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3. This volume having, in its miracles and prophecy, the impri. matur of divine authority, is the only infallible standard by which all the relations of human life, and all the duties and obligations growing out of them, are to be adjudicated, so far as morality and religion are concerned.
4. To it, therefore, not as "the higher law," but as the highest law, all questions of moral right and wrong are to be brought for final adjudication.
5. Every relation of life may be abused, as well as lawfully used.
6. The proper use of a relation, and the abuse of it, are, therefore, always to be separated and distinguished from each other, in the mind of any one who desires to be governed by the law of God.
7. Dispensations, both of law and religion, may be changed, but morality and religion are, in their essence and nature, immutable.
8. Hence, what a Patriarch, a Jew, or a Christian, may morally do, they all may do.
9. Religion, distinguished from time, place, circumstance, is also essentially and immutably the same. It is essentially the knowledge, the love, the admiration, the adoration, and the service of God, according to special precepts. While the nature or character of the precept may differ, according to times and circumstances, the obedience of the precept is, while it lasts, the rule and measure of our piety and devotion.
10. The relation of husband and wife, of parent and children, of master and servant, are natural and necessary relations, and, as such, have been ordained and sanctioned by God. They are, therefore, lawful relations.
11. There are servants of numerous and various characters; public and private servants, bondservants and free servants; servants for a day, a month, a year, seven years, and for life. All, however, are entitled to remuneration.
12. But remuneration, as to its specific form and value, is matter of public or of private arrangement. The divine law requires that it be “just and equal,” or equitable.
These propositions being laid down, and, we presume, intelligibly submitted, we now proceed to answer, more specifically, the queries submitted to our consideration.
In attempting this, we shall again glance at the history of the relation of master and servant, so far as the moral character and use are involved and set forth in the highest law-the Bible.
It is conceded that God allowed his own people—those under his special government, during every form and dispensation of religion
Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian--to have hired servants and bondservants.
We shall again allude to a few clear and unequivocal cases. First, in order, the Patriarchal dispensation claims our attention. This engrossed about 2500 years.
Of these patriarchs we shall name but two--Abraham and Job. They are amongst the most venerable, if not the most venerable and venerated saints, before the times of Moses.
Abraham, when 75 years old, was divinely called to leave his own country and relations, and to become, for a time, a pilgrim. At the · time of his departure, though not a father, he was both a husband and a master. On leaving Haran and proceeding to Canaan, according to a divine call and promise, he took with him his wife, his nephew, (Lot,) “ with all his substance,” even “the souls” or persons he had purchased or “gotten” in Haran. Driven thence, by famine, into Egypt, he continued there for a time, but again returned to Canaan, rich "in flocks and herds, in silver, and in gold.” Lot, who accompanied him, was also rich, in the same forms and variety of property, so that they were compelled to separate, to find pasture for their flocks and herds, and employment for their households. When bis nephew, Lot, got into a controversy with neighboring princes, so large was Abraham's household that he took with him 318 young men, well armed and trained for the conflict. These were all home born slaves, as we call them, or servants for life. When in Egypt, they are enumerated amongst his goods and chattels : Pharaoh treated him as a Prince; and it is added, “He had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and men servants, and maid servants, and she asses, and camels." He could not have had less than a thousand servants. Three hundred and eighteen home born young men, fit for war, would, according to the laws of population, have given three hundred and eighteen maid servants, of the same ages; and it is fairly inferable that the other two classes, below and above young men-minors and superanuated—would, at least, in all, have made one thousand; much more likely, 1500 servants. One will rarely find, in any community, 318 soldiers, in 1500 of the aggregate population. His faithful steward, Eleazer, of Damascus, was, indeed, an officer of Abraham's household great responsibility.
Job, too, a prince, according to many, contemporary with Abraham, was also a prince of probably much larger estate than Abraham himself. “ He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 she asses, and a very great household.” His household, to say the least, may be presumed to have equaled that of Abraham. Here, then, we have, in these venerable and distinguished servants of God, a demonstration, that nothing was morally wrong in the relation of master and servant, home born or bought. Of Abraham, God said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am about to 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 he shall command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment, that I might perform that which I promised him.” And of Job it is said, “He was a perfect and upright man-one that feared God and eschewed evil;" and yet, as a prince, he was "the greatest of all the men of the East."
Need we more clear, more striking, more invincible proof, that the holding property for life in man, or the owning of man, or the relation of absolute master and slave, is neither immoral nor irreli. gious, in itself. And that the Hebrew term gehved, used in the case of Abraham's servant, also by Job, as before shown, denotes a slave for life, we want no other proof than Job's description of the grave, “where,” said he, “the servant (gehved) is free from his master.” Job's servants would, then, according to his own definition, never be emancipated till death severed the bond. Such was the Patriarchal servitude.
In a former essay, we noted that the moral law, as it is usually called, announced on Sinai, enacted the right of property in a man servant and a maid servant, by positively inhibiting the coveting, of one or the other, on the part of any man. And also, it was shown, that the first statute of the political law, in the case of Hebrew ser. vants, allowed the Hebrew servant to sell himself till the year of Jubilee, or for life, as the case might be, and even authorized his master, a Hebrew, to hold him so long.
Besides these provisions, another law was enacted, by divine authority, in the civil law of Israel. If Jew desired to purchase servants for life, and thus to have bondmen, the Lord enacted the following law : “Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou st alt have, shall be of the Heathen round about thee; of them thou mayest buy. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy; and of their families that are with you, which they shall beget in your land, and they shall be your possession. And you shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shalt be your bondmen forever; but over your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule one over another with rigor.” Other bondservants of their brethren might be redeemed or bought back again. A brother, a cousin, or an uncle, might redeem bim. Still, while the Jubilee would ultimately release him, he must, if redeemed, be paid for according to the years intervening; and his brother is authorized to receive money for him, according to the time of sei. vice due.
This institution gave a feature to the whole criminal code of Israel. Suppose a master, in correcting his servant, should seriously injure him-indeed, strike him so that he might die in consequence of the blow--he was not, as in other cases, to pay the penalty of death. Why? Simply “because he was his money," or property. If he only lived a day or two after the correction, the divine law made the loss of the servant itself a sufficient temporal punishment to the master.--Exodus xxi. 21.
The law of circumcision was, moreover, to bear upon Abraham's property, whether children or servants. But
the bodies of his servants it was essentially a property mark, entitling them, however, as such, to the religious privileges of the Jewish institution.
So far, therefore, we must regard Patriarchal and Jewish servitude for life, and man owning man, as not immoral, or as contrary to the law of God, as governor of the world.
I am fully aware, that there is a text in some Bibles that is not in mine. Professional Abolitionists have made more use of it than of any passage in the Bible. It came, however, as I trace it, from Saint Voltaire, and was baptized by Thomas Jefferson, and since almost universally regarded as canonical authority—“ All men are born free and equal."
This is genuine coin in the political currency of our generation. I am sorry to say, that I have never seen two men of whom it is true. But I must add, I never saw the Siamese twins, and, therefore, will not dogmatically say that no man ever saw a proof of this sage aphorism. We intend to examine the New Testament in our next essay:
Let us all so order our conversation in the world, that we may live when we are dead, in the affections of the best, and have an honorable testimony in the conscience of the worst. none; do good to all, that we may say when we die, as good Ambrose did "I am neither ashamed to live nor ashamed to die."
Let us oppress FAMILY CULTURE.
CONVERSATIONS AT THE CARLTON HOUSE-No. XVI.
ROMANS VIII., 18-25.
James. However, I esteem not the sufferings of the present time, as worthy of comparison with the glory which is hereafter to be revealed in
For the earnest expectation of the creature, is waiting for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was subject to frailty, (not of its own choice, but by him who has subjected it,) in hope, that it may be liberated, from the bondage of a perishing state, and brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Besides, we know that the whole creation sigh together, and travail in anguish till the present time. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the first fruit of the Spirit; even we ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption; namely, the redemption of our body. For even we are saved by hope. Now, hope that is attained, is not hope; for who can hope for that which he enjoys? But if we hope for that which we do not enjoy, then, with patience, we wait for it.”
Olympas.-We must view this passage with what precedes it. The sonship of Christians, as adopted into the family of God, is the grand theme of this lesson. At the close of our last lesson, the apostle says: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God.” The proof of this declaration is found in the fact, that they have received the spirit of adoption, crying, Abba, Father!
Abba, said to be the first breathing of an infant, in its earliest effort to speak, and, in all the ancient languages, indicating father, is beautifully prefixed to the word father by our apostle; thereby intimating that the first breath of the new born children of God is an indication of its possessing a filial spirit. Because they are sons, they cry Abba, which means Father. What a change! From being enemies of God, we become sons of God, by the reconciliation we enjoy through Christ, the only begotten of the Father-ihe Son of the Living God. He makes all his brethren his brothers, and joint heirs with him. What a change! Sons and heirs of God! But we must, and well we may, suffer with him in a wicked world, seeing, with him, we also shall be glorified.
Aquila.--The spirit of bondage is then cast out; for, indeed, it is an unclean and a tormenting spirit. An accusing guilty conscience, is the greatest plague we can endure. We cannot flee from it. It enslaves, pollutes, debases man. Peace with God is heaven upon earth. The richest promise that Christ bequeathed was expressed in these words: "My peace I bequeath to you," my friends!
SERIES IV,--VOL. ).