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Both the hopes, and the means of supporting Christianity amongst our own people there, are just the same as here at home. And though the negroes and Indians are prejudiced against it; and but poorly qualified, in comparison, to judge of the evidence of it: yet they and all men have the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness *. They may be convicted but too easily of transgressing evident duties of nature: and when once they see their need of repentance and pardon, they will gladly receive the Gospel of Christ, of which these two are the more distinguishing articles. It will appear in itself infinitely preferable to what they have believed hitherto. The teachers of it will appear, both from their superior knowledge, and good lives, worthy of credit. The professors of it around them, will bear a testimony to it, in some respects the stronger, for their being often condemned by it. And if such arguments do not amount, after all, to the highest evidence : they afford however very rational motives of assent, especially to persons capable of no further information: and were these motives weaker than they are, yet the grace of God producing by them so powerful an effect on the minds of men, we undoubtedly approve ourselves, by proposing them, his ministers for the happiness of our fellow-creatures ; and may justly be confident, that he who hath begun a good work in them, will perform itt perfectly.

But perhaps not our success, but the use and benefit of it, will be called in question. Now of this, we apprehend, there is abundant proof. The bare profession and outward appearance of such a religion, as the Christian is, if taught in any

tolerable purity, * Rom. ii. 15.

+ Phil. i. 6.

must have some right influence; and the body of a people cannot go the utmost lengths in wickedness, whilst that appearance subsists. What lengths they would go in time, if it were lost, as we have not experienced, we are not apt to consider. But a little reflection on the number and strength of human passions, and the abilities, which we have, of finding means to gratify them, would give us a high value of whatever hath any peculiar force to restrain them. The one institution of a day of holy rest, is not only, under prudent regulations, a great refreshment to the bulk of mankind; but greatly tends to civilize them also, by uniting neighbourhoods in formed assemblies, to acknowledge their common dependence on God, and relation to each other, with hearts disengaged from selfish attentions, and open to friendly regards. Nor is it possible, be they ever so negligent hearers of public worship and instruction, but considerable impressions, at least general ones, must remain upon their minds. And most evidently the impressions of religion dispose men to every thing productive of common good; to justice and veracity, and the reverence of an oath; without which the intercourse of man with man is not a moment safe : to faithfulness, duty, and love in the several relations of life; public and private: to mildness, charity, and compassion in their whole behaviour: to sobriety and industry, the pillars of national wealth and greatness : and to that joyful hope of a better world, which is our truest direction, and firmest support, in every stage of our journey through this. Many more persons will be thus influenced in various degrees, than are usually observed : for a regular, inoffensive behaviour affords little matter of speculation and discourse. And though still the generality may be bad;

VOL. V.

H н

yet, if left to themselves, they would certainly have been worse. Every body owns, that a wrong belief hath great power to deprave men's morals. Surely then a right one must have some power to reform them. And if not so much as might be wished; this is no more an argument against the usefulness of religion, than of reason : but a strong argument, why both should be cultivated to the utmost; and carefully applied to so important a purpose. If our colonies had not experienced great evils from the decay of Christianity amongst them; they would never have petitioned us so earnestly for instruction in it, as they have done. And if they had not experienced great good from the restoration of it, that earnestness would never have continued, as it doth, to this day.

Nor will our compliance with their request be a benefit only to them, but to this nation also. If they are dishonest and profligate: every single person here, who hath concerns with them, will be in danger of suffering by it. If they consume their wealth and their time in vices and follies; their trade will be gained over, from them and us, by our rivals and adversaries. And if the ties of a religion, binding men so strongly to be subject for conscience sake *, are loosened from off their minds, which may some, time or another need every tie, that can keep them attached to us; it will much facilitate their becoming adversaries themselves. And we shall well deserve their revolting from us, if we take no care of their obeying God. But on the contrary, as Christian principles will teach them dutifulness and loyalty; so receiving from hence the support of those principles, will recommend us to their gratitude :

Rom. xiii. 5.

hoping for the continuance of that support, will create some dependence in point of interest; and agreeing in the same faith and worship with us, will be an everlasting motive to civil unity also.

But another common benefit of propagating Christianity in our colonies is, that thus we shall hinder corruptions of Christianity from prevailing there, and sharing with profaneness a divided empire over the land. If no authorized teachers are sent, some inducement or another will raise voluntary ones from time to time; and very possibly the less reasonable their doctrine is, the more gladly it may be received. For if sentiments of religion, are not duly cultivated; as they quite wear out of some minds, so in others they degenerate into superstition or enthusiasm. And accordingly many pernicious errors, besides the above-mentioned capital one of popery, took early root in these provinces ; nor are they yet extirpated, perhaps in part newly revived; some, dissolving the obligations of moral duties ; some, destroying the inward peace of very pious and good persons, and making life gloomy and uncomfortable : some, leading men to ascribe every folly or wickedness, that possesses the fancy, to divine inspiration: some, inconsistent with our present happy establishment: and others, destructive of the safety of all governments whatever, by forbidding to contribute any kind of assistance to the public defence against enemies ; on which notion the representatives of the province of Pennsylvania have acted this last summer *. Now let it only be considered, how fatal a

* See a printed collection of messages, answers, addresses, &c. the substance of which is as follows. The Quakers, having applied themselves with great industry to obtain an uncommon majority in the assembly, though they are not above one-third of the people in number,

more general belief of some of these doctrines must have been there at present; indeed how very unhappy the belief of any of them must be at all times; and the importance of supporting instructors in true religion, were it only for a standing guard against the worldly inconveniences of false religion, will evidently appear to be very great.

But let us now think, what good must follow from extending this instruction to the poor negroes also. The servitude and hard labour which they undergo, refused to make any provision of necessaries for the troops to be raised in that province, as being a thing repugnant to their religious principles, though his majesty had notified under his sign manual, that he expected it from them. Soon after this they adjourned for above five weeks; though the governor made strong instances to the contrary, setting forth, that as the new levies were in want of every thing, even houses to cover their heads, he was hourly apprehensive of their committing some disorders. And being called together again by him in about a fortnight, instead of raising any money, they made a complaint, that many of their servants had been enlisted ; and demanded the restitution of them. The governor answered, that they might easily have prevented this inconvenience, and might still easily remedy it, by methods which he pointed out to them; that he had done what he could to relieve them, and would continue to do so ; but that forcing out of his majesty's troops at once all the servants in them, would be unreasonable and unjust, very detrimental to the service, and very dangerous to the public peace. Yet notwithstanding these representations, and though Mr. Penn, one of their proprietors, many merchants and other inhabitants of Philadelphia, and the council of the province, concurred with the governor, and pressed them earnestly to answer his majesty's expectations, they came at length to this resolution only: That 3000l. of their current money be paid for the king's use ; provided that all the servants enlisted in the province, whom they had computed at 300, and valued at 101. each, be first returned to their respective masters, free of all charges; and such assurances given, as three persons, named in the resolution, should think fitting, that the said servants are returned, and that no servants be enlisted for the future. These being the conditions on which the money was given, it will not be thought strange, that when the last advices came from thence, no part of it had been paid.

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