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[180] texts often quoted from the Old Testament, which, whatever may be their import, are all absorbed in the New; nor shall I stop to consider the precise interpretation of the oft-quoted phrase, Servants, obey your masters; nor seek to weigh any such imperfect injunction in the scales against those grand commandments, on which hang all the law and the prophets. Surely, in the example and teachings of the Saviour, who lifted up the down-trodden, who enjoined purity of life, and overflowed with tenderness even to little children, human ingenuity can find no apology for an institution which tramples on man,—which defiles woman,—and sweeps little children beneath the hammer of the auctioneer. If to any one these things seem to have the license of Christianity, it is only because they have first secured a license in his own soul. Men are prone to find in uncertain, disconnected texts, a confirmation of their own personal prejudices or prepossessions. And I —who am no divine, but only a simple layman—make bold to say, that whoever finds in the Gospel any sanction of Slavery, finds there merely a reflection of himself. On a matter so irresistibly clear, authority is superfluous; but an eminent character, who as poet makes us forget his high place as philosopher, and as philosopher, makes us forget his high place as theologian, has exposed the essential antagonism between Christianity and Slavery, in a few pregnant words which you will be glad to hear,—particularly as, I believe, they have not been before introduced into this discussion. ‘By a principle essential to Christianity,’ says Coleridge, ‘a person is eternally differenced from a thing; so that the idea of a Human Being necessarily excludes the idea of property in that Being.’

With regret, though not with astonishment, I learn that a Boston divine has sought to throw the seamless garment of Christ over this shocking wrong. But I am patient, and see clearly how vain will be his effort, when I call to mind, that, within this very century, other divines sought to throw the same seamless garment over the more shocking slave-trade; and that, among many publications, a little book was then put forth with the name of a reverend clergyman on the title-page, to prove that ‘the African trade for negro slaves is consistent with the principles of humanity and revealed religion;’ and, thinking of these things, I am ready to say with Shakespeare,

In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it and approve it with a text?

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