I know what are the struggles in a conscientious slaveholder's mind. I know his difficulties in an investigation of the subject of slavery, and I know how it is he mistakes the teachings of the Bible. I trust the following pages will serve to open the eyes

of some to the sinfulness of slaveholding, and be the means of emancipating many slaves.

Although I do not write this book for the scholar ; but for the plain English reader; yet I have been careful not to violate the rules of a just criticism ; and that I may guard the reader against any mistake, I wish here to make a few critical observations.

It is often insisted upon, and with much pertinacity, that the Hebrew “ebedh,and the Greek • "doulos, mean generally “ slave," and that “servant" also, in the New Testament and elsewhere, frequently means slave. Without pretending to be much of a linguist myself, I cannot but express, nevertheless, great surprise, that learned critics have suffered themselves to fall into this error. I unhesitatingly say, that neither ebedh, doulos, nor servant, ever means slave. The word servant pre

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cisely expresses the meaning of the words ebedh* and doulos; and it is always impossible to judge from either word of itself, independently of other circumstances, whether a slave be spoken of or not. It does not mean a slave, a hireling, or a bondman; but it means one who serves. Such a one may be a slave, a bondman, a hireling, or neither. The word of itself

. never determines the condition of the servant, or the relation he holds to the one he serves. This must be determined by the context or the occasion.

The ancients had no word in common use to signify slave. This is a word of comparatively modern origin. Formerly that condition, now called slavery, was signified by the connection in which the word servant was employed, or by some word that specified a particular people, whose condition was well known; as the Helots of Sparta ;—so the condition of involuntary or forced servitude is now expressed either by the connection and circumstances in which the word servant

* The Hebrew ebedh signifies laborer and thence servant.



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is employed, or by the word slave, which is a corruption of the word Sclavonian the name of a people whom the Venitians conquered and sold, and of whom the serfs of Russia are now the regular descendants.

So of the word master in English, and the Greek word despotesthey do not necessarily mean the owner of slaves. God is addressed as a despot by good old Simeon, in Luke ii. 29; and by the worshippers in Acts iv. 24; and in Jude 4, and Rev. vi. 10. But God's government is that of a father over his children. And Jesus Christ is called a despot by Peter. (2 Pet. ii. 1.) But Jesus Christ's yoke is easy and his burden is light. His servants serve him from choice; they are not slaves. The servants in our Northern states are during their term of service under despots; i. e. they are under the entire management of the proprietor of the premises, who employs them in his service : they are voluntarily under his absolute authority. But a despotic government is not necessarily an oppressive one; when, therefore, the government of


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the master or despot becomes oppressive, the contract is no longer binding.

In England, the servants call their employers master. But those servants have their civil rights and their means of redress when wronged. They are not slaves.

In the following pages I do not discuss the relation of the despot or master to the doulos, or servant. I only argue the question of the relation of the despot or master to the slave. And I hope the reader will bear this in mind throughout. Whether any despotic government is ever right in itself, except that of the Almighty and the Holy God over his creatures, or of the father over his children in their early years, I design neither to affirm nor to deny. It is a question separate from the one discussed in this book, and so far as my argument goes it does not touch it. Whether the Bible sanctions, justifies, tolerates, or merely on account of the peculiar condition of the world suffers the relation of the despot and subject, the master and servant, I am not disposed to meddle with in these pages. But to the naked question of the relation of master and slave, I wish to limit the attention of the reader; and I hope every Christian who commences the perusal of this little book, will go through it determined to deal fairly with the writer, and not by making other issues, wander off from the direct question.

And may He who looks into all hearts, dispose every one who examines this subject, to deal honestly with his own conscience, and give him grace to follow out his convictions of truth without the fear of man, or the love of worldly ease.



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