Page:Appeal to the Christian women of the South (Grimké, 1836).djvu/17
If this apostle sanctioned slavery, why did he exhort masters thus in his epistle to the Ephesians, "and ye, masters, do the same things unto them (i.e. perform your duties to your servants as unto Christ, not unto me) forbearing threatening; knowing that your master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him." And in Colossians, "Masters give unto your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in heaven." Let slaveholders only obey these injunctions of Paul, and I am satisfied slavery would soon be abolished. If he thought it sinful even to threaten servants, surely he must have thought it sinful to flog and to beat them with sticks and paddles; indeed, when delineating the character of a bishop, he expressly names this as one feature of it, "no striker." Let masters give unto their servants that which is just and equal, and all that vast system of unrequited labor would crumble into ruin. Yes, and if they once felt they had no right to the labor of their servants without pay, surely they could not think they had a right to their wives, their children, and their own bodies. Again, how can it be said Paul sanctioned slavery, when, as though to put this matter beyond all doubt, in that black catalogue of sins enumerated in his first epistle to Timothy, he mentions "menstealers," which word may be translated "slavedealers." But you may say, we all despise slavedealers as much as any one can; they are never admitted into genteel or respectable society. And why not? Is it not because even you shrink back from the idea of associating with those who make their fortunes by trading in the bodies and souls of men, women, and children? whose daily work it is to break human hearts, by tearing wives from their husbands, and children from their parents? But why hold slavedealers as despicable, if their trade is lawful and virtuous? and why despise them more than the gentlemen of fortune and standing who employ them as their agents? Why more than the professors of religion who barter their fellow-professors to them for gold and silver? We do not despise the land agent, or the physician, or the merchant, and why? Simply because their professions are virtuous and honorable; and if the trade of men-jobbers was honorable, you would not despise them either. There is no difference in principle, in Christian ethics, between the despised slavedealer and the Christian who buys slaves from, or sells slaves to him; indeed, if slaves were not wanted by the respectable, the wealthy, and the religious in a community, there would be no slaves in that community, and of course no slavedealers. It is then the Christians and the honorable men and women of the South, who are the main pillars of this grand temple built to Mammon and to Moloch. It is the most enlightened in every country who are most to blame when any public sin is supported by public
than those of servants. Is it so at the South, my friends? Is the daily bread of instruction provided for your slaves? are their minds enlightened, and they gradually prepared to rise from the grade of menials into that of free, independent members of the state? Let your own statute book, and your own daily experience, answer these questions.