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legal servitude. What is the duty of the Minister of the Gospel towards this class of our fellow-beings, and what are the teachings of the Bible on this subject, which should be observed and enforced by every Minister of the sanctuary. The doctrines and teachings of the Bible on this subject are a safe directory, and should be an infallible guide to every Minister of Christ. We propose to inquire into the teachings and directions of the Old Testament on the subject of slavery, and then to examine the New Testament respecting the teachings and directions of Jesus Christ and his Apostles on the same question, and the directions they have given the Ministers of the Gospel respecting slaves and slave-holders.
In order, however, fully to understand and approve the doctrine of the Old Testament on the subject of slavery, it will be necessary to make some preliminary observations.
Philosophers, who have made human society the subject of their speculations, have divided civil society into five classes. These classes of society include all the various civil conditions of men, from the most rude and barbarous, to the most civilized and cultivated.
1. First class. In this state of society, the human species are in the lowest and rudest state ; their natural and mental powers are very faintly developed, but their external senses are acute, and their organs are active and vigorous. Hunting and fishing are the chief employments on which they depend for support. During that portion of their time, which is not spent in these pursuits, they are sunk in listless indolence. Destitute of foresight, they are roused to active exertion only by the pressure of immediate necessity, or the urgent calls of appetite. Accustomed to endure the severity of the elements, and but scantily provided with the means of subsistence, they acquire habits of resignation and fortitude, which are beheld with astonishment by those who enjoy the plenty and indulgence of civilized life. But in the state of want and depression, the milder affections are unknown; or if the breast is at all sensible to their impulse, it is ex
tremely feeble. Husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, are united by the weakest ties. Wans and misfortune are not pitied. Why, indeed, should they, where they cannot be relieved? Of arts they are almost entirely destitute. They may use some instruments for fishing and the chase; but these must be extremely simple and rude. If they are acquainted with any means to shelter themselves from the inclemency of the elements, both their houses and clothing will be awkward and inconvenient.
2. Second class. But few human beings have been found in so rude a state as that which we have described. Even those tribes which we denominate savage, are, for the most part, farther removed from mere animal life. They generally appear united under some species of government, exercising the powers of reason, capable of morality, though that morality be not very refined; displaying some degree of social virtue, and acting under the influence of religious sentiments. Persons in this state of society, however, are still to be found in the hunting and fishing state; but they are further advanced towards social life, and are become more sensible towards the impulse of social affections. We behold its members in a more comfortable condition, and find reason to view the human character with more complacency and respect. Huts are now built, more commodious, clothes are fashioned, instruments for the annoyance of wild beasts, and even of enemies, are contrived ; in short, arts and sciences, and social order, and religious sentiments, and ceremonies, now make their appearance in the rising society, and serve to characterize it by the particular form which distinguishes each of them. But though the social order is no longer unknown nor unobserved, yet the form of government is extremely simple, and its ties are but loose and feeble. In this state of society the principal distinction between the young and the old is experience; if the old, however, have experience, the young have strength and activity. The whole tribe deliberate; the old give their advice ; each individual of
the assembly receives or rejects it at pleasure; and the warrior who is the most distinguished for strength, address, and valour, leads out the youth of the tribe to the chase, or against the enemy. War, which in the former state did not prevail, as they, who were strangers to the social sentiments, were at the same time scarcely capable of being enemies, now first begins to depopulate the thinly inhabited regions, where those hunters and fishers pursue their prey. They are scattered, possibly, in scanty and separate tribes, over an immense tract of country ; but they know no medium between the affection which brethren of the same tribe bear to each other, and the hatred of enemies. Though thinly scattered over the earth, yet the hunting parties of the different tribes will sometimes meet as they range the forest ; and when they meet, they will naturally view each other with a jealous eye; for the success of one party in the chase may cause the other to be unsuccessful; and while the one snatches the prey, the other must return home to all the pangs of famine. Inveterate hostility will, therefore, long prevail among neighbouring tribes in the hunting state.
3. Third class. In contemplating the third class of civilized society, we shall carry our views a little forward, and survey human life as approaching somewhat nearer to a civilized and enlightened state. As property is acquired, inequality and subordination of ranks necessarily follow ; and when men are no longer equal, the many are soon subjected to the will of the few. But what gives rise to these new phenomena is, that after having suffered from the precariousness of the fishing and hunting state, men begin to extend their cares beyond the present moment, and to think of providing some supply for future wants. When they are enabled to provide for such a supply, either by pursuing the chase with new eagerness and perseverance, by gathering the spontaneous fruits, of the earth, or by breeding tame animals, these acquisitions are at first the property of the whole society, and distributed from a common store to
each individual according to his wants; but as various reasons will soon concur to convince the community, that by this mode of distribution, industry and activity are treated with injustice, while negligence and indolence receive more than their due, each individual will in a short time become his own steward, and a community of goods will be abolished. As soon as distinct ideas of property are formed, it must be unequally distributed; and as soon as property is unequally distributed, there arises an inequality in ranks. Here we have the origin of the depression of the female sex in rude ages, of the tyrannical authority exercised by parents over their children, and of slavery. The women cannot display the same perseverance, or activity, or address, as the men in pursuing the chase; they are, therefore, left at home; and from that moment are no longer equals, but slaves and dependents, who must subsist by the bounty of the males, and must, therefore, submit with implicit obedience to all their capricious commands. Even before the era of property, the female sex were viewed as inferiors; but till that period they were not reduced to a state of abject slavery
In this period of society new notions are formed of the relative duties. Men now become citizens, masters, and servants; husbands, parents, &c. It is impossible to enumerate all the various modes of government which take place among the tribes who have advanced to this stage; but one thing is certain, that the authority of the few over the many is now first established, and that the rise of property first introduces inequality of ranks. In one place, we shall find the community subjected during this period to the will of a single person ; in another, power may be lodged in the hands of a number of chiefs; and in a third, every individual may have a voice in creating public officers, and in enacting laws for the support of public order. But as no code of laws is formed during this period, justice is not very impartially administered, nor are the rights of individuals very faithfully guarded. Many actions, which will afterwards be
considered as heinously immoral, are now considered as praiseworthy or indifferent. This is the age of hero worship, and of household and tutelar gods; for it is in this stage of society that the invention of arts, which gave rise to that worship, contributes most conspicuously to the public good. War, too, which we consider as beginning first to ravage the earth during the former period, and which is another cause of the deification of dead men, will still prevail in this age, and be carried on with no less ferocity than before, though in a more systematic form.
4. Fourth class. But let us contemplate our species in a new light, as having acquired greater dignity and amiableness of character. Let us view them as husbandmen, artisans, and legislators. Whatever circumstances might turn the attention of any people from hunting to agriculture, or cause the herdsman to yoke his oxen for the cultivation of the ground, certain it is that this occupation would produce a happy change on the character and circumstances of men, it would oblige them to exert a more regular and persevering industry. The hunter is like one of those birds that are described as passing the winter in a torpid stato. The shepherd's life is extremely indolent.
Neither of these is very favourable to refinement. But different is the condition of the husbandman. His labours succeed each other in regular rotation through the year. Each season with him has its proper employments; he, therefore, must exert active, persevering industry; and in this state we often find the virtues of rude and polished nations united. This is the period where barbarism ends and civilization begins. Nations have existed for ages in the hunting and shepherd state, fixed as by a kind of stagnation, without advancing further. But scarce any instances occur in the history of mankind of those who once reached the state of husbandmen, remaining long in that condition without rising to a more civilized and polished state. Where a people turn their attention in any considerable degree to the objects of agriculture, a dis