« EelmineJätka »
miscreants on earth, do any thing more rebellious, and contrary to the will of the most merciful God, than to keep those souls from Christ, and holiness, and heaven, for a little money, who were made and redeemed for the same ends, and at the same precious price as yours? Did your poor slaves ever commit such villanies as these? Is not he the basest wretch and the most barbarous savage, who committeth the greatest and most inhuman wickedness? And are theirs comparable to these of yours?
3. Doth not the very example of such cruelty, besides your keeping them from Christianity, directly tend to teach them and all others, to hate Christianity, as if it taught men to be so much worse than dogs and tigers?
4. Do you not mark how God hath followed you with plagues? and may not conscience tell you that it is for your inhumanity to the souls and bodies of so many? Remember the late fire at the bridge in Barbadoes: remember the drowning of your governor and ships at sea, and the many judgments that have overtaken you; and at the present the terrible mortality that is among you.
5. Will not the example and warning of neighbour countries rise up in judgment against you and condemn you? You cannot but hear how odious the Spanish name is made (and thereby alas the Christian name also, among the West Indians!) for their most inhuman cruelties in Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, and other places, which is described by Josep. a Costa, a Jesuit of their own; and though I know that their cruelty who murdered millions, exceedeth yours, who kill not men's bodies, yet yours is of the same kind, in the merchandize which you make with the devil for their souls, whilst you that should help them with all your power, do hinder them from the means of their salvation. And on the contrary, what an honour is it to those of New England, that they take not so much as the native soil from them, but by purchase! that they enslave none of them, nor use them cruelly, but shew them mercy, and are at a great deal of care, and cost, and labour for their salvation! O how much difference between holy Mr. Elliot's life and yours! His, who hath laboured so many years to save them, and hath translated the whole Bible into their language, with other books; and those good men's in Lon
don who are a corporation for the furtherance of his work; and theirs that have contributed so largely towards it; and yours that sell men's souls for your commodity!
6. And what comfort are you like to have at last, in that money that is purchased at such a price? Will not your money and you perish together? will you not have worse than Gehazi's leprosy with it; yea worse than Achan's death by stoning; and as bad as Judas his hanging himself, unless repentance shall prevent it? Do you not remember the terrible words in Jude 2. "Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the errors of Balaam." And 2 Pet. ii. 3. 14, 15. "Through covetousness-they make merchandize of you—— An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children (or children of a curse) which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but was rebuked for his iniquity; the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet." When you shall every one hear, "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee, and then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided f?" Will it not then cut deep in your perpetual torments, to remember that you got that little pelf, by betraying so many souls to hell? What men in the world doth James speak to, if not to you? "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten: your gold and silver are cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire: ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth and the cries of them which have reaped, are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." How much more the cry of betrayed souls!
And here we may seasonably answer these cases. Quest. 1. Is it lawful for a Christian to buy and use a man as a slave?' Quest. 2. 'Is it lawful to use a Christian as a slave?' Quest. 3. What difference must we make between a free servant and a slave?'
To Quest. 1. I answer, There is a slavery to which some men may be lawfully put, and there is a slavery to which none may be put; and there is a slavery to which only the criminal may be put, by way of penalty.
1. No man may be put to such a slavery as under the first Direction is denied, that is, such as shall injure God's interest and service, or the man's salvation. 2. No man, but as a just punishment for his crimes, may be so enslaved, as to be deprived of those liberties, benefits and comforts, which brotherly love obligeth every man to grant to another for his good, as far as is within our power, all things considered. That is, the same man is a servant and a brother, and therefore must at once be used as both. 3. Though poverty or necessity do make a man consent to sell himself to a life of lesser misery, to escape a greater, or death itself; yet is it not lawful for any other so to take advantage by his necessity, as to bring him into a condition that shall make him miserable, or in which we shall not exercise so much love, as may tend to his sanctification, comfort and salvation. Because no justice is beseeming a Christian or a man, which is not conjoined with a due measure of charity.
But 1. He that deserveth it by way of penalty may be penally used. 2. He that stole and cannot restore may be forced to work it out as a servant; and in both these cases more may be done against another's ease or liberty, than by mere contract or consent. He that may hang a flagitious offender doth him no wrong if he put him to a slavery, which is less penal than death. 3. More also may be done against enemies taken in a lawful war, than could be done against the innocent by necessitated consent. 4. A certain degree of servitude or slavery is lawful by the necessitated consent of the innocent. That is so much, (1.) As wrongeth no interest of God. (2.) Nor of mankind by breaking the laws of nations. (3.) Nor the person himself, by hindering his salvation, or the needful means thereof; nor those comforts of life, which nature giveth to man as man. (4.) Nor the commonwealth or society where we live.
Quest. 2. To the second Question, I answer, 1. As men must be variously loved according to the various degrees of amiableness in them; so various degrees of love must be
exercised towards them: therefore good and real Christians must be used with more love and brotherly tenderness than others. 2. It is meet also, that infidels have so much mercy shewed them in order to the saving of their souls, as that they should be invited to Christianity by fit encouragements and so, that they should know that if they will turn Christians, they shall have more privileges and emoluments than the enemies of truth and piety shall have. It is therefore well done of princes who make laws that infidel-slaves shall be freemen, when they are duly Christened. 3. But yet a nominal Christian, who by wickedness forfeiteth his life or freedom, may penally be made a slave as well as infidels. 4. And a poor and needy Christian may sell himself into a harder state of servitude than he would choose, or we could otherwise put him into. But 5. To go as pirates and catch up poor negroes or people of another land, that never forfeited life or liberty, and to make them slaves, and sell them, is one of the worst kinds of thievery in the world; and such persons are to be taken for the common enemies of mankind; and they that buy them and use them as beasts, for their mere commodity, and betray, or destroy, or neglect their souls, are fitter to be called incarnate devils than Christians, though they be no Christians whom they so abuse.
Quest. 3. To the third Question, I answer, That the solution of this case is to be gathered from what is said already. A servant and a voluntary-slave were both freemen, till they sold or hired themselves; and a criminal person was a freeman till he forfeited his life or liberty. But afterwards the difference is this; that 1. A free servant is my servant, no further than his own covenant made him so; which is supposed to be, (1.) To a certain kind, and measure of labour according to the meaning of his contract. (2.) For a limited time, expressed in the contract, whether a year, or two, or three, or seven.
2. A slave by mere contract is one that, (1.) Usually selleth himself absolutely to the will of another as to his labour both for kind and measure; where yet the limitations of God and nature after (and before) named, are supposed among Christians to take place. (2.) He is one that selleth himself to such labour, during life.
3. A slave by just penalty, is liable to so much servitude as the magistrate doth judge him to, which may be, (1.) Not only such labour, as aforesaid, as pleaseth his master to impose. (2.) And that for life. (3.) But it may be also to stripes and severities which might not lawfully be inflicted on another.
1. The limitations, of a necessitated-slavery by contract or consent through poverty are these, (1.) Such a one's soul must be cared for and preserved, though he should consent to the contrary. He must have time to learn the Word of God, and time to pray, and he must rest on the Lord's day, and employ it in God's service; he must be instructed, and exhorted, and kept from sin. (2.) He may not be forced to commit any sin against God. (3.) He may not (though he forcedly consent) be denied such comforts of this life, as are needful to his cheerful serving of God in love and thankfulness, according to the peace of the Gospel state; and which are called by the name of our daily bread. No man may deny a slave any of this, that is not a criminal, punished slave.
2. And the most criminal slave may not be forced to sin, nor denied necessary helps to his salvation. But he may penally be beaten and denied part of his daily bread; so it be not done more rigorously than true justice doth require.
Quest. But what if men buy Negroes or other slaves of such as we have just cause to believe did steal them by piracy, or buy them of those that have no power to sell them, and not hire or buy them by their own consent, or by the consent of those that had power to sell them, nor take them captives in a lawful war, what must they do with them afterwards?'
Answ. 1. It is their heinous sin to buy them, unless it be in charity to deliver them. 2. Having done it, undoubtedly they are presently bound to deliver them: because by right the man is his own, and therefore, no man else can have just title to him.
Quest. But may I not sell him again and make my money of him, seeing I leave him but as I found him?'
Answ. No; because when you have taken possession of him, and a pretended propriety, then the injury that is done him is by you; which before was only by another. And