Considerations on keeping negroes; recommended to the professors of Christianity, of every denomination. : Part second.
Woolman, John, 1720-1772.
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THE PREFACE.

ALL our Actions are of like Nature with their Root; and the Most High weigheth them more skilfully than Men can weigh them one for another.

I believe that one Supreme Being made and sup|ports the World; nor can I worship any other Deity without being an Idolater, and guilty of Wickedness.

Many Nations have believed in, and worshipped a Plurality of Deities; but I do not believe they were therefore all wicked.—Idolatry indeed is Wick|edness; but it is the Thing, not the Name, which is so. Real Idolatry is to pay that Adoration to a Creature, which is known to be due only to the true GOD.

He who professeth to believe in one Almighty Cre|ator, and in his Son JESUS CHRIST, and is yet more intent on the Honours, Profits and Friendships of the World, than he is in Singleness of Heart to stand faithful to the Christian Religion, is in the Channel of Idolatry; while the Gentile, who, under some mistaken Opinions, is notwithstanding establish|ed in the true Principle of Virtue, and humbly adores an Almighty Power, may be of that Number who fear GOD, and work Righteousness.

Page  4I believe the Bishop of Rome assumes a Power, that does not belong to any Officer in the Church of CHRIST; and if I should knowingly do any Thing, tending to strengthen him in that Capacity, it would be great Iniquity. There are many Thousands of People, who by their Profession acknowledge him to be the Representative of JESUS CHRIST on Earth; and to say that none of them are upright in Heart, would be contrary to my Sentiments.

Men who sincerely apply their Minds to true Vir|tue, and find an inward Support from above, by which all vicious Inclinations are made subject; that they love GOD sincerely, and prefer the real Good of Mankind universally to their own private Interest; though these, through the Strength of Education and Tradition, may remain under some speculative and great Errors, it would be uncharitable to say, that therefore GOD rejects them.—He who creates, supports and gives Understanding to all Men, his Knowledge and Goodness is superior to the various Cases and Circumstances of his Creatures, which to as appear the most difficult.

The Apostles and primitive Christians did not cen|sure all the Gentiles as wicked Men, Rom. ii. 14. Col. iii. 2. but as they were favoured with a Gift to discern Things more clearly, respecting the Wor|ship of the true GOD, they with much Firmness de|clared against the worshiping of Idols; and with true Patience endured many Sufferings, on that Account.

Great Numbers of faithful Protestants have con|tended for the Truth, in Opposition to Papal Errors; and with true Fortitude laid down their Lives in Page  5 the Conflict, without saying, That no Man was saved who made Profession of that Religion.

While we have no Right to keep Men as Servants for Term of Life, but that of superior Power; to do ths, with Design by their Labour to profit our|selves and our Families, I believe is wrong; but I do not believe that all who have kept Slaves, have therefore been chargeable with Guilt. If their Mo|tives thereto were free from Selfishness, and their Slaves content, they were a Sort of Freemen; which I believe hath sometimes been the Case.

Whatever a Man does in the Spirit of Charity, to him it is not Sin: And while he lives and acts in this Spirit, he learns all Things essential to his Hap|piness, as an Individual: And if he doth not see that any Injury or Injustice, to any other Person, is necessarily promoted by any Part of his Form of Go|vernment, I believe the merciful Judge will not lay Iniquity to his Charge. Yet others, who live in the same Spirit of Charity, from a clear Convincement, may see the Relation of one Thing to another, and the necessary Tendency of each; and hence it may be absolutely binding on them to desist from some Parts of Conduct, which some good Men have been in.