« הקודםהמשך »
" My dear friend, and fellow labourer,
“ After the inestimable service I have rendered you," (i. e. by converting him,) " I think I might venture to lay claim as a right to that, which, however, I had rather consider myself as obliged to you for, as a matter of favour. My request is, that you will pardon your Nave, who is the bearer of this letter, and who I have converted since my imprisonnient. Perhaps, you will have no reason to regret his having run away from you, as I am convinced he will never leave you any more. I have, therefore, sent him back to you, requesting you to receive him as a man I have the highest regard for. I should have been extremely glad to have kept him to wait on me, but I would not take such a liberty without your permission. Perhaps, he ran away from you, for a short time, in order that you may receive him again for ever. I beg you will receive him, not as a slave, but as a brother beloved, particularly by me; and, if by me, much more by you, who have so much reafon to rejoice in his conversion, which secures his eternal happiness at the same time that it insures you his most faithful temporal services. If, therefore, you consider me as in Chriftian fellowship, and communion with
you, I request you to receive him as myself. If he has wronged you, or owes you any thing, you will please to put the amount to my account, and I will most certainly repay you : Notwithstanding, I may urge, that you owe yourself to me.
“ I hope soon to be with you, and beg you to prepare a lodging for me; your friends
and defire to be affectionately remembered to you, and I am, &c."
(2) I dare say many of my readers will discover, notwithstanding its modern dress, that the above letter was written by St. Paul to Philemon. I beg leave to ask, if such an epistle was written now, from one friend to another, could any person believe that the writer considered it lawful for one Christian to hold another in that bondage which we call slavery. If that had been St. Paul's opinion, would he not have told Philemon that he, being now a Christian, ought not to hold Oenesimus in bondage, or would he have directed Titus to exhort fervants to be obedient to their own masters? (Episile to Titus, chap. 2, ver se 9.) it cannot be said that such exhortations were made to Christian flaves, to be obedient to their Pagan masters, and that the Apostles considered themselves bound, not to dif, turb the established usages, or suffer their disciples to act in opposition to the laws of the countries under which they lived; because the contrary is evident, not only from the Epistle to Philemon, but also from If Timothy, chap. 6, verse 2, 3, 4, 5, where the Apostle expressly enjoins the slaves of Christian masters, not to Nacken their duty towards them, because they are brethren in Chrift, but, on the contrary, to serve them with the greater diligence. This doctrine he directs Timothy “ to teach and exhort,” declaring that, “ If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome evords, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh enviy, firife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputing's of men of corrupt minds; and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness t."
+ The words in the original are δουλους ιδίοις δεσποταις αποτασσεσθαι, that the word doudous, tranflated Servants, means Slaves, is evident
By what mode of reasoning, or what sophiftry, the opponents of Navery and the slave trade will combat the plain and unequivocal proofs, produced both from the Old and New Testaments, in justification of that commerce, I am at a loss to guess: For my own part, I own I shall not easily be convinced, but, that as slavery always existed, from the earliest accounts we have, to the coming of Christ, so it has ever since been practised, and approved of, throughout Christendom. It is, perhaps, the best way not to seek to be wise above what is written. If the gentlemen, who have so lately thought proper to brand the commerce of buying and selling slaves with the titles of accursed and infernal, find no warrant in holy writ for thus daring to fit in the judgment-seat of God, reasonable men will, perhaps, pay but little regard to their fentences. Unless flavery had a much higher origin than is supposed by the writers on the laws of nations, Puffendorf, Grotius, &c. it certainly could not be admitted under the gospel
from ift Cor. chap. 12, verse 13. Where that word is put
oppoition to the word ελευθεροι, freemen, είτε δουλοι, είτε ελευθεροι, whes ther we be bond or free. Thus, also, in the 25th chap. of St. Matthew, verse 14. The kingdom of heaven is as a Man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, idious doudous, &c. and that such fervants were in the absolute power of the Master, appears from verse 30. The same word is made use of Luke, chap. 17, and 7. Which of you having a servant, doudoy, &c. and verse 9. Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. That the word deu201, translated servants, means bond servants, is further evident from there being different words to express servants of a different nature, as Epyatai, labourers. Matt. 20, verse 1. Misdrai, hired servants. Luke 15, verse
17. These are additional proofs that Slavery was not dir. approved of, either by Christ, or his Apostles, and in usage, under the gospel dispensation.
dispensation ; because all war is by that law forbidden, and the precepts “ refift not evil.”—“ If a man fmite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other,” and the like, are plain and obvious commands which preclude all cavil. The rights, therefore, acquired by the conqueror over the vanquished, could never be the foundation of slavery amongst Chriftians, to whom all war is forbidden.Without entering into a critical enquiry how, or when, or upon what account, persons were first made slaves ; it cannot be denied that such a condition of life always existed, and ever will exist, whatever name you may call it by, unless all men are reduced to a perfect equality of fortune. Necessity, the severest of task masters, forces the distressed poor in Great-Britain, who have numerous families, to labours, the half of which the ftouteft flave in the West Indies would declare to be insupportable, and would sink under; and what is worse, infants of the most tender age are obliged, in England, particularly, to earn their bread before they eat it, by employments, which, if not beyond their strength, are so injurious to their health, as to prevent their attaining to that portion of it, they might otherwise have enjoyed ; and not a few of them are a prey to diseases, and decrepitude at an age which is generally esteemed the prime of life, while numbers are cut off before they attain that period. If the two Universities would propose Prize Medals for the best dissertation on the evil effects which the manufactures of Birmingham, Manchester, and other great manufacturing towns, produce on the health and the lives of the poor people employed therein, it is not to be doubted but candidates would offer, who, having so much better a field to employ their talents in, would as far excel Mr. Clarkson's pathetic declamation on the miseries of the negro Naves
in the West-Indies, as reality exceeds fiction. What horror might not an ingenious man excite in the mind of his reader, in describing two or three thousand fine, rosy cheeked children playing in the meads, enamelled with flowers, in all the luxuriance of health and happiness, “ drinking the spirit of the golden day,” seized on by those baneful fiends, avarice and luxury, and placed together in the hot rooms of different manufactories, till the pestilential vapour, repeatedly enhaled, spreads contagion amongst them, and those of them who escape death, discovering every symptom of disease in their formerly beauteous and healthy countenances. What a high finished picture, worthy the pencil of Caracci, miglit not be sketched out, by the person who would enter the miserable hovels of the poor wretch, who, covered with filth, rags, and vermin, and writhing in the agonies which are consequent on diseases brought on by working in mercury, lead, &c. fees around him his puny, decrepid progeny, crying for that fuftenance which his labour can no longer procure them, and adding to the bodily torments before scarcely fupportable; while the poor unhappy partner of his misery, her limbs scarce able to support her enfeebled and emaciated body, is unable to determine to which object of her compaffion she should first address her unavailing and useless endeavours to yield that assistance and comfort, which she is at last reluctantly obliged to solicit from the humanity of the parish officers, -" to shock us more, solicit it in vain.” Such pictures may be drawn from the life in a variety of the manufacturing towns of Great Britain. Nor will painters, orators, or poets, ever have occasion to regret the want of similar objects whereon to exercise their genius, their talents, or their invention, until the Almighty shall please to