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day, are wholly incompatible with Christian sentiment and style. “ Has there been evil in a city," or a family, “and the Lord hath not done it?" asks a Prophet. As respects the divine knowledge and will, there is no chance in the universe.
To illustrate this, let us turn back to the history of Joseph and note the chances --"the good luck and the bad luck” of this renowned patriarch.
He happened to be the eleventh son of Jacob, by his beloved Rachel, and to be the most beloved by his father. He happened once upon a time to be sent upon an errand to see his brethren, away from home tending their flocks at Shechem. He had the good fortune to be a be tiful boy, and to have so much of his fat r's partiality as to be more elegantly dressed than any of his brothers. He happened to have two remarkable dreams in his boyhood, which, when told to his father and his brothers, greatly excited their envy and hatred. He happened to lose his way in seeking for his brothers, and lost much time in the plains, tracing their movements. But by good luck a kind stranger came along and directed his way to Dothan, and there he found them. On seeing him approach, his brothers conspired against him to kill him. But Reuben fortunately saved his life, by proposing to cast him into a pit. By great good luck a company of Ishmaelitish traders in spicery and gums, came along from Midian, and succeeded in purchasing him for the Egyptian market. This was a very remarkable chance ; for had he not lost his way, he might have been there too soon for such a deliverance.
One Potiphar, a very worthy officer and captain of Pharaoh, fortunately wanted a servant, and bought Joseph. But the Lord was with Joseph, and he was for a while a lucky man, for he obtained favors from his master, and became the steward and ruler of his family. But, unfortunately, Potiphar's wife was not the most virtuous woman in Egypt, and fell in love with the beautiful Joseph, and sought to allure him into her room. Finally, on one occasion she seized him by his garment, but he, resolutely withstanding, unluckily lost his garment in the scuffle, and, by the falsehood and villainy of Mrs. Potiphar, he was complained of to his master, and had the misfortune to be thrown into prison. By his good manners and prepossessing appearance, he was, however, so happy as to obtain the confidence of the jailor, and to be made a sort of superintendent of the other unfortunates, whose unpropitious stars had made them inmates of the dungeon.
It chanced, once upon a time, that Pharaoh's cup-bearer and confectioner offended their master, and were cast into the same prison, and placed under the care of Joseph. By good luck, these new inmates of the prison happened, each on one night, to have some portentous dreams. On inquiring into their sadness next morning, they told Joseph their dreams, who, by his great sagacity, was enabled to give them a true interpretation.
It fortunately came to pass soon after, that Pharaoh himself had some portentous dreams, which caused great perturbation of mind, and induced him to call for the magicians of Egypt, to interpret his dreams. By great good luck none of them, however, could satisfy the monarch. His cup-bearer, fortunately at this crisis, remembered his own dream and Joseph's interpretation of it, and was prompted to report his talents to his master.
Joseph was sent for, and had the great good fortune to satisfy the monarch of his superior wisdom and learning in the department of oneiracriticism. Soon after, he was most luckily called from the prison to the palace and made governor of Egypt, and next to Pha. raoh in power.
Under his wise and prudent administration of the affairs of Egypt, the famine was anticipated, and large preparations were made for its approach.
It had extended to Canaan, and compelled its inhabitants to go down into Egypt for bread. Meantime Joseph's brethren, and finally his father, were compelled to come down into Egypt and reside there. Fortunately the shepherd kings, who had been a scourge to Egypt, were compelled to vacate the land of Goshen; and that being the best portion of Egypt for pasturage, Jacob and his sons, with their flocks and their herds, were, under their new fortunes there, happily located. At Goshen they remained for very many years, enjoying general good fortune, till another king was placed on the throne, who, unluckily for them, knew not Joseph nor his people, and they were reduced to slavery.
Such is the doctrine of chance. One hundred such chances, all terminating in one great event, affecting to this day the destiny of a nation, the most prolific of blessings to the world, metamorphoses these chances into the well wrought links of a chain of designs, terminating in the eternal destiny of the world. For had not Joseph been sold as a slave into Egypt, and there risen to honor, the family of Jacob had not gone down there, and would not have been enslaved there. Moses would not have been born and educated there. Egypt had not been plagued. The first-born of Egypt had not been slain. Israel had not been redeemed and led through the Red Sea by the naked arm of God. The Passover had never been instituted. The law.would not have been given on Sinai; the tabernacle and its worship would never have been instituted, and all the miracles displayed in the fields of Zoan, and in the wilderness for forty years, had never been wrought. Out of Egypt God could not have called his Son, nor would his character have been made known to all the earth as it was by the instrumentality of the Pharaohs. The manna had not fallen from heaven; the rock of Horeb had never been converted into a perennial fountain in the desert; a thousand types and figures, essential to the development of God's moral government, and the means of redemption had never been wrought, and the destinies of the world at this day would not, in any great point, have been as they now are.
Now, all this seems to be traceable to an unlucky” variegated dress, placed by fond and partial parents upon a handsome boy, or to his telling two portentous dreams to the family, and his being sent on an errand, and then to the contingency of the arrival of a company of traders dealing in goods and men at the moment. On the failure of any one of these “chances,” the destiny of the world would have been very different from what it now is, and has for a long time been. How far this chain may reach beyond the bourne of time, it is not given to man to know. Hence, it becomes him not to be dogmatically positive in affirming this or that, touching a chain the first and last link of which he has never seen; nor to set about the creation of a demi-god called chance, who has lost one or both of his eyes, and of whose other senses he can never learn nor communicate any thing.
It required several centuries to develop the mysteries of Joseph's dreams and early fortunes; and it is he alone that sees the end from the beginning, and to whom the issues of life and death are ever present, that can fully vindicate his own government, and that can satisfy the universe that he has done all things well. Our duty is to walk by his precepts, to acknowledge him in all our ways, and always to cherish the feeling of an absolute dependence on him for every thing that we enjoy, or hope to enjoy.
It is, beside, a thousand times more rational and blissful, to refer all things interesting to us, either in the present or the future, to the counsel, the band, or the blessing of the Lord, thap to a mere contingency, or our good fortune” or management. To feel that our persons, our lives, and all our conditions of life, are of his superin. tending care and providence, and not of “blind chance" or "good luck,” but of his own direction and blessing; for, indeed, in this life, many of our so-called misfortunes are the choicest blessings, and
all things do work together for good to them who love God and keep his commandments.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his works in vain:-
THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW-ONCE MORE.
BEING of opinion that this subject has been long enough before our readers, and that our position is well understood, and being near the close of the volume, we shall close the subject by presenting to the consideration of our brethren an essay from the pen of our much esteemed Bro. Errett, in the form of a letter addressed to me, not only in defence of his last communication, but also upon the whole subject of slavery in extenso. It will suffice our design and desires to offer a few notes at the bottom of the page, to such passages as we judge calling for a special remark:
WARREN, Ohio, September 13, 1851. Brother Campbell : The last month has been with me one of such incessant labor, as to leave me no time to write to you. This is my apology for not sooner acknowledging your kindness, in the very friendly notice you have taken of my sermon on the Design of Civil Government. Whatever may be the merits of that discourse, it speaks my honest convictions on à very grave question; and although it was not without much regret that I uttered these animadversions on some of your affirmations and reasonings, I felt then, and still feel, that no apology was needed, either to you or to the very extensive circle of acquaintances in the Christian brotherhood, who know what my respect and reverence for you have ever been. I am glad to know that, so far as my motives and intentions are concerned, I am not misunderstood. Were it not for the assurance that I speak the sentiments of very many brethren in speaking my own, and that your very kindly notice of my discourse emboldens me, no merely personal consideration could induce me to ask for a single page of the Harbinger to reply to your strictures. I am too young, and my pen is too inexperienced, to allow me to assume the attitude of a controversialist; and even if these difficulties were not in the way, controversy is so little to my taste, that I am in little danger of winning a pugilistic fame. But since the “ force of circum stances” has given me my present position, I beg leave to offer, in behalf of a large number of brethren, and for the benefit of those
who have not read iny discourse, a few thoughts in'reply to your criticisms. Perhaps I may be constrained to say more on the whole subject, when your series of articles is completed.
I. You object to my reasoning under the head of the unrighteousness of the Fugitive Slave Law, that I assume that every runaway is a fugitive from oppression. And you say, “If this be not axio. matic, then it follows that all the reasonings on the premises are false."
I might, indeed, safely assume this as true of the mass of runaway slaves, even as the Jewish law assumes it, (Deut. xxiii. 15.) And in doing this, I would be sustained by very strong testimonials. The evidence submitted in that discourse, from Southern men, as to the degraded and heathenish condition of the slave population, even where slavery exists in its mildest form, is to the point. Listen, also, to the following from Profersor Stuart, in his work entitled Conscience and the Constitution, in which he certainly shows him. self free from all sympathy with Abolitionism.
“As existing among us, slavery has taken its worst forin: it degrades men, made in the image of their God and Redeemer, into brute beasts, or, (which makes them still lower,) converts them into goods and chattels.
* Slavery, in its best attitude in our country, even among humane and Christian masters, is a degradation of a whole class of the community beneath their proper rank as men.” Is not this oppression? Again: “In this form of slavery, all the sacred social relations of life are destroyed. Husband and wise, parent and child, brother and sister, are not known in law, nor protected nor recognized by it. In conformity with this, these rela. tions are every day severed by some slave-dealers, without regard to the feelings of the wretched beings who are torn assunder; and all their parental, conjugal, and filial sympathies, are the subject of scorn, if not of derision. No invasion of human rights can be worse than this. As the inevitable consequence of this, the mass of slaves must live, and do live, in a virtual state of concubinage,” &c.
But I have greater testimony than that of Stuart. I looked into the Harbinger, and that bears witness unto the truth. In the Harbinger for 1832, p. 88, you have given, with your own pen, a testimony sufficiently broad to make the truth respecting fugitives from oppression axiomatic. You speak of our nation's "shedding crocodile tears over the fall of Warsaw, and illuminating for the revolution of the Parisians, while we have MILLIONS of miserable human beings held in involuntary bondage, in ignorance, degradation and vice, by a Republican system of slave-holding."