22: Concerning the Sweet Communion We Have Been Favored With in Our Meetings, beyond Any People That I Know in the World

Now my dear Friends, let us consider the matter a little further concerning these men-stealers, and weigh it in the balance 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 lifetime. 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 [for worship] together, and the heavenly showers which many times—yea very often and frequent to my sure and certain knowledge and to the great mutual sweet and heavenly comfort of my poor soul, with many more of my dear Friends?

I say the many heavenly showers—that have dropped as the dew and distilled as the small rain in our tender souls immediately, many times yea innumerable, and instrumentally by the blessed messengers of peace and salvation, which were sent by the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity and dwelleth in Light, who had a tender regard blessed by his Holy Name—to those poor men and women too, that were poor indeed and truly contrited and sat trembling before his divine and glorious majesty, ready to receive him that was and is the Word that made all things. And when they had received him—they or we—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 privileges and high favors, forsake the holy commandment of loving God the Truth above all and turn to worship for covetous ends the worst idol that ever the devil set up in the world?

Sure those wicked men above-mentioned will rise up in judgment against us. For had they been so highly favored 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 stopped them in their career. But now they may say, and that truly too, we have been a means to encourage and strengthen them in their wicked ways. For when they brought in a cargo of Blacks, who more ready to purchase them and at a great price than the saints, or them that seem so and would be thought such?

Well my dear and tender Friends, although I touch thus close to ease my afflicted mind, which has been tossed as with a tempest at times above 17 years on this sad account [of] slave-keeping, yet I write not this of all, by no means. I know and believe there are many Friends that dare not touch with it for any profit whatsoever. I do hope there is some thousands will not bow the knee to this Baal, nor kiss his lips for an ease or gain.

It has been said that all do not see it so great a sin as I and some others make it. And for that reason with others I think it my duty to write and speak the more about it when I come, that Friends and others may be better informed. Some have insinuated as if the primitive saints kept captive slaves. This is hellish censure indeed—to accuse the greatest of saints with the greatest of sins!—whose damnation is just. And their reward shall be according to their works. For they were without spot, then free from the greatest spot; holy, as he is holy; perfect, as he is perfect; he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are one. Blessing and honor, salvation and glory to our God, forevermore, amen! saith my soul.

Cursing and dishonor 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.