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CHAPTER 11.

MAN-STEALING.

The practice of human slavery is not condemned in the Scriptures by that name, nor mentioned in any of our common law definitions by the same name. But it is condemned in the Scriptures under other names, and by descriptions, plainly and severely. There are many modern practices, such as piracy, duelling, gambling, &c., which are not condemned in the Scriptures by those names, but by descriptions. In this way, though all the crimes against God and his religion have been legalised by men in this world, they are all plainly described and condemned in the Scriptures, so that mankind are without any moral or just excuse for committing them. But that the practice of human slavery is thus condemned, is plainly proven, as follows :

I. By our slaveholding definitions, human slavery is described as property in man, and slaves are declared to be the property of their masters or owners, and cannot own, possess, or enjoy anything but what belongs to their owners. But by our.common law definitions, human slavery is compounded of the crimes of kidnapping, assault and battery, and false imprisonment.

In 'Ex. xxi. 16 is a short description of the kidnapping and sale of one person by another, described as “man-stealing,” the same being an entirely different transaction from the voluntary sales of servants by themselves, as described in Gen. xlvii. 19-23, 3Ex. xxi. 2–6, Lev. xxv. 39–47, 5Deut. xv. 12, &c. By force of this one short Levitical statute, the act of man-stealing (kidnapping), manselling (slave-trading), and man-holding (slaveholding), are, like several other crimes, condemned by the Levitical law; declared by the statute to be punishable with sure deathit being very remarkable that the sentence of punishment is expressed in the strongest terms, see Lev. xxiv. 17, 2 Numb. xxxv. 30, 31, &c.; thereby indicating that, in the sight of God, these acts are equal to the greatest crimes in guilt and enormity. The statute is also highly descriptive of property in man, or slavery; for one adult person seldom ever seizes and sells another, or holds him in subjection to himself, except as an article of property, or as a slave.

1 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if be be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.-Ex. xxi. 16.

2 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh : and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought alí the land of Egypt for Pharaoh ; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not ; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them ; wherefore they sold not their lands. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh : lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.-Gen. xlvii. 19-23.

3 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. İç his master have given him a wife and she have borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my

II. But if there could be a reasonable doubt of the intent to describe a property or slavish títle, by the acts condemned in the fore

going statute, it is entirely dispelled by the description of the same X crime in Deut. xxiv. 7; where, in addition to the other descrip

tion, the crime is still further described as the “making merchandise” of the person stolen, as men seldom "make merchandise of,”, or trade, or traffic in anything which they do not regard and treat as

master, my wife, and my children ; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto the judges : he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post: and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. Ex. xxi. 2-6.

4 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 then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. For they are my servants, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as bond-men. Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor, but shalt fear thy God. Both thy bond

men, and thy bond-maids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the hea. then that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land : and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-men for ever : but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor. And if a sojourner or a stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family --Lev. xxv. 39–47.

5 And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and
serve thee six years ; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.-
Deut. xv. 12.

1 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.-Lev. xxiv. 17.
2 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of
witnesses : but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of
death: but he shall surely be put to death.-Numb. xxxv. 30, 31.

3 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and mak-
eth merchandise of him, or selleth him ; then that thief shall die ; and thou shalt put
evil away from among you.-Deut. xxiv. 7.

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property. It is true, that the same phrase has a different meaning in 12 Peter ii. 3, but what puts our interpretation of the principal text beyond a doubt, is the fact that the criminal is described as a “thief,” for real thieves never steal anything but what they consider property, and which they hold, “make merchandise of,” and otherwise treat as property.

We know by the description of “ feigned words," or false and deceitful religious instruction, used in 2 Peter ii. 3, that the foregoing phrase is there used to describe ecclesiastical oppression, such as is condemned in 2Matt. xxiii. 4-14, and other passages, and has been practised in every age of the Christian church, and by nothing, perhaps, in so high and destructive a degree, as by the false instruction, that human slavery is morally justified by the Scriptures.

III. The subject is perfectly illustrated in the seizure and sale of Joseph by his brethren to the Ishmaelites, and by the latter to Potiphar, 3 Gen. xxxvii. 23, 28, 36. Here is a case described at length, of the forcible seizure or kidnapping of one person by others, of his sale as an article of merchandise or property by them to others still for money, and of the subsequent såle of him as property by the purchasers to another, all exactly as our slave seizures, and sales, and purchases are now made. This transaction is represented in

1 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you : whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.2 Pet. ii. 3.

2 For they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one

of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men : they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth ; for one is your Father which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters : for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you, shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself, shall be abased ; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall re. ·ceive the greater damnation.—Matt. xxiii. 414.

3 And it came to pass when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him. And they took him and cast him into a pit : and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and behold a compa, ny of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, and balm, and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood ! Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him ; for he is our brother, and our flesh: and his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, and cap

tain of the guard.-Gen. xxxvii. 23-28, 36. Ivecome

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1 Gen. xlii. 21, 22, as worthy of the punishment of death in those guilty of it, as a self-evident and enormous crime against the law of Nature. In Joseph's own description of the transaction he states stolen, ,"Gen. xl. 15. The crime committed upon

him was, therefore, stealing, and as he was a man that crime was stealing,” the nature and consequences of which were precisely the same as those which everywhere uniformly attend the practice of human slavery, or in other words, they are each precisely the same crime. It should be remarked in further illustration, that the barbarities and horrors which uniformly attend the practice of human slavery, as incidents to it, absolutely necessary to its support, are not recorded in this case as a part of the great crime so severely condemned. Notwithstanding his “anguish of soul,” Gen. xlii. 21, we do not know but Joseph was as “well treated” as the best conditioned. of our slaves now are. The whole moral guilt of the transaction is represented in the passage quoted, as consisting in the conversion of Joseph into an article of property, or rendering him a slave. This case is also highly instructive by its teaching us that human slavery is as great a crime against the law of nature, as it is against the Scriptures or law of Revelation. The latter not having been revealed to the Patriarchs, they were left to the guidance furnished by the dim light of the former, in consequence of which they committed many crimes, against both of these laws, of which they did not become sensible till they were brought into deep trouble by the same.

By similar means the strongest advocates of human slavery may be convinced of its deep natural as well as revealed criminality, and it is indeed often the last argument that can be effectually used with such

persons. Let them and their relations and friends be but once enslaved themselves, and they will as readily see and acknowledge the natural and moral guilt of the practice, as Joseph's brethren did.

IV. The same doctrine is also evident from the literal meaning of the Greek word andrapodistai, translated “men-stealers," 3 1 Tim. i. 10, as well as from the class of crimes connected with it in that

1 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; there. fore is this distress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you saying, Do not sin against the child ; and ye would not hear; therefore be. hold also his blood is required.-Gen. xlii. 21, 22.

? For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews : and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.-Gen. xl. 15.

3 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-steal. ers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine] Tim. 1. 10.

and the preceding verse, for according to this connection, whatever man-stealing be, it is equal to murder and the greatest and worst of other crimes in enormity, and just as deserving of death by the Levitical or moral law. But this word (andrapodistai) literally means “slave-owners” or “ slaveholders,” as Greek readers well know, and ought to have been rendered - slaveholders” to have a literal English translation. The ancient Greek and Roman "andrapodistaiwere bonâ fide slaveholders “to all intents, constructions and purposes,” holding exactly the same relation to their slaves that our American slaveholders do to theirs, as ancient Greek and Roman history fully testifies. But I do not complain of any perversion in the common English translation, for I have not the least doubt but what the men-stealers, men-sellers, men-buyers and menholders described in 'Ex. xxi. 16, and; Deut. xxiv. 7, were bonâ fide slaveholders, so that since man-stealing, &c., and human slavery are the same identical crime, either translation is correct; nor do I care which translation our modern advocates of slavery prefer, for according to the literal spirit and meaning of the principal text and its connection, the practice of slavery is as great a crime as murder, &c., and equally deserving the punishment of death as they are. The Greek word for slave is andrapoda (literally man foot, or, mantrodden under foot), while the word for “ slaveholders” is andrapodistai (literally men feet owners or holders), exactly corresponding in meaning with our English words “slaves" and “slaveholders ;" just as the practice of ancient Grecian slavery exactly corresponded, in every material respect, with that pursued in the United States. As human slavery is a practice entirely of heathen origin, it was to be expected that when it was adopted among Christians from the heathen, it would in a material respect be supported by the same means, appear the same thing both in practice and name, and so far as its influence extended heathenize those Christians that adopted it.

V. The same doctrine is strongly corroborated by the language used in James v. 4, and its connection or context. “ Behold the hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth.” Language like this imports death and destruction all over the Scriptures,

1 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand he shall surely be put to death.—Ex. xxi. 16.

2 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and make eth merchandise of him, or selleth him ; then that thief shall die ; and 'thou shalt

put evil away from among you.-Deut. xxiv. 7. x IH 9.

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