« AnteriorContinuar »
But to return. God Almighty knew what the wickedness of man would be. He knew that in all places there would be some too lazy to work, who would have, of course, the same wants as the industrious have, and would therefore try to supply those wants by stealing from the industrious. They would wish to live by plundering. And therefore God Almighty himself forbids stealing, and threatens it with the punishment of hell. No matter, whose the property is, or what it is, if it belong to another, and be stolen, the thief is subject to punishment from God. But this punishment is to be in the next world. And therefore wise men, who knew that the wicked would not care about this punishment, provided they got the gain and the profit now, wise men, I say, have in every country made laws to punish theft in this world. God alone knows-we may guess and guess truly-what would become of people in this world, if the only punishment for theft were in the next
world. And therefore God Almighty himself not only forbade theft by an express command, saying, Thou shalt not steal, but put it into the heads of wise men to make laws for punishing it. And though the thief may escape the punishment of such laws by his art and cunning, yet God himself has him secure, and will most severely punish him for it hereafter. So that stealing, my brethren, is never safe. It is frequently found out and pu nished in this world. But whether it be so or not, it will most certainly be punished in the next.
You have all great reason to be satisfied, that you live in a country where laws are made and executed to punish theft, where property is thought sacred. You know very well, that your own property, be it in poultry, in the produce of your provision grounds, or in any honest way, is safe to you. Even your owners never invade it, but if they require it, make you
a fair compensation, and buy it from you at the market price. If it were possible, that this happy country were ever to be disturbed by insurrections, and the white inhabitants be driven from it, what would become of the industrious, the well-behaved, orderly and quiet negro. He, and all that belongs to him would be at the mercy of the lazy, the wicked, the bloody minded and the strong. There would be no laws. For who would there be to make them? Who to see them carried into execution? You have not heads, any of you, for such a work. It would be all havoc and confusion. The strong would oppress the weak, the idle would plunder the industrious, the wicked would overcome the good. From such a state of things, so horrid and so destructive, may the God of peace, of order and of love, for ever preserve both us and you!
I conclude with repeating the words of Jesus Christ's messengers or apostles. Be
content with such things as ye have. Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands. If any man will not work, neither should he eat. My friends and brethren, trust in the Lord and do good. May God, through Jesus Christ, give you his grace to enable you to do your duty in your state of life, and through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, reward you in heaven for so doing.
EXODUS XX. 16, 17.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
THESE two commandments are called the ninth and tenth.
The ninth commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. By your neighbour is not meant those only, who live near to you, but all