THE LAW OF PASSIVE OBEDIENCE, OR Christian Submission to Personal Injuries:

Wherein is shewn, that the several texts of scripture, which command the entire submission of servants or slaves to their masters, cannot authorize the latter to exact an involuntary servitude, nor, in the least degree, justify the claims of modern Slaveholders.


SERVANTS, obey in all things (your) masters, accord­ing to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God: &c. Coloss. iii. 22.


THE illegality of slavery among Christians is a point which I have long laboured to demonstrate, as being destructive of morality, and con­sequently dangerous both to body and soul. There are nevertheless some par­ticular Texts in the New Testament, which, in the opinion even of several well meaning and disinterested persons, seem to afford some proof of the tolera­tion of slavery among the primitive Christians; and, from thence, they are [Page 4]induced to conceive, that Christianity doth not oblige its professors to renounce the practice of slaveholding.

A learned and reverend correspondent of mine seems to have adopted this no­tion, and has signified his opinion near­ly to the same effect, in a private letter to me on this subject, to which I have not yet ventured to send him a reply, though it is a considerable time since I received his letter; but, to say the truth, the question in which I had never before apprehended any difficulty, was render­ed very serious and important, upon my hands, by my friend's declaration; and I thought myself bound to give it the strictest examination, because I conceiv­ed (as I do still) that the honour of the Holy Scriptures, which of all other things, I have most at heart, was con­cerned in the determination of the point in question; and yet I know, that my [Page 5]friend is full as zealous for the honour of the Scriptures as myself, and much more learned in them, being very emi­nent in that most essential branch of knowledge.

I believe also that he is perfectly dis­interested, and of undoubted Christian benevolence. The objection has therefore acquired an accumulated weight from the authority and worth of the person who made it; and consequently, it de­manded more circumspection and read­ing, to answer it in any reasonable time, than my short broken intervals of leisure (the only time that I was then master of) would permit me to bestow upon it; and as so much time has already elapsed, the answer which I originally intended for my friend's private perusal, shall now be addressed to all well meaning persons in general, who may have had the same motives for admitting in any degree the [Page 6]legality of slavery; and that there are many such (even among those that are concerned in the practice of slavehold­ing) the example of my disinterested friend's opinion, and common charity, oblige me to suppose. I shall therefore consider my friend's opinion as the com­mon excuse of our American and West Indian brethren for tolerating slavery a­among them.

I do not think (says he) that Chris­tianity released slaves from the obligation they were under according to the custom and law of the Countries, where it was propagated.

This objection to my general doctrine is expressed in the most guarded terms; —so guarded, that it obliges me to ac­knowledge, that the observation is, in some respects, strictly true. My pre­sent attempt is not to confute, but [Page 7]rather to demonstrate wherein this truth consists, which will afterwards enable me to point out such a due limitation of the doctrine, as will ren­der it entirely consistent with the hypothesis, which I have so long labour­ed to maintain, viz. the absolute illega­lity of slavery among Christians,

In conformity to my worthy friend's declaration I must first observe, that the disciples of Christ (whose Kingdom, he himself declared,—is not of THIS WORLD.’ John xviii. 36.) had no express commission to alter the TEMPO­RAL CONDITION OF MEN, but only to prepare them for a BETTER WORLD by the general doctrines of faith, hope, charity, peace and goodwill, (or univer­sal love and benevolence to all man­kind) submission to injuries, dependence up­on God, &c. &c. &c. which (though general doctrines) are amply and suffi­ciently [Page 8]efficacious indeed, for the par­ticular reformation of ALL CONDITIONS OF MEN, when sincerity is not want­ing in the application of them; but the principal intention of the whole sys­tem is evidently to draw men from the the cares and anxieties of this present life, to a better hope in the life to come, which is Christ's proper kingdom: Christian servants therefore were of course instructed to be patient, to be humble and submissive to their masters, not only to the good and gentle, but al­so to the froward. So that even ill usage does not justify perverseness of be­haviour in christian slaves.

THE apostle Paul also frequently in­sists upon the absolute necessity of an unfeigned obedience in the behaviour of christian servants to their masters. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou [Page 9]called being a servant? care not for it; &c. 1 Cor. vii. 21. and again, Ser­vants be obedient to them that are (your) masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto Christ; not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as the servants of Christ, doing the Will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whe­ther he be bond or free," Ephes. vi 5-8. Again,’ Servants obey in all things (your) masters according to the flesh; not which eye service, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart fearing God: and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colos. iii. 22, 23. The same apostle instructs Ti­mothy to recommend obedience to ser­vants, 'Let as many servants (says the apostle) as are under the yoke, count [Page 10]their own masters worthy of all honour, that THE NAME OF GOD AND HIS DOCTRINE BE NOT BLASPHEMED. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise (them) BECAUSE THEY ARE BRETHREN; BUT RATHER DO (them) SERVICE, BECAUSE THEY ARE FAITHFUL AND BELOVED PAR­TAKERS OF THE BENEFIT. These things teach and exhort: If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to whole­some words, (even) the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions, and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil-furmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godli­ness. From such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. for we brought nothing into (this) world, [Page 11]and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.' 1 Tim. vi. 1 to 8.—And again he insists on the same doctrine, '(Exhort) servants, (says he) to be obedient unto their own masters, (and) to please (them) well in all things, not answering again, not pur­loining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may ADORN THE DOC­TRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR IN ALL THINGS.’ Titus ii. 9, 10.

THESE Texts are amply sufficient to prove the truth of my learned friend's assertion, so far as it relates to THE DUTY OF THE SLAVES THEMSELVES, but this absolute submission required of Christian servants, by no means implies the legality of slaveholding ON THE PART OF THEIR MASTERS, which he seems to apprehend.

[Page 12]THE slave violates no precepts of the gospel by his abject condition, pro­vided that the same is involuntary (for if he can be made free, he is expressly commanded by the apostle to use it ra­ther §) but how the master who enfor­ces that involuntary servitude, can be said to act consistently with the Christian profession, is a question of a very dif­ferent nature, which I propose to ex­amine with all possible care and impar­tiality, being no otherwise interested in it, than as a Christian who esteems both masters and slaves as brethren, and con­sequently, while he pities the unhappy temporal condition of the latter, is ex­tremely [...]nxious for the eternal welfare of the former.

[Page 13]I HAVE already admitted, that CHRIS­TIANITY DOTH NOT RELEASE SLAVES, from the obligation they were under ac­cording to the custom and law of the countries where it was propagated, agreeable to my learned friend's asser­tion, in favour of which I have pro­duced a variety of texts: but as the reason of the law, (according to a maxim of the English law) is the life of the law, we cannot with justice draw any conclusion from thence, in fa­vour of the master's claim, till we have examined the principles, on which the doctrine of submission, in these several texts, is founded; and we shall find, up­on a general view of the whole, that the principal reason of enforcing the doctrine was not so much because the persons to whom it was addressed, were slaves, as because they were Chris­tians, and were to overcome EVIL [Page 14]with GOOD, to the GLORY OF GOD and RELIGION.

THESE principles are clearly expressed in several of these very texts, and implied in all of them, viz. 'That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.' (1 Tim. vi. 1.) and again, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savi­our IN ALL THINGS.’ (Titus ii. 10.) So that a zeal for the GLORY OF GOD, and of HIS RELIGION (the principles of the first great commandment) is the appa­rent ground and sole purpose of the Christian slave's SUBMISSION, which was therefore to be ‘WITH SINGLE­NESS OF HEART AS UNTO CHRIST.’ not with eye service, AS MEN PLEASERS, but as THE SERVANTS OF CHRIST, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, AS TO THE LORD, and NOT TO MEN: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall HE RECEIVE OF THE [Page 15]LORD, whether he BE BOND OR FREE.’ Ephes. vi. 5-8. And again, the same apostle charges the servants among the Colossians, to obey not AS MEN PLEA­SERS, but in singleness of heart, FEAR­ING GOD: and whatsoever they do, to do it heartil, as TO THE LORD, and NOT UNTO MEN.’ Coloss. iii. 2.

THUS it is plain that the service was to be performed 'as TO THE LORD,' and 'NOT TO MEN,' and therefore it cannot be construed as an acknowledge­ment of any right, or property really vested in the master. This will clearly appear upon a closer examination of some of these texts. In the first, for instance, though the apostle Peter enforces the necessity of the ser­vants submission to their masters, in the strongest manner, commanding them to be subject not only to the good and gentle, but ALSO TO THE FROWARD,’ &c. (1. Pet. ii. 18.) [Page 16]yet he adds in the very next verse,—for this is thank worthy, if a man, FOR CONSCIENCE TOWARDS GOD, endure grief, SUFFERING wrongfully, [...], so that, it is manifest, the apos­tle did not mean to justify the claim of the masters, because he enjoin­ed the same submission to the ser­vants that suffered wrongfully, as to those who had good and gentle masters: and it would be highly injurious to the gospel of peace, to suppose it capable of authorizing wrongful sufferings, or of establishing a right or power in any rank of men whatever, to oppress others unjustly, or [...]! And though the apostle Paul, also, so strongly exhorts servants to sub­mit to their masters, and to abide in the same calling wherein they were call­ed, and 'not to care for it.' (1 Corin­thians, vii. 20, 21.) Yet at the same time he clearly instructs them, that it is their duty to prefer a state of freedom whenever they can fairly and honestly [Page 17]obtain it; but if thou mayest be made free (says he) USE IT RATHER.’ (v.21.) And the reason, which he assigns for this command, is as plainly delivered, viz. the equality of servants with their masters in the fight of the Almighty, For he that is called in the Lord, (being) a SER­VANT (says he) is the Lord's FREE­MAN: LIKEWISE, also he that is call­ed (being) FREE, is Christ's SERVANT.’ (verse 22.) Christ having purchased all men to be his peculiar servants, or ra­ther freemen. Ye are bought with a price says the apostle, in the 23d verse.) BE NOT YE THE SERVANTS OF MEN,’ which plainly implies, that it is incon­sistent with the dignity of a Christian, who is the servant or freeman of GOD, to be held in an unlimited subjection, as the bond servant or slave of a MAN; and, consequently, that a toleration of slavery, in places where Christianity is established by law, is intirely illegal; [Page 18]for tho' THE SLAVE commits no crime by submitting to the involuntary service, (which has been already demonstrated,) yet the CHRISTIAN MASTER is guilty of a sort of sacriledge, by appropria­ting to himself, as an absolute property, that body, which peculiarly belongs to God by an inestimable purchase! For if God said of the Jews, even under the old law, (Levit. xxv. 52.) ‘THEY ARE MY SERVANTS, which I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; THEY SHALL NOT BE SOLD AS BONDMEN.’ How much [Page 19]more ought Christians to esteem their brethren, as the peculiar servants of GOD on account of their being freed from the more severe bondage of our spiritual ene­my, [Page 20](of which the Egyptian bondage was only a type) by the inestimable price of Christ's blood! and, surely, we may therefore say, they are GOD'S SER­VANTS,’ whom Christ hath redeemed with his own blood, as much as the Jews of old who were on that account expresly enfranchised from worldly bond­age, ‘THEY ARE MY SERVANTS, THEY SHALL NOT BE SOLD AS BONDMEN;’ for this application of the text is entirely to the same effect as the apostle's expression to the Co­rinthians,—Ye are bought with a price, BE NOT YE THE SER­VANTS OF MEN.’ (1. Cor. vii. 23.) [Page 21]Dr. Whithy, indeed supposes that the words 'ye are bought with a price,' re­fer only to a pecuniary price given by the primitive Christians, to buy their brethren out of slavery.' But the autho­rity of Justin Martyr and Tertullian, which he cites, by no means proves his interpretation of the text, tho' it may sufficiently prove the primitive practice of redeeming slaves; which al­so furnishes a new argument against the legality of slavery among Christians, so [Page 22]far as the example of the primitive Christians is concerned. But scripture is best interpreted by scripture, and therefore the most certain means of as­certaining the true meaning of the words [...], ye are bought with a price, is to have recourse to the very same expression ( [...], the words being only transposed) in the preceding chapter, 20th verse, where we shall find that it can refer to nothing less than the inestimable price of Christ's redemption, What know ye not (says the apostle) that your BODY is the TEM­PLE [Page 23]OF THE HOLY GHOST, (which is) in you, which you have of God, and YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN? FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glo­rify God IN YOUR BODY, and in your spirit, WHICH ARE GOD's,’ (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.) and, consequently, it is the duty of a Christian legislature to vindicate THE LORD'S FREEMEN from SLAVERY, as all mankind are included in the same inestimable purchase, for it is not only their souls but even their bodies, which are God's;' and therefore it is an abomi­nable sacriledge, that those bodies which are capable of being the temple of the Holy Ghost, should be esteemed the mere chattels and private property of mercenary planters and merchants, merely for the sake of a little worldly gain!

BUT slaveholders may perhaps al­ledge that believing masters are mention­ed [Page 24]as 'faithful and beloved,' in one of the texts, which I have cited, and are also expressly accounted as 'partakers of the benefit,' (see 1 Timothy, vi. 2.) so that, from thence, they may perhaps infer, that slavekeeping is not inconsis­tent with their Christian profession.

BUT these expressions are included in that part of the apostles charge to Timothy, which relates merely to the instruction of servants, so that there is no room to suppose, that any reference was intended to the practice of the mas­ters by way of justification. The mean­ing therefore can amount to no more than this, viz. that, as it is the duty of servants to 'count their own masters,' (even those that are unbelievers) 'wor|'thy of ALL HONOUR , THAT THE NAME OF GOD AND HIS DOCTRINE [Page 25]'BE NOT BLASPHEMED,' so the same reason obliges them, more especially, to count their believing masters worthy of all (lawful) honour, because of their Christian profession, which renders them accepted of God. For common charity obliges us, as Christians, to sup­pose that all men, who believe and hold the same profession as ourselves, are 'faithful and beloved,' as well as par­takers of the benefit of Christ's redemp­tion, because Belief is the true means [Page 26]of leading and disposing men to acquire such happiness; and though many other necessary Christian qualities may seem wanting in our believing brethren, yet we must not presume to condemn them; God alone being their Judge: and, for this reason also, Christian ser­vants must not condemn and despise their believing masters, (though they know themselves equalin dignity as brethren, and that it is, consequently, their masters duty to treat them as brethren,) but must render them service the more willingly on this account, having brotherly love as an additional motive to faithful ser­vice. It is manifest, therefore, that this text was intended to regulate the [Page 27]conduct of Christian servants, and not that of Christian masters; for, with re­gard to the former, the doctrine is per­fectly consistent with the other texts, that I have quoted; which is not the case when it is applied to justify the mere temporal claims of masters or slaveholders, because there are many clear and incontrovertible precepts throughout the New Testament for re­gulating the conduct of Christian mas­ters, which exclude the justification of any such claims among Christians, and consequently forbid any application or interpretation of these particular texts in favour of them: and besides we must always remember, that it is not lawful to maintain an hypothesis upon the testimony of any one single text of doubtful interpretation, especially when the same does not clearly correspond with the rest of the scriptures, and can­not bear the test 'of the royal law,' of [Page 28]which more shall be said in my tract 'on the Law of Liberty.'

I mention this text of St. Paul, as one of 'doubtful interpretation,' because commentators are divided concerning the application of the very words on which the imaginary justification of the slaveholder is supposed to be founded! Many learned men (and Dr. Hammond among the rest) have construed the words — ' [...], (1 Tim. vi. 2,) in a very different manner from the common version, and applied them to the servants, which entirely destroys the presumption in favour of the slave­holder.

Nevertheless I have contented myself with the common rendering, being con­vinced [Page 29]that no conclusions can fairly be drawn from this text in favour of Sla­very, even when the epithets faith­ful and beloved, &c. are applied to the Masters; because the signification of them must necessarily be restrained within the bounds of gospel doctrine; and, therefore, we cannot conceive that the apostle intended, by the applica­tion of these epithets, to justify any practices which are inconsistent with the benevolence enjoined in other parts of the New Testament; for this would be liable to produce a contrary effect from that which the apostle expressly intended by his injunction, viz. that "the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed."

Thus it appears, I hope, that the principles, on which the doctrine of the servants submission is founded, are clear­ly expressed; so that Slaveholders can have no right to avail themselves of any [Page 30]of these texts to enforce an ABSOLUTE SUBMISSION; for, though these several texts clearly justify the Slave, yet they cannot justify the Master, unless he can shew that the same principles, (or reason of the Law,) on which they are founded, hold good also on his side of the ques­tion. (1) Can the Slaveholders and [Page 31]African traders alledge, for instance, that they shall adorn the doctrine of [Page 32]God our Saviour, (Titus ii. 10.) by persisting in their unnatural pretensions [Page 33]to an absolute property in their poor bre­thren? or that they do the will of [Page 34]God from the heart, (Ephesians vi. 5, &c.) when they retain their neigh­bour [Page 35]in an involuntary unrewarded ser­vitude for life? If they can do this, I [Page 36]shall have reason to be silent. But if, on the contrary, it should evidently ap­pear [Page 37]that a very different behaviour is required of Christian Masters, that [Page 38]the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed, (1 Tim. vi. 1.) they must be obliged to allow that the "rea­son, or life of the law" is against them; and, consequently, that none of these texts, relating to Christian servants, are capable of affording them the least ex­cuse for their selfish pretensions. They will find also, upon a more careful ex­amination of the Scriptures, that they themselves are as much bound by the gos­pel to bear personal injuries with patience and humility, as their Slaves. Because the benevolent principles of the gospel of peace require all men, freemen as well as slaves, to return "good for evil." "Bless them that CURSE you," (said our [Page 39]Lord,) and PRAY for them which DESPITEFULLY USE YOU.’ And unto him that SMITETH thee on the one cheek, offer also the other; and him that TAKETH AWAY thy cloke, forbid not (to take thy) coat also, &c. Luke vi. 28, 29. But, though submis­sion and placability are thus unquesti­onably enjoined to the sufferers in all the cases above recited in the text, yet surely no reasonable man will pretend to alledge, from thence, that tyrants and oppressors have thereby obtained a legal right, under the gospel, to curse others, and use them despitefully; or that the unjust oppression of strikers and robbers is thereby authorized or justified! In the same light exactly must we view the Slave­holders claim of private property in the persons of men, whenever an attempt is made to support it on the foundation of any such texts as I have quoted, wherein servants or slaves are exhorted to submit [Page 40] with passive obedience, &c. to their Mas­ters; because the right (as it is impro­perly called) or pretension of the Mas­ter may with the greatest propriety be compared to the pretended right or au­thority of oppressing or robbing others, which is too often exercised by imperial tyrants and despotic princes, as well as by their brethren in iniquity of a lower class, viz. pirates, highwaymen, and extortioners of every degree! The gospel of peace cannot authorize the oppression of these lawless men, though it clearly enjoins patience, submission, and acqui­escence, to the individuals that are en­jured, whether freemen or slaves! The placability and absolute submission, com­manded by the last-cited text, to Chris­tians in general, are manifestly founded on the very same principles with that particular submission which the gospel requires of Christian slaves; and is far­ther parallel to the latter, by being e­qually [Page 41]passive; so that the oppression of the Slaveholder can no more be justified by any text of the New Testament, that I am able to find, than the oppression of the striker and robber.

Unhappily for the Christian world, the duties of patience, submission, and placability, enjoined by the gospel to per­sons injured, are too commonly either misunderstood or rejected; though the temporal, as well as the eternal, happiness of mankind greatly depends upon a con­scientious and proper observation of these duties: for even the most rigid obedi­ence to the letter of the command would be far from being productive, either of the real evils to which the pernicious doctrine of a national passive obedience apparent­ly tends, or of the imaginary inconve­niences apprehended by the advocates for duelling, because the same benevo­lent principles, (viz. universal love and [Page 42]charity, founded on the great command­ment, ‘Thou shalt love thy neigh­bour as thyself,’) which oblige the true Christian, most disinterestedly, to forgive all injuries, and pass over every affront offered to his own person, will necessarily engage him, on the other hand, as disinterestedly, to oppose every degree of oppression and injustice, which affects his brethren and neighbours, when he has a fair opportunity of assisting them; and from hence arises the zeal of good men for just and equitable laws, as being the most effectual means of preserving the peace and happiness of the community, by curbing the insolence and violence of wicked men. We have an eminent example of this loyal zeal in the behaviour of the apostle Paul, who could not brook an infringement of the Roman liberty from any persons whatever in the administration of government, though he could endure personal injuries [Page 43]from men unconnected therewith, and the persecutions of the multitude, with all the Christian patience and meekness which the gospel requires. The Scrip­ture-history of this great apostle affords many proofs of his extraordinary hu­mility and patience under sufferings, so that his spirited opposition to the illegal proceedings of magistrates cannot be at­tributed to private resentment on his own account, but merely to his zeal for the public good, founded upon the great Christian principle of loving his neigh­bour as himself, since the maintaining of good laws is, certainly, the most ef­fectual means of promoting the welfare and happiness of society. His resolute and free censure of the magistrates at Philippi, in the message which he sent by their own serjeants, (2) his spirited [Page 44]remonstrance to the chief captain at Jerusalem, (3) and his severe rebuke [Page 45]to the high priest himself, even on the seat of judgement, (4) are remarkable instances of this observation.

In the last-mentioned instance, in­deed, the apostle was charged, by those "that stood by," with reviling God's [Page 46]high priest, which would have been a notorious breach of the law, had there not been circumstances of justification sufficient to vindicate the severity of the Apostle's censure: these, however, were not urged by the apostle himself, who best knew how to behave towards those with whom he had to do. He readily allowed the principle (however) on which the censure of his accusers was founded, but he by no means retracted what he had so justly applied to the person of the unworthy magistrate who sat to judge him; neither did he even acknowledge him to be the high priest, though he was expressly questioned for a supposed misbehaviour to that digni­tary! His answer was cautiously word­ed.— He did not say, — I knew not that this person, whom I have censured, was the high priest, but, — [...], &c. I knew not, brethren, that there is a high [Page 47]priest. (5) Which answer, though on the first hearsay it seems to bear some affinity to an excuse or apology for what had past, yet, in reality, includes a still farther rebuke; for it plainly im­plies that the high priest, in whose pre­sence the apostle then stood, was (in some respect or other) deficient or blame­able in his deportment as chief magi­strate, either that he did not duly sup­port the dignity of that sacred and distinguishing public character, so that he did not seem to be high priest, and of course could not be known and hon­oured as such; or else that his behaviour had been so unjust and illegal that he did not deserve to be considered as a lawful magistrate, who had publicly demeaned [Page 48]himself as a tyrant, by commanding a prisoner to be beaten, contrary to law, without hearing his defence! And, that this latter sense is most probable we may learn by the following circum­stance, viz. that the apostle chose to de­cline the dispute, and to wave the accu­sation about reviling the high priest, by acknowledging the principle of law on which it was manifestly founded, viz. Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. But, be pleased to observe, he neither acknowledged that he him­self had broken the said precept by so severely censuring the unjust ruler, nor did he acknowledge the presence of a high priest in the person of Ananias; neither did he allow the by-standers time enough to criticise upon the true literal meaning of his reply, (whereby they would probably have been led to demand some express recantation of the personal censure which he had so amply [Page 49]bestowed upon the high priest,) but he prudently changed the subject in debate from the PERSON of the high priest (who was a zealous overbearing SADDUCEE) (6) to an avowed censure of his whole sect, charging the SADDUCEES in particular with the unjust persecution, then before the assembly, and openly appealing to the opposite party, the Pharisees, in order to divide his united enemies: I am a PHARISEE, (said he,) the son of a PHARISEE; of the hope and re­surrection of the dead I AM CALLED IN QUESTION.’ Such a manifest reflection against the whole body of [Page 50] Sadducees cannot by any means favour the supposition of an intended apology, or recantation, in the preceding sentence, to soothe the enraged leader of that very party, whom he had publicly branded as a hypocrite, with the significant ap­pellation of whited wall! Let it be also remembered that the supposed breach of the precept (thou shalt not speak evil of the RULER of thy people) could not rest entirely on the circumstance of KNOW­ING ANANIAS TO BE THE HIGH PRIEST; for, whether the apostle did know, or did not know, that Ananias was high priest, yet he certainly knew, before he censured him, that he was a ruler of the people, and that he then sat in the quality of a judge; (for this is declared in the very censure itself, — sittest thou to JUDGE ME after the law, and commandest me to be smit­ten CONTRARY TO LAW?’) so that whether Ananias was really high priest, [Page 51]or not, yet he was manifestly censured in his official capacity as a ruler, or ma­gistrate, and not as a private individual, through any inadvertency or mistake of the apostle, as some commentators have conceived. And, even when the a­postle was informed, by those that stood by, that the magistrate whom he had censured was the high priest, ("revilest thou God's high priest?") Yet his reply, (I knew not, brethren, that there is a high priest,) when fairly compared with the preceding censure of Ananias, as an unjust dispenser of God's law, (sittest thou to judge me according to law? &c.) proves, as I before re­marked, that the apostle neither ac­knowledged the dignity of a high priest, nor that of a legal ruler, in the person of Ananias, though he knew him at the same time TO BE A RULER, and had censured him as such, for having noto­riously prostituted the power and autho­rity [Page 52]of a ruler, and violated the law, by commanding him to be stricken contra­ry to law, notwithstanding, that he sat to judge (as the apostle remarked) ‘AC­CORDING to the law; in which case no epithet whatever could be so apt and expressive to mark the true character of the dignified hypocrite in power, as whi­ted wall! This proves, that the apostle knew well enough with whom he had to do. The censure was too just, and his prophecy in the accomplishment too true, ("God shall smite thee," thou whited wall,) (7) to be esteemed a mere un­guarded sally of resentment! The latter supposition is, indeed, inconsistent with the remarkable sagacity, prudence, and readiness of mind, which always distin­guished [Page 53]this apostle in bearing his testi­mony to the truth, on the most danger­ous emergences! The apostle's known character as a chosen vessel for Christ's service, and as an exemplary preacher of RIGHTEOUSNESS, will by no means permit us to conceive that he was either guilty of any mistake or inadvertency with respect to the person of the high priest on this occasion; or of any illegal or misbecoming behaviour to him as a ruler or judge of the people! When these several circumstances are compared with the general bad character of Ananias, (8) [Page 54]as a persecuting zealot of the most virulent and intolerant sect among the Jews, it must appear that the apostle accounted that person unworthy of any esteem as a magistrate, whom he had so publicly con­victed [Page 55]of abusing and perverting the legal authority with which he had been en­trusted; and, indeed, a notorious breach of the law, by any man in the capacity of a ruler, may reasonably be esteemed a temporary disqualification for such an honourable trust; for, a judge without justice and righteousness, who openly per­verts judgement, does thereby unques­tionably degrade himself from the dig­nity of his station, and render himself unworthy, for the time being, of that respect which is otherwise due to his rank in office. The same apostle, in­deed, upon another occasion, commands us to give "honour to whom honour" is due; but what honour can be due to a convicted hypocrite, — a whited wall, — a wolf in sheep's cloath­ing,— to an Ananias on the seat of judgement? SUCH characters must expect SUCH treatment, as Ananias met with, from all sensible and discerning [Page 56]men; if the latter are also equally loyal with the apostle, I mean in the strict and proper sense of the word loyal, (which is so frequently misapplied and perverted by sycophants,) that is, if they are equally zealous with that a­postle for law, justice, and righteousness, for the general good of mankind! So that if we approve of the apostle's ad­vice, in the beginning of the same sen­tence, viz. ‘RENDER, THEREFORE, UNTO ALL THEIR DUES,’tri­bute, unto whom tribute,custom, to whom custom,‘FEAR, to whom FEAR,‘HONOUR to whom HO­NOUR;’ we must needs also allow, that the apostle's practice (even in his behaviour to Ananias) was strictly con­sistent with his own declared precepts, and that he most justly rendered to A­nanias HIS DUE, when he so severely reprimanded his conduct as a judge! When all these circumstances are duly [Page 57]considered, the meaning of the apostle's reply, may, fairly enough, be para­phrased in the words of LORINUS, (9) [Page 58]as I find him quoted by CORNELIUS A LAPIDE, viz. I knew not that he [Page 59]was the high priest, because, from his furious manner of speaking, he did not seem to be a HIGH PRIEST, but a TYRANT.’ This sense is strictly consonant to reason and natural right!

Justice and righteousness are so in­separably connected with the proper character of a CHIEF MAGISTRATE or RULER, that any notorious perversion of those necessary principles, in the ac­tual exercise of that official power with [Page 60]which a magistrate is entrusted for legal (and not for illegal) purposes, must un­avoidably distinguish the contemptible hypocrite, THE WHITED WALL, from the honourable MAGISTRATE, and de­prive the former of the respect which is due only to the latter! Sittest thou to judge me ACCORDING TO THE LAW, and commandest me to be smitten CON­TRARY TO LAW?’ Thus the a­postle clearly explained the fitness and propriety of the reproachful figure of speech, (whited wall,) by which he had expressed the true character of the unworthy judge!

An appellation similar to this was given, even by our Lord himself, to the Scribes and Pharisees, who were the teachers and magistrates of the people: Wo unto you, SCRIBES and PHARI­SEES, HYPOCRITES; for ye are like unto WHITED SEPULCHRES, which, [Page 61]indeed, appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones and of all uncleanness. (Matth. xxiii. 27.)—And, in the context, he calls them "blind guides," (v. 24.)—hypo­crites, (v. 25.)—full of hypocrisy and iniquity, (v. 28.)—partakers in the blood of the prophets, (v. 30.)—ser­pents,"generation of vipers,""how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" &c. (v. 33.) Nay, Herod himself, the tetrarch of Galilee, was not exempt­ed from the severity of our Lord's cen­sure, when there was a proper occa­sion to declare it; for, though our Lord lived, for the most part, under Herod's temporal jurisdiction, that is, in GALI­LEE, yet he openly characterised the craf­ty, base, and self-interested, disposition of the TETRARCH, by expressly cal­ling him a FOX,— (10) Go ye, and tell [Page 62]that FOX,’ &c. (Luke xiii. 32.) and, though our Lord endured the most [Page 63]provoking indignities from the licentious soldiery and reviling multitude, in si­lence, answering not a word, agreeable to that striking character of a suffering [Page 64]Messiah, so minutely described, many ages before, by the prophet Isaiah; (11) yet he made an apparent distinction be­tween the VIOLENCE and INJUSTICE of these, as individuals, and the INJUS­TICE of a man in a public character, as a chief magistrate; for even, in our Lord's state of extreme humiliation, when his hour of sufferings was come, he did not fail to rebuke the INJUSTICE of the high priest in his judicial capacity, because, instead of proceeding against him by the legal method of examination by wit­nesses, he had attempted to draw out matter of accusation from his own mouth, against himself, by INTERRO­GATORIES, according to the baneful method of arbitrary courts!

[Page 65]But our Lord soon put a stop to his impertinent QUESTIONS, by referring him to the legal method of finding evi­dence by witnesses: —Why ASKEST thou me? ASK them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. John xviii. 21. Upon which, a time-serving of­ficer, who probably had not accustom­ed himself to distinguish the different degrees of respect that are due to good and bad magistrates, gave Jesus a blow, or rap with a rod, ( [...],) saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? (v. 22.) which open in­justice, to a person uncondemned, (even while he stood in the presence of the ma­gistrate, who ought to have protected him,) drew a farther remonstrance, even from the meekest and humblest man that ever was on earth, though the same divine person afterwards suffered much greater indignities in silence! For, Je­sus [Page 66]answered him,If I have spo­ken evil, (said he,) bear witness of the evil: but, if well, why smitest thou me? (V. 23.)

This shews that the reprehension of magistrates and their officers, for in­justice and abuse of power, is not incon­sistent with the strictest rules of Christi­an PASSIVE OBEDIENCE: and, though the apostle Paul, in a similar case, used much harsher language, yet his censure was undoubtedly just and true, and the severity of his expressions was plainly justified (as I have already shewn) by the event! i. e. by the fatal catastrophe of ANANIAS. The law, therefore, which forbids the speaking evil of the ruler of the people, is certainly to be understood with proper exceptions, so as not to ex­clude any just censure of rulers, when their abuse of office, and the cause of truth and justice, may render such cen­sure [Page 67]expedient and seasonable. That the apostle Paul thus understood the text in question, is manifest from his man­ner of quoting it, when he was charged with reviling God's high priest, if the severity of his censure be compared with the indifference which he shewed, im­mediately afterwards, towards the of­fended Sadducee, by openly professing himself to be of an opposite party, and by throwing an oblique charge against the whole body of Sadducees, as the principal authors of the unjust persecu­tion against himself,—I am a PHARI­SEE,’ (said he,) the son of a PHA­RISEE; of the hope and resurrection of the dead am I called in question. (Acts xxiii. 6.) Thus he manifestly threw the whole blame upon the Sadducees, and thereby shewed no inclination to apolo­gize for the severity of his speech to their dignified chief!

[Page 68]I must farther remark, that the a­postle's behaviour, in openly opposing the high priest, (who, as such, was also a chief magistrate and judge,) is by no means inconsistent with that excellent advice which the same apostle has laid down in the thirteenth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, though it is frequently cited by the advocates for ar­bitrary power, in order to justify their false notions concerning the necessity of absolute submission and entire passive obe­dience!

To an inattentive reader, indeed, the apostle's expression may seem too much to favour such doctrines, if the sense and connexion of the whole context are not carefully weighed together; but though he said,—Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the pow­ers that be are ordained of God. Whoso­ever [Page 69]therefore, resisteth the power, re­sisteth the ordinance of God: and they, that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation. Yet he immediately af­terwards signifies what kind of rulers he spoke of "that were not to be resisted." "For RULERS" (says he in the very next verse) ‘ARE NOT A TERROR TO GOOD WORKS, BUT TO THE EVIL. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is GOOD, and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is the MINISTER of GOD to thee for GOOD.’ (But ANANIAS, as a ruler, was certainly the very reverse of this description, so that the practice of the apostle, with respect to him, was by no means opposite to this doctrine.) "But" (says he) if thou do that which is EVIL, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is THE MINISTER OF GOD, a revenger to (execute) wrath upon him that doeth evil. Where­fore (ye) must needs be subject, not only [Page 70]for wrath, but also FOR CONSCI­ENCE SAKE. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are GOD'S MINI­STERS, attending continually upon this very thing. Render, therefore, to all their dues: tribute, to whom tri­bute (is due); custom, to whom cus­tom; fear to whom fear; honour(12)to whom honour. (Romans xiii. 1 to 7.) Now, be pleased to remark, that the apostle has expressly and repeatedly assigned the reason why so much respect and obedience is due to the higher pow­ers, or to the ruler, or magistrate; for he is (says the apostle) the MINISTER "OF GOD TO THEE FOR GOOD," &c. and again,—for he is the MINISTER OF GOD, a revenger to wrath upon him that doeth evil: and again,—‘FOR THEY ARE GOD'S MINISTERS;’— that is, they are God's ministers while [Page 71]they maintain justice and righteousness in the execution of their public charge, howsoever deficient their characters may be in other respects, as private individu­als; but, on the other hand, such an unjust ruler as Ananias, for instance, who sat to judge ACCORDING TO LAW, and yet commanded a person to be beaten CON­TRARY TO LAW, such a ruler, I say, cannot be esteemed a minister of God to us FOR GOOD, or a minister of God in any respect whatsoever. A man, who is notoriously guilty of perverting the laws, and of abusing the delegated power, with which he is entrusted, by acts of vio­lence and injustice, is so far from being "the minister of God," that he is mani­festly "the minister of the devil;" which is the express doctrine of the common law of this kingdom, according to the most approved and most antient autho­rities; wherein we find it applied not merely to inferior rulers, but to the su­preme [Page 72]preme magistrate, even to the king himself, (13) if he rules contrary to [Page 73]law, by violating, corrupting, or per­verting, in any respect, the powers of [Page 74]government! And that excellent con­stitutional lawyer, Lord Sommers, informs us, that ST. EDWARD'S LAW even goes farther, (14) viz. That, unless the king performs his duty, and answers the end for which he was constituted, not so much AS THE NAME OF A KING shall remain in him. Now, when these constitutional principles of the English law are collated and duly compared with the precepts before cited from the apostle Paul, they are so far from being contradictory, that the full and clear meaning of them all may be maintained together without the least inconsistency or discrepance of doctrine; for we may surely say, with the apostle, "Render to all their dues," &c. without seeming to favour the pernicious and dangerous doctrine of an unlimited pas­sive [Page 75]obedience! Render, therefore, to all their dues; tribute, to whom tri­bute (is due); custom, to whom custom; fear, to whom fear; honour, to whom honour.—For, though custom, tribute, fear, and honour, are certainly due to him who is the MINISTER OF GOD to us for good, yet, surely, no honour is due, or ought to be rendered, to THE MINISTER OF THE DEVIL, to the perjured violater of a public trust, who, in the eye of the English law, is not even worthy of so much as the name of a king!

Fear, indeed, may too often be said to be due to such men when in power; but it is a very different sort of fear from that reverential fear which is due to him who is the minister of God to us for good! It is such a fear only as that, which men have of a wild beast that devours the flock! He is fierce and [Page 76] strong, say they, and, therefore, each indi­vidual, through fear of personal inconveni­ence to himself, is induced to wink at the ruinous depredations made upon his neigh­bours and brethren, so that, for want of a prudent and timely opposition, the vora­cious animal (which in a state is a many­headed monster) becomes stronger and more dangerous to the community at large, till the unwary time-servers them­selves perceive (when it is too late) that, by their own selfish connivance, re­spectively, as individuals, they have been accessaries to the general ruin; and, as such, must one day be answerable to God for their shameful breach of that LAW OF LIBERTY, (15) (Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,) in which we are assured all the law is fulfilled, (16) [Page 77]and by which, we are also assured, we shall be judged! (17)

This heavenly principle is the true and proper ground for patriotism, and undoubtedly has always been the pre­dominant motive of great and good men, (such as the disinterested and loyal apo­stle Paul, following his Lord's exam­ple,) in their opposition to the injustice of rulers and magistrates, though they passively submit to personal injuries from other hands! for, in this, as I have al­ready remarked, consists the due dis­tinction between the necessary Christian submission to personal injuries, and the doctrine of an unlimited passive obedience.

The SUBJECTION and OBEDIENCE to MAGISTRATES, enjoined by the same apostle in his Epistle to Titus, (c. iii. 1.) must certainly be understood with the [Page 78]same necessary limitations,—Put them in mind (says the apostle) TO BE SUB­JECT TO PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS, TOOBEY MAGISTRATES,’ ( [...], says he, but then he im­mediately subjoins,) to be ready to e­very good work. — And no man can be esteemed ready to every good work, if he is obedient to magistrates when their commands exceed the due li­mits of the law; or if (contrary to the ex­ample of the apostle himself) he neglects a fair opportunity of publicly discounten­ancing and censuring any notorious per­version of justice and right by a magistrate!

The same necessary limitation of the doctrine of obedience must also be un­derstood when we read the exhortation of another apostle on this head, viz. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the KING, as supreme; or [Page 79]unto GOVERNORS, as unto them that are sent by him FOR THE PUNISH­MENT OF EVIL DOERS, and for the PRAISE OF THEM THAT DO WELL. For so is the will of God, that with WELL-DOING ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using (your) liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God! (1 Peter ii. 13-16.) GOVER­NORS are here declared to be sent for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well; to such, there­fore, as answer this description, the sub­mission and honour enjoined in the context are undoubtedly due; but, whenever the governors themselves become the evil do­ers, and, like Ananias, instead of praising and encouraging "them that do well," do notoriously abuse, oppress, and mur­der, them, as he did, (18) it would be a [Page 80]manifest perversion of the text to sup­pose that we are required thereby to submit ourselves to every ordinance of [Page 81]man, (19) without admitting such just and necessary exceptions to the doctrine [Page 82]as I have already cited from the example of the apostle Paul, and even from that of our Lord himself.

And, therefore, though the apostle Peter adds,—Honour all (men): love the brotherhood: fear God: honour the king: yet he must necessarily be understood to mean, with the apostle Paul, that we must render honour to whom honour is DUE, and not to [Page 83] honour such men and such kings as are unworthy of honour! (20)

[Page 84]But what men (it will be said) are to be esteemed the proper judges of desert in such cases, so as to determine with propriety when honour is or is not to be rendered? To which I answer, — Every man is a judge of it if he be not an idiot or mad man! Every man of common sense can distinguish jus­tice from injustice, right from wrong, [Page 85]honourable from dishonourable, (21) when­ever he happens to be an eye or ear witness of the proper circumstances of evidence for such a judgement! Every man, (except as above,) be he ever so poor and mean with respect to his rank in this life, inherits the knowledge of good and evil, or REASON, from the common parents of mankind, and is thereby rendered answerable to GOD for all his actions, and answerable to MAN for many of them!

In this hereditary knowledge, and in the proper use of it, (according to the different stations of life in which men subsist in this world,) consists the equality of ALL MANKIND in the sight of GOD, and also in the eye of the law, I mean the common law and rules of natural jus­tice, which are formed upon the self­evident [Page 86]conclusions of human reason, and are the necessary result of the above­mentioned hereditary knowledge in MAN. Every man knows, by what we call conscience, (which is only an effect of human reason upon the mind,) whether his own actions deserve the censure of the magistrate, who bears not the sword in vain! And the same prin­ciple of hereditary knowledge enables him to judge also concerning the out­ward actions of other men, whether they be just or unjust; whether they be praise­worthy or censurable!

But, if a man abuses his own natural reason, and suffers himself to be blinded by private interest, by passion, or un­reasonable resentment, or by pride, en­vy, or personal partiality, and is there­by led to misconstrue the actions of his superiors, to behave unseemly to­wards them, and to censure them pub­licly [Page 87]without a just cause, the consci­ence of such an offender against rea­son will speedily inform him that he has cause to fear the magistrate, and that he is liable to suffer for his misbe­haviour "as an evil doer:" but, when the like faults are discoverable on the o­ther side, that is, on the side of the superior or magistrate, (as it happened in the case of Ananias,) a just censure of the unjust magistrate, even though it comes from the poorest and meanest man that happens to be present, will have its due weight in the opinion of all unprejudiced and disinterested per­sons, and may occasion a considerable check to the progress of injustice; and, therefore, if any man neglects such an opportunity (when he has it in his power) of making a personal protest (as Paul did) against the public injustice of a wicked magistrate, he strengthens the hand of iniquity by his timidity [Page 88]and remissness, and becomes accessary to the public disgrace by refusing his endeavours, according to his abilities, (howsoever small,) to vindicate the laws of God, and maintain the common rights of his neighbours and brethren. Such an one unhappily demonstrates that he has more fear of MAN than of GOD, and much more love for himself than he has for his neighbour and country, and, consequently, in that awful day, when he shall be judged by the law of liber­ty, (22) must be liable, (unless a timely repentance should have previously restored him to a better use of that he­reditary knowledge for which all men are accountable,) must be liable, I say, ‘to be cast with the unprofitable ser­vant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth! Matth. xxv. 30.

[Page 89]ALL MEN, therefore, be they ever so rich, or ever so poor and mean, are REQUIRED to vindicate the cause of truth, justice, and righteousness, when­ever they have a favourable opportunity of doing so; they ARE REQUIRED, I say, because they ARE ENABLED by their NATURAL KNOWLEDGE of GOOD and EVIL to discern and judge concerning the fitness or unfitness of human actions, and of the justice or injustice of all mea­sures and proceedings that happen to fall within the reach of their inspection and consequent observation. He, who denies this, is ignorant of the true dig­nity of human nature, and wants a teacher to point out to him not only the equality of mankind before God, but also the uni­versal conditions of man's subsistence in the world!—THE HEREDITARY KNOW­LEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL may, at least, be esteemed as the ONE TALENT [Page 90]for which all mankind are accountable to the universal Lord! And, therefore, if they wilfully abuse or bury THIS TALENT, they have surely nothing to expect but the condemnation above­mentioned of the unprofitable servant!

Shall we blame the patriotic apostle, then, for his zeal in vindicating the natu­ral rights of mankind against an UNJUST JUDGE, when he had so fair an op­portunity of protesting against his ini­quity? God forbid! Let us, on the contrary, revere his example, which, in reality, affords no opposition to the doctrine laid down in the beginning of this Tract concerning the necessity of Christian submission to personal inju­ries. If he, sometimes, freely and courageously expressed his resentment for personal ill usage, (23) it was al­ways [Page 91]ways in vindication of the law, on which (next to the providence of God) the safety, liberty, and happiness, of the community depend; whereas, the hasty revenger of his own cause is so far from being a friend to the com­munity, or a lover of liberty, that he himself is actually a tyrant; because he neglects the necessary doctrine of Chris­tian submission to personal injuries, and on every occasion is ready to re­venge his own cause with his own hand, and to usurp all the distinct offices of [Page 92]judge, jury, and executioner! He is so far from vindicating the law, like the generous and patriotic apostle, for the sake of national liberty, that he manifest­ly sets himself up above the law, (which is the first characteristic of a tyrant,) and thereby renders himself in fact an open enemy to liberty, and consequently a disgrace to society!

"GLORY to GOD in the Highest!
"And on Earth — PEACE,
"GOOD WILL towards Men!"

INDEX OF Texts referred to in the foregoing Work.

xv.12, 14.21.
liii.7, 8.64 n.
v.17.63 n.
xxiii.24, 25.61.
 27, 28.61.
 30. 33.61.
ix.6.58 n.
vi.28, 29.39.
viii.34.72 n.
 41.72 n.
 43, 44.72 n.
xv.12 to 15.37 n.
xviii.21, 22.65.
iv.8.83 n.
 10.83 n.
 19, 20.83 n.
vii.51, 52.84 n.
 54.84 n.
xvi.30 to 39.44 n.
xxii.24 to 30.45 n.
xxiii.1 to 5.45 n.
xxiv.20.80 n.
ii.11.34 n.
vi.6.73 n.
xiii. 68.
 1 to 770.
 9, 10.37 n.
1 Corinthians.
vi.19, 20.23.
 20, 21.16.
 21 to 23.12 n.
 23.17. 20.
v.14.76 n.
vi.5 to 8.7. 15.
 5, &c.34.
 8, 9.34 n.
iii.18.32 n.
 20.33 n.
 22.33 n.
 22, 23.7.
 23, 24.33 n.
 24.34 n.
 25.31n. 34n.
iv.1.35n. 36n.
1 Timothy.
vi. 32 n.
 1 to 8.11.
 1.14. 38.
 2.24. 28.
ii.9.32 n.
 9, 10.11.
 10.14. 32.
ii.12.77n. 84n.
1 Peter.
ii.13 to 16.79.

INDEX OF THE Different Authors referred to.

  • Ananias, 49 n.
  • Ananus, 49 n.
  • Augustine, bishop of Hippo, 57 n.
  • Benson, (Dr. Geo.) 25 n.
  • Borner, 26 n.
  • Bracton, (Hen. de,) 72 n. 73 n.
  • Broughton, (Hugh,) 47 n.
  • Castalio, 47 n.
  • Cornelius a Lapide, 58.
  • Fleta, 73 n.
  • Fox, (reverend Francis,) 59 n.
  • Francowitz, (Mat. Flac.) 57 n. 58 n.
  • Hammond, 28.
  • Heinsius, 47 n.
  • Josephus, 52 n. 53 n. 57 n.
  • Judgement of whole kingdoms and nations, &c. 74 n.
  • Justin Martyr, 21.
  • Kuster, 26 n.
  • Law of Liberty, 76 n. 86 n.
  • Law of Nature, 85 n.
  • Lightfoot, 59 n.
  • Lorinus, 57.
  • Martin, (mons.) 58 n.
  • Mill, (Dr.) 26 n.
  • Pet. 2 and 3. MSS. so called, 26 n.
  • Sommers, (lord,) 73.
  • Syriac version, 25 n.
  • Tertullian, 21.
  • Whiston, 54 n.
  • Whitby, (Dr.) 59 n. 21. 25 n. 34 n.

INDEX OF THE Various Topics discussed in this Work.

  • ANANIAS. See FRANCOWITZ, MARTIN, also high priest, judge, and magistrate. St. Paul's denuncia­tion against him justified by the event, 52 n. his injustice and cruelty towards the Christians, 53 n.
  • Apostles. Did not submit themselves to every ordi­nance of man without exception, 78 & seq.
  • Author. A learned and reverend correspondent differs from him in his notions of slavery, 4; his character of that correspondent, 5; concessions of his, 6, 13; reasons for not answering a letter from him at the time of receiving it, ib. his design in this treatise is to demonstrate the absolute illegality of slavery among Christians, 7; esteems both master and slaves as brethren, 12; his reasons for printing his Remarks on the Crown Law prior to this tract, 91 n.
  • Believers. God alone their judge, 26.
  • [Page 98]Christ. His disciples had no commission to alter the temporary conditions of men, 7; claimed no autho­rity to dispense with the Mosaic law, 62 n.
  • Conscience. Only an effect of human reason, 86.
  • Correspondent of the Author's. See Author. Does not think Christianity released slaves, &c. 6; an opinion of his examined, 18 n. & seq. another, 30 n. & seq.
  • Duties of placability, submission, and patience, too commonly misunderstood or rejected by the Christian world, 41.
  • Edward, (St.). The strictness of his law concerning kings, 74 & seq.
  • Egyptian bondage. A type of our spiritual servitude to the enemy of mankind, 20.
  • Fear. That we have of a tyrant very different from that we have of a good magistrate, 75.
  • Francowitz, (Mat. Flac.). His opinion of St. Paul's answer to Ananias, 57 n.
  • Freedom. The attainment of it legally enjoined ser­vants by St. Paul, 12 n. 16.
  • GOD. Submission in servants enjoined for conscience sake towards him, 15 & seq. masters and servants equal in his sight, 17. See Believers, Judge.
  • Good and evil. See Reason.
  • [Page 99] Good men. From whence their zeal arises for just and equitable laws, 42.
  • Grotius. Quoted by Dr. Whitby concerning St. Paul's reply to Ananias, 59 n.
  • High priest. St. Paul's spirited but cautious behaviour before him, 46 & seq. did not attempt to excuse or apologize for it, 47 & seq. 67; the justness of that behaviour, 56. 60. 90; Lorinus' paraphrase of the apostle's reply to him, 57; which is strictly conso­nant to reason and natural right, 59; our Lord's be­haviour, in the same predicament, exactly similar, 60 & seq. the apostle's behaviour not inconsistent with his doctrine, Rom. xiii. 68 & seq. which be­haviour he afterwards defended before Felix, 79 n.
  • Jews. Not to be sold as bondmen, 18, 19, 20. Sec Slavery.
  • Injustice. Censuring bad magistrates may tend to check its progress, 87; which is the duty of every man, 89.
  • Interrogatories. Their illegality, 64.
  • Judge. One who perverts judgement degrades him­self from his office, 55; our Saviour's character of such, 61 & seq. who cannot be deemed ministers of God in any respect, 71.
  • Kings. Are not ministers of God when they act contrary to law, 72; and see the notes on that and the suc­ceeding page. See Edward (St.); not worthy the name of a king, 75; but are ministers of the devil, and unworthy of honour while they do evil, ib.
  • [Page 100]Law. A notorious breach of it by a ruler is a tempo­rary disqualification, 55. See Kings, Edward (St.).
  • Loyal. What it is to be really so, 56.
  • Magistrates. Their reprehension not inconsistent with Christian passive obedience, 66 & seq. good one. See Fear, Injustice.
  • Martin, (mons.). Agrees with M. Flac. Francowitz, Grotius, Whitby, &c. concerning St. Paul's reply to Ananias, 58 n.
  • Masters. See GOD, Slavery.
  • Ministers of God. See Kings.
  • Ministers of the devil. See Kings.
  • Obedience. See Servants.
  • Opp ession. That practised by the slave-holders no more justified by the New Testament than that of strikers or robbers, 41.
  • Passive obedience. See Magistrates. Not due to evil magistrates, 77 & seq.
  • Patience. See Duties.
  • Patriotism. The proper ground for it, 77.
  • Paul, (St.). His zeal for the Roman liberty, 42; his Christian patience and meekness under personal in­juries, 43. 44 n. See high priest. His injunction, Tit. iii. 1. explained, 77.
  • Peter, (St.). His injunction, 1 Pet. ii. 13 to 16. ex­plained, 79.
  • Price. The meaning of that word in 1 Cor. vii. 23. examined, 21 & seq.
  • [Page 101]Questions. Serious ones to the slave-holders, 30 & seq.
  • Reason. Inherited by all men, except idiots or mad men, 84. 89; which renders all men equal in the sight of God and the law, 85. See Conscience. The talent for which all men are accountable, 90.
  • Royal law. No single text to be depended on, which will not bear the test of it, 27.
  • Ruler. See Law.
  • Sanhedrim. Its power and dignity, 81 n.
  • Scriptures. Their honour what the author has most at heart, 4.
  • Servants, (Christian,). Their obedience frequently in­sisted on by St. Paul, 8 & seq. the submission re­quired of them does not imply the legality of slave­holding, 11; on what principles that submission is founded, 13 & seq. 24 n. which do not admit of any right or property in the master, 15; submission en­joined by St. Peter both to the good and bad master, for conscience' sake towards God, 15 & seq. See GOD, Slavery, Slave-holders, Tyranny.
  • Slave-holders. Cannot avail themselves of any of the texts relating to Christian servants, 29. 38. See Questions, Oppression.
  • Slavery. some particular texts seem to prove the toleration of it amongst the primitive Christians, 3. See Author. No more than a state of hired servitude among the Jews, 19 n. 21 n. the text 1 Tim. vi. 2. no argument in favour of it, 24 & seq. that text in­tended for servants, not masters, 26; so understood [Page 102]by Dr. Hammond, 26; the texts which justify the slave's submission do not authorize the master's ty­ranny, 30. (See the whole note in that page.) 40.
  • Subjection (unlimited). Inconsistent with the dignity of a Christian, 17; and intirely illegal, ib. See Duties.
  • Texts. See Price, Slavery, Whitby, Paul, Peter.
  • Tyrants. See Fear. The folly and wickedness of abetting them, 76; characteristics of one, 91.
  • Tyranny. The submission enjoined in the gospel no plea for it, 39.
  • Whitby, (Dr.). Mistakes the meaning of the text 1 Cor. vii. 23, 21; is of the same opinion with Grotius concerning St. Paul's reply to Ananias, 59 n.
  • Whited wall. The propriety of that expression of St. Paul, 52.


Page 47, line 2, for hearsay, read hearing.

Tracts by the same AUTHOR. Printed for B. WHITE, at HORACE's-HEAD, FLEET-STREET.

  • I. A Short Treatise on the English Tongue. Being an Attempt to render the Reading and Pronunciation of the same more easy to Foreigners. 1767.
  • II. Remarks on several very important Prophecies, first Edition, in 1768, (second Edition, 1775.) ‘This Book contains, 1st, Remarks on the Prophecy of Isaiah vii. 13—16.—That a Virgin should conceive and bear a Son. 2dly, Re­marks on the Nature and Style of prophetical Writings. 3dly, Remarks on the Accomplishment of Isaiah's Prophecy, (vii. 8.) Within threescore and five Years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a People. 4thly, On the Departure of the Sceptre and Lawgiver from Judah. 5thly, A Confirmation of the above Re­marks by farther Examples drawn from the Prophets, &c.’
  • III. A Representation of the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery; or of admitting the least Claim of Private Property in the Persons of Men IN ENGLAND. Being an Answer to an Opi­nion, given in the Year 1729, by the (then) Attor­ney General and Solicitor General, concerning the Case of Slaves in GREAT-BRITAIN. 1769. ‘This Tract contains many Examples of the monstrous Iniquity and Injustice of the Plantation Laws respecting Slaves; as also some Account of the gradual Abolition of the ancient English Slavery called VILLENAGE, which was at length happily effected by the Wisdom and Perseverance of the English Courts of Common Law.’
  • IV. Remarks concerning the Encroachments on the River Thames near Durham-Yard. 1771.
  • [Page 2]V. An Appendix to the Representation of the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of tolerating Slavery. (See Number III.) 1772.
  • VI. Remarks on the Opinions of some of the most celebrated Writers on CROWN LAW, respecting the due Distinction between Manslaughter and Murder; shewing that the Indulgence allowed by the Courts to voluntary Manslaughter in Rencounters, DUELS, &c. is indiscriminate and without Foundation in Law; and is also one of the principal Causes of the Conti­nuance and present Increase of the base and disgrace­ful Practice of DUELLING. 1773. ‘The peculiar Case of Gentlemen in the Army, respecting the Practice of DUELLING, is carefully examined in this Tract; as also the Depravity and Folly of modern Men of Honour falsely so called.’
  • VII. In two Parts. 1. A Declaration of the People's Natural Right to a Share in the Legislature; which is the fundamental Principle of the British Constitu­tion of State. 2. A Declaration, or Defence, of the the same Doctrine, when applied particularly to THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. 1774. (2d Edition, 1775.) ‘In these two Pieces many Examples and Proofs are produced concerning the parliamentary Rights of the People; viz. That the Assent of the People is absolutely necessary to render Laws valid: That a free and equal Representation of the Inhabitants of this Kingdom is necessary for the Salvation of the State, and the Security of Peace and of Property: That the Representatives of the People have no legal Right to give assent in any new Device without Conference with their Countries: That it is an ancient and just Right of the People to elect a new Parliament every Year once, and more often if Need be; and that no Regulations whatsoever, wherein the Representatives are made Judges of their two Elections, can be ef­fectual against national Corruption! Examples are likewise here given of several surreptitious STATUTES that are void through the Want of due legal Assent; and of Others that are void by being [Page 3]unjust and repugnant to constitutional Principles! The Danger of keep­ing standing Armies is also demonstrated, and the Wickedness and Impolicy of Acting by national Corruption! &c. &c.’
The following Tracts by the same AUTHOR ARE Printed for B. WHITE, in FLEET-STREET, and E. and C. DILLY, in the POULTRY.
  • VIII. The just Limitation of Slavery in the Laws of God, compared with the unbounded Claims of the African Traders and British American Slave-holders. ‘To this Piece is added a copious Appendix, containing, An Answer to the Rev. Mr. Thompson's Tract in Favour of the African Slave-Trade. Letters concerning the lineal Descent of the Negroes from the Sons of HAM. The Spanish Regulations for the gradual En­franchisement of Slaves. A Proposal, on the same Principles, for the gradual Enfranchisement of Slaves in America. REPORTS of Determinations in the several COURTS OF LAW against Slavery, &c. 1776.’
  • IX. THE LAW of PASSIVE OBEDIENCE; or Christian Submission to personal Injuries: ‘Wherein is shewn that the several Texts of Scripture, which command the entire Submission of Servants or Slaves to their Masters, cannot authorize the latter to exact an involuntary Servitude, nor in the least Degree justify the Claims of modern Slave-holders; and also that the several Texts, which enjoin Submission to Rulers, Magistrates, &c. do not in any Respect authorize the dangerous Doctrine of an unlimited passive Obedience.
  • X. "THE LAW OF LIBERTY;" or (as it is called in Scripture by way of Eminence) "the Royal Law," by which all Mankind will certainly be judged!
  • [Page 4]XI. THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION; or a serious Warn­ing to Great-Britain and her Colonies, founded on un­questionable Examples of GOD's temporal Vengeance against Tyrants, Slave-holders, and Oppressors. 1776. ‘The Examples are selected from Predictions, in the Old-Testament, of national Judgements, which (being compared with the actual Accomplishment) demonstrate "the sure Word of Prophecy," as well as the immediate Interposition of divine Providence, to re­compence impenitent Nations according to their Works.’
Tracts, by the same AUTHOR, now in the Press for Publication.
  • XII. A Tract on the Law of Nature and Principles of Action in Man.
  • XIII. THE CASE OF SAUL; being an Appendage to the former Tract, wherein the compound Nature and various Principles of Action in MAN (with the Reality of supernatural spiritual Influence, both good and bad) are proved by unquestionable Examples from the History of that unfortunate Monarch, and also from many other Parts of Scripture.

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