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Anyone interested in the 19th century in American history must feel a strong sense of appreciation to the Cornell University Press and to Amazon for making these books available. The review is not meant to be an advertisement for either but we do owe our thanks to each.
By 1864, the year this book was published, the Union had already been broken. the Civil War was in its third year, and the end of slavery seemed fairly immenent. It is for these reasons the book is important.
The preacher reminds his later audiences, there was no need to explain the epistle to his contemporaries, of the New Testament Epistle to Philemon. This tiny one page book was used by both the pro and anti-slavery expositors as a reason for Christians North and South to obey the Fugitive Slave Law, or as Sumner prefered to call it "Act." The story of Onesimus, a slave of Philemon who escaped and sought protection from the Apostle Paul. Paul converted Onesimus and sent him back to Philemon. Mr. Patterson rec0gnizes there is no single command in either the Old or New Testament outlawing slavery. He quotes well-known commentators of his day as holding, "by gin=bing juster views of the soul, and the relation of all men to eachother, and to God, and by inculcating the rights which belong to men as men, the removal of the evil was sought after.(pages 10-11)."
The author then takes a well-deserved swipe at the Bishop of Vermont Henry Hopkins for statements made in his 1861 pamphlet "Bible View of Slavery" (which should be read by anyone interested in this period or the history of slavery in the United States. The work is sixteen pages but because I found it so distateful it took me three days to read it).Read more ›