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their servants, rendering unto them what is just and equal to men and brethren in Christ. Such Christians and such men do not hold slaves in the sense which God forbids; and they cannot be charged with the wickedness of laws by which they, as well as the slaves, are oppressed. On their estates a higher law than that of slavery has sway. To them their slaves, though legally property, are morally and actually men. The Bible sustains their position. They are the Philemons to whom Paul gives fellowship, and Onesimus returns, not as a slave, but a brother beloved. In the trials of their situation they should receive the cordial sympathy of Christians everywhere. It is, indeed, to their sound convictions and their political influence the world must look, in part at least, for the ultimate, peaceful extinction of American slavery. Without them, what would the South become? With the Scriptures in our hand we earnestly say to them, “ Throw the weight of your influence against unrighteous laws, fulfil to servants the law of God, and you shall have the sympathy and confidence of good men everywhere. Nay, more; you, with their help, and they with your help, will confine the spreading curse, till, with God's blessing, it shall cease; and Christian and civilized man shall have no more communion with it."
These discriminations answer certain ecclesiastical questions, which have occasioned much perplexity and discord.
When properly applied, they take away whatever support a wicked institution has found by leaning upon the Church; at the same time they award to consistent Christians what is due to them by the religion of Jesus. If it shall be said, there will be practical difficulty in applying these discriminations, it is sufficient to answer, it will be less than the difficulty of disregarding them.
The question now arises, what can be done for the restriction and ultimate extinction of slavery as it is; for, since it is sinful, Christianity and patriotism declare it should be restrained and abolished.
First. The extension of slavery can and should be prevented by the Federal Government. The Scriptures have shown us, that the people in their sovereignty have not the right to create a slave State or a slave. Of course, the legislators and presidents, who receive in trust the power which emanates from the people, have no such right. If the Constitution assumed to confer this power, it would be the first national duty to amend that instrument in this particular. There is no power on earth competent to set aside either of the Creator's original institutions for man. But, ac
cording to the sound and established principle of strict construction, the Constitution as it is does not create slavery, or even acknowledge its existence, except by inference. Hence there is no legal objection to the measure which religion herself ordains. The religious and the political obligations of all citizens and all legislators coincide to protect, under the jurisdiction of Congress, the right of every man to be exempt from the condition of property, and to enjoy the property which he honestly earns. Thus the question concerning slavery and the territories is morally settled by divine authority; and to this no real objection can be made, except by that great interest, whose existence is inherently unrighteous and irreligious.
Secondly. In the slave States, legislation y should restore to the enslaved population the
primitive rights which God has given to all men, establishing for them, on humane and Christian principles, such relations as are suitable to their condition of poverty, ignorance, and dependence, and are adapted to secure at once their improvement and the general welfare.
This is the logical conclusion to be derived from the premises. As the central wrong of slavery consists in making men articles of property by law, the rectification is to lift from them by law the curse of the false and irreligious doctrine,
that they can be rightfully held as property. Thus the axe is laid to the root of the tree.
This is also the conclusion to which we are forced by other moral principles bearing on the
For men to receive services of men is right. Accordingly, the New Testament allows masters to receive services of those who are slaves in the sense of human law; but at the same time the sacred book requires masters, with all who employ labor, to make the recompenses which are just and equal towards men; for slavery is not right; and legislators, on their responsibility to the Ruler of nations, are bound to adjust the laws in harmony with the first principles of individual and moral obligation.
Furthermore, this is the only practical conclusion. By inevitable necessity, the slaves, as a body, must remain on the soil of their bondage. Only exceptional cases of removal can occur. They are the laborers of the South; and no State will, or can, or is bound, to remove its laborers. It is simply bound to protect and treat them with Christian equity and kindness. Banishment of them would be injustice and cruelty, violating perhaps no less than restoring divine rights. Moreover, no practicable means of removing them have ever been seriously proposed; and, till they shall be, the point needs no discussion.
But the question may be raised, “ Are the slaves to endure their present wrongs until the laws shall be thus renewed, or perhaps forever?” We reply, in showing how slave-holders can cease from guilty connection with slavery; we have also shown how the situation of the slaves be
comes one of practical righteousness, before the 1
laws can be readjusted; and for this great obli- gation of the body politic, sufficient time must
be allowed. Moral principles do not exact natural impossibilities. The elevation of oppressed millions can be accomplished only in harmony with great natural and social, as well as ethical laws, which the wisdom of God has ordained.
It remains therefore, that, for a period of which no man can see the end, the slaves must, in most cases, dwell within the present boundaries; but it is incumbent on the citizens and legislators of the South to institute immediate measures for restoring to them the inviolable rights of men. So long as they continue, by the necessities of the case, in the relation of servants and laborers, masters should deal with them according to the rules of humane and Christian equity, paying to them in suitable ways their just earnings, holding sacred their family ties, and securing to them the privileges of education and religion. Meanwhile,