before the theocracy of the Jews, constituted the patriarch (he being the head of the family) the owner of slaves.
Abraham, Lot, and others, held them in large numbers.
These men enjoyed the unqualified approbation of Jehovah, and in their character of slaveholders, no less than in many other respects.
According to Dr.
W., they enjoyed the Divine approbation in the practice of iniquity; for he says, the Bible
condemns both the principle
and the practice
It is evident that the Jews brought slaves with them from Egypt
; for the terms of the Decalogue not only imply that they were familiar with domestic slavery, but also that it was, at that time, an existing practice among them.
But more than this, the Decalogue is strictly the constitution which Jehovah himself gave to the Jewish nation.
Now to assume that he provided in this constitution to protect in all time to come (for it is allowed to embody immutable principles) a relation which was, in itself, an iniquity
, is more than a mere absurdity--it is profanity
. And it is certain that the tenth article of this constitution provides to protect the right of property in slaves: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's
man-servant, nor his
maid-servant, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's
The Saviour has recognized this law, as it was