Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > Index > Answer to a Book called the Fanatic History
Richard Hubberthorne James Nayler
Thou seems to dedicate thy book of false accusations to King Charles and would put it upon him (as matter of hise duty) to be patron thereof, but it is a wisdom in all men, but especially in <315> rulers, to know what they father or take upon them to defend; in this day when the old liar and murderer is at work in the earth, seeking and creeping into every several government to stir them up that are in present power, by false accusations to persecute God's innocent people, yea, what power hath risen in this age of menf which have not been by flattering titles tempted hereunto and also overcome, by a sort of teachers and people which are not children of peace,1 nor have wrought peace in these nations or the rulers thereof, but blood falls and overturnings,g and if King Charles look to be established in peace and truth and righteousness, which is the anointing of God, then he must not patronize lies (Prov.29:12).2 Nor countenance wickedness and envy, which is the substance of thy book which thou wouldst have defended, and against a harmless people whom thou wouldst have him suddenly to restrain,3 and that under pretense of defending Christ's faith. But friend, to restrain people from following the light of Christ in their consciences and his truth in their inward parts is not to defend his faith, which faith is a mystery and held in a pure conscience.4 And they that follow the Lamb are led by his Spirit and truth in their inward parts,5 and this the eternal God of heaven and earth requires, and seeks such to worship him,6 and this to restrain is noth the king's safety, nor the work of his sword, nor are you the friends of his establishment in God's peace7 who would put him upon it, to please your bloody spirits. But to restrain open profaneness, and to be a terror to evildoers,8 and to preserve people from the fist of wickedness, and to deliver the poor and helpless from him that is too strong for him, and to bring judgment into the gates9 and make it free for all sorts of people, without respect of persons or opinions, that the evildoer may be punished and the welldoer encouraged in every corner of the nations, that when God come to inquire for <316> innocent blood or oppression it may not be found, nor violence in the land. This is that which God looks for at the hands of kings and rulers, that they bear not the sword in vain, and this you cry not for,10 by which his authority may be owned of God & subjectedi for conscience sake, but you would have thatj in the conscience stifled and restrained,11 and then what is all obedience worth towards God or men or rulers but to follow anything that is set up and be true in heart to naught; and many such spirits will be found in this nation, if ever King Charles stand in need to prove them further than by flattery and self-ends, as those have found that was before him. And whether it will be his wisdom to fall upon the tender lambs of Christ, and seek to restrain them from following their leader, and so procure his wrath for pleasing these spirits; let the wise in heart judge, who have duly observed God's appearance towards such a work, all along in this age.
And whereas thy complaint is that if his majesty put not forth his royal hand and powerk to restrain us, we are sol seducing, that (in a little time) we will diffuse our poison over the better part of his kingdom, for naught but a royal authority can stifle it.
I say then, what is become of your spiritual weapons? Have not your teachers told people of the strength of truth and the power of godliness? have you lost both (may wisdom say) and run you now to the arm of flesh to get errors stifled (as you call them) or else your hope is lost and your faith fails you; did ever any of Christ's ministers leave their spiritual weapons to run to the arm of flesh, or a carnal weapon to stop seducers?12 I say no, this they never did, but with spiritual weapons they wrestled and overcame spiritual wickedness, and with that cut down heresies, blasphemies, and false worships, and cleared the churches of Christ of them, and drove them down before them in the world, for none could resist the Spirit by which they spoke,13 of all the false priests and false worshippers, but being put to worse, they cried (as you say)m to rulers and people, help us or all will be <317> overrun, for they that turn the world upside down are come hither (mind your cry),14 and then the rude multitude run at heaps upon them and made tumults often, and fell upon them with staves and fists, and assaulted the houses that entertained them as yoursn do, and so haled them before rulers, who took their part herein, and put them in prisons, and often whipped them unless it were some that were so noble as not to heed the cry of the multitudes, but would hear their cause and give leave to speak before they would sentence them that were accused,15 and this was the nobility of heathen kings and rulers, and do not you seek to make England's rulers worse?o lest heathens rise up in the day of judgment against them who are called Christians and condemn them.
And in this your cry for help against so contemptible a peoplep you (like silly women) do but discover your weakness and worthlessness, and if God open the eye of King Charles he will see it. What, have you preached and wrestled yourselves out of all hope and faith, that eitherq sudden help from him, or all is lost and overrun? Surely it may be said you have been bad watchmen and idle shepherds, who have lost all if sudden help come not from another hand; now if some had come against you with carnal weapons then had you had some excuse in crying to the earthly powers, but in that nothing but spirit comes, against spirit, and yetr have lost the day, this doth clearly manifest the power of God you have not in you, but have lost the kingdom of the most high and so are become unreasonable men,16 who would have two weapons against one, and another to do your work,s and yet are unwilling to forgo your wages; yea, this advantage you have had divers years but have not prevailed therewith. And whereas thou sayest thy book is of great consequence, and so thou presumes to make King Charles the patron of it, and then asks pardon for thy presumption when thou hast done.
I say sot thou hast need, the substance of thy book being made up of false accusations gathered up out of books formerly <318> written against us, which have been disproved by answers several times over, and to those thou hast added some fewu new accusations as false as the old, and spied out the failings of some few who have mourned before God, that ever they shouldv give occasion to the enemy of God so to blaspheme. And many things which was done and spoken by others who are not of us, nor ever was, and of this is thy book made up, as any may see who reads it, and our several answers to the charges therein, many of them of several years standing, against these false accusations, which have most of them been printed over and over and presented to the former powers that have risen, and as oft answered, so there needed no more to be said than hath been, were in not for the sakes of some who may yet be strangers to your way of dealing toward us under every power that hath been. Now discretion will say that to make another man the father of such a work, to which he is a stranger (but especially a king) is presumption indeed, rashness and folly, and needs a pardon.
And whereas you now say that none but a royal authority can stifle; it is true, you have tried parliaments and protectors (as you called them) and parliaments again, and to make them then work for you, your priests used these arguments to them (to wit), that in the late wars they had exposed lives, liberties, estates and relations, with allw personal advantages, in maintaining the just proceedings of Parliament, and from them you then claimed our stiflings, as the price of your prayers, purses, hazards, losses, banishment and blood, as may be read in thyx Westmorland petition against us, which thou hast printed, in page 197 and 198. And was not this power that which you then called the common enemy in the same petition (page 200). Which you now cry to, and would put him upon that work against us now, as defender of your faith, &c. Ah! faithless generation you have been, to God and man, may you not shame withy this work to print it and send it to King Charles, and call him to defend it and patronize it. How hath envy bereaved you of your reasonable senses,z shall he who defends this, defend either faith or truth? but this is <319> that you may cover yourselves with your shame and envy, that both king and people and parliaments may see what a generation you are, that will run under any power to get your bloody ends, but indeed true to none, for if it was true that you was so faithful to that Parliament, with your prayers, purses and blood, as there you plead, then is your faith but new which now you would have defended; but if not true, then how great deceivers, and how little to be trusted or defended in your cruel designs.
The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever. But if a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked (Prov. 29:12,14).
And to thee who hath set forth this book of mischief, I say with the Scripture, "Lay not wait (O wicked man) against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place; for a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again,17 but the wicked falls into mischief" (Prov. 24:15-16).
The day is come that the scripture is fulfilled which the Lord spake by his prophet (Isaiah 44:25), that he will "make the diviners mad," and that theybb "shall every one be ashamed of his vision (Zech 13:4; Micah 3:6-7), the which doth now evidently appear, and their folly is made manifest unto all that will see and behold it, according to 2 Tim. 3:9. And is not this manifest madness and folly in them called orthodox and divines, to present unto the king their packet of lies, which have been seven years told over, and so long since disproved and confuted, as may be seen in a book called href="sauls.html">Saul's Errand, &c., printed in the year 1654,cc and in several other books since? It already hath been and is now manifest unto all men of sober understandings that these men falsely called orthodox and divines have had no defense, either to vindicate themselves or disprove the people called Quakers, but this refuge of lies which they first presented to the Parliament sitting in '52, likewise to alldd other parliaments which have been since that time, and to the two <320> protectors, and now to this present king is directed, and you presumptuously charge him to be the patron to it, requiring him to defend those lies which you falsely call the faith. But this we know, according as it is written (Prov. 29:12; 20:26) that "if a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked," but "a wise king scattereth the wicked and bringeth the wheel over them."
These pretended divines are such as have bowed and crouched under every appearance of a power, by flatteries seem to cleave unto them, that they might uphold, maintain and satisfy their god, which is their bellies; these were of them which said that Oliver Cromwell was the light of their eyes and the breath of their nostrils, so that now with shame they might rather confess that they are blind and dead (from the light and life of God) than to multiply lies in their accustomed manner as formerly. These also were of them that said Oliver Cromwell was Moses, who had led them into a sight of the good land, and that Richard his son was Joshua, which should lead them into the possession; but we with many more do see that their hope is false and their faith also proved vain, and that they are not yet in the land of promise, for there no liars comes. And those former rulers hearkening to their lies was deceived by them, which was the cause of God's judgments and an utter destruction coming upon them, which while they put into the priests' mouths they cried peace unto them, calling them Moses, Aaron, and Joshua, but when they ceased and could not put into their mouths then cried out that Moses and Joshua was tyrants and oppressors, and so will they do unto the king now, who are seeking to cleave unto him by flattery and deceit, which if he deny to be the patron and defender of their lies willee cry as much against him, so that he or they are blessed whose ears are not open unto their clamors, but whose hearts are joined to the truth, and who is led by the Spirit of God as their instructor, for such shall discern hypocrites and false-hearted men under every pretense of flattery or dissimulation, for the folly of these begins to be manifest unto all men (2 Tim. 3:9).
Now as in answer unto the history concerning John Toldervy asserted by a company of priests, as Brooks, Cokayne, Goodwin, Jenkyn, Jacombe, Adderly, Tombes, and Poole, whom themselves <321> say that they have but perused a part, as page 99, and yet pretend to witness the whole, whose witness is disproved and denied by the same John Toldervy, both by his own book given forth from him, and by his life and conversation, being nowff a living witness, not against but for the way, doctrine, principle and practice which thegg Quakers do live in, against those lies published abroad concerning him.
And as for thy charge thou hast against J.N., through the everlasting mercy of my God, I have yet a being amongst the living and breath to answer for myself, though against the intents of many bloody cruel spirits who pursued my soul unto death (as much as in them lay) in that day of my calamity, when my adversary was above, and wherein I was made a sign to a backsliding generation, who then would not see nor hear what now is coming upon them, but rejoiced against this piece of dust and had little pity towards him that was fallen into their hands, wherein God was just in giving me up for my disobedience, for a little moment, as a Father to correct, yet should not they have sought to aggravate things against me as thou dost, for it was a day of deep distress, and lay sore upon my soul, and the pitifulhh God saw it, who though he was a little displeased,ii yet his thoughts was not to cast off forever,jj as it is at this day, glory be to his name from my delivered soul eternally.
And in that day there was many spirits flocked about me, and some whom while my candlekk shone upon my head I ever judged and kept out from me, who then got up and acted and spoke several things not in the light and truth of God, by which they who sought occasion against me then was strengthened to afflict this body; & he that watches for evil in thee and some others makes use on still against God's truth and innocent people, whose mouths the God of my mercy stop, and so finish the trouble of my heart as to that thing, for my soul hath long dwelt among lions, even among them that are set on fire, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongues a sharp sword, speaking mischievous things to shed blood.<322>
But O man, or men, whateverll you be whose work it is to gather togethermm the failings of God's people in the time of temptation or night of their trial, and aggravate them, and add thereto the wickedness and mischievous lies of your own hearts, as thou hast done in thy book, and then come out with those against God's everlasting holy truth it to reproach, I say you are set on work by an evil spirit, and you do but show yourselves to be enemies to God and his children. And it is our sorrow that any of us should give such spirits occasion to blaspheme, and hath been trouble of soul to all the people of God that have ever loved righteousness, when they thus have occasioned the joy of the wicked, or to feed that man that watches for iniquity and feeds on mischief; yet know this, you that are of that brood: God will not cast off his people, though he be sometimes provoked to correct them, even before their adversaries (which is a sign to them), yet is his anger but for a moment, and his favor shall return as streams of life. Then shall the food be taken out of the mouth of the viper, and the prey from between the teeth of the devourers, and God shall feed them with their own vomit, & the poison that hath long lain under their tongues shall be bitter in their own bowels, thus will God certainly plead with Zion's enemies as he bends her sons for himself, and God will make up her breaches. And this hath my soul seen, Jacob's captivity restored, and the diggers of the pit are fallen therein, neither hath he smitten him as he smote them that smote him. Ornn is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him, but this is all his fruit to purge away his sin.
So he that had long watched for my faltering then got advantage against me, yet had I then power to bear his utmost envy, through Christ Jesus whom I then confessed before men, who then was my support in all and under all, and who is over all, blessed forever of all who have proved him in the depth.
But that which was and is the sorrow of my heart is the advantage the enemy then took against the name of Christ, his truth, and his despised people, in that time of temptation, which is that which thou art now pursuing with hatred and lies, as that I hadoo a woman in bed with me the night before I suffered at Bristol, when there <323> was six or seven persons in the room that night, and a man (to wit) Robert Rich in bed with me. But this and several other false things thou hast written in thy book of which I am clear before the Lord, so they touch me not at all, nor shall I here mention them against thee in particular, but to God alone I look, in his time to be cleared from all offenses in his sight, who only knows my heart in this thing, in whose presence I can say that nothing is more odious and burdensome to my soul than that any of that glory of worship which belongs to God or to Christ should be given to flesh and blood, in myself or others; and how it was with me at that day, many talk of but few knows, so the judgment of such I bear, desiring that none in judging me might have condemned themselves in God's sight, whose counsels are a great deep, and the end of his works past finding out, till he himself reveal them; but in the end he will be justified of all, and in all he doth, that all flesh may be silent before him.
And however myself or manypp others may be left to themselves to be tried in the night, yea should any utterly fall, or whatever may be acted by any man or woman that is not justifiable in God's sight, yet in vain dost thou, or you, gather up sin, or watch for iniquity, to cast upon the light which condemns it in every enlightened conscience, and there will clear himself to be no author nor actor therein; and I know by the Spirit of Jesus, which I have received and which worketh in me, that this is not his work, nor his seed, nor in him that loves thyqq enemies, thou art not, but the old accuser of the brethren it is that worketh strongly in thee, and in the light which thou reproaches art thou seen to be the man that makes lies and carries tales to shed blood (Ezek. 22:9,12).rr
Again concerning the false charge in Chapter 5, page 108, concerning the Quakers in North Wales.
That some Quakers had such swellings in their bodies, shriekings and howlings, that not only frighted the beholders, but caused dogs to bark, swine to cry, and the cattle to run about.
Answer: this charge is altogether false, and not a word of <324> truth in it, as we who live in North Wales and have been constant at them meetings do testify: John ap John, Roger ap John; and as for William Spencer, that is false also, that any humming or hissing was heard by him, or that any Quaker did lay his head on his shoulders, or blow towards his mouth, as the father of lies hath said in the Fanatic History, p. 109.
Again also in the same page is another slander cast upon the Quakers, saying that in October the 9th, 1654, in Durham, a minister prayed amongst them, his legs trembling, and that they roared in a strange and hideous manner; which is false, for there was no such thing, as many can witness who was present at the meeting.
And in page 110 several lies is repeated without any proof, as that one burnt the Bible, and another appeared in Essex in such a shape as caused them to break up their meetings. Another concerning James Parnell in Colchester, that when he would have eaten could not, which is all false, and there is no proof for any of those things but the false accusations of our opposers, as for instance R.B. his queries is brought (for a proof to the first), as Query the 10th: Do not some of you say the Bible ought to be burnt, &c? Our answer is, no, for it ought to be read, believed and fulfilled; and yet the impudency of those that put forth the Fanatic History is not ashamed to say that we burn the Bible or dissuade men from reading it, but all people who are not given up to believe lies may know to the contrary, and may know that there is no people in the nation that doth more honor the Scriptures, by living the life of them, and fulfilling that which they speak, than we do; and that shall be our chief witness against all our opposers and accusers, whereby they shall be ashamed.
Again, whereas several is accused as for going naked:
Nakedness is a fit sign for you who are covered with lies and unrighteousness, and as the prophet Isaiah was called of the Lord to be as a sign to the Egyptians and Ethiopians, first in sackcloth and then naked and barefoot, and to walk so for three years as a sign and wonder amongst them (Isa. 20:2-3), which things would have been a subject for those pretended orthodox divines to have published books from, and so to have accused him to be mad, or a fanatic, or bewitched, as they do accuse some now, which do it in obedience to the Lord and as signs unto them. And those <325> that do thus accuse from the ground of enmity, they must be as much uncovered from that veil of darkness that is over their hearts, before ever they see God, as ever any Quaker was naked or uncovered outwardly; and when that comes to pass, the scorner will leave his scorning and the wicked man his way, and turn to the Lord, and will leave reproaching of the Quakers.
Again, others are accused for coming into the church, so-called, and for working of needlework.
Answer, whether is it better to do the thing which is useful and lawful, than for a man to preach for hire in that place, which is a thing which God hath always declared against since that sinful practice came up, for it is that which in all ages hath grieved his holy Spirit and hath been testified against by his people, his Son, and his apostles, as you may read (Isa. 56:10-11; Jer. 5:30-31; Micah 3:11; Ezek. 34:1-3; John 10:12; Titus 1:10-11).
And God is yet bearing his testimony against all such, both by words and actions, for they that preach for filthy lucre do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ but their own bellies, as the Lord is now plainly making manifest unto many thousands and will also manifest it more and more (Titus 1:10-11).
Many other lies and false accusations is gathered up in this Fanatic History, pages 114-115, and no proof for any of them, but that lying book called Hell Broke Loose, put forth by Tho. Underhill, whom God did manifest his indignation against, for while he was gathering up those lies now published in the Fanatic History, before he could perfect his work, God cut him off in his wickedness, and so that scripture was fulfilled upon him, "The wicked shall not live out half his days," and all those that do succeed him in the same work shall receive the same reward, for God is just and will reward every man according to his work. Which lies and accusations in that book related is answered by Francis Howgill in his book called Hell Mouth Stopped, &c.ss
Another false slander is charged upon the Quakers, that in September 1649 there was a discovery of divers witches in and near Sherborne in Dorsetshire, there being near two hundred of them at one meeting, most of them Quakers and Anabaptists, and <326> that five of them was committed to Dorsetshire Jail and have confessed, &c., and saith likewise that they did torment, bewitch and destroy Mr. Leyford, minister of Sherborne, tormenting him with a sharp painful disease that he died, and that Mr. Bamfield, his successor, they forced by their witchcraft to desert the town.
Answer: here thou hast proved the ministers to be under the power of witchcraft and not in the power of God, and so no ministers of Christ; for they could not be bewitched, but had power over that unclean spirit were they in the power of God.
But there was no discovery of any witches amongst the Quakers, neither was there ever any of the Quakers that ever did confess or was proved to be witches, for the Quakers is in that life and Spirit which the devil and witches have no power over, and therefore it is that the devil, witches, false prophets, hirelings, and deceivers is so enraged against us, and so these being but all forged lies, which may be manifestly known to all people which desire to know the truth, doth prove nothing against us, but doth fulfill the scripture which saith that all manner of evil shall be spoken against us falsely for his name's sake, who suffered the like contradiction of sinners, as we do now, for they said that he had a devil and did deceive the people; and unto us the bearing of his reproaches is as great riches, although it be to be called devils, witches and deceivers for his sake: for we have his witness in ourselves that we are of God, and that of God in all men's consciences shall bear witness unto us.
And as for thy saying that some Quakers killed their mother, following the light within them: it is answered, that there was such a thing done Yorkshire, but that they ever bore the name of Quakers is utterly false, as thousands can witness, but was of your own generation. Neither doth following the light of Christ within teach to do any such thing as thou blasphemously wouldst reproach it, whose coming is to save life and not to destroy it. And though he come to make an end of sin, both original and actual, yet it is through his own blood, and not with the blood of others. So thy charge herein is blasphemous and false in this thing, and in divers other particulars which thou mentionest against the truth and its followers. As concerning the physician in Lincoln which thou tellest of, and the maid in London which thou <327> tellest of, and divers other particulars, which are falsehoods, grounded upon the enmity of him who was a liar from the beginning and are not worth the mentioning after thee, neither can any moderate spirit who have any taste of truth in their own hearts be easily drawn to believe such things, which have so little face of truth with them, but is apparent fruit of enmity. And as thou tells of some Quakers dancing, some cursing and swearing, some killing and murdering, and immoderate familiarity with women, and many such things against which our God hath set us believing witnesses both in life and doctrine, as all that knows us can testify, so much need not to be said in our defense as to those accusations, being that our lives preaches the contrary where we come in all parts of the nation, & it is well known none dwells with us in the light of Jesus who act any of these things, and live in them and repent not, but with you and your hearers these things are found (who are our enemies, accusers and persecutors) lived in and justified, by teachers and people is divers of these things unto this day, against which we are witnesses.
And as for thy saying a Quaker at Dover when he came to die, said he expected salvation by his own works, and not by Christ; and thy bringing of John Davis, a priest, for a witness hereto—to which we say, that John Davis having been asked hereof, seems to deny it; however this we testify to be our faith in Christ Jesus, that by him only and through obedience to his works we are justified, and not in our own.
And whereas thou accusest some of us for saying to a priest, now is our day and we will have you down—to this we say, the day is come in which you are seen, and the fall of antichrist, but for any such words or intention in us of violence towards you, our hearts are clear before God, and he that shall either threaten or act so towards you, we deny.
And whereas thou accusest E.B. for saying, Give the priests blood to drink, for they are worthy. It's well known to many that through the priests, yea by their own hands, have several of our bloods been shed, yet did never we attempt to shed any of yours or theirs, nor ever shall do, for it is the whore and her worship that hath in her the blood of the saints and prophets, and all that are slain upon the earth for the testimony of Jesus, of <328> whom the Spirit of God hath said, Give her blood to drink, for she is worthy. And we have this testimony in our conscience towards the most bloodthirsty of you, that we had rather see your repentance than that scripture fulfilled upon you, though these words E.B. might use in obedience to the same Spirit, to those who continue in that spiritual Babylon.
And for any Quaker waylaying the minister of Cowwould (as thou calls him), jostling him by the way, and drawing his sword halfway:
We say, this is as false as the rest, and the minister himself thou mentionest denies it, and said, if it was spoken concerning him he would give his hand against it, before Humph. Killingbeck and Rob. Thornden, who went to him properly about that business to inquire it out. And thus thy false accusations returns upon thy own head, to thy shame.
As that open falsehood concerning William Nayler, brother to James, coming into Savoy Church (as thou calls it) and there bellowing and affrighting the people that they ran away, &c.
When as James Nayler had never a brother that ever came in London, nor within above fifty miles of it. O shameless man! it is time for thee to conceal thy name, when thou undertakes such a work as is all along in this thy book, wherein is a loathsomeness to any sober spirit to follow thee in thy lies, or read them after thee, so we leave many of them unmentioned in particular, as knowing they need no further answer but the savor they carry in themselves towards every sober mind that reads them.
As for Mary Todd coming into the Bull and Mouth pulling up her coats, and walking up and down the room, and using base expressions whilst some of the Quakers were speaking.
To this we say, she neither was nor is any Quaker, but a Ranter, who came thither to oppose the Quakers, as many unclean spirits have done, nor was this action done in our meeting, our meeting not being that day in that place. So this is like the rest.
Again, thou mentionest things which thou callest our opinions, and thy charge in general is that let our tenets be never so diametrically opposite to the written verity, yet we will father it upon the Spirit of truth and will make him the inspirer of these falsities, and that we make Christ the light within us to hold out <329> palpable darkness.
To which we say, as the charge is general and signifies little, so it is false, for by the Spirit of truth and Christ the light within us do we witness the verity fulfilled and not contradicted, and by the same are we made opposite to the spirit of darkness and all its false worships.
And though we may say that the Spirit of Christ is the same that it was, and so not unequal to itself, in whom, or at what time soever it appears, according to the measure of his appearance, yet is he ever the Spirit of truth and not against verity, whether written or spoken, but is the same that leads into all truth, as of himself he bears testimony; and we must say that his speaking in his living temples is of greater authority with us and all the living whom he hath quicked with his appearance than the reading of the letter was or is to them who are without him, being dead in their sins and reprobate in their understandings through the darkness of their hearts, reading the Scriptures without the Spirit that gave them forth; and this may answer thy accusation of George Whitehead and the question that was asked him.
And for thy seeking to make us as the papists: first, in that the pope to them is an infallible judge; secondly, written traditions equal to the written word.
We answer, What is that to us, who deny both the pope, his infallibility and his traditions; they are none of them binding unto us, look you to that, who have the remainder of that idolatry yet upon you in several things which might be instanced. But, blind man, what a comparison is this of thine? Is it become an offense to say the Spirit of Christ is infallible, and to confess him come who leads into all truth? Are we papists in thy account for this? You have too long made people follow you while you have been without that Spirit, and little else have you to teach people but traditions, who have not the infallible Spirit to lead you in your worships and doctrine. And so thy accusation I return upon thy own head.
And we can say no less of the Spirit of truth and his word at this day than the holy men of God have ever done in whom he hath appeared: to wit, that he is the same, and his power the same, and his word the same, which liveth forever, and by which <330> we now are armed and strengthened to withstand as great wickedness, and enlightened to see as great deceit in teachers and people at this day (we have cause to believe) as ever appeared in the world, from which we could not be delivered by our own wisdom, reading or hearing of the letter, till God sent the Spirit of truth in the name of Jesus into us, to enlighten our understanding in the Scriptures, and against all spiritual wickedness and deceitful worships, to quicken us with his power; so to us he is the power, and to him is the glory and the confession, who liveth forever, and his days waxeth not old, nor his voice feeble, nor his arm short, because many generations pass away before him, and this is he that was before the letter, who can work without the letter or with it, and this is he whom men that know not have often opposed at his coming and have been broken for it, though they professed the letter; and this may answer thy accusation of George Fox or any other who have spoken anything in the honor of his appearance, the power of his word, or the danger of them that oppose it, in this his day, as well as formerly, though we boast not of the fullness of our measure herein; that is but thy accusation.
And for thy accusation that we deny the personal body of Christ, his coming in the clouds to judgment, the visible church, and thy saying we are against Scriptures and against ordinances, against sabbaths, taking no notice of the morality of the Fourth Commandment, that we say the doctrine of original corruption is a soul-destroying, God-blaspheming doctrine, that we are against justification and religious education, &c.
These are but thy false accusations, not our judgment, nor our words, but thou hast gathered the false accusations of the priests of Newcastle, and other slanderous spirits, and this is the ground, proof and foundation of thy charge, which hath been several times answered, overturned in the first rising of them, as may be seen in the answers to The Perfect Pharisee, and Saul's Errand, and in a book called The Pit's Mouth Stopped by Francis Howgill, and several other books to be seen, in which your folly is made manifest, and what we own, which is according to Scripture, and what we deny, which is your traditions and false worships never set up by God nor practiced by his people, to which books we refer the reader for full satisfaction herein. And <331> also in a book called Love to the Lost by J.N., wherein these things are plainly spoken of. And thou stumbles at the light, as all the children of darkness must do. And thou says we are strangely confused and know not well how to distinguish, &c.
We say the confusion is in thyself and thy dark mind, and not in us; we stumble not who walk in light;18 but all that walk in darkness and hates the light must needs stumble as thou dost, but to us is the light known, and him that dwells in it, to whom no mortal eye can approach,19 blessed forever, and this is our all, and the nations of them that are saved must walk in it,20 & the power that we have in it we know, & the want we have had without it we know, so we speak glorious things of the light and preach it before all its enemies without amazement, for therein is the arm of God revealed, mighty to save, though many cannot receive our report21 but hates it, because their deeds are evil,22 as thou dost, who calls it a natural conscience and then says, we find Christ called the light, and of him said that he lighteth everyone that cometh into the world. Is not here the confusion and jumble thou tells on in thy own dark old bottle, who cannot retain his testimony but calls the light of Christ natural, who thyself art the natural man that receives not the things of the Spirit of God nor the testimony that the Scriptures gives of him, who is the light of the world, whom we make our all, as thou sayest.
Thou charges us for saying that those that have received Christ and God are come to perfection, and that all such as are in Christ are without sin.
To which we say, yea he that comes to God and Christ comes to perfection, and to him that is able to save from sin to the uttermost, and he that abides in Christ sins not, as saith the Scriptures (Heb. 7:25; 1 John 3:6); and this perfection is in Christ and not of ourselves, and so is this freedom also, and to him it is given and confessed, and not to flesh and blood, nor any carnal appearance. But what seed are thou of to whom <332> perfection and sanctification is so offensive, which Christ and his ministers commanded and preached.23
Thou accuseth us for saying that the saints by the Spirit that is in them can judge men's hearts, and that such judging is Christ's judging of them; and that Christ shall judge nowhere but in the saints, and for this accusation thou quotes Nayler's answer to Pendarves.
Wherein thou wrongs Nayler, for he doth not say that Christ shall judge nowhere but in the saints, nor that people may judge men's hearts by every spirit that is in them: but this we say, that the Spirit of Christ hath given to some discerning of spirits, and the spiritual man judgeth all things, as saith the Scripture (1 Cor. 2:15; 12:10), and this privilege the saints had by the Spirit of Christ in them, and the same we witness, every one according to our measure as we have received the same Spirit (1 Cor. 2:11,12).
And thou chargest one Nicholas Kate to have said 1) that marriage was made by man, 2) that Christians were worse than beasts, 3) that any woman was as free to him as his wife, 4) that his wife was no wife of his, she was a limb of the devil, 5) that he was holy and all things that he touched were holy, 6) that when the fullness of time was come he should work miracles.
To which we say, the man we know not, neither the truth of thy accusations, for they may be as false of him in these things as thou art found in many other things concerning others; yet to the first of these we say that though true marriage be of God, and that which hath his blessing, yet there be too many marriages at this day made without God, in the lust. To the 2d we say that there be many who are called Christians, that by nature are worse than beasts and by practice also, though none deserve the name of Christians truly but such as are in Christ Jesus, and being sanctified by his Spirit such are holy, as saith the Scripture; for the rest we leave it as that which is none of ours.
Thou further accuses us for saying that the redeemer of man <333> is not that person, the Son of man that died at Jerusalem, but the light which is in every particular man, &c.
To which we say, thy accusation is false, for we own no other redeemer but that person the Son of God, that died at Jerusalem, who is the light within us and the light of the world, as he said of himself (John 8:12), though this be a mystery to thee and that which has been hid from ages, even Christ in us the hope of glory (Col. 1).
Again, thou accusest us for saying, the Scripture is not the way to find out the knowledge of Christ, but a turning the mind within, &c.
To which we say, Christ is the way, the light, and the life; and no man comes to the knowledge of him but by the Father (Matt. 11:27), nor to the knowledge of the Father but by him, though men without both may read the letter, as the Jews did whom thou tells on, and their searching of the Scripture who for all that never came to the knowledge of Christ, nor would they come to him that they might have life. So ignorant is flesh and blood of his way, and knowledge from the letter; and therefore we do say that without first turning to the light and Spirit of Christ there is no coming to him, nor his knowledge (Luke 10:22).
And for the blasphemies thou chargest against us, as first, that we say we are equal with God, as holy, just and good as God himself; and this thou says was affirmed by George Fox and James Nayler before witnesses.
To which J.N. says, thy charge is utterly false concerning me, who in the presence of God can say that I never spoke these words secret nor open, nor did it ever enter into my heart so to think of myself. It is true George Fox was accused at Lancaster of saying that he was equal with God; and to his answer we refer you for satisfaction, as it is in Saul's Errand (pages 10-11). Which answer is in these words: Answ. That was not so spoken, but that he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are of one,24 and the saints are all one in the Father and the Son, of his flesh and of his bone,25 this the Scripture doth witness, and ye are <334> the sons of God, and the Father and the Son are one, and they that are joined to the Lord are one Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17); they that are joined to a harlot are one flesh. But as for saying he was as holy, just and good as God himself, this was never charged upon him.
And many other such false charges are laid upon us which we are not guilty of, and which there is no proof for from our words or writings, as that we should say that we are more perfect than Christ, and that Christ is a sinner, and that we should call the apostles carnal men, with other things of that nature, which we neither thought, spoke, nor writ, and so these things being disowned and disproved by us, is returned back again to be condemned with the accuser of the brethren from whence they did arise.
Again, as concerning the dispute at Cambridge (which thou mentions in the Fanatic History) put forth by T.S., that is answered and his false accusations disproved by George Whitehead in a book called The Key of Knowledge not found in the University of Cambridge, which is to be sold at the Black Spread-Eagle in Martin's. And also the false relation of the disputation at Sandwich is answered, and the truth of it clearly declared.
Again, concerning thy relation in the 11th chapter of the Fanatic History, of the petition of divers ministers in Westmorland, &c., the substance of clamors therein expressed, and the charges against Geo. Fox and Jas. Nayler, is fully answered to satisfaction of those that desire to understand the truth, in a book called Saul's Errand, which is to be sold at the Black Spread-Eagle at the West end of Paul's.
And as for thy narrative of public proceedings against the Quakers in divers counties and cities, and how they were imprisoned without the breach of any law, and for speaking the word of the Lord as they were moved, and because they could not swear, and because they were signs against pride; these things doth all testify for us how innocently we have suffered and how unchristianlike they have been that have so persecuted us for doing the will of God, in love to their souls who have thus hated us. And our being so hated, persecuted and imprisoned by the powers that have ruled in this nation, do plainly show unto those of understanding that they have wanted the Spirit of Christ, love, <335> meekness, mercifulness, and have showed cruelty without mercy, therefore the same measure which they have given unto others is justly come upon themselves; and he that would provoke the magistrates now to persecution, as others that have gone before them, they would bring them into the same cause of condemnation for which the Lord God might justly cut them off, as he hath done others which would not be warned in their day until their time was no more.
Since by the Lord we were called, chosen, and separated to be his people, and had unto us committed the word of reconciliation, and since his eternal power broke forth and was manifest amongst us, hath he done great things in the earth; for he hath prepared his way and made it plain before the face of all people by the appearance and testimony of his eternal light in their hearts—which hath not only there shined but is broken forth into a life of righteousness in many whom the Lord hath accounted worthy to be his servants in his work, to raise up a seed unto Jacob and to gather the dispersed of Israel and Judah (both Jews and Gentiles) into the covenant of light and life with the Father, from whence they are erred by transgression: and for the accomplishing of this work and service hath the Lord furnished us with spiritual weapons to war even against spiritual wickedness in high places (2 Cor. 10:4-5). And against the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph. 6:12), which hath appeared under many forms and governments since the breakings forth of truth in this nation. Yea many heads or governments hath been raised up and cast down again by one hand and power: and have all from the Lord (through his servants) had a word of wisdom and counsel ministered unto them, what they should do that they might be established, which if they did not the Lord would break them to pieces: which word of the Lord was fulfilled upon them all. And every divers head had a horn in it, to push at the lambs of Christ withal, and at every appearance of his Spirit and power in his people, but for his elect's sake was their days shortened, and his breakings and destruction came upon them according to his word <336> spoken to them by his servants at divers times.
And it is to be observed as the Lord's doing and ordering by his mighty power that within these eight years, since we have been persecuted and cruelly used for the name and testimony of Jesus and the answer of a pure conscience, there hath been twelve changes of government in this nation which have all of them more or less been guilty of our sufferings, either in acting against us or in suffering others to act cruelly, and not endeavoring to restrain them when they had power in their hands to do it, and the sufferings laid before them, who suffered for righteousness sake so that they could not plead ignorance but was left without excuse, which now in the day of their misery and tribulation some of them do consider it when their time is no more.
1. As first in the time of the Long Parliament, in the year 1652, although many pretended, some prayed, and some fought for liberty of conscience in matters of religion, and yet at that time were we imprisoned, beat, and persecuted for obeying and worshipping our God in Spirit and truth, according to his teaching; and at that time the priests' rage began to burn like fire: and they run one unto another and kindled the wrath in one another against the truth, even to petition against the spreading of it (and those that walked in it) as a dangerous thing; and they generally with one consent called the truth heresy, delusion and blasphemy; and those that ministered it abroad they called ringleaders of sects, as in the apostles' days there was the like example.
But these was warned in their day not to persecute the innocent, nor to uphold those that preached for filthy lucre, who served not the Lord Jesus Christ but their own bellies. But they hearkened not to the counsel of the Lord, but shut their ears against his instructions: therefore was their day taken from them, and their power given to another, that they also might be tried.
2. In the year 1653 a Council of State was called by O.C., but they did nothing to take off the weight of oppression in the nation, neither in spiritual nor civil things, for pride and the deceitfulness of riches entered into their hearts, that they did not regard nor set themselves wholly to do that which the Lord did require of them, although they were warned of God in their time, yet the yoke of the oppressor was not taken away, but under it the nation groaned, and they wrought no deliverance in the earth.
3. Then the Little Parliament sat in the same year, and there was a plant of righteousness (tending towards some equity and <337> freedom) springing up in them, but the strength of deceit and subtlety in others did quench it before it brought forth anything to perfection, and in that time the priests' fierce persecuting zeal was so inflamed that many petitions from several parts of the nation was presented (against the Quakers) to the Parliament, and their continual clamor, petitions and addresses (and they being regarded and hearkened unto) was one cause of the continuance of the nation's bondage and oppression, and God never prospered such as received them into their councils or gave heed to their reports, but a curse and destruction always followed them in their undertakings, whose ear was open unto such things. And in the time of this power and government was persecution continued about religion, though much was pretended to the contrary; they also were warned and wisely counseled in their day, and so was left without excuse.
4. Again in the same year was O.C. made Protector who had his day, and power in his hand to have done good, and to have done that which he and others pretended, but he joining with the covetous priests and their interests, to make his arm strong, thereby betrayed the Lord and his people into the hands of sinners. And instead of removing persecution he caused new acts to be made to persecute by, and so brought a curse upon himself and family, and tribulation upon those that trusted in him. And the Lord did often visit him with reproofs and instructions, until he hardened his heart against all reproof, and then was he given up of the Lord and of his people to his appointed end, as an example to all hypocrites and treacherous ones.
5. Again his second Parliament was called, and sat in the year 1654; in their days was not the land eased nor freed from its bondage, and when they had let in the priest's spirit and was incensed against the truth, and intending to make laws to persecute, then were they broken and their power taken from them, who in their day was warned but did not the thing which the Lord required of them.
6. Oliver's 3d Parliament, which consisted of two houses, sat in the year 1657; they more than any of the rest did draw back into that which they had declared against, and they let in the priests' persecuting spirit and made laws for persecution, and many were imprisoned in the time of their government because for conscience sake they could not pay tithes to the hireling priests, and because they could not swear, contrary to Christ's command (Matt. 5). And they had many warnings and admonitions from the Lord, which they rejected, and so the Lord rejected them as from doing his work.<338>
7. Then Richard Cromwell in the year 1658 was made Protector, whom the priests flocked to as their rock of defense, that he as their Joshua might lead them into their promised land, which was but a benefice of tithes or augmentations, their prayed for inheritance, and they told him that the gospel was bound up in him and so did cleave unto him by flatteries, as they did unto all the rest before him for their own ends, but the suffering seed of God which could not flatter him was not set free: who freely declared unto him the word of the Lord and instructions from the Almighty before his day was over.
8. And again his Parliament sat in the year 1659; they continued and did not free the sufferers and imprisoned ones who suffered only for the worship of their God, and for the exercise of a good conscience; but they went on swiftly in the way of their destruction to impose worships upon people and to decree unrighteous decrees; and upon that rock of religion they were broken as others had been before them, though they were exhorted to righteousness and told of the evil that did come upon them.
9. The 9th government was again the Long-Parliament, who came in with great pretenses and resolutions and protestations to make this nation a free commonwealth, not only in name but in nature. And they begun well and to call the prisoners up to London who suffered for conscience sake, and freed some of them; and many of them intended to take away that great oppression of tithes, whereby much deceit and many deceivers are held up in the nation: and then the priests' rage was kindled against them, and they cursed them in their pulpits and preached up war against them, and themselves get horses, pistols and swords to fight for their tithes and maintenance: and when they were routed then they again petitioned the Parliament, some begging pardon and some pleading not guilty; and the Parliament was so blind that upon their dissimulation they let in the priests again and begun to gratify the priests and establish tithes; and then the wrath of God broke forth against them, and their destruction was prophesied of, and told them that it should shortly come upon them, as it came to pass, because they would not receive the Lord's counsel in their day.
10. Then the Army and Committee of Safety (so-called) had the power of government in their hands, which they did not improve as they might have done for the liberty of the subjects: neither did they receive that counsel from the Lord which would have opened their understandings how to have ruled for him, but with corrupt <339> reasonings among themselves perverted one another and confounded their own work, reasoning out the good and honest intentions of some that was amongst them, until they all became as a heap of confusion and their work broken to pieces. A just reward of their own devices, and following the counsels of their own hearts, neglecting the advice of that Spirit of righteousness which should have led and also established them in the work of the Lord in the nation—so as unworthy and disobedient were they cast out.
11. Then again the Long-Parliament had another day of trial given them into their hands, but a mad zeal and fury attended them against the honest and upright-hearted people; and the fury of the oppressor was highly exalted amongst them, burning like fire, in which they could not contain themselves nor possess their own spirits in quietness; in which fury was folly, the effects of which did betray and destroy both themselves and others. They being diverted from their first intentions and desire after righteousness, a just recompense of reward for their disobedience came upon them, according to many true testimonies from the Lord's servants unto them, which if in time their ears had been open to the Lord's instructions and their hearts inclined to righteousness, that swift and sudden destruction had not so soon come upon them: but they being blinded with fury in their anger would neither hear nor see that which was the effect of their own work, nor the Lord's hand of justice near come upon them, as now they may consider it.
12. The Secluded Members then came in as a rod of God's anger and of justice, or a prey upon them; and it was manifest to the seeing eye that God had turned his hand against all those which had abused his power and neglected his work, who had sought and set up themselves instead of the Lord and his righteousness: and now when the Lord's hand is justly stretched for to wound those that by him would not be healed, who shall forbid it, until the cause be removed and they purged through judgment and suffering?
And now unto you the present power, king and parliament: be not high minded, but fear; be not lifted up, as though by your arm, power and policy you had got a victory. For it is righteousness yet which the Lord doth require, and if by his immediate power (without your sword) he have cut off all those that you might be grafted in. Consider therefore God's end in so doing, for it is by that immediate power of God (which hath broken them) that you must stand (if you do stand), for God is the same and will be to you as he <340> hath been to others, as you answer or not answer his requirings. For it is not persons that God accepts, but he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him: therefore as you look to be established by the Lord, do righteousness, equity and justice to every man, without respect of persons; and those that according to the equal and royal law of God walk, doing unto others as they would that others should do unto them. Take heed of imposing anything relating to the matter of worship upon the consciences, lest you kindle God's wrath against you (as others have done) which will not easily be quenched; for upon this rock have many been broken, and others wounded so that they could not again be healed.
And two things we would mind you of especially,
First, that you are not come in by your own sword or power, but by a remarkable hand of God in such a way as neither yourselves, nor many other could have expected.
2dly, consider what a flood of unrighteousness, licentiousness, and fleshly liberty hath of a sudden overspread the nation upon your coming in, which although it received some little seasonable curb by a proclamation from King Charles (till which scarce a man fearing God, and that could not join with them in their riotings and drunken healths, could pass the streets in most places of the nation) yet the body of that iniquity still stands in many places, as in May-games, fiddlings, dancings, stage-plays, and divers other ungodly vain sports, by which God's righteous soul is still grieved, the spirits of all people that truly fears God saddened, the weight of that wickedness which already lay upon the nations mightily increased; quite contrary to what such a work as your coming in after such manner required; all which speaks dreadful things against these nations in the sight of many, who are most acquainted with God's fear and have that eye in them which foresee evil to come, in whose hearts and mouths it is now to warn you, in love to your own souls (who are in power to scatter such wickedness) and the nation's peace and well-being, that the wrath that is already threatened might be prevented from coming in your day. And we desire that you may take more notice of the Lord's warnings to you than others have done that have gone before you, that God's hand and power be not turned against you as it was against them.
1. Prov. 4:16.
2. Prov. 20:8,26; Prov. 29:14.
3. Eccl. 5:8.
4. 1 Tim. 3:9.
5. John 16:13.
6. John 4:23.
7. Ps. 2 [possibly intending Ps. 72—QHP].
8. Rom. 13:3.
9. Amos 5:15.
10. Isa. 5:7.
11. Isa. 32:7.
12. 2 Cor. 10:4-5; Eph. 6:12, &c.
13. Acts 6:10.
14. Acts 21:28; 17:5-6.
15. Acts 25:15-16.
16. 2 Thess. 3:2.
17. Micah 7:8.
18. John 11:9-10.
19. 1 Tim. 6:16.
20. Rev. 21:24.
21. Isa. 53:1.
22. John 3:20.
23. Matt. 5:48; Heb. 6:1.
24. Heb. 2:11.
25. Eph. 5:30.
a. W. changes "A Short Answer to a" to "Part of His Answer to the."
b. Whitehead inserts "(so far as it concerns himself)."
c. The book Nayler is replying to had a Thomason date of 26 July 1660.
d. W. omits the rest of the title page except for "Printed in the year 1660."
e. Whitehead omits "his."
f. Whitehead omits "of men."
g. W. changes "falls, and overturnings" to "and cruelty."
h. W. inserts "for."
i. Whitehead inserts "to."
j. W. inserts "of God."
k. W. inserts "suddenly."
l. Whitehead inserts "numerous and."
m. W. changes "say" to "do."
n. Whitehead changes "yours" to "you."
o. W. inserts "than them? Beware."
p. Whitehead inserts "(as you count them)."
q. W. inserts "you must have."
r. Whitehead inserts "you."
s. W. inserts "for you."
t. W. omits "so."
u. Whitehead omits "few."
v. W. inserts "sin, and."
w. W. inserts "other."
x. W. changes "thy" to "the."
y. W. changes "shame with" to "be ashamed of."
z. Whitehead changes "reasonable senses" to "reasonableness."
aa. Whitehead inserts a heading here: "In Answer to the Book."
bb. W. changes "they" to "the prophets."
cc. W. changes "1654" to "1653."
dd. Whitehead omits "all."
ee. Whitehead inserts "be apt to."
ff. Whitehead inserts "(since his return from his outgoing)."
gg. Whitehead inserts "people called."
hh. W. changes "pitiful" to "merciful."
ii. Whitehead changes "a little displeased" to "displeased for a time."
jj. Whitehead inserts "(but extend mercy)."
kk. Whitehead changes "my candle" to "the candle of the Lord."
ll. Whitehead changes "whatever" to "whoever."
mm. W. omits "together."
nn. W. changes "or" to "nor."
oo. W. changes "had" to "was suspected to have."
pp. Whitehead changes "many" to "any."
qq. W. changes "thy" to "his."
rr. Whitehead's version of this pamphlet ends here with the following note in brackets: "[The rest of this book, in answer to the priests' old lying stories against Truth and Friends, not being so material to be inserted, is here omitted.]"
ss. Actual title of Howgill's reply was "The Mouth of the Pit Stopped."