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witnessed God's testimony against oppression in the plagues of Egypt—the burning blains on man and beast-the dust quickened into loathsome life, and swarming upon every living thing--the streets, the palaces, the temples, and every house heaped up with the carcases of things abhorred—the kneading troughs and ovens, the secret chambers and the couches, reeking and dissolving with the putrid death-the pestilence walking in darkness at noonday, the devouring locusts, and hail mingled with fire, the first-born death-struck, and the waters blood, and last of all, that dread high hand and stretched-out arm, that whelmed the monarch and his hosts, and strewed their corpses on the sea. All this their eyes had looked upon,earth’s proudest city, wasted and thunder-scarred, lying in desolation, and the doom of oppressors traced on her ruins in the hand writing of God, glaring in letters of fire mingled with blood-a blackened monument of wrath to the uttermost against the stealers of men. No wonder that God, in a code of laws prepared for such a people at such a time, should light up on its threshold a blazing beacon to flash terror on slaveholders. He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.Ex. xxi. 16. Deut. xxiv. 7.* God's cherubim and flaming sword guarding the entrance to the Mosaic system !

The word Gānäbh here rendered stealeth, means the taking what belongs to another, whether by violence or fraud; the same word is used in the eighth commandment, and prohibits both robbery and theft.

The crime specified, is that of depriving SOMEBODY of the ownership of a man. Is this somebody a master ? and is the crime that of depriving a master of his servant ? Then it would have been “he that stealeth” a servant, not “he that stealeth a man.” If the crime had been the taking an individual from another, then the term used would have been expressive of that relation, and most especially if it was the relation of property and proprietor !

The crime is stated in a three-fold form-man stealing, selling, and

* Jarchi, the most eminent of the Jewish Commentators, who wrote seven hundred years ago, in his comment on this stealing and making merchandize of men, gives the meaning thus :—"Using a man against his will, as a servant lawfully purchased; yea, though he should use his services ever so little, only to the value of a farthing, or use but his arm to lean on to support him, if he be forced so to act as a servant, the person compelling him but once to do so shall die as a thief, whether he has sold him or not."


holding. All are put on a level, and whelmed under one penaltyDEATH. This somebody deprived of the ownership of a man, is the man himself, robbed of personal ownership. Joseph said, “Indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews.” Gen. xl. 15. How stolen? His brethren sold him as an article of merchandize. Contrast this penalty for man-stealing with that for propertystealing, Ex. xxii. If a man had stolen an ox and killed or sold it, he was to restore five oxen; if he had neither sold nor killed it, two

But in the case of stealing a man, the first act drew down the utmost power of punishment ; however often repeated, or aggravated the crime, human penalty could do no more. The fact that the penalty for man-stealing was death, and the penalty for property-stealing, the mere restoration of double, shows that the two cases were adjudicated on totally different principles. The man stolen might be past labor, and his support a burden, yet death was the penalty, though not a cent's worth of property value was taken. The penalty for stealing property was a mere property penalty. However large the theft, the payment of double wiped out the score. It might have a greater money value than a thousand men, yet death was not the penalty, nor maiming, nor branding, nor even stripes, but double of the same kind. Why was not the rule uniform ? When a man was stolen why was not the thief required to restore double of the same kind two men, or if he had sold him, five men ? Do you say that the man-thief might not have them? So the ex-thief might not have two oxen, or if he had killed it, five. But if God permitted men to hold snen as property, equally with oxen, the man-thief could get men with whom to pay the penalty, as well as the ox-thief, oxen. Further, when property was stolen, the legal penalty was a compensation to the person injured. But when a man was stolen, no property compensation was offered.

To tender money as an equivalent, would have been to repeat the outrage with intolerable aggravations. Compute the value of a man in money! Throw dust into the scale against immortality! The law recoiled from such supreme insult and impi. ety. To have permitted the man-thief to expiate his crime by restoring double, would have been making the repetition of crime its atonement. But the infliction of death for man-stealing exacted the utmost possibility of reparation. It wrung from the guilty wretch as he gave up the ghost, a testimony in blood, and death-groans, to the infinite dignity and worth of man,--a proclamation 6 the universe, voiced in mortal agony,

MAN IS INVIOLABLE.”-a confession shrieked in phrenzy at the grave's mouth-"I die accursed, and God is just."

If God permitted man to hold man as property, why did he punish for stealing that kind of property infinitely more than for stealing any other kind of property? Why did he punish with death for stealing a very little of that sort of property, and make a mere fine, the penalty for stealing a thousand times as much, of any other sort of property—especially if God did by his own act annihilate the difference between man and property, by putting him on a level with it ?

The atrociousness of a crime, depends much upon the nature, character, and condition of the victim. To steal is a crime, whoever the thief, or whatever the plunder. To steal bread from a full man, is theft; to steal it from a starving man, is both theft and murder. If I steal my neighbor's property, the crime consists not in altering the nature of the article, but in shifting its relation from him to me. But when I take my neighbor himself, and first make him property, and then my property, the latter act, which was the sole crime in the former case, dwindles to nothing. The sin in stealing a man, is not the transfer from its owner to another of that which is already property, but the turning of personality into property. True, the attributes of man remain, but the rights and immunities which grow out of them are annihilated. It is the first law both of reason and revelation to regard things and beings as they are ; and the sum of religion, to feel and act toward them according to their value. Knowingly to treat them otherwise is sin ; and the degree of violence done to their nature, relations, and value, measures its guilt. When things are sundered which God has indissolubly joined, or confounded in one, which he has separated by infinite extremes; when sacred and eternal distinctions, which he has garnished with glory, are derided and set at nought, then, if ever, sin reddens to its “scarlet dye.” The sin specified in the passage, is that of doing violence to the nature of

—to his intrinsic value as a rational being, and blotting out the exalted distinction stamped upon him by his Maker. In the verse preceding, and in that which follows, the same principle is laid down. Verse 15, “He that smiteth his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” V. 17,“ He that curseth his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death." If a Jew smote his neighbor, the law merely smote him in return; but if the blow was given to a parent, it

a man

struck the smiter dead. The parental relation is the centre of human society. God guards it with peculiar care. To violate that, is to violate all. Whoever trampled on that, showed that no relation had any sacredness in his eyes—that he was unfit to move among human relations who had violated one so sacred and tender. Therefore, the Mosaic law uplifted his bleeding corpse, and brandished the ghastly terror around the parental relation to guard it from impious inroads.

Why such a difference in penalties, for the same act? Answer. (1.) The relation violated was obvious—the distinction between parents and others manifest, dictated by natural affection—a law of the constitution. (2.) The act was violence to nature—a suicide on constitutional susceptibilities. (3.) The parental relation then, as now, was the focal point of the social system, and required powerful safeguards. " Honor thy father and thy mother,” stands at the head of those commands which prescribe the duties of man to man; and, throughout the Bible, the parental state is God's favorite illustration of his own relations to the whole human family. In this case death was to be inflicted not for smiting a man, but a parentma distinction cherished by God, and around which, He threw up a bulwark of defence. In the next verse, “ He that stealeth a man,” &c., the SAME PRINCIPLE is wrought out in still stronger relief. The crime to be punished with death was not the taking of property from its owner, but the doing violence to an inmortal nature, blotting out a sacred distinction, making MEN “ chattels.” The incessant pains taken in the Old Testament to separate human beings from brutes and things, shows God's regard for his own distinction.

“In the beginning” it was uttered in heaven, and proclaimed to the universe as it rose into being. Creation was arrayed at the instant of its birth, to do it homage. It paused in adoration while God ushered forth its crowning work. Why that dread pause and that creating arm held back in mid career and that high conference in the godhead ? “ Let us make man in OUR IMAGE after our LIKENESS, AND LET HIM HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the


and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth.” Then while every living thing, with land, and sea, and firmament, and marshalled worlds, waited to swell the shout of morning stars—then “GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE ; IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM.”

This solves the problem, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, CREATED HE HIM. Well might the sons of God shout, " Amen,



alleluia". “ For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Ps. viii. 5, 6. The repetition of this distinction is frequent and solemn. In Gen. i. 26-28, it is repeated in various forms. In Gen. v. 1, we find it again, “IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD MADE HE MAN.” In Gen. ix. 6, again. After giving license to shed the blood of “every moving thing that liveth,” it is added, “ Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN. As though it had been said, “All these creatures are your property, designed for your use—they have the likeness of earth, they perish with the using, and their spirits go downward; but this other being, MAN, has

my own likeness : THE IMAGE OF God made I

man;" an intelligent, moral, immortal agent, invited to all that I can give and he can be.” So in Lev. xxiv. 17, 18, 21, “He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death; and he that killeth a beast shall make it good, beast for beast ; and he that killeth a man shall be put to death.” So in Ps. viii. 5, 6, what an enumeration of particulars, each separating infinitely MEN from brutes and things! (1.) Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.” Slavery drags him down among brutes. (2.) “ And hast crowned him with glory and honor." Slavery tears off his crown,

and puts on a yoke. (3.) “ Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands." Slavery breaks the sceptre, and casts him down

among those works--yea, beneath them. (4.) Thou hast put all things under his feet.” Slavery puts him under the feet of an * owner.” Who, but an impious scorner, dares thus strive with his Maker, and mutilate HIS IMAGE, and blaspheme the Holy One, who saith, " Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto me."

In further prosecuting this inquiry, the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems will be considered together, as each reflects light upon the other, and as many regulations of the latter are mere legal forms of Divine institutions previously existing. As a system, the latter alone is of Divine authority. Whatever were the usages of the patriarchs, God has not made them our exemplars.*

* Those who insist that the patriarchs held slaves, and sit with such delight under their shadow, hymning the praises of "those good old patriarchs and slaveholders," might at small cost greatly augment their numbers. A single stanza celebrating patriarchal concubinage, winding off with a chorus in honor of patriarchal drunken

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