Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/12

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

10

"testimony?" First, the moral law. Just after the Israelites were emancipated from their bondage in Egypt, while they stood before Sinai to receive the law, as the trumpet waxed louder, and the mount quaked and blazed, God spake the ten commandments from the midst of clouds and thunderings. Two of those commandments deal death to slavery. "Thou shalt not steal," or, "thou shalt not take from another what belongs to him." All man's powers are God's gift to him. That they are his own, is proved from the fact that God has given them to him alone,—that each of them is a part of himself, and all of them together constitute himself. All else that belongs to man, is acquired by the use of these powers. The interest belongs to him, because the principal does; the product is his, because he is the producer. Ownership of any thing, is ownership of its use. The right to use according to will, is itself ownership. The eighth commandment presupposes and assumes the right of every man to his powers, and their product. Slavery robs of both. A man's right to himself, is the only right absolutely original and intrinsic—his right to whatever else that belongs to him is merely relative to this, is derived from it, and held only by virtue of it. Self-right is the foundation right—the post in the middle, to which all other rights are fastened. Slaveholders, when talking about their right to their slaves, always assume their own right to themselves. What slaveholder ever undertook to prove his right to himself? He knows it to be a self-evident proposition, that a man belongs to himself—that the right is intrinsic and absolute. In making out his own title, he makes out the title of every human being. As the fact of being a man is itself the title, the whole human family have one common title deed. If one man's title is valid, all are valid. If one is worthless, all are. To deny the validity of the slave's title is to deny the validity of his own; and yet in the act of making a man a slave, the slaveholder asserts the validity of his own title, while he seizes him as his property who has the same title. Further, in making him a slave, he does not merely disfranchise the humanity of one individual, but of universal man. He destroys the foundations. He annihilates all rights. He attacks not only the human race, but universal


such as polygamy and concubinage, are entered on the record without censure. Is that silent entry God's endorsement? Because the Bible in its catalosue of human actions, does not stamp on every crime its name and number, and write against it, this is a crime—does that wash out its guilt, and bleach into a virtue?