Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Satan's Design Discovered
<436> Tho. Moore, thou call thy book a discovery of a lying antichristian spirit in some of those called Quakers, which thou hast set forth to blind the world from seeing thy own antichristian lying doctrine thou was found in when we was with thee, and whereof thou was reproved by the Spirit of truth and thou confounded, which is the cause of all this foam, mire and dirt, which like the sea thy rage casts up, in which thou hast more fully laid open to all that are in the Spirit of Christ that thou art that antichrist and liar and false accuser which thou would accuse us with; and so the more the serpent stirs in the leaves, the more discovered, blessed be our light forever. Dost thou think to hide thyself by accusing thy damnable doctrine upon us, or to broach thy denials of Christ the more hiddenly by accusing us to deny Christ, which is the thing for which we declare against thee, and hast made it thy great work in thy book to deny the Father and the Son in the saints (and ever amongst); to blind people that they should not see thy ends thou falsely accuses us to deny them sundry times in thy book, possessing people that we deny and preach down the person of Jesus of Nazareth of the seed of David, & the work of redemption wrought for us in his own person, as types & shadows, or figures of the true Christ which is to be found in some other thing, & that we preach this down as the [p.4] apostles preached down circumcision, temple & sacrifices, & this thou gathers from my letter I wrote to thee (which thou hast printed) because I said the flesh of Christ is the food of my inward man. To which accusation I say the Lord be judge between me and that lying murderous spirit, whether I own any other righteousness than that everlasting righteousness of God wrought in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, his suffering, resurrection, and ascension according to the Scriptures, and that endures from generation to generation; and all inherits that same righteousness as by faith they receive the same Jesus. And further I say, let all modest Christians who reads that letter judge what ground thou hast to conclude any such thing against me, and so be thou judged with all honest hearts as thou hast dealt therein, and all the rest of thy lies and slanders cast upon us in thy book. And for their sakes who else might have been led to speak evil of that they know not, I rejoice that letter is come to light.
And thou thy lies and confusions art revealing from thy own pen, which many would scarce have believed from another, so <437> that if any who know anything of Christ within read thy book they may throughout thy book see thy work (who having denied the Father and Son in thyself), what crooked ways thou takes to thrust him out of the world also, which was ever Satan's work who can never be quiet in his kingdom, so long as Christ appears in any of his saints on earth to witness against him; but could he limit him only into heaven and persuade people never to wait for his appearance in their hearts, then might he rule the creature without control, let and set at his pleasure; for he knows none can reveal him (though in the temple of God he sit in the hearts of people) but the brightness of Christ's coming, in his light, into the hearts where he is: so he sets his ministers to preach Christ without, in [p.5] literal tradition, that so he may keep his house in peace within and so keep God out of his temple and dwelling place which is the bodies of his saints. But now the Lord is coming and taking people to himself whom he is cleansing; and some he hath cleansed and is in his dwelling place (praised forever), and in whom he bears witness against the devil and his doctrine in the great assemblies. And many are inclining to the voice of the shepherd of their souls. And the day is come that the prince of this world must be judged, and all his shows and likenesses wherein he hath showed himself to be as God, exalted in the temple of God above all that is called God, and the mystery of iniquity is revealed and revealing on the head of all ungodliness and deceivableness which he hath wrought in men all this time of the mystery of iniquity since men have denied the Spirit of truth and by it to be guided and have choosed their imaginations instead thereof. And now his ministers of all sorts is hard put to it, and he hath put into their hands all the old armor wherewithal he used in former ages to fight against the appearance of Christ; and all his kingdom is up in arms with such weapons as they have, bestirring themselves against the Lamb in whomever he appears, the grosser sort with stones and clubs, the greater sort with whips and prisons and cruel bonds, another sort swearing and forswearing against the innocent that they might root him out of the earth. And the head of the serpent is making refuge of lies and slanders thereby to fight the rest whom he cannot get to join with him in this wickedness, seeking to persuade them that to wait for the appearance of Christ in them with his light and Spirit to guide them out of all this confusion is the most dangerous error in the world, <438> and of all other to be avoided; when as indeed all that are from that Spirit's guiding are in error and can be no otherwise, until to that Spirit they turn therewith to be led out of error, and being [p.6] more subtle than all the rest, brings in lies and false accusations against others, as though they was out of the truth but he a friend unto it; whenas all the friendship he intends (when truly weighed) is to make an eternal separation betwixt the creature and the Creator, and to keep God out of his dwelling place, yea, and as far distant as the heaven is from the earth, as thou dost in thy book, who denies the possession of God in his saints, as thou dost in thy 32nd page and in many other places in thy book. In thy 25th page, confesses the body to be the temple of the Lord, in which God primely and chiefly dwelleth and manifesteth himself in through the testimony of Jesus there received; and thus with confusion, saying and unsaying, hast thou made up thy book, to the end that thou might keep people from the light of Christ, perverting the Scriptures to wrong ends and making them speak quite contrary to the Spirit, as that of Amos 2:13, where God saith, "I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves." This thou would have people to believe that God said, "I will press you, as the cart is pressed with sheaves," which is quite contrary; and where the Spirit saith "Christ in you" speaking of the saints in whom Christ dwelt, thou turnedst it to "Christ among you," as he was among the Pharisees. And where Christ saith, "The kingdom of God is within you," that thou pervertest also to "among you," and this thou printest to all the world, with many more suchlike of thy deceitful workings and pervertings, too many to mention, which all that read thy book may see scarce one Scripture thou hast meddled with which thou hast not sought to wrest, and art not ashamed to accuse me for abusing the Scriptures, who have but quoted the plain words, without meanings at all. Nay, so shameless is thy work in thy book, that were it not for the simplicity's sake, which in many is deceived by such as thee, I should leave it to discover itself (as sufficiently it will do in the sight of the wise, who compare but one part [p.7] of it with another) and not have written anything unto it.
As also thy shameless denying what thou spoke before hundreds of witnesses, before whom thou denied God to be manifest in the creature then, and that none had immediate call but the <439> apostles who was called by Christ personally before his ascension. And when I instanced Paul and Ananias, thou said Paul was in heaven and saw him personally. Thou said further, that thou had not the same testimony as the apostles' had, which thou now turnest to Timothy. Further thou said also that the Scriptures are the absolute rule and medium of faith; and when I asked thee if God could give faith without them, thou saidst, yea; then, I said, they was not the absolute rule and medium. Then John Wray said I catched at words; to which I answered, if thou didst confess thy mistake I did not desire to make thee an offender for a word; and upon thy confession thereupon that thing ceased, and I spake no more of it at that time, which otherwise had not so passed.
Thou saidst further, that Paul saw Christ personally with his bodily eyes after his ascension. Thou also said I was a false witness in saying that I had seen Christ, and said thou had never seen him as Paul did; to which I said, I believed thou had not.
Further thou said, the benefit the drunkards have by Christ is that they enjoy that drink wherewith they are drunken.
Thou said also that there is something which is not of God, which teacheth the creature to deny sin, with divers other suchlike things, which then I reproved thee for, and withstood thee to thy face before the people, where thou couldst not deny it, and writ to thee of it in faithfulness, that thou mightest have considered thereof and have seen thy folly, and not have envied me for speaking the truth, which thou could not then [p.8] deny before the people, neither then nor the next day. But now the envious one being got up, for these things thou art not ashamed to account me a liar, which thou couldst not do to my face before the people; here showing thyself to be a backbiter and false accuser of the truth, and the lie returned into thy own bosom, where the liar dwells, seeking to hide himself by accusing others.
In thy epistle thou tellest of some abatement of bloody persecution in these times; but whosoever sees the enmity of these days, and your combining together against the innocent, with your actings, imprisonings, whippings, mockings, stockings, reproachings, and false accusings, with all the multitude of your invented envies, of which thy book is not the least; they may see such a generation of persecutors gathered from all quarters against a poor despised people, and persecuting for such things as never was since the world was created, as witness all the jails in the nation; and this <440> mischievous lying book of thine, whereby thou would add affliction unto those bonds, accusing us of denying Christ and preaching another Christ and another gospel and another Spirit, and many such blasphemous things (from which we are clear) hast thou added unto the envy that is against us; for all which thou must give an account amongst the rest, when thou hast filled up thy measure.
And thou that callest it a spirit of antichrist, to witness Christ bearing sin now in the body, art one of those who never saw him whom thou hast pierced. But did not he bear sin in thee (though thou know him not) thou had been in hell ere now, and that thou shall know when his Spirit leaves striving and his longsuffering is turned into judgment, which should lead thee to repentance. And Christ appearing without sin to salvation is witnessed with all who have seen his appearance, and that is the spirit of antichrist which cannot confess [p.9] him, who goeth on in blindness and confusion, as thou dost who sayest there is not in man any light, knowledge or understanding, to make them sensible of their idolatry and wickedness; and in the next page sayest, "although the word be nigh them in their hearts." What! is not the word light and understanding where it is, if it be minded? It was so to the people of God, who knew it in their hearts, and by it was kept out of sin.1 But thy testimony is contrary, whose eyes are abroad, and so utters thy confusion, who sayest, the grace of God that brings salvation instructs not to look for any light or Spirit in them for direction; when Christ saith, "he will send the Spirit of truth, who shall guide them into all truth," which thou deniest to be grace, who deniest that Spirit for teaching.
And whereas thou would make people believe that directing to the light within opens a gap to all popery and corrupt principles, thou showest thyself herein to be contrary to the Spirit of God which spake in the apostles, who makes the cause of all wickedness to be blindness of the heart, as thou mayest read (Eph. 4:18), and that such are past feeling, whose hearts are blind and so given to all manner of lasciviousness, to commit sin with greediness; and thou that would deny the infallible Spirit of God for giving the sense of the Scriptures, and saith we have the same ground for that <441> as the papists have for the pope or council, thou shalt know thy blasphemy against that Spirit which thou speakest against, without which no scripture can be opened, nor the voices of the prophets and apostles known;2 as also thy calling of perfection a devilish doctrine, which is the doctrine of Christ (Matt. 5:48), the doctrine of his apostles (Col. 1:28), yea the end of the whole ministry (Eph. 4:11-13); and that is the spirit of the devil in thee that calls it devilish doctrine, which spirit in thy forefathers the Pharisees called Christ a devil, and so thou dost his doctrine, and him in his [p.10] servants; and whereas thou tellest of some who in words confess Christ but in works deny him; I say, thou art he who hath him in thy mouth to talk on but denies him and his working any of his works of righteousness in his creatures now, as in divers places of thy book thou hast done. So this word thou hast spoken against thyself, and so by thy own mouth thou art condemned.
And whereas thou would charge us with serving and magnifying our bellies, I say, with shame may thou speak it who could not abide from thy dinner, but broke up thy dispute about it; of which thou wouldst clear thyself formerly, but in thy book art made to confess thy act, and excuses it because thou had ridden ten miles, and it was about an hour after noon. I know it's not usual with the parish ministers to miss their meal time so long; but that being an extraordinary occasion and many strangers come much farther, thou might have broken custom one hour had that been all; but was not another thing in it? Thou may remember what thou was then to prove but could not, and it was high time to break off; this many can witness; and when it was alleged you was faint, I said to John Wray, let them that are faint go to eat, but let not the meeting break up, to which he answered, if we would not go away he must use his authority of his house, whereupon I said we would not stay in his house against his mind, yet notwithstanding thou art not ashamed to say in thy book we would gladly have been gone, and charge us with magnifying our bellies: be ashamed of thy work who magnified thy dinner before the work of God then in hand.
And thus the devil would ever cast his works upon the innocent and have the reproach to lie on another, & this thou would deny again had not thou printed it thyself, as many other things <442> thou hast.
As for thy excuses thou makes for thy errors thou [p.11] then uttered, I say: what thou then said if thou now deny I shall not contend, I had rather hear an error recanted than defended and persisted in. As for thy saying that Paul saw Christ with his bodily eyes, I say they may believe thee who hath not seen him and who knows no better; for any proof thou hast yet made thereof, they may choose; but admit he did, was it not a second appearance, which thou affirms cannot be till the end of the world, and would accuse me herein as a blasphemer? So see thy confusion, but if thou be blinded, others may see who own the light which thou denies.
Thou asks four queries: First concerning God being in me and how? I say by his indwelling, according to his promise (2 Cor. 6:16).
Second: That no wicked man hath benefit by Christ, nor any man till he can witness Christ in him.
I say Christ is that only benefit of all creatures, and only he that hath him hath the benefit,3 but to all that receive him not he is the condemnation, and to such all becomes curses (John 3:18-19;15:22).
Third: Whether the writing of the prophets and apostles be a dead letter? I say, without the Spirit, it is; nor can any without that Spirit that gave them forth understand them or know the voices of prophets or apostles (Luke 24:45; Acts 13:27).
Fourth: Whether Christ be anything that beareth our sins in us, as the propitiation? I say Christ is he that bears the sins of all the world, even them who know him not nor his propitiation, and so it is that men are not consumed, and where he ceaseth bearing, the creature falls into hell (Ps. 75:3; 2 Cor. 1:5; Rom. 8:17; Col. 1:24); but thou that denies this, art not thou ashamed to accuse us for murdering the Just One in us: if he cannot suffer in us, how can we murder him in us? yet he alone is our propitiation, but none know this but where he is revealed.
|[p.12] And thou still goes about to prove the Scriptures to be <443> the absolute ground and medium of faith, though before denied, yet unwilling thou art that Christ should be the absolute ground and medium; yet canst thou find no scripture to shut him out, but thou brings that of 2 Tim. 3: the Scriptures are able to make wise through faith, and this thou would make the ground of faith which cannot make wise without faith, and such shameful shifts art thou put to to get Christ out of his place and put the letter in his stead, wherein the letter is against thee, which saith, faith is the gift of God, and Christ is the ground and medium of it; so antichrist can get no ground by the Scriptures to thrust out Christ unless he turn them quite contrary.||There is not two absolute mediums; it must either be Christ or the letter that is absolute; and if the letter be the absolute means, then faith may be had without Christ being the means.|
And whereas thou tells, we do not worship the same God, thou did confess; I say, the saints' God was ever a Spirit and dwelt in them in Spirit, but the heathens had their gods ever without them, who could not be in them, further than imagination, so thou may see what god thou then confessed. The chief priests and hirelings and persecutors did not worship the same God Christ and the saints did, though they said God was their Father, and though they prayed to him, yet not knowing him in them they worshipped they know not what, for saith the Spirit, that which may be known of God is manifest in men (Rom. 1:19).
And they that had not God abiding in them they thought to have eternal life in the Scripture, and from the letter they crucified God. This was all the life they found in the Scriptures, who had not the word abiding in them (John 5:38-39; 19:7).
And saith Christ, ye have not known him, but I know him, and if I should say I know him not I should be a liar like you (John 8:55), and so saith all the sons of God in their measure: but thou says thy god is not known as Christ did, so not his God nor his knowledge. Our God is not the god of the liar, so who [p.13] reads thy book may read thy god and thy knowledge of the true God.
And whereas thou says that which Richard Farnworth required was contrary to what the Lord required, I say the priests of Baal who had their god to seek without knew not the ground of Elias' challenge, yet was it not contrary to God; but thy god thou tellest on, who would not suffer thee to hold dispute an hour past dinner-time, it is not like he should lead thee into this trial to serve the <444> Lord with denying the belly, which shamelessly thou wouldst cast upon us to be servers of our bellies, when thou denied the work of God for serving thy belly. Thou layest it down as a great temptation to require thee to trust thy god and evidence his power without carnal food or carnal books. I say the saints of God had the word of God in them, and the man of God lives not by bread alone but by that word, and of their God they have made proof in fasting when thereto they have been moved; and this was no temptation; but take from the carnal mind bread and books, and then the dead and dumb appears: yea, some eloquent teachers we should have as dumb as those was in Isaiah's time,4 yet in the time of fullness they will boast of their god, but in the time of affliction their faith fails. Therefore such ministers lay the foundation of their call upon a fat benefice; no means, no ministers with the parish masters; no cash, no call. Thou sayest, God hath spoken to you by his Son, and yet denies immediate teaching. I say the Son is a Spirit, and if he speak, it is immediately, but it seems thou meaneth by the letter which the Son spoke to them that heard him; but what is that to thee more than to all the world, who hast never heard his voice but used thy tongue when God never spoke to thee, and therewith would limit the Lord, saying, his last dispensation is published, and nothing more is to be added or altered (who hast not instructed him, neither will he take counsel at thee). But why have you so [p.14] added to and altered his worship under the gospel, so that there is not one thing performed in your idols' temples which is not altered from that manner in which he left the apostles; and how have you added your titles and hire, your masterships, your idleness, your studied hourglass preaching, singing David's psalms in order of your ballets, sprinkling infants with all your whole rabble of inventions thereto so that naught is left unadded or unaltered, yet would you limit God that he must not add nor alter what you have imagined; but if any by the Spirit of God come forth in his ministry, as he hath ever called them, such you cannot receive but with the same measure as ever his ministers was received amongst the literal priesthood.
And whereas thou tells of a letter that thou expected in answer <445> to thy writing, and would accuse me for not sending it, I say hast thou not concealed it? not finding it for thy purpose to print, that in thy conscience will tell thee; but if not by thee, yet by some of thy partakers; for to John Wray's house was it sent that day, and what way else it should come to thy hand, I know not.
And for the denying thy false doctrines, which thou then defended as long as thou couldest, which it seems thou art now ashamed of, having had a little more time to search thy expositors (thy wits being come to thee), I say there is not one particular that I in that letter charged upon thee, but were it profitable to the truth they would be attested under the hands of a multitude of witnesses; but for thy fifth particular thou hast thrust in thyself instead of Timothy that thou mightest seek occasion to slander, but how art thou brazened to deny these things which thou so long contended for before 100 of witnesses? and yet after thou hast denied them goes crookedly about to prove them in a cunning secret way as is seen in thy book, though thou darest not own them openly in the same words thou first gave them out. Yet now thou says "God was, (not God is)" manifested in [p.15] flesh, which is to mend the other with another lie, as thou may read (Rom. 1:19,21,28), where thou mayest read thy error and that God was manifest in men and women since Christ's ascension, even in the wicked who not retaining his knowledge was given up to licentiousness, and in the saints also, as John 14:19-21 and 15:4-5, and 1 Epist. John 4:4, 2 Cor. 6:16, with too many more scriptures now to mention, all showing thy antichristian doctrine, who not knowing God manifest in thyself would persuade all others not to look for it; and herein thou denies the effects of Christ's prayer and promise (John 17:21,23; 14:20), but where he is manifest and the creature reconciled, thou art judged and thy doctrine, to be from a contrary spirit, who denies God manifest in thee,5 and yet in thy blind envy would accuse me for murdering him in me. Thou blind sot, can I murder him in me if he never was in none since the ascension, and thyself who denies his working in the saints now and his revelations to be now in the same manner as to his saints formerly. I say, what revelation canst thou judge of, who denies any light or understanding within men? but they that know him witness him <446> working all their works in them now; and where he doth not, there the devil works, and they that have not the knowledge of God after the same manner; and here the children of God is known, and the children of the devil and their manner of working: so with thy blind eye judge thyself and what thou knowest of thy own ignorance, but thou canst not judge our knowledge; he is above thy wrath though Babel thou be building; but you that deny God's being manifest or working in you now, whose is those works you are performing and that righteousness you are calling for from others? Is it not plain that you are with the Jews stablishing your own works which God works not in you, though you be hurried headlong so as this you will not consider; for that [p.16] which is not God's work is your own, and God will be served with his own, but this the world knows not, who serves their belly. And thou tellest, the Father hath put all things under his feet; I say, he that spoke those words could witness it, but if thou mind thou mayest see the liar, false accuser and envious blasphemer yet reigning, as thy book may make manifest and thy confusion, who saith (page 24) that it cannot be perfectly said that God in an absolute sense was or is manifested in the flesh of any son of Adam; and in thy next page thou sayest the body is the temple of the Lord in which God primely and chiefly dwelleth and manifesteth himself, the thing which thou had so often before denied; and thou goest about to deny the manifestation of the sons of God until the end of the world. I say the world will not have an end with thy generation, while there is aught to be got by favor or force, but the sons of God was manifest with the saints while they lived in this world (1 John 3:1-2), and therein was their boldness that as he is, so was they in this world (1 John 4:17), and thou heapest up a great deal of confusion to deny the life of Christ to be made manifest in any till after death, showing thyself to be one of those spoken on (Eph. 4:18-19) who is alienated from the life of God because of the blindness of the heart, who hath not learned Christ and so given over: for he that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none of his, and he that hath the Spirit hath the life which destroys death and reveals darkness, which thou calls an imagination; and how unwilling is the devil that the life of Christ should be received? It is death to him and his ministers, so they all oppose it; what pains hast thou taken in thy book for thy master? And thy greatest business is to darken the <447> appearance of Christ in Spirit, that none may look for it nor believe it, for the devil knows that faith breaks his covenant, and the incoming of Christ is his outcasting, so thy work is to keep Christ out until people be dead, so the devil may keep his seat while [p.17] they live; yet though they be found in this work, withstanding the knowledge of Christ in the creature and his appearance, yet thou canst not bear it to be called a minister of antichrist. Also, thou pleadest hard for sin and self while all men lives, accusing Richard Farnworth for witnessing mortification and death of sin, and would bring Paul against him who once was in the warfare and then wretched but afterward more than a conqueror and could do all things through the life of Christ in him which thou deniest, but that thou mindest not to preach the life of Christ,6 for that is to preach the death of sin, which is not thy work who art preaching it up for term of life not only in thyself but in all other as far as it lies in thy power, calling perfection a devilish doctrine, pleading against it and for sin with all thy power—such a work as never a minister of Christ was ever found in, as all that search the Scriptures may witness against thee. All that ever preached Christ preached perfection, and pressed after it and believed it, to which thy faith is reprobate, with which thou dost accuse us; and the faith of all that believe you, you have overthrown, so that none that believe you can believe freedom; and yet to blind people withal, sayest, "Let all them that name the name of the Lord depart from iniquity," when thou hast preached up no putting off the body of sin till after death; and thou goest on, as thy main business, still preaching Christ out of his people, saying, not one in the heavens and another dwelling in us, clearly showing thou knowest not him that filleth heaven and earth, and knowest not him that is over all and in all, and so judges him like thyself, who can but be in one place. And thou sayest that Paul was the last that was immediately called, which is no truer than the rest; for immediately was Ananias,7 Barnabas,8 and others called since. But it is as hard for thy spirit to speak truth as for the leopard to change his spots; yet full of slanders, and would judge my faith concerning Christ, by [p.18] thy doubtings, thereby to cast a mist and make the truth odious.
What wouldst thou do, hadst thou any ground for thy wickedness, <448> who chargest such blasphemies against me upon no other grounds but thy doubting it to be so? Hast thou done herein as thou wouldst be done by? May not all that read thee see thy venom cast upon me, which shall return on thyself? and for it thou shalt answer. And when thou hast raised these abominable lies, as I deny the person of Christ or his being in heaven, from thy own doubts, then thou wouldst make a do to prove him in heaven, and that he hath a body, when all is but to disprove thy own lie, and not my judgment; yet it is thy intent to cast it upon me; but the righteous Judge shall return the wickedness of the wicked upon his own pate; and in thy busy mind thou art telling of the place where the majesty of God dwells (a place thou never saw), and thou sayest no mere man, as from Adam, can approach or see the Lord's throne in heaven. I say thou babblest thou knowest not what. Who must appear before his throne, if none as from Adam must? "He that overcomes," saith Christ, "will I give to sit with me upon my throne, even as I have overcome and am sit down with my Father in his throne."9 Did not John see the throne and him that sat thereon, and Stephen also, and was not they from Adam? Dost not thou here deny the resurrection of the body? Thy generation knows too much of the glory of the world to know what the throne of God is. And thou makest an objection: can flesh and blood enter into the kingdom of heaven? and thou answerest, no. Yet, sayest thou, the same flesh and bones shall, the blood being poured out and gone, as it was in the person of Christ. I say, what confused stuff is this that proceeds from thy imaginations? Is Christ ascended without blood? or is it only the blood of people that keeps them from ascending, which they must leave behind them, taking the same [p.19] flesh and bones, but not the same blood? But such confused work makes the serpent, when he would be preaching things which are hid from him. It were better for thee and many suchlike to come down out of the chambers of your imaginations and sit at the feet of Christ, and own the teaching of his Spirit and his light, that so thou may know what the blood of Christ is, from him, by its effects, than to stand teaching others thou knowest not what. Come down into the dust <449> and stop thy mouth thou vain babbler, and exercise not thyself in things too high for thee; and if ever thou come to know anything of the kingdom thou wilt see thyself shut out among the Pharisees and Sadducees, who was jangling about the resurrection with the spirit of the devil in them, denying his testimony, light, and Spirit, who is the resurrection, and lived out of his doctrine, as thou may read (Matt. 23). And read thyself therein with the light thou opposest, only this difference: they looked for him to come, and thou sayest he is gone and not come again; but neither of you own him present, to judge, rule, and guide you. So thy ways is as far from his doctrine and practice as theirs was, if not further, though thou have got more words, so greater condemnation. And thou tellest much, what need we have of Christ in the heavens; but didst thou know thy condition thou wouldst see as much need of him here also, to guide thee out of the world and these Pharisaical ways. For who hath him not with them to lead out of the world and give victory here will find little benefit by his being in heaven; and this thou and many more will know when he comes to judgment, who little mind his fellowship here, but join with the enemy to preach him out of the world because he beareth witness that the deeds thereof are evil: so by this the devil gets his work done in earth, preaching of a Christ in heaven, and the creature knows none to redeem from it, no nearer than after death.
Thou sayest none yet hath ceased from their own [p.20] works; I say none that are in thy works have, who is pleading for sin and denying the Spirit of God to work in thee; thou must needs be in thy own works, but what is that in thee that judgeth all other and yet deniest Christ in thee; that is the liar from the beginning; and by the Spirit of God which worketh in me, in which is my rest, do I bear witness against him so to be, and a thousand in the nation that can witness the same, who are brought to rest in his everlasting work and will. But this no hireling knows nor can judge of, though you may read of that condition in the letter. Thou accusest me for belying the apostle, in saying he preached the word & faith in the heart (Rom. 10). I say let read any the 8th & 9th verses of that chapter, who knows either word or faith, or words of the letter, and judge if the apostle there did not preach both word and faith in the heart; and so let the lie return into the bosom of the liar from whence it came.
Thou sayest God did not impute the trespasses of the world <450> to them, but caused them to meet together on him; I say, if God impute not sin to the world, nothing else can condemn them: this opens a large gap to the works thou art pleading for, but were thou not blind thou mayst see the apostle speaks of such as received the word of reconciliation; but for the rest, you shall know that sin will be imputed where it is committed.
And thou makest much ado to prove that the disciples of Christ, nor any other, should see him any more after his ascension, while they lived—if any know no more but to believe thee. And thy ground is, because Christ said the days would come that they should desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man and shall not see it.
I say, he told them also that they should mourn in the while of his absence, but he would come again, and their mourning should be turned into joy when the manchild [p.21] should be born into the world, and commanded them they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for that they had heard of him,10 then should they be witnesses unto him to the utmost parts of the earth, which was accomplished at his second coming in the Spirit, according to his promise, which thou would deny his appearance, unto which there was such gathering and is such gathering, blessed be the Father, who hath hid it from the serpent, who spends his time in jangling about it but never the wiser; yet to the babes it is revealed. And thou sayest that our boasting of some inward light or Spirit to be listened to and received must needs be another spirit, and bring in another Jesus, a contrary anointing: I say, the apostles preached the Spirit and light within, shining in their hearts, to give the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus; and this treasure they had in the earthen vessels,11 and did they preach a false Christ or a contrary Spirit or anointing (though thou know not the Christ they preached, nor that Spirit)? blush for shame to utter thy blasphemy against the Spirit of God and his light, which none knows but within them, and which all hearkens to in Spirit and preacheth from but the ministers of antichrist, whereof thou hast proved thyself one sufficiently, who knows not the law written in the heart nor the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy, because thou ownest no light in thee.
<451> And thou sayest, there is not another manner of preaching to be given than that of the apostles, to the end of the world. I say, then all hirelings and parish-masters, stop your mouths, who are out of that manner, yea and matter also; for the apostles was not ministers of the letter but of the Spirit, which thou hast sufficiently denied in thy book; and if there need no more preaching than what the apostles preached you may spare your pains and the people their money; for that is preached and printed already, and they have suffered [p.22] for it, so let it alone and take not money for making it worse.
Thou pretendeth to answer some queries, but first thou casts over them thy reproachful lying poisonous tongue, as thou hast done by my letter, as nothing that comes from the truth can escape thy envy and slander, saying, that they reproach the acknowledgment of one that died for all; and all the way scoff at the promise of his coming, and many suchlike filthy lies, which the least modesty that reads the queries may see thy shameless impudency, calling us unclean spirits, when thy venom defiles all thou meddles with that comes from our hands; and when thou hast vented thy wickedness would father it upon us as though we provoke thee, when it comes from the root of the corrupt tree, the old murderer and liar; and thou tellest of many changes in thy thoughts, and many reasons thou layest down of answering or not answering of them, showing thyself not to be guided by any stable spirit, but turning according to thy imaginations; and before thou begin to answer that which thou called the inscription thou first turneth the sense of them into a lie, as thou dost by all our writings and by the Scriptures (for there is not anything given out by the Spirit of truth that Satan can encounter withal till he hath molded it anew in his own language), and when thou hast thus done thou fightest with the lie thou hast made; and having got the thing into thy own kingdom thou casts out thy mire and dirt and yet makes a place to hide thy head as though thou was about the work of God. Is it not sufficient to print our words as we speak them, and so let the wise judge of them whether they be truth or no, but thou must pervert them and then judge them? Is this to do as thou would be done by? but it is as all the serpent's generation have done to the words of Christ, the true seed, whereby the enmity is seen: what changing have you parish-masters? as your forefathers made of [p.23] the Scriptures since the apostles' time; and yet is there not a verse of them will <452> serve your turn without wresting or meanings; but it is your trade as you use it, by which you get your living and means by which you bear rule; and having not the word in your hearts you would soon be worn out had you not the letter to change and alter, thereby to devise novelties, new notions and opinions by which you divided the nations into so many sects as they are one ready to devour another, and the strongest carries it; but now the Lord hath appeared in a few despised ones to bring forth the same life, way and practice that he was formerly in the saints; and this you cannot wrest nor imitate, but you must lay down your stately pride and worldly pomp to come into their wanderings and reproaches, and this strikes at the root from which all arrogancy, exaltations, and opinions springs; and none of you can any more walk in this way than the camel go through the eye of a needle while you stand in your worldly glory. So all are gathered from all quarters against this, the head, which is most subtle devising lies and laying slanders, as though we denied God and Christ and Spirit, gospel and Scripture, things that never entered into our hearts, thereby to make way for the tail to come upon us with his murdering instruments, that if by any means he may destroy the heir now appearing to take his inheritance. And though we be counted the greatest offenders that ever was in the world, by the heads of all sects, yet is there not one of you that is able nor willing to judge us and our practice and judgment, with the practice of the saints in which they walked, and plain Scripture without meanings; for this the serpent knows, that which is given out from the Spirit of God will not condemn those who are guided and acted by that Spirit till he hath changed the Scripture one way, and our words another way, and so to make a jar that he may murder under [p.24] pretense of godliness by consent; for under that pretense hath the lambs of Christ ever suffered, having wrested their words, but their practice they could never touch, nor can touch, the fault being ever crying out against their evils and showing forth the life of Christ and his work in them; and here the murderer first entered, wherefore Cain slew his brother: so thou mayst read thyself deeply engaged to what power thou hast, yet as blind as ever persecution was, thinking thou dost God good service, not knowing the Father nor the Son in thee,12 <453> which is the very cause for which thou opposest, because we witness him and his name in us, but would you come to Christ's rules, you might come to see yourselves such a ministry as Christ never owned (and according to your own confession) nor ever called; but have called one another and run unsent, and so have not turned people from their sins but are pleading for it, which Christ's ministers never did: so may you judge the tree by its fruits which is brought forth amongst you.
And instead of answering plainly, thou goest about making thy distinctions and crooked ways, as concerning God's teaching, dividing into numbers, when God is but one and his way and teaching one; but the world is in the many ways.
And thou tellest of Christ bearing your sins in his body to the tree, not leaving them to be borne in your bodies. I say, didst thou mind his light and faithful witness in thee (which thou preachest against) thereby thou mightest see thy sins not nailed to the tree; but the liar, backbiter, and false accuser, and envious one, at liberty yet in thee (not bound, much more uncast out, or put to the cross) foaming out his own shame, though Christ have suffered for thee and his longsuffering be yet in thee, bearing up, else thou had been in hell with the envious one whom thou art serving, though this thou know not; and therefore sin is no burden to [p.25] thee in the sense of thy soul or body (as thou sayest), but like the colt or the wild ass upon the mountains, not subject to the yoke nor sense of sin in soul or body; not knowing him whom thou piercest, who is slain from the foundation of the world, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, with him to partake in his sufferings that are yet behind, with him to have fellowship therein:13 this thou scornest with thy light mind, who would share in his joy but not in his sufferings, which the saints have done and do. But thou which denies Christ's sufferings within, what suffering was that the apostles exhorted if it was not Christ that was the sufferer in them, with whom they was to have fellowship and to be joined and rejoice in?14 It was either the suffering of Christ, the sufferings of Satan, or self-sufferings: if of Satan, what is it for but when he <454> cannot get his will in his lusts and envy; if of self, what is it worth or able to prevail with, or please God, or what can self suffer? nay, it is the longsuffering of Christ that leads to repentance; and we know that none can be heirs of his glory but who suffer with him, neither can any suffer with him but by the sense of his sufferings which he suffered in his own person, who is the everlasting sacrifice; for of ourselves, without him in us, we can do nothing; but as he is the doer and sufferer in us. But this the wantons knows not, nor the beasts of the field, who live in jollity but despise the chastisements of the Son, who is perfected through sufferings, in which he leads all his and suffers with them, and bears up the world who know him not, which shall account for his sufferings and piercings, woundings and reproaches, though now you regard not nor are sensible of your wickedness, in your souls or bodies, as thou sayest you are not.
And you are they that cannot confess Christ come in your flesh now, to give you a sense of your sins and suffer with you in all your passage out of the world, and so are the antichrists John speaks of; but this you would [p.26] shuffle off by saying you confess him come at Jerusalem, and there suffered in his own person. I say, so did those John speaks of, and so doth the pope now and all his rabble from the highest to the lowest of you; and if that confession in words be a knowledge of that Spirit of God John speaks on then where is the spirit of antichrist? The pope will quit himself by as large confession of words as you; but neither he nor you brings forth his life into the world, and to confess him in you, in buffetings, whippings, mockings, imprisonments, and all other sufferings for his righteous name in you, and his righteous nature, acting you contrary to self, this would destroy your parsonages, pride, and stateliness, from the least of you who calls yourselves his ministers, to the pope who wears his treble crown and yet calls himself a servant of servants; and so you are of them who in words confess him but in works deny him; but it is the appearance of Christ in his saints, in all generations, which hath judged antichrist, which ever put his appearance into another age afar off, but now hath put his appearance into another world; so far from owning him manifested in any measure in their mortal bodies that they hold it blasphemy for any to witness him where he is appeared, and this is the spirit of antichrist gone out into the world, and now is in the world, would exclude Christ out of the <455> world that he with his polluted spirit under fair pretenses might rule the world; being got into the hearts of worldly men and women, now preacheth up his kingdom here for term of life, and to cheat the more promiseth freedom after death; and this faith hath he begotten in the world, and his ministers preach it and uphold it with all their power, both in practice and doctrine, and the people where the lust is entered love to have it so; but blessed be the Lord, who hath appeared and is appearing in the hearts of mortal men and women, and there is manifest, revealing the man of sin and ruling the creation; and he is known to be antichrist whose heart is [p.27] without Christ and cannot confess him manifest, come in Spirit into the heart of flesh; but such who there see him judgeth antichrist and his doctrine, and so thou art judged and thy work in thy book which is to preach Christ out of the heart and not to be manifested in the flesh; and thou art he who would make God a liar, who saith he hath given his Son into the world for a leader and ruler to the people, of all generations that will believe in his light and own him, who is the same yesterday and today and forever; and this is the testimony of Jesus by thee rejected, but by us received in Spirit and spiritual ministration; not in the letter, but within in Spirit.15
And thou goes on to tell how the teachings of the Father is held forth, and thou sayest, first in all the books of his creation, chastisements and changes, &c. Secondly, more clearly and abundantly in the holy Scriptures. To which I say, there is another thing before both these, the fountain of both these, and that is the Spirit of God and light of Christ, without a measure whereof neither of these can teach, though the wisest men in the world have both these, as is plain by the Jews who far exceed all you in the knowledge of the letter and strictness of life thereto, yet know not the voices of the prophets nor Moses that gave it forth, as is plain (Acts 13:27); and these had the Scriptures and the creation also, but not having the word in them, by which the creation was made, was led by the devil to spend it upon their lusts; and though they searched the Scriptures and thought to have eternal life in them, yet they crucified him that was the eternal life16 and brought the <456> Scriptures to do it by (thy work in thy book); nay, the disciples themselves, though they had the Scriptures and the book of the creation and had been with Christ many years, yet could not understand the Scriptures till by his Spirit he lightened their understandings, as is plain (Luke 24:25), and this was after his resurrection also; and if all these came [p.28] short till inspired with the Spirit and enlightened, and if all that are unlearned and unstablished with that Spirit wrest all Scriptures to their own destruction,17 then it is plain that neither Scripture nor creation can be rightly used without the light of Christ; and though the Scriptures be profitable for the man of God, furnishing him for good works, yet when the Man of Sin reads it he therewith pleads for sin and furnisheth himself against all good works, and this is seen largely in thy book; so I say, the Spirit is before the letter and is given to lead into all truth,18 without which the devil turns the letter into a lie and would tempt with it; and so thy literal teaching without the Spirit is little worth; and though thy whole drift be all along to deny the Spirit and set up the letter in his stead, and to that end hast reckoned up the names of many of the saints of God, which makes little for thy purpose, who were all men that were taught in Spirit & need not to run into a book to seek their knowledge but had the word of the Lord from God's own mouth,19 and there was the oracle whereat they inquired, which thou wouldst make the letter to be (who never knew what it was to inquire at his mouth), whose ministry is literal. And thou tellest of many things and the deliverance of God from the envy that was against his people, and this thou would set up for a teacher but canst not see the envy against them now, and their deliverance as great as ever, from all you wolves that seek to devour with open mouth: thy blind eye cannot see this, nor doth thy oracle lead thee to it, further than garnishing the sepulchers of them that was so used even whilst thou art found in the same work; and thou tells of Christ's appearance being a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, but canst not see thyself stumbling at his light and appearance, and wouldst preach him out of the world, such is thy offense at his appearance, and how his children are for signs and wonders now, and his [p.29] appearance now everywhere spoken against; and thou tellest much <457> of the Scriptures being the infallible oracle of God; I say if they be so, let them alone, and own them as they are, that they may be fulfilled and not changed; but they are in a woeful case who have no better infallibility than the letter, when the serpent hath given his crooked subtle meanings and interpretations and hath turned it to a contrary end; as is plain in this generation even the plainest words that ever Christ spoke are turned quite contrary both in judgment and practice, even by your parish masters, as witness Matt. 23:8,10, besides multitudes more which might be instanced, but blessed be God who hath given us the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, whereby the oracle is seen, and the perverters, the hypocrites, and the phaire sayers of this generation, which we had never seen had we had no better teaching than from you or that we could find in the letter without the life and Spirit which you would drive people from. And in thy commendation of the letter thou sayest, therein is known the whole counsel and mystery of God that is to be or may be revealed unto mortal men, even in those Scriptures that Timothy had been instructed into and known from his youth; whereas if thou was not blind, thou mightest see how thou hast excluded and made useless all the apostles' writings; for no man who hath so much as reason can judge that Timothy was instructed from his youth in those epistles which was but then written to him and was never seen before, and many other which was not then written which he had never seen, and in these which Timothy had known from his youth was the whole counsel of God (sayest thou) and nothing to be added to them, so thou hast judged the apostles' writings which are added since to be superfluous as to the whole counsel of God, and such mangled stuff as this comes out of Babel's bottle as I might have showed in many more parts of thy book, but my life is not to rake in such confusion.
[p.30] As thou tellest of Christ having given gifts for the perfecting of the saints till we all come to a perfect man; and in another place thou callest perfection a devilish doctrine and thus vomits thy blasphemy, as though Christ gave gifts for accomplishing a devilish doctrine. But Christ and his doctrine was ever counted a devil and devilish in the eyes of thy generation, and by thy own mouth thou art judged: thou art not one of those he begifted, who callest the end devilish for which he begifted them. And thou sayest they deny the sufficiency of God's teaching who deny the <458> sufficiency of the Scripture, as to lead to God without the Spirit to give the meaning and lead to the use of them. I say, I deny the sufficiency of any carnal visible thing, Scripture or other, without the Spirit of God, to lead into the use thereof; for that is it which is appointed of God to lead into all truth20 and out of all error; and there is no teaching further sufficient than that leads, and therefore nothing more by the devil envied. And thou that denies this to be sufficient, even to those who never heard nor saw letter, I say thou art he that denies the alone sufficiency of God's teaching; and this I shall be ready, while the Lord will, to witness against thee in word or writing, and all that say the letter is sufficient without the Spirit to give the meaning and lead to the use of it.
In thy answer to the 1st query, thou sayest the new Jerusalem appears not to be come down to us, because of our grief of heart and yearning bowels for the misery of others. I say, thou shows what thou knows of it. Did not Christ weep over Jerusalem? and had John no bowels of compassion towards others? and wilt thou deny their seeing of the new Jerusalem?21 Hath not thy imaginations blinded thee above measure? Can any rightly commiserate others who are out of rest, but those that are come into the rest? Indeed, the hypocrite is troubled for the mote in his brother's eye before [p.31] the beam be pulled out of his own. And thou sayest further, "It is not yet come down out of heaven to any": I say it was come down in John's time, and when went it up again? only it was taken away, and is taken away from the popish clergy, and all that have followed them since the mystery of iniquity. Yet hath not God been without his city here upon earth since it came down after Christ's ascension; but what is this to the enemies thereof? thou knowest it not who art preaching it out of the world, as thou art Christ the light of it, which should lead to cleanse all those who must enter into it: for the devil must keep the hopes of this out of people's minds as long as he can, lest they begin to seek the way of entrance, and cast off their sins, and so his kingdom be broken and an end of his ministry.
And for the second, thou sayest this answer must serve also.
To the third, which asks where the new covenant is: this thou shufflest by with other things which are nothing to the question, <459> lest thou should be forced to confess the prophets' and apostles' words and the covenant to be written in the heart:22 this thou puts into another world, and not fully to be done here, lest any finding the law and word God hath written in the heart, the blind guides should be discovered therewith, which the prophets and apostles witnessed in their hearts, whereby they cried against all the blind guides and hirelings in their time. But sayest thou, "While people are here, they must be imperfect in everything." Truly, I know not how it should be any other with them who deny the works and sufferings of Christ in them; when Satan's work is perfect, then theirs may; but the least work of Christ, in whomsoever he works it, is perfect, who in him are created unto good works that they should walk therein. But this doctrine is an enemy to the evil works and therefore cannot be received.
[p.32] To the fourth query, where that anointing is spoken of (1 John 2). And this thou wouldst thrust out from the Spirit within to your literal teachings, when John saith, "The anointing that you have received abideth in you." And you need not that any man teach you but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it hath taught you, you shall abide in him. And this thou shamest not to wrest, "that they need no man teach them, that teacheth otherwise." Oh how fain wouldst thou keep blind the heart, and keep people without! The serpent knows the blindness of the heart is the sole cause of the creature's being alienated from the life of God and so given up to all lasciviousness and uncleanness, with greediness (Eph. 4:18-19). And the light in the heart is the only thing that reveals the gospel and gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God: therefore he labors to keep people for looking for this treasure in their earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4-8). And in this work thou stands stoutly to thy master to whom thou art fallen.
To the fifth query: "What and where the Comforter is?" Somewhat, what he is, thou speakest; but in the heart thou dare not confess him lest thou should destroy thy own kingdom; though none on earth ever had him anywhere else since he ascended, and so they gave their testimony (Gal. 4:6; Eph. 3:17), which thine is contrary, who would limit him above the clouds <460> whom the saints had dwelling in their bodies (1 Cor. 6:19). But this is not known where the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition sits in the temple of God exalted above God, letting and opposing the appearance of Christ which should reveal him.
In thy answer to the sixth query, which asketh "whether any of the servants of God may expect his word from his own mouth?" To this thou answerest, no; showing thyself to be one of those who hast thy word from thy neighbor and not from the mouth of the Lord. And [p.43, sic.] here I know thou speakest thy own experience; but why dost thou belie others whom thou canst not judge, as that Timothy had not the word from the mouth of the Lord, who had the gift in him which was given by prophecy;23 and that was from the mouth of the Lord immediate, though first declared of by Paul. And whereas thou sayest that the apostles are said to be the last, in respect of such immediate furniture and mission, I say that is the liar that speaks, thereby for to limit the Lord. And I witness against thee, who have received the word from his own mouth and immediate calling. And whereas thou sayest Christ prays for a blessing on no other immediate messengers since, I say that is another, against which I witness who have found his prayer and blessing upon the immediate call to the same word. As for the slander thou layest upon the query, I leave it to clear itself in the sight of all that read it.
For the seventh query, instead of answering thou makest lies, thereby the better to escape, that so instead of answering thou may fall a slandering, saying that he that sent the queries sent them only to them that deny the alone teachings, and yet makes it one of his queries, whether they do so or no? I say the queries were not only sent to them that deny the alone sufficiency of God's teaching (as the inscription may manifest), neither is the query, whether they do so or no? but whether that teaching of God alone be sufficient. So into the pit thou hast digged falls thy reproach with thee who hast no way to slander nor evade the truth, but by thy lies. So thy refuge fails thee after all thy boasting.
In thy answer to the eighth query, which asks "what and where that word is that people shall hear behind them, and where their Teacher is," &c. And this word thou thrusts out into <461> another world, and would thrust in, instead, thyself with the rest of thy brethren, suchlike, because the word is read "teachers." I say, all that know this [p.44] prophecy of Isaiah, and the end of it, knows that it foretells of this day of the Lord, wherein "all the children of the Lord shall be taught of the Lord."24 Nor is it like that Isaiah was prophesying of such as you, who so earnestly declared against such as sought for their gain from their quarters and called them greedy dumb dogs, and cried down those who spoke a divination of their own brain and not from the mouth of the Lord. It's not like he was prophesying of you, who are found in all these things and much worse which he declares against; for though you have a way to call yourselves ministers, yet shall you never have testimony from any Scripture, as it was given out by prophet or apostle, so long as you are found in that way of worship, manner, and means which now you are in. Not a line in this Scripture will serve you, unwrested; it coming from a contrary Spirit it no more owns you than you own it, in life and practice.
For what thou sayest to the ninth query: "That the word is not a principle in men that believe or mind it not," I say thou speakest thy own knowledge; but some know better than to believe thee, who knows that where there is no word there is no life; who knows him that upholds all by the word of his power, which they that have no word but the letter knows little of.
To the tenth query: "What that voice of Christ is, which his sheep knows?" And this thou makest to be the written record: so by thy doctrine all that hears the Scriptures knoweth the voice of Christ; but who reads Acts 13:27 may see thy false doctrine, for wiser than thou had the record that spoke of Christ but knew not the voices of the prophets that spoke it; but from the record concluded to put him to death25 who was the word: so thou from the letter art preaching him out of the world and slandering him in the world, making people believe that who waits for the voice of Christ, in any other way but in the letter, waits but for a delusion. [p.45] So all the communion thou knowest with Christ is literal, and thus thou preachest; and all believes thee; but who hath fellowship in Spirit with Christ sees thee deluded, and thy delusion.
And for answer to that clause, "How the voice of Christ may <462> be known from all strange voices?" thou sayest, "By its own light, the word of God." I say, that is true if from truth from thee it came: but dost thou not mean thereby the letter? which all along thou callest the word, which a man may read all his life and therewith come amongst you parish masters, and never discern the voice of Christ, though he may hear as many voices amongst you, and several imaginations, as there are days in a year. But if he mind the light and Spirit, which brings to understand the voice of Christ,26 with that he would be brought to deny you all, who are out of his way and have not his word abiding in you.
To the eleventh query, which asketh, "What that way in the wilderness is, which is called the way of holiness; and whether any may expect to find it in these days?" To this thou sayest, "Christ Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and none can come to the Father but by him."27 I say that these are true words; but thou that makest it thy work to preach him out of the world till doomsday and confine him in the heavens alone hast excluded him for being a way to those now in the world, to lead them out of the world, which cannot ascend up into heaven there to walk in him as a way: so thou hast shut up the kingdom against men as thy fathers ever did.
And an answer to the latter part of the query (which thou hast left unanswered) must needs follow, that none can expect to find such a way in these days, nor till after they be dead, where the serpent persuades all his hearers of their righteousness and so of their way also; and so keeps his way in the world.
In answer to the 12th query, What that manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, [p.46] and whether there be any profiting but by it. To the first part of this query thou sayest, it is that one Spirit which is in that one person of the Son of God (and this person thou hast limited from the earth till doomsday) and doth not confess to the Spirit manifest within the creature, but tells of a distinct understanding of that Spirit and his testimony concerning Christ; which is no more from thee but an imagination, as all that knows the Spirit may judge: for there is no manifestation of the Spirit of God upon earth but what is within, and those that it witnessed it manifested, witnessed it dwelling <463> in them, but thy testimony is as far different as the heavens is from the earth. And for the two latter parts of the query, whether it be not of itself an infallible guide, and whether there be any profiting but by it (lest they should fall on thy head, having named them) thou tellest a lie, and therewith makest an escape, saying they are sufficiently answered before.
To the 13th query,28 what and where that worship of God in Spirit is, and whether any can worship in Spirit but those that are born of the Spirit, and whether they so born need any other guide in his spiritual worship but that Spirit of which they are born, and whether such worshippers have not been & are now different from all other worshippers in the world. And to the forepart of this thou addest some words as touching the Samaritans' worship and Jews' worship, not to the purpose; but as concerning whether any can worship in Spirit but such as are born in Spirit, and whether they need any other guide but that Spirit, and all the rest of the query which is the most material to show thy deceits, from these thou stealest away without any answer at all, as though the naming them over again was sufficient. Art thou not ashamed to call these answers? dost think all are as blind as thyself and those thy companions whom thou hast blinded?
[p.47] This day is the Lord (through the pride of thy heart) covering thee with thy own shame and is discovering the skirts of the whore, and her nakedness appears and shall more appear, that the fire may be kindled wherein to burn her, and all her merchants that have been made rich through the abundance of her delicacy begin to bewail and stand afar off for fear of her torments crying for help, yet shall the nations which have been deceived see her lewdness and be set free from her witchcrafts, then shall the Lord be known present and praised.
To the 14th query, which is about the light, thou confessed it to be Jesus Christ which lighteth every man which cometh into the world, but perceiving it against thy self, doctrine and trading, in the conclusion thou would bind it only to the enlightening of them who are believers and would deny the light to be the condemnation of the unbelievers,29 saying it is not the coming of the light to them is the condemnation, when Christ saith this is the condemnation, <464> that light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light; and, If I had not come they had not had sin. But thy testimony is contrary; so they that believe thee make Christ a liar, and they that believes Christ makes thee a liar. And thou wouldst limit this light to be personal which all the children of the light have known shining in their hearts,30 which is the condemnation of them that know it not; nor can the children of darkness judge of the light what it is, who puts it afar off; yet thou that hates it hast it against thee, though thou have it not with thee, not being guided by it.
To the 15th query, what the law of the Spirit of life is which made Paul free from the law of sin and death, &c.
And instead of answering this, thou fallest a wrangling with it, and thou would make people believe that Paul's freedom he speaks of (Rom. 8:2) from the law of [p.48] sin and death was not from that law that led him into captivity to sin which he complains on, and so thy first thing is to prove the apostle a liar, who says the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death; for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, the Son of God condemning the sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in the creature by Christ. Another thing where thou would prove him a liar is in that he saith he is made free from the law of sin and death; and this thou also wholly denies as though thou knew his condition better than he did himself.
And thou callest the body of sin a law, and the law of sin another law; and such mangled stuff not worth mentioning, and for which thou hast no proof but thy blind imaginations, who would have 3 or 4 laws, but not one of them in the heart, only the law of sin; and thou concludest that the proposer of the queries cannot make out what God hath revealed to him; and thy ground is, because he hath propounded these queries, as much as to say, he that asked questions of the scribes and Pharisees could not make out his revelations (and this is thy reasoning whereby thou wouldst show another man's folly). Indeed to the blind guides he could never make out his revelations, nor can he now, where he is; but who wants abilities to make out anything of the Spirit of <465> God, and thinks to find it by asking questions, he had need of a better resolver than thee, that had answered these queries, or any who deny the infallible Spirit of God within them. And thou tells of a new birth, and the forming of Christ in men; but what birth is that thou intends, and what Christ must be formed within, seeing thou hast (in thy judgment and doctrine) confined the Son of God in heaven while this world lasts: art not thou preaching another Christ and birth? let all who have the Son of God judge.
[p.49] The last query, which asks what the grace of God is that brings salvation and hath appeared to all men: this thou answerest with a slander, saying that indeed we believe no such thing as the grace of God appearing to all men, but put a fancy in the room of it, &c. Showing thy heart void of grace and so more ready to slander than answer, having more experience of the one than the other; and no wonder, though it be so, when thou deniest the Spirit of light within to be the true Teacher, and thou sayest that which is always within cannot be properly said to be brought to a man—wherein thou showest thy sottishness. Is not the life of man brought to him freely, given of God, and yet always in him while he lives? so natural reason may judge thee, and he that gives the life gives the light, thereby to keep the life unspotted, though such as thou turn it into darkness and hide it under the bushel, else would it reprove thy lying spirit, who would make people believe that I deny the Scriptures because I bid blind guides search the Scriptures, and reprove you who cannot believe what the Scripture saith concerning the flesh of Christ. And thou sayest, the Ranters' principles and ours are one; and the greatest ground thou brings to prove it is by Richard Farnworth writing a book against them. O thou dissembler, art thou not ashamed to accuse us to be one with them, and yet takes offense that we should write against them? Indeed they are true friends to the kingdom thou art pleading for in thy book, to wit, sin for term of life, and strong props in that kingdom: so you can ill spare them; and their faith and thine suits well for pleasure here and hereafter: yet be ashamed of thy accusation and the ground of it; for of about 40 books written against the truth within this three or four years, I never see one written against the Ranters by your parish-teachers. Yet will you murmur at others, which shows no little of your friendship; and thou murmurest at <466> Rich. Farnworth, because he only [p.50] blameth them for turning to a loose and profane life and said that once the pure law was set up in them to have freed them from sin, and thou sayest if he know anything that their principle led naturally to it: but is this no blasphemy to charge the pure law and judgment naturally to lead to sin? for this is the principle that he knows and speaks of, and thou sayest he owns their principles, and yet cries out against their gross profaneness and atheism, so that to own the pure law and judgment, seems to thee an offense and matter of accusation. But, sayest thou, this he doth because that is grossly scandalous, and hinders others from hearkening to their imaginations. O thou devourer, how dost thou cast out thy envy; are these words becoming Christians, thus wickedly to slander? and is the pure law and judgment and the light within imaginations with thee? Thou art afraid this should be harkened to and therefore calls it the root of all atheism and profaneness, which the apostles saith, want of the light within and because of the blindness of the heart, is people given over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness (Eph. 4:18-19). So thou art an enemy to the apostle's testimony, light and Spirit, law and judgments, and so art antichrist, out of thy own mouth; and let the apostle's words judge thee without wresting.
And thy envy hath got an object of one about Norwich that pretended perfection whom thou sayest yet lived secretly in uncleanness a long time, if not in murder too for hiding it. I say the woe is to him who hath given thee cause to blaspheme by departing out of the way of God which is perfect, but let every sober Christian judge thee what spirit thou art of, who takest that advantage against the truth, considering the wickedness committed in your parishes where you are masters, and from whom you have your hire, which might stop your mouths from this glorying were it not that the [p.51] devil must rejoice in his own work who could never get such an advantage against the truth since it begun to spread in the nation. So now he plies it with reproaches from all parts of the nation, which is no little sorrow to them that fear God, nor will it be joy to you (one day) who aggravate it as thou dost, adding murder to it, which if thou know such a thing, and conceal it, the blood be upon thy head, but if thou know not such a thing, then a murderous slanderer thou art, and thy own works shall judge thee, in every honest heart, who reads what thou hast published to all <467> the world. And for thy accusing us at our meeting for incivilities, as for calling you liars, serpents, sots, and suchlike; I say, if any did call you that you are not, you are more innocent than they; I justify no such thing; but this I know, and many other that was there, that one of thy companions had his staff up to have knocked me down in the yard, gnashing at me with his teeth, and narrowly I escaped, that it was not so: had you had any such carriage from us reason might have judged it uncivil, but a word from us is counted an offense, when actions from the world is counted none. And thou wouldst charge James Parnell with blasphemy who speaking of corrupt reason saith, before that was, I am. I say: thou here showest what thou knowest of the inward man or being in the life of Christ. Is not he that is born again of the immortal seed born of that which before corrupt reason is? Art thou a teacher and calls this blasphemy? Nay, it is the blasphemer in thee that cannot own the voice of Christ, for if anything of Christ speak in man it was before corrupt reason was; and everyone in their measures of Christ, as they have received.
And for the name of Manifestarians which thou wouldst cast upon us for a slander, and sayest thou knowest not any called Manifestarians, nor what manner of persons they apply that name to, and saidst [p.52] thou never heard of any such thing that John Wray called you so in some letters, I say then, thou should have been silent and not have judged that thou heard not, for the letter is yet a witness for us, which came to me above 60 miles from John Wray's house with an invitation to meet those called Manifestarians; though thou be so shameless in thy book as to deny, and sayest thou dost not believe that we was sent for, and so with thy false belief took occasion to slander us with burglary, and so not having the Spirit in thee to bridle thy tongue, nor faith in thy heart, thy tongue runs without guide after thine envy, and being told of it denies it and calls others liars. And because thou hast titled thy book, "A Lying and Antichristian Spirit discovered in some of those called Quakers," I shall gather up some of thy lies from thy own mouth and send them back into the old vessel where the liar sits, till thou make proof of them.
First, That we did signify our resolution not to come to the meeting at John Wray's, and then came to it.
2. That we acknowledge not the grace of God in the death <468> and resurrection of Christ to be the foundation of salvation.
3. That we would lay another foundation.
4. That we murder the Just One in us.
5. That we move people to take heed to the light within them, to take them off from looking to Jesus.
6. That we imagine the person of the Son of God to be some further type of the true light.
7. That we imagine Christ to be something natural, in every man naturally.
8. That we never direct any man to look for any supernatural grace.
9. That we are of the number that judge no act of sin to be of itself sinful, but to him that judgeth it so.
10. That I said, that which taught to deny some gross [p.53] sins, yet doth not herein teach to deny sin but to deny God.
11. That we deny the power and root of godliness under a show of godliness.
12. That we are enemies to the cross of Christ.
13. That we are enemies to his personal sufferings for the taking away of sin.
14. That we are enemies to the love and glory of God, appearing in the face of him.
15. That we seek to undermine this, in pretense of magnifying Christ in us.
16. That we glory therein.
17. That we slight the Scriptures.
18. That my intention was to make a nullity or shadow of the person Jesus of Nazareth and of those works done in his own body.
19. That we stormed at thee because thou didst not fall down and worship Rich. Farnworth.
20. That we would cast off all the Scriptures if we did not fear it would be disadvantageous to our design.
21. That I have in my heart wholly rejected the faith of that one person of the Son of God in our nature.
22. That our design was to mar the visage of the Son of Man.
23. That we were glad of the occasion to be gone out of John Wray's house.
24. That John Wray invited us again to his house after we was put out.
<469> 25. That I would pervert the doctrine of the apostles.
26. That I slandered our Savior himself.
27. That I pervert the gospel of Christ.
28. That I preach and bear witness of another Jesus.
29. That I move you to listen to another spirit.
30. That I bring another doctrine than that the prophets and apostles spake of.
31. That the Jesus I bear witness of is not already come in flesh.
[p.54] 32. That I charged you with denying Christ come in the flesh, because you affirmed his appearing to put away sin in his own person Jesus of Nazareth.
33. That we signified all to be strangers to the coming of Christ, that would not worship us.
34. That I moved you to receive another spirit than that which is in and with the hearing of faith.
35. That we cry down the testimony of Jesus as it is declared in the apostles' doctrine.
36. That we curse others for but calling our doctrine into question.
37. That we commanded them to wait for some other immediate teaching.
38. That I bring another gospel than that the apostles had preached.
39. That I exclude myself from the prayers of Christ for his blessing upon his ministration.
40. That I preach down the manifestation of God in the flesh of that one person as for us.
41. That indeed we believe no such a thing as the grace of God appearing to men and bringing salvation to them as wrought in Christ.
42. That we teach men to follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing.
That it is not unusual with us to pretend highly against a thing, when in our hearts we justify or allow it.
43. That we pretend as much for a thing that in heart we are enemies to.
44. That our bottom principles are one with the Ranters.
45. That we at the best seek to establish our own righteousness, <470> but stumble at the righteousness of Christ.
46. That our principles have the same fruits in them as to gross atheism or blasphemy, of as high a nature as the Ranters.
47. That our mortification stands in despising dominion, speaking evil of dignities, casting off all civil and natural respects where due, and the like.
[p.55] 48. That we speak lies in hypocrisy, having our conscience seared with a hot iron.
These and many more such notorious lies, that the least modesty would be ashamed to have uttered were it not that thou art given up to heap up wrath with greediness and vomit out thy own shame; sure such a piece of work never came from anywhere the least principle of God is minded, if it had been all laid open. But I am weary with raking amongst this uncleanness which from thee proceeds and shall leave the rest to any who with the eye of judgment reads thy book, who may find three times more thy lying slanders which secretly thou hast shot out: surely that fountain is full which hath such violent streams, but the man-child is safe: neither should I have mentioned thus much of thy uncleanness had not I been moved to clear the truth in the sight of simple ones and lay the lies upon the founder. And let any honest heart see what thou art, who would accuse the Quakers for liars, for speaking and writing truth to thee, which thou canst not disprove any way but with lies and slanders, to keep people from believing; and truly you are in this condition who call yourselves ministers: now that the light is come to discover you, that you have but these two refuges—lies & carnal power—but most of you who have proved both these hold the latter the better shield. Yet you tell people our way is naught but error; but when any who live in this (you so call) comes into your high places, your truth will not defend your practice and confound their error, without a pair of stocks or a prison; you have no mind that your people should have this error confounded otherwise than with accusing them falsely behind their backs, when you have got them fast for reproving you. For it is come to this now, that your doctrine must not be questioned, neither in your time nor after, but upon pain of imprisonment, and that [p.56] without any limit of time, yea many for but looking at you and not speaking a word, such is the strength of your weapons which in the ministers of his Spirit was <471> mighty through Christ and needed not clubs and prisons to defend it; so look upon your work and weigh it with truth and the saints' practice, and see how they agree; for no further are you his ministers than you can own the saints' life: though you can change their words to your wills, yet their lives you cannot, and by that you must be tried.
And seeing it is the great work in these days to separate Christ and his light, word, and Spirit as far as the heavens and the earth, never to come nearer till the end of the world; and thou scoffs at infallibility & calls perfection a doctrine of devils and pleads for sin while men lives, and much suchlike doctrine against Christ, I shall lay down these particulars following, as I have received them from the Lord, which through the strength of God I shall stand by, against thee and all thy generation that shall oppose yourselves.
1. That the light of Christ is the first principle, that shows a man his condition and leads to Christ the Savior; and without it the gospel is hid from every creature living, and without it none can read with profit.
2. That though Christ Jesus in himself hath suffered and satisfied the whole will of God for all the world, yet none but who by faith in this comes to receive a measure of the same Christ, in the same Spirit and power and life in them, can have redemption by him from sin and death.
3. That the word of God is spiritual; and who hath it, hath it in their heart; and that none who hath it not in their hearts hath eternal life, though they may have the letter as the devil hath to pervert to wrong ends, to plead for sin and tempt the sons of God.
4. That none can understand the Scriptures, nor know [p.57] the voice of Christ in them, but who have that Spirit and light in them that gave them forth to open their understanding to know the mystery and life of them.
5. That no man knows his own heart but who first owns the light of Christ to search it, and the same light that searches the heart gives light to know God and his glory.
6. That the least measure of living faith that is not a fancy but stands in Christ Jesus is present power against all sin and the greatest power of Satan if the creature abide faithful in it and run to no other helps, but mind obedience in it.
<472> 7. That no man can be a minister of Christ nor preach him truly but who preacheth perfection, and that is the end of his ministry (which thou calls a doctrine of devils).
8. That there is not one particular of the worship you perform in your high places but it is added or altered from what it was when Christ appointed it and established it.
9. That God and his word is now manifest in the bodies of his saints in the same manner and as freely as formerly he hath been; and that there he is a sufficient teacher and shield against sin, without any other help, to all, according to the measure of their knowledge of him present.
10. That no man can receive the things of God's Spirit but who mind somewhat of God in them, to receive it withal.
11. That the least measure of God's Spirit is an infallible guide, and without it no man knows Christ nor can judge of anything of God, or his truth, his kingdom, or the way to it, or the devil and his subtleties but lies open to be deceived in all things and to be led by men of corrupt minds, in whom the devil is.
12. That the ground of all errors, sects and opinions, heresies and blasphemies that are in the world is [p.58] in being led from the guidance of this Spirit, and all live in error but who are guided by it, but none ever errs who was guided by it alone, nor ever shall.
These being the main things for which thou accuses us in thy book, having wrested them contrary to our judgment and practice thereby to darken the way of truth, more dear to me than life; to the end that all may find it and rest to their souls I have laid them down as plain as I can, as they are in Jesus, in me revealed, without any adding or diminishing, as in the sight of God: so when thou writes to oppose again let it be plain to the people whether thou owns or denies, so the difference may be judged with the truly wise in heart, and the ground of it, and do not cast a mist over the truth, as in thy book, and yet dare neither own nor deny, but secretly bite and devour.
Also prove these lying slanders cast upon us, or blame me not for calling them lies and discovering the father thereof.
Thou hast plowed wickedness and reaped iniquity, and hast eaten the fruit of lies.
1. Ps. 119:11.
2. Acts 13:27; Luke 24:45.
3. Ps. 69:22.
4. Isa. 56:10-11.
5. Isa. 26:12; Phil. 1:13; Heb. 13:21; Col. 1:29; Matt. 11:27.
6. Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:37-38.
7. bActs 9:10-11.
8. Acts 13:2.
9. Rev. 3.
10. Acts 1:4,8; John 16:19-22; 16:16.
11. 2 Cor. 4:6-7.
12. John 16:2-3.
13. 1 Pet. 4:13; Col. 1:24; 2 Cor. 1:5; Phil. 3:10.
14. Col. 1:24; 1 Pet. 3:14-15; 4:16; Rom. 2:4; 8:17; John 15:5.
15. 2 Cor. 3:6.
16. Luke 5:38-40; 19:7.
17. 2 Pet. 3:16.
18. 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
19. John 16:13.
20. John 16:13.
21. Rev. 21:2.
22. Ps. 119:11; Jer. 20:9; Rom. 10:8; Isa. 51:7; Gal. 4:6; Heb. 8:10-13.
23. 1 Tim. 4:14.
24. Isa. 54:13.
25. John 19:7.
26. Rom. 8:10.
27. John 14:6.
28. 1 Cor. 6:19.
29. John 3:15.
30. 2 Cor. 4:6.
a. Thomason date: Nov. 2, 1655.