04: Great Burdens Slave-Keeping Preachers Bring upon Their Brethren and Friends

And my Friends, you that have slaves and do minister to others in our Meetings, consider I entreat 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 yourselves 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?

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’s 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 of one another’s exercises, bearers of one another’s burdens, having a deep sense and a feeling of others’ infirmities or afflictions or troubles?

What is become of this blessed experience, my Friends? Is it all left as to you? If so, I must give my judgment: that you have not your constant dwelling in him [Jesus] that was touched with a feeling of our infirmities, tempted in all cases like unto us, yet without sin. And so are his saints, for they are all of one and they live with him night and day in his blessed kingdom, which is within. And they love him dearly, they cannot avoid it, for he first loved them or us; and we cannot keep back our love from him any more than we can hinder or stop the rivers and streams from running into the ocean. For we, having received all from him, of course all return or run to him again; it is the nature of his essence or divine being.

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 Earth cannot contain.

The white stone that has the new name in it is given to him that overcomes.
None can read but he or she that receives it.
He that overcometh shall sit with me on my throne, as I in my Father’s throne.
He that overcometh shall eat of the hidden manna.
He that overcometh shall have right to the Tree of Life, which stands in the midst of the paradise of God, in the heart.