“The minister,” said I, “who, Hattie tells us, classed ’Abraham the slave-holder’ with the ‘murderer,’ and the ‘liar and swearer,’ knew not what he did. People who laugh and titter at the ’patriarchal institution,’ need to peruse the laws of Moses again, with a spirit akin to their beautiful tone; and those who say that to hold a fellow-man as property is ‘sin,’ are not ‘wiser than Daniel,’ but they make themselves wiser than God.
“All who sustain the relationship of owner to a human being,” said I, “do well to read these injunctions of the Most High, as very many of them do, applying them to themselves. And it is also profitable to read how that a violation of these very slave-laws was, in after years, one great cause of the divine wrath upon the Hebrews. You will find, in the thirty-fourth of Jeremiah, that, not content with having Gentile slaves, the Hebrews violated the law requiring them to release each his Hebrew slaves once in seven years.
“‘I made a covenant with your fathers,’ God says, ’in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, saying, At the end of seven years let ye go every man his brother an Hebrew which hath been sold unto thee. But ye turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant to return, and brought them unto subjection. Ye have not hearkened unto me in proclaiming a liberty every one to his brother;—behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine.’
“Thus it is evident that the relation of master and servant was originally ordained and instituted by God as a benevolent arrangement to all concerned,—not ‘winked at,’ or ‘suffered,’ like polygamy, but ordained,—that it was full of blessings to all who fulfilled the duties of the relation in the true spirit of the institution; and, moreover, it is true that there are few curses which will be more intolerable than they will suffer who make use of their fellow-men, in the image of God, for the purposes of selfishness and sin; while those who feel their accountableness in this relation, and discharge it in the spirit of the Bible, will find their hearts refined and ennobled, and the relationship will be, to all concerned, a source of blessings whose influences will bring peace to their souls when the grave of the slave and that of his owner are looking up into the same heavens from the common earth.”
“One part, one little part, we dimly
Through the dark medium of life’s fevering dream;
Yet dare arraign the whole stupendous plan
If but that little part incongruous seem;
Nor is that part, perhaps, what mortals deem;
Oft from apparent ill our blessings rise.”—BEATTIE, Minstrel.