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clusion, that there is sin in no case, because in some cases there may

be none. After God had created the founders of the race, “he blessed them, and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Can the relation of master and slave, or the right of slave-holding, be found in this ordinance ? And, moreover, it may be asked with much emphasis, How can slaves fulfill the purposes of this ordinance, according to its unquestionable import, both in respect to duty and privilege, in extending the domain of an enlightened and progressive civilization ?

When Noah and his family came forth from the ark, God said unto them, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you, shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” The right to use animals as “the green herb” for human sustenance, is the only additional right which God gave to Noah and his sons. The right of slaveholding is not in this ordinance, any more than in that delivered to Adam.

The original grant of property and dominion to the human race, is gratefully celebrated in the Psalms. (Ps. viii.) It is also introduced into the Epistle to the Hebrews, in a direct citation of the words of David. (Ch. ii.) But in neither case is there the least allusion to any such power or property, as that which is claimed as the right of a master, in respect to his slave.

If now such power or property has not been granted in either of those two great comprehensive ordinances of the Most High, --where else in the holy Scriptures, which are the Magna and the Maxima Charta of human rights and privileges, can the right of slave-holding be found ?

The first allusion to slavery, whether personal or political, is in the language of Noah, when, by a prophetic malediction, he so memorably rebuked the offence of Ham. 6 Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." These words of the father, but not the law-giver of all existing nations and families, have sometimes been most singularly misunderstood, or inexcusably perverted. In connection or con

trast with the blessing upon Shem and Japheth, they have been explained, as if Noah instituted slavery, and by divine direction gave liberty to a part of his descendants, to enslave another part, throughout all generations. And by assuming that the Africans now in bondage are, the posterity of Canaan, it has been maintained by some, that those who claim them as their property, and use them at their will, are entirely justified by the purpose of God. It has actually been pretended, that the Supreme Disposer of all things has decreed their perpetual servitude, to teach the world the duty of filial reverence and of civil obedience !

Such pretensions are too preposterous for sober denial. They involve absurdity upon absurdity, most palpable and most flagrant. It might just as rationally be maintained, that Noah gave plenary indulgence to excess of wine and to drunkenness, in all ages to the end of the world. Moreover, all right and wrong, all good and evil would become conventional and convertible names, or be mere distinctions without differences, if the words of prophecy were to be construed as justifying that mode of conduct, which, under divine control, ensures fulfilment, according to "the foreknowledge and determinate coun

“ sel of God.” It could never have been, as it was, 16 with wicked hands,” that "the Holy One and the Just " 16 was crucified and slain.' And never could it have been said: “Truly the Son of Man goeth as it was determined : but wo unto that man by whom he is betrayed !"

The predictions of the prophets, and divine purposes, so far as made known, may be employed as encouragements to good and as dissuasives from evil. But it is in the precepts, or requirements of God, not in his purposes, nor in predictions, that we have the rule of duty and the standard of rectitude. Hence the language of Noah, when, by an inspired foreknowledge of the calamitous condition of the guilty and polluted Canaanites, he spoke as he did, in signal reproof of filial dishonor, furnished not the slightest warrant for the posterity of Shem and Japheth with all the other sons of Ham also, to enslave them, or in any way to oppress them. The prediction of the bondage of the Hebrews in Egypt, who were of the descendants of Shem, was just as fully a divine warrant to Pharaoh, to “set task masters over them,” and “make their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field."

There is no apology for any mistake, as it regards the national identity of the descendants of Canaan. It is written in the Scriptures, that “Canaan begat Sidon his first-born, and Heth, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite,

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and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite; and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.” (Gen. x. 15-19. Comp. 1 Chron. i. 13-16.)

As a race of men, they had become exceedingly corrupt, in the age when the Hebrews were led out of Egypt, to take possession of the land, which had been promised to Abraham and his seed. “The land," said the voice of God to Moses, "is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Lev. xviii. 25.) It is not for any one to say, that this iniquity had no connection with the vile character of Ham, or of Canaan, who may have been a direct partaker of the sin, which indicated such ungodliness and uncleanness. There may have been also some special design in the record of the curse upon Canaan, both for the instruction and admonition of the chosen people; as they were then marching towards the country of the Canaanites, under the most solemn command to exterminate them. As the twelve tribes then were, and as the world was, through the abounding prevalence of idolatry, such signal inflictions of divine displeasure as they were called to witness, would appear to have been indispensable to convey to their minds a distinct and salutary perception of divine holiness and justice, and the consequent demerit of sin.

But there is no intimation that the Hebrews had their right to the land in consequence of the curse of Noah, or that the woes which God had determined to inflict, were retrospectively and primarily to be considered a visitation of the iniquity of the fathers upon the children. It was most evidently for their own wickedness that the Canaanites were doomed to such a punishment, in the sight of all nations. For any thing that is written, therefore, or is fairly implied to the contrary, we must regard the offence of their progenitor, or progenitors, not as the cause of their punishment, but as the occasion of its being foretold. And the manner in which it was foretold, would naturally be a most humiliating rebuke to the offender, and a fearful warning to his posterity.

It is thus, that we interpret the offence of Hezekiah, and the judgment which was denounced, when he displayed his treasures to the messengers of the king of Babylon. His indiscretion and his pride were the occasion of the prophecy, but not the cause of the future sorrows of his children and his people.

In further confirmation of this view of the nature of the curse of Noah upon Canaan, we may cite the example of Jacob,


in his dying rebuke of Simeon and Levi :-"Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce : and their wrath, for it' was cruel : I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” In the actual result, the sons of Levi, although “scattered in Israel," were recompensed for their pre-eminent faithfulness, (Ex. xxxii.) and exalted to the highest distinction of office and privilege. And the tribe of Simeon appears in history, under no marked disadvantages or reproaches, as compared with the other tribes; although their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.” (Josh. xix.) It is obvious then that such a malediction as that of Noah, did not in any way determine, either the calamitous condition or the detestable character of those who were lineally designated as the sufferers.

We are not to suppose that they were sinners above all men, or that the calamities which came upon them were unparalleled and unequalled. In the days of Abraham, before “the iniquity of the Amorites” was " full," (Gen. xv. 16.) there were such men in the land as Abimelech of Gerar, and Melchizedek of Salem. The latter, certainly, must be numbered among the most “excellent,” who have ever appeared " in the earth.' He " received tithes of Abraham and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction, the less is blessed of the better."

The "seven nations” in Canaan were not wholly destroyed. The Lord thy God,” it was written, “will put out those nations before thee by little and little : 'thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beast of the field increase upon thee.” (Deut. vii. 22.) The Jebusites held possession of a fortified eminence at Salem, or Jerusalem, until overpowered by David. And when Solomon needed a kind of labor, in erecting the temple, which he either was unable or unwilling to exact of his own people, he saw fit to slevy a tribute of bond-service"

" upon "the children that were left in the land," " of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.” (1 Kings ix.)

Powerful nations, also, were of the same immediate family origin, as those that were subjugated by the Hebrews. They had many slaves, and some of them "traded the persons of men,as they did “ vessels of brass." (Ezek. xxvii. 13.) Such were the Syrians of Hamath, with a capital city rivalling Da- · mascus; the Sidonians and Tyrians and the Phenicians, so skilled in arts, so adventurous in commerce and colonization ; and the Carthaginians, who, but for an oversight in their victorious Hannibal, might have dictated laws to Rome, and perchance to the known world.

All these, however, were in process of time subjected to nations yet more powerful, or more successful in war; and were

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made to experience the severest forms of political servitude. Many among them were carried into captivity by their conquerors. A part or all were reduced, as we cannot doubt, to the lowest and most wretched condition of personal slavery. Thus in Palestine and out of Palestine, the prediction of Noah had a most ample fulfilment, long before ancient history had reached its last chapter.

And is it now to be seriously maintained, that Africans can be enslaved by Divine permission, in consequence of the "curse” pronounced upon Canaan, four thousand years ago ? Let it first be shown, that any of them are Canaanites ! It would be impossible to prove their descent from either of the sons of Ham. The Egyptians, as is indicated by their ancient name, may have been so descended. The colored race are quite as probably from Shem, if not from Japheth. And the Egyptians, with all the changes that have passed over them, have been slave-holders from the remotest antiquity.

There has been far too much taken for granted, in what has been so often repeated concerning an alleged division of the earth by Noah, soon after the waters of the flood had retired. An apportionment of Africa to Ham, of Europe to Japheth, and of Asia to Shem, is all a fiction on the very face of it; and none the less ridiculous, from the imposing gravity with which it has been taught, as if an axiom of geographical science. We have an authentic memorial of "a division of the earth," so called, which took place in the days of Peleg; or rather, perhaps, more strictly speaking, in the days of Eber, his father, who may be understood to have given the name, as a significant token of the event. Peleg was in the sixth generation from Noah. Not far from the time of his birth, probably, there appears to have been a convention of the leaders of different families, and an amicable distribution and settlement of territorial limits. It was a great event for the times. We may suppose it to have been peculiarly interesting to the Hebrews, from their ancestral relationship; and thus to have been specially noted in their genealogical tables. But no one, who has studied the Scriptures intelligently, needs to be informed, that “the earth” does not always mean all of it, or even a hundredth part of it. And we have no more reliable evidence of any personal apportionment of the three great divisions of the eastern hemisphere, between the three sons of Noah, or their descendants respectively, at any period whatever, than for the very learned and discriminating hypothesis, which has attributed the sable complexion of the negro to the mark of Cain, and hence deduced an argument for African enslavement !

In truth and soberness, it may be affirmed, that the whitest slave-holder of modern Christendom is as likely to have the

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