"Let us make a Trial, Whether they that have been Scorched and Blacken'd by the Sun of Africa, may not come to have their Minds Healed by the more Benign Beams of the Sun of Righteousness."

— Mather, Cotton (1663–1728)


Place of Publication
Boston
Publisher
B. Green
Date
1706
Metaphor
"Let us make a Trial, Whether they that have been Scorched and Blacken'd by the Sun of Africa, may not come to have their Minds Healed by the more Benign Beams of the Sun of Righteousness."
Metaphor in Context
It is a Golden Sentence, that has been sometimes quoted from Chrysostom; That for a man to know the Art of Alms, is more than for a man to be Crowned with the Diadem of Kings: But to Convert one Soul unto God, is more than to pour out Ten Thousand Talents into the Baskets of the Poor. Truly, to Raise a Soul, from a dark State of Ignorance and Wickedness, to the Knowledge of GOD, and the Belief of CHRIST, and the practice of our Holy and Lovely RELIGION; 'Tis the noblest Work, that ever was undertaken among the Children of men. An Opportunity to Endeavour the CONVERSION of a Soul, from a Life of Sin, which is indeed a woful Death, to Fear God, and Love CHRIST, and by a Religious Life to Escape the Paths of the Destroyer; it cannot but be Acceptable to all that have themselves had in themselves Experience of such a Conversion. And such an Opportunity there is in your Hands, O all you that have any Negroes in your Houses; an Opportunity to try, Whether you may not be the Happy Instruments, of Converting, the Blackest Instances of Blindness and Baseness, into admirable Candidates of Eternal Blessedness. Let not this Opportunity be Lost; if you have any concern for Souls, your Own or Others; but, make a Trial, Whether by your Means, the most Bruitish of Creatures upon Earth may not come to be disposed, in some Degree, like the Angels of Heaven; and the Vassals of Satan, become the Children of God. Suppose these Wretched Negroes, to be the Offspring of Cham (which yet is not so very certain,) yet let us make a Trial, Whether the CHRIST who dwelt in the Tents of Shem, have not some of His Chosen among them; Let us make a Trial, Whether they that have been Scorched and Blacken'd by the Sun of Africa, may not come to have their Minds Healed by the more Benign Beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
(pp. 1-2)
Categories
Provenance
Reading Winthrop Jordan's White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, VA, 1968), 200.
Citation
Cotton Mather, The Negro Christianized. An Essay to Excite and Assist that Good Work, the Instruction of Negro-Servants in Christianity (Boston: B. Green, 1706). <Link to UN-L edition edited by Paul Royster>
Date of Entry
08/25/2011

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.