Quaker Theology #30/#31


Excerpts from:

That keep the Innocent in Bondage,

'All Slave-Keepers . . .apostates-Title Page, Benjamin Lay

    Pretending to lay claim to the Pure & Holy Christian Religion; of what Congregation so ever; but especially in their Ministers, by whose example the filthy Leprosy and Apostacy is spread far and near; it is a notorious Sin, which many of the true Friends of Christ, and his pure Truth, called Quakers, has been for many Years, and still are concerned to write and bear Testimony against; as a Practice so gross & hurtful to Religion, and destructive to government, beyond what Words can set forth, or can be declared of by Men or Angels, and yet lived in by Ministers and Magistrates in America.
    The Leaders of the People cause them to Err.

    Written for a General Service, by him that truly and sincerely desires the present and eternal Welfare and Happiness of all Mankind, all the World over, of all Colours, and Nations, as his own Soul.

     B E N J A M I N  L A Y . . . .

    Now, dear Friends, behold a Mystery! These [Friends] 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, temperate in their Lives, visiting of the Sick Sympathising with the Afflicted in the Body or Mind, very religious seemingly, and extraordinary devout and demure, and in short strictly exact in all their Decorums, except Slave-keeping, these, these be the Men, and the Women too, for the Devil’s purpose, are the choicest Treasure the Devil can or has to bring out of his Lazaretto [storehouse], to establish Slave-keeping. . . .

    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 opening the Prison-Doors to them that are bound; but I’ll keep thee in Bondage nevertheless, help thy self if thee can. I charge thee to work very hard when I am gone, and before 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 abovestairs 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 pounds. apiece for you, for nothing but to lie lazying about like [a] Gentleman, 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 Children’s Children; and if you don’t behave your selves well, you’ll be but badly provided for, I believe, when you are past your Labour, whatsoever you are now.’

    Dear Friends, these Things are True in Fact, and have been the Ruin of many, Body and Soul, and will be of more I greatly fear; beside and above all, the Soul Stain it brings upon the pure, blessed, unchangeable TRUTH.

    And my Dear, my very dear Friends, I must say, I must say, and it is the Experience and certain Knowledge of my own Soul, that except People will be willing to come to a Separation, a Separation, a Separation, from this Thing, to wit, Negro Practice, they never can nor will see the Evil of it, as it really is in itself.

    I say my own Experience when I lived 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’d, starv’d, almost ready to perish with Hunger and Sickness, great Numbers of them would come to trade with us, for they seem to love and admire us, we being very much alike in Stature and other ways; 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 Conditions. Oh! my Soul mourns in contemplating their miserable, forlorn, wretched State and Condition that mine Eyes beheld them in then, and it is the same now, and I will remain except the great almighty Being, either immediately or instrumentally 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 Numbers are increased by Generation daily. 

    O Lord God Almighty, where will this Practice lead us that are called thy People, Dearest God, and make so great a Profession of being led and guided by the 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 tender-hearted Woman, and, as I said, would be very often giving them something or other; stinking Biscuits which sometimes we had in abundance, bitten by the Cockroaches; or a rotten Cheese, 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, debauched 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 Matters, but this I say serves exceeding well to make Rum of, and Molasses, 

    for that is the Use it is put to, with other Ingredients 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 filthy Stuff, which tends to the Corruption of Mankind, and may be send us some of the worst of their Slaves, when they cannot rule them themselves, along with 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 digress, but when such dangerous Filthiness comes in my way, I think it my Duty to make it appear if possible to others; for it is so to me, exceeding sinful above Measure, I will assure you, more than what I can speak or write abundantly; 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 First Day, before we went to meeting, which was their Market day, as well as their Hallowing-Day, when they are exempted from their Labour, 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 anywhere, 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 anything 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 Hunger 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 possible 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 Tyrants.) 

    These Wretches being in Town in this miserable Condition, with not a Crum of good or bad to put into their Mouths, ready to drop as they walked or crawled along the Streets, they many 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 [cattle], and I may say their Appearance was dismal enough to move a very hard Heart; 

    – so we used to give them a little of something at Times, as we found some Freedom, 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 appeared in their Countenances. 

    Shall I ever forget them?

    The 22nd of the 9th Mo. [1736]

    WHEN I have mildly reasoned with some Friends concerning their Hostility, in carrying a Person or Friend [i.e., Benjamin Lay], If I may call him so, out of Meetings so often, and keeping of him out by Constables 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 disorderly Person.

    O But say some, he is a very troublesome Person, and has been so for many Years; and is too censorious about Trading in Slaves, or against Traders in, and Keepers of Slaves; 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 [Benjamin Lay] boldly affirms, that no Person whatsoever has any Right, or ought, according to Truths Discipline, to be suffered to have the Rule and Government, 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 Negroes 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.

    Besides all these things, we buy, sell, trade, get gain by and with them, we must be careful how we offend our benefactors, and dear Friends. But here is yet a stronger Bond than the other, Pleasure and Profit, we love to Sleep with their Offspring, so they be but rich; for many of us have joined Affinity with these Ahabs (O that hard Word) and Jezebels 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 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 Possessions; what care we? When they are dead and gone, they will not remember our Lying Prophesies. I Kings 18.40. Indeed we should be loath to be served as Elijah did the Prophets, at the Brook Kishon. [The Hebrew prophet Elijah slaughtered several hundred “prophets of Baal” by this river.]

    . . . 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 Practice.

    We to be sure would sooner destroy all the Royal Off-Spring of Heaven, as our Elder Brethren, the wicked Elders in Ahab’s time, slew 70 Innocent Children, for fear of their own dear Lives; but Jehu answered, and served them accordingly: . . . 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 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 Negroe Masters and Traders, do allow that the beginning of this Practice was of the Devil, and that he and we his Instruments are now carrying of it on very powerfully, and as it had a beginning there in Hell, so it must have an End.

    . . . 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 formerly, which were possessed with Devils as well as we, what have we to do with thee; Truth?

    . . . Art thou come hither to torment us before our time? and all the Devils besought him, the Truth, saying, 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.

    Upon a time when I was reasoning with an eminent Preacher R. J. at his House in Philadelphia, concerning that great Goliath, Negroe or Slave-Keeping, which hath defied the little Army of the living God so many Years, and still continues 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 Persecutor 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 Certificate 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 pleased 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 constantly and roughly, before he be disowned, or some way dealt with for some Disorders to 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[enjamin].L[ay]. and yet [they] 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 is a just way of Proceeding, to be taken into Custody, put into Bridewell, Whipt severely, and Banished [from] the Town, time after time, without any legal Proceedings, 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 Book called New-England Judged, some Friends have been pleased to tell me that George Keith [another friend who had been disowned and banished for doctrinal deviations] 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[eorge].K[eith]. he was an extraordinary Man, while he kept to the Testimony of Truth in his own Heart; I do firmly believe, according to the Account of Him by Friends; and a great Sufferer for Truth, by Imprisonment, and other ways, and an excellent Writer, and Ministers in Defence 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 Walked in Truth, he did well; but when he went from that, he was like the unsavory Salt, good for neither Land nor Dunghill, and so it is now with some, or I am mistaken.

    And so it hath been with the very best of Men and Instruments that ever were in the World, though they had 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 anything 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. B.L

A B I N G T O N,
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 the ever reigning in his own Blessed Kingdom, Body, House, Tabernacle, New-Jerusalem, or a Tent, synonymous Terms; while Israel abode here, no Divination could prevail, or inchantments against ‘em.

    But when Israel, our Dear Friends, went out of their Tents 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, considering 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 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 withal 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 Villians by far, not only go free but are encouraged, and have been near 50 Years, if not more, by us as a People, by buying of their cursed Hellish-gotten Ware, at a very great Price. 

    And all this Time pretending to the 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 unspotted? 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-Keeping.

    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, where 10 or 12 Sail of Vessels come on the Coast of Guinea, and they cannot catch Negroes enough to Freight their Vessels 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 used to the Business known where to go; and to find out some old Negroes that they have been used to trade with, which will bring off in Canoes, their Wives or Children, or their Neighbours 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 purpose

    --- O brave! give 30s. for a Negro and sell him for 50 [Or 40, 50 or 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. Or more]: Who would not be a Trader in Slave 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 Sailors 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 foul for me to mention, or for chaste Ears to hear.

    But I pray, I beg, and beseech you my Friends, in the pure Love and Fear of God; consider what part have true Believers with such Infidels, or Christ with such Belials [devils], or our Holy pure God with such unholy impure Devils, until we can join these together; now we can never reconcile Slave-Keeping with our Principles; 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 Equity and Justice. Consider I say, the different 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 Illumination, sweet Communion together in our solemn Meetings and Gatherings together, 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 Comfort of my poor Soul, with many more of my dear Friends;

    I say the many Heavenly Showers that have dropped as the Dew, and distilled as the small Rain, in our tender Souls immediately, many times, yea innumerable, and instrumentally, 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 unspeakable, being filled with him that was, and is, and ever will be the Glory and True rejoicing of his People, and dear Children, all the World over; that can appeal to him that knows all Things, that they Love him more than all things here below, 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 Commandment of Loving God the Truth above all, and turn to worship for covetous ends, the worst Idol that ever the Devil set up in the World?

    Sure those wicked Men above-mentioned will rise up in Judgment against us; for had they been so highly favoured in all respects, as Friends as 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 ready 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 [of] Slave-Keeping, yet I write not this of all by no means, I know and believe there is many Friends, that dare not touch with it, for any Profit whatsoever. I do hope there is some Thousands 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 when I come, that Friends and others may be better informed. 

    Some have insinuated, as if the Primitive Saints kept Captive Slaves; this is hellish Censure 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; perfect, as he is perfect; He that Sanctifieth, and they that are Sanctified, are one. Blessing and Honour, Salvation and Glory to our God, for evermore, Amen, saith my Soul.

    Cursing and Dishonour, and Damnation 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, you that came in Servants to this Country, 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 forlorn, and here you were kept to hard Labour, which was good for you, and brought you to a sense of your filthy, abominable, 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 within 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 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 numerous, 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 Children’s 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 Children, which is very likely by the wicked soul 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 distress 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 Quakers, 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 Pennsylvania, 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 People 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 Elders, Chief Leaders have ‘em; answer was made, not all, for some have testified against it, as a very heinous Sin, for many Years, Year after Year; and are gone to their silent Graves in Peace, and many yet living amongst us, as above is mentioned. 

    Why then, say they, do you not separate. Here it is thus written, Wherefore come out from amongst them, and be ye separate, [have] faith [in] 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. [18: “‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”]

    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 Humility and Hypocrisy. . . .

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