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neither King Ahab, nor the Jews, nor the Apostles Paul and Peter, and their converts therein mentioned, could have been property or slaves, in any respect or sense whatever.

See John viii. 33 ; Gal. iv. 1. It is proper for the sake of perspicuity again to repeat the remark that the only important scriptural distinction made between bought and sold servants, and hired servants, is as follows: namely, when their wages or pay were advanced to them beforehand, they were said to “sell themselves” and to be " bought” by their creditors or employers to repay the same, as the examples already quoted clearly prove. But where the wages or pay were not to be received till the labor was performed, the Hebrew servants were said to be “hired,” as we see in Deut. xxiv. 15, and many similar passages.

But excepting this one mere nominal distinction, and that of the heritable disability of foreign servants, to be noticed hereafter, not another can be found in the Scriptures, in the equal rights and privileges of these two classes, of Hebrew and other ancient oriental servants.

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Examination of Gen. xii. 5; xvii. :2, 13, 23, 27; xx. 14; xxiv. 35.

From the strong light furnished by the copious premises already stated, the remainder of our task will be comparatively easy. The Hebrew word Quanah so frequently rendered “buy” in the common English translation of the Old Testament, is literally rendered “ gotten” in Gen. xii. 5, as it should be in some other passages where it is rendered “buy.” The word literally means to get, gain, acquire, procure, obtain, possess; but it is more frequently used in the Scriptures than the word Kaurau, which literally means to buy or purchase. From the phrase "souls that they had gotten,” which occurs in this passage, the advocates of slavery infer that Abraham's servants were slaves. But I agree in opinion with Mr. Dickey, that these “souls” were the converts which Abraham had made to the true religion-especially as this


construction harmonizes with Abraham's history and characterand with the spirit of the Scriptures. From the expression used in Gen. xvii. 12, 13, 23, 27, the same pro-slavery inference is customarily drawn. But as we have seen that the scriptural use of these words and phrases does not necessarily describe the condition of slavery, we are obliged to resort to the context to discover the real condition of Abraham's servants. The amount of the evidence thus furnished is small, and entirely circumstantial, but that little is very strong. From these same verses it appears that the same religious rights and privileges were secured to Abraham's servants, that belonged to him and his own children ; a strong analogical proof that they shared all other rights, because real slaves have no rights whatever, and it is not likely that these servants would be allowed some rights equally with children, but be denied all others.

From Gen. xx. 7, we learn that Abraham was a prophet. From Gen. xii. 7, 8, xiii. 4, and other passages, that he was a priestand from Gen. xxiii. 6, that he was a "mighty prince," or king

6 -he being in each of these three offices the type of Christ, From Gen. 'xiii. 2, xxiv. 35, and other passages, that he was very wealthy and powerful. From such passages as Gen. xiv. 22, 23, xviii. 18, 19, &c., we learn, that he was equally remarkable for natural honesty, justice, equity and righteousness. It also appears from Gen. xii. 1-37, xv. 1418, xvii. 1-22,

. xviii. 1, 13, 17, &c., that he had frequent visions from God, that the greatest Divine promises were made to him and his posterity, and that he enjoyed more of the Divine favor than


person of his time.

What probability is there that such a character as this would have been guilty of a practice afterwards condemned in the Scriptures under the penalty of death, both by the laws of Nature and Revelation ? Not the slightest whatever. Were it not for the wickedness involved in it, nothing can be conceived more ludicrously amusing, than the notion of Father Abraham buying and selling slaves, feeding them on a peck of corn a week, selling fathers from their children, husbands from their wives, or exhibiting conduct in any other respect resembling that of our modern professed Christian slaveholders. It would be just as absurd and unreasonable to suppose that Christ and his Apostles were guilty of such conduct, as that Abraham was, the wickedness being no greater in the one case than in the other. What is

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there recorded in the lives and characters of the other patriarchs, that could induce us to suspect that they might have been slave. holders ?

From the information given in Gen. vi. 5—13, it is highly probable that the antediluvians were destroyed for the crime of slavish violence among other sins. But there is no probability that Noah, who with his family alone were saved on account of his justice and righteousness (see Gen. vi. 8, 9, vii. 1, &c.), would afterwards have been guilty of the same sinful practice that destroyed the rest. Nor is there any probability that such righteous persons as Isaac, and Jacob, and the other patriarchs are described to have been, would have been customarily guilty of a practice so utterly repugnant to the Law of Nature as human slavery is. As that practice is described in the Scriptures, Gen. xlii. 21, 22, as being utterly condemned by that great law, there cannot be the slightest reason to suppose that any of the patriarchs adopted it— for God certainly would never have selected as the chosen depositories of the true religion, persons who were in the habit of violating it without scruple or remorse, especially in acts that were afterwards condemned by express revelation to be punished with death ; for slavery is as great and as plain a crime against natural as revealed religion, as the last argument, or subjection to the condition of slavery, will immediately convince the most inveterate friend of human slavery. It should be remembered, however, that as the patriarchs lived under the dim and uncertain light of the Law of Nature, they like Joseph's brethren occasionally fell into great errors and sins, of which from the bad consequences they had frequent occasions for repentance, whether they improved them or not—so that even if under this dim light they had committed the sin of slavish oppression, their conduct in that respect would have been no more moral example or justification of our own, than that of Joseph's brethren in selling him was.

A pro-slavery quibble has been raised from the descriptions contained in such passages as Gen. xiii. 2, 24, xxxv. 30, 43, &c., that Abraham's servants must have been slaves, because they are mentioned in connection with beasts and other property. But if this mode of reasoning be correct, then according to Gen. xii. 5, Abraham's wife Sarah, and Lot his nephew, must have been his slaves also. So according to Ex. xx. 17, and y. 21, all wives must have been slaves or property. Nay, further, from the words

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in the command, “nor anything that is thy neighbor's,” it appears that all the husbands, parents, children, and other relations, comprising in fact the whole Israelitish nation, must have been slaves! But under such strange circumstances the material inquiry instantly occurs, where did they all find masters ? So according to the same logic we see from Job i. 3, 4; xlii. 12, 13, that Job's wife and children must have been his slaves. Our common law must also render all servants under its jurisdiction slaves, because it gives precisely the same remedies to masters for injuries done to their servants, that it does to their beasts and other property. So where a nation acquires new territory by treaty or otherwise, it must by the law of nations sustain the same relation to the inhabitants of the territory, that it does to the territory itself, and as the latter is property the former must be property also. But enough of these absurd consequences in reply to nonsense. The pro-slavery mistake is made by confounding the relations of persons with those of things, merely because the latter happen to be mentioned in connection with the former, while it always appears from the whole context, describing the condition of the ancient Hebrew servants, that by the gift or transfer of persons and property in the same transaction, the opposite relations previously existing between them and the donors were not altered as between them and the donors. This case finely illustrates the sophistry which relates a part of a narrative or story only, the effect of which is often the same as telling a fasehood—as by means of it we are able to prove from the Scriptures themselves, that there is no God. See Ps. xiv. 1; liii. 1, &c.




Examination of Ex. xii. 43, 45; xx. 17; xxi. 2-6, 7, 11, 20, 21 ; Deut. xv.

12–18; xxi, 10, 14. It is not to be supposed that after the lapse of so many thousand years, we can now fully understand the exact nature of the customary ancient Hebrew servitudes which in some way were so

different from our own. Nor is it to be expected that we can now fully understand the exact intended application of all the short political as well as moral statutes in the Levitical Law. Like other very ancient writings, much obscurity must rest and remain on most of them. They were evidently intended to regulate and restrain the ancient legal customs which then prevailed among the Israelites, probably in common with all the other ancient oriental nations—these statutes holding a similar relation to those customs, that our modern national and state constitutions do to our other laws and customs—while a critical examination of the same statutes shows that the spirit if not the letter of them is just as useful now as it ever was, to regulate, and restrain, and guide all human legislation—no other laws now existing being so perfectly adapted to secure the temporal as well as spiritual happiness of mankind as those contained in the ancient Levitical code.

It appears from the statute in Ex. xii. 43, 45, that though servants “bought for money” could eat the passover after they had been circumcised, yet neither strangers nor foreigners, nor hired servants were permitted to eat it, so that since these bought servants were allowed a greater privilege than hired servants and strangers were, we may safely conclude without further comment, that this was a case of the free and voluntary sale of such servants by themselves. We see from the 48th and 49th verses of the same chapter, that no legal distinctions were made by the Levitical law, between the rights of strangers and native Israelites, as they were to be governed by the same laws, and the phrase “he shall be as one born in the land,” also proving that after circumcision these adopted foreigners were as much“ brethren” and “children of Israel” as the native Jews were—a rule well worthy of the consideration of those who are in favor of disfranchising foreign

It should be further remarked that under one single code of laws intended to govern all the individuals in a nation, it is impossible to make any distinction in the natural rights of those individuals, or any of them. As Dr. Duncan* long since observed, it is certainly a very strange circumstance that the tenth com


* In a work of 136 pages by the Rev. James Duncan, the father of the Hon. Alexander Duncan, Member of Congress from Cincinnati, first published at Vevay, la., 1824, and republished by the American Anti-Slavery Society, 1840.

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