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of his indolence, his luxury, or his gains—if he did not consider his power over them as a trust rather than a possession, committed to him, in the arrangements of Providence, for their present and eternal welfare rather than for his worldly wealth-if his conduct toward them indicated the ascendency of selfishness over conscience and love--then for those specific things, whatever they were, which were the indications of an unchristian character, he was liable to censure in the form of admonition and rebuke; and when admonition and rebuke were ineffectual upon him, he became to the brotherhood was a heathen man and a publican.”

I give out no challenge. I have no expectation of being drawn into a vindication of my suggestions in these essays, against any unfavorable judgment, But I am confident that this representation of what the Apostolic Christianity had to do with slavery, is that which accounts for all the phenomena of the New Testament records on the subject, and is that which neither the defenders of slavery on the one hand, nor the asserters of the anti-slavery formula on the other, can set aside. In this view of the New Testament teachings, I think we have the key which, if rightly used, will unlock the difficulties of the subject. The example of the apostles is our safest guide in the administration of church government over the masters of slaves.

Not to be misunderstood in any quarter, is more than I dare to hope for. Yet let me ask the impatient reader, ready to denounce me for daubing with untempered mortar, not to be too impatient, but to contain himself, if he can, till next week, and read again.




Ir is plain to me that in some particulars the conduct of the apostles respecting slavery, is not an example for us. Our political position, as citizens, authorizes us to act as the apostles did not act, and as they could not act consistently with common sense. They, as subjects of the Roman government, had no political power or responsibility; and they acted accordingly. If we were situated as they were, it would be wise to do as they did. But we call ourselves freemen, in a free country. We may demand of our fellow-citizens, whose equals we are, and with whom we share in the sovereign power of the State in which we reside, such measures, within the legitimate power of the State, as are suited to effect the peaceful abolition of slavery at the earliest practicable date. We may demand of the government of the United States, in which we have a voice as citizens of the Union, that in all its legislation, in all its diplomacy, and in all its judicial and administrative proceedings, so far as its legitimate powers extend, man shall be recognized as man, withont regard to his complexion. We may demand that where the jurisdiction of the United States is absolute and exclusive," as in the District of Columbia, and in territories not yet organized with legislative bodies of their own, all those laws which constitute the system of slavery, and by the force of which a

portion of the population are made mere chattels in the possession of irresponsible masters, shall be swept away. We may demand that the custom-house shall recognize no human being as a piece of merchandise, and that no slave, as such, shall be entered upon the manifest of a ship's cargo. We may demand that all slaves passing forth, upon the high seas, with their masters' consent, beyond the jurisdiction of the local laws that make them slaves, shall be free by the laws of the Union, as they are free by the law of nations. And in a country like ours, where thought and speech are free, where everything may be brought to the ordeal of discussion, and where the deliberately formed opinions of the people, as shaped by free inquiry and debate, are sure to control, in time, the course of legislation and of government, we may address ourselves to the public in behalf of such an object, singly or in association, through the press or in the popular assembly, or in any way in which we can obtain a favorable hearing. We, as American citizens in this nineteenth century, have many things to do which the apostles, in their age, and in their position as subjects of the despotism by which the world was governed, could not dream of doing.

But some will ask, Is not the conduct of the apostles, in this respect, an example for ministers of the gospel, though not for men in other employments ? Undoubtedly, so far as ministers of the gospel are in political relations like those in which the apostles acted, they will do well to follow the example of the apostles. If a minister of the gospel is called to perform his ministry in a country where he is a mere subject,

and not a citizen, and where he has no political rights or functions, it will be best for him not to meddle with political questions at all. But if he is a free citizen of a republic, and as such shares in the responsibility of popular sovereignty, the example of the apostles in abstaining from questions of legislation and politics, is obviously no example for him. His duty as a citizen, and how it is modified by his duty as a minister of the gospel, he must ascertain for himself, by the light of general principles, in the exercise of his own common sense.

It is not to be supposed that the apostles, in their preaching, meddled at all with any political question, or any point of legislation. We have no reason to think that their oral discourses differed in this respect from their epistles. They required of masters, not kindness merely, but—what is of far more significancy-justice, toward their servants.* They required of servants fidelity towards their masters. But in respect to the abolition of slavery, and in respect to measures and arrangements tending towards that end, they said nothing. Are we, therefore, who are now ministers of the gospel in the United States, bound to keep silence on the subject of slavery, save as we reiterate the teachings of the apostles on the relative duties of masters and slaves? I think not. We are American citizens; and our hearers are American citizens. Not only do we stand in a different position from that in which the apostles stood,

* A man may be kind, as language is ordinarily used, toward his dog, or his horse ; he can be just only toward his fellow-men ; for justice implies rights.


but our hearers live, as it were, in another universe from that in which the hearers of the apostles lived. Our hearers are men to whom is entrusted the welfare of their country, and all coming generations; their moral and intellectual character as affected by the ministration of the Word of God, is one element of the power that controls laws and institutions, and determines all questions of public policy. So far as political questions are at the same time moral-questions of right and wrong, questions of the application of the law of love-so far it will be impossible for a free and faithful minister of Christ, rightly dividing the word of truth, entirely to avoid them. To keep such a question as that of slavery out of the pulpit, in such a country as this, must be impossible, as long as the pulpit is faithful to its trust in quickening the moral sensibilities, and in forming and guiding the moral judgments of those who sit under its influence. In a country where the question of war and peace, in a given emergency, is to be determined by the voices of the citizens, if the pulpit does not breathe into the minds of those who sit under it a just Christian abhorrence of war as a means of settling international disputes, the pulpit virtually defiles itself with blood. So in a country of free speech and thought, where millions of human beings are converted by law into chattels, and are treated as having no human rights, if the pulpit never, in any way, leads the hearers of the gospel to feel that, as citizens partaking in the sovereignty of the republic, they have something to do for the reformation of such injustice, it is so far recreant to the ends for which it exists; it abandons a great moral question

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