Page images
PDF
EPUB

technical faults, as upon the principles of just syllogistic reasoning, would infallibly vitiate the conclusion.

I do not deny that the example is a species of induction; but I contend that it is, as Aristotle himself defines it, an induction, which proceeds, ws uépos πρός μέρος, ως όμοιον προς όμοιον *, from one particular fact or truth to another particular fact or truth, which resembles it; without any roundabout intermediate process; but by virtue of this simple, universal axiom, which the mind spontaneously recognises to be true; that what has once before happened, may happen, and probably will happen, under the same or similar circumstances, again. To the full force and application of this axiom, nothing is necessary except to shew that a certain case or contingency, still future, is exactly the counterpart of something which is, or may be considered, a matter of fact, and past experience: after which the mind will draw the conclusion for itself. For this reason, Aristotle himself admits in the Rhetorica u, that there is no way of contravening the argument from examples, but by the production of contrary examples; that is, of instances to shew that the same thing did not always happen under the same or similar circumstances; or by denying that the case alleged is actually in point to the case under discussion; that is, by contending that the example is no example and the fact alleged has nothing to do with the matter under discussion.

With regard to the parables of the New Testament; (that is, the moral parables;) there is no doubt that Aristotle would have pronounced such compositions, napadesyuara, or examples, in general ; which, if he had considered them to be the invention of the speaker, he would have called róyou or fables, in particular; if he had thought them to be real matters of fact, known to the speaker, though not to his hearers, before they were circumstantially related, he would have called properly examples : and whether examples or fables, in these different senses respectively, as opposed to each other, he would still have pronounced them, čvteXvOL TÍOtels alike—as having a moral and an application over and above themselves; as directed to a practical use and purpose; as contrived or applied by the speaker himself, to enforce and illustrate something which might be expected of the future, by the light and comparison of that, which was thus seen to have resembled it, in the past.

t Rhet. i. ii. 19. u Lib. ii. xxv. 13.

APPENDIX. CHAPTER III.

ON THE RELATION OF MASTER AND SLAVE, AS CHARACTERISTIC OF THE SOCIAL

STATE OF ANTIQUITY.

SEE GENERAL INTRODUCTION, CHAP. VII. P. 96–98.

It is much to be regretted, that the same attention to accuracy, which appears so remarkably in other respects, did not induce the translators of the Bible into English, to render the word gay in the Hebrew, and doūros in Greek, wherever they occurred, by the most correct and literal, if not the only version of it, which our language supplied, viz. the word slave. The almost invariable substitution of some other word for this, has had the effect of keeping the majority of Christians among us, totally in the dark as to the true nature and constitution of the domestic relations of antiquity; and has probably tended more than any thing else, to create and to foster a prejudice, pregnant with danger to the peace and good order of society ; that the existence of slavery is repugnant to the law of nature, and to the law of the Gospel ; that man cannot have a right of property in man; that every one has a natural indefeasible right to his personal freedom, of which no accident of his birth, no mere contingency of external fortune, can deprive him; and that the relation of master and slave, under all circumstances, and at all times, and in all countries, is equally offensive to decency, justice, reason, and religion.

Had any unlearned, but simple-minded Christian, been accustomed to meet in his Bible with the word slave, as regularly as he now meets with the word servant ; or rather, if he had never met with any word there, as scarcely any else is to be met with in the original, but that which answers to it; it is impossible that he could have come to such conclusions as these; or, if he had reasoned about the subject at all, that he should not have inferred that a relation, which was seen to be as old almost as the existence of mankind; a relation which was recognised, sanctioned, and approved of, in a thousand ways, directly or indirectly, by the word of God, both in the Old Testament and in the New, could be founded in nothing repugnant to the essential, immutable rules of right and wrong ; could not be merely tolerable or expedient, but must be innocent, harmless, and indifferent ; in particular could not be offensive to the will of God, and inimical to the genius of revealed religion, not even of the Christian religion ; but must be quite in accordance with the general principle of the temporal dispensations of the Divine providence, and with the purposes, intentions, and adaptations of his revelations themselves, to the actual relations of social existence among his moral and responsible creatures.

It would be easy to shew both from the testimony of the Bible, and from that of profane history, that for two thousand years before the birth of Christ, (which goes much further back than the beginning of historical time in the records of any nation,) and for six hundred years after it—and more especially at the precise period of the Gospel era; there was no such domestic relation in the civilized world, as the modern one of master and servant. From the highest to the lowest, among all the orders and gradations of society, the only established relation was that of despot and slave. Such was the relation which Christianity found in existence at the time when it began to be propagated ; such was the relation which our Saviour recognised, illustrated, and sanctioned, both in a variety of other instances, and by making it a fundamental condition, and a characteristic circumstance of the supposition and train of events, in the majority of his parables ; such was the relation which his religion adopted into its own communion, as perfectly capable of subsisting coordinately with itself; and such was the relation, for which the apostles of Jesus Christ, when they went forth into a world, presenting no other comprehensive distinction of its inmates than that of freemen and slaves, were content to legislate ; while prescribing duties and obligations reciprocally incumbent on both the parties in it, never once expressing a wish or desire to disturb the relation itself, much less to set it aside, and to supersede it by any new one, diametrically repugnant to it.

It is not my intention, however, to discuss at present the lawfulness of slavery in general, or its compatibility with a sound and legitimate view of the

« PreviousContinue »