Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > To all the dearly beloved People of God
There is nothing dear and precious to me in this world, but God's truth and his life of righteousness, for which I have forsaken all the world, and whatever was dearb to me therein I have hated,c and counted it an enemy, that I might obtain Christ the fountain and spring of that eternal life ofd truth, the beautye whereof I cannot express as I see it and feel it. The loveliness thereof to my soul hath so dearly united my spirit to all that bear the image and life of it, that there can be no separation, but my life suffers thereby; and I can truly say that there is no other <34> thingf whatsoever that can unite me as one with any creature living but this image and life, where I see it borne upg or breathing to life; but in whomsoever it be, without respect of persons, that I see the least appearance of this seed of life is,h I can, by that power of love the Father hath begotten in me, lay down my life to servei for the seed's sake; and wherein I have come short of this formerly, and have respected the high more than stood only in this seed, I have been judged of the Lord, and my evil thoughts therein condemned; yea, and I do condemn them before all the world, to be of that which savors self, and not the things of Christ: and the lower God doth bring me, and the nearer to himself, the more doth this love and tenderness spring and spread towards the poor simple and despised ones, who are poor in spirit, meek, and lowly, suffering lambs, and with those I choose to suffer and do suffer wherever they are found; and I bear myj testimony against that spirit by which they suffer wherever it is found, and this lies upon me from the Lord herein.k Hearing and feeling a spirit of enmity having got head, by what the Lord hathl done with me, and now doth exercise its power against the peaceable meetings of the Lord's people, the burden whereof lies heavy upon me, and I suffer under it, and have long waited with prayers, and tears of sorrow, night and day, to receive counsel from the Lord what to do in it, in that condition I am now in at present: God knows, I lie not, for there is nothing of all my hardships that hath lain and doth lie upon me like this, that any of the flock of God should be offended, or suffer through me; therefore I have not ceased to warn (as God hath opened to me) such as I could speak to, to live in peace and love; to suffer, but not to act strife and violence, and have denied that spirit, not to be of the Lamb, but an enemy to him, though the creature may not know it, but may think it is doing God service; it being got above the suffering seed in themselves, would scatter and devour it in others: and this spirit the Lord hath showed me, and its end, and hath redeemed me from it by the Spirit of the Lamb; and I shall never join, as head or tail, <35> therewith; but shall earnestly pray to the Father that a deep search of truth may seriously pass through the hearts and reins of all contenders, that all that are guilty herein may speedily come to repentance, lest they be hardened therein, and there come a time when they would give whatever is dear to them for one hour's society with the people of God, and cannot obtain it; then with lamentable woe shall the wrath of that be known, that is now trampled on, without the true fear of God, or life of his love: and having at length received this favor of the Lord, I have taken this time, in the tender bowels of love (as one wounded therewith) to warn you hereof: beseeching you all, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, that you all search low for the bowels of him who loved you and suffered for you, when you were his enemies, and put them on towards all men, but especially towards one another, who have been called by one Spirit into one truth; that so the Holy Spirit be no more grieved, nor Satan get any more advantage, whose work it is to sow dissention, even among brethren.m
And the Lord God of love give us all to see that whatever our gifts or powers be, yet if we have not the life and power of love, it avails not with God, though men may esteem ofn us never so high; for only he that dwells in love knows God and lives in him, the rest knows not what spirit they are of; and this I feelingly declare from that dear love of God, in me begotten, to all his people, whereby I am so far from taking delight in troubling the people of God, that their growth in peace and truth upon the foundation laid already, was never so much desired; and my love to them is daily increased beyond what I can here express, yet the Lord knows it, and whence it is, whether it be received by men or no; yet the seed shall feel it in God's time, to which it is, and in whose peace only I have peace: and I hope in the power of that love, God will so strengthen me, that nothing of shame, loss, or reproach shall ever be too hard to take up for the advancement thereof, as God shall show and lead me <36> therein, without whom I dare do nothing, lest I deny his work or confound it with my own.
And concerning you, the tender plants of my Father, who have suffered through me or with me, in what the Lord hatho done with me in this time of great trials and temptations, the Almighty God of love, who hath numbered every sigh and put every tear in his bottle, reward it a thousandfold into your bosoms, in the day of your need, when you shall come to be tried and tempted; and in the meantime, fulfill your joy with his love which you seek after: the Lord knows it was never in my heart to cause you to mourn, whose sufferings is my greatest sorrow that ever yet came upon me, for you are innocent herein; but the envious one hath taken his advantage, which the Lord will turn to his disadvantage and utter ruin in many souls: and in this believing is all my rest, in my great trouble of heart concerning you or myself, and in patience I wait to see it, when the man of sin hath had his time, to be revealed; for I have seen the good hand of God all alongp working in it, whose end is good to all that love him, else had I been destroyed ere this, such hath been the violence of the enemy of my soul; but he hath numbered my hairs, and not left me in the fire or water; when none else was with me, thou wert my comforter: O that I may never hide thy praise by covering my sin or shame, God forbid.
By a way unexpected did the Lord open a way to declare these words, all other means of writing being taken from me: blessed be he on whom I wait further to see his will, that I may do or suffer it.
The presence and peaceq of the Almighty comfort his people, whom I salute in bowels of love.
James Nayler &nb sp;
I beseech you (all that can) to receive it even as you would be received of the Lord, and for the rest, the Lord give me patience to suffer till the Lord make up the breach.
a. First printed in 1660; a shorter version of it was included in Robert Rich, Hidden Things Brought to Light (1678).
b. Rich inserts "beloved and."
c. Rich inserts "it."
d. Rich changes "that eternal life of" to "eternal life and."
e. Rich changes "beauty" to "bounty."
f. Rich omits "thing."
g. Rich changes "I see it borne up" to "borne."
h. Rich omits "is."
i. W. omits "to serve."
j. Rich omits "my."
k. W. omits "herein."
l. Whitehead inserts "suffered to be."
m. Rich omits 432 words beginning "Hearing and feeling" (near the middle of page 34 above), up to this point.
n. Rich omits "of."
o. Whitehead inserts "suffered to be."
p. Rich omits "all along."
q. Rich changes "peace" to "power."