03: Preach against Fighting, yet Receive the Plunder

No greater nor no better law, say I, than to love God above all, and all our fellow creatures as ourselves—these two contain Law, Prophets, and Gospel. Do to all as we would be done by.  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 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?

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 earnestly? Is this the way to convince the poor slaves or our children or neighbors or the world [of the Truth of God]? 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?

My dear Friends, I beg, I would entreat 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 may quit yourselves like men, honorably, 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.