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recognized by our best legal authorities. Yet may lunatics and vagrants be denied this privilege. Such are exceptional cases, sanctioned by the highest code of morals.

Many years ago I read an able and spicy debate between two Presbyterian divines—Rev. J. Blanchard and Rev. N. L. Rice, D. D. The question in issue was: “Is slavery in itself sinful, and the relation between master and slave a sinful relation ?" Mr. Blanchard affirmed; Mr. Rice denied. Both disputants, of course, acknowledged the authority of Scripture, and, by an appeal to this arbiter, Mr. Rice made points all around his opponent. That the Old Testament justified slavery, in its most absolute sense, was apparent.

" Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids which thou shalt have shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall you buy bondmen and bondmaids.

“ 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 bondmen forever, but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor” (Levit. xxv. 44-47).

"And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding if he continue for a day or two, he shall not be punished : for he is his money" (Exod. xxi. 20, 21.)

In the fullest sense, under the Hebrew code, slaves were chattels personal. They were merchandise to as full an extent as were our Southern bondsmen.

The reverend gentlemen referred to talked much of slavery “ in itself," and Mr. Blanchard referred to slavery among various peoples as always characterized by the grossest abuses, the foulest enormities. But when he came to Scripture he was tongue-tied; for the Bible was to him, as well as to Dr. Rice, the infallible rule of faith and practice.

Without an agreed definition of slavery, the question, “Is slavery in itself sinful ?” reminds us of the thirteen-puzzleimpossible of solution. Suppose we discuss the question, “ Is the killing of a human being in itself sinful ? ” As a rule it is wrong to kill; as an exception it may be meritorious. We may suppose an example where slavery would be justified; as in a case of war and by way of retaliation. But in such case the slave is held, not for profit, nor under pretence of converting him, but to exact justice, to vindicate liberty, and generally to conserve the interests of humanity.

Webster defines slavery as “The condition of a slave: the entire subjection to the will of another.” Such is slavery pure and simple, as delineated by historic annals, sacred and profane, qualified by but few restrictions as to the life and person of the slave. Is slavery, as thus defined, sinful? If slaves could choose their masters, or even if the majority of men were humane, the evils of servitude would, at least, be mitigated. But alas ! the slave has no choice of masters, and how few of the best of men are worthy to be intrusted with irresponsible power!

Did the Jews enslave the heathen that they might lead them to a knowledge of the true God? The Hebrews were never a proselyting race. Exclusive and egotistical, they claimed a monopoly of the divine favor. There were advanced thinkers among them, who caught, at least, a glimpse of the doctrine of universal brotherhood, and portrayed the dini vision in prophetic harmonies; and who heard their sweet refrains echoed back to them from the towers of a future Zion. But to them, as a people, God was their God. He established a protectorate over them; and even to-day there is an undefined (shall I say undefined ?) longing for the coming of a deliverer for Israel. It required a miracle to convince Peter-even after he had listened to his Master's teachings, and had received his apostolic commission from his hands—that salvation belonged as well to the Gentile as to the Jew. No; the Hebrews held slaves for gain. Their motives were not missionary but mercenary.

Lambert.-"The church during eighteen centuries fought against slavery, and taught that all men are equal before God.”

Some churches did, while others have been the apologists of slavery. On this subject, during the late war, churches were divided in sentiment and that division was marked by a geographical line. But if slavery be not sinful, why antagonize it? Or, if right among the Jews, why wrong among the Gentiles ? Was a Jewish more merciful than a Christian master? or was it more beneficent to convert the heathen to Judaism than it is now to convert them to Christianity?

All honor to the Catholic Church for having legislated even to "protect the slave."

Says the Father: “A council held in London in 1102 forbade the selling of men in that city, and called it an infamous traffic."

Would the good God authorize an infamous traffic among his chosen people?

Lambert.—“A council held in 922 declared that he who sold another into slavery was guilty of homicide.”

Would God have established a system of wholesale homicide by express direction ?

With a settled purpose not to act as umpire between Judge Black and Mr. Ingersoll, we will permit each to speak for himself on the subject of the rapid spread of Christianity, as an attestation of its divine mission.

Black.—“When Jesus of Nazareth announced himself to be Christ, the Son of God, in Judea many thousands of persons who heard his words and saw his works believed in his divinity without hesitation. Since the morning of creation, nothing has occurred so wonderful as the rapidity with which this religion has spread itself abroad. Men who were in the noon of life, when Jesus was put to death as a malefactor, lived to see him worshipped as God by organized bodies of believers in every province of the Roman empire. In a few more years. it took possession of the general mind, supplanting all the other religions, and wrought a radical change in human society. It did this in the face of obstacles, which, according to every human calculation, were unsurmountable. It was antagonized by all the evil propensities, the sensual wickedness, and the vulgar crimes of the multitude, as well as the polished vices of the luxurious classes. It was most violently opposed even by those sentiments and habits of thought which were esteemed virtuous, such as patriotism and military heroism.

It encountered not only the ignorance and superstition, but the learning and philosophy of the time. Barbarism and civilization were alike its deadly enemies. The priesthood of every established religion and the authority of every government were arrayed against it. All were combined together and, roused to deadly hostility, were overcome, not by the enticing words of man's wisdom, but by the simple presentation of a pure and peaceful doctrine, preached by obscure strangers at the peril of their lives. Is it Mr. Ingersoll's idea that this happened through chance? If not, there are but two ways of accounting for it: either the evidence by which the apostles were able to prove the supernatural origin of the Gospels was overwhelming and irresistible, or else its

propagation was provided for and carried on by the direct aid of the Divine Being himself. Between these two infidelity may take its choice."

Ingersoll.—“This argument is applicable to all religions. Mohammedans can use it as well as Christians. Mohammed was a poor man, a driver of camels. He was without education, without influence, and without wealth, and yet in a few years he consolidated thousands of tribes, and made millions of men confess that there is ‘one God, and Mohammed is his prophet.' His success was a thousand times greater during his life than that of Christ. He was not crucified; he was a conqueror. Of all men he cxerted the greatest influence upon the human race. Never in the world's history did a religion spread with the rapidity of his. It burst like a storm over the fairest portions of the globe. . . It will not do to take the ground that the rapid rise and spread of a religion demonstrates its divine character. Years before Gautama died, his religion was established and his disciples were numbered by millions. His doctrines were not enforced by the sword, but by an appeal to the hopes, the fears and the reason of mankind; and more than one-third of the human race are to-day the followers of Gautama. His religion has outlived all that existed in his time; and, according to Dr. Draper, there is no other country in the world except India that has the religion to-day that it had at the birth of Jesus Christ.' Gautama believed in the equality of all men; abhorred the spirit of caste, and proclaimed justice, mercy and education for all."

Ingersoll.-"The history of the world is filled with instances where men have honestly supposed that they had received communications from angels and gods.”

Lambert.—“How do you know that they honestly supposed ? Must you not, from the nature of the case, take their words for the honesty of their supposition ?"

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