This next selection comes from a tract titled “The Mystery of Providence, Especially in Respect of God’s Dealings with Different Parts of the World in Different Ages.” It can be found in the Works, III: 807.
“One great cause of the mercy bestowed on the western part of the earth was the Roman conquests, which, whatever were the motives of the conquerors, were overruled for the introduction of the gospel among European nations. And who knows but the British conquests in the east, whatever be the motives of the conquerors, may be designed for a similar purpose? Even that iniquitous traffic which we and other nations have long been carrying on in the persons of men, I have no doubt, will eventually prove a blessing to those miserable people, though it may be a curse to their oppressors. At this day there are many thousands of negroes in the West India islands who have embraced the gospel, while their owners, basking in wealth, and rolling in debauchery, will neither enter into the kingdom of God themselves, nor suffer others who would enter in. God is gathering a people in spite of them. Behold the goodness and justice of God! Men, torn from their native shores and tenderest connexions, are in a manner driven into the gospel net; the most abject and cruel state of slavery is that by means of which they beome the Lord’s free-men. Their oppressors, on the other hand, who lead them captive, are themselves captive by the devil at his will, and, under the name of Christians, are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. ‘O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his jugments, and his ways past finding out!’”