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most glaring defiance of God's authority, in the form of their state policy. They had thus contrived, as they imagined, a security even in the midst of their oppression, against punishment. It was doing that, as a corporation of usurpers, in safety, which they could not have done as individuals without exposure to the penalty of death. But though hand join in hand, God's vengeance is but the surer and more terrible. And the sword of God came down upon them in the very midst of this appalling crime, as swift, almost, as the lightning. Beyond all question there were many who lent themselves to this iniquity for the sake of gain and power, who never were guilty of the sin of idolatry; they would have abhorred that wickedness, as worse than any sacrilege; and the sin of idolatry was not, at that time, adopted by the government and the nation, in open defiance of Almighty God. But the sin of bringing free servants into a forced, involuntary servitude, the sin of changing freemen into articles of property, the sin of stealing men from themselves, and chattelizing them in perpetual slavery, was so chosen and adopted; and God's extremest wrath came upon the whole nation in consequence. Many at that time were strenuous for rites, but not for righteousness; for the law as to religious ceremonies, but not for humanity and justice; for sacrifice towards God, but not mercy nor common honesty towards man. They would kill an ox for worship, and steal their neighbor's wages, and slay his freedom, in the same breath. They "trusted in oppression and perverseness, and staid themselves thereon;" and these are crimes, the lurid light of which burns in the pages of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and others, in such a manner that we see how the nation went into the establishment of slavery against the repeated warnings and denunciations of God's messengers, in every faithful, free pulpit all over the land. Amazement at God's wrath, as if slavery were, in his sight, a guilt greater than idolatry, passes, under these circumstances, under a true knowledge of the case, into amazement at God's forbearance, and at the infatuation of the Jewish people. They were deliberately inaugurating a crime, as their chosen state policy, which they knew would increase in a numerical ratio from generation to generation. If it could have been restricted to the first persons stolen and deprived of their liberty, the iniquity would have been comparatively small. But for every two immortal beings forced into this chattelism, there would be five others stolen and forced, in like mannner, by the next generation ; the guilt of oppression on the one side, and the sufferance of cruelty on the other, enlarging as it ran on into posterity. Now to set agoing such a system of injustice, which was to branch out like the hereditary perdition from the depraved head of a race, increasing as the Rio de la Plata or the Amazon ; to set a central spring of thousand other springs of domestic and State tyranny coiled, and coiling on, in geometrical progression; and a central fountain of thousand other fountains of inhumanity and misery; and to do this in opposition to the light of freedom and religion, and of laws in protection of liberty, given from God, and maintained by him for a thousand years, was so extreme and aggravated a pitch of wickedness, that it is not wonderful that God put an instant stop to it, by wiping Jerusalem and Judea of its inhabitants, as a man wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down; it is not wonderful that we find the king and the nation cut off at once, by this enormous crime, from all possibility of God's further forbearance. The evil of such a crime was the greater, because, while it is enlarging every year, both in guilt and hopelessness, it seems lessened in intensity, as it passes down into posterity. Posterity are content to receive and uphold that slavery as a comfortable domestic institution, which, at the beginning, was acknowledged as a glaring crime. The sons of the first men-stealers would, with comparatively easy consciences, take the children of those whom their parents had stolen, and claim them as their property, being slaves born. But, in fact, in a nice adjustment of the moral question, we find that the guilt is doubled; because, while the parents may have been stolen only from themselves, the children are stolen both from the parents and from themselves. The stealing and enslaving of the parents could create no claim upon the children as property, nor produce any mitigation or extenuation of the sin of stealing the children also, and holding them as slaves. And so the guilt runs on, nor could the progress of whole ages diminish it, or change its character. To complete our investigation historically, it will be necessary to examine the condition of the Jews from Nehemiah and Malachi to the coming of Christ, and then to trace the operation of the spirit and laws of the Old Testament in the teachings of the New. Meantime, although never a word had been found bearing on this subject in the New Testament, it is manifest that a large space is given to it in the Divine revelation, and if there is any silence in the New Testament, it is because so much and so plainly was spoken in the Old. It may be said, If ye hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will ye be persuaded though one rose from the dead. If the Pentateuch be received as the word of God, we need no farther testimonial or expression of God's judgment against slavery. And it is a fearful thing for any man to endeavor to distort the tenor of this revelation from justice to injustice, from kindness to oppression, from the advocacy of freedom to the sanction of slavery. Let no man, because slavery is the sin of his own country, therefore seek to defend it from the Scriptures, handling the word of God deceitfully, acting with it as a dishonest dealer with a pack of cards, or a gambler with loaded dice. Strangely intense must be the prejudice that, for the sake of shielding slavery from being reprobated as a sin, would rather rejoice to have found it commended and commanded in the word of God, than admit the demonstration that it stands in the condemnation of the Almighty. The word of God is as an electric or galvanic battery, composed of many parts, all of them being directed to the object of overcoming and removing sin, and establishing love to God and man as the rule and habit on earth as in heaven. Then what a piece of villany it is towards mankind as sinners, to draw off, as it were, over night, the power from any part of this battery, its power to rouse the conscience, its power to startle the moral sense into the noting and abhorring of moral abominations long practised as forms of social expediency and luxury. Both historical and preceptive, the word of God is a warning against sin; many things in it are light-houses on dangerous reefs. Therefore, no greater treachery is possible, nor more malignant treason against mankind, than to creep into one of these light-houses and, under pretence of being its keeper, to put out its light; or, still worse, to put up the signal of its being a safe harbor, when the man or the nation that makes for it will inevitably be dashed in pieces. ARTICLE VI. PLUTARCH ON THE DELAY OF PROVIDENCE IN PUNISHING THE WICKED. By Horatio B. Ilackctt, Professor in Newton Theological Institution. The treatise, of which it is proposed to give an abstract in this Article, is entitled in Greek: Ilepl r&v tnrb rov Oelov /9pa2e<u9 rifitopovfievav. The common title in Latin is: De sera Numinis vindicta. An edition of the original work, with notes, was published by the writer a number of years ago (in 1844), and is now out of print. The analysis of the argument inserted in that edition has been revised and very considerably enlarged in the form in which it is here placed before the reader. Stillingfleet's outline of the principal ideas, in his Origines Sacrae (B. III. c. iii. § 21), is the best, perhaps, that we have in English ; but omits so many of the minor thoughts, and is so brief, even on the main topics, that one can obtain from it only an imperfect impression of the spirit and power of the original treatise. Vol. XIII No. 61. 52

Of the value of such a discussion, from a writer situated as Plutarch was, but one opinion surely can be entertained. It is not easy to think of a question that would be likely to appear so full of perplexity, to a thoughtful heathen, as the one considered in this treatise; namely,the question how the impunity and, not unfrequently, the signal prosperity, of the wicked can be reconciled with the doctrine of a just Providence; or, in other words, how the apparent disregard of men's deserts, in what befalls them in this life, is consistent with the belief of a Deity who observes the right and wrong of human actions, and governs the world according to the principles of a righteous retribution. A subject like this, when viewed from the position of those destitute entirely of the light which the Scriptures shed upon it, cannot fail to present to the mind much that is mysterious, and, to all appearance, incapable of explanation. We see from the treatise under remark, what objections have been urged against the justice of Providence from this point of view, and also what replies can be offered to them, on grounds of mere reason or natural religion. The work, in the first instance, was directed more particularly against the followers of Epicurus. As a sect, they denied the moral accountability of men; they acknowledged nothing as retributive in the sufferings or allotments of life; they referred everything to an inexorable fate, or mere chance; while, in common with other ancient skeptics, they alleged as one of the main arguments for their opinion, the self-evident absurdity of any other; since nothing, as they affirmed, could be more reproachful to the gods, than to attribute to them any concern in the government of a world, which exhibits such a manifest want of correspondence between the experience and the deserts of men. The considerations which Plutarch has here urged, for the purpose of obviating or diminishing the force of such a statement, are such as evince an elevation of views, a depth and soundness of moral feeling, to which no parallel can be found in any work of pagan antiquity. Plato is the only ancient writer whom any one would think

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