ALL SLAVE-KEEPERS, &c.
Some Observations writ|ten 1718, by William Burling, now living, for aught I know, on Long-Island, concerning Slave-Keeping, ta|ken from his Writings. [The same Year I was convinced of the same Hellish Practice, I then living in Barbadoes. Benjamin Lay.]
An Address to the El|ders of the Church, upon the oc|casion of some Friends compelling certain Persons, and their posterity, to serve them continually and arbitraryly, without Regard to E|quity or Right, not heeding whe|ther they give them any thing near so much as their Labour de|serveth.
Page 7_MY Dear Beloved Friends, and Elder Brethren, whom as it behoves me, I would intreat as Fathers, a waighty Concern from the Lord, is and hath been at times for many Years on my Spirit, in consideration of this unchristian Liberty, being indulged in the Church, for it is in itself none of the least of the World's Co|ruptions, [no, say I, but the greatest, that ever the Devil brought into the Church in America;] and indeed the Lord by his Spirit, manifested the Evil to me before I was 12 Years of Age, and since from time to time, I have had drawings in mind to re|prove and testify against it, nor have I been altogether silent, altho' much discourag'd by reason of it's being practiced by so many Friends, yea Elders too, and tho' I have formerly thought it strange, that the Church did not exclude it, by her dis|cipline, and fix the Judgment of Truth upon it, yet now I am sensible such a thing is not easily done or accomplished, there be|ing so strong opposition in many, that it cannot be brought to the Test, and Judg|ment brought forth into Victory in the cause at present, without danger of much ••rife and disorder in the Church, which is Page 8 generally hurtful where-ever it prevaileth; therefore to be carefully avoided; however I hope we are all unanimous in our judge|ment, that whatever Friend hath any thing from the movings of the Spirit of Truth to communicate to his Brethren, either by word or writing concerning this or any other matter, ought to be allowed and received in his Testimony, and borne with by his Brethren, so long as he keeps to the counsel and direction of the Holy Spirit, and therefore delivers nothing but what is according to Truth, altho' it hap|pens to be never so contrary to the interest or inclinations of the Readers or Hearers.
Now I would such Friends as Practice or Plead for the abovesaid Sin, Evil or Liberty, to consider sollidly what Hardship they impose on such as are concern'd to bear Testimony against it; for while so many Friends continues in said Practice, no one can reprove it, and give it that deserved Character, which is agreeable to it's na|ture, without implicitly condemning many of his Brethren, [Ministers and all say I, for they are the worst Enemies in this case the Church has to War with, or that Hell itself, or Devil can procure in this case. (This is very pinching, B. L. canst thou prove thy Allegations?) if Page 9 not, what will become of thee? Never fear, Friend; Fear suprises, thou knows who; but the Truth is stronger than all the Powers of Hell. Blessed for ever is the God of Truth, the Truth of God, the Truth which is God: So be it, saith my Soul.
Brethren and Elder Brethren, as Transgressors in this Thing, which is very hard to do, yet if the Lord require such a Thing or Testimony of any Friend he is ne|cessitated so to judge his Brethren, or quench the Spirit in its Motions, in his own Heart; for the case admits of no medium. Again I intreat those who slights and dis|regards the Testimony of any whom the Lord concerns to appear against this fleshly Liberty, to consider whom thy oppose, and withstand; and the inspired Apostle speak|ing concerning the Lord's Instruments, whom he was pleased to make use of, saith 1 Thess. iv. 8. He therefore that des|piseth, despiseth not Men, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit. O! That I could prevail so far with all my dear Brethren, that none would any more plead for or endeavour to defend the aforesaid unjust Practice; neither endeav|our to shield it from the judgment of Truth. We may do well to remember, the Devil is Page 10 the Author of all Sin, and Sin is the Transgression of the Law.
No greater nor no better Law, say I, than to love God above all, and all our Fellow-Creatures as ourselves; these two contain Law, Prophets and Gospel, do to all as we would be done by. No greater Sin Hell can invent, than to prophane and blaspheme the pure and Holy Truth, which is God all in all, and remove God's Creatures made after his own Image, from all the Comforts of Life, and their Country and procure for them, and bring them into all the mi|series that Dragons, Serpents, Devils, and Hypocrites, can procure and think of; these things are carried on by Chris|tians, so called, and Ministers too, in the very greatest appearance of Demuri|ty and Sanctity in the whole World, that ever I read or heard of; God which is the Truth, saith we shall not eat this cursed Fruit; our Ministers say we may eat, and lawfully too; which shall we believe?
We pretend not to love fighting with carnal Weapons, nor to carry Swords by our sides, but carry a worse thing in the Heart, as will I believe appear by and by; what, I pray and beseech you, dear Page 11 Friends, by the tender Mercies of our God, to consider, can be greater Hypo|crisy, and plainer contradiction, than for us as a People, to ref••e to bear Arms, or to pay them that do, and yet purchase the Plunder, the Captives, for Slaves at a very great Price, there|by justifying their selling of them, and the War, by which they were or are obtained; nor doth this satisfy, but their Children also are kept in Slavery, ad infinitum; is not this plainly and sub|stantially trampling the most Blessed and Glorious Testimony that ever was or ever will be in the World, under our Feet, and committing of Iniquity with, both Hands earnestly? Is this the way to convince the poor Slaves, or our Chil|dren, or Neighbours, or the World? Is it not the way rather to encourage and strengthen them in their Infidelity, and Atheism, and their Hellish Prac|tice of Fighting, Murthering, killing and Robbing one another, to the end of the World.
My dear Friends, I beg, I would in|treat, in all Humility, with all earnest|ness of mind, on the bended Knees of my Body and Soul; willingly and with all readiness, sincerely, if that would Page 12 do, that you would turn to the Lord, the Blessed Truth, in your Hearts, for Direction, for Counsel and Advice; that you may quit your selves like Men, honourably, of this so Hellish a Prac|tice. Especially, you that have the Word of Reconciliation to preach to the Children of Men; and if you have any true tenderness of the Love of God in you, as I right well know, blessed be the Name of the Lord, all true Minis|ters have, you my dear Friends, consider waightily of these important concerns, and quit yourselves of yourselves and Slaves; for a good example in you might do a great deal of good, as a bad one will do, and has done a very great deal of mis|chief to the Truth; for the Eyes of the People are upon you, some for good, and some for Evil.
And my Friends, you that have Saves, and do minister to others in our Meetings, consider I intreat and beseech you concerning this thing in particular. What Burthens and Afflic|tions, Bondage, and sore Captivity you bring upon your dear and tender Friends, and keep them in, which cannot touch with this vile and Hellish Practice, but are constrained to bear Testi|mony against it, as one the greatest Page 13 Sins in the World, all things considered: And against you too in some sort, as be|ing in the practice yourselves, of that which is directly opposite to your own Pretensions, and a very great stumbling Block in the way of honest, godly In|quirers, which want Peace to their Souls.
What a great Strait these tender hearted mourning Souls must needs be in, think ye, betwixt Love and Duty; they love you dearly for the Truth sake, and yet think it their Duty abso|lutely in the Fear and Love of God, to testifie against the Sin, and you for con|tinuing in it.
Dear Friends, what Peace can you have, in thus afflicting your Fellow Members; even the same Testimony they have with you in Meetings, where is the Blessed Unity and Fellowship, you have been preaching so many Years, as being sensible of one anothers exercises, Bearers of one another's Burthens, hav|ing a deep sence and feeling of others infirmities, or afflictions, or troubles.
What is become of this blessed ex|perience, my Friends? is it all lost as to you, i• so I must give my judgment, that you? have not your constant dwelling in him, that was touched with a feel|ing Page 14 of our infirmities, tempted in all cases like unto us, yet without Sin; and so are his Saints, for they are all of one, and they live with him Night and Day, in his blessed Kingdom, which is within; and they love him dearly, they cannot avoid it, for he first loved them or us, and we cannot keep back our love from him any more than we can hinder, or stop the Rivers and Streams from running into the Ocean: For we having received all from him, of course all re|turn or run to him again; it is the na|ture of his essence or divine being.
The white Stone that has the new Name in it, is given to him that over|comes.
None can Read but he, or she that re|ceives it.
He that overcometh, shall sit with me on my Throne, as I in my Father's Throne
He that over-cometh, shall eat of the hidden Manna.
He that overcometh, shall have right to the Tree of Life, which stands in the Page 15 midst of the Paradise of God, in the Heart.
W. B. In his Preface, mentions some|thing of the Lord's dealing with him, when he was about about 10 or 12 Years of Age, which I suppose is about 50 Years ago, then there was much Dis|course about many English and Dutch People, being taken into Turky, or by the Turks into Slavery, and sold in the Mar|ket, for Term of Life, as Beasts in the Field. As our brave Christians so call'd do, and have done for many Years in Philadelphia, and elsewhere in America, by the poor Negroes, which is ten times worse in us; all things consider'd; but what crying, wringing of Hands, what Mourning and Lamentations there was then by their Relations, Wives for their Husbands, Parents for their Children, Relations for their Friends, one Neigh|bour for another! what exclaiming against the Turk for his Tyranny and oppression, and cruel Dealing and Treatment, to|wards their Friends, and may be cursing and calling for Damnation to him and his God too.
Well my Friends, consider of it, and make an Application suitable to the circumstance of your own Slaves; for I do not believe in my Soul, the Turks are Page 16 so cruel to their Slaves, as many Chris|tians, so called, are to theirs, by what I have seen and heard of, in Barbadoes, and elsewhere; and I give you a reason for it. I was near 18 Months, on board a large Vessel of 400 Tons in a Voyage to Scanderoon in Turky, with •our Men that had been 17 Years Slaves in Turky, and I never did understand by them, that they were so badly used as the poor Negroes are by some called Christians.
Ezra vi. 21, 22.
And the Children of Israel, which were come again out of Captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the Heathen of the Land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat.
And they kept the feast seven Days with joy: For the Lord made them joyful, that had separated from the filthiness of the Heathen.
It is like there was some, which came out of Babylon, and out of Captivity in some sort, which nevertheless would not separate themselves from the filthiness of the Heathen. For long custom had made it so familiar, easy and sweet un|to them, that they would not leave it, Page 17 no not for the Joy of the Lord. And some of these were Priests and Levites, for ought we know; for they loved their Heathen Whores, I believe, and other filthiness, which the Heathens allow of, almost as well as our Spiritual Priests and Levites, under the Gospel of Christ, do their Slaves, it is a very plain, parallel case, when neither the one or the other will part with them, no not for the Joy of the Lord. Then to be sure not for the comfort and Joy of their Brethren, and Sisters, who have been in sore Bondage, and Thraldom or Captivity, on that sin|ful Hellish Account, Slave-keeping, for 50 Years and more; and that by their Brethren and Sisters, which keeps them and will keep them, in spite of them, let them beg or pray, or say, or do what they can or will.
And all this while Preach, as their tender Friends do; who cannot touch with that sinful practice to gain the whole World; profess the same Pure Truth, Gospel, Unction, Annoynting, Urim, and Thumim, Measure of the Spi|rit, pretend they have received the same Manifestation and Dispensation to preach, as their innocent Friends, Brethren, or Sisters have.
Page 18 And really to give them their due, they come very near them in Words, for what I and some others can see; for we have observed them strictly as is our duty upon the Truths Account, which suffers so much by them, and their sin|ful practice, as well as their oppressed, and greatly afflicted Brethren and Sisters.
I say these Nocents, come very near the Innocents in Words, except here and there, they do stretch and strain, rest, part, pervert, misconstrue, and mis|apply Scripture to serve their covetous Ends, or to justifie the Practice, or to extenuate the Crime. If these things be done by them in|tentionally,* we may say, with|out Breach of Charity. They shall receive the greater Damnation; as Christ himself said in a case almost as bad.
Many worthy Men have borne Testi|mony against this •oul Sin, Slave-keep|ing, by Word and Writing; some of which I have noted elsewhere; but es|pecially Ralph Sandiford, amongst many others, has writ excellently well, against that filthy Sin; far beyond what I can or do pretend to, being a Man of so very Page 19 mean a capacity, and little Learning; but as I firmly believing it to be my duty, in the sight of God; I endeavour to do what I can and leave the Event to the Lord.
And as for any Slave-keepers, who are not impartial in the case; to say that R. S. writ in a Spirit of Bitterness, or that he did not end his Life well. As to the first I have read his Book carefully, with Attention; and I do not remember a Word in it contrary to Truth, or any such sharp invectives, as may easily be found in Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testament; altho' I have, it's true, because, I believe in my very Soul the cause does require it, for the nature of those Beasts, is in those Men, which do trade in Slaves; and much worse.
As to the second objection, that he R. S. did not end well; let such be intreated to remember the Man of God, that was sent by the Lord, from Judah, to declare against the Altar; or that of Bethel, and the Miracles wrought by him, the King's Hand withering, and restored by his Prayer; the Altar split|ing, and since that his Prophesy fulfill|ed; of Men's Bones, being offered or Burnt thereon.
Page 20 And yet this Man of God, never came to the Supulchers of his Fathers, by reason an old lying Prophet leading him out of the way. So was flain by a Lyon▪
Judah's Prophet, had but one Hypo|critical lying old Prophet, that we read of, to lead him out of the way. But R. S. had, and we now have, abundance of Old and Young pretended Prophet's Prophets to lead us, poor Creatures, ou• of the way.
And so they will many, unwary Souls; except the Lord our God b• pleased to open our Eyes, to see the Hellish Cheat, and devilish Delusion; b• which many of our poor Friends have been seduced, and lead aside in the Hellish Darkness or Smoak, of the Bot|tomless Pit; for whom my very Soul i• grieved. God Almighty is my Witness.
The 8th Mo. 1736. Benjamin Lay.
R. S. above-mentioned, was in great Perplexity of mind; and having oppres|sion, which makes a wise man Mad, b• which he was brought very low, with many Bodily Infirmities, long before he died; his Book largely set out, read 〈◊〉 without partiality or prejudice, which is always blind, or very short-sighted and you may excellent weighy matte••Page 21 find in it; he was a very tender hearted Man before he came amongst Friends, as well as after, as I have heard from ma|ny honest Friends, that had much deal|ing, and intimate Conversation with him, for many Years, which are now living. But before he died, by reason of his sore Affliction of mind, concerning Slave-keeping, as in his Book largely appear, and Infirmity of Body, he fell into a sort of Delirium: However I do believe if he had lived he would have overcame it; for I went to see him se|veral times, a little before he died; I am not ashamed, nor afraid, to write it, altho' I be censured for it, as I have been with some others, for going to see him, altho' in Affliction, the only time for Visiting, as I humbly conceive, if we go in a right mind.
But O! Say the Slave-keepers, and must confess in their Hearts that Book, The Mystery of Iniquity, as it is call'd, and titled; it tells Tales to the World, sets forth to the World's People, what a Parcel of Hypocrites, and Deceivers we are, under the greatest appearance and Pretentions to Religion and Sanctity that ever was in the World; we'll cen|sure him, and his Book too, into the Page 22 Bottomless Pit, if we can, tho' we can't disprove a Word in it, for it's undeni|able Truth, and so unanswerable; for we never understood, that any one ever attempted it, or so much as spake of it; but what of that, Brethren, if it be sin|ful we are in the Iniquity, in the prac|tice of Slave-keeping; and our Children by our means, incouragement, and ap|pointment, not only so, but our Fathers before us, worthy Men, in their genera|ting Work; and some of them Minis|ters and Elders, with all Men of re|nown. They found the sweetness of it, and so do we, and we will continue in it; let who will or dare say nay; we'll condemn R. in his Grave, and his Book and all that favour it, or promote its being spread abroad, or being read, that exposes us, and we'll expose that, or especially him that writ it, by Cal|lumnies and Slanders, and Surmises, and by insinuating all that ever we can hear or think of against him, now he is in his Grave; especially we did it before, but now more safely, for he can't contradict or oppose us now; so that if we can but render him odious in his Character, his Book will be invalidated in course with us that hate it, altho' we cannot disprove Page 23 a tittle of it, especially with our Brethren in strict Unity, in this Iniquity, and foulest of Sins, the Negroe Trade.
If this practice can be proved to be the greatest of Sins (as may easily be done) considering it's Root and Branch, and all the sad Fruit it brings forth; yet we read Christ died for Sinners, and he can forgive the greatest, as well as the least.
It is true some may say, Christ in his great Love, hath forgiven Sins, com|mitted in time of great Darkness and Ignorance; but if we should commit the grossest of evils now, in the clear light of this Gospel Day, continue in them, and plead for it too, we should with|stand spiritual Moses, and our Damnati|on would be just.
Some indeed may insinuate this Chapter against us,* but what if Korah the Son of Izhar, did with his Company 250 with|stand Moses, they were Princes of the Assembly, famous in the Congregation, Men of renown, as we are many of us: What if Moses did fall on his Face, and weep before the Lord, with Aaron and others? And if the Lord threatened to to destroy the whole Company; What Page 24 of that? he did not: What if the Earth did open, and swallow up Korah, and a Fire from the Lord consumed others; yet we may take notice, the Congregation were not pleased; the rebellious party, for they murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, Ye, have killed the Lord's People, or People of the Lord.
It is also true, there was 14700 slain by the Plague, of the Murmurers and Rebels, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. But it is not, nor hath been so with us as yet, and we have been in this practice, that some few poor Fellows, make such a stir a|bout, above 50 Years; poor People which cannot purchase them, so pretend Conscience in the case, but let them that oppose our practice in Negroes, bring those things upon us as above|mentioned; if they can, then People may believe they are in the Right, and we in the Wrong.
But let us consider by the way,* Brethren, if we go on ar|guing after this manner, some may be ready to object, that Blasphemous Saying of our Elder Brethren, concerning Christ: If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down Page 25 from the Cross, and we will believe in him. It is true the Objection is just, and it may be a Parallel Case: But what shall we do, for People begin to see as clearly as when the Sun is in its Meridian Throne, young People as well as old, That this Practice of ours is as directly opposite to our holy Principles as Light is to Darkness, Christ to Belial, or God to the Devil.
If the Case be thus, dear Brethren, as to be sure it is, how shall we stand our Ground? our Ground, I say. It is true we may keep our Meeting-Houses for a time, and we may join Forces with them that are in the Negro Practice; in strict Unity among our selves, and with any other dear Friends of our own Mind, Relations, Customers, Chapmen, Work|men, or others that we can have any In|fluence over, Quakers or no Quakers, if they will but come to Meetings and do as we do, if not, say as we say, and plead for said sad Hell-Practice; or at least, Gentleman-like, connive, palliate and dissemble to extenuate the Crime; and we will with all our Might, Interest and Strength, put forth, keep out, and hin|der or prevent coming into our Syna|gogues, any that will oppose or condemn Page 26 our Practice, or us for continuing in it. And further, as we have the Power of Discipline, our Ministers are forc'd, and must of Necessity come to us for Certi|ficates or Letters to recommend them, which we are very ready to give if they are fit for our Turn and Practice, and very good ones too. If they be but ve|ry poorly qualified in Words, and worse in Conduct and Life, yet they'll serve a small Turn. When he or she have got their Passport, one or other of us, a trusty Brother without Doors, will give them the Hint before they go forth, that if they should chance to meet, or go on purpose where they are to be found or heard of, any of the heavenly Party that is against our hellish Practice (or hellish Party that is against our heavenly Prac|tice, for it is heavenly to us, it is Com|fort and Joy to us, and we delight in it greatly and will keep in it) and may be, My dear Friend, we will give thee a little Memorandum in thy Pocket of Places and Persons, which will be a great Help to thee, poor dear Creature, thy dear Mind being so much exercised about other good Things, that thou mayst chance to forget some other Matters though they be weighty: And wherever thou meets with any such as are Page 27 abovemention'd, when thee comes near their Dwellings, which thee may chance to hear of by strict Inquiry, inform Friends against them whatever thee can; tho' the Name of an Informer be odious, yet in some Cases it is thought necessary, as in this: But be sure when thou comes in thy Testimony, thresh 'em going, spare 'em not; and if any speak to thee after Meeting about it, say, If the Coat fits thee, put it on; I had no Particular in View. This is and has been the Practice of many worthy Friends, so they hide themselves, and strengthen our Party bravely; so be it, say they.
Matth. vii. 17. Every good Tree bring|eth good Fruit, but a corrupt Tree bringeth evil Fruit. Is there any eviler Fruit in the World than Slave-keeping? any thing more devilish? it is of the very Nature of Hell itself, and is the Belly of Hell.
Verse 18. A good Tree cannot bring forth such cursed evil Fruit as Slave-tra|ding, if this Practice be the worst, the greatest Sin in the World (with what goes and grows with it) as it is, to be sure. But if any should say that good Trees, good Men, may be in this Prac|tice and encourage it, and if they may Page 28 bring forth such Fruit, what Fruit must evil Trees bring forth. This will not hold by a Parity of Reason; comparing Things with Things by an Equality, it will not hold good in any Case, much less in a religious Sense; there it is very odious, to be sure, and is very foul in Ministers especially. Let them keep on their Sheeps Cloathing, and preach and pray as long as they may, until their Tongues are weary, and their Hearers Ears too; they'll preach more to Hell, I firmly believe, than they will to Hea|ven, while they continue in said Prac|tice.
For Custom in Sin, hides, covers, as it were takes away the Guilt of Sin. Long Custom, the Conveniency of Slaves wor|king for us, waiting and tending conti|nually on us, beside the Washing, clean|ing, scouring, cooking very nicely fine and curious, sewing, knitting, darning, almost ever at hand and Command; and in other Places milking, churning, Cheese-making, and all the Drudgery in Dairy and Kitchin, within doors and without. And the proud, dainty, lazy Daughters sit with their Hands before 'em, like some of the worst idle Sort of Gentlewomen, and if they want a Trifle, Page 29 rather than rise from their Seats, call the poor Slave from her Drudgery to come and wait upon them. These Things have been the utter Ruin of more than a few; and yet encouraged by their own Parents, for whom my Spirit is grieved, some of which were and are Preachers in great Repute, as well as others.
Now, dear Friends, behold a Mystery! These Ministers that be Slave-keepers, and are in such very great Repute, such eminent Preachers, given to Hospitality, charitable to the Poor, loving to their Neighbours, just in their Dealings, tem|perate in their Lives, visiting of the Sick, sympathising with the Afflicted in Body or Mind, very religious seemingly, and extraordinary devout and demure, and in short strictly exact in all their Deco|rums, except Slave-keeping, these, these be the Men, and the Women too, for the Devil's purpose, and are the choi|cest Treasure the Devil can or has to bring out of his Lazaretto, to establish Slave-keeping. By these Satan works Wonders many ways. These are the very Men, or People of both Sexes, that come the nearest the Scribes & Pharisees of any People in the whole World, if not sincere: For the Scribes were exact and Page 30 demure seemingly in their Appearance before Men, according to Christ's Ac|count of them, and yet the worst Ene|mies the dear Lamb had, or that the Devil could procure for or against him. And I do surely believe that one such as these, now in this our Day, in this very Country, does more Service for the De|vil, and Hurt in the Church, in Slave-keeping, than twenty Publicans and Har|lots: For by their extraordinary Con|duct, in Hypocrisy, smooth and plausi|ble appearance, they draw into the Snare almost insensibly, and so beguile unstable Souls before they are aware, which is sorrowful to consider as well as write, their Example being much more powerful than others.
And Friends, what I touched at a lit|tle before, concerning the delicate Dam|sels, or fine idle Dames, it may be pret|ty much like it with the young Men, and may be the old ones, that have their Negroes to Plow, sow, thresh, winnow, split Rails, cut Wood, clear Land, make Ditches and Fences, fodder Cattle, run and fetch up the Horses, or fine cu|rious pacing Mares, for young Madam and Sir to ride about on, impudently and proudly gossiping from House to House, Page 31 stuffing their lazy ungodly Bellies. Then old Sir Master calls, Negro, fetch my best Gelding quickly, for me to ride to Meeting, to preach the Gospel of glad Tydings to all Men, and Liberty to the Captives, and o|pening the Prison-Doors to them that are bound; but I'll keep thee in Bondage never|theless, help thy self if thee can. I charge thee to work very hard when I am gone, and besure be very ready to wait on me & my Children when we come home, if they come with me, or else wait till they do come, and then take their Horses, and look well after them; and then make haste in, all of ye, and be ready to wait upon us, and keep good Fires above stairs or below, and mind your Business well, or I'll take a Course with you; don't think that I'll give 70 or 80 l. apiece for you, for nothing but to ly la|zying about like Gentlemen, doing nothing, you shall work now you are young, for when you are very old, you will not do much, I suppose, and then you must be maintained, you and your Wives and Children and Chil|dren's Children; and if you dont behave your selves well, you'll be but badly pro|vided for, I believe, when you are past your Labour, whatever you are now.
Dear Friends, these Things are true in Fact, and have been the Ruin of ma|ny, Page 32 Body and Soul, and will be of more I greatly fear; beside and above all, the foul Stain it brings upon the pure, bles|sed, unchangeable TRUTH.
And my dear, my very dear Friends, I must say, I must say, and it is the Ex|perience and certain Knowledge of my own Soul, that except People will be willing to come to a Separation, a Sepa|ration, a Separation,
I say my own Experience when I li|ved in Barbadoes about 18 Years ago, where we had much Business in Trading, and the poor Blacks would come to our Shop and Store, hunger-starv'd, almost ready to perish with Hunger and Sick|ness, great Numbers of them would come to trade with us, for they seemed to love and admire us, we being pretty much alike in Stature and otherways; and my dear Wife would often be giving them something for the Mouth, which was very engaging you that read this may be sure, in their deplorable Condition. Oh! my Soul mourns in contemplating their miserable, forlorn, wretched State Page 33 and Condition that mine Eyes beheld them in then, and it is the same now, and will remain except the great almigh|ty Being, either immediately or instru|mentally shall be pleased to put a Stop to it; for they are yearly by Shiploads poured in upon, and received by the People, many Thousands in one Year, Year after Year, as is thought, up and down America, besides what vast Num|bers are encreased by Generation daily. O Lord God Almighty, where will this Practice lead us that are called thy Peo|ple, Dearest God, and make so great a Profession of being lead and guided by thy eternal Spirit, which is the glorious Truth unchangeable and precious, and without End. But I trust, dearest One, thou wilt be pleased to stop and end this Practice, that is more like Hell than Heaven, to be sure.
I having made a little Digression, may resume the Matter relating to my dear Wife, and the Negroes. She was a ten|der-hearted Woman, and, as I said, would be very often giving them some|thing or other; stinking Biscuits which sometimes we had in abundance, bitten by the Cockroaches; or rotten Cheese, Page 34 stinking Meat, decayed Fish which we had plenty of in that hot Country; so my dear sweet Sarah, she would hand it to them, here and there to those that she thought wanted it most, tho' all wanted enough, God Almighty knows, except here and there a favourite Slave, one of an hundred or thousand, may be, kept for their Glory and Pride to wait on them, amongst their proud, lazy, dainty, tyrannical, gluttonous, drunken, debau|ched Visitors, the Scum of the infernal Pit, a little worse than the same that comes off their Sugar when it is boiling, which is composed of Grease, Dirt, Dung, and other Filthiness, as, it may be Limbs, Bowels and Excrements of the poor Slaves, and Beasts, and other Mat|ters, but this I say serves exceeding well to make Rum of, and Molosses, for that is the Use it is put to, with other Ingre|dients pretty much like it; and these People in the Islands may laugh at us for being ridiculously infatuated, to send away our excellent good Provisions, and other good Things, to purchase such fil|thy Stuff, which tends to the Corruption of Mankind, and may be send us some of the worst of their Slaves, when they can|not rule them themselves, along with Page 35 their Rum, to compleat the Tragedy, that is to say, to destroy the People in Pennsylvania, and ruin the Country. Dear Friends, or any of my Fellow-Creatures, I must confess I am apt to di|gress, but when such dangerous Filthi|ness comes in my Way, I think it my Duty to make it appear if possible to o|thers; for it is so to me, exceeding sin|ful above Measure, I will assure you, more than what I can speak or write a|bundantly; if it should be so to you, I hope you will endeavour to avoid it, and pray for Heavens Assistance, without which all is nothing. As to what was touched on before, when my dear Sarah had given to them what she thought fit within-doors, we have taken some more of the same sort and thrown it into the Street, stinking as to be sure it was, yet the poor Creatures would come running, and tearing, and rending one another, to get a part in the scramble of that which I am sure some Dogs would not touch, much less eat of, their poor Bellies were so empty, and so ravenous were they, that I never saw a parcel of Hounds more eager about a dead Carcase, than they always were. This Scramble was commonly on a First Day, before we went Page 36 to Meeting, which was their Market-day, as well as their Hallowing-Day, when they are exempted from their La|bour, they come down to Town, many Hundreds of them, they that could get or steal any Thing, a little Sugar, or Cotton, Ginger, Aloes, Rum, Cocoa-Nuts, Pine-Apples, Oranges, Lemmons, Citrons, old Iron, Wood for Firing, steal any Thing out of Houses, Yards, or any where, or any Thing that was not too hot or too heavy, and bring it to Market on a Sunday, as they call it, to get a penny, or something for the Mouth, and they that could not get any thing to bring to Market, they would come to Town if possibly they could hold out and keep from falling down and fainting by the Way, being perished with Hun|ger and hard Labour the Week before; I say these very miserable Objects that could get no Truck in the Country to bring to Market, yet they would if pos|sible come to Town, and see what they could beg or steal there. (Who can blame them if it was ten times worse, they being under such unmerciful Ty|rants.) These Wretches being in Town in this miserable Condition, with not a Crum of good or bad to put into their Page 37 Mouths, ready to drop as they walked or crawled along the Streets, they ma|ny of them hearing of us, for we were very much known amongst them, they would come to our Door, if they came before we were gone to Meeting, and there they would stand as thick as Bees, but much more like Pharaoh's lean Kine, and I may say their Appearance was dis|mal enough to move a very hard Heart; so we used to give them a little of some|thing at Times, as we found some Free|dom, considering our Circumstances; But if we gave to some, and did not to all, as to be sure we could not, oh how the poor Creatures would look. I say many Hundreds would come and flock about us; and them that receiv'd, O how thankful, with bended Knees; but them that did not, what Words can set forth the dejected sinking Looks that appear|ed in their Countenances. Shall I ever forget them?
Many of these poor Creatures, in Town and Country, were sent to Mar|ket by their Masters or Mistresses, at o|ther Times, and they would come to us to lay out their Money, if we had such Goods as they wanted, and when they came in, seem'd to rejoice to see us to|gether, Page 38 we were so very much alike; and would lift up their Hands with Admira|tion, and say, That •ittle backararar man, for so they call white People, go all over world see for that backarar woman for himself. But we, alas! are parted!
Here Friends you may see and under|stand the powerful Influence long Cus|tom, Conveniency, Intimacy, and Profit has to insinuate itself into our Affections; for I have often heard my dear Wife say in her Life-time, and express the Danger she was in when living in Barba|does, of being leavened into the very Nature of the Inhabitants, Pride and Oppression: So that dear Creature, she seeing the Evil and the Danger, she was willing and desirous to leave the Island, and indeed so was I.
But, my Friends, here I must come to that that is not very agreeable to Flesh and Blood, which is Confession of Sins: For although I never was Owner of a Slave myself, and all Friends in Barba|does could never persuade me to pur|chase one, I humbly bless the Lord my good God for that, and this is now my Comfort and dear Joy and sweet Expe|rience: Yet I must confess, and I have not full Peace without it, yet I may say Page 39 I have been sorely grieved to see and hear the inexpressible Cruelty, Torture, and Misery, these poor Wretches were and are put to, Night and Day, yet al|though, as I have said, I saw and heard of such very great Barbarity used toward the Slaves, Night and Day, yet for want of dwelling near enough to the blessed Truth, I was leavened too much into the Nature of the People there which are Masters and Mistresses of Slaves, though I never had nor would have any of my own, but by conversing, trading, and living daily amongst them, where there is vast Numbers, abundance coming daily to buy Goods and to beg, some to steal, we had abundance stolen from us at Times, the worth of ten, fifteen, or near twenty Shillings at a time, come into the Shop whole Droves together, lay the Scheme I suppose, come by Ap|pointment; when many are come in they seem in great haste, one would say, Serve me, another, Serve me, serve me; come sometimes by twilight and within Night, then was their Time; so when we were in a hurry, one would run away with one Thing, another with another, and so on. Very much we lost to be sure. Some|times I could catch them, and then I Page 40 would give them Stripes sometimes, but I have been sorry for it many times, and it does grieve me to this Day, consider|ing the extream Cruelty and Misery they always live under. Oh my Heart has been pained within me many times, to see and hear; and now, now, now, it is so.
Shall we fetch and steal them out of their own Country, where God Almigh|ty has made them and placed them, and in taking of them murther many, very many, and serve them that we take alive ten times worse; steal Husband from Wife, Wife from Husband; steal the Children from their Parents, bring them here or elsewhere amongst our extraor|dinary Christians, worse Thieves than the others by far; they work 'em, whip and starve 'em almost to death, and if the poor Wretch steal a little to satisfy Hunger, he is tormented without Mer|cy. Be these Christians, and Ministers too, that encourage and plead for these Things? It must be all a Lie, and that is of the Devil, for when he speaketh a Lie, it is of himself. Joh. viii. 44. I do believe in my Soul, if Christ was here in that very Body, he would say as much to some Quakers as he said to the Scribes Page 41 and Pharisees in the eighth of John; if he the Devil be a Murtherer and a Liar, what are our Slave-Merchants? Is there a greater Lie in the World? 1 Joh. ii. 4. He that saith, I know him, and keeps not his Sayings, is a Liar. ver. 22. Do not all Liars▪ deny the Father and Son? iv. 20. He is a Liar that saith he loves God, and hates his Brother. v. 10. He that believeth not God, hath made him a Liar. What does our dear Slaves with their Slaves think of these Things: As Solomon saith, a poor Man is better than a Liar. Luke vi. 43, 44. a good Tree bears good Fruit, and can a good Tree bear Negro-Trading for Gain?
Matth. vii. 17, 18. A good Tree cannot bear evil Fruit.
Luke viii. 14, 15. Not many Slave|k—rs bring forth Fruit to Perfection.
Rom. vii. 5. I am much afraid Sl—e-k—ng will bring forth Fruits to the Death.
- Rom. vi. 20. Are not Sl—e-k—pers the Servants of Sin?
- 21. Are our S. K. ashamed of their Sin?
- 22. Are our S. K. free from Sin?
- Page 42 Tit. i. 9. Are S. K. able to convince the Gainsayers?
- 10. Are not S. K. of the Circumci|cision, unruly vain Talkers?
- 11. Do not S. K. subvert whole Houses, for filthy Lucre?
- 12. Are not S. K. Liars, evil Beasts, slow Bellies?
- 13. Don't they deserve to be rebu|ked sharply, as being very un|sound in the Faith?
- 14. Don't these give way to Jewish Fables, and turn from the Truth? What think ye, my Brethren?
- 15. Unto the Pure all things are pure; if literally, then Rob|bing and Killing, as well as Slave-keeping.
- 16. Do not these deny God in works and yet pretend to know him?
- Tit. ii. 7. Have these Men sound Doctrine Gravity and Sincerity?
- 8. Have not these Men of the con|trary Part need to be asha|med, when we have so many evil things to say of them, and very justly too?
Do these adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour with Slave-keeping? I think in Page 43 my very Soul, it is more agreeable to the Devil.
Prov. xxiv. 23, 24, 25, 26. He that saith to such wicked ones, thou art righte|ous; him shall the People curse, Nations shall abhor him. But to them that rebuke them shall be Delight, and a good Blessing shall come upon them.
But, my Friends, you that practise Tyranny and Oppression for Slave-kee|ping is such; he that assumes in arbitra|ry Manner, unjustly, Dominion over his Fellow-Creature's Liberty and Proper|ty, contrary to Law, Reason or Equity, He is a wicked sinful Tyrant, guilty of Oppression and great Iniquity: But he that trades in Slaves and the Souls of Men, does so; therefore—Beside, Friends, the very Name of a Tyrant is odious, to God, to good Men, yea to bad Men too; and the Nature and Pra|ctice is much worse.
And Friends, you that follow this forlorn filthy Practice, do you not con|sider that you are opening a Door to o|thers, or setting them an Example to do the like by you, whenever it shall please the Almighty to suffer them to have Power over us, as a Scourge to us for our Sins, what Reason then shall we Page 44 have to complain? If any of you ever read the History of the English Slaves in Algier, how would you like that your selves? There was some Discourse of its being printed in Philadelphia: I wish it might, for the sake of some. Lam. iv. 3. The Sea-Monsters draw out their Breast to their Young, but you draw out the Sword to young and old, middle-aged and all (save what you cannot come at) or cause it to be so done: and yet them that die by the Sword are better than them you bring away and starve; for these pine away for want of the Fruits of the Field, and by other Severities.
My dear Wife has often spoke of a Passage in or near Spikes's in Barbadoes; going hastily into a very plain-coat out|side Friend's House, there hung up▪ Negro stark naked, trembling and shi|vering, with such a Flood of Blood un|der him, that so surprized the little Woman she could scarce contain; but at last a little recovering, she says to some in Family, What's here to do▪ They began exclaiming against the poor miserable Creature, for absconding a day or two, may be by reason of his cruel Usage, as by this Barbarity we may im|agine.
Page 45 Another Piece of Barbarity, of one Richard Parrot a Cooper, which I knew; he used to whip his Negroes on Second-day Mornings very severely, to keep them in awe. It is usual for these miserable Slaves to get together on First-days, to bewail and lament their forlorn Condition that they are in one to ano|ther. One says, My Master very bad Man; another, My Mistress very bad Wo|man. This Parrot's Negro, a lusty Fel|low, a Cooper, and used to get his Ma|ster 7 s. 6 d. a day, being valued at 100l. or more; he says, My Master Parrot very bad Man indeed, whippe whippe poor Ne|gro evee Munne Morning for notin tall! me no bear no longer. So he hangs him|self on First-day at Night, because he would not be whippee Munne Morning. This was while we lived in Barbadoes. I knew Parrot very well, having been at his House; and abundance more of such like Things while we abode there.
1736, the 29th of the 8th Month, this Morning between 2 & 3 this was written.
It arose in my Mind in Love of Truth, that as the blessed immaculate Lamb was said John i. 14. to be the only begot|ten of the Father, full of Grace, and full Page 46 of Truth; so Slave-keeping and trading is the only Begotten of the Devil. full of all Ungraciousness and all Untruth. The True Child and Heir of Hell, the only begotten of the Devil, indeed, but not in Truth nor any part of it.
As it is written, Psal. ii. 7. Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten thee; so may the Devil say by Slave-keeping.
As God gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him might have everlasting Life; so the Devil gives his only begotten Child, the Merchandize of Slaves and Souls of Men, Rev. xviii. 13. that whosoever believes and trades in it might have everlasting Damnation.
Again, it is written, 1 Cor. iv. 15. though you have ten thousand Instructors in Christ, yet you have not many Fathers, I may say so, for in Christ have I begotten you thro' the Gospel; so may many of our Ministers say to the Negro-Traders and Keepers, You have we begotten thro' the Devil, by our Example and Plead|ing for it, and by our Condemning and Disowning many worthy Friends, of in|nocent Lives, for testifying against it, and against us for living and continuing in it; but we will do it for all that. What do we care for their Testimony? Page 47 Shall we, our Wives, or Sons, or Daugh|ters, when our Fellow-Merchants (of Mystery Babylon the Great) come to vi|sit us, run to wait on them, their Hor|ses, their Chariots and Equipage, Cook|ing, Sculling and waiting? No, we de|spise it, and them that do it. We will have our Slaves and Souls of Men to do it for us, as our Mother has and had in all Ages of the World; and it was their Glory, and it is ours, and we will have it; and we, our Wives, Sons, Daugh|ters, Kindred, and our Fellow-Mer|chants, that are great and honourable, Men of Renown, shall sit and live like Kings and Queens that know no Sor|row.
I must confess, that as Paul had begotten one in his Bonds, for Christ's Sake to Christ; so those abovemention'd have begotten many, yea very many, in their Bonds, for the Devil and Mammon's sake, to the Devil and his Kingdom.
We may safely say, without Breach of Charity, by these Prophets or Mini|sters before-mentioned, as Micajah said by Ahab's four hundred false Prophets, 1 Kings xxii. 23. that there is a Lying Spirit in the Mouths of all them that keep or trade in Slaves, and say it is law|ful Page 48 in this blessed Gospel Day; let them pretend to what they will or may; whe|ther Hearers or Prophets, or Preachers, although there be or should be four hun|dred or four thousand of them, no mat|ter for their great Number, the Truth is over them all; although them that are and were out of the Truth have faln, and may fall, by their Means, by their ly|ing Persuasions and lying Practice; I say their great and lying Pretensions, have and may and will cause many more I fear, to fall, as well as the other false Prophets did Ahab and many others, as we may read of in Scripture and else|where plentifully, as in Case of Jezabel's eight hundred and fifty false Prophets, which Elijah slew, 1 Kings xviii. 19.
Jerem. xiv. 14, 15, 16, 17. It is e|nough to make one tremble to think what will become of those Prophets that pro|phesy Lies in the Name of the Lord, and teach the People to keep Slaves in this pure Gospel Day; it has and does cause the Eyes of many dear Servants & Handmaids amongst us to run down with Tears, because of this sinful Prac|tice.
I can truly say, I have had large and long Experience since I came into Page 49America, that many of our Ministers and Elders are not only in the Bond of Ini|quity, but also in the Gall of Bitterness, and are as ready to smite as the Son of Immer, altho' chief Governour in the House of the Lord, Jer. xx. 1, 2. or as Zedekiah to smite Micajah on the Cheek, 1 Kings xxii. 24. Do but reprove for these Things (Slave-Practice) and he or they will, if possible, bring you into Bonds and Fetters, or put you into the Stocks, with or in the high Gate of Ben|jamin, or some other way, although he dwells near and in the House of the Lord.
Jerem. xxii. 13, 14, 15, 16. Wo unto him that buildeth his House by Iniquity, and useth his Neighbour's Service without Wages, and giveth him not for his Work. Shalt thou reign because thou enclosest thy self in Cedar?
Jerem. xxiii. 9. Is it not enough al|most to break ones Heart, to see this Practice of Slaves lived in and pleaded for by our Preachers and Elders?
ver. 14. Dear Friends, do not these greatly strengthen the Hands of Evil-do|ers?
Ver. 15. Is not Profaneness gone forth into all the Land, by their Means?
Page 50Ver. 16. My dear and tender Friends, Should we or shall we always hearken unto the Voice or Words of such Prophets that teach Lies in the Name of the Lord?
Deut. xxix. 18. Is not this Practice turning the Heart from the Lord to serve the Idols of the Nations?
Then what a Root of Gall and Worm|wood appears in these Negro-Keepers when they are reproved, Ministers espe|cially, to my certain knowledge, and long experience.
In his excellent Song Moses lively sets forth the tender mercies of God to the faithful; and his Vengeance against the unfaithful Slave-Keepers, all unfaithful that profess Truth.
Deut. 32. 1. Give Ear, O Heavens, the Heavenly-minded, and I will speak.
Ver. 2. My Doctrine shall drop as the Rain, and Dew, but then it is upon the tender Plant, not the old sturdy Oak; it will do no good there, I fear.
Ver. 6. Do ye (Slave-Keepers) thus requite the Lord, for all his Favours, O foolish People and unwise.
Ver. 20. What shall we do, Dear Friends, if the Lord should intirely hide his Face from us, because of this thing Slave-Keeping, and some others almost as bad.
Page 51Ver. 30. How shall one chase a Thou|sand, while this Trade is practised by us as a People.
Ver. 31. But blessed be the pure Name of our God, the Negroe-Keeping Rock is not our Rock, even our Enemies them|selves being Judges; they are Enemies, though called Friends.
Ver. 32. For their Vine is the Vine of So|dom, and their Fruit bitter as Gall and Wormwood, as is very well known.
Ver. 33. Their Wine, their Pleasures, and Profit, gotten by Slave-Keeping, will be as the Poison of Dragons, and the cruel Venom of Asps, in the end, or I am mistaken.
Ver. 41. Will not the Lord whet his glittering Sword, and take vengeance on such Enemies, that pretend to preach Truth, and practice a Lie, the greatest in the World.
Job xx. 12. Though this wickedness Slave-Keeping, be sweet in the Mouth, they can salve it with smooth Words, yet Torment is under the Tongue.
Ver. 13. Though he spare his Sin, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his Mouth; will not confess how it is with|in him.
Ver. 14. Yet his Meat in his Bowels is Page 52 turned, his pleasant Gain, gotten by his Slaves, and swallowed down, it will bite as bad as the Gall of Asps and Vipers Tongue within him, if not repented of and forsaken before Death; for when Death approaches, Sin will sting.
Ver. 17. Such without Repentance and forsaking, shall not see the Rivers, the Floods, the Brooks of Honey and But|ter, that flow in a pure Conscience, and Holy Souls.
Amos vi. 12. Have not some turned Judgment, in Discipline into Gall, and Hemlock, which is bitter Poison.
Job xxi. 6, to 14. They that think they have the Blessing of God, with Slave-Keeping, because they prosper in this World. Psa. xvii. 10, and lxxiii. 3. Let such be intreated to read these Scriptures, to the end; for says David, I was en|vious at the wicked, or foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the Wicked, and so goes on, very excellently indeed.
Habb. i. 3, 4, 16. Why doest thou shew me iniquity, Men are in it, therefore wrong Judgment proceedeth.
Isa. xxviii. 15, 17, 18, 19, 29, 21. You that keep Slaves, your covenant with Death, and Hell shall be broken when the over-flowing Scourge shall pass through, Page 53 then ye shall be trodden down by it; the Lord hasten the time, saith my Soul; for they lay Snares for him that reproves in the Gate.
Matt. v. 19. If they shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, that shall break the least Commandment, and teach Men so to do; Surely they are the great|est in the Kingdom of Hell, that break the greatest, and all of them, them, and teach Men so to do: But Slave Trading Preachers does do so, therefore.
Matt. 21. 28, to 31. He that said he would not, and yet did the Will of his Father was commended. But I believe these that say well sometimes in Meetings, and do ill in Slave Trading; will come far behind Publicans and Harlots.
Luke 14. 33, 34, 35. He that forsaketh not all, said blessed Jesus, cannot be my Deisciple, Slave-Keepers covet all Body and Soul, Wives and Children of their Neighbours; such unsavory Salt, good for neither Land or Dunghill. He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear.
9th Month, 1736, as I sat in Concord Meeting House, it was their Quarterly Meeting; I may say it was a sweet and comfortable time to me; it came into Page 54 and arose in my mind, in Love of Truth, that if our Slave-Keepers had been, or now would be faithful to God, the Truth, and would bring up their Negroes to some Learning, Reading and Writing, and endeavour to the utmost of their power in the sweet Love of Truth to instruct and teach 'em the prin|ciples of truth and righteousness, and learn them some Honest Trade or Im|ployment, and then set them free; and all the time Friends are teaching of them let them know that they intend to let them go free in a very reasonable time: and that our Religious Principle will not allow of such Severity, as to keep them in everlasting Bondage and Slavery.
This might according to my way of thinking, beget such Love and Tender|ness in them, toward their Masters or Mistresses, and to the blessed Truth for their Sakes; that it might be a means to convince some of them.
And should they come to receive the pure Truth, in the Love of it; as, bles|sed be the Lord, many of us have, and in that sweet Love, which is constrain|ing, come under a concern and necessity, to go and visit their Brethren, of their own colour, and Country, and Language, Page 55 and preach the Gospel of eternal Salva|tion unto them, from Sin and Captivity, both of Body and Soul, this would be a glorious work indeed, and well worth our Friends pains, charge and time, that they might spend about it; and the best compensation to God and Man, as I think, that they can possibly make, for being so long in a practice that has so much Wickedness attending of it con|tinually.
Isa. 61. 1. As to this Chap. it is very excellently Prophesied of concerning the true anointing, which is the Spirit, and is God, and was in Isaiah, and filled him with Love, to preach good tidings to the Meek, and is of the same Nature, in all People, in all colours, and Countries.
The many Hundreds of Thousands, that are now in Slavery, were they at Liberty, as we are, had the same Edu|cation, Learning, Conversation, Books, sweet Communion in our Religious As|semblies; I believe many of them would exceed many of their Tyrant Masters in Piety, Virtue and Godliness; and their bright Genius, which I know they have, would be inlivened; for I have converst with many of them, for Liberty is Life, and Slavery is Death, nay the very Page 56 thoughts of it to a right thinking Ani|mal, as Man or Woman.
Isa. 61. 1. Is this preaching glad tide|ings to the meek, as many of them are, and •ind up the broken hearted; to pro|claim Liberty to the Captives, and opening of the Prison, to them that are bound; and yet keep them in double Bondage, Body and Soul, them and theirs for ever more. If there be greater contradiction under the Sun; many dear and tender Friends are mistaken, as well as myself.
Ver. 2. But how does Slave Merchants, proclaim the acceptable Year of the Lord? to their Slaves the Day of Vengeance they may, and a long Day it is; but I believe the Lord will repay it, tho' he suffers it long: But I pray and beseech you; you hard-hearted Ministers, of all persuasions in Church and State, that are Christians; how do you comfort all that mourn, and are in Misery, as great for aught I can learn as any are that be under the very worst of Turks, Jews or Infidels, in the known World.
But my dear and tender Friends, how does this cruelty and partiality agree with our principles as a People, which have been preaching up Perfection in holiness of Life, for near a Hundred Years, Page 57 and the universal Love of God to all People, of all colours and Countries, without respect of Persons: Have we for|got this blessed Testimony for which our dear Friends suffered in Old and New-England?
The 2d of the 9th Mo. 1736.
IF Two-Weeks Meeting had had any thing material against me, or Month|ly Meeting; they should have appeal'd to Quarterly Meeting before we came away▪ But some Friends have been the Instruments of the Death of my Dear Wife I believe. Hath it not been the Practice of the No|cent in all Ages, to lay Traps and Ginns, to intangle and insnare the Innocent? Did you not do so, two or three of you, of the Monthly-Meetings, at the Quarter|ly-Meetings, Yearly-Meetings at Phila|delphia and Burlington; when I insisted of having the Letter from Colchester read, did not you strenuously insist, that I should consent that then the mat|ter should be concluded in that Meeting so to go no further; and you had got a strong Party there the same time, to con|clude the Business, according to your own minds; is not this laying a Snare? in the same Meeting accusing me falsly, Page 58 for seeking a Party to deter, any from speaking their Minds; and opposed and hindred me from reading a Let|ter or two from Colchester; which you knew you did not like to hear, because they would have confirmed our Certificate more fully.
How did William Penn and William Mead, at their Tryal, in the Old-Baily, London, like such arbitrary Proceedings, as well as many, yea very many more of our Dear and Worthy Friends and El|ders, in the beginning, before and by wicked unjust Judges, in Old-England and New-England too, in particular, as the Book of Sufferings largely sets forth, writ by George Bishop. But these things are forgotten by many, that are doing the same thing themselves, according to their power and ability: Let any Friend read G. Whitehead's Account of Friends Sufferings, which is written in his Works. How many profuse, profli|gate Creatures, have come in Servants to this Country, which have been stated not only as Members, but Ministers in full Unity, in less time then I have been here; is it not intolerable then, that three or four Men that has the Mark of the Beast, and Number of his Name, Slave-Keepers, Page 59 upon them in their Foreheads should have the whole Rule of Discipline, and Govern contrary to all Justice and Equity. Time for such old rusty Candle|sticks to be moved out of their Places, who have disowned many less Nocents then themselves; if it is not so now, who will make me a Liar, and my Speech nothing worth. Job. 24. 2, 3, 4, 25.
ABINGTON.The 11th of the 9th Mo. 1736.
WHEN the strong Man armed keeps the House, his Goods are in Peace: Is not this the Devil? is not Hell in the Soul his House? is not all his Goods Sin? is not Slave-Keeping and Trading the greatest Sin in the World, when it is seen in the light of Truth in all its parts? is not Truth the Light stron|ger then all? and when this appears in the Heart, and shews the Creature, this Capital Sin, and other Sins to be exceed|ing Sinful; does not the whole Creation, in the poor condemned or damned Crea|ture groan, to be delivered? then Hell-Torments, the Smoak and Darkness, of the Bottomless Pit arises and appears in the Soul; the Creature by some Glimmering of the Light sees itself in Darkness, feels itself in Hell tormented, then it cries to Page 60 Light to appear more and more for its help, and to bind the strong Man armed, the Devil, and cast him out and spoil his Goods, which is Sin, and is the Devil's Furniture in Hell in the Soul, the Devil's House, where he has had his Residence so long; so when the Devil sees he and his Goods is discovered, which had been so long hid, and Ware appears in the Smoak of the Bottomless Pit; and that he is like to lose one, or some of his chief Subjects and strongest Forces; and his Kingdom, Heads, Horns and Crowns are in danger, and all like to be lost; this puts all Hell in the Soul in an uproar. I know what I write, blessed be the Light, the Way, and the Truth; so here comes to be War in Heaven, Michael and his Angels fight, and the Devil or Dragon, which is one, and his Angels fight; for the Devil, Dragon, makes War with the Saints, and overcomes them that are not faithful, let them have been professing and preaching Truth ne|ver so long, and never so eminent or highly esteemed of; yet it may be said, Depart from me, I know you not, ye are Workers of Iniquity. Hosea. 4. 1, 2 3, 7, 9. Ezek. 9. 4, 9. viii. 10, 11, 12.
Page 61 I never read in History of the Wal|denses, our first Reformers from Popery, that they kept any Slaves; I have un|derstood they were very temperate, not eating Flesh, Milk or Eggs.
Something like John's Locusts and Wild Honey; and Daniel and his three Friends Pulse and Water, Israel's 40 Years Eating Manna, and I think James our Lord's Brother according to Josephus, ate no Flesh, and many Thousands more, I believe, good Men and Women.
William Penn, in his No-Cross-No-Crown, that excellent Book, mentions the Waldenses, with great esteem; as they are worthy.
Acts. 17. 26, 27, 28, 29.
I suppose the pure holy eternal Be|ing, which made of one Blood all Na|tions of Men to dwell upon the face of the Earth, did not make others to be Slaves to us, any more then we to be so to them; if God has appointed the Bounds of their Habitations, What Man fearing God, dare to remove or receive them when they are removed?
How did many Dear Friends like to be banished from their Native Countries, from Wives, Children and Friends, al|though but for a few Years, both from Page 62Old and New-England especially? are all these Things forgotten by us, and a thou|sand times more; are the Progeny in this Age, doing the same Things themselves, which their Progenitors so greatly com|plained of, and justly too; but this Progeny have been and are acting a Thousand times worse, and more cruel|ly; for our dear and worthy Friends and Progenitors were Banished from England but for a few Years, and where they might and did Preach and help forward the Gospel of Christ; but the poor Slaves and their Progeny, have been Stolen, Banished, Tortured and Tormented, for ever more; to the great and unutterable hinderance of the Blessed Gospel of Peace and Salvation, for which our dear Progenitors, suffered so deeply by their Persecutors.
And this now is carried on, encourag|ed and done by them, that profess to be lead by the same pure Holy Spirit, as their Progenitors were.
But my dear and tender Friends, you that are clear of this vile practice, I pray and beseech you, especially that you keep so, and have no Fellowship with such unfruitful Works of Darkness, Page 63 but rather, I say, rather reprove them, as being worthy, wherever you come, for the Lord, the Truths sake.
The 22d of the 9th Mo.
WHEN I have mildly reasoned with some Friends concerning their Hostility, in carrying a Person or Friend, if I may call him so, out of Meetings so often, and keeping of him out by Constable and other ways; as at Philadelphia, Burlington and Concord, &c. without so much as pretending they have used any Gospel Order with him, in any Monthly or Quarterly Meeting, as a dis|orderly Person.
O But say some, he is a very trouble|some Person, and has been so for many Years; and is too censorious about Trading in Slaves, or against Traders in, and Keepers of Slavers; And positively affirms, that no Man or Woman, Lad or Lass ought to be suffered, to pretend to Preach Truth in our Meetings, while they live in that Practice; which is all a Lie.
And further, he boldly affirms, that no Person whatsoever has any Right, or ought according to Truths Discipline, Page 64 to be suffered to have the Rule and Go|vernment, or any Part of it, in the Church of God, which is the Kingdom of God, while he himself is in League with the Devil, and is managing the Affairs of his Kingdom, which Slave Trading is, as has been proved.
But some that have not, and will not keep Negroe Slaves of their own, may say, we must not be too censorious, for we are often at their Houses, and Eat and Drink bravely, and have their Negroes to wait on us, our Horses, Wives and Children.
Beside all these Things, we buy, sell, Trade, get Gain by and with them, we must be careful how we offend our Bene|factors, and Dear Friends. But here is yet a stronger Bond than the other, Plea|sure and Profit, we love to Sleep with their Off-spring, so they be but Rich; for many of us have joyned Affinity with these Ahabs (O that hard Word) and Jezabels for Gains, by marrying with their rich Children, and if we become Prophets, and can prophesy such things as they like, we shall be highly favoured, and fed at Jezabel's Table, though we should be twice 4500 of us.
What if he be as the Lying Spirit in Page 65 the Mouth of all Ahab's Prophets, and cause him to go up and fall at Ramah, being Damned; what if Jezebel be eaten with Dogs, what care we for that.
What if Jezebel be eaten with Dogs, if we can get into their Estates and Poses|sions; what care we? when they are dead and gone, they will not remember our Lying Prophesies. 1 Kings 18. 40. In|deed we should be loth to be served as Elijah did the Prophets, at the Brook Kishon.
2 Kings 10. 1, 5, 6, 7. We had rather destroy all the truly Begotten and Born Heirs of God, and joint or equal Heirs with Christ, the Truth, which testifie against us, and our Slave-Keeping Prac|tice.
Ver. 18 to 26. We to be sure would sooner destroy all the Royal Off-spring of Heaven, as our Elder Brethren, them wicked Elders in Ahab's time, Slew 70 Innocent Children, for fear of their own dear Lives; but John answered, and served them accordingly: It's true Ver. 25. and if it should be so with us, its better to die by the Sword than by Famine, as the Scriptures speak; or especially to be treated as many of our Brethren in this great Iniquity do their Slaves, up Page 66 and down in the World, and their Off|spring, always repeated and repeating for evermore, with all the Torture and Torments that Devil and Dragon, Death and Hell can invent or devise, with all their Accomplices.
But although some of us, that are Ne|groe Masters and Traders, do allow that the beginning of this Practice was of the Devil, and that he and we his Instru|ments are now carrying of it on very powerfully, and as it had a beginning there in Hell, so it must have an End.
Matt. 8. 28, 29. But the time is not yet come, therefore surely we may be allowed to ask the same Question of Truth now, as two of our Elder Brethren did for|merly, which were possessed with Devils as well as we, what have we to do with thee; Truth?
Mark. 5. 7, 10, 12. Art thou come hither to torment us before our time? and all the Devils besought him, the Truth, say|ing, send us into the Swine; and Truth gave them leave, and so he does now; for Truth had rather the Devil should dwell in the Swine than in the Saints, for fear he should make the Saints Swine again, as some were before they were cleansed.
Page 67 Upon a time when I was reasoning with an eminent Preacher R. J. at his House in Philadelphia, concerning that great Goliah, Negroe or Slave-keeping, which hath defied the little Army of the living God so many Years, and still con|tinues so to do.
He the said R. J. was pleased then and there to tell me, that I loved the Negroes better than I did my Friends; and accused me at Stephen Jenkin's House, before many Witnesses, of being the Death of my Dear Wife, and a Per|secutor of the Church; but before that I charged him with being instrumental of separating my Dear Wife from me by Death, in Writing for a separate Certifi|cate for my Wife, to a Meeting to which we never did belong, as if he and two or three more had a mind to separate us; which is now brought to pass.
I shall leave them to the great Judge of Heaven and Earth, if he will be pleas|ed to forgive them, I hope I shall in time. But these things must be borne with I suppose, and more; when I have said to some Friends, Negroe-Keepers and their Adherents, that it seemed a little strange or novel, that a Friend should be hurried out of Meetings so con|stantly and roughly, before he be disowned, Page 68 or some way dealt with for some Disor|order or other, contrary to the known and acknowledged discipline of Friends as a People.
If thy Brother is overtaken in a Fault, go to him and tell him his fault, between him and thee; if he hears thee thou hast gained thy Brother; if he will not hear thee, then take two or three with thee; if he will not hear them, then take him to the Church; and if he will not hear the Church, then, not till then, cast him forth. My Dear Friends, have any of these things been done to B. L. and yet still continue to cast him out, cast him out, cast him out, he is a troublesome Fellow, and has been so for many Years. Did our dear and well beloved Friends in Boston 60 or 70 Years ago, think this a just way of Proceeding, to be taken into Custody, put into Bridewell, Whipt severely, and Banished the Town, time after time, without any legal Proceed|ings, only for being obstinate Quakers, as they were pleased to call them; dare to come again when they had Whipt them out of the Town so often. When I have put some Friends in mind of this, concerning our Dear Tender Friends great Suffering in New-England, in a Page 69 Book called New-England Judged, some Friends have been pleased to tell me that George Keith used to say so, or talk after that manner. What he said I cannot tell, but by report, which is not always true; but this of Friends Suffering in Boston is true, for I have been upon the Spot or Lot of Ground, where the Dear Lambs were put to Death; for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ, the Truth.
As to G. K. he was an extraordinary Man, while he kept to the Testimony of Truth in his own Heart; I do firmly be|lieve, according to the Account of him by Friends; and a great Sufferer for Truth, by Imprisonment, and other ways, and an excellent Writer, and Minister in De|fence of Truth's Principles for about 30 Years, as I remember; as many of his Books manifest, to Judgment of Men that have read them, of right mind and good understanding in Things relating to God's Kingdom; as his Revelation not ceased, his Way to the City of God, very excellent indeed, and many more; while he dwelt in the Truth and walk|ed in Truth, he did well; but when he went from that, he was like the unsavory Salt, good for neither Land nor Dunghill,Page 70 and so it is now with some, or I am mis|taken. And so it hath been with the very best of Men and Instruments that ever were in the World, though they had been never so much inlightened or illuminated from on High; they grow dark again, as they go from the Light, from God, from Truth, which are one in Nature and Essence, although three Names, for Men as Men do know that have good Natural Eyes, that the further they go from the Light outwardly, the more they go into Darkness until at length they cannot see any thing clearly, or at last not at all; and this comes upon Men because they love Darkness, which is Sin, and they live in Darkness, and walk in Darkness, and at last Darkness in Sin seems to be Light unto them. This is a dreadful State indeed: O that it may appear so before it be too late, to some poor Souls, is my true Desire for their eternal Welfare. Which I desire, as for my own Soul.
Now it is written by a Child, a Son and Heir of Light, for the Encouragement of other Children and Heirs of Light: If you walk in the Light as he, God is Light, and Light is God; you shall have fellowship one with another in God the Page 71 Light, and the Blood, the Life, the Light the Truth, shall cleanse from all Sin, all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit. O blessed State indeed.
Now a certain Saint in Light, or an enlightened Saint, the same put the Pri|mitive Saints in Mind to stir up their Memory, and keep them in a watchful frame of Mind; you that were once in Darkness, are now Light, in the Light, or in the Lord, the same bids them walk as or like Children of the Light, and of the Day, which is Light, and is to walk and work in as well as to live and dwell in; and this is New-Jerusalem, the Church of the first or true Born with God, the Light in Heaven, whose Gates are always open to Saints in Light, no Night, no Darkness there, no need of Sun, Moon, Stars, Candles or Lamps, for the Lord God, the Lamb, the Truth, the Light, is or are the Light thereof, for evermore. Rev. 21. 2, 3.
And all that follow the Lamb, the Light, wheresoever he goes, are and shall be the Citizens thereof forever. Now you precious Babes, Children, Sheep or Lambs in Light, or by what ever Name you may be called, Ver. 7. yet you have but one Name, and that is Page 72New, in the Light, and none can read and know, but them that are in our Heavenly Father, New-Jerusalem, the Light, the Father and Mother of us all. And you precious Favourites in or of the Light, although but very few, a little Flock, and very obscure and hid, Rev. 9. 11. from the dark Mind, from Dark|ness, the Devil, and Satan, Abaddon, Apollyon, Dragon, Serpent, Viper or Hell, or by what ever other Name, is all the same; Truth faith, Fear not little Flock, it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, the Light, which never ends. Ver. 3. The Taber|nacle of Light is with these, and in these whether Male or Female, all one, in the Light, in the Life, in Truth forever.
You My Dear and inward Friends, have Right to feed in the green-Pastures of Light, of Life; where none can make you afraid: No, No, there is Safety and great Security in the Munition of Rocks, the Light, New-Jerusalem, which is Hea|ven is in God, the Light, and the Light in it, Father, Word, and Spirit, the Light, the Tree of Life in Paradice, in the Light, in God, in Heaven.
Rev. 22. And is Heaven, and Heaven|ly Food for Saints to feed of freely; Page 73 this is the Tree of Life, which bears twelve Manner of Fruit, and yields her Fruit every Month, always ready, always ripe, fresh, green, pure and lovely to be|hold, sweet and delicious to the Saints taste, to them that are clean, that have been cleansed by the Light, by the Life of the Lamb, which follows him through many Tribulations, wherever he goes and leads them until he brings them into the Green Pastures of Life beside the still Waters of Life, of Comfort indeed, the pure River of Water, of Life, which is with God, and is God, in his Throne, in sanctified Hearts.
These, these blessed ones have Right to the Tree of Life, to the pure River of Life, to Eat and Drink as much as their Vessels can hold at times, and sometimes running over and flowing out, to them that are in the outward Court, that is trodden by the Gentiles in this our Age; if happily they might be intreated and prevailed with if possible, by tasting some Drops as it were without, to turn into their own Souls, and wait there to be cleansed, that the Fruition, the pure River, clear as Chrystal, might run there freely and sweetly, without Interruption.
If the little Touches, the earnest of this Page 74 Heavenly River be so sweet and precious, as to be sure it is, beyond all worldly Things; What must the ever-flowing Fountain be, which springs continually in Holy Souls in eternal Life?
O let the Inhabitants of the Tree, the River, the Rock, Sing aloud for Joy; from henceforth for evermore: So be it, Glory, Glory, endless to the All in All, saith my Soul at times.
The 27th of the 9th Mo. 1736.
THIS is Written in pure Love, concerning the Pure in Heart, of all Colours and Countries in the whole World; these are the Dwellers in the Rock of Ages.
ABINGTON,The 7th Month, 1736.
MY Dear and Well-beloved Friends; my Joy and the Crown of all my sweet Delights in this World, I can truly say, is the true Unity with my true Brethren, which are the true Church in God the Father, and he in them, ever reigning in his own Blessed Kingdom, Body, House, Tabernacle, New-Jeru|salem, or a Tent, synonimous Terms; while Israel abode here, no Divination Page 75 could prevail, or inchantments against 'em; but when Israel, our Dear Friends, went out of their Tent to look at, and long after the Pleasures, Pride, Profit and Friendship of this World, then they came to be snared with this cursed Sin, Negroe-Trading, as well as some other gross Sins, of which this is Chief, consider|ing the Hellish Train of Filthiness, which has, does, and ever will attend it, and is inseparable from it; for it is granted by all sober wise Men that truly fear God, and dearly love the Truth in Sincerity, and are well acquainted with this foul Trade from the beginning, and in all its progressions to this Day; I say such as have had a true Account, do know that those that are employed in this Trade, are some of the worst of Men, and with|al some of the worst of Thieves, Pyrates and Murtherers, from whence our lesser Pyrates have proceeded. And many of these lesser Pyrates have been punished with Death, and some other ways; but the much greater Villains by far, not on|ly go free but are encouraged, and have been near 50 Years, if not more, by us as a People, by buying of their cursed Hell|ish-gotten Ware, at a very great Price. And all this Time pretending to the Page 76 most holy pure Religion in the whole World, to do unto all, as we would they should do unto us, and as James writes, to Visit the Fatherless, and Widow, in their Afflictions, and keep ourselves un|spotted from the World; but I know no worse Engine the Devil has to make Widows and Fatherless Children, and to bring into Affliction and Bondage, and sore Captivity indeed, than this Hellish practice in Pennsylvania, Negroe-Keep|ing.
But these Hellish Miscreants, these Men-Stealers, pretend they fetch away these poor Creatures, that they may not kill one the other, when they are the Murtherers which sets 'em to the Work (a cursed work it is) for as I have had an Account, near 35 Years ago, when 10 or 12 Sail of Vessels come on the Coast of Guinea, and they cannot catel Negroes enough to Freight their Vessel by the Sea side, and in Rivers where they send their Boats in Search and Pursuit of them, where they are acquainted; for they being us'd to the Business know where to go; and to find out some old Ne|groes that they have been used to trade with, which will bring off in Canoes, their Wives or Children, or their Neighbours Page 77 Wives, and Children if they can catch 'em in Woods, or any where else, so bring 'em and sell them to our brave Christians, which come there with Ships for that pur|pose.—O brave! give 30s. for a Negroe and sell him for 30l. or 40, 50 or 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 l. or more: Who would but be a Trader in Slaves and Souls of Men, altho' he goes to Hell for it, and in the mean time intail an Iniquity on his own, and his Neighbour's Posterity to their Destruction and the Ruin of the whole Country beside.
Above 30 Years ago, when I was a common Sailor, I had this Account, and likewise by some Sailors on Board Capt. Reeves, coming this Voyage to Philadelphia, who had been at Guinea, and I suppose had been Pyrates, they did acknowledge they had been taken by them.
These vile Fellows on Board Capt. Reeves, in their Drink used to tell what cursed Work their former Captain and Sa|lors made with the poor Negroes in their Passage, for their Lusts; the Captain 6 or 10 of 'em in the Cabbin, and the Sailors as many as they pleased; with much more too •oul for me to mention, or for chaste Ears to hear.
Page 78 But I pray, I beg, and beseech you my Friends, in the pure Love and Fear of God; consider what part have true Be|lievers with such Infidels, or Christ with such Belials, or our Holy pure God with such unholy impure Devils, until we can join these together; now we can ne|ver reconcile Slave-Keeping with our Prin|ciples; we may as well say as Solomon of an Harlot, their Steps go down to Death and their Feet take hold on Hell.
Now my dear Friends, let us consider the matter a little further, concerning these Men-Stealers, and weigh it in the Ballance of the Sanctuary, which is Equi|ty and Justice. Consider I say, the dif|ferent circumstances of times and things; it may be these wicked Creatures have been unhappily brought up to the Black Art, most of their Life time; my Soul pities them on that Account; had they had that good Education, Conversation, Books and Mutual Love, in Holy Illu|minations, sweet Communion together in our solemn Meetings and Gatherings to|gether, and the Heavenly Showers which many times, yea very often and frequent to my sure and certain Knowledge, and to the great mutual sweet and heavenly Page 79 Comfort of my poor Soul, with many more of my dear Friends; I say the ma|ny Heavenly Showers that have dropped as the Dew, and distilled as the small Rain, in our tender Souls immediately, many times, yea innumerable, and instru|mentally, by the Blessed Messengers of Peace and Salvation, which were sent by the high and lofty one, that inhabiteth eternity and dwelleth in Light, who had a tender regard Blessed by his Holy Name, to those Poor Men and Women too, that were Poor indeed, and truly contrited, and sat trembling before his Divine and Glorious Majesty, ready to receive him that was and is the Word that made all Things; and when they had received him, they or we, We were made to rejoice with Joy unspeak|able, being filled with him that was, and is, and ever will be the Glory and true rejoicing of his People, and dear Child|ren, all the World over; that can appeal to him that knows all Things, that they love him more then all things here be|low, yea than their natural Lives.
Shall we I say as People who have been Blessed with so great Priviledges, and high Favours, forsake the Holy Com|mandment of Loving God the Truth a|bove Page 80 all, and turn to worship for cove|tous ends, the worst Idol that ever the Devil set up in the World.
Sure those wicked Men above-menti|oned will rise up in Judgment against us; for had they been so highly favoured in all respects, as Friends as a People have been, who knows but they might have been as great Saints as any in the Church of Christ at this Day; for had Friends stood faithful in their Testimony against this Practice from the beginning they might have convinced many, and stopt 'em in their career; but now they may say, and that truly too, we have been a means to encourage and strengthen them in their wicked ways; for when they brought in a Cargo of Blacks, who more rea|dy to purchase them, and at a great Price, than the Saints, or them that seem so, and would be thought such. Well my dear and tender Friends, although I touch thus close to ease my afflicted mind, which has been tossed as with a Tempest at times, above 17 Years, on this sad Account Slave-Keeping, yet I write not this of all by no means, I know and be-believe there is many Friends, that dare not touch with it, for any Profit whatso|ever. I do hope there is some Thousands Page 81 will not bow the Knee to this Baal, nor kiss his Lips for an Ease or Gain. It has been said, that all do not see it so great a Sin as I and some others make it; and for that reason with others I think it my duty to write and speak the more about it where I come, that Friends and others may be better informed. Some have insinuated, as if the Primitive Saints kept Captive Slaves; this is hellish Cen|sure indeed, to accuse the greatest of Saints with the greatest of Sins; whose Damnation is just, and their reward shall be according to their Works; for they were without Spot, then free from the greatest Spot; holy, as he is holy; per|fect, as he is perfect; He that Sanctifi|eth, and they that are Sanctified, are one-Blessing and Honour, Salvation and Glo|ry to our God, for evermore, Amen, saith my Soul.
Cursing and Dishonour, and Damnati|on is to the Devil and Satan, and his Instruments, that Preach such Doctrines; for they that are Born of God Sin not, neither can they, for his Seed remaineth in them; they cannot Sin, because they are Born of God.
And now my dear Friends and others, Page 82 you that came in Servants to this Coun|try, and Slaves, although for a short time by your own Consent too, for you to plead for Negroe-Keeping, is almost intolerable.
I say, you that came here poor, vile, miserable wretches, destitute and folorn, and here you were kept to hard Labour, which was good for you, and brought you to a sense of your filthy, abomina|ble, undone, and woful cursed condition which you, many of ye had been in, then O then many of you came to consider of your ways, and were wise in turning to the Lord, into your own Hearts by the moving and rising of his own blessed Light, Life, Grace and pure Love there in your own Souls, which was as a Light shining in a Dark Place, your Hearts dark indeed, by reason of Sin, and that filthy Life which you had lived; you came to be burthened with it, and seek relief in turning to the Lord in your Hearts, where he was and is to be found, blessed be his pure Name which is his Essence or divine Nature, manifest with|in Men; so when you came to this good experience, you came to love the Society and follow the good example of our worthy Elders, very commendable Page 83 in you to do, which first settled in this Country; you came to live sober lives, and by your industry, the Almighty favouring, some attained to very large possessions here, being a large Country and few People, but now more numer|ous, so no occasion for Negro-Slaves; for had this Land been covered with 'em as it is now in some Places, and too much here already, how would you have come to this greatness; you might have perished for want of Business to purchase necessaries. Let it never be forgotten by you, I beseech and pray ye for the Lord's sake, and for your own and your Child|rens sake, that are coming up in vast Numbers, as well as them that are, or may become Servants hereafter, with many, yea very many of your own Chil|dren, which is very likely by the wicked •oul courses many of our Youth take, they may be brought to the same Misery and extremity as you were, by their foolish Lusts and vanities; my Soul mourns in contemplating of it, and is in sore dis|tress and misery, with many of my dear and inwardly beloved Friends, Male and Female, on this sad Account, as well as other gross Sins, many dear tender Souls in our Society, reproachfully called Page 84Quakers have writ and bore Testimony against this Sin at times, near 50 Years, but were reproached for that likewise; but some are gone to their Graves in Peace; many yet living; as in Pennsyl|vania, Jersey, Long-Island, Nantucket, Old England, which I have been with at their Houses, and their Writings are extant at this time to my certain knowledge, although many poor seeking Souls, that are bewildered by this wicked Hellish Sin in our Ministers, Slave-Keeping, will not believe or cannot believe it, but rather believe we approve of it as a Peo|ple with one consent unanimously. When some Friends have been reasoning with some Sober People of other professions in my hearing, concerning the Pride and Covetousness of their hireling Preachers, and concerning Truth's Principles, they have had nothing to say for the one, or against the other; but whether shall we go, say they, we do not approve or like keeping Slaves, it is not doing as we would be done by ourselves; and your People are as greedy as any Body in keeping Negroes for their Gain, (it is too true) but not all said I, no say they again, who shall we believe, we are sure and do know, that your Preachers and Page 85 Elders▪ Chief Leaders have 'em; answer was made, not all, for some have testified against it, as a very henious Sin, for ma|ny Years, Year after Year; and are gone to their silent Graves in Peace, and many yet living amongst us, as above is menti|oned. Why then, say they, do you not separate. Here it is thus written, Wherefore come out from amongst them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 2 Cor. 6. 13, 14, to 17. read the next verse with attention, in the fear of the Lord.
I know no worse or greater stumbling Blocks the Devil has to lay in the way of honest Inquirers, than our Ministers and Elders keeping Slaves; and by straining and perverting Holy Scriptures, Preach more to Hell, than ever they will bring to Heaven, by their feigned Hu|mility and Hypocrisy.
Satan put to his last Shift, or the De|vil working wonders, by a seeming Gos|pel Ministry of great repute; for by their keeping of Slaves, they carry on his Work, and uphold his Kingdom. We read, Rev. 12. 3. to the end, That the Dragon drew the third part of the Page 86 Stars of Heaven, and did cast them to the Earth with his Tail, the vilest part of the Beast. Let him that reads understand; the Stars were Men that had been en|lightened, and it has been the Judgment of worthy Men, in many Ages of the World, that a false and fallen Mi|nistry have been the greatest Instruments of Evil, that ever the Devil brought in|to the Church of Christ, as may be seen in Eusebius's Church History, Francis Howgil's Works, G. Fox's Journal, and in many more beside, which I have by me; does largely set forth that false and fallen Ministers are the worst Devils, and Dragons, and Serpents, the Woman or Church has to War with, by reason of the Power they have with the beastly Nature, in their ignorant Hearers, and foolish bigotted Crowd; such as have itching Ears, and shallow Crowns, car|nal Minds, and looser Lives; such being Born after the Flesh, are very rea|dy to join with the Serpent, to persecute him that is Born after the Spirit; it was so, it is so, and it will be so. The Dra|gon, and the Beast joining Forces, have great Power to make Rents in the out|ward Church, and Divisions, and sow discord amongst weak Brethren, but the Page 87 truly Wise in Heart, I know will be|ware.
But as to those Dragon, Slave-Keep|ing Preachers, that are now making War with the Woman, these fallen Stars they say they have been inlightened, and received part of the Ministry; we will allow it, for God Almighty has been ve|ry good and kind to them, and is still long suffering; So Judas their elder Brother was inlightened too, as much and more than they, for ought I know, but he repented, and returned his cursed Gain, and made Confession of his soul Sin, which I fear is more than they will do in haste, so much worse than Judas they are, for they Crucifie the Truth daily, and put it to open shame.
I have understood lately, that some have made their Wills when they were Sick, to set their Negroes free at such an Age, 30 or 40, after their Death; that will not salve the Sore, it is too deep and rotten, God will not be mocked so, nor Wise Men neither; they rather think of the old Proverb, it may be.
Page 88Acts. 2. It is written, when the time of Pentecost was fully come, there was People of many Nations gathered together, to hear the Apostles, and all heard in their own Tongue the wonderful Works of God. And if they were now here in Pennsyl|vania, they might hear and see the won|derful Works of the Devil; Men and Women preaching up the purest Religi|on in the World, and live in the greatest of Sins at same time, the Mother of Enor|mities, says
I do firmly believe in the Secret of my Soul, before the Lord, that Slave-Keep|ing and Trading, with what has and now does daily attend and appertain unto it, is as great a cause of the Sins of Sodom, as any thing is or ever was in the whole World.
The 30th of the 10th Mo. 1736.
I DID not know but I had done Scrib|ling about Slave-Keeping, but this Day calling to see our Friend J. R. at his House in Philadelphia, who was newly arrived from Bristol, in Old-England; and he speaking of the Negroe, or Guinea Trade, said, while he was in Bristol four or five Weeks, there was fitted out for Page 89 that Trade nine Sail; and he told me ac|cording to Account he had there, that there goes from Bristol about 50 Sail in a Year for Negroes: And I suppose some plain Coat-Men are concerned in it there as well as at Leverpoole, Barbadoes, and elsewhere; now if each of these 50 Vessels carries 300, some carry manymore, it comes to 15000 Souls Yearly, Stolen by Bristol|Men; and if there should be four times as many Stolen by Vessels from London, Lever|poole, North-Britain, Ireland, Barbadoes, Jamaica and some other Places, as I sup|pose there may, it comes to 75,000 Year|ly, Stolen and kept in Iron Furnaces; so that in 50 Years and more since Friends have been concerned in this practice, be|side what has been increased by Genera|tion, comes to 3825000. Is not this ten times worse than the Sins of Sodom and Egypt, Turk, Jew or Infidel?
So I inquired of the Friend what they did with this or such vast Numbers of Slaves; he said, they carried them to Jamaica generally, and sold them to the Spaniard for the Mines, or any Body else, I suppose, that will give most for them, although they keep them and their Pos|terity, in their cursed Hellish Iron-Fur|nace for evermore.
Page 90 O Brave Christians for the Devil, and Protestants too! is this the way to con|vince Papists, Turks, Jews, and Infidels of their notorious Wickedness and in|humanity, when we encourage them in it all we can, by supplying of them with Slaves, for our cursed Gain.
Several eminent Friends amongst us of great Note, have boasted in my hearing of having Servants or Slaves born in their House, alluding to Abraham, for keeping Slaves; but I cannot find in all the Scriptures that Abraham ever had any Slaves; Servants he might have born in his House, and bought with Money for a time; but I do not believe that righ|teous, perfect good Man would keep his fellow Creatures in Bondage, them and their Off-spring, for evermore. I have a better Opinion of that tender hearted, good vertuous Man, that was stiled the Father of the faithful, by the Lip of Truth, and that rightly too, for so he was; but the unfaithful hypocritical Pharisees, would, for a Cloak to their Wickedness, have him to their Father; but Truth told them, if they were Abra|ham's Children they would do the Works of Abraham; but now ye are of your Father the Devil, and his Works ye Page 91 will do. May not Truth say the same thing now, of our Preachers and Elders, Keepers and Traders in Slaves for noth|ing but their ungodly Gain. But what will our wicked Slave-Keepers get by flying beyond Gospel and Law, to Abraham, to patronise their cursed infer|nal practice; but what Truth said to the Jews, it will say to them, Ye are of your Father the Devil.
Now Friends, you that are Slave-Keepers, I pray and beseech ye, examine your own Hearts, and see and feel too, if you have not the same answer from Truth now within; while you Preach and exhort others to Equity, and to do Justice and love Mercy, and to walk humbly before the Lord and his People, and you yourselves live and act quite con|trary, behave proudly, do unjustly and un|mercifully, and live in and encourage the grossest Iniquity in the whole World. For I say, you are got beyond Gospel, Law, Abraham, Prophets, Patriarchs, to Cain the Murtherer, and beyond him too, to the Devil himself, beyond Cain, for he Murthered but one, that we know of but you have many Thousands, or caused 'em to be so, and for ought I know many Page 92 Hundreds of Thousands, within 50 Years. What do you think of these Things, you brave Gospel Ministers? that keep poor Slaves to Work for you to maintain you and yours in Pride, Pride and much Idleness or Laziness, and Ful|ness of Bread, the Sins of Sodom: How do these Things become your plain Dress, Demure Appearance, feigned Humili|ty, all but Hypocrisy, which accord|ing to Truth's Testimony, must have the hottest Place in Hell; to keep those mi|serable Creatures at hard Labour con|tinually, unto their old Age, in Bondage and sore Captivity, working out their Blood and Sweat, and Bowels, youthful strength and vigour, then you drop in|to your Graves, go to your Places or|dained or appointed for you; so leave these poor unhappy Creatures in their worn-out old Age, to your proud, Dainty, Lazy, Scornful, Tyrannical, and often beggerly Children, for them to Domineer and Tyrannize over, cursing them and you in your Graves, for work|ing out their youthful Blood and strength for you, and then leave 'em to be a Plague to us; and then of the abuses, miseries and Cruelties these miserable old worn out Slaves go through, no Tongue can ex|press Page 93 starved with Hunger, perish with Cold, rot as they go, for want of every thing that is necessary for an Humane Creature; so that Dogs and Cats are much better taken care •or, and yet some have had the Confidence, or rather Im|pudence, to say their Slaves or Negroes live as well as themselves. I could al|most wish such hardened, unthinking Sinful devilish Lyars were put into their Places, at least for a time, in a very hard Service, that they might feel a little in themselves, of what they make so light of in other People; and it would be but just upon 'em, and indeed why should they be against it, if the Negroes live as well and better than they; but such notorious Lies will never go down well, with any Sober right tender-hearted People truly fearing God, and that love the Truth above all; for such I believe firmly, when they come to see, and rightly consider the vileness of this prac|tice in all its parts, and the cursed Fruit it brings forth, they will never enter into it; and if they are in, will en|deavour to get out as soon as they can; for I do believe if all the Wickedness Tyrany, oppressions and abominable Bar|barities were written concerning this Page 94 Hellish Trade, it would fill a large Vo|lume in Folio.
Many has said, they do not see it so great an Evil or Sin, that is, Negroe-Keeping; who so Blind as them that will not see; but them that are willing to see, I think it my duty to inform them what I can by Word and Writing, and then leave it to the Lord.
There has been that has reflected on me, as if I wanted a Party, and to see what Numbers I could get on my side; the living Lord God Almighty is Witness for me, that I desire no Party, no Num|ber but what is on the Lords side, and his Party, which hold the Blessed Truth in righteousness and holiness of Life, in|deed and in Truth. I must confess I ra|ther chuse that Number, though but 5, then 500 that hold the Truth in un|righteousness and in unholiness; and though I could get the Friendship of the World and worldly Spirits, even them amongst ourselves and all their wealth beside; which is gotten by the iniquity of Slave-Keeping or otherwise; my witness is in Heaven; but I must ex|pect a great many more Slanders than these; nevertheless, I may say as it is Page 95 written, of Slave-Keeping Ministers, un|to the Wicked God saith, Psalm. 50. 16, 18. to the end. What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou shouldst take my Covenant in thy Mouth; when thou sawest a Thief, then thou consents with him, and hast been partaker with Adulterers. Is not this very applicable to Men-Stealers and Receivers.
But my dear Friends, as to my own part, if the Lord have stirred you up a|gainst me, let him accept of an offering; but if it be only Men, I don't fear in the least; but my dearest God, whom I serve with pure Love, fervently, will deliver me, and in his own Blessed time estab|lish me in my Inheritance with Saints in Light. O that the Lord my God would be pleased to raise up some Worthies, that be Valiant for the Truth, upon Earth, and bring them forth into open view, in Sight of all Men, for his Name sake, which is the Truth. Hebrews. 11. 33, 34.
O that we may never sell our Birth-right, for a morsel of Meat or any Ad|vantage of this beggerly World; for Truth said of Old, and saith the same now, He that will not forsake all is not worthy of me, all for my sake, deny himself, take up the Cross and follow me.
Page 96 Doth Truth lead its Ministers to keep their fellow Creatures in Bondage and sore Captivity, and their Off-spring for|evermore; if it does not, but the prac|tice be proved by the Blessed Truth it|self to be contrary and directly opposite to its divine Nature, as to be sure it is. Why I pray and beseech you my dear Friends, are some that seem to be Truth's Ministers, so Angry, in a Rage, and such a Fury, as many have been, and are to my knowledge, when they have been reprov|ed for, or opposed in this their wicked Sin, and very great Iniquity; for so it is proved by Truth itself, Do to all o|thers, as you would they should do unto you: Truth saith, Whosoever is Angry with his Brother, without just cause, is in danger of Judgment: but who dare judge a Minister, he will be in such a Fury if he is not true or reprove him, although he pretend to be a Servant in the Church to us all. I know what I write by large experience, for many Years, in several Nations, where my lot hath been cast; so that I am not as one that beats the Air in this cause, as concerning false Mi|nisters; but as to Truth's Minister, that always dwells in Truth and follows Truth wheresoever he goes, Truth bears wit|ness Page 97 in me, that I love them and the pure dear sweet Testimony Truth hath given us, better than all things in this vain World; now as concerning Offerers, Truth saith, If thou bring thy gift to the Altar, and there remember, thy Brother hath anght against thee, leave thy gift at or before the Altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then, not before, come and offer thy Gift. O that these Things were well considered by all Preachers and hearers; and that no Prea|cher might be suffered to appear in our Meetings, but such as were clear of this Sinful Practice, Slave-Keeping, as well as all others; then we should have but few Preachers for a time, I think, but much better Preaching: Dear Friends, I myself do consider how it stands, and what I may have to incounter with; but shall leave all to my dear sweet and for|ever blessed Ebenezer, which hath hither|to helped, blessed be his Pious Name, Says B. L.
Is it not the Church's Prerogative, to judge of the Ministry and Ministers, and to call them to strict Account, concern|ing their Doctrine, Principles, Practices, and manner of living?
Page 98Genesis. 25. 6. Abraham's Concubines.
2 Sam. 5. 13. David took him more Concubines and Wives.
Ver. 15, 16. Left ten Concubines, to keep his House.
1 Chron. 3. 9. Sons of David, beside the Sons of his Concubines.
Solomon's Song. 6. 8, 9. Queens and Concubines.
Esther. 2. 14. Which kept the Concubines.
Dan. 5. 2, 3, 23. Then they brought the Vessels taken out of the House of God; which was at Jerusalem, and the King, his Wives and Concubines drank in them.
So that many Wives, Concubines or half Whores, and Trading in Slaves, was, and is the Heathen Practice, al|though permitted to the Jews for a time for the hardness of their Hearts, As Christ well said concerning the Divorce.
So the Pope, Papists, and may be some others called Christians, have lick'd up such like Filthiness, as Keeping Slaves, giving Licences for common Stews, Brothell Houses, which are common Whore Houses.
These things by him that is called his Holiness, and now Protestants have lick'd up some of their Filthiness.
Page 99They Marry to Divorce, and Divorce to Marry again, as Seneca well ob|serves.
Shall we as a People, professing such Purity, touch with such Filthiness.
1 Chron. 7. 4. 14. 3. Many Wives, Multitude of Wives. David took many Wives.
2 Chron. 11. 21. Took 18 Wives, 60 Concubines. Ver. 23. Desired many Wives.
Jeremiah. 35. 8. Drink no Wine.
Judges. 8. 30, 31. Gideon had ma|ny Wives.
Deuter. 17. 17. Neither shall he mul|tiply Wives.
But the Children of Israel and Judah would not obey the Command, as well as others; neither their Kings or Common People.
Formerly I suppose by Scripture, they that were accounted good Men, went to Harlots sometimes, as well as kept Slaves, by what follows.
Genesis. 38. 15, 16, 25. Judah thought her to be an Harlot, and he turned in unto her; very severe against her, for what he had done himself. Something like poor David, would have her Burnt.
Lev. 21. 12, 13, 14. A Priest shall Page 100 not take a Divorced Woman, or an Har|lot, others may.
Josh. 11. 1, 17, 22. They came into an Harlot's House, Rahab's, and lodg'd there.
Judges. 11. 1. Jeptha was a mighty Man of Valour, the Son of an Harlot.
Judges. 16. 1. Then went Sampson to Gaza, and saw an Harlot, and went in to her.
Joel. 3. 3. They have given a Boy for an Harlot.
What condition were these People in.
1 Corin. 6. Shall I take the Members of Christ, and make them the Members of an Harlot; or keep Slaves, God forbid, Saith my Soul,
Psalm. 141. 3, 4, 5. Set a watch O Lord, before my Mouth, keep the Door of my Lips; incline my Heart not to any evil thing, to practice• wicked Works, with them that work iniquity by Slave-Keeping, or otherwise? And let me not eat of their Dainties.
Ver. 15. Let the righteous Smite me, it shall be a kindness, and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent Oyl, which shall not break my Head, for yet my Prayer shall be in their Calamity. I hope, and Sin|cerely desire it may ever be so with,
Revelation. Chap. XII.
Some Thoughts concerning it.
Writ in ABINGTON, the 7th Mo. 1736.
Verse 1. AND there appeared a great wonder in Heaven, the King|dom of Heaven is within saith Truth, the true Church, a Woman Cloathed with the Sun, Pure, Light and Brightness, and the Moon under her Feet, all changeable things put down, trodden under, in the Soul, and upon her Head a Crown of 12 Stars, very bright and beautiful to be|hold.
Ver. 2. And she being with Child, cried travailing in Birth, until Truth was form|ed in her, you little Children for whom—til Christ be in you, the hope and Glo|ry, and pained to be delivered, brought forth into Victory over all Sin.
Ver. 3. And there appeared another wonder in Heaven, in the Heart of Man, and behold a great red Dragon, a Furious Beast, and Bloody Monster, having seven Heads, and 10 Horns, and 7 Crowns upon his Heads, it may be he had gotten seven Victories over the Saints, but was over|come at last.
Ver. 4. And his Tail, the beastly Nature, drew the third part of the Stars Page 102 of Heaven, bright Men, and did cast them to the Earth, inlightened Men that had received part of the Ministry, as Judas did, yet betrayed the Truth, for Gain, as our Slave-Keepers do now. I know what I write, and the Dragon, the Beast, stood before the Woman, which was ready to be delivered of the Heavenly Birth, for to devour her Child as soon as it was Born, to be sure, forfear it should grow strong and break his Head, and take away his Crowns, and Name of Blasphemy, which he is so proud of.
These Men, these fallen Stars have been, and are accounted the greatest of Anti-Christs, and worst of Devils; the true Church has had, and has still to in|counter with wicked Spirits in high Pla|ces; as I can if it be desired, produce many worthy Authors to justifie what I write.
In almost all Ages of the World, for|mer and latter times, as many of our worthy Elders G. Fox and many others sets them forth, and that very justly, to be much worse and more dangerous than the common Hirelings of the times.
Ver. 5. And she brought forth a Man Child, begotten and Born of the Truth, Page 103 which is God, that good Spirit, in the the Soul of Man, who was to rule all Na|tions with a Rod of Iron; in his own time, and her Child was caught to God, and to his Throne, preserved in safety, and gloriously exalted in the Soul, and the Soul in him; he that Sanctifieth and they that are Sanctified are one.
Ver. 6. And the Woman the true Church, fled into the Wilderness, a very Solitary Place to weep and mourn out her Days, fearing at times her Spouse had forsaken her altogether, and then O the the distress she was in for her beloved; but this was but to prove her constancy, where she had a Place prepared of God, though she knew it not for a time, that they should feed her there 1260 Days, if in adversity yet for her advancement in the End: Glory to the pure Spouse, forever, and to the Bride, the Lamb's, Wife for she is Beautiful.
Ver. 7. And there was War in Hea|ven, what in that peaceable Place, which we read is so glorious and full of sweet delight, Michael and his Angels fought; what must the Saints fight then for Hea|ven? Yea verily, or else they never enter, and valiantly too, against the Dragon, and the Dragon fought, and his (Black) Page 104Angels, for his Gain, to inslave the Bodies and Souls of Men, the very worst part of the old Whores Merchandize, nasty filthy Whore of Whores, Babilon's Bas|tards.
Ver. 8. And prevailed not, neither was there Place found any more in Heaven, in the Hearts of the faithful; after they have gained the Victory, for the Lamb, and his true followers shall be Victorious, in due time be made more than Conquer|ors.
Ver. 9. And the great Dragon was cast out, that old Serpent that has bitten so many, called the Devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole World, no doubt because the worldly, covetous Spirit is always blind, very easy to be deceived; he was cast out into the Earth, and his Angels were cast out with him, out of Heavenly into earthly Minds, where he made Devilish Work no doubt and not much to be thought strange of; but that the Saints of the most high God should lick up what some such earthly minds, in several Professions have spued up, as being too Hellish, and too hard for 'em to digest, or for their Stomachs to bear, to my thinking, is almost beyond com|pare, Slave-Keeping.
Page 105Ver. 10. And I heard a loud Voice, say|ing in Heaven, Now is come Salvation and Strength, and the Kingdom of our God, & the Power of his Christ: All this is ex|perienced within, when Men and Wo|men are born again, then Truth reigns and rules in its own Kingdom, for the accuser of our Brethren is cast down; it was so, and I with some of my oppressed Friends do hope it will be so again; the Devil, which accused them before our God, Day and Night, does the same to this Day, for if you reprove or admonish one of our Preachers which keep a Slave or Slaves, he will be in such a rage and fury, beyond that moderation I think that becomes a meek follower of the blessed Lamb of God, which suffered, the just for the unjust, to take away all Sin, then surely Slave-Keeping the worst of Sins; I say reprove one of these for that wicked Practice, and see if he will not accuse you Day and Night, from Meet|ing to Meeting, in Meeting and out of Meeting, right or wrong, as he thinks fit, and set his Brethren in Iniquity, Slave-Keeping, Preachers, and others a|gainst you, all he possibly can, and so pro|ceed to get you disowned if possible: As several worthy Friends have been, for Page 106 Testifying against this sinful, foul Hel|lish practice, the Mother of Enormities. We may safely say as Solomon of an Whore or Harlot, that stands by the way side to catch who she can, their Guests are in the depths of Hell.
Ver. 11. And they overcame him the accuser, by the Blood of the Lamb, blessed dear Lamb, O that all would follow him wherever he goes, Ministers especially, and all others; then we should never Trade in Slaves, and Souls of Men, for cursed Gain; and by the Word of their Testimony; they kept their Testimony clear and pure it's like, or else they had not overcame.
And they loved not their Lives unto the Death; then they were not afraid to reprove Wicked Men, it's very evident, or worse Preachers, which are a sort of Devils, that Preach more to Hell than they do to Heaven, and so they will do forever, as long as they are suffered to reign in the worst, and Mother of all Sins, Slave-Keeping.
Ver. 12. Therefore rejoice, ye Heavens, and all ye that dwell in them; they have great cause so to do, that know their warfare to be accomplished, & Sion in the Soul to be a quiet Habitation, free from Page 107 the accuser of the Brethren, these do no evil, commit no Sin; But Wo to the In|habiters of the Earth, and of the Sea, which are People, for the Devil is come down unto you, having great Wrath, be|cause be knoweth he hath but a short time. Great Wrath indeed, and so have his Ministers too, although they seem, and would be thought to be meek followers of the Lamb, yet do but reprove 'em for their gross Sin, and tell them they are the strongest Instruments in the Church that the Devil has to uphold and carry on, and continue that Hellish Trading in Slaves and Souls of Men; and let 'em know that they are the very greatest stumbling Blocks, the Devil has to lay in the way of Honest Inquirers, and you shall soon see what metal they are made of; yet they have cast down many wounded, yea many strong Men it is thought have fallen by their means, as Solomon said of an Whore.
Ver. 13. And when the Dragon saw that he was cast unto the Earth, he per|secuted the Woman that brought forth the Man Child. When the Dragon, Beast, Serpent, Whore, and false Prophet, all one, saw he was discovered by some Members of the true Church, the Wo|man Page 108 man that brings forth the Man Child the true Heir of God and joint Heir with Truth or Christ, all one; then he shows himself in his proper colours in his natural element, Hellish, as it is; to persecuting of the Woman he goes, the true Church, that brings forth the Man Child, Christ, God, and Man. Them that read, let them understand in Spirit.
Neither enter themselves, or suffer others; as Christ said of former Hy|pocrites, we may safely of these latter ones.
Ver. 14. And to the Woman were gi|ven, two Wings of a great Eagle, that she might fly into the Wilderness, into her Place; where she is to be nourished, for a time, and times, and dividing of times, from the face of the Serpent.
Great Wings may signifie swiftness and strength but where shall we fly, but to the Lord, our Rock, for nourishment and strength; the Lord in his wisdom may have been pleased to hide some from the face of the Serpent for some time for Reasons best known to himself, but now I believe the time is near at hand, that some may or must come forth of the Wilderness, yet leaning on their belov|ed, to meet the Serpent, although with Page 109 their lives in their Hands, not loving their lives unto Death.
Ver. 15. And the Serpent cast Water out of his Mouth as a Flood after the Wo|man; out of the soul Mouths of his In|struments, Lying, Slandering and false accusations, persecuting with the Tongue until they have Power to proceed fur|ther; that he might cause her, the Church to be carried away of the Flood, of their Lies in Hypocrisy, which they are very generous of.
Ver. 16. And the Earth helped the Woman, and the Earth opened her Mouth, these Messengers of Satan, false Ministers became so notorious wicked, in Lying, Slandering and false accusing, and other vile Practices, that the very earthly mind|ed opened his Mouth, to plead for the Woman, the true Church; and swallow|ed up the Flood, which the Dragon cast out of his Mouth, made it appear that those things were false which the Ser|pent in his Instruments had accused her of.
Ver. 17. And the Dragon was wroth with the Woman, and went to make War with the remnant of her Seed; very true, War is his natural element, killing and taking the Plunder is his Hellish delight, Page 110 since he was cast unto the Earth again. Pretty much like our Slave-Traders, Killers, Stealers, Thieves and Receivers, Cousin-germans all, the Devil's own Children. Let 'em pretend to what they please, Preachers or Hearers, Professors or profane, all that help forward that Work of Hell, they was wroth with the Woman, and remnant of her Seed, which keep the Commandment of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ, which al|ways testifies against such Hellish Prac|tices, in every appearance, for they that worshiped the Beast or his Image, or re|ceived his Mark or Name in his Forehead or in his Hand, the same shall Drink of the Wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the Cup of his indignation; Cups are wicked Men; What does our Slave-Keeping Preachers think of these Scriptures? Do they believe, or are they Infidels, and Atheists in disguise? They that have this blessed experience, they Sing the Song of Moses and the Lamb. Rev. 14. 9, 10, 11, 16. 2. 19, 20. 15. 1, 2, 3, 4.
If this, Revelation 13. should be proved applicable to our present SLAVE-KEEPERS, what will they do, my Soul is concerned for 'em on the Truth's Account.
Verse 1. AND I stood upon the Sand of the Sea, by the side of the Water, which are People, and saw a Beast, the beastly Nature, rise out of the Sea, or People, having many Horns, and Crowns, Heads, very glorious, with the Name of Blasphemy, the beastly Nature, Blas|phemies against the Divine Nature, upon his Heads, a top of all, he is not asham|ed it's like but glories in it.
Ver. 2. And the Beast that I saw was like a Leopard, full of Spots, causes me to think of the first of Isaiah; fest like a Bear, to tear and rent, Mouth like a Lyon, roar against all that oppose 'em; and the furious Dragon gave the nasty Beast his Power and his Seat, his Chair to sit in as Chief Judge, and great Authority, to rule over almost all the Congregation in America.
Ver. 3. And I saw as it were one of his Heads wounded to Death, some part of the beastly Nature subd•ed, and the dead|ly Page 112 wound was healed, he got over his Convictions by Custom and Covetous|ness, and being a little wiser than some others, in the Wisdom that is from be|low, he could Preach so excellently as if he could almost make Slave-Keeping a|greeable, with the Purity and Holiness of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, our Lord, and all the World in the fallen Nature wondered after the Beast.
Ver. 4. And they worshiped the Dra|gon, and the Beast, he being very terrible to some, if not for Love, for Fear, as I have heard some Indians do the Devil, saying who is like unto the Beast; who is able to make War with him, that is so strong and reigns long.
Ver. 5. And there was given him a Mouth, speaking great Things, and Blas|phemies, to be sure or else it would not do, and Power was given to continue 42 Months; but these has been longer, count|ing a Year for a Month: O faith my Soul if it were the Will of God Almighty that it might soon come to an End.
Ver. 6. And he opened his Mouth in Blasphemy against God, to be sure, be|cause God's ways and doings are Equity, pure, just and true; his ways Iniquity, filthy, unjust, a Lye; and he Blasphemed Page 113 his Name and his Tabernacle, and them that dwelt in Heaven; the Tabernacle of God is with Men, and in Men, and they that dwell with God in a pure Heart, they dwell in Heaven, and have fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, and with Saints, and Angels, and they know him that is true and are in him that is true. Hebrews. 12. 22, 23, 24.
Ver. 7. The Dragon, Beast, Whore, & false Prophet don't like this Doctrine, and it was given him to make War with the Saints, and to overcome them, for a time, or else how came so many worthy Friends to be disowned publickly, and more, many more privately and subtilly insinu|ated against, for no other Reason that I can find, but for declaring against the vilest practice that ever the Beast brought into the Church of Christ, in these Coun|tries, Slave-Keeping; and power was gi|ven him over all Nations, no doubt.
Ver. 8. And all that dwell in the earthly Nature unredeem'd, shall Wor|ship him, whose Names are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb, slain from the Foundation of the World.
Ver. 9. If any Man have an Ear, let him hear.
Page 114Ver. 10. He that leadeth into Captivi|ty, shall go into Captivity: What does my dear Friends think of this, whose Salva|tion I desire, as my own Soul; he that killeth with the Sword must be killed with the Sword; do not we kill, when we re|ceive the Plunder and send the Villains for more, who are too forward of them|selves; Dear Friends, bear with me, are we not worse than they? we appear very Religious and Demure, Preaching against Iniquity and Vice; they appear to be what they are, the worst of Villains, the worst of Robbers and Murtherers.
Ver. 11. And I beheld another Beast coming up out of the Earth, and he had two Horns like a Lamb, very demure seemingly, but soon angry, and he spoke as a Dragon, if he was contradicted, like the Craftsmen at Ephesus.
Ver. 12. And he exerciseth all the the Power of the first Beast before him, and causeth the Earth, and them that dwell therein, earthly minded Souls to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed, got over the Reproofs of Instruction, which is the way to Life, so came again to worship the Beast's Im|age. O sorrowful indeed it is, for many tender Souls to think of.
Page 115Ver. 13. And doth great wonders, so that he maketh Fire seem to come down from Heaven on the Earth, in sight of earthly minded Men, as if the Fire, Light and Life of the living Word, which was and is God, was with them in their Ministry, in our Meetings.
Ver. 14. And deceiveth them that dwell on, or in the Earth; Beast do Miracles, it may seem so to the Beastly-minded, the second demure Beast with his two Horns like a Lamb, would have an Image made to the first Beast, which had a wound by a Sword, the Word of God, but got over it and did live, the Life of the Beast again. Let them that read under|stand.
Ver. 15. And he had Power to give Life to the Image of the Beast, it may seem so to the fallen Nature, that the Image of the Beast, should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the Beast, should be slain or killed; turn him out, a Persecutor of the Church, a sower of discord among Brethren, will he not worship the Image of the Beast. I fear greatly, we have too many such Images in our Meetings, or Devilish Covetousness in the Stealers and else I am mistaken; O that I were. Eph. 4. 14.
Page 116Ver. 16. And causeth all, both small and great, Rich and Poor, Bond and Free, spares none, to receive a Mark in their right Hand, or in their Foreheads, that he may know his own, and not join with the Lamb, his Enemy; the Holy Lamb won't receive them into his Fold, that has the Beast Mark; pray my dear Friends, what is more, or so much the Beast Mark, as Slave-Keeping.
Ver. 17. And that no Man might buy or sell, save he that had the Mark, or the Name of the Beast, or the Number of his Name: Is it not so now in our Church Discipline? How many has been opposed in Meetings of Business, which could not receive the Beast Mark, in buying & selling Slaves and Souls of Men, the very worst part of the Idolatry; the grand old Whore's Wares or Merchandize.
Ver. 18. Here is Wisdom. Let him that hath understanding, count the Num|ber of the Beast; for it is the Number of a Man, and his Number is Six Hundred three score and six; about the Age of some old Men, so many Months, all pointing to the Beastly Nature in Man, as I hum|bly conceive, or the Wisdom that is from below, which the Man of God calls earth|ly devilish; some Men now, as well as Page 117 of old, know nothing but what they know naturally as bruit Beasts.
Well my dear Friends, I hope, and know better Things of many of you, & Things which accompany Salvation tho' I thus write, and sincerely wish it might be so with all. Rev. 14. 9, 10. They that worship the Beast, or his Image, or re|ceive his Mark, must be so tormented.
Abington,the 5th of the 7th Mo. 1736.
IT was well said of one, Where the Truth of God suffers, there Unity is Schism, Church Government is Tyranny, and the Church is a Rout.
Psal. 133. A glorious and precious thing indeed, is true Unity; but I know no stronger Bulwark the Devil has a|gainst it, in the Church of Christ, than Slave-Keeping, and all the train of abom|inable Filthiness, which does and will attend it, and is inseparable from it (es|pecially in Ministers) who by their foul Example have lead (I suppose) many Hundreds, if not Thousands into the Snare, and will many, yea very many more, if there is not some more effectual and speedy care taken to prevent, with|stand and suppress so potent an Enemy as it is, both in Church and State; what Page 118 I pray and beseech you, my dear Friends, whose Love and Unity in the Gospel Fel|lowship, which is sweet and precious, pure and peaceable, easy to be intreated; this I say is what I desire more than all the World, or a Thousand Lives, let Peo|ple say what they please of me or my Proceedings, for the Truth's sake, and all my fellow Creatures present and eter|nal Welfare, my witness is in Heaven, and in many of my Truth's dear Friends whose Unity is precious to me and some|times overcoming, in the pure precious Life of the Lamb; what, I say, will be|come of the innumerable Off-spring that is coming up, if all should have Slaves to do their Work within Doors and with|out, as many has, they might or may per|ish for want of Business, to get a Piece of Bread or a Coat to put on, in the next Generation, and so on without end. O hard Lot! I have been often asked what shall we do? if it is so hard now, what will you do when they are more increased, for they grow on us, as in other Places.
Isa. 3. 8, 9, 16. Ezek. 22. 12, 13, to the end. 25. 26, 27, 28, 29.
Hebr. 13. 1, 2, 3. Some entertain Strangers, Slaves, not very much like Angels, but after an Hellish manner; Page 119 how does our Demure Slave-Keepers remember them that are in Bonds as bound with 'em, except as Slaves are bound to them, so they to the Devil, and stronger, for as Death loosens one, it fas|tens the other in eternal Torments if not repented and forsaken.
2 Peter. 1. 5, to 10. But he that lack|eth these things is blind, and cannot see a far off; what will become of Posterity, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old Sins, and yet continues Preaching with great Demurity; O where is these Peoples Love, for they have cast down many wounded, and drawn many into the Snare by their bad Example, & twisting and straining Scripture, and all to cover their Sin.
Well my dear Friends, I can truly say with great Sincerity, I write these things, not to offend, but to inform, caution, and advise them that are con|cerned, to pray to the Lord for Wisdom and Strength of Faith, to quit their Hands of them before it is too late; a Day of Vengeance will come.
We are apt to blame Pyrates for Steal|ing some of our Goods and Merchandize, and it may be they have many of them been brought up and instructed in that, Page 120 that is a hundred times worse, that cursed Guinea Trade.
O! O! That my Soul could find some relief, for the distress that it hath been in, for 17 Years and more at times, on this sad Account; but if Friends will not hear, O believe me, mine Eyes shall weep fore in Secret.
Because the Lord's Camp is in Captivi|ty; for they that keep Captives, are in Captivity and Bondage, and brings ma|ny of their Friends, Male and Female into Bondage, because of their Sin, and continuing in it.
Your Fathers have built a Wall of Ini|quity, and you are daubing it with un|tempered Mortar, in Keeping Slaves & pleading for it; O vile and shameless practice, which we ought to be separat|ed from, especially Ministers and Elders, whose example is ten times worse than others; such worthy Friends as them! sure I may as well as he? says the un|thinking covetous Atheist, and may be some sober minded amongst all professions. So here the Leprosy spreads, and it spreads more and more; but dear Friends what shall we do in the end thereof, for my dear Friends, I think it is easy to prove that there is as great dispropor|tion Page 121 between Slave-Keeping, take it root and branch, and all the sad Fruit it brings forth, as there is between Light and Darkness, Christ & Belial.
2 Cor. 6. Chap. Read in the fear and love of God, our Saviour.
Ezek. 13. 10, to the end. One Built a Wall the others daub it, wresting, and as a Nose of Wax, perverting Scripture, to justifie, excuse or connive at Keep|ing Slaves; here's Work for Ministers!
Rev. 13. 1, to 11. The Beast that came up out of the Earth with two Horns like a Lamb, very demure, speaks like a Dragon, if it's opposed; so does our Slave-Keeping Ministers, to my certain knowledge; they cry out sadly against R. Sandiford's Mystery of Iniquity, which he writ in the fear of God, and in the Love of Truth and his Fellow Creatures, which has kept many out of the Damned Snare; he that doubteth is damned, what is not of Faith is Sin.
Gen. 49. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
Gen. 13. 7, 8, 9. And Abraham said unto Lot, Let there be no strife between me and thee, I pray thee, for we be Brethren, depart I pray thee from me; if thou wilt take the 〈◊〉 Hand, then will I go to the Page 122 right; or if thou go to the right, then will I go to, or take the left.
Lev. 22. 1, 2, 3. Numb. 6. 1, to 3. 16. 20, to 26. 1 Kings. 8. 53. Ezra. 6. 10, 11, 12, 13. Exodus. 33. 15, 16.
How can we expect the Holy presence of our God to go with us, if we keep our Fellow Creatures in everlasting Bon|dage, them and their Wives and Chil|dren.
Ezra. 9. 1, to the end. Much to the to the purpose. Nehem. 13. 3. 2 Cor. 6. 15, to the end. Gal. 2. 11, 12, 13. Many eminent Persons have been carried away with Slave-Keeping-Preachers bad example and foul Doctrine, and ma|ny more will I fear be so; O the Mi|nistry, the Ministry is corrupted.
Job. 3. 1, to the end. If Job com|plained so heavily, well may our poor Slaves, and their Posterity. Some Friends has argued, when a People were grown very wicked, the Almighty was pleased to give them up, or suffer 'em to be brought in|to Captivity, Bondage or Slavery, as he did his own People and others: Well & what if it is so now, shall we join with the Heathen in Covetousness, to be as the Rod of his wrath; but I pray what be|comes Page 123 of all Rods when they are done with? burned, or some way destroyed; it may be well for us to consider it may be our own lot, sooner than we are aware.
Isa. 62. 1, to the end. This Chapter likewise is very excellent if read with an inlighted mind, and that is the first thing to be prayed for, in order to a right understanding of what we read.
James. 4. 1, to 6. Then we shall know that War and Fighting, Killing and Stealing and receiving Slaves, and Souls of Men, cometh of our Lusts, which warreth in our Members, against the pure Holy Spirit of God in our Hearts.
Phil. 3. 18. O my beloved Friends, can a Minister of the Gospel, of Jesus Christ, which is the Power of God, keep Slaves and not be an Enemy to the Holy Cross of Christ; my Friends, I can free|ly call you, that are born again, and truly fear God, and love his pure Truth more than all, of what Nation or Profession soever you are, you I do believe abhor this vile practice, much more to be found in it.
Dear Friends, I have been for many Page 124 Years, almost 20 before I ever saw Penn|sylvania, closely exercised, and sorely oppressed with a false and forward Mi|nistry, where Slave-Keeping is not per|mitted by Law, and has been I firmly believe a great means of bringing in and spreading the Apostacy, and so continues to do, by some that pretend to preach freely, as well or ill as by the bare|faced Hirelings of our time, who cannot deny but that they make a trade of Preaching for their Bellies, but gross A|postacy by the way.
I have had it in my mind for a con|siderable time, to write something con|cerning a false Anti-Christian Ministry, and a true Christian Ministry, fitted and sent forth by the Spirit of Truth itself, in this our Day, with the Epistles of ma|ny worthy Men, of several persuasions, on that Subject; but fearing it will swell this Volume too large, it is thought best to be reserved for another Impression, with something concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, or Heavenly Kingdom, what it is, and where it is to be found, with the most ready, sure and certain way to attain it, plainly described; for the sake of the sincere in Heart, who are tra|velling toward Sion, with their Faces Page 125 thitherward, of all persuasions, whose present and eternal welfare, I wish and desire for, as for my own Soul, of all Colours and Countries.
As no Man or Men can set forth in Words spoken or written, the great good, service, comfort, joy, strength & consolation, a true Ministry sent from God has been, and is of, for the build|ing up of the true Church in God, in their most Holy Faith:
So no Men or Angels, nor all the Men in the World can declare to the full, the great evil, that a false Ministry, sent from the Devil, has been, and is of, for the Building up of the false Church in their sinful, and unholy Faith and Prac|tice.
I had it also much in my mind to write something concerning the Lives of the Primitive Christians, mentioned by William Penn, in his No Cross No Crown, and Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, Tho|mas a Kempis's Christian Pattern, Michael de Molinus's Spiritual Guide, a Book called The Apostolick Fathers, and some of the best of the Philosophers and others, which I have by me, which might be of Ser|vice, to them that live single Lives es|pecially; Page 126 but it must be left till another time.
O the strict Rules of Temperance that was amongst those Quakers in Old-Eng|land! what Persecution then was by Plundering, Robbing and ruining of Fa|milies? What Whipping and Imprison|ing, many Hundreds at a time, some suffocated to Death, some imprisoned during Life, some Banished, and other ways Tortured.
Then about the same in N. England, how many of our first dear and true Friends, called Quakers, suffered there by plunder|ing and ruining of Families, Whipping and Banishing almost continually, with cutting of Ears, and Hanging there was in that Day, for the sake of the Testi|mony of or for the pure Holy unchang|able Truth, and of good Conscience, a|gainst all Iniquity, Cruelty, Bloodshed and Inhumanity, which was acted there, by them that had fled from Old-England to save their Backs and their Purses, ac|cording to the Account in a Book writ|by George Bishop, called New-England Judged.
Much more might be writ concerning these and such like things, which might fall many large Volumes in Folio. But this Page 127 is not like Slave-Keeping; for those were dispatched or set at Liberty, and some crime or cause pretended; but these for no fault, so much as pretended, but only Devilish Covetousness in the Stealers and Receivers, and then by a lingering Martyrdom from one twenty Years to another, some above Ground and some under Ground in Caves & Dens or Mines, are Murthered by Working hard, and Starving, Whipping, Racking, Hang|ing, Burning, Scalding, Roasting, and other Hellish Torments, very sorrowful to consider. O when will there be an end of these Things, seeing it now going on with main strength by almost all Par|ties, as well as by some of those that pretend to the most strict self-denying Doctrine in the World, that is so full of Mercy, Compassion, Forgiveness to the very worst of Enemies, Tenderness, Meekness, Mildness, Sweetness of Love, and Pity to all Creatures of all Kinds; the merciful Man is merciful to his Beast, and yet some of these Preten|ders to this Purity can join with these Men-Killers and Stealers for Gain, which is hard to write, but it is True.
But yet I do know there is a faithful Remnant amongst the People called Page 128Quakers, in America, that are zealous against this and all other Iniquity, to whom my Soul is nearly united in Spirit, blessed be the Lord my God, for so great a favour for evermore. And I believe some of other Professions also, whom I dearly love; and I have some Hope the Num|ber of all Sorts, that truly fear God and Love his Truth at Heart, will increase, which I should rejoice to hear and see, although Things seem to look dark at present.
Abington,the 3d of the 3d Mo. 1736, be|tween 3 and 4 this Morning.
IT was again revived in my Mind, the Practice of Slave-keeping, and thus to query.
Whether it is not as wicked and sinful a Practice to keep and trade in Slaves, as to commit the following Evils and filthy Abominations, which are now in Custom I suppose by Jew and Gentile, to whom our brave Slavekeepers allude, Abraham and the Law. That is to say, Keeping many Wives and Harlots or Concubines, going to and making use of Harlots when they please, and Mankind too; and ma|ny other Things mentioned in the Old Testament, and other Histories, and by Peter Charron in his Book of Wisdom, page 324.
The 15th of the 1st month, 1736/7.
JOHN MILTON wrote a Treatise concerning the likeliest Means to re|move Hirelings out of the Church, which I gave to King George the I. and to the present King and Queen, that they might see what a Company of destructive Ver|min they had about them. And I think there is as much need now to keep such as are of the same Spirit out of the Church, or it is in great Danger in the Opinion of some seeing worthy Friends, who can see beyond Profession, Formality or worldly Interest.
That Spirit has something in view; the good of the Belly, a rich Wife or Husband, carrying on a good Trade, or to be exalted, and to get or keep up a strong Party for some Design, base enough; and under this Cloak of Deceit, accuse others of seeking a Party. Now when this Spirit goes forth with Authority from the outward Church, then out Meetings are or may be sure to be grievously pestered, with noise if not nonsense. It seems as if some o• our Ministers (I was going to say many) have forgot the great Benefit of Silent Meetings, if ever they rightly knew it that they are so restless in them, and mu••Page 130 be hammering & hammering. The Noise of the Workman's Tool was not to be heard in Building the outward Temple, and much less the inward, which is the Work of God himself. Oh that the Lord would be pleased to put a Hook into the Nose of this Leviathan!
But if the Words be never so sound and orthodox, without Life they are but as Chaff; and what is the Chaff to the Wheat? why truly, Friends, you know the Chaff is for the Beasts; but the bles|sed Wheat, with which our heavenly Father feeds his Babes, is for the Chil|dren of the Kingdom, New Jerusalem, the Church of the living God, his House.
But what said blessed Jesus to them that went or go without him; He that is not with me is against me, and he that ga|thereth not with me, scattereth abroad. Let his or her Words be ever so excel|lent, as if he had said.
Many worthy Friends have been bur|thened with this scattering Spirit for ma|ny Years, especially its profaning if not blaspheming the sacred Name in Prayer.
When our Meetings on First-Days or o|thers, are a little settled in Silence, and the dren in the Kingdom in their heavenly Places, and their Father begins to feed Page 131 them, up stands may be a crackt Trum|pet, with an uncertain Sound; or per|adventure an old broken Cistern, with a little thick muddy stinking Water at bottom, kept in for the Meeting, and there thrown out among the Children, when in Truth it is hardly fit for Swine, nay, I think I may venture to say, the very Swine do not like it, it is so bad. Now if such filthy Stuff be countenanced encouraged and commended by our El|ders and Ministers, some of them, what a Condition is the Church in, which should be without Spot or Wrinkle? I leave it to the Wise in Heart to judge, to such Ministers and Elders as rule well and are worthy of double Honour. So says B. L.
Abington, between 11 and 12, after a good Meeting at Oxford, where was 6 Males and 4 contra.
I remember about 40 years ago I kept my elder Brother's Sheep, and the pret|ty Lambs and their Dams would be qui|etly sweetly and prettily feeding toge|ther, a very beautiful and comely Sight to see. But if a Stranger, my Friends, the Stranger, came near with his Dog, (the Dog sucks the Blood which is the Page 132 Life of the Sheep) and if this Dog fell a barking yawling or howling, among the Sheep and the pretty pretty dear Lambs, immediately they leave their Feeding, and run for their dear Lives; so they would be scatter'd, and scatter'd, altho' there was or might be a great Flock of them together. Sometimes, I must con|fess, I have been a little careless and sleepy like some other Shepherds, and then the Sheep would go wandring about over Hedge and Ditch, and get into my Neighbour's Corn, and do Mischief; and then it was very hard for me to get them out of the Corn and into order again. Sometimes it would cost me many Tears before I could get them into order again. Sometimes if the Sheep and Lambs were not gathered together before Night, in the Night in the Dark the Dog would come and bite many of them, and suck their Blood, and some he would kill; so then that would be a Grief to the Own|er, and a Reproach to the Shepherd.
So, my very dear Friends, you that are the right true Shepherds, that love the Sheep more than all things in this World, you can very easily make an Application, for it is your Life and Delight to take Care of your Father's Sheep, and his Page 133 Lambs especially, and are grieved when the Dog, the Dog, the Bloodsucker, does but bark, and hinder them from Feed|ing. I know what I write, blessed be the Name of the good and great Shep|herd, for evermore, who laid down his Life for his Sheep and Lambs.
My dear faithful Friends, you are much esteemed by me, and your Unity in the Father in his Kingdom, which is his Church, is much more desired by me than all things in this World, I can tru|ly say. It has been much in my Mind for a considerable time, to lay before you my Concern for having some of our an|cient worthy Friends Epistles of Warn|ing, Reproof, Caution, and Advice to Ministers, collected and reprinted; ap|prehending it may be of some Service to have a Collection of such as I have mentioned, or such as you shall think will be of most Service; I earnestly de|sire and entreat to have your Advice and Counsel; for I know right well that in the multitude of Counsel there is Safety, especially with them dear Friends that know the Truth and are faithful; these are the best Counsellors in the whole World. I am your Brother and Friend in the blessed Truth.
Abington,the 18th of the 2d month, about 6 or 7 at night.
AS I was at work in the Garden, it came into my Mind, that many of our Preachers would or did make Prea|ching so common, that many of our young People, and old ones too, did not much matter it; nay I believe many, yea very many, loath it; it is fulsome and bur|thensome to them, instead of edifying and strengthening; by reason of many, I fear very many, going and running in their own Will and Time; which brings a very great Exercise, and many heavy Burthens upon some tender dear young Ministers, and others, which are rightly concerned, which cannot receive their chaffy Doctrine, but are almost choaked with it, as well they may, for it is very killing to sit under their dead dry noisy dark dreaming in-and-out Harangues, with Death in the Pot, 2 Kings 4. 39, 40. which brings Death and Darkness over our Meetings, such as may be felt, some|thing like that in AEgypt, Ex. 10. 21. where the Tongue of the Dogs, Phil. 3. 2. was heard, the Voice of the Stranger, John 10. 6. which darkens Counsel with or by Words without Knowledge, Job 38. 2. being alie|nated Page 135 from the Life of God, indeed, through the Ignorance that is in them, because of the Blindness of their Heart, Eph. 4. 18. False Ministers are working in their Hour and Power of Darkness, Luke 22. 53. Matth. 6. 23. if the Light that is in them be turn'd to Darkness, it is very great. 2 Pet. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4. such are Wells without Water, Clouds with|out Rain, wandring dark Stars. 1 Job. 1. 6.—2. 9, 10, 11. he that hateth his Brother is in Darkness, and walketh in Darkness, Darkness has blinded his Eyes. Mat. 23. 14. some for a Pretence make long Prayers, they shall receive the grea|ter Damnation. Oh that the Almighty would be pleased to cut this Rahab and wound this Dragon, and dry up the Tongue of this Egyptian Sea, and put an Hook in the Nose of this Leviathan, that plays and sports himself in the migh|ty Waters. The People are as Waters, very unstable, and so are ready to receive unstable and unsound Doctrine, although it may prove to their Destruction in time, e'er they are aware, and utter Ruin of the Church, and People or Congregation. Oh that it might be prevented before it is too late, saith my poor Soul.
Abington,the 30th of the 2d Month, 1737.
THIS Day as I was sitting at my Door, musing about or concerning the Mi|series or Poverty of Mankind, it came into my Mind, that it was Ignorance and Idleness, Luxury and Pride, (not Tem|perance, Frugality and Industry; for with Parsimony, as one said, a little is sufficient, without it nothing) which leads to Covetousness, and Covetousness leads to them; the one is the Cause, and the other the Effect. Riches, then Pride. Luxury and Pride, then Oppression and Covetousness to maintain it.
The 1st of the 9th Month, 1737.
EArly this Morning it was given me to see, that all Slave-keepers and Tra|ders with them for Gain, were Apostates which pretended to be Christians; espe|cially in Ministers it is a double Crime, because of their bad Example to to their Flock; for all such have the Mark of the Beast, Whore and False Prophet on them, Mystery Babylon Mother of Harlots, let them preach as long as they will or may.
Oh Israel! thy Leaders cause thee to err, by their Lyes and their Lightness! Oh how mine Eyes have seen some of the Page 137 first Rank, sit and stand and laugh, Prea|chers and others, when I have been spea|king of the Bondage and miserable Cap|tivity of their poor Slaves, in as light and airy a manner as any Boy in the Town need to do: Persons Male and Female, eminent in the Church, Friends of Renown in their Generation and Con|gregation; long Custom and Covetous|ness having made the Sin, altho' so very gross, so easy and familiar to them. Some of which I do verily believe have known the pure Presence of the divine Lord of Life and Glory, his holy Light and blessed Truth in their Souls; yet af|terwards become vain in their Imagina|tions, to think Slave-Keeping was law|ful; so their foolish Hearts became dark|ned and hardned again worse than ever. Oh that is a sorrowful Condition, to have the greatest Mark of the Apostacy in the World, upon them, and not to know or believe it!
When I say All Slave-Keepers Apostates, I mean them that keep innocent Men, Women and Children in everlasting Bon|dage. As to petty Criminals, that will not or cannot make Restitution, I think, as well as many other tender Friends and Page 138 People fearing God and loving his Crea|tion, their Fellow-Creatures, although very wicked, that they had better be kept in Bondage, Exod. 22. 3. that by hard Labour they might be brought to Repentance and Amendment of Life, in order to a happy Death, than to put them to Death in their Sins; for in the Grave there is no Repentance; but hard Labour and mean Living is an Antidote to Luxury and Idleness, and Captivity the Reverse of Nature might prevent a great deal of Wickedness in the World, and bring many unthinking Creatures to remember and prepare for their latter End before it be too late, which I should rejoice to see. There is an excellent Passage quoted by R. S. page 104. from Thomas Moore High Chancellor of Eng|land, much to the purpose. Likewise that holy Man of God G. Fox, that faith|ful Servant, and indefatigable Labourer in the most high Lord's Vineyard, who turn'd more Souls from Darkness to Light and from the Power of Satan to the Pow|er of God, than any one that England or the Dominions thereof, has produced since the Apostles Days, I do firmly be|lieve, as his excellent Journal does make appear to them that can read it with the Page 139 same divine Mind in which it was writ|ten, besides the multitude of faithful Testimonies to the Divine Power that wrought all his Works in him, and for him. While this dear Lamb G. F. was in Darby Prison, in Persecution, he was under great Suffering of Spirit, and un|der the very Sense of Death, as he writes, and he writ to the Judges about putting People to Death for stealing Cattle or Money, and small Matters, and thus it was.
I am moved to write unto you, to take heed of putting Men to death for stealing Cattle or Money, &c. for the Thieves in old time were to make Restitution, and if they had not wherewith, they were to be sold for their Theft. Mind the Laws of God in the Scriptures and Spirit that gave them forth, and let them be your Rule in execu|ting Judgment, and shew Mercy that you may receive Mercy from God the Judge of all. And take heed of Gifts and Rewards, and of Pride, for God doth forbid them, and they do blind the Eyes of the Wise. I do not write to give Liberty to Sin, God hath forbidden it; but that you should judge according to his Laws, and shew mercy, for he delighteth in true Judgment and in mercy. I beseech you mind these Things; Page 140 and prize your Time now you have it, and serve him, for he is a consuming Fire. So far G. F. and much more concerning these things, when in Prison in persecuting Times. Journal, Part I. page 98.
Abington,the 2d of the 9th month, between 2 and 3 in the morning.
THE Thing appeared very clearly as at other Times, that Slave-keeping, with all its Concomitants, was the worst Idol, and one of the greatest Marks of the Apostacy, in the whole World, and the very worst Part of the great Whore's Merchandise, Mystery Babylon, the Mo|ther of Whores.
At this Time also it is brought to my Remembrance, with great Thankfulness to my dearest God and Father, Redeem|er and Preserver, the great Liberty that I with many Thousands more enjoy in this good Land, which to many wise & right considerate People, is much more valuable than natural Life; especially our religious Liberty; with the Plenty of all good Things needful for the Body, which many hundreds of Thousands have been and are deprived of, by the above|named vilest, grossest and blackest of all Abominations. And for this black Scene Page 141 to be acted by them that pretend to the most pure, holy, meek, sweet and loving Principle (to all People) in the World, is to some, yea many tender hearted People beyond compare with any thing in the World; I say, for these People that pretend not to preach or to pray without the sweet holy Motion or Moving of the pure ho|ly Spirit in their Hearts, the Unction from the Holy One, the sweet anointing Oil, the Feeling of which doth unite the Brethren, and was and is compared to the Oil that was poured upon the Head of Aaron, God's High-Priest, and ran down his Beard, so to the nethermost Skirts of his Garment, before he was to offer an Offering on the holy Altar in the Temple of the Lord; which out|ward Oil and Anointing, Priesthood, Al|tar, Offerings, and Temple, were but Types and Shadows of much better Things to come, of a much greater and more glorious heavenly and spiritual Temple, or House; for the Glory of this latter House doth far exceed the Glory of the former, as far as Day exceeds the Night, or Heaven exceeds the Earth, as many have come to the Experience of, blessed be the Name of the Lord Al|mighty, who rules and reigns in his Temple, in sanctified Hearts, prepared Page 142 by himself, to do his Will and dwell in; Praises, Praises be given to his pure Name, for his holy glorious and pure Presence in his holy Temple! For such Bodies and Souls are the Temple of the Holy Ghost, the holy living God; but he or she that defiles this Temple by Slave-keeping, him may God destroy, if not repented of and forsaken. Can those Favourites of Heaven, so anointed and array'd, beyond that of Aaron more than Words can express; can these sanctified and washed ones, that have been array'd with the fine Linnen clean and white, clean and white indeed, which is the Righteousness of Saints; can these, with the Sow that was washed, turn again to wallow in the Mire of that Heathen Practice, Slave-Keeping, and worse, all things well considered; or like the Dog, a ravenous Beast, to lick up his Vomit, the filthiest and most unnatural Part or Sort of Excrement; and so is the Slave|keeping Practice, I am very certain.
I verily believe there are some now in the Practice of Slave-keeping, that in the Time of their first Love and tender sweet Espousal to Christ, would have been rea|dy to have answered if they had been as|ked, as the Man did the Prophet, Is thy Servant a Dog, that he should do such Page 143 things? and yet he did them; and so have these done, for want of Watchful|ness, being led into it by the foul Exam|ple of their Preachers and Leaders, which have caused them to err. O Lord my good God and sweet Saviour, be pleased to preserve me from this gross Sin, and all Evil. So be it.
Abington,the 8th of the 10th Month.
THis Morning very early it sprung a|gain afresh and very lively in my Mind, concerning Marriages made in the sweet Love, Fear, Wisdom and Counsel of the almighty living Lord God and eternal Father in Heaven, if we want Riches and Honour, Pleasure and Joy: What is comparable to those Marriages made only in the Lord, in the Church, in Heaven, in the Temple; but few such Marriages I fear are to be found now a Days, that are made by the Fa|ther in Heaven, which is the Truth. But abundance of Marriages are made by the Father in Hell, the Devil, which is out of the Truth: Made by the Lust of the Eye, the Lust of the Flesh, and Pride of Life, and for Covetousness to maintain them, which is all of him that is an Enemy to all Mankind, the Devil Page 144 or Satan, if we did but know it there is no worse Devil or unclean Spirit than Self, that dwells and Rules in poor Mankind, to their Destruction Soul and Body. Self or Covetousness, says the Apostle, is the root of all Evil; tell me my Friends and Mortals, can there be a worse Devil, or more unclean Spirit or Root from which all Evil grows, or a worse Foun|tain than that from which all our Mi|sery flows?
Can there, my dear and well beloved Friends, be a better God or Holy Spirit than that, or he that leads into all Truth, which is Heaven itself, and so into all Peace and Joy; or a worse Devil or un|holy Spirit than that which leads into all untruth, and so into all Sorrow, Destruc|tion and Misery, which is Hell enough in my opinion, where the Worm never dies, and the Fire goes not out, and Torment enough for the wickedest of Men, and greater than I wish for the worst Ene|mies, but rather would pray for them, that they would so live as to escape that Place or State of Torment.
I have had several other things of moment for a long time moving in mind, concerning the sweet comfortable and happy Life, Mankind might live, in Joy Page 145 and if he would follow his inward true and spiritual Guide, which would never lead him wrong if he would strictly fol|low its Counsel. I say I had many things in my Mind to write, but am a little straitned at present, and must wait to see whether this that is done may be of any Service, or in any measure well received by my Brethren, which are begotten and born again of the immortal Seed and Word of God, which lives and abides forever, and is God himself: Those thus born are his Sons and Daughters, God is their own Father, and they his own dear Children, and his Heirs, and joined or equal Heirs with Christ, in his and their Fathers Kingdom, which is and ever will remain an eternal Kingdom of GLORY or GLORIOUS GOVERNMENT where he the Holy One doth rule and govern, which is his Church, in his Peo|ple, in his House or his Temple, in new Jerusalem, in his Sanctuary, in his King|dom, in himself, all one and the same eternal SANCTUM SANCTORUM. Christ was not ashamed to call such spiri|tual Souls his Brethren, which worship God in Spirit, and in his Church which is his Kingdom, saying, I will declare thy Name unto my Brethren; and after Page 146 his blessed Resurrection sent forth a Wo|man Preacher the very first, to declare of it, and I believe to preach freely as she had freely receiv'd of him; Go tell my Brethren I am risen, and that I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God & your God. O glorious Message! one of the best that ever was, and yet sent by a Woman! the glad Tidings of great Joy, that their Lord was alive that they thought was dead. They did not reject the Testimony because it came by a Wo|man; no more than the Samaritans, the Woman that Jesus sent from Jacob's Well, as I can find; but they went or ran to see for themselves.
Although I have writ thus much for Womens Preaching, yet I would have none go before they are sent of the Lord, no more than Men; for it is alike hate|ful to me, and many worthy Friends, to my certain Knowledge. I could willing|ly pray to the Lord with all my Soul and Spirit, that he would be pleased to stop the Mouths of all those Lyars, who say Thus saith the Lord, when he never spake by them. Male and Female are all one in Christ the Truth, the true Church or Congregation which is in God, and God in his Church which is his Page 147 Kingdom, where he rules and reigns, and is blessed for evermore. So be it.
Abington,the 22d of the 12th mo. 1737, 8.
THis Morning early, after five Days and Nights Fasting, I was consider|ing the many Calumnies which the World or People of the World, has cast upon the Saints and Servants of the Li|ving God, my very dear true and faith|ful Friends in Christ, called Quakers, as if they kept Slaves, or encouraged and connived at it for their Interest, Favour or Affection, or some base sinister Ends. But it is a meer Slander, for they abhor the Practice, and dare not touch with it, as verily believing it to be one of the grossest Sins and Iniquities (with all Con|comitants) in the whole World.
Objection. But some may and have ob|jected in my Hearing, that some, yea many called Quakers, and their Preach|ers, Elders and chief Leaders & Rulers, Men of Renown in the Congregation, Num. 16. 1, 2, 3. and of great Repute in the World, John 15. 18, 19. yea verily the World loves its own.
Answer. But I answer, they were not all Israel who were called Israel, Rom. 9. 6, 7, 8. but some were Apostates, Va|gabonds Page 148 and Impostors, and they were some of the worst Enemies, the very worst the Hebrews had, and procured their Ruin, Overthrow and utter Destruction, as is largely set forth in the History of the Wars of the Jews by Josephus, beside what is mentioned in holy Scripture plentifully by the holy Prophets.
And so it was amongst the Primitive Christians, about the Time of the Ten Persecutions, when they gat a little Ease from the Heathen Tyrants, the apostate Christians went to the same devilish Work, of murthering and butchering the true Christians, about their Creeds, keeping of Easter, and other Idols, and about the Clause of one Substance and two Substances, as if the eternal Being could be divided; But especially after Constantine the Roman Emperor was converted to the Christian Faith, in his Zeal he gave such large Donations and Revenues to the Church, that it is re|corded, the same Day there was a Voice heard from Heaven, crying aloud, This Day is Poison poured into the Church! which the Event soon after verified. By an ancient Observation, Religion brought forth Wealth, and the Daughter devoured the Mother; it is the very same now. So Page 149 when the Bishops, Preachers and Rulers grew rich and high, they centred in Pride, Idleness, and Fulness of Bread; then they went together by the Ears with might and main, striving who should be greatest; then to inventing and setting forth the old, nasty, fulsome, stinking Whore's Trumpery or Merchandise to Sale, Rev. 18. 13. 17. 5. and they that would not buy it, or could not receive it, might expect to be sent out of the World by all the Tortures that Wrath and Hell could invent, as they could prevail with Kings, Rulers and Govern|ors to assist them, by unrighteous Laws and Edicts. And when the Magistrates were such Fools as to dance after their Call, they embrued whole Nations and Kingdoms in Blood. These Things are largely set forth in Eusebius's Ecclesiasti|cal History, an excellent sweet Book it is, and I could heartily wish all right thinking solid sober Men had one of them, especially all Magistrates and Rulers of all Persuasions. I think I should rejoice to see it reprinted in Pennsylvania, altho' I were out some Pounds toward the Charge of it, for the good of Mankind, not|withstanding I have one by me. If the Folio Volume cannot be printed, there Page 150 is an Abridgement extant by William Caton, which has past several Editions, being of a small Price and soon read. I could wish likewise, that every such Per|son had one of those sweet edifying Books entituled, The Spirit of Martyrs revived, by Ellis Hooks; a cheap Book and soon read, abridged from the three large Volumes, with Variety of Collec|tions from Scripture and other Books, from the Beginning of the World till within a few Years, concerning Persecu|tion and Persecutors, with curious Re|marks.
Objection carried a little further con|cerning some that go under the Name of Quakers, keeping Slaves.
I answer with Romans ii. 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29. He is not a Jew that is one out|wardly, neither is that Circumcision which is outward in the Flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and Circumcision is that of the Heart, in the Spirit and not in the Letter, whose Praise is not of Men but of God. Courteous and gentle Rea|der, please to read the whole Chapter in the Fear and Love of God, and in the Light of Truth, and thou wilt find and feel excellent Matter in it. As in the following Chapter likewise.
Page 151Rev. ix. 10, 20, 21, 22. I know the blas|phemies of them that say they are Jews, and are not, but are of the Synagogue of Satan. Rev. iii. 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17. which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.
Philadelphia,the 25th of 12th mo. 1737, 8.
THis being the ninth Day of my Fast|ing, having taken nothing but a Draught of Spring Water several times a Day, and am as well in Health as ever since I came to Pennsylvania, which is six Years this Spring, it lies on my mind to say something concerning Extortion, in paying or receiving Interest for Mo|ney, which I have been under Exercise about a considerable Time; and I could be heartily glad that our Friends as a Society would wholly set it aside, altho' I have something considerable upon Inte|rest my self, and nothing else to live on but the Labour of my Hands, and weak|ly in Body, and pretty well in Years, being near sixty.
Abington,30th of the 2d month, 1738.
THis Morning, as I was preparing to go to Meeting, it was opened in me That all the nominal Quakers, who live Page 152 in Sin, which is Hell, the Devil's King|dom and Government, are of the same Spirit and as bad as other People in and of the World, and some of them much worse. Such as have been enlightned, and are sunk into the Earth again, are more dark and stupid than others; for Publicans and Harlots stand more ready and willing to receive the Message of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is Righte|ousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost) than they; according to Christs Doctrine, and the Observation of the Children of God (who dwell in his King|dom of Righteousness, which is free from all Sin) and keeps their Habitation in the Light.
For as dear George Fox writes, Jour|nal, Part I. page 55, 56. he saw concer|ning the Priests, that although they act|ed by a dark Power, and stood in the Deceit, which they and the People were kept under, yet they were not the great|est Deceivers spoken of in Scripture, for they were not come so far as Cain, Corah, Dathan, Balaam, and others, to hear the Voice of God, and knew it, yet these turned from the Spirit; such as these were and would be the greatest Deceiv|ers, far beyond the Priests. Likewise Page 153 among Christians, such as could preach in Christ's Name, work Miracles, cast out Devils, &c. and go as far as Cain, Corah and Balaam in Gospel Times; such as these were and would be the greatest Deceivers.
Page 117, 118. he advises Friends, That none appear in Words beyond what they be in the Life that gave forth the Words, here none shall be as the untime|ly Figs: Let no Image or Likeness be made, but in the Light wait, which will bring Condemnation on that Part that would make the Images, and speaks with the Egyptian Tongue.
Page 224, 225, 361. All Friends that speak abroad, see that it be in the Life of God, for that begets to God; the Fruits of that shall never wither; and this sows to the Spirit which is in Prison, and of the Spirit reaps Life (to you this is the Word of the Lord God) and the other sows in the Flesh, and of the Flesh reaps Corruption. There is that which ma|keth merry over the Witness of God; and there is that which maketh merry in the Lord. Such the Lord doth beau|tifie, whose Trust is in his Strength: But such as be from the Light, whose Eyes be after their Abominations and Page 154 Idols, their Eyes are to be blinded, and their beautiful Idols and their Abomina|tions to be destroyed, that nothing may rule and reign but Power and Life it self.
W. Penn's Preface to G. Fox's Journal, p. lvi, lxi. his Counsel to Ministers. O feel Life in the Ministry, let Life be your Commission, your Well-Spring & Trea|sury in all such occasions; it is not our Parts or Memory, or Repetitions of for|mer Openings in our will and time that will do God's Work. A dry Doctrinal Ministry, however sound in Words, can reach but the Ear, and is but a Dream at the best.
Page 782 to 789. 885, 6, 7. of W. Penn's Works in Folio. Vol. I. It's the Ignorance and Idleness of the People, that gives the Clergy an opportunity to effect their Designs, for so mean-spirited are the People as to take all upon trust for their Souls, that would not trust or take a Brass Shilling from an Arch-Bishop; 'tis prodigious to think what Veneration the Priesthood has raised to themselves, by their usurpt Commission, and their Clink-Clank of extraordinary Ordina|tion; did the People examine their Bot|tom, the Grounds of their Religion and Faith, it would not be in the Power of Page 155 their Leaders to cause them to err. What, doubt my Minister! arraign his Doctrine! put him to proof! by no means: but the consequence of not doing of it, has been the Introduction of much false Doctrine, Superstition and Formality, (amongst the Quakers, as well as others) which gave just occasion for Schism; for the Word has no hurt in itself, and im|plies only a Separation, which may as well be right as wrong.
W. P. mentions two Men, Jacobus Acontius, and John Hales of Eaton, that were of the same Mind, & does heartily beseech his Readers to be more than or|dinary intent in reading what he cites of them, they write very much of People's Carelesness, in trusting too to much Pastors.
Wherefore J. A. says we must obey the Advice of a Poet,
Now there is need (he says) of a dou|ble caution, viz. that there be no change in the Doctrine when it is pure; and if any change be made, that there be No|tice taken of it.
Page 156 Now forasmuch as the profit will be very small, if some private Man shall dis|cover or observe that an Error is intro|duced, unless he discover that said Error and lay it open; now there cannot be a more fitting way than that in I Cor. 14. he says, and abundance more very ex|cellent. I could heartily wish The Address to the Protestants were reprinted, for the sake of my Friends called Quakers as well as others; I believe it might be of great Service, for I think the matter therein contained belongs to us, as much as to any People in the World.
E. Burroughs's Works, Fol. p. 204 to 210. 368, 9. 548, 9. To all the Children of Light every where, be careful who ye receive as Ministers, believe not every Spirit, for Lying Spirits may arise a|mongst yourselves; who are not in the Truth, but in feignedness and Hypocrisy with false Visions and lying Imagina|tions, handling the Word of God deceit|fully; believe not that Spirit which mi|nistereth to others what it hath not lear|ned of the Father.
He advises p. 368. Be not hasty to ut|ter Words before the Lord, but wait for Power from on high. P. 548, 550. Meet together in the Name and fear of Page 157 the Lord, and mind the Lord's presence amongst you, mind not Words, but mind the presence of the Lord, and feel his Power in your Hearts, and the Words that come from the Power will refresh the Seed of God. But if any speak Words out of the Power, the Seed of God, will be burthened, and will judge such Words.
F. Howgil's Works, Fol. p. 28, to 36. 137, to 140, 211, 369, 422, 733. To all the Seed of Abraham, who are Jews indeed, and Israelites, in whom is no Guile; [no Guile, observe,] whom your Brethren have cast out, and have been as a Dove without a Mate. P. 137. God is a Spirit, his Kingdom is Spiritual, his Habitation is suitable to his own Nature, Glorious in Holiness, Words are too short. Colo. I. 12, 13. What, no other Kingdom but what you enjoy in this Life? P. 139. Thus I know dark Spi|rits reason. The Saint looked for no other Glory, but that which stood in e|ternal Life, and in the Immortal Life; they were in him that is True, in the Father, and in the Son, all one, and he in them: O HOLY UNION.
P. 736. The Faithful say in their Hearts, he is come, and they look not after any other.
Page 158Stephen Crisp's Works. 423. 6. to 441. Take heed my dear Friends, in sitting down or holding the Truth in a bare for|mality: O my dear Friends this is a dangerous State, yea more dangerous than my Tongue or Pen can declare.
W. Bennit's Works. p. 100.
P. 3. of Church Government by John Milton, his Observation that Religion brought forth Wealth, and the Daughter devoured the Mother.
W. Edmunson's Journal. p. 15. 279. 306. to 311. And sometimes the Lord's Power and Spirit would move in me to speak a few Words in Meetings, which I did in Fear, being under a great concern lest a wrong Spi|rit should get entrance and deceive me, in the likeness of an Angel of Light, for I was sensible of my own Weakness.
P. 279. A Letter of Examination to all, who have assumed the place of Shep|herds of People of all Sorts in Christen|dom, to see if your Accounts be ready, and what order your Flocks be in, Qua|kers and others.
W. Edmunson's Journal. p. 306. 7. to 311. Concerning Offerings that are of|fered to God, in Prayer and Supplica|tion; the offerings that are acceptable Page 159 to God, must be offered in righteousness and with clean Heart and Lips, for the Lord is pure and holy, and will be sanc|tified of all that come near him, and is a consuming Fire, who consumed Nadah and Abihu, that offered strange Fire, though they were of the high Priests Line.
Charles Marshal's Works. p. 100. 222. For the outward Conformity may in a great measure be kept to, which is a co|ver under which the Enemy may work undiscovered by the unwatchful.
Thomas Elwood's Life. p. 15. 367. to 386. He writes excellently concerning the Wiles of the Enemy transforming himself into the likeness of an Angel of Light and deceiving of him, when he was young and tender, put him upon Religi|ous Performances; suppose appearing in Meetings, in his own Will, Time and Strength, (as too many now adays does in our Meetings, or else many worthy Friends are mistaken.
Richard Hubberthorn's Works. p. 45, 6, 7, Receive nothing but that which speaks from the eternal moving of the living God; have Salt in yourselves to favour withal Words, you may discern which is without Life and Power, and Page 160 stand single in that which is Pure of God, all such deny to be your Teachers, which have the Words of Truth, but live not in the Life and Power of what they say.
Roger Haydock's Works. p. 1. 162. Be watchful in your Meetings, Friends, the Seed which God hath sown is good, but if you sleep the Enemy will sow Tares, which will grow up with it and choak it, so the Ground that affords them Nourish|ment will be cursed; this is the Word of Truth unto you.
John Burnet's Works. p. 141, 2. He that continues to the end shall be saved, and he that is faithful unto Death shall have the Crown of Life, and therefore let a concern be always upon your minds in this weighty matter, that you may see how it is with you.
John Crook's Works. p. 17. 258. An excellent Piece concerning Truth's Pro|gress.
Thomas Beven's Works. p. 74. to 90. For all Prayer by or in which the Divine Spirit is not felt to lead and influence the Soul, whether it be in Publick or Pri|vate, is of no availance in the sight of God.
Page 161 I find upon the Margin of the old Bi|ble, printed about the Year 1599, this Note, viz. When the Mind thinketh no|thing, when the Soul coveteth nothing, and when the Body acteth nothing contrary to the Will of God, this (saith the Note) is per|fect Sanctification. I Thess. 5. 23. Coll. 2. 10. 1 Joh. 2. 5. 4. 12.
Forbidden Fruit or Tree of Knowledge, writ by August Eleutherius. p. 68. We read Wisdom is Foolishness with God, which Form of Speech we steal from Paul, and babble of it, when indeed we neither know our own, nor Paul's mean|ing touching it; no Man renounces his own Wisdom; this forsooth Man thinks is spoken of Turks and Infidels, hence it comes to pass that Man is deceived in himself.
Page 93, 4. I. What is the Beast of which Daniel writeth, which speaketh against the Highest, and slayeth the Saints of God?
II. What is the Serpent which de|ceived Adam and Eve?
III. What is the Tree of Knowledge of good and Evil?
IV. What is that impudent King of Anti-christ of whom Daniel and Paul speaketh. I Thessal. 2.
Page 162 V. What is that many headed Mons|ter, mentioned in the Apocalyps, whom the whole World doth worship.
VI. What is Sin? What is Death? What is the Devil?
I answer, it is every Man's own car|nal Wit and Reason, Righteousness and the like, for which cause Paul calleth it Death, Enmity and Foolishness unto God, and James calleth it Earthly, Human and Devilish, because these three are one, for the Devil, Man, Adam and the Ser|pent are sworn Brethren, yea Brethren, yea both one." Much more has this worthy Man writ very excellently, as p. 166, to the End of the Book.
It is given me at this time thus to write concerning Faith.
All the Books, Bibles, and Men in the World, cannot give one Man Faith in the Holy Ghost, or God, which is one; but the least Touch of the Holy Ghost can give any Man Faith in God and in the Scriptures which testifie of him, that has well read them.
The Spiritual Guide, which disintan|gles the Soul, and brings it by the in|ward to the getting of perfect Contempla|tion, Page 163 and the rich Treasure of Internal Peace, Written by Dr. Michael de Mo|linus, Priest; I could heartily wish every distressed Soul in America, or elsewhere had one of them.
P. 172. Concerning Ministers, he writes, those that Preach with Zeal and Sincerity, preach for God; those that preach for themselves, feeding their Hearers with the hurtful Subtilties, giving 'em Stones instead of Bread, Leaves instead of Fruit, and unsavory Earth mix'd with Poisoned Honey in|stead of Food; these are they hunt after Honour, raising up an Idol of Reputa|tion and Applause, instead of seeking God's Glory and spiritual Edification of Men.
P. 175. The Study that is not order|ed for God's Glory only, is but a short way to Hell, not through the Study but the Wind of Pride that begets it.
P. 189. His mournful exclamation, O! Divine Majesty, in whose presence the Pillars of Heaven do quake and tremble; O thou goodness more than Infinite, in whose Love the Seraphims burn, give me leave O Lord to lament our Blindness and Ingratitude; we all live in Mistakes, seeking the foolish World, and forsaking Thee who art our God, Page 164 we all forsake thee, thou Fountain of living Waters, for the stinking Dirt of this World.
The Christian Pattern, by Thomas a Kempis, concerning the Doctrine of Truth.
P. 6. Happy is he whom Truth it|self doth Teach, not by Figures and Words that pass away, but as it is in itself. Our Senses do often deceive us. What have we to do with Genus and Species, the dry Notions of Logicians; he to whom the eternal Word speaketh, is delivered from a World of unnecessa|ry Conceptions; from that one Word are all things, and all speak that one, and this is the beginning which also speaketh unto us, no Man without that (Word) understandeth or judgeth rightly; he to whom all things are one, he who reduc|eth all to one, & seeth all things in one, may enjoy a quiet mind, and remain peaceable in God: O God who art the Truth, make me one with thee in everlasting Charity. It is tedious to me, to read and hear many things, in thee is all that I would have and can desire; let all Doctors hold their Peace, let all Creatures be silent in thy sight, speak thou alone unto 〈◊〉.
Page 165P. 115. The Truth speaketh inward|ly without noise of Words.
P. 140. That the World being des|pised, it is a sweet thing to serve God.
O if these two Books, Spiritual Guide and Christian, were Reprinted here! but the People are asleep in their Sins, Tea|chers and Hearers, in the Devil's Bosom in Hell, and don't know it, for their Preachers cannot or dare not tell them, for they are Blind, Dumb, Blind, Sleepy Dumb Dogs, they cannot Bark rightly, but they can Bite; so here is something for all such to chaw upon, of all Congre|gations, as much as they please, and if this be not enough, they may have more in time.
Let such read Psal. xxii. l. 16, 17, 18. xix. 12, 16. Isa. i. 10, 11, 12. Philip. iii. 2, 3. Beware of Dogs. Rev. 22. 15. Men unconverted in the Nature of Dogs, and confess they cannot cease from Sin Term of Life, yet all Sin is the Devil's Kingdom where he reigns, and such as these are the Teachers of the People. Oh! What will become of us.
Ensebius's Ecclesiastical History, fol. P. 1, 2, to 8. 27, to 32, 273, 326. Con|stantine's Orat. P. 86, 92. The Proem of Eusebius. Successions of the Holy Page 166 Apostles, together with the Tim▪ from our Saviour unto us, hitherto con|tinued, I determined to publish, will I take from the Dispensation and Divini|ty of our Saviour Christ, higher and deeper to be considered, than that which concerns his Humanity, diviner than it seemeth to many termed Christians; p. 2. His Generation who can declare, the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The Prophets also which con|ceived of God with the cleansed Eyes of the Mind, have known him. The Son of God, the Word, appeared to the Fa|thers before any Books were written, pa. 3, 6, 7, &c. so after.
The Works of Hermes Trismegistus, p. 1, 2, 3, 33, 72 to 82, 171. I, O my Son, write this first Book both for Humanity sake and for Piety towards God: For there can be no Religion more true or just, than to know the Things that are, and to acknowledge Thanks for all Things to him that made them. What then should a Man do, O Father, to lead his Life well, seeing there is nothing here true? Be pious and religious, O my Son, for he that doth so, is the best and high|est Philosopher; and without Philosophy it is impossible ever to attain to the height Page 167 and exactness of Piety or Religion. And •et this, O Son, be the End of Religion and Piety whereunto thou art once arri|ved, thou shalt both live well and die blessedly, and this only, O Son, is the Way to the Truth which our Progenitors travelled in; and thus it came to pass or happened unto me, which I received from my Mind, that is, Pimander, the Lord of the World, whereby I became inspi|red by God with the Truth, for which Cause with my Soul and whole Strength I give Praise and Blessing unto God the Father. Holy is God the Father of all Things! Holy is God, whose Will is perform'd and accomplished by his own Powers! Holy is God, that determineth to be known, and is known of his own, or those that are his! Holy art thou! that by thy Word hast established all Things. Good, O Asclepius, is in noth|ing but in God alone, or rather, God himself is the Good always.—The Seeds of God are few, but great and fair and good; Virtue and Temperance, and Pi|ety, and the Piety is the Knowledge of God, whom whosoever knoweth, being full of good Things, hath divine Under|standing, and not the many. And there|fore they that have that Knowledge, nei|ther Page 168 please the Multitude, nor the Mul|titude them; but they seem to be mad, and move with Laughter, hated and des|pised, and many times also murthered."
This Book of Mercurius is thought to have been written some Hundreds of Years before Moses. J. F. who writes the Preface, says thus, In this Book, tho' so very old, is contained more true Know|ledge of God and Nature, than in all the Books in the World beside, I except only sa|cred Writ. And they that shall judici|ously read it and rightly understand it, may well be excused from reading of many Books, the Authors of which pretend so much to the Knowledge of the Creator and Creation. If ever God appeared in any Man, he ap|peared in him, as appears by this Book; that a Man that had not the Benefit of his Ancestors Knowledge, being, as I said be|fore, the first Inventor of the Art of commu|nicating Knowledge to Posterity by Writing, should be so high a Divine, and so deep a Philosopher, seems to be a Thing more of God than of Man, and therefore it was the Opinion of some, that he came from Heaven, not born upon Earth. There is contained in this Book; that true Philosophy, without which it is impossible ever to attain the height and exactness of Piety and Religion. The Page 169 Glory and Splendor of Philosophy is an en|deavouring to understand the chief Good, as the Fountain of all Good.
I have writ the more from Hermes, be|cause of its Excellence and Scarcity, al|tho' it's a very small Book.
As to pure divine Philosophy, the Scriptures themselves are a more excel|lent System of it, witness Solomon in the Old, and Paul in the New Testament; although we know not whether we have the hundredth, or hundred thousandth part of what was written from the Begin|ning, yet Christ, the Word, the TRUTH, was always the Instructor of good Men, to teach and write Truth, freely, as they had freely received of him. So likewise Lucifer, the Devil and Satan, always in|structs bad Men to teach and write Lies, for Gain, Glory or Applause, like unto the Manichces and Theologasters of our time, these shameless Devils, that poi|son the World for Gain, amongst all Peo|ple.
A Book called, Christ Jesus owned as he is God and Man, written by John Whiting, concerning the Divinity, Eter|nity, and Omnipotency of Christ the Word, the Truth, the true God, that made all Things, without Beginning of Page 170 Days or End of Life. See page 37 to 57. With many notable Testimonies collect|ed from the Works of many Men of Learning and Moderation, in the Church of England Way, &c. in answer to a wic|ked cavilling Priest, one Edward Cockson.
Robert Barclay's Apology, p. 279. con|cerning the Call, Qualification, Work, and Wages of a true Gospel Minister; very notable. I think the Book may be had at B. Franklin's in Philadelphia, which I believe might give Satisfaction to all or most impartial Readers.
William Sewel's History of the Quakers, in folio, p. 120, 176, 717. concerning the Call, Qualifications, &c. of the true Ministers.
George Fox's Doctrinal, fol. p. 23, 27, 933, to 937, 1018, 1089, concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, what it is, and where it is, and how to be attained, 〈◊〉 living, true, and infallible Experience, Where the holy God reigns in Righteous|ness, there is his Kingdom: So where the unholy Devil reigns in Sin, there is his Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is within you, said Christ to the Pharisees, Luke 17. 21. Christ within, in his own Kingdom, where Truth and Righteous|ness is; but where Sin is within, there Page 171 Satan is, Satan within, in his Kingdom, So all that live in Sin, the Devil lives, rules and reigns in them.
G. F's Great Mystery, p. 242, 250. concerning the Kingdom of Heaven within.
M. Fox's Writings, p. 220, 137, 509, To all the professed Teachers in the whole World, who go under the Name of Christians, and make a Profession of Christ, having a Form of Godliness, but deny or neglect the Power.
S. Fisher's Works, Fol. p. 23, 62, 775, 851, 856.
P. 62. A Lamentation over lost Souls, with a Word of Warning to all Kings, Princes, Parliaments, and Powers, and People, to beware of all such Priests as uphold the Devil's Kingdom, by plead|ing contrary to the Scriptures of Truth, a Continuance of Iniquity for Term of this Life, and a necessity of Men's Trans|gressing of God's Law, while they live in the World, or have any abode in the Body.
P. 73. Likewise the Rustick's Alarm to the Rabbies, or the Country correct|ing the University and Clergy, and not without good cause, contesting for the Truth against the nursing Mothers & their Children.
Page 172Balm from Gilead, by William Smith, Fol. p. 108, 77, to 89, 109, 117, 139. A few Words of tender Counsel unto all Born of the Spirit who walk in the way of Life.
P. 110. A few Words concerning true Discerning and Judgment. They that have not the Spirit of Christ are none of his, but all that receive it, and have Unity with it, that walk not in the Flesh, but in the Spirit, in which they see the Shapes and Forms of every Like|ness and Image, and Ground from whence they do arise, and no false Birth can have an hiding Place, but from the least to the greatest they are discovered; and the fair coverings that any have cloathed themselves withal is seen through, and all the formed likeness, they are all seen to be of the Flesh (in what they do pro|fess to be of God) and their Root and Principle is of that Part and Nature that is earthly, from which no good thing can arise, and it brings forth a Birth of its own likeness, and of its own Nature, and though this may seem to be rash Judgment and you may call it so, yet it will stand a Witness against all that are satisfying the Flesh, for there is not any so hardly received as that Testimony Page 173 which strikes at the Life of another, and which deals plainly and simply with all, and desires the good of all, that meets with the least Entertainment in the Hearts of the People; but that which flatters and cries Peace when the Bonds of Iniquity stands, that is pleasant to them that walk in the Flesh, but that which rips 'em up and discovers their shame they kick a|gainst, will not receive it for Truth, for there is no Work of the Flesh that would come under the Spirit's Judgment; so every form and likeness would save its own Life by putting off the Judgment, as if none could discern it; and no false Birth would have its Nakedness appear, lest it should come to shame thereby.
Much more has dear William writ touching this matter, very excellent, and many other things relating to the King|dom of God, very sweetly.
Collected by Ellis Hooks. The Spirit of the Martyrs, Revived, in a Brief Com|pendious Collection of the most remarkable Passages and living Testimonies of the true Church, Seed of God, and faithful Mar|tyrs, in all Ages from the Creation. A little Book of great value, I could wish all well-minded People had of them.
Page 174The Art of Happiness, Meditations, the Heavenly University, great Oracle & Mysti|cal Marriage, by F. Rous, Esq; p. 489. To the Right Noble the Sons of the most High, his Blessed Brethren by the best that is the second Birth. Truly Honourable whose Father is God, and whose Inheritance is a Kingdom. The divers Sparks of Holy Fire, which issued from the Spirit that Baptizeth with Fire, I have gathered together; by their united Heat to kindle a Flame where is none, or to increase it where it is already kindled; this blessing must come from God, and therefore of God have I desired it: The Glory of God by your Benefit, is that which I seek, desiring also to be holpen by you both in Prayer and Exhortation, a great Lover of you and your Peace.
P. 643, 4, 5. 685, 735. In his Heaven|ly Accademy, very excellent Advice to Ministers indeed; in his Mystical Mar|riage, sweet Consolating Advice to Heaven's New-born Children, to the Bride the Lamb's Wife. The Soul seeketh a Husband and finds him.
F. Rous's Works. p. 643. He that will be Taught of God must come, or retire in, diligently to his Teacher; they shall be all Taught of God and meet him Page 175 when and where he useth to Teach, know therefore thy own Insufficiency, yea, the Insufficiency of the best Teacher in the World; for who is sufficient for these things to teach thee inwardly except God; but that thou mayest not be mistaken con|cerning the true Heavenly Teaching or the use of it, take with thee some cautions; first do not mistake a Teaching of thine own for an Heavenly Teaching, neither set thine own Imagination in the Celestial Chair; this hath mis-lead many into ma|ny and great Errors: Whiles being taught by the strength of their own Im|aginations, they have thought themselves to be taught of God; and indeed many times, as Errors do thus come from the Strength of Humane Apprehension so their Prosecution doth savour of this strength, and shews from whence they come, for too often Opinions are headily nursed into Schisms and Divisions as they were headily brought forth; the same Flesh, that was the Mother being also the Nurse.
P. 644. His Advice is very excellent agreeable to the Apostles, for none to go beyond their bounds and measure of Faith. Rom. 12. 13.
Job 42. 3. Job 40. 5. 2 Cor. 14. 30. Phil. 3, 15, 16.
Page 176George Fex the Younger's Works. P. 242. Dear Friends, when you are met together to wait upon the Lord, O feel his living Gift in yourselves in your Meetings, and at other times, whereby satisfaction and refreshment shall be re|ceived unto the Seed Immortal.
So dear Hearts, let the living Measure of the eternal Father of Life, and Power, and Wisdom be your continual stay and Habitation, that so if any shall come a|mong you that are out of the true savour & feeling of the Life in themselves, and shall act or speak any thing among you, that is out of the Life, that ye may not then be drawn out of the favour and feel|ing thereby, but wait ye single in the innocent patient-long suffering of Christ, and if ye feel the Seed burthened, wait in true Patience and fervent love to Truth, then the Lord's Counsel you will know, & the Evil you will know that caused the Burthen, and be judged; and the Truth will be adorned, and its Enemies shall be ashamed.
P. 453. And if any Member would act any thing that might hurt the Body or any part of it, either through being out of the Sense, what is of Service to the Body or otherwise, then another Page 177 Member or Members be made sensible of the same, it or they are bound in Love to the Body to seek to hinder the same. G. F.
B. L. Now I say my dear, inwardly and intirely beloved Friends, my Joy and my Crown, and my exceeding great Reward for all my Labours, and small Sufferings, is and I trust ever shall be your Unity, in the holy spotless eter|nal TRUTH, which I prefer before all my chiefest Joys in this World, my sweet Heavenly Father is Witness for me.
My dearly Beloved, search and see, weigh it in the Ballance of the Sanctuary, in the Light of Truth, without which you know we cannot see clearly, nor judge impartially.
See, I say, if there be any thing more black, more gross and dangerous or likely to destroy the Body and Branches and lay it intirely waste; although I know I know the root shall and will a|bide forever, and shall spring up else|where; if all the lame, dry, withered, sickly and dead Branches should be cut off by some Judgment from above, and the whole Body defected and Buried in Oblivion. Which I shall pray with my Page 178 whole Soul and Spirit to my Dear Dae• (when I can) that it may be prevented for the sake of some th•t are living Branches, sweet, green and fruit-bearing amongst us. Inquire strictly dear Friends if there be any thing more likely to bring sudden Destruction upon us, than that Satanical Practice of SLAVE-KEEPING.
Ezek. xiv. 3, to 7. xx. 7, to 39. Rev. iii. 15, to 19. ix. 2, 3, 21. xiii. 12, to the end. xiv. 9, 10. xv. 2. xvi. 2, 6, 11. xviii. 4.
And a false and forward Ministry, & that dark dry earthly Spirit that gives Life to it, and strength, and Worship the Images & Idols, that it makes & al|most the Image Makers; but they shall all have their part in the Lake, except they repent in time, which I heartily desire they may.
P. 254. G. F. Ah Friends, the Unity, the Unity (in the Spirit) the Love, the Love (from a pure Heart) is exceeding precious, the yearning of Bowels towards each other (in the Lord) the Faith, the Patience, the Watching, & Breathing, and Groaning, & Sighing, & Praying, and Cry|ing in the Spirit and Power of Emanuel, in able to astonish the Heathen and con|found Page 179 Armies and Powers that withstand the Kingdom of Christ the Lord, and to cause Vengeance to come upon such as will 〈◊〉 repent and turn to the Lord, in the Day of their Visitation, even in the Day of God's long Patience and Forbear|ance, but set and bend themselves against the Lord, and his Anointed.
Now Friends, here is our Strength, and these are the Weapons that we must war withal, against all Ungodliness that is come and coming up; but verily Friends if any of your Affections be centred in Husbands, Wives, Children, or any earthen Vessel or any visible thing whatsoever, so as that you cannot be wil|ling to part withal, if it be required at your Hands, then may your Sufferings be great and dangerous unto you. G. F.
Much more the dear Lamb writ to this Purpose, but I am afraid of inlarging, left I swell this Volume too much.
William Dewsbery's Works. p. 16, 18, 21, 23, 216, 218, 229.
Dear Friends, Servants and Children of the most High God, whom he hath called and chosen out of the World; be faithful all of you in his Counsel, wait his Power to guide you in all your Thoughts, Words and Works, in his pure Page 180 fear in obedience, to will, I charge you in his Presence be valiant for your Free|dom in dwelling in the Power of the living God, that may arm you against the fiery Darts of the Devil.
P. 16. Him to resist in his appearance in all his Wiles, who goes about like a roaring Lyon, to draw you every way, seeking to get your minds from the Pure to draw your minds into the visible things, your affections there to captivate, your Wills to satisfie, in created and perishing Objects, or the knowledge of the Truth in your or the Fleshly Wisdom, to feed with the Swine upon the Husks, the Form and Image of what you have in|joyed or what you see in the Vision, what you do not enjoy in the Possession, and and speak in a drunken Spirit, Words without knowledge, and with them sits a painted Beast, the Will at Liberty out of the Cross, and thou whose condition this is, art the foolish Virgin turned from pure Wisdom of God, the Light of Christ, that convinced thee of Sin, and now appearest in the outward formality, in the sight of Men, with a Lamp like the wise Virgin's but dwelling in the Power of God, wants the Oyl of joy and gladness, in the Power of his Love, Page 181 which the wise Virgins have in their Lamps, which excerciseth their Con|sciences and keeps all their Affections in order, to the Spirit of TRUTH, which Bridles their Tongues not to utter Words before the Lord, but in true si|lence, wait upon him until his Spirit moves, his mind to declare unto your Consciences, you foolish Virgins, I speak, you are Strangers to Life the wise Vir|gins enjoy, though amongst them you come, your Life is beautifying the out|side of the Lamp with Words being quickly spoken, but the fear of God is not before your Eyes, but your wills are out of the Cross, a false joy ariseth in you, speaking what you do not possess, prising and glorying in other Mens Lines, and contending for TRUTH with that mind which is out of the Truth, and be|comes Trees Blossoming with Leaves, but bears no Fruit, and here your Folly is made manifest, while you speak to o|thers, yourselves are under reproof, in you are Strangers to Life of God: I charge and command you Silence, Silence, Flesh, and speak not before the Lord, you foolish ones, that dare to make men|tion of his Name, while the worker of Iniquity reigns in you, whom the Lord Page 182 will destroy except you repent. P. 19. Dear Children of the Lord God, be Valiant, Bold and faithful in your Mea|sures, that in the Light, Life and Power of God, you may stand in the Day of great Tryal, which they will upon all you that make mention of his Name, for Power will be given to the Beast his Horn to exalt, even to the Host of Heaven, for the clearing of the Sanctuary of the Lord, then will all foolish Virgins and painted Beast, that are Enemies to the Cross of Christ who hath defiled the Sanc|tuary of the living God, in coming before him, amongst his Saints and Children, and from amongst them shall come trem|bling before the Power of the Beast, when he utters his Voice, and commands all to Worship his Image, but then shall all you Children of the most high God whom he hath called and are faithful to to him in his eternal Life rejoice, who will you keep in that Day in rest and Peace, in the Ancient of Days, who will sit to judge in righteousness, all that withstands the rising of his Glory and of his Dominion there shall be no end, there|fore who make mention of the Name of the living God, examine your Hearts, and Search them, and try your ways with Page 183 the Light, so will you be preserved pure, clean and unblameable before him, and will be fortified by his Eternal Power against all the Deceit, Subtilty, Wind|ings and Twistings of the Serpent within you, and without you: I charge you all in the presence of the Lord God, to abide with God, in what he hath communicated to you, and run not from the Witness of the Eternal Spirit, that hath Sealed you up in Measure, in the Power of his Love thou dost run out to speak further than thou Witnesseth; art a filthy Drunkard that lavisheth out thy self without the fear of the Lord, and so spends and wastes upon thy Lusts, and the plagues and Vengeance of the Lord is thy Portion, thou filthy Drunkard. For no Drunkard or Lustful Person shall inherit the King|dom of God.
All dear Lambs, and Children of the Lord, abide in the Witness of the Eter|nal Spirit, which will pass Judgment and bruise the Head of the Serpent in you, so will you be Armed against all the Glorious Appearances of the Serpent without you, to keep him out of the Scriptures, and the least of you in the Truth of God, will over-turn all Priests and the Men of the World, with their Page 184 or that dwell in their Serpentine Wis|dom and makes a Trade of the Letter, speaking and disputing of the Saints Con|dition, as the Devil did about the Body of Moses, but cannot Witness the Scrip|tures, Sealed up to their Souls by the Eternal Spirit.
Dear Friends, meet often together in the Name and Fear of the living God, and take heed of Words; let's see that the Witness speak, which will cut down your own wills, and it will minister to the Witness in others, to the slaying of their wills; and take heed of watching over one another with an evil Eye, to spy out one anothers Weakness, and declare it to others, and discover their Nakedness thou that art here art cursed Ham, and the Wrath of will be revealed upon thee, but watch over one another with a pure single Eye, and if thou see the pure in Bondage in any one by the deceit, whis|per thou, not behind their Back to o|thers, but let the Witness in thee which sees the Deceit, and suffers with the Pure that is pressed down in it, let it declare and Witness forth the mind of the living God, against the Deceit, and it will cut it down, and the Pure Holy Seed will be set at Liberty, and thy Page 185 Conscience will be kept clean unto the Lord, in discharging thy Duty, and so will thy captivated Brother or Sister be restored again forth out of the Hand of the Destroyer, and then thou wilt have Union together, in that which is pure forever in the Lord, and the eternal God of Power, keep you all his dear Children in his pure Wisdom, to walk faithfully with him and one with another, and the Blessing of the Lord God Almighty be with you forever. Amen.
So all Children, keep your Eye with God, and with Clearness eye him in every Motion, in his everlasting Power, then will cause his Light to shine in the brightness of his everlasting Glory, which will stop all forward and dry Spirits, which is hasty to utter Words before the Lord. If any Simple Heart should utter Words through Weakness out of the Savoury Life, in what you may, bear it in the Meeting, and after speak to them to restore them in a Spirit of Meek|ness; try all Spirits and taste the Breath from whence the Words proceed, and not to lay your Hands hastily on any, whatever they may pretend, but in that which tries and weighs your own Spirits in coolness and singleness of Heart, try Page 186 and taste what Spirits they are on that come amongst you, or in at this Day where|in many come forth to the owning of the TRUTH in their Judgments, and regu|lates the outward Man in some outward Gestures, like to the Children of the TRUTH, But though they pretend zeal and obedience to God in what they do, they being gone from the Light, they neither regard the Glory of God, nor the Good of his People, for all that they now do is wrought in a self-serving Spirit, where they enter in a Mysterious Working of the Deceit of their Hearts, to set up and cover themselves with a voluntary Humility and feigned Love, gathering all the eloquent and inticing Words of Man's Wisdom as they can, with which they make, they make a flourish in a discoursative Spirit, speaking high Words of that they never did know, to get entrance upon the Affections of the tender-hearted ones, that are afraid to judge any but themselves, with others that look more at high Words, than to feel from whence they come, or to know the end for which they are spoken, and they seek to overcome, with their subtil inticing Words, to carry on their own Interest, intrude into the Ministry Page 187 and runs when God never sent them, therefore they do not profit the People.
So are the Children born of the Royal Seed burthened now; all dear Children of the Lord, Watch and Pray that you may be guided by the Power of his Spi|rit in all your Ways, and be careful that none be hasty to utter Words before the Lord, neither suffer any Sighs or Groans, or any thing to be heard to pass through you, but you have the Seal of the Spirit of the Lord, he requires it of you, this I am commanded to lay as a charge upon you.
The Tryal of Spirits, both in Prea•hers and Hearers, by William Dell, Mi|nister of the Gospel, and Master of Gonvil and Cains College in Cambridge. The Epistle Dedicatory. To all the very little Flock of Christ, the truly faithful in these Nations, now despised and al|most worn out according to the Prophe|sy for the Word of God, and the Testi|mony which they hold. Grace be Mul|tiplied unto you, and Peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Head and Hope.
I could not but distinguish you thus from all the rest of the People of these Nations, of what Condition or Quality soever, seeing God himself hath first Page 188 done it, having chosen you to himself in Christ, and set you apart for himself, as a peculiar People zealous of good Works, and I have chosen to speak this unto you, because ye are all taught of God, and have heard and learned from him, the TRUTH, as it is in Jesus, beside you are the Men whom God will use in his greatest and most glorious Works which he hath yet to do in the World; to wit, in Des|truction of the Kingdom of Antichrist, and the setting up and inlarging the Kingdom of Christ, which Things are not to be done by the Might and Power of worldly Magistrates, which may be you have not received, and if you had it would not be helpful here, by the Spirit of the Lord, which you all have received in some Measure; yea further, none but you will be contented to live by Faith and to follow Christ in untrodden Paths, and to undertake impossible Works to Flesh and Blood, and none but you will be willing to have the residue of Christ's Life and Works, and of his Sufferings and Death, filled up in your Mortal Bodies: Wherefore remember you that Word of the Lord, spoken by his An|gel; Rev. xiv. 9, 10. If any Man Wor|ship the Beast and his Image and receive, Page 189 his Mark in his Forehead, or in his Hand, the same shall drink of the Wine of the Wrath of God, which is poured out with|out Mixture, into the Cup of his Indigna|tion; wherefore you faithful ones had need to be well advised, seeing Anti|Christ hath no-body else to oppose him in all the World that dare or know how to do it, but you; and if he can prevail with you, all the World beside will follow him headlong, as Gadaren's Swine ran into the Sea, and were choaked; the Mis|tery grows more Mysterious, yet this is our Comfort, God still causes his Light to shine proportionably to his People, to discover every new change and form of the Mystery of Iniquity, and though it's mysterious enough to cozen all the World of unbelievers, though never so Wise and Learned, yet it is never able to deceive the faithful, who have sufficient Light from God to discover and suf|ficient Grace to overcome it.
The Tryal of Spirits.
1. John iv. 1. Beloved, believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits whether they are of God; because many false Pro|phets are gone forth into the World.
Page 190 Really they went forth betimes, no wonder there is so many now amongst all People.
Ver. 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God, every Spirit that confesseth that Je|sus Christ is come in the Flesh, is of God.
Come into its own Heart, the Word Christ within, the glorious Hope, or Hope of Glory, Col. i. 27.
Ver. 3. And every Spirit that con|fesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the Flesh, is not of God; and this is that Spi|rit of Anti-Christ, whereof you have heard, that it should come, and even now already it is in the World.
Then sure there is abundance now in 1700, Satan has not been Idle, I'll say that for him.
Ver. 4. Ye are of God, little Children, and have overcome them, because greater is he, that is in you, than he that is in the World.
Ver. 5. They are of the World, therefore speak they of the World, and the World hears them. The World loves it's own.
Ver. 6. We are of God, he that know|eth God heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us; hereby know we the Spirit of TRUTH, and the Spirit of Error.
ABINGTON,The 18th of the 3d Mo. 1738.
A Close Concern came in my mind ear|ly, very early this Morning, for the sake of Mankind, and the good Welfare and Preservation of Posterity, which a right and perfect way of Instructing and Educating Youth, would tend much, to the Furtherance of; and I know not any better way than that which would be the most likely and certain way to bring 'em to the knowledge of Divine Wisdom, the Work of the Spirit in their own Hearts, which Pride and Idleness very much obstructs, for as an excellent Author well observed, Divine Wisdom begets Hu|mility, but that which is acquired by the Learned begets Pride.
I say, the Humble God teacheth, but rejecteth the Proud.
So then Divine Wisdom exceeds all Litterature and Humane Wisdom, so far as Light excells Darkness, Heaven ex|ceeds the Earth, and the Almighty Lord God in Heaven, exceeds Satan in Hell; for Divine Learning and Heavenly Wis|dom, brings us to the Knowledge of our Maker, and to have sweet Common on with him, as the Saints had, who could say their Fellowship was with the Father Page 192 and with the Son. This, this Wisdom, my Fellow Creatures of all Names, to this Learning, I do dearly, heartily and tenderly invite you, to this Brotherhood, this Fellowship, this Unity, Union and and Communion.
This, this is worth the denying our|selves and forsaking all things in this World for, if there were no ear of Tor|ment, or Hope of Joy and Bliss, when these Bodies have changed their Form.
I say, to have this most sweet, near, inward, intimate and perfect Fellowship, Acquaintance and Conversation Day and Night, at all times with God, and with his dear Children born again, this is Heaven itself, the Kingdom of God is known to be within, not known without above the Skies; in his dear Children, new Moulded, new Made, new Fashioned, and yet old Fashioned, according to Heb. xii. 22, 23. Col. ii. 10. iv. 12. 1 John 2. 5. John vi. 56. xvii. 3. They were in it, and it was in them, and so it is now with some.
New formed in the Heavenly Image, having the Divine Essence, no Sin, no Deformity, as all Sin is; but Glorious and Beautiful, in the likeness, Nature & Substance of their Father, and are per|fect Page 193 and compleat in the whole Will of God, and are compleat in their Beloved not out of him, for without him Man|kind with all his Humane, Earthly and Worldly Wisdom, however excellent, were it Ten Thousand times more, all such still remains in Babylon, which is in Confusion, and in the Smoak of the Bot|tomless Pit, which darken their under|standings, and those are in Torment and that is Hell. Coloss. ii. 7, 8. Now, those that like to dwell there, and will not come out, I can but pity them.
The Sins of Sodom and many other Countries, (who knows but it may on this, if we do not repent in time) brought the firey Wrath and Indignation of the Lord upon them, whereby they were destroyed, after his merciful long For|bearance.
Q. The Sins of Sodom, What are them, or they?
A. Pride, Fulness of Bread, and abun|dance of Idleness, and I may say earthly Mindedness or Covetousness, that migh|ty, mighty, almost Almighty Monster, the chiefest of the Seven Devils and Supream Ruler, Head and Governor in Hell, Babylon and Bottomless Pit. The other Six Devils have Slain their Thou|sands Page 194 and Tens of Thousands; but this cursed, ugly, hateful, damned piece of Deformity, and Mother Midwife, and Nurse of Enormities, has destroyed more Millions of Thousands, as it is thought and hath been thought by discerning and observing Men. Rev. xiii. 1, 2. For what gross Wickedness, I say, was there ever committed in all, or any part of the World, that we have had any Account of, in any History or News-Papers, but this Beast with his Seven Heads, Ten Horns, and Ten Crowns, and his Name of Blasphemy, have not had a share and hand in it, so then all Covetous Men are Beasts, Blasphemers, Lyers, Thieves and Murtherers as well as Idolaters.
Psalm 49. 12, 13, 20. 1 Cor. 15, 32. Titus 1. 11, 12. 2 Pet. 2. 12.
I heartily wish we might be brought to see this Sin, as great and as dangerous as it really is, both in Church and State, in Ministers and Hearers, that we might with one accord by Fasting and Prayer, in Spirit and in Truth, Night and Day, in Publick and Private, seek to and be|seech the Almighty Lord of Heaven and Earth, that he would be pleased to assist us with Strength and Courage to make War with, and engage against so Page 195 Capital an Enemy that is so dishonourable to God, and all true Religion, destruc|tive to Government and Mankind in ge|neral; for I do believe here is in this Land of America, as selfish, sordid, gree|dy, Covetous, Earthly minded People of almost all Names, as any in the World. Oh! that some Couragious Valiant little Davids might be raised up and furnished with their Slings, and Smooth Stones ta|ken out of the Brook of the Lord, the River of Life, that runs through or in the Paradise of God, which is Heaven, and sent forth against this great Goliah, that defies the very Armies of the living God, and bring him down, cut off his Head, and give his Carcass, with all the uncircumcised Armies, in all Nations and Countries, to the Beasts of the Field; the Field is the World, Satan is the Beast of the Field, his Fowls are airy, and to the Fowls of the Air, where Satan the Prince of Darkness Rules, there let 'em go together where they belong, Birds of a Feather let 'em go together; if they love to live in Hell, in Sin let 'em take it, and the Reward of it, Torment. Kites amongst Chickens, and Wolves with Lambs, come but to devour, it is their Nature.
Page 196 The People in these Countries of Ame|rica, have been Blessed with a great deal of Plenty and quiet living for many Years; it is to be feared many, yea the greatest Number by far are grown luke|warm, as to Religion especially, and are become careless, forgetful and negligent to make suitable returns to the Almigh|ty for his innumerable favours which he hath been pleased to shower down upon us continually in such abundance, both Spiritually and Temporally for Body and Soul. I believe there was a time when many tender Souls (I hope there is some yet left) lived in a Divine Sense of these great Blessings, and sincerely en|deavoured to make suitable returns or acknowledgments to the Lord, the Giver, for the same; by walking and living an Holy, Pious, Temperate, Righteous, Just and a Strict self-denying Life, and and so manifested their Sincerity and Love to the ever Blessed TRUTH, in the sight of God and Man.
By avoiding every thing that might seem to be Sin, these were without Sin, not omitting any thing, they in the Light of TRUTH see to be their Duty. But Oh! Oh! Oh! if such as these Chief|tains turn their Backs in the Day of Page 197 Battle (against Sin and Satan.) What will become of the rest of the Army, if these turn with, or like, the Dog to lick up his Filthiness which he had cast out, and with the Swine that washed to wal|lowing again in the Mire of Sin and Ini|quity of every and any Sort. What will become of us; for old Men, may be some middle Age too, are centred in the Earth, Greedily Grasping and Gaping after the World.
Mamon, Mamon, Mamon, as though Satan ruled in them; for he is God of this World, and Satan is self, self, self unmortified; no worse Devil can be found either in under or above the Ground.
The young ones they are got into the airy Region, where the Prince of Dark|ness rules in the disobedient Hearts.
Riding, Drinking and Galloping about from House to House, Smoaking, Snuf|ing, Chawing Tobacco, and other unclean fulsom, foul, indecent and Sinful Prac|tices; spending their precious time in their Master (Satan's) Service, and some wasting the Substance and Estates, which they never wrought for, live and die miserable, and leave their poor Children Forlorn and helpless for others to main|tain, when they are gone stinking to their Page 198 Graves, and have left a bad Savour be|hind them, by their great Intemperance, Idleness, Carelesness and Slothfulness or altogether, and when they have so con|sumed their Substance, ride up and down to borrow of others, but take little care to pay it again.
Oh! that the poor tender young Crea|tures, and old too, that are still remain|ing, might consider in time and turn to the Lord by unfeigned Repentance and Amendment of Life that so those Evils and Misery, which otherwise will come upon them, might be avoided, is the hear|ty desire of my mind, and that is the end or intent of my Writing.
As I have said, it has been in my mind a pretty many Years, something concern|ing the true Reformation, Preservation and Welfare, or well being of Mankind, especially the well educating & instruct|ing of Youth, after the best manner or method for the Conservation, and Happi|ness of Posterity. There is a Method very excellent, called, A Reformation of Learning by William Dell, Author of that excellent Book, called The Tryal of Spirits, in Preachers and Hearers; to which I refer my Reader, hoping it may be of Service, and then my End will be answered intirely.
The Selling of JOSEPH, a Memorial. By the Honble. Judge Sewall, in New|England.
FOR AS MUCH as LIBERTY is in real value next unto Life; None ought to part with it themselves, or deprive others of it, but upon most mature Consideration.
The Numerousness of Slaves at this Day in the Province, and the Uneasiness of them under their Slavery, hath put many upon thinking whether the Foun|dation of it be firmly and well laid; so as to sustain the Vast Weight that is built upon it. It is most certain that all Men, as they are the Sons of Adam, are Coheirs; and have equal Right unto Liberty, and all other outward Comforts of Life. GOD hath given the Earth [with all its Commodities] unto the Sons of Adam, Psal. 115. 16. And hath made of One Blood, all Nations of Men, for to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and hath determined the Times before appoint|ed, and the bounds of their Habitation: That they should seek the Lord. For as much then as we are the Offspring of GOD, &c. Acts. 17. 26, 27, 29. Now although the Title given by the last ADAM, doth infinitely better Mens Estates, respecting Page 200 GOD and themselves; and grants them a most beneficial and inviolable Lease un|der the Broad Seal of Heaven, who were before only Tenants at Will: Yet through the Indulgence of GOD to our First Pa|rents after the Fall, the outward Estate of all and every of their Children, re|mains the same, as to one another. So that Originally, and Naturally, there is no such thing as Slavery. Joseph was rightfully no more a Slave to his Bre|thren, than they were to him; and they had no more Authority to Sell him, than they had to Slay him. And if they had nothing to do to Sell him; the Isbmaclites bargaining with them, and paying down Twenty pieces of Silver, could not make a Title. Neither could P•tiphar have any better Interest in him than the Isb|maclites had. Gen. 37, 20, 27, 28. For he that shall in this case plead Alteration of Property, seems to have forfeited a great part of his own claim to Humanity. There is no proportion between Twenty Pieces of Silver, and LIBERTY. The Commodity itself is the Claimer. If Arabian Gold be imported in any quan|tities, most are afraid to meddle with it, though they might have it at easy rates; lest if it should have been wrongfully Page 201 taken from the Owners, it should kindle a fire to the Consumption of their whole Estate. 'Tis pity there should be more Caution used in buying a Horse, or a lit|tle lifeless dust; than there is in purchas|ing Men and Women: Whenas they are the Offspring of GOD, and their Liber|ty is,
—Auro pretiosior Omni.
And seeing GOD hath said, He that Stealeth a Man and Selleth him, or if he be found in his Hand, he shall surely be put to Death. Exod. 21. 16. This Law being of Everlasting Equity, wherein Man-Stealing is ranked amongst the most atrocious of Capital Crimes: What lou|der Cry can there be made of that Cele|brated Warning,
And all things considered, it would conduce more to the Welfare of the Pro|vince, to have White Servants for a Term of Years, than to have Slaves for Life. Few can endure to hear of a Ne|gro's being made free; and indeed they can seldom use their Freedom well; yet their continual aspiring after their for|bidden Liberty, renders them Unwilling Servants. And there is such a disparity in their Conditions, Colour and Hair, Page 202 that they can never embody with us, & grow up in orderly Families, to the Peopling of the Land: but still remain in our Body Politick as a kind of extra|vasat Blood. As many Negro Men as there are among us, so many empty Pla|ces there are in our Train Bands, and the places taken up of Men that might make Husbands for our Daughters. And the Sons and Daughters of New-England would become more like Jacob and Rachel, if this Slavery were thrust quite out of Doors. Moreover it is too well known what Temptations Masters are un|der, to connive at the Fornication of their Slaves; lest they should be obliged to find them Wives, or pay their Fines. If seems to be practically pleaded that they might be Lawless; 'tis thought much of, that the Law should have Satis|faction for their Thefts, and other Im|moralities; by which means, Holiness to the Lord, is more rarely engraven upon this sort of Servitude. It is likewise most lamentable to think, how in taking Negroes out of Africa, and Selling of them here, That which GOD has joined together, Men do boldly rend asunder; Men from their Country, Husbands from their Wives, Parents from their Children. Page 203 How horrible is the Uncleanness, Mor|tality, if not Murder, that the Ships are guilty of that bring great Crouds of these miserable Men and Women. Methinks, when we are bemoaning the barbarous Usage of our Friends and Kinsfolk in Africa, it might not be unseasonable to enquire whether we are not culpable in forcing the Africans to become Slaves amongst ourselves. And it may be a question whether all the Benefit received by Negro Slaves, will balance the Ac|compt of Cash laid out upon them; and for the Redemption of our own enslaved Friends out of Africa. Besides all the Persons and Estates that have perished there.
Obj. 1. These Blackamores are of the Posterity of Cham, and therefore are un|der the Curse of Slavery. Gen. 9. 25, 26, 27.
Aus. Of all Offices, one would not beg this; viz. Uncall'd for, to be an Executioner of the Vindictive Wrath of God; the extent and duration of which is to us uncertain. If this ever was a Commission; How do we know but that it is long since out of Date? Many have found it to their Cost, that a Prophetical Denunciation of Judgment against a Per|son Page 204 or People, would not warrant them to inflict that evil. If it would, Hazael might justify himself in all he did against his Master, and the Israelites, from 2 Kings 8. 10, 12.
But it is possible that by cursory read|ing, this Text may have been mistaken. For Canaan is the Person Cursed three times over, without the mentioning of Cham. Good Expositors suppose the Curse entailed on him, and that this Pro|phesie was accomplished in the Extirpa|tion of the Canaanites, and in the Ser|vitude of the Gibeonites. Vide Pareum. Whereas the Blackmores are not descend|ed of Canaan, but of Cush. Psal. 68. 31. Princes shall come out of Egypt [Mizraim] Ethiopia [Cush] shall soon stretch out her Hands unto God. Under which Names, all Africa may be comprehended; and their Promised Conversion ought to be prayed for. Jer. 13. 23. Can the Ethi|opian change his Skin? This shews that Black Men are the Posterity of Cush: Who time out of mind have been dis|tinguished by their Colour. And for want of the true, Ovid assigns a sabulous cause of it.
Metamorph. lib. 2.
Page 205 Obj. 2. The Nigers are brought out of a Pagan Country, into places where the Gospel is Preached.
Ans. Evil must not be done, that good may come of it. The extraordinary and comprehensive Benefit accruing to the Church of God, and to Joseph personal|ly, did not rectify his Brethrens Sale of him.
Obj. 3. The Africans have Wars one with another: Our Ships bring lawful Captives taken in those Wars.
Answ. For aught is known, their Wars are much such as were between Jacob's Sons and their Brother Joseph. If they be between Town and Town; Provincial or National: Every War is upon one side Unjust. An Unlawful War can't make lawful Captives. And by Receiv|ing, we are in danger to promote, and partake in their Barbarous Cruelties. I am sure, if some Gentlemen should go down to the Brewsters to take the Air, and Fish: And a stronger Party from Hull should surprise them, and sell them for Slaves to a Ship outward bound: they would think themselves unjustly dealt with; both by Sellers and Buyers. And yet 'tis to be feared, we have no other kind of Title to our Nigers. Therefore Page 206 all things whatsoever ye would that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matt. 7. 12.
Obj. 4. Abraham had Servants bought with his Money, and born in his House.
Answ. Until the Circumstances of A|braham's purchase be recorded, no Argu|ment can be drawn from it. In the mean time, Charity obliges us to conclude, that He knew it was lawful and good.
It is Observable that the Israelite, were strictly forbidden the buying, or selling one another for Slaves. Levit. 25. 39, 46. Jer. 34. 8—22. And GOD gaged His Blessing in lieu of any loss they might conceit they suffered thereby. Deut. 15. 18. And since the partition Wall is broken down, inordi|nate Self-love should likewise be de|molished. GOD expects that Christians should be of a more In•enious and benign frame of Spirit. Christians should carry it to all the World, as the Israelites were to carry it one towards another. And for Men obstinately to persist in holding their Neighbours and Brethren under the Rigor of perpetual Bondage, seems to be no proper way of gaining Assurance that God has given them Spiritual Free|dom. Page 207 Our Blessed Saviour has altered the Measures of the ancient Love-Song, and set it to a most Excellent New-Tune, which all ought to be ambitious of Learning. Matt. 5. 43, 44. John 13. 34. These Ethiopians, as black as they are; seeing they are the Sons and Daughters of the First Adam, the Brethren and Sisters of the Last ADAM, and the Off|spring of GOD; They ought to be treated with a Respect agreeable.
Servitus perfect a voluntaria, inter Chris|tianum & Christianum, ex parte fervi patientis saepe est licita, quia est necessaria; sed ex parte domini agentis, & procurando & exercendo, vix potest esse licita; quia non convenit regulae illi generali: Quaecun|que volueritis at faciant vobis homines, ita & vos facite eis. Matt. 7. 12.
Perfecta servitus poenae, non potest jure locum habere, nisi ex delicto gravi quod ultimum supplicium aliquo modo meretur: quia Libertas ex naturali aestimatione proxime accedit ad vitam ipsam, & eidem a multis praeferri solet.
Ames. Cas. Consc. Lib. 5.
Cap. 23. Thes. 2, 3.
Something concerning Back-Biting; that spreading foul Disease, that does so much mischief in the World.
DEAR Friends, meet often together, in the Name and Fear of the liv|ing God, and take heed of Words, see that the Witness speaks, which will cut down your own Wills, and it will Mi|nister to the witness in others, to the slaying of their Wills; and take heed of Watching one over another with an evil Eye, to spy out one anothers weak|ness, and declare it to others, and dis|cover their Nakedness: Thou that art here art cursed Ham, and the Wrath of God will be revealed upon thee, but watch one over another with a pure sin|gle Eye, and if thou see the pure in Bondage, in any one by the Deceit, whis|per thou, not behind their Back to others but let the witness in thee which sees the Deceit, and suffers with the Pure that is pressed down by it, let it declare and witness forth the mind of the living God against the Deceit, and it will cut it down, and the Pure Holy Seed will be set at Liberty, and thy Conscience will be kept clean unto the Lord in discharging thy Duty, and so will thy Captivated Page 209 Brother or Sister be restored again forth out of the Hand of the Destroyer, and then thou wilt have Unity together, in that which is pure forever in the Lord, and the eternal God of Power keep you all his Dear Children, in his pure Wis|dom, to walk faithfully with him and one with another, and the Blessing of the Lord God Almighty be with you all, forever, Amen.
An EPISTLE of William Leddra to Friends, Written by him the Day before he was put to Death.
To the Society of the little Flock of Christ, Grace and Peace be Multiplied.
Most dear and inwardly Beloved,
THE sweet Influence of the Morn|ing Star, like a Flood distilling into my Innocent Habitation, hath so filled me with the Joy of the Lord, in the Beauty of Holiness, that my Spirit is as if it did not inhabit a Tabernacle of Clay but is wholly swallowed up in the Bosom of Eternity, from whence it had its being.
Alas, Alas, what can the Wrath and Spirit of Man, that Lusteth to Envy, Page 210 aggravated by the Heat and Strength of the King of the Locusts which came out of the Pit, do unto one that is hid in the Secret Places of the Almighty, or unto them that are gathered under the healing Wings of the Prince of Peace, under whose Armour of Light they shall, be able to stand in the Day of Tryal, having on the Breast-Plate of Righteousness and the Sword of the Spirit, which is their Weapon of War against Spiritual Wick|edness, Principalities and Powers, and the Rulers of the Darkness of this World both within and without. Oh! my Be|loved, I have waited as a Dove, at the Windows of the Ark, and have stood still in that Watch, which the Master (without whom I could do nothing) did Reward at his Coming with fulness of Love, wherein my Heart did rejoyce, that I might in the Love and Life of God, speak a few Words to you, sealed with the Spirit of promise, that the taste thereof might be a savour of Life to your Life, and a Testimony in you of my In|nocent Death, and if I had been altoge|ther Silent, and the Lord had not open|ed my Mouth unto you, yet he would have opened your Hearts, and there have Sealed my Innocency with the Streams Page 211 of Life, by which we were all Baptized into that Body which is in God, with whom and in whose Presence there is Life, in which as you abide, you stand upon the Pillar and Ground of TRUTH, for the Life being the TRUTH and the Way, go not one step without it, least you Compass a Mountain in the Wilder|ness, for unto every thing there is a Sea|son, as the flowing of the Ocean doth fill every Creek and Branch thereof, and then retires again towards its own being and fulness, and leaves a savour behind it, so doth the Life and Virtue of God, flow into every one of your Hearts, whom he hath made partakers of his Divine Nature, and when it withdraws but a little it leaves a sweet favour behind it, that many can say they are made clean through the Word that he hath spoken to them, in which Innocent Condition you see what you are in the Presence of God, and what you are without him; therefore my dear Hearts, let the enjoy|ment of the Life alone, be your hope, your Joy, and Consolation, and let the Man of God flee those things, that would lead the mind out of the Cross, for then the favour of the Life will be Buried, and altho' some may speak of Page 212 things that they received in the Life, as Experiences, yet the Life being vailed, and the favour that it left behind washed away by the fresh Floods of Temptation, the Condition that they enjoyed in the Life, boasted of by the Airy thing, will be like the Manna that was gathered Yesterday without any good scent or sa|vour, for it was only well with the Man when he was in the Life of Innocency, but being driven from the Presence of the Lord into the Earth, what can he boast of? although you know these things, and (many of you) much more than I can say, yet for the Love and Zeal I bear to the TRUTH and Honour of God, and ten|der desire of my Soul, to those that are young, that may read me in that from which I write, to strengthen them against the subtil Wiles of the Serpent that be|guil'd Eve; I say, stand in the Watch within, in the fear of the Lord, which is the very entrance of Wisdom, and the State where you are ready to receive the Secrets of the Lord: Hunger and thirst patiently, be not weary, neither doubt, stand still and cease from thy own Work|ing, and in due time thou shalt enter in|to the Rest, and thy Eves shall behold thy Salvation, whose Testimonies are sure Page 213 and righteous altogether; let them be as a Seal upon thy Arm and as Jewels about thy Neck, that others may see what the Lord hath done for your Souls; confess him before Men, yea before his greatest Enemies, fear not what they can do un|to you, greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the World, for he will cloath you with Humility, and the Power of his Meekness; you shall reign over all the rage of your Enemies in the favour of God, wherein as you stand in Faith, ye are the Salt of the Earth, for many seeing your good Works may glorify God in the Day of their Visitation; take heed of receiving that which you saw not in the Light, lest you give Ear to the Enemy; bring all things to the Light that they may be proved whether they be wrought in God, the Love of the World, the Lust of the Flesh, and the Lust of the Eye are without the Light, in the World, therefore possess your Vessels in Sanctification and Honour, and let your Eye look at the Mark. He that hath called you i• Holy; and if there be an Eye that offends, pluck it out and cast it from you; let not a Temptation take hold, for if you do it will keep from the favour of God, and that will be a sad State, for without Page 214 Grace possessed there is no assurance of Salvation; by Grace you are saved, and your Witnessing of it is sufficient for you, to which I commend you all, my dear Friends, and in it remain;
Your Brother, WILLIAM LEDDRA.
Boston Goal, the 13th of the First Month, 1660/61. But the Day be|fore he suffered Death.
There are several other Letters and Epistles of this dear Lamb's Writing and some other of our Friends, that were put to Death at Boston about same time, very weighty, with Sweet and Heavenly Advice, Caution, and Consolation and Comfort; all well worthy to be Re|printed; (but Oh me! Ink and Paper is too short) Written by Marmaduke Stevenson, William Robins and Mary Dyer, which were put to Death at Boston, be|side others that were Condemned, of which a large Account is given of our Friends called Quakers Sufferings, by George Bishop, in his Book called New-England Judged, by the Spirit of the Lord.
I say, all Writing and Printing is too short, although by the directing of the Holy Ghost, without its own Work in Page 215 the Heart of Mankind, that is and ever will be the Summum Bonum.
I should be heartily sorry (I can say) if any of our Friends called Quakers should go about to attempt or undertake or assume to act the same things as the Bostoneers did to their Progenitors, it would be a bad Savour for or to our Testimony to the unchangable TRUTH which we profess, and our dear tender and much Honourable and worthy El|ders suffered so much for in Old-England, as well as New-England, and other Countries. Oh this would be sorrowful for me and many other of my dear Friends to see or hear of, for Persecution is of the same Nature amongst all People wherever it comes, it points to its Center Root and Foundation, from whence it springs, and that is from the Pit, with|out Bottom, no good Bottom or Foun|dation, but full of Smoak, and some false and foul Fire, which does abundance of hurt sometimes, amongst Brethren and Neighbours too, and in Kingdoms and Nations far and near; read Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History, Josephus Wars of the Jews, History of the Waldenses, the Spirit of the Martyrs Revived, and of latter date, the History of the Wars inPage 216 England and Ireland, and in Boston; they were going on valiantly in their Master Satan's Service, for time I never heard or read the like of it in Story, all things consider'd, and how far they would have proceeded if they had not been stopt, no Man knows.
Q. And this Persecution began with Tongues, how so, may some say?
A. Why, there was a People raised up in Old England, whose Meat and Drink it was to do the Will of God, were Christ's Friends and his own Brethren and Sisters, Begotten and Born of the same Father. I say born of the same Father, the TRUTH, which is the true God and eternal Life, these Saints hearing there was a People Settled in America, that fled from Persecution in Old Eng|land, which were full of Notion, and empty of the Life of True Religion (as many of all Professions are) thought it their Duty to instruct the Ignorant, and them that were out of the way of God, and yet may be some thought in the way they were was right, as Man's ways are right in his own Eyes, often times when he is wrong, as it appeared by those People in Boston.
Page 217 These dear Creatures loving the Truth more than all Men, leaves their Wives, Women their Husbands and Children, & their dear beloved inwardly Friends, & their other outward Comforts, in a faith|ful obedience undertakes a long hazar|dous, dangerous and chargeable Voyage to Boston, in the Love of TRUTH, to Visit these high, yet very low, those full very full, yet empty Professors, as high as Heaven in conceit, and as low as the Earth in Substance, as full as the Sea in Pretention, as empty as Hell in goodness, as afterward was manifest, by their Murthering of several of the Saints and Servants of the living God, the Eternal TRUTH, and is the pure Holy Word, by which these Saints were Sanctified and cleansed throughout from all Sin, as well as the Saints before of old or since; they were and are made clean through this Word that spake to and in them, not in Notion but Experience, and it is the same now, where true Love, and pure Faith unfeigned (not a sinful Faith) a|bounds above all, Glory, Honour and Praise to this living Word, nothing to Man, No, No, not in the least Degree.
To these high Professors, I say, these Heavenly Messengers were sent by their Page 218 Heavenly Father, to bear their Testi|mony, in and for the pure TRUTH, against all Error, Superstition, Hypocri|sy, Idolatry and Formality; which I say they were full of, I wish they were not so now, as well as in this and other Parts of America; these clean Vessels bear a faithful Testimony, in and for this Holy Faith that was once, is now and ever will be revealed in the Saints, from Faith to Faith, growing and increasing, increasing and growing from small Sta|ture to full Strength, filled full, yea full with the pure TRUTH, then empty of all Error to be sure, for I do know, E|ternal Thanks to TRUTH, that there is a way laid out, cast up, fenced in and eternally well secured and most, yea most Gloriously and Beautifully adorned, and the sweetly refreshing Streams of the River of Life for Drink, and the Tree of Life for Food, which bears twelve manner, or all manner of good Fruit, and yields her or its Fruit every Month at all times and Seasons, to them that are prepared, and their Vessels clean enough to receive it, and the very Leaves of this lovely Tree, are for the healing of the People and purging of them from all Sin, that they may have a proper right Page 219 to partake of the Fruit daily, without Money or Price, all free as was the Hebrews Manna, but far more exceeding as Heaven is higher than the Earth, that was for a time, this for eternity. Oh! Holy Pleasure indeed, to eat of such Food, and drink of such Drink, and travel in such a way, and with such Hea|venly Companions and Travellers, this Blessed way, although it may seem strait and narrow to the true Travellers in the entrance, yet in the Progress, and middle very wide easy and delightful, but in and toward the end Glorious in Holiness indeed; here the way-faring Man may and can Walk and not Err, though a Fool, yea though a Fool, the way as well as the Guide, which is one, is so safe, secure, powerful, Holy and per|fect.
But what will the Serpent, and all his Ministers & Messengers in Babylon say to this Doctrine, who sometimes exalts Christ in Words as high as Heaven, say|ing, That he is an Almighty and most merciful Saviour, able and willing to save us to the utmost from all Sin in this Life, and then presently tumble him down a|gain lower than Hell, and exalt Satan and his Doctrine, in his Throne, and de|clare Page 220 with one accord for a Necessity of of Sin, and continuing in Sin, Term of Life, and no avoiding of it by any Power received from God, his Spirit or from the Messiah, or any Grace from him pro|ceeding, by us received, or any other means whatsoever, although it be Read|ing or Praying, or Singing of Songs or Psalms at home, or coming to our Ware-House of or on Sundays, where we set forth our Ware to Sale, by the Hour, to them that bid most, whether they hear our excellent Sermons, or fine Songs, or curious fine excellent Prayers in the Pul|pit, or at our best Customers own Houses when we go to Visit them for our Bellies, or their being Baptized, Sprinkled, Dip|ped or Plunged in pure clean Water, by or with our impure, unclean, filthy Hands, or receive the Holy Sacrament as we call it, altho' we have no Scrip|ture for it in the least, or though they go Mourning all their Life's-time Day and Night, in true Contrition and in ne|ver so sincere a penitential frame of mind at home or abroad, in Fields or Woods, and desart and lonesome Places (as ma|ny has done) with Fasting, Praying and Weeping before the Lord, that he would be pleased to pass by and forgive them Page 221 their Transgressions and Sins, and give them, I say, and give them strength to resist and withstand their grand Enemy, and then they would serve in sincerity and in TRUTH all the Days of their Lives after, and the Lord have been found by such, and answered them to the Joy of their Souls, according to his Blessed Promise of old to such, That their Sins he would Blot out as a thick Cloud, and their Sins he would re|member no more; notwithstanding these things, or a thousand times more, and all that can be said, thought of, or done, says these Messengers of Satan, there is no freedom from Sin in this Life, there is none that doeth good, and sinneth not; so such make use of Scripture to uphold their Master-Kingdom, as all Sin is, so here is the very same Temptation where|with the Serpent tempted Eve, you shall be as Gods, if you do break God's com|mand, you shall not die, but be as Gods; these say you must sin, there's no Possibi|lity of being free from it on this side the Grave, and no Repentance there, and yet promise the People Heaven, here is Confusion enough, to be seen by him that has Eyes; and thus is Satan transformed into the likeness of an Angel of Light, by his Ministers, Servants and Children, and Page 222 exalted in his Throne above all that is called God, and shewing himself that he is God, chief Ruler there, in the Heart, as to be sure he is, so long as Men live in Sin, for that is his Prerogative and ever will be, for these Men will readily allow and confess, that the purest, most Holy, or unholy, Religious Performances and Service in Worship, and Ordinances are sinful, as I have heard it myself from the Pulpit declared (when I was a very constant hearer of them.) O Lord forgive us the Sins of our Holy Things, say they; What greater contradiction can be? for that which is Holy is free from Sin, as that which is sinful or full of Sin (as their Performances are) is free from Holiness. Sure these Men have no Faith or else it is a false and sinful Faith, such as Cain's, Satan's, and all the false Pro|phets was, which is a murthering, killing, but not a saving Faith, which is much, yea much worse than no Faith at all, and is more offensive to God and good Men, because more mischievous in the World, especially amongst those called Chris|tians. Oh! Oh! that ever such as these should be accounted of as Chief and on|ly Persons ordained, called, prepared, fit|ted and qualified, and sent forth to be the Teachers of the People, and to be Page 223 had in great Honour and exceeding high esteem for their Works sake, which yet is altogether Sinful, or full of Sin, and all Sin is of their Father the Devil, and his Work they do for their Bellies sake, which is their God, and for corrupt self, which is Satan or Serpent, in Hebrew Abaddon, but in the Greek Tongue Apollyon, in English Devil and Beast with seven Heads, ten Horns, and ten Crowns, a little false heathenish Learning to amuse the Populace, but stands very tottering like Crowns on the small spickiting tops of the Horns of Beast, in great danger and likely to fall being mis|placed a little; true Holy Spirit Lear|ning hath and will before some are aware shake many Thousands of them very easily; the Holy Spirit right well knew what he did, and said, when he alluded to a Beast with many Heads, Horns and Crowns, when he intended to present and set forth Anti-Christ, clearly to our view. For Friends, all you that are Ministers of Anti-Christ, whether in Pul|pits or Galleries, you that are of the Royal Off-spring, of the King of the Locusts, and are creeping out of the Bottomless Pit a little, to see what Mis|chief you can do to Mankind, & Service Page 224 for your King Lucifer, who was (and is now to you) as the Son of the Morning, and to see what good you can get for your God, your Bellies.
Friends, for so I may and will call you still, 〈◊〉 then it is in the same sense and meaning, that TRUTH spake to Judas when he was about to Kill or Murther him, or betray him into their Hands that should do it; and Friends you are in the same Spirit that your Elder Brethren, Cain, Judas and the Bostoneers, and others were that came before them, as is ment|ioned already, for you are slaying and betraying the pure TRUTH, either wilfully or ignorantly or both, for ends base enough, however tho' it is so in this cause, I find Freedom to appeal to you and your earthly Learning and carnal Wisdom, for I know no other with you, yet in this case you may be capable to Answer.
Q. Did you ever see or hear of any thing in the whole World more preposterous than this Beast, which is metaphorically point|ed to by the Holy Ghost, which is infinite in Power and Wisdom.
For my part I never did in all my Travels, and little reading, Conversation nor any thing like it, except it be you Page 225 yourselves which comes the most near it of any or all visibles, for aught I know, if not exceed; for Friends, for you to pretend to attain the knowledge of Di|vine Wisdom by Humane Learning, or Heavenly things by Earthly Acquire|ments, or to be Citizens in New-Jeru|salem, when you are Fellow Commoners in Babylon; or to attain to the True Light, or the Light of TRUTH when you are in and delight in the Deeds of Darkness, buried therein; or to pretend to self-denial, and to teach it to others, when you live in gratifying of the Flesh, and cursed self, in all things, the Lust of the Eye, and Pride of Life, and what|ever in this vain World is; you pre|tend to be of the Church of God, when you are Members in full Unity and Com|munion in the Church of Satan, and have a Prebend there, which is Sin, which he allows in full Freedom to all his Mem|bers as much as their Hearts Lust can desire, without any contradiction or re|straint, denial or controul in the least; you pretend to be Subjects of Christ, and yet are sworn Servants and Friends of Anti-Christ; you in Words call God Father, and pretend to be his Children and Servants, Heirs of his Kingdom, Page 226 but you have no Lot or Inheritance there, for he, the Holy-one knows, 〈◊〉 so does his dear Children, that you are of your Father the Devil, and his Work you do, so are of his sinful Kingdom, which is full of Sin, and Torment its Reward, so his own dear choice Children, so I ac|knowledge you have a right title to call him Satan, meaning Father, and he is so and you acknowledge your descent, by confessing you cannot cease from Sin (having Eyes full of Adultery) for indeed none of his Children can, nor ever will cease from it, while in his Government they willingly keep, they love it too well, and their Father also. Oh! sorrowful, to love the Father of all mischief and the Author of all the Misery and Torment that is brought upon poor dear Mankind both here and hereafter, for whom my Soul mourns.
Now Friends, and all that may read these Lines, consider with yourselves, you especially that has any true regard to or desire after the Knowledge of the Honour of God, sincere desires of attain|ing to the knowledge of love to his pure TRUTH, or the pre|sent and eternal Welfare of your own Souls; I say consider wisely Page 227 and in time; can Satan bring into the World a greater and a more Eternal Cheat than above-mentioned, and any thing more likely to establish Atheism in the World, than fallen Angels, Messen|gers or Ministers all one, who once knew the mind of God, and were highly favour|ed with the sweet enjoyment of his Ho|ly pure TRUTH, and had a Commis|sion from him to Preach the Sempiternal Gospel of Peace and Purity, and received a part of the Ministry (like Judas) who after all betrayed his Master for thirty Pieces; but our Modern Traytors scorn such a poor Pittance, they will have 30000 or 30 Millions if they can, but I could wish, with many others, that they were all set aside or put out of the way like him, or reclaimed and throughly purged if it be possible, which is much to be feared, their enmity is so great to the Truth and its true Ministers as it ever was, because they the true Minis|ters are under a Necessity to bear a Tes|timony against them, or else they cannot be true to the trust reposited in them, or committed to them; these fallen Angels the worst of Enemies in any Religious Society, may well be compared to some Usurpers, that had been chief Rulers Page 228 under a King or Kings, and had Commissions from them, but for some notorious Crimes have had their Com|missions taken from them, and turned out of their high, profitable and Honour|able Office, when they being thus cash|iered, to work their revenge, and carry on their design, keeping a form and Co|py of their old Commission, perfixing to it a Counterfeit or Forged Name, Hand and Seal; with this sham Commission, and the great Interest and Power they had before with the Kings Subjects, as Absalom have gathered a Party, and headed them, and usurped the Govern|ment in Discipline, &c. debauched the Kings Wives or Wife, the Spouse, de|filed the Temple, True Church, corrup|ted and destroyed his Posterity, all they could catch by their Deceit, Hypocrisy and feigned Humility, under pretence of doing more Justice than the King him|self did or had done; and so have set up themselves and their Party for a time, and dethroned the True King, although it tended to the destruction of vast Num|bers of the People, that were unhappily led away by them, as in the case of Absalom, Abimelech, and Haman, and a|bundance more, that is mentioned in Page 229 Sacred Writ, as well as other History.
Why should any be so very earnestly bent about getting Money? doth any History mention any one that was ever made good by Riches?
These things are Now, Now, Now, going on in the World in a Spiritual Sense, as certain as ever they were acted by the fore-mentioned, and by Persons too that makes great appearance of Sanc|tity in Religious Performances, but it's Self, whatever their demure appearance may be, and that is Satan, and for Mam|mon that worst and most mischievous Devil in all the World.
These rich grown, ever poor, over wealthy, ever needy, ever grasping, never satisfied, brim-full yet always empty, ever Labouring, yet always Idle, ever diligent, yet always negligent, ever wak|ing, yet eternally asleep, ever living, panting and breathing after more, more, more, a little more, I say ever living yet eternally Dead, and there let 'em lie and stink still, if they will not be awakened. But I had much rather they should.
These great and high Masters of mis|rule, don't care to be controuled in their way altho' they are ever so much out of the way, which is a very great Weak|ness Page 230 as well as Wickedness, that Men and Women will have their own way tho' to their own and others Destruction, but the case is such, they having been so long in Power and Repute, had in Honour, Men of renown in the Congregation, chief Rulers in the House of the Lord, won't be contradicted, but if any should or dare do so, let his concern be ever so great or burthen weighty, he may expect to be put in the Stocks, in the high Court of Benjamin, with little Benjamin their Brother. Oh! how often have I heard & seen these things done metaphorically, I am loth to say where, but if any one ask me I can tell 'em, there is that that rules in the Church, to be seen and heard of Men, and to show their or its Elocu|tion, display their Eloquence, as in their Preaching so in this, some for Mammon, some for some other ends base and vile enough.
And a few there is still left amongst us (I firmly believe) blessed be the Lord, that have not any thing so much in view as in all sincerity, to promote and exalt the Honour and Interest of TRUTH, the Peace and Tranquility of the True Church, and the present and eternal Happiness, Welfare and well-being of Page 231 Mankind, in all Nations, Colours and Countries in the World, that they might be brought to the knowledge of the TRUTH, and be saved from Sin, yea, from all Sin, for that is possible and so from Wrath to come; but some are, yea, very many are pushed on, Headlong and Headstrong, with a furious raging fiery and mad Zeal, yet blind, as in the case of Saul, before he was Paul, before he had the new Name, with his Letters from the Chief or High Priest to perse|cute the Saints at Damascus, or else|where (not from Colchester two Weeks Meeting, to R. J. to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting) to separate S. and B. I pray in my Heart at this time, they all that are living that had any hand in it, may have their Reward according to their Intention. I think to leave 'em there with him, him, him, himself, that is able to do all things, and so is able to produce good Effects, from very bad causes, and say, Oh (Deus Meus Omnia) preserve my Soul.
Oh! that all the Libertines, loose Livers, the Magdalens, the Publicans and Harlots, the Smoaking Drunkards, all unclean Persons, Thieves and Cove|tous, Covetous, the Covetous Earthly Page 232 minded Idolater, the Superstitious, For|mal and Nominal Christians, Preachers and Hearers, the young and old, old, the old Hypocrites too, if possible, I say if possible might be converted, translated, drawn out of that deep, dirty Ditch Hypocrisy.
And all the blind Zealots, and Super|stitious Bigots, of all Names, their Na|ture and Spirit is the same, when in|vested with a little imaginary Power. how they will rage and persecute furious|ly them that oppose 'em, reprove 'em, and will not submit to their Rules, Or|ders and Laws, though never so unjust, and thus it happened to many of our dear Friends called Quakers, in Old as well as New-England, and elsewhere, when they went into their Synagogues, Mass-Houses, or Idol Temples to re|prove 'em, for their Hypocrisy and Wickedness, in pretending to Worship him that laid down his Life for his Enemies, and at same time preparing Laws to take away the Lives of his Servants, that came in his Name, to do his Will, as he the Holy one required it at their Hands. I would tenderly advise, and earnestly intreat all my dear Friends to be very careful not to taste nor touch that Dust Page 233 and Dirt, Persecution, which is the Ser|pents Meat, and Cain's Mark, and it is Satan's Food, and his Childrens Meat and Drink, and Life, to do the will of their Hellish Father, and Father in Hell, that sends them and sets 'em about that, & all other unrighteousness and Iniquity, and it is as essential to them in that State and Nature, as it was and is to Christ's Brethren and Sisters, and all his true Friends and faithful Followers, to do the will of their Heavenly Father, & Father which is in Heaven, in his Holy Church, his Body, comprised of Sancti|fied Members, purified Hearts and Souls, washed and cleansed from all Sin; and such as those did of old, and now doth perfectly know a new Birth, a being Born again of him, and in him that is True and is the very TRUTH itself the very pure Verity of Verities, the E|ternal Essence in him only, not in any Book or Books, a Thousand Ship-loads of the very best of Books will do us no good, nor the best of Professions, Or|dinances, and Humane Preachers (much less the worst) will do us no good, ex|cept Man (Male and Female) be Born a|gain he cannot see the Kingdom or Go|vernment of TRUTH, or of God, which Page 234 is one; this was and is and ever will be declared of by the Eternal TRUTH, to all that had, have and shall have Eyes, Ears and Hearts truly prepared to re|ceive it.
And that all, for the Call is gone forth to all, might come to know this new Birth, this being Born again of the in|corruptible Seed, and the Word of TRUTH Eternal, and be washed from all the filthiness of Flesh, as well as Spi|rit, from all unrighteousness, and all self righteousness too, that very dangerous Enemy to Man's Happiness, and that all might be redeemed and Translated out of the Kingdom of Sin and Satan, which is Death and Darkness, Hell and Torment, into the Kingdom of the dear Son and Power of TRUTH, which is pure righteousness, Peace and Joy, in the Holy Ghost, in the pure Hearts and clean Bodies of his Children and Ser|vants he dwells, they are his Body, his Temple and Kingdom, he Rules, Reigns and Governs, and takes delight in pure Hearts, and the pure in Heart see him and know him, and dwell in him, the TRUTH in him, and he in them, and his Banner over them, and Standard in them, is Faith and pure Love, and these fits and abides under his Divine Shade Page 235 with great delight, and his Heavenly Fruit is sweet to their taste, and they are ravished with his Beauty, and overcome with his Love at times, and their Cups do overflow, and the Song of the Heavenly Host is known, and here the Bright and Morning Star is seen and doth remain where the Babe Immor|tal is Born the Proclamation is heard great Joy to all People, Peace on Earth & good will toward all Men, and here the sweet lovely Babe Immortal is formed in the Heavenly Womb, and doth leap for Joy at the sound of the Heavenly Salutation, and when the fulness of time is come the Babe above-mentioned will be Born in the Soul, and his Heavenly Government will be on his Shoulders within, the Di|vine Essence within, in the Soul that is made perfect through Sufferings, as Christ was; he that can receive it let him. Oh! that this might be the Bles|sed experience of all Mankind, that the Earth might become a Paradise again, to all People, as it is to some; is the sincere and hearty desire of my Soul and Spirit, much more than for all the Wealth in the World abundantly; the Kingdom of Heaven saith TRUTH, is within you, not known without by any Man, I can truely say.
This Morning early it came in my mind to write something concern|ing the New Birth, Resurrection and Baptism, all one.
ABINGTON,the 3d of the 5th Mo. 1738.
VERILY, Verily, said Truth, ex|cept a Man be Born again he can|not see or enter into the Kingdom or Government (there be some Governments where there is no King) of Heaven or Heavenly Government, all one, the same thing, and this is the Holy Government of TRUTH in the Souls of the Sons and Daughters of Men, the Government of Heaven is within, said Christ, the Truth is within, so said a Servant of Truth; whatever is to be known of TRUTH is manifest within, I say not without but within, greater is he, Truth, that is with|in us, than he that is in the World, Satan, the Lyer and God of it, and Father too, who faith in his Children, in his Ser|vants, in his Ministers, in his Angels, in his Messengers, all one, That there is no Freedom from his Government, or Sin, all one in this Life, but he Satan was a Lyar from the beginning, and so remains, who said to Eve, you shall not Die, but •e as Page 237 Gods; such Gods as himself and his Children, which are always sinning, and will boldly confess and declare, That they cannot cease from Sin, nor any Body else, say they, no not by any Power of the Holy Spirit, and this is Satan's Master|Piece, to possess poor Mankind, with such a Faith; for it is the Faith of Sa|tan which he possesses all that are under his Government with, that he might keep them at ease in their Sins and be his Servants forever, and so always live in Bondage through the fear of Death, Hell and the Grave, by reason of Sin and Iniquity that reigns in them; so that I may •a•ely say▪ although with Sorrow of Heart, without the least, I say, with|out the least Breach of Charity, that all such as are firm in this Faith are posses|sed of the Devil, and the Devil hath them in his Possession and Government, and he is Chief Ruler and Governor in and over them, Preachers and Hearers of all Societies that pretend to be Christians, but the Children of God, that are Born of TRUTH, their Heavenly Father they are in him, in his Heavenly Govern|ment, and he the TRUTH is Chief Ruler and Governor in them, and they have received a living strong and power|ful Page 238 Faith of him that overcomes the World, and Satan the God of this World, which is Self, unmortified Self; so in the World there is Gods many, and many Rulers, that are Slaves to the Lust of the Flesh, with the Lust of the Eye, Eyes full of Adultery, they cannot cease from Sin, and Pride of Life, and Covetousness, that old, old, very old De|vil and great Idol, and it must be closely minded and worshipped to maintain the other gross Enormities or Devils, almost as bad as Covetousness, that Father or Chief of Devils; but though it is so, yet they that are and shall be counted worthy to know the New-Birth, a being Born a|gain of the incorruptible Seed and Word of God, and God the Word, that made all things, such do know a ceasing from Sin, a Death to Sin, and a Resurrection in eternal Life, in the TRUTH in Hea|ven, and Heaven is in them, and have been Baptized and Washed from all Sin, in thought, Word and Deed, such are entred into his rest and remain in it, which no Sinner can, while he remain so and not changed, such who are so Sanc|tified or Baptized, one, are Cloathed with the fine Linnen, clean and white, the righteousness of Saints, such are ad|mitted Page 239 to sit at the Lord's Table, in New-Jerusalem, and sup with him, him himself, and he with them in his own Government or Kingdom, and this is the Supper of the Lord, & the Fellowship & Communion of Saints, who said, Come, come and have Fellowship with us; for Verily, Verily or truly, our Fellowship is with the Father and the Son. Is not this Paradise itself, to Eat and Drink in the presence of God and Angels. Heb. 12. and this is perfectly agreeable to what TRUTH promised and said, I stand at the Door, and knock or call, if any one will hear and regard, or obey my Voice, and open to me in all Obedience, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me, and the Father and we will make our abode with him. Oh holy abode! no Sin here, No, No, No, surely no, these dear Children Worship their Father, and serve him Night and Day in his Temple with all Alacrity; so these Heaven-Born favourites do know the Gospel and the New-Birth to be Spiritual, the Baptism, the Resurrection, and the Lord's-Supper to be Spiritual, and not carnal or natural. So they that know the New-Birth, they know all the other, for they are all one, in Essence Divine, he that hath one in Page 240 possession cannot miss of all the other if he would; this is for them that know the TRUTH, for to others they are but as Mysterious Parables, for the Natural, Earthly, Covetous, Carnal minded Man or Woman knows not these things, nei|ther can they, because they are made known and manifested by the Holy Spirit the TRUTH only, and a Hundred Thousand Ship-Loads of the best of Books, and all the Earthly Worldly Wisdom, and Natural Learning in the whole World, either in Preachers or Hearers, cannot make manifest the know|ledge of these things; for he that loves the World, and the things of the World, the Love of the Father is not in him, so as to reveal the Mysteries of the Govern|ment or Kingdom of Heaven unto him, and in him.
So that I may truly say, this Hea|venly New-Birth is the chiefest good to bring us to the sure and certain knowledge of Heavenly things, and no other way, this, this, this is the Key that opens the Mysteries of Truth's Government, this is the Rock of Ages, & Foundation on which Truth doth and ever will build his Congre|gation; and Hell, Satan, Sin and Death shall never be able to prevail against it.
ABINGTON,the 14th of the 4th Mo. this Morning before Day Light; as it now comes in my mind.
COncerning the Living and True Vine, which never was dead nor could die, nor ever will nor can die, but remains the same it was from and to all Eternity, Eternal TRUTH and every True and living Branch dwells in this Vine, and this Pure Vine dwells in, in, in them, and they in, in him, not out of him, No, No, we are in him that is True, and we know him that is True, and is the very Truth itself, the Holy eternal Essence which is God, the only True God, and True and only Saviour, and there is no other True God and Saviour either in Heaven above, or in the Earth beneath, or any-where else; in this eter|nal TRUTH the true God is manifest to and in, in his Saints, in Sanctified Hearts, which is his Temple, House or Body, and these dear beloved Children of his, Worship him in this his own Temple, and he the Holy one accepts of their Worship and their Offerings, whether Preaching, Prayer, Praises or Thanksgivings, which are offered up to him and in him, in and by his own Spirit Page 242 Life, Power and Strength (which is him|self) without any mixture of Self, striking Sparks of Fire of Man or Woman's own kindling, such dear sweet living Branches as these that are in, in the Holy pure living Vine, and the living Vine in them can and do, and ever shall at times offer up high Praises, Hallelujahs and Thanks|givings to him that was, and is and is to come, the Truth with pure Hearts, lift|ing up Holy Hands without Wrath or Doubting for they or he that Doubts is Damned, as it is Written: These Hea|ven-born Souls and Bodies, have the Govern|ment and Kingdom of Heaven, the Truth, the true Christ essentially within them; the Kingdom, Government, which is one of Hea|ven is within, as it is written; such as those knows it to be so, and do not look out at the Lo heres, and Lo theres, nor stand gazing up into the Air, look|ing after and for a carnal, humane, earth|ly, Natural, Finite, Fleshly and Mortal Body, as the Essence of St. Mary's Body and her Childrens was; but the Body of Christ, the Truth, a Spiritual Heavenly Immortal Body, which is his Church or Congregation, more properly speaking, as that worthy Martyr William Tindall's Translation of the Bible, calls it Congre|gation Page 243 and this is Christ's or Truth's Body, and he himself the Holy Head of and in his own Body, his Congregation the Truth, and Christ the True Head is on and in his own Body, not a great way off, by no means, such wild Notions are preposterous, to imagine that Truth the true Head, and there is no other, should be Thousands of Millions of Miles dis|tance from its own Body, in some place of Locality, nobody knows where.
But this is a notorious delusion of Sa|tan and all his Ministers the World over, to lead Peoples minds out, and to look for that a great way off, that is so nigh and in them, for fear poor Mankind, that are his, Satan's, Slaves, tho' Keepers of Slaves, should turn their minds inward and find a Redeemer there that is willing if faithfully obeyed, and able easily to bind the strong Man armed, Satan, and cast him out and spoil all his Goods which is Sin, and then he Satan knows he loses his Kingdom, in such a Soul and Body.
Oh! that it might be so with every individual Body and Soul in the whole Universe, that the Earth might become like Eden, and Eden as the Garden of the Lord, where he the Holy one the Page 244 Truth would then take delight to walk amongst his pleasant Plants, and dwell in and amongst such well-beloved Children, Sons and Daughters, Servants and Hand|Maids, and such Children Born of the Royal Seed of Heaven, the Offspring of their Eternal Father the Truth, being filled with his Power and his great Glory, and ravished with his ineffable Beauty, then, then, then it is as it was of old, the Morning Stars can and does sing together and the Sons of God shouted aloud for Joy, because the Heavenly Father, Lord and King, the Truth is amongst them, in them, and is Glorious in Holiness, fear|ful in Praises, and working wonders for them, and in them, and here in him, in him, not out of him, but in him only and alone, and in none else; the Earth enjoys its Sabbath again, as it did before there was any Sin in the World, in as full and as sweet a Glorious and Heavenly man|ner I firmly believe as of old, because it is the mind of TRUTH it should be so, I do know. B. L.
Something came into my Mind this Day, concerning the Foundation of the Righteous, which are Saints, and the Foundation of the unrigh|teous, to wit, Sinners of all Pro|fessions.
NEvertheless the Foundation of God,*standeth sure, ha|ving this Seal, Oh blessed Seal indeed, Oh holy Evidence, the Lord knoweth them that are his, and his know him, and Worship him, in Spirit and in the Truth, without any Sin, and let every one, that nameth the Name of Christ depart from Iniquity.
He that hath not his Spirit is none of his, but is an Idolater, and his Worship is such; Preacher or Hearer of whatever Name.
He that doth righteousness, is righ|teous, as he (to wit) God is righteous.
Little Children, let no Man deceive you; he that committeth Sin is of the Devil.
All unrighteousness and Iniquity is Sin, and all Sin is the Devil's Foundati|on, so all that are Building in Sin, and living in Sin, are Building on the Devil's Foundation, and here the Devil's Foun|dation, Page 246 standeth sure likewise in Sin his Servants and Ministers are established in his Kingdom in Sin, built on his Foundation, and have a Commission from him too, to Preach the Doctrine of his Government or Kingdom, Sin, Term of Life, no Freedom from it, say they, while we are in these Bodies; altho' the Holy Ghost said to the Believers, your Bodies are his Temple.
Now consider my dear Fellow Crea|tures, of all Names, while you are com|mitting of sin, and living in sin, you are established in Satan's Government or Kingdom, and built and building on his Foundation, which is sandy or worse, you may read and pray, sing Songs or Psalms at home, or go to Meetings, carry your Bibles under your Arms, make an Idol of them, and hear Preaching or Praying, either by Form or Extempore or receive the Bread and Wine, call it Communion, but it is with Satan, you may go and be Sprinkled, Dipt and Plunged a Hundred or a Thousand times calling it Baptism, yet it is all of Satan, while in sin, you may go to Q----r's Meeting and sit in silence, fall asleep, fall fast asleep, then wake, first fall a sighing, spitting or blowing the Nose, Page 247 stand up pretending to Preach, kneel down pretending to pray, or sit or stand to hear Preaching and Praying, its all of Satan, while in sin, the new Moons and Sabbaths, Sabbaths, Sabbaths, and most solemn Gatherings or Assemblies, were a cursed Abomination to the Lord of old, although of his own appointment, while their Hearts were after Satan and their Idols; their offering Swines Blood, cut|ting off a Dog's Neck, or slaying of a Man was not more offensive to God, because both done in the Spirit of Satan, & so it is now with the Nominal Christians; for the Plowing of the Wicked is sin, tho' nothing more warrantable scarsly in this World; an offering well accepted in Abel, rejected and cursed in Cain, because his Heart was not right in the sight of God; are not some of us as bad as they were. Read Isa. 1. And you false Ministers read Jer. 23.
ABINGTON,The 11th of the 2d Mo. 1737.To J. C. of Horsham.
NOtwithstanding the great Bustle there was concerning my sitting quietly in, and being carried out of Meeting Yesterday Page 248 so roughly without speaking a Word, signi|fied little to me, or nothing in comparison to the Burthen and Exercise I was then under, on Account of a false and forward Ministry, which does so much Work for Satan in our Meetings, by bringing great weights and burthens on the true Seed of God's own right Hand, planting in his tender Babes which go not forth, or dare not into Words when they please, to spend them upon their Lusts, as the satanical Ministers do in our Meetings in this Country and in England and elsewhere.
Nay, dear Friend, we need not go far, for I believe in this very Monthly-Meeting of Abington, there is such as are restless & uneasy with sitting in Silence in Meetings, so will be Hammering and Hammering in Words without Life, and so bring Death and Darkness over our Meetings, to the wounding and almost slaying of some dear tender young Creatures belonging to our and other Meetings, and for ought I know may be drove into Despair, if there be not some powerful means used that may be effectual to stop these Leviathans that plays and sports in the great Waters: The Peo|ple are as Waters, Oh! that it might be so saith my Soul.
Dear Friend, this has been the excercise of my sorrowful Soul above 20 Years, and I still hope Truth, Time and Patience with Perseverance in well doing will manifest my sincerity, whatever some of my Friends may be pleased to think or say of me; and dear Friend, I can in all sincerity say, my Tongue, my Heart and my Hand went together Yesterday, when I told thee I had good Unity with the Testimony, which was a|gainst a false and forward Ministry, which took more care to feed the Multitude with Words, than to feed the Children of God with Life, or to that Effect; signifying that some Preachers were afraid what the Peo|ple would say, would think or say if they sat in silence; then they were in grieving the true waiters, in speaking when they should not. And they were more careful to feed the Dead than the living, which I say is the Work of Self, Satan or the Devil, all one, altho' Man, vain Man and Woman do not see it so, for as Blessed Jesus said, they that gather not with us, scatters abroad, and that thou knowest dear Friend is the Work of the Devil. Please to read W. Penn's Advice to the Ministry, in his Preface to G. Fox's Journal, p. lvi. and the Journal, p. 216, 224. the First Part.
Page 250 William Dewbery's Works, p. 18, 21, 216, 218.
William Edmonson's Journal. p. 300 306. Concerning Offerings and Prayer, and many more I mentioned in that Paper I left with Friends at Spring Meeting in Philadelphia; which I think if they were Reprinted and Bound up together they might be of some Service to some young Preachers, and to old ones too, which ne|ver see them, if it should, my end would be answered.
I wish, my dear Friend, our false & forward Ministers would consider these Scriptures underneath.
Deuter. 13. 1, to the End. 18. 20. Is it not to serve or bow to other Gods to join with Idolatrous Prayer.
I Kings 18, 19. 22. 6. There was a time when there was 850 false Prophets to one true; what has been may be again.
Jer. v. 2, 13, 31. xiv. 14, 15, 16. xxiii. 9, to 16, 29, 30, 31, 32. xxvii. 15. Ezek. xiii. 2, to the End. xxxiv. 2, 3. xxii. 28. Isa. ix. 14 to 17. xxviii. 7, 8, 9. Lam. ii. 14. iv. 13. Mic. iii. 5, 6, 7. Zechar. xiii. 2, 3, 4. 2 Pet. ii. 1, 2, 3.
Eccles. 5. 1. Be more ready to hear, than to give the Sacrifice of Fools; for Page 251 they consider not that they do Evil.
What is the Chaff to the Wheat? the Chaff is for Beasts, the Wheat is for Chil|dren, to keep them alive in the Kingdom or Church of God, New-Jerusalem.
New-England Judged, p. 299. Dear William Leddra's Advice to Ministers, the Day before he was put to Death, in Boston, New-England, for the Testimony of Truth.
Dear Friend, believe not all Reports, but what thou knowest amiss in me, reprove me for it, and admonish me as a Father does a Son, whom he dearly loves, and I hope it shall be well received, by B. L.
ABINGTON,The 26th of the 12th Month, 1737, 8
THIS being the 10th Day of my Fasting, it came into my Mind, the carnal People's vain Notion of Christ the TRUTH, being in Heaven with a carnal Body, or Body of Flesh; now I think it is absolute Blasphemy, to say, the eternal infinite Being is in Heaven with a finite Body, as a Body or Vail of Flesh is, and so limit the blessed eternal Maker and Saviour of Mankind, and set the Saints above him; For they will al|low the Saints to be in Heaven with a Page 252 Body: Where is the Consistency of this dark, very dark Doctrine.
But Satan's Children are disputing a|bout the Vail, the sanctified Body of Christ, (that was made perfect through Sufferings; and he learned Obedience by the Things which he suffered) as their Father did about the Body of Moses, but could not find it, no more can they the other, altho' it be before their Eyes. There's no Occasion for Vails of Flesh in Heaven, or a Shadow, as the Sub|stance or Essence of Mary's Flesh was, which Christ took on him for a Time: But there was nothing ascended but that which descended, no other. Now go thou Caviller, go learn what that was, and is, and ever will be the same that it was, before all Worlds, eternal Truth, Christ, Father, one divine Essence, not two Essences, no no, not Flesh and Spi|rit, not earthly and heavenly, but hea|venly only. B. L.
Pythagoras, that great and worthy Philosopher, asserted, That it is the great|est of Injustices, to separate Children and Pa|rents from each other.
Page 253 Is there any Practice, any Thing like Slavekeeping? For that and all other gross Sins, take it from first to last, in all its Twistings, Twinings and mur|therous Complications.
ABINGTON,The 29th of the 3d Mo. 1738.
THE right Establishment, Building, Settlement, Fountain and Founda|tion of the true Congregation or Church, is God, is the TRUTH; and in him, not in Books, I say in him, not out of him, no, no, no, not a great way of, but in Christ, not out of him, but in him; the TRUTH is his holy House, built Church or Congregation, (one) his living Body in him, and he in his living Body, and in every living Member thereof, and every living Member knows it to be so, in Ve|rity and in the Truth; and the Truth, the Verity of Verities in them forevermore. In his Children, born again in him the Truth, and he the Truth brought forth in them to his own Praise and Glory, forever perfected in his Saints.
And this is the Foundation, which is already laid, was, and ever will be firm as a Rock, which did, does, and ever will stand sure, and no other Foundation Page 254 can any Man lay; no, no, not Christ himself can lay no other than this, which is Truth, in the inward Parts of his Saints, his own Children which he hath made clean and holy, and hath perfect|ed forever, such as he hath so sanctified: But this Foundation is not in the un|sanctified, unholy, and Sinners, that live and delight in Sin, plead for Sin Term of Life, will freely acknowledge they cannot cease from Sin in Thought, Word and Deed; such indeed are esta|blished also, but it is in Unrighteousness (a bad Foundation) and in Sin, which is Satan's Church, Government and Kingdom, where he rules in his own Body, and every Member thereof are all Sinners; and he himself is Head of his own Body, which is his sinful Church, or Church full of Sin and Iniquity.
Dear Babes and tender Lambs of my heavenly Father's Fold; it is in my Heart this Morning, to visit you with a few Lines, in the sweet Love of my heavenly Father, truly sympathizing with you in your Afflictions, Exercises, and sore Travel; which (my very dear and tender Friends, Brethren and Sis|ters, Page 255 born of the immortal Seed and Word of God) you go through on Ac|count of the great Degeneracy, declen|sion and Apostacy that is got in, and spread itself over almost all the Congre|gations of Friends, every where, for ought I can understand, in this long time of Peace and Plenty, a loose, libertine, careless Spirit has got into the Congre|gation; some are centred in their great Possessions, so are buried in the Earth that Way, as with thick Clay. Some of these are Ministers and Elders, but sleepy dead Weights, and very great Burthens in Meetings, especially a false and forward Ministry, which intrude in|to Things which they know not, but what they know naturally, as brute Beasts, and are vainly pufft up in a flesh|ly carnal Mind; with such our Meetings are often annoyed and disturbed, whose Voices being that of the Stranger, which I very well know, dear Lambs, you can|not follow or join with, for they are fit|ly compared to the unclean Beasts, which mudled and dirtied the pure Water with their Feet: Such as these in our Meet|ings when gathered together, and the true Sheep and Lambs of Christ's •old are drawing near the Fountain of eternal Page 256 Life, with sweet Breathings and Prayers▪ that the pure Well might spring up in 'em, to the refreshing of their weary Souls and travelling Spirits, which are often heavy laden, and with Grief go mourning on their Way, because of the Abomination of the Times.
And if the blessed Fountain seem to open and spring, although but a little, in steps the Prodigal with his unclean Feet and so fouls the Water, and may|be the Current is stopt, but he catches a Portion perchance in an unclean Vessel, to spend on Harlots in riotous Living. Up he starts to preach, when its not re|quired of him or her; and here the Of|fering is not nor cannot be accepted by the true Seed. That Cain is wroth and his Countenance falls, then Abel must be slain; the true seed oppressed and kept in Bondage, and the false Birth reigns and bears Rule with great Authority seemingly, to the carnal Mind: But the pure humble, meek and lowly precious Seed of the Government, Kingdom, and true Heir of God, and joined Heirs with Christ sits very still and quiet, waiting for the blessed little River, that makes glad the whole City, Habitation, Con|gregation or Church of God; to rise Page 257 higher and higher, not to the Ankles, Knees and Loyns only; but as a River that cannot be forded or passed thro': And here you dear Babes, Children of the Kingdom, drink many times, until your Vessels can hold no more, and yet are afraid to stand up when required, for fear of doing harm, or standing in the Way of others, which you prefer; but dear Babes and Children of the most High, beware I beseech you of this Er|ror, and mind your holy Guide in all your Approachings before him; let our Eye be single to him that our whole Bo|dies may be filled with Light, that we may be may see Glory, and feel the Life of the dear Lamb of God, to lead us and guide us in all our Duties and Services, he may be pleased to require of us; and we need not fear being deceived by the Enemy's Transformations neither with|in or without, for his Grace is sufficient for us in time of need, as our Eyes are single towards him, and him alone for Advice, Counsel and Strength, at all Times. Glory endless is with Him.
ABINGTON, The 1st of the 4th Month. 1738.
To J. C. of HORSHAM.
DEAR and Well-beloved Friend, it came in my mind early this Morning, once more to write a few Lines, to thee, concern|ing the close exercise of Mind, that is now on me, and have been many Years, long before I ever saw Pennsylvania; concerning that pernicious destructive Spirit, that destroyer of much good in our Meetings, I say, that per|nicious Spirit, that appears in a false, as well as a forward Ministry in our Meetings, to their great disturbance and annoyance, espe|cially of the faithful, both Ministers and o|thers. Oh! this mighty Monster (false Mi|nistry) with his many Heads, Horns and Crowns, this Monstrous, Beastly Spirit in Men and Women, rising up out of the Sea, or People, this Beast that had a Wound by a Sword, but does live, but it is the Life of a Beast, altho' it was wounded by the Sword of the Spirit, by some Convictions for gross Sins, but the deadly Wound being falsly heal|ed, the Beast doth live and is alive, and reigns in full strength in them, and have got the Dragons Power and Seat, and great Autho|rity, and the whole World wonders after the Beast, the Worldly mind, and dark earthly Spirit amongst us; then again there is seen Page 259 a little Beast with two Horns like a Lamb, rising up out of the Earth, and it exercises all the Power of the first Beast, that went or came before it, being of the same Essence, Na|ture & Substance, formed in the same Womb, Born of the same Mother, Mystery of Baby|lon, the Mother of Harlots, or of Bastards, illegitimate, base-born Children, full of all, all, all Iniquity, the very depth of the Mystery of Iniquity, Dear Friend, is this little Beast with his two Horns like a Lamb, very De|mure in the outward appearance, seemingly Zealous for right Discipline and good order in the Church, very loving to Friends of Re|pute, Ministers especially, good and bad, & get to their Houses and Tables, the richest sort of Friends, and those of the greatest Note to be sure, and most Account in the World, that they may spread their Name, and their Fame wherever they come or go, that they may be more securely, covertly, cunningly and hidden|ly carry on their Design in the Church, in making of Parties to strengthen their own In|terest in the Church and their Families, by Trading and great Dealing, either in Land or Goods, Executorship, or by whatever way or means Wealth may be obtained, to set up them|selves, and furnish their Posterity with rich Wives and Husbands, that they may be great in the Earth: And this to be contrived, car|ried Page 260 on, acted and done with the face and ap+pearance of Religion and Sanctity, and under pretence of Preaching the Gospel too, this is the very Secret of Secrets, of the Mystery of Iniquity and the depth of Satan, which many Thousands amongst us I believe doth not see, and here Satan doth work safely, and will work until he is discovered by the single Eye, the cleansed Eye of the mind, that is opened and cleansed by the very Light and Power of Truth itself, and kept open too, and clean in and by the Eternal Light and Life of Truth, or else the Dirt or Dust of the Earth, may and will get in again, and stop the Eye up again, and make it more dark and blind than ever, never, never more to be opened, and this is a sad dismal State indeed for any to fall in|to, deplorable, never, never, never to be re|covered.
They that are not right lye down in sorrow, tho' they hide it from others for a time; they feel it themselves, but having once began to Preach for same base End, they are ashamed to, and afraid to leave off, altho' they are convicted and condemned in their own Con|sciences, clearly and heavily, to be sure, and so it follows, he that doubts is Damned, as it is Written.
In the Building that Glorious Temple or House at Old-Jerusalem, there was neither Page 261 Hammer nor Ax, nor any Tool of Iron heard or to be heard, all things were made ready be|fore they were brought there, and yet that was built by Men, but the Glory of the latter House, in New-Jerusalem doth and shall exceed, and be and is greater than the Glory of the for|mer House, as much as Light, Darkness, and Heaven, the Earth, the former was a Type, the latter the Anti-Type, the former was Built by Men to abide for a time, and of Earthly Materials, the latter was, is and ever shall be Built by TRUTH itself, of Hea|venly Substance, and shall abide forever; Glory be to the pure TRUTH alone, that was and is, and is to come.
Now, My Friend, if there was such, and so much care, quietness, stilness, silence and awfulness in Building that outward natural House, Built by Men but for a time.
How much more abundantly had we need to be in an awful, reverend, holy, pure, still and-quiet frame of mind, when we meet to|gether in order for the Building up of this in|ward and Spiritual House, New-Jerusalem, whose Builder and Maker is God himself the Eternal TRUTH, and none else but he, and he himself alone, which was and is, is, is, to come, the Alpha and Omega, the Author as well as finisher of our most Holy Faith.
I am sorry there is so much Reason to say, Page 262 and Proof to be made, that there is amongst us many Foolish (if not right down sinful and wicked) Builders, that pretend to be Teachers too, that considers little of these weighty Con|cerns and knows less; these are them that are Crucifying the dear Lamb in his Spiritual appearance, when they are still crying Ho|sannah with their sinful Lips in our publick Meetings, to the wounding and piercing through the sides all true and saithful Minis|ters, and right Worshippers amongst us.
The 4th of the 4th Month.
Dear John, this Morning I was in my Garden pulling up some Weeds, it came in my mind what was objected against me lately, by one that ministers amongst us N. A. and hath done near 20 Years; that I was for setting up some Ministers, and pulling down others, Now, Dear Friend, I must confess I do not approve of a false Minister, much less to set him up, neither would I pull down the True by no means, nor touch the truely anointed to do them any harm, for they are very near to my Life I can truely say without any reserve, and I hope ever will be while I have a Being, But if one should ask any Friend, even a false Minister himself, if we might at any Time receive, should or ought to encourage a false Minister, or approve, join and unite with him in Prayer or in his Testimony, he would answer in the Negative, no, no, if not for Page 263 Conscience yet for fear of shame or blame, but then, says he, who shall be Judge, why truely I may say if we have no Judgment in our goings and doings, we are in a very poor dark Condition, as well as other People, as false Ministers and Prodigals would have us, that we might receive such Husks as they have to feed Swine withal, but the True Children in our the True Kingdom cannot feed on such Chaff, if they offer to receive it by conniving at or seemingly approving of or joining with such Swine-Herds, in Prayer or Testimony they will be in danger of being Choaked, for they them|selves have not true Peace, their Master Satan cannot give it them; now if any one offer to prove or make manifest their pretentions to Preaching is all Deceit and Cheat, and their seeming seed Corn, nothing but Chaff and Husk, their Peace flys away at once, like Chaff before a strong Wind; this I have often seen in England, here and else-where. This Chaff, Dear Friend, will not do for Children, the Beast, the Beasts, Beasts can feed on it, for it is agreeable to their Natures as Bread is to Children, like loves its like.
This little or lesser Beast, with his two Horns like a Lamb, but spake like a Dragon, like the Dragon that gave his Power to the first Beast and his Seat, and great Authority to rule and govern in the Church with an high Page 264 Hand in a lordly manner, and they that would or could not submit to his Commands, although never so unjust and unreasonable, he spake as a Dragon, especially if any found it their Duty to contradict and oppose his usurped Au|thority, and his unjust Commands, and Ar|bitrary Proceedings, such must expect no Mercy from him, and yet have all the Pro|fession and outward appearance of a meek follower of the dear Lamb, who suffered the contradictions of sinners, for our sakes, that we might follow his Example; so the Beast, I say the Beast had two Horns like a Lamb, got into the outward Form as much as possible, the more craftily to deceive, and thus the Beast is a Beast still, being a little outwardly re|formed in Speech and Habit; he then gets to Preaching, and that is his Master-Piece, and here Satan is exalted, and shows himself that he is God, chief Ruler, and here Satan's Chieftains thinks they reign in Glory or glo|riously, and may be others think so too, that see 'em and hear 'em hold forth, such I mean that knows not any thing, but what they know naturally, as Brute Beasts; so e'en let those Swine-Herds, with their Herds of Swine go down into the Sea, and be choaked together, if they please; that the true Sheep and Lambs might never more be troubled with them, would be joyful News to a many afflicted Page 265 dear Souls, who go mourning on their Way because of the Oppressor.
There is likewise some others, amongst us, I am well satisfied, that have been fa|voured with a Part, and a Portion, and a good Portion too, of the ministry, with the Saints and faithful ones, and have reigned with them in the Firmament of God's Power, and I would to God, that they did reign so still; but alas, alas, some of these are fallen, not from Words, but from Life, and that is all in all. The Dragon's Tail hath prevailed, drawn 'em down to the Earth, they smell and favour of it, that were once fresh and lively, feed|ing in the green Pastures, loved to sit in Silence in Meetings; as silent as a Flock of Sheep and Lambs in a Field, sweetly feeding, without Noise of Words; but, a|las, some of these are grown restless and uneasy in sitting in Silence; but must and will be hammering and tampering, es|pecially, if they feel but a little tickling of some former or old Experience, or a Drop of Wine in their old Bottle, undigested and unrefined, thick and muddy, the Bottle not being very clean: However having a strong Opinion of their own Performances, and a rich Conceit of the great good they do, and have done; to Work they go, with Page 266 Noise of Words, and oftentimes no Sense. Then comes forth the Tongue of Egyptian Sea, and the Language of Ashdod is heard, and the linsey-woolsey Garment is seen, and the plowing is managed with the Ox and the Ass joined together; poor plow|ing with Beasts so ill matched, so unequal in their Nature and Stature, one drawing one way, and another another way; and then the Field is sown with two Sorts of Seed, may-be a little good and a great deal of bad. Dear Friend, I wish these Plow|ers and Sowers would stand still a little, and look over the Field they have plowed, and sown, and behold the Produce of their Labours.
Those that go forth with Sparks of their own kindling, shall lye down in Sorrow. I think, Oh that these would wait for the still, still Voice, that would direct them a|right, when and what to speak to the Peo|ple, and when to be silent; and not go forth in the hurry and bluster of their own Spirits, in their own Time, but wait the Lord's Time: Nor in the Fire, nor the Wind, nor the Earthquake, where the pure TRUTH is not known, nor his Voice heard.
I say again, I wish those that have been so long plowing with their ill-matcht pair Page 267 of Creatures, and sowing the Field with divers Kinds of Seeds, would, or could be prevailed upon, to stand still a little and be quieted, and look back and round about the Field, and see what sort of Plowing they have made, and what Sort of Seed they have sown, and what Sort of Grain is grown up; whether there is not 30, 60 or an Hundred Fold more bad than good, and if so, sure there have been a great deal of bad Seed sown in the Field, or it would not have been so (I firmly believe.) I do not believe it is all owing to the Badness of the Ground, but for want of honest Labour performed, by Faithful and True Labour|ers, and then to have good, weighty, sound, clean, pure substantial Seed sown, without Mixture, in it, by such Seed Men and Wo|men, and such I love as my own Soul, much more that which dwells and grows in them or in us, the pure eternal Truth. Now my Friend, let all the impudent, false, forward, restless, uneasy, bold, self|conceited, turbulent, noisey, clamorous, covetous, selfwilled Preachers, Plowers and Sowers in our Meetings, look over the Field where they have laboured, and com|pare it with any of their Neighbour's Fields, and see whether it be in any better Condition than theirs, if not much worse, all Page 268 things well considered. The Advantages we have had and the great Favours that have been bestowed upon us, more than any People in the whole World, that I know of, since the Apostles Days.
Friend J. C. is it not written, if thou takest a Bird's Nest thou shalt not destroy the Dam, and the young, the young; but shall let the Dam go; but some of these forward Spirits destroy all, lavish out all, leave their Nest empty of all good, not con|sidering there should be Store of good Seed left for Increase; and are like the foolish Idolaters, that lavish Silver out of the Bag to enrich and beautify their Idols and are left poor and needy themselves, And so it is with these Idolaters, these prophane Esau's; a Mess of Pottage or Porridge, a rich Wife or Husband, world|ly Honour and Profit, the Good of the Bel|ly or Applause amongst Men, or some other base sinister Ends. Oh these Nimrods! these mighty Hunters before the Lord, be|fore him, not Followers of him, not Follow|ers of the dear Lamb, thro' Sufferings and Death, in the Cross, in an holy, severe, strict, pure Life of Self-Denial and the daily Cross, this daily Cross, how contrary it is to proud idle lustful Flesh and Blood, what a Burthen it is to it, the very Page 269 Thoughts of it, and yet how easy, light, sweet, safe and pleasant it is, when once well attained, as the dear Lamb Jesus declared, My Burthen is Light and Yoak easy, but Satan's damned Burthen full of Sin, or sinful Burthen is heavy enough. I would not wish any Body a heavier Bur|then, but rather, that all might be redeem|ed or freed from it.
The 2d of the 4th Month.
Dearly beloved J. C. this M•tning ear|ly I opened the Bible, and met with that Chapt. Jerem. xxiii. 9. and read it to the End, with some Concern, to think what will become of us as a People; and of those bold confident Persons, Male and Female, that dare to speak in the Name of the Lord, when he doth not, nor never did speak by them, and run and go, when he the holy One never sent them; but it is to be feared there is many, yea, many a|mongst us that encourages 'em, and they are Friends of Note too, if I may call 'em Friends. I think dear Freind, I may say as one said, Oh that my Head were as Water, and my Eyes Fountains for Tears! that I might, Oh, that I might▪ weep enough for the slain and the blind! that the Enemy hath blinded; indeed, for my Writing or Speaking will avail little, no, no, no.