Uncle Fred’s Dangerous Bible

The Word of God ought to have such value to your soul that you would risk your very life to learn to be nearer to God and know how to live and how to die.

Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897) was born into slavery and would escape to Philadelphia as a young woman. She learned to read as a child, and as a fugitive slave in the North published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, where she described her experience as a female slave living in the South before the civil war.  In one of her incidents, she wrote about the relationship between the slaves and the church. As a Christian minister it was difficult to read, seeing the way that much of the church sanctioned the permanent enslavement of persons based merely on race.  In that incident of the relationship to the church, she told the story of Uncle Fred approaching her because he desired to learn to read so that he could profit from the Bible.

 

What is the value of God’s Word to you? What if you lived in a time in which it was illegal to be taught the Word of God? Or illegal to teach the Word of God to certain persons?

Would you obey those who have the rule over you, or would you obey God rather than men?

The Word of God ought to have such value to your soul that you would risk your very life to learn to be nearer to God and know how to live and how to die.

Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813-1897) was born into slavery and would escape to Philadelphia as a young woman. She learned to read as a child, and as a fugitive slave in the North published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, where she described her experience as a female slave living in the South before the civil war.  In one of her incidents, she wrote about the relationship between the slaves and the church. As a Christian minister it was difficult to read, seeing the way that much of the church sanctioned the permanent enslavement of persons based merely on race.  In that incident of the relationship to the church, she told the story of Uncle Fred approaching her because he desired to learn to read so that he could profit from the Bible.

Here’s part of that narrative:

I knew an old black man, whose piety and child-like trust in God was beautiful to witness…He had a most earnest desire to learn to read. He thought he should know how to serve God better if he could only read the Bible. He came to me, and begged me to teach him. He said he could not pay me, for he had no money; but he would bring me a nice fruit when the season came for it. I asked him if he didn’t know it was contrary to law; and that slaves were whipped and imprisoned for teaching each other to read. This brought tears to his eyes. “Don’t be troubled, Uncle Fred,” said I. “I have no thought of refusing to teach you. I only told you of the law, that you might know the danger, and be on your guard.”…

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