Friday, May 23, 2008

Insight from Rev. B. M. Palmer, 1876

“The original curse, pronounced upon the first transgression, wraps up a promise in the bosom of the denunciation, ‘in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread.’ The language certainly implies that, if man be doomed to labour, he shall at least live by that labour. With the multiplication of the arts by which labour is cheapened, nay, by which iron arms and hands are made the substitute for human muscle and strength, wealth is more and more accumulating in the hands of the few, and the distance is widening betwixt capital and labour. The great peril of our modern civilization lies in this direction; and the specter which is haunting the mind of the statesman, is the gradual and steady approach to that crisis when labour shall be utterly unable to procure a bare subsistence. Nothing will stand when the point of starvation is reached by the masses in society. The only remedy is found in this law of equity which the Bible lays upon the conscience of the master. The servant is entitled to maintenance, and wages cannot be reduced below the point of a decent support. If this fundamental law be disobeyed, the retribution may be slow, but it will be only the more terrible in its fury when it breaks upon society at the last.”
Palmer, B. M., The Family in its Civil and Churchly Aspects. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1991 (1876); pp 140,141.