- Matthew Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.
- 1 Corinthians 13:6
- Where Did “Wicked” Come From, and Who Popularized It in Boston and New England?
- Appearances of the number twenty-one
Matthew Because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.
For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
There seems to be a tendency to this, in many instances, among children of the same parents, having dif ferent colour of hair and features from one ano ther. And God alone who established the course of nature, can bring about and establish what va riety he pleases; and it is not in the power of man to make one hair white or black. But a mong the variety which it hath pleased God to establish and caused to take place, we may meet with some analogy in nature, that as the bodies of men are tempered with a different degree to ena ble them to endure the respective climates of their habitations, so their colours vary, in some de gree, in a regular gradation from the equator to wards either of the poles.
Long custom and the different way of living among the several inhabitants of the different parts of the earth, has a very great effect in distinguishing them by a difference of features and complexion. These effects are easy to be seen; as to the causes, it is sufficient for us to know, that all is the work of an Almighty hand. Therefore, as we find the distribution of the human species inhabiting the barren, as well as the most fruitful parts of the earth, and the cold as well as the most hot, dif fering from one another in complexion accord ing to their situation; it may be reasonably, as well as religiously, inferred, that He who placed them in their various situations, hath extended equally his care and protection to all; and from thence, that it becometh unlawful to counteract his benignity, by reducing others of different complexions to undeserved bondage.
According, as we find that the difference of colour among men is only incidental, and equal ly natural to all, and agreeable to the place of their habitation; and that if nothing else be dif ferent or contrary among them, but that of fea tures and complexion, in that respect, they are all equally alike entitled to the enjoyment of eve ry mercy and blessing of God. But there are some men of that complexion, because they are not black, whose ignorance and insolence leads them to think, that those who are black, were marked out in that manner by some signal inter diction or curse, as originally descending from their progenitors.
Cain un derstood by the nature of the crime he had com mitted, that the law required death, or cutting off, as the punishment thereof. But God in his providence doth not always punish the wicked in this life according to their enormous crimes, we are told, by a sacred poet, that he saw the wicked flourishing like a green bay tree though he ge nerally marks them out by some signal token of his vengeance; and that is a sure token of it, when men become long hardened in their wick edness. The denunciation that passed upon Cain was, that he should be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, bearing the curse and reproach of his iniquity; and the rest of men were prohibited as much from meddling with him, or defiling their hands by him, as it naturally is, not to pull down the dead carcase of an atrocious criminal, hung up in chains by the laws of his country.
But allow the mark set upon Cain to have con sisted in a black skin, still no conclusion can be drawn at all, that any of the black people are of that descent, as the whole posterity of Cain were destroyed in the universal deluge. Only Noah, a righteous and just man, who found grace in the sight of God, and his three sons, Japheth, Shem and Ham, and their wives, eight persons, were preserved from the universal deluge, in the ark which Noah was directed to build.
The three sons of Noah had each children born after the flood, from whom all the present world of men descended. This affords a grand pretence for the supporters of the African slavery to build a false notion upon, as it is found by his tory that Africa, in general, was peopled by the descendants of Ham; but they forget, that the prediction has already been fulfilled as far as it can go. There can be no doubt, that there was a shame ful misconduct in Ham himself, by what is relat ed of him; but the fault, according to the pre diction and curse, descended only to the families of the descendants of his youngest son, Canaan.
The occasion was, that Noah, his father, had drank wine, and perhaps unawares became ine briated by it, and fell asleep in his tent. It seems that Ham was greatly deficient of that filial vir tue as either becoming a father or a son, went in to his father's tent, and, it may be supposed, in an undecent manner, he had suffered his own son, Canaan, so to meddle with, or uncover, his fa ther, that he saw his nakedness; for which he did not check the audacious rudeness of Canaan, but went and told his brethren without in ridicule of his aged parent.
This rude audacious behaviour of Canaan, and the obloquy of his father Ham, brought on him the curse of his grandfather, Noah, but he blessed Shem and Japheth for their decent and filial virtues, and denounced, in the spirit of prophecy, that Canaan should be their servant, and should serve them. Ham was guilty of the offence as well as his son; he did not pity the weakness of his father, who was overcome with wine in that day wherein, it is likely, he had some solemn work to do.
But the prediction and curse rested wholly upon the off spring of Canaan, who settled in the land known by his name, in the west of Asia, as is evident from the sacred writings. The Canaanites be came an exceeding wicked people, and were visit ed with many calamities, according to the pre diction of Noah, for their abominable wicked ness and idolatry. Chederluomer, a descendant of Shem, reduced the Canaanitish kingdoms to a tributary subjec tion; and some time after, upon their revolt, in vaded and pillaged their country.
Not long af ter Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, four kingdoms of the Canaanites were overthrown for their great wickedness, and utterly destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven. The Hebrews, chiefly under Moses, Joshua and Barak, as they were directed by God, cut off most of the other Canaanitish kingdoms, and reduced many of them to subjection and vassalage. Those who settled in the north-west of Canaan, and formed the once flourishing states of Tyre and Sidon, were by the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, and the Persians succes sively reduced to great misery and bondage; but chiefly by the Greeks, the Romans, and the Sa racens, and lastly by the Turks, they were com pleatly and totally ruined, and have no more since been a distinct people among the different na tions.
For if the curse of God ever rested upon them, or upon any other men, the only visible mark thereof was always upon those who committed the most outrageous acts of vio lence and oppression. But colour and complexion has nothing to do with that mark; every wicked man, and the enslavers of others, bear the stamp of their own iniquity, and that mark which was set upon Cain.
1 Corinthians 13:6
Now, the descendants of the other three sons of Ham, were not included under the curse of his father, and as they dispersed and settled on the different parts of the earth, they became also sun dry distinct and very formidable nations. The Egyptians and Philistines were the descendants of Mizraim, and the country which they inhabited was called the land of Mizraim, and Africa, in general, was anciently called the whole land of Ham.
Phut, another of his sons, also settled on the west of Egypt, and as the youngest were obliged to emigrate farthest, after wards dispersed themselves chiefly up the south of the Mediterranean sea, towards Lybia and Mauri tania, and might early mingle with some of the Cushites on the more southern, and, chiefly, on the western parts of Africa. But all these might be followed by some other families and tribes from Asia; and some think that Africa got its name from the King of Lybia marrying a daugh ter of Aphra, one of the descendants of Abraham, by Keturah.
But it may be reasonably supposed, that the most part of the black people in Africa, are the descendants of the Cushites, towards the east, the south, and interior parts, and chiefly of the Phu tians towards the west; and the various revolu tions and changes which have happened among them have rather been local than universal; so that whoever their original progenitors were, as de scending from one generation to another, in a long continuance, it becomes natural for the in habitants of that tract of country to be a dark black, in general.
Nothing but ignorance, and the dreams of a viciated imagination, arising from the general countenance given to the evil practice of wicked men, to strengthen their hands in wick edness, could ever make any person to fancy otherwise, or ever to think that the stealing, kid napping, enslaving, persecuting or killing a black man, is in any way and manner less criminal, than the same evil treatment of any other man of ano ther complexion. But again, in answer to another part of the pre tence which the favourers of slavery make use of in their defence, that slavery was an ancient cus tom, and that it became the prevalent and uni versal practice of many different barbarous na tions for ages: This must be granted; but not because it was right, or any thing like right and equity.
A lawful servitude was always necessary, and became contingent with the very nature of human society. But when the laws of civiliza tion were broken through, and when the rights and properties of others were invaded, that brought the oppressed into a kind of compulsive servitude, though often not compelled to it by those whom they were obliged to serve.
This arose from the different depredations and robbe ries which were committed upon one another; the helpless were obliged to seek protection from such as could support them, and to give unto them their service, in order to preserve themselves from want, and to deliver them from the injury either of men or beasts. This made those who were robbed of their substance, and drove from the place of their abode, make their escape to such as could and would help them; but when such a relief could not be found, they were oblig ed to submit to the yoke of their oppressors, who, in many cases, would not yield them any protec tion upon any terms.
Wherefore, when their lives were in danger otherwise, and they could not find any help, they were obliged to sell them selves for bond servants to such as would buy them, when they could not get a service that was better.
Where Did “Wicked” Come From, and Who Popularized It in Boston and New England?
But as soon as buyers could be found, robbers began their traffic to ensnare others, and such as fell into their hands were carried captive by them, and were obliged to submit to their be ing sold by them into the hands of other robbers, for there are few buyers of men, who intend there by to make them free, and such as they buy are generally subjected to hard labour and bondage. Therefore at all times, while a man is a slave, he is still in captivity, and under the jurisdiction of robbers; and every man who keeps a slave, is a robber, whenever he compels him to his service without giving him a just reward.
Now, in respect to that kind of servitude which was admitted into the law of Moses, that was not contrary to the natural liberties of men, but a state of equity and justice, according as the nature and circumstances of the times required. There was no more harm in entering into a covenant with another man as a bond-servant, than there is for two men to enter into partnership the one with the other; and sometimes the nature of the case may be, and their business require it, that the one may find money and live at a distance and ease, and the other manage the business for him: So a bond-servant was generally the steward in a man's house, and sometimes his heir.
There was no harm in buying a man who was in a state of captivity and bondage by others, and keeping him in servitude till such time as his purchase was redeemed by his labour and service. And there could be no harm in paying a man's debts, and keeping him in servitude until such time as an equitable agreement of composition was paid by him. And so, in general, whether they had been bought or sold in order to pay their just debts when they became poor, or were bought from such as held them in an unlawful captivity, the state of bondage which they and their children fell under, among the Israelites, was into that of a vassalage state, which rather might be termed a deliverance from debt and captivity, than a state of slavery.
In this fair land of liberty, there are many thousands of the inhabitants who have no right to so much land as an inch of ground to set their foot upon, so as to take up their residence upon it, without paying a lawful and reasonable vassalage of rent for it—and yet the whole com munity is free from slavery. And so, likewise, those who were reduced to a state of servitude, or vassalage, in the land of Israel, were not negoci able like chattels and goods; nor could they be disposed of like cattle and beasts of burden, or ever transferred or disposed of without their own consent; and perhaps not one man in all the land of Israel would buy another man, unless that man was willing to serve him.
And when any man had gotten such a servant, as he had entered into a covenant of agreement with, as a bond-servant, if the man liked his master and his service, he could not oblige him to go away; and it some times happened, that they refused to go out free when the year of jubilee came. But even that state of servitude which the Canaanites were re duced to, among those who survived the general overthrow of their country, was nothing worse, in many respects, than that of poor labouring peo ple in any free country.
Their being made hew ers of wood and drawers of water, were laborious employments; but they were paid for it in such a manner as the nature of their service required, and were supplied with abundance of such necessaries of life as they and their families had need of; and they were at liberty, if they chose, to go away, there was no restriction laid on them. But the Canaanites, although they were pre dicted to be reduced to a state of servitude, and bondage to that poor and menial employment, fared better than the West-India slaves; for when they were brought into that state of servitude, they were often employed in an honourable ser vice.
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The Nethenims, and others, were to assist in the sacred solemnities and worship of God at the Temple of Jerusalem. They had the same laws and immunities respecting the solemn days and sabbaths, as their masters the Israelites, and they were to keep and observe them. But they were not suffered, much less required, to labour in their own spots of useful ground on the days of sacred rest from worldly employment; and that, if they did not improve the culture of it, in these times and seasons, they might otherwise perish for hunger and want; as it is the case of the West-India slaves, by their inhuman, infidel, hard-hearted masters.
But again, this may be averred, that the servi tude which took place under the sanction of the di vine law, in the time of Moses, and what was en joined as the civil and religious polity of the peo ple of Israel, was in nothing contrary to the natu ral rights and common liberties of men, though it had an appearance as such for great and wise ends.
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The Divine Law Giver, in his good providence, for great and wise purposes intended by it, has always admitted into the world riches and pover ty, prosperity and adversity, high and low, rich and poor; and in such manner, as in all their va riety and difference, mutation and change, there is nothing set forth in the written law, by Moses, contrary, unbecoming, or inconsistent with that goodness of himself, as the wise and righteous Governor of the Universe.
Those things admit ted into the law, that had a seeming appearance contrary to the natural liberties of men, were only so admitted for a local time, to point out, and to establish, and to give instruction thereby, in an analogous allusion to other things. And therefore, so far as I have been able to consult the law written by Moses, concerning that kind of servitude admitted by it, I can find no thing imported thereby, in the least degree, to warrant the modern practice of slavery.
But, on the contrary, and what was principally intended thereby, and in the most particular manner, as respecting Christians, that it contains the strongest prohibition against it. And, moreover, that it must appear evident to any Christian be liever, that it was necessary that all these things should take place, and as the most beautiful fabric of Divine goodness, that in all their variety, and in all their forms, they should stand recorded un der the sanction of the Divine law.
And this must be observed, that it hath so pleased the Almighty Creator, to establish all the variety of things in nature, different complexions and other circumstances among men, and to re cord the various transactions of his own provi dence, with all the ceremonial oeconomy written in the books of Moses, as more particularly re specting and enjoined to the Israelitish nation and people, for the use of sacred language, in order to convey wisdom to the fallen apostate human race.
Wherefore, all the various things establish ed, admitted and recorded, whether natural, mo ral, typical or ceremonial, with all the various things in nature referred to, were so ordered and admitted, as figures, types and emblems, and o ther symbolical representations, to bring forward, usher in, hold forth and illustrate that most amaz ing transaction, and the things concerning it, of all things the most wonderful that ever could take place amongst the universe of intelligent beings; as in that, and the things concerning it, of the salvation of apostate men, and the wonderful be nignity of their Almighty Redeemer.
But as the grand eligibility and importance of those things, implied and pointed out in sacred writ, and the right understanding thereof, be longs to the sublime science of metaphysics and theology to enforce, illustrate and explain, I shall only select a few instances, which I think have a relation to my subject in hand. Among other things it may be considered, that the different colours and complexions among men were intended for another purpose and design, than that of being only eligible in the variety of the scale of nature.
And, accordingly, had it been otherwise, and if there had never been any black people among the children of men, nor any spotted leopards among the beasts of the earth, such an instructive question, by the prophet, could not have been proposed, as this, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then, may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
Appearances of the number twenty-one
But these differences of a natural variety amongst the things themselves, is in every respect equally innocent, and what they cannot alter or change, was made to be so, and in the most eligible and primary design, were so intend ed for the very purposes of instructive language to men. And by these extreme differences of co lour, it was intended to point out and shew to the white man, that there is a sinful blackness in his own nature, which he can no more change, than the external blackness which he sees in another can be rendered otherwise; and it likewise holds out to the black man, that the sinful blackness of his own nature is such, that he can no more alter, than the outward appearance of his colour can be brought to that of another.
And this is import ed by it, that there is an inherent evil in every man, contrary to that which is good; and that all men are like Ethiopians even God's elect in a state of nature and unregeneracy, they are black with original sin, and spotted with actual trans gression, which they cannot reverse.
But to this truth, asserted of blackness, I must add another glorious one. All thanks and eternal praise be to God! His infinite wisdom and goodness has found out a way of renovation, and has opened a foun tain through the blood of Jesus, for sin and for uncleanness, wherein all the stains and blackest dyes of sin and polution can be washed away for ever, and the darkest sinner be made to shine as the brightest angel in heaven.
To this I must again observe, and what I chiefly intended by this similitude, that the external blackness of the Ethiopians, is as innocent and natural, as spots in the leopards; and that the difference of colour and complexion, which in hath pleased God to appoint among men, are no more unbe coming unto either of them, than the different shades of the rainbow are unseemly to the whole, or unbecoming to any part of that apparent arch.
It does not alter the nature and quality of a man, whether he wears a black or a white coat, whether he puts it on or strips it off, he is still the same man. And so likewise, when a man comes to die, it makes no difference whether he was black or white, whether he was male or female, whe ther he was great or small, or whether he was old or young; none of these differences alter the es sentiality of the man, any more than he had wore a black or a white coat and thrown it off for ever.
But there is nothing set forth in the law as a rule, or any thing recorded there in that can stand as a precedent, or make it law ful, for men to practice slavery; nor can any laws in favour of slavery be deduced from thence, for to enslave men, be otherwise, than as unwarrantble, as it would be unnecessary and wrong, to order and command the sacrifices of beasts to be still continued. Now the great thing imported by it, and what is chiefly to be deduced from it in this respect, is, that so far as the law concerning bond-servants, and that establishment of servitude, as ad mitted in the Mosaical institution, was set forth, it was thereby intended to prefigure and point out, that spiritual subjection and bondage to sin, that all mankind, by their original transgression, were fallen into.