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very easily shewn; for the Christian religion, instead of making a man discontented in whatever situation God may have pleased to place him, has quite a contrary tendency, as it keeps not his mind and thoughts grovelling upon the earth, and the things of and connected with the earth, but raises them to higher and better objects, to an eternal and happy state, and makes him consider the toils and labours, and crosses and afflictions of this short life as quite a secondary object, and scarcely worthy the serious consideration of one who may be (by a sincere faith in Christ, and repentance towards God) an heir of immortality; nay, teaches him that he must expect these things more or less, and moreover, that his Saviour was pleased to be born of one in a low estate; that the Apostles and Prophets laboured much, and suffered hunger, and thirst, and persecution; that it is held out to all true disciples of Christ, that through much tribulation they must enter into the kingdom of God; and that all the indignities and hardships of this present life, are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall hereafter be revealed, to all true and patient believers.
It moreover teaches them to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, and, as Slaves, to obey their masters in all things; nay, to count them worthy of all honour, and not to
seek their own freedom, by any unjust or unlawful means, but, having food and raiment, to be therewith content. This is the doctrine of Scripture; and every discreet and pious minister of the Gospel, stationed in the colonies, will enlarge upon these topics, and consider it his duty frequently to recur to them. And when the Gospel is so preached, and the happiness of a future state, the joys of heaven, held up to the view of the poor and lowly Slave as his birthright and high privilege, equally as well as they are the white man's, I contend that he will be not only more attentive to his own personal and temporal wants, but will labour more cheerfully and assiduously for his master, as he will serve him, not then with eye-service, but for conscience sake, as being aware that the eye of his heavenly Father is constantly upon him, and will reward him according to his works, produced through the faith of Jesus Christ, and the grace afforded him.
This, it may be said, looks well upon paper, and is all very well in theory; but practice, or real proof, is what would be more satisfactory, and what the colonists and their friends at home will require, before they consent to any material change. This proof can be given, for the practice has resulted from the doctrines and theory I have stated, in a part of several parishes in
Jamaica, as I shall more fully explain in another place.*
I shall only say here, that the hearts of the Negroes appear to be open to conviction, and seem prepared for the reception of the great truths of the Gospel. I have seen the eyes of many a one sparkle with joy at the preaching of Gospel news; and they seem to be reanimated and transformed into different beings, when told that Christ died for them, and that by faith and grace they may be saved as well as we. It has also its proper effects upon their conversation and conduct; for I knew several Negroes in Port-Royal, who pulled in canoes or other boats for themselves on Sundays (as well as for their masters on week-days) give up a part of their own day, from religious motives, though their subsistence almost depended upon it.
An anecdote of one in particular I shall relate. I had opened the church in the afternoon, principally for the Slaves and free people of colour, as those who were employed in canoes, wherries, &c. could not attend in the morning; but some of them came in the afternoon, with others who had been previously a nuisance about the streets. On landing in Kingston, on a Monday morning, I overheard a dialogue between a canoe man *Note 12. See Appendix.
and a Negro woman of his acquaintance. They did not see me at first, but the woman addressed him, and expressed her surprise at not seeing him yesterday afternoon. "Oh," he said, "me was not up yesterday afternoon; me go to church now." “Ah,” said she, "you go to church!" “Yes,” replied he, "the Minister open the church twice ebery Sunday, and me go to church in the afternoon now; me go to heary good, and no work all day." "Ah,” she replied, "dat very good of the Minister to open church in the afternoon for poor Neaga." More of the same kind was said; but I had been walking near, and when they saw me the conversation was put an end to. There are very few white people, I fear, who, if they had to work hard all the week for their master, and had only Sunday, with a trifling allowance, to provide for themselves all the week following, would give up a part of that Sunday to go and hear a sermon. The Slaves who work in boats get half a dollar a week from their owners, besides the Sunday to themselves; but those who know the heavy and hard work (for four Negroes) of pulling a large canoe with six or eight persons in it, three or four times a day from Kingston to Port-Royal and back (and vice versa), a distance of six miles, will allow that two shillings and twopence
sterling will go but a little way in food and liquor; for liquor of some kind they must have in such labour, and in so very hot a climate.
I am well assured that I shall be accused of having represented the state of Christianity amongst the Negroes in Jamaica as much lower than it actually is, and that a knowledge of the numbers baptized, in many parishes, will be sufficient to invalidate what I have stated.* I am free to admit that great numbers have been baptized, but the greater part of those never attend church, or any other place of worship, and are not converted, but are nearly as great heathens as ever they were; for I cannot for a moment allow that all those who are baptized are real Christians, even in this Christian country, where the relations and sponsors are obliged to see that they are taught the nature of Christianity, when arrived at a proper age. Moreover, those few adults who are baptized into our church (in England and Ireland) are obliged to be well acquainted with our catechism and other Christian truths, before they can be admitted to this sacrament, and the clergy are strictly ordered by the rubric not to baptize them otherwise. But what is the state of these poor Slaves who apply for baptism in the West Indies? It is notorious that they are *Note 13. See Appendix.