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Man. "Slavery was prevalent at the coming of Christ; but he issued no command with regard to it; the apostles nowhere assailed it; the Gospel does not proclaim liberty to the slave.”
Th. I cannot but wonder that you should use such language, if you have read the New Testament. It brings to mind the annunciation of the object of his coming, which is put into the mouth of our Lord, by the prophet: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath annointed me to preach good tidings unto to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."
Man. But I cannot think it a sin to hold slaves, because the New Testament gives precepts to regulate the conduct both of masters and slaves. "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh." "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things."
Th. With reference to these precepts, I have two remarks to make. One is, that nothing is here said about slaves. The Greek word is douloi, servants. The relation of master and servant may be very proper, and the relation of master and slave not be sanctioned at all. The proper Greek for slave is andrapodon. Doulos, servant, is used in the New Testament, very much as the Hebrew ebed, (servant,) is in the Old. It is evident, to any who examine the New Testament, that those who are called douloi were regarded as persons, and not as things; they possessed property of their own, were capable of making contracts, of owing debts to others, and having debts due to them; their wives and children were theirs, and not their masters. None of these things apply to modern slaves. Paul called himself a doulos, servant, of Jesus Christ, which was a title of honor. But his declaring it to be the same condition in which the heir is, during his minority, shows that it meant a man in a subordinate station, and not a mere chattel. But there is another remark to be made respecting these commands: They mention the duty of the servant, without deciding whether it is right for him to be held in that condition. It is the duty of those who are held as slaves, to be obedient to the lawful commands of those to whom, in the providence of God, they are subordinate. But that does not prove it right for them to be held in that condition. Christianity found Nero exercising the most cruel tyrany at Rome; and it says to the Christians of that city: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God." Did this prove that the government of Nero was right and no sin?
Man. But Christianity gives precepts to masters also; and thus recognizes that relation.
Th. It gives precepts for the treatment of servants. But I do not
just and equal to compel t pay them for their work?
Man. I consider the case of Onesimu sent him back to Philemon, he practically taking up runaway slaves, and sending them back
Th. This case seems to be strangely misunderstood had embraced the Gospel. His servant Onesimus haa apparently in his debt. By the preaching of Paul, Onesi converted to Christianity. Paul speaks as if he might have him for the service of the Gospel; but he chose to have Philer. his duty in discharging him, of his own accord, and not by co sion. He sends him therefore, and exhorts Philemon to receive. "not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, es ally to me; but how much more unto thee. Was that to receive as a slave? He said, "If thou count me, therefore, a partner, rec him as myself," that is receive him as a partner, a companion, no a slave. And he expresses the greatest confidence tnat he would his duty in the case: "Having confidence in thy obedience, I wi unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say." If : men, now held as slaves, were treated as Paul asks Onesimus mig be, the reproach of slavery would no longer rest upon our country.
Ard. How do you pretend to reconcile slave-holding with ou Savior's golden rule, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so them; for this is the law and the prophets?"
Man. That means, I suppose, that we should do what is best for others, considering their situation, character, and circumstances. And it is clearly best for most slaves to be kept in that condition; for they cannot take care of themselves.
Ard. They prove that they can, by taking care of themselves and their masters, too, in many cases. But that would acknowledge that all who would be better off in freedom, should be set free.
Man. I doubt whether any would be better off.
Ard. Suppose you test the sincerity of your principles by changing places with them. Would you be willing to be shut up for a season, and then be sold to the highest bidder? Would you be willing to be chained in a company, and be driven with a whip to the sugar plantations, and there be worked, as those you sell are worked, till they are exhausted, and die? Just put the case to yourself; and put yourself in their place, and see what you ought to do.
Man. "Slavery is the corner-stone of our republican edifice." Ard. Out upon such republicanism. The republican edifice erected by our revolutionary fathers, has the contrary as its foundation. They say: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If these truths are self-evident, in the light of nature, they are equally clear according to the word of God. That affirms that God hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on the face of the earth." Here, then, we take our stand, with the Bible in one hand, and the declaration of our fathers in the other; and we fearlessly affirm, that every pretended grant of the right of property in human beings, is self-evidently null and void; and every assertion of such a right is usurpation and robbery.
Man. Such declarations are mere rhetorical flourishes. Nobody believed them at the time.
Th. I am not willing to think that it was so. I believe them to be true, according to the natural import of their language, and I honor the patriots who put forth such a declaration before the world; and 1 think it eminently disgraceful for their posterity to maintain the contrary now.
Man. We must have slaves in our warm regions to perform the labor necessary to support human life. If they were free, they could not be hired to do it, and the land would become desolate.
Th. Better so, than live in the continual violation of the laws of God and man. "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighte ousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work." "Rob not the poor because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the gate; for the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them." I should suppose you would sometimes think as Mr. Jefferson, himself a slaveholder, said: "I tremble for my country, when I reflect that God is just, and that his justice cannot sleep forever. The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us.'
Man. I am astonished at such sentiments. Slaveholders will not tolerate them; secession, rebellion, and division of the Union will be the result, if persevered in.
Ard. Away with your threats of rebellion, secession, and disunionremember the Whisky Rebellion and Shay's War-in later times, Nullification. Will not freemen, now as then, stand by the UNION. Try it
Th. Hold, hold, brother! "In meekness admonish those that oppse themselves." Although I admit that slaveholding, in these United States is sin; the vilest transgression of the laws of God, and the principles of the constitution of these United States, that ever had a legal existence, yet we must remember the slaveholding mind is darkened by reason of its existance, therefore we must bear with their taunts and threats. But as you love your country, your fellow men and our free institutions, do nothing to extend or perpetuate the system of slaveholding, or in any way be partaker of its iniquity. The love you bear your fellow men at the south, and their children yet unborn, DEMAND IT AT YOUR HANDS!
DEFINITION OF Slavery,·
THE MORAL LAW AGAINST SLAVERY,..
"Thou shalt not steal,".
"Thou shalt not covet,".
MAN-STEALING-EXAMINATION OF Ex. xxi. 16,
Separation of man from brutes and things,. IMPORT OF "BUY" AND "BOUGHT WITH MONEY,'
Servants sold themselves,..
RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES SECURED BY LAW TO SERVANTS,..
SERVANTS WERE VOLUNTARY,
Runaway Servants not to be delivered to their Masters,.
SERVANTS WERE PAID WAGES,
MASTERS NOT "OWNERS,".
Servants not subjected to the uses of property,..
Servants expressly distinguished from property,..
Examination of Gen. xii. 5.-"The souls that they had gotten," &c.
Condition of the Gibeonites as subjects of the Hebrew Commonwealth,
"CURSED BE CANAAN," &c.-EXAMINATION OF GEN. ix. 25,..
"FOR HE IS HIS MONEY," &c.-EXAMINATION OF Ex. xxi. 20, 21,...................
EXAMINATION OF LEV. xxv. 44-46,..
11 12-17 15 17-22 21 23-25 25-31 26 +32-36 37-46 37 38
53 ⚫ 54
EXAMINATION OF LEV. xxv. 39, 40.—THE FREEHOLDER NOT TO SERVE AS
Difference between Hired and Bought Servants,
Bought Servants the most favored and honored class,
Reasons for the release of the Israelitish Servants in the seventh year,
Reasons for calling them the Servants,..
Different kinds of service assigned to the Israelites and Strangers,... REVIEW OF ALL THE CLASSES OF SERVANTS WITH THE MODIFICATIONS OF EACH,
Political disabilities of the Strangers,
EXAMINATION OF Ex. xxi. 2—6.—“IF THOU BUY AN HEBREW SERVANT," &C.