Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Something Further in Answer to John Jackson's Book
John Jackson, in the printing of my papers (so far as thou hast printed my words) in that I rejoice and shall rejoice the more it is preached, though some preach Christ of envy, but thy deceits ought not to be hid lest I partake with thee therein.
In thy title page thou says "published at the request of some," &c., and in thy letter to me thou said "thy spirit was free to publish it," and that it were thus with thee, and this was before some of my answers was written: did somebody request thee to publish the answer to my papers, respectively (as thou says) before they was written? This is but a poor shift, but it must serve where no better can be got, & when the leopard changes his spots, then will that spirit deal plainly; but did none of those "some" request thee to answer my queries, which thou hast printed unanswered? And that letter I sent to Samuel Tull and thee, and the rest. If they had not been partial in their requests, they might have spoken one word for me, that I might have received once an answer from thee, having so often answered thy queries both by words divers times and also by writing; but it seems both thou and the requesters are got above that law, to do as you would be done unto, or to deal equal, to others as yourselves; that seed is wanting where the world reigns, yet shall not that keep me from laying open the truth I have received.
Thou says, judge not according to appearance, &c. I say what else can they judge with who denies the light within? but will not this destroy your former doctrine? May one now judge and not see the face? The thing for which thou have so much opposed me, didst thou not before deny any way of intelligence but outward appearance? and said thou durst not believe it: it seems thy faith is changed since then, or else thy tongue. But here it's seen how Christ's words suits your doctrine and practice. Thou may be ashamed if thou deny the light of Christ within any more: either must men judge according to the light within, or by <313> outward appearance.
Something thou hast added in the conclusion as an excuse, wherein thou desires the reader to compare with what went before and try if there be any such thing said as may circumscribe or limit the Most High in his message to personal knowledge or information of men, to which I say, thou said: if I had another way of intelligence besides sight and hearing, or outward appearance, without words, &c. Thou durst not believe it, besides thy reproaching it with the name of bitter assaults of the enemy and the like. And she said to whom I wrote, she doth more wonder how I durst adventure upon one I know not, whose face I never saw (as touching the message I was moved to write to her). If this be not as much to circumscribe & limit the message of God, to personal knowledge and information of men, as in you lies, all may plainly judge, seeing neither her daring nor thy reproach could stop it for doing its work; yet have you both as much withstood it as the creature can, the mind of the creature, sent in message, and this you will find in the end.
And whereas you call it a heavy charge, I say your seeking to cast it off will but make heavier: could you break the yoke of wood, for you must be prepared iron; thus shall it be to all who kick at his message. And whereas you tell of her being unknown or seen, I say known and seen she is, and thou also, with that which changeth not, before I writ to either of you, though thy name thou didst conceal, but this the blind knows not, who hates the light; yet that which thou calls J.N. thou may see: so the ground of your opposition must be want of outward knowledge, else your ground is false judged with that which reveals that in man which man knows not.
There is one thing thou hast put in the margin as though I had not answered, to wit, the redemption of the body, which must have relation to her letters who saith she is still kept groaning for adoption (to wit, redemption of the body) and hath her own deceivings in her, untried, and yokes of sinful covenant in her unbroken, and yet she knows herself to be in the kingdom.
To which I answered before that no self-deceiving nor sinful covenant comes in the kingdom of God, unless thou and she mean the kingdom of this world and call that the kingdom of grace, a <314> new coined word to cover your pride and worldly glory, for that's the grace the world loves and its kingdom. And such a Son and sonship the world looks for; and there the Son finds you now he is come. And for groaning for adoption, I told thee the kingdom of God consisted not in groaning for adoption but in righteousness, peace and joy; and none are there but sons, and as they are new born, and this is a plain answer to all that know sonship; but who denies the light of the sun must needs stumble, though at noonday, and all thou alleges against it to any purpose is that in the 8th to Rom., where the apostle tells of the creatures groaning and travailing, waiting for adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body, where it's plain the condition there spoken of was such who had received the firstfruits, but the sons of God was not yet revealed, as in the 19th verse, yet having the firstfruits of the Spirit they was in hope of the fullness and so was traveling painfully towards the kingdom and rest of God, where no travail, pains nor groaning is, where the sons of God rejoice together without rebuke; but this the sons of the stranger who rejoice in the things of this world knows not, nor can their imaginations get into it though it be told over again, but still are groping and questioning about that which God hath hid and sealed from that wisdom and prudence, and he is cursed that opens it to that seed any further than the Scriptures hath, which is all a parable and the serpent never the wiser, for it's not like he that is in the world should know who is in the kingdom; nor can he see himself to be without who denies the light of Christ to be sufficient, who enlightens every man that comes into the world; and though the apostles ministering to the several measures of them to whom they spoke did come down to their measures, and so said "we" as in James 3:9 and divers other places, yet their conditions it was not then, they was come through those things, and as touching their own measures, they had to say, which then they was not able to bear to whom they spoke, nor was that they knew (in respect of their own measure) lawful to utter to the weak: their wisdom was not to speak all they knew; though the serpent speaks all he imagines & more than he knows and still would be climbing to know; but it's death for him to obey what he knows,1 <315> and in this nature art thou seen to be, who art glorying in words without life and practice, and hath gathered with wisdom many words from others which are not thine own nor fulfilled in thee; these thou hast put forth that thou may seem to be somebody, and so art glorying in appearance in that which is not wrought in thee; for this I say: had the saints of God, whose words thou hast got, taken up no other cross than thou dost nor lived no other life, nor been acted by another spirit, in other ways than thy practice, thou hadst had no Scripture to have taken those words out of, and so now thou hast got them, the saints' words do but little suit thy practice. They were holy men of God, and their work was to wait upon God, in life and not in words alone; but thou art a man of the world and a servant thereto in its ways, words and pleasures; according thereto art thou fashioned, which they was not. Thou cannot own their life, nor will their words cover thee by talking them over; thou cannot behold them but thou may see thy condemnation, and the life will find thee out.
It's the saints' life that judges and tries the spirits and ways that are in the world; it's that you cannot pervert nor wrest; hypocrites, worldlings, and carnal minds, who live in pride, oppression and deceit, gets their words once a week to talk on, and with your disobedient wisdom you twine them to your own lusts, and in your wills which are not obedient to the cross of Christ you handle the letter which the life gave forth; but the life you deny, and the light you hate and oppose, both in yourselves and others. And yet you would be called Christians, when Christ you have not, in his life, power, will, nor obedience, only you have him in your mouths to talk on; but the god of this world having possession of your hearts hath so blinded the eye and alienated you from the life of God, that you can neither hear, nor see, nor know him where he is come, but like the blind Jews are thinking of his coming in observations without you, but cannot receive his light and appearance within, nor own his life where it is brought forth in others without, so it's plain you are seeking another Christ or in another manner than ever he appeared in flesh, and another glory than he was ever clothed with, in this world in his despised ones: so his words are your condemnation who cannot own his ways, but if thou wilt have an interest in the saints' <316> words and not therewith to be condemned, come to the saints' life and read the Scriptures, there, a little of them; there will serve thy turn in that nature thou lives in; if thou there come and make proof of thyself in that thou canst not wrest. Thou likes to be covered with their words; but lay by thy stateliness, and come to be covered with their glory, which Christ and all his used to be clad withal in this world, that which the world strives not for, read Christ in his wants and wanderings, hunger and nakedness, mocking, buffeting, stocking, stoning, prisonings, in his temptings, fasting, whippings, banishings out of towns and cities, and countries, as a sign to be spoken against everywhere, a stumbling stone and rock of offense to all sorts of professions, especially to the wisest, as the offscouring, scum, and filth of the world, and a gazing-stock wherever he comes in flesh; so he is to this day,2 who suffers the opposition of all the wicked; this is his glory, and this is his joy in this world, wherein we rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer with him, and if thou wilt read him in these lines, in life without thy subtle meanings, then shalt thou know a joy the world meddles not with, nor will thy worldly spirit delight to be clothed with this glory, though thou canst glory much in their words, who were thus glorified; but were you to meddle no more with their words than you live in their practice, & so cease boasting of other men's lines made ready without you, we should have many eloquent teachers now, as dumb as those was, as Isaiah speaks of in his time, to whom he preached the covenant of light which they opposed. Woe unto you! a sad day is coming upon you all, who have covered and not with the Spirit; your literal coverings must be ripped off and your nakedness must appear; that is the cause why you so oppose the light and Spirit within, who have covered the outside but cannot abide the search within: he is come who made the heart, and the war is begun against the dragon, so the devourer stands up on every side; and let that of God in thy conscience judge betwixt God and thee, on what part thou wilt be found, and how thou loves his glory, and what of the world thou denies for it, and if thou own him with the loss of all things, I say let that of God judge thee in <317> secret, and thy practice openly, how thou owns a saint's life and glory and way out of the world until Christ appear, whose light thou opposest to reward thereafter thy works, who art not in the work of Christ nor the way of his ministers, their sufferings and callings: nay if thou mind that in thy conscience which doth not change thou may see thyself in the world before their call out, and forsaken by them when they came to be disciples, and if ever thou own their call thou must own their cross, though now the blind eye be up and would enter another way than Christ and his disciples hath gone. And so all you that deny the light and life, death in you gets the fame from without and therewith opposes yourselves. O you dead, deaf, and blind, who are now banded together against the light of Christ and his appearance, how hath the god of this world besotted you, and filled your hearts with gross darkness above all you read of? Did ever generation practice contrary to what they professed like you? You have gotten more words but less power than ever any of your fathers, the persecutors and opposers ever had; doth not your great profession & little practice give an ill savor even amongst the heathen, so that the name of Christians is become odious, and they are become your judges in the life of Christianity. Do not they who have not the letter without, who bring forth the effects of that law which God hath written in their hearts, become the children of obedience before you, who have long said "I go, sir." Hath not the greatest deceit, pride, covetousness, and oppression, self-love, that ever was in the world since Cain's time, now got a cover of profession, and church-name amongst you? How are you got above all reproof herein, for pride and stateliness, so that the very language and gestures of the saints is abomination to you, and the sufferings of such as follow them is not so much valued as you would do your dogs. How have you made these the times of advantage to exalt yourselves, which God hath appointed to pull down what was exalted? How have you eaten up the sins of them that went before you and have added their curse to your own, so that double blindness and hardness is come upon you. And now you are more void of feeling, and fear, than you was before ever you professed anything of God. The Lord and his light be judge amongst you who now can swallow down <318> and live in that which once you could not have done for all the world; so let the Lord be witness and no deceitful lips, if I speak not the truth, as to many of you: how hath the enemy led our your minds from the Spirit that while you are preaching the saints' words you are not able to look within at your own contrary practice, and stop the mouth of the gainsayer, that so the true witness of God might arise in you, and let you see the castaway. Surely you are they that are to be bemoaned above all other, who have had a measure of tenderness but now wholly lost; and not only so but now oppose it in others who retain it, nor would seek after it. And now this being all that this shaking and reformation hath brought forth in you, the righteous God hath cast you off and chosen things that are not, and things weak and foolish and contemptible to confound the wise and mighty and learned. And the children of the kingdom is casting out, and from far they come to inherit, therefore the heads of the serpent and the beast and the prophet that tells lies meet together to strengthen one another, and this is seen amongst you, of several heads and horns and collars, so to you all I write, and not to thee alone, who art but one joined in amongst many, that if there be any amongst you that will own the despised light and search your hearts therewith, and try your ways, and return to the Lord that you may be healed, and with the light in thy conscience thou mayest take thine own; and so the rest of you, for his witness is faithful and swift against you and according thereto he will proceed except ye repent.
Friend, thou hast gathered up many scriptures which thou sayest dost witness against thy judgment and practice of the Quakers, with a charge as thou callest against them, but hast not <319> proved one particular true; but if thine eye had been single thou mightest have found thyself lying guilty under the condemnation thereof in thy practice: so take them back again and consider of them, and let that of God in thy conscience be judge; for so it shall at that day when he shall clear the innocent.
The Scriptures we own, and that light and Spirit that gave them forth, whereby we know thou art not he that spoke those words to Job, but one that useth thy tongue, boasting in other men's lines made ready without thee, to oppose that life wherein they lived, in his despised ones of this generation, whom not one of these scriptures doth reprove, neither canst thou make it appear in any one particular.
Thou sayest, thus saith the Lord who hath washed away our sins in his own blood. I say, see it be so, lest thou be found in sin, and so proved a false witness; for such are they who set up false Christs, who profess a Christ without power, and cry, lo here, lo there in outward forms without, but who hath the true Christ goeth not forth. So consider the beam in thine own eye, and the nakedness thou tells of appeareth in thy paper, & he that hath an eye doth see it. For the lusts of the flesh thou tells on: search and see if thou be not he that is found in the much wantonness thou speakest of, which we deny, a servant to corrupt things, and would have others so also. If thou say we preach another gospel, thou should have showed wherein; but it is a small thing that we should be judged of man: thou sayest, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden works of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of thy heart. So it seems thou confessest a time of judgment where the Lord is come, which time we witness, and by the brightness of his coming the man of sin revealed, and the counsels of thy heart made manifest, who to thy master art fallen, and for him thou standeth. Thou sayest, doubtless thou countest all things but loss and dung that thou may win Christ. I say, take heed it be so; lest when search is made, thou be found a liar. Thou sayest, let nothing be done in vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves: I say, remember this, and let it stop thy mouth when thou shalt plead for respect of persons, which the redeemed ones John speaks of are <320> redeemed from, even out of kingdoms, tongues, people and nations, and all their vain customs and worships, to worship God only. Thou sayest thou shalt rise up before the hoary head and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God. I say, see thou doth so; but how is this fulfilled among you, who will bind gray hairs to bow down and worship you, where pride is got up in young ones: thus God never commanded, nor the Scriptures, as thou might have found hadst thou had an eye to these scriptures following: Jas. 2:9, Job 32:21-22, Esth. 3, Prov. 28:21, Acts 10:26, Rom. 2:11, Eph. 6:9, Jude 16, with divers others which maketh little for pride's purpose, yet will they stand a witness against it forever.
Now to thy slanders which thou hast added upon those thou callest deceived ones: thou sayest by our doctrines and practice we make little of Christ which is at the right hand of God in the heavens. That we make less of his word, the rule of righteousness and judgment, both of doctrines, men and spirits. That we make nothing of his ordinances, in which his saints are to wait until his second coming. That we revile his ministers, that we condemn his justified ones, who would deceive them of all that faith, hope, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, wherein the church of the firstborn hath ever lived. To all which I say thou hast proved thyself the man thou speakest on, who hast given thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit and slanders; and this must rest upon thee till thou prove us guilty of these things thou hast falsely accused us, seeing thou layest the charge against all those thou callest Quakers. And for the army of martyrs and their life thou tellest of: if thou mind that in thy conscience by which the ministers was guided thou wilt find it a witness against thee, who hast armed thyself with their words against their life, which is now made manifest in his despised ones, which thou amongst the rest hast lifted up thy horn against; and thus thou shalt see when the book is opened and that eye which the god of this world hath blinded: then shalt thou see, though that in thy book is of little force against us yet it riseth from the same root of envy from whence hath sprung greater things; and that which hath stirred thee up to this is but making the way for thee to follow them that imprisoned and shed the blood of the martyrs: <321> so take heed lest thou proceed too far and be given up to have a hand in the same practice; for envy is as blind now as it was then, and there is nothing stops it but the measure of God and his light, which if thou forget and act against it when thou art found in the same work that hath been before mentioned thou mayest remember thou hast been warned.
For thy confused exhortation which riseth from the blind eye, it is judged with the light of Christ, who sees thy confusion. Thou sayest repent and become sinners, that we may be righteous in God's righteousness: repent and become meek in spirit and pure in heart, and so shall we see God: so thou mayest compare thy exhortation and see how it will hold in the balance of truth; but such repentance suits well with the love of the world, where you may live in your sins and talk of God's righteousness; but where the heart is purified and God seen, your repentance is judged, and your vain talk of righteousness without life, and you are known to be of those which shall not be able to stand in the sight of God. So take thy exhortation back again, and repent of thy false accusations and speaking evil of that thou knows not, and publishing a general charge that thou canst not prove, and make a search through thy paper, and what thou hast written more than the words of the Scripture is but to add slanders and false accusations, and for the scriptures thou hast printed, it is but that thou mightest turn them out of their place, to set them against that Spirit that gave them forth, and they little suit for thy purpose. So when thy blind zeal is a little abated, thou mayest see thy work and be ashamed: and learn when thou writest again to charge no more than thou canst prove, lest whilst thou goest on to cast thy dirt upon others, whose lives thou canst not judge, thou receive thy own inside and cover thyself with thy own shame: thou mayest receive this if thou canst from a lover of thy soul, who contendeth not for mastery, but to clear the truth, called
1. 1 Cor. 3:2; 2 Cor. 12:4.
2. Luke 2:34; 1 Cor. 4:10-13.
a. Thomason date: Sept. 29, 1655.