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Here I cannot forbear to take notice of an unhappy mistake, under which many who make high pretensions to distinguished refinement, seem to labour. The divine law exhibited in the sacred volumes of the Old Testament and the New, they treat with the utmost contempt; and, in their place substitute, as the standard of right and wrong in human conduct, something to which they have appropriated the name of honour. But, if honour is to regulate our moral conduct, I have a right to ask, Is honour a law? If a law, who is the author of it? If a law of sufficient force to direct anu u ut ight and what is blame-worthy in the conduct of moral agents, it must be a law of heaven; and must belong to religion, natural or revealed. If it be a dictate of natural religion, it must be a doctrine of revealed. For, though revealed religion be not totally contained in natural, the latter is wholly comprehended in the former. If on the contrary, honour, the criterion of laudable and culpable actions, be not a law, it is of no force; we are under no restriction, but have an unbounded liberty to do what we please; subvert the gov ernment, betray our friends, assassinate our parents, and commit the greatest enormities with impunity. For, as an inspired writer speaks,

and common sense dictates, where no law is, there can be no transgression. Do not honesty and honour belong to that long catalogue of virtues, which the divine law sanctions?

That relative duties, no less than religious, are enjoined by the authority of heaven, cannot admit of a doubt. The neglect of the duties we owe to each other, no less than the non-performance of the duties we owe to God, must incur the divine displeasure. Are we, in the different stations and circumstances, which an all disposing providence has assigned to us severally in the world, indispensibly bound to contribute, to the utmost extent of our power, towards the welfare and comfort of one another? Then what shall we think of despots, tyrants, and every kind of oppressors, who, instead of alleviating the cares and enhancing the enjoyments of their fellow mortals, especially those who are in lower spheres and narrower circumstances, do all they can to imbitter their comforts, and render life itself an insupportable burden? Are such men, I ought to have said monsters, to be found in our world? Yes; even in Christendom they are to be found. Nor need we travel so far as either the East or the West-Indies in search of them; they are to be found among ourselves.

With what view, for what purpose, does the historic page transmit to us the fatal end of the tyrants and oppressors of former times, and distant countries? Are they not presented to us in history as beacons are erected at sea, to warn the potentates and nations in our times, of the rocks and shoals, on which the despots and oppressors of former ages have suffered shipwreck ? Hear this, ye American task masters; hear and tremble. Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth. The sighs and groans of the oppressed he hears; their stripes and wounds he feels. And though for reasons best known to himself, he delays the execution of his alarming threatenings and the infliction of his tremendous judgments, his determination to punish is fixed and irrevocable. Vengeance is mine, says he, and I will infallibly repay. On account of injustice and oppression the most extensive, opulent, and powerful empires have been subverted; kingdoms and commonwealths overthrown; cities great and popu-. lous are now no more. Scarce a ruin or vestige of them is to be seen. Nay, a traveller is at a loss to ascertain the spot on which they stood. Now as much as ever that great and good Being, who has the disposal of all persons and all events, and who is the common father, of the human.

family of every country and every complexion, pities the oppressed and resents oppression. Have the persecutors of former ages suffered the vengeance of heaven? Are the crimes, for which they suffered, committed, with aggravating circumstances, by the potent tyrants, and petty taskmasters of our times? and shall they escape with impunity? No, the divine veracity is not less pledged for the execution of the threatnings, than for the fulfilment of the promises, of revelation. Did the unjust judge, of whom our Saviour, in one of his parabolical discourses, speaks, avenge the injured and unfortunate victim of her adversaries; and shall not He, who ever is the patron of the widow, the fatherless, and every other species of the afflicted of mankind, avenge and deliver the unhappy sons and daughters of Africa, who, by their deep sighs and doleful groans, cry day and night unto him? Verily he will speedily avenge them. To suppose he will not redress their grievances, is supposing that he is more unjust than the unjust judge.

Methinks, I now see the wounds and tears of these unhappy victims to the sordid avarice, and infernal cruelty of their oppressors and murderers; and hear them uttering, in heavy groans their complaint and prayer to this effect



O God, thou createdst us, not to make us miserable, but happy. Thou createdst our first father that thou mightest confer thy best blessings upon him. Behold, we earnestly beseech thee, and pity us the unhappy offspring of Adam. Thou hast made us rational creatures; capable of happiness and of misery. Our misery therefore is intolerable. Were we like to the brutes which perish, we could much more easily linger out a few days and years of bondage and wretchedness; as well as remain uncontaminated by the impious example and impure practices of our oppressors; without being compelled to be partners with them in their iniquity; and, after a few years of pain and sorrow, languish and die unconscious of our own innocence, and of the cruelty and brutality of our unrelenting enemies. Pity us, O our merciful Creator b From no other being can we expect relief. We see, day after day, the horse, the cow, the sheep, protected. If they be found in a trespass, eating a little cane, or otherwise; they are not injured; but only secured for their owners. But if we, impelled by hunger, and languishing under extreme distress, both of body and mind, eat a little of the cane, which, with the labour of our hands and sweat of


our brows, we planted, we are instantaneously

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