Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > The Boaster Bared
That principle which caused Moses, David, Daniel, the prophets & holy men of God to quake & tremble, hath been often struck at by a principle of darkness which knows not the word at which the saints trembled,1 and this always under a pretense of truth, saying, let God be glorified; but it never could be dashed in pieces, though many weapons have been formed against it which are carnal and out of the truth. And it is the same now, as will appear by this which thou, Enoch Howet, hast written, wherein thou wilt be found in the same ground of opposition, gathering up false accusations to cast on the truth where it is manifested; and being blind, thou thinks thou dost God service therein, that the Scripture may be fulfilled upon this generation, who are gathered as the sand of the sea for multitude against the despised people of God.2 And the seven heads thou hast lifted up against the truth, with the many horns arising from thence, pushing at the saints with many lies, which heads thou callest our mistakes; but six of them, as thou hast described them, are thy own mistakes (if not thy malicious slanders), as would appear upon trial when with truth they come to be weighed, to which thou adds many lies to make up thy number.
<56> Before thou comes to the seven heads thou begins an oration: the God of the whole earth is now about to declare his glory to the Gentiles, and the kingdoms of this world are about to become the Lord's and his Christ's.
I answer: Many such as thou in a vain mind have long fed yourselves with what will be, but for the present, lives in your own wills and pleasures and are not subject to the kingdom of Christ,3 nor that way in which he reigned when he was upon earth (which the literal knowledge could never own), and whilst we fed with you upon these vain words without knowledge and life, we were beloved of you, being of this world with you, but now being come to the knowledge of the Lord by the name of "I am," and seeing his glory (having denied the glory of the world in ourselves and others) to own Christ's kingdom wherein he reigned above the world's pleasures, now you hate us, and out of all forms are you gathered against us, and on every side are we beset, but not destroyed,4 neither can thy boasting words dash in pieces that principle wherein we stand, and when thou hast made way with thy fair speeches then thou begins to push with thy horns, wherein is the names of blasphemy, casting out thy lies, saying that we call the god of this world that blinds the eyes, a God of light, and all this darkness, spiritualness, and that we can hardly endure what is written but run to unwritten notions, &c., whenas we own no light but that which God hath made to shine out of darkness,5 wherein he hath shined in our hearts to give the knowledge of himself, which is the light of Christ, and thou that calls this the god of this world, or an unwritten notion, makes it appear that thou hast not the light in thee, nor the testimony of Jesus. And thus (being not born of the truth) thou serves the land of thy nativity (as thou sayest) with false accusations, and calling Christ thy Master will not hide thee, for such work he never owned.
Now thy first head thou sets up to oppose us with is that we slight the written word—to which I answer: If thou means the Scriptures, I say thy accusation is false, for the Scripture we own which testifies of the word, which word was in Spirit, and spiritually discovered in them that spake forth the Scripture, before they spake it or writ it in letters, which word we witness in Spirit <57> according to Scripture (Gal. 1:11-12, 15-17; 2 Cor. 3:6), discovered in us spiritually, which thou denies to set up a literal discovery. And the veil being untaken away, by turning to the Lord, which is that Spirit, thou canst not see the gospel light, nor the end of the Scriptures,6 which were given to lead to the spiritual light and word that gave them forth, where the life eternal is, which they who think it to be in the letter without, deny it in Spirit, as the Jews did and thou dost; and thou that denies this end of the Scriptures, art he that denies the word to set up the letter in his place, and calls it by his name who is the word before the letter was, which we dare not do, which the letter doth not. Now if thou calls this slighting of the word, then did not the saints also slight it before us, who called what they writ a declaration of the word? (1 John 1:1-3; Luke 1:1). And it's called the words of Jeremiah, to whom the word of the Lord came; a clear distinction between the invisible word that came to him in Spirit, and the visible writings declared from that word, for the words were many, but the word is but one from whom these words were spoken (Jer. 1:1-2). And thou goes on in thy book often repeating, It is written, it is written; now it is written that God is the word, and Christ his name is called the word of God;7 but where is it written that the letter is the word, or of a written word? And now it will appear who owns what is written and who adds to it or would take from it: prove what thou sayest with plain Scripture, then thou mayest boast of it's written, thou holds out ignorance of the Scriptures to be the ground of error, which if thou meanest literal knowledge, I deny what thou sayest, for many such as thou knows the history but errs from the life, for it is the ignorance of the Spirit and power that the Scriptures declare of, that's the ground of error, without which knowledge puffs but up to oppose the life and power; and for thy ranking us amongst the papists and saying we persuade you to the uselessness of the Scriptures, calling subtle devils and the like; these are but lying slanders to make us odious, and on thy head shall they fall, for the devil is known by his works: a liar and false accuser he was, and so he is, as it is written, and his subtlety he uses to uphold his kingdom of sin, and not to put it down, and in that work thou art found in thy book by his subtlety, pleading for <58> sin against perfection, for respect of persons his own kingdom: and whereas thou chargest us with lust, envy, pride, idolatry, luxury, and uncleanness; I say these are thy own; we deny them and that spirit that acts them, else we should not be so hated by those that live in them. Thou sayest your foundation is laid upon the doctrine of the apostles & prophets. If thou means that Spirit that was in them, that foundation I own; but if thou meanest the letter, then where had thy foundation been hadst thou never seen the letter; and that foundation I judge which stands in the visible to be none of Abraham's foundation, which was laid before the letter was; and thou tells of the Scripture being the bridle that checks lust; but thou that knows nothing nearer than the letter to bridle and check lust, thou knows not the law of the new covenant written in the heart nor the Spirit of Christ that reproves the world of sin,8 but without book, without bridle, and it's no strange thing that such should plead for a being for sin whilst they live, who have no bridle for lust but when the Bible is in their hands, unless thou meanest that keeping it in the house will do it: and how that bridle thou tells of hath kept thee and many more it is evident by your practice. The words you have, but not the life; it seems thou hadst forgot thy bridle when thou wrote this book, else thou durst not have vented so many lies and false accusations against the truth, which they that are checked by that Spirit that spake what is in the letter bears witness against. Thou sayest if wisdom in salvation be contained in the Scriptures, and if the Scriptures are the means of comfort and hope, &c. But why dost thou not speak plain, that salvation is in the letter contained, and that the letter is the means of comfort and hope, it seems thou dares not positively say it is, and therefore puts in "if," thou dares not wholly exclude Christ, thou wilt allow him a name in the thing, though thou give the power to the letter, for to say salvation, wisdom, is contained in the letter, and that the letter is the means of comfort; is not this to deny Christ and the letter too? where is it so written? Thy places thou makest use of will not prove it without adding or wresting, and to prove that the letter is so thou brings that of Dan. 10:21 where the angel when he would comfort Daniel said, I will show thee what is written in the Scriptures, where it plainly appears that Daniel for all his wisdom <59> could not know what was the life and comfort declared of in the letter, without the Spirit showed it to him, and here thou hast well proved the life, wisdom, salvation and means of comfort to be contained in the Spirit & its opening, which before thou saidst was contained in the Scriptures; and thus whilst thou art about to dash in pieces the Quakers' principles thy potsherds are clashing one against another. Thou saidst thy expectation is from the Scriptures, but where finds thou it so written? The saints' expectation is from God; is the Scriptures thy God? And then to cover thyself thou sayest thou makes not the Scriptures thy sole cause of knowledge: I answer: that's the sole cause of knowledge, wherein is contained the wisdom to salvation, and which is the means of comfort which thou hast ascribed to the letter, and now this cover will not hide thee. Thou sayest it is able in the hand of the eternal Teacher to make wise to salvation the man of God; but thou hadst done well to have given thy judgment clearly, whether thou thinkest the eternal Teacher can make wise to salvation without it, or the man of God can be saved without the letter? Thou says the Scripture proves the work of the new birth; but is it so written? Show me that place; the new birth was before the letter, and does the latter prove the former? It is written the spiritual man proves and judgeth all things,9 but not the literal; and here thou come not with "it is written": this is but imagined, and this is thy first mistake against us; and now thou comes to the second head which thou calls our mistake, and that is our speaking to that within.
I answer: This only of thy leaven we own, as it is laid down, and thou that knows not that within to speak to, knows not his ministry that preaches to the spirits in prison10 nor that quickened in thee that death hath passed over, but art still dead in sins and trespasses, and knows not the seed of Abraham, to which the promise is, which is not after the flesh nor of the flesh, which seed Christ takes upon him to renew the image of God; and whereas thou deniest it to be God's language, and calls it Satan's language, I answer: What language spake the apostles when they spake in demonstration of Spirit,11 and commended themselves to that in every man's conscience in the sight of God?12 and what is that dead that must hear <60> the voice of the son of God and live?13 What is the inward man and the outward man, if there be nothing in man to speak to?14 And what was that which Christ spake to in Peter, when he said, Upon thee will I build my church, and presently after, Get thee behind me Satan?15 Was this all one thing in Peter? or was it to him alone as he was a creature? And herein thou declares thyself to be an unbeliever, for he that believeth hath the witness in himself (1 John 5:10), which witness thou knows not in thee. And saith the apostle, my conscience also bearing me witness, in the sight of God I lie not. And what eyes was Paul to open in the Gentiles?16 Was it not an eye within? Or was he but only to preach to men outwardly blind? Here thou hast manifested thyself to be a blind guide, who hast not a witness of God in thee thou knowest of to exercise thy conscience towards God and man, therefore the devil hath his will in thee, lying, slandering, and false accusing, calling the inward man in the saints Satan, or some of his legions (2 Cor. 4:16).
Now to thy third head, That we deny the use of reason or consideration in matters of God. I answer: If thou meanest carnal or natural reason, I say it knows not nor discerns the things of God, and we deny to consult with flesh and blood to know the things of God, and show where that is written, that natural reason is to be considered with about the things of God.17 But if thou sayest thou meanest spiritual reason, I judge thy accusation to be false, for that reason we own which stands in the faith of God and leads to reasonableness. And whereas thou accusest us that we will not do as Christ and his apostles did, to dispute with gainsayers of the truth: herein let most of the prisons in the nation be witness against thee, wherein we are and have been imprisoned for going into your synagogues and idols' temples to dispute and reason with gainsayers of the truth,18 and herein we are not different from the words and practice of Christ, as thou accusest us to be, which thou in thy reason avoids and saves thyself, lest any of those things that befalls Christ and his saints now should befall thee; and here is thy own reason wherein Satan is conversant (as thou says) that will not suffer thee to follow Christ and his saints herein, further than thou canst have thy own pleasures, honor, and ease, and worldly <61> beloveds, that thy lusts may live, and so throws by the cross of Christ and his afflictions, for which thou accusest us. And thou lays down ways in thy reason to know the things of God, as by the air and sun, and by the creation of the world, to know the new Jerusalem, and Rome at the day of judgment, and many such things of God's secrets thou wilt know, without in thy reason; but thou hast lost "it is written," for it is written, that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it to them;19 but where is it written that God is known by reason? And many words thou utters not worth answering. And thou tells of a daystar rising in the heart, now thou wilt confess something within and not all in the letter; but what foundation thou art on, that art thus tossed to and fro, is manifest to the light, but the blind must needs stumble.
And now to the fourth head: That we deny the ascension or being of the body of Christ; and when thou hast raised this slander thou goest about to disprove it, and so thou disproves thy own and not ours, for the body of Christ we own, and the ascension of it, and that it is the same that came down from heaven20 which became flesh and is real flesh and bone, which flesh is our food to spiritual life,21 but if thou sayest this body is carnal (as the priests do), let us know thy meaning in plain words, for a carnal Christ I own not; but if thou sayest Christ cannot be real flesh except he be carnal, I say thou knows not the Scripture nor power of God, for Christ is not begotten by carnal generation, nor by flesh, but the Spirit of promise: silence flesh and stop thy mouth, for into this MYSTERY thy reason cannot enter; but Christ and his flesh we know, therefore does the world hate us; had the flesh of Christ been carnal it had corrupted as thine must, but being spiritual it could not.
|Thy fifth head is also a filthy lie: That we deny all ordinances of Christ, and that there is nothing which Christ hath commanded as Lord over his heritage, but we deny it. Oh that ever any should profess the pure name of God, and utter such abominable lies, that all that ever knows our practice or judgment may witness against thee, for all the ordinances of Christ we own in their place and the end of them in Christ, who is the body and life of all, yet cannot we give or attribute that to the figure which belongs to the substance;b and otherways prove if thou canst that we deny any one <62> thing that Christ ordained; but it may be thy meaning is that we deny the worshiping in the idol's temple, or your churches as thou calls them, which thou pleads for in another place, or sprinkling infants, singing David's words in rhyme, hourglass preaching from a text as now it is used, preaching over the dead, churching women,c taking tithes and set wages, and much suchlike stuff, which neither thou nor all the priests in England can prove any one thing of them that Christ ordained as now they are used, but had their rise from Rome and are inventions of men which have the pope for their predecessor, which thou accusest us withal, who deny such beggarly popish rudiments and bears witness against them both in them and you; and here be ashamed of thy slander, and let it return upon thy own pate, and thy reproof be to thyself, who denies the Lord to set up those traditions in such a way as he never commanded. And whereas thou mentions baptism and the Lord's supper, I say that baptism we own which is with one Spirit into the death of Christ into one body,d which is the baptism of Christ, and the baptism of John we own in its place, and the supper of the Lord we own, and the bread we break is the communion of Christ's body, and the cup we drink is the communion of his blood, and we being many thereby become one body and one blood, soul, and mind, and the Lord's body we discern and eat not damnation but eternal life. And thou that calls this denying of those ordinances, thou knowest not the end for which they were ordained. Thou says, have we a spirit to guide us without a written word? Thou sayest we may be familiar spirits for aught thou knowest: O thou blasphemer, is that a "familiar spirit" that guided the saints in all ages before the letter and without the letter; and is not that Spirit the same now to those that know it?e Doth not Christ say the Spirit of truth shall guide into all truth, and doth he say not without the letter?f And was that a "familiar spirit"? How dost thou deny the <63> Spirit and blaspheme against it, to set the letter in its stead? And thou makest a dissembling as though thou pitied us; but wert thou not blind thou wouldst bewail thyself who art spiritually blind, who hast not the Spirit of judgment to guide thee and to try all things, but by the letter wouldst try the Spirit, when a lying spirit in thee must read it; it's no wonder that thou shouldst call light darkness and say the letter is the rule of life and love, and so denies Christ to be the rule of life, unless thou sayest the letter is Christ. And whereas thou hold it forth as that all that Christ commanded to any is to be observed by all: then why do not all that reads those commands go teach and baptize all nations? And why art thou in thy certain dwelling house and art not wandering without bag or scrip, freely preaching and working miracles? And why was not Paul sent to baptize as well as the rest, if they had not their particular calls? Art not thou now he that hath lost Scripture and thy reason too which thou slanders us withal? All that are not blind like thee may see thee. Thou goes on lying all along, saying that we desire to overthrow the writings of the Spirit of God and to shake off all rules, and thou brings Mr. Pope to witness thy filthy slanders; but hast not thou cast off Christ's rule and the writings of the Spirit too, in lying and calling Pope, Master? which Christ forbids. And thou says none ever promised so much liberty to themselves as we do and tells of Chandler as being our head formerly, who is one that we never knew; & suppose that he did own the truth in show, wilt thou slander all the eleven for Judas? Here thou showest but thy envy and foolishness, to slander those that abide in the truth for one that falls from it; stop thy mouth and be ashamed of thy lies. Is this thy religion? that knows nothing in thee to bridle thy tongue and guide thee in the truth? Thy refuge of lies must be swept away, and the Truth cleared.||
Thy sixth head is, That we deny honor to men. To which I answer: If thou meanest such honor as stands in the Lord, wherein everyone is bound to honor one another without respect of persons, or if thou meanest subjects to the power of God, in whomsoever it is, without respect of persons, as to magistrate, &c; or if thou meanest old age, without respect of persons or parents or masters in the Lord, such honor as God requires; this we own and practice both in doing and suffering, and thy slander cannot reach us herein; but if it be that honor that stands in the pride or riches or respect of persons, we deny it and thee in it; and do see thee in <64> Haman's condition, who would have the seed of God to bow to the devil's pride, but we have not so learned Christ, God is no respecter of persons, Christ is no respecter of persons, and they that are in the faith of Christ are no respecters of persons; and thou that art, read thyself in the Scriptures; wert thou not blind thou shouldst see the devil reproved and resisted with "it is written" (2 Sam. 14:14; Rom. 2:11; Acts 10:34; Luke 4:7-8; Matt. 22:16; John 5:44; Jas. 2:1-10; Job 32:21-22; Esth. 3). These and many more places might be added to them which all forbid respect of persons. Now all may see how thou regards what is written but for thy own ends; thou perverter of Scriptures, stop thy mouth for shame or show me one scripture that commands me to honor any for their pride or riches; till then all the examples of the world is nothing to me, I follow Christ and his commands and not the traditions of men, good or bad. And whereas thou brings that command (Lev. 19:32), "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head," &c., but how is that command fulfilled when gray hairs must bow down to pride in young ones or else such as thou wilt accuse them to commit a sad offense against what is written: hast thou not brought this against thyself? And now who is the conjurer or familiar spirit thou tells on but thou, who by alleging Scriptures wouldst lead contrary to Scriptures & the commands of Christ & his practice, wherein the Scriptures condemns thee. And whereas thou wouldest possess people that we have familiar spirits and are wizards because we will not bow to men's persons who are proud and rich: O thou serpent! how does thou cast out thy venom against that seed that would never bow to thee? Had Christ a familiar spirit, who would not bow to the prince of this world, who would allow him no share in its glory if he did not? Had Mordecai a familiar spirit, who would not bow to the devil in Haman, who else would kill him and all that seed? Or was he a wizard, because thou says they that are wizards use not to bow or honor men's persons? Was Elihu a wizard? Or had the apostle and they that he wrote to familiar spirits? O thou blasphemer! Thou shalt now know that thou hast spoken against the Holy Ghost. And I charge thee and all thy proud generation to prove ever any who required bowing to their own persons or persecuted, hated, and accused for not so doing, but such who had the spirit of the devil, and the same spirit that tempted Christ to it tempts his saints to it. And now see how thou belies what is written, neither can the saints' weakness prove God's commands <65> nor our obedience to them, no more than David's adultery, or Joseph's swearing by the life of Pharoah, though thy brood who loves such things take liberty by them and so wrests the Scriptures to their own destruction. Thou goes on in thy blasphemy and sayest thou art sure that these two are both sins alike, viz. being a wizard and not bowing to men or honoring men's persons, for so is thy meaning or else thou touches not us, then must needs follow that Christ, Mordecai, and Elihu committed that sin, and the apostles exhorts to that sin when he saith my brethren have not the faith of Christ in respect of persons; for if you do respect persons you commit sin and transgress the law, which law thou wouldest bring to prove respect of persons. And here thy spirit is tried to be contrary to the apostle's, for he brings the law to forbid respect of persons (James 2), and thou wouldst wrest it to prove it, and this is the spirit of Satan, for that law which saith honor thy father, &c., sayeth thou shalt not bow to any creature, &c. And herein thou canst not accuse us but thou must accuse Christ and the saints that followed him. And why dost thou so often bring that word "Master" unless thou intends to bring the practice of Abraham's servant to disprove the express command of Christ (Matt. 23), which if thou dost deal plainly (for I know that command is much in the way of priests and proud teachers), and when thou hast pressed respect of persons and calling "Master" and such things (though masters and servants we deny not). Then thou sayest, though these things will vanish away in the day of restoration, yet abide in them till that day: what art thou afraid that we should come too soon into the practice and command of Christ? It seems thou art convinced the kingdom of thy father must down, but thou wilt set to thy shoulder to uphold it as long as thou canst. All that are not blind may see whose work thou art doing; and sayest thou, though forms and ordinances shall cease (and churches as thou calls them), yet let us worship in them till Christ come, which if thou meanest Christ's coming to his in Spirit, then it's plain thou hast not received him, who art still in these things and pleading for them, which must perish at his coming. But if thou meanest his coming at the end of the world, then it seems thou wouldest take a long day for them to continue, even as long as God is to have any worship here, and such stuff as this thou brings forth to dash the quaking principle a-pieces. Is this thy standing truth that lies thus in confusion? But it is no wonder to see thee oppose Christ and all <66> that follow him, who knowest him not yet come, nor the day of restoration, and yet in a busy blind zeal (without Christ) wouldst set judging the things of God, Christ, and his saints, with a reprobate spirit that knows not Christ in thee,22 and with thy carnal spirit wouldst keep up carnal ordinances, and yet wouldst accuse us for wizards, but read the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, and there thou mayest read thyself and how the Galatians were bewitched by such wizards, holding up carnal commandments against the spiritual life, but thou art much worse than they, who art holding up that which was never commanded but forbidden; and here the witch is found out but not in the Quakers, and into thy pit thou hast digged thou art fallen, and let thy mischief be upon thy own pate, but peace and truth be upon Israel's seed forever.
|Now to thy last head, which is not thy least lie, that is, affording absolute perfection at one instant, and that we admit of none but perfect men into conjunction, and when thou hast doubled the lie, that thy bonds of wickedness may be strong, then thou goes about to disprove it; and here thou raves and raises up much mud and dirty stuff, as shooting and hitting, and stating the matter to cast upon us, as though we held absolute perfection at one instant, but he is blind that cannot see thy shooting is against any perfection, and yet thou darest not speak out. The great controversy at this day between Christ and Antichrist, and their ministers, is about perfection and being free from sin; God made man perfect and free from sin, but the devil having led man out of his perfection into sin, labors there to keep him, and God in love hath given Christ and furnished him with power, to lead man again to his perfection and freedom; and now here is the contest between Christ and Antichrist and their disciples: Christ gave out his ministers for the perfecting of the saints and to bring them into one faith unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4:11-13). And all that believe in him preach this and press after it, and none of these did ever plead against perfection or say none could be free from the being of sin while they live, but believed in perfection and <67> freedom; and this faith stands in Christ, who is able to save to the uttermost all that believe in him.g Now Antichrist he hath his ministers sent out under the name of Christ, and making use of Scripture to beget a faith in all that will believe them, but quite contrary (that is), that none can be free while they live, but when they die then they may. And thus each master hath his ministers pleading for their master's kingdom here in this life, who should be served in this life; now because the devil hath nothing at present to give to deceive withal but sin and filthiness, therefore he always deceives those that believe him with promising a thing that is to come, persuading them to do his work here and they shall have Christ's wages hereafter. This is the liar. Now saith Christ, I am the Son, and if you know the Son he shall make you free even from the committing of sin (John 8:32-37). But then the works of the devil must not stand, for to this end I am made manifest to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:3-9), and you cannot serve two masters saith Christ, me and Mammon; now all that believe in Christ believes this and so denies the works of the devil and follows Christ, and these never want power, for they have him who is the great power of God to salvation, and as they grow in the knowledge of Christ, so they know power and victory, and their faith is that which overcomes the world and the devil (1 John 5:4).h Now the other hath a faith without power, which withstands the power, that is, to believe they can never be free from sin till they die, and yet believes there is a God that will reward accordingly, and this the apostle calls the faith of the devil (James 2). And this faith is to uphold his own kingdom, but perfection and freedom destroys it. And now read thyself whose minister thou art, and whose faith thou preaches, and according to thy faith so shall it be unto thee (and everyone else), and that the devil knows well enough, that makes him thus rage, that any should believe freedom, for he that comes to God must first believe that he is able to save, or else he justly cuts himself off by his unbelief. But all that know God have learned to deny thee and thy faith and doctrine, and with that light which is before sin was art thou comprehended and judged, who art tossing and searching out ways, and gathering up those Scriptures to plead for sin, that holy men wrote to lead <68> out of sin; and the saints' imperfection in their growth thou usest to make people believe they never came further; and when thou hast wrested many Scriptures to that end, to keep all blind that are blind—for those that see, thy mist cannot hurt—then thou falls to thy lying again, repeating them over, lest they should have forgotten them in this confusion thou hast led them through. And thou tells again of denying Christ's body and his ordinances; and thus thou leads them that will believe thee into thy practice to tell it after thee, but lest any should behold thy practice and ours, and so come to suspect thee, or own us, thou shuts the kingdom against them, thus Satan (says thou) may let them be pure and holy in regard of outward holiness or justice between man and man, and freedom from the pollution of the world through lust, if he can make them be of those that deny the Lord that bought them: this error is sin enough to damn them. As though a man could be free from the pollutions of the world through lust, and yet deny the Lord that bought them; here shall all that know freedom from pollution through lust judge thee that thou never yet knew it, who sayest it may stand with denying Christ. And thus being convinced that our practice will prove thee a liar thou wilt hide it as well as thou canst. It seems thou owns not freedom from the pollutions of the world through lust to be the redemption of Christ unless they jump with thy fancy; then to conclude thy lying slander, and to make us odious indeed, thou sayest the Ranters were our forerunners when all that know us may witness against thee that no people in the nation more differ, both in judgment and in practice, than they and we; but were we one with the Ranters, we should have more of thy favor and less opposition; for thou and many of thy generation have writ many books against us, but I never heard none of you write a book to oppose them. Thou tells of Franckling, what he is I know not; accuse us with what we own and not with what we deny, who is gone out from us are not of us, nor do we own their practice. And lest any should spy out thy envy in often repeating thy false accusations, thou sayest it is for several purposes, but all for good of souls; but who sought the good of souls durst never lie, slander, nor speak evil of the things they knew not, nor pleaded against perfection nor freedom from sin, nor for respect of persons; this was never for the good of souls, nor did he ever love souls that set thee on this work; but thou knows not of what spirit thou art of, who knows nothing in thee contrary <69> to thy own will to guide thee and to exercise thy conscience towards God and man, which is in God and in man. But when thou comes to an end of thy wickedness, and shalt cease to deal treacherously, then shall the witness arise, and thou shalt see what thou hast done in pushing against the Lamb. Thy heads and horns, with thy names of blasphemy, must be dashed to pieces with that principle at whose presence the saints quake & tremble, which now thou scorns and them that own it; till then I leave thee to run thy course; yet in thy greatest zeal (if thou mind) thou mayest sometimes find a check in thy conscience that is not of thee nor of thy ways, that is a witness against thee, which sometimes will hint to thee thy latter end, and what then shall befall thee, who now hates to hear it or be reformed by it; at that day it will appear thou hadst better have been silent than out of a lofty proud zeal in thy blindness to have spoken against the things thou knowest not.||For we own a time of death, a time of quickening, a time of growth, and a time of perfection, and with the light of Christ we see it, which the world doth not, nor when we was in death we did not.|
There is a bundle of lies more in thy book, not worth answering; all that know our practice shall witness against thee in them. As, that we work upon people to cause a disesteem of the Scriptures; that we deny the Lord that bought us; that the papists is our predecessor; that we will not have Christ to rule over us, but deny both his person and word; that we have not faith, but a bewitching spirit; that we use unseemly kissings in our meetings; that we deny the way of righteousness; that we deny the virtue of what is written; that we fear not God nor care for man; that being one time wrought upon we are perfect; that we deny any man being under frailty; that we leave Christ neither body nor laws extant, and so no being no Son. Divers more there is not worth the raking up. These I return thee into thy bottle from whence they came, there to rot. Is this thy religion? What a spirit art thou guided by? Hast thou done as thou wouldst be done unto? But this is thy fruit, who hast denied anything within thee to exercise thy conscience towards God and man. Oh shame! shame with thy guide and his fruits, thy envy against the truth.
Did God create man in sin, imperfection, and respect of persons, &c.? Or is it in the fall: which if it be, then see whose work thou art doing that pleads for it and a continuance of it while man lives, and against such as witness redemption from it; didst thou ever read any of God's children in that faith or works?
1. Isa. 66:5.
2. Matt. 24:6.
3. Luke 17:21.
4. 2 Cor. 4:8, &c.
5. 2 Cor. 4:6.
6. 2 Cor 3:13-4:7.
7. John 1:1; Rev. 19:13.
8. 2 Cor. 4:18; Heb. 8:10-11; John 16:8.
9. 1 Cor. 2:10,15.
10. 1 Pet. 3:19.
11. 1 Cor. 2:4.
12. 2 Cor. 4:2.
13. John 5:25.
14. 2 Cor. 4:16.
15. Matt. 16:18,23.
16. Acts 26:18.
17. 1 Cor. 2:14; Gal. 1:16; Jude 10.
18. Acts 17:2.
19. Rom. 1:19.
20. John 3:13; John 1:1,14.
21. John 6:53-56.
22. 2 Cor. 13:5.
a. Thomason date: May 5, 1655
b. Col. 2:8-23.
c. "churching women": a thanksgiving ceremony following the birth of a child; originally based on the purification ritual in Leviticus 12.
d. 1 Cor. 12:18.
e. He that had not the Spirit to guide without the letter, went to the familiar spirit, &c. 1 Sam. 28.
f. John 16:13; Rom. 8:14.
g. Col. 1:28.
h. Rom. 1:16.