«PHILADELPHIA: Printed for the Author. 1737 This is an annotated text of All Slave-Keepers That keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates, published by ...»
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.
[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 Believers 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 never reconcile Slave-Keeping without 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 MenStealers, 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 [page 79] 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 [page 80] 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 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 [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 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, faith 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,[page 82]
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 folorn, 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 [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 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 Childrens 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 [page 84] 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 [page 85] 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, faith 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 Humility and Hypocrisy.
Satan put to his last Shift, or the Devil working wonders, by a seeming Gospel 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 enlightened, and it has been the Judgment of worthy Men, in many Ages of the World, that a false and fallen Ministry have been the greatest Instruments of Evil, that ever the Devil brought into 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 bigoted Crowd; such as have itching Ears, and shallow Crowns, carnal Minds, and looser Lives; such being Born after the Flesh, are very ready 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 Dragon, and the Beast joining Forces, have great Power to make Rents in the outward Church, and Divisions, and sow discord amongst weak Brethren, but the [page 87] truly Wise in Heart, I know will beware.
But as to those Dragon, Slave–Keeping 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 very 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 Crucify 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.
When the Devil was sick, the devil a Monk would be, But when the Devil was well, the Devil a Monk was he.
[page 88] Acts.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 Pennsylvania, they might hear and see the wonderful Works of the Devil; Men and Women Preaching up the purest Religion in the World, and live in the greatest of Sins at same time, the mother of Enormities, says B. Lay.
I do firmly believe in the secret of my Soul, before the Lord, that Slave-Keeping and Trading, with what has and now does daily attend and appertain unto it, is as great cause of the Sins of Sodom, as anything is or ever was in the whole World.
The 30th of the 10th Mo. 1736.
I DID not know but I had done Scribling about Slave-Keeping, but this D 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 according 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 many more, it comes to 15000 Souls Yearly, Stolen by Bristol Men; and if there should be four times as many Stolen by Vessels from London, Leverpoole, North Britain, Ireland, Barbadoes, Jamaica and some other Places, as I suppose there may, it comes to 75,000 Yearly, Stolen and kept in Iron Furnaces; so that in 50 Years and more some Friends have been concerned in this Practice, beside what has been increased by Generation, 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 Posterity, in their cursed Hellish Iron–Furnace for evermore.
[page 90] O Brave Christians for the Devil, and Protestants too! is this the way to convince Papists, Turks, Jews and Infidels of their notorious Wickedness and inhumanity, when we encourage them in it all we can, by supplying them with Slaves, for our cursed Gain.