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must fall in with Satan. How every other controversy dwindles to vanity and nothingness in the comparison ! Here is the question of all questions. And it is a question that can be solved. A fair investigation will enable any man to decide with absolute certainty whether the Bible does or does not teach the doctrine referred to.
For ourselves, we are ready to stake the cause we plead on the position that the Bible is irreconcilably at war with every manner and form of slavery-that it both saw and foresaw the sin, and laid the axe eternally at its root. Were the wisest of men, with the best light of this marvellous age, to take advantage of the enthusiasm of a people just rescued from the yoke of bondage, in framing a civil polity whereby all kinds of slavery should be forever excluded, and the manifold tendencies of riches to the oppression of the poor should be everlastingly held in check, we unhesitatingly affirm that he could not excel the polity which God gave to his ancient people by Moses-a polity steeped in antislavery, drenched and overflowing with kind regard for the poor, the stranger, and the helpless.
And what shall we say of the new dispensation, of which the Mosaic polity was confessedly but the type and forerunner? It is one blaze of abolitionism-a fire which at its kindling burnt up yokes and melted chains. Its doctrines, carried out in the humility and universal benevolence of its first converts, made any special attack upon slavery as useless as a candle in the noontide sun.
If we have not overstrained the limits of a fair and candid interpretation in getting at these conclusions, what abominable rottenness must be garnered up within the palings of our most ambitious sects! Real Christianity must-and she will be disenthralled from the putrid carcase to which she has been bound. She will then again breathe freely and go about her work. We shall see, after she gets abroad, what will become of laws declaring men to be "chattels personal."
SLAVERY, AND THE BIBLICAL REPERTORY.
BY REV. SAMUEL CROTHERS, PASTOR OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, GREENFIELD, OHIO.
An examination of the Scripture proof that "the Mosaic institutions recognize the lawfulness of slavery," in a pamphlet entitled "View of the subject of Slavery contained in the Biblical Repertory, for April, 1836, in which the Scripture argument it is believed, is very clearly and justly exhibited. Pittsburgh, 1836. For gratuitous distribution."
THE article in the Repertory, of which this pamphlet purports to be a reprint, is ascribed by current, uncontradicted fame to the Professor of Biblical Literature in the Theological Seminary at Princeton. The circumstances in which it made its appearance at Pittsburgh, and the ground which the author assumes, indicate a change in three respects, within the last year, for which the friends of human rights ought to thank God and take courage.
1. Slaveholding ministers and their apologists have generally resolved that they will be silent; and that the Professors in Theological Seminaries only, shall discuss the subject with the abolitionists. This pamphlet was published during the sessions of the General Assembly at Pittsburgh; and was industriously circulated by those members who declared that, in accordance with instructions from the South, they would take no part in the discussion of slavery; and if the Assembly permitted the subject to be agitated, they would leave the house and abandon the Presbyterian church. It would seem from their zeal in circulating the arguments from Princeton, that they were not opposed to having their views defended provided it could be done by
one whom they considered competent. About the same time, at the instance of the members of the Synod of Virginia, the Professors of Union Theological Seminary took the field. In future the advocates for universal liberty will have to fight with neither small nor great, save only with theological professors.
2. Our opponents have changed their ground. Dr. Baxter, and the author of the pamphlet before us, declare in substance that if slaveholding be a sin, it ought not to be tolerated in the church for an hour. But they contend that, in itself, it is right, according to the word of God. The former declared, in his speech before the Virginia Synod, that you can never cope with the abolitionists while you admit that slavery is a sin. The latter assigns a more christian-like reason for the position he has taken, viz: to admit that slaveholding is a sin, and in the mean time, contend that it was authorized by the Mosaic institutions, "would bring them into conflict with the eternal principles of morals, and our faith in the divine origin of one or the other must be given up." Hitherto the argument has been, "We are as much opposed to slavery as you. We admit that, in principle, it is sinful, and that its influence is ruinous. But it has been entailed upon us, and Moses allowed the Jews to have slaves," &c. &c. But by the sword of the spirit they have been driven from their entrenchments and compelled to take the open field. This is cheering. We are to have no more whining about our consciences and our unfortunate situation. The public mind is no more to be shocked by attempts to prove that we ought to live in sin. The man who persuades our children that one part of God's word is at war with another, or with the "eternal principles of morals" is to be classed with infidels. Our professors with a chivalry peculiar to theological professors, or with a confidence peculiar to those who are just girding on the harness, have proclaimed that they will meet the abolitionists, not behind those miserable refuges where their predecessors had concealed themselves for four hundred years, but on the open plain, prepared to decide the matter by the final appeal. This is manly.
3. The character of the contest is changed. It is no longer merely an effort to put down the abolitionists, and to rivet the chain on millions of the oppressed. It is open war
with the God of Heaven. Those who have retired from the discussion used to admit, that although slavery was tolerated in the Jewish church, yet the Scriptures in many places condemn it; and all the perfections of the Almighty are in favor of universal liberty and opposed to oppression in every degree and form. But those who have taken their places are not going to spoil their arguments by any weak admissions. They are going to prove that although the most High glories in the title, the God that executeth judgment for all that are oppressed; notwithstanding his threatenings against the sin of oppression, and his many and sore judgments on oppressors, he is himself the patron of slaveholding. And they are going to prove it before the universe from his own word. The matter now to be decided is neither more nor less than the question, What god shall we and our children worship? And if the angel cursed those who held back when the trumpet summoned them to the help of the Lord in putting down the worship of Baal, let those Christians see to it who stand aloof from the present struggle.
The fore front of the battle has been assigned to our theological professors, from the belief that as their time is devoted to the study of the Scriptures and training young men for the ministry, they must be in possession of all the Scripture arguments. We are glad that they have undertaken it. They will either soon overwhelm the abolitionists, or announce that they too are opposed to discussion. In the latter event, slaveholders will perceive that their cause is indefensible, and that they must either turn infidels or break the yoke and let the oppressed go free.
We shall notice but one paragraph in the pamphlet before us-that which points out five ways in which the author assures us the law of Moses allowed men to be made slaves, with the list of texts adduced as Scripture proof.
"It is not denied that slavery was tolerated among the ancient people of God. Abraham had servants in his family, who were bought with his money, Gen. xvii. 13. Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men servants and maid servants, and gave them to Abraham. Moses finding this institution among the Hebrews and all surrounding nations, did not abolish it. He enacted laws directing how slaves were to be treated, on what conditions they were to be lib
erated, under what circumstances they might and might not be sold, he recognizes the distinctions between slaves and hired servants, (Deut. xv. 18.) he speaks of the way by which these bondmen might be procured, as by war, by purchase, by the right of creditorship, by the sentence of a judge; but not by siezing those who were free, an offence punished by death. The fact that the Mosaic institutions recognized the lawfulness of slavery, is a point too plain to need proof, and is almost universally admitted. Our argument from this acknowledged fact is, that if God allowed slavery to exist, if he directed how slaves might be lawfully acquired, and how they were to be treated, it is in vain to contend that slaveholding is a sin, and yet profess reverence for the Scriptures. Every one must feel that if perjury, murder or idolatry had been thus authorized, it would bring the Mosaic institutions into conflict with the eternal principles of morals, and that our faith in the divine origin of one or the other must be given up."
We thank the author for the unequivocal acknowledgment that the Mosaic institutions are in harmony with the "eternal principles of morals;" of course any exposition which would bring them in conflict must be false. But we feel pretty confident he will abandon this principle or cease to defend slavery. We also cheerfully admit that if "God regulated slavery it is in vain to contend that it is a sin, and yet profess reverence for the Scriptures." God never regulated sin, nor showed his people how they might lawfully practice it. We wish we could say as much for some ecclesiastical judicatories who professed to act in his name and by his authority. Abolitionists have labored to convince their opponents that these are correct principles; and for saying that those who take contrary ground, slander the word of God, and propagate infidelity, we have been charged with bitterness and fanaticism. Before we notice the list of texts, let us analyze the five ways of slave making.
"By war, by purchase, by the right of creditorship, by
"On the manner in which slaves were acquired, compare Deut. xx. 14, and xxi. 10, 11; Exodus, xxii. 3; Neh. iv. 4, 5; Gen. xiv. 14, and xv. 3, and xvii. 23; Numbers, xxxi. 9, 35; Lev. xxv. 44, 46."
"As to the manner in which they were to be treated, see Lev. xxv. 39-53; Ex. xx. 10, and xxi. 2-8; Lev. xxv. 4—6."