Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Antichrist in Man, Christ's Enemy
Hath not thy brethren, the men of darkness, sufficiently showed their blindness and envy concerning the appearance of Christ, but thou art forced to reveal what is in thee of the same nature, and therefore thou brings out this superfluous thing (as thou calls it) to show thyself to whom thou art joined and for whom thou art laboring in all this mud, against the pure light of Christ, his Spirit and word within, which the Father of lights hath given for a covenant of light to lead and guide into all truth, <389> which the devil and his ministers would deny, and set the letter in his stead, and the man of sin (without the Spirit and light of Christ) to give his meanings thereof, that so by the letter he may uphold his idolatrous false worships he hath been setting up ever since the times of popery, and which with his carnal spirit he hath been changing from one thing to another, but all without the light and Spirit that never changeth, and so out of both form and power of the saints' life declared in Scripture; which idolatry can never be discovered or destroyed out of the hearts of people where it hath been so long time rooted, any other way than by the light and Spirit of Christ, which is a thing the devil with all his power is now set against, mustering up all his servants in all parts of the nation, whom for many years he hath fed with the glory, riches and pleasures of this present world, that in the day of his straits (even the appearance of the heir) they might all stoutly defend his kingdom of darkness in the heart of man against the light of Christ, which the Father hath given to lighten every man that cometh into the world; and indeed his army is very faithful to him, and at his call are ready to arise (though to their confusion) with such stuff as they have from all parts of the nations, with lies and slanders, clubs and stones, persecution and imprisonments, hypocrisy and feigned humility and much the like, such weapons as he hath laid up in their hearts and hath furnished his house with all this while the heir hath been away and God not known in his temple, and so he hath kept the house in peace. And now the Lamb is appearing to enlighten the heart, and to reveal him that is set and exalted in the temple of God, above all that is called God; now is the beast roused on his seat, and the false prophet is joined with him, and the house of his armory is opened, and now behold the noise of his armor clashing one against another, and the mouth of the pit being opened, out comes such a smoke that the locusts cannot see one another, wherefore a noise of confusion is heard amongst you, sometimes confessing, sometimes denying the light, but all against it, to devour it with open mouth, and this of thine hath in it as much envy as the most, but as little of truth and light as any, and indeed such a lump of confusion and envy, and scornful light words, unto the sober minded it may serve to discover the author <390> without an answer and by what spirit he is acted, so that much I shall not need to write thereto, only lay open some of thy lies, slanders and deceitful doctrine, whereby thou would exclude Christ and the Spirit under a pretense of worshipping him, which is the thing moving me to write; otherwise as to all thy lies cast upon our persons, I might have been in silence, knowing what we are to look for at the hands of the world's teachers.
And in the front of thy book thou shows thy begettings and thy birth, and begins with a lie, calling antichrist in man the Quakers' idol, which is false, for though we see antichrist in thee and the rest of thy brood so exalted that he would be worshipped, yet we dare not make an idol of him, nor worship him, therefore are we hated by you in whom he is, and we know antichrist is in every man until he be revealed by the light of Christ within, where he is that is to be revealed, for fear of which it is that his ministers (to whom he is an idol) would keep people seeking without, lest he should be seen within the heart where he is.
Hast not thou confessed this against thy master's kingdom, who says he is in man but would set people to a light without to seek him? but now that thou hast confessed him in man, tell me if there be any other thing that can reveal him but the light of Christ within, where he is that is to be revealed; which if so, then let thy work in opposing that light within declare whose minister thou art; and thus instead of discovering our ways and opinions thou hast laid open thyself and work thou hast in hand, and for the confutations thou tells on, they will appear further when the light beholds them.
Thy work thou directs to all that believes salvation and justification for all their sins past, present and to come, by what Christ hath done in his own person; I say this faith suits thy work, for didst thou look to account for thy wickedness thou durst not have added such a heap of lies and blasphemies against God, his light and Spirit, as thou hast done in thy book, and thou hast many brethren with thee in that ranting opinion, that matters not much what you do hereupon. But who tells you all your sins are pardoned that are yet to come? Christ saith not so, who saith, you shall account at the day of judgment, yea, for every idle word, and by thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy <391> words condemned,1 and everyone shall at that day receive according to their deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil;2 then wilt thou and thy brethren see your large faith, that is so far before your works,3 will be too large to enter into the strait gate. And further I tell thee and thy companions in thy newfound faith, that you herein believe you know not what, who believe your sin is pardoned before it is committed, who neither knows what sin you have to commit, when or whether ever it shall be pardoned, nor ever creature shall until he hath repented and forsaken his sin; but thou hast left no place for repentance, whose sin (as thou conceitest) is pardoned before it be committed; but the Scripture knows no such presumption, who saith, if we sin wilfully after we have the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sin, though there be a conceit of such a faith as thine before the sin be committed, and that salvation and faith that saves not from sin is none of Christ's (Matt. 1:21).
Thou sets a work against the Quakers, but one thing seems to be in thy way, viz., the power of God in them, that leads them out against sin; and this pearl the swine would snuffle away, and then begin the more to rend. And thou says, a mighty power goes along with the Turk, and with the devil, and the angels of light are holy and without sin, yet they may be devils for all that. To which I say, had thou said no more, thou had manifested thy envy against holiness, and what thou knowest of it; was there ever devils holy and without sin? Such a devil was Christ in the eyes of the hirelings, thy fathers, who never loved holiness farther than to talk on for gain and worldly glory; but he that walks in it is a devil in your account, and ever was, for that's it most in your way, it most crossing your lusts; and thou would make people believe that the devil teaches to be strict against sin, and to walk honest and devout toward man. I say, the devil is not divided against himself, but should he teach that practice, he should exceed his ministers, who have lost all strictness as to sin, and honesty as to man, and are pleading against it.
As thou who are pleading against perfection and freedom from <392> sin, as in thy seventh page, which freedom is the end of Christ being manifest in the flesh to set free from sin, and destroy the works of the devil (John 8:34-36; 1 John 3:8), but thou says from the guilt, but not from the seed and act of sin; and the end why Christ at his ascension gave gifts and sent out his ministry was for presenting every man perfect, and this thou denies also (Eph. 4:10-13; Col. 1:18-19), which if the devil should teach, his doctrine was much better than thine, though he preach Christ of envy, nor did ever any of Christ's ministers own or preach thy faith and doctrine, which is against perfection and freedom from sin, but ever believed it, and pressed after it, and preached it.
And thou says, a man may be empowered to leave some sins for fear of hell: only I say, of the two it is safer to leave sin for fear of hell than live in it under a pretense of being pardoned before it be committed; but thou had loath lose thy kingdom.
Thou tells of the Quakers imitating the papists, in rising oft in the night to pray, and other lies thou adds to it, and thou says, truly God leads not to this, for he teaches no man by good works to purchase heaven. To which I say, is it a sin to pray because the papists pray? Whom did David imitate therein? and did he and the rest of the saints that which God did not teach? That God which so teaches thou knows not, and of that practice of so praying art thou and thy brood little guilty: you get more by praying in the idols' temple than by praying in the night, so praying in the night is become a reproach to us from thee, and farther thou countest us worse than profane people herein. Oh shameless men, how are the hidden things of Esau found out, who have been preaching against sin in words, and for praying always, and now are forced to own your hearts' love openly, and choose profane before them, and many words thou uses to prove that Satan may act men to some good works, and lead out of some evil; in all which thou dost no more but prove thyself worse than the devil, who art using thy endeavors to plead against all good.
And whereas thou sayest that we deny any minister or ordinances since the days of the apostles: that is false; we only deny all you who are descended from the pope, and are gone out from the true worship that was in the days of the apostles, both in form and power in every particular, and have set up your own imaginations instead thereof, so that the Scripture will not own <393> one particular of your worship without wresting, as it is by you performed in your idol temple, wherefore we must either deny you or the Scripture, and the saints' practice therein recorded.
And thou goes on in thy blasphemy against the light, denying that the light, which God hath given to every man that comes into the world, is sufficient to salvation without the help of any other means or discovery. And in thy thirteenth page thou sayest it is an error, if not damnable, to affirm that the light which Christ gives to all is sufficient without any other means or discovery. And in thy sixth page thou says, then certainly this salvation by the light in us is cursed; so by thy doctrine neither the light of God nor the light of Christ is sufficient. And to deny the light of Christ, and read that place, John 1:9, which saith, this is the true "light, which lighteth everyone that comes into the world."
Thou sayest, Christ gives light to no man under that name but to him that believes. So by thy doctrine John bears witness unto that light which was the true light, that all men through him might believe, but it was not in the name of Christ: I say, what shifts are the builders put to, to deny the cornerstone now at his appearing? Did not John bear witness to the name of Christ? Was not that word John speaks on the same that became flesh? and this thou says is not Christ, or did he bear witness to any other? See the words of Christ (John 5:33) where Christ owns John's testimony to be concerning himself, whom John saith is the "true light, that lighteth everyone that comes into the world." But saith thou, he enlightens none in that name but believers. I say, who must enlighten the rest, if not Christ, seeing thou hast denied the light of God before? Was there ever such a sottish piece? Is there any light to believers or unbelievers but in Christ? Is not he the light of the world, given of the Father for a covenant of light, even to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to enlighten them that sit in darkness, and to be the salvation to the ends of the earth? and shall not all that knows belief bear witness against thee that it was Christ that gave light to them, when they sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, and became a guide in spirit into the way of peace and salvation? which salvation (by that light in us) thou calls accursed. Is not here thick darkness that may be felt by all who ever knew any light? What a generation of blind guides are you become? How hath thick darkness <394> covered you? Is not the light of God sufficient, nor the light of Christ neither? What light must it be that is sufficient to lighten them that are in blindness, seeing God and Christ is denied by thee? or can any say that Jesus is Lord, but by the light and Spirit within? and this thou calls accursed, and not to be received.
And thou would reason because all have not Christ, therefore he doth not enlighten all, contrary to that John 1:9, and contrary to Christ's words, who saith, the Spirit of truth should lead into all truth, he shall take of mine and testify of me (John 15:26 and 16:13), and we know there is a light in Spirit, that testifies of Christ, before Christ be known in the creature, and none can become the sons of God but who receive the light of Christ, according to that Scripture, John 1:12, which thou who knows neither light nor Spirit art ignorant of, and therefore says it is an error, if not damnable, to say the light of Christ is sufficient without some other help.
And thou goes on in thy confusion, telling of a first, second and third light, which the Scripture knows no such thing, but thy own imaginations to blind people withal; and thou says, that which John testifies on John 1:9, which he calls the true light, is but the light of nature, or reason, and a comparative darkness; so they who know no better may believe that John preached a natural reason, and comparative darkness, for all to believe in, and called it the true light, and said the world was made by it, &c., and such blind stuff thou brings to confute the Quakers. And thou goes on to prove this further, and brings Paul's words (Rom. 2), and thou deals with him as thou does with John, and tells two lies together of him; first, thou says he says, the Gentiles, which knew not God, do by nature the things contained in the law, yet know not God for all this light, when Paul saith, they became a law unto themselves, and was Jews in spirit, whose praise was of God and not of men, but doth not say they knew not God, who brought forth the law of God. Secondly thou says, Paul there means by nature nothing else but the light they have to distinguish them from beasts, which is false also, for he says, that light led them to show the works of that law God had written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and excusing them in the day when God shall judge the world by his gospel, which is something else than thou speaks on, but that nature which brings forth these fruits thou <395> knows not, nor the light and fruits of it, which will stand at the day of judgment praised of God, but not of men.
And then further to deny that the light of Christ that lighteth everyone that cometh into the world to be sufficient, sayest thou, this opinion contradicts the whole current of the Scripture, but can name none it contradicts: but seeing thou can quote none against it, I shall quote some that shall witness it: John 1:9; John 8:12; Eph. 5:13-14; Luke 7:21; 2 Cor. 4:6; Prov. 4:23; Isa. 49:6; Luke 2:32; 1 John 1:7; where the wise may see that of all sorts of people Christ is the light, which is sufficient, and that in spirit within also.
And thou denies that this light can show that Christ was born of a virgin, that the world was made of nothing, nor convince of the resurrection. To which I say, none of these was known at first but by the light, nor can they be known now as they ought to be (though blind guides may talk of them) but by the light; for it is the Spirit that reveals all things, even the hidden things of God, and leads into all truth, else the knowledge is but a tradition. But to thee I say, as Job doth of such, "They that rebel against the light knows not the ways thereof"; so thou child of darkness may stop thy mouth for telling what the light can do or not do; for the Scripture saith, that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it to them; but thy knowledge comes not in at that door.
And thy threefold light thou tells on, the first thou calls the light of nature, and saith it is that word (John 1:9), and this thou calls the light of God, and says it is but comparative darkness. Thy second thou calls the light of Christ, and that thou proves, Eph. 5:14. And the third thou calls the light of glory, and that thou proves (John 8:12) where Christ saith, "I am the light of the world"; and this thou says speaks in the future tense; and such mangled stuff that one that had but common sense would blush at. Is that which saith, "I am the light of the world," in the future tense, and not the light of Christ? and is the light of God, and that Word which was in the beginning, which John speaks on, by which the world was made, become so much less than the light of Christ that it is but comparative darkness? Did John preach comparative darkness when he said, "Then this is the message we have heard of him and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him <396> is no darkness at all; and if we walk in his light, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"?4 But thy message is that the light of God is comparative darkness, and that which Christ saith, "I am the light of the world, and he that follows me shall not abide in darkness but shall have the light of life." But this, thou says, not now, but the time shall come when he that follows me shall have a light without sin; so light and following must be in another world, but not while this world lasts, for this is the term of time the devil & his ministers would have his covenant of sin & darkness to last; but if you make it for any less, you must be no ministers for him, nor have none of the world's glory from him who is the prince of the world, where Christ, the light of the world is not owned; and when thou hast made up this bundle of confusion, says thou, I hope we may safely distinguish where the Scripture doth; when the Scriptures say no such thing, but thy blind imaginations to put out the light of Christ within, and keep people without in thy imaginations.
Thy next thing thou goes about to prove is that the Scriptures is the word and mind of God to you; thou sayest, it must either be the word of the devil, the word of man, or the word of God. To which I say, if thou intend the letter of the Bible, it is not one of these, but a declaration of the words of all these, and then thou goes on in thy blind logic to prove it, and thy argument is thus much: if one command be the word, then all the Scriptures is the word, &c. But who taught thee this logic, to prove generals by a particular; if God spoke some words in Scriptures, is that which the devil spoke the word also, because it's in the book? Because that was the command of God that said, "Thou shalt not bow nor worship anything but God alone," was that the word of God also that said, "If thou wilt worship me all shall be thine" (Luke 4:7-8)? This is thy arguing; and with such as this thou leads them blind, who knows no better; yet thou can find no Scripture that saith so, only thou instanced that Mark 7:10-13, which hath relation to the fifth commandment; but if that be thy word (to wit) the letter written and engraven in stone, which if it be taken in the letter (as it can be no other in thy sense) then the apostle tells, the <397> 2 Cor. 3, and also to the Hebrews, that it is done away; so thou hast lost thy word if that letter be it, and so thy argument is fallen, and a place is left for me to set another in its stead thus:
That which one may have, and not have the mind and word of God, is not the mind and word of God, but one may have the letter of the Scripture, and not have the mind and word of God. Ergo, the major cannot be denied, and the minor I prove by plain Scripture (Acts 13:27); they that dwelt at Jerusalem had the Scriptures read every Sabbath day, yet knew not their voices, and so had not the mind of God (John 5:38-39). The Jews had the Scriptures, and thought to have eternal life in them, yet Christ tells them they had not the word in them; also (John 8:37) he saith, the word hath no place in them, and (verse 43) he tells them they could not hear the word, therefore they could not understand his speech; and this word it was they had made void by their traditions, and so have you also, and so know no word but the letter, which never minister of Christ pleaded; yet had they the Scriptures and did not make them void in the letter.
Another thing thou wouldest prove if thou could, that spirits are to be tried by Scripture, and with thy vain philosophy thou wouldst prove this also, for the Scripture will not, only thou quotes that Isaiah 8:20, which may serve to overturn thy whole argument: "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word it's because there is no light in them." Wherein the prophet shows that none can speak according to the law and testimony but from the light in them, the law and testimony being bound up and sealed amongst the disciples, as in the 16th verse; therefore who are disciples and follows Christ the light, know the law of the new covenant to be written in the heart (Heb. 8:9-10), and the testimony of Jesus to be the Spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10, John 15:26), but they that are spiritually blind knows not this, whose eyes are abroad, and therefore set up the letter instead of the Spirit; and such by searching the Scriptures could never know Christ, although they testify of him; who are not first taught of the Spirit, and therewith led into the Scriptures, such cannot read the Scriptures, but wrest them to their own destruction, as is plain (2 Peter 3:16), and so are far unlike to try spirits therewith; yea, wiser than thou had the Scriptures <398> but knew not their voices (Acts 13:27), no not the disciples themselves, till Christ with his light had opened their understandings (Luke 24:25); but this is the serpent who would be trying of spirits with the letter, as he tried the Spirit of Christ by the letter of the law, as is plain in John 19:7. And by such triers hath the Spirit of God been condemned, and his people suffered in all ages, where men without the spiritual light wrested the letter out of its place to set it above the Spirit, which doth but testify of the Spirit.
And thou says, as God and Christ are one, so is Christ and the Scriptures, for they cannot be broken; but if you have not broken the Scriptures, let the Spirit of God that gave them forth judge, who have changed the way of God, and set up such a worship as no Scripture will own without wresting, and breaking in upon it with your own meanings.
And thou sayest, How must we try the Spirit? by a light in us? Oh strange unheard of doctrine! I say, yea, by the light in us, and he that hath not the light in him can try no spirits, but as the blind guides have ever done, for those who are bidden to try spirits had the anointing in them, who need not any man to teach them, but as the same anointing did teach them all things, in which is the whole truth and no lie, and this only is able to try the Spirits which we have received of him (1 John 2:27).
And thou brings that 2 Peter 1:19, "We have a more sure word of prophecy," &c., and this thou would have people believe is the letter of the old prophets, so by thy doctrine the letter of the old prophets, which never saw Christ on earth, is a surer testimony than the apostles, who was eyewitnesses of his majesty, saw him transfigured, and heard the voice of God testifying unto him (2 Peter 1:16-19), and such dark stuff as this is the fruit of thy literal ministry, and in this mud and darkness would thou be an opener of Scriptures, and art pleading for thyself and the rest of thy brethren therein, mentioning many of the saints' practices, but not one of them will own your way of opening, and therefore proves nothing for you, further than that you are wholly out of their way.
And thy next work is to prove that a man may be justified without Christ and his righteousness within, which being searched is but a justification imagined, for he that knows not Christ in him is a reprobate, and so not justified (2 Cor. 13:5), for it is <399> receiving Christ and his righteousness by which man is justified, and not by talking of it, even by the free gift of righteousness, which is but one and wrought by one, yet it must be received in all who receiveth Christ, who is God's righteousness, without which none can be justified, as is plain (Rom 5:15-17) and Christ in the saints is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27) without which there is no justification, this is the just that lives by faith, and the justifier of all them that so receive him. And whereas thou wonders how the patriarchs and prophets were justified before Christ came, I say: by the Spirit of Christ in them; and so they are to this day (Isaiah 50:8; 1 Cor. 6:11), but thou not knowing the Spirit in thee wonders at it, and so that Scripture is fulfilled upon thee, foretold both by the prophets and apostles (Acts 13:41).
And thou says thou hast sufficient ground to believe that some do deny Christ ascended with his body, but tells not who, yet doth thy mischievous mind aim at us, else why is it here mentioned, and when thou hast set up this lie, then thou contends against what thou hast forged thyself, to disprove it.
Then thou goes on to plead for respect of persons and creature worships, and bowing to the pride, and against us, because we cannot do it, but it seems thou hast forgot thy lying title, where thou says Antichrist in Man is the Quakers' Idol; and now art murmuring that we will not worship him in whom he is exalted; and thou bids us read that word if we dare (Lev. 19:32): "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head." I say, yea, we dare read that and own it; but when young ones looks to have grey hair to bow to antichrist exalted in them, that command is broken. Also thou pleads against "thou" and "thee," and yet beseeches to conform to the wholesome words of Christ Jesus (yet murmur at us for so doing) who never used other words to a particular; though thou would say he did, when he spoke not only what Nathaniel should see, but his disciples also.
And thou says, there was never such a word in Scripture, as look to the light within; when there is not anything more full in Scripture, nor can any have any light to know the things of God but within, for what is not spiritual is carnal, and what is spiritual is within (2 Pet. 1:19; Luke 17:21; 2 Cor. 4:4,6; Eph. 5:8,13-14; Eph. 4:18; 1 John 2:27; John 11:10), but where the light that is within is darkness, how great is that darkness, and this is <400> befallen the blind guides of this generation above all that ever was before you, for though the Pharisees would not believe in the light of Christ, yet they were ashamed to oppose it as you do; but if the light be in the letter, where is the blind guides the Scriptures speaks on? seeing they had the letter who were so called, and so hath their followers in our age, but thou that saith there is no Scripture that saith, take heed to the light within, read Luke 11:35, and see the liar.
And thou says that Jesuits without doubt are amongst us. But why doth not thy slanderous mind find them out? Cowlishaw's examination will not prove it, only it serves you priests to fill up your books and show your confusion, who let the Jesuit go (if there was any such) and prints your folly and envy against the Quakers, wherein you show to all wise men your desire to mischief, without any ground, and what you would do if the thing was true, who make so much ado about a lie.
And whereas thou says the pope and the Quakers agree, I say, stop thy mouth for shame: do not all men see that all this venom is cast out upon us by the parish teachers, who are from thence descended, because we testify against your masterships, tithes and parsonages, and all the rest of that superstitious worship, yet remaining of that which from him was received. And wherein you worship every particular out of the saints' practice, be ashamed to tell us of the pope; herein you do but discover your folly and give others occasion to look into your superstitious worship and papal observations, all of which we deny root and branch, and own what was practiced by the saints, as the Scriptures bears us testimony herein, which will not own one jot of your steeplehouse worship without wresting, for which we deny you and it.
And thou proceeds to give an answer to quaking and trembling (a thing thou knows not), and thou says, the ground we have for it is because the prophets did so, and then thou tells of Paul trembling, and the jailer, and others, and thou says, one swallow makes not a summer, and thou says, the jailer's trembling was for fear of the loss of his prisoners, and thus thou goes on heaping up one lie upon another; I say, which of the servants of God ever came to hear the voice of God and not tremble? and was the ground of it because others did so before them? and are all whom thou hast named (with many others) but one swallow? and was it <401> the loss of his prisoners that made the jailer tremble, whose trembling was not till he knew the prisoners was safe? These serve to make up three lies together; and thou adds a fourth, saying, one may put all their names in a ring, who trembled at the apostles' preaching, when there is not one of the saints that ever declares how they came to know God but it was in fear and trembling, and this thy blasphemous mouth compares to counterfeit beggars in London, and other frivolous unclean language, not fit to be named, thou utterest, for which thou shalt account when the Lord shall appear to the joy of such who tremble at his word, but to thy shame, who casts such out, saying "let God be glorified" (Isaiah 66:5), but thou art seen to be one of those thou mayest read of, Jer. 5:21 to the end; many other filthy things thou hast stuffed thy book with, which serve but to show thy light, frothy and unclean spirit; modesty itself might have caused thee to have kept them in, but that thou must show thyself one of the army of Hamon-gog, set in array with the rest of thy brethren.
Thou mayest truly say, thy salvation, by the light in you, is accursed, out of which comes such dark muddy stuff as this is, who says that it's an error, if not damnable, to say that the light that Christ gives to all is sufficient; and that it's an error, if not damnable, to say Christ is the only means of salvation. Are not all you divines gone mad? Was ever such a thing said of Christ and his light? Stop thy mouth for shame, and all thy brethren, a generation of blind guides, who have been so many years a-preaching Christ, and that faith in him would save, and now when he is come you say he alone is not sufficient: get you out of the Scriptures you blind sots, and take no more hire for talking of them, for they that testify of Christ to be the one thing needful, denies you, who say he is not sufficient without somewhat else: you are afraid of your craft. But what is that other that must be joined to him to make him sufficient? Must it be the hirelings? and what is it you will add to him to make him sufficient? This is it, you will tell people he is not sufficient, nor his light, for it's an error to believe it, if not damnable; should the apostles have gone amongst the heathen & told them this story (instead of preaching him all-sufficient), had not they been madmen that would have believed in him, and so have run into a damnable error, as you say; had they preached that doctrine they <402> should but have gathered a few to Christ, but like the Pharisees and you, have gathered them into sects, for all who gather not with him scatter abroad into sects. But seeing Christ saith there is but one thing needful, and you say his words are true, when you write again let it be plainly known what that one thing is which is sufficient, seeing you say it's a damnable error to say it's Christ and his light. And seeing thou says Christ enlightens none under that name but believers, tell us what light must be preached as sufficient to unbelievers, seeing thou renders it as a damnable error to preach the light of Christ as sufficient to unbelievers; which if thou deal plainly herein, antichrist will be discovered to be no idol of the Quakers, though he be in man, opposing Christ and his light in the Quakers; but whether you will deal plainly or no herein, yet this I say to thee, without making an idol thereof, that that in thee which denies Christ and his light to be only sufficient is antichrist, and in thee he is revealed to be, who is preaching Christ unsufficient.
And whereas in the front of thy book thou tells of one of them taken with a lie in his mouth before the magistrates (which is no lie, as thy book afterwards doth show), by which, thou says, they obtained a dismission, that they went not to prison. I say, with shame may thou say it, that any should be in danger of imprisonment for speaking to one who professeth himself a minister of Christ, and reproving their false worship: did ever minister of Christ make use of such weapons to defend their worships? But did not the man thou thus charges take thee in more lies than one, insomuch that thou was forced to plead lying no sin, saying it is but a change of the mind? so thy ministry thou hast herein manifested from whom thou hast it, and what it tends to: if lying be no sin, but a change of the mind, then what confidence can there be in men of that faith? This makes much for your liberty, who can do little else; but who is come into the truth sees this to be his spirit who abode not in the truth, that's now pleading for his own kingdom.
And if thou say I wrong thee herein, send to Francis Gauler and let him give thee an account both of time and place, where thou spoke it, and to the rest of thy doctrine it is suitable.
1. Matt. 12:36-37.
2. Rom. 2:6.
3. James 2.
4. 1 John 1:5-7.
a. Thomason date: 5 Mar. 1655/56