Four Lessons from a Calvinist Slave


Your life is not that hard. Not compared to this.

In 1756, Olaudah Equiano and his sister were kidnapped from their home in Nigeria. They were separated a few months later, never to see each other again. In shackles, Equiano walked several hundred miles along the West African coast, sold from one trader to the next, until he eventually ended up in a European vessel set to sail for America.

Then came the horrifying Middle Passage across the Atlantic. In his own words,

The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died. . . .

This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable; and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. (Chapter 2)

And all this even before Equiano turned twelve. To learn more in detail about the rest of his pilgrimage, read his Interesting Narrative, which richly rewards the effort. To whet your appetite, here are four lessons learned from his life, relevant for all of us.

Four Lessons from a Calvinist Slave | Desiring God.