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virtue, than the progress or de. and the greater will be their oline of benevolent, humane, and popularity. pacifie principles?
In every age since our ances. Were we to make the degree tors professedly embraced the of attention to the outward cere- Christian religion, there have monies of religion the standard, probably been some enlightened it would lead us to the most faise men, who adopted the principles and dangerous conclusions. For of the gospel, and who feit an nothing is more evident, than abhorrence of such laws and custhat multitudes in different ages, toms as violated these principles. have regarded a scrupulous at. But at some periods, the number, tention to rites and ceremonies, the situation and the influence of as the sum of religion, as such characters, have not been substitute for doing justly, lov- sulficient to give popularity to ing mercy, and walking humbly their principles, or to effect a with God; and as a kind of atone- change in public opinion, so as ment for the grossest vices and to abolish The laws and customs erimes. By such a standard the which they really abhorred, and ancient pagans and the papists for which they mourned. of the dark ages, must be prefer. Besides, it is probably true, red to the most enlightened Chris- and it may yet be made evident tians of the present day; and the from history, that the prog. pharisees of our Savior's time ress of Christian light among must be preferred to him and his
our ancestors was very slow and disciples.
gradual, even among the most The progress or decline of be. pious and exemplary. It was nevolent, humane, and pacific by degrees that iheir eyes were principles, may furnish a stan. opened to see the inconsistency dard far less deceptive and dan- and inhuman character of many gerous.
laws and customs which they But how, it will be asked, are had derived from paganism, and we to judge of the progress or the dark ages of popery. After
. decline of these amiable princi- their eyes were opened, in respect ples? I answer; by the public to one such law or custom, they laws, institutions, customs and were still advocates for others, usages, which have been popolar, equally unjust and
and abomina. or which have fallen into disre. ble. pute in different ages.
In proportion as such laws The more the benevolent prin- and customs abound among any ciples of the gospel have their people, we have evidence of a genuine influence in any age, or general depravily in principle in any nation, the greater aver- and practice, and of a general sion will be excited to laws, in- defect of Christian light and stitutions and customs of a sav. Christian virtue. age, juhuman and sanguinary It may indeed be true, that character; and the less there is
a multiplicity of such laws and of the influence of Christian costoms may be popular, while principles, the more will. santhere are many individuals, who guinary laws and customs abound, are enlightened and pious. Nor
is the prevalence of such laws ence of the leading characters in and customs, evidence that there a nation. is not great severity in punishing It indeed appears evident from for some particular vices, and history, that by education and some omissions of supposed re- habit a people inay be brought ligious duties. Nay, such laws to regard the most inhuman and and customs are consistent with abominable laws and customs, the prevalence of that kind of as sacred, necessary, and useful, love to God, which leads men and that it requires considerable to injure and desti oy one anoth- time and effort to change those er for “God's sake.” But when. opinions, which have been imever and wherever such sanguin. bibed by education, and confirmary laws and customs have been cd by habit. But it is also evi. very numerous and popular, we deni, that such opinions are not may safely infer a deplorable invincible, and that when a large want of Christian light and number of the most intluential Christian love, in the most influ- men bave their own eyes opened, ential characters in the commu. and are disposed io combine nity, whether they were rulers, their efforts to open the eyes of or ministers of religion. For others, long established laws and it is impossible that such, custoins may be abolished, to laws and customs should long give place to others more congeretain their popularity against vial !o the spirit and principles the opinions a id combined influ- of the gospel.
ANTHONY BENEZET. No persons of our race have characters, has an opposite tenhigher claims to public esteem dency. The character now to and admiration than those who be brought to view, may be adhave spent their days in humane mired without danger, and imiand benevolent exertions; and tated without remorse. nothing more clearly evinces a Anthony Benezet was born in depravity of taste, than the re- France in 1713. His father was pown which is given to men, who a protestant, and left his country have employed their talents in to escape persecution.
After mischief, and whose feet have some stay in Holland he went been swift to shed blood. The with his family to England, and extravagant eulogies and pape- settled in London. ve gave to gyrics which have been written his son Anthony a liberal educaof men, who had caused the death tion, and procured him a place of millions of their fellow beings, with a merchant. But the son, deserve the abhorrence of every being of a serious character, fearvirtuous mind. They have a ed the snares to which he might corrupting and deleterious infu- be exposed in the business of encë, and especially on the minds merchandize, and preferred beof young people. But the exhi. coming a cooper. This business bition of humane and bepevolent however he soon found to be too
laborious for his constitution, and this philanthropist adopted for he consequently left it, and be accomplishing his object. came a school-master. In this wrote a letter to the queen of Enguseful employment he spent the land, and to the queen of Portugreater part of his days. gal, 10 persuade them to employ While he was a young man
their influence for the abolition, he came to America, settied in of the African trade. His letPhiladelphia, and joined the so- ter to the queen of England was ciety of Friends. He was un- accompanied by the pamphlets he commonly active and industrious had published. The queen on in whatever he undertook. "He reading them said the author did every thing,” says Dr. Rush, appears to be a very good man. as if the words of his Savior Not only did he write pamphlets were perpetually sounding in his and letters on the subject, but ear-Wist ye not that I must be he made his school subservient about
Father's business?" so to his humane purpose, by com. upright and amiable was he in municating knowledge to his his manners, so humane and be- scholars, relating to the dreadful nevolent, so fervent in doing good, commerce, and by exciting in that he had not been long in this them an abhorrence of the guilty country, before he attracted the custom. In this way he annual. notice, and gained the esteem, of ly prepared many to aid him, and those among whom he lived. increased the number of aboli
Benezet could not behold the tionists. crimes and miseries of the Afri. He seems to have beeu born can slave trade without deep re
and to have lived for this great gret, and sincere compassion. Its object. So much was his soul abolition became an object of his engaged in it, that if any person pursuit, and in this business he on a journey called to see him, engaged with all his soul. He his first thoughts were, 'How can published several tracts in favor I make this man an instrument in of the emancipation of the blacks, promoting the glorious cause? and of civilizing the Indians. He would either give him tracts One of the pamphlets which he to distribute,or send letters by him, published against the slave trade or give him some other commis. was entitled "An Historical Ac- sion on the subject. Thus he count' of Guinea, its situation, was daily doing something to produce, and the general dispo- open the eyes of people, and to sition of its inhabitants; with an excite their compassion for the inquiry into the rise and pro- poor blacks. gress of the slave trade.” Mr. He corresponded with the be. Clarkson says, “This pamphlet nevolent Grenville Sharp, Mr. became instrumental, beyond any Wesley, Mr. Whitefield, and the other book ever before published, Abbe Raynal, all of whom were in disseminating a proper know. friendly to his cause. And he ledge and detestation of the wrote to the king of Prussia, to trade."
convince him of the unlawfulVarious were the means which dess of war.
In the time of the American tion. To this he sacrificed the revolution, while the British superior emoluments of his other troops had possession of Phila- school, as well as his bodily ease. delphia, Benezet was there; and By his last will, he directed that, although he abhorred war, he after the decease of his wife, all had a heart to feel for those who his little estate, excepting a few suffered by engaging in it. He small legacies, should be devotexerted himself particularly in ed to support a school for negro favor of our soldiers, who were children. taken captive by the British It was a saying of Benezet, troops, and brought into the city. that “the highest act of charity “He knew no fear, in the preso in the world, is to bear with the ence of his fellow-men, however unreasonableness of mankind.” dignified they were by titles or This narrative may be closed station; and such were the pro- in the language of Dr. Rush: priety and gentleness of his man. “Few men since the days of the ners, in his intercourse with the apostle ever lived a more disingentlemen who commanded the terested life; and yet on his deathBritish and German troops, that bed he said, he wished to live a when he could not obtain his re- little longer, that he might bring quests, he never failed to secure down self their civilities, and frequently “He died May 1784, in the their esteem.”
of his age. His fuperThe mild and faithful intre. al was attended by persons of all pidity of Benezet appears in his religious denominations, and by letter to the British queen. It many bundreds of black people. was written after the revolution, Col. Jến, who had served in the and he reminded her of the ter- American army, in returniug from rible events by which the British his funeral, pronounced an euloempire had been shaken, and led gium upon him. It consisted onher to consider whether the ly of the following words:-I slave trade was not one of the WOULD RATHER BE BENEZET IN sins which tended to bring down
COFFIN, THAN GEORGE the anger of God upon the nation. WASHINGTON The whole letter breathes an a- FAME. miable and faithful spirit; and The character of this amiable it was calculated to make deep Christian affords ground for some and solemn impressions on the useful reflections. mind of the queen.
First. In the character and In addition to his other numer- conduet of Anthony Benezet, we ous efforts in favor of the suffer. may see what it is to be a Chris. ing blacks, this good man exert- tian indeed, and how amiable the ed himself to establish an Afri. Christian religion appears when can school, for the benefit of those reduced to practice! Like his in the state to which he belong. Lord and Master, he had a heart ed. Much of the two last years to weep with those who wept, to of his life was devoted to a per- feel for the wrongs and miseries sonal attendance on this instita. of others; and like him, he went
about doing good. That Bene- der the Great, or that indeed of zet was free from error we do any other military and desolating pot assert; but whatever his er
conqueror. A Emore undaunted rors might be, it is evident that hero has perhaps seldom been they were not of a nature to hard.
seen among men, than Antbony en his heart against his fellow- Benezet. But his heroism and men; nor to lead him to depend courage were displayed in facing on Christ for salvation in such a dangers and encountering diffisense as to neglect to follow the culties to befriend his fellow-men Lord in works of justice, kind. -to open their eyes, to afford re. ness and mercy. To whatever lief to sufferers, and to prevent sect such a man may belong, and misery. whatever may be his errors, he How loathsome in the eyes of is worthy of the esteem of all every humble Christian must be mankind. In him as well as in the character of a bloody cutAbraham we may see, “how throat with the title of a military faith wrought with his works," conqueror, when compared with and how by works faith was the benevolent Benezet! How made perfect."
fatal has been that delusion which Second. In the example of Ben- has ealogized the deeds of men, ezet we may see what it is for who have been successful in shed. Christians to contend earnestly ding human blood, and in multifor the faith once delivered to plying the miseries of the human the saints. The faith •once de. family! Let Christians learn, livered to the saints," is a "faith and let children be taught, to which worketh by love." For withhold the expected tribute of this faith Benezet contended ear- praise from bloody mindet men, nestly: Not however by employ- and to bestow their esteem and ing weapons of death against gratitude on the real benefactors those for whom the Savior lived of mankind. This is one of the and died; nor by employing the most effectual methods forquenchno less"carnal weapons of a slan- ing the thirst for milftary glory, derous tongue, or a cruel and de- and for drying up the streams of famatory pen against his breth- blood and woe. ren, who happened to dissent from Fourth. How happy would be · his opinions: but by the display the state of a society or a nation of that temper which the gospel composed of such amiable ehar. requires, by walking as Christ acters as Benezet. Such a soci
a walked, in meekness, humility ety would bear a glorious resem: and love, by denying himself for blance to the family of heaven, the benefit of others, and by do. and to the spirits of just men ing all he could to relieve the made perfect. distresses of mankind, to advance If the rulers of nations should their happiness, and to save their become of the temper and char. souls.
acter of Benezet, how obvious it Third. How. striking is the is that the savage custom of de. contrast between the character ciding controversies by the sword af Benezet and that of Alexan. would be banished from the world,