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and the executive power of the Federal government, are responsible for the impending dissolution of the Union. Others, in the spirit of fidelity to the kingdom of Christ, as well as to those great principles of natural justice which are the basis of American liberty, have frankly warned their hearers against being coerced or terrified into the sin of consenting in any manner to the extension of a system which, as defined by its own laws, and as illustrated by the hideous fact of the internal slave-trade, is grossly and execrably wicked. Others still, while taking great pains to show that in the Scriptures of both dispensations, slavery is recognized as an existing fact, and is regulated and restrained instead of being peremptorily abolished, and while, in view of the great evil of abolitionism, they cry aloud and spare not,-are yet constrained to admit that this American slavery, being what it is, cannot be justified. The learned Rabbi Raphall of New York, whom we find reported in the newspapers, apparently from his own manuscript, is a conspicuous example. In his sermon at the synagogue in Greene street, on the President's Fast-day, he undertook to "examine" the Bible view of slavery, having been requested to do so (as he says) "by prominent citizens of other denominations," who were of opinion that "the religious mind of the country requires to be enlightened on this subject." The drift of his discourse is as if he had been requested, like Balaam, to prophecy not indeed against Israel, but against some "eminent preacher" whom he calls "the eloquent preacher of Brooklyn,”—whom he describes as "taking a lead among those who most loudly and most vehemently denounce slave-holding as a sin,”—and whom he denounces as one of “a few impulsive declaimers, gifted with great zeal but little knowledge, more eloquent than learned, better able to excite our passions than to satisfy our reason." He introduces the customary topics of a theological argument in defense of slavery, and handles them no worse than they are handled by Christian doctors. Having frankly referred the origin of slavery to violence-the victor, in a public or private war, enslaving instead of killing his vanquished enemy-he finds that slavery must have existed even before the deluge, inas
much as Noah, when he pronounced the curse on Can an, was already acquainted with the name and thing. Like many Christian doctors, he assumes that the curse on Canaan was a curse on all the descendants of Canaan's father, in whatever line, and that by that curse they were doomed to slavery. He does not happen to mention that the Israelites were commanded not to enslave, but to exterminate the descendants of Canaan, and with judicious care he avoids committing himself to the conclusion that slavery is right because Noah predicted it a conclusion which some Gentile doctors have unwarily adopted, thereby justifying all the wickedness that ever was predicted-not to say all that ever was predestined. He shows conclusively enough that slave-holding, in some sense of the word, is not prohibited as a sin in the Hebrew Scriptures; and he goes so far out of his own province as to pronounce the same judgment on the books of the New Testament, which he professes to have consulted for the very purpose of ascertaining whether the Brooklyn preacher reports their testimony correctly. Having thus disposed of matters comparatively unimportant, he proceeds to expound the Mosaic law of servitude; and that part of his task is done in a manner which, on the whole, is highly creditable not only to his intelligence but to his human sensibilities. We might, indeed, record our dissent from his construction of some texts, but we need not. It is more to our purpose to observe the force of the testimony which he gives against the only slavery with which we at this crisis have any practical concern, or for which we can have any responsibility-the very slavery which the "prominent citizens of other denominations" expected him to bless with Hebrew proof-texts in the name of Israel's God. Having shown the distinction which Moses made between a Hebrew reduced to servitude by poverty or for crime, and a Gentile slave or captive bought from the heathen that were round about, and having demonstrated that "between the Hebrew bondman and the Southern slave there is no point of resemblance," he proceeds to say-what cannot reasonably be denied that "there were slaves among the Hebrews whose general condition was analogous to that of his [their]
Southern fellow-sufferers." Mark that word-"fellow-sufferers!" The learned preacher has already said to his brethren of the house of Israel, "I remind you that our own fathers were slaves in Egypt and afflicted four hundred years;" and mindful of that fact he cannot forget that to be a slave, whether in Egypt or in Palestine, whether under the law of Louisiana or under the law of Moses, is a hard lot, so that all slaves, however diversified the tenure of their bondage, are "fellow-sufferers." That one word surrenders the very citadel of American slavery, for if a slave is a sufferer, then whatever may be the justice of enslaving enemies taken in war, and whatever the justice of holding such slaves when sold by their captors, the system which perpetuates itself only by enslaving innocent and unborn children, is unjust. Evidently the Rabbi is more familiar with ancient forms of speech and thought than with the modern and approved philosophy of slavery. His friends, "the prominent citizens," who told him that "the religious mind of the country needs to be enlightened on this subject," should have told him beforehand, "We have changed all that." They should have told him, Our Southern slaves are not to be spoken of as if there were any wrong or hardship in their lot; for though they are of the cursed race of Ham, and deserve all manner of wretchedness for the sin which they committed in him four thousand years ago, their actual condition is one of rare felicity; they are in fact almost the luckiest of mortals; and as for being bought and sold, and other little incidents to which they are liable, they mind all that no more than eels mind being skinned alive. The reverend Rabbi seems not to see the subject in this rosy, south-side light. Before accepting another invitation to "deliver a proslavery discourse," let him
"Purge with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he has much to see."
But this word of human sympathy-this natural recognition of the slave, under whatever form of slavery, as a "sufferer"is not the only point in which the discourse seems, like Balaam's prophecy, to have betrayed the cause it was expected
to defend. The preacher's just veneration for the law of Moses leads him to contrast the condition of even the Gentile slave, under that law, with the condition of a slave under the system of American slavery. "This," he says, "is the great distinction which the Bible view of slavery derives from its divine source. The slave [under the Hebrew law] is a person in whom the dignity of human nature is to be respected; he has rights. Whereas the heathen view of slavery, which prevailed at Rome, and which I am sorry to say, is adopted in the South, reduces the slave to a thing; and a thing can have no rights." So, in the close of his discourse, having reaffirmed his proposition that under the law of the Hebrew Bible "the slave is a person and has rights not conflicting with the lawful exercise of the rights of his owner," he expresses a devout desire that "our Southern fellow-citizens would adopt the Bible view of slavery, and discard that heathen slave-code." How significant the phrase! "That heathen slave-code "-not Mosaic, still less Christian-not even Mohammedan-but heathen! The institution which we are impudently required to nationalize, under the threat that if we refuse the government shall be subverted and the Union dissolved by treasonable violence, is a HEATHEN institution. We thank the venerable master in Israel for teaching us that word.
It has often been said that the Southern pulpit never touches upon political questions. Let this be understood as meaning simply that the Southern pulpit never utters a word against slavery; and it is true. We have never believed the proposition in any other sense. But however that may have been heretofore, there is no room for doubt that now the Southern pulpit is employed as an important instrument of political influence. The Southern newspapers, like the Northern, give abundant evidence that the question of the dissolution of the Union, being the question of the hour, and involving as it does interests of infinite moment in a moral and religious view, cannot be excluded from the pulpit. Thanksgiving sermons, Fast-day sermons, and sermons delivered in the ordinary course of Lord's-day services, find their way into the newspapers, or obtain a separate publication, because of their bearing on this
question. Many of those sermons are before us, entire or abridged, in Southern newspapers, religious and secular. We have one from Baltimore, by Rev. Dr. Cummins of the Protestant Episcopal Church; a moderate defense not so much of slavery as of that religious quietism which refuses to testify against the palpable injustice of the system as it is, or to demand a legal protection for the human rights of the enslaved; yet conceived and expressed in a spirit of gentleness and love which we cannot refuse to honor. From Portsmouth, in Virginia, we have two. The first is by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Pastor of a Baptist Church, and is a violent, blundering, and abusive appeal to the ignorance and prejudices of his hearers, urging the dissolution of the Union, and anticipating vast acquisitions by conquest from Mexico and farther south. The other is by Rev. Dr. Handy, Pastor of a Presbyterian (New School) Church, and is a plea for "political moderation," arguing, in the interest of the Union, against "all malignant opposition on the part of defeated minorities." We have one from Winchester, in Virginia, by Rev. Dr. Boyd, Pastor of a (New School) Presbyterian Church, treating of "the dangers of the country and the spirit required by the crisis." It was evidently preached with a conservative aim, though, from our point of view, it is open to criticism in almost every passage which attempts to describe the action or the feeling and purposes of the people in the free states. From South Carolina we have only the pamphlet sermon by Dr. Thornwell; for we were not provident enough to collect and save the pop-gun pieces of pulpit rhetoric which appeared in the Charleston journals at the beginning of the overt movement there. From Kentucky, we have what seems to be a very inadequate report of a Fast-day oration-not a sermonpronounced at Lexington, by Rev. Dr. Breckenridge, appealing, as a Kentuckian to Kentucky, and with characteristic force of argument, against the madness of secession from the Union. We have from New Orleans the sermon by Dr. Palmer, to which we shall advert again; and another by Rev. I. J. Henderson, a Presbyterian Pastor, of the Old School