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CHAPTER V. THE OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENT.
§ 1. Let us appeal, then, to the Bible, to learn the moral character of Domestic Slavery. It will be well for both writer and readers, if they recall the reverence and honesty with which such a book should be approached; if the one is cautious to permit no party zeal, pride of opinion, or love of hypothesis, to tempt him to warp the sacred text to any thing inconsistent with its own truth and purity; and if the others are equally careful to receive its teachings with impartiality and docility.

That no misunderstanding may attend the discussion, we must define at the outset, what we mean by that domestic slavery which we defend. By this relation we understand the obligations of the slave to labour for life, without his own consent, for the master. The thing, therefore, in which the master has property or ownership, is the involuntary labour of the slave, and not his personality, or his soul. A certain right of control over the person of the slave is incidentally given to the master by his property in the bondsman's labour; that is, so much control as is necessary to enable him to secure the labour which belongs to him. But we repeat, it is not the person, but the labour of the slave, which is the master's property. This is substantially the definition 95 of Paley, an enemy of slavery; and it is obviously correct; it expresses the general result of the laws of all modern nations which have had slaves, touching that relation.

The abolitionists clamorously insist upon a different definition, which makes the master claim property in the very personality of the slave, in his soul, in the highest capacities which connect him with his God, and in his very being. According to this description, slavery converts the responsible, rational being, into a mere thing, a chattel, a commodity, by converting him into mere property of another man. The motive of this preposterous definition is obvious enough. One of the most astute of American Abolitionists has been candid enough to avow it, saying that if our definition be adopted, there is an end of the discussion; for every logician must see that it is absurd to declare the mere ownership of one man's labour by another, an essential and necessary moral wrong; which is the character it suits them to ascribe to slavery. Their object is so to represent it, that it shall appear a self-evident injustice, and the apologist shall be overwhelmed and silenced by a foregone prejudice. For, if it gave a literal ownership in the person and being of the slave, which can belong to none but the Creator; if it made not only his labour, but his conscience, the property of the master, destroying his moral responsibility, it would indeed dehumanize him, and would be an iniquity indefensible by any fair mind. The trick of securing the victory before the contest begins, by raising a false issue, is not very novel. The utter absurdity of applying such a definition to African slavery in America, appears from this: 96 that it is contrary to the whole tenour of the legislation which establishes and regulates the institution among us. These laws, first, legislate for the slave, as to his own conduct, as a responsible human being, govern him by precepts sanctioned by rewards and punishments, and require of him intelligent obedience to the same moral rules which are enforced on his master. Second, the laws assign to the master precisely that amount of control over his slave's person which they suppose (whether correctly or not is no concern to us in this argument) to be incidental to his property in the servant's labour; and no more. Third, they protect the person, being, and moral responsibility of the slave against his own master. If the master kills him, it is murder, by the law. The slave's Sabbath is secured to him by the law. If the master force him to commit a crime, the former is held by the law guilty therefor, as accessory before the fact: and the latter is also held to his personal responsibility for it. And last, the law treats the slave so fully as a rational and responsible human, that it even bestows on him the right of litigation against his own master, in one case. Any African setting up a plea of unlawful detention in bondage, against his master, is allowed to sue in forma pauperis, in the courts of law. How could the fact be more clearly defined, that the institution of slavery treats the slave as a rational human being, and gives the master property in nothing but his labour?

Yet Senator Sumner points triumphantly to the words of the South Carolina statute as proving that slavery makes the servant a mere thing; and all smaller Abolitionists have caught up his special pleading. The 97 cane of Mr. Brooks having given him, as it seems, a special taste for things South Carolinian, he hunted up a clause where the law of that State declares, that slaves and their children shall be held in every respect as "chattels personal." This proves beyond a peradventure, he says, that the law reduces the slave to a mere thing, as though he were an ox or bureau. Yet, a hundred other laws of South Carolina treat him as a responsible man! Any honest mind will perceive the explanation, at once; which is, that the lawyers of South Carolina were not aiming, in this law, to settle the question of the moral nature of slavery; but to decide whether property in a slave should be regarded as pertaining to the real, or to the personal estate of a citizen; and in deciding it, they very properly had more regard to legal perspicuity than to ethical accuracy of definition. Let us suppose that among the statutes of the British Parliament, there should be one (as there very probably is) declaring that when a master mechanic dies, having an indentured apprentice, the unfinished term of service of this apprentice should be held as belonging to his personal effects, and should be so used for the benefit of his heirs or creditors. And let us suppose, farther, that in defining this fact, some such words as these should be used: that said apprentice should be held in every respect, as pertaining unto the personal estate of the deceased. Then, the same logic would prove that the British laws reduce an apprentice to a mere chattel! But we have a better illustration of its folly. God says, Genesis xxvi. 14: "Isaac had possessions of flocks, and herds, and servants." Leviticus, xxv. 45: "Of the children of strangers 98 that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy: ... and they shall be your possession." Exodus, xxi. 20, 21: "And if a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand: he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Does God's law dehumanize the slave, and reduce him to a mere chattel? We repeat, then, that, according to the slave institutions of the Southern States, it is only the labour of the servant which belongs to the master, and is treated as property.

Let it be understood, then, from the beginning, that we are not inquiring into the moral character of that thing which Abolitionists paint as domestic slavery; a something horrid with the groans of oppressed innocence and the clang of unrighteous stripes; a something which aims to reduce a man to a brute, and denies him his natural right to serve his Creator and save his soul. We begin by asserting that these things, if they ever exist in fact, are not domestic slavery, but the abuses of it. We are not the apologists of them: we no more defend them than do the Abolitionists. In this discussion we have nothing more to do with them, except to express, once for all, our strong abhorrence and reprobation of all such unlawful abuses of a lawful institution. It has been a favourite trick of our opponents, to represent the abuses of the relation so prominently and odiously, that the defender of slavery shall be held up to the abhorrence of the publick as the defender of the abuses. Especially if he is a clergyman, (and necessity has thrown our side of this discussion very much into the hands of Southern clergymen,) do 99 they raise a holy clamour, representing the unnatural wickedness of a desecrating of the sacred office to apologize for such iniquities. Their object is to raise a prejudice against us in advance, which will deprive us of a dispassionate and just hearing. With all dispassionate and just readers, for whom alone we write, it should be enough for us to repeat emphatically, that it is only the relation of domestic slavery as authorized by God, that we defend; and not the abuses it has received at the hands of wicked men. The parental authority, and civil government, and the operations of God's own church, are often abused also. The intelligent reader, and especially the intelligent Englishman, will remember how triumphantly this shallow sophism of arguing against a thing from its abuses, is exposed by Burke, in his reply to Bolingbroke's posthumous assault on Christianity, the ironical "Defence of Natural Society." Such argument from abuses can only be just when it is shown that the wrongs pointed out are not incidental abuses, but legitimate, and necessary, and uniform consequences of the institution itself. But that the incidental evils of African slavery among us are not such, is abundantly proved by the simple fact, that thousands of masters held slaves among us, and yet perpetrated none of these abuses. About the relative frequency of such abuses, we shall have something to say at a subsequent place. Enough now to point to the fact, that by the vast majority of our servants they were unfelt, so that they cannot be necessary parts of the system.

We conclude these preliminary definitions by requesting the reader to note well what is the moral character 100 which we understand the Bible to assign to slavery. We do not admit that it is a thing in itself evil, but yet attended with such circumstances, in the eyes of many merciful and humane masters who have found themselves by inheritance unwilling slaveholders, that a change would be attended with still greater mischiefs: so that they are excusable for its continuance for a time. This is the view of many moderate and kind anti-slavery men; it is not ours. We do not hold that slaveholding is only justified as belonging to that class of wrongs, to which the laws of Moses assigned polygamy, which ought not to have been done, but which, when done, cannot be undone, except by the perpetrating of a greater wrong. We assert that the Bible teaches that the relation of master and slave is perfectly lawful and right, provided only its duties be lawfully fulfilled. When we say this, we shall not be understood as saying that all men ought to live in this relation, notwithstanding the wide diversities of their condition and characters, or that it would be politic, or even right, for all. But we say that the relation is not sin in itself; but may be perfectly righteous and innocent, and not merely excusable. And we are free to confess that unless the Bible taught us this truth, we should be obliged to hold with the decided Abolitionists. We could never be of the number of those, who attempt to transmute the essential traits of moral right and wrong, at the demand of expediency, and to excuse the continuance of a radical injustice, by the inconvenience of repairing it. Duty belongs to man; consequences to God. 101
§ 2. The Curse upon Canaan.

The student of history perceives that, whatever may be the moral character of domestic slavery, it is one of the most hoary institutions of the human race. It has prevailed in every age and continent, and under patriarchal, monarchical, despotic, aristocratic, republican and democratic governments; while secular history gives us no account of its origin. But Sacred Writ informs us, and traces it to the earlier generations of the human family as refounded after the flood. In Genesis, ix. 20 to 27, we have the following brief narrative: "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine and was drunken: and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japhet took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him; and he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japhet and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."

In explanation of it, the following remarks may be made; on which the majority of sound expositors are agreed. In this transaction, Noah acts as an inspired prophet, and also as the divinely chosen, patriarchal 102 head of church and state, which were then confined to his one family. God's approbation attended his verdict, as is proved by the fact that the divine Providence has been executing it for many ages since Noah's death. Canaan probably concurred in the indecent and unnatural sin of Ham. As these early men were extremely ambitious of a numerous and prosperous posterity, Ham's punishment, and Canaan's, consisted in the mortification of hearing their descendants doomed to a degraded lot. These descendants were included in the punishment of their wicked progenitors on that well-known principle of God's providence, which "visits the sin of the fathers upon the children," and this again is explained by the fact, that depraved parents will naturally rear depraved children, unless God interfere by a grace to which they have no claim; so that not only punishment, but the sinfulness, becomes hereditary. Doubtless God's sentence, here pronounced by Noah, was based on his foresight of the fact, that Ham's posterity, like their father, would be peculiarly degraded in morals; as actual history testifies of them, so far as its voice extends.

Some have been weak enough to draw a justification of slavery from the fact, that the bondage of Canaan's posterity is predicted. This logic the Abolitionists have, of course, delighted to expose; it was easy to show, by sundry biblical instances, like that of the Assyrian employed to chastise Israel, and then punished by God for his own rapacity, that it is no justification of one's acts to find that God, in his inscrutable and holy workings, has overruled them to the effectuation of his own righteous, secret purposes. And our opponents, 103 with a treachery fully equal to the folly of our unwise advocates, usually represent this as nearly the whole amount, and the fair exemplar, of our biblical argument. Such is not the use we design to make of this important piece of history.

It does in the first place, what all secular history and speculations fail to do: it gives us the origin of domestic slavery. And we find that it was appointed by God as the punishment of, and remedy for (nearly all God's providential chastisements are also remedial) the peculiar moral degradation of a part of the race. God here ordains that this depravity shall find its necessary restraints, and the welfare of the more virtuous its safeguard against the depraved, by the bondage of the latter. He introduces that feature of political society, for the justice of which we shall have occasion to contend; that although men have all this trait of natural equality that they are children of a common father, and sharers of a common humanity, and subjects of the same law of love; yet, in practice, they shall be subject to social inequalities determined by their own characters, and their fitness or unfitness to use privileges for their own and their neighbours' good.

But second: this narrative gives us more than a prediction. The words of Noah are not a mere prophecy; they are a verdict, a moral sentence pronounced upon conduct, by competent authority; that verdict sanctioned by God. Now if the verdict is righteous, and the execution blessed by God, it can hardly be, that the executioners of it are guilty for putting it in effect. Can one believe that the descendants of Shem and Japhet, with this sentence in their hands, and the divine 104 commendation just bestowed on them for acting unlike Ham, could have reasonably felt guilty for accepting that control over their guilty fellow-men which God himself had assigned? For the vital difference between the case of the Assyrians, when their guilty ambition was permissively employed by God to punish the back-slidings of his own people, and the case of Shem and Japhet, is this: The Assyrians were cursed by God for doing their predicted work, in the very sentence; Shem and Japhet were blessed by Him in the very verdict which assigns Canaan as their servant.

It may be that we should find little difficulty in tracing the lineage of the present Africans to Ham. But this inquiry is not essential to our argument. If one case is found where God has authorized domestic slavery, the principle is settled, that it cannot necessarily be sin in itself. It is proper that we should say, in conclusion, that this passage of Scripture is not regarded, nor advanced, as of prime force and importance in this argument. Others more decisive will follow.
§ 3. Abraham a Slaveholder.

The references to the bondsmen of Abraham and his son Isaac are the following: Genesis xiv., 14, "And when Abram heard that his brother," (or relative, viz.: Lot,) "was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night," etc. Genesis xvii., 10, etc., "This is my covenant which ye shall keep, between me and you, and thy seed 105 after thee; every man-child among you shall be circumcised," ... v. 12, "And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man-child in your generations; he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house and he that is bought with thy money must needs be circumcised," and v. 26, 27, "In the self-same day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son; and all the men of his house, born in the house and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him." Genesis xviii. 17 to 19, "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do: seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment: that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Genesis xx. 14, "And Abimelech" (seeking reconciliation with Abraham for the wrong intended to Sarah his wife, at God's command,) "took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife." Genesis xxiv. 35, Eliezer, when seeking a wife for Isaac, says: "And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he is become great; and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and camels and asses." And Genesis, xxvi. 12, 14, it is said of Isaac: "And the Lord blessed him. And the man waxed great and went forward and grew until he became very great. For he 106 had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants."

It appears then, that Abraham, "the friend of God," and Isaac, the most holy and spotless of the Patriarchs, were great slaveholders. But before pursuing the argument farther, it may be prudent to remove the quibble that these servants were not slaves, in the sense of our African slaves, but only humble clansmen, retainers, or hirelings. At least one writer would prove this by the fact that Abraham did not fear to arm three hundred and eighteen of them. For had they been real slaves, says he, they would not have continued so one day after getting arms in their hands. The retort most appropriate would be, that Abraham was not afraid to arm his slaves, though actual slaves, because there were no saucy, meddling, Yankee Abolitionists in those days to preach insubordination and make ill blood between masters and servants. But, more seriously, what shall we say of the professed reasoning which assumes the very point in debate? viz.: that slavery is an evil; and thence infers the conclusion that these could not be slaves, because they did not seize the power to burst the bonds of such an evil when placed in their reach? If their bondage was not evil, which is the question sub judice in this debate, then they would not necessarily desire to burst from it. And that these were actual slaves is clear, because the words for bondsman and bondsmaid here used are, in every case, ebed and shippheh, which are defined by every honest lexicon to mean actual slaves, which are used in that sense alone everywhere else in the Hebrew Scriptures, which are contrasted in the book of Leviticus with the "hired servant," or sasir. 107 A part of these servants were bought from foreigners with Abraham's money. They are represented along with his very sheep and oxen as his property.

Abraham and Isaac then, were all their lives literal slaveholders, on a large scale. Now we do not argue that this fact alone, coupled with the other, that they were good men, proves that slaveholding is innocent. The Abolitionists, fond of an easy victory on a false issue, always hasten to represent this as the amount of the argument; and then, their reply is obvious—that the example of truly good men is no rule of ethics for us, unless supported by the expressed or implied approval of God; for good men are imperfect, and many of their errors are recorded, by the honesty of the sacred writers, for our warning—that Abraham himself was guilty of falsehood to Abimelech, King of Gerar, and especially that he was betrayed into the gross sin of concubinage. Hence they say, Abraham's example no more proves slaveholding innocent than concubinage. We reply, that all these remarks, except the last, are perfectly just; but they have no application to the case, because God's sanction of Abraham's example as a slaveholder is expressly found in the narrative. The cases of slaveholding and concubinage are totally different. First, because the origin of the latter sin in the accursed lineage of Cain, and the act of the murderer Lamech, is impliedly stamped with God's condemnation, (Genesis iv. 19,) whereas the origin of domestic slavery is given us in the righteous sentence of God for depraved conduct. Second, Abraham fell into the sins of falsehood and concubinage but once, under violent temptation. There is no evidence that 108 either he or Isaac ever practised them again, but both lived and died without one recorded qualm of conscience, in the practice of slaveholding, and made it one of their last acts, before passing to the judgment-seat of God, to bequeath their slaves, as property, to their heirs. Third, in Genesis xxiv. 35, and xxvi. 12, 14, it is represented that the bestowal of a multitude of slaves on Abraham and Isaac was a mark of the divine favour. In the first passage, it is indeed only the pious Eliezer who states this; but in the second, it is stated of Isaac by the sacred narrative itself. Now to represent God as blessing a favoured saint by bestowing providentially gifts which it is a sin to have, implicates God in the sin. Fourth, in Genesis xviii. 17 to 19, Jehovah expresses his love for Abraham, approbation for his character, and purpose to exalt him as a blessing to all nations, because "He knew him that he would command his children and his household after him, that they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment." What was this "household," distinct from his children? Hebrew usage and the context answer with one voice, his slaves. Then, God's high favour to Abraham was explained by the fact that he foresaw the patriarch would govern his children and slaves religiously and righteously. Now we ask emphatically, does a holy God bless a misguided and sinning man for the manner in which he perseveres in the sinful practice, be that manner what it may? If the relation of master and slave were sinful, would not the virtue of terminating the relation at once, so far transcend the questionable credit of using it to make the wronged and oppressed victim live piously, that it 109 would be impossible for God to bestow his peculiar praise on the latter, where the former was lacking? There is no righteous way to perpetuate an unrighteous relation. Therefore God's blessing Abraham for his good government of his slaves, is proof that it is not a sin to have slaves to govern.

But, last and chiefly, we have a still stronger fact to present. When Abraham was directed in Genesis xvii., 10, etc., to circumcise himself as a sign of the covenant between God and him, he was also directed to circumcise all his male children. The parental relationship was made the ground of their inclusion in the same covenant. And God directed his slaves also, "born in his house, or bought with his money of any foreigner," to be circumcised along with him. The parental tie brought his children under the religious rite of circumcision; the bond of master and servant brought his servants under it. Here then, we have the relationship of domestic slavery sanctioned, along with the parental and filial, by God's own injunction, by a participation in the holiest sacrament of the ancient church. Would a holy God thus baptize an unholy relation? Would he make it the ground of admission to a religious ordinance? To see a feeble illustration of the absurdity of such a conclusion, consider what would be thought of a minister of the New Testament, in which our Saviour has forbidden a plurality of wives, if that minister should desecrate the marriage ceremonial of his church, knowingly, to sanctify the union of the felon in the act of bigamy? Such a desecration would surely be not less shocking in the Author, than in a minister of religion. 110

And here, the favourite plea of the anti-slavery men fails entirely—that Abraham lived in the dawn of religious light; that the revelation given him was only partial, and that while he possessed the rectitude of conscience which would have made him relinquish all sinful relations, if enlightened as to their true character, the customs of his age misled him to commit things which Christians afterwards taught to be sinful, and that therefore, these things, excusable in him because of his ignorance, would be wickedness in us. There is some truth in these statements, but they have nothing on earth to do with this example; because the circumcision of the slaves was God's act, and not Abraham's. God knows all things. He is perfectly holy and unchangeable. If he had seen that slavery is intrinsically wrong, and had intended at some future day to declare it so, would he at this time have sanctioned it by making it the ground of a solemn ordinance of religion? As we shall see, this cry of the imperfection of the Old Testament revelation is of Socinian origin, and is essentially false, in the sense in which it is uttered. But be it as just as any statement could be, it has no application here; because our whole inference is drawn from the acts of God himself, and not of an Old Testament Saint.
§ 4. Hagar remanded to Slavery by God.

Sarah, in a season of desperation at her childless condition, seems to have been tempted to imitate the corrupt expedient which was prevalent among the Canaanites around her, and which still prevails in the East. According to this usage, the chief wife, or wife 111 proper, gives to her husband a concubine from among her slaves, as a sort of substitute for herself; and the offspring of the connexion is regarded as her own child. Abram, misled by evil example, and by the solicitations of his wife—the person who would have had the best right to complain of his act—concurred temporarily in the arrangement, and received his Egyptian slave Hagar as an inferior wife. The favour of her master, and the prospective honour of being the mother of offspring, which has always been exceedingly prized by Oriental women, so inflated the servant with impudence, that she no longer treated her mistress with decent respect. When Sarah bitterly complained of this, Abram replied by reminding her that Hagar was still her slave; and that she was entitled, as a mistress, to compel her to observe a suitable demeanour. When Sarah proceeded to exert this authority, probably administering corporal punishment to Hagar for some instance of impertinence, the latter ran away, and pursued the direction which led to her native country, Egypt. It was then that the angel of the Lord found her "by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands." Genesis xvi., 7 to 9. He then proceeded to unfold the future of her unborn son, and Hagar obeyed his commands. From verses 10th and 13th, we learn certainly that this angel was a Divine Person. For, in the first place, he promises Hagar, "I will multiply thy seed exceedingly;" but none but the Almighty 112 could truthfully make such a promise in his own name, as it is here made. In the latter place we are informed that it was the Lord (in Hebrew, Jehovah; the most characteristic and incommendable name of God) that spake unto her; and Hagar called his name: "Thou God, seest me." We remark again, that Hagar was certainly in the relation of domestic slavery, and not of a hired servant, to Abraham and Sarai. She is called Shiphheh, which is the regular word for female slave in the Old Testament. Had she not been an actual slave, Sarai would never have presumed, according to Oriental usage, to dispose of her person in the manner related. Here, then, we have God, himself, the Angel Jehovah, who can be no other than the Second Person of the Trinity, Christ, commanding this fugitive to return into the relation of domestic slavery, and submit to it. Can that relation be in itself sinful? To assert this, would make our adorable Saviour particeps criminis. He cannot have required a soul to return into a sinful state. He never requires of his servants more than their duty; so that if Sarai had possessed no real and just title to Hagar's services as a slave—if the claim had been a mere imposition and injustice, she would not have been required to submit to it. Abolitionists attempt to evade this by saying that Hagar was instructed to return and submit to bondage on the same principle on which Christ instructs us, when wrongfully smitten on one cheek to turn the other likewise. This, say they, by no means implies that the smiting was just. We reply, that the parallel cannot be drawn. Had Hagar been in the hand of an unjust mistress, it would have been her duty in Christian forbearance to 113 "take it patiently, though buffeted wrongfully." But she was not now in Sarai's hand. She had successfully escaped it, and was far advanced in her' journey to her native Egypt, where she evidently expected to find friends and shelter. Under these circumstances, it is preposterous to say that the grace of Christian forbearance required of her to return voluntarily whither no claim of right drew her, and subject herself to unjust and unauthorized persecution again. We ask, Does Christ so press the duty of peaceableness, as to sacrifice to it the whole personal well-being and rightful interests of the innocent victim of unjust aggression? Is his chief object, in these lessons of forbearance, to gratify and pamper the lust of persecution in the aggressor? Is there no right of just self-defence left? Surely he teaches us that we owe a duty to our own life and well-being, as well as to our fellow-men's. When we are wronged, we are to defend this right only in such ways as become a son of peace—a man of forgiveness. But the same Saviour who taught his disciples to render good for evil when injured, also commanded them: "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another." When a peaceable escape can be secured from injustice, it is both the privilege and duty of the most forgiving Christian on earth to use it. Now Hagar was in such a condition; had her subjection to Sarai been, as the Abolitionists say slavery is, a condition of unjust persecution, the Saviour's instructions to her would doubtless have been: "Now that you have escaped the injustice of her that wronged you, flee to another city." His remanding her to Sarai shows that the subjection was lawful and right. 114

It has been objected again, that we cannot argue this, unless we are willing to argue the lawfulness of concubinage; because to send Hagar back to her bondage was to resign her again to this relation. We utterly deny it. The Lord only says to her: "Return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands;" not "Return to thy master's bed." There is not one particle of proof that Abram continued his improper connexion with her after these transactions. Nor is there more worth in the remark, that subsequently, the same divine Being met Hagar wandering in the same wilderness, and did not require her to return, but assisted her journey. The answer is, that she was then under no obligation to return; because her master had fully manumitted her, and bestowed her freedom on her.
§ 5. Slavery in the Laws of Moses.

God, in accordance with his covenant with Abraham, set apart Israel, through the ministry of Moses, to be his peculiar and holy people, his witness in the midst of an apostate world, to keep alive the services and precepts of true morality and true religion, till, in the fulness of time, Jesus Christ should come in the flesh, and begin the Christianizing of all nations. To effect these objects, He renewed his revelation of the eternal and unchangeable moral law, from Sinai, in the Decalogue; and he also gave, by the intervention of Moses, various religious and civil laws, which were peculiar to the Jews, and were never intended to be observed after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The great object of all this legislation, was to set apart the Jewish nation as a holy people, peculiarly dedicated to purity of moral 115 life, and the maintenance of true religion, amidst corrupt and idolatrous generations. To effect this, God found it necessary to raise a barrier to familiar social intercourse between the Israelites and their corrupting heathen neighbours; and sundry of the expedients by which this barrier was raised, were prohibitions of usages which would have been, in themselves, neither right nor wrong, but morally indifferent, as the eating of pork. Some of those laws having the same object in view, required acts in their original nature indifferent; such as circumcision and eating the Passover. But it is totally inconsistent with the holiness of God, and with his purpose of setting Israel apart to a holy life, that any of those peculiar laws should require acts in themselves wicked, or forbid things in themselves morally binding. It would be impiety to represent God as capable of commanding what is wrong; and to enjoin sin in order to make people holy, would be a folly and a contradiction. God's revealed will, so far as it is revealed for a rule of life, either permanent or temporary, can contain nothing but what is right, and pure, and just. If it had been a positive moral duty to eat pork, this holy God would never have made the prohibition to eat it a part even of the temporary, ceremonial laws of his servants. Had it been morally wrong to kill, roast, and eat a lamb, God would never have enjoined on them the institution of the Passover. These conclusions are as plain as the alphabet.

Now then, if we find any particular thing either sanctioned or enjoined, in the peculiar ceremonial or civil institutions of Moses, it does not prove that thing to be morally binding on us, in this century, or necessarily 116 politic and proper for us; but it does prove it to be, in its essential moral character, innocent. That thing cannot be sin in itself. So, Jno. David Michaelis, in his Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, Book 1, Art. 1. This is the important and just distinction. The fact that animal sacrifices were required in the ceremonial laws of Moses, does not prove that it is our duty, under the Christian dispensation, to offer sacrifices, or that it is appropriate for us to do so; but it does prove that the act would be in itself innocent (though useless) for us, and for every one, if it had not been forbidden in subsequent revelation. Otherwise, a holy God would never have enjoined or sanctioned it at all.

Therefore, the fact that God expressly authorized domestic slavery, among the peculiar and temporary civil laws of the Jews, while it does not prove that it is our positive duty to hold slaves, does prove that it is innocent to hold them, unless it has been subsequently forbidden by God. Now then, let us see what God authorized by Moses. Exodus xxi. 2 to 6: "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, (Ebed,) six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came 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 or daughters, the wife and her 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 unto the judges; he shall also bring him unto the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he 117 shall serve him forever," (that is, probably, until the year of Jubilee, which came once in fifty years. See Leviticus xxv. 41.)

This, cries the anti-slavery man, was only temporary servitude. We reply: but it was involuntary servitude, though temporary. It gave to the master the right to compel the labour of the servant without his consent; and this is a sanction of the principle of our institution. What will be said then to the following? Leviticus xxv. 44 to 46: "Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession," (your property.) "And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever; but over your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule over one another with rigour."

The antithesis in the position of the two laws shows that these heathen slaves were not to go free at the year of Jubilee, like Hebrew slaves. They are to be bondmen forever. They and their children, slaves by birth, are to descend from father to son, as heritable property. There was to be "no seventh year freedom here; there is no Jubilee liberation." So says the learned divine, Moses Stuart, of Andover, himself an anti-slavery man. And so say all respectable Hebrew antiquaries. Indeed it would be hard to construct language defining more strongly and fully all those features 118 of domestic slavery most contradictory to the theory of Abolitionists. They were to be bought and sold. They were heritable property: (Mr. Sumner would prove hence, "mere chattels.") Here is involuntary slavery for life, expressly authorized to God's own peculiar and holy people, in the strongest and most careful terms. The relation, then, must be innocent in itself. With what show of candour can men say, in the face of a sanction so full, so emphatic, so hearty, that Moses, finding the hoary institution of domestic slavery so deeply rooted that it would be impossible then to abolish it, tolerated it, and limited it by all the restrictions which he could apply, calculated to cut off its worst horrors? We ask, was Moses the author of these laws, or God? Does the Almighty, the Unchangeable, the Holy, connive at moral abuses, like a puny human magistrate, and content himself, where he dare not denounce a sin, with pruning its growth a little? We ask again: Is this gloss borne out by the facts? Was Moses, in fact, timid in assailing old and deeply-rooted vices, and in demanding that they should be eradicated wholly? Let his uncompromising legislation against Idolatry and Adultery answer. The truth is, such writers as use the above language know nothing about the true nature of domestic slavery, and draw their inferences only from their prejudices. God and Moses knew it well. They knew that it was an institution which, when not abused, was suitable to the character of the depraved persons for whom it was designed, and wholesome and benign. Hence, they prohibit all inhuman abuses of it; and then they do not tolerate it merely as an unavoidable wrong; but they expressly legalize it, as 119 right. An honest mind can make nothing less of their words. But in Numbers xxxi. 25 to 30, and Joshua ix. 20 to 27, we have instances which are, if possible, still stronger. In the former passage the people of Midian had been conquered by God's command, and the captives and spoils brought home; the captives to be slaves for life according to the law of Leviticus, ch. xxv. The book of Numbers then proceeds: "And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Take the sum of prey that was taken both of man and of beast, thou and Eleazer the priest and the chief fathers of the congregation; and divide the prey into two parts; between them that took the war upon them who went out to battle, and between all the congregation. And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses and of the sheep: Take it of their half, and give it unto Eleazer the priest, for an heave-offering of the Lord. And of the children of Israel's half thou shalt take one portion of fifty, of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses and of the flocks, of all manner of beasts, and give them unto the Levites which keep the charge of the tabernacle of the Lord." In verses 40th and 46th, we read farther that the "Lord's tribute of the persons" of the first half, "was thirty and two persons," and of the second half, "three hundred and twenty." Here God commands a portion of these slaves to be set apart to a sacred use, and dedicated to himself, that they might become the property of the ministers of religion. The second instance is not contained in the books of Moses, but in the history of his successor Joshua: we group it 120 with the former, for its similarity. In Joshua, ch. ix., we are told that while he was triumphantly engaged in the destruction of the condemned heathen tribes of Palestine, according to God's command, the people of Gibeon, a part of the doomed race, despairing of a successful defence, adopted this stratagem to save themselves. Under pretence that they were not of Palestine at all, but from a very distant place, their ambassadors obtained from the leaders of the Israelites a very stringent oath of amity. This pledge the elders incautiously gave, without seeking the divine direction. In a very few days they learned to their astonishment, that these Gibeonites lived in the very heart of Palestine, close to the spot where they were encamped, and that they were of the very race which they were appointed to destroy. But they had sworn in the name of Jehovah not to destroy them. In this state of things, the princes and Joshua determined to punish them for their falsehood, and at the same time substantially observe their oath, by leaving them unhurt, but reducing them to slavery as the serfs of the Tabernacle and its ministers. In verses 23d and 27th, Joshua told them: "Now, therefore, ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen," (Ebed, i. e., slaves,) "and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God." "And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in that place which he should choose." This compact the Gibeonites seem gladly to have accepted. In 2d Samuel, ch. xxi., we find this same race of serfs still living among the Israelites, under the same compact. King 121 Saul, David's predecessor, having broken it by killing many of them, God himself interposed, and required a satisfaction for the breach. Here we have evidence that the slaves of heathen origin were not freed by the Jubilee, for centuries had now elapsed and they were still slaves. We also see evidence that the contract made by Joshua was not regarded by God as unlawful. In this case, also, we find God accepting a religious offering of slaves for the service of his sanctuary. And these, while real slaves, did not belong each to an individual master, but were slaves to an institution and a caste, a form of bondage always justly regarded as less benevolent than the former.

Yet men say slavery is a wicked relation, which God only tolerated and curbed in the Old Testament. The Lord's claiming his tythe of slaves (as of cattle and wheat) seems to the candid man a strange way of expressing bare tolerance! Was it not enough to leave the laity of the "holy people" polluted with the sin of slaveholding, without proceeding by his own express injunction to introduce the "taint" into the still more sacred caste of the priesthood? Did the God of all holiness direct a part of the wages of iniquity to be set apart for his holy uses? Perhaps it may be said that He regarded the holy use as sanctifying the unholy source of the offering. The surmise is blasphemous. But see Deuteronomy xxiii. 18: "Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore or the price of a dog into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination to the Lord thy God." To set apart to God's use property wickedly acquired was an insult to his holiness: and to offer Him even what was acquired 122 by the sale of an animal ceremonially unclean, was resented as a type of the same sin. The consecration of these slaves to sacred uses is therefore the strongest possible proof that slaves are lawful property. To sum up: The divine permission and sanction of slavery to the very people whom God was setting apart to a holy life, the consecration of slaves as property to a sacred purpose, the regulating by law of the duties flowing from the relation, all prove that it was then a lawful and innocent one. Otherwise, we should have the holy God teaching sin. If it was innocent once in its intrinsic nature, it is innocent now, unless it has been subsequently prohibited by God. But no such prohibition can be shown.
§ 6. Slavery in the Decalogue.

Although the Ten Commandments were given along with the civil and ceremonial laws of the Hebrews, we do not include them along with the latter, because the Decalogue was, unlike them, given for all men and all dispensations. It is a solemn repetition of the sum of those duties founded on the natures of man and of God, and on their relations, enjoined on all ages alike. It contains nothing ceremonial, or of merely temporary obligation; (which is binding merely because it is commanded;) but all is of perpetual, moral obligation. It claims to be, rightly explained, a perfect and complete rule. Our Saviour repeatedly adopts it as the eternal sum of all duty, on which hang all the law and the prophets, that is, all Scripture. Accordingly, we find that the mode of its republication gave to this Decalogue a grandeur and weight shared by no secular or 123 ceremonial precepts. Deuteronomy v. informs us that it was delivered first, thus receiving the precedence, that it was spoken by God himself in articulate words, heard by all the quaking multitude, in tones of thunder, from the smoking summit of Sinai, with the terrible concomitants of angelic hosts, devouring fire, lightnings and earthquakes; that God added no more, thus refusing to all the subsequent precepts the honour of such a publication, and that He himself then engraved it on stone, signifying by the imperishable material, the perpetuity of this law.

Hence, all the principles of right stated or implied in this Decalogue, are valid, not for Hebrews only, but for all men and ages. They rise wholly above the temporary and positive precepts, which were only binding while they were expressly enjoined. They have not been, because they cannot be, repealed or modified; they are as immutable as God's perfections. In our Saviour's words, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle of this law shall not pass away."

Now, our argument is, that in this short summary, the relation of master and slave is mentioned twice; and that in modes which are a recognition of its lawfulness. It is introduced as a basis of duties and rights founded upon it, and those rights are defended, and those duties enjoined. But if it were an unlawful relation, what rights could grow out of it except the slave's right to have it broken? And what duties of the master could be founded on it, except the duties of discontinuing, repenting of, and repairing its wrongs? In the 4th Commandment, Exod. xx. 10, it is made the master's duty to cause the slave to observe the Sabbath 124 day. After the 8th Commandment had forbidden injury to our fellow-man's property in act, by overt theft, the 10th, (v. 17,) prohibits its injury even in thought by corrupt coveting. And in the enumeration of possessions thus carefully covered from assault, are men-servants (ebed) and maid-servants, along with real estate and cattle. If the reader would feel the strength of the argument implied in these facts, let him ask himself what would have been his amazement, if, after the description which God's word gives of the authority, righteousness, purity, and perpetuity of this Decalogue, he had read in it, that highwaymen and pirates are commanded to enforce Sabbath observance on their injured victims, and that we must not covet our neighbour's concubine, or the stolen goods in his possession? And this, without hint of the guilt of violence, concubinage, and theft. It would be impossible for either understanding or conscience to reconcile itself to the anomaly; he would feel, inevitably, that God was incapable of such implied sanction of sin.
§ 7. Objections to the Old Testament Argument.

To state the arguments from the laws of Moses and the Decalogue has not required a large space, because those conclusions are so plain and sound, that many words were not needed. But the cavils, objections and special pleadings of the Abolitionists teem like the frogs of Egypt, engendered in the mire of ignorance and prejudice, so numerous because so worthless. And when it is seen that we perhaps expend more space in their refutation than we did in the direct argument, 125 the heedless reader may possibly be inclined to say to himself, that there must be something wrong in an argument to which so much can be objected. We beg him to observe then, that we pause to explode these objections, not because they are of any weight, but because we purpose to make thorough work with our opponents. When we have finished these rejoinders, we shall take the impartial reader to witness, that not only the weight, but the least appearance of plausibility in these cavils has been blown into thin air. And then we shall have the right to infer that their number indicates, not the questionable character of our positions, but only a fixed and blind prejudice against the truth in our adversaries.

It is objected that domestic slavery among the Hebrews was a much milder institution than in Virginia, and that, therefore, we have no right to argue from the one to the other. If it were true that Hebrew slavery was milder, it might show that we were wrong in the way in which we treated our slaves; but it could not prove that slaveholding was wrong. The principle would still be established, for the lawfulness of the relation. But let it be noted that the peculiar mitigations of slavery affected only slaves of Hebrew blood, not Gentiles. Whatever may have been the leniency of the system, the state of the Gentile slaves showed the essential features of slavery among us, the right to the slave's labour for life without his consent, property in that labour, the right to buy, sell and bequeath it; the right to enforce it on the slave by corporal punishments, which might have any degree of severity short of death. (See Exod. xxi. 20, 21.) Virginians had no interest 126 to contend for any stricter form of slavery than this.

Second. It is said that the permission to buy, possess, and bequeath slaves of heathen origin, which we have cited, related only to the seven condemned tribes of Canaan, and was part of the divinely appointed penalty for their wickedness. Even such a man as Dr. Wayland, of Brown University, Rhode Island, has adopted this plea, thus justifying in a prominent instance the assertion that Abolitionism is grounded in a shameful ignorance of facts. The answer to the plea is, that it is expressly contrary to fact. The Hebrews were positively prohibited to reserve any of the seven condemned nations for slaves, and were enjoined to exterminate them all, lest the contagion of their vile morals should corrupt Israel. On the other hand, they were told that they might buy them slaves of any of the other Gentile nations around them, with whom they were to live on terms of national amity. (See Deuteronomy, xx. 10 to 18.) After directing the policy of the Hebrews towards conquered enemies from these nations, and permitting the enslaving of the captives, Moses proceeds: (v. 15.) "Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save nothing alive that breatheth; but thou shalt utterly destroy them, namely, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that they teach you not to do after all their abominations," etc. (See also, Josh. vi. 17 to 21; viii. 26; x. 28 to 32, etc., etc.) 127

Third. It is objected from these very injunctions, that the examples of the commands given to the Israelites are no rules for us; that God commanded them to exterminate the seven nations of Canaan; but if we should therefore proceed to attack and destroy a neighbouring nation which had not assailed us, it would be a horrible wickedness. It is asked: Were the fanatics of the English Commonwealth in the 17th century correct when they justified their barbarities upon royalists by the examples of Joshua's slaughter of the Amorites, and Samuel's of Amalek? And we are told that our argument from Hebrew slavery is of the same absurd kind.

We reply: We willingly accept the instances. God's command to Joshua and Samuel to exterminate the Canaanites and Amalek, does prove that killing is not necessarily murder. This very instance gives us an unanswerable argument against those who oppose all capital punishments as wrong. And just so we employ the other instance, which our assailants say is parallel—Hebrew slavery—to prove that slaveholding is not necessarily sinful. But the instances are not parallel. The sanction of domestic slavery was a statute law for all generations of Hebrews; the command to exterminate the seven tribes imposed a specific task on certain individuals. It is absurd to confound an executive command, given to particular men for the once, under particular circumstances, with the sanctions of a permanent institution, designed to descend from generation to generation. The command to exterminate the seven guilty tribes was the former, the permission to hold slaves the latter. True, the example of Joshua in 128 blotting these tribes from existence, is no authority for us to do likewise, unless we also can show a direct divine commission authorizing us for a special case. But neither was that example authority to any subsequent generation of Hebrews, after Joshua, to exterminate any other pagan tribe. Will any one say that the authority given by Moses to his fellow-citizens to hold slaves was not just as good to enable subsequent generations of Hebrews to hold slaves? Prejudice cannot carry sophistry so far. There is, therefore, no analogy between the two cases, in the point necessary for grounding the objection to our argument.

Fourth. It is said that Moses himself commanded that a runaway slave should not be surrendered to his master; thereby plainly teaching that slaves had a right to their liberty, if they could escape. This, it is urged, proves that there must be some mistake in our conclusions. Of course, this passage is quoted triumphantly as settling the question against the fugitive slave-law, required by the late Constitution of the United States. It is found in Deuteronomy xxiii. 15, 16: "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best; thou shalt not oppress him."

We need no better answer to this citation, than that given by a Northern divine already named, who is no friend to slavery, Rev. Moses Stuart. He says: "The first inquiry of course is: Where does his master live? Among the Hebrews or among foreigners? The language of the passage fully developes this, and answers 129 the question. He has 'escaped from his master unto the Hebrews.' (The text says, unto thee, i. e., Israel.) 'He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in one of thy gates.' Of course then, he is an immigrant, and did not dwell among them before his flight. If he had been a Hebrew servant, belonging to a Hebrew, the whole face of the thing would be changed. Restoration or restitution, if we may judge by the tenour of other property laws among the Hebrews, would have surely been enjoined. But, be that as it may, the language of the text puts it beyond a doubt, that the servant is a foreigner and has fled from a heathen master." Mr. Stuart then proceeds to assign obvious reasons why a foreign servant escaping from a heathen master was not to be restored: that the bondage from which he escaped was inordinately cruel, including the power of murder for any caprice; and that to force him back was to remand him to the darkness of heathenism, and to rob him of the light of true religion, which shone in the land of the Hebrews alone. He adds: "But if we put now the other case, viz.: that of escape from a Hebrew master, who claimed and enjoyed Hebrew rights, is not the case greatly changed? Who could take from him the property which the Mosaic law gave him a right to hold? Neither the bondsman himself, nor the neighbours of the master to whom the fugitive might come. Reclamation of him could be lawfully made, and therefore must be enforced." This explanation forces itself upon our common sense. To suppose that Moses could so formally authorize and define slavery among the Hebrews, and then enact that every slave might gain his liberty by merely stepping over the brook or 130 imaginary line which separated the little cantons of the tribes from each other, or even by going to the next house of his master's neighbours, and claiming protection, whenever petulance, or caprice, or laziness should move him thereto; this is absurd; it is trivial child's play. It takes away with one hand what it professed to give with the other. The fact that slavery continued to exist from age to age, is proof enough that the Hebrews did not put the Abolitionist construction on the law. To this agree the respectable Hebrew antiquarians, as Horne, etc.

Fifth. It is urged that Revelation was in its plan progressive, like the morning twilight; that the Mosaic code was the early dawn; that God, for wise reasons, left many points in darkness, which the full daylight of the Gospel has since shown to be sin. And, therefore, several practices, which we are now taught to be sinful, may have been ignorantly followed by good men, and tolerated by this imperfect legislation of God's law. Yet if we, who enjoy a fuller revelation, should indulge in these practices, we should be guilty and disobedient.

Grant this, for the present. Grant, for argument's sake, that it may have been consistent with the plan of revelation to make known at first only a partial rule of duty, leaving some sins unmentioned. Yet surely it was not consistent with the truth and holiness of God, to throw a false light in that partial revelation, on those parts of man's duty which he professed to reveal! So far as any revelation from God goes, it must be a true and righteous one. If it undertook to fix a point of duty, it must fix it correctly, whatever else it might 131 omit. Otherwise; we should have a holy, true, and good Creator, while professing to guide man to duty and life, misleading him to sin and death. Let now the reader note that the lawfulness of slavery was not one of the points omitted. God spake expressly upon it; and what he said was to authorize it.

But we do not admit that Moses' was an incomplete revelation in the sense of the Abolitionists. They are fond of representing the New Testament revelation as completing, amending, and correcting that of the Old. Its details the New Testament does complete; but if it were amended or corrected by any subsequent standard of infallible truth, this would prove it not truly inspired. Indeed, the history of theological opinion shows plainly enough that this anti-slavery view of Old Testament revelation is Socinian and Rationalistic. Modern Abolitionism in America had, in fact, a Socinian birth, in the great apostasy of the Puritans of New England to that benumbing heresy, and in the pharisaism, shallow scholarship, affectation, conceit and infidelity of the Unitarian clique in the self-styled American Athens, Boston. It is lamentable to see how men professing to be evangelical are driven by blind prejudices against Southern men and things, to adopt this skeptical tone towards God's own word. The ruinous issue has been seen in the case of a minister of the Gospel, who, after floundering through a volume of confused and impotent sophisms, roundly declares that if compelled to admit that the Bible treated slavery as not a sin in itself, he would repudiate the Bible rather than his opinions.

But we point these objectors to that Saviour who said, in the full meridian of revealed light of this Old 132 Testament law: "Whosoever shall keep these commandments shall enter into eternal life;" and to the fact that the Decalogue itself twice recognizes the right of the master. Will they say that this too was an old, partial, and imperfect revelation? Not so says the sweet Psalmist of Israel: "The law of the Lord is perfect." Psalms, xix. 7. Whatever Abolitionists may cavil, Jesus Christ acknowledged no more perfect rule of morals than the Ten Commandments, as expounded by the "law and the prophets."

Sixth. An objection has been raised against the Old Testament argument, from the supposed permission of, or connivance at, polygamy and causeless divorce in the laws of Moses. This objection has been urged by Dr. Channing, the celebrated Unitarian, and since, in a more exact form, by Dr. Wayland. In substance it is this: That polygamy was allowed by the Old Testament law, and divorce for a less cause than conjugal infidelity was expressly permitted by Moses. But both these are as expressly forbidden as sinful by our Saviour. Matthew xix. 3 to 9. Therefore the main assertion in defence of slavery, on which the argument rested, does not hold: for these two instances show that a thing is not intrinsically innocent because it was permitted for a time to the Jews.

Our reply is, that both the premises of the objection are absolutely false. Polygamy and capricious divorce never were authorized by Old Testament law, in the sense in which domestic slavery was; and, second, the latter was never prohibited in the New Testament, as polygamy and such divorces expressly are. Either of these facts, without the other, makes the objection invalid, 133 as we shall show; but we shall establish both. Before doing this, however, we would ask: Suppose these assertions of Drs. Wayland and Channing proved that God expressly permitted polygamy and causeless divorce to his own chosen and holy people, and that Jesus Christ yet denounced these things as sins; what is gained? Not only is this part of our defence of slavery overthrown, but the holiness of God is also overthrown; or else the inspiration of the Scriptures. (The latter would be a result evidently not very repugnant to Socinians and their sympathizers.) For then these Scriptures would make Him the teacher of sin to the very persons whom he was setting apart to peculiar holiness. If God did indeed authorize polygamy and causeless divorce in the Old Testament law, then the only inference for the devout mind is, that those things were then innocent, and would still be so, had not Christ afterwards forbidden them. Now, when we pass into the New Testament, and find that domestic slavery (which these objectors would make the parallel of polygamy and divorce without just cause) is not forbidden there, as the latter two were, but is again permitted, authorized and regulated, we must conclude that it is still innocent, as it must have been when a holy God allowed it to his holy people.

But the first part of the objectors' premise is also false; polygamy and causeless divorce never were sanctioned by Moses as domestic slavery was. Even admitting the more ignorant rendering of the matter, how wide is the difference in God's treatment of the two subjects! Slaves are mentioned as lawful property, not only in the biographies of God's erring and fallible servants, 134 but in his own legislation; the acquisition of them is a blessing from him; their connexion with their masters is made the basis of religious sacraments; property in slaves is protected by laws of divine enactment; and the rights and duties of them and their masters defined. But when we pass to the subjects of plurality and change of wives, while we see the lives of imperfect, though good men, candidly disclosing these abuses, no legislative act recognizes them, except in the single case of divorce. In all God's laws and precepts, He always says wife, not wives, so carefully does He avoid a seeming allowance of a plurality. The Decalogue throws no protection around concubines, against the coveting of others. The rights and duties of polygamists are never defined by divine law, save in seeming exceptions which will be explained. How unlike is all this to the legislation upon slavery!

What has been already said leaves our argument impregnable. But so much misapprehension exists about the two cases, that the general interests of truth prompt a little farther separate discussion of each. The two enactments touching divorce which present the supposed contradiction in the strongest form, are those of Moses in Deuteronomy xxiv. 1 to 4, and Matthew xix. 3 to 9. These the reader is requested to have under his eye. The form of the Pharisees' question to Christ, ("Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?") concurs with the testimony of Josephus, in teaching us that a monstrous perversion of Moses' statute then prevailed. The licentious, and yet self-righteous Pharisee claimed, as one of his most unquestioned privileges, the right to repudiate a wife, after the lapse 135 of years, and birth of children, for any caprice whatsoever. The trap which they now laid for Christ was designed to compel him either to incur the odium of attacking this usage, guarded by a jealous anger, or to connive at their interpretation of the statute. Manifestly Christ does not concede that they interpreted Moses rightly; but indignantly clears the legislation of that holy man from their licentious perversions, and then, because of their abuse of it, repeals it by his plenary authority. He refers to that constitution of the marriage tie which was original, which preceded Moses, and was therefore binding when Moses wrote, to show that it was impossible he could have enacted what they claimed. What then did Moses enact? Let us explain it. In the ancient society of the East, females being reared in comparative seclusion, and marriages negotiated by intermediaries, the bridegroom had little opportunity for a familiar acquaintance even with the person of the bride. When she was brought to him at the nuptials, if he found her disfigured with some personal deformity or disease, (the undoubted meaning of the phrase "some uncleanness,") which effectually changed desire into disgust, he was likely to regard himself as swindled in the treaty, and to send the rejected bride back with indignity to her father's house. There she was reluctantly received, and in the anomalous position of one in name a wife, yet without a husband, she dragged out a wretched existence, incapable of marriage, and regarded by her parents and brothers as a disgraceful incumbrance. It was to relieve the wretched fate of such a woman, that Moses' law was framed. She was empowered to exact of her proposed 136 husband a formal annulment of the unconsummated contract, and to resume the status of a single woman, eligible for another marriage. It is plain that Moses' law contemplates the case, only, in which no consummation of marriage takes place. She finds no favour in the eyes "of the bridegroom." He is so indignant and disgusted, that desire is put to flight by repugnance. The same fact appears from the condition of the law, that she shall in no case return to this man, "after she is defiled," i. e., after actual cohabitation with another man had made her unapproachable (without moral defilement) by the first. Such was the narrow extent of this law. The act for which it provided was divorce only in name, where that consensus, qui matrimonium facit, (in the words of the law maxim,) had never been perfected. The state of social usages among the Hebrews, with parental and fraternal severity towards the unfortunate daughter and sister, rendered the legislation of Moses necessary, and righteous at the time; but "a greater than Moses" was now here; and he, after defending the inspired law-giver from their vile misrepresentation, proceeded to repeal the law, because it had been so perverted, and because the social changes of the age had removed its righteous grounds. Let the Abolitionists show us a similar change in the law of domestic slavery, made by Christ, and we will admit that the moral conditions of the relation have changed since Moses' day.

The case of the polygamist is still clearer; for we assert that the whole legislation of the Pentateuch and of all the Old Testament is only adverse to polygamy. As some Christian divines have taught otherwise, we 137 must ask the reader's attention and patience for a brief statement. Polygamy is recorded of Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, Elkanah, David, Solomon; but so are other sins of several of these; and, as every intelligent reader knows, the truthful narrative of holy writ as often discloses the sins of good men—for our warning, as their virtues for our imitation. And he who notes how, in every Bible instance, polygamy appears as the cause of domestic feuds, sin, and disaster, will have little doubt that the Holy Spirit tacitly holds all these cases up for our caution, and not our approval. But, then, God made Adam one wife only, and taught him the great law of the perpetual unity of the twain, just as it is now expounded by Jesus Christ. (Genesis ii. 23, 24, with Matthew xix. 4 to 6.) God preserved but one wife each to Noah and his sons. In every statute and preceptive word of the Holy Spirit, it is always wife, and not wives. The prophets everywhere teach how to treat a wife, and not wives. Moses, Leviticus xviii. 18, in the code regulating marriage, expressly prohibits the marriage of a second wife in the life of the first, thus enjoining monogamy in terms as clear as Christ's. Our English version hath it: "Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, besides the other, in her lifetime." Some have been preposterous enough to take the word sister here in its literal sense, and thus to force on the law the meaning that the man desiring to practise polygamy may do so provided he does not marry two daughters of the same parents; for if he did this, the two sisters sharing his bed would, like Rachel and Leah, quarrel more fiercely than two strangers. But the word "sister" 138 must undoubtedly be taken in the sense of mates, fellows, (which it bears in a multitude of places,) and this for two controlling reasons. The other sense makes Moses talk nonsense and folly, in the supposed reason for his prohibition; in that it makes him argue that two sisters sharing one man's bed will quarrel, but two women having no kindred blood will not. It is false to fact and to nature. Did Leah and Rachel show more jealousy than Sarah and Hagar, Hannah and Peninnah? But when we understand the law in its obvious sense, that the husband shall not divide his bed with a second mate, the first still living, because such a wrong ever harrows and outrages the great instincts placed in woman's heart by her Creator, we make Moses talk truth and logick worthy of a profound legislator. The other reason for this construction is, that the other sense places the 18th verse in irreconcilable contradiction to the 16th verse. This forbids the marriage of a woman to the husband of her deceased sister; while the 18th verse, with this false reading, would authorize it.

Once more: Malachi, (chapter ii. 14, 15.) rebuking the various corruptions of the Jews, evidently includes polygamy; for he argues in favour of monogamy, (and also against causeless divorce,) from the fact that God, "who had the residue of the Spirit," and could as easily have created a thousand women for each man as a single one, made the numbers of the sexes equal from the beginning. He states this as the motive, "that he might seek a godly seed;" that is to say, that the object of God in the marriage relation was the right rearing of children, which polygamy notoriously hinders. Now the commission of an Old Testament prophet was 139 not to legislate a new dispensation; for the laws of Moses were in full force; the prophets' business was to expound them. Hence, we infer that the laws of the Mosaic dispensation on the subject of polygamy had always been such as Malachi declared them. He was but applying Moses' principles.

To the assertion that the law of the Old Testament discountenanced polygamy as really as the New Testament, it has been objected that the practice was maintained by men too pious towards God to be capable of continuing in it against express precept; as, for instance, by the "king after God's own heart," David. Did not he also commit murder and adultery? Surely there is no question whether Moses forbids these! The history of good men, alas, shows us too plainly the power of general evil example, custom, temptation, and self-love, in blinding the honest conscience. It has been objected that polygamy was so universally practised, and so prized, that Moses would never have dared to attempt its extinction. When will men learn that the author of the Old Testament law was not Moses, but God? Is God timid? Does he fear to deal firmly with his creatures? But it is denied that there is any evidence that polygamy was greatly prevalent among the Hebrews. And nothing is easier than to show, that if it had been, Moses was a legislator bold enough to grapple with it. What more hardy than his dealing with the sabbatical year, with idolatry? It is objected that the marriage of the widow who was childless to the brother of the deceased, to raise up seed to the dead, presents a case of polygamy actually commanded. We reply, no one can show that the next of kin was 140 permitted or required to form such marriage when he already had a wife. The celebrated J. D. Michaelis, a witness learned and not too favourable, says, in his Commentaries on the Laws of Moses, of this law, "Nor did it affect a brother having already a wife of his own." Book III., ch. vi., § 98. It is objected that polygamy is recognized as a permitted relation in Deuteronomy xxi. 15-17, where the husband of a polygamous marriage is forbidden to transfer the birthright from the eldest son to a younger, the child of a more favoured wife; and in Exodus xxi. 9, 10, where the husband is forbidden to deprive a less favoured wife of her marital rights and maintenance. Both these cases are explained by the admitted principle, that there may be relations which it was sin to form, and which yet it is sinful to break when formed. No one doubts whether the New Testament makes polygamy unlawful; yet it seems very clear that the apostles gave the same instructions to the husbands of a plurality of wives entering the Christian church. There appears, then, no evidence that polygamy was allowed in the laws of Moses.

We have thus shown that the objection of Dr. Channing to our Old Testament argument for the lawfulness of domestic slavery, is false in both its premises. First, it is not true that Moses sanctioned polygamy and causeless divorce in the sense in which he sanctioned slavery. And second, if he did, it would prove that those practices were lawful until they were prohibited by our Redeemer; but domestic slavery has met no such prohibition from him, and is therefore lawful still. If not, why did the divine Reformer strike down the two "sister 141 sins," and leave the third, the giant evil, untouched? There is but one answer: He did not regard it as a sin.

If too much space has been devoted to this objection, the apology is, that it is a subject much misunderstood by Christian divines. The explanation is, that the study of Hebrew antiquities has, in our day, been left so much to German rationalists and secret Socinians; the late essays of British and Yankee scholars being to so great a degree servile imitations of theirs. But these skeptical literati of Germany, while wearing the clergyman's frock for the sake of the emoluments of an established church, have usually been unsanctified men, harbouring the most contemptuous views of Old Testament inspiration. The reader will bear in mind that, whether he is convinced, with us, that Moses actually prohibited polygamy, or not, the refutation of the Abolitionist objection is still perfectly valid.

The seventh and last objection against our Old Testament argument consists of various passages from the Hebrew prophets, which denounce the oppression of the poor, and the withholding of the labouring man's wages. Every phrase which sounds at all like their purpose is violently seized by the Abolitionists, and pressed incontinently into the service of condemning slavery, without regard to the sacred writer's intention or meaning. Were all the texts thus wrested discussed here, this section would be swelled into a book. A few passages which our opponents regard as their strongest will be cited, therefore; and the reply to these will be an answer to all. One such is Isaiah, lviii. 6: "Is not this the fast which I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the 142 oppressed go free; and that ye break every yoke?" Another is found in Jeremiah xx. 13: "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's services without wages, and giveth him not for his work." Another is in Jeremiah xxxiv. 17: "Therefore, thus saith the Lord: Ye have not hearkened unto me in proclaiming liberty every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbour." And to find a scriptural stone to pelt the fugitive slave-law, they quote Isaiah xvi. 3: "Hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth."

Now, one would think that it should have given some pause to these perversions of Scripture, to remember that these same prophets were undoubtedly slaveholders. Witness, for instance, Elisha, who was so large a slaveholder as to have eleven ploughmen at once, and who, after he devoted himself exclusively to his prophetic ministry, still had his servants, Gehazi and others. (2 Kings, v. 20, and vi. 15.) How could they have aimed such denunciations at slave-owners, and escaped the sarcasm, "Physician, heal thyself?" It should have been remembered again, that Moses' laws, in which slaveholding was expressly sanctioned, were enacted by authority just as divine as that by which Isaiah and Jeremiah preached; that Moses was more a prophet than even they—"the greatest of the prophets;" that his laws were still in full force; that they bore to these prophets' instructions the relation of text to exposition; and that always the great burden of their accusations against their guilty countrymen was, that they had forsaken Moses' statutes. Were the guardians and expounders of the Constitution armed with power not only to repeal, 143 but to vilify, the very law which they were appointed to expound? May the sermon contradict its own text?

Before these rebukes of oppression can be applied, then, as God's condemnation of domestic slavery, it must be proved that in His view slavery is oppression. To take this for granted is a begging of the whole question in debate. But not only is it not proved by any such texts; it is obvious from the above remarks, that it cannot be proved by them, unless God can be made to contradict himself. But when we examine a little the connected words of these prophets themselves, we learn from them what they do mean; and we see an instance, ludicrous if it were not too painful, of the heedless folly with which the Word of God is abused. Thus, in Isaiah, lviii. 6, 7, we proceed to the very next words, and learn that the duty in hand consists in "bringing to their homes the poor that are cast out," and being charitable to "their own flesh." Were the Gentile slaves of the Hebrews "their own flesh" in the sense of the Old Testament, i. e., their kindred by blood? Manifestly, the phrase intends their fellow-citizens of Hebrew blood in distress. Are slaveholders in danger of sinning by driving away from their houses their domestic slaves; and do they need objurgation to make them receive them back? Such is the "infinite nonsense" forced upon Isaiah's words by Abolitionists. There is, then, no reference here to the emancipation of Gentile slaves; but to the duties of charity, justice and hospitality towards the oppressed of their fellow-citizens. And if the passage has any reference to servants, it is only to the sin of detaining Hebrew servants beyond the Sabbatical year's release. 144

When we turn to Jeremiah xxii. 13, a glance at the connexion shows us that the woe against using a neighbour's services without wages, is denounced against Shallum, the wicked king of Judah, who built his palaces, not by his domestic servants, but by unlawfully impressing his political subjects. Such is the marvellous accuracy of Abolitionist exposition! So in Jeremiah xxxiv. 17, which rebukes the Jews for not "proclaiming every man liberty to his brother," one little question should have staggered our zealous accusers: Were Gentile slaves "brethren" to Jews, in the sense of the prophet? And we have only to carry the eye back to verse 14, to see him explaining himself, that they did not comply with the Mosaic law, "at the end of seven years to let go every man his brother a Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee." From the obligation of that law, the masters of Gentiles were expressly excepted.

But the illustration of crowning folly is Isaiah xvi. 3, which is so boldly wrested to countenance the harbouring of runaway slaves. The words are not the language of the prophet at all! The chapter is a dramatic picture of the distress of the pagan nations near Judea, and especially of Moab, one among them, in a time of invasion which Isaiah denounces upon them in punishment for their sin; and this verse represents the fugitive Moabites as entreating Jews for concealment and protection when pursued by their enemies. So that there is no slave nor slave-owner in the case at all; nor does the prophet's language contain any thing to imply whether it was righteous or not for the Jews to grant the request of these affrighted sinners in the hour of their retribution. 145

We have now reviewed, perhaps at too much length, the various impotent attempts made to escape from the meshes of our inexorable Old Testament argument. It is an argument short, plain, convincing. Although every thing enjoined on the Hebrews is not necessarily enjoined on us, (because it may have been of temporary obligation,) yet every such thing must be innocent in its nature, because a holy God would not sanction sin to his holy people, in the very act of separating them to holiness. But slaveholding was expressly sanctioned as a permanent institution; the duties of masters and slaves are defined; the rights of masters protected, not only in the civic but the eternal moral law of God; and He himself became a slave-owner, by claiming an oblation of slaves for his sanctuary and priests. Hence, while we do not say that modern Christian nations are bound to hold slaves, we do assert that no people sin by merely holding slaves, unless the place can be shown where God has uttered a subsequent prohibition. But there is no such place, as the next chapter will show. While we well know that to secret infidels and rationalists, as all Abolitionists are, this has no weight, to every mind which reverences the inspiration of the Old Testament it is conclusive. And let every Christian note, that with the inspiration of the Old Testament stands or falls that of Christ and the apostles, because they commit themselves irretrievably to the support of the former.


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