, according to the laws governing those relations, do, at a stipulated time, obtain their freedom, the language here used can, by no torturing, be made to apply to such cases. But moreover, such a construction would involve the very serious difficulty that the apostle was endeavouring to unsettle those very useful and necessary relations of society. For it is clear, from the face of the passage, that a state of freedom from their legal term of employment or servitude was better for them, and, as such, to be preferred and sought. Now, not to say anything of the effect of such teaching upon the infant kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world, which, doubtless, must have been most disastrous, how would the apostle appear before an intelligent universe, as a man of sound, discriminating judgment ? It places him in a most unenviable predicament as a man of sense, and must, therefore, if it have any meaning at all, and we can form any just conceptions of the ideas language is designed to convey, relate to a state of slavery. There is no getting away from this conclusion.

The next passages found in the New Testament to - which we shall call attention are, Eph. vi, 5–8: “Ser

vants, 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.” Col. iii, 22: "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.” i Pet. ii, 18, 19:

i Pet. ii, 18, 19: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.” We take them all together, because of their kindred phraseology and import. That these relate to a state of slavery, is clear from their import, or the common sense meaning of the language used. In Eph. vi, 8, the apostle winds up his exhortation to the servants by this general remark: “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.Here is a broad line of distinction drawn between the condition of the

persons spoken of; the one is a bondman, the other a free


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But it is urged here again, that the term bond, as here used, implies nothing more than the obligation of hired service or apprenticeships. This interpretation, apart from its unsettling the meaning of the term, as used by the apostle in his letter to the Corinthians, which we have just noticed, and elsewhere, in his various letters to the churches, as it appears to us, falls very far short of the strength of the language used in these passages: "Servants, be subject to your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling;" and,

Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear.” Now, the laws governing the relations of hired service or apprenticeship, do not invest the employer or master with such authority over the persons in his employ or service, as to require them to "fear and tremble, with all fear," &c., when they come into his presence; and, for this reason, is of doubtful application. But if we understand it as relating to slavery, where the laws, as they always do, so far as our reading on the subject of slavery is concerned, give the master, in some sort, a right over the life of his slave, there is some relevancy in the language used. He may well be subject“ with fear and trembling," " with all fear," lest his life pay the forfeiture of any seeming inattention to, or want of respect for his master's authority.

Whatever others may think as to the merit of this criticism, to us there is some force in it; as it gives an easy and natural sense to the language employed. In something after the shape of an accidental discussion with the Rev. Edward Smith, on the sinfulness of slavery under all circumstances, so as to exclude the persons connected with it from the Church of God, he took the ground that these passages did not relate to a state of slavery. We threw this criti

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