68: A Letter to John Cadwallader, Jr., at Horsham, concerning False Ministers

Abington, [Thursday] the 11th of the Second Month [April] 1737

To John Cadwallader, Jr., of Horsham

Dear Friend,  

Notwithstanding the great bustle there was concerning my sitting quietly in and being carried out of Meeting yesterday so roughly, without speaking a word, signified little to me or nothing in comparison to the burden and exercise I was then under on account of a false and forward ministry, which does so much work for Satan in our Meetings by bringing great weights and burdens on the true Seed of God’s own right hand’s planting in his tender babes—which go not forth or dare not [go] into words when they please—to spend them upon their lusts, as the satanical ministers do in our Meetings in this country and in England and elsewhere.

Nay, dear Friend, we need not go far; for I believe in this very Monthly Meeting of Abington there are such as are restless and uneasy with sitting in silence in meetings [for worship]. So [they] will be hammering and hammering in words without Life, and so bring death and darkness over our meetings, to the wounding and almost slaying of some dear tender young creatures belonging to our and other Meetings, and for ought I know may be drove into despair, if there be not some powerful means used that may be effectual to stop these Leviathans that play and sport in the great waters—the people are as waters. Oh! that it might be so saith my soul.

—Benjamin Lay

Dear Friend,

This has been the exercise of my sorrowful soul above 20 years, and I still hope Truth, time, and patience with perseverance in well-doing will manifest my sincerity, whatever some of my Friends may be pleased to think or say of me.

And dear Friend, I can in all sincerity say, my tongue, my heart and my hand went together yesterday, when I told thee I had good unity with the testimony: which was against a false and forward ministry which took more care to feed the multitude with words than to feed the children of God with Life, or to that effect. [This] signifying that some preachers were more afraid what the people would say, would think, or say if [these preachers] sat in silence than they were in grieving [for] the true waiters [for God’s words], in speaking when they should not.

And they were more careful to feed the dead than the living, which I say is the work of self, Satan, or the devil—all one. Although man—vain man and woman—do not see it so. For as blessed Jesus said, they that gather not with us, scatter abroad; and that thou knowest dear Friend is the work of the devil. Please to read William Penn’s Advice to Ministers in his preface to George Fox’s Journal, p. lvi. And the Journal, p. 216, 224. the First Part.

William Dewsbury’s Works, pp. 18, 21, 216, 218.

William Edmundson’s Journal, pp. 300, 306. Concerning Offerings and Prayer [pp. 138–140], and many more I mentioned in that paper I left with Friends at Spring Meeting [Yearly Meeting] in Philadelphia, which I think if they were reprinted and bound up together, they might be of some service to some young preachers, and to old ones too, which never see them. If it should, my end would be answered. 

I wish, my dear Friend, our false and forward ministers would consider these scriptures underneath:

Deuteronomy 13.1 to the endDeuteronomy 18. Deuteronomy 20. Is it not to serve or bow to other gods to join with idolatrous prayer?

1 Kings 18, 1 Kings 191 Kings 22. 6.  There was a time when there were 850 false prophets to one true; what has been may be again.

Jeremiah 2:13, Jeremiah 2:31, Jeremiah 14:14-16, Jeremiah 23:9-16, Jeremiah 23:29-32, Jeremiah 27:15Ezekiel 13 2 to the end, Ezekiel 34:2-3, Ezekiel 22:28, Isaiah 60:14-17, Isaiah 28:7-9Lamentations 2:14, Lamentations 4:13Micah 3:5-7, Zechariah 13:2-4, 2 Peter 2:1-3.

Ecclesiastes 5:1. Be more ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they consider not that they do evil.

What is the chaff to the wheat? The chaff is for beasts; the wheat is for children, to keep them alive in the kingdom or church of God, New Jerusalem

New England Judged, p. 299. Dear William Leddra’s advice to ministers, the day before he was put to death in Boston, New England, for the testimony of Truth.

Dear Friend, believe not all reports, but what thou knowest amiss in me, reprove me for it and admonish me as a father does a son whom he dearly loves, and I hope it shall be well received.

—Benjamin Lay