From the Charge of
"And ye shall take them for an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever."
"And ye shall" forever continue to "take them for an inheritance, &c. and they not your brethren the Hebrews "shall forever be your bondmen."
"The passage seems to mean," says an able writer, "that the Hebrews might by successive purchase, continually possess that kind of servants, and not, that they might hold the same individuals for life." We once more assert the fact, that no contract for service could be valid beyond the Jubilee, supported in this view by the positive "all" before noticed, as superior in its weight, to the accommodating term "forever." There is no real force in this phrase, so much harped upon by those who would even fasten upon the Holy One, the charge of sanctioning slavery in his moral law, if they could thereby abolish abolitionism. (Let those only clothe themselves with this garment, who are fitted by it.).
One more argument in favor of the first member of our second head.
5. The position that God allows men to be enslaved, we think presents him in a most unenviable predicament of inconsistency, which we know is impossible in fact. By his law he demands our undivided service; and this charge would make it appear, that he had resigned a part of that right to the task master or slave owner. God would not invest, we think, nay has not invested, an arm wielded by a wicked heart, with unlimited and despotic sway, over his fellow man. No never! for He is wisdom and love and mercy. That the pecuniary interest of the master comes in contact with the religious duty of the slave in innumerable instances, is a fact so notorious, that it requires no proof. As a consequence of this, an accredited correspondent of the "Presbyterian," writing from Alabama, declares them "emphatically a neglected race;" and the Kentucky and Tennessee divines, have recently attested to the almost universal denial of religious privileges to the slaves, though they have the same right to the instructions of the sanctuary, with whites, and their souls require the light of divine truth to prepare them for the great day of accounts, just as much, yea more than do those of the whites. This state of neglect is very general; and how absolutely irreconcilable with probability, is the idea of "goods and chattels" prescribing religious liberty, as a condition of continued service! Property dictating to its owner. No. A slave has no acknowledged civil or religious rights. God would not found an institution, investing the control of an owner in one man, and imposing the subserviency of property on another, as from the natural laws of the human mind, it would produce results so disastrous to morals, as above described, and that too so general, and unavoidable by the best legal control in existence. No man, in the light of the word of God, would throw away his dearest rights, because it involves palpable sin; they must be torn from him by the hands of ruthless oppressors. The very relation of master and slave, instituted for gain, pleasure or profit, is sin, only sin, always sin in itself.
6. It is objected that the phrase, "of them shall ye buy your bondmen and bondmaids," is proof that property was bought.
"We must be careful how we understand the terms "bought and sold" in the scriptures. Excepting the priests, Joseph "bought" all the Egyptians, and they sold themselves unto him. See Gen. xlvii.19 and 23. They were bought for servants. Were they therefore Joseph's "goods and chattels?" like the Southern slaves? Jacob bought his two wives, for they say themselves of their father, "He hath sold us," Gen. xxi. 15. Were they therefore his slaves? Mere goods and chattels? Boaz bought Ruth. Was she a slave? To "buy with money" does not always mean to purchase property in scripture phraseology. See Ex. xxx. 12, and xiii. 13, 14, 15. "Redeem the first born," literally "buy" the first born. Cain signifies to "buy." Eve said "I have gotten," literally "bought," a man of the Lord, Gen. iv.1. So according to slaveholders’ logic, Eve was the first slaveholder—good old mother Eve; and the Lord the first trader. When our Southern slaveholders undertake to show how ancient their system is, let them go to the bottom. The Lord a slave trader! Eve a slave buyer! Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, good old slaveholders! &c. and so on. Who can doubt, but that slaveholders are of the patriarchal line!! Doubtless they are the people, and we poor fanatics ought to be expelled from the church, for not "walking in the steps of those good bondmaids," so far from proving that slaves were thus obtained, supports a directly contrary opinion, and fully reveals the fact that the principles of common honesty were sustained in obtaining servants, as we shall just now show. It will be granted that the "strangers and their children which do sojourn among you," spoken of in the text, must have been free. The very term "sojourn" indicates this characteristic, as it means "to dwell for a short time in a place" while traveling. These were persons from it was appointed to the Jews to "buy" their "bondmen and bondmaids." Now the Israelites, as has already been seen, were forbidden from oppressing the "stranger," and therefore God commands them to "buy" bondmen of them. Mark the force of the expression, "of them shall ye buy," not steal, your bondmen. Ye shall not oppress them, ye shall "buy." Not compel them to an unwilling service, (as Southerners generally do) ye shall "buy." Ye shall not enslave, forcing them into bondage, ye "shall buy" your servants justly. Shall not sunder the family ties, without consent of parents and children. Ye "shall buy" of them on fair contract. Anything short of this would be grievous oppression; and so deeply concerned was the God of all goodness, for the welfare of the stranger, that he utters that thrilling denunciation against those who would dare oppress them, "If they cry at all unto me. I will surely hear, and my wrath shall wax hot against you, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless," Ex. xxii. 22, 23, 24. So much for "buy" and sell. Our second position that the Jews could not hold men as property at all, much less establish everlasting slavery, being established; we pass to notice, thirdly, heirs could not claim services from servants of legators, except upon positive contracts limited by the Jubilee.
Our opponents say children were to have the servants of their parents for an inheritance. We answer, heirs would of course claim the fulfillment of contracts with their parents. Justice would require this, because those services would be a part of the estate, "his money." But these words, "and ye shall take them for an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession," mean any thing else as soon as that slavery was to be perpetual among the Hebrews. An "inheritance," 'tis true, generally means a legacy from a friend, and a possession is commonly applied to property; but not always, by any means. Instance—He who drinks much rum, inherits disgrace and an early death, as his "possession;" but the sober man has an "inheritance" of long life with honor, as his "possession." These terms may express in a lively and forcible manner, certain privileges. Thus, the "inheritance" of Christ's humble followers will be a "possession" in the skies incorruptible. As "bondmen" would be a necessary part of community, the children of Israel were "forever" to have the privilege of "possession" by "buying" them of the "heathen and stranger," and this was to be their "inheritance." I know not what language could have portrayed more awfully than that we have quoted, the fixed determination the Almighty, to blast and wither, with his fierce vengeance, the Jewish nation, if they should forcibly take the innocent "stranger or heathen" as property for an inheritance and "possession" for their children after them, and will them as slaves to their heirs "forever," for surely there can be no greater oppression, than that of enslaving a man. See Ex. i. 13, 14, and iii. 9. Every other wrong dwindles into insignificance when compared with this. Give me liberty or give me death, said Patrick Henry. Ten thousand voices echoed, "Give me liberty or give me death." 'Twas a noble saying. It rolled with gathering force through the nation, until the voice of one man was the thundering proclamation of millions, and was hurled, with defiance, at European despots on the eastern shore of the Atlantic. It lit up the fire of the revolution, which disenthralled us from a foreign yoke, and is destined to burn in the bosom of all the real friends of liberty, until "every yoke shall be broken," and all the "oppressed" upon the American continent go free. O thou Lord God of the oppressed! speed that day.
But once more. The Jews could not have understood the terms "inheritance and possession" as we understand them, when applied to property, for with all the claims of our opponents to perpetuity, when speaking of Jewish slavery! there was a law, (well understood by them; broad in its extent, positive in its requirements, plain in its phraseology, which shouted liberty upon every hill, rung it through every valley of the holy land, and in the twinkling of an eye removed every restraint that the master could legally fix upon the "servants and bondmen." What kind of property is that which owns itself fully at short intervals? What perpetuity! that which is periodical and numbers forty nine years!!! Every case of servitude was begun upon a mutual agreement, and must close on the return of the Jubilee. Hebrew servants! heathen bondmen, strangers at service, "all the inhabitants of the land," partook of the general release: every bond was broken, and if any were oppressed, they all went free. This is all the individual "inheritance and possession" that the children! could possibly have in the bones and sinews of the poor heathen slaves!
Again: Speaking of our Saviour, the apostle says, "by whom and for whom were all things created," and again, "who made all things for his own pleasure." Could it be pleasure for the merciful Jesus, to see his redeemed rendering an unrequited and unwilling service to a tyrant? Common sense says no. And let all the righteous say amen. This leads us to consider and prove,
4. Jewish servants were in the main treated as equals or children, not a shadow of authority appearing in the word of God, for treating them as are our Southern slaves.
1. Their service was always voluntary—unless convicted of crime. This is indubitable from the following text, before quoted, Deut. xxiii.15, 16, "Thou shalt not deliver to his master the servant, which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee among you (In reading this, I fancy I hear a colonizationist exclaim, horrible! right among them! What amalgamators!!) in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates which liketh him best; thou shall not oppress him." Unfurl to the States, a banner with this inscription, and slavery is dead. The land would be darkened with flying thousands, who long to escape from their masters.
2. They might hold property over which the master had no control. For the counterpart of this, see the Southern slave codes generally.
3. They had the civil rights of citizens in the congregation of Israel. Southern slaves have none.
4. If the master smote out an eye or a tooth, freedom was the price. How is it south? Death is almost the only emancipator there.
5. The various public feasts, Sabbaths, convocations, &c. gave Jewish servants rest for very near one half of the time.
How much rest, how many feasts and sabbaths, have Southern slaves?
6. Jewish servants sometimes married their masters children!
7. It was the duty of Hebrews to teach the law of God to their families. Is this made the duty of masters in the South, by law? No. In some of the slave States, laws are made against this effect.
8. Husbands and wives could not be forcibly separated under the Jewish law. It is done daily in the South.
9. Jewish servants worshipped in common, in the same church with their masters. This is not even permitted in the North generally, much less in the South.
We here insert an article, from the pen of Rev. George Storrs, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, upon the patriarchal treatment of servants.
"Abraham had servants bought with money. We find one an heir to his estate; see Gen. xv. 3. Another ruled over all that Abraham had, Gen. xxiv. 1, 2, sent to choose a wife for Isaac, v. 4. He seems to have had charge of Isaac himself, v. 6. Rachel salutes him with "my lord," v. 18. What a lovely slave! He inquires for a place to lodge in her father's house, v. 23. What a saucy slave! Ask for a place to lodge in a planter's house! Why not go to the 'Negro quarters?' When our slave holders can show us, if they were to die childless, their slaves (goods and chattels) would be heirs to their estates; that they send them to choose wives for their sons: that they rule over all they have, &c.; then it will be time for us to grant that they have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for their examples." The treatment of minors, was that of children—and adults that of equals."
Objections of various kinds have been made to the idea just thrown out; some arising from one text, some another. We notice two of the strongest, and assure the reader, that quite as signal a refutation is the destiny of all others, as he will perceive happens to these. It is said that Hebrews might treat their servants with a rigor more severe than would be justifiable to their children. This idea arises from the closing clause of the text, "but over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule, one over another, with rigor." And how does this apply to the "stranger" or the "heathen?" Personal treatment is not intended at all, but it was designed to add weight to the already implied injunction, to buy their "bondmen" exclusively from heathen and strangers. Another objection is taken from Ex. xxi. 20, 21., "If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished, (or avenged,) notwithstanding if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished, (or avenged) for he is his money." This law is quoted to build up the idea of the existence of slavery among the Jews; and indeed to hold out a still more barbarous principle, viz: because the servant is called "his money" he had a right, uncondemned, to flog his slave to any extent, even to death, so that it did not occur during the infliction of the punishment.
Even Southern slave laws are more merciful than the Jewish slave code, according to this interpretation. It is horrible. But instead of authorizing cruelty, this regulation is perfectly just, and would doubtless be the very rule of action, in our own Courts of Justice, if a master should use the ROD so severely upon one of his "servants" or "bondmaids" maids" (apprentices,) as to produce death. It was applicable to Hebrew as well as Gentile servants; indeed, our translators being the judges, it was positively confined to Hebrew servants, for they call heathen servants "bondmen and bondmaids"—and how will it comport (according to the exposition of our opponents) with, "over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule one over another with rigor." Let the wicked have his own way and he will surely destroy himself. Let the pro-slavery advocates have their own way, and they make God say on one page of the Bible, "over your brother Hebrew you shall not rule with rigor," and on the very next, "you may flog him to any extent you please, so that he does not die instantly, for he is your money." O shame! cover them quickly. There is indeed no more authority for whipping a servant, developed in this passage, than masters have and of right ought to have, all over the world. The rod must sometimes be used on refractory young, servants and children, both male and female, and this law was made to guard the persons of Jewish servants against the abuse of this practice, instead of authorizing masters to whip severely. "He is his money." In the very same sense are apprentices "the money" of masters now; and this phrase is used to show that interest was added in this case to other motives for preserving both the life and bodily powers of the servant. If the servant died under the rod, the master lost his life, (Ex. xxi. 12;) but if he lived "a few days" (for this is the meaning of the original translated "a day or two") it was possible some other cause produced the catastrophe, and life is so valuable that it should not be taken unless upon indisputable evidence of actual and premeditated murder. "Malice aforethought" is our legal term, and it was doubtless drawn from Ex. xxi. 12, 13, 14. The Lord prefers reserving a decision in such dubious cases, for his own management, or day of final accounts and judgment, when unerring scrutiny will do right. It is better that two guilty persons should escape human justice, than that one innocent, should be punished.
Three things described in this law, form an important reason, for sparing the life of the master. Taken together, they produce strong presumptive evidence, that he did not design to take the life of his servant.
1. The instrument used is not a deadly one—a rod.
2. The continuance of life, for some days.
3. The pecuniary interest, which he had in the labors of the deceased.
Another objection is, the Hebrew six year slaves, were styled "servants," while, the heathen, "forever" slaves, were called "bondmen." Let it be offered in any shape, it is of no force at all, for the original of servants and bondmen, is every where precisely the same; the variation is only an arbitrary arrangement of the translators. Every Hebrew scholar knows this is true. The design of the translators was to keep up a distinction, between Hebrew and heathen servants, which really existed. What that difference was, we are not told; but we conjecture, from a collation of various passages, referring to this subject, that it was in the length of time, for which they might serve, or in the kind of labor to be performed—probably both. Whatever it was, we are assured it involved neither oppression nor injustice, for the rule was established by one, who hateth perversion of judgment. The distinction between Hebrew and other servants, is developed as strongly in Lev. xxv. 39, 40, as in any other passage.
|Common translation||Literal translation|
"And if thy brother, that dwelleth by thee, be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant; but as a hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of Jubilee."
And if thy brother by thee, be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve with the service of a servant; as a hired servant, as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, shall serve thee unto the year of Jubilee.
Even the tenth commandment of the Decalogue has been charged with supporting the pro-slavery opinion of the Bible, in our presence, by a minister of the gospel!! It is, however, too puerile and wicked an objection, to notice farther, than to say, if coveting a servant, there means coveting property, coveting another's wife, does also.
Both are false in fact. Noah's curse of Canaan, has often been quoted, to prove the enslavement of Africans to be in accordance with prophecy! and therefore right! It is as absurd as wicked. Those of the American slaves, who have escaped the discoloring tinges of Southern amalgamators, are the descendants of Mizraim, Cush and Phut, who settled in Africa, while Canaan settled in Palestine. This is universally known to be true, being the combined testimony of Biblical critics and commentators. To satisfy the reader as to the residence of Canaan's descendants, I refer to Genesis, x. 15 to 19, and Joshua, ix. 1. Abraham is cited as an example of slaveholding. "He had servants bought with money." This is true. But if they were slaves, and would be the property of his legal heirs, how comes it, that one of them is said to be his heir, and would of course, own all the rest of the slaves! Again: if they were slaves, where had they all gone to (1800 or 2000 of them) when Jacob, his lineal descendant and heir, went into Egypt, a few years afterwards. Not one of them was left, of all that number. Objections against the construction, which abolitionists put upon the Bible, may be urged in great number; but the grand cause of them all, is about here. The Pope issued his bull, some hundreds of years since, announcing the strict morality of the slave trade. Since that, slavery has prevailed extensively in Great Britain, France and America, as well as many other powers, with which we are commercially connected, and has produced wide spread, deep seated, and almost unconvertible pro-slavery prejudices. The nations involved in the sin, have "screwed to the sticking point" God's holy word, to calm the throes of disturbed consciences.
And yet the very men, who fly to the Bible now, to prove slavery right, are compelled to turn upon themselves, and in one breath say, "God did sanction slavery among the Jews," but "we are as much opposed to slavery as any body else." This is truly one work of supererogation, if slavery was ever right, and God does not require it of them. We advise them, therefore, as men, to avow their principles and advocate the perpetuity of American slavery; the abolition of which, say they, will be attended with untold and unimaginable horrors throughout the land. The truth is, if slavery was ever morally right, it is now; for we fearlessly assert, that no purer morality is inculcated in the Bible, than we find developed in the Decalogue.
And now, we believe it a cheering truth, that, although very many good and great men have fallen into the snare set for them, by the enemies of liberty, and advocates for despotism; and have plead for the rightful existence of slavery, under the Jewish dispensation, there was no such thing there; but a mild and healthful servitude, regulated by laws of the purest possible character, for they were Divine. Our proofs have been, the laws imposing death as the penalty of man stealing, and forbidding Hebrews from returning or delivering servants to masters, from whom they had escaped. The general laws against oppression and requiring mercy. The established treatment of servants. The establishment of the Jubilee giving liberty to all the inhabitants of the land, every fiftieth year, and the positive immorality of selling one's self, into perpetual slavery. These are from the Old Testament, and are palpable. If suffered to prevail in our highly favored country, they would chant, in solemn, but gladdening tones, the final requiem of American slavery, which John Wesley declares, "the vilest that ever saw the sun." Before passing from the Old, to the New Testament, we subjoin references, to a few passages, which the reader may examine, if he wishes.
1. Treatment of servants. Ex. xii. 43, &c.; xxi.7, &c. 26, 27. Deut. vi. 6 to 9; xii. 11, 12; xvii. 18; xvi. 13, 14, 15; xv. 12, 13, 14; xxiii. 15, 16. 1 Samuel, ix. 22. Genesis, xv. 3; xxiv. 1, 2, 4, 6, 18, 23.
2. Oppression. Ex. iii. 9; xxii. 21; xxiii. 9. Judges, x. 12. Lev. xxv. 14, 17; Deut. xx. 14; xxvii. 7. 2 Kings, xiii. 4. Psalms, x. 18; xii. 5; lxii.10; liv. 3; cxix. 1, 21. Prov. xxii. 22, 16; xiv. 31; xxviii. 3; iii. 31; xxviii. 16. Eccles. iv. 1; vii. 7. Isaiah, i. 10 to 20; xxxiii. 15; iii. 12; xiv. 4; li. 13; 1viii. 6. Ezekiel, xviii. 7, 12, 16. Jeremiah, xxii. 3, 13; showing Old Testament kindness to the poor. A comparison, and we have done. The Hebrews were compelled to make brick for Pharaoh, and received, we suppose, about the same wages with Southern slaves. Though whipped, they were not sold to individuals, nor were their families dismembered. God called this oppression, Ex. iii. 9, and condemns oppression in more than a hundred places. Is American slavery as bad, as was Egyptian bondage? Yes, and much worse. Is it probable then, that he hated one and still loves the other? He either loves or hates American slavery. Which, reader, do you suppose? There can be but one answer. And now, which will you do, hate with God, or love with man? Even the purity of our blessed Saviour's ministration, has been assailed, by the unblushing advocates of slavery. I pray they may be forgiven, in consequence of their ignorance.
I. It is said, that, although slavery in its most awful form, prevailed under the Roman government, Christ and his apostles too, tacitly acknowledged the rectitude of the system, by admitting slave-holders into the church, and retaining them in that character, without censure. We answer to this:
1. It proves too much for our opponents. If Christ sanctioned slavery, by remaining silent upon the subject, he sanctioned the laws, regulating the system, for there is not in the New Testament, a word of condemnation for them. What were those laws? Two or three, were as follows. A slave was struck out of the list of moral agents, and consigned to that of brutes. A slave might, at any time, be killed by his master, without punishment. A slave might be sold twice, by the same master, before he could claim his freedom.
2. The fact that a practice is not condemned by name, is no reason at all that it is right. Under the argument of our opponents, the midnight gambler, and the Sabbath breaker, may escape rebuke. The owners of theaters, the performers themselves, and those who waste their time and money in nightly attendance upon these demoralizing representations, may still drink the "shed blood" and eat the "broken body" of the crucified Redeemer worthily!! Burglary, counterfeiting, forgery, horse racing and polygamy, are likewise passed by the Saviour and his apostles, without condemnation, except by implication. No Christian, can justify any of these practices, on the ground that silence is preserved respecting them. The iniquitous features of every leading vice are condemned, and among others, SLAVERY does not escape the fiery ordeal of the New Testament morality. The main characteristics of American slavery, are all made criminal by the New Testament.
1. Slave laws allow the separation of man and wife, by the order of the master.
N. T. "What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder," Matthew xix.6.
2. Slave laws forbid the slaves from worshipping God by themselves.
N. T. "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together," Heb. x. 25.
3. Slave laws exact labor without wages, in millions of instances.
N. T. "The hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth," &c. James, v. 1 to 6.
4. Slave laws shut out the knowledge of letters from the mind of the slave.
N. T. Search the scriptures.
5. Southern slavery encourages the stealing of men on the coast of Africa; for though prohibited by the laws of the land, they are still smuggled in.
N. T. "The law was made for murderers, men-slayers, menstealers," &c. (alluding to Ex. xxi. 16.) classing them among the vilest criminals of the earth.
6. Slave laws in North Carolina, make it penal, to give or sell a slave any book, even the Bible! In Georgia and Louisiana, a free black may be fined, whipped, imprisoned, and in the latter State, even put to death, for instructing his own children to read the pathway to eternal life!!
N. T. "Woe unto you lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge," Luke, xi. 52. "Ye fathers bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," Ephesians, vi. 4.
7. The New Testament condemns the selling of one's self into slavery, much more, one man selling another. "Ye are not your own: ye are bought."
8. It is the testimony of all candid slave-holders, and we positively know from the very nature of things, that slavery encourages general licentiousness.
N. T. In many places condemns adultery and fornication.
The slave laws of Ohio, and the constitution of the United States, allow slaveholders to carry freemen in irons to the South.
While the writer was engaged in preparing this pamphlet, two poor slaves passed through the village of Mansfield, (his residence) in chains! to slavery. They had escaped from their "better condition!" at Cincinnati, while passing down the river, to the Southern market, and in endeavoring to let their wives know where they were, the owner! (O! how can I write owner?) according to this Biblical! American system, learned their place of residence, and sent the soul catchers for them. They found the slaves in their "more miserable" condition, comfortable in freedom. They were unwilling to permit the poor fellows to suffer under such a burthen as freedom, and therefore, swore they were slaves, and carried them back to their master; destined doubtless to cruel and unrequited toil, till death shall emancipate them. This is the tender mercy of American slavery! Oh my country! how long can God withhold his anger and fierce vengeance? I have since learned that one of the men engaged in taking them, was the landlord of the Stage house, in Gratiot, Muskingum county, Mr. Price. A degenerate adopted son of Ohio, whose name should be cast out as vile.
N. T. Do unto others, as you would that others should do unto you.
These are a few of the points in which American slavery, bids defiance to the Almighty. They are the necessary consequences, the almost universal fruits, of established slavery every where. Other courses of treatment are exceptions. They are all pointedly condemned in, the New Testament. And is any one now prepared to say slavery is not touched by the Saviour's and apostles instructions? We have studiously avoided allusion to cruel treatment of the persons of slaves. The system is sufficiently horrible, to every well instructed mind, without any appeal to sympathy.
Many attempts have been made to sustain the morality of slavery, from instructions given to servants in the New Testament. There is not, however, a single passage, which may not, with perfect propriety, be addressed to servants and slaves too, without sanctioning slavery in the remotest degree. Every attempt of the kind has been met and foiled a thousand times unanswerably.
If those who brought the first slaves into Virginia were guilty, were not those who purchased them also guilty? And how are those, who have since advocated and supported the system less guilty?
(Wm. Pinckney said of American Slavery, in the Maryland House of Delegates, 1789, "Founded in a disgraceful traffic, its continuance is as shameful as its origin. Eternal infamy awaits the abandoned miscreants, whose selfish souls should ever tempt them to rob unhappy Africa of her sons. But why should we confine the edge of our censure to our ancestors, or those from whom they purchased? Are not we equally guilty? They strewed the seeds of slavery around, we cherish and sustain the growth." Said Patrick Henry, "Is it not amazing, that at a time when the rights of humanity are defined with precision, in a country above all others fond of liberty; that in such an age and in such a country, we find men, professing a religion the most humane and gentle, adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity, as it is inconsistent with the Bible and destructive to Liberty?")
Human laws generally recognize the principle, the aiders and abettors in crime are obnoxious to the punishment of the offended power. Why not apply the rule to the case under consideration? There is no reason, but that we will not. American slavery is enormously criminal, sinful in the pure light of the Bible, and the way to get rid of it is clearly pointed out in that good book. "Cease to do evil." "Times of ignorance God winked at, but now calleth on all men every where to repent;" with many other passages urging immediate repentance for every sin, and declaring that the "wrath of God abideth on the children of disobedience." But stop not with forsaking sin; "bring forth fruits meet for repentance." Cease inflicting these wrongs—
By establishing the marriage ceremony among the blacks:
By paying them fair wages for their labor:
By protecting them in their personal and religious rights:
By securing to the females personal chastity:
By giving back to them the key of knowledge:
By allowing them to manage their own earnings:
By sending them the gospel in its fullness and purity:
By building them churches and school houses:
By supplying the South with ministers and teachers:
By treating them as having immortal souls:
By enlisting in their behalf, the piety and benevolence of the nation, that their character may emerge from that mental and moral night, in the "gross darkness" of which they have so long eked out a miserable existence, to reap in millions of instances eternal woe.
And now at the close of our effort, we may candidly say, that after the most careful investigation of Divine Writ, we rise from that perusal and research, refreshed and encouraged with a redoubled assurance, that the most inveterate and determined pro-slavery inquisitor cannot make out, from the Bible, a single case of genuine slavery—that the servitude sanctioned by the word of God, was similar to that of foreigners, voluntarily sold for a limited period, to pay an honest debt, contracted for their benefit, in emigrating to this country—to our apprenticeship system—and to that of one nation leniently tributary to another—founded upon principles of pure morality and equal justice. No man in his senses, can claim this for American slavery. God's law knew no invidious distinctions of caste, wealth or condition, brought all in spirit and in truth to the common standard of equal partakers in the temporal benefits conferred upon the chosen descendants of Israel—endowed both servant and master, "circumcised in the flesh," with the same title to the land of promise on earth—and pointed all truly "circumsised in heart and life" to the same heavenly inheritance, with the blessed Redeemer, into whose body "by one spirit, are we all baptized," whether black or white, bond or free.
To that glorious "home eternal," where there is neither "Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female," but "all are one in Christ Jesus," I hope to attain, fully expecting to meet many colored saints "martyrs to the glorious cause" of "pure and undefiled religion," not only mine equals, but greatly my superiors in celestial knowledge and heavenly growth into our "living head." Though whites will be in an immeasurable minority, all will be equal; for prejudices of caste will be done away, glory shall crown all and "God be ALL in ALL."
The only prayer which I can utter in reference to this momentous question is, that this nation may speedily resolve to keep that fast, which the Lord loves, described by Isaiah, chap. lviii. as follows. "Loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house." "When thou seest the naked to cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh." And as God declares "all things shall work together for good to them that love" him, I am fully persuaded that such a happy triumph of right over wrong, as the abolition of slavery would be, cannot but secure to this people the glorious consummation of blessings described in the following verses of the same chapter in Isaiah. "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily, and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, here am I. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity, and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day. And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought; and thou shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose water fail not."
And to aid in the accomplishment of this most desirable end, it becomes every follower of Jesus, to pursue the path directed by the prophet: "Cry aloud and spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins;" accompanying the cry with a warning of the fierce wrath of God against the oppressor, and an invitation to all to "return to the Lord, who will have mercy, and to our God who will abundantly pardon."