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materially increased from this source. The ancient slave-trade may have sprung from the super-abundance of such prisoners, but kidnapping on a large scale appears to have originated in sudden hostile assaults which the Hebrew Prophets violently denounce, (Amos i. 6, 8); and manstealing is punished by the law as one of the greatest crimes. Indolence, poverty and moral depravity also led to slavery—many a one offering himself as a slave in order thereby to gain his living. Noah denounces slavery as the curse and consequence of moral degeneracy. (Gen. ix. 18–27.) After the patriarchal families came to live under an organized government, a debtor had to deliver up himself, his wife, and children, if he was unable to pay his debt. With the increase of the children of slaves, slavery expanded, especially in the more distinguished families, in which, moreover, the chief of the servants, the elder of the house, occupied a very prominent position. (Ex. xxi. 41, xxviii. 12; Gen. xiv. 14, xvii. 23–27.) Slavery had thus become deeply rooted in the social state of the entire ancient world before the Hebrew law appeared. It could not be at once abolished; but no religion of antiquity was so decidedly opposed to slavery as was this, from its peculiar origin, and its inextinguishable impulse-none, at least, was so much opposed to all that is inhuman in slavery, or so surely prepared its abolition. The fundamental idea of the Hebrew religion explicitly declared this. Since Israel knew what the hardships of slavery were, they ought to treat their servants kindly, and as they themselves had complained of their sufferings in Egypt, and had rejoiced at their deliverance, they must, from this very circumstance, be unalterably opposed to slavery in any form. Their Law, therefore, rejected the traditional ideas of the position of slaves, and prescribed in their behalf, certain privileges to be enjoyed by the slave, be he a Hebrew or not. 1. In all the spiritual blessings of life he is to be on a par with the free. Before God they are equal and no distinction is, therefore, to be made in the enjoyment of the higher privileges of religion. They are to enjoy the Sabbath (Ex. xx. 11), and be circumcised (Gen. xvii. 10–14, 23–27, xxxiv. 22; Ex. xii. 44). They are to enter the congregation of the Lord like the free, and participate in the religious festivities (Ex. xii. 44, xii. 12–17, etc., xvi. 11–14). This was quite otherwise among heathen nations. 2. Civil rights are granted them as a protection against their masters, though in this respect not altogether equal to those of the free. Manslaughter is to be punished; though the master is acquitted if the slave dies only after the lapse of several days; if the slave is seriously injured he is free by law (Ex. xxi. 20, etc. 26, etc. comp. v. 52; also Job xxxi. 13–15). This of course applies to both male and female slaves. In regard to a Hebrew slave, the law is, of course, still more lenient. He is to be liberated after six years, but has to leave behind him the wife given him by his master, and her children. (A seven years' service is a very ancient institution ; see Gen. xxix. 18. Lynch shows that such a custom still prevails in those regions.) Whoever does not wish to go free in the seventh year, has his ear bored, just as it is customary to pierce the nose of unruly animals (Cf. Z. xxxvii. 29; Ex. xxxviii. 4) and he then can remain forever. The service of a female Hebrew slave, for instance of a daughter sold by the father as a slave, was also limited to six years (Deut. xv. 12, 17); but the master was not permitted to sell her as a common slave (Ex. xxi. 7 ; Lev. xxv. 39–42). If he had taken her as a concubine, and thereby raised her to a higher position (for a concubine stood higher than a slave, somewhat like a liberta) he could not sell her to a stranger, but only marry her to a stranger. If he gave her to his son as a concubine, he was obliged to treat her like a daughter. If he kept her, and took another one besides her, he could not deprive her of anything after that, unless he let her go free (Ex. xxi. 7–11). If such a girl did not yet know her position, namely, if her master had not yet taken her to himself nor given her as wife to a stranger, and somebody slept with her, she could not be punished for adultery, but had to bring a sin offering (Lev. xix. 20–22). It appears that the liberation of a slave in the seventh year, must have been soon after superseded by a law liberating him only in the fiftieth year (Lev. xxv. 39–46). It is true that in Deut. xv. 12–18, the original law is reaffirmed with the addition that some assistance be given to the liberated slave to maintain his independence; but even after the reformation, by King Josiah, this law could not be carried into effect, as the relations of society had already become too intricate to admit of a return to the primitive simplicity. It is noteworthy that in Lev. xxv. 40, it is recommended that a Hebrew be treated like a hireling rather than like a slave, and an attempt to abolish such slavery by law (without any permanent success) was made under the last king of Judah (vol. iii., p. 744). It appears to have been the common opinion, that a slave does double the work of a hireling (Deut. xv. 18), which may have interfered with the attempt; the subsequent fall of the empire rendered slavery impossible. In the new Jerusalem slavery did did not cease by law, but was confined to the few families of the richest and most distinguished persons. In the course of that period a new relation had sprung up, which stands between slavery and free-labor, namely, clientel. A client is not the property of a master, he is far more independent; but binds himself to a family, and receives its protection in return for certain services. Such a client was still called in Israel a slave, but was, in reality, something very different. That such a relation sprung up among the Hebrews in the passing away of the original system of servitude, even as it existed among the ancient Arabs, is shown on page 203. The progress involved in this change, may be inferred from the remarkable pictures of such a relation in the Old Testament; for whilst the ancient narrator represents the Sublime work of Moses as the servant of the Lord in the community, under the figure of a superintendent, or the eldest of the slaves (Num. xii. 6–8), as described above, at a later period, the great Unnamed depicts the true nature of the future Messianic servant of the Jehovah as that of a protégé of the Lord, who executes his work independently. How much more appropriately can the working of a higher religion be represented under the latter figure. —Die Alterthumer des Volkes Israel, von Heinrich Ewald, Zweite Ausgabe, pp. 241–249. The conclusion of Ewald, therefore, is equally strong with that of Salvador, that chattelism could have no place under the Mosaic code; but that the servitude recognized and regulated by the Hebrew law, was based throughout upon certain economical and moral relations between men as men, and not upon the relation of a thing or an animal to its owner.
By the seventh canon of the Council of Orange, A. D. 441, persons attempting to restrain the liberty of those whom the church had enfranchised or had received as protégés, were declared subject to condemnation. “In ecclesia manumissos, vel per testamentum ecclesiæ commendatos, si quis in servitutem, vel obsequium, vel ad colonariam conditionem imprimere tentaverit, animadversione ecclesiastica coerceatur.”
The Council of Orleans, in 549, took decisive measures to protect the liberty of such as, in accordance with a laudable custom, had been manumitted in the churches, enjoining it upon the churches to defend the same. “Et quia plurimorum suggestione comperimus, eos qui in ecclesiis juxta patrioticam consuetudinem a servitiis fuerunt absoluti, pro libito quorumcumque iterum ad servitium revocari, impium esse tractavimus, ut quod in ecclesia Dei consideratione a vinculo servitutis absolvitur, irritum habeatur," etc. *. The second Council of Macon, in 585, expressed its strong displeasure at the interference of the civil magistrates with the manumission authorized by the church, and enjoined it upon the bishops to take cognizance of such cases. “Indignum est enim, ut hi qui in sacrosancta ecclesia jure noscuntur legitimo manumissi, aut per epistolam, aut per testamentum, aut per longinquitatem temporis libertatis jura fruunter, a quolibet injustissime inquietentur. . . . . Et quicumque a nobis de libertis latum decretum, superbiæ ausu prevaricare tentaverit, irreparabili damnationis suæ sententia feriatur.” The fourth Council of Toledo, in 633, assumed the defence both of the liberty and of the property of the freedmen committed to church patronage. “ Liberti qui a quibuscumque manumissi sunt, atque ecclesiæ patrocinio commendati existunt, sicut regulæ antiquorum patrum constitueruut, sacerdotali defensione a cujuslibit insolentia protegantur ; sive in statu libertatis eorum, seu in peculio quod habere noscuntur.” How beautiful an office for the Christian minister, to protect the freedman from insolence and Wrong! The curious reader will find collated in Balmes' Protestantism and Catholicity, a large number of decrees by various councils, authorizing the sale of the property of the church for the redemption of captives, denouncing man-stealing as a crime, and regulating the treatment of slaves by the dictates of justice and humanity. With much imperfection of method, and some serious exceptions in fact, the church of the middle ages was in spirit hostile to slavery, and devoted to its abolition. In 1102, the Council of London pronounced the slave trade ênfamous. “ Ne quis illud mefarium negotium quo hactenus in Anglia Solebant homines sicut bruta animalia venundari, deinceps ullatenus facere præsumat.”