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tion to sin. If the character and will of God, and what he approves, and permits, and condemns, are not illustrated by his dealings with individuals and nations, then, almost the whole of both Testaments is useless now. The ten commandments were delivered to the Hebrews; the addresses of Christ were to his audiences; and the instructions of the epistles were to particular churches. This is the


Besides, there is inaccuracy in your premises. You say, “ This grant was made to one people only, the Hebrews. It had respect to one people, and to one people only, the Canaanites.” Not so. “Strangers sojourning among the Hebrews," might be held in bondage as well as the heathen around; and Hebrews might, in your own words, “ be held in slavery for six years;" and they might, by their consent, become slaves for life. Be it remembered, too, that long before this, the patriarchs held slaves, and not under any grant.

“ Abimelech took sheep, and 'oxen, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and gave them unto Abraham.” Gen. xx. 14. Pharaoh, too, enriched him with “sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-ser.

Permit me also to say, that M. Henry not only does not agree with you as to the right of enslaving being a part of the right to destroy i the Canaanites, but thinks that slaves were not to be bought from the seven nations doomed to destruction. “They might purchase bondmen of the heathen nations round about them, or of those strangers that sojourned among them, (except of the seven nations to be destroyed,) and might claim a dominion over them, and entail them on their fam.



ilies, as an inheritance, for the year of jubilee should give no discharge to them.” I pass this, however. My answer, as above, may be thus given in the syllogistic form which your letter invites :

(1.) Whatever the holy God has expressly sanctioned among any people cannot be in itself a sin.

(2.) God did expressly sanction slavery among the Hebrews.

(3.) Therefore slavery cannot be in itself a sin.

Pléa third.—The Mosaic regulations were very different from the laws of the Southern States re. specting slavery. “Every one must perceive the unreasonableness of pleading the Jewish laws as authority for an institution so entirely dissimilar, and so forgetful of the limitations by which the practice was originally guarded.”

Answer. This whole plea is founded on that confusion of slavery with the Southern slave-laws which I have so often mentioned, and which is so glaring. A very good argument it would be with our legislatures to amend our laws, and I wish you would urge it there. On the present issue it is wholly out of place.

Plea fourth.-If God sanctioned slavery among the Jews, he also commanded them to “ destroy the Canaanites;” and he commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites. Were these commands to all men and at all times ?

Answer.-Nobody is capable of drawing such an absurd inference. But these commands do prove that it is not always, and amid all circumstances, a sin to take human life. And just so the sanction of slavery proves that it is not always and amidst all circumstances a sin to hold slaves.

Plea fifth.-But God did in the Old Testament permit and regulate sin. He did permit and regulate polygamy and divorce, which are sinful, and so pronounced by the Saviour, in Matt. xix. 3, 9.

Answer.-(1) Slavery is declared by you to be in itself, and essentially, a sin, a violation of the eternal and unchangeable principles of right and wrong, or what is called, “ malum in se." Neither polygamy nor divorce is in this class of actions. Each is only what is termed “ malum prohibitum.' They do not conflict with the immutable principles of right and wrong, but only with the relations designed at first by God between the sexes. God might, then, without any impeachment of his character, permit them; and such subsequent permission would overrule the original prohibition, which cannot be done in case of an act which is 6 malum in se."

(2.) But, in truth, the whole force of this plea recoils fatally against the proposition asserted by you in this argument, since polygamy and divorce were condemned and abolished by the New Testament. Jesus and his apostles saw these and slavery existing together, and permitted by the Mosaic law. It will be conceded that, if your affirmation be correct, there was no comparison between the heinousness of the practices. Polygamy and divorce are at once and forever condemned and forbidden; but not a syllable is breathed against slavery. I confess this single view of the matter brings with it a conviction, which to me is over. whelming, that slavery is not, in itself, a sin. So


* “From the beginning it was not so.” Matt. xix. 8.

great a hardship was it esteemed by the Jews not to be allowed the right of divorce, that, when Jesus restricted it to cases of adultery, the disciples said, “It were good then not to marry.

Yet this privi. lege, so valued, and granted by Moses, is not spared for a moment; while slavery is not only not for. bidden, but, as we shall see in the next letter, per. mitted still both by precept and example. Can any ingenuity evade, or any power of argument rebut, or any candid mind deny, the consequence which follows irresistibly from this fact in the history of Christ and his apostles ? Very affectionately, my dear brother, Yours in the Lord,





“If slavery be a sin at all,” you say, “it is a sin of appalling magnitude.” I have attempted to analyze slavery, and to show that your entire definition of it is incorrect, and involves doctrines re. volting to all our Christian feelings, and injurious to God, if the Old Testament be received as a revelation. I have also considered your plea, which is, that God did not see fit to reveal the true character of slavery under the patriarchal and

Mosaic dispensations. We come now to the new dispensation, where, of course, if slavery be “a sin of appalling magnitude,” we shall find it explicitly condemned; and the more explicitly, be. cause the Holy One of Israel having, (according to your supposition,) both by his conduct to the patriarchs and his express precept to the Hebrews, permitted this great wickedness, every attribute of his character required now a most distinct and unequivocal reprobation. This, at least, you will concede. And you will also admit that, in deciding on the import of apostolic precept and practice, we are to construe the actions and language of the apostles as they would naturally be construed by the persons who witnessed those actions, and to whom that language was addressed. Nothing can be more utterly sophistical than the idea that we have any light, as to matters of pure revelation, which the first Christians had not. That the world has made prodigious progress in all the arts and sciences, during the last three or four centuries, we know ; and we know, too, that libraries on libraries have been written to elucidate the Scriptures. But what advantage do we derive from all this, in our inquiries respecting the teachings of the Bible ?

Here the book is just as the primitive disciples had it, and not an invention nor discovery has added to it a single letter. And then, as to the volumes of commentaries and expositions, why, they have served really to perplex the truth. The first believers found every precept plain and determined, while with us, the accumulation of learned rubbish has made it difficult to discover the simplest matters. Each year the

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