Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

at which distinguishes the life of Mr. Sharp occurred about

“ Perhaps

ch

Lat they are so. All this has been urged to me with ble sophistry, and important self-sufficiency of the if he supposed that the mere sound of words fä altering the nature of things; as if there were no diween good and evil, but the circumstances of person s, might render it expedient or necessary to practive well as the other. Thus the tyrant's plea of necessity ) remove all bounds of law, morality

, and comma ut · Woe be to them that call evil good, and good eril uld it be for this nation, and the eternal souls of sheh . it, if the feelings of the seamen and other laborios 10 other stimulation than the recital of their unbarge

poor advocates as myself! Are they not surels df blood—have they not the same natural knowledge of vil, to discern, and the same feelings to be sensahe as those who cause their sufferings ? prevent and dissuade from acts of violence and injë urely not to aggravate the sense of them, that sual ces are noticed. Nay, it is charity towards the opprinne 11 as the oppressed, to endeavor to convince them of ; and how can this be done but by speaking of the 5? It is even a crime to be silent on such occasions

, ptures command,"Open thy mouth; judge righteous the cause of the poor and needy." Nay, it is the od himself

, who has declared, " For the oppressief proacheth his Maker ; but he that honoreth him hai ne poor. harp now took an increased interest in the aboli:ion of the

connection with which an instance of horrible cruelis bali to light which has hardly its parallel on the page of birati g sailed from Africa, with 410 slaves on board, for the isla Many had died on the voyage, and when they got in sigares

Leone. In consequence of his own benevolent exertions, a large number of slaves had been freed in England, and being brought up to no trade, they became more or less dependent on public charity. These he had sent to Sierra Leone at his own expense, and thus may be considered as the FOUNDER OF THE COLONY AT THAT PLACE. In this same year, the society was formed in London for the abolition of the slave trade, of which Mr. Sharp was a prominent member, and in which he continued to labor with unabated zeal till his death. Soon after this, a number of Christians of different denominations conferred together about forming a Bible Society, which resulted in the establishment of the “British and Foreign Bible Society," in 1804, of which Mr. Sharp was the first chairman. it would not have been possible," says Mr. Owen, the historian of the society, "to find, throughout the British dominions, a man in whom the qualities requisite for the first chairman of the British and Foreign Bible Society were so completely united as they were in this eminent philanthropist.” But it is not possible, in our limited space, to go further into detail in the life of this excellent man. Suffice it to say that in every good cause in everything that tends to honor God and bless man-he took the deepest interest, and labored to the extent of his powers to the day of his death, which took place on the 6th of July, 1813.'

It is unnecessary to write a eulogy upon Mr. Sharp's character. What it was, will be sufficiently seen from this brief sketch of his life. As a scholar he stood very high; indeed, it was wonderful how he accomplished so much in literature, while he labored so assiduously in every prominent object of benevolence. But though his writings were numerous, and had many readers at the time, and exerted great influence, yet, as most of them were pamphlets, and were written for temporary purposes, they are not much referred to now. Among them, however, are many that are not ephemeral. Such are his “Remarks on Several Important Prophecies,” “Remarks on the Use of the Definite Article in the New Testament,' “Remarks on Duelling," “An Account of the Division of the English Nation into Hundreds and Tithings,” “On Personal Liberty,” A De. claration of the People's Natural Right to a Share of the Legislature,” &c. &c. In his memoirs, is a list of sixty one publications on various subjects

[ocr errors]

"

sea,

ge number were sick. « The master of the ship then caliente ufficers, and told them that, if the sick slaves died a naoz would fall on the owners of the ship, but if they were three

it would be the loss of the underwriters.” According's 1 to their horrid work, and actually threw overboard into the RED AND THIRTY-TWO HUMAN BEINGS ALIVE! This osed, did much to arouse the nation to the character of the e, and Granville Sharp never ceased laboring for iis abolizis object of his wishes attained.

· The following epitaph upon his tomb was written by the Rev. John Owen: " At the age of seventy-eight, this venerable philanthropist terminated his career of almost unparalleled activity and usefulness, July 0, 1813, leaving behind him a name thai will be cherished with affection and gratitude as long as any homage shall be paid to those principles of justice, humanity, and reJigion, which, for nearly half a century, he promoted by his exertions and adorned by his example.” The inscription on his monument in Westminster Abbey (which I had the pleasure of reading myself in July, 1850) is much longer. Two of the lines read thus~"His WHOLE SOUL WAS IN HARMONY WITH THE SACRED STRAIN," "GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, ON EARTH PEACE AND GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN." But two more lines I read with most painful interest, when I thought of the inconsistency of my own country : is HE AIMED TO RESCUE

NATIVE COUNTRY INCONSISTENCY OF EMPLOYING THE ARM OF FREEDOM TO RIVET THE FETTERS OF BONDAGE."

11*

HIS

FROM THE

GUILT

AND

it was the foundation of the colony of free blacks at Sierra

Ibid. xiv. 31.

1. 9.

of law, religion, classical literature, morals, and philanthropy. Indeed, a life of greater activity, usefulness, and benevolence, the world has never witnessed.

THE LOVE OF GOD AND OUR NEIGHBOR.1

All the moral duties of the Gospel are briefly comprehended in two single principles of the Law of Moses, namely: The love of God and the love of our neighbor. Nothing, therefore, can be esteemed truly lawful under the Gospel, that is in the least repugnant to either of these ; and we need never be at a loss to distinguish what is, or what is not so, if we will but carefully consider the proportion or degree of that love, which is clearly expressed to be due both to God and our neighbor in these two comprehensive and eternal maxims. The degree of love due to God exceeds all comparison or consideration of other things; for it must (says the text) be with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,"'3 which necessarily implies a most fervent zeal for the glory of God, far exceeding all worldly considerations. And with respect to the degree or true proportion of love due to our neighbor, we have no pretence to plead ignorance, since the appointed measure of it is contained in every man's breast—" Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."'4 “On these two commandments” (said the Eternal Judge) “hang all the law and the Pro

The same Eternal Judge of mankind made also, on another occasion, a similar declaration concerning the sum or compendium of the Law and the Prophets—“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,” said he, “ do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.This most excellent rule of conduct and behavior towards our neighbors, which includes the whole substance or spirit of the Law and the Prophets,” so perfectly corresponds with the second great commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves, namely, to manifest our love by doing to them as we ourselves might with reason and justice expect and desire they would do unto us, that it seems intended like a sort of paraphrase to explain the true tenor of it; for though the mode of expression is different, yet the effect of the doctrine is undoubtedly the same; because the Apostle Paul has in like

phets.5

[ocr errors]

1 From the tract entitled The Law of Liberty, or Royal Law, by which all Mankind will certainly be judged.”

• In these extracts from Granville Sharp, I have preserved the italics of the author; or, rather, what he has in small capitals, I have printed in italics.

· Deut. vi. 5. • Lev. xix. 18. • Matt. xxii. 40. • Ibid. vii, 12.

118

of law, religion, classical literature, morals, and philanthropy. Indeed, a
life of greater activity, usefulness, and benevolence, the world has never
witnessed.

THE LOVE OF GOD AND OUR NEIGHBOR.1

All the moral duties of the Gospel are briefly comprehended in two single principles of the Law of Moses, namely: The love d God and the love of our neighbor. Nothing, therefore

, can be esteemed truly lawful under the Gospel, that is in the least repas nant to either of these; and we need never be at a loss to dia tinguish what is, or what is not so, if we will but carefully consider the

proportion or degree of that love, which is clearly exprestar to be due both to God and our neighbor in these two comprehe sive and eternal maxims. The degree of love due to God exceeds all comparison or consideration of other things; for it must says the text) be “ with allthy heart

, and with all thy soul

, and Fit
all thy might," which necessarily implies a most fervent real fir
the glory of God, far exceeding all worldly considerations. Ar
with respect to the degree or true proportion of love due to ou
neighbor, we have no pretence to plead ignorance, since the
pointed measure of it is contained in every man's breast" Then
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.On these two command
ments(said the Eternal Judge) hang all the law and the Pro
The same Eternal Judge of mankind made also

, a
another occasion, a similar declaration concerning the sum
compendium " of the Law and the Prophets”—All things who
soever ye would that men should do to you," said he, "do ye eret
so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets." This most
excellent rule of conduct and behavior towards our neighbors
which includes the whole substance or spirit of the Law and til
Prophets," so perfectly corresponds with the second great command
ment, to love our neighbors as ourselves, namely, to manifest cur
I've by doing to them as we ourselves might with reason and je
rice expect and desire they would do unto us, that it seems intende

?
ike a sort of paraphrase to explain the true tenor of it; for thouge
he mode of expression is different, yet the effect of the doctriz
| undoubtedly the same; because the Apostle Paul has in lika
· From the tract entitled "The Law of Liberty, or Royal Law, by weet
Mankind will certainly be judged."

In these extracts from Granville Sharp, I have preserved the italics of the
hor; or, rather, what he has in small capitals, I have printed in italies

Lev. xix. 18. * Matt. xxii. 40,

manner declared this second great commandment to be the compendium of all the law.” “All the law,” says he,“ is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

It is manifest, therefore, that a violation of the love that is due to our neighbor, is a violation also of the love of God; and, on the contrary, the latter is perfected by a strict obedience to the former. “If we love one another,” says the beloved Apostle, “God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.". So that the two great commandments appear to be reciprocally included and blended together in their consequences ; by which we may more readily perceive the propriety of our Lord's declaration, that the second great commandment is like unto the first; and this reciprocal connection between them enables us also to comprehend the reason why the second is given alone (when both are undoubtedly necessary) as the grand test of Christian obedience, and as the sum and essence of the whole law of God. “For all the law is fulfilled," says the Apostle Paul, “in one word, (even) in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When, therefore, we consider that “all law” is reduced to so small a compass that it may be accounted, comparatively, as one word, there is no room left for offenders to plead ignorance as an excuse for having violated the general laws of morality and the natural rights of mankind. Let me, therefore, exhort my opponents, as they regard their own eternal welfare, to take this subject into their most serious consideration, and no longer refuse to acknowledge this glorious word or maxim as the true measure (except a still greater measure of love is required) of all their actions, and more especially with respect to the present point before us, the legality or illegality of slavery among Christians ! For this question, by infallible necessity, falls under the decision of this very law, because it sets before us our own personal feelings as the proper measure or standard of our behavior to other men ; for tyrants, slaveholders, extortioners, and other oppressors, would most certainly dislike to be treated as they treat others; so that this compendious law necessarily excludes the least toleration of slavery, or of any other oppression, which an innocent man would be unwilling to experience in his own person from another.

phets.''

i Gal. v. 14.

[blocks in formation]
[graphic]

Ibid. vii, 12

[ocr errors]

THE DUTY OF “SHOWING MERCY."1

The absolute necessity that we are laid under to show mercy, that we may obtain mercy, is apparently founded on the very same principle, which our Lord declared to be “the Law and the Prophets;" that is, the sum and essence of the whole Scriptures, as I have before remarked.

And, therefore, if what has already been said be duly considered, the propriety of citing this glorious and comprehensive law of liberty, in vindication of the natural liberty of mankind against the tyranny of slaveholders, cannot be doubted or called in question; for though this supreme law virtually prohibits every other kind of oppression, yet its very title leads us to a more particular and express application of it against the toleration of slavery among Christians, because it seems to be thus eminently distinguished by the appointment of God himself in his Holy Word, as the peculiar antidote against that baneful evil (slavery) which is most opposite and repugnant to its glorious title—“the law of liberty." This “law of liberty,this supreme, this “ royal law,” must therefore be our guide in the interpretation and examination of all laws which relate to the rights of persons, because it excludes partiality, or respect of persons, and consequently removes all ground for the pretence of any absolute right of dominion inherent in the masters over their slaves.

So that slavery is absolutely inconsistent with Christianity, because we cannot say of any slaveholder that he doth not to another what he would not have done to himself! For he is continually exacting involuntary labor from others without wages, which he would think monstrously unjust, were he himself the sufferer! Nay, many of them are so besotted with avarice, that they are not content with reaping the whole fruit of other men's labor upon earth without wages, but would deprive their poor laborers even of their eternal comfort, if they could exact a little more work from them, by reducing them nearer to the state of brutes! What I advance cannot be denied, for it is notorious that many masters oppose the instruction of their slaves in Cbris. tian knowledge, and but very few promote it as they ought; so that the iniquity of the ignorant slave must rest with double weight

! From the same tract. 95 Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.Jer. xxii. 13.

pers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's serrice without wages, and gone

120

[ocr errors]

THE DUTY OF SHOWING MERCY."'1

2

The absolute necessity that we are laid under to show mery, that we may obtain mercy, is apparently founded on the ter same principle, which our Lord declared to be the Law and the Prophets;" that is, the sum and essence of the whole Scriptures as I have before remarked.

And, therefore, if what has already been said be duly et sidered, the propriety of citing this glorious and comprebenare law of liberty, in vindication of the natural liberty of mankind against the tyranny of slaveholders

, cannot be doubted or called in question ; for though this supreme law virtually prohibits erefy other kind of oppression, yet its very title leads us to a more pu: ticular and express application of it against the toleration oj vaery among Christians, because it seems to be thus eminenty distinguished by the appointment of God himself in his Hoj Word, as the peculiar antidote against that baneful evil (slara which is most opposite and repugnant to its glorious title="* law of liberty.This law of liberty,this supreme, this “ mata lau," must therefore be our guide in the interpretation and et amination of all laws which relate to the rights of persons, because it excludes partiality, or respect of persons, and consequently moves all ground for the pretence of any absolute right of den nion inherent in the masters over their slares.

So that slavery is absolutely inconsistent with Christiazin because we cannot say of any slaveholder that he doth not to as: ther what he would not have done to himself! For he is as tinually exacting involuntary labor from others without write which he would think monstrously unjust

, were he himself to sufferer! Nay, many of them are so besotted with a varie, the

on the guilty head of the owner, to fill up the measure of his
sins !

Suppose a reverse of fortune—that an English or Scotch slave-
holder or slavedealer is shipwrecked on the Barbary coast, and
is retained as a slave by the Moors who seize him, or is sold
as such to another person, according to the detestable custom of
that savage people! Would he esteem himself the lawful pro-
perty of his tawny master, because the wretched police of those
barbarians, in tolerating slavery, is similar to his own former
practices as an American slaveholder or African trader? Would
he not think it cruel treatment to be esteemed a mere chattel,
and, as such, to be ranked with the horses and oxen of his African
master? Like them, to be compelled by stripes to perform the
most servile and abject labor ? Like them, to receive no wages,
or other reward for his service, except a little coarse provender,
merely to keep him in working order for his master's benefit ?
Would he not think himself grievously injured by being forcibly
detained and prevented from working for himself? And would
he not think himself absolutely robbed of the fruits of his own
labor ? He would certainly have ample reason to lament the
Mahometan's ignorance of the heavenly precept,“Thou shalt love
thy neighbor as thyself;" for he would then be taught, by his own
sufferings, to comprehend the full force, extent, and meaning of
that benevolent command, which, in his prosperity, he was never
willing to understand, though the doctrine is so plain and obvious
that there can be no excuse for misunderstanding it; for unless
the slaveholder can make it appear that his slave is not his neigh-
bor, he must necessarily acknowledge this law of libertyto be
the true measure of his conduct and behavior towards his slave
as well as towards all other men.

“He shall have judgment without mercy who hath shewed no mercy,” by which the Apostle manifestly refers to the breach of that particular precept which ought to regulate the conduct of all mankind towards each other; and, therefore, we must acknowledge this same precept to be also the true measure or test on which our eternal doom will depend in that awful day when it “ shall be measured unto us again,” according to the measure of our actions, as declared by the Eternal Judge himself, whose words cannot fail! And if even a mere neglect or omission in our duty towards our neighbor is so offensive to our blessed Lord that he esteems it as a denial and affront to his own person, how much more offensive to him must be the actual commission of the

[ocr errors]

they are not content with reaping the whole fruit of other men labor upon earth without wages," but would deprive their pour laborers even of their eternal comfort, if they could exact a lids more work from them, by reducing them nearer to the state brutes! What I advance cannot be denied, for it is notorica that many masters oppose the instruction of their slaves in ('tiri tian knowledge, and but very few promote it as they ought; so that the iniquity of the ignorant slave must rest with double wedi

Matt. vii. 2; Mark iv. 24; Luke vi. 38.

· From the same tract.
gir Woe unto him that buildeth his house by imrighteousness, and his cher

for his work." Jer. xxii, 13.

« AnteriorContinuar »