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will be the exponent. Hence we must inquire at every step of this Biblical examination, Does the sacred writer mean slavery or not? Wheresoever it is intended, I shall candidly and honestly admit it; and I presume the reader will be as candid when it cannot be proved that slavery is not necessarily involved in the text.
I AM now to examine those passages in the Bible, which are supposed to favour slavery.
The first passage coming before us is one upon which great emphasis is laid by those who argue in defence of slavery. It is the curse upon Canaan. And now I will, for the sake of the argument, assume that Noah prophesied a condition of slavery, and I ask the reader to look at this passage carefully, and say, Was it God or was it man that uttered that curse? Is
there any thing about it that implies that Noah spake as moved by the Spirit of God? Is it any thing more than an historical fact in the life of Noah? It will perhaps be said, the fulfilment of the prophecy is proof of Noah's inspiration: Now let us look into this a little.
Remember that although Ham was the offender, the curse was not upon all of Ham's posterity, but only upon the descendants of his fourth son, Canaan. The very first man mentioned as a mighty one in the earth was Nimrod, a descendant from Ham. In the same lineal descent from Ham was Asshur, who built Nineveh. The posterity of Abraham who descended from Shem were carried captive into Assyria of which Nineveh was the capital. They also were servants to the Babylonians. They were also slaves in Egypt to Ham's posterity. On the other hand, the Canaanites were servants to the sons of Shem only to an inconsiderable extent, but were for the most part extirpated by the sword of the Israelites, and finally exterminated. Again; the sons of Japheth have been captives and servants to the sons of
Ham. Thus we see that if Noah had prophesied respecting the personal servitude of the posterity of either of his sons, the prophecy would have been fulfilled, for the plain reason that the posterity of each of them have been in servitude. And so far as it respected Canaan, upon whom the curse was pronounced, the servitude predicted was as little applicable to his posterity as it was to the sons of Shem or Japheth. The fulfilment of the prophecy therefore would be no proof that Noah spake by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. It would amount to a mere historical fact that Noah thus conducted himself and thus spake.
But for the sake of meeting all points, suppose I concede that either as a prophecy or a curse, the language of Noah was the language of God. Does it there*fore follow that they who enforce the curse are not themselves acting wickedly in so doing? Let us see how this works in reference to another prophecy and curse that were distinctly said to have been pronounced by God himself. In 2 Samuel xii. 11, the language is," Thus saith the
Lord, Behold I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of the sun." Again "Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her," Deut. xxviii. 30. What will be said to this? If the prophecy that Canaan shall be a servant of servants to his brethren justifies slavery, is it not an equally legitimate inference that the prophecies just quoted justify adultery?
But we have something still more directly to the point. The Lord said to the Jewish people, "Ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bond women, and no man shall buy you," (Deut. xxviii. 68.) "Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given to another people: thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway: thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them, for they shall go into captivity," (Deut. xxviii. 32-43.) "I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not," (Jer. xvii. 4.) Of Hezekiah's sons it was said,
"They shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon," (2 Kings xx. 18.) And of the families of the North, "Behold, I will send and take all the families of the North, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof: and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord. For many nations shall serve themselves of them also," (Jer. xxv. 4—14.) "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents-And I will punish all that oppress them," (Jer. xxx. 18-20.). "All thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey," (Jer. xxx. 16.) "And they have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. The children also of Judah, and the children of Jerusalem have ye