Permit me, oh gentlest of readers, to emit a small yeehaw. If pushed, I might even manage a mini-hallelujah. And definitely a large and stentorian ramen!
I reached the end of that horrible book! This, below, is the final instalment of Bible Defense Of Slavery!
There's still work to be done. When Rustiguzzi, may his bike remain forever upright, catches up with my sudden burst of productivity, there'll be errata to, erm, un-errat. The formatting for the blog version was kind of rough-and-ready; I'll be spending some time tweaking that into something I'd be proud—or at least unashamed—to let the world see, before converting to e-book formats. There's some artwork to apply (a cover-image, and a cleaned up version of the frontispiece), which is currently in Fojap's capable hands.
But the hard slog is done and dusted, may FSM be thanked!
So, okay, the content below…
The first part consists of some pieces by Rev. A. Campbell and Rev. George Junkin. Mostly the latter, who goes on, and on, and on—and more on than the Duracell bunny—looking with excruciating detail at various bits of the New Tasty Mint where the topic of slavery pops up. Never, in the field of human boredom, have so many words been expounded on the exact meaning of so few. And when all's said and done, it comes down to 'The New Testament doesn't condemn slavery.' As if we didn't know that already. Tedious is not the word. I'm not sure what is the word, but mere tedium would seem like a chocolate flavoured, cocaine-covered bouncy castle compared to whatever the hell that is.
The second part is mostly the equivalent of the glowing press-reviews you'll find in any modern book. Mostly. If you read none of the rest of the content below, I urge you to read the very first item in that section. Because if you thought that self-delusional Right Wing Arseholes were somehow a new phenomenon, this glorious example of argumentum ad making-shit-up-ium will surely disillusion you of that theory. It's horrible. It's racist as hell. But it's so far over the top and full of made up shit, it's freakin' hilarious. It would not look at all out of place if quoted on the Fundies Say The Darndest Things website.
I'll make one more post on this book, at some stage; sort of a recap of why I did it, and an explanation of some of the minutiae. For now, though, I shall get this posted and crack open a beer. I think I've earned one!
SLAVERY AND THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.
[From Rev. A. Campbell.]
THIS subject is engrossing much attention, and calling forth much inquiry in every direction. It is, with many humane persons, of no religious profession, and with professors of all parties, a very exciting subject. It is being pressed on my attention by many correspondents, and I am frequently called upon to open my pages to a full discussion of the subject, or to give my opinion on the whole premises. I, therefore, conceive it to be a duty which I owe to myself, my Christian brethren, and my fellow-citizens at large, to deliver myself fully upon the subject, so far as the Bible arguments, pro and con, are alleged by both parties, and, once for all, place the subject upon our pages.
With us, the Bible is the only infallible standard, both of religion and humanity. The God of the Bible is the Lawgiver of the Universe, and he has, by his inspired and commissioned teachers, fully revealed his will touching all the duties arising from all the relations in which man stands to man, in the church and in the world.
God is the author of all human relations. He has created the relation of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, magistrate and subject. He has also prescribed the duties of husbands and wives, of parents and children, of masters and servants, of governors and governed, towards each other. Our moral righteousness, as well as our piety, is to be approved or condemned by his statutes and precepts.
There is false religion, as well as true religion, in the world. There is also false, as well as true humanity. There is a healthful, as well as a morbid sensitiveness, on almost every question which may be mooted, on human relations and obligations. Moderation, candor, and charity, are, therefore, always in good keeping with our position, when any one of these grand subjects is agitated with unusual earnestness and zeal. I, therefore, with all deference to the opinions of others, will attempt to express my own, on the subjects now pressed and pressing upon our attention.
The idea of master and servant, is as old as the Bible, and has existed since the days of Cain and Abel. It was said to Cain, being the first-born of mankind, that if he did well, “he should rule over his brother” Abel, and unto him his brother would look up. The younger shall serve the elder, is one of the most natural and ancient oracles in the world. It was said by the inspired Noah, that Canaan should be a servant to his brethren. From this, I only argue, that the idea of servitude is coeval with society, antediluvian and postdiluvian.
Two thousand years before the Christian era, the patriarchs were generally masters, and some of them great masters, over their fellow-men. Was it voluntary or involuntary, is not now the question. There was a necessity, in the very essence of society, for this relation. Orphans, and unfortunate persons, must be served, and they must serve in return. Such was, and is, and always will be, the irremediable condition of mankind.
It is of the essence of benevolence, that widows, orphans, and the destitute, be provided for; and it is of the essence of justice, that, when practicable, they should voluntarily, or involuntarily, serve in return. But these are only suggestions or reflections, growing out of the nature of society. The divine law is promulged in harmony with this condition of society, and based upon the recognition of it. And to this, we especially invite attention.
There is but one divine and absolutely perfect code of social duties; one absolutely perfect constitution of society m the world. The civilized world, without an exception, without a dissenting voice, assents to this law as the standard of moral perfection in the social system. It was written, and it is the only law ever literally written, by the hand of God. I need not say, that it was the magna charta of the only nation ever God placed under a theocratic form of government. It is, sometimes, emphatically called, the Law, or “the law of ten commandments.” Its preamble is, “I am the Lord thy God, that brought thee out of the land of Egypt—out of the house of bondage.” “Therefore, hear, O Israel!”
To one section of it, we emphatically invite attention. It is the consummating statute of the divine constitution: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his man servant, nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” property. This is our first argument in demonstration of the divine recognition and acknowledgment of the relation of master and servant, or of one man having a rightful property in another. It is, therefore, all-important, that we understand the meaning of the word servant, as used by the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge of the world, in this case. That a man is here as fully recognized as property as a house, an ox, an ass, is indisputable. The term selected is as fully defined as any other term in the precept—as the term wife, and the term house. This, to some minds, may demand a word of explanation.
Suffice it, then, to state, that there is, in the Hebrew language, as there was in Hebrew society, two classes of servants, represented by two distinct words, indicative of different positions, or relations. These are, hired servants and bondmen. The former is represented by one word, and the latter by another. These are of different origin and meaning.
A hired servant, in the law of Moses, is called sacheer; a bondman, or bondservant, is uniformly denominated gehved. The latter is never called sacheer, nor the former gehved. Like doulos, in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament, gehved includes divers sorts of servants not receiving wages; but sacheer indicates simply a hired servant.
They are sometimes found in the same verse, in contrast. Leviticus xxv. 39: “If thy brother that dwelleth by thee, becomes poor, and be sold to thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as (a gehved) a bondservant, but as (a sacheer) a hired servant.” Again, verse 42: “He shall not be sold as (a gehved) a bondman;” verse 44: “Of the heathen thou shalt” (or mayest) “buy bondmen,” (gehved.)
Again: Leviticus xxv. 53: “As a yearly hired servant, (a sacheer) he shall be with thee.” So, again, in Deuteronomy xv. 18: “He hath been worth double a hired servant;” xxiv. 14: “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant.” In both these cases, it is sacheer. But when Moses says, (Deut. xv. 15,) “Remember thou wast a bondman in Egypt,” he does not say thou wast a sacheer, but a gehved; not a hired servant, but a slave.
This, I give in evidence; and much more, to the same effect, could be given in evidence, to show that the tenth precept of the law of ten commandments—the standard of moral perfection, universally so acknowledged—recognized and sanctioned the idea of servitude, absolute and unlimited in duration, by not using the word sacheer, but the word gehved—the same word used in the malediction against Canaan: “A servant of servants,” or a gehved gehvedim, “shall he be to his brethren.” This, then, I assume, to be a settled point. Its value is hereafter to be considered.
In the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the contrast between the bond and the hired servant, is kept up by the terms oiketees and misthotos. The former, as well as doulos, being originally applied to bondservants, and the latter to hired servants. The oiketees was one that belonged to the house, or family; the misthotos was one that served for wages, whether the period was long or short, the other served as a bondman, and had the privileges of the family protection and support.
It is worthy of remark, in this place, that the term servant, in our language, when applied to apostles, prophets, or workers for Christ, is never misthotos, because they are not hirelings, or free servants: they were the Lord’s bondmen, and are, therefore, called douloi, or oixetai. They held no property in themselves; they were, while free in one sense, the Lord’s bondmen in another. But we return to the moral law and Jewish dispensation, for Biblical and rudimental ideas of the subject of servitude.
The last precept of the decalogue, and the first precept of the judicial or political code, must be compared, in order to decide the proper interpretation of both. We shall, therefore, place them in juxtaposition, side by side, that they may reciprocally define and illustrate one another. They read as follows: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man servant, nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” Ex. xxi. 2. “If thou buy a Hebrew servant (gehved), six years shall he serve, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons and daughters, the wife and children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go out free, then his master shall bring him to the magistrates; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the door post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.”
Here, then, commences the institution of servitude among the Jews, under a theocracy. I need not say that the sun gives light. As little need to say, that the law of servitude was “holy, just, and good.” This is Hebrew servitude, and neither Greek nor Roman, neither Anglican nor American slavery. The Hebrew servant, here rendered by the SEVENTY, into Greek, by paida (from pais, a boy) was, likely, a young man. Being, it is presumed, a minor, he is sold for six years. Meantime, he falls in love with one of his master’s female servants, and is constitutionally married, while yet a gehved—a bond servant. The day of his freedom arrives! What a dilemma! He has a wife, and children; his by nature, and his master’s by right—by a jure divino. Which shall he choose—freedom or slavery?
A modern abolitionist would say, “Run away, my good sir, and take your dear wife and children with you. God has made all men free and equal. Your master took the advantage of you, and now, heartless tyrant that he is, he will keep your wife, and your dear babes, in perpetual slavery, which, I am sure, you love as much as he loves his. There is no moral wrong in this. You were not of mature age and reason when you got married, as very few such slaves as you are. Take up your couch, sir, and walk. You are getting no wages here: you will be a slave all your days. Can you have your ears bored to the door post, and carry to your grave the brand of your cowardice and infamy? Will you make yourself a slave for ever? If bored, your doom is fixed.”
His master having treated him with all humanity, being one that feared God, and wrought righteousness, he thanked his new friend for his benevolence, and said, “I cannot leave my wife; she was given me by her master, and he has done well for her, for me, and for our children. I cannot leave him—I cannot leave them.” His ear was bored with as little pain as a lady suffers for the admission of a golden ring, and he and his offspring became servants “forever.”
Such was the first statute of the political code of the commonwealth of Israel, enacted Anno Mundi 2513; before Christ, 1492. And such is the first commentary on the tenth commandment—the first law of the new constitution, under which God placed the elect nation of Israel.
Such will be called the bright side of the picture. There is, however, no picture of one color: that is physically and morally impossible. Nor is there any picture without shade. And such is the present picture of all society—the best that exists on earth.
It will be said, and said with truth, that this is a case of voluntary servitude. But only as I have presented it. It is, indeed, a choice of evils.
Suppose this said slave had been married the first year after his master bought him, to a young female servant, the property of his master, and that he was a forward, energetic, independent, and noble-minded slave. What then? He asks his wife and children at the commencement of the Sabbatical year. His master refuses to give him his wife and children. Too hard, indeed—tyrannical, cruel! Is it not? Yes, say A., B. and C. But, responds his master, his wife was mine, and I cannot part with her. Her mistress loves her, and cannot do without her. I cannot afford it. His labor has not countervailed my expenditures upon him and her, and their children. I do no wrong, either on the score of humanity or of justice. God enacted the law. He made me master, and him my bondservant. I can do better for him and them, than they can do for themselves, and serve myself, too, better than without them. We are all happier together than we could be apart. I am the slave, he the freeman. I have to care for him; he has no care for himself, his wife, or children. If he were able to compensate me, I might give him his wife and his children; and if he chooses to do so, he will sooner obtain the means under my direction, and by my capital, than he could otherwise do. It is a benevolent and a just law, and I will abide by it. Such was the first law of the kingdom of Israel, under the theocracy, and such would be a rational and moral view of it. Other statutes on this subject, found in that law, will prepare our minds for the consideration and comprehension of the Christian law, the higher law, and the Fugitive Slave Law of the present crisis.
But it is neither my duty nor my inclination to defend it. It is enough to say, that it was God’s own enactment, as much as the law of ten commands, but it is not of the same compass nor perpetuity. It was a local and temporary arrangement. Its value to us consists, chiefly, in the recognition of what may, in the judgment of God, be consistent with moral rectitude and the purity of the divine law. The God of the New Testament is the God of the Old. It is a maxim, universally conceded, that, “what is just in little, is just in much.” That which may be done rightfully for a day, a month, or a year, may be done for a longer period. It is theft to steal one cent, as essentially theft, as to steal ten thousand dollars. A person who can rightfully hold property in a man for one year, or five, may rightfully extend the term indefinitely. Christianity is not more just than Judaism. But it is yet premature, to apply the principle developed in this statute, as it would be to defend it, being a divine enactment. We have the whole Bible open, law and gospel, too.
We greatly respect an intelligent, conscientious, and generous philanthropy. We will ever do homage to a pure philanthropist. But there may be a morbid, sickly philanthropy, as well as a rational, and sound philanthropy. The religious sometimes become superstitious: the generous are not always just. And professed philanthropists have, not unfrequently, been more fanatical than benevolent, and more in love with their own opinions than with the rights of man.
But, with the patient and generous charities of my readers, I will endeavor to develop the Christian duties and obligations on the whole premises, now being laid before the public, on the higher law, the Fugitive Slave Law, and every other law allied to the present question—the great question of the age, so far as our national interests and honor are concerned.
[From Rev. George Junkin.]
The Hebrews were permitted, by their law, to buy servants from the heathen; to hold them in perpetual servitude; and to transmit them as hereditary property to their children.
THIS is a compound proposition, and may be broken down into three distinct parts.
1. They were permitted to buy servants, male and female, from the heathen. Exod. xii. 44,—”Every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.” This is decisive as to men servants.
Second proof Lev. xxv. 44–46, “Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of [from, in Hebrew] the heathen that are round about you, of [from] them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover, of [from] the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy, and of their families, that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.” This passage is most conclusive as to the first subdivision. It also meets the second, viz: that the servitude is perpetual, “they shall be your bondmen for ever—Le Olaum.” And it is equally pertinent to the third. They could transmit these slaves, as hereditary property, to their children. But, here, note particular: 1. They are property, “possession,” It is the same Hebrew word, as that used in v. 41, to describe the landed estates to which the Israelites returned at the Jubilee, “and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return.” It is the same used to describe the Redeemer’s right in his redeemed people. Psalm ii. 8, ” I shall give […] the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” It is the same used to describe Abraham’s interest in the field of Ephon and the cave of Machpelah, after he paid for them, when “the field and the cave that is therein were made sure unto Abraham, for a possession of a burying place, by the sons of Heth.” In short, this word is invariably used, to signify ownership in landed estate—not transitory but permanent possession. Let men, therefore, criticise as their fancy directs, as to men and women being viewed and treated as property; God’s word says, unequivocally, “they shall be your possession.”
But, it will be said, this is horrible! Human beings bought as property, and held as a possession permanent! Well, abhor it, then, if it is horrible. But, there it is on the sacred page. I have not asserted it, it is God’s assertion. I have not said it is right. Neither, as I suppose, has God affirmed it to be right. All I affirm is, that God’s law permitted it to Israel. If you cannot endure it, with God be your controversy: and at his word be yet more horrified. For, 2. This possession is perpetual—Le Olaum, for ever shall they be your bondmen. It is a bondage durable as the life of the parties. Yea, more horrible still! 3. At the death of the master who bought the slaves, they do not go out free—they pass down as an inheritance to his children: they stand in all the legal relations of real estate. As such, the terms of the law speak of them. It is the same word as is used, Num. xxxiii. 64, “Ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance,” etc.. And xxxiv. 13, “This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot.” And Abraham inquires, “How shall I know that I shall inherit it?”
Such is the condition of heathen slaves under the Mosaic Law. Most unhappy men! Awful state of degradation! Hopeless bondage to them and to their children after them!
But, now, is it not obvious, that the dreadfulness of their state depends very much upon incidental circumstances? Suppose they fall into the hands of “believing masters,” such as Paul speaks of, who will be kind to them, and teach them the way of salvation through the Messiah, what is there so fearful in their condition? Look what Isaiah says, ch. xiv. 2, concerning heathen people: “And the people, [of God] shall take them and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and maidens.” Assuredly, when the grace of God touches the hearts of these slaves, and they become God’s freedmen, their condition is infinitely better than that of their brethren according to the flesh, who are afar off from God, and free in a physical sense. “I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in tents of wickedness.”
[From Rev. George Junkin.]
That God has nowhere, in the Old Testament, PROHIBITED slavery. There is no command to this amount, “Masters, let your servants go free.” The relation of master and slave is nowhere condemned as a sin and forbidden to exist.
THE position here taken, is expressed in three forms, to prevent, if possible, all misapprehension. If any man affirm the opposite, let him adduce the proof. If the relation of master and servant, in perpetuity or for life, be, in itself, and apart from all cruelties and abuses of power, a horrible sin in the sight of God, let us have the text from the Old Testament to condemn it.
Permit me, here, to throw out a caveate against misconstruction and misrepresentation. Although it is not our business, more than our opponents, to justify the ways of God to men, yet, I remark, God has nowhere sanctioned slavery. To sanction, is to approve of and command as a thing that is right, and that ought to be. Except in cases of forfeiture of liberty, God has not commanded—has not made it obligatory upon man, to reduce his fellow to involuntary bondage. On the contrary, I take the distinction before alluded to, that the Bible tolerates slavery. Now, toleration is bearing with—enduring a thing; and it implies, that the thing is viewed as an evil. Job tolerated his boils, and the foolish behaviour of his wife. We tolerate evils that cannot be instantly removed. All wearisome labor, of body or of mind, is an evil. All petulant, peevish, and vexatious conduct, is an evil. The perpetual harassment to which this Synod has been exposed, from year to year, by the Anti-Slavery party, is an evil, hard to be endured; yet the majority of Synod have tolerated it—you have fought against it, as Napoleon said of the Russians at the battle of Smolensk, “with passive bravery.”
But I hear our tolerated brethren say, how long must this evil of slavery be tolerated? Are we never to see the end of it? Must all the light of the New Dispensation be spent in vain? Cannot this dark spot be illuminated by it? Will you plead for its everlasting toleration?
Be patient, Brethren! God has tolerated this dreadful evil more than thirty centuries of years. And he has tolerated yet worse evils. He has tolerated you and us, with all our sins and corruptions upon us; with all our unkind speeches, and hard sayings, and heart burnings, and jealousies, and anger, and wrath, and murmurings against God. He has borne with us in our censures upon his Word and his providence, for this very spirit of tolerance, to which we are indebted for an existence out of hell. Why does he not instantly cut off all evil from the earth; either by cutting us off, or by making us instantly and perfectly holy? “Nay! but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?”
Be patient, Brethren, with me, and with God. Let us proceed to the New Testament. What are its teachings on the subject of slavery? If slavery be the master sin of our world; if all other evils sink into insignificance, in comparison of this giant crime; if this fearful and desolating sin—this soul-damning sin, as brethren in this Synod deem it, abounded under the Old Testament, surely the remedying of it will form a prominent feature of the New Economy. Surely, when the Redeemer comes to cleanse the sanctuary, and to purify the altar, which have, since the days of Gibeon’s enslavement, been polluted by slave labor, he will, at least, drive away all slave labor from the temple and the altar. He will speak a plain and unequivocal language. He will make it to be clearly known, that slavery is no longer to be tolerated in the Church of God. If Jesus be an abolitionist, in the modern sense, surely his new revelation will for ever wash out the foul stain of slavery. Mr. Moderator, what think you? If our opposing brethren had written the New Testament, or any one book of it, would you not expect to find a strong, and plain, and unequivocal testimony against slavery, in it?
But now, sir, on the contrary, I fearlessly affirm, that there is not a sentence in the New Testament, which, either expressly, in so many words, or by fair and just construction, forbids slavery. To avoid misconception, let me divide this compound proposition. I then declare:
I. That there is not a sentence in the New Testament, which expressly forbids the having and the holding of a slave.
II. That there is not a sentence in the New Testament, which, by fair and just interpretation, according to the rules of grammar, gives ground for the logical inference, that the simple holding of a slave, or slaves, is inconsistent with Christian profession and Christian character.
The proof of the affirmative lies on the affirmant; let the man, who elects himself to controvert either of these, present his proof. But, lest none should be forthcoming, let us see how near an approximation may be made toward establishing these propositions in this negative form. Should any person affirm, that between the hours of six A. M. and six P. M. on the 19th of September, 1843, the present speaker had kidnapped a slave off a steamer lying at the quay in Cincinnati, I could prove a negative by proving an alibi—by proving my continual presence, during that period of time, in this or the adjoining village. Let us look into the New Testament for abolitionism, and see how far an alibi can be supported.
1. My first subordinate proposition here, is, that the Greek word, doulos, usually translated servant, properly and commonly means a person held to service for life—a slave.
This word occurs, according to Schmidius, about one hundred and twenty-five times in the New Testament. Of these, omitting the parallel places in the last three Gospels, the following is a general classification, viz:—
leaving about 37 as parallels.
Let as now see, whether, in all these, the idea of continuous, perpetual servitude be not included.
The first class—the servants of God and of his Christ—are life servants; bound under the most absolute authority to honor and obey and submit to his commands. They profess so to be. They have come near to the door-post, and their ears have been pierced through with the arrows of his conviction, and they are his for ever. Moreover, they were unwilling, when he bought them with a price, and they were unwilling until he changed them by his law, and made them “both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” They are servants for ever, “under the yoke,”—”take my yoke upon you.”
Passing the second class, as the one in controversy, we notice the third, Matt, xviii. 23, &c., and xxii. 3, &c.. The master, in the former, like many in our day, had entrusted much of his property to his servants, to be employed for his advantage; and thus, one of them was found to have acted very unfaithfully—he had squandered his lord’s money. His master, just as masters now do, commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children. Now, if doulos does not express the relation of slavery—if it mean here a hired servant, how can we understand the transaction? Where is the law to sell a hired servant? And, if it be said, he was sold under the law, which makes indebtedness a crime, rendering the debtor obnoxious to sale, then we have slavery recognized. Take it either way, then, you have the relation of perpetual servitude.
The evidence is equally plain, that the servants of the king, in waiting upon the marriage supper, were not hirelings, but perpetual servants. And here we may observe, as was remarked of the Hebrew terms, the Greek word misthotos, means a hired person, one employed to work for wages, for a period long or short, as the contract may be: such was the kind of service performed on Zebedee’s fishing boat. James and John “left their father, Zebedee, in the ship, with the hired servants.” And the Saviour speaks of this kind of labor as not so reputable and trustworthy as the doulos; John x. 12, 13: “But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth. The hireling, misthotos, fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” It would seem that the doulos, the permanent servant, was the more trustworthy. Accordingly, it is universally agreed, that the servants in the parable of the supper, represent the gospel ministers—permanent officers in Christ’s house, who would, therefore, be very unsuitably represented by the relation of a hireling, a temporary servant, working for wages. Besides, the kind of service at this feast, is just such as slaves, or permanent servants are usually employed at. Farther, the invited guests killed some of the servants, which it is not conceivable they would have done, had they been hired persons. These things, in connection with the fact, that the historian does not use misthotos—a word uniformly applied to the temporary relation of a hired person, as faithfulness to historical verity required, if the relation had been temporary—these, I say, must convince the candid, that doulos means the permanent relation of a life servant.
The fourth class relates to slaves of sin and of Satan, John viii. 34: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant, doulos, of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house [the family apartment] for ever: but the son abideth ever. If, then, the Son make you free, ye are free indeed.” Here the doulos is contradistinguished from the son, and also from the free person. So, Rom. vi. 17, “God be thanked, that ye were the servants, doulos, of sin.” And, 2 Pet. ii. 19, “While they promise them liberty, they, themselves, are the servants, douloi, of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage;”—he is made a doulos. Here, again, servant is contrasted with free. Besides, there is express reference to the ancient and universal custom of holding and accounting prisoners of war as slaves. Men are taken captive by the devil, and are the servants of their captor. We need not here dwell, to show that it is a base bondage under which men are held, to sin and Satan, and that it is without limit in itself—it is designed by the master, and assented to by the slave, that he shall serve for ever; and so it will prove in every case where our Redeemer does not interfere, and deliver, by his almighty power, the poor slave from his cruel and yet voluntary bondage.
Case fifth, is that of the doulos of the Roman centurion or captain. That slavery prevailed all over the Roman Empire at this time, and that it was a most absolute and degraded slavery, wherein the master had the power of life and death at his own option, will not be controverted by any, whose reputation for scholarship entitles them to any notice at all. We cannot, surely, be expected to prove that the captain’s servant was a slave. For a man to assert the contrary, places him hors du combat.
Case sixth, relates to the services required from one Christian to another, and they are undoubtedly permanent, and of perpetual obligation.
So the seventh, an insulated instance, describes the relation of Christ to God the Father. That it is permanent, and for life, is obvious, and involves absolute submission in all things.
The other insulated case is, that of the judaizing Christian, Gal. iv. 7, who makes the ceremonial law a yoke of bondage, and himself a slave to it.
Thus, if there is any exception to the absoluteness and permanency of the obligation, and the servitude, expressed by this term, doulos, it must be found in the second class; all the others imply entire subjection, and that without limit, as long as the related parties exist.
The servants of the householder, who had sowed good seed in his field, and of the man who delivered his talents for improvement, are so similar to the case of the marriage supper, that the same reflections are mainly applicable to these. So, also, of the owner of the vineyard, Matt. xxi. 35, &c.. The only other case in the Gospels, that of the priest’s servant, whose ear was cut off, may easily be understood, by reference to the laws already cited, permitting the priests to buy servants: the others, it is not my intention to go over, in the detail.
It would be tedious, and would lead to the conviction, that, without one exception, in all the contexts, the idea of absolute and permanent bondage to service, would be found to harmonize best, with the drift and meaning of the passages respectively. Persuaded I am, the case never will be made out, where doulos, necessarily means a temporary servitude, at the option of the servant. Many of the remaining passages, will, however, come up in other connections. Meanwhile, I rest in the belief, that the great mass of unprejudiced minds, must admit; that doulos properly means a slave.
Let us, however, make this clear to a demonstration, by the argument from contrast. If we find two words, used in opposition to each other, the meaning of one being ascertained, will forcibly illustrate that of the other. Now, freeman and slave are such terms—they express opposite ideas. He who is free, cannot, at the same time, and in the same respect, manner, and sense, be a slave. In different senses, such opposite terms may agree. A man may be a slave to tobacco and whisky, and yet a freeman, in a civil sense. Still, freedom and slavery are opposites; and if I shew that to be free means a state wherein a man is under no obligation to work or labor for another—the other has no power or claim over him, so as to compel him to work; and if I shew that this state is contrasted to another, as its opposite, then that other is a state of slavery and bondage.
Here let me refer to the cases already cited, for another purpose: John viii. 34, “He that committeth sin, is the doulos or servant of sin; but if the Son make him free, then he is free indeed,” Here, doulos and eleutheros—a slave and a free man—are contrasted. Again, in Rom. vi. 17, “Ye were the douloi, servants of sin; but being made free;” here is the same contrast. So also, 2 Pet, ii. 19, “While they promise them liberty, eleutheria, they themselves are the douloi, slaves of corruption.” 1 Cor, vii, 21, 22, “Art thou called, being a servant, doulos, care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, doulos, is the Lord’s freeman—rather freed man—apeleutheros; likewise, also, he that is called, being free, eleutheros, is Christ’s servant, doulos.” Here, the contrast is plain and direct, and three times repeated, 1 Cor. xii. 13, “Whether we be Jews or Gentiles; whether we be bond or free, douloi or eleutheroi;” Gal. iii. 28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, doulos nor eleutheros;” Col. iii. 11, “There is neither bond nor free, doulos nor eleutheros;” Rev. vi. 15, “And every bondman and every freeman: every doulos and every eleutheros;” Rev. xiii. 16, “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, eleutherous and doulous.” Rev. xix. 18, “And the flesh of all men, both free and bond, eleutheroi and douloi, both small and great.”
Thus, by an accumulation of evidence, even to weariness, it is demonstrated, that doulos means a slave, as certainly as eleutheros means a freeman. Here are twelve distinct and unequivocal instances of contrast. I take it, then, as most conclusively proved, that doulos properly means a slave—a person under absolute authority for life, to a master.
2. The second subordinate proposition with an inference is, that Paul advises servants to abide quietly in their condition. This he could not do if the relation of master and slave was, in itself, a sin.
1 Cor. vii. 20–24, “Let every man abide in the same calling, wherein he was called. Art thou,” &c., as above. “Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.”
Here, note, 1. This is a spiritual call—that inward vocation of the Holy Ghost, whereby a man is made to hear and to obey the Gospel, in a spiritual sense. He who is thus called, is a converted man. But there is a modified sense, in which the word is used to signify a man’s employment—his state and condition in this world’s affairs. And the Apostle indulges a play upon this sense. In verse 17, he settles the principle: “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all the churches.” The gospel does not come to break up the social relations. If a hired girl is converted, it does not hence follow, that she must sit at the table, and her employer take turns with her in the house-work, and table-waiting. Paul was not a leveler in this respect. But, let every one pursue his business honestly. “Is any man called, being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called, being uncircumcised? let him not be circumcised.” These outward circumstances are trifles. What a man’s business is—what his condition in life, is a small matter, if only he has the spiritual vocation. 2. Among the called, at Corinth, were found some servants—doulous—slaves. Then sprang up the question: If I am called into the service of Jesus Christ, can I any longer be obedient to an earthly master? Can a man serve two masters? If I have taken Christ’s yoke upon me, how can I be, and continue, a doulos to my old master who bought me? Now, it is easy to see, that if Paul had preached abolitionism, there would have been directly a slave insurrection at Corinth. If he had decided, that conversion to Christianity nullified the master’s right to control his slave, and made him free, it would have brought Christianity into direct collision with the civil and domestic relations of the whole Roman world. But Paul was no abolitionist: he would not interfere, in the least, with the master’s authority. He had, a little above, decided in favor of another social relation. Marriage, though consummated in a pagan state, he says, is binding, even after one of the parties has been converted to Christianity. The question had been raised. Can I be die spouse of Christ, and also of a pagan husband at the same time? Certainly, says Paul, the one is spiritual, the other a natural—moral relation: “Let not the wife depart from her husband:” so, here, let not the servant depart from his master. This is the third remark: The relation is rot to be renounced—”Let every man wherein he is called, therein abide.” If he is a doulos, let him remain contented: he can be a slave in regard to temporal things; and, yet, a freeman in regard to spiritual things. There is no necessary collision between the claims of the two masters. If your earthly master acts uprightly, he will never require you to do an act forbidden by your heavenly master. But should such case occur, why, then obey God, and suffer whatever punishment man chooses to inflict. 4. Manumission was often practised in the Roman and Grecian world. Paul advises the servant, if his master offer to manumit him, to accept his freedom with gratitude—”use it rather.” When grace touched the master’s heart, and especially if his conversion, as doubtless was often the case, was brought about by the patient and quiet obedience, and manifest improvement of his converted slaves, it cannot be doubted, he often freed his servants: and this is God’s plan of abolition. A person who, in the phrase, “use it rather,” can find a warrant for a slave insurrection—for robbery, theft, and murder, gives melancholy evidence, that he himself is the slave of his own pride and wicked passions. 5. Paul points out the method of the spiritual freedom—it was by purchase: “Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men.” Most violently and blindly has this passage been abused, to the encouragement of slave insurrections; “be not ye the servants of men”—this, we, Mr. Moderator, have heard the subject of song here; contrary to the obvious, plain meaning of the whole context. It has been time after time harped upon, as evidence, that slaves are forbidden to serve men; whereas, the whole drift of the context enjoins submission. “Ye are bought with a price.” Now, in what sense? Is it not undeniable, that the price here is Christ’s blood? And must it not follow that the servitude into which this spiritual purchase brings them, is a spiritual servitude? Do they not take Christ’s yoke on them? And yet, these brethren insist on it, that “be not ye the servants of men,” is a natural servitude! “Don’t obey your masters according to the flesh; resist them, they have no right to command you, and you do wrong in obeying; ‘be not ye the servants of men.'” Did you ever hear of such horrible perversion? Can this be the true meaning, when other passages, so numerous, command the very contrary? “Servants obey your masters.” We must say, such a construction is not only violent, but it is disingenuous; and no man could, for a moment, allow himself in it, but that the heat of excitement, and the warmth of controversy, blinds the mind, and hurries the zealot over all rules of reason and of right. No commentator ever entertained such an idea: until modern abolitionism invented it, the world, I presume, was ignorant of such a construction. But it is a fair sample of the logic of excited feeling. Paul urges the doulos to abide content in his condition; because, though a servant of man, he is Christ’s freed man—a spiritual freeman, but a slave civilly. But he must not abide the doulos of man, say these brethren—must not be civilly a slave; because he has been spiritually bought with a price. The apostle may contradict himself, but he must not teach the duty of servants to obey their own masters! When he says, “Be not ye the douloi of men,” he must not mean spiritually, but naturally!!
3. The third subordinate proposition, with an inference.—The New Testament recognizes some masters as good men—true and faithful believers: therefore, the relation of master and slave may exist, consistently with Christian character and profession.
PROOF 1.—Matt. viii. 9, 10; “The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant, doulos, shall be healed. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Here is a slaveholder whose faith stands above suspicion. But we have been told that every man who is guilty of slaveholding, if he die without repenting of this sin, will go to hell! How differently the Saviour and some of his disciples judge!
PROOF II.—By Eph. i. 1, we learn, that the epistle is addressed “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” And by vi. 9, we learn, that among these faithful brethren are masters: “And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master, [Christ] also, is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Finally, my brethren,” &c.. Thus slaveholders are recognized as faithful believers; and no order is given to cease to be slaveholders.
PROOF III.—1 Tim. vi. 2; “And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit.” Here the slaves, douloi, are commanded to submit, because their masters are believers—faithful and beloved brethren, partakers of the grace of our Lord.
PROOF IV.—Philemon 5; Paul, addressing this slaveholder, says he had heard “of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints.”
So we might cite all the cases where masters are commanded to do their duties; for they are, in every instance, addressed as Christian masters; and the same is true of the slaves. Clearly, then, the inference follows, that this relation is not inconsistent with Christian character and profession.
4. The fourth subordinate proposition.—The New Testament recognizes the existence of slavery.
5. The fifth subordinate proposition.—The New Testament prescribes the duties of servants to their masters, and of masters to their servants; enjoining obedience to the one, and kind treatment from the other.
MEANWHILE, no injunction is laid upon masters to liberate their slaves; nor is there any hint given to slaves to run away from their masters. All this I shall prove by plain and direct Scriptures, and then shall deduce some legitimate conclusions.
PROOF I.—Titus ii. 9, 10; “Exhort servants, doulous, to be obedient unto their own masters, despotais, and to please them well in all things; not answering again, not purloining, [stealing] but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
It is important to remark, that this, and most of the subsequent proofs, are found in the midst of contexts where the leading social relations of life are dwelt upon, and their duties pointed out. Here “the aged men,” and “the aged women;” “the young women,” and “young men,” are exhorted. In some of the following cases, husbands and wives, parents and children, magistrates and subjects, are mentioned; and, just among them, servants and masters, recognizing it as an existing relation.
On this passage, note, 1. The servants, doulous, are exhorted to be obedient to their own masters, despotais, despots, absolute masters. It is the strongest term the Greek language knows to express absolute and arbitrary power.
2. That this obedience should be cheerful and hearty, not with an ill grace, a surly, and dissatisfied, and hesitating manner.
3. They are commanded not to steal their master’s property; but to feel an interest in his welfare, and to be faithful in looking after it.
How different, in all three respects, this, from the teachings of modern anti-slavery doctors! They teach that slaves may, and ought to disobey their masters—to run off, to steal their master’s, or any person’s horse, saddle, bridle, food, clothing, anything that may be necessary to facilitate their escape. Such morality may be found in the abolition journals of the day.
4. The glory of God is promoted by the cheerful obedience and faithful conduct of Christian slaves. Such conduct adorns the doctrine of God our Saviour. Now, we put it to our brethren, whether this course of conduct, in Christian slaves, is not much more likely to win their masters, and all others, to embrace the doctrine from which it springs, than the stealing and running off, which they recommend. Are those who engage in running negroes to Canada, “adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, in all things?” We put it to your consciences, Brethren!
PROOF II.—Col. iii. 22; iv. 1; “Servants, obey in all things, your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and, whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong, shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye, also, have a master in heaven.”
1. Here, strict obedience is enjoined to masters, “according to the flesh”—that is, masters in regard to worldly things. 2. This obedience is not merely outward, but inward; sincerely, and truly rendered. In which he shows how obedience in carnal things is consistent with spiritual obedience to the Lord. In obeying your earthly masters, in all things, [lawful, that is] you obey your heavenly Master too—”ye serve the Lord Christ.” 3. The servant, doulos—the slave that does wrong—that withholds due service from his master, that purloins, or is, in any way, unfaithful, shall be punished for his wrong doing. If he obey the counsels of modern abolitionists, God the Redeemer will judge him. 4. As injustice is forbidden to the servants, so injustice is forbidden to the masters. Wrong is prohibited on both sides. For wrong, the master will be punished as well as the slave.
But the question arises, what is just and equal? Our Brethren will say, that it means, among other things, liberty. But this text does not say so, nor does any other. On the contrary, it is implied, that the relation continues. The masters are masters still; and the slaves are slaves still; and it is to the existing relation the whole context applies. If the relation is annihilated, the duties of obedience, here enjoined, can no longer exist. This, then, is mere subterfuge. What is just and equal? Undoubtedly, kind treatment; comfortable food, and raiment, and instruction in all the blessed doctrines of the Bible. These things, good, believing masters do; and, in so doing, obey God, and give more than is commonly given to hired servants. We are often told that they ought to set them free and pay them wages. Well, perhaps they ought to free them. But this will depend upon circumstances. As to paying wages, it is notorious, and the abolitionists have shown it a hundred times, that the slaves are often paid higher wages than the free blacks or whites: using the term wages in the strict sense of political economy. “We must be careful,” says Prof. Vethake, (p. 33,) “not to confound the real wages of the laborer, with his money wages. The latter, as has been before stated, are only instrumental in procuring the former. The laborer, who receives money for his services, exchanges it again for the necessaries and comforts of life, both of a material and immaterial nature, which he is enabled by means of it to obtain; and the money is only transitorily in his possession.” The real wages of labor are food, clothing, houseroom, education—all the necessaries and comforts of life. But now it is proverbial, that many slaves devour their masters—they consume more than they produce—they receive more wages than they earn—they get more than is just and equal. And this constitutes an argument, not on moral or religious grounds, but simply on the ground of political economy, against the whole system; which I think entirely unanswerable. It has been demonstrated ten thousand times, that slave labor is, upon the whole, the dearest, and cannot compete with free labor. Would you, Mr. Moderator, or any of these brethren, take a common laborer, with a family, and obligate yourself to feed, clothe, house, and educate them as laborers and Christians, at your own cost, making yourself, and your heirs, liable for them, for the space of forty years? I mean, all moral considerations aside, and receiving the question as a mere dollar and cent matter—would you? Where is the man that would do it? Still, the deficient production results from the system; and, combined with a law before mentioned, constitutes the physical necessity, whereby the Creator provides for removing the evils of oppressive bondage. But we may not run out in this direction.
PROOF III.—1 Pet. ii. 18: “Servants, be subject to your masters, with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” This is part of a context, where the relative duties of social life are enjoined—magistrates and subjects, servants and masters, husbands and wives, are addressed.
1. The term servant, is different; it is, oiketes, a house servant. But that it implies here, a slave, is evident, from the treatment to which they were exposed—”they suffered wrongfully”—”were buffeted”—”endured grief,” and are commanded to submit and bear it patiently, out of conscience towards God. Now this is inconceivable, in regard to hired servants, or any temporary engagement.
2. The subjection enjoined, is to despotais, absolute masters.
3. The term by which he expresses the subjection, is also strong: it means the absolute, rigid subordination of military government; where not the least hesitancy, or delay, or demurring, is tolerated.
4. The fear with which they are to submit, also shews the relation of master and slave.
The whole drift of the passage is plain and easy. It enforces the duty of submission, in all things not sinful before God, upon the slaves; even in extreme cases of harsh and cruel treatment; and that from the consideration that the God whom they serve, will be glorified by it, and the religion they profess will be commended to the hearts of all men. Could Peter, moved by the Holy Ghost, have done all this, if the very relation of master and slave, was, in itself, and, independently of all contingent abuses, a sinful relation?
PROOF IV.—Philemon was a slaveholder, at least, if owning one slave makes a man a slaveholder. Onesimus, his slave, had fallen under the influence of bad counsel; whether the dictate of his own heart, or of some ancient anti-slavery partizan. He ran off from his master, who resided at Colosse, a city in the interior of Asia Minor, See Col. iv. 8, 9: “Tychicus have I sent unto you […] with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you.” This may show a special reason, why Paul, in this epistle to the Colossians, which was undoubtedly carried by Tychicus and Onesimus, presses, as we have seen, the duties of servants to their masters, according to the flesh. The letter was carried by a runaway slave, now returned to his sound mind, and hereby commanded to obey his master.
This runaway found himself at Rome, and came to hear Paul preach in his chains, in his own hired house; and was, through grace, converted unto God; after which, Paul sent him back to his master. Let us note particulars.
1. The apostle recognizes Philemon’s right to Onesimus’ service—verses 13, 14: “Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel. But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.” Paul lived in his own hired house, yet he was in chains, and needed some person to do his errands, lay in and cook his food, wash his clothes, &c., &c.. These kind of services, Philemon had done, or caused to be done, for the apostle, when at Colosse, as is most likely, from this verse and the 22nd, where he requests him to “prepare me also a lodging.” But, however much Paul needed Onesimus, and however assured he felt, that did Philemon, the master, know the situation of his beloved friend, the apostle, he would have most cheerfully consented to let Onesimus stay and attend upon him, yet could he not consent to keep him, without his master’s expressed will.
2. Onesimus was a slave. Paul urges Philemon to receive him, “not now as a doulos, but above a doulos, a brother beloved, especially to me; but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord.”
“Not now”—oukete—not any longer, as a doulos. Here is the distinct implication that, heretofore, he had been treated as a slave—a doulos—but now, no longer is he to be so treated. This alludes to the Levitical law, already explained. Lev. xxv. 39–42. The Hebrew is to treat his brother Hebrew, now his Ebed—his doulos—his slave—not like slaves are commonly treated, with rigor, but as soukeers—hired men are usually treated, with kindness and lenity. Now, says Paul, this doulos is a brother, and our law requires such to be kindly treated, and “I know that you will do even more than I say,” verse 21.
3. In this last expression, there is a hint at emancipation. It is highly probable, that Philemon not only treated him kindly, but set him free, and assisted him to some farther education, and thus enabled him to enter the ministry. Such things have been done, and are continually doing in our own day, in regard to indented apprentices, and even to slaves. Several talented and efficient preachers, now in Liberia, were thus manumitted. But now, this very thing, which I understand to be admitted by some of our anti-slavery brethren, contains the whole for which I am here contending, viz: that slavery existed, and obedience was commanded, in the New Testament.
4. Paul does not command Philemon to liberate Onesimus. He does not even command him to receive him and treat him kindly. But he does say he might do this latter—he has authority to enjoin—to command—verse 8: yet he prefers to put himself in the position of an equal with Philemon, and entreat him. From this it has been argued—rather assumed, that he had power to order Philemon to emancipate him, but forbore to exercise it. This is wholly gratuitous, groundless, and false. The power which, in verse 8, he asserts he has, he turns into an entreaty, and it is, that the master would receive his slave and treat him no longer as a slave, but according to the law, with lenity, as a brother.
5. Another point illustrated here, is the pilfering character of runaway slaves. Onesimus had taken the precaution, in our day given as advice by some abolitionists, to supply his pockets, from his master’s stores, before he left him. Verse 18: “If he have wronged thee, or oweth thee aught, put that on mine account,” &c.. So punctiliously regardful is he of the master’s rights, that he renders himself liable, as a surety, for all the property the slave may have stolen from his master. Again, Mr. Moderator, let me call your attention to the strong contrast, between the morality of the New Testament, and that of modern abolitionism. This encourages the slave to disobey, to steal, to run off; that commands him to return, to be honest, to be obedient.
But a recent discovery has been made in the laboratory of Greek criticism. It is now ascertained, that Onesimus was merely the younger brother of Philemon—that he did not like the vigilant and close treatment of his older brother, who was his legal guardian—that he went off, and Paul sent him back. Now, Mr. Moderator, you must not smile at this. It is, indeed, ludicrous; but then, laughable as the thing is, in itself, we must not always treat things with that contempt which their merits demand. This criticism is advanced, in serious earnest, and we must bite in our lips, and seem to be grave in our reply.
Well, on what is this new theory founded? Why, simply on the phrase, in the flesh, verse 16. It is asserted that Onesimus was a brother of Philemon, both “in the flesh and in the Lord.” Ah! but does the text say this? Or does it say that Onesimus was beloved—”both in the flesh”—that is, in regard to civil and temporal affairs, “and in the Lord”—that is, in regard to spiritual things? It needs not Greek spectacles to see, that there is a comparison drawn between Paul and Philemon, in reference to the measure, or degree of attached feeling towards Onesimus. Paul says, that Onesimus is now a brother—to whom? To Philemon, and to Paul, too—though he calls him his son: but he is a beloved brother—beloved to whom?—”to me;” yes, and “unto thee.” But, in what degree, is he beloved to them respectively? Why, “especially.” But, especially what? Is it especially beloved, or is it especially a brother? Which word does the adverb especially, qualify?—beloved or brother? Most assuredly it cannot qualify brother; but it can, and does qualify beloved: he is beloved in a high degree—”especially to me;” but in a higher degree—”how much more to thee”—beloved, “both in the flesh, and in the Lord.” Clearly, if the thing were possible, that the adverb, especially, and the adverbial phrase, how much more, could qualify brother, then we would have the ludicrous idea presented, of Onesimus being a brother germane to Paul, and to Philemon, both; but that he was more a brother to Philemon, than to Paul!!”
There are two other objections to this novel criticism. It requires proof, that the older brother was a master, and the younger his slave, doulos. We doubt much whether any sane man will undertake to prove this historically. The other is, that the phrase, in the flesh, is the same in its meaning, with according to the flesh, which we have seen used in the epistle to the Colossians, written at the same time with that to Philemon, and sent by the same messengers. The sense is not equivocal—in the flesh, or according to the flesh, is simply, as to worldly affairs; and in the spirit, or in the Lord, or according to the spirit, as to spiritual affairs.
PROOF V.—Eph. vi. 5–9: “Servants, be obedient unto them who are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ, […] And ye masters, do the same things unto them; forbearing threatening,” &c..
Here, again, all the points are sustained. The relation exists. The duties of servants—slaves—are prescribed, in peremptory language. The distinction is noted between the master, as to the flesh—as to worldly affairs, and Christ, the spiritual master, and the general consistency of their service to both; and the reward of faithfulness is held out as a motive. The masters are commanded “to do the same things,” that is, to carry out the same spirit of good-will towards them, in gentle and kind treatment, which the servants are commanded to practice, and with an eye to their own accountability to God. Not one word can here be found encouraging servants to steal a horse, and run away; not one hint to masters about the sin of slavery, and the duty of repenting of it; and no command to manumit their slaves.
PROOF VI—1 Tim. vi. 1–5: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God, and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren, but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved—partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing; but doting about questions, and strifes of words; whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such, withdraw thyself.”
We are to bear in mind, that these are among the instructions given by an aged and experienced minister, under the spirit of inspiration, to a youth in the service. When we connect with this the very brief space covered by the whole epistle, we must conclude that Paul thought the subject of slavery a delicate and important one, that he could afford it so much space. Let us carefully analyze the context.
1. The persons spoken to, are slaves, douloi, and the correlate term, is despotoi—masters—absolute in authority over them.
2. But the spirit of inspiration, foreseeing the mischief which misguided zeal would occasion in the premises, and the twisting and wrenching of scripture, which would attend its efforts, has appended a phrase, which cuts off the possibility of plausible cavil. These douloi are under the yoke, a phrase which undoubtedly signifies bondage, deep and degraded slavery. This phrase does not again occur in the New Testament. The term yoke, however, does occur five times: rather the Greek word zugos. Matt. xi. 29, 30, it is used to signify that perpetual, perfect, absolute, unmurmuring, and everlasting subjection, under which God’s redeemed are laid to serve him. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me […] for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In Acts xv. 10, it signifies the slavery into which some labored to bring the Gentile converts, to the ceremonial law. “Why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” In Gal. v. 1, the same is called “a yoke of bondage.” In Rev. vi. 5, the word is correctly translated “a pair of balances.”
Let us inquire how the same Greek word is used, in the Septuagint—the old Greek translation of the Old Testament. Its meaning there may assist us here. If it is there a symbol of bondage—a type of slavery—it creates a strong presumption that it is so here, also.
It is used some fifteen times as the translation of a word that signifies a pair of balances, mozanayim, as in Lev. xix. 36: Job vi. 2, and xxxi. 6; Ps. lxii. 9; Prov. xi. 1, &c.
Again, it is used for Ol, a word that means the instrument by which oxen, or beasts of burden, draw. This is the natural and proper sense, as in Num. xix. 2: “Bring thee a red heifer […] upon which never came yoke.” So, Deut. xxi. 3; 1 Sam. vi. 7–10.
Again, it is used in the figurative sense as the symbol of oppressive bondage. Isa. ix. 4, and x. 27: “Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden;” “His burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed, because of the anointing.” And, xiv. 25, the same; and, xlvii. 6, “Upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.” So, Jer. ii. 20; and v. 5; and xxvii. 8, 11, 12; and xxviii. 2, 4, 11, 14; and xxx, 8; Lam. iii. 27; Ezek. xxxiv. 27.
Again, Isa, lviii. 6, the Greek word is used, for one which means the bows of the yoke, the bands, or whatever fastens the yoke on the neck; and thus is very suitable to express the idea of bondage. Thus, it is clear, that, to be under the yoke, is to be in a state of slavery. To have the yoke broken off, is to be made free. This will be admitted by all abolitionists: for they use Isa. lviii. 6, very constantly in their prayers, and, I suppose, in their arguments: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens; and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke.”
Mr. Moderator, it has been argued on this floor, from this very passage, that we are bound to manumit all the slaves. We have here an admission, which might have saved me the preceding labor. However, it is performed, and you have it. You have also the concession of the opposite side, that to be under the yoke, means to be slaves. Let us keep this. The douloi of whom Paul here speaks, our abolition brethren admit, were slaves. But then, what will we do with Isaiah? We will take his language for just what it means. And it is obvious, at a glance, that the prophet is correcting abuses, in the context referred to. As in the days of Nehemiah, the Hebrews had gradually disregarded the laws relative to the treatment of their slaves: they did not release at the end of the sixth year, nor even at the jubilee; they treated their Hebrew servants with rigor, contrary to law. These illegal exactions he would correct. The law forbid the Hebrew to make his brother serve with rigor; this, Isaiah would restore—”to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens.” The law ordered the servant to be set free, of whom the master had broken a tooth, or destroyed an eye: this, the prophet enforces, “and to let the oppressed—the broken, as it signifies, go free: that is, for his eye’s or his tooth’s sake. The law made all Hebrew slaves free at the end of six years; and here the prophet, like Nehemiah, enforces the law: “Let every man, who is entitled by the law, to his freedom, go free—break ye off every yoke.” To infer, from the general term, “every yoke,” that those who were not, by law, entitled to freedom, must obtain it, is not to interpret, but to pervert the prophet’s language. “Servants, obey your masters in all things,” is Paul’s injunction. No, to infer that they are to do things in obedience to man, which God has forbidden, is to pervert, and not to interpret Paul. So here, exactly. To infer, from the general term, every yoke, that the prophet means to oblige the Israelite to manumit those servants, whom the law expressly says he may keep as servants for ever, is not to explain Isaiah, but to pervert his obvious intent and meaning.
Again: the servants, in this context, are “exhorted to account their own masters worthy of all honor;” hence, according to the mode of interpretation we refute, the inference must be, that they should account these masters worthy of divine worship, for this is included in all honor; if every yoke necessarily means all slaves absolutely, and all absolutely are commanded, by Isaiah, to be set free; then, all honor must include divine reverence and adoration; and so, these slaves must worship their masters as gods. Such absurdities follow from neglect of that canon of interpretation, which sound criticism and common sense have, for ages, established and deemed incontrovertible, namely, that general terms must be subjected to such restrictions, as the nature of the subject, and the scope or drift of the writer require. In the present instance, by this rule, all honor, means all honor properly belonging to the relation of master and servant, as regulated by the laws and reputable usages of the community. So in Isaiah, all yokes, or every yoke, means every one, which, according to law, and reputable use, required to be broken off.
3. My third remark, on this passage of Timothy, is, that these douloi under the yoke, are exhorted to account their own masters worthy of all honor. The word for masters, is despotos—absolute lords. It was before stated, that this is a strong term. It is used in Simeon’s prayer, Luke ii. 29: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” In Acts iv. 24: “Lord, thou art God.” Rev. vi. 10: “How long, O Lord.” Jude iv.: “Denying the only Lord God,” &c.. The term properly signifies absolute lord or master, and this has its proper correlate in doulos, a slave. Now, these despots are to be accounted worthy of all honor; and Christian slaves are commanded not to despise their believing masters, but to serve them—to perform the part of slaves to them—douleuetosan. Here is the very contradictory—the exact opposite of abolitionism. Instead of contemning, and despising, and purloining, and running away from their masters, as some teach they ought, these slaves are exhorted, and commanded, to respect and love, to abide with, and faithfully to serve, their despots.
4. We may observe, again, the reason, enforcing this obedience and respectful demeanor. It is, that the religion of these Christian slaves may be commended to their masters, and to all men. Christianity is not a religion of violent civil and political revolutions: it never organizes a political party. Its interference—rude and violent interference with civil arrangements, would cause its author’s name to be blasphemed, and his doctrines to be abhorred and rejected.
5. Timothy is not left at liberty to teach, or not to teach, this doctrine of the subordination of slaves to their own masters. Paul lays it on him peremptorily. “These things teach and exhort.” It is quite possible, that the colonizationists, the only true and efficient friends of the colored race, have fallen behind the line of duty in this thing. For love of peace—from an earnest desire to avoid violent excitement, we have neglected Paul’s injunction. We have so held back, as to produce the impression upon the minds of the opponents of Paul’s doctrine, that we felt ourselves at a loss for anything to say in his defence. You have seen them in this Synod, daring, and braving, and bantering us.
“I am for peace, but when I speak,
For battle they are keen.”
6. The apostle points out the origin of the opposite teaching. And here, Mr. Moderator, I am sorry I shall be obliged to say some things extremely unpleasant—unpleasant to our brethren; hard for them to endure, because they will come with blistering severity—unpleasant for me to utter, only because of the pain they may occasion; the alienation of affection, the heart-burnings and jealousies that will probably follow: not because they are uncalled for and avoidable; they are become imperiously necessary. These very brethren have made the issue and forced us upon it. Faithfulness to God’s word will no longer tolerate mincing and mouthing with great caution. We must expound it according to its plain and obvious truth and meaning. If the two-edged sword meet with matter to cut, let it cut. If a festering ulcer fret and fatten on the body ecclesiastical, let the scalpel reach its core, and let the probe search its depth.
I say, then, that Paul finds the origin of abolitionism in the vanity, self-conceit, and puffed up pride of the human heart. “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words,” &c.. Now, to teach otherwise, is to teach other and opposite doctrine to that which he teaches, viz: that slaves should respect, love, and serve their own masters. If any man teach opposite to these doctrines—if he teach modern anti-slavery doctrines, such as abound in their publications and speeches, he is tetuiphotai—proud we have it translated. But I appeal to every Greek scholar, if it do not mean vain, puffed up, self-conceited. But I will not trust to Greek scholars only. I will refer you to better authority—1 Tim. iii. 6. Speaking of the qualifications of a bishop, Paul says, he must be, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride—tuiphotheis—he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The word in our text, then, translated “he is proud,” means such a lifting up with pride, as greatly endangers the person’s falling into the condemnation of the devil.
Again, 2 Tim. iii. 4; speaking of the last days—the days in which we live. Sir, and of the perilous times that shall come, he says, “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud […] traitors, heady, high-minded, tetuphomenoi.” Does not this mean, puffed up with vain pride and contemptible self-conceit?
This form of the word does not again occur in the New Testament; but nearly the same we have once. Matt. xii. 20, ” The smoking flax he will not quench,” tuphomenon linon. The primary idea is taken from the thick vapory smoke, which ascends from damp straw or weeds, when they are kindled with fire, but before the flame acquires strength to consume the foggy smoke. How forcibly does this describe the state of a self-conceited mind, which supposes itself the origin of light, and truth, and wisdom; and wrapping itself round and round in the fog and smoke of its own vanity, and ascending amid the cloud of its own incense, looks down with pity or with scorn, upon the ignorant world below!
The history of modern abolitionism, as to its origin, will be found to tally with this picture. A vigorous young man was refused promotion in the service of the American Colonization Society; he became offended, removed to a neighboring city, set up an opposition paper, and thus became the father of the modern anti-slavery movement. Who the mother may have been, is now difficult to tell. That honor may, perhaps, by a little slip of chronology, be conferred on Abby Kelly—at least, she is laboriously discharging the duties of a dry nurse.
7. Let us mark, in the last place, the consequences of a system of movements, which has such an origin. Could they be expected to be characterized by meekness, wisdom, humility, brotherly kindness, charity? As well might the lamb and kid claim paternity from the hyena and the wolf. But see what Paul says;—”Whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth.” To this charge, Mr. Moderator, our brethren of this Synod, on behalf of the original abolitionists, now the Garrison and Abby Kelly party, have pleaded guilty. They have distinctly admitted the correctness of Paul’s prophetic representations. But for themselves—and thus far we gladly admit the plea—and for the great body of abolitionists, they plead not guilty; and attempt to wash their hands of all the infidel party’s doings. But we must not—whilst we let off our brethren individually, and as ministers of God, from the weight of this charge—we must not, and we cannot, in faithfulness to Paul and to truth, let the abolition movement escape. We contend, that the infidel abolitionists—the no government men and women—the anarchical party, are the real, true, and only consistent anti-slavery men and women. They are the sound logicians, who have fearlessly followed out the fundamental principle of the movement. It were easy to show, that, if you once admit the simple relation of master and servant, irrespective of cruelty and abuses, to be, in itself, sinful, then you must deny the morality of a temporary existence of the relation; for if it is a sin, in itself, it must be so whether it be of long or short duration. Surely, if to hold a man in bondage for life—say thirty years—is a sin; to hold him ten, five, one year, is a sin too. But the relation of parent and child involves obligations of the latter to obey the former; hence, this, too, must be abandoned. Next goes that of husband and wife. Next, that of civil ruler and ruled. The original abolitionists have clearly seen, that all these relations are spoken of in the same Scriptures that speak of master and servant; and they have logically inferred, that the arguments which go to make the simple relation a sin, in the one, will equally nullify the whole. The infidel abolitionists are the sound reasoners in this case. We, therefore, hold the movement, as a whole, responsible for the horrible results which our brethren, here, deplore equally with us.
Thus, by six plain passages of Scripture, have I proved the fourth and fifth propositions, that the New Testament recognizes the existence of slavery; and that it prescribes the duties of servants to their masters, and masters to their servants; and yet, in no instance, does it forbid slaves to obey, or masters to retain their slaves: no text commands masters to liberate their slaves.
Let us now hear the conclusion of the whole Scriptural argument. I have demonstrated five distinct propositions in regard to the Old Testament, which see.
As to the New Testament, I have laid down two distinct general propositions, and supported them by five distinct subordinate ones:—
I. There is not a sentence in the New Testament which expressly forbids the having and the holding of a slave.
II. There is not a sentence in the New Testament which, by fair and just interpretation, according to the rules of grammar, gives ground for the logical inference that the simple holding of a slave or slaves is inconsistent with Christian profession and Christian character.
The five which go to prove the truth of these are:—
I. That the Greek word, doulos, usually translated servant, properly and commonly means a person held to service for life—a slave.
This was proved by a reference to all the cases of its occurrence in the New Testament, by classes; and by its contrast with the opposite term, eleutheros—this means free; doulos is the opposite, and must mean a slave.
II. With an inference. Paul advises servants to abide quietly in their condition. This he could not do, if the relation of master and servant were, in itself, a sin.
This was proved, and the inference was sustained.
III. With an inference. The New Testament recognizes some masters as good men—true and faithful believers. Therefore, the relation of master and slave may exist consistently with Christian character and profession.
IV. The New Testament recognizes the existence of slavery.
V. The New Testament prescribes the duties of servants to their masters, and of masters to their servants; enjoining obedience to the one, and kind treatment from the other.
As to these propositions, both relative to the Old and New Testaments, I am aware the practiced logician may take exception on the ground of form and arrangement: he may say, they are not always distinct—they overlap in some places. This is admitted, and was, perhaps, not wholly avoidable, in an argument designed not exclusively for the practiced reasoner, but mainly for the popular mind. Their truth, however, is the main matter; and to this I invite the attention of any who may choose to reply. I hope the brethren will not flinch. If any man chooses to controvert any one of them, let him do it; not by declaiming against the horrors of slavery, or the impiety of asserting that the Bible tolerates it. Let us not have popular appeals, but logical, scriptural argument. Let no man content himself with a tirade against my inferences; let him come up fearlessly to my propositions. If he can refute them, or any of them, then, he may shake public confidence in the inferences. Until then, they will stand unmoved in the solid judgment of thinking men, whatever excitement may be raised by pathetic appeals to human sympathy, and the weaknesses of men and women.
The inferences which I deduce from the preceding propositions are two, viz:—
I. According to the Bible, a man may stand in the relation of a master and hold slaves, and yet be a fair, and reputable, and consistent professor of the religion of the Bible.
II. There is no power on earth—no authority in the Church, to make the holding, or the not holding of a slave, a term of communion, or condition of admission to the privileges of the Church.
For cruelty to their slaves, in any form—for unkind and harsh treatment—for violent and abusive language, even masters may be censured, and if such offences against the Word of God be persevered in, may be suspended and ultimately excommunicated. But if a master treats his servants as the Bible commands him to do, there is no power in Church officers, to censure or excommunicate him, simply because he is a master—because he holds slaves. Hence, the Corollary: Whoever assume and exercise such power, do therein usurp the prerogative of the King and Head of the Church, and expose themselves to the penalties of such as lord it over God’s heritage. Such violate a plain precept of God’s word:—”Be not many masters;” “neither as being lords over God’s heritage.” They thrust themselves into the throne, and exercise a power which Christ has not granted to the officers of the Church; but which he has forbidden to be exercised. They become, themselves, the usurping despots, and make the freemen of God their slaves.
You see, Mr. Moderator, I proceed upon the principle, that the King of Zion, only, can settle the terms or conditions of admission to membership in his visible kingdom. If any man deny this, I cannot, here, enter into controversy with him. But, assuming this as indubitably true, the corollary follows, by an inevitable logical necessity.
What, then, have we gained by this whole argument? Simply this—that slavery—the relation of master and slave—not, you will observe, any violence; not any cruel treatment; but simply the relation, is tolerated in the Holy Scriptures. I have not said the Bible sanctions it—the Bible commands it, except in the case of forfeiture of liberty by crime. But the Bible, permits it: no where does it command masters to manumit their slaves.
This, Mr. Moderator, some of our brethren have found themselves too honest-hearted to deny. Some have fully admitted it. One excellent brother, seeing no room for denial, proceeded to argue thus against me, admitting the position I have elaborated, as true. What if the Bible of old did tolerate slavery? Does it hence follow that it must be tolerated now? The Bible tolerated polygamy. Here is a parallel case, and you will be obliged, by this argument, to tolerate this evil. The Hebrews held slaves, and were, notwithstanding, members of God’s Church; hence, it is inferred. Christians may hold slaves, and yet be, and continue, members of God’s Church. But, said our good brother, the temper of whose steel I understand, and can, therefore, make free to try its edge, if this argument is good for the toleration of slavery, it is also good for the toleration of polygamy. For, the Hebrews often had a plurality of wives and concubines, and were notwithstanding, accounted reputable members of the Church: consequently, Christians may indulge in polygamy, and yet occupy a reputable standing in the Church.
Such was the brother’s argument, as I think every one in the house must have understood it; and, I admit, it is very plausible, and would be conclusive, if he would prove one thing, viz: that polygamy is tolerated in the New Testament. Then, the cases would be exactly analogous. But exact similarity is indispensable to truth and safety, in an analogical argument: and, therefore, until it shall be shown, that polygamy existed, and was not forbidden, in the New Testament, as I have shown that slavery existed, and was not forbidden, the argument is not a tripod—it is only a biped; and a stool cannot stand on two legs. But this postulatum necessarium—this indispensable point, cannot be sustained; for it is the reverse of truth. The New Testament prohibits polygamy. Mark x. 6–8: “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so, then, they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Here is a prohibition, not only of causeless divorce, but of polygamy. A man can have but one wife, says the Redeemer; and this is the original law of man’s creation. Moses tolerated your departures from this law, “for the hardness of your hearts;” but now, the original law is placed before you. Accordingly, wherever the duties of husbands are spoken of, there can be found no recognition of two or more wives to one husband, ” for the husband is the head of the wife. Let every one so love his wife, even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Eph. v. 23. Always, one only, is implied. But again, 1 Tim. iii. 2, describing the qualifications of a bishop, Paul says, he must be “the husband of one wife;” and so, verse 12: “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife.” So, Tit i. 6: “The husband of one wife.” Now these show, that polygamy had been tolerated, but now is no longer to be tolerated. It is censured as a disqualification for any office in the Church. No matter what qualifications, otherwise, a man may have for office, if he have more than one wife, he is excluded from office. Now, let our anti-slavery brethren produce us a declaration of Our Redeemer, to this amount, that slavery, which Moses tolerated, is not any longer to be tolerated, that no slave holder shall be a deacon, a presbyter, or a bishop. Let them do this, and their analogical argument is good, and we will abandon the defence. Thus, we shut them in.
But some brethren in the opposition seem, to me, Mr. Moderator, to have gone somewhat farther towards giving up the ship. Did not your ear catch an argument to this amount? ” It is not slavery, in the abstract, we oppose; we disregard abstractions. We oppose slavery as it exists in these United States. This, we say, is a sin, and against this, we lift up our voice, and would have this Synod to condemn it. Let abstract relations go to the wall; but let us attack the actual, living reality.” Surely, sir, you heard this. Well, what is its concession? Does it not concede their inability to occupy a foothold on the ground of the civil, social relation of master and slave? Does it not concede that they are able only to assault the abuses, “the cruelty, and tyranny, and oppression, so often connected with it?” I think one prominent debater admitted, in so many words, that he would not, or could not, contend against the abstract relation; but, against the practical system, he felt able and determined to contend. Well, if they abandon the principle in dispute, let us, for a moment, look at the practical argument.
Allow me to state it in full logical form, namely: All things, which involve many great and crying moral evils, ought immediately to be abandoned and abolished.
But slavery, as it exists, and is practiced in the United States, involves many great and crying moral evils.
Therefore, slavery, as it exists, and is practiced in the United States, ought immediately to be abandoned and abolished.
Is not this the pith and substance of all their arguments? And who will point out one logical defect about it? Notwithstanding its plausibility, let us apply the argument to other social relations, and see how it will work.
Marriage, or the relation of husband and wife, as it exists, and is practiced in the United States, involves many great and crying moral evils; therefore, it ought to be immediately abandoned and abolished. Is not this identically the same argument? Does it not rest on the same major, namely, all things which involve great and crying moral evils, ought to be immediately abandoned and abolished. Do you not admit the expressed minor? Can any man deny, that husbands and wives, in the United States, do often quarrel and wrangle in the very matters of duty belonging to the relation? Is there no hellish jealousy, no open abuse of power, no violent treatment, no abandonment, no horrid murder committed? Clearly, the minor is true, and the conclusion inevitable.
Again: the parental relation, as it exists and is practiced in the United States, involves many great and crying moral evils; therefore, it ought to be immediately abandoned and abolished. Most assuredly, harsh, unkind treatment, violent beating, resulting in death sometimes—lessons of impurity, even to compulsory prostitution; and all the natural results—lying, swearing, stealing, quarrelling, drunkenness—all these are involved in, and brought about by the parental relation: the conclusion is logical, it ought to be immediately abolished.
Yet again, civil government, as it exists and is practiced in the United States, involves many great and crying moral evils; therefore, it ought to be immediately abandoned and abolished. Does any man deny the minor? Will any man say, there are no moral abominations practiced in our government and our politics? Are fraud and villainy no moral evils? Are perjury and falsehood no moral evils? Are slander and defamation no moral evils? Are stabbing, and dirking, and shooting men—with all the blasphemous language which usually accompanies such things—are these no moral evils? You see, sir, the conclusion closes in upon us: our civil government ought to be immediately abandoned and abolished.
Examine every one of these, and see whether there be any difference in their construction. Persuaded I am, no man, who understands what an argument is, will deny their exact similarity—their logical identity. But will our brethren take the conclusions? If not, will they be so good as to point out the fallacy, in their own argument? or so candid, as to admit its existence?
The fallacy here, is in one term, and springs from the accident. “All things which involve moral evils.” Slavery involves moral evils. Things may be involved necessarily or accidentally. Blue paper involves arsenic; not necessarily, but only contingently. Arsenic involves a poisonous quality; not contingently, but necessarily. Anger involves moral evil; not necessarily, but only contingently. “Be ye angry and sin not.” Murder involves moral evil; not contingently, but necessarily. Thus, you see, that before you can draw the conclusion, that our civil government ought to be immediately abolished, you must prove that it necessarily involves villainy, perjury, falsehood, &c.. But that these evils are separable, at least in a high degree, from it, must be admitted; and, therefore, the conclusion is not correct.
Before you can infer, that the parental relation ought to be immediately abolished, you must prove, that it necessarily involves the evils of cruelty, &c..
Before you can infer, that marriage ought to be immediately abolished, you must prove that it necessarily involves jealousy, angry contention, and murder.
Before you can infer, that slavery ought to be immediately abolished, you must prove that it necessarily involves many great and crying evils. If these are contingent and avoidable, the inference is illogical; it springs from the fallacy of the accident.
But there is another question to be met, before you can infer that our government ought to be abolished. Be it even conceded, that all the evils enumerated are not avoidable, that some cannot, in the present state of human nature, be entirely remedied; will it, even then, follow, that civil government ought to be abolished? Certainly not. The previous question is, would the abolition of our government, because some evils involved in it are unavoidable, be a removal of these evils and involve fewer? Unless this can be answered affirmatively, clearly, the inference against it is illogical. So, were it proved, that all the evils involved in American Slavery, are not avoidable, but some are necessarily involved; still it will not follow, that it ought at once to be abolished, unless it can be shown that this abolition would remove the remaining evils, and not introduce greater.
We have been told, the golden rule, “Love thy neighbor as thyself—all things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them,” makes directly against the very existence of slavery, and leads to immediate abolition. But the direct reverse of the latter is true. The Golden rule will not suffer immediate abolition, except in the special cases, where the slaves are, at the time, in a capacity and circumstances in which freedom would be a real benefit to them. To turn out slaves into the kind of freedom which they enjoy—rather which they endure and suffer in our Free States, of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York—with the habits, the education, the ignorance of men and business which they mostly labor under, would be to act a cruel part, directly in opposition to the Saviour’s golden rule. No man but a fool would wish to be thus set free. No, Mr. Moderator, the man in whose hands Divine Providence has thrown any of his fellow men in this form, is bound by every tie that can bind the soul of man, not to set them free, until he can do it to their advantage. He may feel them a heavy burden—a charge weighty and difficult to manage; but he is bound, by God’s authority, to sustain the charge, to endure the labor of caring for them, making them work, feeding, clothing, and instructing them, and thus fitting them for the use of freedom, and so leading on to that result, whenever it can be done consistently with the highest interests of the community. The opposite doctrine is radicalism, and leads to the subversion of all order and law. We have a sample of it often in the treatment of children. Some parents take no control over their children. They are too indolent, and have too little conscience to feel the obligation to rule their household. Their children enjoy a vast amount of liberty—that is, of reckless criminality—freedom from all restraints; and, of course, they become the pests of society, and, ultimately the inmates of penitentiaries and candidates for the gibbet. But God’s law requires and commands parents to rule their children. They have no right to set them free, until they are first educated and fitted to provide for themselves. So masters are bound to keep their servants in bondage, until they are fitted to be free. Immediate abolition would be, in almost all cases, a gross violation of the universal law of love.
But let us return to the conclusion furnished by the Scriptural argument. Slavery is tolerated in the Bible—it is not made a term of communion by the King of Zion, consequently, the officers of his Church have no power to make it a term of communion. Here is the doctrine for which we contend; and, by this we hope to save this fair land from being deluged in the blood of its inhabitants, and this free nation from the chains of servitude to European despots.
Should the opposite doctrine prevail—should the holding of slaves be made a crime, by the officers of the Churches, the non-slaveholding States, should they break communion with their Southern brethren, and denounce them as guilty of damning sin, as kidnappers and menstealers, as worthy of the penitentiary, as has been done here in this Synod—should this doctrine and this practice prevail throughout the Northern States, can any man be so blind as not to see, that a dissolution of the Union—a civil, and, perhaps, servile war, must be the consequence? Such a war as the world has never witnessed—a war of uncompromising extermination, that will lay waste this vast territory, and leave the despotic powers of Europe exulting over the fall of the Republic? All the elements are here—the physical, the intellectual, the moral—elements for a strife, different, in the horribleness of its character, from anything the world has ever witnessed. Let the spirits of these men be only once aroused; let their feelings be only once chafed up to the fighting point; let the irritation only be kept up until the North and the South come to blows on the question of slavery, their “contentions will be as the bars of a castle,” broken only with the last pulsations of a nation’s heart.
[FROM THE RICHMOND EXAMINER.]
THE NEGRO RACE.—In the able and learned lectures of Mr. Gliddon, our attention was particularly excited by his accounts of the antiquities in the Egyptian province of Monroe, because those antiquities constitute the most striking illustration of negro civilization which history or archæology can produce. Monroe was a country on the Nile, above Egypt. When the last named and most famous seat of ancient civilization was overrun by Cambyses and other cruel conquerors, a portion of the inhabitants retreated up the river and established themselves in Monroe. Hither they transported their old forms of government, of worship, their old arts, and their antique customs. They built temples and excavated tombs; they erected obelisks, they covered them with inscriptions in their hieroglyphic alphabet, and the inscriptions and sculptures—which date with the first generations of this colony—are found to be as perfect as those of the Lower Nile. But the colony was cut off from the body of the nation by intervening deserts and fierce nomads. The number of emigrants was never increased from the old races. Necessarily, the men were in a great disproportion to the women, and they were forced to take their wives and concubines from the captives which they made in their wars with the surrounding and barbarous tribes. Now the Egyptians were of a different race, but these tribes were negroes. Hence, the second generation of the Monroeites were mulattoes. The process of amalgamation continued. They formed harems from their sable purchases: so that the third generation were Samboes. The next were still nearer the negro type, and the work proceeded until all traces of Caucasian blood disappeared, and Monroe was inhabited by a pure black race, like that of the vast regions on its boundaries.
The most interesting circumstance connected with these facts, is, the continued deterioration in the sculptural remains of the country, and their final cessation with the disappearance of the white blood. The inscriptions and portraits of the original emigrants, as before said, are equal to those of the old Empire. But, in those of their mulatto children, their is a great difference. The sculpture is clumsy—the inscriptions in bad grammar and in worse orthography. The next are inferior even to those; and, in the succeeding generation, it becomes evident that they wholly lost the language, and, no longer understood what they wrote. The inscriptions are nothing more than miserable copies from the earlier works: so that on a tomb that is evidently of a late date, will be found a badly executed copy of the inscription on the tomb of its owner’s great grandfather—even the date and name being unaltered. After that they lost even the power of intelligible imitations, and a few scrawls on uncarved rocks are the latest remains that are found. The Monroeites then cease to be Egyptians even in name and tradition. They have forgotten language, government, religion, and arts. They have no buildings, and no enduring tombs. The province is no longer distinguishable from the country around. The race has relapsed into absolute negro barbarism.
This illustration of their incapacity, not merely to attain civilization, but even to retain it when given them, is a type of the universal history of the negro race. The world has their history in its hands for the space of nearly five thousand years. Negroes appear on the sculpture of old Egypt. But in that multitudinous country they were utterly valueless. The Egyptians considered them too stupid to be worth teaching even agricultural drudgery; and we only see their figures when led as captives in the triumph of some belligerent Pharaoh. From that time until this, the negro has never appeared, save in three forms of existence: captivity barbarism, or slavery. The last is the highest form of social life of which experience, at least, permits us to suppose him capable.
Circumstance, could never have kept down any race for five thousand years, which were capable of rising into civilization. All the white races have been, in time, barbarians; but all its branches have, in time, left it, and attained their natural grades of civilization. But the negro has never left the lowest type of barbarism, save for captivity or slavery. In the vast continent of Africa they have always existed in millions, with no extraordinary circumstances to depress them. But, then, we never hear of them, save as cannibal savages. No such thing as a negro government has ever existed in Africa. Petty kingdoms have existed, and do exist: some with so called cities like Timbuctoo. But the half-clad rulers, in all these kingdoms, are Moors or Fellaks, a branch of the Arab family, and the people of Timbuctoo are Arabs and Fellaks. The Republic of Liberia can scarcely be called an exception, since it is watched and guided by the Colonization Society, supported on all sides by England and by other governments, is re-enforced every year from the United States, and is governed by Mulattoes. Even, with all this assistance, it exhibits evidences of decay, and of relapsing into the characteristic barbarism of the neighboring native tribes. Dr. Mechlin, who lived in Liberia five years, and, for part of that time, was governor of that colony, has declared the experiment to be a failure; and died in Mobile, with the declaration, that he saw no hope of ever rendering the negro race fit for self-government. On this continent, they have received the most signal trial. They were protected by civilized States. They possessed the richest islands on the globe, with the richest commerce at their doors. The result is very notorious. Famine ravages, often, that fertile land. Petty but desolating wars occupy its sections. The only government which subsists, is that of a bloody and stupid beast, who is emperor over one corner of the island. Off from the seaports, the people have lost arts, religion, industry, decency—have relapsed into absolute cannibalism. Dr. Nott states, on the authority of an eye witness, that, on two occasions, while travelling in Hayti, he saw the negroes roasting and eating their Dominican prisoners by the road-side.
In the free States of this country, the negro race can reach every advantage which the white man possesses. Many of them are educated. But where have they evinced capacity to make use of our civilization? Where have their best classes achieved a higher destiny than that of tavern waiters? Where have their masses risen above the very lowest level of the worst population? Where has any individual even, attained not to say distinction, but respectability in any profession? In England, many negroes who were supposed to exhibit talent when children, have been subjected to the hot bed process of culture, and two or three of these have been brought up to the mark of writing verses. These have been collated into a volume, and Bishop Gregoire, of Blois, has written a stupid book to prove, therefrom, the intellectual equality of the race. But any one who will take the trouble to read these verses will find them, for the most part, a doggerel too poor to be called verses at all; and, whenever a copy occurs, of sufficient merit for the poet’s corner of the smallest kind of country newspaper, its author is sure to turn out a mulatto or quadroon, when the accompanying biographies are referred to.
By the history of the negro race, it is, therefore, incontrovertibly proven, that they are utterly incapable of civilization or development beyond the point of slavery. When the starved barbarian is taken from the wilds of Africa, clothed well, fed well, and associated with the whites, he quickly acquires a certain degree of health, strength, and intelligence. He will quickly ape the white. But there his development ceases. Beyond that, in no instance, has he ever gone. Without amalgamation with the white race, he remains where he begun, and sinks so soon a0 the superior influence is withdrawn.
These phenomena are peculiar to the black race. None of the diversified families of the white race exhibit them. To which one of the white races could the advantages be given which lie before the negroes of the United States, without an immediate operation and proof of its talent and its intellectual superiority, in hundreds and thousands of instances? All the white races have been civilized and developed in time, and where circumstances have thrown them back into barbarism, they all exhibit capacity for civilization. But the exact contrary is the characteristic of the negro race.
What deduction is to be drawn from these facts? The plain and inevitable deduction is this: that the negro is a totally distinct race from the Caucasian; that the negro is the connecting link between man and the brute creation; that the negro race is designed by nature to be subordinate to and dependent upon the white or superior races: that the negro race is the result of a different act of the Creator from that which originated the Caucasian, and is, consequently, beyond the scope of those abstract axioms which declare that all races are of one blood and have equal rights natural, social, and political.
[FROM A CORRESPONDENT OF THE NASHVILLE AND LOUISVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE.]
“BIBLE DEFENCE OF SLAVERY, OR ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE NEGRO RACE.”—This is one among the multitudinous publications of the day that is richly worthy of a careful perusal by every lover of truth and justice, reason and religion, virtue and humanity. It is what its title imports, a veritable, impregnable defense and vindication of the South, her rights and peculiar policy and institutions. It is no “catch penny,” harbingered by an ignis futuus of a murky imagination and a baser cupidity, for purposes of speculation, but a work of masterly ability and most profound research. This peculiarity, of itself, apart from its relevant connection with a mooted and vexed question, would render it a valuable work to the scholar and divine. But, when we take into consideration its direct bearing upon the absorbing topic of the day, and that it is the production of the ablest divines and profoundest scholars of which the great North, in all her pride and glory, can boast, its intrinsic worth, then, becomes magnified a thousand fold. Its authors, in their patient researches after truth, have explored the mighty ocean of biblical, scientific, and historical lore, in all their heights and depths, lengths and breadths, and planted themselves upon a rock not less firm and immovable than the adamant of ages. Their own adverse education and preconceived opinions vanished before the splendor of their investigations, whilst the sordid vampires of fanaticism and political incendiarism are made to coil their serpent heads, and seek refuge in their native dens and caves of pauperism and degradation whence they come, and where they, unregenerated, belong as a legitimate right.
Charleston, June 16, 1851.
MR. W. S. BROWN,—I have your acceptable favor of the 27th ult. before me. Since I wrote last, the volume you sent me has come to hand, and I have read it with much attention and great gratification. It is an able and comprehensive defence of our Institutions, and I think it will be received every where with congratulation. I have thoroughly examined the book, and regard it as one of the best productions which has ever appeared in defence of the South.
Your book is a favorite in our family, and is, at present, going the rounds, for perusal, by every member.
Very truly and fraternally yours,
Ed. of the Southern Home Journal.
[FROM “THE MONROE DEMOCRAT.”]
BIBLE DEFENCE OF SLAVERY.—This is the title of a work just issued from the press, by W. S. Brown, M.D., Glasgow, Ky. The author maintains that the negroes are the descendants of Ham, and, in fulfillment of the decree of Heaven, have been, in every age, servants of servants; that they are, mentally, morally, and physically constituted to be such, and will be servants in all time to come. These positions are maintained by an appeal to history, to Revelation, and to the character of the negroes. Time will not permit us to enter into any thing like a review of this work, but we recommend it to the attention of every man who may feel an interest (as all necessarily must) in the all-engrossing subjects of slavery and abolitionism.
Let every Southern man read this book, and make up his mind whether slavery is an evil which he should endeavor to extirpate or not. If he decides that it is, then, let him aquiesce in Northern policy, and more, let him openly advocate it, as honest men at the North do, on the ground that it will end in the abolition of slavery. If, on the contrary, he come to the conclusion that slavery is not an evil, but has the sanction of high Heaven, (as this work most clearly shows) and, that it has been a blessing and not a curse, then, let him fearlessly defend his rights, and wage open and manly war upon the policy adopted, expressly and avowedly, for the purpose of overthrowing Southern Institutions.
This book does not touch upon party questions as they exist at the south. It is simply what it purports to be, a defence of slavery, and a very able one too. We hope it will be universally read at the South, and serve, at least, to create harmony of views among southern people. We have little idea that it will be read at the North. A fanaticism that discards the Bible, because it recognizes slavery, is blind and deaf to all that can be said on the subject. Buy the book and read it. Patronize those who defend your Institutions.
[THE FOLLOWING IS FROM SENATOR JAS. E. HARRISON, OF MISSISSIPPI.]
THE undersigned takes pleasure in recommending “Bible Defence of Slavery,” as being the best production on the subject with which he is acquainted. The whole subject is treated in a most masterly manner; exhibiting great research and learning, as well as superior biblical knowledge. The entire work is replete with interest. Every honest inquirer after truth should read it.
JAS. E. HARRISON.
Aberdeen, Miss. Nov. 28th. 1851.
Another scientific gentleman of distinction, in noticing the book, says of it: “It is a rare work, and every man, in the South especially, ought to peruse its pages. Many authors have written upon this subject, in times past, but we are convinced that it never has been handled so effectually and learnedly, as in this work. The Authors are clear, lucid, and forcible. Their arguments are unique, grand, and weighty. In a word, they prove themselves superior Scholars, and men of great ability, in every step they take in the defence of this great subject.”
A CHANCE TO DO GOOD
THE VEXED QUESTION SETTLED—BIBLE DEFENCE OF SLAVERY. The work bearing the above title we have carefully examined, and can, unhesitatingly, say, that it is the ablest work of the kind we ever saw and, so far as we have seen or heard, it is without an equal in the English language. Being clearly and fairly based upon the Scriptures, and confirmed by undoubted facts connected with our race, since the flood, it is, therefore, a work of immense value to all persons who wish to know the truth upon the subject of slavery. And particularly so with the people of the South and West, whose liberty, interests, and rights are now being insulted by European and Northern interference.
W. D. JOURDAN,
THO. H. M. WINN.
W. K. WINN,
A. K. BAGBY,
B. F. DANIS.
H. D. JETT. M.D.
Glasgow, Ky., March 8, 1851.
The above work contains nearly six hundred pages octavo, neatly printed and substantially bound, and it is the determination of the publisher to place a copy in the hands of every genuine friend of truth and reason, of the South and her rights. There can be no question of the fact, that the well-being of our race, the peace and prosperity of our common country; the protection of our dearest interests of life and property, and the security of our firesides and family altars, are more intimately connected with the general circulation of this work among the masses, than with that of any other in existence. Its tendency is, not to engender strife or foster error and fanaticism, but to inculcate truth, and give security and permanency to those institutions and relations of life which have been wisely ordained by God, sanctioned by all human experience, and guarantied by the constitution of our common country—the Magna Charta of freedom and human rights. Let, then, every friend of his country and of his God, of the South and her rights, of truth and reason of protection to life and property, contribute his mite to its support.
W. S. BROWN, Publisher.
Jan 4, 1852 Glasgow, Ky.
[FROM THE “SOUTHERN KENTUCKY ARGUS.”]
BIBLE DEFENCE OF SLAVERY.—This is the title of the work of which we made bare mention in our last, and promised a more extended notice this week. It is not possible that positions justified by biblical argument, or reasoning deduced from profane history, can be rendered as clear and conclusive as demonstrations in mathematics; but the authors let in upon their subject, floods of light, which must have very decided and salutary influence upon public sentiment in reference to the “peculiar institution” of the South. On examination of this book—such an one as the multiplicity and arduousness of business engagements would allow—we have found it to be, indeed, what its title imports, a Defence of Slavery. It is not, exclusively, drawn from the Holy Scriptures, however. The writers, in the light of many pertinent circumstances, apart from it, as well as in that of the bible, carefully examine the subject of slavery, as it relates to the negro race, and gives a more satisfactory account of the origin of black men—of their color—of the causes of their state of servitude, and traces of their character, as well in ancient as in modem times, dealing en passant, many pungent and severe strictures upon that pseudo system of philanthropy, or fanaticism, yclept modem abolitionism, which threatens dissolution to the cherished Union of the American States. Finally, the authors propose a plan of national colonization, that is deemed adequate to the removal of the entire free black population of the United States, and all that may hereafter become free, in a manner harmonizing with the well-being of both races. Such is a succinct statement of the main features of the book.
That the authors are men of the North, had been reared and educated there, in the very heart of a community of abolitionists, and, under the strong influence of its deep-rooted and bitter prejudices against slavery, are considerations that must go a great way in recommending any views they may set up in tolerating or justifying the institution. Their opinions can but be regarded weighty—infinitely more entitled to respectful consideration than would be opinions formed in harmony with the prevailing prejudices under which the authors were educated. The conflict of sentiment with the precepts of early training, is the strongest kind of evidence of its soundness, and of the sincerity of the writers promulgating it. These circumstances attending the publication of “Bible Defence of Slavery,” must, therefore, have the double effect to insure for it a wide and increasing demand, and, per consequence, as the disquisition is very able and convincing, produce a very decided and marked effect upon the popular mind in relation to its subject matter. And we commend it into the hands of all reading and reflecting men everywhere.
 Although this may be true to a limited extent, as is clearly established by evidence of an unquestionable character, yet our desires for the success of this colony, leads us to hope for better results. The Colony of Liberia, affording, as it does, an assylum for the refuse free black population of the United States, is deserving of the support and prayers of every Christian philanthropist in Christendom.—EDITOR.
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