Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/31

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the Sanhedrim appointing special religious services for their benefit, and their "drivers" officiating at "oral instruction." Mean while, what became of the sturdy handmaids left at home? What hindered them from marching off in a body? Perhaps the Israelilish matrons stood sentry in rotation round the kitchens, while the young ladies scoured the country, as mounted rangers, picking up stragglers by day, and patrolled the streets, keeping a sharp look-out at night.

IV. Their continuance in Jewish families depended upon the performance of various rites necessarily voluntary.

Suppose the servants from the heathen had upon entering Jewish families, refused circumcision; if slaves, how simple the process of emancipation! Their refusal did the job. Or, suppose they had refused to attend the annual feasts, or had eaten unleavened bread during the Passover, or compounded the ingredients of the anointing oil, they would have been "cut off from the people;" excommunicated.

V. We infer the voluntariness of the servants of the Patriarchs from the impossibility of their having been held against their wills. Abraham's servants are an illustration. At one time he had three hundred and eighteen young men "born in his house," and many more not born in his house. His servants of all ages, were probably many thousands. How Abraham and Sarah contrived to hold fast so many thousand servants against their wills, we are left quite in the dark. The most natural supposition is that the Patriarch and his wife took turns in surrounding them! The neighboring tribes, instead of constituting a picket guard to hem in his servants, would have been far more likely to sweep them and him into captivity, as they did Lot and his household. Besides, there was neither "Constitution" nor "compact," to send back Abrahams's fugitives, nor a truckling police to pounce upon them, nor gentleman-kidnappers, suing for his patronage, volunteering to howl on their track, boasting their blood-hound scent, and pledging their "honor" to hunt down and "deliver up," provided they had a description of the "flesh-marks," and were suitably stimulated by pieces of silver. Abraham seems also to have been sadly deficient in all the auxiliaries of family government, such as stocks, hand-cuffs, foot-chains, yokes, gags, and thumb-screws. His destitution of these patriarchal indispensables is the more afflicting, since he faithfully trained "his household to do justice and judgment," though so deplorably destitute of the needful aids.