|Welcome to the anti-slavery book, A Brief Examination of the Practice of the Times (1729), by Ralph Sandiford. To go to the "Table of Contents" immediately, click here.
Prior to the 1861-1865 War, there were a number of Christian abolitionists who opposed slavery. Nowadays, their Biblical-based reasons are generally unknown.
This series of websites educates by making the text of their religious writings accessible. Whether or not you agree with their position, it is at least a good idea to know what it was!
This site in the series reprints the 1729 anti-slavery book by Ralph Sandiford (1693-1733).
The book is written in the style of a constituent letter to a representative in the colonial legislature. Sandiford starts by reminding him of their shared experiences in voyaging to America, then getting into the slavery issue.
Snadiford cites various racist claims of that era, then provides rebuttals.
Note the publisher's name, Benjamin Franklin. He had himself been a runaway! He took an pro-fugitive and anti-slavery position for the rest of his life, including printing anti-slavery writings, and founding an anti-slavery society.
The text is the original. However, spelling is modernized to avoid reader distraction; missing page numbers inserted; and chapters, headings, Biblical references, notes, etc. added as reader aids. The modern practice of the "table of contents" at the beginning, was not then used. Here, one is provided; to go there now, click here.
A Brief Examination of
the Practice of the Times,
by Ralph Sandiford
and Meredith, 1729).
Practice of the Times
Philadelphia, the 1st of the
11th month, 1728-9.
My Friendly Reader,
I. The Salutation
"Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations, O my soul, come not thou into their secret, nor be united in their assembly; for in their anger they slew a man, (but these have slain many) Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, & their wrath, for it is cruel [Gen. 49:5-7],"to keep the creature thus in bondage, whereby we entail sin on our posterity ad infinitum, tho' our Saviour says, he that dies therein, where he is gone shall never come.
"Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, and glorify thy name? For thou
only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest" Rev. 15:3-4].And when we witness this gospel, Oh! how does the love of God in us abound for the welfare and restoration of every living creature, and especially mankind, that we may be redeemed from Babylon's sins, whereby we may escape her plagues.
"The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all: He was oppressed and afflicted who had done no violence, neither was deceit found in his mouth," as is there more fully expressed.
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclam liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God" against sin;and though this may chiefly regard the upward man, which is the better part, yet the mystery does not destroy the history, as we may see Chap lviii:6 where the Lord ordains the fast that he will accept of, which is to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppres-
Dear Friends and Brethren:
|II.||The Fall of Lucifer and his Angels, the Original of Oppression and all Sins, Which He Introduced into Our First Parents||1|
|III.||Oppressors Cain's Seed, and Not the Negroes||3|
|IV.||Neither are They the Seed of Canaan, the Sons of Ham Being All Destroy'd, and their Land Given to the Israelites||4|
|V.||Joseph's Being Sold Did Not Excuse the Buyers from Theft||5|
|VI.||The Nature of this Trade, or Rather the Unnaturalness of this Trade, Considered||6|
|VII.||That It Hath Defaced the Present Dispensation||9|
|VIII.||And is Contrary to the Dispensation of Angels||10|
|IX.||And to the Practice of Abraham||11|
|X.||Trial of this Trade by the Law||13|
|XI.||The Law for Theft, Whereby is Manifested the Fullness of it, Yet so that Mercy Should be Shown to Every Creature, Which is our Best Defence from the Wrathful Principle||14|
|XII.||That Preachers Being Guilty of this Trade hath Decoy'd away Many Well-meaning People, Who Afterwards Feeling Their Own Captivity, Would Come to Any Terms for Deliverance||26|
|XIII.||A Caution to Those That Have Not Touched with It||27|
|XIV.||The Author's Insufficiency for such a Work, with His Own Particular Exercise, Which Can Only Be Understood by Those That have been Baptized, Under the Same Suffering||29|
|XV.||A Trial of this Trade by tbe Prophets||34|
|XVI.||Also by the Dispensation of John the Baptist, and of the Kingdom Both in the Appearance of Christ in the Flesh, and in the Spirit||41|
|XVII.||The Cause of the Church's Degeneracy||56|
|XVIII.||The Inconsistency This Trading in Bondslaves Has with Friend Principles||56|
|To My Select Friends||71|
Related Writings by Other Authors
Roman Catholic Anti-Slavery Data
B. Lay's 1737 Slaveholders
Apostates (Cites Sandiford's Book)
Rev. T. Weld's 1839
Alvan Stewart's 1845
Legal Speech For Freeing Slaves
(P 34 cites the Ten Commandments)
Rev. J. Fee's 1849
Non-Fellowship With Slaveholders
The Duty of Christians
Rev. J. Fee's 1851
Rev. P. Pillsbury's 1883
Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles
Rev. Wm. Patton's 1846
Pro-slavery Interpretations of the
Bible: Productive of Infidelity
Rev. Wm. Goodell's 1852
Slavery and Anti-Slavery
(Cites Sandiford's Book)
H. B. Stowe's 1853
Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin
F. Douglass' 1860
Unconstitutionality of Slavery