Sidor som bilder

ger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 2 Cor. xi. 24-27...

[ocr errors]

Never did the Apostles, in a single instance, hestate a single moment, to declare the whole truth, upon all subjects, even in the very face of the most potent of earth's rulers. The presence of kings, rulers, high priests, and the most learned philosophers, did not intimidate-but regardless of consequences, the whole counsel of God was declared. The assumption, then, that they failed to attack Slavery on the grounds of prudence, is wholly gratuitous.

But again if CHRIST and his Apostles had been opposed to the institution, but from motives of prudence did not wish to attack it directly, they could very easily have stated their opposition, and at the same time have given reasons why it would be important at that time to let it alone. This course would have cleared up all doubt, and at the same time have led to no mischievous practical result.

In a word, I regard Slavery as a civil institution that Christianity had not the slightest agency in creating. The province of Christianity is to remove the evils growing out of the several relations of society, and not to create or abolish them. I regard the relation between Master and Servant

as not sinful in the present or past state of the world, but greatly conducive to the good of mankind. Whether Slavery will ever cease, will depend upon changes in the physical state of the globe, of which I shall speak hereafter.

This subject has not been fully comprehended by writers: their views have not been harmonious, and but few of them have clearly comprehended the ground upon which to base the defence of Slavery.

Before closing this chapter, it will be proper to notice an argument which is frequently used against Slavery. It is acknowledged that the New Testament contains nothing directly against Slavery; but at the same time it is maintained that there are certain broad principles of morals contained in the New Testament that are directly opposed to Slavery. Thus, for instance, it is said that the great rule denominated the Golden Rule, is directly opposed to the institution of Slavery. We find this rule laid down in Matthew vii. 12, and in Luke vi. 31. I will quote both with the context, in order that we may have a clear knowledge of the Saviour's meaning; for he certainly had a particular meaning, as I shall most conclusively show. I will begin with Matthew, and quote from the seventh to the twelfth verse:


Ask," says the Saviour, "and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a

fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your -children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

In verses seven and eight, the Saviour extols the Divine benevolence in bestowing good gifts upon all that ask him aright. He has particular reference to the establishment of the Christian Church, which he tells them to pray for and seek after, with an assurance that whatever they asked for would be bestowed upon them. But lest some of his auditors should entertain doubts in reference to the Divine benevolence, he told them that even human beings bestowed good gifts under certain circumstances. If a child should ask a parent for a fish, or for bread, he would not give a serpent or a stone. This being so—that is, as human beings, who are evil, know how to give good gifts-how much more our Father which is in

Heaven, gives good things to them that ask him? Next comes the golden rule as a conclusion:

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

The idea before the mind of the Saviour was this, and this only: that as we would that men should act benevolently towards us, we should act benevolently towards them. The practical results of the rule, if given the latitude of meaning sometimes attached to it, would prove utterly destructive to the best interests of society. If imprisoned for crime, we would no doubt like to be released: we ought, therefore, to attempt the release of every one that may be confined for his crimes. A thousand similar examples might be givenshowing that if the rule was extended so as to embrace every case that a disordered fancy or a wicked heart might suggest as desirable to be done to us, civil society would be entirely broken up. It is evident, therefore, that the rule must be restricted to the meaning clearly growing out of the context. It may be paraphrased thus: That as we desire the kindly offices of men in our intercourse with them in life, so should we bestow our kindly offices upon them. The reference is alone to ordinary acts of kindness.

Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, who flourished five hundred and fifty years before CHRIST, very distinctly lays down this great rule of morals. His interpretation of its meaning was evidently the correct one. He laid down the principle that a father should act towards his son, as he would that his son should act towards him, in the event that their situations were reversed. And so on with all the other relations of life.

The passage as found in Luke, evidently has the same meaning that it has in Matthew. I will, however, quote it with the context, beginning at verse twenty-seven

"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke, vi. 27-31.

The simple meaning is, that as we would desire men to be kind and benevolent towards us-so should we be towards them. The following quotation from Dr. WATTS on this passage, will fully explain its meaning:

« FöregåendeFortsätt »