Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/28

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token of it, bound to keep the Sabbath, the Passover, the Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and to receive instruction in the moral and ceremonial law. Were the servants forced through all these processes? Was the renunication of idolatry compulsory? Were they dragged into covenant with God? Were they seized and circumcised by main strength? Were they compelled mechanically to chew, and swallow the flesh of the Paschal lamb, while they abhorred the institution, spurned the laws that enjoined it, detested its author and its executors, and instead of rejoicing in the deliverance which it commemorated, bewailed it as a calamity, and cursed the day of its consummation? Were they driven from all parts of the land three times in the year to the annual festivals? Were they drugged with instruction which they nauseated? Goaded through a round of ceremonies, to them senseless and disgusting mummeries; and drilled into the tactics of a creed rank with loathed abominations? We repeat it, to become a servant, was to become a proselyte. And did God authorize his people to make proselytes, at the point of the sword? by the terror of pains and penalties? by converting men into merchandise? Were proselyte and chattel synonymes, in the Divine vocabulary? Must a man be sunk to a thing before taken into covenant with God? Was this the stipulated condition of adoption, and the sole passport to the communion of the saints?

II. We argue the voluntariness of servants from Deut. xxiii. 15, 16, "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates where it liketh him best; thou shalt not oppress him."

As though God had said, "To deliver him up would be to recog-


he came. For the God of Jacob will not accept any other than the worship of a willing heart."—Mamon, Hilcoth Miloth, Chap. 1st, Sec. 8th.
The ancient Jewish Doctors assert that the servant from the Strangers who at the close of his probationary year, refused to adopt the Jewish religion and was on that account sent back to his own people, received a full compensation for his services, besides the payment of his expenses. But that postponement of the circumcision of the foreign servant for a year (or even at all after he had entered the family of an Israelite) of which the Mishnic doctors speak, seems to have been a mere usage. We find nothing of it in the regulations of the Mosaic system. Circumcision was manifestly a rite strictly initiatory. Whether it was a rite merely national or spiritual, or both, comes not within the scope of this inquiry.