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love, through inadvertence or under the power of some special temptation. I only ask the reader to imagine for himself the spontaneous operation of the
new heart and new spirit” in a master of slaves; and I say that to him thus renewed by the gospel, those slaves are no more things, inferior creatures, whom he may use for his own pleasure or gain without any regard to their welfare, but fellow-men who are of as much worth in the sight of God as he is, and whose welfare he is bound by God's law to value as if it were his own.
Let us now extend our view somewhat. Instead of a solitary master receiving the gospel and acting under its impulses, without any aid or sympathy from other minds around him, we have-let us say a dozen families living in habits of frequent amicable intercourse. Into each of these families, dispersed to some extent among families of a very different character, the gospel has entered with something of its renewing power. These families constitute a Christian congregation. The heads of these families, sustaining similar relations to the enslaved peasantry on their several plantations, as well as to their several household circles, are under each other's influence; and as fellow-believers, they are watching over each other “ to incite to love and good works.” In their conferences and consultations, their duties in the various relations of life come into discussion, and are made the subject matter of mutua exhortation, and among the rest, not last nor least, their duties as masters, individually and collectively. As Christian men, moved by the spirit of Christ, they talk with each other about those slaves
of theirs, what shall be done for them; and in all their debates the slaves, instead of being regarded, according to the theory of the laws, as inferior creatures, beings without rights, mere property to be used for the benefit of their owners, are regarded as men whom God made in his own image, for his own service, and for immortal blessedness, and whom Christ has redeemed. And in this way, the influence which the gospel has on each individual apart, to make him feel that the slave is his brother and must be treated accordingly, and to make him ask, “ He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” is strengthened by the association and Christian sympathies of the individuals with each other. Thus we begin to see some rudiments of the legitimate action of Christianity and the church against slavery. Christianity and the church recognize the slave as a man, an immortal spirit, a creature having rights, his master's equal before God.
And as Christianity and the church extend themselves, slaves too begin to experience the quickening power of the gospel. Here we have a new element. In the church, the slave is not only a brother by the tie of a common humanity, but a brother in Christ. The master and the servant share in thoughts and emotions, in experiences of infirmity and deliverance, in joys and hopes, which place them on one level. Both walking in faith and love, and breathing the same spirit of adoption, both are alike the servants of Christ and the freemen of the Lord. Consequent- ly a new feeling of respect and affection springs up in the mind of that master toward that servant. Nor
is this all. As religious instruction is communicated to the slaves upon one plantation and another, and as the fashion of teaching slaves the truths and duties of Christianity spreads in the community, not only is there an effect upon those who experience the full power of the truth, but others partake in the movement. The servants of Christian masters first, and then to some extent the enslaved as a class, rise gradually, but steadily, in the scale of intellectual and moral being. And as they rise; as they become more intelligent, more cultivated, more civilized; as their higher human nature, in distinction from their merely animal instincts, is developed ; their brotherhood in the human family is more distinctly felt on all sides, and demands a more formal recognition. While this process of reformation in the ideas and sentiments of the people is going forward, the moment is steadily approaching in which the laws will chronicle the change, and will acknowledge the slave as a man, for whose welfare the State is bound to provide, and whose inalienable human rights the State is bound to protect. Whenever that moment arrives, a new order of things—which had been preparing itself as silently perhaps, and perhaps as unsuspectedly, as some great process of creative nature-makes its appearance. The motion on the dial-plate was slow-nay, imperceptible to hasty and impatient eyes; but meanwhile the unresting pendulum within, and the weights and wheels, were doing their office unobserved. At last the clock strikes twelve; midnight is past, and though darkness still lingers, the hours of a new day begin to be numbered.
But such a result will not be attained, or at least will be indefinitely postponed, unless Christianity is dispensed and exhibited in the form of church discipline. A lax administration of church discipline, in respect to the conduct of masters towards their servants, will accomplish, more speedily and effectually than can be done in any other way, the complete degradation of Christianity, and will especially and primarily counteract its legitimate operation against slavery. Let us observe, then, how church discipline will be administered in a slave State like that presented in our hypothesis—a state in which the gospel has begun to be preached without any pro-slavery or anti-slavery commentary, and in which there have begun to be believers, both masters and servants, who have received the gospel, not as a tradition of dogmas and regulations, but as life in Christ and in the Spirit of God. The answer, I think, can.. not be difficult to any man who understands what effect the gospel produces on a mind regenerated by its power. All will agree with me in affirming that the administration of church discipline, in the circumstances represented by our hypothesis, will include the following particulars.
1. Members of the church, if they are masters of servants whom the law regards as property only, and whom the law therefore treats as having no personal rights, will not be allowed by the church to regard their servants as the law regards them, or to treat them as the law treats them. The master who buys or sells his fellow-men for gain, or out of regard to his own convenience merely, will be admonished, and if he does not repent will be excommunicated ;
and the consideration that the law permits him to do so will no more be admitted as a justification, than the parallel fact that the law of New York refuses to recognize fornication or adultery as a crime, would be admitted as a reason why the church may not censure those who are guilty of such offences. The master who disposes of his servants just as he would dispose of any other property-giving them away, hiring them out, or otherwise using them simply for his own ends, without regard to their wishes and interests—will be admonished like any other offender, and if admonition is ineffectual, will be excluded from the communion of the saints. The master who, because the law regards slaves as incapable of acquiring or possessing property, will not allow his servants to have anything which under his protection and government they can call their own, who permits them to have no time that is theirs, no earnings or savings that are theirs, and who treats them in no other way than as a humane man treats his cattle, will be dealt with by the church as one who gives no evidence of being actuated by the spirit of Christ.
2. The relation of master to servant, where servants are slaves, is one which involves constant temptation to acts of passion and of injustice in the administration of power. For all such acts a master who professes to be a believer is accountable to the church. The master of a ship at sea is intrusted, necessarily, with a despotic power over the sail
All men know how liable that power is to be misemployed, how many acts of cruelty are perpetrated on shipboard, in passion or caprice, or by the