Welcome to the anti-slavery book, All Slave-Keepers That Keep The Innocent in Bondage, Apostates (1737). To go to the "Table of Contents" immediately, click here.
Prior to the 1861-1865 War, there were a number of Christian abolitionists who opposed slavery. Nowadays, their Biblical-based reasons are generally unknown.
This series of websites educates by making the text of their religious writings accessible. Whether or not you agree with their position, it is at least a good idea to know what it was!
This site in the series reprints the 1737 anti-slavery book by Benjamin Lay (1677-1759).
Note the publisher's name, Benjamin Franklin. He had himself been a runaway! He took an pro-fugitive and anti-slavery position for the rest of his life, including printing anti-slavery writings, and founding an anti-slavery society.
The text is the original. However, spelling is modernized to avoid reader distraction; missing page numbers are inserted; and chapters and chapter headings added as a reader aid. The modern custom that the "table of contents" is at the beginning of the book, was not then used; however, due to 'links' being included in this Internet version, that location has not been altered, only pagination.

All Slave-Keepers That Keep
The Innocent in Bondage, Apostates

by Benjamin Lay
(Philadelphia: Ben Franklin, 1737)

That Keep the Innocent in Bondage,

Pretending to lay Claim to the Pure
& Holy Christian Religion; of what Congregation
soever, 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 concern'd to write and bear Testimo-
ny against; as a Practice so gross & hurtful to Re-
ligion, 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 Man-
kind, all the World over, of all Colours, and
Nations, as his own Soul;


Printed for the AUTHOR. 1737.



Impartial Reader,

THESE things following are so far from offending or grieving my very dear true and tender Friends, called Quakers, who love the truth more than all, that it is by their request and desire that they are made public; for I can say in the truth before the Lord, that I love them in & for the truth's sake, and covet their sweet unity, and pure fellowship in the Gospel, more than my natural life, and all things in the world, without it or them, my record is in Heaven.

I say for the truth, and Friends' sake, these things are exposed, and I my


felt likewise, although not without some fear and trembling, for fear I should hurt Truth's cause, which is God's cause, I being and feeling myself so very unfit almost every way, as a man, yet I can truly say as a Christian, I believed it my duty, but made not haste, for the Lord my good God, the truth knows, that I have prayed unto him earnestly, many days and nights, with great concern of mind, that he would be pleased to raise up and concern some worthy Friend or other, of more repute and esteem amongst men, for I know my self to be so very mean and contemptible in the sight of Men [Ed. Note: 1 Cor. 1:26-28 allusion], almost in every respect, so that I might and do much question the event, but shall leave that to the Lord, to whom faithfulness and obedience is required, and no true peace without it.

For I have found long ago, the saying of Truth verified: "He that loves any thing more than me, is not worthy of me [Matt. 10:37]." I have often thought of Moses's Prayer [Ex. 3:11; Ex. 4:1; Ex. 4:10; Ex. 4:13], and Gideon's request [Judg. 6:15], when the Lord was about


to send them to deliver his people from captivity, and many other worthy men, ay, and women too, which are mentioned in Holy Writ, and many thousands more no doubt, which we have no account of there, for it is believ'd, we have but a very small part of what have been written, and yet full enough, if we will but be faithful; my dear, tender and well-beloved Friends, I beg, I pray, and beseech us, let us be more faithful I intreat, in bowels of love, let us be faithful, let us be faithful, let us be faithful to God in all things, and then I know blessed be his pure Name, which is the Truth, that when the Scourge shall come, he secure us in life or in death; and that will be enough for us, so be it, saith my soul, and is in humble request.

    Benjamin Lay.
Abington, Philadelphia County,
      in Pennsylvania, the 17th,
      9th Mo. 1736.


Some Observations written 1718, by William Burling, now living, for aught I know, on Long-Island, concerning slave-keeping, taken 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 Elders of the Church, upon the occasion of some Friends compelling certain Persons, and their posterity, to serve them continually and arbitrarily, without regard to equity or right, not heeding whether they give them any thing near so much as their labour deserveth.

1. W. B.'s Address to
the Elders of the Church.

MY Dear Beloved Friends, and Elder Brethren, whom as it behooves me, I would intreat as Fathers [Ed. Note: [1 Tim 5:1] allusion], a weighty 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 corruptions [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 reprove and testify against it, nor have I been altogether silent, altho' much discourag'd by reason of its 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 discipline, and fix the Judgment of Truth [Christ] upon it, yet now I am sensible [aware] such a thing is not easily done or accomplished, there being so strong opposition in many, that it cannot be brought to the test, and judgment brought forth into victory in the cause at present, without danger of much strife and disorder in the Church, which is


generally hurtful where-ever it prevaileth; therefore to be carefully avoided; however I hope we are all unanimous in our judgment, that whatever Friend hath any thing from the moving 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 bis 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, although it happens 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 above said sin, evil or liberty, to consider solidly what hardship they impose on such as are concerned to bear testimony against it; for while so many Friends continue in said practice, no one can reprove it, and give it that deserved character, which is agreeable to its nature, 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


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 [slavery], which is very hard to do, yet if the Lord require such a thing or testimony of any Friend he is necessitated so to judge his Brethren, or quench the Spirit [Ed. Note: I Thess. 5:19 allusion] in its motions, in his own Heart; for the case admits of no medium.

Again I intreat those who slight and disregard the testimony of any whom the Lord concerns to appear against this fleshly liberty, to consider whom they oppose, and withstand; and the inspired apostle speaking concerning the Lord's instruments, whom he was pleased to make use of, saith I Thess. iv. 8.
He therefore that despiseth, 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 endeavor to shield it from the judgment of Truth. We may do well to remember, the devil is


the author of all sin, and sin is the transgression of the law [1 John 3:4].

No greater nor no better Law, say I, than to love God above all, and all our fellow-creatures as ourselves [Matt. 22:37-40], these two contain Law, Prophets and Gospel, do to all as we would be done by [Matt. 7:12].

No greater sin Hell can invent, than to profane and blaspheme the pure and holy Truth, which is God all in all, and remove God's creatures made after his own Image [Gen. 1:26], from all the comforts of life, and their country and procure for them, and bring them into all the miseries that dragons, serpents, devils, and hypocrites, can procure and think of; these things are carried on by Christians, so-called, and ministers too, in the very greatest appearance of demurity 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?

2. Preach Against Fighting,
Yet Receive The Plunder.

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


Friends, by the tender mercies of our God, to consider, can be greater hypocrisy, and plainer contradiction, than for us as a people, to refuse to bear arms, or to pay them that do, and yet purchase the plunder, the captives, for slaves at a very great price, thereby 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 substantially 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 earnesftly?

Is this the way to convince the poor Slaves, or our children, or neighbours, or the world? Is it not the way rather to encourage and strengthen them in their infidelity, and atheism, and their hellish practice of fighting, murdering, killing and robbing one another, to the end of the world. [Ed. Note: See similar analyses by Ralph Sandiford (1729) and Rev. Wm. Patton (1846).]

My dear Friends, I beg, I would intreat, in all humility, with all earnestness of mind, on the bended knees of my body and soul; willingly and with all readiness, sincerely, if that would


do, that you would turn to the Lord, the blessed Truth, in your hearts, for direction, for counsel and advice, that you inay quit your selves like men, honourably, of this so hellish a practice. 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 ministers have, you my dear Friends, consider weightily 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 mischief 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 slaves, and do minister to others in our Meetings, consider I intreat and beseech you concerning this thing in particular. What burdens and afflictions, 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 testimony against it, as one the greatest


sins in the world, all things considered; and against you too in some sort, as being in the practice your selves, of that which is directly opposite to your own pretensions, and a very great stumbling block in the way of honest, godly inquirers, which want peace to their souls.

3. Great Burdens Slave-Keeping Preachers
Bring Upon Their Brethren and Friends.

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 absolutely in the fear and love of God, to testify against the sin, and you for continuing 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 [aware] of one anothers' exercises, bearers of one another's burdens, having a deep sence and feeling of others' infirmities, or afflictions, or troubles.

What is become of this blessed experience, my Friends? is it all lost as to you, if so I must give my judgment, that you? have not your constant dwelling in him, that was touched with a feel-


ing of our infirmities, tempted in all cases like unto us, yet without sin [Heb. 4:15], 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 [1 John 4:19], 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.

What from Heaven is, to Heaven tends,
That which descended, the same again ascends.
What from the Earth is, to Earth returns again.
That which from Heaven is, the Eartb cannot contain.

The white stone that has the new name in it, is given to him that overcomes. [Rev. 2:17]

None can read but he, or she that receives it. [Rev. 2:17]

He that overcometh, shall sit with me on my throne, as I in my Father's throne. [Rev. 3:21]

He that overcometh, shall eat of the hidden manna. [Rev. 2:17]

He that overcometh, shall have right to the Tree of Life, wbich stands in the


midst of the Paradise of God," in the Hearts. [Rev. 2:7 ]

4. Comparing Turks and Christians in Slave-Keeping.

W. B. in his Preface, mentions something of the Lord's dealing with him, when he was 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 Turkey, 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


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 Turkey, and I never did understand by them, that they were so badly used as the poor Negroes are by some called Chnstians.

5. Many Nominal Quakers Will Not Forsake
Slave-Keeping, No Not for the Joy of the Lord.

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 separatcd 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 thernselves 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;


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 sinful hellish account, slave-keeping, for 50 years and more; and that by their Brethren and Sisters, which keep 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, anointing, 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.


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 Truth's 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, reft, part, pervert, misconstrue, and mis-apply Scripture to serve their covetous ends, or to justify the practice, or to extenuate the crime. If 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. xxiii. 13, 14.

6. Many Worthy Men Have Borne Testimony
Against This Foul Sin, R. S. and Others.

Many worthy Men have borne testlimony against this foul sin, slave-keeping, by word and writing; some of which I have noted elsewhere; but especially Ralph Sandiford, amongst many others, has written excellently well, against that filthy sin; far beyond what I can or do pretend to, being a man of so very


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 fay that R. S. wrote 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; although 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 splitting, and since that his prophcy fulfilled; of Men's Bones, being offered or burnt thereon. [I Kings 13:1-6].


And yet this Man of God, never came to the sepulchers of his fathers, by reason an old lying prophet leading him out of the way. So was slain by a lion. [I Kings 13:18, 24].

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 prophets, 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 smoke, 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 it without partiality or prejudice, which is always blind, or very short-sighted; and you may excellent weighty matters


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 [1733], 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 ashamcd, nor afraid, to write it, although I be censurdd for it, as I have been with some others, for going to see him, although 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 called,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 pretensions to religion and sanctity that ever was in the world; we'll censure him, and his book too, into the


Bottomless Pit, if we can, though we can't disprove a word in it, for it's 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 sweetnesss 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 wrote it, by callumnies 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, although we cannot disprove


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 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.

7. Korah and Company, 250 Men of Renown,
Withstood Moses, Much More
Slave-Keepers Withstand the Truth.

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 this Chapter [Numbers xvi.] against us, but what if Korah the son of Izhar, did with his Company 250 withstand 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 destroy the whole Company; What


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." [Num. 16:41.]

It is also true, there was 14,700 slain by the Plague, of the murmurers and rebels, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. [Num. 16:49.] 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 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 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


from the cross, and we will believe in him." [Matt. 27:41-43.]

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 [slavery] 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 [enslaving] Practice; in strict unity among our selves, and with any other dear Friends of our own mind, relations, customers, chapmen, workmen, or others that we can have any influence 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 hinder or prevent coming into our Synagogues, any that will oppose or condemn


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 Certificates 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 very 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 practice [slavery], for it is heavenly to us, it is comfort 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 mays chance to forget some other matters though they be weighty: And wherever thou meets with any such as are


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; though the name of an informer be odions, yet in some cases it is thought necessary, as in this [ostracizing anti-slavery advocates]: 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 bringeth 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 it self, and is the belly of Hell.

Verse 18. "A good tree cannot bring forth such cursed evil fruit" as slave-trading, 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 practice and encourage it, and if they may


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' clothing, 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 heaven, while they continue in said practice.

8. Long Custom in Sin Hard to Be Broken.

For custom in sin, hides, covers, as it were, takes away the guilt of sin. Long custom, the conveniency of slaves working for us, waiting and tending continually on us, beside the washing, cleaning, 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,


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, temperate in their lives, visiting of the sick, sympathizing with the afflicted in 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, and are the choicest 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


[pp 30-59]

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 smoke 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 never 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. Ezek. viii. 10, 11, 12.

16. The Waldensees Our First Reformers No Slave-Keepers.

I never read in history of the [12th century, 1173-1179] Waldenses, our first reformers from Popery, that they kept any Slaves; I have understood they were very temperate, not eating flesh, milk or eggs.

Something like John's locusts and wild honey [Matt. 3:4], and Daniel and his three friends pulse and water [Dan. 1: 12,16], Israel's 40 years eating manna [Exod. 16:35], 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 [1644-1718], 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 Being, which made of one blood all nations 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 [Acts 17:26], 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, although but for a few years, both from


[pp 62-89]

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 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 [hired] for a time; but I do not believe that righteous, 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 virtuous man, that was styled the "Father of the faithful" [Rom. 4:11], 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 Abraham's children, they would do the works of Abraham [John 8:39]; but now ye are of your Father the Devil, and his works ye


will do [John 8:44]. May not Truth say the same thing now, of our preachers and elders, keepers and traders in slaves for nothing but their ungodly gain. But what will our wicked slave-keepers get by flying beyond Gospel and Law, to Abraham, to patronise their cursed infernal practice; but what Truth said to the Jews, it will say to them, "Ye are of your father the Devil" [John 8:44].

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 contrary, behave proudly, do unjustly and unmercifully, 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 Murderer, and beyond him too, to the Devil himself, beyond Cain, for he murdered but one, that we know of, but you have many thousands, or caused 'em to be so, and for aught I know, many


[pp 92-119]

that is a hundred times worse, that cursed Guinea Trade.

O! O! That my Soul could find some relief for the distress that it has 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 sore in secret.
B. L.

Because the Lord's Camp is in captivity, for they that keep captives, are in captivity and bondage [to sin], and brings many of their Friends, male and female into bondage, because of their sin, and continuing in it.

Your fathers have built a wall of iniquity, and you are daubing it with untempered mortar [Ezek. 13:10-15], in keeping slaves & pleading for it; O vile and shameless practice, which we ought to be separated 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 unthinking 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 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 justify, excute or connive at keeping slaves; here's work for ministers!

Rev. 13.l, 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 wrote 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 [Rom. 14:23].

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 tbee, for we be brethren, depart I pray thee from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then will I go to the


[pp 122-141]

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 [I Cor. 6:19], the holy living God; but he or me that defiles this temple by slave-keeping, him may God destroy [I Cor. 3:17], 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 linen clean and white, clean and white indeed, which is the righteousness of saints [Rev. 19:8]; 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 [Prov. 26:11; 2 Pet. 2:22], 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 [Rev. 2:4] and tender sweet espousal to Christ [2 Cor. 11:2], would have been ready to have answered if they had been asked, as the man did the prophet, Is thy servant a dog, that he should do such


things? [2 Kgs. 8:13] and yet he did them; and so have these done, for want of watchfulness, being led into it by the foul example of their preachers and leaders, which have caused them to err. [Isaiah 3:12; Isaiah 9:16; Jer. 23:13; Jer. 23:32; Amos 2:4]. O Lord my good God and sweet Saviour, be pleased to preserve me from this gross sin, and all evil. So be it. B. L.

35. Concerning Marriage, or Marrying in the Lord.

Abington, the 8th of the 10th Month.

Tis morning very early it sprung again 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 Father 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 [I John 2:16], and for covetousness to maintain them, which is all of him that is an enemy to all mankind, the Devil


[pp 144-159]

stood single to 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. I. 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 choke it [Matt. 13:24-43], so the ground that affords them nourishment will be cursed, this is the Word of Truth unto you.

John Burnet' Works, p. 141, 2. He that continues to the end shall be saved [Matt. 24:13], and he that is faithful unto death shall have the crown of life [Rev. 2:10], 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 progress.

Thomas Beveu'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 public or private, is of no availance in the sight of God.


I find upon the Margin of the old Bible, printed about the Year 1599, this Note, viz. When the mind thinketh nothing, when the soul coveteth nothing, and when the body acteth nothing contrary to the Will of God, this (saith the Note) is perfect sanctification. I Thess. 5.23. Coll. 2.10. I Joh. 2.5. 4.12.

41. August Eluthenius Forbidden Fruit.

Forbidden Fruit or Tree of Knowledge writ by August Eleuthenius. p. 68. We read wisdom is foolishness with God [I Cor. 1:25; I Cor. 3:19], which form of speech we steal from Paul, and babble of it, when indeed we neither know our own, nor Paul's meaning 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.

Ed. Note: Full Citation: Sebastian, Franck (1499-1542), pseud. August Eluthenius, Vom dem Baum des Wissen Gutes und Böses, translated, The Forbidden Fruit: or, A Treatise of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evill, of Which Adam at the First, and as Yet All Mankinde Do Eate Death . . . (London: Printed by T. P. and M. S. for Benjamine Allen, 1642)

Page 93, 4. I. What is the beast of which Daniel writeth, which speaketh against the Highest and slayeth the Saints of God? [Dan. 7:23-25]

II. What is the Serpent which deceived Adam and Eve? [Gen. 3:1-6]

III. What is the tree of knowledge of good and evil? [Gen. 2:9, 17]

IV. What is that impudent King of Anti-christ of whom Daniel and Paul speaketh? 2 Thessal. 2.


[pp 162-191]

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 communion.

This, this is worth the denying ourselves and forsaking all things in this world for, if there were no fear of torment, 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. I 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 and complete in the whole Will of God, and are complete in their Beloved not out of him, for without him Mankind 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 smoke of the Bottomless Pit, which darken their understandings, and those are in torment and that is Hell. Colos. 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 fiery wrath and indignation of the Lord upon them, whereby they were destroyed, after his merciful long forbearance. [Gen. 19. 24-25]

55. Of Covetousness, That Mighty Monster.

Q. The sins of Sodom, What are them, or they?

A. Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness, and I may say earthly mindedness or covetousness, that mighty, mighty, almost almighty monster, the chiefest of the seven devils and supreme ruler, head and Governor in Hell, Babylon and Bottomless Pit. The other six devils have slain their thou-


sands 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, liars, thieves and murderers as well as idolaters.

Psalm 49.12, 13, 20. I 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 public and private, seek to and beseech 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


capital an enemy that is so dishonourable to God, and all true religion, destructive to government and mankind in general, for I do believe here is in this Land of America, as selfish, sordid, greedy, covetous, earthly [worldly] minded people of almost all names, as any in the world.

Oh! that some courageous valiant little Davids might be raised up and furnished with their slings, and smooth stones taken 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 Goliath, that defies the very armies of the living God, and bring him down, cut off his head, and give his carcase, with all the uncircumcised armies, in all nations and countries, to the beasts of the field [I Sam. 17:26, 36, 40 45-46, 50-51]; 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.


The people in these countries of America, 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 lukewarm, as to religion especially, and are become careless, forgetful and negligent to make suitable returns to the Almighty 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. [Deut. 6:10-12]. 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 endeavoured 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 chieftains turn their backs in the Day of


Battle (against sin and Satan.) What will become of the rest of the Army [people of God], if these [church leaders] turn with, or like, the dog to lick up his filthiness which he had cast out [Prov. 26:11], and with the swine that washed to wallowing again in the mire of sin and iniquity of every and any sort. [2 Pet. 2:22]. What will become of us; for old men, maybe some middle aged too, are centred in the earth [focused on worldly things], greedily grasping and gaping after the world. [James 4:4; I John 2:15-17].

Mammon, Mammon, Mammon, as though Satan ruled in them, for he is God of this World [2 Cor. 4:4], and Satan is self, self, self unmortified; no worse Devil can be found either in under or above the ground.

56. The Young Ones Spend their Substance their Parents
Left Them, Then Want to Borrow of Others.

The young ones they are got into the airy region, where the Prince of Darkness rules in the disobedient hearts. [Eph. 2:2].

Riding, drinking and galloping about from house to house, smoking, snuffing, chewing tobacco, and other unclean, fulsome, foul, indecent and sinful practices; 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 maintain, when they are gone stinking to their


graves, and have left a bad savour behind them, by their great intemperance, idleness, carelessness and slothfulness or altogether, and when they have so consumed their subtance, ride up and down to borrow of others, but take little care to pay it again.

Oh! that the poor tender young creatures, and old too, that are still remaining, 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 hearty desire of my mind, and that is the end [purpose] or intent of my writing. B. L.

As I have said, it has been in my mind a pretty many years, something concerning the true reformation, preservation and welfare, or well being of mankind, especially the well educating & instructing of youth, after the best manner or method for the conservation, and happiness of posterity. There is a method very excellent, called, A Reformation of Learning, by William Dell, author of that excellent book, called The Trial of Spirits, in Preachers and Hearers; to which I refer my reader, hoping it may be of service, and then my end [purpose] will be answered entirely.


The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial.
By the Honble Judge Sewall, in New England.
[Ed. Note: Here, Benj. Lay reprints the full text
of this book by Samuel Sewall (1700)

Forasmuch 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 foundation 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 appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord. Forasmuch then as we are the Offspring of GOD &c. Act 17.26, 27, 29.

Now although the Title given by the last ADAM, doth infinitely better men's estates, respecting


GOD and themselves; and grants them a most beneficial and inviolable lease under the broad seal of Heaven, who were before only tenants at will: Yet through the indulgence of GOD to our First Parents after the Fall, the outward estate of all and every of their children, remains 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 brethren, 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 Ishmaelites bargaining with them, and paying down twenty pieces of silver, could not make a title. Neither could Potiphar have any better interest in him than the Ishmaelites 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 it self is the claimer. If Arabian gold be imported in any quantities, most are afraid to meddle with it, though they might have it at easy rates; lest if it should have been wrongfully


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 little lifeless dust; than there is in purchasing men and women: Whenas they are the offspring of GOD, and their Liberty is,

. . . Auro pretiosior Omni [Isaiah 13:12]. 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 louder cry can there be made of that celebrated warning,

Caveat Emptor!

And all things considered, it would conduce more to the welfare of the province, to have white servants for a term of years, than to have slaves for life. Few can endure to hear of a Negro's being made free; and indeed they can seldom use their freedom well; yet their continual aspiring after their forbidden liberty, renders them unwilling servants.

And there is such a disparity in their conditions, colour & hair,


that they can never embody with us, and grow up into orderly families, to the peopling of the land: but still remain in our body politick as a kind of extravasat blood [involuntary resident].

As many Negro men as there are among us, so many empty places 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 under, to connive at the fornication of their slaves; lest they should be obliged to find them wives, or pay their fines. It seems to be practically pleaded that they might be lawless; 'tis thought much of, that the law should have satisfaction for their thefts, and other immoralities; 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 Negros out of Africa, and selling of them here, That which GOD has joined together men do boldly rend asunder [Matt. 19:6]; Men from their Country, Husbands from their Wives, Parents from their Children.


How horrible is the uncleanness, mortality, if not murder, that the ships are guilty of that bring great crowds 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 our selves. And it may be a question whether all the benefit received by Negro slaves, will balance the accompt 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 under the curse of slavery. Gen.9. 25, 26, 27.

Answ. Of all offices, one would not beg this; viz. Uncalled 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 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 [killing the king, and women].

But it is possible that by cursory reading, 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 prophey was accomplished in the extirpation of the Canaanites, and in the servitude of the Gibeonites. Vide Pareum [Ed. Note: referencing the analysis of German theologian David Pareus (1548-1635)].

Whereas the Blackmores are not descended of Canaan, but of Cush. Psal. 68. 31. Princes shall come out of Egypt [Mizmim] 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 Ethiopian change his skin? This shows that black men are the posterity of Cush: Who time out of mind have been distinguished by their colour. And for want of the true, Ovid assigns a fabulous cause of it [Ed. Note: referencing ancient mythology, specifically, the myth of Phaeton].

Sanguine tum credunt in
     corpora summa vocato
Æthiopum populos nigrum
     traxisse colorem
   Metamorph. lib. 2.


Obj. 2. The Nigers are brought out of a pagan country, into places where the Gospel is preached.

Answ. 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 personally, 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 ought 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 receiving, 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


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 Abraham's purchase be recorded, no argument 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 Israelites 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 conceipt they suffered thereby. Deut. 15. 18.

And since the partition wall is broken down, inordinate self love should likewise be demolished. GOD expects that Christians should be of a more ingenuous 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. 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 Offspring of GOD; they ought to be treated with a respect agreeable.

Servitus perfecta voluntaria, inter Christianum & Christianum, ex parte servi patientis sæpe est licita quia est necessaria: sed ex parte domini agentis, & procurando & exercendo, vix potest esse licita: quia non convenit regulæ illi generali: Quæcunque volueritis ut faciant vobis homines, ita & vos facite eis. Matt. 7.12.

Perfecta servitus pænæ, non potest jure locum habere, nisi ex delicto gravi quod ultimum supplicium aliquo modo meretur: quia libertas ex naturali æstimatione proximo accedit ad vitam ipsam, & eidem a multis præferri solet.

Ames. Cas. Consc. Lib. 5.
Cap. 23.Thes. 2, 3.


[pp 208-271]

Title Page1
1.W. B.'s Address to the Elders of the Church.7
2.Preach Against Fighting, Yet Receive The Plunder.10
3.Great Burdens Slave-Keeping Preachers Bring upon their Brethren and Friends.13
4.Comparing Turks and Christians in Slave-Keeping.15
5. Many Nominal Quakers Will Not Forsake Slave-Keeping, No Not for the Joy of the Lord.16
6. Many Worthy Men Have Borne Testimony Against This Foul Sin, R. S. and Others.18
7. Korah and Company, 250 Men of Renown, Withstood Moses, Much More Slave-Keepers Withstand the Truth. 23
8.Long Custom in Sin Hard to Be Broken. 28
9.A Few Precedents in Friends of Great Repute, in Slave-Keeping, is Much More Mischievous Than in Many Publicans and Harlots.
10.The Abominable Stuff Filthy Rum is Drawn From, and the Barbarity Used Towards Slaves in West-Indies.
11.Slave-Keeping Very Opposite to the Doctrine of Christ.
12. Slave-Keepers Cause Many Tender Friends to go Mourning on Their Way


13.On their Way Sla—K— very ready to Smite & Revile Any That Reprove Them for Their Sin.
14.The Best and Only Way for Friends or Elders that Now Have Slaves to Discharge Themselves of Them.
15.Partial Proceedings of some Slave-Keepers to keep me from my Proper Inheritance: A—M—s, I—P—n, S—P—n, R—J---n, J—B—s, S—P—I, Men of Renown in Philadelphia, and M. M. and N. A. in Abington.
16.The Waldensees Our First Reformers No Slave-Keepers. 61
17.B. L. Being Kept Out of Meeting at Philadelphia, by the Constable; A——M——s I—P—n S—P--n, R—E—n.
18.Concerning the Lying Spirit in Ahab's Prophets.
19.Some Discourse with R. J. Concerning Slave-Keeping, and Something Concerning G. K. and New-Jerusalem.
20.The Way of Catching, Stealing and Using of Negroes.
21.Concerning the Sweet Communion we have been Favoured With, in Our Meetings, Beyond any People that I Know in the World.
22.Them That Came to this Country Servants to plead for Slave-Keeping Intolerable.
23.An Account from Bristol in Old-England, the Great Numbers of Slaves their Vessels Fetch Yearly to bring to West-Indies.
24.Miserable Condition of Slaves When Old and Past their Labour.
25.Some Have Been Pleased to Say I Wanted a Party.


26. Keeping Concubines, Harlots and Slaves, Practiced by Jews and Gentiles.
27.Revelations 12th Chap. Some Thoughts Concerning It.
28.Revelations 13th.
29.How can we Expect the Almighty Will Prosper Us, So Long as We Will Continue in this Practice.
30.Concerning my Keeping my Elder Brother's Sheep.
31.False and Forward Ministers.
32.The Light Airy Spirit Some Preachers and Others Have Discovered When I Have Been Speaking Against Slave-Keeping.
33.Excellent Advice of Sir Thomas Moore and George Fox, against Putting Men to Death for Small Matters.
34.The Sweet Anointing Oil, the Fine Linen.
35.Concerning Marriage, or Marrying in the Lord. 143
36.The Faithful Friends called Quakers Falsely Charged with Keeping Slaves, It Is the Apostates Does So.
37.G. Fox's Account of the Greatest Deceivers, Apostate Ministers, Fallen Angels.
38.W. Penn's Advice to Ministers. Second Part, Mostly Containing Advice to Faithful Ministers, and Counsel, Caution, Warning and Reproof to False and Forward Ministers, Which Go of their own Errand, collected from the Writings of our Ancient Friends called Quakers and others, for General Service.


39.Edward Borrough's Works. Francis Howgil's Works, Advice to Ministers.
40.Stephen Crisp's Works. William Bennet's Writings. John Milton's Church Government. William Edmonton's Journal.
41.August Eluthenius Forbidden Fruit. 161
42.Dr. M. DeMolinus Spiritual Guide.
43.Thomas a Kempis Christian Pattern.
44.Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History.
45.Hermes Trismegistus, his Works.
46.John Whiting's Works, Christ, God and Man.
47.Robert Barclay's Apology. George Fox's Doctrinal, Concerning the Kingdom or Government of Heaven, What It Is, and Where It Is to be Possessed of, and Enjoyed in this World. His Great Mystery.—Margaret Fox's Writings.——Samuel Fisher's Works.
48.William Smith's Balm from Gilead Concerning True Discerning and Judgment.
49.The Spirit of Martyrs revived by Ellis Hooks.
50.F. Rous, Esq, his Works, Concerning God's own Teaching of his own Dear Children, him, him, him, himself.
51.B. L. Concerning his Inward Unity with his True Friends.
52.William Dewsberry's Works, very excellent, Concerning Ministers.
53.William Dell, Minister of the Gospel, Master of Gonvil and Caius College in Cambridge, his Trial of Spirits, in Preachers and Hearers.
54.Concerning DivineWisdom, the Kingdom of Heaven or Heavenly Government Within, Not Known Without, Above the Skies.


55.Of Covetousness, That Mighty Monster. 193
56.The Young Ones Spend their Substance their Parents Left Them, Then Want to Borrow of Others. 197
57.The Selling of JOSEPH, A Memorial, by that Worthy Judge Sewall, of N England. 199
58.Of Back-Biting That Foul Disease.
59.W. Leddra's Epistle, Written the Day before he was Put to Death at Boston.
60.George Fox, the Youngers Works, Very Excellent.
61.G. Fox Continued.
62.A Caution to Friends Not to Do as the Bostoners Did.
63.Consistency of Babylon's Doctrine.
64.Concerning the New Birth.
65.Concerning Christ the Living Vine, in the Living Branches.
66.Concerning the True Foundation of the True Congregation of God, the Truth.
67.A Letter to J. C. at Horsham, Concerning False Ministers.
68.Concerning Christ Being in Heaven, With a Body of Flesh.
69.An Epistle to the Dear Lambs of my Heavenly Father's Fold.
70. Second Letter to J. C. of Horsham.


[In interim, pending completion of this site,
you can obtain this book via your local library.]

See also John Woolman, Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes, Part I (1754), and Part II (1762).
For more on Benjamin Lay, see Blanche Day, "The Disquieting Quaker," 13 American Heritage (Issue #3) 102-103 (April 1962).

Other Writings in This Series
Roman Catholic Anti-Slavery Material
S. Sewall's 1700
The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial
R. Sandiford's 1729
Brief Examination of the Practice
Rev. T. Weld's 1839
Slavery Conditions
Rev. J. Fee's 1851
Anti-Slavery Manual
Rev. P. Pillsbury's 1883
Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles
Rev. Wm. Patton's 1846
Pro-slavery Interpretations of the
Bible: Productive of Infidelity

Rev. Wm. Goodell's 1852
Slavery and Anti-Slavery
H. B. Stowe's 1853
Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin