Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A Northern Blast
Such was the case of my special friend, having long time wandered in the meander of religious dubiousness, or rather blind zeal, as that (God having at length opened his eyes to behold the wonderful things contained in his law, demonstrating by the Spirit the difference betwixt truth and falsehood) he imparts to me (in private) this his long circuition,b or shooting at rovers,c ere he could hit the mark of a faithful and divine resolve. Who having related the several passages (Non audita sed comperta),d I remembered that old monastichon,e Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter.f Wherefore deeming it illegal to conceal whatsoever tends to God's glory and his church's good, what he promiscuously declared I have only endeavored methodically to set in order, presenting it to the public view of each faithful Christian desirous to be informed, especially to thee who acceptest the willingness of
Who is inspired, here may scan
What I professed, what now I am.
See thou abhor and fly the ministers who teach
The quaking saints, who cry repentance ought to preach
The naked truth; they speak Christ's sacred gospel free;
All other teaching's weak, God's messengers they be.
All private conventicles embrace and hold them sweet,
Avoid their principles in churches who do meet.
Their doctrine is but lies, these are the saints divine,
Their visions vanities, then choose no way but mine.
Who so in body quake their soul salvation's sealed,
With devils they partake who unto priests do yield,
Headlong to be cast down, whose doctrine gives to thee
The loss of Zion's crown, heaven's eternity.
I have read of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, how he withstood the emperor in his days at the entrance of the church because he thought him altogether unfit to be partaker of such holy things: and we all know how zealous Paul was in his way (though erroneous), persecuting the saints. And I myself confess (though not at the door or entrance of the church, or public place of meeting withstood) have used all my art to dissuade from entering, as altogether unfit, in respect they were (as I supposed) a rabble of iniquitous persons not worthy the saints to intervene, and though with Paul I did not (because I wanted power) persecute, yet I undermined and by private means plotted all I could, which might tend to their ruin.
But when that gospel love (which through a self-end displaced) was placed again in me, I began to wonder at myself, and wandering oppositions, in thwarting and overthwarting the gospel's precepts, believing nothing (though ne'er so true) but what mine own private spirit (though ne'er so false) did move me to, as though I had in a moment gained more than Paul, who was rapt into the third heaven or superlative favor of his <22> Christ. Many were the raptures which I dreamed to have, but all was but a fancy or somniacal,g when I came to descend, which must be by humility ere we can ascend to eternity; I viewed (by the assistance of the Spirit) a number of misled souls walking in the darkness of self man, even the whole frame out of course, which caused my passionate soul to burst forth into these words: "Arise, O God, judge the earth, fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Lord, who say, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession, that all may know that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, are the most high over all the earth."
My proud and lofty thoughts being thus (by the spirit of love) brought down, I now wish also that all who have been (in the like nature) seduced may humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and (if they please) read what here the Spirit of God hath given me to speak.
I am not able with the rhetorician to adorn my work with some fair flowers or graceful words which might add a luster to the subsequence or place some large encomium to stand instead of a seemly portal to the fabric, but my desire is to rear no golden image, but a poor, humble, plain, rough-hewn work (held out from that text of Jeremiah) composed in love.
In this part of the exhortation I have been industrious, seeking how I might (by any means) grapple with my Christ; and leaving the worldly things I betook myself to seek amongst the papists, whose gentleman-usher was Antiquity (as they told me). These (I found) would have a name in the world to be called the Roman Catholics, implying others to be Catholics too; but when divines told me that the signification of the word was Universal (denoting the universality of Christ's flock, having in all parts of the world some who have not bent their knee to Baal) I left that name and sought into their service and devotion, where I found blind Bartimeus more zealous than the quick eyed Lynceus,h Croesus' dumb son more troubled to perform his actions than the nimblest tongued orator; I mean those who were blind by ignorance and so dumb as that they scarce could speak one of the Scripture's sentences: yet were these busied to rumble and run over their beadiols,i though in the interim they would be pleased sometimes to discourse upon worldly matters and fall to their devotion again. These poor souls have their lay books, but they must not have the Bible book; for why? it is a mystery. I went and sought further, <23> where in an inner room I came to mass (as they called it), where was an altar richly decked, furnished as though a banquet for a king were there prepared, the crucifix, the tapers burning, the frankincense, the sacring bell;j all these though books to some, read small sense to my intellect. The crucifix 'tis true might stand without a duliank adoration from my body, the light was also good, especially within a darksome room, and the smell of incense, where noisome savors and infections were suspected; but for my darkened soul small light I found, which would not (by a waxen taper or wooden statue) be led, but by an inward light proceeding from the Spirit, and Christ the only crucifix. Then I lent my ear with attentiveness unto the teacher, who was very costly arrayed with cope and vestment and many other featl crepundians;m I heard his first beginning, which being in the Latin tongue I stood as dumb, or if been deaf, it had not mattered concerning what was spoken so that my sense had not been weakened for the future. True it is, I could from those grammatical rudiments which formerly I understood snatch like a hungry beggar one bone from him, which was, Introibo ad Altare Dei:n these though his first words served me chewing till the last how to construe them: what more he spake was unto me a riddle; his cringing congies,o lifting up a box on high, salutes, kisses, was but as a mask to my masked understanding. Then I remembered that when the apostle taught at the feast of Pentecost everyone heard (who was there) in their own language the rites of Christ; which place of Scripture (having well considered) brought me back from Rome's fair show to see what the Reformation promised.
Into a cathedral I came where was the table decked but yet no crucifix, the service in the vulgar tongue I heard, the organs also in the choir was pleasure to my sense, and rather because reading Doctor Butler's Introduction to Music I had gained some small knowledge therein, whereupon (this being known) a diminutive priest brought me a book, which part suiting my voice I joined with heart and voice and understanding also. Here some time I stayed till fear possessed me with some intended alteration.
Then I liked the minister as well without as with his surplice on; it was the word I thirsted after, not the white appearance of his lawn-like sleeves, but the whiteness and purity of doctrine, which having heard, received, and being versed in all the principles, I left the rails and heard one teach who had brought them from the table to the pulpit: this was an odium unto me. After this I was invited to one, who as he has told <24> me preached Christ, he (I do confess having been his auditor) not only preached Christ by his doctrine, as he seemed, but each tenth part (if not more) of his sermon was Christ; here was much talking of Christ.
Then my brethren professors told me of many new lights which the Spirit had demonstrated, amongst which the Independents was the only light; I being desirous to remove from darkness sought this light, where I beheld some praying one while, and some another, all being tolerated (who had a gift) to exercise; myself was there invited, yet I durst not take too much upon me. News was also brought of a northern candle, or blazing comet which cast such illustrious beams as was not formerly seen or heard; the woman teacher called Barbara, to whom among the rest I went on pilgrimage, she having opened her mouth, spake (as then I thought) like to a saint in Christ, and divinely taught; but that which was a stumbling block to me was that place of Scripture in the first Epistle of Timothy, the second chapter, the twelfth verse, where Paul having as it should seem espied the arrogancy of some suchlike effeminate doctors, would not suffer them.
Nevertheless, I, still seeking, met (at the length) one of my old acquaintance, who took upon him to persuade me that I was but in the letter still, and unless I went a degree higher there was small hope to be saved, which terrifying drug wrought so strongly as that I gave ear to what was spoken; he seemed to read a lesson from the Spirit, wished me to look within and think of an inward teaching, which I knew before was the sermon's ending and the hearer's beginning; he thought he taught me, yet affirmed all teaching was in vain and gave me Scripture for it (Jer. 31:34). Hence I quite relinquished what I heretofore professed, the church was but a steeplehouse, and whatsoever appertained ridiculous; the Bible I threw it by, esteeming nothing of it but a dead letter, though what I spoke was still from what I had heard taught and learned from thence, which I (being ignorantly blinded) could not then conceive.
Thus being new molded I met my friend George Fox, whom I heard syllabically dictate, as though he could not utter but what the Spirit forced forth, busied like a woman in travail to bring forth, though an abortive: he let me see what I was before (as he said) wading in a whirlpool, who with one finger helped me out and set me on dry ground, confirming I had Christ now within me. After comes she that did the bottle bring, who purged me of all dregs and made me perfect, for by once tasting I was so transformed, as that to tell, I know not how to tell, but light I was though not in light; the world was now an idol, my cloth and new apparel with ribbons, points, and suchlike furniture seemed like so many hags or furies sent from hell to torture me, whereupon like a man distracted I rent them off as obnoxious and threw them by as pernicious, put on an old cast suit of apparel, a small cord about my hat, to have in readiness for that which <25> without God's special providence I was running to. In this same garb I thought myself not worldly but all spiritual: my calling now I slighted, would not be careful for my family (like an infidel or worse) but unto travel would betake myself amongst my quaking companions, amongst their Setteringtonians, Maltoneers, Paludariansp I was, and there embraced my brother Collins, who had a spiritual revelation (as he reported) to stand naked on Kirkbymoorside Market Cross (not nailed on the cross) and speak the naked truth, where I expected the coming of the Livertonians,p supposing to have accompanied them to Mount Zion ere the day of doom (as 'tis called) approach, which Ratcliffe's wife the prophetess held out unto us to be within a small number of days, but some of those Maltoneers who kept holiday interrupted our passage and told the vision was but false, they had a spirit of delusion, which I suppose was all one as if he had said the saints have now the devil in them.
Now having thus far sought, I desire that in the next place we may try our ways according to the apostle's counsel: "Try the spirits whether they be of God or no"; and what better rule can there be, or square to frame our work by, that so it may be fitly compact and join together, than that evangelical touchstone, the gospel, which is the true distinguisher of all false metals, or chief demonstrator of all false prophets; and though we had one (not inferior unto Paul) teaching among us, yet would I follow the example of the Bereans: try that place, Acts 17:11; they tried by the rule of Scripture whether he was fit to be credited yea or no, and in the first place I desire a little to try the papists, who officiating in an unknown tongue contradict the express words of their own Bible; try 1 Cor. 14:1-16. They would administer the communion, but not in both kinds to the laity, contrary to the express words of their own Bible, try John 6:35 & 1 Cor. 10:16. They will not allow the vulgarity to read the Scriptures, contrary to the express words of their own Bible, John 5:39, and try 1 Pet. 3:15. They affirm ignorance to be the mother of devotion, contrary to the words of their own Bible, John 17:3 & again Ps. 143:8-10; 1 Cor. 14:38. They bid us worship saints and angels, contrary to the words of their Bible, Isa. 63:16, and try Col. 2:18-23. Let us try our ways. Now if you object against me why I stand to try the papists as not appertaining, I will (though not here) show my reason when I have tried ourselves.
First then to try our ways we fly from the congregation or public meeting to the church on the Lord's day, as scorning to enter such profane steeplehouses or accompany amongst such known sinners, saying as those people did of old, try Isa. 65:5, contrary to Christ's example, who (though he was all purity, in whom was no spot at all, the spiritual <26> giver and teacher, or giver of the Spirit) entered into the synagogue upon the Sabbath day; try John 18:20 and Paul also the spiritual Quaker, try Acts 9:20. We avoid the general assemblies because they are sinners, contrary to Christ's example who accompanied amongst prodigals and harlots; try Johnq 15:1-2. And contrary also to the express words of the Bible, try Heb. 10:22-25. And doth not the Spirit in another place hold out unto us that the godly and the wicked cannot (neither ought to) be separated until he send his reapers (the blessed angels) who shall divide the one from the other? try Matt. 13:24,29,39.
Object. We say the place is nothing but a heap of stones, compacted and joined together, and wheresoever two or three or more of the saints are gathered together, there is the church.
To this (according as divines do teach, and we must also confess) I answer, the word hath a twofold sense, sometimes taken for the public place of meeting which is the literal signification, but spiritually for the body whereof Christ Jesus is the head; and true it is, the place without the saints is but an edifice or structure made with hands and still no more; yet when in that place they are convened it must needs be confessed to be a more holy place than any of our own houses thatched over with hypocrisy, and though they want steeples, yet have they steeple-height iniquity; Vide the commission of several transgressions which I need not name but rather say with Paul, try Eph. 5:12. Now whether of these are more fit for the public meetings of the saints, try Matt. 23:17. And are not the saints the temple of the Holy Ghost, whereby each creature is sanctified by prayer and giving of thanks (1 Tim. 4:5). Let us try our ways.
Secondly, the ministers or teachers of the word: these are a stumbling block or stone of offense in our way, at which and where we usually throw our fireballs; first we say there needs no teaching (notwithstanding we ourselves would teach) contrary to the express words of the Bible, try Matt. 28:19; Rom. 10:14-15; & try 1 Cor. 12:27 to the end of the chapter, and Paul was called the teacher of the Gentiles.
That which we commonly are adversant at is their life and conversation. In this let me not be partial but conscientious to all; for if it were not (I confess) more the special mercy of Christ, or rather a miraculous work of grace, many of them would rather eradicate than build the fabric, some like the whale fish devouring the rest of their followers, predominating (I mean) or proudly lording over them, contrary to the words of the Bible, try 1 Pet. 5:1-3. Others I have known though merely sottish and compatricialr by some favor obtain a living or benefit of a large size, though the parishioners for the benefit of their souls are glad to pay excise; some are covetous, lascivious, proud, envious; not that I accuse any <27> but rather excuse, because I know love covereth a multitude of sins; others so poor their words are not of force, especially amongst those who desire the priest should bear rule by his means. But now let us try our ways, I must not deny Christ because Peter did, betray the truth because Judas did, or forsake the gospel because I spy some Simon Magus or a simonist amongst the apostles, but rather try where I find a faithful teacher; and if the place of thy abode in this prove deficient, wanting a painful man, then try thyself; thou art in part the cause; try Jer. 3:13-15. God viewed in this prophet's days how both priests and people were profane; try Jer. 23:9-17, which place I have alleged myself against the ministers: but now try the ministers who preach Christ in his word, do they not speak the truth? The priests before mentioned taught lies, suborned evildoers, held out visions of their own heart, whom (if any such now thou truly find) I wish avoid, yet pray for them, not reviling the teachers, because 'tis contrary to the words of the Bible (Luke 10:16), for the prophet saith, "They are the messengers of the Lord of Hosts," and 'tis they by whom God is pleased to speak in public to his people, whose lips shall preserve knowledge, but because they have profaned the holy covenant of Levi, therefore are they become contemptible amongst the people; try Mal. 2:2-10. The gospel styles them ambassadors, as bringing the message of some mighty prince; try 2 Cor. 5:20, but we usually (as in other matters) in this turned questionists, demanding who they were, for say we, the apostles went from one place to another teaching, not seeking after some great parsonage or living ere they would vouchsafe to preach Christ.
In this we misconstrue the different case and condition of the apostles then and the ministers who are now. In them was a law of necessity, both from Christ's precepts as also their condition; for whoso intentivelys goes into an uncouth island to convert, must not (neither can) at the first seek to get to an established means, because he must not be resident in any one place, which was the apostles' case, yet had they what their brethren had and were commanders of it; try Acts 4:34-35, &c., and again Acts 5:1-2, they having made known and manifested the power of Christ in each part of their circuits would not therefore leave them before they had ordained teachers fit for that calling in their absence; try Acts 14:23. Let's try our ways.
Object. These ministers teach for hire and therefore are but hirelings.
To this I answer, if thou and I would but perform the same unto them that the followers of the apostles did, this bramble bush would be converted into a lily; but I fear Briareust disease is too frequent <28> amongst the cauterized professors.
I do remember the apostle speaks of false prophets who in the last days shall make merchandise of souls (2 Pet. 2:3), such are these I deem who ere they hazard the losing of their worldly benefit they will agree to the protestation, subscribe the Scotch Covenant, and be a witness to the engagement if the papist should predominate; 'tis likely they would go to the mass-school, if they might be admitted, and learn how to say a mass. But what makes this against the lawful competency or subsistency of a painfulu teacher? try Deut. 25:4 & 1 Cor. 9, though Paul used not that which he pleads lawful (meaning a sufficient means or maintenance) yet he would exhort the people to contributions and collections; try Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; Rom. 15:26-27; and shall we say that Paul was not partaker of what he gathered? Now to certify who these teachers are whom we say to be sent, consider who they were that Paul's ordination made elders, who after prayer and fasting of the church were commended unto the Lord to be as it seems teachers of the gospel (Acts 14:23), and those seven (Acts 6:5-6), and ere Paul was sent upon any message to preach for the conversion of souls he received the ordination of the church; try Acts 13:3, and this gift he warns his disciple Timothy not to neglect; try 1 Tim. 4:14. Now try thou that takest upon thee to be a public teacher, hast thou received a Paul-like vision? or if so, hast thou received the laying on of the hands of the ministry? If not, beware thou take not too much upon thee: for though the act may seem good, and thy intentions as meaning right, yet if this proceed from one inordinate, not for that service ordained, 'tis petty treason against the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the only Ruler of Princes; try 2 Sam. 6:6. Let's try, &c.
Thirdly, the magistrates are no magistrates unto us: we'll bow the knee to none neither call any father; for one is our father which is in heaven (Matt. 23:9); not knowing that the Scripture there speaks of the eternal Father, according to the saying, Mal. 2:10, and moreover it was their custom (as appears from our Savior's words) to call Abraham their father; try John 8:39, which Christ strives to take away, teaching them that God is their Father in respect of creation, redemption, &c. But now try, shall we not use the word father to any, or any suchlike phrase of reverence to persons of dignity? try 2 Kings 2:15. And Daniel vouchsafes to call Nebuchadnezzar Lord and King (Dan. 4:19); try Rom. 13:7. Paul saith likewise he was a father to the people (1 Cor. 4:15), and so the magistrates are, or at leastwise should be as nursing fathers and nursing mothers (Isa. 49:22), and as touching that honor due unto the teachers try 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-17. Thus though the Morianv <29> statutes we abhor, yet Chatadalianw principles are by us retained: we would have a parity, which (who knows not?) would at length prove disparity; ye take too much upon you, was the cry in Moses time, but they were consumed in God's good time; then try 2 Chron. 36:16.
Fourthly, the word we term a dead letter, not knowing that even our bodies and souls (though living on this earth) without Christ and his quickening grace are dead; try Eph. 2:1. So the word, as 'tis a letter writ with pen and ink into a book, is not that Life, but the quickening Spirit which faith believes to go along with it. But try, if it be not with thee as the apostles prophesied it should be in the last days (2 Tim. 3:5). For where shall we have that quickening power of conversion, if not in the word? try Rom. 25:1; Gal. 1:9; Jas. 1:21. The devil tempting Christ (who was the essential Word) encounters him with an old text of the written or declarative word; and Christ's answer is retortively the same: try Matt. 4:6, which places (alleged by Christ) did so maul the devil's impudency as that he leaves the Son of God without taking further leave to dispute the matter.
Fifthly, the people who are not of the same opinion with us, we look squintlyx upon them, with a scornful reproach, or passing in haste a rash sentence of condemnation, as if we have viewed the secret will of God's election, or seen the private roll of predestination, contrary to the words of the Bible; try Matt. 7:1-5. We blame them also for their apparel, which (I confess) may be, and is in many beyond their calling, yet is not this the pride the Spirit speaks of, nor that which we ourselves so much profess spiritual teaching, for in the heart this serpent lies. Neither do we read that Solomon who was (according to his degree) very sumptuous & costly in his robes, plate, hangings, attendants, &c., was blamed for these, but for his several women, who caused him to neglect and choose an unknown God. Not that I (mistake me not) allow any more (than ever) of gaudy and effeminate habit, but wish that all may be performed accordingly as is expressed in the words of the Bible: try 1 Cor. 14:40. Let's try our ways.
'Tis now time I give response to what was promised, to wit, why I meddled with the papists; and my reason is, to try our ways how near we run into their abscondities,y if not absurdities. They term those on the contrary heretics; we term them vile who are against us. They would have the Bible put into the pope's pokemantyz and for the ministers of the gospel to be sent into some barbarous island to seek out a new plantation or to live like the prophet upon the bread of adversity and water of affliction; and whatsoever belongs to the ordinances they hold erroneous, not only speaking against them, but endeavoring by their several plots and wicked <30> machinations for their and all the gospel's ruin. And are we not posting on the same road without a guide to Tyburne? Let's try our ways. Is not this a means to make more papists or turn to atheists? Let's, etc.
Sixthly, let's try and seek the radix of our preposterous ways, which like a strong gust of wind violently turns about the windmill of our affections. And if here you demand what are our settled tenets, I could never yet find any so strongly settled as to resolve me: each vulture-like, gnawing upon the invented prey of his own brain-sick fancy, whirling about, being dislocated from the center.
Nevertheless, the first radixaa (as inference hath taught me) of these distempers I find to be ignorance, misconstruing the Scripture's sense for want of such a Philip as the eunuch had to expound it clearly. He read the Bible but knew not what it meant, yet was he not so bold as I have been to frame an exposition from his own private spirit; try Acts 8:30-31; 2 Pet. 3:16. Let's try, &c.
In this condition of ignorance I read that place of Isa. 20 where God commands the people to go naked, speaking or demonstrating the shameful captivity of Egypt and Ethiopia, which place I thought sufficient for any to go naked. I also took that text into consideration (Ezek. 12:18), as though here I had enough to prove our quaking. Not knowing that the former was an extraordinary voice of prefiguration, and this other denoting the broken and contrite heart spoke of by David: for so divines hold out from the original, which signifies a kind of sorrowful apprehension of God's judgments approaching. Let's try, &c.
Secondly, another radix, as my experience holds out, is a sinister end. Concerning which, let each one search and try their own hearts, and there it may be they will find (though not confess) the same condition. I gave my vote to Lilburne's late demonstration for removing that Jewish idol of tithe-taking, incited especially from an inward principle of hoping to gain that part which myself was accustomed to pay. This motive (I fear) makes the commons cry with wider mouths a H. than ever the western men did cry a Savile.bb Let's try our ways.
The third radix (as my experience still speaks) is pride, though I could not then discern it: for I thought myself no whit inferior to the greatest person, because the text saith, God is no respecter of persons. When I could give the language "thou" to any (though ne'er so eminent) I supposed myself now grown wise (though my folly never more appeared) and leper-like could keep my hat unveiled as though my pericraniumcc stood need of scalping, or that I feared another should (by pulling it off) espy more hair than wit.
<31> The fourth radix (as my experience still teacheth) is a wilfulness rather than a religious willingness; for I would then hear no Bible proof that spoke against my way, framing some strange exposition (contrary to all commentators) upon it, like unto those people of which David speaks; try Ps. 82:5. Whatsoever proceeded from the voice of a minister (my affection being averse) was but as sounding brass or the tinkling of a cymbal; was not this the reason why Christ left off his miracles amongst his natives? try Matt. 13:58. In this condition I had forgot that learning made me know how to read the Bible and so to hear of God and all his attributes; for if I had never known the Bible, neither read nor heard, my condition (I suppose) would have been otherwise. Not that the reading or searching of the Bible's precepts causeth evil, but 'tis the powerful operation of God's Spirit, who when he seeth man or woman slight the truth takes away his candle of illumination and fire of love; and some grow both blind and envious; then try that place John 5:46-47. Let's try our ways.
Now follows the other part of the exhortation, which is, "Turn again unto the Lord"; but in this case 'twas with me (as may be with thee who readest) I would not hear that voice of the charmer, charmed he never so wisely, till at length a strange kind of inward susurration from whence I know not, seeing the wind blows where it listeth, seized upon my soul; whereupon my willful violency (on a sudden) was changed to suaveolency,dd and that word which ere while I valued not begun to be of estimation. I was after this invited by my singular good friend Gnothiticon to discourse a little with a minister, who formerly (as now) loved me dearly, by whose persuasion at length (though sore bickering I had within myself which strove to pull me back, dilating the shame which would follow by relinquishing what I had undertaken and so strongly maintained) I steered my course towards that place, where being arrived, he lovingly, as the child of God (born of the Almighty, who is Love) begun to hold out the Scriptures' sense (in and upon sundry places) unto one, whereat I formerly stumbled, laying open the spiritual application (or that mystery of godliness) which I so much thirsted after, not destroying the letter, which was my fault formerly: he explained unto me whole man, consisting of a natural and a spiritual part, the one rebelling against the other yet cannot be utterly disjoined unto the appointed time (which Job so strongly waited for) become to a period, which Spirit or spiritual treasures we have (saith Paul) in earthen vessels: but when these tabernacles shall be dissolved we have a house (we know by the Spirit) not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1). He also declared the manifold infirmities subject to God's people, which might cause Paul to chasten his body with fasting, lest when he had taught to others he himself should be a reprobate. <32> After this he wished me to consider that place of Scripture, Gal. 6:1. Where having taken the Bible he descanted of the new creature, or creature made new by conversion, into which a gap being (by the power of the Spirit) made, the waters from the fountain of living waters do plenteously flow: at the first like the waters of Mara seem bitter, but within a while prove dulcid,ee sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. From the sixth text he hath showed how those that are taught in the word should communicate to those that teach in all good things. From whence he drew a conclusion concerning the necessity of the teaching of one man another; for eternity (saith he) knowing man could not understand his characters, send his son Jesus Christ, not as a God or Spirit speaking unto man, but in the form of man, and very man, that he might speak and man might understand the duty of man.
He also framed some morals (according to Christ's example) for convincing of mine error and confirming the truth, amongst which he held out this following parable for one: Suppose (saith he) thou werest to pass into some foreign island, where coming to the haven to take ship, thou art entertained into a fair new vessel, newly launched, having a skillful pilot, strong masts, new sailcloth, well rigged, and well furnished with all tacklings, fit to ride the main, and at length the wind blows fair, the pilot calls, but thou and the rest of the passengers, because you have had your abode some small time at the water's side, profess to know the time and tide as well as he, and therefore you reply to his call with an answer, Let him be calling, we are wise enough. On a sudden the wind grows rough, the billows beat, and the storms tempestuous, then no passage at all; is it not just that such should lose their voyage? (Prov. 1:24). Another he took from the Bible, where he divinely held out how that Christ stood continually knocking with a hammer upon the anvil or heart of man; try Cant. 5:2; and this hammer he also showed me to be the word of God; try Jer. 23:29; in which chapter from the subsequent verses he explained the false hammers which they use who take upon them to prophecy false dreams and cause the people to err (v. 32).
My intent is not to take upon me the part of a theologian, for which office I am altogether unable, saying, who is fit for these things? but those whom God hath set apart to apply their studious endeavors to search for the golden minerals or mysteries of godliness, revealed unto them from the Spirit of God by prayer and supplication. These I know would spin out the words into several threads, which might be wound up upon the wheel of man's intellect, first denoting from the word "Turn" a kind of standing still, from pursuing the purposed intentions. Secondly, "Turn again," which implies a reversion or going back to <33> seek something which was lost. Thirdly, "Turn again to the Lord," points out the butt or mark at which all the arrows of our inventions, thoughts, words, and actions should be shot.
But this motion is beyond my sphere; I only desire in brotherly love that thou (whosoever hast been seduced) wouldst fly to the Lord with David's words; try Ps. 119:33. I have (by the assistance of God's Spirit) chosen the way of truth and laid God's judgments before me, which way I wish to all. "I cried unto the Lord," saith David, "in my troubles, and he delivered me out of my distress." If thou wilt but turn by praying, God will turn to thee by promising and performing what he promiseth (Matt. 7:7). This heavenly duty was so prevalent that we read it entered into the ears of eternity from Cornelius, before he knew Christ; try Acts 10:4 & 1 John 5:14-15. And my counsel is also that thou turn with a favorable respect upon the painful minister who watcheth for thy soul, and can according to the saying of the poet,
Observe, confirm, apply, make use,
Whose life strives to reform abuse.
And pray also with David that thy heart may be found in Christ's precepts (Ps. 119:80). True it is, Ahab would call for prophets, but they (we all know) were idolatrous, but Jehosaphat inquires for one of the Lord's prophets. Hezekiah also having received the railing letters of Rabshakeh, takes not upon himself but sends for the prophet to pray; try 2 Kings 19:1,4. Others without doubt he might have chosen, but he admits of none (but who was for that office) to speak in public. David also enters into his closet, which he also holds out to others; and 'tis Christ's counsel, see Matt. 6:6. For what thou hast heard in public shall not (it may be) inwardly be revealed unto thy soul till thou enterest into thy private chamber, where then thou shalt plainly see within the closet of thy heart and shalt with John the Divine behold the City of God, the new Jerusalem, the spiritual Solomon, the attendants, the gates, the keepers of those gates with the keys thereof, all held out from Rev. 22:14. Let the word of God be a lantern to thy feet and a light unto thy paths (Ps. 119:105 & Ps. 119:9; John 8:31). But lest I seem too prolix, I will shut up my desires with the prophet's words (Isa. 30:20), hoping that "Though the Lord give us the bread of adversity and the waters of affliction, yet shall not our teachers be removed into a corner any more, but our eyes shall see our teachers, and our ears shall hear that voice saying, This is the way; and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."
Search, try, and turn unto the Lord who gave
Thy soul to thee, and also must it save.
a. Thomason date: Feb. 14, 1654/55.
b. circuition = circuitous discourse.
c. rovers = distant or movable targets.
d. Not by hearsay but by investigation.
e. monastichon: not in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). May be Emmot's own portmanteau word, monastikos (monastic) + stichos (line of poetry).
f. Your own knowledge is nothing unless another knows that you know it.
g. somniacal = pertaining to sleep or dreams.
h. Lynceus = one of the Argonauts, known for his sharp eyes.
i. beadiols: This word is not in OED. Possibly he means rosaries?
j. sacring bell = a bell rung during Mass upon lifting of the eucharistic elements after consecration.
k. dulian = pertaining to the veneration given to saints and angels.
l. feat = suitable, fitting
m. crepundians = childish toys
n. I shall enter unto the altar of God.
o. congies = bows (OED).
p. These names apparently allude to the places of residence of some Quakers; see William Braithwaite, Beginnings of Quakerism (1923), p. 77.
q. Emmot means Luke 15:1-2.
r. compatricial: This word is not in OED.
s. intentively = OED defines as "earnestly"; but Emmot's context suggests "intentionally."
t. Briareus = In Greek mythology, a hundred-handed giant.
u. painful = painstaking, careful.
v. Morian = Marian?
w. Chatadalian: not in OED.
x. squintly = diapprovingly.
y. abscondities = obscurities, secrets.
z. pokemanty: not in OED.
aa. radix = root.
bb. a H. . . . a Savile: Emmot's reference here is obscure.
cc. pericranium = the outer layer of the skull.
dd. suaveolency = sweet fragrance.
ee. dulcid = sweet