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In the Classroom > African Americans Lessons > Ministers Owned Slaves

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A Good Master Well Served: A Brief Discourse on the Necessary Properties & Practices of a Good Servant, in Every Kind of Servitude
by Reverend Cotton Mather, 1696

“It is allowed in the Scriptures, to the Gentiles, That they May keep Slaves”

Give Ear, ye pitied Blacks, Give Ear! It is allowed in the Scriptures, to the Gentiles, That they May keep Slaves; although the Law of Charity requires your Owners to Use you as those that have Reasonable Souls within you. Yes, ’twould be against the Conscience of any Good man to keep you for Slaves if he find himself unable to use you according to that Law of Charity. But the most of you have so little cause to desire your being any other than Slaves as you are, & where you are, that it would soon make you miserable to be otherwise. You are better Fed & better Clothed & better Managed by far than you would be if you were your Own men. All that now remains for you is to become first the Good Servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, & then of those that have purchased you…. So, though your Skins are of the colour of the Night, yet your Souls will be washed White in the Blood of the Lamb, and be Entitled unto an Inheritance in Light. Though you are in Slavery to men, yet you shall be the Free-men of the Lord, the Children of God. Though you are Fed among the Dogs, with the Orts [offal; scraps] of our Tables, yet you shall at length Lie down unto a Feast with Abraham himself in the Heaven of the Blessed. Been’t you Discouraged; it will be but a Little, a Little, a Little While, and all your pains will End in Everlasting Joys.

National Humanities Center, 2009: nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/. Sermons and tracts access http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/becomingamer/ideas/text3/slaveryunchristian.pdf

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