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community. He has been assailed wholly with ridicule contempt and abuse. As if a dozen republics could be awed into submission by an artificial storm of wrath excited and kept up by a few individuals at the north.
It is odds but that a great society possessed of great funds, though clothed with the most extensive powers, will find them too small to compass the high ends at which it will soon venture to aim. The temperance society had well nigh pronounced the observance of the sacrament of the supper itself as Christ instituted it an act of sin ; a very large portion of the members consider it so. They ventured to interdict the use of wine with as stern an authority as Mahomet himself. Now it is this attempt at domination over the conscience where the Bible has left it free that we shall attempt to oppose. We think that the volume of inspiration is a book pure enough for any man that is at all reasonable in his demands; and should it be thought to come short we still object to any combination of men however philanthropic, in their attempt to supply the deficiency. We believe that the Bible alone should bind the conscience. We grant that in thousands of cases, individuals may see their situation and circumstances to be such as to justify and require an immediate emancipation of their slaves, and render it highly sinful in them to fail to do it ; yet we contend that it is an affair altogether between God and their own consciences. No society, no church has a right to interfere. We shall attempt to prove that the Bible does not pronounce the relation itself to be sinful, that it leaves it to the conscience of the Christian to interpret the great law of love, and the state to consult a wise, benevolent and just policy, as to the time and manner of emancipation.
There are some things in the present aspect of the great political and heretical excitement of the day touching the subject of Slavery, which indicate a waning tendency in respect to the public mind, while the violence of the mania in the ring-leaders is increasing and rapidly verging to the last extremes. Under these circumstances the true character of the whole affair niay be easily discerned, and it may be useful to sound Christian and rational men to present a
brief Scriptural view of the main questions which concern the relations and duties of slaves and their masters.
We therefore proceed at once to quote several passages of Scripture, from the critical version of Macknight, and to subjoin the remarks which they naturally suggest.
“Let every one remain in the same calling in which he was called. Wast thou called being a bondman ?* Be not thou careful to be made free. Yet if thou canst even be made free, rather use it. For the bondman who is called by the Lord, is the Lord's freed man. In like manner also, a freeman who is called is Christ's bondman. Ye were bought with a price; become not the slaves of men. Brethren in what state each one was called, in that let him remain with God.” 1 Cor. vii. 20—24.
“Servants obey your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the integrity of your heart, as to Christ. Not with eye service as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ do the will of God from the soul ; with good will, acting as servants to the Lord, and not to men only. Knowing that whatever good work any one doth, for that he shall receive of the Lord, whether he be a slave or a free man. And masters, do the same things to them, moderating threatening, knowing that the master even of you yourselves is in heaven, and respect of persons is not with him.” Eph. vi. 5—9.
"Servants obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men pleasers, but with integrity of heart, as fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, work it from the soul, as working to the Lord, and not to men only; knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the reconipense, for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he who doth unjustly, shall receive for the injustice he hath done; For there is no respect of persons. Masters afford to your servants what is just and what is equal, knowing that ye also have a master in the heavens." Col, iii. 22-25--iv. I.
"Let whatever servants are under the yoke, esteem their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine of the Gospel be not evil spoken of. And they who have believing masters, let them not despise them be
* In the times of the Apostle slavery extended through the Civilized world, and the term doulos was that which was universally applied to the bondman. The term servant does not now express the full meaning of doulos, which is used in all the passages cited. The careful Engli reader would gather this meaning from the context without recurring to his Commentary.
cause they are brethren; but let them serve them more, because they are believers and beloved who receive the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any one teach differently, and consent not to the wholesome commandments which are our Lord Jesus Christ's, and to the doctrine according to godliness, he is puffed up with pride, knowing nothing; but is distempered about questions and debates of words, whereof come envy, strife, evil speakings, unjust suspicions, perverse disputings of men wholly corrupted in mind and destitute of the truth, who reckon gain to be religion : from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Tim. vi. 145.
“Servants exhort to be subject to their own masters, and in all things to be careful to please, not answering again, not secretly stealing, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." Titus ii. 9-10.
“Household servants, be subject to your lords with all reverence, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; for this is an acceptable thing, if any one from conscience of God's commands, sustains sorrows, suffering unjustly." I Peter ii. 18, 19.
“Him,” Onesimus, “I have sent back.” Philemon 12.
1. The Gospel does not abrogate the political relations or obligations of men.
Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; that is, to the authority of government, whether of parents, masters or magistrates. Be subject not only on account of wrath, but also on account of conscience. Render therefore to all their dues. In what state each one was called, in that let him remain with God.
“In the first age,” says Macknight respecting 1 Cor. vii. 17-24," some of the brethren entertaining wrong notions of the privileges conferred on them by the Gospel, fancied that, on their becoming Christians, they were freed from their former political as well as religious obligations. To remove that error the apostle ordered every Christian to continue in the state in which he was called to believe; because the Gospel sets no person free from any innocent political, and far less from any natural obligation. The converted Jew was still to remain under the law of Moses as the municipal law of Judea, and the converted Gentile was not to become a Jew by receiving circumcision. Because in the affair of men's salvation no regard is had either to circumcision or uncircumcision, but to the keeping of
the commandments of God. Every one therefore after his conversion was to remain in the political state in which he was converted. In particular, slaves after their conversion were to continue under the power of their masters as before, unless they could lawfully obtain their freedom, and a freeman was not to make himself a slave. The reason was because having been bought by Christ with a price, if he became the slave of men, he might find it difficult to serve Christ, his superior master. And therefore the Apostle a third time enjoined them to remain in the condition wherein they were called.”
So Doddridge on the same passage; “Since the providence of God is concerned in all these relations, and in the steps by which they were contracted, as God hath distributed to every one, and, as it were, cast the parts of life, let every one so walk, even as the Lord hath called him. This I command in all the Churches, and charge it upon the consciences of men, as a lesson of the highest importance." "I may apply this not only to the different employments, but relations in life.”
2. When men are converted they are required to be obedient and faithful in the circumstances in which, by the arrangements of Divine providence, they are placed. It is in these circumstances that they are to exercise the Christian graces and to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them to glory and virtue.
3. Slaves when converted are bound to honor their masters and to serve them with fidelity, whether they be good and gentle or froward. They are required to do this as a part of their obedience to God. They are to do it for conscience sake, in the integrity of their hearts as to Christ, that they may honor the name and adore the doctrine of God our Saviour.
4. Converted slaves, whose masters also are converted, are not to despise them on account of their being Christian brethren and on a level in that respect; but on the contrary, considering that the benefit of their service accrues to those to whom they sustain this relation of brethren they are to serve them with more cordiality and faithfulness on that account. The congruity and propriety of this is apparent from the preceding observations and the texts quoted. The Gospel does not abrogate the relation between masters and slaves, nor absolve either of the parties from the duties incident to that relation. It addresses itself directly to men in that relation and requires them in the most solemn and imperative manner, to discharge their respective duties towards each other conscientiously and with good will, out of obedience to God and regard to the impartial decisions of the judgment day.
5. Ministers of the Gospel are expressly required to teach the truths, and exhort to the performance of the duties enjoined in the Scriptures above quoted. No duty can be plainer than that of such teaching and exhortation ; and considering the light in which the Gospel respects the whole subject, none can be more clearly necessary to the honor either of doctrinal or practical Christianity. If the Gospel does not abolish the relation of masters and slaves, if slaves are bound to be subject to their own masters, and to show all good fidelity in their service, for this reason, viz. that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; if in that, their obedience to God is to be manifested in their cheerful and faithful obedience to their masters according to the flesh, then the clear and unreserved inculcation of these things is required, not only by the Divine authority, but by every consideration of benevolence and good will to those who are under the yoke of servitude. If they are not taught these things they will assuredly go astray. The Scriptural path of duty in which they are to render obedience to God, cannot be pointed out to them, nor can their supreme or their relative obligations be made known, without such teaching and exhortation as is here enjoined.
Nor is such teaching to be confined to slaves or slaveholders. It is teaching the wholesome words and commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, and is according to godliness; and is therefore necessary to be known by all who desire to understand the Gospel and to regulate their conduct by it. Those who do not attain Scriptural views of this subject, are exposed to be led far astray both in their opinions and their conduct by evil passions and false dogmas, as indicated in the passages copied at the head of this article, and as actual experience abundantly evinces.
6. Whoever teaches otherwise than according to these Scriptures, departs from the truth and practices ungodliness.
“If any one teach differently, by affirming that under the Gospel slaves are not bound to serve their masters, but ought to be made free, and does not consent to the wholesome commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the