108 LAW OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE.
in their unnatural pretensions to an absolute property in
their poor brethren ? or that they " do the will of God
example will seldom fail to produce due respect, and will certainly
"adorn the doctrine" or profession of the Christian. Children
" may adorn the doctrine of God" by obedience to their " parents
in all things for this is well-pleasing," says the text, " unto the
Lord." (v. 20.) And again, the reciprocal duty of fathers is plain¬
ly pointed out to be a prudent moderation of that paternal authority
with which they are entrusted, for they are carefully warned against
arbitrary severity. " Provoke not," says the apostle, " your chil¬
dren to anger, lest they be discouraged." Servants are in the very
next verse (v. 22) commanded to f obey in all things their masters
according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but in
singleness of heart, fearing God .•" so that the submission of the
servants was also to adorn the " doctrine of God," it being mani¬
festly enjoined only for God's sake, and not on account of any sup¬
posed " right of dominion" invested in the masters, which the fol¬
lowing verses (v. 23 and 24,) when applied to the servants, suffi¬
ciently demonstrate—" And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to
the Lord, and not unto men: knowing, that of the Lord ye shall
receive the reward of the inheritance.- for ye serve the Lord
Christ." And to the same eternal and unerring dispenser of re-
wards-^and not to temporal masters—is attributed the power of pu.
nishing the " doing wrong," mentioned in the very next verse ;
which according to my learned friend's notion, is opposed to obey¬
ing in all things the masters—" he that doeth wrong" says the text.
" shall receive for the wrong which he hath done ; and there is
no respect of persons." (v. 25.)
Such strict impartiality in the administration of justice cannot
always be attributed, with certainty, even to the best regulated hu¬
man tribunal, and much less is it applicable to the decisions of un¬
controlled will and pleasure, in punishing " wrong doing," under
the absolute dominion of slaveholders! No earthly dominion
whatever is conducted with such an equal distribution of rewards
and punishments, as that it may always with truth be said, " there
is no respect of persons," for this is the proper characteristic of
the judgments and dominion of God and Christ alone. " For the
Lord is judge, and with him is no respect of persons." Eccles.
xxxv. 12. "For there is no respect of persons with God." Rom.
ii. 11. And, therefore, we may fairly conclude that the punish¬
ment, not only of slaves, but that also of masters, that " do wrong,"
is to be understood in the text which my friend has cited to support
his notion of a " right of dominion" vested in the masters; so that
the said supposed right has, indeed, but a very " slippery" founda.
tion! Agreeable to my last remark on this text, (Coloss. iii. 24,)