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ing them that they are so. All this has been urged to me with such plausible sophistry, and important self-sufficiency of the speaker, as if he supposed that the mere sound of words was capable of altering the nature of things; as if there were no distinction between good and evil, but the circumstances of persons, or occasions, might render it expedient or necessary to practice the one as well as the other. Thus the tyrant's plea of necessity is made to remove all bounds of law, morality, and common right! But ‘Woe be to them that call evil good, and good evil!' Happy would it be for this nation, and the eternal souls of such as mislead it, if the feelings of the seamen and other laborious poor had no other stimulation than the recital of their unhappy case by such poor advocates as myself! Are they not surely of the same blood—have they not the same natural knowledge of good and evil, to discern, and the same feelings to be sensible of injuries—as those who cause their sufferings ?
It is to prevent and dissuade from acts of violence and injustice, but surely not to aggravate the sense of them, that such circumstances are noticed. Nay, it is charity towards the oppressors, as well as the oppressed, to endeavor to convince them of their error; and how can this be done but by speaking of the oppressions? It is even a crime to be silent on such occasions ; for the Scriptures command, “Open thy mouth; judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Nay, it is the cause of God himself, who has declared, “ For the oppressor of the poor reproacheth his Maker; but he that honoreth him hath
poor.' Granville Sharp now took an increased interest in the abolition of the slave trade, in connection with which an instance of horrible cruelty had been brought to light which has hardly its parallel on the page of history. The ship Zong sailed from Africa, with 410 slaves on board, for the island of Jamaica. Many had died on the voyage, and when they got in sight of Jamaica, a large number were sick. “The master of the ship then called together the officers, and told them that, if the sick slaves died a natural death, the loss would fall on the owners of the ship, but if they were thrown alive into the sea, it would be the loss of the underwriters.” Accordingly, they proceeded to their horrid work, and actually threw overboard into the sea ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY: TWO HUMAN BEINGS ALIVE! This, as might be supposed, did much to arouse the nation to the character of the execrable traffic, and Granville Sharp never ceased laboring for its abolition till he saw the object of his wishes attained.
Another event which distinguishes the life of Mr. Sharp occurred about the year 1787-it was the foundation of the colony of free blacks at Sierra
mercy on the
· Prov. xxxi. 9.
. Ibid. xiv. 31.
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 FOCNDER 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. “ Perhaps 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 philanthro. pist." 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 causein 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 80 much in literature, while he labored so assiduously in every prominent ob. ject 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 pow. 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
· 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 6, 1813, leaving behind him a name that will be cherished with affection and gratitude as long as any homage shall be paid to those principles of justice, humanity, and religion, 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 : of law, religion, classical literature, morals, and philanthropy. Indeed, a life of greater activity, usefulness, and benevolence, the world has never witnessed.
TO RESCUE HIS NATIVE COUNTRY FROM THE GUILT AND INCONSISTENCY OF EMPLOYING THE ARM OF FREEDOM TO RIVET THE FETTERS OF BONDAGE.
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,"s 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.” “On these two commandments" (said the Eternal Judge) "hang all the law and the Prophets."'s The same Eternal Judge of mankind made also, on another occasion, a similar declaration conc
ncerning 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.”6 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
· From the tract entitled “ The Law of Liberty, or Royal Law, by which all Mankind will certainly be judged.”
9 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. 6 Ibid. vii. 12.
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.”3
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.
· Gal. v. 14.
2 1 John iv. 12.
3 Gal. v. 14.
THE DUTY OF “SHOWING MERCY."
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 Christian 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.
?“ 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.