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brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort."

Now here the subjection or obedience of the servant is enforced by the same authority as in the passages already quoted,-the will of God,-but with a little change of phraseology,—the former passages requiring it, for its good consequences; this requiring it, to prevent bad ones. "That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed." Heathen masters, by the disorderly conduct or want of fidelity in their recently converted servants, might be led to attribute it to their religion; and thus, becoming unfavourably affected toward it, and its Author, in their blindness, speak evil of the things which they did not understand. For it is a truth, well known to those who have any experimental knowledge of spiritual things, that such is the enmity of the carnal mind to a spiritual religion, that it is ever ready upon the slightest, yes, even doubtful pretexts, to condemn and discard it. And it is to be feared there are not wanting like examples of inexcusable and abandoned iniquity among the semiheathen of this Christian country, who are stumbling into hell over the innocent infirmities of others. The apostle understood this deception,-this deep evil of the human heart; and therefore the cautionary language of the passage now under consideration.

There is yet another passage which, in this connexion, demands our attention, found in 1 Pet. ii, 18, 19: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully." This contains some important suggestions.

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1. As above, they are to be in subjection from a principle of conscience toward God.

2. It is admitted, that in that subjection they may have to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully," which is said to be "thankworthy," if endured for the Lord's sake

3. They are encouraged to this duty by the example of Christ; who patiently, submissively, and uncomplainingly, committing himself to him that judgeth righteously, suffered for us, even to the bearing of our sins in his own body on the tree; not that it was due us, as a matter of right, according to the essential fitness of things; but as an expedient, instituted by the boundless benevolence of the Deity, to overcome evil with good. From these explanatory remarks, which we think are the legitimate and obvious sense of the passage, we are entitled to the following conclusions :

1. That they are to be subject, not because it is right in itself, but for the Lord's sake.

2. That though they might have to endure grief, and suffer wrongfully in the discharge of their duty, nevertheless, it was

3. Obligatory upon them, on the same principles of moral goodness that were manifested in the redemption of the world by the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, in this respect, had left them and us an example, that we should follow his steps.

Alarm may here be taken, that in the above remarks we have started a dangerous principle in theology, viz., That a thing not right in itself, may, under a change of circumstances, become allowable; or, in other words, that a thing not originally right-or right according to the first constitution of things-may, under a change of circumstances, in a perfect administration

be tolerated, for the sake of its practical utility. Doubtless the subject has its difficulties, though we think not insuperable. And we are aware of the necessity of caution, lest we introduce principles which, by their looseness, may confound all distinction between right and wrong, and thus sap to its foundations the moral government of God. This subject will more properly come up in the subsequent pages, to which the reader is referred for its examination.

We do not wish it understood, in the above remarks on the relative duties of society as now constituted, that obedience, on the part of servants to their masters, is not, during the continuance of the relation, a Christian duty. Such we believe it; and would feel ourselves bound by the high authority of "Thus saith the Lord," so to teach, were we placed in a situation requiring it. But we mean to say, in view of the facts and arguments brought to bear upon the question, drawn fairly, as we think, from the law of nature, reason, and revelation, that it does not possess the same broad seal, and stamp of right and Divinity, that mark the other relations of society; and is therefore indicated to be not a permanent, but a temporary regulation, which, in the providence of God, may, in the language of the apostle on another subject, "wax old, perish, and vanish away."


In this connexion, as it will be a continuance of the argument against slavery, as an institution of God, it may be well to see what account the Bible gives of its origin. The first notice we have of it, that clearly fixes its character as a property relation, is in the seventeenth chapter of the book of Genesis, about A. M. 2107. Men-servants and maid-servants are previously spoken of, but not so as to fix with suffi

cient clearness the property relation. But in this chapter, those who were bought with his money are distinguished from his own children, and those that were born in his house; so that whatever may have been the true condition of the servants previously named, it must be admitted, that those he had by right of purchase were his property, having been bought with his money. And the manner and circumstances under which it is brought to notice deserve some attention. God is about to renew his covenant with Abraham, and institutes circumcision as the seal of that covenant. He commands Abraham to circumcise, at eight days old, every male child born in his house, and bought with his money; which Abraham obeyed. For we find in the twenty-third verse of this chapter, that "Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and bought with his money, (males,) and circumcised them on the self-same day, as God had said unto him." Now is there anything in the language here used, or the nature of the transaction narrated, that affords the most distant intimation that God instituted or appointed the relation of slavery? It seems to us that no torturing, having any reason or probability on its face, can give it such a construction. From the manner in which it is introduced, it doubtless had obtained prior to the time when the right of circumcision was instituted; and may be fairly set down as one of the inventions of men, instead of an institution of God.

And being thus introduced and interwoven as an element of society, the Holy Scriptures, in giving their directions for the regulation of the social and civil state, adapt their instructions accordingly. And it is only in this incidental way, if our memory serves

us correctly, that reference is made to it throughout the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Of this the honest inquirer after truth may satisfy himself, by turning to the various passages of Scripture where the subject is spoken of. And how, under these circumstances, and with these facts before us, it can be magnified into the imposing character of a Divinely-appointed institution, we are at an utter loss to conceive. That in view of the weakness of the present state, under the superintendence of a Providence that embraces all worlds, sweeps over all time, and throughout all eternity, it is in the Divine forbearance tolerated, is not denied. And it may prove, for aught we know to the contrary, such a lesson of instruction to all created intelligences, on the exceedingly unnatural and deeply evil character of sin, as to give the most effectual caution against it. And however it may now appear to our contracted vision, and without any thanks to us, it may, as a measure of moral discipline, prove of the most salutary importance, and so appear to us, when His plans of providence and government, as a whole, are developed.

But that it has the Divine sanction, in the broad sense of that term, so as to exalt it to the character of a Divinely-appointed institution, is contradicted by His whole character and government; which we think has been clearly shown, and abundantly proved, in the preceding pages.

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