«PHILADELPHIA: Printed for the Author. 1737 This is an annotated text of All Slave-Keepers That keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates, published by ...»
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, having a deep sense and a feeling of others infirmities, or afflictions, or troubles.
What is become of this blessed experience, my Friends? Is it all left as to you, if so I must give my judgment, that you? have not your constant dwelling in him, that was touched with a feelpage 14] ing 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 return or run to him again; it is the nature of his essence or divine being.
The white Stone that has the new Name in it, is given to him that overcomes.
None can Read but he, or she that receives 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 something 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 Discourse about many English and Dutch People, being taken into Turky, or by the Turks into Slavery, and sold in the Market, 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 Neighbour for another!
what exclaiming against the Turk for his Tyranny and oppression, and cruel Dealing and Treatment, towards 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 Christians, 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 Turkey, with four 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 unto them, that they would not leave it, [page 17] so 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 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 Sinful 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, Annoyting, Urim, and Thumim, Measure of the Spirit, 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 sinful 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 misapply Scripture to serve their covetous Ends, or to justifie the Practice, or to extenuate the Crime. It these things be done by them intentionally, we may say, without Breach of Charity. They shall receive the greater Damnation;
as Christ himself said in a case almost as bad. (Matt.xxii. 13,14.) Many worthy Men have borne Testimony against this soul Sin, Slave-keeping, by Word and Writing; some of which I have noted elsewhere; but especially Ralph Sindiford, 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 prayers; the Altar splitting, and since that his Prophesy fulfilled; 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 slain by a Lyon Judah’s Prophet, had but one Hypocritical 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, out of the way.
And so they will many, unwary souls; except the Lord our God be pleased to open our Eyes, to see the Hellish Cheat, and Devilish Delusion; by which many of our poor Friends have been seduced, and lead aside in the Hellish Darkness or Smoak, of the Bottomless Pit; for whom my very Soul is grieved. God Almighty is my Witness.
The 8th Mo. 1736. Benjamin Lay.
R.S. above–mentioned, was in great Perplexity of mind; and having oppression, which makes a wise man Mad, by 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 matters [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 many honest Friends, that had much dealing 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 several 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 censure him, and his Book too, into the [page 22] Bottomless Pit, if we can, tho’ we can’t disprove a Word in it, for its undeniable 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 sinful we are in the Iniquity, in the practice of Slave-keeping;
and our Children by our means, incouragement, and appointment, not only so, but our Fathers before us, worthy Men, in their generating Work; and some of them Ministers and Elders, with all Men of renown. 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 Calumnies 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 little of it, especially with our Brethren in strict Unity, in this Iniquity, and soulest of Sins, the Negroe Trade.
If this practice can be proved to be the greatest of Sins (as may easily be done) considering its 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, committed 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 withstand spiritual Moses, and our Damnation would be just.
Some indeed may insinuate Numbers xvi. this Chapter against us, but what if Korah the Son of Lobar, did with his Company 250 withstand Moses, they were Princess 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 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 yet, and we have been in this practice, that some few poor Fellows, make such a stir about, 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 are in the Wrong.
But let us consider by the way, Brethren, if we go on arguing 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
Matt.xli. xxvii, xlii, xliii[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.