Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” “Whoremongers and adul. terers, God will judge." 66 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.'

Such was Paul's language ; nothing but this unyielding, un.

; compromising condemnation of every sin could content him; yet, as to “the unutterable abomi. nation of slavery,” he is a temporizing palterer! As to slavery, which “violates every article in the decalogue," although the apostle saw it all around him, and members of the Church guilty of it, he declined uttering a word—he is cowed into a timeserver, a worker by concealed and tardy indirections! He “ satisfies himself,” while millions on all sides are sinking into hell through this crimehe satisfies himself” with spreading principles which would slowly work a cure! Craven and faithless herald! and after this, with what face could he say, “I have kept back nothing”—“I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God ?" Arguments like these refute themselves; they are the signal failures of minds masterful for the truth, but impotent against it; and will convince every sincere inquirer that to denounce slaveholding as necessarily a sin, is to deal in loose assertion, and practically to range one's self with the infidel and scoffer.

3d. But will it not be laboring in the vocation of the infidel, to assert that the Bible does not condemn slavery, especially when we know that in the times of the Apostles, masters were allowed to torture their slaves, and starve them, and kill them as food for their fish? Is it not an insult to heaven, for one to defend such a system out of the Scriptures ? This question is very plausible; but the answer is soon given, and it is the same which has been repeated over and over, viz., that the enormities often resulting from slavery, and which excite our abhorrence, are not inseparable from it—they are not elements in the system, but abuses of it. What, indeed, is slavery ? " I define slavery,says Paley, " to be an obligation to labor for the benefit of the master, without the contract or consent of the slave.This is all that enters into the definition of slavery, and now what ingredient here is sinful ? Suppose a master to “ render unto his servant the things that are just and equal ;” suppose the servant well clothed and religiously instructed, and to receive a fair reward for labor in modes of compensation best suited to his condition ; might not the Bible permit the relation to continue, and might it not be best for the slave himself ? Recollect that when you tell us of certain laws, and customs, and moral evils, and gross crimes, which are often incidents of slavery in this country, we agree with you, and are most anxious for their removal, and deprecate the incendiary movements of abolitionists as tending only to retard and even arrest our

On these topics Christians throughout the land ought to communicate in the spirit of love, and combine their prayers and co-operations. The abolitionists, however, are not among those with whom we can thus associato. They occupy a position hostile alike to us, and to the word of God, and to every principle of charity. They do not attack the accidents of slavery, and attempt to show that they are essentials, but slavery itself they stig. matize as an unutterable crime, and slaveholders as on a footing with thieves and pirates.

success.

Is it to be expected that such libels will convince persons here, or that hard words will commend any. body as wiser and more courageous and better than the Saviour and his apostles ? Examine all the anti-slavery publications, and what do they contain ? Denude them of bold assertion and un. measured invective against the accessories of slavery, and what is left ? The simple question is, whether it is necessarily, and amidst all circumstances, a crime to hold men in a condition where they labor for another without their consent or contract ? and in settling this matter all impertinences must be retrenched. But, if impertinences be removed, what remains in the abolition treatises ? For ex. ample, slavery in these States may or may not be different from that mentioned in the Bible, and this may be a very important inquiry ; but it is not the inquiry before us. So, with regard to the cruelty too often practised by unprincipled men : here is guilt, guilt punishable by our laws, and which should exclude such persons from Christian fellowship; the crime, however, is not slavehold. ing, but cruelty. The popular argument, that a human being should not be treated as a chattel, is in the same category of impertinences. proposition is self-evident, but wholly irrelevant,

since it is by no means an attribute of slavery that a master may treat his slave as a chattel ; the Bible forbids this, and every feeling of our nature rises up and must forever and effectually prevent it. Slavery is bondage, and nothing more. The slave has his rights, many of which are protected by our laws, and all by the Bible. The power of the master to transfer his authority, surely does not alter the character of that authority ; and to confound this with his right in things which he may destroy at pleasure, is to overlook the plainest distinctions. It seems monstrous to you that a man should be the property of another man; but why is it so monstrous ? Simply because you suppose that the word "property" involves a degradation to the state of a chattel. This, however, is plainly fallacious. Property in my furniture is one thing ; property in my horse is a very different thing ; and property in a slave entirely distinct still. To treat the brute as I might a chair, would be barbarous; and to use the slave as I might the brute, would justly make me infamous in any society, and draw down the vengeance of laws, human and divine. Property in a slave is only a right to his service without his consent or contract ; and if this be necessarily criminal, then the authority of a father over his child, and of a government over its citizens, must be criminal too.

I might easily protract these remarks, but it is unnecessary. Let it be recollected that the only proposition is this abstract assertion : slavery is itself a sin-always and by necessity a sin; and it appears to me you must either abandon the Bible, or make it teach an expediency and “ keeping back” of truth, which it abhors, or modify your views. The matter stands thus : the Bible did authorize some sort of slavery ; if now the abuses admitted and deplored by me be essentials of all slavery, then the Bible did allow those abuses ; if it be impossible that revelation should permit such evils, then you must either reject the Scriptures, as some abolitionists are doing, or concede that these sins are only accidents of slavery, which may, and perhaps, in cases of many Christians, do exist without them. Before I dismiss this subject, I would glance at two arguments which are sometimes urged, and require a passing notice.

The first is thus summed up by Dr. Wayland : The manner in which the duty of servants or slaves is inculcated, therefore, affords no ground for the assertion, that the gospel authorizes one man to hold another in bondage, any more than the command to honor the king, when that king was Nero, authorized the tyranny of the emperor, or that the command to turn the other cheek when one is smitten, justifies the infliction of violence by an injurious man."

To this the reply is easy. The gospel does not recognise either Nero or the injurious man as a Christian brother, but it does so recognise those who hold slaves.

The second argument is thus put by Dr. Channing. “ Polygamy was allowed to the Israelites, was the practice of the holiest men, and was common and licensed in the age of the apostles. But the apostles nowhere condemn it, nor was the renunciation of it made an essential condition of ad. mission into the Christian Church.” And of this the sophistry is hardly specious. What if all that

« FöregåendeFortsätt »