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slayers, men-stealers, and others named, without restriction as to lineage or land. The reference is unquestionable; the application, equally so.
He that stealeth A MAN. If it had been (as some modern supporters of the system of slavery affirm) a statute for the support, sanction, and better protection of slavery and slaveproperty, a statute against stealing slaves or servants, the distinguishing word would have been used (had there been a word in the Hebrew tongue signifying slave) ; and for want of such a word, the nearest approximation to it would have been taken. The statute must have read, He that stealeth a servant, 1972; not, He that stealeth my, a man. So gross a blunder could never have been committed by the lawgiver as the introduction of the genus instead of the species, in a case involving the penalty of death ; so gross a blunder as that by which the slave-holder instead of the slave-stealer might have been obnoxious to the penalty. If it had been a law against the stealing of another man's slaves, then the slaveholder might have stolen a man and made him a slave, with perfect impunity; and only the thief who should dare to steal from him the slave so made, would be subject to the penalty. The law would have been, not against the stealing of a man as man, and making him property, but against the stealing of him as property, aster he is so made. The assumption of those who would maintain that Moses promulgated this law for the protection of slavery, is just this: that man as man is not sacred against kidnapping; but man as kidnapped and made property, man as property, is so sacred and inviolable a possession, that the theft of him as a slave must be punished with death.
An attempt has been made to deny the universality of this first statement against man-stealing, by the other and second statute in Deut. 24: 7, where the application is directly to the Hebrew. “ If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him, then that thief shall die.” But this statute, which was passed forty years after the other, and without any connection with, or reference to, the same,
cannot be regarded as a statute of limitation or interpretation merely, much less of abrogation, as if the specific abrogated the general. Rather, if any such reference were supposed, might it be contended that it having been found in the course of forty years that the first and general law might have been claimed as applying only to the stranger or the heathen, and not to the stealing of a Hebrew, whose servitude, even if stolen, could not last more than six years (so carefully by law was this adjusted), it was found necessary, for greater security and definiteness, to add the second enactment, specifying also the Hebrew. But here again, any limitation of the first statute by the second is forbidden in the same chapter, by the application of verse 14: “ Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates.” Now if a hired servant that was not a Hebrew could not be oppressed, any more than a native, much more could not such a one be stolen with impunity, or the thief escape the penalty. He would not be permitted to plead that, because there was a law against stealing a Hebrew, therefore the law against stealing a man was null and void.
If the law had been against stealing Jews, instead of men, then the apostle, in transferring it, must have said the law was made for Jew-stealers, not men-stealers, for 'IovdaLOVTTOdotais, not dvdpattoolotais. And so, if the law had been against stealing slaves, not man, for the protection and sanction of slave-property, and not to declare God's protection of men, as human beings, against theft, or for the security of slave-owners, and not for the sacredness of men as created in God's image; then the apostle, in translating that law into the wider dispensation, and defining its application, must have said, the law was made for slave-stealers, doulo
Odotais, or doulotatiais, not men-stealers. The context in Exodus, and context in Timothy, nail the passages as beyond all disputation referring to the same law. In Exodus it lies alongside with statutes against man-slayers, cursers and murderers of father and mother; in 1 Tim. the con
junction is the same, so that no man can for a moment doubt the precise law in Exodus, which is referred to by Paul in writing to Timothy. He could not therefore, in referring to it, have wholly distorted its meaning, its application. He could not have made so great a mistake as that of levelling against the very foundations of slavery and the slave trade, a law published originally and intended of God for the protection of slave property. He could not have interpreted in behalf of the rights of men against slave-holders, a law intended to secure the rights of slave-holders against
[To be continued.)
PERPETUAL SIN AND OMNIPOTENT GOODNESS.1
By L. P. Hickok, D. D., Union College.
How can perpetual sin consist with omnipotent goodness? The apparently inherent contradiction of the two terms of this question, is the Conflict of Ages; the attained harmonious unity of the two will be the Problem Solved.
Merely as a speculation, there is here opened a wide field for profound thinking and ingenious theorizing, which might have secured for itself an unfailing intellectual interest. But the interest in this question has been much more quickened and perpetuated, because it involves considerations which take hold on the most controlling susceptibilities of the hu
1 The Conflict of Ages: or, The Great Debate on the Moral Relations of God and Men. By Edward Beecher, D. D. Boston: Phillips. Sampson & Co. 1853.
The Problem Solved, or Sin not of God. By Miles P. Squier, D. D., Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Beloit College. New York: Published by M. W. Dodd, Corner of Spruce Street and City Hall Square.
man mind, and deal with its deepest convictions and profoundest emotions. If we admit the being of God, we must recognize our subjection to him and our dependence upon him. How perplexing, then, if his very creation and providence intimate that he is destitute of benevolence, or wanting in equity! Or, should we admit the integrity of the Di. vine character, how perplexing still, if he seem to us to be so bound in the necessities of nature, that he cannot preclude nor control sin and suffering! What distress, if forced to the conclusion that our Sovereign has no power to shut the object of his deepest abhorrence from his realm; or that, having the power, he yet has not the heart to deliver his creatures from their deadliest enemy! Must the fact of sin logically force us to atheism, by directly concluding against either omnipotence or benevolence? Or, if we retain our faith in God, must we be logically shut up to accept the doctrine of universal restoration, against the plain testimony of Scripture? If we reluctate all such conclusions, must we then be obliged eternally to witness sin and misery, and be able to find no principle by which we can defend the honor of God's sovereignty, or the goodness of his government, in the permission of sin, to our own satisfaction or the conviction of others ?
We shall not silence such perplexed and anxious inquiries by saying, “ Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight;" for the very inquiry involves the determination whether there be for us a “Father," and that what seems “good in his sight,” is at all worthy of him and kind to his children. Nor can we meet the captious and cavilling objections which here originate, by saying, “ Nay but, Oman, who art thou that repliest against God?” Such a reply assumes the admission of a wise and holy God; but the rebuke can have no force against that mind which takes the very existence of sin and misery as an argument against the existence of any sovereignty which is wise and righteous. Neither a desponding nor a cavilling scepticism can be effectually met by any dogmatic reply; for the sources of the doubts are quite back beyond the reach of the dogma vainly VOL. XIII. No. 49.
applied to exclude them. We may even say that it is all a mystery, and that we must leave the whole for the light of eternity to explain; but the infidel can then as boldly say: " that coming light will vindicate the witness of sin and misery against the superstition of an assumed existing Deity," as the believer can say: " that his assumed Deity will then vindicate his perfections and clear his character, against all the false inferences that have been derived from the facts of sin and misery."
The pantheist may argue, that a connected justice always follows and metes out the deserved retributions for all the actions of men, and thus all the iniquities of humanity are fully equalized and adjusted by the penalties which come judicially up from the ongoings of nature. The Hegelian pancosmist may say, that sin is the necessary result in the developments of the great world-spirit, and has its uses as really as the thorn on the rose, or the viper-fang and its secreted venom. A fatalist may reason that in the very conception of opposites, one is conditional for the other; and that there can be no even without the odd, no light without darkness, no pleasure without pain, and no virtue without vice, and thus if there be a world with holiness, so also must there be its contrast in sin. And finally, a physical deteriorationist may affirm, that all finite things tend to decay; matter tends back to nihility, and all virtue tends to degeneracy; and if God would have a created material world, he must perpetually renew the creative energy; and if he would have a finite moral system, he must repeatedly infuse new virtue into it, and, at the best, the finite will have evil. But if we keep our faith in the being of a free personal Jehovah, the great conflict of ages on this point cannot be settled, nor the grand problem be solved, till we have found some way of carrying a clear principle through all the facts, and fairly reconciling the creature's sin and suffering and the Creator's power and goodness with each other. This is no easy task, but from the vital importance of the solution, we may safely infer that it cannot be a hopeless undertaking