Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/17

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struck the smiter dead. The parental relation is the centre of human society. God guards it with peculiar care. To violate that, is to violate all. Whoever trampled on that, showed that no relation had any sacredness in his eyes—that he was unfit to move among human relations who had violated one so sacred and tender. Therefore, the Mosaic law uplifted his bleeding corpse, and brandished the ghastly terror around the parental relation to guard it from impious inroads.

Why such a difference in penalties, for the same act? Answer. (1.) The relation violated was obvious—the distinction between parents and others manifest, dictated by natural affection—a law of the constitution. (2.) The act was violence to nature—a suicide on constitutional susceptibilities. (3.) The parental relation then, as now, was the focal point of the social system, and required powerful safeguards. "Honor thy father and thy mother" stands at the head of those commands which prescribe the duties of man to man; and, throughout the Bible, the parental state is God's favorite illustration of his own relations to the whole human family. In this case death was to be inflicted not for smiting a man, but a parent—a distinction cherished by God, and around which, He threw up a bulwark of defence. In the next verse, "He that stealeth a man," &c., the same principle is wrought out in still stronger relief. The crime to be punished with death was not the taking of property from its owner, but the doing violence to an immortal nature, blotting out a sacred distinction, making men "chattels." The incessant pains taken in the Old Testament to separate human beings from brutes and things, shows God's regard for his own distinction.

"In the beginning" it was uttered in heaven, and proclaimed to the universe as it rose into being. Creation was arrayed at the instant of its birth, to do it homage. It paused in adoration while God ushered forth its crowning work. Why that dread pause and that creating arm held back in mid career and that high conference in the godhead? "Let us make man in our image after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth." Then while every living thing, with land, and sea, and firmament, and marshalled worlds, waited to swell the shout of morning stars—then "God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him." This solves the problem, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, CREATED HE HIM. Well might the sons of God shout, "Amen,