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upon the cause which they espouse, they are not at all unmindful of the consequences to themselves, and not unfrequently pursue the same courses which shrewd, selfish, and intriguing men adopt, to advance, by means of a cause, their own personal interests.
But I am wandering from the subject imme. diately before us, and will therefore close by assuring you that I am, with the greatest personal esteem and Christian affection, yours very truly,
THE AUTHOR OF THE MORAL SCIENCE.
TO THE REV. RICHARD FULLER, D. D.
MY DEAR BROTHER
You will at least give me credit for being an indefatigable correspondent. I hope, however, that you are not wearied either with the number, or the length, of my replies. Although I have commenced
sixth letter, I believe that I have alluded to no topic on which both you and our brethren at the South have not placed reliance, in the construction of their argument in favor of slavery. I rejoice that my labor is drawing to a close. But one more subject remains to be con. sidered; it is the argument derived from the New Testament. With this I shall close my remarks, after having asked your attention to some incidental
reflections which could not so well have been interwoven with the main body of the discussion.
In my letter on the Old Testament argument in favor of slavery, I suppose myself to have shown,
I that the Mosaic law contains nothing more than the permission of slavery ; that this permission was granted specially and exclusively to the Jews; and that we could not assume it as a law for our. selyes, without claiming every other permission that was granted to them, and subjecting ourselves to every precept that was enacted for them. I cannot but believe that you, as a preacher of the New Testament, will agree with me in this view of the subject. I am confident that you would hardly reason with a man who should endeavor to enforce any other Mosaic usage, or plead any other Mosaic license, on the same grounds that are used to sustain the institution of American slavery. Indeed, I can hardly suppose that any of our Southern brethren place any great reliance on this part of the argument. I feel assured that they will not, if they reflect on the consequences which it necessarily involves.
I think, then, that the Scriptural argument in defence of slavery is narrowed down to the limits of the New Testament. Let us, then, endeavor carefully to inquire whether this institution is supported by the instructions of the Saviour and his apostles. You say that "slavery was at least tol. erated by Christ and his apostles,” and hence you argue that it is no wrong; and, therefore, I presume, consider that this toleration is universal ; and, if so, that slavery is right and proper every. where, or, as you well remark, semper et ubique.
You do not, I know, thus generalize the doctrine ; but I do not see how such generalization is to be avoided. The New Testament was not given, like the Mosaic law, to one people, but to the whole race ; not for one period, but for all time. If, therefore, it tolerates slavery really and truly--if this is the doctrine of our Saviour, it justifies this institution to all men ; and Pagans, Christians, and Mohammedans who have united in abolishing it, have greatly erred in supposing it to be at variance with the clearest principles either of natural justice or of Christian duty.
It is then important to us as disciples of Christ, to ascertain in how far the New Testament really upholds what the natural conscience of man, from at least as far back as the time of Aristotle, has declared to be a violation of the plainest dictates of natural justice. I will not detain you by in. quiring into the meaning of the word tolerate. It may perhaps convey a stronger sense than the facts will warrant. . I will at once come to the passages in the New Testament in which this subject is mentioned. By calmly considering these, we may, I think, ascertain what foundation is fur. nished for the superstructure which has so frequently been erected upon them.
1. Šlaves are frequently alluded to by our Saviour in the Gospels. Several parables are founded
upon this relation. But as the object of these parables is to enforce some duty which had no respect to slavery, no one will for a moment pretend that this sort of allusion has any bearing upon the question. Our Lord illustrates the wisdom of men in temporal, contrasted with their folly
in spiritual concerns, by the parable of the stew. ard who had wasted his lord's goods. But this is never pleaded in justification of dishonesty in a confidential agent. The same principle applies equally to one case as to the other.
2. In the Epistles the relation between masters and slaves is several times adverted to. I will quote, so far as I remember, all the
which are considered to be of importance in the settlement of this question.
1. Of the duties of slaves.
Ephesians vi. 5-8: “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.'
Colossians iii. 22–25: “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.”
1 Timothy vi. 1-5: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, 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. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and des. titute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
Titus ii. 9, 10 : “ 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.
1 Peter ii. 18–23: “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 toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called : because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that
ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to bim that judgeth righteously.”